Saturday, April 29, 2006

Home Schooling Life

So, this is home schooling life. Once a year, along with my lovely bride, I'm off to the New England Home Schooling Convention held in Worcester, MA. Worcester is one of those cities that is now greatly maligned, but at one point, especially around the turn of the 20th century, it was a hub of industry and finance for central MA. It's also the home town of the father of American Rocketry - Robert Goddard, and has a couple of the country's best schools (Holy Cross and WPI). There's ton's of great old architecture and happily, has a couple of nice places to eat.

We stay at the Crowne Plaza which (with the exception of this year) has been one of my favorite places to stay. Oh, sure, I've stayed at some really nice hotels over the years as I travel. Some $650 a night joints in NYC, some beautiful suites on the ocean in Florida. But, with the exception of those just for sheer luxury, I always enjoy the Crowne because the bed is great, there is free wi-fi in the rooms and in the lobby and I like their bathroom amenties. Of course, the best part about it is that my lovely wife is always with me. :-)

This year was interesting once again because we had a baby with us - Sophie's first convention. It always makes the convention more interesting trying to juggle the schedule of a nursing infant with seminar sessions and the need to hit the convention floor to find the latest in cutting edge learning systems. Hey, we really do put in some time trying to find the best curriculum for the learning style and interests of the kids! And yes, I'm a BIG believer in home schooling and the longer we do it the more benefits I find in doing it. Maybe that will be another post!

Anyway, it was a great convention this year, cooler because someone that I became friends with last convention - Senior Gamache of La Clase Divertida (the fun class) - got to host a session. We're using his stuff to teach the girls Spanish and they're loving it.

If you've got kids (primarily pre-teen) and you want a great curriculum then you should check his stuff out. Worth EVERY cent!

Of course, now I'm home (no time last night to do this! we were too busy finding a place to eat, which we did, Moe's Southwestern Grill - and then I had to crash because we needed to get up and out to sessions in the morning. Ummm, but we really didn't get that done either! Sigh. Still, it was a great day. Lots of time to walk around in the center, lots of time to spend with my wifey. And, it was a day I didn't have to listen to my 3 year old (Chole) try to order the rest of us around. Yikes. She has a lot of great stuff inside her. A serious annointing. The tough part is getting through these years and raising her correctly so that she can be all the blessing she's supposed to be!

OK. Time for me to crash, church in the AM!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Gift

I just got done watching Biography's show on Andre the Giant. Very cool. As a kid in the 60's and 70's watching Andre was amazing. And, of course like everyone, I loved him as the gentle giant in The Princess Bride. Andre was an effusive individual with a great talent to share, a big gift to make people smile. And, his opportunity ended at age 46 due to the condition that actually made him a giant.

Likewise, though at the same time totally unlike Andre, I've been told that I have a gift - and a big one - to share with the world. No, I'm not bragging, nor am I going to be immodest. It's something that's been said to me since I was young, not something that I just decided. No worries, I'm not the next psycho that has some group thinking they're catching space ships out of town. OK? But, I did want to mention it here.

A big difference between Andre and me is that Andre found out young what his gift was, and was able to pursue it. In me, I think I've always had an inkling, however I've been working on making me a better vessel to share the gift. It seems that until I'm ready mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I'll never see the full expression of my gifting. Oh, have I seen glimpses from time to time? Sure. But it's more like a baseball player that suddenly hits a towering 500 ft home run, then somehow returns to being a punch and judy doubles hitter. Or a basketball player (sorry for the sports analogies) that scores 50 points in a game, then suddenly drops back to scoring 18 pts on average.

But, still, the gift is there. And, I'm here still working it out. I'm excited that I'm getting closer to the day that the big breakthrough will happen, but of course thinking that hey! I'm not getting any younger here!

Having said that, here's my encouragement to you. I and I take solice in this as well. Zig Ziglar hit the big time when he was around 46 years old, about a year older than me. And he's not the only person to gain noteriety in a field, or "instant" success a bit later in life than these folks that hit the big time at 22 or something by founding an internet company. So, hang in there. Don't get discouraged. In fact, God even has his say in the book of Habbakuk where he says to wait on the vision because it will happen in due time.

Keep at it. Keep pushing. Keep growing. Don't stop. You NEVER know what's around the next corner. Don't let set backs keep you back. There is no one that hasn't hit obstacles in life. Push through them. Draw strength from those you love around you. Continue to pour out love. Stay single minded and rejoyce. It will happen. It will come to pass. Believe it to be true, not because I've said so, but because God has said it of you. Then let me know how it comes out, OK?


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

South Beach for LA-LA Land

Well, I mentioned several posts back that I was FAT. Good news is that I'm now only fat. :-) And I feel so much better. I can actually almost get my top button buttoned! Which was needed because I can't go out and buy lots of new clothes right now.

I've been doing South Beach diet - which I didn't find terribly restrictive even in the first phase. Basically, I had to cut out all starchy carbs and hi glycemic index fruits and veggies. The worst part of that was not being able to have my oatmeal for breakfast. I really like having oatmeal with fresh fruit for breakfast. But... now in phase 2 I can again! Ye ha! Phase 2 is really pretty much how I used to eat when I was eating healthily anyway so this isn't really a stretch.

The hardest thing is not having a lot to drink. Alas, I love cola. I don't drink the regular stuff because of the high fructose corn syrup. Nasty stuff. Unfortunately, now with recent information on Sucralose (Splenda), we find that it is also just as nasty. So, there go my cola options. And, even if I were to go to Mexico and get the REAL Coca Cola made with cane sugar (which is SOOOOOOOOO much better) I still couldn't DRINK it because it has sugar. Sigh.

Of course, I can still drink as much water as I want. I can still have green tea. I use Stivia as a sweetener - which is really good, is all natural, doesn't cause your insulin to spike. Now in phase 2 I can also have real whole grain products (not the crappy stuff that you get in the grocery store that claims to be made from wheat that is nothing but whole wheat that is highly processed, colored and infused with high fructose corn syrup) and most of the fruits and veggies that I like.

OH YAH - LA. Looks like I'm going on a business trip to LA. So, it's a good thing that I'm on a diet. To be in the plastic surgery capital of the world and not be in decent shape would be awful. And even better, since I am working out again, I won't be terribly embarrased to wear a t-shirt. At least not too much ;-). But I'll be going out there a good bit over the next 2 months, so I'll be able to get down to fighting weight by the end I imagine.

To wrap, I guess I'm making some progress. I've lost at least an inch and a quarter off my waist. My face looks thinner (which I was really surprised at because usually at this weight I think it looks pretty chubby!) Most importantly, because of phase one I'm out of that terrible chocolate chip cookie craving that I was suffering from (what do Chips Ahoy put in those cookies? I swear, the stuff is the food version of crack), and I feel WAY better. So, we soldier on!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


This is it. This is the BIG one. THE holy day of holidays, the day which without - the other holy days and/or holidays wouldn't make a difference.

This is Easter - the day that Jesus, fully man and fully God, rose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and defeated death and hell. There it is: game, set and match.

Without this day, Christmas is just Saturnalia - the ancient Roman winter holiday where they gave gifts. Without this day nobody would have cared enough to note the life of an obscure Jewish Rabbi, born in an obscure town who actually claimed to forgive sins and have life in himself. Actually, they would have thought he was a lunatic... but, then this day happened.

So, my question to you reader is, do you know Him? This nondescript rabbi (he was said to have no form that would make him out of the ordinary - he wasn't a rock star looks wise) who healed the lame, gave the blind sight and even raised people from the dead. Do you know him? He's still alive. His life is imprinted across almost everything in our modern world. His message - LOVE - is the most progressive and most needed solution that our digital age desires.

This is the day. Easter. This is the day that Jesus set his stamp for all humanity to see. Tell you what, take a look at what he had to say. Don't just take the word of someone that doesn't know him or thinks they're too smart or rich or poor or miserable or WHATEVER about what he is like. Find out. Don't just look at the Christian church - they (including me) are just other people as flawed as yourself that have found out who HE is and are trying to allow his power to work through them. But, they're all just people who are taking it day by day. Find out about him. Read his book. Heck, just read a couple of chapters - and make them the ones that have all the red print in them - his words. Words of life. Words of liberty. Words of salvation - and who doesn't need to be saved from something?

This is the day, rejoice and be glad in it. JESUS is RISEN!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Life is Good

I'm sitting on my love seat next to my wife, who's just fallen asleep after nursing Sophie - who is also asleep on my wife's lap. My other three girls (10, 8, 3) are playing happily with a friend using a toy that my 8 year old just got as a gift for her birthday.

The sun is shining, I'm listening to my iPod, doing a once over on something I need to deliver tomorrow and getting ready to do a mini-multimedia thing for a friend while I'm taking notes for a podcast.

I have a job through this week, I've lost some weight, we have great friends. Man, God is good and so is life!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yo! We've got a HOT one tonight!

OK. So, yo, check it out! Dog pound, we've got a hot one tonight! This is my friend Veronica (who I met at MacWorld Boston) last year. And I can say "I knew her when..."

Well, not only is she a hottie, she's got some good stuff in the video too! Check it out :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mandisa - The Best Idol to Ever Go Home Early

And it isn't even a contest. I don't really think anyone in the audience even believed it.

There were the no talent Bucky and pretty boy Ace, along with everyone's favorite ditzy blond Kelly Pickler with their FAR less capable butts planted in chairs in safety. Out on stage stood two of the most talented singers in this year competition, and probably in the top ten of all the 5 seasons. And, at the announcement there was nothing but boos, for a moment, then you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was stunned. The judges, the other contestants, the audience. It was WRONG.

This girl should have been in the top 5 and maybe top 3. She brought it every week, performed brilliantly and had vocals to match.

Fracking Vote for the Worst dot com should be blown up. The moron (forgive me for my vitriol by the way) over there is doing his best to screw up the competition because he believes that it's controlled by Fox. It's so obviously not! Look at the results of the past seasons, even the first one, where Tamyra Grey was voted off before the final three when most people expected it to be her and Kelly Clarkson at the final. DOLTS!

And yes, I'm PISSED. I'm a singer. When I sing I work at it, I put my best into it. Just like these people on the show. And this dinkweed over at Vote for the Worst as his little way of playing demi-god is screwing with these peoples lives. You know what, it's not just wrong, it's immoral. How about if we go to his boss and just talk smack to him before the next review. See if we can cost him what he wanted, like a raise or promotion. Think he'd be so smug? No. He'd be barking mad - and he should be. But at the same time, he's totally screwed people out of their dreams because of his site and little band of malcontents that figure if they're miserable they should make these people that have put their all into the competition miserable too. Well done you complete GIT.

Mandisa, I love you honey. I'm SURE that you have standing in the center of your God's will for you and it will work out to the good! Jer. 29:11

Microserfs = Waist of Time

OK. So the first and only book I ever finished reading (because I'm a completest), then walked to the trash can and threw out was The Bretheren, written by John Grisham. Not that it wasn't fairly well constructed, but it was completely useless.

The second was this one, Microserfs, which I didn't even really finish reading, I just skipped to the back to see if there was any interesting thread that I could pick up that might make it worth while to go back and finish for. NOTHING. A complete waist of my time.

I guess I'm fairly unusual in this. Seems that the author sold enough of these to get a deal for another book that he's releasing now called Jpod. Gracious, if it's this bad I'll use it before my next dentist appointment and save on the drugs. Great concept for this book, but OH, the writing was SOOOOO bad! And still, it could have been sooooo good. If you've seen the IT Crowd, imagine that, except for completely not funny or interesting. There you go. And there it went - straight back to the library. For once I was actually happy I DIDN'T buy a book.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The 2nd Useless Book of a Lifetime

Yup. I just got "done" reading it. I guess you could say I read it anyway. What a waste of paper. Seriously. Some poor tree had to die for this piece of crap to live. Unreal. I'll tell you what it was later today (just in case anyone really cares) when I'm not asleep (which I should be now at 1:50 am).

Geesh. What a waste!