Mister(s) President(s)

I almost put a question mark at the end of that title, but used my superhuman will power to resist the temptation. (Really. It was very tough! Not sure why I’ve been on a question-in-the-title kick of late.) πŸ™‚

I was watching NBC’s Meet The Press this week (Via podcast, of course. I don’t really watch anything live these days…) and the episode was an interview with Senator Ron Paul, who is a Republican candidate for president. I watched a bit with my wife (before she fell asleep) and we both thought he was making some good points, but several things made it hard to really envision him as president, let alone think of actually voting for him.

(Mainly it was his whiny voice! Holy cow!)

I do like Mike Huckabee. When I hear him, he makes some good points. But there are a few financial things I’m not too sure about. I got to hear Mitt Romney. Not sure I like much about him, but he made some decent points. The interview I saw with him he was mostly just fighting off Mormon questions. Hey, I even like John Edwards and some of the things he has to say. (Can’t say I’d ever vote for him for president, but he has a few decent ideas.)

All of this just has me frustrated that I have to pick one of these guys (and maybe none of the ones I mentioned!) to be the next (one) president of the United States. I don’t think I like any ONE guy enough to vote for him in all good conscience.

That got me thinking…

What if we elected a group of three presidents or something? One from each party, and an independent one. I suppose that’s why we have the three branches of government… a similar idea. But I mean… how is one man supposed to represent all the people? Again, perhaps that’s the role of the congress… I’m just trying to land on a candidate I like, and the truth is there isn’t one. I like a lot of things about a few of them, but don’t like some things too.

Glad we still have 11 months to go…

State Of The Union?

Patriots vs Giants

In a somewhat surprising move, the NFL decided to allow CBS and NBC to simulcast the Patriots vs Giants game that was scheduled to be broadcast on the NFL Network this Saturday night. The NFL is not known for its generosity, but the NFL Network is in such a small percentage of homes, and this game is of pretty significant (sports-world) historical significance, so it will be shown on all three networks.

New England coach Bill Belichick said, “It’ll be like the State of the Union, on every channel.”

If you’d like to read more, check out this article.

The Giants don’t stand a chance, but I would laugh for DAYS if they managed to defeat the undefeated Pats. They are the least likeable “great” team I have ever seen in my couple decades of sports fandom. They are arrogant, obnoxious, self-absorbed, and really just a bunch of jerks. Very hard to root for them. It’s hard enough to just stomach them at all.

That said, the Giants don’t stand a chance.

But, not many more people can watch the annihilation of yet another 2007 NFL team. And the unsportsmanlike taunting and gloating of another.

Great TV, eh?

A Wet Christmas?

I thought the song said White Christmas….

We did get a lot of the white stuff for the whole month of December. Probably the first three weeks straight. OVer a foot of the good stuff. I think I heard that we’ve gotten around 38 inches so far! BUT… for one week before Christmas we had temps in the 40s, and RAIN. Yuck!

But the best part had to be Sunday, December 23rd. That day we not only had more melting of the existing snow, we had torrential downpours!! I didn’t think about it while it was happening, but a couple hours of some seriously hard rain on top of all the melting… was too much for our basement. πŸ™

So, this Christmas, not only did we have rain, but we had a flooded basement. We’re still trying to clean up from it, but haven’t had any time with all of the Christmas celebrations with family and friends. We came home tonight to a VERY stinky house. (The furnace blows up the nasty smell from the basement to the rest of the house!) πŸ™ I went down and dumped some clorox on the floor and sprayed LOTS of lysol. That helped for now.

Hope your Christmas was dryer. πŸ™‚

I’m NOT dreaming of a WET Christmas!

In The New Year?

It’s nearing the end of another calendar year, and this is the time everyone thinks of “new year’s resolutions.” Perhaps I am no exception. They are not really “resolutions” necessarily, but here are some things I am hoping I will have/make more time for in the very near future.

  • Read books, especially the gospels. Want to observe Jesus again, and see how he treated people, what his priorities were. What is important to him.
  • Go for early morning walks again.
  • Play basketball at least once a week.
  • Maybe eat a little less chocolate. But just a little. πŸ™‚
  • Get up and start the days earlier, and subsequently end them earlier.
  • Regular date nights with my wife.
  • Regular “date nights” (or days) with my kidsβ€”one at a time.
  • Write more. Here, and the two or three book ideas that I have kickin’ around my head.
  • Play football with my boys.
  • Play dress up with my girls.
  • More date nights with my wife.
  • Finally get ahead in my workload!

The short of it is, I look forward to more regular time with my family, more reading (a lot!), and an earlier schedule starting with a walk most mornings. We’ll see how much of that ends up happening…

Christmas Report II

When I was trying to think of what I needed to do today, I also remembered the past few days that have been. It seemed like today might be the first kinda normal day in a while. (Which, strangely makes it feel like Monday, maybe Tuesday…)

It’s been quite a week! I’m sure it was for you as well. I think maybe we have an extra piece with Ian’s birthday being on Christmas day. Because of that there are a few more celebration days for Ian in there. Like, we did our annual Birthday Burger at Red Robin sometime last week for his birthday. Balloons, singing, and all. It was awesome! Then the fun started again this past week… maybe on Saturday.

Saturday was the day we were singing at Wal-Mart. That shouldn’t have been as eventful as it was, but after getting there and getting everything set up, I realized I had no guitar picks. And then we found out that Wal-Mart did not either! So, we went on a bit of a scavenger hunt, finally picking some up (pun intended) at a local music store. Then, to top it all off, after about an hour of singing – which was super fun! – I broke a guitar string. While that used to be commonplace, I am pretty sure that’s the first time I have done that in most of TWO YEARS! Crazy!

After the string broke, we packed up and did a little last minute Christmas & birthday shopping there at Wal-Mart and a couple other stores. It was nice, just me and Jen. πŸ™‚

When we got back home, we did a few more things then packed up the troops for a trip to Victor. We actually went to the mall area on the Saturday before Christmas!! (We really needed an ink cartridge, and that’s the closest office store…) After we picked that up, we stopped by our friends’ house and hung out for a little while with them. Had some hot cocoa and fresh-baked Christmas cookies! πŸ™‚

Sunday morning brought a visit from some other friends. They were dropping their girls off so that they could go to the Bills/Giants game over in Buffalo! (They bought our tickets from us, a nice Christmas present for our friend the Giants fan. Unfortunately, turned out to be a little TOO nice!!) We kept their girls all day, and had a blast! The evening ended with a visit from John Dupra for a recording of the Buffalo Bills Review, and then some good Christmas cookies from our friends. πŸ™‚

Christmas Eve started later than I thought it would. We slept in a bit, then tried to decide what to do. We were going to make some Christmas gifts (food) for friends and drop them off, but then after talking with them, decided to wait on that. But then in talking with our football ticket friends, ended up deciding to bring Christmas dinner over to their house to share with them the next day. So, in between making Christmas cookies for Santa, Christmas Eve also involved baking bread and making a lasagna to bake the next day!

That evening we went to Willowbrook to see friends (and family!) we haven’t seen for a while – some of them a LONG while! That was nice, and was followed by a stop at another family’s house for a late night Christmas Eve party! Was nice to hang out with them for a couple hours. We stayed longer than we wanted to, but that was due to caring for one of our friends’ sick kids. Long story. Long night. πŸ™‚ We didn’t get home, and get the kids in bed, until midnight!

We weren’t totally done with Christmas and Birthday preparations by Midnight, so… we were both up till 2am. For me, that’s fine… for Jen? Not so fine. Christmas morning came a little too soon for her. Even though it wasn’t till 9am. πŸ™‚

Christmas Day was no less crazy. Once we got up, I took a quick shower, and then we all headed downstairs to find some presents left by Santa (alongside the ones we had already put under the tree) and our stockings full of goodies! The kids were fun to watch. πŸ™‚ After unwrapping all the fun presents, we headed into the kitchen to make a big French Toast breakfast for Ian’s birthday! (His request.)

After breakfast, we headed back to the family room for Ian to open his birthday presents. (Yes, he gets LOTS of presents on Dec 25th, and the week before and after that!) We didn’t have a cake, so I stuck a candle in a giant navel orange, and we sang for Ian using that. Fun stuff. πŸ™‚

After Ian’s birthday celebrating, we packed up pretty quickly, and took our big Christmas lunch over to our friends’ house to celebrate and eat with them. Spent about two hours or so there. They may be moving soon, so we’re enjoying all the time we can get with them. Will be strange if we are not living in the same town…

We packed up after lunch with our friends and headed out to Buffalo to visit with Jen’s family. Got there around 4:30 or so and got right to eating! (Yes, you’re right… that IS a lot of eating…) It was a great meal, and a fun time with Jen’s family. Her oldest brother and family were not there, but there were plenty of people to go around and we had a great time giving and receiving gifts… and eating taco dip! (One of my favorites…) πŸ™‚

We left around 8:30 or so, putting us back home at 10pm. We were BEAT from the past three days. Jen was exhausted for sure. The kids were pooped. Most slept the whole way home. But not Kirsten. She sang Christmas songs with Dad most of the time. πŸ™‚ SO CUTE!!!

But we weren’t done.

Wednesday morning was very busy for me! I did sleep in, but once I got up I was on the phone, IM, and e-mailing. Plenty of Boxing Day business I guess! I was also making bread because some other friends were coming over for a late lunch/early dinner. And the best part? They were bringing lasagna! Funny. I made/brought lasagna for some other friends, and then we had different friends do the same for us! Give and you shall receive. Or something like that. πŸ™‚

We had a great time with them, and enjoyed all the good food. The really funny part was they came at around 3:30, and with the short days and all, when our friends left at 6pm, it felt like bedtime. BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT! So, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves πŸ™‚ The kids helped clean up, then watched some movies with Mom while Dad spent about TWO HOURS catching up on our finances! Crazy!

That brings us to today. And actually… it has been a pretty normal day so far. πŸ™‚

A great, fun, fabulous Christmas and Ian’s birthday in 2007. Hope yours was as well!

Christmas Report

Do you remember Christmas days gone by when, as a youngster, you couldn’t wait to see your friends or maybe your cousins – whoever would listen! – so you could tell them what you got for Christmas? Well, I do. But I don’t think that I really got to tell anyone that yesterday, so I’m going to write it down here!

I am drinking some tea this morning from a nice new mug I got from Santa. My wife got me a Buffalo Bills book that so far is quite good, and we also have mountains of great Christmas candy! (Mostly chocolate!) I also got some nice winter gloves (mine have holes … no… they ARE holes!) and a few cans of tomato soup! πŸ™‚ (Yes… I’ve been wanting some of that…) πŸ™‚

It was a fun day. Lots of smiles, and even a bunch of useful stuff. Fun to give, and to receive. And the best part is that Jen actually bought almost everything using money from sales of other stuff on CraigsList, ebay, and Amazon.com. πŸ™‚ Nice!

Oh! Maybe the best present of all was one that was hand-crafted by Ian! He worked long and hard to build an iMac for me! it’s awesome! I’ll have to post a photo πŸ™‚ Even came with a wireless keyboard AND an iPod! πŸ™‚ He spent many days building it for me at my workbench in the basement. (I think that Ian has now worked there more than I have….) πŸ˜‰

Hope you had a fun day as well. Feel free to share your favorite gifts in the comments below. πŸ™‚

Hey, You Never Know

This morning I awoke from a series of dreams that seemed mostly disconnected, except for the last two. The last two were definitely connected. Really, it was a dream where I awoke from a dream. That happened once before (even more crazy, though!) but in this dream, the two dreams were the same.

In the dream I awoke to find two people in business attire coming into my bedroom. They stood at the foot of my bed and began to introduce themselves. (Note: This was the room in my old house, where I had two twin beds. Jen was there, she was just in the other bed. For some reason, that part was not weird to me in the dream…)

They were from a local paper, the Courier Journal (which, is local to Palmyra, where we live now) and they just wanted to let me know that I had won their drawing. “You wanted to tell us that in person?” I asked. “Well, it was the grand prize.”

“How much?” I was thinking $1000 or something. “$120,000,” the business lady calmly replied.

I was just stunned. Silent. Until (still in the dream) I said, “Wait… I had a dream about this. Somebody from a small, local paper came and told me that I had won their drawing… and I think it was for $120,000!!” Everyone laughed, and at the same time thought it was very strange.

Not long after that – while thinking of all the joys of being debt free – I awoke from my dream. For real this time.

I can’t remember a dream recently that I have been more sad to wake up from, and to realize it was only a dream.

But hey, you never know…

Hear The Angels Sing

We have heard a LOT of Christmas music lately. I’m sure you are feeling the same way. I do still love it, but it’s definitely getting close to time to shelve it for another eleven months or so.

It’s not all bad, though. One song off of Steven Curtis Chapman’s second Christmas album, All I Want For Christmas, caught my attention this week.

It wasn’t so much a lyric, as the way it was sung.

I believe the song was It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. It was sung with a nice gentle feel to it. And, at one point, Steven sings just lightly, “Hear the angels sing Hallelujah, Christ the Savior is born.” Those are words you usually associate with giant booming voices and big, majestic fanfare. But in this song, the words were sung almost at a whisper, almost as a lullaby for the newborn baby.

It got me thinking. Maybe that’s how it was? We think it should be fanfare and trumpets and “kingly”. But if you’ll recall, the King of the universe stepped into our lives as a baby, born to ordinary folk, in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. He was born in a stable. He was… born, period. He didn’t have to go through that, either.

But he did.

The simplicity of the first Christmas is a clue that God does not do things the way we think he should. And we’re (way) better off for it.

Enjoy your gifts today, giving and receiving. Enjoy time with family and friends. Enjoy the great food. Enjoy the Christmas cookies! But most of all, enjoy knowing that you are so completely loved by the One who has everything. He didn’t just become a man so he could die the death of a criminal… he wanted to live like us, so he could know us even better. All the way from birth. As a commoner.

That’s what you mean to him. That first Christmas day, and this one.

Merry Christmas. πŸ™‚

Tape Delay

So, you just gotta love TiVo. It’s so easy. You watch what you want, when you want to (or can) and you can even fast-forward the commercials!

I love hockey! Versus carries at least one NHL game on Monday and Tuesday nights. I’m busy every Monday night, and somehow we are usually busy on Tuesday nights, so I have gotten in the habit of TiVo-ing them.

Well, tonight after recording the show, I picked up where I had left off when I went up to the office to record. Thing is, Jen was there, too. And, while I like hockey… I like talking with my wife more. So, we did.

At one point I finally noticed that the hockey game I had recorded was playing in the background while we chatted and snacked.

Do you find that odd too? Who records something in order to not pay attention to it? πŸ™‚