Monday, January 31, 2005

Monday Mania!

Happy last day of January everybody! I can't believe February is already here...that means I'll be adding another year to my age and a new picture on a new driver's license in just 2-1/2 weeks. Fun times.

Today has been one of those "bust your ass so you can get everything done that you need to before going out of town for three days" days.

In addition to my normal work, we had two doctor's appointments today which meant I had to pick up some additional transportation responsibilities. That all went fairly smoothly except for the little part where I headed upstairs 10 minutes before J & L were supposed to be at pre-school only to realize that L was still in her PJs!!! Damn I hate it when that happens. I must add, however, that I did get the kids to school on time, even if it meant not brushing L's hair first.

Once the work day was done, we went out for dinner as is tradition the night before I go out of town. In doing so, I missed the first half of the KU/Missouri game where, apparently, KU sucked some major donkey dung. I ended up catching most of the second half on the radio as KU came back and beat down Missouri the way that they truly deserved. (Side note: If I'd have been betting money on this game, I would have bet a fairly substantial sum of money on Missouri. If I heard correctly this morning, the spread on this game was KU by 18. Let me tell you...it doesn't matter how horrible MU might be for the rest of the year, I can't remember them ever losing to KU by that many points...even in Allen Fieldhouse. Man, I want to go to Vegas.)

The rest of the night was spent doing laundry, dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, going to the grocery store, going to the FedEx "station" to pick up the package that I need for my trip because I wasn't home when they tried to deliver it in the first place and packing my suitcase.

I still need to go watch 24 on the DVR upstairs, which I'll probably start doing any second. (By the way, I did record the KU game, but of course it ran long, so the end of the game got cut off.)

There probably won't be many posts on my end for the next few days, but keep your fingers crossed that I actually get my dream car for my rental tomorrow!

Until Next Time!

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thursday Date Night

I originally was going to bed early tonight and not post...but then I started watching a new episode of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo. And, since I'm done browsing all of my blogging brethren that have updated recently, I figured, "Why not?"

Today was my first day of real work this week as I'd been at a seminar the first three days. So, today was spent (as will tomorrow) trying to finalize meetings with prospects in Michigan for next week's trip.

I confess that I did take a break to go out to Nebraska Furniture Mart to buy a new desk for my office. (For those of you who aren't local, the original Nebraska Furniture Mart is, indeed, in Nebraska. They opened the Kansas City location near are relatively new NASCAR Track a few years ago...the place is pretty damn huge.)

After that, it was lunch with the wife, kids and my brother and then I headed off to the dentist to have half my face numbed up to get three fillings. (Whoopee!!!!)

Follow that up with a weekly conference call with my boss and a still numb mouth and there was a wee bit o' slurring going on.

Date Night Redux

Had our neighbor girl set to watch the kids tonight so K & I could go out to dinner and just have some alone time, since I'll be out of town a good chunk of next week.

For dinner, we went to the brand new Carabba's Italian Grill near our house. It was delicious as always.

After thoroughly stuffing ourselves, we deliberated/pondered/discussed/stewed over what movie we wanted to see. Nothing was jumping out at us, so she narrowed it down to four and let me choose. My options? Finding Neverland, White Noise, Phantom or Closer. Personally, my vote was for In Good Company, but she really didn't seem to want to see that one. That being said, I opted for Closer. While I've heard great things about Neverland, I must admit the thought of Natalie Portman playing a stripper did hold some appeal for me, so that's what I chose.

Talk about a downer movie! If anyone says to you they're thinking of going to see that on a date...beg them not to. I mean, I think married couples can go see it, but it's definitely not a movie that inspires a lot of faith in relationships. (Natalie was looking G-O-O-D though.)

More Important Stuff

I believe I mentioned that a good friend was going through chemotherapy this week. Well...today I got a chance to talk to him while he was getting chemotherapy. It was a little strange to say the least. He seems to be doing real well so far and was in very good spirits. There's still 8 more weeks of this crap for him, so I still feel bad for the guy. Overall, though, the prognosis is very good.

And with that, I bid you all farewell until next time.

Until Next Time...(oh crap! I already said that.)


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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It's Not TiVo, But It's Close Enough!

I come to you from the glory of my couch where I am watching American Idol auditions which were so dutifully recorded on the brand new Personal Video Recorder aka PVR from my local cable company.

K was a little hesitant to get it, but I can tell she already loves it. We're fast-forwarding through commercials. We managed to get the new remote synched up with the TV as well so we only need to use one remote for the TV and cable. (We're still working on getting it to work with our DVD/VCR combo.)

Another bonus feature? We now have Picture-In-Picture! This will help solve the neverending challenge of determining when exactly to flip back to your original show after flipping away during a commercial.

Life Is Good.

Today I also completed my 7 Habits of Highly Effective People training class. I can't speak highly enough of this course. It was almost three full days, a little draining, but I really got a lot out of it...not only for work, but also for home.

I got a new Franklin Planner out of the deal which I definitely plan on continuing to use.

American Idol side note: Do these people really think the judges enjoy hearing 5000 versions of Elvis songs? Do you REALLY think your idea to sing Viva Las Vegas is an original idea???

OK....so that last comment was a bit snarky and not very "Win-Win" of me, but good grief...even effective people should be able to rant once in a while.

Tomorrow's back to real work and trying to add a couple of more appointments to my Michigan trip for next week. Wish me luck!

Until Next Time...

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Monday, January 24, 2005

Bowling for Birthdays!

Hey everybody!

How was your weekend? Mine is finally winding down to an end as tomorrow morning will come earlier than usual.

As I mentioned, J & L's birthday was Friday and today was their bowling birthday party. They invited four friends, all of whom have older siblings that are K's age, so we invited the older siblings as well. Everyone was able to make it and the kids had a great time bowling.

K got into a spirited competition with one of the boys in her class in bowling. There was almost an element of trash-talking going on, but nothing really mean...just having fun it seemed. Anyway, I'm happy to report (yeah...I'm a wee bit competitive myself) that K edged him out by 3 pins. Way to go, K! :)

So the birthday weekend is finally over. They'll actually get a few more presents in a few weeks when the grandparents come up for M's baptism, so I guess it's not quite over yet.

The rest of the weekend has been devoted to laundry, cleaning the house and preparing for my training class this week.

From Monday through Wednesday, I'll be attending the Franklin Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People seminar. One of the pre-class assignments was to read the book of the same name and also listen to the 3 CDs that came with my enrollment kit. I should be able to finish the last CD during my commute to the class in the morning.

As for the book, I'm only about 2/3 of the way through it, but I've decided that I'll be more effective tomorrow if I actually get some sleep, rather than staying up until 2:00 or later to finish the book.

That being said, when I first started the book I was pretty down on it. In fact, I commented to the woman in my office who coordinated the training that it was a pretty tough read.

I should have given it more of a chance. I made that comment after being only about 30 pages into it. I was also drawing comparisons to The DaVinci Code, which was a page-turner from the start and I finished it in just a few days.

It turns out that this book really is good. I've already had some minor revelations and am looking forward to implementing some of the things I've learned...both at work and at home with my family. I'm really looking forward to finishing it.

So anyway, I'm sure I'll be posting about the seminar as the week progresses. Hope you don't mind.

Hmmm...what else?

Tonight's been a good night overall. After getting home from the bowling party, I picked up Chipotle for the wife and me. (The kids had hotdogs at the party.) I managed to get a little more laundry done and got the kids put to bed. I also enjoyed a few minutes of mindless recreation playing Need for Speed 2. All the dishes got done and M's bottles are all poured for tomorrow.

For the past two hours though, I've just been down in my office reading the book for tomorrow and listening to music. During the workday, I listen to music, but I'm always having to mute it as I make phone calls, so there never seems to be any continuity. Tonight's been really nice.

In closing...

While I'm off getting inspired by the seminar, one of my good friends is going to the hospital for the week to undergo the first of several rounds of chemotherapy treatments for recently discovered cancer. The cancer has already been surgically removed and doesn't appear to have spread, but they feel this is their best option. It really freaked me out when I found out he'd been diagnosed and I can't imagine what this is going to be like for him. My thoughts and prayers are going out to him and his family tonight and all this week. (Just so everyone knows, my friend says this cancer is 98+% curable, so we're all very optimistic...it's just that I felt the need to comment on the less-than-pleasant prospect of going through chemotherapy.)

So, on that tremendously upbeat note, I hope everyone has a great week.

Until Next Time...

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Friday, January 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Kids!

First things first (as if there's any other way for the first things to come)...Happy 5th Birthday to J and L today!

Not only do they get tons of presents they don't really need, but today just happens to be PJ Day at pre-school! That means getting ready this morning was somewhat of a cinch.

Not a whole lot else going on...yesterday wasn't my best day from a production perspective for work. I really need to turn that around. There are days when it's difficult to get motivated when you're working from home. Maybe the fact that it was 60 degrees here yesterday had something to do with it.

Had to make a late night run to Target last night because we'd forgotten to get daughter K's presents for J & L. Also had to pick up treats for J&L to take to pre-school this morning. (You mean we should have actually made something? Are you nuts?!)

The inauguration came and went yesterday and I think I watched all of about 90 seconds of coverage of that yesterday morning and that was it.

Nothing to report on the TV front last night. Watched Joey but just can't get into it.

Big temperature drop for us here in Kansas today so I think the high is only going to be about 35 or so. Blah.

Musical Notes
After I posted my "What I'm Listening To" list the other day, Dan made the observation that all of those tracks were pretty mellow stuff.

You know what? He's right.

I have very, very few non-mellow CDs and I think we have to agree that anything country has to be classified as mellow.

Here's a fairly comprehensive list of bands whose CDs I have that wouldn't be considered "mellow."

U2 (sometimes mellow)
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
8 Stops 7 (one-hit wonders from a few years back, but I still like the CD)
Pearl Jam
Live
Midnight Oil
The Alarm (I might be pushing it with that one)
311
Sublime

Out of over 100 CDs, that's not a very robust list. I thought about adding things like Prince, Bell Biv Devoe (shut up) and REM.

Guess I need to expand my musical horizons a little bit.

Any suggestions?!


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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

TV, TV and a little more TV

Finally caught the second episode of Surreal Life yesterday afternoon. (There are advantages to having a TV in your home office.) It wasn't near as good as the first one, but watching Verne Troyer (Mini-Me) get abused by a bunch of little kids was pretty funny. To his credit, he handled it pretty well. I've decided that Chyna is pretty much a freak...she said she usually doesn't go to bed until 7 a.m. and was just dancing around the whole house yelling names of the housemates...essentially preventing them from sleep. That's just not nice.

Moving on to prime time, I present to you the season premiere of American Idol. There's a fourth judge on this year's edition...Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath. Not sure why he's there really.

I've said it before...I've really stopped feeling bad for these people who go on this show and then get annihilated by the judges. It's not like they don't know what's going to happen. They really need to do an honest self-appraisal and recognize that they just can't sing (and if they can't, then their friends should)!

The only time I feel bad for someone is when they flat out forget the words to a song. That just has to suck. To get that one chance and then blow it like that? It's gotta hurt.

The performance that stood out for me (in the first hour anyway) was a guy who said he was Toni Braxton's cousin. OH MY GOD was this guy horrible or what?! I don't think I've ever heard anyone that bad. The best part, though, was how arrogant he was. After he got cut, he went on camera and was just ripping on all of the judges. It was HI-LAR-I-OUS!

Now, I only watched the first hour, because I had to catch The Amazing Race at 8. Justice was finally served as the obnoxious Jonathan and victimized Victoria finally got booted. There's another couple that's getting on my nerves too, but I don't know their names. Let's just say I don't have high hopes for their relationship after this show is over (if it even lasts that long).

Other than that, it was a quiet evening and we just spent the night cleaning up house in preparation for one of K's friends to come over tonight.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Tidying Up

Continuing with the theme that started this weekend with cleaning up and rearranging my office, I finally got around to cleaning up my Blogroll and adding a couple of folks.

Tonight, I actually visited each of the blogs on my blogroll and can verify that they are all actively updated.

What I'm Listening To

Now that I work for a new company and have a new laptop, it's taken me a little bit to get my music downloaded into Windows Media Player. Not everything's on here yet, but give me some time.

So here are the last 10 songs that have come up on "Shuffle" tonight with 1 being the current song and moving back.

1. Mission Bells by Fighting Gravity
2. Wheel by John Mayer
3. Mickey by Slack Jaw
4. The Way We Were by Cary Pierce
5. My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer
6. Mexico by James Taylor
7. Fa Fa by Guster
8. Mrs. Potter's Lullaby by Counting Crows
9. Misconstrued by Wakeland
10. More Love by Dixie Chicks

Yeah...I'd say that's a pretty good variety. I need to get some of my rap/R&B stuff downloaded soon.

For the record, 6 of the 9 artists (John Mayer happened to get played twice) appeared on an AWARE compilation before they hit it big. My advice head over to awarestore.com to get the latest compilation if you want to hear the next big thing.

That is all...have a great night!

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MLK Day

You can't very well say "Happy" MLK Day can you? I mean...the guy was assassinated...not much happy about that.

And really...I don't mean to be flip about MLK...I really do think he was a great man and did some incredible things. It's sad to realize that there are still idiots in this country who probably think he deserved it or something stupid like that.

Anyway...on to happier things. Because of MLK Day, no school for the kiddies today. Unfortunately, I had to work, but took this morning off to take K to the doctor. She's still having some pregnancy-related health issues (M is almost 4 months old) and we're trying to rule things out. The appointment went fine, but took 3 hours.

It was supposed to take 4 hours though, so K & I decided to go to Chili's for lunch. I had an AWESOME salad called Quesadilla Explosion. I know it doesn't sound like a salad, but it was damned good. I was thoroughly stuffed and I only managed to get through 80% of it.

Finally got back home and actually got to work a little bit and had a pretty productive 3-1/2 hours.

Tonight we had leftovers for dinner. (For the record, that makes three straight nights we've had dinner at home!!!!) Then, after getting the kids to bed, K & I watched 24, which was pretty good. There's been a whole lot that's happened in the first five hours of this show.

Tomorrow night marks the premiere of the American Idol auditions. I've already decided I won't watch the whole season, but I DO want to see how bad people can embarrass themselves in the audition process. I used to feel bad for the bad ones...now they have no excuses...they know how the show is set up!

I think the second episode of Surreal Life was on tonight, but it was on when the kids were around. I think it's re-running at 1 a.m., but I don't think I'll be staying up for that. (Yet another reason to go get the digital video recorder from my cable company.)

Right now? I'm watching Oklahoma State play Texas on Big Monday on ESPN. OSU's been getting their ass kicked, but they're trying to come back in the last five minutes.

The truth is, though, that I'm just waiting for K to turn in so I can go back upstairs and watch Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

How was your day?

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

To Be Determined

If you have any suggestions for a title for this post, please let me know.

K & I are just settling in to watch as much of the first four hours of 24 as we can tonight. A big thanks to my bro for burning them to DVD.

Other than that, I pretty much stayed at home all day while K went out and spent some money. She spent over 4 hours in only 3 stores (and was only in one of those stores for 20 minutes). Last weekend, I managed to make four stops in just over an hour (including Best Buy!!!). I really don't mind...it just amazes me a little bit.

I did go to the grocery store today to order cake and cupcakes for J&L's 5th birthday next weekend. I can't believe they're going to be 5!!! I also tried to get stuff to make for dinner for the next few days.

Confessional: Tonight was the first night in at LEAST a week that we actually cooked dinner. For the whole week, we either carried in or went out to eat. I know, I know...we're horrible (and costing ourselves a ton of money). I'm really going to try to make an effort to change that in the coming months.

Tonight, eldest daughter, K, has her friend from down the street over to stay the night. She loved the dinner I made tonight (mozzarella meat pie) and she's so quiet and polite. Very much unlike my own kids. I'm thinking of adopting her to see if she can set the other kids straight.

Unfortunately, I don't have much else to add for tonight.

Oh yeah...if you aren't watching Surreal Life 4, you MUST do this. I caught the rerun on VH1 today and it's FREAKING hilarious!!!

On that note, have a great Saturday night everybody!!!

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Friday, January 14, 2005

All in the Family

I managed to get our neighbor to babysit our kids at the last minute last night. That allowed K and me to go grab a quick dinner at Panera and catch Ocean's Twelve at the theater.

While I liked the movie, it wasn't near as good as the first one. There were some pretty funny parts, although not a lot of laugh out loud moments.

Seeing it, though, did prompt me to pick up the Ocean's Eleven soundtrack at Border's after the show. I also bought a Bruce Hornsby "Greatest Hits"-type CD.

Now, normally, I'd say that's a pretty complete night...after all, it was almost 10:30 by the time we got home.

Not this time, though.

As soon as we got home and were doing the normal chit-chat thing with our babysitter, the phone rings. Usually those are bad news calls at that time of night.

Anyway, so I pick up the phone to hear my sister say, "Now how can I tell you that I'm engaged if you won't answer your phone?"

Apparently, she'd been trying to call us for an hour, but either a) the sitter didn't answer or b) the sitter was on the phone and didn't get the call. Either way, I'm just happy for my sister and her fiance. He seems like a real cool guy and I'm looking forward to having another brother-in-law.

I don't think she reads this, but in case she does, Congrats S!

And oh yeah...to top off a great evening, I finished the DaVinci Code around 1:00 this morning. EXCELLENT book. While at Border's, I noticed there is now an illustrated version of the book. I kinda wish that I'd have had that to read as you could have looked at the actual paintings and locations that Dan Brown was describing in the book.

Thanks to all of you who have recommended Angels & Demons also by Dan Brown. It's out in paperback, so I'll be picking that up soon.

First, though, I have to read Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People before I attend a 3-day training class a week from Monday.

Well, yesterday wasn't my most productive day, so I'm going to try to make a lot more calls today and see how many more meetings I can get for my trip to Michigan.

Have a great day, everyone!

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

1 A.D.

That's for 1 day After Dan. I still can't believe he called it quits.

I'm going to try to get into the habit of posting in the mornings after I feed baby M, but before I start working. Obviously, that's not the case today, but that's what I'm shooting for.

Not a whole lot new on this end. I'm really into The DaVinci Code. I plowed through about 200 pages last night and have about 150 left. I'll probably finish it off tonight.

The new job is going well...I scheduled my first client meeting yesterday. That means I'm heading to Detroit Rock City the first week of February. Somehow that doesn't seem quite as appealing as Arizona.

In tech news, I'm having a hell of a time trying to connect to my company's VPN via my wireless network. I can connect just fine using the ethernet cable to connect to my wireless router, but as soon as I disconnect that, I can't connect to the VPN via wireless. If there are any IT people out there reading this (ahem...Chris) and think you might be able to help out, please post a comment.

Well...time to get back to work. Have a great day!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mini Post

Not much to report here, other than that it's freaking cold as hell here! (That expression never did make sense to me.)

Last night, I actually put down the laptop for a while and actually read a little bit more of The DaVinci Code. And...as a bonus...I was actually asleep by 11:30! Woohoo!

Oh yeah...I also made travel arrangements for my work trip to Detroit in the first week of February.

This will be my second attempt to have one of these as my rental car. I reserved one last week in Tucson, but they were all out, so I got one of these instead.

By the way, should I be worried that I made my travel reservations without having any meetings scheduled yet?

Have a good day everyone!

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Winter Sucks

I know that, all in all, it's been a pretty mild winter here in the midwest. In fact, tomorrow we're supposed to hit close to 50 degrees.

That didn't make me feel any better on Wednesday as I was trying to chip through about 3/4" of ice that encased my car. Especially when, during that process, I somehow managed to break a piece of molding on the side of my car and also busted the door handle on the driver's door. So now I can't even get into my car on the driver's seat.

And...it's going to cost over $200 to get a new black door handle for my white car. Nice.

To make the winter even less bearable, I was in Arizona on Thursday and Friday. The temperature in Tucson on Friday as I was driving back to the airport?

72 degrees.

I hate winter.

On a more positive note, I finally started The DaVinci Code on my flight out to Tucson. Damn that's a good book.

I'm only about 80 pages into it, but I know one thing's for sure. It's made me feel like quite the inferior writer. I've always had hopes of writing a great novel. I now relize, it just ain't going to happen.

Dan Brown has such great command of the English language (and French and Latin, for that matter). Not only that, but you realize, after reading something like The DaVinci Code, how much research has to go into any novel.

I can't wait to finish that book.

Let's pause a moment for a word from our sponsors...or for you to go take a leak or something in the middle of what's turning into a lengthy post.

Feel better? Good.

So today, I headed out to Best Buy to make a purchase with some Christmas money and gift cards that we got.

I'm very pleased (probably a little too much so) to report that we purchased a yellow vacuum and a flat panel LCD monitor for the kids computer in the living room.

Oh yeah, I also picked up the latest version of Rounders on DVD.

The monitor was an especially good deal, I thought. It's regularly $300, but right now we can get another $100 in rebates, to make the actual cost $200. It looks SOOO much better in our family room than our old gargantuan Dell monitor. Speaking of that...anyone want it?

We also picked up our Girl Scout Cookies today. So if any of you ordered from K this year, we'll be contacting you to deliver those cookies...hopefully, sometime this week.

Let's see...what else?

OK...there's this. I discovered the joy of watching DirecTV while flying on an airplane last night. While flying from Denver to KC on Frontier Airlines, I watched the PGA Tour event from Hawaii on ESPN and also some NBA basketball. I also caught A&E's Biography on Tom Hanks. Not bad for 1-1/2 hours in flight.

Then tonight, after the kids were in bed (and still not asleep), we watched Underworld with Kate Beckinsale. A little more complicated than it needed to be, but all in all a decent flick. (Would I say the same thing if it was someone less hot than Kate Beckinsale? Hard to say.)

And, with that, I think I'll call it a night and go do a little more reading.

Until Next Time...

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New Addition

To the blogroll that is.

After seeing Blog Daddy's nomination for the Best of Blog Awards, I decided to check out the "Daddy Blog" category and saw one called "Got Twins?"

Well...since I would answer yes to that question, I had to go over and check out Ty's site. He's got two (duh!) adorable twin girls and he is justifiably proud of them.

Congrats to both Dave and Ty on their nominations. Head on over and check them out!

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Come On, 2005, You Can Do Better Than This!

So 2005 isn't going that great so far.

I mentioned my dad's trip to the hospital on the first day of the year. Fortunately, it appears to just be a severe sinus infection and nothing heart-related.

Well, today I got a call from one of my good friends who told me he has cancer. Fucking great. The good news is the cancer hadn't spread before they removed it. The bad news is he's going to have to undergo aggressive chemo instead of just radiation therapy.

He did seem to be in pretty good spirits, all things considered. My thoughts and prayers are with him, his wife and his kids as he prepares to start the chemo...most likely within the next week.

Good luck, man.

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Reviewing 2004

This comes courtesy of Chris.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?

Left the country (and returned), discovered LaBatt's Blue, played in a Texas Hold' Em tournament, had a vasectomy, joined an NBA fantasy basketball league, watched my oldest daughter, K, get four teeth pulled, voted early for the November election, flew out of state for a job interview...that's about all I can think of.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?

My big goal was to lose a bunch of weight. I ended up losing about 35 pounds at one point and am closer to the 25 pound mark right now. And yes, my goal is very much the same for this year...primarily to be able to honestly put a lower weight on my new driver's license in February than the one that's on there now. That means I need to lose about 10 pounds by mid-February. If I try real hard, I think I can do it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, my wife gave birth to our fourth child this year, our third daughter, M. Also, our good friends and neighbor down the street had their fourth child, their third son. My friends in Phoenix delivered their second child a week after M was born. And my good friend, Dan, had his first child this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Sadly, yes. My grandmother on my dad's side passed away in September. She was my last living grandparent and I'm very sad to lose her...especially sad for my dad and his sisters. They are a very close group.

5. What countries did you visit?

I ventured out of the country for the first time when I crossed the border into Niagara Falls, Canada. It's actually a cool place. I hope to add Mexico to the list this year since my new employer is only an hour away from the Mexico border.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

A kick-ass year at work, which should result in a lot more money.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

September 23...M was born. November 2...quite an election.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Obviously, becoming a father is number one. I'm also proud of myself for getting this new sales job. I'm also glad I actually stuck with this blog thing for the whole year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not completing the novel I started for National Novel Writing Month. And really...I can even live with that. 2004 really was a great year for me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully, no. I've been pretty healthy all year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A 32-inch TV (no, it's not high-def) and noise-cancelling headphones for flying.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My wife for enduring a difficult pregnancy and an equally tough (and ongoing) post-partum recovery. Nowhere near as personal, but still have to recognize the Boston Red Sox for their amazing comeback in the ALCS and subsequent World Series victory.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Ron Artest and President Bush (and that's about as detailed as I'll get with my politics).

14. Where did most of your money go?

Restaurants...we eat out WAYYYY too much.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The birth of M. (Are you noticing a trend here?) On a more materialistic note, when I got my 126 MB flash memory drive with built-in MP3 player...awesome for travelling. (Unfortunately, I had to give it back when I left my last job.)

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

I listen to so much music, I can't really name just one. Although "Yeah!" by Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon and "Vertigo" by U2 certainly are up there...simply for the sheer volume of airplay that they received.

17. Compared to this time last year,are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? thinner
c) richer or poorer? poorer (took a pay cut, hence the job search and resulting new job which should make me much richer in 2005)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Spent more quality time with the kids and writing

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Gambling...I love gambling a little TOO much.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it with my family...good times.

21. Did you fall in love in 2004?

I was already in love with K when the year started and still am here at the end. And, of course, I fell in love with little M the moment she was born...actually as soon as we knew we were pregnant.

22. How many one-night stands?

None. (I can't even think of a funny way to answer that one.)

23. What was your favorite TV program?

The Amazing Race, but Celebrity Poker Showdown is a close second.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Nope...I don't think I've ever hated anyone. At least, no one I've known personally.

25. What was the best book you read?

Didn't read near as much as I would've liked to this year. But being the dedicated Brad Meltzer fan that I am, I'll say "The Millionaires." (Least favorite book was Grisham's football novel, "Bleachers."

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

You'd think that with as much as I love music, this would be easy. I wish I could tell you some unsigned artist that I really like, but I'll have to go with Los Lonely Boys. I don't speak Spanish, but I love listening to some of their Spanish songs on their CD.

27. What did you want and get?

A new baby and a new job.

28. What did you want and not get?


A high-def television, TiVo, satellite radio and an iPod or similar MP3 player.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

The one that jumps to mind is the most recent one...National Treasure. I have to add that The Incredibles is a very close second.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

That was 10 months ago...I don't remember! I'm sure I hung out with the wife and kids. I turned 33 in 2004.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I had a pretty damned good year. Winning the lottery would've helped, I suppose.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

At the beginning of the year, it was very casual. As the year went on and I lost the weight, I really tried to upgrade my wardrobe to more business casual at least. I'm trying to wear more button-up shirts and non-denim pants.

33. What kept you sane?

My family and friends and, to somed egree, this blog.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

For the foreseeable future, it's got to be Salma Hayek.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The whole gay marriage thing. How on earth can the opponents of gay marriage say that this is one of the most important issues facing our country today? I'd say things like health insurance, the deficit, Social Security, the war in Iraq, education...oh, about a billion other things have an impact on all Americans' every day lives than whether or not two consenting adults have the right to marry! God forbid two people should be able to do what makes them happy...especially when it doesn't physically hurt anyone else!

Stepping off soapbox now.

36. Who did you miss?

I miss my Grandma. And every time I travel on the road, I miss my family. I already miss my co-workers from my last job, even though it's been less than a month since I left.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I have to say the founder of my new company. If I hadn't have met him, I'd never have got this job. And, though I've never "met" any bloggers in person (other than Dan who I knew before), it's been fun getting to know all of you through your blogs. And so far, all of my new co-workers are pretty cool.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.

As nice as material things are, it's the people in your life that make it worth living. Focus on your health, your friends and your family and you'll find yourself immeasurably happier at the end of the day. We only have so much time with those we love...make the most of it. And laugh a little...it never hurts to laugh.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Kind of along the lines of my previous answer, I'll go with Sheryl Crow from "Soak Up the Sun."

It's not getting what you want.
It's wanting what you've got.


On that note, send me a note if you decide to do the same.

Have a good one everyone!

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Roller Coaster Start

Well...2005 is off to an interesting start.

My year started this morning with a phone call from my mom to tell me that she took my dad to the hospital due to severe chest pains. After going to Topeka to see him in the hospital, we really don't know all that much. The doctor doesn't think it's his heart, but we can't rule it out for sure just yet. They're going to keep him overnight for observation and to monitor some enzyme levels which could indicate whether it's his heart or not. It may just be a combination of a sinus infection and overexertion (he's been remodeling their lakehouse for the past several weeks). It might be pneumonia...we really don't know. We're pretty sure it's not life-threatening, but still not a fun way to start out the new year.

On a more positive, albeit less important, note, while at the hospital, Dad and I got to watch the KU basketball game and see the Jayhawks come back from 16 points down to beat Georgia Tech by 2 in overtime. An excellent game to be sure!

That's all I've got for now. I'm in the middle of a 2004 meme, but am only about halfway through so far. Hopefully, it'll be done by Tuesday.

How's your 2005 going so far?


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Happy 2005

Happy New Year everyone!

It's 12:08 a.m. Central Time on January 1, 2005 and the kids have just been put to bed.

We had a good time with the neighbors tonight and tried to sneak one past the kids by celebrating New Year's East Coast style (aka 11:00 p.m. CT) to end the night earlier. Unfortunately, the third graders busted us, but we came home anyway and those of us still awake rang in the true new year.

But not until after asking the kids to take off my shoes and socks and watching little boy J take a whiff of my feet and then go running to the bathroom to throw up.

2005 is going to be a good year...I can tell.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year!

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