Holidays wishesfor you and yours

Let me take this moment to wish all the other passengers on this globe of ours a warm and happy holiday season.

Here is a shot of video cuteness in the form of our son wishing folk a "Merry Christmas" in English and Polish. He was "helping" vacum when this was made.


Hope is renewed (random thoughts about the election of Obama)

It is amazing how a single election can restore ones hopes and dreams for a country, a planet and the future.

Not that I think there was a lot riding on this election or anything.

The process works. Real leaders can be elected in this country. Leaders that bring with them the potential for change, not just for the United States but for the World.

More importantly it demonstrates a key feature of the Democratic experiment. A nation can have dramatic change without violence.

Now lets see what we can do when a smart leader that works to bring different groups together is in charge. And what we can do to help.


meme of the week from taokodr

Your result for The 4-Variable IQ Test...


10% interpersonal, 45% visual, 10% verbal and 35% mathematical!

Your strongest type of intelligence is Visual. You thrive on spatial thinking, shapes, patterns, and form. You're unlikely to be blind. You can probably think in 3D very easily. You are very likely to be attractive, based on only my most rudimentary anecdotal evidence. And you are likely to appreciate a good body in a lover.

Your specific scores follow. On any axis, a score above 25% means you use that kind of thinking more than average, and a score below 25% means you use it less. It says nothing about cognitive skills, just your interest.

Your brain is roughly:

10% Interpersonal




Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice to the world.

1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 20%.

2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 25%.

3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 50%.

Take The 4-Variable IQ Test at HelloQuizzy


halloween preview

This year it is Batman. He had so much fun playing with the mask at a cousins house that we bought it months ago. A black long sleeve shirt, pants, sneakers, $1.50 worth of fabric for the cape and felt for the emblems and there you have it.

At home, refusing to stand still and captured in the process of running up to see what is on the camera.

At the YMCA halloween party, starting in on the candy early. He went thru the Haunted House twice! At least three other Batmans, all different versions. A Superman, Indiana Jones, Power ranger, Policeman and a smattering of vampires rounded out the party.


slowly coming back to reality

The summer is my busiest time at work. That is when there are the least number of people using the network, so that is when there are more opportunities for me to make major changes. And the period in the summer that is the busiest is the three weeks before the student arrive to start the fall semester. The rest of the summer is generally prep for those three weeks. Students moved into the dorms in various waves starting the week before Labor Day. Naturally the three weeks or so prior to that were more than a little crazy with late nights at work and long days over weekends inaddition to the regular work schedule. This years changes to the network were among the more ambitious plans I think we have ever attempted, and while it all worked out, it was not without its craziness along the way. I was in New Hampshire for a two day training class on a product we bought six weeks earlier, that was going live two days after I got back. Happily I did not find anything out during the training that caused us to have to make any changes to our plans. That waited until I returned and found a major bug in the product, or at least a major bug from our point of view. We bought a NAC, or a product that does Network Access Control for thos not up to speed on their network TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). This product was bought to replace an aging home grown set of labor intensive processes that achieved a limited form of the same effect. We are also planning on using this with the yet to be bought next generation wireless product. The NAC steps in when a computer first connects to the network and makes sure it is up to date on its operating system patches, has a required antivirus product and that the virus definitions are up to date. It can do much more than that simple list, but that is enough of a start for us. This a major step for us. It brought to light a problem with one of the antivirus products we support, which was a major time sink for our helpdesk staff. They had lines going out the door during the move in week.
Once we worked out that the new NAC was not the source of the problems, and that it was doing what it was supposed to do, my life got a bit simpler. I did loss a week repairing data jacks that were damaged over the summer but I am slowly starting to get back to regular hours and being able to focus on new projects. Or at least on those projects that got back burnered over the course of the summer.
I hope everyone else is having a less busy time of it and are able to enjoy the last vestiges of the summer season.


Back in the country, with loads of pictures

Howdy, to the two of you that read this blog. We made it back without incident. I had a good time visiting for their last week. And here are loads of pictures taken during their almost three month visit.

How Mom spent her visit. *grin*

Just taking a breather in the bus stop while holding a bucket of baby pears. No reason to be concerned, just move along officer.

A frame from an upcoming music video of the blues song titled "Down by the River"

I am ready for my close-up.

uh... "Yo"

umm, was that supposed to happen?

I made this for you.

and you believed me!

I need to think about this for a bit and nothing helps me think like a good carrot.

Some fool gave this child a hat full of candy.

Don't tug on that, you don't know what it is attached too.

This is how you water a garden.

Nothing funny to say. Just a great shot of him running down a road.

Eating a fresh picked tomato in the garden... in my undies. You know you wish you were me!

You handle the peddles and I will stear.

Cruising for smooches!

Were you sleaping?

A whole new meaning to the phrase "Surfing Dad."

I saw this one on a wrestling show.

I think it goes here.

Son, I really hate to tell you this, but this is, mostlikely, the last time you will get to hang out in a pool with four cute blonde sisters.

Meeting the family pet.

Nothing says you are done with a post like a child riding a goat.


Loads of pictures of the cute one

Here, let me help you with that bag, Grandpa.

Taking the dolls out for a walk.

Playing in the pool.

A budding thespian.

Leave me alone, I'm licking my lollipop.

Cruising with Grandpa.

Hiding in the hammock, sorta.

See, Mom, I did too eat my vegetables.


Memorial Day 5k results

It is that time of year again. Our little borough had their 2nd 5k run and I took part. 240 people took part in this years run. There was some concern about whether or not I would be able to run this year. Earlier posts went over the process of recovering from the injury after the Thanksgiving Day 5 miler. And as recent as yesterday I was limping from having pulled something on my hip. Happily this did not cause any problems and I was able to finish running. Since my training was interrupted these last few months I had very modest expectations for my performance. Just getting out there was a victory. That said, I did better this year than last! My time this year was 31:06 minutes, more than two minutes faster than last year. My average pace was almost exactly 10 minutes a mile. This is very encouraging for my hopes to continuing to improve my times. If the aim to improve a few minutes year over year is modest when compared with the results of the top runners in this race. The first place mens was almost exactly half my time. The top finishers in my age bracket are ten minutes faster. So I have a ways to go before my name has a chance of showing up on those lists. Wish me luck!


and here are some pictures...

Here are some pictures of our little one.

Hanging out in the airport in ones pajamas.

Helping Dziadek (Grandpa) in the garden.

"Tell me again how this becomes soup?"

If they can eat this stuff, can I?

"Ok, now poop!"

"What else needs watering? I know, the same plant I have been watering all afternoon!"

The work day is done, now we play! Please note that he has moved from throwing pebbles to throwing small boulders. Not a surprise, as they make much better splashes.

"Ok, I let you out of your pen but that does not mean you can put your cold nose on my belly, no matter how much I may giggle."

"What do you mean its not zoned for this structure?"


Home is where the heart is

And since my wife and son are with her family in Poland for another two months, I am feeling a bit homesick today. The rainy weather we are having is not helping too much either. We do get to talk via Skype occasionally and email fills in the gaps, but it is not the same as being able to be in the same room as them.

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying this time to myself. I have seen movies in the trheater on my own for the first time in years. I am burning through those netflix movies I know my wife has no interest is watching. My schedule is mine to mis-use as I see fit, which is always a nice thing. Laundry, dishes and cat litter still get done so it is not like a vacation from life or anything that liberating.

The language experiment seems to be paying off. Polish words are already entering his vocabulary and his pronuciation, in general, has been improving. He had been using just the start or ending sounds of words when I left and that has already started to improve such that more of the other syllables in longer words are getting incorporated.

One story for this past week comes from when they were visiting friends of the family and he got to play with the pet hamster. The full two hours they were there he carried this thing around. He gave it rides in the wagon, pretended to feed it from toy dishes and giggled like only a three year old can when it ran up his sleeve. And he has asked about it every day since the visit. I think it is the first animal he has had direct contact with that is that much smaller than him. He has been around cats and dogs since being born, but even the small ones come up to his waist and can knock him down if they are too friendly. (Keep in mind we have a 20lb cat named China that really is half his size and she can knock over full grown adults if she decides to flop down in your path. We used to put his growth in fractions of the cats size to keep it in perspective. He is now almost equal to 2 China's.) So I can only imagine what he is thinking as he finds a place in his mind for small pets that are more on his scale in terms of size. *sigh* Really wish I could have been there for it. Hopefully we will get to visit that same family when I go back in July, and it will still be as much fun for him.

I hope to get some pictures posted from my recent visit.



further updates

Two things have captured the attention of our son.

The first is throwing stones into a small pond. Hours have been spent searching for stones of all sizes to use to make a splash. When stones are not immediately obvious he will settle for clumps of dirt. Occasionally he will even lower his standards enough to grab handfulls of dandelions or grass and toss them into the pond. I wonder if the water level will change by the time he leaves later this summer.

The second thing to capture his imagination is chicken poop. Yes, you read that correctly. Chicken poop. Fowl excrement. There is no real way to make that sound good. What happened was that on the first day of our visit his grandfather was showing him the chicken coop. He brought out a chicken to show our son up close and much to everyones surprise the chicken took the opportunity to defecate . Obviously our son was amazed at the process and, in his own almost three years old manner, said "again, again!" The next chicken that was brought was kind enough to perform on demand and a tradition was born. Now whenever we see a chicken there is a demand for "chi poo!"

The rest of our trip is going well, if not as planned. We had hoped to visit Zakopane, a resort town in the mountains along the southern border of Poland. When we called around to get some rooms, all of the hotels were booked. It was so unusually busy there for this time of year it made the evening news. We had a similar problem when we tried to find a place to stay for a couple of days in Krakow instead. So no tourist type of stuff this visit. The fall back plan has been to hang out at home, watch the kids run around the yard and drink beer each afternoon. Since the weather has been very nice each day, this has worked out well for us. Luckily there have been no Papal visits resulting in the halting of beer sales, so there has been no interruptions like during our visit in 2002. We went to a national park yesterday and walked through a castle. The day before we walked through the pine woods on the far side of the village. So if nothing else we are keeping busy.


the great experiment has begun

So I am posting from the computer at my in-laws house in Poland. Here is a link to Google maps showing the village where they live:
Rudy Rysie, Poland
We landed last Wednesday afternoon. Our son was better than we had any right to hope he would be on the flight over. I think Saturday was the first day he was all caught up on his personal clock. The rest of us have just been napping at odd hours as needed. I have managed to get in two runs so far. The first was for three miles and the second was for four miles. Most of the distance is on country roads with feilds more often than houses. The only problem so far is the occasional unchained dog. Most are fairly small and the worse they have done is bark at me. Most people nod and say "dzien dobry" which is Polish for "Good day." Some are clearly wondering what idiot is out running around but they are nice about it.
The big experiment is that after two weeks I will come home but my wife and son will stay on until the middle of July. His language skills have been going through the roof, as is expected for children almost three years old. So we are really hoping he will learn enough Polish this summer to lay a good foundation for the future. The end goal is he be able to use Polish communicate with his family in Poland. We talked about this trip when we started thinking about children and we bought the tickets back in December. Now we see what happens.
I am curious how my wife will handle being a single mother living with her parents. There is also the reality of my having to deal with only seeing them via Skype or email. Should be interesting. Some friends have asked what I will be doing when I am "single" again and I have correct them by saying that instead of "single" they should just think of me as "unsupervised" for the duration.
Enough for now. I hope all is well in your neck of the woods!


the joys of running again

Words can not describe how nice it is to be running without pain!

About two weeks ago I finally finished the physical therapy and the two weeks of breaking in the orthotics. And I can run again without the crippling shin splints. Not at anywhere near the speed I was at before the injury, or even where I was a year ago but I can live with that detail. I was able to keep some of my endurance during the last few months by using the eliptical a few times a week for a cardio workout. So now the plan is that each week I will increase the speed a little bit while still going the same distance. I am planning on running in the neighborhood 5k at the end of May. I think I can get back to the speed I was at for this race last year by then. We shall see!


a complete lack of running

I have been unable to run since the Columbus Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving due to a form of shin splints. At least lets hope it is just shin splints. The other option is particularly unpleasant in both its symptoms and treatment.

I have been working my through the labyrinth of medical professions these last few months. I started with the family doctor who said stay off it a month and then start up slow. No luck there. He sent me to a specialist in sports medicine, knees mostly I found out later. The first available appointment was three weeks after my call. This one prescribed physical therapy to deal with the injury itself and orthotics to deal with the "slight" biomechanical problem. The PT is three times a week for a month. I am one week into it. Mostly so far it has been just stretching muscles etc I have not been using much lately it seems, but lately there is a start on strengthening various things. I also have met the podiatrist for the orthotics. It was interesting to get the description of what is going on with my feet in terms of structure and mechanics. It was discouraging to be told that almost no plans cover orthotics and that I would have to pay the $500 out of pocket. It is the first thing I have heard that will help get me back on the road to running etc so I am getting them, but ouch it is not cheap.

Getting the casts done of my feet so the inserts can be made was kind of interesting. It was the first time I have seen the plaster gauze in a long time. And now a week or three wait until those are done. I might be done the PT before I even get the orthotics.

Such is life.

Small steps are fine and all, but I have to admit to getting a bit impatient with the process. I just want to be able to run so I can lose the weight I have gained over ther years. The races are a nice set of goals to have over the course of the year to keep it interesting and let me focus on something beyond the next hill.

If we ever move again, I am keeping an eye out for homes near multi use trails. Maybe that way I can mix things up a little. Some biking and some running. What I did growing up (biking) with what has become so important in these recent years (running). Just add swimming and I can go for the triathalons, which would be kind of amusing, in a "I never would have imagined that for myself years ago" kind of way.

I am still wondering what I can be learning from this process. What I can pass on to our son from this experience. Hopefully, at the very least, this will let me keep being active, so he will grow up seeing me working at staying healthy, and not fall as easily into the unhealthy habits I blame for my current state.

Now if only I could schedule the PT for some time other than 7:30 in the AM. That is what is really starting to wear on me. *sigh*


cuteness update

It has been a while since I posted any videos, so here are two from a recent visit with by my folks. Grandpa is helping our son build towers of dubious structural integrity out of the wooden marble track system my wife bought at a yard sale for a dollar. The first one is about a minute, the second is quite a bit longer at over six minutes. Nothing exciting just fun watching his progress through the building process. This is followed by a small collection of recent pictures.

Here is a still from the same afternoon.

Eating breakfast early one morning. Not even out of his sleep sack yet.

The improvised bed rail, for use when he comes down from a nap and decides he wants to keep on sleeping. Only used once as this just happened this afternoon and we are still shocked. He slept late this morning, actually went down for his nap then woke up after an hour and a half. This is usually it until bed time but when my wife brought him down he curled up in her lap and went back to sleep. Rather than tempt fate by taking him back upstairs she made this arrangement on the couch. He slept another hour and a half. She is concerned he might be getting sick. Given he is eating anything he can at all hours of the day, I am starting to think it is another growth spurt. Time will tell.

Thanks for visiting!


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