Archive for the ‘Notable’ Category.

Megan, Abigail, and Lee have moved!

If you’re a friend and would like our new address, please write to me!

We now live in a two-bedroom apartment in a four apartment building in North Berkeley, California. The house sits at the end of a long driveway, making it pleasantly secluded in a great neighborhood. We have our own private patio and we open the back fence to a communal 1/4 acre back yard with grass, trees and bocce court!

We live just a few blocks away from a great grocery store (Monterey Market), and a row of stores with a meat market, fish market, cheese market, bakery, Chinese restaurant, pizza place, wine store, coffee shop, and plant nursery! The neighborhood is full of kids under three years old, and just four blocks away is a large playground with everything from tennis courts, swings, and a public pool. We were very cramped in our one bedroom apartment with very few friends or neighbors to talk to.

Right now the place is full of boxes but we are rapidly making headway! We’ll be having a house-warming party soon.

We’re all well. Abigail is growing, drawing, climbing, and telling us about her world all the time. Megan is chilling at home now that her school year has ended. And Lee’s school fieldwork is a refreshing change, with fewer hours and a much more gentle commute.

Lee, Megan, and Abigail

OT Academics Done!

I am finished with the academic portion of my Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at San Jose State University!

On May 27th I walked with my cohorts wearing cap and gown in a convocation ceremony.

In the coming months I will do two three-month fieldworks: a skilled nursing facility in Alameda and at a community senior center in San Francisco. In January or February I will take the NBCOT (the occupational therapy certification test) and start as an occupational therapy professional!

See Thank-you’s below the photos!

Here is the Acknowledgements section of my research paper:
The Relationship Between Stress and Life Satisfaction Among Occupational Therapy Graduate Students

Firstly, I have thank my loving wife Dr. Megan Flom for helping to make this grand project a reality. She has been there, supporting me from the beginning to the end. Great thanks also go to my brother-in-law Walt Flom for sharing his passion and helping me to appreciate and understand it.

I offer my gratitude to my research professor, Dr. Megan Chang for guiding and supporting this effort. I am also grateful for every professor and every student I have encountered at San Jose State. This has been a period of great growth.

I offer grateful thanks to my parents, Lee J. Sonko and Marlene M. Sonko for a lifetime of continued love and encouragement to follow my passions.

The person I need to thank the most can’t read this note… yet. I must thank my wonderful daughter Abigail for helping me every morning by reminding me of the joys of life and learning. As she says so excitedly, “Book-a-book-a-book-a-book-a-book!”

Lee Sonko
May 2016

Introducing Abigail!

Introducing Abigail!
Our dear daughter Abigail was born January 19th at 12:17pm! She came into this world quickly after a routine (and VERY fortuitously timed) non-stress test discovered a problem with reverse blood flow in the umbilical cord. Within 2 hours of the beginning of the appointment, mother, father, and baby met one another during a C-section!

Abigail’s birth was just a few weeks unexpectedly early but apparently it was time! Every hour she is getting stronger and it looks like she’ll be going home with us in a week or two. Every sign is excellent! Megan is doing very well, breastfeeding has been magical, and she’s been bounding around the hospital more quickly than much of the staff anticipated.

Megan, Lee, and Abigail

It’s All About The Journey!

Nine years ago I sent the following letter to my friends, telling them about how I was moving to the Bay Area to “follow my bliss”. I hadn’t thought about the letter since I wrote it. Last year my friend Vickie wrote to me, opening with, “This letter still inspires me”. I thought it would be worth revisiting…

At the beginning of June, I’ll be moving to California, the San Francisco
East Bay to be exact!

Why am I moving? I’m moving to follow my bliss.

Last summer I went to the Burning Man festival in Nevada, an event with a
large population from the Bay Area. The event opened my eyes and convinced
me to more actively seek out my happiness. I found that I really took well
to the attitudes espoused by the people at the event and that I wanted to
experience it more.

For the last couple years, I’ve been living in Hackettstown, NJ, a tiny
far-suburb of New York City. I’ve become a well-known person in the town,
running my own business and becoming a member of Rotary International.
People say “Hello” to me on the street. It’s a lovely place, but it’s a bit
too low-key for me. Unfortunately, it’s a little too far from NYC for me to
go to evening events comfortably. Moreover, the life perspective of the
average New Yorker or New Jerseyan is different from a San Franciscan. I’m
hoping that have more in common with locals there in that department.

The business I’ve created, “Computer Guy” is very geographically based so
moving 50 miles would be the same as 3,000. I’d done the New York thing and
Boston. Now it’s time for another move.

So I’m packing my things, selling off detritus, and getting ready to leap!

I’ve been thinking about some of the more specific reasons I’m making this
move. If you think you might be able to help with any of the following
things, gimme a buzz!

I’d like to live “in the middle of things”. I want roommates to be around
and, initially at least, a furnished short term rental. I want to walk out
my door and be there already. I’ve spent many years being on the quiet
outskirts, -near- things. But I’ve come to realize that if a life is out of
sight, it is out of mind. If people and community are “just a short drive
away”, they are still too far away. I want to be able to trip over people.

Creatively, I’d like to find a subject I think I might be interested in and
find someone to study under. I’m not sure what that will be but I’m hoping
I’ll know it when I see it. Maybe it will be experimental aviation, or
improbable art. I’d kind of like to become a musician. There are a bunch of
things I’d like to do but haven’t found critical mass for them where I live
right now. I’m crossing my fingers, and forging ahead.

For employment, I don’t know where in going to land. I’ve been doing
Software Quality Assurance for 15 years and I’m pretty good at it but the
software industry is a constantly changing entity. Maybe I’ll find a place
there, maybe I won’t. I’ve thought, perhaps wistfully, about becoming a
continuity editor for films or such (I suppose I’m moving about 400 miles to
far north for that). I’m just a bit tired of not actually making a “thing”.
QA is just a kind of proofreading… and very little of my dot com
employment actually produced anything that is widely used. I suppose I’d
scratch that itch if I built a bridge or something, but that really isn’t in
my skill set. ;-) It would be wonderful if my job was my passion.
Craigslist has 100 new job openings every day. We’ll see what happens!

I posted this on my blog first on April 28th, 2005.

Here is the followup to that letter:

Burning Man and the culture around it certainly has had an effect on my life! I’ve been so involved in arts like flame effects and machine art that I’ve taught it for years now. I lived in the middle of everything, on the corner of 24th and Valencia in San Francisco for 8 years. I started a few more businesses (and closed just as many, poop). I’ve built giant steel and fire art with a massively collaborative art group and helped run a relatively smaller art project that took me to India among other places. The actual “follow my bliss” letter had an effect on my life… I had sent it to a former employer and friend; his response was, “We’d love to have you work in Cupertino as soon as you arrive!”. It was a great way to get my feet on the ground. I found love more than once, more importantly I found the love of my life and put a ring on it.

The letter offered considerable premonitions into my life over the last 9 years. It’s funny that I didn’t end up in “The San Francisco East Bay” as promised until 8 years later. But all things come to pass. I’m now writing this on the verge of starting grad school and fatherhood. I have no concluding remarks for this post, no conclusion because, as Vickie reminded me recently, “It’s all about the Journey!”

I Am Going To Grad School!

I got a phone call from San Jose State today. I was accepted into their Master’s of Occupational Therapy program!!!The program begins fall 2014. I am over the moon!

Some folks have asked what OT is… You might start with the idea of a Physical Therapist. A PT gets your body working, an OT focuses on helping you do whatever it is you do in your life, your “occupation”. Some quick examples: kids need to grow, amputees need to relearn shoe tying, elderly want to keep living independently. It’s a rather broad field!

Finished SJSU and Samuel Merritt Grad School Application! Hurray!

I just mailed off the applications for 2 of the 3 schools I’m applying to. This is the culmination of 2 full years of work. If I’m accepted, I’ll have another 2 1/2 years of school before receiving a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy.

This is the second time I’ve sent applications. This time my application is much stronger:
* I have completed all of the prerequisite courses
* I raised my “last 60 units” GPA from 3.67 to 3.87
* I raised my GRE score to include a 4.5 on the writing: 160 Verbal, 150 Math, 4.5 Writing. (previous attempt was 161, 156, 4.0)
* Starting at having 100 hours at a private pediatric clinic, I added another 78 in a (hardcore) non-public school for non-verbal autistic kids
* My Personal Essay kicks ass! Thank you Megan, Alexis, Bean, and Tami for writing help!

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA

Almost Done: (not due for 4 months)
Dominican University, San Rafael, CA

GRE: Done

I took the GRE today. I needed to bring up my writing score from the last time and I think I did it. I won’t get the score back for 2 weeks but I feel really good about it.


What the Heck is Lee Doing These Days?

Just got back from 12 days on vacaion in Minnesota with Megan. Pictures and stories forthcoming.

Trying to get into an Occupational Therapy Master’s program. I’m applying to: San Jose State, Dominican University in San Rafael, Samuel Merritt in Oakland. I’ve been volunteering at a pediatric OT clinic in Sausalito and a non-public school for kids with autism. I’m studying for the GRE; I got an “Ok” score last time, but I’m shooting for “Great”.

Megan and I are planning to be married! There’s rings to make and a life to be planned!

I’m still teaching at the Crucible. In a few weeks I’m teaching Arduino, Electromagnetics, Flame Effects, and a new taster class “Atari Punk Console”!

After the school applications are done, I’ll try to organize teaching a Flame Effects class in Los Angeles with Michael Kearney. There’s also a flame effects book to write.

I’ve been hanging out with Sean Cusack, his gal Lara, Michael Kearney and some friends and building some fiery things. Crazily enough, more than 5 years ago, Lara had built one of the first really notable flame effects I saw, The High Striker! And now she wants to retool it!

At Ben and Lil’s wedding in August

Megan and me at Ben and Lil’s wedding photobooth!

On Vacation!

I am writing to you from just north of St. Paul Minnesota! Megan and I will be spending the next 10 days or so on a private island on the Canadian border near International Falls, MN. Very good friends of Megan own this tiny island on Rainy Lake. We are looking forward to totally destressing and reconnecting with each other, ourselves and the universe! I think they have electricity, but no TV, no cellphones (not even 1G!), and the internet is over a phone line, Ha! So what will we do? Sleep, eat, read, play, swim, talk, look at the sunset, look at the sunrise, look at the sun high in the sky, listen to the loons, maybe catch a real thunderstorm, and maybe maybe maybe see the northern lights!

I’ll check my voicemail maybe sometimes. But don’t count on it. And email not at all!

To start things out, we are staying at a friend’s house. Tomorrow’s breakfast is promising!

Accepted into CCSF DMI Program!


Now the big question:

Do I go for it or try to get accepted into an Occupational Therapy Master’s program at Samuel Merritt University / San Jose State University? I won’t know if I’m accepted into either of those programs til February or March.

What do I want? What can I get? What is achievable? What will bring me the most happiness?