Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Miles keep rolling

I took a look at my bike computers. I got the first one last Christmas. Since that time, I've racked up over 800 miles on my two bikes. And I got a ride in today and probably will again tomorrow so I had some good mileage in the last 12 months. We'll see how 2011 goes.

We have no big plans for New Year's Eve this year. We have a movie to watch. We'll put together some good snacks. Maybe go downtown to see fireworks. Probably go see a CSI exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Saturday will be a little crazy. We're going to my mom's for "dinner" (the Italian tradition of having a large meal at about 2 pm). And I need to be at church early to set up to play Mass at 5. But that leaves Sunday with no obligations so over all it should be good.

Enjoying the week off from work. So far the most fun thing we did was go sledding yesterday. We got the boys new sleds for Christmas so we had to try them out. What a blast that is. The hill was pretty slick so the sledding was fast. Got some great action shots.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year and a successfull 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Breaking the Rules

For Christmas this year I got cold weather riding gear. I got long riding pants and shoe covers to keep my footies warm. I have a rule that I'll only ride if it's warmer than 30 degrees outside. Well, since I had some new gear, of course I had to go riding today. And the temp was 25 degress. Truthfully, I was only a little chilly. Overall I stayed pretty warm. However, I did get reminded why I set the 30 degree rule. It was a bit brisk riding today.

I've also been in a cooking mood today. It probably had to do with making up for a bad start to the day. Christopher and I where planning on going to church early today since he was supposed to have wrestling practice at noon and our usual Mass ends at 11:30. So when I got in my car to head out, I found out my battery was stone cold dead. Not a good way to start the day. Luckily, when I got home I managed to jump start it with Ellen's car. So I let the battery charge while she was at church. And decided she needed something good to come home to. So I made blueberry muffins.

And since it's a Sunday and I wasn't planning on going anywhere and it's cold outside (as I very plainly know), I decided lasagne was appropriate. Meaning I had to make the sauce from scratch. I was planning on grocery shopping today anyway so I got everything I needed and got the sauce going when I got home. Went for a ride while the sauce was cooking. And then got the lasagne in the oven. It is now "resting" waiting for us to devour. I actually enjoy cooking when I have the time and it's been a good end to the day after all of the excitment this morning.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting ready to recharge

After today, I'm done with work for the year. I normally take the week between Christmas and New Year's off since the boys are home from school. It's usually my time to recharge from the work year before diving in to the next one.

And I think 2011 is going to be a crazy year. I'm working to complete my MBA by the end of the year. I'm pretty sure there's going to be some big changes in my department next year. There's a possible opportunity for me now but no matter what I do I'm pretty sure my job will be different by this time next year. Of course, there's always new things with the boys to make the year exciting. So I'm pretty sure catching my breath will be necessary.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and that Santa brings you everything you need, if not everything you want. And may you enjoy the peace of the Lord through the season and the new year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Change is the only constant

So many things going on right now. All the last minute Christmas stuff (wrapping, family things, etc) is making us crazy. Both boys have something going on at the same time tomorrow. Christopher can't seem to get his act together with school or sports. Opportunites at work are both exciting and terrifying. The stress is making all of us a little crazy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Short but sweet

It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster around here the last couple of days. That is all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Other side of the story

In one of my courses this semester, Managerial Decision Making, we talked a lot about how to "debias" your thinking and take a more reasoned view before making decisions. There were a few biases to watch out for, one being the "confirmation" bias, meaning you look for information that supports a decision you've already made as opposed to gathering information before making a decision. We also talked a lot about listening to opposing views.

With that in mind, I recommend you check out the blog below. I will admit up front that it is biased from the perspective of the healthcare company (namely mine). However, you hear a lot these days about "evil" healthcare companies raising your rates. Before you decide that the insurance companies are to blame, gather more facts, get information from both sides, and then make a decision for yourself instead of letting media sound bites shape your opinion for you. Even if you don't agree with the position in the blog (and I don't agree with them all), it should provide you good food for thought. And not enough people in this country do that: think for themselves. Enjoy.

Health Care Perspectives

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small blessings

Sometimes it's the little things in life that make you happy:

  • I won't have to get up early tommorow to clean the driveway as the snow has stopped for a few days.
  • I figured out what else to get Ellen for Christmas since one of the gifts I ordered won't make it on time.
  • We made Cranberry Walnut Orange bread tonight to give as gifts to my band members. We had enough batter to make a half loaf and it was tasty!
  • I'm pretty much done with school for the semester with the exception of editing the work of others in my group. Which is easy. I like slashing...I mean editing other's work.

So I'm going to kick back and veg in front of the TV. Hope you all find some pleasure in the little things too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two great movies that go great together

My pal Nanner put this on Facebook and I loved it! Two of my favorite movies are Star Wars and The Princess Bride. This is a great mash up of the two of them. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In the home stretch

This week begins my final push for the semester. I've got the work complete for one course and just need to read it one more time and turn in next weekend. In the other course, we have online presetations tomorrow and Tuesday followed by a group assignment due on the 20th. Then I'm done with courses for the year. Of course, I'm going to spend the break reading all the material for next semester to get a jump on it. Next semester is going to be the greatest amound of work for me but after that it's all down hill. One course summer semester (8 weeks long) and one course plus the last module of another course next fall to finish off the degree. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully it's not a train coming at me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And the winner is...!

Today Christopher finally made weight and was able to wrestle with the JV team at his school. He's at the bottom end of the lowest weight class so we've been trying to fatten him up a little. He had 6 matches today and only lost 1! And he pinned one of his opponents! First time for that. Ellen was disappointed she wasn't there to see it. We would have stayed to watch the tournament, but with tomorrow's weather looking nasty we had to get some Christmas shopping in today. Shouldn't have bothered, we did almost all of it online instead.

Christopher's performance put him in second place today. Last year he was usually getting beat every tournament so it's nice to seem him wrestling better. And he had a lot of fun, which is good. I like the wrestlers. For all of their competitiveness on the mat, they really do show a lot of sportsmanship towards each other. It's good to see some sports are more about competing than just winning.

On one amusing note, Ellen was looking at pictures of another tournament online and found one of a couple of wrestlers with their butts in the air. She commented on how she didn't want to see 116 pound class butts like that. I mentioned there was a certain butt in the 112 pound class I don't mind seeing. Christopher immediately went "Dad! That's gross!" To which I replied, "Did I embarass you? Perhaps I should give Mom a big kiss?" He then said "Ew! Old love!" I'm not sure if I should have taken offense, but I laughed my ass off instead. Maybe if we had more "old love" the world would be a better place.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Back on my game

I had a 1 on 1 with my boss today. He was very kind and mentioned several times what a good job he thought I was doing. He stated he doesn't say it enough but wanted to make sure I knew how much he appreciated my hard work. Normally, I don't need that kind of patting on the back, but given some of the struggles I've had at work over the last 12 to 18 months, it was good to hear.

He gave me the best possible compliment you could give me. He told me that he's quite pleased that he can give me assignments and he KNOWS I'll get them done. He doesn't have to check up on me or hound me for whatever he needs. That's the way I like to roll. Tell me what you want done, when you want it done by, and get out of my way to let me do it. It's nice to feel like I'm valued and that I can perform at work at the level I think I can. I really had my confidence shaken for a while and now I've got it back, if a little more cautious in that confidence than previously.

The last couple of days has been crazy with end of the year stuff going on. It's given me the opportunity to do something I really enjoy. Showing my staff their boss can handle the customer better than they can. I've been getting all of the customers that my staff can't handle for whatever reason; person is irate, my agent can't get them to follow directions, they can't figure out what to do to help them, etc. They transfer the call to me and I get the issue resolved in no time flat, with a smile in my voice, and as much patience as is needed to fix the problem. Call it a small vanity, but I pride myself on being able to walk my talk. If I don't get frustrated with a "high maintenance" customer, why should they? It all starts with customer service baby.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's Official

Winter's here. I've had to snowblow my driveway 3 times in the last 24 hours. Although we're not getting as much snow as Buffalo, I still don't like it. The only thing I like about weather like this is to stay inside in front of the fire. Unfortunately, I don't always get to do that. I hate driving in this weather but you got to get to work and sometimes you have commitments that require you to go out.

Oh well. At least it doesn't take me that long to clear the driveway. It would suck to have to shovel it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Spoiling my fun

Ellen had been looking a getting a digital SLR camera (the high end ones). One of the local photo shops had some great deals on Nikon's and Cannon's. She's been talking about it for a while and her birthday is in January, so I thought this might be a good gift. The sales run until the 1st week in January so I could get her one on Christmas break when she's at work and I'm home with the kids.

So today she wanted to go to the camera shop to check out the two brands and see the difference. I thought it was a pretty good idea cause then I'd know what to get. So she spends some time and asks a whole bunch of questions and says she likes the Nikon. THEN, she turns to me and says "What do you think?" meaning "Should we buy it".

So, I had to give her the sad face and tell her I was GOING to get it for her for a birthday gift, but she can get it now. She was very happy to get the camera (she's been watching the DVD's that came with it most of the evening between making Christmas cookies). I missed out on a little fun in seeing her face on her birthday. But that's ok. My lady is happy so I'm happy. Now we need to figure out how to use all these cool features.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Pleasant surprise

One of my courses has been frustrating me a little because it seems like what we're discussing and doing assignments on has little to do with the course objectives. There is a somewhat political bent to the course which I find disconcerting. While I tend to agree with the instructor's positions, I'm not sure its appropriate for this course. In any event, I did a paper on a decision made by the Bush administration concerning the Iraq war. I chose the decision to go to war itself. I did a bit of research and put many hours into a paper that ended up 14 pages (double spaced). I just got the grade (a 97, which is VERY gratifying) and the following comment from the instructor, which gratified me even more:

"This is an outstanding paper. While I think you are very gentle with some of these decision makers, your thorough and intelligent evaluation of the events, and your reasonable integration of decision making bias insights into the process, are commendable.

May I ask a favor? My wife (an historian) would like to see a copy (I mentioned its quality to her). May I share it with her?"

Wow! That's the first time an instructor has asked to share anything I've written. Of course I gave my permission. I sometimes think I'm a little (or perhaps a lot) OCD about the work I turn in as I'm trying to get A's in all of my courses. Not sure if this means I am, or that I just put in the effort to do good work. Either way, I'll take it.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Oh hurt me

For those of you that follow politics, you may have heard that Representative Charles Rangel was convicted of ethics violations as a Representative. His punishment? He was censured by the House of Representatives. This is the most serious punishment they could have given out short of expulsion from the House.

Since I really wasn't sure what censure was, I looked it up. Do you know what this "serious" punishment is? First, he would lose any committee chair positions he might have held. Well, I believe he was the chair of the Ways and Means committee, but he'd have lost that position come January anyway when the Republicans took over. The rest of this "serious" punishment?

He was forced to stand there in the House of Representatives while someone read the "official" censure out loud to him. Basically, he was publicly "embarassed" in front of his peers. That was it. No loss of pay, no getting kicked out, no nothing. So, basically, if you're really unethical as a Representative, the worst thing they're going to do is yell at you in public and say "Bad boy!"

I wish all punishments for being unethical were that harsh. The sad thing is the guy spent 2 years and a couple of million dollars to avoid Nancy Pelosi from shaking her finger at him.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

You'll Thank Me Later

My pal Julz posted this on Facebook and I thought I would share the love. The song's got a great hook that will keep it in your brain for a long time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Grow up

It appears that Senate Republicans have stated they will hold up all legislation in the Senate unless Democrats extend Bush era tax cuts and extend spending to prevent a government shutdown. Does anyone else think this sounds like a kid threatening to hold their breath until they pass out if they don't get their way? BTW, do Republicans REALLY think they'll get anything done next year if they keep acting like little kids?