Friday, December 26, 2008

A New Tradition




Yesterday was Christmas. Usually we spend it with my family. We get up in the morning, open presents then do this mad dash to get ready and get to the Christmas celebration. It usually involves travelling crowded highways and trying to make it to places at appointed times which translates into stressful events. Well yesterday I told my family that I was taking the Christmas holiday at home with my family. They were a little puzzled. Why would I do that? Christmas is a time to be with family! I explained that I wanted to stay home and enjoy my family and just relax with them on Christmas. I wanted to step back from the hustle and bustles of having to be here and be obliged to visit because its Christmas.
It was a great decision. We had the most stress free and relaxing holiday we have ever had. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves right through to the evening. They play with their gifts, enjoyed a Christmas dinner served on fine china and just a relaxing special time together. We didn't have to be anywhere, or go anywhere, or have to do this or that....it was our time. It was special and it was great. It is a new tradition.

Making Good Progress




We are finally making progress on the building project. The December of 2008 will go down as the wettest in the last decade. It made building next to impossible. There wasn't clear weather for more than a day and a half the whole moth. The the snows began to fly. What a mess. But some how they manage to get the family room framed adn today they are roofing. Monday I am told that the garage and mudroom are to be started. We are making good progress and should be framed and weather tight at least by the end of January I hope.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Building Blocks to Moving Forward





The weather cooperated for one day and a crew of 15 masons arrived at the scened and built the foundation in one day! It was something to see. My yard looks like a bomb went off in it, but we are getting closer to getting the framing done. Can it be that the addition and garage will be buttoned up by Christmas? Now that would be an awesome gift from Santa!

Friday, November 14, 2008

What We Have Here is Just a Hole in The Ground!



Well it's been two weeks and all we have is a demolished house and two very deep holes in the ground. We have unearthed an abandoned septic tank and had to have that removed, (a change order of course!) and we have discovered some things in the plans that may need to be added, such as a concrete pad in front of the mud room door way which was an option for later. It makes sense to do it now while the mason is pouring concrete. Also the entrance would be in a flower bed as it stands right now which would look really silly. So as usual, the surprises always come and the money always leaves us. Gotta love construction.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Demolition Begins!





It has finally begun. Friday permits were issued and today, Monday November 3rd 2008 demolition of the Carport has begun. What has begun in our heads way back in 1991 has finally taken shape. It has taken a long time to get off the ground. Countless hours of talking, planning and pushing through variance meetings and building offices. Passing by contractors and bankers, but finally is under way. It is supposed to take about 3 to 4 months to finish. We shall see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apple Picking at Maskers Farm






We went Apple picking at Maskers Farm on Sunday. It was a cool fall day. The wind was blowing, the leaves were turning a beautiful red and golden color and...there were hardly any apples left in the orchard! Hard to believe, but true! The place was virtually picked clean. It was the middle of October and the orchard was practically bare. We had invited my wife's brother and sister and their families up to this orchard that was about an hour's ride away and there seemed to be no fruit to be found. My wife was starting to sweat even though the temperature was cool. After awhile we started to find the apples though. It became a hunt, One had to use all of their senses to find the elusive fall fruit. The apples were tucked high in the trees and camouflaged in the leaves but, they were there. We ended up having a great time. My brother in law climbed trees and knocked apples down with a stick. The kids thought that was so funny. I never thought he could scamper up a tree, but he did it. It was a fantastic day and everyone want to go again next year. Go figure.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taking a Time Out for Catarina



I am taking a time out on the construction description, (of which there is not alot) to give a little notice on some family news. The christening of Catarina! My five month old niece was christened today. She is such a good baby. She didn't even let out a peep. She hardly ever cries. It was a lovely christening and father Joe did a wonderful job. He made everyone feel that they were a part of it and made them remember their baptisms. It was special. My brother in law and sister in law did a nice party afterwards that everyone enjoyed. It was a nice day.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Architect Finally Done?


I spoke with the architect and it seems that he might have finally completed all of the revisions this town has asked him to complete. I think he is supposed to drop the plans of at my house tonight and the builder is going to take them to the town tomorrow and maybe finally get the permits for the job. One could only hope. Of course, Monday is a holiday so I'm sure that will delay the issuance of the permits by weeks. My sister who started this process after me is already starting her construction. Its always the same story with my jobs. I'm last.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rules and Regulations Part 14


The Township of Washington thwarts its citizens at every turn when they try to improve their residences. The latest saga is our submitted codes are not up to date and our smoke alarms don't show on the plans. It seems that the town eagerly adopt any changes to the codes as the State changes them so that they may charge additional fees and impose prohibitive regualtions upon its people. As far as the smoke alarms are concerned, they were installed years ago under code required by the town. You would think that they would have retained that info and referenced it. But i guess not. It's for the homeowner to provide again. A database would be a good idea for this town. So needless to say our construction job has been delayed another 15 to 20 days. We probably wont be breaking ground now until mid to end of October. It's getting mighty close to when the snow flys!

Monday, September 22, 2008

There is Nothing New Under This Sun


Interestingly enough there is no construction news to report. We had a rainy weekend with hurricane Ike and I took the opportunity to move all the furniture out of the current family room and into the basement in preparation of it's demise, and yet there has been no demolition. Sadly we wait with the house one quarter empty and the basement stuffed with the TV and several couches and chairs. We huddle together there and watch television like a family awaiting a nuclear strike. One good thing is if we are attacked and a nuclear bomb is dropped or if a tornado hits while we are watching TV, we most likely will survive down in our bunker! So the wait continues. Destruction before construction. I will keep you informed.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Too Long Between Posts


Yes my friends, its been way too long between my informative posts. I missed the whole dang month of August! Not that I did so much, but I was pretty busy at work and at home. We took a short vacation to Ocean City Maryland and enjoyed that very much. It was our first time there and we would want to go back. Nice beach and and a clean beach town with fun things to do for the kids. Of course the kids have been driving us crazy, so the wife and I have resolved that we have to do more for ourselves and less for those little buggers. Tomorrow school begins for them and they are each in a different school. I feel sorry for the little one as she is now on her own in the elementary school. But lately she has exhibited a nastiness that either says she is either nervous about it, or she is just turning plain old mean. I don't know which. It seems that I'm raising a bunch of crazy kids. Makes me and the wife really wonder and feel desperate and exasperated sometimes. Anyway, to make matter worse, I'm about to begin CONSTRUCTION on the house. I figure this will be a good place to chronicle the experience. We signed the contract last night and mailed the down payment. I will keep you informed on the progress.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The 75th Anniversary Party of PLI!




The organization I work for just celebrated their 75th Anniversary. They have been doing business since 1933! Imagine that! When our founder started the business, he saw that once lawyers left law school, there was no formal training available to them to keep them abreast of changes in the law. He started a non-profit institution to address the continuing education needs of lawyers and in that he started an industry. Today there are hundreds of organizations that offer CLE and the competition in the field is fierce. We have to compete for every CLE dollar out there. We compete with local bars and huge national organizations like West. Here's hoping we have success for the next 75 years! Go PLI!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Stressful, Busy Time Off of Work



See this dog? This dog stayed at my house over the weekend. It was a seeing eye pup that needed watching over the weekend. My wife agreed to pet sit. This cute pup was a terror! She was a barker, a biter and had a bad attitude. That's how I spent most of my weekend. Keeping this cute pup in line. It nipped me good a couple of times and got my little girl a good one on the back of her leg. It chased my 13 year old around (which was actually funny to see) and generally terrorized the kids. And they still want a dog. Go figure!

I also advertised my 1998 Honda Accord. (You know. The one that was in the crash) I told everyone who came to see it that it was in a crash, but that it wasn't that bad and it was fixed. Nobody believed me. They all thought I was trying to unload a bad car on them. They all thought I was lying to them. The guy who finally bought it actually asked me if I told him the truth about the accident. Why would I tell him anything if I was trying to lie? The people who called me about the car and those who came out to see it were ALL weird. Each and everyone of them. It was like they were out of a freak show or a circus. Well, that was stressful too, but I sold it. For less than I wanted to, but I sold it. Never again will I do something like that. I never thought I'd say this but I'd rather deal with a car dealer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Off the Rack Clothes

Went to Macy's last night because the wife said my pants were too big and I needed new ones. I guess it's a good thing that I had to buy new clothes because they were too big. Usually its because they get too tight. Well I normally hate clothes shopping because I have limited availability due to the fact that I have to find larger sizes to fit me. This time it was easier though. Since I fit into normal sized clothes, there was more variety and I got to choose sale items. My wife gave me a pair of Haagar slacks to try on and I snapped at her that I don't wear those pants because they have elastic in the waist band. Homer Simpson wears those pants! I found a couple of pairs of pants two shirts and a belt and it wasn't all that much. I went down a size in my shirt too. I wear a Large now instead of an X-L. It feels good to go into a store and buy clothes off of a rack without rifling through them to find the big ones.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Car Crash

Last weekend I got into a car crash. I was driving in my 1998 Honda Accord with my wife in the front passenger seat and two of my children Jack and Diana in the back seat. We were on our way to relieve a friend who had been babysitting my sister-in-law's newborn all day. We had picked up some Chinese and some KFC for her and the kids and we were planning to have a nice relaxing evening watching little Catarina. The kids were cute because we rarely order out and they were excited to help out babysitting. My oldest daughter was out at a birthday party for one of her friends, so this was their chance to step up and be the big helpers.
We were going along between 35 to 40 mph and going through an intersection. It was a green light and the intersection was clear. Suddenly this blue car travelling in the opposite direction turned directly into my path. There was no time to do anything but jam on the brakes. I locked them up and we collided. I think we slowed enough so that the impact wasn't bad enough to set off the air bags, but it was a real jolt. Her car spun into the intersection and hit another car. I was able to pull over. I looked back to see if the kids were all right. They were wide eyed but ok. Thank God for that. My wife was ok too. Everyone was wearing seat belts. It really makes a difference. I never go anywhere without making sure I'm buckled and the kids are buckled in as well. The other driver was not hurt either, but shook up. I walked over to her to make sure she was ok and she was babbling something like, "I don't now where I am". so I left her alone. The cops said she was in the wrong and there were three witnesses who said she drove right in front of me. I hope my insurance carrier sees it that way. This will probably mean the end of my car. I didn't even pay off the repair bill from last month yet. Oh well. Nobody was hurt. My kids were safe and we all walked away. That's what's important. The car can be replaced. My kids can't.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Town's Shameful War on Critters

Jogging this morning I realized that my town must be waging a war on critters in my town. On any given day there are at least three carcasses of squirrels, possums or skunks left strewn about on the road after they have been run over by a car or after they have met some other untimely end. Never does the town send an animal control officer to clean up the carcass. There it sits. Day after day. Becoming flattened and twisted by each passing car. It's body being turned into a gruesome display of festering guts and tanning leather until it becomes some hard piece of hairy disc that slides around on the road. Does my town leave these bodies strewn on the road as a warning to other critters? Do they mean to say, "Look what happened to this critter. If you stay here this could be you!!" Why don't we just remove their heads and place them on poles around town? They could place them by the signs that say You are now Entering Township of Washington. CRITTERS BEWARE! and have their head on a pole next to the sign. Or we could crucify them and stick them up by the side of the main roads. This would be more effective than just leaving them on the road.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Family is Funny




I was with my family over the Memorial Day Weekend. It's funny to listen to my sisters talk about their kids. They have older children than us and they are experiencing different stages than what we are going through with our kids. Its interesting to learn from them as they go through these stages. Its also scary. I hope I can handle it without killing them. My 13 yo daughter is already driving me nuts. This is a picture of me in a batting cage in San Francisco at AT&T Park. I still got it!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend


This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Here is a list of things I would like to do:



  1. 1. Bar-B-Q Ribs, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers and drink beer

  2. Listen to music outside on the deck and have a catch with the kids, play bocci ball and frolic.

  3. Laugh with my wife and friends until late into the night

  4. Go swimming

Here's what I will REALLY do:



  1. Stain the fence. All 750 square feet of it. Cut the lawn.

  2. Grill chicken and have it over Romain lettuce and wash it down with a Diet Coke

  3. Yell at the kids because they will be bored and bicker with the wife because I won't be doing enough around the house.

  4. Collapse into bed sore and tired.

Yep. It's a sad, sad existence until the end.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Since I Started Reading The Wall Street Journal



I started reading the Wall Street Journal for work. I needed to keep up on the business news. I felt it necessary to see what the heck all my colleagues were talking about. I mostly read The NY Post. I loved the headlines, like "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar". Absolutely brilliant. Nowhere else in New York would you get writing like that!! Also, the sports section was second to none. They always covered the Giants fully and I got all the info I needed during the season about the inner workings of the football team. But alas, I needed to grow up and read some real news. I needed political insight, business news and world news that was responsibly reported without the funny snide-ness that the Post reports with. But oh my goodness, its a scary world out there. In the past few months I have been reading the WSJ here's what I have been learning:

  1. The price of oil has been increasing and there's no stopping it for the foreseeable future. In fact, we might be running out of the stuff and there really isn't any viable alternative in place.
  2. Food shortages around the world is sparking riots. Countries are hording rice and prices are soaring
  3. Bio-fuels may have caused food shortages and people may be going hungry because we turned corn and soybeans into fuel
  4. Wind Power can't be a viable alternative in generating electricity.
  5. The president and Congress can't get anything done and both should be put out to pasture.
  6. The Federal Reserve bailed out Bear Sterns with tax money and that was supposed to be a good thing for the economy???
  7. Now homeowners who were stupid enough to take loans they couldn't afford get the government to bail them out on the taxpayers dime. And the guy who never missed a payment gets what???? The worlds upside down
  8. Cyclones, earthquakes and more cyclones don't discriminate. They just wreck and kill.
  9. Despite bad economic times, Disney theme parks in the USA continue to thrive. That's mind boggling.
  10. Politics keep going on and people seem to think it is going to be different. It doesn't matter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Annoying Women on the Bus

The 6:50 AM bus is usually a quiet commute into New York City. Most people shuffle into their seats and either open their papers and read or drift off to sleep for another 45 minutes before starting their hectic day. Today was not one of those days. Two women dressed in Gucci prostitute wear stepped into the bus talking loudly enough so everyone could hear them and decided to sit directly behind me. One had a voice that sounded like she had been smoking cigarettes and drinking whisky all night. The two of them discussed such banal topics it made my head spin. It was impossible not to hear them because they talked to each other so loudly. They were discussing how ugly the color of the MetroCard was for goodness sake! I couldn't take it anymore. I was tempted to say something, but rather than get into an argument with these mental midgets, I stuck my MP3 player earphones firmly in my ears and turned the volume way up loud and tried to drown the nonsense they were talking about out of my ears. I could barely hear them after that. I then didn't have to go Cyclops on them!

Monday, May 19, 2008

When You're Little


When you're little life is really much easier. Your problems are smaller. My daughter Diana tells me that she hates being little because she isn't allowed to do anything fun. She can't stay up late and she can't go out by herself. She isn't allowed to cross the street or go down to the shopping mall alone. She told me it's not fair that she's so little. I told her it's good to be little because she doesn't have to do the same chores her sister and brother have to do. (I told this to her as they were clearing the dinner dishes and loading the dishwasher and washing pots.) She looked at them working and grinned at them. They looked at her and sneered. Then I let her crawl up into my lap and I told her that its good to be little because she can still fit into my lap. (She really is getting a tad too big for that but its OK.) She looked at me and smiled and snuggled into me. "So you see" I told her, "its not so bad being little. And you're not little for long." She just grunted at me and mumbled something about me changing her bedtime to a later hour. I gave the answer I always give.
We'll see.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Impending Weekend

The weekend should be spent relaxing and recuperating from the long hard work week. Not a chance! When you have a wife with ambitious plans and three children in sports, the weekend is anything but relaxing. I have resigned myself to the fact that Saturday and Sunday are just more days of work. So tomorrow I shall rise early again and get ready to do the chores and drive kids around and do those things that have to be done until I'm silly with exhaustion. Then I'll go to sleep and do it again. TGIF?

The Homework!

I'm the first to admit that my wife does most of the homework with the kids every night. Every night the three kids have a bunch of homework that they have to get done. My 13 year old daughter takes care of most of her work herself. Sometimes I have to proof her essays and offer guidance, but for the most part, she can work independently. However, my 10 year old son needs total guidance through the entire process. My wife has been doing this since September. It's now May and he hasn't gotten any better at working independently. It is beginning to wear us down. Even my 7 year old girl works more independently than he does. I think it's a boy thing. He doesn't seem to pick up things as quickly as his sisters. I remember when his older sister was in fourth grade. She began working on her homework independently mid year. I'm looking forward to the end of school. I hate homework. It feels like the teachers give it out just to keep some parents quiet. I think kids need less homework and more downtime when they are out of school. It's not effective when after a long day at school they have to spend two plus hours doing more school work. Kids need to play too. And so do adults!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

World Disasters

The world is full of disasters right now. Cyclones killing 128,000? in Myanmar? That's unbelievable. The earthquake in China and all those people killed and so many others trapped in the rubble of buildings. Its horrible. Then there are the twisters that just happened in the Midwestern US that killed so many and dis-placed all those people. The pictures of those people wandering around the remnants of their homes while their neighbors stood untouched was heartbreaking. Nature can pack a punch on you that can make it hard to get up. Just when you think you have everything under control and its going along really well, something like this can take it all away. Each day you get is really a blessing. Use it wisely.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a Breather


Next week I'm going to shut down the department early in the afternoon and take the staff out bowling. The past several months have been extremely hectic here in our department. The demands of the day have been taking their toll on our usually cheerful department, so I felt it was time to blow off some steam and have some fun. I hope that this small gesture will give the staff a morale boost and invigorate them. It's been a long hard winter. We have been battling a tough economy and the organization has been leaning on us to produce. I think we need this little break just to lighten the mood here and get back to normal. Hopefully Between this and relaxing the cake rule we can have a happy group once more!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cell Phone Tower Revisited

Last night my Town Council held a public meeting. Most of the people there were interested in one topic: the cell phone tower. However, they allowed one person who had an issue with a neighbor making a second driveway on his property open the session. After he presented the council admitted that the ordinance that they crafted last year to address the problem of people who needed more driveway space parking on their front lawns was faulty. It allowed anyone who needed more space to dump gravel on their lawn and use that as parking. This was a loophole that some were using and it made for ugly properties and angry neighbors.
The next issue was the cell phone tower issue. The council tried to assure us that they were on top of the issue and that they were going to try to persuade the cell phone companies to use "distributed antennae technologies" or "non impact" technologies instead of a 125 foot tower. I am seriously incredulous especially after witnessing how they botched a driveway ordinance. How do they expect to stand up to cell phone companies?
HA!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Your DNA

This weekend I wasn't feeling well. My wife and daughter went food shopping as I stayed home with my other two kids. As I was laying in bed at 7 pm and burping my peanut butter sandwich back up through my nauseous stomach for the hundredth time, it dawned on me that perhaps Alka Seltzer would calm my sick feeling. I picked up the phone and dialed my daughter's cell phone. When she picks up I said, "Can you please bring me back some Alka-Seltzer from the store?" "OK Dad", she answered, "we will get you lots of seltzer." "No!" I said back to her. I need ALKA-Seltzer". "Lots-a Seltzer?" She said back to me again. "ALKA SELTZER ALKA-SELTZER" I'm yelling into the phone. "Put your mother on. When my wife got on the phone and heard what I wanted she started cracking up. My daughter never heard of Alka-Seltzer before, so she didn't know what it was I was asking for.
The point here is that when she didn't understand me I yelled louder to her, as if that would help her somehow understand better. My father used to do the same thing. If you didn't understand that 7 times 6 was 42 he would yell it louder to you as if more decibels would get it across your cerebellum better. I should be more conscious of this trait that I have and try not to do this. But I guess its something that is etched into your DNA and is really hard to change. I'm working on it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Trying to Stay Afloat

Keeping your head above water these days is tough. What my wife and I had been doing was using the credit card to food shop, buy various items etc. Although we always pay off the balance, it was becoming a big bill. What I decided to do was take the money out of the bank before we use the card. In this way, we have the cash and we tend to spend less than if we use the card. Well we have hit some bumps in the road to say the least. I am trying to keep my marriage out of The Chaz Sheet, but let me tell you, finances put a strain on any marriage. I think in the long run, we will come out better off because we will be more conscious on what we are spending. with the credit card, you are more apt not to worry if the item is a bit more. With cash, it has to be the right amount or else yo can't buy it. I will let you know how it works out.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Talented People

My San Francisco employee was in our New York office this week finally meeting his co-workers for the first time since he began working for me almost seven years ago. As he worked with them and talked about their jobs and their responsibilities, he said to me how impressed he was with all of them. He is right. I have quite a few talented people working for me. They are a blend of skills and knowledge that really do impress those who meet them. When I sit down and think what they have to do on a daily basis it is amazing. Not only do they have their skills, they share and teach one another. That mentoring, the sharing of skill sets each one may possess more of than the other, that is what impresses me most. They truly want to pass on their knowledge and teach what they know. They get satisfaction when their co-workers understand the job as well as they do. Managing them isn't about managing the people. It's about managing the environment in which they work. I just try to insure that they are able to grow in the workplace. In doing this my department benefits and so do I.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yankee Game

Today I'm taking somebody who is from San Francisco to Yankee Stadium. He has never been there before. That to me is really something! I have been to Yankee Stadium as a kid with my Dad to see the Giants play football. It was before they renovated and I remember getting to the seats and there was a big column in front of one of the seats. My Dad looked at the two seats and pointed to the obstructed view seat and said, "that's yours". I really didn't care. I had a great time and my Dad bought me this red plastic horn so I could blow the charge song. I have been to a few Yankee games there. A couple with my kids. So my co worker for SF is going to get a treat. He gets to see a game at Yankee Stadium on the last season they play in the old stadium. The stadium the legends played in. I think he will enjoy it. I hope the Yanks win.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Birthday Girl

Saturday was my daughter Diana's seventh birthday. She is the youngest child of my three. At 5 pm we had 17 little 6 year olds show up just waiting to be entertained for two hours. My wife and I decided to do a house party. We decided against renting out a party place or some type of entertainment because the costs were unbelievable and Diana wasn't thrilled with the activities she had to choose from. We chose to do a house party. We had one of our friends "style" the girls hair, our teenage daughter and her friends did their nails and then there were games. It went pretty well. The one thing I notice throughout the whole party though was my daughter. The way she conducts herself and how she interacts within her group is amazing. She is so confident and sure of herself. I think she is really something. I tell her I think she is a "pip". She is brimming with confidence and self assured-ness and I think she is destined to do some big things. Happy birthday Diana. Many more.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Worry

Worry is a wasteful activity. My sister told me she spends 5 to 10 minutes a day worrying about the things she feels merit it, then she puts it behind her and gets on with the day. I guess that's a good attitude. I try to spend little time worrying about things I can't control. I feel that if I have done my best work, made my best decisions, then worrying is pointless. My wife on the other hand worries about everything. She tries to see each action through to every foreseeable conclusion. She can't fathom an outcome that she didn't calculate. Surprises are not something she relishes. She needs to know and control the event so that each conclusion is logically and neatly tied up and handily packed away, categorized and filed.
That's not the way life runs.
I roll with it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reconsideration on No Cake Rule

It has been brought to my attention that my "No Cake Rule" may be viewed as overly harsh and unusually cruel to my fellow workers. I was especially made aware of this from my friend Kym who informed me that they have a rotating cake rule at her place of employment in Old Tweeds Bank! It seems that one person is assigned a person to buy a cake for on their birthday and when that birthday comes up they celebrate it. I will therefore temporarily lift my No Cake Rule and institute "Australian Birthday Cake Rules" to see how it goes. Heaven help us.

New Addition


My sister in law had a baby on April 29th. She is really small, (as babies usually are) and really cute. I had a day off from work yesterday and visited them both in the hospital. They are both doing very well. Catarina is the babies name and she is a good girl. She is so quiet and she sleeps alot. Once in a while she opens her eyes and looks at the world around her, makes a really cute sound and then drops off to sleep. I hope for my sister in law and my brother in law's sake she stays like that for them. They have an active 2 year old at home and he keeps them busy enough. This baby will most likely be the last one born in our family as we are all getting on in years. It was nice to be holding a newborn again. It reminded me of when I had my kids. It just serves to remind you that as you read the bad news each day, there is hope out there with every single child born.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Feeling Better

My oldest daughter had to get braces so that meant cutting back somewhere in the budget. I chose my health club. After about 6 years of going to NYSC, I dropped it and started working out at home. I knew I had to really start cutting back on my eating because I wasn't going to have the equipment I was used to using. Well, after about 8 months of home training and eating right I lost about 50 lbs. I feel better and I can jog longer than when I was at the gym. When I first started out at home I set out a 2 mile course on which to do my aerobic training. Well I could barely walk it never mind jog it. Slowly, very slowly, I was able to jog parts of it and then walk. Today I ran the entire way except for a steep incline in one part. But I was able to walk briskly up it and begin running quickly. I recovered quickly where as a month ago I was dragging myself up that hill and barely able to breathe. I was worried that my bypass was going wrong and my heart was regressing, but I feel myself getting stronger as I lose more weight. I want to continue this because I feel great!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Drawing Strength

Yesterday I sat in church and listened as a guest lecturer talked to us about the lesson we read for the day. All in all, he was not that great of a speaker, but his message was interesting. It was about being able to draw strength and get through this world. He talked about how the Holy Spirit can work on us to continue to talk to Christ and get strength from him through prayer. Prayer isn't a one way call. It is a request and their usually is an answer. Sometimes it might not be what you want or expect, but God answers prayer and we need to recognize it.
I have been through much. I have lost an eye, endured cancer and its treatments. I have had heart bypass surgery because of the cancer treatment and yet I don't think I'm bitter or mad at God. I was when I was younger. When I first lost my eye I was mad at God, but I soon saw that this was something that didn't make sense. God didn't make that happen. It was something that just happened to me. It's how you react to these things that really shape you. I guess it is how you deal with these incidents that determine your life's path. If you ask for strength and guidance you usually get it. I get a sense of calmness and peace when others think I should be worried and in a panic. I guess that's how God has answered my prayers. I need to figure out what I do next with it though. I need to figure out my next steps. What would He want me to do next?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Poison Ivy

I got poison ivy or oak or sumac in the crease of my arm pretty bad. I'm on steroids and antibiotics and pills to help you not itch. People are funny. They see my arm and ask me what happened. I tell them poison ivy and they jump back thinking they can catch it from me. You cant catch poison ivy from the rash. Only from the oil of the plant. That's my lesson to everyone today.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things You Should Never Do

  1. Don't go into the woods to retrieve your foul ball. I did and got a bad case of poison ivy.
  2. Don't sit next to someone on the bus who ate Kim Chi for breakfast. I spent the entire 40 minute ride into New York City gasping for fresh air at the buses air conditioning vent today. Phew! Rotting fermented cabbage (yuck)
  3. Don't try to keep wearing clothes that you used to wear when you were 47 lbs heavier. I am wearing pants that can fall off at any minute. I told my kids I'm like the cool kids. I like my boxers to show.
  4. Don't discuss politics at work...Ever!
  5. Don't try to come to work when you have a terrible case of poison ivy. Go to the doctor!
  6. You should never expect anybody to like reading a list of things they should never do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day! HA! I remember when Earth Day was run by hippies and anarchists. Now its run by the likes of Annheiser Busch and Hummer. My how things have changed. Corporations have jumped on the band wagon to fly their green flag. The whole world has gone crazy! Food prices are rising because we are turning corn and soybeans into fuel. Go figure! People are starving, but they can drive their Subarus. I don't get it anymore.

The "No Cake Rule"

I manage a department of 14 people. I consider myself a pretty liberal manager. I am reasonable about lateness and time off. I don't hound people un-necessarily. I understand that people don't make mistakes on purpose and I cut people a break. I do enforce a few rules. One of them is no cake celebrations for birthday parties. My stand is that if you want to celebrate a birthday, go out with your co-workers after work. Why is it that I have to go get a cake and stop work and let everyone stand around wishing somebody a happy birthday? It's dumb. Some people think I'm being unreasonable, but I have work to get done. Let their mommies give them cake. I have to get product out the door.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Musings

The 165 to New York was half full. Lots of people took off today. Passover begins tomorrow so that could be a reason. When there is a Jewish holiday commuting to New York is easy. Reading the Wall Street Journal is depressing lately. Rice hoarding causing riots, energy prices going through the roof, inflation recession stag-flation, whatever it is....No good news. They are mugging the Olympic torch runners for goodness sake. Enough with people's causes! It's an athletic competition and has no room for politics. I'm bored with people's politics. I wish we could swipe them away with a wave of our magic wand. I wish we could empty the House and Senate and fill them with people like us. Average ordinary workers who slog it out everyday. People who know the pain of eeking it out. Not these lawyers who have to listen to their big corporation contributors. Enough! We want honesty and integrity and people who work. That's my Friday stuff.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Meyer Lemons

I had some Meyer lemons sent to me from my friend Bill in San Francisco. They grow in his yard. They are so pretty. The skin is so smooth and yellow. Canary yellow. The fruit is much softer than the type of lemons we are used to usually getting. My friend said that they are not as bitter and can be eaten. I cut a section and indeed I ate it. It was bitter and slightly sweet. Citrus truly. I wish I lived somewhere where a lemon tree could grow in my yard. I would build a lemonade stand for my daughter Diana and sell lemonade with her every Saturday. Thanks for the lemons Bill.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cell Phone Towers

Last night I attended a town council meeting about a cell phone tower that is supposed to go up in our town. It was originally planned to go up behind the tennis club in town. But the residents that live there (a upper class part of town) got together and got lawyers and got the town to move the cell tower to municipal property (behind my house, in a not so wealthy part of town). The meeting was attended by over 100 people. There was a lawyer there from the wealthy people who were getting the tower moved to my back yard and she presented to the town council. The council president was off-putting from the start telling the crowd that we were at the wrong meeting and that our comments and concerns were best directed to the Zoning Board. The lawyer was cool though because she pointed out that our town council should be our advocates in this situation. Instead of just sitting there with there thumbs up their asses and letting the cell phone companies screw them, they should have been pro actively y passing ordinances that would have required the cell phone companies to install distributed antennae systems. These are systems that don't require a 125 foot structure and can be installed without destroying our property value. The town council just looked at her blankly. They are a bunch of bone head jerks. What do they care. They don't have to live in the shadow of this stupid thing.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Resurrecting the Chaz Sheet

Today I dusted off the old blog I started four years ago! It's amazing how this stuff never seems to go away on the Internet. It was still there, with the original post from Christmas Eve 2004. Miraculously there were four spam posts attached to it as well. Well much has happened since those days. What is tops on my mind? Well that's what this blog, The Chaz Sheet is going to put out there. It's going to be a forum of my thoughts and my feelings on a cross section of items. I thought to cover politics, but, its frustrating and booorrriinnggg! So I'm going to try to keep with things that lots of us deal with, work and family life. I hope if some of you find this that you read it and find some of it interesting and relevant. I hope that some of you make a connection with me. Maybe this can be a really interactive experience where some real learning can happen...or maybe not..Let's see where this goes.