Monday, May 28, 2007

Beyond Birthday Boat Blog

Now that my birthday is over, I've begun working on Angie for a fishing boat. Nothing too extravagant, just something that would allow me to get onto the lake and get beyond the frustration of not catching anything from the shore and the added frustration of losing tackle in the grass that surrounds the shore.

I think I may finally have her leaning in my direction, too. You see, the kids gave me a deep fryer for my birthday. Dylan had interpreted my comments one day at Bass Pro about wanting to deep fry a future wild turkey kill as my wanted a fryer. Not only was I touched regarding his thoughtfulness, I though the small fryer was a good present. We can fry up chicken wings, shrimp, you name it.

Yesterday, Angie and I decided to do just that...we fried up the catfish from my fishing expedition with Dylan and his dad. We had maybe 4 or 5 good filets and several smaller nugget size pieces. Angie bought a corn meal fish batter mix, and we were off. She made hush puppies, and I fried up the catfish.

Now, I am not a huge fan of catfish. Restaurant catfish is typically farm raised and not nearly as "gamey" as their wild counterparts. For this reason, I was real reluctant to eat my fried fish. In fact, I told Angie if I didn't like it I might give up on fishing altogether.

We'll we fried it up, and frankly, it was excellent. Not gamey or fishy at all. In fact, we thought that the batter mix was a little bland if anything. We are definitely looking forward to my success with the rod and reel to eat some more.

Since Angie loves catfish and I think that this is a viable meal for us going forward, I think she's "on board" with the boat idea (pun intended). In fact, I caught her looking for boats online yesterday.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Special Time

For the last several days I have spent a significant amount of time with Cassie. This has been "forced" on me, as Angie chaperoned Marissa on her school camp trip this week. They come home today, but I'm surprised in that I'm not totally looking forward to their arrival. I mean - I'm not at a point of pulling my hair anxiously awaiting Angie's return because I can't take anymore of Cassie. She's been a real joy and I am finding myself amazed by that.

Cassie isn't your normal five year old - at least I don't think she is. She's funny, she's smart, she can hold a conversation and she is, for the most part, very pleasant - even when she doesn't get her way. I know I am biased, but given the fact that I completely enjoyed the time I spent with her these last couple of days AND the fact that I miss her today (she's with a friend today so I could get some work done).

Some really amazing things over the last couple of days:

1) She told me that when she gets in trouble and sent to her room, she often prays to God to be better (eg., for help in not lying, etc.). I love that. I fear that she may develop a guilt issue, but I love the fact that she is being raised to have a relationship with God.

2) Related to number 1 - As I prayed last night (a special treat for her is to sleep with daddy when mommy is gone - and likewise, to sleep with mom when I'm on the road) she had a HUGE smile. I asked her why she smiled, and she said it made her feel happy that daddy prayed for her. I informed her that I prayed for her more than me.

3) She is quickly learning to read phonetically and it excites her. Besides reading, she is just so smart. We've watched discovery channel and animal planet a lot the last couple of days, and she asks me questions that show a logical progression of thought. Angie commmented recently that not only is she smart, but she has common sense - and we all know that common sense ain't so common.

4) She is really well behaved. She told to get dressed, brush her teeth, pick up some toys, whatever, she really does it. Yeah, she's five and can whine with the best of them, but when it is just us, she really doesn't do it much.

5) She's affectionate. She is always hugging and kissing me - and better yet, asking me to hug and kiss her. Imagine how awesome it is when a child wakes up in the morning and says, "come here and snuggle with me!!!". It melts my heart. I told her that I can understand a little bit how God loves us by how much I love her. She had no clue what I was saying.

Remember, she's only five.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Special Day - May 19

May 19 has always been a special day for me. That fact makes sense, especially since I was born on the day 38 years ago. Below are some events that have occured on May 19 throughout history - at least according to Wikipedia.

I especially like that Star Wars one at the bottom. Angie took me to see it, on my birthday, no less.

1535 - French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona's two sons (whom Cartier kidnapped during his first voyage).
1536 - Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery.
1568 - Queen Elizabeth I of England has Mary Queen of Scots arrested.
1604 - The town of Montreal is founded.
1643 - Thirty Years' War: French forces under the duc d'Enghien decisively defeat Spanish forces at the Battle of Rocroi, marking the symbolic end of Spain as a dominant land power.
1649 - An Act declaring England a Commonwealth is passed by the Long Parliament. England would be a republic for the next eleven years.
1749 - King George II of Great Britain grants the Ohio Company a charter of land around the forks of the Ohio River.
1780 - New England's Dark Day: never-explained complete darkness falls on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 2 pm.
1802 - The Légion d'Honneur is founded by Napoleon Bonaparte.
1828 - U.S. President John Quincy Adams signs the Tariff of 1828 into law, protecting wool manufacturers in the United States.
1848 - Mexican-American War: Treaty of Guadalupe HidalgoMexico ratifies the treaty thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of five other modern-day U.S. states to the USA for USD $15 million.
1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ends.
1897 - Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.
1919 - In Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk moves to Samsun from Istanbul with a few followers, to oppose the Ottoman government, which eventually leads to the Turkish War of Independence.
1921 - The Emergency Quota Act passes the U.S. Congress establishing national quotas on immigration
1922 - Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union is established.
1943 - World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day would later be delayed over a month due to bad weather).
1961 - Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and did not send back data).
1962 - A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe's infamous rendition of Happy Birthday.
1971 - Mars probe program: Mars 2 is launched by the Soviet Union.
1992 - In a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, Vice President Dan Quayle criticizes television character Murphy Brown for ignoring the importance of fathers and bearing a child alone.
2005 - The final Star Wars film and third episode in the series, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, debuted on this day. It broke current box office records, earning over $50 million on opening day.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Beautiful Backdrop

As I've previously posted, I'm in Sunnyvale, California this week for work. I don't particularly like California except for San Francisco and San Diego. I don't know why, I just never really enjoyed coming out here, even though I've done it maybe a hundred times, or so.

I have to admit, the weather and the environment in California is amazing. It is stunningly beautiful here with mountains and ocean only a stones throw away. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to enjoy the mountain backdrop while participating in a favorite pastime of mine - shotgun shooting.

A colleague took me to the Coyote Valley Sporting Clays in Morgan Hill, CA. The place is nestled at the base of the mountains, and has 16 stations of sporting clays. Basically, you carry your gun and ammo, walk to each station, put your counter on the computer box, say "pull" and start shooting. It was great fun, and helped convince me that my shot isn't as good as I thought. Some of the overhead stuff I would hit 9 of 10. However, some of the crossing doubles would cause me to miss 7 of 10. They had a rabbit target that bounced across the ground - I hit 7 of 10. My take away - more practice needed.

Ultimately, we did probably 5 or 6 stations and had a great time in a beautiful setting.

Interesting note: as we were walking back from the course, we passed a covey of quail. You'd think they'd be in danger living so close to so many men with shotguns. Guess not.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quick Takes...

I'm in Sunnyvale, California for this week for some training and internal meetings so I thought some quick takes might be in order...

1) Mother's Day was pretty nice for Angie. After church we went to FishMongers in Plano. Had oysters and tilapia...yummy. Angie had her shrimp. She wanted to do some bowling with the kids - so we went to Richardson AMF lanes for some late night fun. I opened with STRIKE, STRIKE, SPARE, STRIKE, STRIKE and then fell apart.

2) Angie's car died while leaving the bowling alley. Angie's mom was with us with her car, so we weren't completely stranded. I replaced her battery the next day. All seems ok.

3) Angie wanted an updated poster size portrait of the kids. Getting them together to do it was my present to her. This photo was uploaded to and will be printed and sent to us.

4) We are confirmed for 3 camping weekends over the summer and are planning several days camping in San Antonio with good friends.

5) Diet, smoking and working out are all going very well. On target and haven't had another cigarette. I feel great about that.

6) As mentioned, I am in CA this week at our corporate headquarters. I am doing a bit of team building and going through some new hire training. I am convinced more now that ever that a move to NetApp was the right decision. The executive management team basically gives up a day every month to spend time with the new hires and talk about the company. Really awesome leadership. I even learned what our logo is supposed to be...any guesses?


Monday, May 07, 2007

Getting Under Control

I've had a very hard time starting this blog entry. I've started it several times over the last couple of days, but have never really gotten anywhere with it - ultimately, I've decided to just type what comes to my mind, and not worry about whether it makes sense or is "good" writing. All I've had is the title, so I'll try from there.

Have you noticed that things in life are cyclical? Do (or don't do) one thing and it leads to another and another. If you are paying attention, you can look at item 10 and work it all the way back to number 1. And at some point, you might end up at number 1 again. Bear with me, and I'll try to explain what the heck I'm talking about.

A couple of entries ago, I spoke about how I was going on a spiritual journey. That our church was beginning a capital campaign to build a larger worship space and that I saw this as an opportunity for spiritual growth, not to make a financial decision. I continued to feel this way, and looking back, I can see that I was right. This is my Number 1....a spiritual journey to try to learn how to trust God more.

This has led to my #2...spending more time in scripture, prayer and contemplation. I've done this daily for a couple of weeks now, and have learned a great deal about myself, the Lord, and my relationship with Him.

#3 - I've come to the conclusion that it is time for me to quit smoking...ok, how did I get from daily time with God to quitting smoking? We are in a capital campaign, and I've come to the conclusion that the money I spent on smoking would be better spent on helping more people come to know Christ. Therefore, $20 twice a month, has been earmarked as part of our giving. I haven't purchased cigarettes in a week, and have only had two in that time...this week, my goal is zero.

#4 - knowing full well that I will get EVEN FATTER now that I've quit smoking if nothing else changes, I've decided to begin my diet again - and have begun working out. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning at the gym, and started tracking my diet on

#5 - I feel so good about myself, where I'm going, my relationship with God, with Angie and the kids, etc. This has had the effect of wanting MORE OF IT...and this means continued time with God - as in numbers 1 and 2 above.

That's the cycle I am in right now - and I sure would like it to continued. Ask me how I'm doing...