Family

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is here and gone. I like to reflect a little on Thanksgiving for the wonderful family I have been blessed with. I enjoy every waking day I have to spend with Becky, Colton and Amelia (even Logan most of the time). This holiday season is expected to be crazy as usual because it always goes by faster than anticipated. Again, Becky and I didn’t start our X-mas shopping early because I didn’t get off my ass and take her recommendation.

Tomorrow, we head out to Disneyland to celebrate Amelia’s 2nd birthday and to enjoy some family time before the holiday season. The kids are 2 and 4 so we are hoping they have a blast at the parks. More importantly, I would like them to have this memory as my memory will be of them enjoying the vacation. I am very thankful for the opportunity to create these memories.

We had a blast today spending it with two sets of friends each who we enjoy their company and friendship. Our kids love all of them and the first thing they say in the car is “I had fun!”. We can’t always be with our first families over the holiday, but that doesn’t take away the joy of spending it with our second.

Here are some fun shots from Thanksgiving 2011.

  

Later,

Derek


Viewpoint

Politics are pissing me off

Let me start this post by stating I do not normally get worked up by politics. In some respects, I believe the media overhypes the inter workings of the government (or maybe this is exactly what the government wants me to believe). Anyway, this latest revelation of the “Super Committee” not being able to come together to deliver a cost savings plan of $1.3+ trillion has me pissed off…for a couple reasons.

We already missed our “deadline” and had a reduction in credit rating. Didn’t this super committee understand the relevance of hitting this deadline? I’m not sure about anyone else in the workforce, but if I miss one deadline, okay, I’ll set a new target and take a ‘slap on the wrist’. BUT, if I miss two deadlines?!?! Shame on me and I should probably be fired. That is my responsibility and a responsibility I have for my family so they don’t have to worry about a place to live and food on the table…EVER. With that said, fire these egotistical pricks. <— excuse my language.

Wall St. has become so day-to-day in their ups-and-downs that the super committee should have known hard working Americans have 401ks and retirement funds depending on them hitting their SELF-INFLICTED deadline. The market is down 250 points today just from the looming thought that the deadline won’t be hit. Let’s see what happens tomorrow when it doesn’t get met. Dumb asses. Again, fire these egotistical, self-centered pricks. <— excuse my language.

Now, the two sides are blaming each other that the deadline won’t be hit. Don’ get me wrong, but this was supposed to be the “SUPER COMMITTEE”, right? The best government officials we have to offer?!?! They couldn’t figure it out, went home and blamed the other side. Real mature. Way to SUCK at your job. Again, fire these egotistical, self-center, incompetent pricks. <— excuse my language.

Finally, I know a lot of people that support the Independent party. I used to think this was a nice idea, but not really feasible and/or possible. Well, without getting too political, think about your choice when you vote for the next president. Another 4 years of no progress towards a balanced budget, unstable Wall St. and Dems vs Republicans might make me scream out loud.

If this offended you in any way, turn your anger towards your local government representative. They likely deserve it more than me.
Later,
Derek

Adventure

Kids and Animals

I have always wondered if there was a special connection between kids and animals. Not necessarily dogs and cats, but animals like pigs, goats, cows, horses and sheep. I saw the across picture of my son visiting a local petting farm and it got me thinking…”what are they sharing?”. My son’s pose seems to be so content and seems to be studying the goat.

My wife would like a cat to go along with our dog Logan, but I’ve always turned her down because it would be just one more thing to keep track of. I might be changing my position as my kids seem to develop a special connection with animals which could develop into a life long passion. Stay tuned on the kitten thing…

As Becky and the kids traveled to a petting farm, I had a team builder for work. My department set out on horseback in the McDowell mountains. I haven’t been on a horse in quite a few years but I got a good horse and my technique came back quickly. The scenery was beautiful and tranquil. It’s easy to only notice the pavement and dirt when in the desert, but get out of the city a little and the views change completely. Next time, however, Becky is coming with me. I think she would enjoy the views as well.
Later,
Derek

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Uncategorized

Packer games…other than at Lambeau

I attended the Packer/Charger game over the weekend in San Diego, CA with my friend from Ripon, WI. The game sent the Packers to 8-0 and the Chargers to a 4-4 record. The game was brilliantly played by Rodgers and the rest of the team but that wasn’t the real story from the weekend. I was most impressed with the Packer fan base and everything they represent. I was proud to be a Wisconsinite throughout the weekend as I met countless Packer fans from Wisconsin and each were friendly, social and proud themselves to be from Wisconsin.

Packer fans certainly travel well too. We found Cheese-heads at the hotel, every bar we found, the airport, grocery store and restaurants. All you had to do was mention what town you were from in Wisconsin and someone knew someone that had a relative or friend from there. I underestimated the folks I met by stating I was from LaCrosse thinking it would be a bigger city than Sparta, but to my surprise, some asked me if I knew anyone from Sparta!! Anyway, for my friends and family in Wisconsin, just know your state was well represented in San Diego through their cheering at the game to their respectful nature with everyone they met. I was truly proud to be from Wisconsin this past weekend.

Here is a picture of me and my friend Justin from the game. I was wearing a garbage bag and he had on a snorkel just in case the rain got really bad.

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Viewpoint

Staying Connected Simply

Social media, internet browsing, mobile apps, note taking utilities, exercise/weight loss apps, and so on and so on. We have so much media and information coming our way how are we supposed to consume and absorb any of it so it is worthwhile?
I am in a constant quest to find the “perfect” blend of technology to simplify the many channels of information coming at me. I use Facebook, post things to Twitter that post to my Facebook, and use Blogger to post to Facebook. I track To Do lists in my Reminders checklist app which posts to my iCloud calendar that I use to track personal events and bills which is a direct export from Mint.com that I track using my iPad and iPhone. Then, I have Evernote that helps me stay organized at work and which I can post articles using Zite to read later which also integrates with Instapaper for Read Later web browsing.
My constant quest is exhausting and it is time I just stop and stay content with my current “setup”. UNTIL, a new, more integrated app comes along that can/will save me 12 seconds of time which I will use to spend time with my family. I think that is what it comes down to…I want to “simplify” my technology space so I can concentrate on quality time with my family.
Another novel concept is to “unplug” from all of it for a while and just let life happen without technology intervention. Would life be more simple?
This post was brought to you by me posting a Blog idea to Evernote that I reviewed and set in Reminders to write which was composed in Blogger. I then Tweeted to have it post to my Facebook page.
Later,
Derek
Family

Birthday before a Birthday

We had a birthday party for Amelia 1 month before her 2nd birthday yesterday. Her grandparents from MA were in town and wanted to celebrate since they wouldn’t be able to next month. I thought this was a great idea as it created a memory for both Amelia and her grandparents. Who cares if it wasn’t her actual birthday.

Timing is nice when it works out or is convenient but when timing doesn’t line up you have to make your own time for these moments.

Here is a picture of Amelia enjoying her cake last night.

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Later,

Derek

Uncategorized

Housing Industry in AZ

I don’t quite get the housing industry debacle. My family recently went through the foreclosure process here in AZ and did so purely as a business decision. When the house went up for sale as a Short Sale, it was listed at 42% of the price we purchased it for in 2006. Yes, 42%. In the end, Becky and I asked each other if the house was our dream house because we would need to be buried in it. In actuality, the house was meant to be a starter home, gain some equity and build for a future. That dream failed when the banks started lending to anyone with a pulse.

So today, we are in a beautiful home (rented) for the next few years as we get our credit back in place and can obtain an FHA backed loan. Our next home we will not make the same mistakes (hopefully) and intend to be there for more than 5 years.
Back to the industry, I’m pissed at the banks for lending to anyone and everyone. I’m pissed at the people that knowingly couldn’t afford an increased payment and put all their hopes into the house gaining value and refinancing. I’m also pissed that I didn’t take a step back from the purchase process and release ourselves from the “gotta get a house quick” feeling that was sweeping through Phoenix. We’ll learn from it.

Finally, Arizona is a anti-deficiency state meaning any debt associated with our home purchase money is cleared and cannot be sought out by collection agencies, etc. Great law for our family, but our decision didn’t help the economy and for that I feel slightly guilty. I’d feel more guilty if I believed the banks felt bad for us.

At the end of the day, my wife and I enjoy two wonderful kids so where we live and what our credit score is doesn’t really seem to matter much. Except, Becky would like a pool…

Later,
Derek
Here is a picture from our balcony this morning.

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