Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekend Activities

We did a lot for one weekend. This is the last weekend where we have nothing going on until mid-december. It was 65 degrees and sunny, so we took advantage of it with outdoor time!

Saturday I was up early and at church at 8:30 to volunteer for the "Day of Caring" where our church sends multiple groups into the community to do service work - painting, yard raking, etc. I was supposed to go with the senior high youth, but they ended up getting pulled into various other projects. So instead I helped the youth director do the work. I guess youth ministry is pretty universal - no matter how well you plan, it's still hard to get youth to commit and show up to things. Especially at 8am.

I was home around noon and watched Casino Royal while Kelly was out shopping. She bought a new digital thermostat. Our old one was terrible - very inaccurate. The new one only cost $25 and was very easy to install. We didn't get electrocuted! And now we have total control and programable temps by time and all that fun stuff. Sweet.

We took Maggie for a 2.5 mile walk around the path at the YMCA, which is across the street from our house. It's very nice now because it used to be mostly gravel, but they recently paved the entire path. Great fall scenery as the farmers were out harvesting the corn from the fields. Maggie was very happy (and tired) afterwards.

After that we began the process of couch shopping. We tried 2 stores and tested a lot of couches. We aren't sure what exactly we are looking for. Something super soft and comfortable, but firm enough that you can get up and sit to eat on it. So it could be a long process until we find the perfect fit.

We went out to dinner Saturday night and then grocery shopping. We got a movie, but by that point we were too tired to watch it, so we just watched some tv and went to bed.

It almost hit 70 today! We went to church, came home and ate lunch, then continued our couch shopping. Tried 2 different stores and sat on probably 100+ couches, but are still totally indecisive. After that, we went for a 10-mile bike ride along the river. Kelly drove out to the far end of one spur, where she has ridden before. I liked it much better than the other spots I've walked/ridden. It had a clear view of the river and the path wound was covered by trees. Very nice. I was wearing shorts in November! And since we are going to Hawaii in December, I'll be wearing shorts in Dec. too. Sweet!

After all that we came home, made dinner, cleaned our apartment, and now it's time for tv...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

636 Miles

I was sitting in my car at a traffic light, listening to the radio, just before 6pm tonight. There was nothing on my band of 6 "FM2" stations, so I pressed the button to go back to "FM1" and check them. In between is AM, which I usually skip over without stopping. In fact, I haven't touched my AM dial, so it's still set to KYW 1060 from Philly. It's normally just static.

Tonight, I heard a voice talking on the station. It was a weather report. I was intrigued. Then I hear it "KWY news time...". Wow. AM radio is bizarre. It traveled over 600 miles, over mountains and all to get to my little car radio. I looked up how AM radio works - apparently at night it's something with the ionosphere bouncing the waves back to earth, which can happen multiple times if the conditions are right. Almost like a natural satellite. Weird.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Sunset this morning when arriving at work. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Web Designer?

I may need to get my title changed from web designer to multimedia designer or something... Here's my latest work for Ash.
Testimonial Video:
This is what I shot in Arizona. It's now all edited and live on the Ash Website. I got direct compliments from the CEO, Co-president, and VP:
It's all built in flash. All together I think it was about 22 hours of work. I recorded the voice over at home using the condenser mic LF used as the vocal mic. I still hate the sound of my voice. There are several sections. If you only watch one, watch "production tools". That one's the most elaborate. And "departments" is interactive. I also designed the Intranet that it is featuring, which will launch next week. You'll see pictures of the old intranet in all its ugliness during the tutorial.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Trip to Tucson

So it's a few weeks late, but here's the pictures from the trip to Arizona. We traveled to the Loews Ventana Canyon Hotel in Tucson. Flying there was nice because 9 Ash employees flew out together.

These are the pictures of the hotel from up a hiking path. The hotel is built into the mountain side.

The hotel is halfway up a mountain. Here's a view of the top.

Even though it's in the desert, they have some cool water features:

The desert is a nice place to visit, very scenic - but by the end I missed grass and normal trees.

The front of the hotel is pretty impressive:

And the pool is even more impressive:

Breakfast on the patio:

The inside of the hotel was very lavish. Here's the lobby:

And the biggest cactus ever:

So that's pretty much it. I don't have much to say about the event itself. There was a lot of semi-boring presentations, some good food, and long days. Overall, it was pretty cool to be a part of it.

And then a week after those pictures were taken, I was looking at this:

Yes, that is frost. We had our first frost on October 1. Quite a contrast to the 98 degree desert. This winter is going to be fun...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apples to Arizona

We went to the Johnny Appleseed Festival (Johnny Appleseed is buried in Fort Wayne). It wasn't really our thing. It was really crowded (like 5,000-10,000 people?) and contained a farmers market, historic type stuff (trapers and traders), old style food, etc. We walked around and left without doing much. Then we went to out for a late lunch, came home and watched some tv and called it a day.

We were up at 4:30 to drive South to just above Indianapolis for Kelly's Triathlon. She totally rocked it and set 3 personal records. Read her report here.

I'm off to Tucson, Arizona for my first ever business trip! This is the hotel/resort. It's pretty much luxary, but don't be too jealous...i'll be working hard the entire time. It's our company's "Summit" to reward our top producers and establish relationships with important new ones. I'm going as the videographer to capture everything and get interviews with people for future promotions. Should be interesting...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

seventeen cents

I owe a major update with pictures from the past 2 weekends. But until then, I had to comment on gas prices. Yesterday when I went to work, gas was 2.32 (pause for the jealousy of how cheap our gas is). But when I went home, it was 2.49. That's a big jump for one day! So my question is, was our gas just way too cheap and caught up a bit, or did gas go up about 15 cents for everyone??

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ash Brokerage Website

Take a look at

Notice the ugly color scheme. Notice how you can't click on much without getting a prompt to login. You can view contact, about, and careers at the top. Click on contact. See how tiny the map is? Click on a star, then try to click on a different star. Often it doesn't work. Read the about page - does it explain what Ash Brokerage does? Check the careers page. Notice how it only lists open positions.

You should also be able to view news items - although there is talk about making them accessible only after logging in. So if you ignore that section...that's it. You cannot get to any other content.

Look around, become frustrated by the website, and make a mental note. In a few weeks, it will look and feel very, very different.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I figured out that I had comments set to registered users only. So if you've been trying to leave comments all along and had trouble - now you can. So what are you waiting for?


All my life I've lived with bugs. It's the norm. Growing up in the woods, it's just accepted - when you let the dog out at night, at least one giant bug is going to get in. When I moved to Indiana, I expected there to be less. Especially since we live upstairs. I assumed there would be no creepy things to craw across the basement floor or find on the walls of our house. And it's been that way.

But it's beyond just moving out of the woods. There are literally NO bugs here. So far this year, I've seen 2 bees. 2. Now I'm not hanging out in fields of flowers or anything, but still...there should be more. Occasionally, I'll encounter a swarm of gnats, but only in one localized spot. Once you walk past them, there aren't any. I've seen one fly. Only one. We get some small ants in the entryway of our apartment, but even that is slight. It's very strange.

The thing that really made me confused was the other night. It was cold out, so I had the porch door open. We don't have a screen door. It was dark outside and i had the lights on inside. One light was right by the door. ZERO bugs came through that door. No moths. No gnats. Nothing. I haven't even seen lightening bugs. How is that possible? We live surrounded by cornfields - wouldn't there be some bugs to come from that?

It's a different world that back in the Pennsylvania "forrest".

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend At Home

Nothing too exciting from this past weekend. We were up before 9 on Saturday and got a lot done before noon hit. I did 2 loads of laundry (and folded them...didn't leave it in the dryer!), dusted, vacuumed, and organized some things. Kelly folded her laundry from earlier in the week as well as sorted out some things. The nice thing about an apt is that is can be totally cleaned in very little time.

Sat afternoon we went bargain shopping. We had a coupon for $10 off at Kohls. I bought a new pair of jeans for $22 (originally $50 - the same kind I've been wearing) and Kelly bought new earrings. Total cost for both - $18. Sweet. Then Kelly bought a new swimsuit using a coupon she got from her last race. We also finally got hardware for our dresser drawers and did some other errands. That night we cooked red potatoes and fresh corn, which Kelly got for free through work. I think her station did a story on the farm or something. We watched "I Love You Man" which was really good - better than expected. I recommend it. It's funny, but only slightly edgy unlike a lot of the comedies out now. Just a good story and movie overall.

Sunday we went to church, then went mini golfing. I FINALLY beat Kelly. Not just at mini golf - but at anything. She beats me at everything. I think I won by 3. I told her I had to run this one in her face, because I may never beat her again.

On the way home, we stopped off to buy school supplies for some kids who can't afford them. Our church is doing a collection drive. Sun night we watched Ocean's Twelve and now here it is Monday already with another week ahead. See? Nothing too exciting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh, Eagles...Why?

Last night was a preseason football game between the Eagles and the Colts. Aka old home vs new home. Yes, Indy is 2 hours south, but this is Colts country for sure (even though we're only 3 hours from the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears). I told myself this matchup would determine which team I would root for in the season.

There was one time where the Eagles looked strong - a TD, a fumble recovery...but then they had to remind us all that they are the Philadelphia Eagles...and fumbled right back and started to get blown away.

This recap from ESPN says it all: "Philadelphia had six penalties accepted in each half. They squandered a scoring chance at the end of the first half by mismanaging the clock and failed to convert a fourth-and-1 in the third quarter."

Now to be fair, McNabb was pulled early, key players weren't there, and we were not playing our best. The question to me is...why not? Remember the 1993 Phillies team? They went to Spring Training and played as if it was the world series, and didn't stop the whole year. Why can't the Eagles do that?

Final score: 15-23 (though really 7-23...the last Eagles score was meaningless).

Still, I can't help but root for the Eagles. Knowing my luck, the one year I don't, they will win the superbowl. If they had won last night, I was going to wear my Eagles NFC champ shirt to work (it's casual Friday). I wonder how many of their games will be on tv out here?

And here's my solution to the conflict: Colts are in the AFC, Eagles in the NFC. I root for both, and that would make for one heck of a superbowl. In the end though...GO PHILLY!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekend in Indianapolis

Kelly had another triathlon this weekend. This one was in Indianapolis. We had a fun weekend with the dog, her roommates from Sophomore year of college and a new city. Rather than double her efforts, check out her blog and race report at:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fast Food All Around

It smelled like french fries outside our apartment last night.  We live down the street from Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, and Buffalo Wild Wings.  But it's never smelled before.  It's a scam...i think they started pumping it into the air to make us want fast food.  As if we needed an incentive.

I blame Burger King, cause I hate BK anyways.  I'm hungry.  Wendy's anyone?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lots of Updating

First of all...I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE!  Finally.  I went over 7 months without any coverage and never got sick or injured.  Awesome.  I know it was a gamble, but it paid off.

So lots has been going on, I just haven't posted things.  Mostly because Kelly beats me to it and posts things on Facebook.  However I realize some of you aren't on Facebook or aren't friends with kelly.  So let's play catch-up. 

Back in late June, Kelly and her dad ran in a Triathlon in Warsaw, Indiana.  Check out her whole report here.

Then read down the next 2 posts for our most recent weekend getaway and our trip to the zoo 2 weekends ago.

Higgins Lake Weekend

This past weekend, Kelly and I went to upstate Michigan to Higgin's Lake.  I don't think you can call a house this nice a "cabin", but it was certainly a nice place to stay.

Right on the lake!

It was quite cold though, so we spent a lot of time inside.

So here's a breakdown of the family that was there:




Kelly's Mom (Karen):

Kelly's Dad (Mark):

The owners of the cabin are Sue and Fred.  Sue is Kelly's Dad's Dad's Sister - aka Kelly's Aunt (twice removed?).  Their son and daughter came up for the weekend.  Their son is also named Fred, and goes by Freddie when his dad is around.  Now here's the really confusing part.  He married a Sue.  So it's "young Sue and Fred" and "old Sue and Fred"

Fred is closest to us.  His son Freddie is in the back.  

Saturday was basically an inside day.  I played Scrabble with some of the crowd. And beat them easily.

Kelly and her dad dipped their feet in the lake:

Saturday night brought a wonderful steak dinner cooked out on the grill.

After dinner, Kelly and I started a game of Balderdash.  About 10 minutes into the game, the power went out. The power was out in the picture below and it was total darkness.  But the flash said otherwise.  People were mad at Kelly for taking it because  it was blinding.  Katie is the girl in the front and her mom Sue (young Sue) is in the back.  Katie is Sue and Freddie's daughter.

Sunday morning brought the sun back!  Here's a view of the lake from the porch.

And a view from the dock:

Kelly and I went for a bike ride in the afternoon, and then decided that although it was still a bit cold, we needed to put Maggie in the lake.  Can a dog so small swim?  Kinda.  Her head was basically in the water.  Kelly had her in a cute life vest.

Kelly was happy.  Maggie was so-so.

Finally, right before we left on Sunday, we got to go out in the boat.  Freddie is a good driver.  It was still very windy, as shown by the white caps in the background.  It was warm in the sun, but freezing when the wind and water blew up.

I only had like 4 beers all weekend, but it seems like I have one in every picture!

Left to Right in this Picture: Denise (Sue and Fred's daughter), Sue (Cabin owner), and Scotty (Denise's son).

Maggie enjoyed the boat.

We anchored at one point and Kelly's dad was brave enough to go swimming.  A triathlon workout.

Maggie started thinking about going for another swim:

She's going in!

Swimming! (with some assistance)

And drying off.

The ride back was cold and wet.

I love this picture.

Fort Wayne Zoo

We went to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on Saturday, July 25th.  We felt a little silly at first because it was the "children's zoo", but whatever...animals are animals, right?  Now I've been to some pretty good zoo's - Washington DC, I wasn't expecting much.  Zoos kinda bored me.  An animal here, an animal there, I get the point.  But this was actually quite fun.

First stop, goat petting area.  The goat wanted to eat Kelly's map.

Then we headed over to Australia.  Here's a dingo, which as Kelly said, pretty much just looks like a dog.  It was sleeping but Kelly clapped her hands and it woke up.

Then a huge pack of Kangaroos.  You could walk through them on a path.

And get super close to them.  Have YOU been that close to a kangaroo?  They look funny when they run.

Here's a random monkey.

Then off to the Indonesian Rain Forrest.  This was a candid shot.  I love it.

On our way out of the rainforest, kelly rode a lizard/dragon.

The it was off to Africa!  It's the newest part of the zoo and there aren't "cages"'s just like being on a safari.  Obviously, there are fences, but it's pretty cool.  There's even a sky ride/ski lift type thing.  The view below is from the ride.

Then some cool animals...osterich


kelly feeding a giraffe!

I think giraffe's are cool. Africa.

Feeding time and animal butts

What did God do wrong with this animal?? How did natural selection not rule out this bird.  It's so freaking ugly, and even more in person.  Some sort of vulture?

On the way out, you enter the mist.  It's pretty sweet.