Let it Snow!

By , December 20, 2008 13:49

Snow FunLet it snow.  Let it snow.  Let it snow!  In the past 24 hours we’ve been dumped with 12 inches of fresh powder and it’s still coming down.  The wonderful weathermen are forecasting for another foot tomorrow.  Woo hoo.

While Jake is loving the waste deep snow, the most amazing thing is that Isaac does too.  Usually he’s the one that spends a few minutes outside and then wants to be back inside either listening to Patch the Pirate or watching David & Goliath on the computer. He’s the electronics boy, while Jake is the outdoors boy. Not this time!  He was having the time of his life running, jumping on the sled at the top of the driveway, and trying to "snowboard" on his feet.  This just meant that the sled went flying out from under him as his parents made sure DSS didn’t show up.

Great fun. Smile!:-)

Update on 12/21/2008 17:00: Still snowing now for the third day straight … more than two feet of snow on the ground … woo hoo!

Thanksgiving

By , November 27, 2008 18:17

Jake & IsaacAre we still allowed to write a Fall update, even though most of you have already seen the snow? Neighbors in all directions have seen the white stuff but we’ve been spared so far. I say "spared" because I don’t really relish the thought of bundling up two bouncy boys in snowsuits, hats, mittens, boots, scarfs only to have them discover three minutes later that they are too cold to stay outside and play!

The warmer parts of our Autumn season were spent going to a nearby Pick-Your-Own/Petting Zoo farm where the kids loved to run around on the haybale maze and hand feed the goats. The boys greatly enjoyed Lake Canobie Park where they experienced the thrills of theme-park style rides in trucks, helicopters, boats and more. They tasted cotton candy for the first time and decided it was good. On another weekend, we went to an open house at the local firestation. The boys loved sitting in the big trucks and especially the balloons they were given. They had demonstrated earlier in the day how they rescue people in a car accident. All that was left when we got there was a spray of broken glass on the conrete and a three car pile-up with at least one car missing its roof. After we explained what they had done, Jake very observantly stated, "Now it’s a convertible." As soon as we came home, they turned our sofa into a firetruck and adorned themselves with the appropriate attire so as to become firefighters Frank and Phil.

Our everyday life has been somewhat less exciting than all our family adventures, but the boys still find things to do whether it’s drawing on the driveway with chalk, riding bikes around the circle, helping Daddy with chores outside or wrestling in the house. They keep themselves very busy and me very entertained!

Jake celebrated his fourth year of life today, making it a very nontraditional Thanksgiving for us. For all of you who have turkey left over, save some for us! The meal of choice tonight was spaghetti! We are so very thankful to our Lord for giving us this precious child and keeping him healthy, strong, and mostly normal. Happy Thanksgiving to all 🙂

The End of an Era?

By , November 25, 2008 11:02

BarcelonaA momentous event has occurred.  For the very first time in more than four years, I have zero trips scheduled for the future.  Zero.  Nada!  Following the one week over in Barcelona and then a quick one day trip down and back to Washington, the airlines will be making no money off me in the next few months.

Of course while this sounds good, it’s also on the back of one of the craziest travel years to date.  Thankfully, the new position they have carved out for me in the new year doesn’t seem to require so much travel.  My internal PBC goals this past year incorporated a lot of evangelism and internal enablement throughout IBM, while next year they are much more focused on the actual technical platform and strategy.  That means that there will be far less conferences and clients.  The final tally this year was 37 presentations at 27 different conferences …

People have been asking if I’ll still be around Blue for a while.  Who knows?  I’m leaving it with the Lord for now and I guess I’ll take things one step at a time.  It’s certainly been an interesting flight and I’ve learned a lot about how large companies operate.  Now that the flight has landed, we’ll see how the ground crew operates.  Smile.  🙂

GPS or Brain Power?

By , September 22, 2008 14:59

Lake PlacidThis was the second time it happened.

On the way back from North Carolina, I simply set the GPS in van and told it to take me home.  I didn’t even bother to take the map along.  It wasn’t until we were in Delaware at the Cape May ferry, that I realized it had taken me, not on roads, but to the Delaware – New Jersey ferry.  Crazy!  In fact, it was a 45 minute wait until the ferry got there and then it was going to take $50 and an hour to cross.  It was faster to turn around and drive around through Philadelphia.

So this time I set the GPS on my BlackBerry and headed for Lake Placid.  You know where I ended up?  At the Vermont – New York State ferry.  You would think that you need to opt in to such craziness and that you would explicitly say that you were wanting to take a ferry.  But NO.  Anyway, a simple and fun $4 and 10 minute ferry ride broke up the 5 hour trip to Lake Placid.

The roads?  Not quite the 299 in California or the Blue Ridge, but a great trip anyway.  I forgot what a 10 hour bike day can feel like … not to mention the mornings starting out a few degrees below freezing.  A great reason to smile and a birthday gift from my wonderful wife.  🙂

Poverty

By , September 2, 2008 13:29

IndiaThe numbers are incredible.  While I was visiting in Mumbai last week, The Times of India ran a front page story on poverty within India.  Did you know that one third of the people defined as poor by the World Bank, live in India.  The means that 456 million (42%) of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day.  If you take the look at the percentage of people living on less than $2.00 per day, 76% of the population meets this criteria – more than sub-Saharan Africa where only 72% of the population live on this little.  Mumbai has become such an incredibly divided city between rich and poor with an explosion of the latter, that many people now refer to it as Slumbai.  The slums of the city are exploding …

But numbers don’t do it justice.  You have to experience it.  I’m not sure where the wealthy are in Mumbai, but I felt that I never really left the slums as I shuttled from location to location in my chauffered and air conditioned car.  It was one sprawling mass of poverty.  I can’t even describe the scene of miles and miles of tin shacks and cardboard boxes that people called home – lice infected huts without running water, open sewage, and where people sleep in shifts because a bed is far too valuable to be used by only one person.  It is a maze of open sewers, electrical wires dangling dangerously at eye level, and garbage piles.  Diseases such as AIDS, leprosy, dengue fever and malaria are rampant … with little or few medical facilities.  The cows that wander the streets and highways are afforded more attention and respect than these souls.

I was speaking with someone from work in Delhi one evening and expressing my astonishment at the little value that was placed on human life.  Consider the transportation system if nothing else.  Buses don’t even stop to pick up people who jumped aboarding running death machines and hung out doors and windows by the smallest of threads.  He told me that 3500 people die each year on the metro system alone.  They are dragged along after falling from cars, they are beheaded by power poles as they lean out the windows seeking fresh air, or entangled in power lines and crash into overpasses as they sit on the roof.  It is beyond our comprehension..

I expressed how awful it must be to my colleague – to be met with disagreement.  "Most of these people had a guru, or shwami, who offered them hope and optimism among such surroundings.  The guru would tell them what to do and helped them."  I don’t know who these gurus are, but I certainly saw lots of nicely decorated and colorful billboards advocating one person or another …

It is a people in desperate need of a Saviour.

Do you imagine for a moment that those we meet each day are in any less need?  Are any less poor?  The only difference is that in our materially wealthy countries, we are blind to the poverty.