Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spending the day with my oldest daughter

Sunday was a very special day for me as a dad. I got the rare privilege of spending the day with my oldest daughter, just the two of us, enjoying the Minnesota Twins guarantee that the Chicago White Sox would have to prove on the field that they deserved to be Central Division Champs.

We were joined by my good friend BiggTree and his oldest son. We'd been hoping to get together to watch a game like this all summer. Nothing like waiting until the last minute...right?

The game went great. On the way to the game, my daughter asked me about yelling. Her little sister has been getting into a log of trouble for screaming lately. This is one of those awkward rules where you are really trying to teach the idea of appropriate behavior. While it is in appropriate to run into Mom & Dad's room at 6 AM on  Saturday screaming at the top of your lungs, when the Twins are winning and you are at the game and there are runners in scoring position, Daddy has no problem with you yelling. In fact, I told her, "Dad is really hoping that on the ride home my throat hurts from yelling."

"OK. So I can yell then?" she asks.

"I wouldn't want it any other way honey."

One of my goals for this game, other then a Twins victory at the expense of my vocal cords was to start teach my daughter how to score a baseball game.

We had arrived at the game a tad bit later then I had hoped. Dad, in his excitement had only checked the date number on the tickets. In my haste I had assumed that the two back tickets in our box would be for the same game. Silly me. Someone had shuffled the one side. I grabbed at ticket for Sunday September 28 and on for June 28th. Son of Julius Goat.

No matter, they had me on file and issued a new ticket, we just had fair less time to set up our scorecards then I'd like.

My little girl and I scored the first 3 innings. I figured this wasn't too bad. We had fun doing it, but the excitement of the game took over...that and a need for ice cream served in a mini-helmet. My goodness is that good.  Weird huh?

My beloved Twins finished the season with a shutout of the Kansas City Royals. A most exciting game, but I truly believe that KC has mastered the art of Advanced Losing. They performed mistakes you don't normally see at this level of baseball. One out, man on second, routine fly ball. My poor Twins were besides themselves. The runner at second had run home. With a quick tag of second base the inning was over. My little league coach would have killed anyone doing something that stupid. No, seriously...that's a little league mistake.

We share the day together. We laughed, we cheered, we hi-5ed. We even jumped up and down and in the end we walked out. Huge smiles on our face. We even got to see someone propose on the Kiss Cam! Man...now there is a guy that knows how to seize a moment. (I'm not kidding, during the kiss cam, a guy whipped out the box when he and his girl were in the heart...Nice thinking dude! Inspiring to think he realized that at that moment, he needed to call an audible and just get it done. Bravo!)

My day with my daughter wasn't quite done. We still had a long drive home. Mom asked to stop for dinner which sounded like a great idea. My wife is a wonderful person, I love her dearly, she just doesn't like to mix up her fast food. She's a die hard McD's fan. I'm a man that likes to do something different. I took my daughter to Burger King for her first time. When we got home, OhPrincess asked OhCountess when we could go to Burger King as a family, seems there burgers are different the McD's. I just smiled as OhCountess rolled her eyes. Yep, Dad pulled an end around.

I capped off my day tucking in my most precious girls. OhPrincess2 wanted to know when she would get to go to a baseball game with Dad. She needs to wait until next year. I just think she's too little this year for Dad to take her to the stadium by myself. She's too little to go to the bathroom by herself, but I don't think I could ever bring her to the men's room. OhPrincess gave me the biggest hug ever and thanked me. I almost cried.

Honey, no need to thank me. I need to thank you. What a perfect day.

PS. Please keep in mind that tonight, the Twins will be playing the White Sox in a one game playoff. This is a big game. If you aren't hospitalized or with someone that is hospitalized or in urgent need of serious medical attention - I don't care. You can call me tomorrow. Seriously folks, it's that important. I don't want your credit card, your survey, or hear about your plantars wart. Anyone trying to interupt will be shot on sight. May the best team from Minnesota win :-P

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stand up & shout!

Joe Nathan enters the game bottom of 9. Twins lead 6-0.

Can you feel the excitement?

Game on!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something to think about - Attitude

I'm really sorry I haven't had much time at all to post. My photoblog has been very busy lately. I've been posting my favorite pictures from my first paid photography gig. The weight loss plan is moving forward nicely. I've been working out regularly and making MUCH better choices of food. The blog is up, but no one from my family is updating it but me. I need to get a regular update schedule for it.

In case you aren't paying attention...the Minnesota Twins are making a run for it. Last night's game ROCKED! To be in the post season will probably be another kick to the schedule that I'd gladly take...sorry Twins before blogging...unless there is a lot of Twins updates :-)

I've had a lot of our lives unchronicled here. So many things to share and so little time to share them. Even today, I'm sharing something I didn't write, but was quite moved by it.

Yesterday, in our weekly team meeting, our team lead wanted to share something with us. He reads it every year to the girls swim team he coaches. I'm going to cross post this to most of my other blogs, you were warned. Source unknown.


Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood." Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.’Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
As tough as it is, I choose to have a good day today. What do you choose for today?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Boy Scout

A boy scout contacted the city and was given this project. More later
but wow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Greatest Gift

[Steps on soapbox]
When I think about whats involved in raising a child, I wonder how many parents have forgotten the goal of parenting. It's not to provide the greats toys or the most elaborate memories. Raising a child isn't about finding a way to always be their best friend. The whole purpose for raising a child is to teach the child how to live on their own.

I know, I know. That's shocking. How can I think of such a terrible thing? It's true. I hope and pray every day that my children grow up to be successful INDEPENDENT woman.

My wife and I strive everyday to teach our children personal resposibility and self reliance. Why? Because when they are adults, those are the two skills they will need most.

Too many parents these days try extremely hard to be their kids best friend. I watched Mom pick up her son at our daughters daycare. The daycare provider explained how the child had spent most of the day in time-out and their behavior was completely unacceptable. How did this mother handle the situation? She bent down to her son's height, looked him in the eye and said, "Oh dear, you've had a bad day? Why don't we go out for ice cream after supper and see if we can cheer you up." WTF?

I looked at the daycare provider and gave her one of those, "OMG - did you see that?" smiles. We talked about this after the Mom had left. We wondered if we should have said something. There may even be people reading this right now that are thinking, why is that so bad?

What lesson did the mother give to the child? "You were very naughty today. It's because something is making you sad. It's not your fault. Let's go celebrate."

In our home, if we get a bad report from a daycare provider, the punishment continues at home. We respect the people that spend time with our kids. Our kids need to learn to respect them. As we say here, "Who's the boss?"

These are big lessons for a child to learn. Children are way smarter then most people give them credit for. They learn these lessons very well. Parents the let a 4 year old walk all over them are doomed when that child is a teenager.

In front of our kids, we try very hard to be good examples. We try to never blame others for our misfortune. We accept our decisions, even the bad ones and we take their consequences. I'm quite sure I'm not perfect in this message, but I try extremely hard to live up to it.

I'm hoping to talk more about the subject of personal responsibility. It's a lesson we all need to understand. This concept shapes my politcal views. I worry about our nation and our societies desire to have the goverment protect us from ourselves.

Isn't this the best gift we can give our kids? To believe in themselves, to take care of themselves and to survive on their own.

[steps off soapbox]

Real hotel living!

It's a room inside a room!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Apple's Genius Playlist

I'm an enormous music fan. I like almost everything BUT country. I've never made that a secret.

At my job, I listen to my MP3 collection all day. This has precipitated the need to really ramp up the volume of the library. Over the years, I've burned every CD I own. Ask OhCountess, there are boxes and boxes of CD's in our basement. In my younger days, let's call it pre-domestication, if I had money, I bought music.

Anywho, let's move forward to today. iTunes has been my application of choice for delivering my tunes to my ears. It's interface was easy and clean. It seemed to handle a large library fine and the ease at which I can buy a song I'm missing is second to none. Damn you Apple. 

The latest version of the software, 8.0 was released earlier this week. Most of the last few upgrades have been eye candy only. Nothing truly groundbreaking...I'm not into movie rentals or TV shows...but this release finally had something for the large library music junkies like me. The Genius Playlist.

Not sure how they do it, but they scan your and send it to a cloud (long techie idea..another post) that chews the playlist and compares it and your ratings to millions of other users. Now, when I select a song and hit the Genius Playlist button...wham! A playlist is built around that song.

I was pretty apprehensive at first. I've seen systems like this before and frankly, they really sucked.  Apple's version how ever seems to have some legs. I've been using this feature for about 3 days and it's is rare that I skip a song. I've even rediscovered old tracks buried within the 12,000 songs in my library. I've been starting my day by selecting a song that best fits the mood I'm in or the mood I'd like to be in, selecting it in the library and hitting the Genius button.  BOOM! A playlist.  Seriously sweet!

What is your favorite music app? Do you use iTunes? Why do people call me unAmerican for loathing country music?

This geek labels this upgrade...rockin'!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I remember...

7 years ago today. Who can forget? The tragedy that was September 11, 2001 was at a magnitude I had never encountered.

I'm at work going about my normal routine. At the the time, I listened to James & Cory on KROC FM in the mornings. I usually half listened to their typical morning banter. Let's be honest, this isn't my first choice of audible morning stimulation, but hey, I live in radio hell. Not like we have a lot of choices.

I'm putzing along doing my thing when I hear out of the corner of my ear something truly bizarre. A plane has collided with the World Trade Center in New York City. WTF?

I am a professional geek, so I turned to the Internet to figure out what these to knuckleheads are talking about. MSNBC at the time was doing live video feeds of their broadcast. We tuned it in and information was really pretty sketchy right away. I'm sure people in NYC were much more aware of what was going on, but here in the Midwest, we could just sit by and watch.

The initial reports were of an airplane, but know one seemed to know how big it was. By the looks of the pictures, it had to have been bigger then a little Censa...Christ, look at the whole and the smoke.

My co-worker, Jake, a private pilot himself had joined me and we were watching this on my monitor. At the time, I had HUGE monitor. 24" CRT at the time was ginormous. We were both just riveted by this.

While the news people tried to sort this out, you can see a second plane hit the other tower in the background. Jesus. This isn't an accident. I mean, my God. One plane hitting the tower is an accident and weird, two planes. (excuse my french here) Fuck it! We are under attack.

I remember this as the day we just sat there, watching in horror. We were half a country away. You felt helpless, shocked, angry.

I remember 9/11. Never forget.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ode to Weasel Momma

Today, over at World of Weasels, WeaselMomma posted "Stupid Thoughts." Anyone that knows me will probably use the term "sarcastic" at least once to describe me. It is generally assumed that I am being sarcastic, which has it's drawbacks when you are actually being serious.

Stupid Thoughts was a series of questions that just BEGGED for answers. I'm a sucker for these open question posts and have done this on several blogs when I've spotted them. I hate to see a question go unanswered...just seems wrong to me :-)

WeaselMomma suggested that I share with the millions um thousands crap dozens all of you the responses and questions I did. I'd love to hear how you answer these questions, or better yet...critique my answers. I think I hit some of them out of the park...or at least made sure they didn't go unanswered.

1. How come Puerto Rico won't vote in favor or statehood, but California won't secceed (no offense to Mike or BusyDad)?
Puerto Rico is on to something
2. Why does my entering a checkout line prompt the person in front of me to write a check?
Start wearing aluminum foil helmets. Protects from death rays, eavesdropping governments and causes people to "get it done"
3. If Ella Fitzgerald married Alan Funt, she would have been Ella Funt(sound it out people).
4. Why does buckling a car seat immediately give small children the urge to use the bathroom?
Why is it when you go to movie, ceremony, church thing that has a hard start and you get there early, no one has to go but as soon as the event starts, there is a tug...
5. Why is it that every time I find a really great style of jeans, the manufacturer discontinues them?
The universe is out to get you. Just learn to deal with it.
6. Why is it that you start feeling better just a soon as you make an appointment to see the doctor?
Start wearing an aluminum foil helmet. Trust me.
7. Why does the weather always seem to turn lousy every time I have a day of errand running to do?
See answer to 5.
8. Why do we as a country sink so much more money into Alzheimer's research that we do SIDS research?
Old people vote in huge numbers. Babies and their parents do not.
9. Why does advertising for cat food served in fine crystal work? They are cats. They will dig for rotten fish in the garbage. They don't have extremely discerning pallets.
Why do people spend money on fancy beds for their cats? Dress them to look like little people? Feed them? I don't like cats. Remind me of rats.
10. How come the greater a man's IQ, the less likely he is to be able to dress himself?
Futility of vanity. I dress poorly. Must mean I'm smart ;-)
11. Why can young boys memorize every pokemon and their abilities/stats, but not remember anything they did in school?
Because they were playing with the Pokeman thing all day. Geez.
12. Why does it always rain after I water the grass? Or wash the car?
Again, see answer 5.
13. Last but not least, why are you still reading this lame wad list? You know you have better things to do with your time. That said I love all my readers for sticking it through to the bottom, especially with posts like this. I wish you all a beer.
I like beer. Saturday night was a little rough, but I got done what I needed to. The Mrs wanted me to get rid of all the stray beer. Dumping it out was suggested. The one thing I remember from college? Dumping out beer is alcohol abuse. Nuff said

Those are my answers. Like I said, I love answering questions. Think you can stump me? You think this smart ass can't come up with a funny answer to one of life's greatest mysteries...go ahead...try me. Who knows. You might just be able to ask me a question whose answer is not 42...but I doubt it ;-)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Time to open the cask...

12 years ago today. I made the best decision of my life. From the moment I set my eyes on you, I knew that only good thing could happen. You took my breath away and showed me the path to true happiness.

Today is the 12th anniversary of the day I said "I do".

Before we met, I was just a boy. I knew nothing of purpose in my life. I was having fun, but I knew there was something missing. I could feel a big hole. I didn't know what was missing.

We dated for a long time, too long I know. You couldn't wait any longer for that ring, but I wouldn't ask the question until all my ducks were in a row. You waited through holidays and gatherings, but I kept telling you that I would ask you in my own way. I had a plan.

When the plan was all set, I asked you to marry me. At first you were shocked, I had waited so long, but you finally answered "Yes!"

The entire time we planned for the wedding, you kept asking what I wanted. I'm a simple guy. All I wanted was you. I didn't care what it looked like, or how much it cost. All I wanted from our wedding was to be husband and wife.

12 years ago today. We completed our plan. 12 years ago today, you made me a man. I love you.

Happy Anniversary.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

She did it! What happened to my baby girl?

Yesterday was a really big day in our house. OhPrincess2 went off to kindergarten.

It's a day I knew would get here, but somehow, you never seem prepared for when it does. I couldn't help it, I got pretty misty and I wasn't even there.

My new job offers some really amazing opportunities. The one big draw back is: I just can't get home when I need to. OhCountess took care of it, but OhPrincess2 got plenty of hugs from me before I left for work. OhCountess did fire up the camera and got some great shots of the big event.

I can't believe that it's been 5 years, but look at her now. She was really excited to get this show on the road and I can't believe what a big girl she is.

She was really excited about riding the bus. Her new bus driver was all set for the kids. When he picked her up, he greeted her by name and introduced himself. All I could think of was, "Wow!" now that's cool. It really made her feel special.

If you look closely, you can see her looking out the window. My little girl.

When she got back from school, she was beaming from ear to ear. She had had a really fun day. In fact, when she was walking down the sidewalk towards the house, she couldn't wait to get her homework out of her back pack.

Hi Mom! I'm home!

By 5 o'clock, it was all over. She was pooped.

I'm so proud of my little girl. Yesterday she became a big kid and had fun doing it.

Stay tuned...our adventures just keep coming!

Monday, September 01, 2008

The changes are, um, changing!

Let's step into the weighback machine and set the dial to, um, August 19th. I admitted to you that I have a weight problem and was actively working to make a change. Well things are a changing and it would appear for the better!

This past holiday weekend, my family gathered at my parent's camper for a day of swimming and togetherness. It's nice to see my brother and his family. They live about a 1 hour drive north of us and it just doesn't seem like we have the time to get together like we should. Well...that's another post.

In talking to my sister-in-law, she mentioned to me how excited she was to hear I was trying to lose some weight. She thought it would really help her to stay motivated if we would work together to motivate each other. I couldn't have agreed more. So we decided to start a blog about this adventure. Seeing as how I have 3 blogs (here, here and you are already here) already, I volunteered to set it up.

Here's a cross post to give you the flavor of the blog...

Let's kick things off with what my plan is and what's happened so far.

My plan is to change my lifestyle gradually. From what I've read, drastic changes to my lifestyle will only end with me giving up. It's unrealistic to think I can become a fitness freak and eat super healthy over night and stick to it. So...here's the items that I'm changing...
  • Drinking less soda. I was drinking diet pop already, but it was pretty much the sum of consumption. I brought a glass to work to for water. It's free and pretty low cal.
  • Think about what I eat in the cafeteria. I used to just order everything that looked good. No more. I don't need to be full in the afternoons so a light lunch will do.
  • Take the stairs more. I know MumblingSages doesn't see it everyday, but I actually do hit the stairs quite frequently now. The elevator still looks appealing in the morning. That may never change.
  • Use the power of the Wii for good not evil. Well...more good and less evil. I'm not giving up on video games, I'm just shifting my diet to a bit more of the Wii Fit variety. So far this game is really fun and best of all it's tracking my progress for me. In a weird way this is working. I like challenges and this one is documented so each night I hope to show a decline.
I figure just starting like this will be gradual enough to keep me interested. The Wii thing has had an effect on me that isn't just from the exercise it provides. It's the feedback that things are working that really helps. I started using it 2 weeks ago and already I've lost 3.2 pounds. I know, I need to lose a lot more, but I like to celebrate progress. It reinforces to me that things are changing for the better.

My goal is to lose about 3 pounds every two weeks. I realize that I'll have weeks where I don't quite make goal but then there will be times when I exceed goal. If my math skills are correct, I'll reach my target in 40 weeks. With 2 weeks down, I only have 38 weeks to go!

We can do this family!!!!