Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quote of the day:

Quote captured from a friends blog:

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

"So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit." --Arthur Levin

Friday, December 5, 2008

If you don't have anything nice to say...

Don't say anything at all....

I've been in a funk lately which has lead to me not having anything constructive to write about.

Talk to you all soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's been a little while... (Caution a pitty party follows)


This ended up as a very short work week. Between a day of vacation and a couple days of company holiday I end up with a 5 day weekend. It'll be a nice break. I have been pretty stressed lately. The workload has been pretty crazy. Work seems to be only one of the stress factors this year.

We have made a concerted effort to not use credit cards - and better yet to pay off the ones we have. This has meant more items being paid for out of our normal day-to-day budget on top of our increased effort at paying off the cards. So yeah - money is an issue. As if balancing this wasn't enough, we add into the mix the family and personal responsibilities. There is a project list at home as long as my arm. This time of year makes it hard to work off anything on that list since it is dark when i leave the house at 5:15 am and dark when i get home in the evening at 5 pm.

Exacerbating all of this is another stress of mine, My health. This has been an issue for me lately. I have had problems with a herniated disc. Well a couple weekends ago i was helping a friend build a deck. It had rained earlier that morning, but the weather had broke and was actually pretty nice outside. We were setting posts so there were open footers all around. I was well aware of them, but as I was measuring something out my foot hit some mud just the right way and into the hole i went (well one of my legs anyways). I didn't break anything, but i did wrench my back pretty well. It was not a issue so much that i felt the extent of immediately, but over the course of that day the pain got increasingly worse and has taken the good part of a week and a half to begin to feel better. So.. yeah... On top of all of this, the stress makes my acid reflux worse - which really just equates to being a pain in the ass. blah...blah...blah... yah i know - Suck it up...

At the end of the day, I am just feeling crappy and unhappy. Fun right. I get into these funks every now and then, but now I just need to find a way out.

Can you find the 21 Changes?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Christmas Idea



So as we were out running errands today I had another idea to add to the Christmas list... Pretty much anything Redskins would be good...

umm... well thats about it for right now..

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Whoa! 41 days till when ?

So I have been asked for some Christmas ideas. I will start to work with Michelle and get the kids & Michelle to come up with some ideas. I am sure they will be posted over on her site. Here is my first stab at a Christmas Idea list....

- Car adapter for my I-pod Touch (to allow me to play the ipod in the car)
- Gift card towards a boom box that has an ipod adapter (so i can work in the garage with the ipod music)
- Sears Gift Certificate towards a bench top drill press (Craftsman 12" - $199)
- X-Box 360 games (Gears of War 2, Fallout 3) or Wireless Networking Adapter (X-box specific)
- I tunes gift card (Michelle would be happy about that)
- Visa Gift card or something to help me save for the trainer i want for my Road Bike (http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=23636&estore_ID=1906)
-
I am having a hard time with this list. The things I want all seem pretty pricey as i try to think of stuff and as such they don't translate well to reasonable gifts. Life just seems to always get more and more expensive (or maybe it's my tastes - heh).

I am into cycling, so maybe Cycling Jerseys - although they can get pretty pricey too. I typically wear a XXL. I have not had much time at all to go biking lately, which is what is motivating my desire for the trainer as it is something i can do with my bike at the house.

I like wood working, but the shop is in a state of transition so i am not sure what the new space will be able to hold. Since i don't have a lot of time to put towards that lately, it's hard for me to judge what i could use. Something i had wanted to get is a nice wood Chisel Set. There are 2 problems with those (1) I am not sure what kind i am looking for (2) the rough search i have done for nice wood working chisels all seem to be pricey.

I could use a grill cover. The dogs did a pretty good number on the last one we had. I would have to measure the grill up again.

I enjoy wine - So that is always a good idea. I like Shiraz, Syrah, German Rieslings, etc. I like to try all kinds of new wines so i am not really stuck on any one thing. One that i am looking to try when my dad comes out is the 2006 Vi De Nulles Blanc. I just saw a review on the wine and it got RAVE reviews, so i will have to order that for Christmas when i have some people to help me consume some wine :-).

The fall back is that the money goes towards the kids Christmas and College Savings Plan. I have to honestly say that my biggest joy during this time of year is getting to spend so much family time. I never get to visit with Mom & Dad, since they decided to move out west once we bought our house out here. I really enjoy the time that they are able to spend with us. I know if they lived closer the Boys (My Dad, Brother, and I) would definately get out to play more golf and the tinkering projects.

Wow - This has been my longest post in a while. My life has been unhinged lately and I have been stressed over so many things. So I haven't taken much time to much "me" stuff :-(

Anyways - that’s about all i have for now. If i can think of anything else I will post things back up. Keep an eye out on Michelle's blog for the kids and her ideas.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did...(Sorry Will)

At 11pm last night, The Common wealth of Virginia was awarded to Barack Obama and awarded him the electoral votes needed to become President Elect. Obama gave an inspirational acceptance speech in Chicago's Grant Park where a reported 125,000+ people waited for hours.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Redskins Rule

Since 1936, the superstition has held that if the Redskins won their last home game before the election, the incumbent party would stay in power. And that rule held until 2004, when both the Redskins and John Kerry lost.

In 2000, as Al Gore went up against George W. Bush, while his Tennessee Titans were the last to play the Redskins at FedEx Field. Gore tempted fate by rooting for his home team, the Titans — who lost. Gore soon followed suit.

Winner of Nov. 3 matchup between the Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh Steelers 23; Washington Redskins 6.

Prediction according to the Redskins Rule: Obama

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

Today the wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

12 years by the numbers

  1. 1996 - The year we were married
  2. 22 - The age I was when we got married.
  3. 34 - The age I am now, for those of you with poor math skills :-)
  4. 4380 - The number of days we have been married.
  5. 520 - The number of days we were married before we had kids.
  6. 3 - The number of children we have
  7. 4 - The number of dogs we have had. (Currently 0)
  8. 5 - The number of cars we have had
  9. 1 - The number of house we have bought
  10. 6 - The number of companies we have worked for. (Since we have been married)
  11. 16 - The number of kids birthday’s Celebrated (+1 more in a couple weeks)
  12. 1 - The number of True Loves I have…
So on this day my wife and I have reached another milestone. 12 years committed to each other with 3 beautiful children to show for our efforts. Here is to another great 12 Years....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How fortunes are made...

An article i was reading this weekend stated that "even in the psychotic market and the uncertainty of the future, now is the time when fortunes are created. Wachovia was at $0.01 a week or so ago. Today? $6.45. How would you like to turn $1,000 to $645,000?"

Those opportunities always escape me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week 10: Our mailing address list for Christmas cards

This is the week that we are supposed to organize our mailing lists. We have tried to keep an electronic list, but they always seem to disappear. This year i think we will go an invest in a "old-fashioned" write in address book.

Time to get the addresses together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

South Mountain Creamery WIne / Cheese Pairings

My brother and his wife run South Mountain Creamery. We had taken some pictures at one point for their website. I have really gotten into wine lately and we had the opportunity to try out a majority of their cheeses. I decided to do a bit of research and find out what wines would be paired with their cheeses. I had been meaning to get this sent to my brother so they would have the information for their website, so this will get me just that much closer.

  1. Smoked Swiss ~ Asti Spumanti / Sparkling wines
  2. Colby / Jack ~ Reisling / Champagne
  3. X-Sharp ~ Cabernet, Rioja, Savignon Blanc
  4. Baby Swiss ~ Asti Spumanti
  5. Port Wine ~ "Not Sure" - Port Wine maybe?
  6. Parmigiana Reggiano ~ Chardonnay
  7. Lightning Jack ~ Blaufrankish (Lemberger)
  8. Mozzarella ~ Chianti
  9. Raw Sharp Cheddar ~ "Not Sure"
  10. Raw Smoked Cheddar ~ Blaufrankish

Willpower

Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.

~ Dan Millman

I liked this quote and thought i should share...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Being A Full-Time Parent Has More To Do With Sacrifice Than Luck

When my wife and I first discussed having children we were both on the same page when it came to determining the primary care provider–their mom. We knew living on one income would take some sacrifice, but it was one we were willing to make. Ten years later we continue to live on one income.

The other day someone asked what my wife did for a living, and I told them she is a full-time mom. Their response struck me, “You guys are so lucky she is able to stay home with the kids.” Lucky? I guess there has been an element of luck to my career success but we’ve made our share of sacrifices to pull off this lifestyle, particularly early on.

We both drive older vehicles (mine is really old!). We did upgrade to an SUV a few years ago, but it was purchased as a used vehicle and came to us with some mileage already accrued. I drive an 8 year-old car back and forth to work. Unfortunately, I have a long commute, and even though the vehicles have been pretty reliable at that distance, the commutes are definately taking their toll.

Our entertainment budget is virtually non-existent. Early in our marriage we had several sets of friends who were double-income families. It seemed like they were vacationing every three months, and often hit amusement parks, aquariums, etc. in between. That’s not to say all double-income families can more easily afford to entertain themselves, but with the extra disposable cash I suppose it is less taxing on the household budget. We try to take an annual vacation, but we usually only get away once every two years or so.

We have less money in savings. Since living on one income tends to be tight we have had less money to save and invest over the years, which will probably lengthen the amount of time I have to work. College savings, retirement, and emergency savings are all behind where they should be, but we are comfortable with this trade off for now.

My wife put school and a career on hold. No reason a woman can’t have a successful career and be a great mom, but for my wife she made being a mom her top priority. My wife may someday return to school to finish her degree, or maybe even return to the workforce when our kids are older. But for now, she is content with her role as a full-time mom.

The opportunity for one of us to stay home with the kids is not granted by luck, rather by making other sacrifices in our lives. Opponents of stay-home parenting often cite the lack of social interaction as a negative aspect of keeping kids out of daycare. All of our kids (well the school aged ones) attend public school where they get plenty of socialization. I think the bond that they have created with my wife and I is better than any benefit of social interaction they would possibly get at a daycare. The bottom line is it is all about priorities. If you are willing to make certain sacrifices, being a full-time parent can be a rewarding experience for both you and your kids.

AWESOME!

If this doesn't get you excited about music i don't know what will...

How to start a grass roots company

Another great motivational video from Gary Vaynerchuck...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Smores anyone?


Lately Saturdays have been pretty hectic. Both girls have games and notoriously they are just far enough apart that they take up a bulk of our day driving around the county. Don't get me wrong - it is fun to watch the girls enjoy themselves and they both seem to really enjoy what they do. We were having a good night unwinding from the day. The air was cool and the sky was clear so I decided to light up our firepit. We all sat around the warmth of the fire and toasted marshmallows and made smore's. Mmmm What a nice way to finish a day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Week 12


This week, if you haven’t yet, sit down with a cup of coffee and jot down what you think your holiday season will cost. It can be done a number of ways, but here’s a number of the most common line items:

DECORATIONS:

  • tree
  • lights
  • misc. decor (ornaments, candles, wreath, etc.)
  • craft supplies
  • music
  • movies

FOOD (not including regular groceries):

  • cookie ingredients
  • misc. dessert ingredients
  • Christmas day dishes

CARDS:

  • stamps
  • cards and/or envelopes
  • paper for family newsletter
  • photography

GIFTS:

  • spouse
  • kids
  • parents
  • siblings
  • nieces
  • nephews
  • grandparents
  • other relatives
  • neighbors
  • coworkers
  • friends

EVENTS:

  • tickets
  • clothing
  • dining out
  • contributions

GIVING:

  • charities
  • volunteering
  • misc.
Please note - I am NOT saying you should be budgeting money for each of these categories. Not by a long shot - I’d say that we’ve personally budgeted for about half of this. But I did want you to be aware of all the little things that can really add up, and if you don’t plan ahead for them, they might knock on your wreath-adorned door when you least expect it.

Once you come up with a number for your line items, add up the total, and divide by the number of months left until Christmas. If you’re doing this now for the first time, that would be three - October, November, and December. That is the amount you need to budget starting this month to meet your Christmas budget.


Decrease Your Expenses

As I mentioned, you really don’t need to spend money on all this stuff. Every family is different, but I think we can all agree that extravagant spending doesn’t make the holidays any more special. How much you’ll spend has nothing to do with how much fun your season will be, and the amount you spend on gifts certainly has nothing to do with how much you love the gifts’ recipient.

I recommend setting a price limit on gifts, then searching for the right gift within that budget. Instead of being pre-sold on that $75 sweater for your sister, then stretching your budget to make it work, decide the maximum amount you’ll spend on siblings. If that sweater is just too much, then let it go. If you know ahead of time that your max is $30, you’ll need to find something in your price range.

Is it that time already...


The count down has begun with the 12 weeks before Christmas. One of the other blogs i read posted a break down to help with the stresses of the season. My wife and I have decided to take a swing at it. Here is the schedule:
  • Week 12: solidify our Christmas budget
  • Week 11: inventory our holiday decor stuff; make notes on what to look for in stores on sale
  • Week 10: organize our mailing address list for Christmas cards
  • Week 9: research ways we can volunteer time and/or donate gifts as a family
  • Week 8: Hmm... I'll find something i am sure
  • Week 7: design our cards, order stamps, and address envelopes
  • Week 6: finish shopping for our gift list
  • Week 5: get out the calendar and schedule dates and events
  • Week 4: Go Christmas Tree hunting with my brother and decorate for Christmas!
  • Week 3: thoroughly clean, prepare for guests; make food plans; freeze meals for the next few weeks
  • Week 2: make and freeze cookie dough; prep food gifts
  • Week 1: enjoy the time with Friends & Family

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six Wines From Virginia

I am interested in the (in order of preference):
- 2007 Pearmund Viognier
- 2006 Rappahannock Cellars Cabernet Franc
- 2006 La Grange Snort - Fortified Red Wine

- 2007 La Grange Pinot Grigio

Right now (for 24hours) Wine Library ( www.winelibrary.com ) has free shipping... I'll have to sweet talk the wife about this...

Coupon code: twittertime

In case you have never seen WineLibrary TV - This is a great wine review podcast. Gary Vanerchuck is the host. Enjoy !

Monday, September 29, 2008

The "To-Do" List

After a little nudging from my brother, I started my list. This was a pseudo bucket list. A list of things we wanted to do in life. The idea was splintered from the 100 things to do before you (whatever). So my list is started. I will update this list as new ideas come to mind, but as for now here is my brain dump...

Things to do:

Rules
a. Entry is non-biased towards ability to afford it or time to do it.
b. Has to be something that if given the opportunity you would actually do it.

1. Drive a Ferrari through the countryside of Italy.
2. Attend the Super Bowl (hopefully watching the Redskins)
3. Do a swim with the dolphins kind of thing
4. Recertify my scuba permit &
5. Scuba Dive to a ship-wreck
6. Visit every state in the U.S.
7. Attend The Tonight Show or The Late Show as an audience member.
8. Gamble in Vegas
9. Learn to Ride a Motorcycle
10. Buy a Motorcycle to ride... heh
11. Go Whitewater rafting (not this cheesy stuff near the house).
12. Spend New Years Eve in Times Square
13. Watch the Macy's Day Parade in person
14. See the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall @ Christmas
15. See Rockefeller Center & Window Shop 42nd Street @ Christmas time.
16. Ride on a hot air balloon.
17. Take a vacation visitng all of the 7 Natural Wonders (Mount Everest, The Great Barrier Reef, Victoria Falls, The Northern lights, The Grand Canyon, The Harbor at Rio De Janerio, The Paricutin
18. Watch the finish of the Tour de France in Paris
19. Visit the Vatican
20. Watch the running of the bulls (Maybe Run - but definately watch)
21. Visit Loch Ness
22. Participate in the Baja 1000 (this is something i thought my brother and I would enjoy)
23. See my kids (all 3) graduate College ($$Cha-Ching)
24. See my kids get married
25. play with my grandchildren
26. Attend the Olympics (Don't really care if it is Summer or Winter)
27. See the London Symphony Orchestra
28. See the Boston Pops
29. Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich
30. See / Participate in Mardi Gras
31. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
32. See the ruins in Rome
33. See the ruins in Greece
34. Competitively ride in a race (bicycle)
35. Compete in a triathalon

35 down - 65 left to go... (updated 10.9.08)

Do you really want her as our #2 ?

McCain may be experience enough, but with his progressive age do we really want his choice for VP to run things?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Friday!


If you're not a part of the solution, There's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top 15 songs on my I-tunes

Just pulled the last 15 songs off of i tunes that played. Quite the eclectic Mix.

The Sidewinder - GRP All-Star Big Band
My Eyes Have Seen you - The Doors
Enter Sandman (Live) - Metallica
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Harry Connick Jr.
I Move on - Catherine Zeta-Jones
Won't you come home Bill Bailey - Harry Connick Jr.
Tell All the People - The Doors
Fade to Black - Metallica
El Farol - Santana
Holy Water - Big & Rich
One By One - Lion King Broadway Cast
Maria Maria - Santana
Swinging on a Star - Michael Kamen
Black & Gold - Sam Sparro
Make a Memory - Bon Jovi

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HAIL TO THE REDSKINS !


This week we are in Dallas. The rivalry always makes for a great game!



OH YEAH! - What a great game! 26 - 24 win!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet

The New York Times has a fun op-ed piece written by Maureen Dowd. The piece is titled Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet.

It is a great article that definately leaned towards the Dems.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Huricane Ike Pics

Greg Schenck struggles to remove debris from a drain on North Main Street just north of downtown Houston after the passage of Hurricane Ike, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008. (AP /Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool)

A man inspects the damage in front of the JP Morgan Chase Tower after Hurricane Ike passed through the city September 13, 2008 in Houston Texas. Hurricane Ike made landfall in the middle of the night causing widespread damage. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A building maintenance worker walks over shattered glass from windows blown out by Hurricane Ike on the JPMorgan Chase tower Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip

A house burns uncontrolled in a flooded neighborhood as Hurricane Ike approaches the Texas coast, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, in Galveston, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Odd Place for a boat... Eddie Settlocker assesses damage caused by Hurricane Ike at an apartment complex he manages September 14, 2008 in Galveston, Texas. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Flooding from Hurricane Ike inundates a high school football field in the town of Delcambre, La. Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Richard Alan Hannon, pool)

A house sits among debris, piled up by storm surges after Hurricane Ike made landfall September 14, 2008 in Crystal Beach, Texas. (DAVID J. PHILLIP/AFP/Getty Images)

A single home is left standing among debris from Hurricane Ike September 14, 2008 in Gilchrist, Texas. Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike were reportedly as high as eight feet in some areas causing widespread damage across the coast of Texas. (David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)

People ride in the back of a pickup truck through floodwaters from Hurricane Ike Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008 in High Island, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)

With Hurricane Ike offshore, Michael Gardner walks in high water in front of a burning marina warehouse in Galveston, Texas, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. Fire fighters could not reach the structure so they allowed the structure to burn. (AP Photo/LM Otero)



Homes and businesses on the Clear Creek Channel in Seabrook are surrounded by rising water from Galveston Bay on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 after Hurricane Ike passed through overnight as a Category 2 storm. (AP Photo/The Galveston County Daily News, Kevin M. Cox)

Hurricane Ike destruction

Hurricane Ike just rolled through Texas this past weekend. Boston.com has posted some pictures that documents the absolute destruction that Ike brought with it. They were great pictures that I thought should be shared.


A horse grazes beside a house, surrounded by floodwater, near Winnie, Texas after Hurricane Ike, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008. Ike was the first major storm to directly hit a major U.S. metro area since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. (AP Photo/Pool, Smiley N. Pool)


Image of Hurricane Ike on September 10, 2008, taken by the crew of the International Space Station, flying 220 miles above Earth. Ike barreled into the densely populated Texas coast near Houston early September 13, 2008, bringing with it a wall of water and ferocious winds and rain that flooded large areas along the Gulf of Mexico and paralyzed the fourth-largest U.S. city. (REUTERS/NASA/Handout)



Ike passed over Cuba and Haiti prior to its landfall in Texas. This is a view of the flooded waterflont in Baracoa, eastern Cuba on September 7, 2008. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)



This image from September 8, 2008 was provided by the U.S. Navy. Homes seen in Port De Paix, Haiti remain flooded after four storms in one month have devastated the area and killed more than 800 people. The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) has been diverted from the scheduled Continuing Promise 2008 humanitarian assistance deployment in the western Caribbean to conduct hurricane relief operations in Haiti. (Emmitt Hawks/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)


The surge before the storm swamps Galveston Island, Texas, and a fire destroys homes along the beach as Hurricane Ike approaches Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)



An alligator is seen crossing a road in Sabine Pass, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, as the area recovers from the effects of Hurricane Ike. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Flooding over access road 523 to Surfside beach, caused by Hurricane Ike forming in the Gulf of Mexico, is seen near Surfside Beach, Texas September 12, 2008. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)



Friday, September 12, 2008

Great Armstrong Quote

During a statement about Lance's decision to race again the following statement was captured in response to racing the Tour de' France again:

“I’m obviously gonna win it, I’m Lance Armstrong, for Goodness sakes. Besides, the whole un-retirement thing seems to be working just fine for Brett Favre. I must say, though, if I get offered $20 million to not show up, I’m jumping at that.”

Awesome!

This weeks Top 10

This weeks top 10 songs off of my Ipod / Itunes are...

Top 10 Songs off My Ipod

1. Working in the Coal Mine - Harry Connick Jr
2. Something you Got - Harry Connick Jr.
3. Jambalaya (On The Bayou) - Harry Connick Jr.
4. Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
5. Sway - Dean Martin
6. Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem
7. Kick my A*s - Big & Rich
8. The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
9. Zanzibar - Billy Joel
10. Rigoletto: La donna e mobile - London Symphony Orchestra & Pavarotti

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Interesting Ideas

The page on the site was titled 70 things to do before having children, but the ideas seemed kind of cool none-the-less...

70 Things to do before having Children

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quotes that made me grin...

1. Sarcasm: The body's natural defense against stupidity

2. When life hands you lemons, make grape juice. Then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Parkinson's law

According to Parkinson's Law, work expands to fit the time available for its completion -- If you let it.

If you give yourself too much time, you will take up all the time available. If you give yourself too little time, you will feel stressed and defeated by the task before you even begin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Great Will Smith Speech...

I Love to hear Will Smith Pontificate
clipped from www.bripblap.com
 blog it

Patience is a Virtue that I Lack...

Last week I attended the CISSP boot camp. CISSP is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification sponsored by ISC2. This certification is an intense study. The breadth of knowledge covers 10 distinct domains. The problem that most people have with this exam is that you don’t need to know a lot about any one thing, but you do have to know a little about a lot of things - the comparison is made to a lake 5 miles wide, but only 2 inches deep. So the company I work for sent me to a boot camp last week. It was 5 days of studying and a test on the 6th day. The boot camp was extremely helpful at focusing me on the things that I needed to study, and more importantly, on the things that I didn’t need to study. The downside to this exam is that it isn’t computerized, so I have to wait a couple of weeks to get my result back. Ugh – time can’t move fast enough some times.

Class Picture:




** Update ** I passed !!!! I received the email i was "patiently" waiting for on September 9th.

"Dear Jon Brusco:

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) examination ..."

AWESOME !

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Last Lecture...

On Sept. 18, 2007 Randy Pausch gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon. Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. I want to be a man like this man. His speech is inspirational. I have embedded the You tube video here:


Here are some of the nuggets I pulled from his speech that I want to be sure to remember:

1. We can not change the cards we are dealt - just how we choose to play the hand.

2. Jim Graham
Showed up to coach practice without a football. The players asked "how are we going to practice without a football. The coach responded with "How many people are on a football team" players stated 11 on each side, so 22. How many people touch the football at any given time? - (1). so lets work on what the other 21 people are doing.
3. The Brick walls are there for a reason. Brick walls let us show our dedication. The Brick walls are there to make us prove how badly we want things - The brick walls are there to stop those who don't want it bad enough.

4. Don't bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap.

5. obvious- Like a fish giving a talk about the importance of water.

6. When you do the right thing good stuff has a way of happening.

7. Don't complain; Just work harder.

8. Be good at something: it makes you valuable.

9. Be prepared: "luck" is truly where preparation meets opportunity

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to the Grind

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is the Burgandy and Gold worth that much?

I have been a big Washington Redskins Fan for a long time (going on 23 years or so). When the skins were in the previous stadium (RFK) season tickets were the mythical unicorn. They were left in wills to families, they were difficult at best to get a hold of. Today is much the same, although it is somewhat easier to buy season tickets at FedEx. I have wanted to be a season ticket holder for as long as i can remember. I think it would be awesome to be able to go see the game at the stadium (which I have always liked) - and know the seats you are getting will be the same seats you will have next time. I haven't looked into how much other teams charge for season tickets, but Danny Snyder has our fans paying through the nose. I received an email from the skins this morning about a ticket offer

"A very limited number of great seats recently became available for our pre-season opener against the Buffalo Bills on August 9th at 7 PM. These seats are located in our Club Level and are only $250 for two seats. This offer includes a premium parking pass* and wristbands to our exclusive Tailgate Club**. The retail price of this package is between $700 and $1200 based on seat location."


What's that again? So to purchase 4 tickets (enough for the whole family to go) to a "pre-season" game will run me $500 before food? I don't know how people do it. I don't make a lot of money - but in the same breath i don't make chump change either. I can not comprehend how one would go about spending that kind of money on a weekly basis for a football game.
Some quick math shows me that if I were to go to a full 2009 season (Home games only) I would end up paying

$1500 for the 3 preseason
$15,200 for the remaining 8 home games
for a total of $16,700

That is just insane. I guess i am going to have to depend on "lucking" into tickets again. Hasn't been the best method historically, but it doesn't cost me anywhere that kind of money.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Allowance thoughts...

I’ve been thinking about how we issue allowance in our house. The way it is now is that my daughters do tasks that we ask them to do and we give them an allowance equal to $1 / year they are old. So my 6 year old would make $6 / week and my 10 year old would make $10 / week. The problem with the system is that it is pretty unregulated. The chores that seem pretty regular are for them to make their bed, clean their room, unload the dishwasher, help pick up in the family / toy room, and help set & clear the table.

The problem lies in that some chores, like clean her room, don’t get done every day. Which is ok, but then it’s not motivating for her to do her other chores. I don't think that the chores should be broken down into $x = chore (x). I am at a cross roads because while i think it is good for her to have her own money so that she can learn to be responsible with it, I also think that they should do the chores for the good of the household and not purely for a financial gain. I do not want to hear the question of how much do i get for doing (x) when i ask them to do something.

This little problem has been on the back burner for the last few months. I finally have a solution I’m going to try. I’m going to get a roll of raffle tickets from the craft store and a jar. Then each time she does a chore she will earn a ticket. She can trade the tickets in for money. Maybe a quarter each?

Chore ideas are:

6 Year Old
1. Clean Bedroom
- Make Bed
- Open blinds in the morning
- Clothes in the hamper
- Closet doors shut
2. Unload the dishwasher.
3. Help Set / Clear the dinner table.
4. Help straighten up the Family (TV) Room.
5. Straighten up Toy Room.
6. Take recycling out to the bin
7. Help clean up your bathroom

10 Year Old
1. Clean Bedroom
- Make Bed
- Open blinds in the morning
- Clothes in the hamper
- Closet doors shut
2. Help put dishes away (unload dishwasher)
3. Help Set / Clear the dinner table.
4. Help straighten up the Family (TV) Room.
5. Straighten up Toy Room.
6. vacuum carpets (family room, foyer, toy room) each night
7. Help clean up your bathroom

Monday, August 4, 2008

Updates....

I haven't written much original items in a while. There has been a lot going on over the last few weeks. This summer has seemed to speed along at a pretty good clip. The kids are getting ready to go back to school in a couple of weeks. Its pretty crazy how fast time has gone by.

On the 16th of July we took a family trip to Hershey Park. The 16th was a Wednesday. We tried to go in the middle of the week in an attempt to go with reduced crowds. We met our friends Will & Chirsty and thier kids. The kids always have a good time when they get together. They are almost like extended family for us as we've been friends for a little more than 10 years. We got to Hershey just after 10. The day was really nice. A little on the warm side, but tolerable for the most part. The kids went on thier first rollercoaster (The Trailblazer). Everyone had a great time. We brought swim suits with us so that we could enjoy the water park section as well. We didn't plan well and left the swim suits in the car with the idea of changing later in the day. This was pretty poor planning since the water park is on the complete oposite side of the park from where we parked. Oh well - next time. It is a shame that we only get to see Will & Christy every more. We always have a great time together.

We went to our first baseball game the other night. My companies federal practice had a night out at the ballpark. We went to see teh Washington Nationals play the Cincinatti Reds. The weather cooperated for us, but the seats were in a less than desirable location. We were really high up there. At the end of the day, everyone had a good time.


Oh yeah... The Nats won 10 - 6

I am looking forward to our weekend at Massanutten this weekend. We didn't take a true vacation, so these little trips is how we are trying to handle it. The resort sounds nice, so we'll have to see how things go.

Lost their mind...

Has the U.S. lost it's collective mind. Through one of the data streams that i read on a daily basis - I hit upon 2 items that i found kind of disturbing.

1 - The U.S. Department of Defense approved up to $10.7 billion in arms sales for Iraq over the past week, including a $2.16 billion sale of M1A1 Abrams tanks built by General Dynamics Corp. The proposed tank sale would also include some equipment built by Honeywell International Inc. and General Motors Corp., the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said.

2 - The U.S. Defense Department notified Congress about a possible sale to Israel of $1.9 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp. C-130J-30 transport aircraft and related equipment. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that Israel had asked to buy 9 of the Lockheed cargo planes, plus 6 spare engines built by Britain's Rolls-Royce, 9 missile warning systems, advanced radars, radios and other communications equipment.

Seriously? are we not finding these conflicts in the middle east difficult enough? We feel that it is in our best interest to sell of military hardware to countries whose relations with us are strained?

I just don't understand the law makers

Night Guy vs. Day Guy


“I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, cause I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late. ‘What about getting up after five hours sleep?’, oh that’s Morning Guy’s problem. That’s not my problem, I’m Night Guy. I stay up as late as I want. So you get up in the morning, you’re exhausted, groggy… oooh I hate that Night Guy! See, Night Guy always screws Morning Guy. There’s nothing Morning Guy can do. The only Morning Guy can do is try and oversleep often enough so that Day Guy looses his job and Night Guy has no money to go out anymore.”

- Jerry Seinfeld

Monday, July 28, 2008

Todays Joke - Why do you even give a shit?

At 72 years of age, a man picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, the Doctor said the man was doing ‘fairly well’ for his age.

A little concerned about that comment, the man couldn’t resist asking him, “Do you think I’ll live to be 80?”

The Doctor asked, “Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?”
“Oh no,” the man replied. “I’m not doing drugs, either!”

Then the Doctor asked, “Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?”
“No, my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!”

“Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?”
“No, I don’t,” the man replied.

The Doctor then asked, “Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?”
“No,” the man said proudly.

The Doctor looked at the man. And, after a slight pause, he said, “Then, why do you even give a shit?!”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lessons from Grandma’s Cookie Jar

Budgeting and our household finances have been high on our priority list to try and get under better control. I have been reading a lot of personal financing blogs (Thanks to Google Reader) and stumbled across this one on Frugal Dad




Going over to Grandma’s house and knowing she had just baked some fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies is one of the the highlights of childhood. The tantalizing aroma of sweetness and chocolate wafting through the screened door always dominated my mind as I walked up those back porch steps and I couldn’t think of anything else. Couple those warm and gooey cookies with a glass of icy cold milk and I just knew what heaven was going to be like. Even if they weren’t freshly baked, I knew where the cookie jar was, and I knew she would set me down at the kitchen table and watch me devour as many as I could…as quickly as I could. I always knew that the cookies were there until I (or my little brother) ate them, but when the cookie jar was empty, it was empty. There were no credit advances. The beauty of Grandma’s cookie jar was that not only did it satisfy my sweet-tooth, but it taught this simple and effective approach to managing money: The cookie jar was not a bottomless pit. The outgo could NEVER surpass the income. There was no such thing as a cookie credit card. There was no “cookie debt.” Today, we can use the cookie jar as a method of budgeting. Some people use envelopes, but the principle is the same. What goes in is the only thing that comes out! The amount spent can never exceed the amount deposited. To make this system work, you need two elements:

1. A plan for spending (a budget)
2. A system of self-control

The problem in our families today, in our government, and in too many businesses is that we have lost sight of these basic elements — planning and self-control. We believe we are so sophisticated that the basic principles of budgeting and self-control are no longer necessary or even relevant in our daily lives. Deficit spending, at every level, has eroded the plan because financing is always available to go beyond what we planned to spend. Problems only surface when all sources of credit have dried up and a life-style of cookie consumption has been established that’s far beyond our ability to repay.
Credit allows us to live in the short term, as if the cookie jar were bottomless.

When credit is gone, the only available options are so devastating that many people face personal bankruptcy, severely strained marriages, wrecked retirements, and ruined financial lives. Assets must be liquidated, children removed from private schools, houses and cars must be sold, and life-styles must undergo dramatic and difficult adjustments.

What’s the solution? Remember to follow the basics of Grandma’s cookie jar. Never allow your outgo to exceed your income, and plan your cookie eating so that you can stretch the enjoyment over a longer period.

The world is bent on telling you that you can have everything NOW. It’s your job to resist through proper long range planning and a steady focus on your long term plans for financial independence.

Post from: Frugal Dad

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Occam's razor

Todays Word of the Day for Webster Dictionary. I started to subscribe to this offering as a way to help expand my vocabulary. My problem seems to be retention, but overall i will say that it has worked a little - given the level of effort that i have put into it I would say that it is probably comparable.

Todays Word is Occam's razor \AH-kumz-RAY-zer\
Meaning:
a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities.

Example Sentence
Invoking Occam's razor, Eli concluded that the sill was wet because someone had left the window open during the storm.

Did you know?
William of Occam (also spelled "Ockham") didn't invent the rule associated with his name. Others had espoused the "keep it simple" concept before that 14th-century philosopher and theologian embraced it, but no one wielded the principle (also known as the “law of parsimony”) as relentlessly as he did. He used it to counter what he considered the fuzzy logic of his theological contemporaries, and his applications of it inspired 19th-century Scottish philosopher Sir William Hamilton to link “Occam” with the idea of cutting away extraneous material, giving us the modern name for the principle.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ho Hum

Haven't been in the mood to post much lately. Been in a pretty ho-hum mood. Feeling a bit overwhelmed. I believe the saying goes "when it rains it pours..." I have been fighting that feeling of drowning in debt. A lot of it has to do with the increase in how much things cost now. Seems like everything / everyone is trying to compensate for the rise in fuel costs. So we are at a point now where there are things that we want and not enough money to float them all without financing some of it. So how do you go about stretching the dollar? How do you prioritize the purchases? Ugh... I think I am going to start with things which i don't really need / use much. A yard sale of types. Hopefully that will free up some cash.

More to come...

Friday, June 27, 2008

There is always room for wine...

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first , " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Because Walking Sucks...

Found this and had to share it up... Because Walking Sucks

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Balancing Act...

Trying to achieve a balance between work and play has been my recent failure. I was raised to get my work done, and then go play. I go to work all day long and when I come home there is always something that needs done…yard work, house work, fixing something, etc. Lately my wife has been giving me static about not 'being there'. Her mom has been in town for a about a week and a half and is leaving in less than a week. We haven't done any 'trips' with her. She has been a huge help around the house and has done her usual visit rituals and helped plant flowers, played with the kids, etc. but there hasn't been anything "special".

I don't know how to respond. We have a lot of stresses on our life lately and I have gotten to a point where i don't know how to respond. Our truck doesn't adequately fit everyone. We looked at getting a minivan but, since the economy is in this funk, the dealerships are unwilling to payoff what we owe - and therefore we are not able to afford the van. Gas has hit all-time highs in the area, so making trips out to greater distances costs a pretty penny. The kids have been off for Summer Break and I feel bad that we don't have any 'special' trips for them to look forward to. Last year they spent a month at my mom-in-law's house in Colorado. The year before that we went to Disney for a week. The year before that was a week at the beach (i think) - my memory is kind of fuzzy about those kinds of details. another good reason for this blog.

So the icing on the cake is this Saturday is her 31st birthday and I am at a loss for something to do for her. I had the idea of going to a restaurant that we have always loved called "The Melting Pot". The problem with that plan is that it is a restaurant that has been targeted towards the adult audience. So i am not certain that my brood will be a welcomed sight. -- UGH! -- What to do...

I am working with my company now on figuring out a "new" schedule. There are a couple options we are looking at. The first is a telecommuting schedule. Something that will enable me on a regular basis not to have to come into the office. This schedule would be a 5 day a week schedule, but would enable to save $ on gas and time. The second idea is a Condensed Work Schedule (CWS). This schedule would have me working longer (about 10 hr) days 4 days a week (say Mon - Thur) and then have off the other 3. This schedule is nice because I will not only save $ on gas & time, but that 5th day is family time and not work time.

At the end of the day I am frustrated - Michelle is frustrated - and we aren't communicating effectively right now... :-(

I guess I need to step up my game and make some things happen

Quick Guide to Wine Pairings

It's been a while since i last posted. Things have been hectic in the household since we have been entertaining guests for the last couple of weeks. I was reading a good article the other day on wine pairings and decided to condense it down.

I'll post more about the last week or two later...

A snap guide to matching wines to foods

WHITE WINES


    Chardonnay
    Wine has notes of lemon, pear, pineapple, vanilla, and oak making it engaging with seafood, fish, chicken, and egg dishes.

    Chenin Blanc
    Similar flavors found in Chardonnay, thus the wine works best with appetizers, fish, chicken, & Asian or Indian cuisines.

    Gewürztraminer
    Wine is spicy and it captures the essences of Asian and Indian foods, as well as ham. (Champagne/sparkling wine is, however, the best accompaniment for these foods.)

    Muscat (sweet wine)
    Lots of acid and pear notes allowing foie gras, dessert, and fruit to pair well.

    Pinot Blanc
    Apple and pear tones making it right for fish, chicken, egg dishes, and brunch.

    Pinot Gris
    Hint of spritz and soft sweetness make it right for Asian and Indian foods.

    Riesling
    Apple, peach, citrus, and big acidity allow it to pair well with pate, fish, ham, and foie gras. Also, fine with Asian and Indian foods.

    Sauvignon Blanc
    Big acidity and crispness cut right through fish allowing it to pair well with chicken, turkey, and veal.

    Sémillon (The best of it is sweet wine)
    Apricot, honey, and nectar-like, it needs foie gras, fish courses; it craves Roquefort cheese. This is the grape for Chateau D’Yquem.

    Viognier
    Floral flavors with apricot and tropical fruit, making it excellent for cheese, brunch (egg courses), fruit, & quiche.

RED WINES


    Barbera
    Rich, plum, peppery, blackberry flavors, with high acidity pair it easily with bistro foods, Italian dishes with beef or chicken.

    Cabernet Franc
    Soft grape with plum, spice and big acidity make it perfect for lamb, pork, and chicken courses.

    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Big acid, spice, hefty blackberry, and oak require beef, steak, game, and rich cheese courses.

    Gamay (Beaujolais wine)
    Nothing complicated here and it marries easily with pork, ham, cheese, deli foods, brunch dishes, or any casual supper.

    Grenache (The best come from Rhône, Australia, and California)
    Spice and plum pair it nicely with beef, meat, and duck. (Like Pinot Noir, it’s one of the most versatile red wines, marrying with almost any cuisine.)

    Malbec
    This wine is popular in Argentina, where they love to pair it with steak, red meat game, and beef stew.

    Merlot
    This wine loves lamb; it also goes well with beef, macaroni and pasta dishes.

    Pinot Noir
    A versatile wine that craves salmon; superb with roast chicken, pork, grilled meats, quail, and pheasant. Like Champagne, it goes well with almost all cuisines.

    Sangiovese
    One of Italy’s finest grapes. Big acidity and cherry nuances pair nicely with veal, poultry, beef; it craves Parmesan cheese.

    Syrah (also called Shiraz)
    Peppery, spicy, blackberry, and oak make it forward enough to marry well with game, beef, pork, and cheese.

    Tempranillo
    Cherry, soft spice, with good acidity allow it to cut through game, duck, and steak.

    Zinfandel
    Spicy, with cherry and blackberry and modest acidity allow it to pair easily with beef, veal, pork, chicken, ragout, and cheese.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As if you had to ask...

Just got notice of a company all-hands event that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I have grown to classify them as corporate mandatory fun times... heh... Anyways, one of the questions in the registration was this:

3) Your favorite Italian food or beverage

Pasta
Pizza
Gelato
Cannoli
Tiramisu
Wine
Cappuccino
Other (please specify)

Now it only allowed me to select one item, which I find unfortunate that they did not have an all of the above option...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wines to log and try out....

Been reading some wine reviews and have a couple that I really want to try.



2006 Treana White Meritage

California White Meritage that is supposed to be a great wine both with and without food. It is supposed to be a nice summer wine. Not too heavy / dry like a red typically is and not too sugary sweet like a desert wine.








2006 Martinetti Gavi Di Gavi
Italian Gavi wine that is along the same lines of the Meritage. This wine is suppose to be a nice refreshing wine. A great amount of fruit flavor but nothing overwhelming.


It is tough to review something before I have actually tasted it.

This week my parents and mother-in-law are coming into town. For the next couple weeks my parents will be in town and my mother-in-law will be in town for a week or so longer. This leaves the opportunity open for some wine consumption. Whenever my dad comes into town it makes for a great opportunity to taste some of the wines that i have been collecting. I think the vino will help ease tensions between everyone being in the house at the same time.

I'll have to look around and see where I can buy these wines from - I don't feel like I should have to pay for shipping if I don't have to.

Monday, June 9, 2008

All I need to know...

Listening to an interview with actor Will Smith and he made an interesting point. He said that he is big into studying different things - broadening his knowledge. He stated that "There have been so many people who have lived and died before you that you will never have a new problem. You will NEVER have a new problem. Somewhere somebody wrote the answer down in a book. he tells his kids "Right now i'm getting on your nerves really bad - There's a book out there that tells you how to deal with me." The idea that everything you need to know has been written down and the beauty of the internet now is that you can get through to the information so much more quickly.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

IMPACT DAY

The company I work for has an annual day called IMPACT day. This is a day that the company takes to give back to the community. They give all 100,000+ employee's a paid day of work and deploy them into the community to give back. Last year I worked out at Fort Belvoir with the USO. There we put together care packages for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a great opportunity. This year far surpassed the opportunity I had last year.

This year I volunteered at the Veterans Administration (VA) medical center. The project I worked on while I was there today was taking audio history of WWII and Korean War veterans. The project is actually sponsored through the Library of Congress. These audio recordings will be cataloged and maintained as historical reviews of this very special generation. I met 2 very interesting people today. The first served in WWII. He was born in 1924 and joined the service at 18. He enlisted in the Army's Air Corp and flew a P-47. He had some interesting stories to tell. We talked for about an hour. His failing memory and my lack of memory about WWII dates & events made the discussion difficult.

The other vet that I interviewed today was born in 1925 and served in both the Navy and Army during the Korean War. This vet served as part of a armored division along the 38th Parallel. Even though we talked for about 2 hours we barely scratched the surface on the memories and stories that he had to share.

I am hoping to go back out there again soon. I was invited back by the hospital to talk with the vets anytime. I think it will be interesting to read up on some of the history from these two wars and to also hear first hand from the troops that were there about living through it. I find it pretty cool that my name will be included in a document that will be preserved as part of American History.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Alternative Commuting options

There have been some interesting articles that I have been reading lately about alternative commuting options. There are the usual telecommuting and Carpooling suggestions, but there has been a lot of talk about cycling into work. This has been centrally based in a city setting where a commute is between 10 - 15 miles round trip. That distance can sound like a lot, but when you actually make the ride it isn't too bad. An interesting statistic that was reported through CNN today was that "The Department of Transportation said Monday it had seen the sharpest monthly drop in driving since it began keeping records. In March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March of 2007." This is due largely in part to the $4 / gallon gas prices. A lot of commuters have been opting for the bicycle. I see this a lot near my office in Arlington and especially in downtown Washington, D.C. My round trip commute right now is about 140 miles / day. Assuming i would even be able to ride 140 miles / day, my average speed has been about 12 mph. That would give me an average commuting time of 11.7 hours per day of commuting... heh... not likely... I am not anticipating on moving right now (especially with the real estate market the way it is), but if we do move, I would like to have that kind of option to take an alternative to driving in every day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Updates...

This whole "Mr. Mom" thing has been tough. I never really realized how much work it is to keep this house up and moving. Michelle has been told by the docs that she could take up to 6 months to come back from everything. I can see that the bed rest hasn't been fun, but all of the chores that it takes to keep this house up has been overwhelming as well. Things seem to work okay when there are 2 of us. I feel like i always have twice as many things to do as i have time to do them in. The house has suffered for it - hopefully i can pull it together and get some cleaning done soon.

My youngest Daughter has her Kindergarten graduation tomorrow. It is Hard to believe that this school year is just about over. She has made a lot of changes during this year. She's learned to read. She was the top reader in her class and completed all of the reading levels. She reads all the time. I am glad that she is excited about reading. That is something that I never had. I can read, but I read slow and it makes reading long documents pretty arduous. If she can keep up the reading, it will be great for her in the future.

The baby is doing really well. We had our first appointment since he was born. He is in the 95th percentile for length and 90th for weight. The doctor said that everything looks good and he is a healthy baby. Strange to say, but it was a great relief to hear that everything is looking good.

Well i will sign off for now. Here's to looking forward to a day where i can play a round of golf or go for a ride on the road bike. busy, busy, busy....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

4 days old...

Here are some of the pics we have of our boy so far (these were my favorites)

dreaming of going punk ...

Imitating his favorite monster... ROAR !!!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Proud Papa

Just wanted to post a couple pictures. We all made it home today. Things have been pretty stressful / hectic since our boy has come into this world. I think that life will be better now that we are home and we can get back into rhythm. There has been so much going on and I think that we all just need to spend some time as a family.

I am so very proud of Michelle and the girls. The girls have dealt with a lot. Our lives have been more interesting due to the bed rest, and they handled it very well.

Michelle has done well with taking care of herself and "baking" our boy. He is a perfect looking baby. I can not put into words how proud I am of her. I love her very much. Thank you for creating this perfect baby with me.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

He's Here!

After 9 long months of waiting, our son has finally arrived. L.A.B. (name withheld to protect the innocent) came into the world this morning at 2:07 am. He weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long. He is the most perfect little boy. I am looking forward to seeing him grow up. I know the experiences will be different having a boy vs. the 2 girls we have now - but there in lies the excitement. I can not wait to teach him all the things a boy should know. I am looking forward to showing him the things that my dad showed me. I want him to grow up and have the same advantages that I had growing up. I promise that i will try to be a great dad to him - as I have tried to be to his sisters. Michelle and I will post pictures once we get the chance to upload them off the camera.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Got Milk?

A real Tragedy....

14 tons of spilled Oreo cookies snarl Illinois traffic.

MORRIS, Ill. (AP) — Police say a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos has overturned, spilling the cookies still in their plastic sleeves into the median and roadway.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Brian Mahoney says the truck's driver was traveling from Chicago to Morris on Interstate 80 around 4 a.m. Monday when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into the median.

"The boxes came out of the trailer and boxes were ripped open," he said.

The crash about 50 miles southwest of Chicago remains under investigation.

Mahoney says no charges have been filed but both lanes of traffic remain closed while authorities remove the cookies.


I love oreo's, but one has to wonder exactly how many Oreo's do you need to equal 14 tons?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rider number 210

Today was a great day for a ride. Today was the MS Bike Ride. The ride had 3 options; a 100-mile, 60-mile, and 30-mile route. I took the easy route for my first ride and chose the 30-mile option. The weather was the best we have had in weeks. The temperature was just right, the sun was shining, and the day just felt right. I had to be at Franklin Park in Purcellville, VA at 7am to pick up my ride packet and sign in. That made for an early morning since it takes about 40 minutes or so to get there from the house. After signing in I went back to the car to finish getting ready. I dressed pretty warm when I left the house because it was pretty chilly before the sun came up. By the time I had checked in, you could tell that it was going to be a great day so I stripped off some of the layers and decided that I would go in just the Deloitte uniform.


The 30 milers left the starting line last. We left right at 9am. (Finally on the road). All of the training rides paid off. The hills on this ride, while brutal, were manageable since I trained. I ended up riding with one other Deloitte rider, Dick Clark, for a majority of the day. The rest stops were nice. There were 2 on the 30 mile route. The second one was sponsored by FEDEX. They did a nice job with having a lot of food available and a lot of volunteers cheering the riders on. The final 17 miles of the ride were nice. They were smaller / flatter rolling hills.

I was able to finish the ride in 2 hours. My best time for that distance.

My final fund raising tally is $700. That is not bad, but still $300 shy from my desired goal.

Deloitte Cycling had 33 riders for the bike ride, all in all there were 1000 riders (wow) at the event. The Team tally as of 5/19/08 is $28,509.34 (Awesome!)

What a great day.