Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Ok ok ok.
I always say this… – I don’t really do these things…but when tagged by a fellow blogger …who is on my ‘short’ list – I am obliged.
Let’s see how this goes.

Four jobs you have had in your life
(in chronological order, starting with my first job at 16)
1. Cashier at McD’s, but they let me cook sometimes too.
2. Graphic Designer
3. Applications Engineer
4. Software Quality Assurance Analyst

Four movies you could watch over and over
(this was a tough one…mostly because I have the retention of a goldfish)
1. Out of Africa
2. Braveheart
3. If These Walls Could Talk
4. Moonstruck

Four places you have lived
(none of these are current)
1. Aurora, Colorado
2. Bridgeport, Connecticut
3. Trumbull, Connecticut
4. Norwalk, Connecticut

Four TV shows you love to watch
(all in HiDef…)
1. West Wing
2. Huff
3. Sopranos
4. L Word

Four places you have been on vacation
(hmm, it occurs to me that most of my travel has been company funded)
1. Paris
2. Florida
3. Ptown
4. Ptown

Four websites you visit daily
(websites..not blogs correct?)
1. Earthlink – to read my mail
2. my bank web site
3. local weather channel
4. NY Times (only if my wife sends me a link)

Four places you'd rather be right now
(yeah, I don’t get out much…and I am OK with that)
1. home
2. ptown
3. home
4. ptown

Monday, January 30, 2006


They are calling this a 'mild' winter here in New England.
Today it feels like spring, it not only feels like it but it smells like it. And I am not the only one thinking this way. The birds seem to think its spring, the grass seed is germinating and my wifes bulbs are coming up.
This can't be good.

Oh... and - could someone explain to me how it's possible for towns around Connecticut to be maxing out on their snow removal budgets...in January!? Its been balmy since the before the holidays. Sure we had some snow in November and December... but don't these people budget for ANY snow... this is New England... it snows here.

Friday, January 27, 2006



The winters here in New England can feel long and dark. The house can begin to feel a little to close and our yards look dreary and dead.
Here are some tips to get over this January winter hump – please keep in mind that all these suggestions can be accompanied with your cocktail of choice, another useful tip for long winters (think vodka in Russia)

1. a winter clean.
I realize this may not be for everyone. But I find that doing a nice deep clean in the middle of the winter can be very revitalizing. It’s a great time of year to organize and purge attics and basements.
2. get a new throw rug.
Or a new sofa throw and pillow, perhaps a cute accent lamp, or hang some new pictures – just something to make your space feel new and fresh.
3. plant seeds.
This is one of my favorites. Start some seedlings in a sunny window. Not only will it give you a taste of spring in the house…but you will save money on buying nursery plants later on.
4. plot and plan.
This is my wife’s favorite. Start planning a new garden bed, or perhaps a walkway – maybe some planters for the patio. You can research appropriate plant materials and do drawings to help visualize your space. Even if these fanciful ideas never come to fruition. The planning is very satisfying.

Remember – the days are getting longer, spring is on its way – be sure to try to get 15-20 minutes of sun as often as you can…get your ‘D’.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

writingwomyn january collaboration

my assignment this month
"ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: pull down your pants, and slide on the ice." [quote sidney freedman from "mash"]. for the collab this month, tell us where you'd take your fun moments if you could. for you, what would be the epitomy of "pulling down your pants and sliding on the ice?" why do want to do it, and why will you [or will you not]?

First, my pants will stay firmly on my bottom, cinched snugly at the waist. Then… there will be no sliding on any ice without proper attire - something waterproof and warm, yet attractive and slimming if possible. I’ll need gloves and a hat – well fitted and not to bulky. I would prefer to slide on some sort of sliding device. A sled, one of those saucer things, even a cafeteria tray will suffice. I will also need to check this ice for safety. Is it thick enough to hold my weight? Is the sliding path free of debris?…you can’t just slide without looking. There needs to be some planning involved.
I will need to know what time we will be sliding. That way I won’t be late. I don’t like to be late, I have arrival anxiety. You should try going to a movie with me. Let’s just say it’s rather tense if we are not early.
I also like to be prepared. I carry with me a wide, and somewhat, odd assortment of items at most times. In my backpack that I carry to work each day you will find the obvious such as my lunch, my daytimer, sometimes my sneakers if I plan to walk. But I also carry a flashlight, a tape measure, a pocket knife, a toothbrush, my phone charger, a combo tool, tissues, wet wipes….you get the idea. I am… wrapped a little tight.
My wife…well….is a saint for dealing with the likes of me. She is my opposite, a true free spirit. She can arrive when she wants and leave when she wants – there is no anxiety or ulterior motives, no regrets. She is unfettered. I admire this. I will also never be this.
So – will I be sliding on the ice? – doubtful. Will I regret not sliding on the ice? - not at all. I will watch with joy and delight as my wife bares her behind and slips down the slope giggling all the way. Then I will wrap her in a towel and console her while she thaws.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Occasionally Ferris will ask for some help studying for a particularly hard test, or a midterm exam. Sometimes we quiz him, sometimes we can help him get a better grasp of a concept. Last night he told us he needed our help with his Culinary Arts midterm. He didn't need help studying; he needed us to eat his exam. He wanted to hone his recipe.
I am still full today.
I think he'll pass.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Doncha just hate it when you car makes a funny little noise as you start to back out of a parking space – just a tiny noise, and you’re not really sure at first whether it’s something else perhaps another car or if it is in fact coming from your own car… the noise is strange and somewhat musical not something you would expect so you tilt your head slightly because of course that helps you to hear better., and yes…in fact it’s a noise coming from your car and its not a normal noise its sorta scraping maybe a…jangling -- kind-of-a musical jangling jingling scraping pinging whirring kinda noise…and so you put the car in drive and start to pull forward and yup for sure it sounds like something is hanging down in a place it ought not to be so you pull over of course and get out and look under the car to find the origin of this noise and you happen to be in the Wal-Mart parking lot where none of this is unusual and no one really cares… and so you discover absolutely nothing under the car and decide to get back in and listen a little more so you start pulling out of the parking lot very slowly and notice how the noise is changing – then you speed up a bit and yes, in fact, the noise changes with speed as well, so you round the corner by the light and the noise is now making a sort of a pinging sound then there is like a sucking sound and then its back to the scraping sound. So you start to realize that, probably the smartest thing to do, since you know nothing of these elusive mechanical machines, is to drive straight over to the dealer and let them hear the new noise and have them tell you whether you are risking your life by driving this tin can. ..and you search your memory for your afternoon schedule to figure out how to squeeze in this trip to dealer …and wondering whether you will you be there all afternoon-- if its something serious-- so you decide to pick up the phone and call your boss and let him know of the imminent danger you are in and that you may not be back to work this afternoon but its better than dying and then you are wondering if he will actually hear the noise over the phone cuz you think it might be getting louder and so you change lanes and start to head in the general direction of the car dealership while you are starting to dial the office number on your cell phone and … it stops.
Doncha hate that.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It’s a lovely place…

We have been playing round robin with our cars for the last couple days. I have been driving Ferris’ car so that I can get a better understanding of an intermittent problem we keep having with it. Other than to diagnose the problem, I have no real desire to drive this car. The seat sits to low for me, and I don’t have a clear view of the front end as I do in my own car. This car also has its share of strange noises, rattles and shakes. It’s a typical ‘high school’ car, and really only needs to last us a few more months. So I am trying to determine the extent of repairs we will take on. And so for the past two mornings I drive in to work and listen to all the different noises, stopping and starting and driving slow then quicker to get a good feel for it – generally test driving.
I rarely listen to the radio in my own car… but for some reason I switched it on this morning.
Hotel California came on.
Well hell, I may as well been on my way over to the high school. I cranked that puppy up, completely blocking out the noises, creaks and squeals and started cruising around the windy back roads to my office. The car seemingly responded suddenly feeling like it was handling tightly and riding smoothly, and certainly going faster. I started to sing along. Loudly. I got to work in record time and I noticed as I pulled into the parking garage that I was sittin’ pretty low.
Yeah. I rock.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

One step closer

Welp - we applied to college(s) last night. Whew.

Ferris worked on the final edits of his essay all day. It is suberb. (edited by our genius daughter ...and then edited by my genius wife. I have since hidden all the red pens in the house - ok fine, they did make a couple nice suggestions)
But, it is so far from over.

Today he meets with ‘Guidance Counselor’ at school to put the 'Package' together.
This is all the supporting information that you can't really do online such as GPA, SAT scores, letters of recommendations etc.
Then the ‘Guidance Counselor’ sends the 'Package' to the selected ‘Schools of Higher Learning’.
The selected ‘Schools of Higher Learning’ receive the 'Package' and sends back our handy self addressed, stamped postcards to assure us they have received our 'Package' .
Then they review the 'Package'.
The ‘Schools of Higher Learning’ quickly realize what a genius Ferris is and eagerly reply to the 'Package' with their own ‘Package’.
We then receive the 'Package' from the ‘Schools of Higher Learning’ with heaps of good news and flattering commentary.
Wherein we all celebrate and go directly to Bed Bath and Beyond for dorm room supplies.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Betsy and Sammy

~ 1.14.2006 ~

Our blessing tonight will be carried with you for the rest of your lives
and so I would like to toast to you
one of many toasts we have already shared and one of many yet to be...

but let this toast be very special
not only because you are joining in a sacred union.
but for the all the time you have already been joined in this sacred union,
that was simply
and ignorantly unrecognized by the law.

so to this end, well... beginning- or middle as it were
join me now,
raise your glasses and drink deep
to our dearest friends
Betsy and Sammy


Thursday, January 12, 2006

The vortex of mechanical disturbances

The vortex continues its spiral above our house. Cars are dropping like flies.
Recently we had the sunroof incident with my wife's car. Then Ferris' car started getting all persnickety about changing gears. So he ended up being late everywhere while he sat in his car waiting for it to go into park. We had that fixed up this week - but its seems it will require a re-visit to the dealer for an... 'adjustment'.
On a side note. My next car must be an Acura. Ferris drives a '92 Integra. As he is not particularly fond of this car its not been washed or vacuumed since summer, and has gotten its fair share of dents and dings over the last year. Try to imagine this car sitting in the dealer lot next to all those shiny new fast Acuras. It was amusing.
When I went to pick the car up - it had been washed and vacuumed. I had to wonder if this was part of their normal service policy or if our car was just so forlorn that they needed to clean it up just to sit in the service lot. Either way I was very pleased. But wait, there's more.
They called and left a message the next day to see how everything was and to make sure I was happy with their service... kinda like a doctor will call after a procedure to make sure you are feeling well. I was smitten.
Granted I have to take the car back for an ...'adjustment'. Perhaps today they can just wash the windows for me.
In the mean time...my little VW has decided I am not safe enough and needs to alarm the car at all times even when I am in the vehicle driving down the street... and occasionally and erratically sets off the alarm to fend off unseen enemies. Since this is an older VW with the stock alarm - I have to jump out of the car to turn the key in the door to shut it off. This had been relatively effective until I tried to leave work yesterday when the car was so agitated it would not hush up. Poor dear thing must have had some trauma out there in the parking garage all by itself.
Today its sitting in our garage with its battery unhooked to keep it quiet.
On a VERY bright note - the daughters handsome and clever boyfriend happens to be a brilliant mechanic specializing in car alarms and sophisticated electronics. Lucky me.
Normally on such a morning as this(you know...when all your cars break) I would log in and work from home - ah...but no remember I have single handedly hosed every computer in the house. To my credit ... I have one of said computers up and running well enough to blog...and perform its sole purpose for the next two weeks - complete college applications.
Life is good, technology... not so much.

Monday, January 09, 2006

It's college application week at our house.
We are making lists, filling out forms, checking our lists, getting more forms, writing the ubiquitous essay, checking our list...etc.

We have been through this before, but we are stupid parents...and we forget.
Luckily, we are clearly raising geniuses. Here we are scratching our heads, doing research, trying to make sure we are doing everything right - and in walks the daughter with her neat little folder holding her college applications, her essay, her letters of recommendation, all her financial aid forms,nice and tidy... from 8 years ago. Gotta love these kids.

Friday, January 06, 2006


We here in balmy CT are having the typical New England ups and downs with our winter weather.
Currently the days are warm, and if its not raining the is snow melting. The nights are cold and this freezes up all that day time melting each night. So 'ice melt' products are selling like crazy.

There are three basic choices when selecting a product to melt your ice:

ROCK SALT (sodium chrolride)
Its basically the cheapest of all three products but is not effective below 20°.
Its also somewhat corrosive and can be toxic to vegetation. It also leaves a residue which ...not suprisingly is a no no at my house.

Calcium Chloride is the fastest acting deicer at all temperatures.
Used as recommended, it will not harm vegetation. (Calcium Chloride is actually used as a calcium source for certain fruits and vegetables.)
However its costly, and over application can produce oily residue. ew.

Magnesium Chloride may be the best total ice-melter, and is my top choice. It corrodes metal surfaces less, protects concrete, is less toxic and environmentally safer.
Magnesium Chloride is less irritating to the skin, is safer around vegetation and is safe for use around animals and humans. It also tracks less than Calcium Chloride (this is a big consideration for me).
The only real drawback to Magnesium Chloride is it must be used at higher rates for effective melting. But in my own usage I have not found that to be a limiting factor, since I probably tend to over apply such products in the first place.
Safety first.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A short torrid affair

I had a short torrid affair.
It was my first time and I had to wonder why I have never even tried before. It was wonderful. There was no remorse, although it felt sinful. It lasted about two weeks, just over our holiday vacation. The whole experience was simply delicious and titillating.
But not without consequence.
And so now… I must stop.
Not again in my life will I know those soft, supple, sweet pleasures.
I am relegated to a life without Swedish Fish.
I have just returned from my dentist where I had my crown replaced.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

No special treatment

A computer is an appliance. As such, I have certain expectations.
When I go to boil water for tea, I expect the burner on the stove to heat up when I turn the knob to high. When I want toast, those coils should glow red when I push the lever down.
My smoothies will be blended when I push the ‘frappe’ button. And every time I reach for a cold beer, I not only expect it to be nice and frosty, but that a light will come on to guide me to my quarry. I take for granted these reliable old friends. Just look at your trusty washer and dryer. Every day …water and electricity in one appliance, some with enough programs in ‘em to challenge a Dell laptop. Let’s see my Dell handle 50 gallons of water.

Its time we took the computer down off its lofty pedestal. It’s an appliance like any other and should perform just as the other appliances do, day in and day out.
Stop the pandering and the special treatment… just boot up for goodness sake, send an email, balance my check book – and stop that blue screen nonsense.

(As yet, I have not clicked ‘send’ for the sparky new laptop sitting in our Dell shopping cart. Just like my dad out there tinkering with that silly old Oldsmobile, I am gonna get this thing to run again.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

oooo aaahhh

Look at me - I have been sitting here at this computer all morning and its hasn't 'blue-screened' once.

I have been off from work over the holidays, breaking all of our home computers.
We have not had decent internet access until sometime yesterday afternoon.

I have not completely given up the old machines yet - but we do have a sparky new laptop sitting in our 'Dell cart' just waiting.

Can I just mention also - that I live with them most patient woman in the world.