Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dawning of a new era

OK - so Sarah changed her blog theme and I got jealous. I want a cool blog too. Waaaaaaahhhhh.

Go check out the new one. It's got all the same posts but it's way cooler. I'm gonna try to get this thing forwarded over ayutomatically, but I dunno if it's gonna happen. Either way, you should probably add this address to your Feed Readers, Bookmarks and lists of other Happy Places:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Budget Crunch

Sarah and I finished our first "budget cycle" and actually did fairly well... We budgeted for bills, set aside money for gas, food, eating out, etc and even left in some "play money". Due to the expense we had to incur to fix our brakes, we ended up a little behind, but since I'll be receiving some money from a client in a week or so, plus the fact that we actually BUDGETED for the expense, we're coming out much better off than we would have. Hooray!

Sarah and I both have a difficult time keeping up with expenses, paying bills, etc so now we've got a new system... I'll be the one doing most of the up-front budgeting (with input from her, of course), plus I'll be keeping up to date with bills, etc. The new part that we're adding in is the fact that I'll be meeting with Sarah weekly and BOTH of us will decide if we need to make modifications to the budget, borrow from other categories, etc. It just works so much better if we're both aware of what's happening. Surprises are never good. We've found a bunch of links, spreadsheets and calculators that can help us do the tracking and calculations, plus we're now using the old "Envelope System" for most of our regular expenses, like Gas, Groceries, Eating Out, etc. We ONLY use cash, and once the money's gone, the money's GONE. It actually worked out really well except for the gas category -- it's a lot harder for Sarah since she needs to go inside and pay with cash, which means taking E out of the car, etc etc.

We've also broken out the bills by the week they're due with a spreadsheet created to simulate the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University worksheets that do the same thing, so now we can see how much we'll have each pay period and be able to gauge accordingly. Very cool. Also very helpful for adjusting the budget numbers before settling on the totals -- saves a lot of erasing!

Another very cool thing that I found out -- almost 2 years ago, Sarah and I had ordered Microsoft Money online, but we lost it when our computer crashed. BUT -- because it was a digital download, plus I paid for the extended download service, we were able to figure out our old account user/password and download it again FOR FREE!!! Very cool... and also nice especially cause we're on this budgeting kick. I'm sure it will really help us out once it's time to do taxes in 2009 as well! It will automatically download our transactions from the bank and we'll have a permanent record of them, plus we can even use it to do my client billings! Can you say "ORGANIZED"???

More to come another time -- 

PS: if you want copies of the spreadsheets and other tools I've found, let me know. I may even post the links here when I get the chance.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A little bit on the "Worst Football Game Ever Played"

A little something from one of my favorite SI contributors, Bill Simmons...

You know how Mike Holmgren is retiring after this season? I think Andy Reid retired three years ago. That's the only explanation. He just didn't tell us. Our friend Mike Lombardi did a nice job breaking down the epic "Four Two-Minute Drills" debacle Sunday in Cincinnati; that game was so unbelievably bad that NFL Films should be working on a one-hour documentary about it. I'm not even kidding. That was the worst football game ever played. We need to spend a solid year interviewing people and breaking down the key moments so we can place it in its proper historical perspective.

(Note: I was forced to monitor it for fantasy purposes, which reminds me: Congrats to Donovan McNabb for throwing 58 times in a five-quarter game against a 1-8 team, ending up with just 17 points and officially ending my West Coast season once the Bills' D and Marshawn Lynch somehow combined to make up a 26-point deficit on me, marking the fourth time this year that I lost in heartbreaking fashion on Monday night. I wish I had the heart to write a "Goodbye to Fantasy Football" letter like when Joey wrote his "Goodbye to Drugs" letter on the "Real World: Hollywood." Dear fantasy football, I'm saying goodbye to you because you've done nothing but trick me and disappoint me. You told me you were my friend, but all you did was let me down. You wasted my Sundays, you wasted my Sundays …)

So, what would the Bengals-Eagles documentary be called? I vote for either "Four Hours Of Life That Nobody Will Get Back" or "The Longest Turd." Either of these will do. I don't care. And, yes, I wanted this show even before McNabb pushed the epicness (epicity? epiciousness? epicism?) of such a memorably putrid game by admitting he didn't know the overtime rules. I thought Warren Sapp summed it up well:

"Donovan, your legacy will be throwing up in the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh and now -- not knowing there were ties!!!"

I'd also throw in Campbell's Chunky Soup commercials, but, yes, that's probably it. I have watched far too much of the Eagles this season (again, for fantasy purposes) and would evaluate McNabb's 2008 performance like so: out of shape, careless, semi-competitive and uninspiring. The fact that Philly can't run the ball in short-yardage situations but McNabb never, ever, EVER runs QB draws or sneaks should tell you something. I think he just doesn't want to get hit anymore. He seems like a guy on his way out of the league to me.

(Funniest e-mail of the week, from a Philly fan calling himself "Andy Reid": "So, I pulled into my local drive-thru. After analyzing the menu for 25 minutes I quickly placed my order. As I pulled to the first window I was shocked to see Donovan McNabb working the register. Unfortunately, I pulled a foot away from the window. I had no idea how to get my money in there. Do I hand it in or try and throw it? I decided it would be better to waste five minutes backing out and pulling back in. After I handed Donovan my money, he threw my change five feet over my car. After receiving my food, I double-checked to make sure I had the right order. I checked for three minutes and knew they messed it up. I pulled back to the window to complain. After giving the employee a stare of mild confusion, he informed me that I had received what I ordered. I pulled away stunned.")

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci - wikiHow

Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci - wikiHow

Great. Now all I have to do is figure out how to invent all that crap, learn to write backwards and infiltrate the Priory of Sion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"There's no place like home..."

Getting ready for a quick visit... it's been too long since we've seen Mom and Dad. It will be quick, and jam-packed, but still nice.

If you're a friend living in the Philly area, I probably won't have much time at all apart from family things, so please forgive me if I don't get a chance to visit. Just sayin'...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Now that's what I call political support!

Something tells me this guy's gonna have some problems at home, even if McCain DOES win the election.
ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) — A new father has secretly named his baby girl Sarah McCain Palin after the Republican ticket for president and vice president. Mark Ciptak of Elizabethton put that name on the documents for the girl's birth certificate, ignoring the name Ava Grace, which he and his wife had picked earlier.

"I don't think she believes me yet," he told the Kingsport Times-News. "It's going to take some more convincing."

Posting to blogger can be fun

Jsut checking to see if this still works...
The Phillies won GAME 1 LAST NIGHT! Yahoooooo! I was reading Shane Victorino's blog (Phillies CF) about how/why he got thrown out at the plate...
"Oh, and on my trying to score on that shallow fly ball. That was a  miscommunication between Steve Smith and myself. I heard, 'go.' He said, 'No.' B.J. Upton made a great play and has got a great arm. I don't know why I tried to test him there. But we got the win, and that's all it's about. We were able to overcome some things tonight and pull out a win."
Here's what Dad has to say...
"From my blog" . . .  Good coaching would be to position yourself to be in sight of the runner and then drop your upraised arm at the moment of the catch (if you want to try to score the runner) - or give the stop sign if you're not going to have him break.  We all learned in school that the speed of sight is faster than the speed of sound.
I tell ya, I learned from the best! Go Coach Rezer!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Those Phightin' Phils!

Wowwwweeeee! I'm so excited I can scarcely contain myself. Those of you who know sports know that this doesn't happen for Philadelphia fans very often... so you'll need to excuse our complete and utter ecstacy right now!

It's been a lot of fun watching the games over the past few weeks, and one thing that's been even more fun is being able to watch parts of some of them with Sarah. While I can't say that she's a baseball fan AT ALL (she would rather watch football if given the choice), she knows quite a bit about sports in general, including knowing retired player names and things like the fact that the Dodgers used to be from Brooklyn. How many non-NYer women know that? Very few, I expect.

While watching the games, recently she's come up with a few comments recently that had be rolling. Let the quoting begin:

S: "Is that the manager?" (referring to Phils skipper Charlie Manuel)

J: "Yep."

S: "He looks like HE's had a few beers... look at his belly! It's all pointy..."

and referring to Manny Ramirez, Dodgers OF:

S: "Whooooaa -- what's up with HIS hair?"

and the best of all, referring to Manny's helmet...

S: "What's up with his batting helmet? It's all full o' crap..."

J: "Probably just pine-tar. They use it on their gloves to keep the bat from slipping."

S: "Well it looks like someone took a crap all over his helmet... it's NAAAASTY!"

(Sorry this is an old picture... apparently he liked spreading pine tar all over his helmet in Boston too!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just keep winning...

This is all I have to say...

Michigan, OSU -- here we come!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Since my last post...

I have lost two straight games. Hopefully we can turn that tide this week with a win and improve to 4-2. I've had some tough luck, leaving some guys on the bench that played well and at the same time having my stars get shut down unexpectedly... but "Them's the breaks..." I also tied a game last week and ended up losing on the tiebreaker, which was Fantasy D points allowed. What can you do? I won a game the same way earlier in the season, so I figure it's all karma, baby.

More to come... but first, a video of Ethan's 3rd birthday! We had a blast. Make sure you check out the photo gallery on Picasa!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just to pat myself on the back...

Yes folks, the Gridiron Gurus are in first...

No thanks to ToOrry Holt and Ryan Grant.

But many thanks to my brother Rich.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hannah is moving Eastward...

The updated storm track has our lovely Miss Hannah further off Florida's Atlantic coast than previously expected... so that's GOOD. Keep praying she stays out there in the water where she can't hurt anyone.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hannah cometh

Oh, perfect.

Disney Time = Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue

Hannah Time = Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun... who knows?
Better start praying now... :-(

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fun with ladders

Got a prayer request for someone from our church who recently fell off a ladder and broke his pelvis. What's up with all this ladder falling?

So, during my search for a graphic that I could use to create some Facebook Flair touting the importance of doing tandem-ladder-thingy-stuff, I came across this page. Somehow I don't think this is what was meant when they say "Never climb a ladder alone..."
View all the latest entries for the OSHA-sponsored Darwin Awards here. The pictures speak for themselves:

And if you want to climb a ladder... PLEASE... CALL ME! :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Unlike the winners from 2005 and 2006, I am returning to play this year and will allow the league to TRY and win some of their money back. How generous am I?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ethan strikes again

He is now singing the alphabet... BACKWARDS. No joke. Daddy and Mommy started singing it to him cause he thought it was funny, and now he has memorized it after hearing it only 5 or 6 times. I believe there's a video coming...

We were over hanging out with Charlie Hines (our Music Pastor) and his wife Traci, and we told them about it and they didn't believe us... until he actually did it. I love watching the look on people's faces when he does it. If I get this much enjoyment out of little things like this, I can't imagine what it's gonna be like when he hits his first homer or scores his first touchdown... :-)

The kid is FREAKY. I love him!

Medical Update 2

Just to update you all...

Rich came home mid last week... the doctors were amazed that he wasn't more injured than he was. No memory loss, and no muscle/nerve damage, etc etc... he does have a cracked sinus plate, but they are fairly sure at this point that it will heal within 6 weeks without the need for surgery.

I believe he is taking some time off from work and then continuing with vacation plans the following week. The key at this point is to keep his 100lb+ dog from jumping on him... needless to say that has the potential to hinder the recovery. :-)

He seems to be in good spirits... I want to thank everyone for your prayers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Medical update

For anyone checking here, just wanted to let you know that so far Rich is doing well. He's a bit banged up with a broken left forearm (BOTH bones), a cracked/chipped tooth, black eye and some other scrapes and bruises. Other than the pain, he's doing quite well... and seemed to be in good spirits when I called and spoke with him the other day. He was hoping to be released today if all goes well, but they are still monitoring him for a possible cracked sinus plate. They are hoping to be able to treat with antibiotics, however if there is any leakage of sinus fluid they'll need to operate. We DON'T want that -- so please keep him in your prayers.

For those who hadn't heard about the accident -- Rich slipped off a ladder while cleaning his gutters at home and landed HARD on the driveway. Compund fracture of the left arm. OWCH. He was taken to U of Penn Hospital and he's hanging in there. There is a 4-6" plate in his arm with a bunch of screws that will need to be there for at least 12 months...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Things my son does that really freak me out...

Sometimes it's scary. Like really freaky scary... not BOO scary. :-)

I'm going to start a list here of things he does that make me stop and ponder how crazy his memory really is... prepare yourself... and remember that the kid is 2 and a half.

Today we were counting stairs at church. Not "1, 2, 3..."mind you. We got up to 22... cause there were a lot, of course. And he likes to count. He can go up to 100 by himself. And sometimes he'll do it by himself in bed just to pass the time... but that's not the freaky scary part.... After getting up to 22, we walked around the corner, stopped for a chat with someone, etc, and then there was another set of stairs -- but he didn't start over at 1. He picked up right where he left off a few minutes earlier... "23, 24, 25.... 31, 32..." Seriously, kid...

The other day I made up a stupid little verse to the classic kiddy song "The Wheels on the Bus"... and sang it ONCE about 3 days ago. He started singing it today all by himself, unprompted.

I planned on teaching him "Take me out to the Ballgame" for Pop's visit in July as a surprise and planned ahead by a week to make sure we had enough time. Ethan learned it COLD after singing it 3 times in one night.

He also learned the Lord's Prayer and can recite it all by himself...

Methinks he's got his mommy's memory and his daddy's affinity for numbers and patterns. I think it's gonna prove to be a scary situation for his teachers... when he finally gets into nursery school. I really am frightened for them...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What do I Need?...

So a bunch of friends of mine have started this little internet experiment... just type your name and "needs" into Google and post the results if you want to play along... you might want to put both items in quotes for better results.

Here are my top 10 answers:

10. Jeff needs a nap.


9. Jeff needs to stay away from high profile...

(apparently whoever wrote this needs to learn how to finish their sentences)

8. Jeff needs a drink!

Don't we all?

7. Jeff needs to remember the tiny size of the Kindle market in the grand scheme of things.

HUH? I don't need to steeeenkin' firewood!

6. Jeff needs people in Myanmar.


5. Jeff needs a tan.

Burn baby, burn. They don't call me the Human Lobster for nothing, you know. You gotta EARN that nickname.

4. Jeff needs to see some movies [apparently]...

I only wish I knew what they were.

3. Jeff needs to Dance!

Too Bad SYTYCD is over for this year

2. Jeff needs YOU!!!

I'm gonna send this slogan to the US Army and see what they can do with it. It has potential...

...and the NUMBER ONE thing Jeff needs...

1. Jeff needs to fix my ^&*!er!!!!!

I'm NOT retyping this one. Google it and YOU find out what it says!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The words I use...

Sarah sent me a cool link... this online program called "Wordle" actually generates a map of all the words you use on your site in their relative weightings... larger words appear more, smaller words appear less. Pretty cool.

Glad to see Ethan and Sarah are two of the biggest words on there... although I AM surprised I don't see BEER anywhere! :-)

(click for a larger version)

Ma and Pa Re

Mom and Dad are coming tomorrow! We can't wait! It's been 3-4 months since we've seen them, and this visit will be a little longer AND over a weekend, so I'll actually get to spend more time with them than just the evenings! Last time they came it rained almost the whole time as well, so hopefully we'll be able to do some things outside this time!

In other news...

I rescued a little white dog yesterday... she was very cute, and very friendly, but had no leash and no dog tag. Nada. We live one house in from a busy street, and this doggie wouldn't have had a chance if she decided to take a stroll a bit past our yard...

So I scooped her up and Ethan and I trekked off down the street looking for the owner. Asked about a half-dozen people and nobody knew who she belonged to. Great.
So I headed home, put the doggie in the backyard and went inside to tell Sarah. After an attempt to get her to drink something (she didn't), we all set off down the street again, this time with the doggie on a leash. I was not about to give her another 30-minute-long "free ride". Luckily the first person we asked on the street saw the dog and said "Oh, yeah... she's mine..." Nice. Glad you were so concerned.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Time to blog again

Things have died down at work recently, as we're in between projects, so I decided it would be a good time to blog while having lunch. I am quite the multi-tasker.

Ethan scares me.


I think his brain might explode if he continues learning at this pace.

You may laugh, but it really does concern me that he's getting so intelligent -- it's going to be difficult for his teachers (once he starts going to school) to challenge him since he's already doing things that 4 and 5 year-olds are learning. His most recent accomplishment is that he pretty much can write ALL of his letters by himself, and now he's starting to write words. I've even seen him sound out words that peopls asked him to write and then come up with the letters that matched the sounds and then write them down. Are you kidding me?

He learns SO quickly -- in most cases, we give him something and after 3 or 4 tries, he pretty much has it down. I was planning on surprising "Pop" the other day by getting E to learn how to sing "Take me out to the ballgame". I figured I'd give him a week or so.

He learned it in ONE night.

So Mom and Dad are coming in a week! WE are super excited here, and are already thinking of ways we can spend the time together! This time we're not doing anything special at church, and they're able to come over a weekend instead of during the week, so I'll have much more time to spend with them... which is way cooler! I'm glad that Ethan will be able to spend more time with them, and even though our webcam sessions are great, a camera can't give a HUG!

Still struggling through finances. I put this out there not as a request for help but more of a way to honestly document my feelings and not hide from it. Sarah and I really don't spend money on frivolous things or things for ourselves -- it's more about spending money on "life" things... bills, house, etc... and there isn't ANYTHING left over at the end. We've tried everything short of something MAJOR like selling a car or something... but even selling the Van would put us in a hole cause we owe about $8K more on it than it's worth... if not more. We can't refinance to take advantage of low interest rates cause we don't have enough built up in equity to qualify. Even the extra money I'm making from web design clients and hosting ends up being spent on groceries and things.

I struggle with the idea of taking a second job cause I know it will really run me down, and I don't want to spend even more time away from the family, but it's getting to that point where I might just need to do it for a while to help dig us out and build our reserves back up again. Sarah is also looking into opps for employment, but having Ethan at home, needing to find and pay for childcare, and really needing weekends off for church really digs into most of the employment options (read: "retail") that would really fit our schedule. She's looking into AVON at this point and we may go that route... it seems like it might be a better alternative than PartyLite considering our home situation and schedule. Please say a prayer for us as we continue working through it all.

Ok - work calls. Thank goodness for Fridays and early dismissal at 3pm!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Long time, no blog

As usual, a lot of news to report... first, the most recent...
Upper Falls at Old Man's Cave
Sarah, E and I had a chance to get away this past weekend and get "back to nature". My supervisor at work has a cabin in the Hocking Hills area that is absolutely GORGEOUS and we were blessed to be able to spend a few days there relaxing, spending time outdoors, adventuring and all kinds of other fun stuff. The cabin looked to be only a year or two old and was beautiful -- a real log home, all wood, but outfitted with modern conveniences like electric, A/C, plumbing, stove, fridge, the works... we had an awesome time! I'm sure Rock House Cave, Hocking Hillswe'll be blogging and posting pix, but I wanted to at least get this bit up here ASAP.

Another fun thing I got to do this past week was FINALLY surprise my wife. I've been trying for YEARS without much success... Sarah is the QUEEN of surprises and always seems to figure things out before they actually happen. Usually it's my fault cause I do something stupid like leave my Email up so she can see it, or say something incriminating... but this time, it WORKED! We got a chance to go see James Taylor at Riverbend, an outdoor venue outside Cincinnati, and I was able to get the tickets and everything without her knowing. I even made her drive. AWESOME! She thought we were going to go stargazing at the Cincy Observatory (another gift I'd promised), so the fact that we needed to wear cool clothing and bring a water bottle and blanket made sense. There was even an overhead blinky roadsign on the way that said something about "Concert Traffic" that she totally missed... thank goodness. Needless to say, it was a great evening, and the weather was PERFECT. I told her she'd better remember this night cause I might not be able to pull something like it off again for another 5 years or so. :-)

This week's gonna be nuts cause my boss is out and we've got a ton to do -- new product releases and website launches -- so I guess I'd better get back to it... pix to come.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've been tagged

Deb tagged me in a blog cause I whined last time she didn't tag me, so
I guess that means I've got to play along this time. Bummer I already
posted for the day... I coulda sued this post instead. :-)

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers
the questions about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the
player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their
blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged
and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago:
1998. I was rockin' the east coast in one of the area's premiere cover
bands, Flip Like Wilson. Just started dating a girl who I'd date for
close to 5 years, and I was still living in Philly. Had started my own
consulting company and really was just working weekends with the band
and taking an occasional job.

Five things on today's "to do" list:
1. Figure out why the crap Google Analytics isn't tracking storefront
item detail pages
2. Work with Sarah on upcoming work assignment.
3. Do Dishes. Feed Dogs. Change Diapers. All that other house nonsense.
4. Go through music for tomorrow evening's Shareholders event at Vineyard.
5. Figure out how to prioritize all the other things from my to-do list

Three bad habits:
1. Too much TV and not enough one-on-one time with Sarah
2. Eating out way too much
3. Too much time on email

Five places I've lived:
1. Havertown, PA (SW Philly suburb)
2. State College, PA (Go Nittany Lions!)
3. King of Prussia, PA
4. Montgomery Village/Gaithersburg, MD
5. Cincinnati, OH

Five jobs I've had:
1. Drive Thru Convenience Store Clerk
2. Asst. Title Clerk
3. Web Designer
4. Director of IT
5. Manager of Online Advertising

I will tag:
1. Keith
2. Dan
3. YOU!

Memorial Day fun

Had a great time this weekend... a lot going on, and a lot not going
on. Just the way I like it.

Got a chance to go spend Memorial Day picnicing and playing at a local
park. Sarah and I got a picnic lunch together the day before,
consisting of sandwiches, fruit salad, hummus (Yummus!) and pita chips
and some Orangina. Mimi accompanied us and we sat underneath a big
shade tree and ate lunch, Ethan ran around like a crazy man and
learned a new game -- Duck Duck Goose. Thanks Mimi... he won't stop
saying it now. :-)

There was a "thank you" party at church for all members of the tech
team, so we also got a chance to go and hang out and eat free food.
Nothing wrong with that... They also had a Wii setup on a large screen
and had Rock Band running in another corner of the room. I think Ethan
is obsessed, and although I'm not sure right now if he's gonna be a
singer, keyboardist, guitarist or drummer in the future Rezer Rock
Band, I do know that he may go the Jimi Hendrix route and play
left-handed... it was all I could do to get him to hold that guitar
controller the "right" way... he kept wanting to hold it like a lefty.
On another "note", he is starting to match pitch, and his songs now
have a distinct melody and his relative pitch is SPOT ON! It's

Speaking of amazing, Ethan is up to like 50 words now (or so it seems)
and is starting to recognize words INSIDE of other words... the best
examples are seeing ETHAN in "Ethan Allan" and NO inside of words like
"KNOW" and "NOT". He also knows the difference between TO and TWO (as
in "T-O- that spells 'to'... not the number..."). Crazy. I got him to
also start counting backwards... and not just 5-4-3-2-1. He's starting
at TWENTY. Yipes. There may be a future for him as a NASA launch
operator. "20-19-18... BLASTOFF!"

We served in the band all weekend as well, so all in all it was a full
weekend. Glad to be back at work (I think) cause there's a lot to do,
but I wish I coulda had another day of doing a lot of nothing. :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I used to have cool musician toys...

I recently decided that in order to make some extra money for
vacation, I would start selling stuff that's now not being used
anymore and sitting on my shelves and laying around the house. A 19"
flat panel digital monitor, some powered speakers, and... my theremin.

Seriously though, I can't say that I ever really used it... it was one
of those cool music toys that I bought when I had money. Now I don't
have money... and I need money... so I sold it. End of story. I am no
longer cool. :-)

Can I just say that I love CraigsList? I posted this (and some other
items) last night and by morning I already had 3 inquiries! We sold
our couch and love seat earlier in the year and now I think we really
need to purge and start getting serious about what we need and what we
DON'T need -- and then spend the time and energy to list the items and
sell them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Remote Blogging can be fun

This is so much easier that logging in to my blog and then posting.
Most times the page doesn't even load all the way, and then I have to
refresh and do all kinds of other adjustments because of the bandwidth
shortage and firewall issues here at work. But this is much happier.
Yay for Email blogging.

Sarah and I started working on a new site for the Moms group she's
going to be involved with again -- same group, only now our friend Amy
is taking over the leadership role, and Sarah is thinking that this
new direction is going to be a welcome change and will appeal to her
much more. She's really been getting into the web stuff, and is doing
quite well. Most of the changes she's making herself, including
designing graphics, etc. Check out the coolio logo she made (while we
are getting the site set up). She's really quite talented!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Words to live by

I sure am glad I can post this way now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Posting remotely

I love technology. I love the fact that I could post to my blog from
my phone if I wanted to. I just don't want to right now.

Today we're in post-party-slowdown-mode. Sarah V stayed over last
night, we took her to Skyline for her first Cincinnati-style chili,
and we'e getting ready to head out to Ikea for some window shopping
and Swedish meatballs after finishing a rousing game of Ticket To
Ride. Ah... Sundays.

My Little Brainiac

Ethan's getting so FREAKING smart. I'm not sure if he's actually just brilliant or if he's got a photographic memory, but he's doing some things that are really freaking me out.

Ethan's got this little puzzle with cut out pieces of race cars, all with their own numbers from 1-10. They are out of order on the puzzle, and are alos all different shapes. I was handing him the pieces the other day and he was putting it together SO fast -- hardly even looking at the pieces -- that I decided to test him. First I picked up each piece and asked "Where does this go?" and he promptly took it and placed it in the spot. Then, I actually held the pieces BACKWARDS (so the BLANK side was showing -- just the car outline) and asked what numbers they were.... and he got 8 out of 10 right. Then -- I asked him where the pieces went -- BACKWARDS again -- and he got them ALL right. So basically this means that either he has memorized the shapes and the numbers and the positions on the board, or he's got some sort of crazy spatial recognition ability of some sort. Either way, it floored me.

He also reads about 30 words now. Every night he's reading flashcards like RUN, STOP, GO, YOU, etc as well as recognizing the diff between GOD and DOG. He also has a number of CAT-HAT-FAT books that he blows through in about 30 seconds. Crazy. I want to encourage him to continue on this path, and Sarah is doing an amazing job, but I am seriously frightened that at some point he will be smarter than me. Like maybe even next year.

Well, at least he still poops in his pants. I've at least got THAT still over him. :-)

Birthday Parties and Backyard Swamps

So we got to celebrate two events this week... Mother's Day and Sarah's 30th! Needless to say it was made a little stressful by the fact that I was participating in a conference at church (2 all day sessions, one of them being on Sarah's actual Bday), we had way more things that we needed to purchase than we had money for, and E was a little out-of-sorts. We made it through thanks to some help from friends and family, a few well-times phone calls, Emails and visits, and a nice party that we managed to have today. Sarah V came down from Indy, and Headoo & Co. came up from KY, along with Benji & Liz from IL. We made all kinds of yumminess, including some creme brulee ice ream in our ice cream maker! We also had a great cake made specially for S by a woman from church who just started her own business.

Ethan had a great time playing ball with Uncle Benji and Aunt Lizzie outside, and they even got to play ring around the rosie too!

During the week, we got to go out to eat at a new place near church, plus we escaped on Thunight to go see a 2nd run of "Vantage Point" at the Dollar Saver theater near our house while Mimi watched E. All in all, I think everything came out great.

Oh -- and I got a chance to cut the grass! Finally! Now I can actually see the dogs when they go outside... and they don't get swallowed up in the Bog. It was a bit tricky, since our backyard kinda resembled a minefield with the puddles of water, dog doodies and tree roots every 3 feet or so. I had to keep the lawnmower on its back wheels just to be able to push it around... but eventually it all got completed. Not looking forward to the next mow....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ethan's Noggin

Ethan is quite the active child, and yesterday's experience only goes to prove that fact...

About 5 minutes from the end of the last service at church, I looked up on the screen and saw Ethan's number on the "kid call" monitor... the digital sign where they post numbers of the children that are in need of parental assistance. Since Ethan never has had a problem like this -- EVER -- I figured that something out of the ordinary must have happened... and I was right.

Apparently he fell and hit his "noggin" and ended up with 1/2" long split in his forehead over his right eye. He was absolutely fine, but we ended up having to go over to get 2 stitches at Children's Hospital. After talking with him about the incident, we found out that he fell because
"David pushed him" and David pushed him because "I took his drink". Well there... that settles it.

He was gret at the doc, and they were very good with him -- told him that when they put him in the restraints, it was like he was going to be getting a big "hug" and that he could have a lollipop afterwards. He did, and all was good.

I'm so glad E has Sarah's pain tolerance -- and that he's so chill about everything. It was a long afternoon, but yet another instance of E performing well under pressure... :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This. Is. SICK.

Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater playing a "fretless" keyboard, called the Haken Continuum. There's another video on the website that shows the performance LIVE. So cool. I want one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Duct Tape - the stuff of legends.

Saw something funny today on SlashDot today and thought I'd share:

There are only 3 things needed to fix anything in the universe:

  1. Duct Tape

  2. WD-40

  3. A Hammer

If it moves and it shouldn't - use Duct Tape...

If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40 ...

If neither of those work, use the hammer.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Garden Gnomes

Well, we're off to a flying start. We dug up the old nasty "decorative" grasses and planted 4 new mini-azalea bushes, and they're starting to bloom. I also dug out the "nasty trees" (mini decorative evergreens that had dried to a beautiful shade of brown). and we planted our first flowerbox. In a mad frenzy of gardening exuberance, Sarah and I went over to check out the local gardening place and MAN IS IT COOL. My mom would love it... and the people there seem quite knowledgable. A nice lady talked Sarah through everything that needed to happen for planting a flowerbox, the types of flowers to put in there, and how to arrange it. Luckily, we already had the flowerbox mounted on the front side of our house, so all we had to do was fill it up! We bought some really nice things, and are looking forward to them starting to fill out. I believe Sarah has some pictures posted in her Picasa gallery, so I will only include a few snaps here.

One word or warning: Never try to water delicate flowers using a garden hose -- one of our gorgeous Dahlias bit the dust... stupid Jeff. Sorry Sarah. :-(

Luckily the grass is also actually starting to come up in our back yard (formerly known as "Lake Rezer") and its filling in the doggie-made mud path. It's nice to not really need to worry about hosing down the pups every time they come in from a trip outside... now all I have to do is actually mow the grass. Thanks for the lawnmower Dad!

Some other notes of interest:

We've been grilling out a bit as well and it's nice to be able to take advantage of our grill and back deck.

Jeff almost burned the house down when attempting to burn off some accumulated tree branches etc in our firepit on a semi-windy day. Good thing I had a hose handy... Moral of the Story: Even Eagle Scouts occasionally do stupid stuff with fire.

Sarah and I started dieting (HerbaLife) and are doing well. It's going to help a lot to have a routine, not have to worry about what we're eating all the time and it will also save us money! Yee haw!

Looking forward to Sarah's 30th... we'll probably go to King's Island for the day, go to a nice restaurant and then have a little family party... She's got a wishlist on Amazon under if anyone wants to get her a little "You're Old Now" gift.

All for now...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

March Madness

So, it's been a while since I posted... but not so long as my friend Dan... :-)

(Hey Dan, I'm still waiting for "Part Trois")

March was a crazy month full of nice tax returns (HOORAY!), promotions/raises, some unexpected bargains, grand opening of IKEA, visits with family, etc etc etc. A lot actually happened that won't get written about - I'll try to be better next time.

After much CraigsList hunting (basically all by Sarah), we were able to purchase a sectional for the basement and finally get rid of that old futon we'd been using. The problem with our basement is that it's real hard to get larger pieces of furniture down there due to the angle, door width, etc... so a sectional was a good deal. The only problem -- it was MONSTROUS. After a trip to Louisville (2 hours away), a U-Haul rental and multiple trips to the ATM to get cash, we finally got all the pieces set up in the basement except for one -- which now sits sadly in our shed outside. If it wasn't the size of Long Island, it might have all fit...

Another fun thing we got to do last month was get really involved with "Ticket To Ride", a board game we fell in love with at a visit to travelingirl76/bulldogslair's place. They have multiple versions of the game, so we ended up purchasing the European edition so we could trade with our friends Dean and Amy, who have the US version. The game is really cool -- you build train routes between different cities in an attempt to connect cities and fulfill your "destination cards". The longer the route, the more points you get... but you only have a limited number of trains, and there are only a limited number of tracks, so you need to plan carefully! It's a great game, and we've been able to introduce a number of family members to it. Best of all, it's something Sarah and I can play by ourselves and still have fun!

We also got a chance to visit with Mom and Dad (and Token!) when they came for a visit the week preceding Easter... it was great to have them FINALLY see the house, and Dad and I got a chance to tackle some house projects, even though the weather was nasty. Because I wasn't able to take too much time off of work, Dad even decided to take care of some projects on his own... and it was much appreciated! We are looking forward to another visit soon -- as soon as we can -- and can't wait to see everyone back in Philly again!

I got a promotion and raise as well, and am very excited about my future here at F+W. I'll be working with my boss Larry a lot more in the years to come, and will also be assisting a team of people in our Wisconsin office that will take care of the reporting and campaign management that I had been working on. I also get to assist in hiring a new business analyst that will help us look at our web advertising campaigns, review their effectiveness, and assist in finding new ways to generate and maximize our online revenues. (If you want more of a description, feel free to call or Email... but I figured most people's eyes would start to glaze over if I kept talking any more about ROI, sell-through percent and clickthrough rates!)

More to come...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To Philly and Back Again.... a Rezer Tale

Well, vacation #1 of 2008 is over and done. It was quite the adventure, and I know that we all had a fantastic time. Got to spend some quality time with Mom and Dad, visited friends for an overnighter in MD, went out to a SUPERB restaurant in Philly called POD (thanks Christine!) and got to spend time with cousins and other family.

Sarah drove the whole way cause we took her stickshift (and I can't drive it yet), but it really wasn't too bad a drive. We stopped half-way on the trip there, but did the whole journey on the return trip in one day. It would have been totally uneventful if: #1 Ethan hadn't wet through THREE pair of pants during the trip and #2 we hadn't left the first set of wet clothes at the Cracker Barrel in Washington PA. Ugh. Luckily they are sending them back to us via US MAIL. Hopefully they're not too nasty when they arrive. :-)

Our night out at Christine's restaurant POD was phenominal. She's a server there and knew exactly what to order and not only did we get a few free dishes, we also got the 20% discount! We ate, and ATE, and ATE... it was easily one of the top 3 meals I've ever had, and possibly even higher. The food was all fantastic, and I even had an eye-opening encounter with FANTASTIC sushi. Seriously. I had it once or twice before and it was BAD, so I swore I'd never eat it again. But this was DARN GOOD. It was prepared specially for us and was "off-menu", and man was it tasty! Even my non-alcoholic drink was good -- White Peach Soda with Mint. MMMMMMM.

Time down in MD was good as always -- Mandy made a superb roast with all kinds of yumminess, and we got to spend time hanging out with she and Keith as well as the Cunninghams. After dinner we played a great game called Ticket To Ride -- kind of like RISK meets connect the dots. Awesome! :-)

The next morning Keith made soem KICK-BUTT specially-made omelettes and then after some hugs, we headed over to the Vaughns for lunch -- home made chicken soup, veggies, cheese and crackers. It was good to see them and spend some time, even if it was only a few hours. During the visit, I even got to visit Ken's private bar in the basement and sample three homebrews - an English bitter, a real ginger beer and an American Porter. What a TREAT! It's something I'm really interested in getting into, and hopefully this time I'll actually do it!

It was sad to leave them all, espcially our friends in Maryland, but nice knowing that we'll be seeing them again in April or May, and my parents will be coming for a visit in a few more weeks! That definitely makes parting such less sweet sorrow... :-)

Well - back to the grind...

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Time Am I?

You’re the time of day right around sunrise, when the sky is still a pale bluish gray. The streets are empty, and the grass and leaves are a little bit sparkly with dew. You are the sound of a few chirpy birds outside the window. You are quiet, peaceful, and contemplative. If you move slowly, it’s not because you’re lazy – it’s because you know there’s no reason to rush. You move like a relaxed cat, pausing for deep stretches that make your muscles feel alive. You are long sips of tea or coffee (out of a mug that’s held with both hands) that slowly warm your insides just as the sun is brightening the sky.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The carnage continues

Our dogs are either:

1) The unluckiest canines ever
2) The biggest clutzes ever
3) Have a death-wish (or at least have some sort of sado-masochistic streak)
4) All of the above.

We had to take Marie to the emergency vet last night because she ripped the dew claw on one of her front legs. Blood. Nasty. Limping, whining. And she NEVER whines. EVER.

Greyhounds have a tremendously high pain tolerance and almost NEVER show pain unless it's pretty severe. They are so "ho-hum, la-de-da" about medical procedures -- so much that they are the donor of choice when blood is needed for another animals.

Just last month (on my birthday) we had to take Donny in because he stepped on something outside and punctured his front paw between the toes. Now Marie. And these animals have had a history... Donny's had shoulder and leg problems before, plus had some teeth extracted -- greyhounds have notoriously bad teeth. And a few years ago Marie had some surgery and stitches and stuff to repair a gash in her chest. Maybe some of you remember... ugh.

Well, we got lucky cause the vet tech was able to fix her all up by trimming up the nail and getting the bleeding to stop, and it wasn't as bad as originally thought... although still quite painful. We are going to have to do something about our backyard. I don't know if this is all happening because they're tearing around like crazy back there, or because of all the exposed tree roots, frozen ground and lanscaping rocks... who knows. Anyone know a good landscaper?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My kid is cute

Maybe some of you have seen this, but I thought I'd bump it again...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two days in a row?

Yes, it's true. The child is in bed for his afternoon nap, Sarah's on the couch reading, and I'm just hanging out. Sure, there's tons to do... but why do it all when there's blogging to be done?

I'm going to be moving the old Rezer pic gallery from over to my Picasa Gallery cause I'm running outta space on my server. Seems like my host decided to change their hosting plan, so I'm unfortunately going to have to downsize in order to stay within their storage limits. This means removing files, pix, music, etc... Not horrible, but still a pain in the butt. The main issue, however will be that it will also affect my clients, and I'm starting to look for a new host... which means eventually changing all the DNS, moving sites and files, setting up Email addresses, etc... and, oh yeah, paying more. Ugh.

Anyone know of a good VPS hosting company? Don't care if it's Linux or Windows... but I think Linux is preferred since I have a few clients using PHPList and PHPForms. Lemme know... and the cheaper, the better...

Got a new webcam, too, courtesy of GeGwe and Pop (the Logitech Fusion). Quite nice. We got hooked up over Windows Live and have already made 2 or 3 video calls to them. The quality is not bad at all, and audio is pretty clear. It's not like "being there", but it's probably the next best thing. If anyone's out there with a similar setup, lemme know... we'll chat. Windows Live ID is jrezer at

PS: My buddy Erik is launching his second new product, Pizza Box Baseball, on Feb 17. Check out the site for Pizza Box Football (designed by me, of course) and look for the Pizza Box Baseball site soon!

Friday, January 25, 2008

And we have our first post of 2008...

Yes. I am lame. I say it often. So does Sarah. But that's OK...

Some notable items worth a mention...

#1 -- We had a major plumbing leak. Still trying to put the kitchen back together, but basically we needed to rip out the sink, garbage disposal, countertop and a cabinet so the plumbers could replace some old rotted-out copper pipe. It took me the better part of 4 evenings, doing a little at a time. Unfortunately the previous owners made it almost impossible to just remove the little piece of countertop I needed to without pulling out the stuff it was attached to. And to make matters worse, they used screws that were way too skinny for the job... so when trying to take them out, all the heads snapped off. Nice. This basically meant that I needed to do use a combination of a 2x4, hacksaw, hammer and tire-iron to pull out the cabinet. All while trying NOT to wake up Ethan. Let me tell you, it was QUITE the undertaking.

Anyway, it all got completed, they fixed the pipe, and luckily it was all covered under our Homeowner's Warranty, so we paid a grand total of $100. Not bad.

#2 -- Our TABLE is here! For those of who who remember the saga of the missing table, you'll recall that we needed to order a new one and it was taking 12 weeks to build and then ship. Well, it;'s here. The delivery company didn't bring it inside like they were SUPPOSED to, so Sarah and I had to muscle it off the pallate in the driveway and bring it up the stairs and inside, where we assembled it. And man... let me tell you... that table is SOLID. Freaking heavy. It's actually deceptively heavy. At least we know it's real wood... or mabe concrete. :-)

Ethan "helped" us put it together, and now it's positioned nicely in our dining room. We "retired" the highchair, and now Ethan has taken his place at "the big people table". Sarah has him sitting on pillows to eat... I haven't witnessed it yet, but I'm sure it's cute!

#3 -- We found our video camera bag, old tapes and charger! In the middle of a cleaning/purging frenzy upstairs, there it was... nestled right inside a box of old shoes. Why? I don't know... but there it was. It had been missing since we left MD in May... SO glad it's back. Now we can start filming again... although our digital camera did quite a nice job in its absence.

That's all for now... more later...