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Aly's first communion this weekend went great.  She was as excited as ever.  She was able to sing the refrain during the first communion celebration. Be sure to check out the video below. My favorite part is her sitting down at the end and smiling ear to ear.
 

I knew when I started collecting old used CD's, DVD's, games & movies that someday they would amount to something great.  Jean always said I was crazy, but I showed her.

The kids had a snow-day today and I spent all morning shoveling the driveway. I was just about to get ready for work but thought I'd start the day off with some fun.


So I was at work today and at about 4:00, a call came in and caller ID said Steven Giunto.  When I answered the phone I heard Nathan say "Hi Daddy". He asked me if today was Mommy's birthday, and I said "No, it's tomorrow."

He then told me that he thinks "Mommy want's to go out to dinner for her birthday". I asked if she told him to say that, and he said, "No", and she doesn't know he's calling me so "Don't tell her he called".

I then thanked him for "Looking out for Daddy".... Thanks Nate!
Jean and I attended yet another Mardi Gras celebration at St Joan of Arc.  A pretty 'tame' event until the elderly go home and the crazies come out. Our good friends Michel was crowned as king and Dana was crowned as queen, it was a pretty fun night with all the "secretive" festivies. Some great cajan food got the belly feeling good, and 30+ jello shots got it feeling bad.

I've found a short list of bulleted items, sum up events nicely.
  • Plastic beads make people crazy.
  • Jack loves gumbo.
  • Fundraisers make you spend money you don't want to.
  • Carrots have no place around drunk people.
  • Inflatables have no place around drunk people.
  • Warm soft little squishy balls have no place around drunk people.
Here is a Photo Gallery of the event!

Brandon has been doing great at his gymnastics.  He really is a natural at everything he does. After just 2 sessions (14 weeks). He was at a Level 3 after completing his first session.  His instructor has taken a real interest in him and given him lots of attention and free training time.

Here is a video of Brandon nailing his first Aerial without landing his hands.  He's very close to hitting it on just the floor too.


A special thanks to Denise and Mike OConnor for inviting us to their New Year's party again this year.  Us and our kids had a blast as usual.  It was an exceptionally good year since Brandon and Nathan did not break anything this year.  That's always a plus.

Lots of good food, and lots of good friends made for a great night. Parenting over the kids ipod truth or dare game was the extent of worrying about the twenty-some kids in the basement.  Gotta love a good group of kids.

Here's a link to a new years photo gallery of the evening.

This page is strickly here in the event it gets picked up by search engines and one day someone "googling" for these antique albums will find them. OK, here they are, some Columbia, Victor, RCA Victor, Victrola and other records.

albums

Old Antique Albums (Loose Sleeves)
Columbia, Frank Sinatra, 37089
Columbia, Tony Bennett, 40121
Columbia, Tony Bennet, 40048, CO 48927 & CO 48928
Course, L8OL 8578 & 8579
Course, L8OL 8580 & 8581
Capital, DF-61 & DF500
Capital, DF60 & DF96
RCA Victor, 20-5352,
RCA Victor, 20-2005
Decca, 18513
Decca, 23745
RCA Victor, 25657

Album Folder 7
Gennett, Christmas Greetings, 5233
Victor, 18769
Victor, 18807
Victor, 16995
Victor, 45096
Victrola, 64405 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64712 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64996 (Other Side Smooth)
Broadway, 15055
Victrola, 87306 (Other Side Smooth)
Prom, 707
Victrola, 64958 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64962 (Other Side Smooth)

Album Folder 15
Victrola, 64785, (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 45256
Victor, 17602
Victrola, 64741, (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64982
Columbia, A2281
Victor, 177774
Victor, 64433 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 66146 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 60106 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64603, (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64814, (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 18403
Victor, 17257

Album Folder 2
Victor, 17681
Victor, 18790
Victor, 16385
Victor, 16196
Grey Gull, 1855
Victrola, 64696 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 17835
Columbia, A2676
Columbia, A903
Victor, 17369
Victor, 45161
Victor, 17305

Album Folder 10
Columbia, E2814
Odeon, 17097
Victor, 73108
Victor, 69371
Victor, 7254
Victor, 87197 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 17668
Victor, 67200
Columbia, E4663 or 86082
Columbia, E419 or 13025
Victrola, 64205 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 72830
Columbia, E7883 or 88975

album_sinatra

Well this year's annual pilgrimage to Brimfield did not dissapoint.  We opted not to start with the crew at dinner, but met up with them shortly after. The Keba's joined us for their second tour along with tour-virgins.... the Wagners.

We started at Rico's around 8:00p where the clan was already well over 25 and in full gear.  After a few drinks and watching the CAV's win, the herd headed across the street to the Shenandoah, stopping traffic just by the sheer number of people crossing RT-43.  Swinging the front doors open, the 4 current patrons of the bar couldn't help but notice the 30 strong herd flowing through the front door. With the majority of us in our custom-made red shirts, it was a grand entrance for the tour.  For the next hour or two I'm sure they sold more alcohol than the previous few weeks combined. The inpromtu throwback game of quarters on the bar was a hit, and thank God nobody bought one of those cabbage stuffed banana peppers or there would have been some early hurling.

Once the word was given, the herd flowed back out the front doors, we could not hit Jagers Pub, the usual next stop on the tour.  Unfortunately they were shut down, and I would think our annual visit alone would keep them in business. So we headed to the last stop a little earlier than normal. Sully's was the smallest of all the pubs and barely held all 35 of us comfortably. Without a doubt the most business they've ever seen at once. After several hours and almost closing the place, I'm sure their sales were a record number that night.

I thought I'd compile the top 10 things learned on this tour.

  1. Smoking ban's don't really apply in Brimfield.
  2. Bouncing a quarter into a shot glass is not easy.
  3. If you spend hundreds of dollars on alcohol you get free popcorn.
  4. Some people actually pay to eat cabbage stuffed bananna peppers.
  5. You can't dance on the bar at Sully's.
  6. You can take your dog to the bar with you at Sully's.
  7. You can't climb onto the roof at Sully's without a ladder.
  8. You can take poolsticks onto RT-18 and air guitar if you want to.
  9. ZZ Top hangs out in brimfield.
  10. Even drunk, you can make a human pyramid.

Thanks to all for a great night. We took 166 pictures that night, and unlike Jean's thousand picture facebook gallery, you can check out my narrowed down Tour Photo Gallery. We look forward to next years tour!

With such a crappy summer, and winter seeming to hit quick this year, when I heard it was supposed to reach 68 degrees for the first week in November, I was glad to hear I would get in my fall hike, which I was sure we missed.

Aly on HikeWe decided to go across the street again since the kids are all bigger. I also allowed Aly to go with us as long as there was no whining and complaining about legs being tired. :) I knew we'd be very far from home so wasn't sure if she'd make it. She did extremely well for her little legs.  By the very end of the hike she said "I'm not complaining Daddy, but my legs are starting to shut down". Very funny. I took all three of our kids as well as some of my nieces and nephews; Jacob, Abby, Zack and Dylan.

We trekked up and down lots of dirt hills, through a few marshes, through many pricker patches and on lots of trails. We opted not to go to the traditional sand-pits this time but went to a lake quite a bit further away. We discovered a perfect spot to set up a tent and camp some weekend and named it Diablos Point due to the trident shaped tree right in the middle of it. We also stopped by the quarry to throw some rocks into the water below.  A favorite for everyone.

I tucked my GPS unit in my camelback which tracked every step we took. When we got back I plugged it into my computer and it showed our track right in google-earth, what a great technology. We hiked on and off trails for almost 3 hours and covered about 4 miles of ground.

Check out my Fall Hike Photo Gallery page for a couple dozen photos of the hike.

You know you want to, everyone is doing it, you just don't know how, it's confusing, you can't learn it, blah, blah, blah.... As Nike says, Just Do It!

I converted my 40 year old sister to Mac a few years ago. She was a little skeptical at first but after spending a couple days with her 17" iMac, she got the hang of it very quickly. Now she'll swear by it and say she loves it and is glad she switched.

And for all you that are still skeptical, my 67 year old dad came to me a couple weeks ago saying he needed a new PC. I gave him a long look and he immediately said he's not getting any kind of Mac,  "Mommy and I won't be able to use it" he said . I laughed and said "yes you are." You'll never have to worry about viruses, bluescreens, you won't have to take your computer in every year to get it decluttered from spam, adware, spyware and just slow creepy crawlers that happen to ALL pc's.

Mac MiniLess than a week later, he was the proud owner of his first Mac Mini. At $800 he was out the door with a machine with more power and features than he'll ever need. I spent a couple hours showing him the basics of where to find things and the half-dozen programs that he will need. That's all it took. Within two days of playing around, he was burning custom music CD's and emailing images from iPhoto like a pro. By day three, I received an email saying...."i think i love my mini mac!"

That's all I got, if that doesn't convince you, nothing will. And best of all, you can find a creative way to get rid of your last PC. I found a 12-gauge shotgun to work quite well.

Nate Browns GameI scored 4 free tickets to the Browns vs Bengals game today. Thanks to Steve Armbrecht for that gift. It was truly appreciated.

I was able to take Nathan to his first Browns game. We invited good friends Ed and Jared Tuma, to go with us.  It was Jared's first Browns game as well.

The game was an excellent game to go to, as it was close the whole game up to the last minute of regular play.  A tie at 20 sent the game into sudden death overtime.  With many, many, many, many changes to score, the Browns fell short and lost to a field goal with only seconds left in overtime.

A real disappointing loss since we were really ready for a Browns win.

We spent the first half of the game in our regular seats, and then snuck down to the lower bowl 50-yard line for the 2nd half.  Great seats all around and had an awesome time.

Nates First Browns GameThe fun wasn't over with the game.  While idling in traffic down the center lane of East 9th street in downtown Cleveland, we smelled some burning rubber and plastic.  We just said "Someone's car isn't smelling so great".  At that same moment, a walker on the sidewalk told us our tail light was on fire! Yes. I glanced in the side-view mirror and saw smoke and small flames coming from the tail-light.  Ed and I quickly jumped out of the car, collected a small water bottle and Nate's Frutopia and threw it on the tail-light for a quick sizzle.  Luckily I had a screwdriver in the back of the van so we quickly removed the whole plastic assembly and dumped another bottle of water on the smoldering mess.  Thanks to the guy on the sidewalk for that. Seconds later a police-man came up to us (van in the middle of east 9th) and he told us to move on...... I asked him if I could put the fire out first.  He kind of smiled and said OK. We ended up just ripping the tail-light enclosure clean off the van since it was molded to the wire. Threw it in the back of the van and went on our way without any other mishaps.

All in all, even though the Browns loss 20-23, it was a pretty fun day.

Thanks again Steve Armbrecht.



So my internet service (Time Warner Road Runner) has been acting up lately and I've been starting to frown upon my faithful ISP of the last 9 years. My connection has been dropping a few times a day, and especially while trying to stream a Netflix movie over my Xbox. I received a promotional letter from Time Warner to trade my modem for a "Speed Boost" modem.  I figured it sounded good since I've had this same modem since getting Road Runner in 2000!

When I showed up at the counter, the representative laughed at my modem, held it up to show her co-workers and they made a big fuss laughing at it.  She asked if it was still working and I said "kind of". She continued to tell me she was surprised it even worked because it was recalled 3-years ago. Thanks Time Warner for keeping up with the hardware you gave me.

So I was excited to get home and hopefully have a reliable connection.  The first thing I did of course, being a techy-guy, was go to speedtest.net, a great common site I frequent to test my bandwidth speed.  I had reguarly got 3-5MB and sometimes topped out at 6MB which I was pretty happy with. If only I knew what I'd been missing.

After plugging in the new modem and running a test there, here are my results.

speedtest_092109

Yea, consistenly getting 30-32MB a second now.  I couldn't believe it and kept testing just to be sure I wasn't dreaming.  Even with farther servers in CA, I was still well over 25MB.

I had to perform a real-world test so went to Apple.com to download a large movie trailer. A 50MB quicktime movie downloaded in 49 seconds.  A little over 1MB/sec in a real-world test. I'm am now lovin Time Warner again.


The family had a great long weekend at the Salberg Camp during this Labor Day weekend.

We started the weekend out early by driving out on Thursday night and setting up camp in the dark. Not very fun, but gave us the whole day Friday to play.

Nathan and I went tubing down the Clarion River for a couple miles. It was a very peaceful float for over and hour and a half. Lots of quiet time, staring down to the rocky bottom looking for fish and critters. Most of the trip was in less than 3 feet of water, so it made for great viewing.

I took my RC plane with me and after the first 5-minutes of the flight, crashed it into the top of a tree, 60 feet high. :(  After a short brainstorming session, a tree climb seemed to be the only solution.  So away I went.  I actually had the kids go far away thinking that I didn't want them tramatized the the sight of me falling to my death. Funny that the death part wasn't what I was concerned about.  Anyway, after a 60 foot climb to the near top of a pine, I was able to knock the plane down to the ground.  That fall would put it out of commission for the rest of the weekend, and possibly this year, until it's repaired.

The family took a tour to Ridgeway, PA to see where the Salberg family grew up. Becky Murphy gave Jean and the kids the $5 tour while Jim gave me the 10 cent tour in the car behind.  It was a good afternoon trip cruising around that quaint little town.

Brandon and I took the same lazy river ride, nate and I took.  We had a blast. I got to go twice. Benefits of being Dad.

The rest of the weekend consisted of lots of sitting, resting, frisbee, campfire and a little beer.

Another great weekend in thanks to Mark and Joy for letting everyone camp on their property all weekend long.

So I started the whirlwind trip down to Orlando with a couple uneventful flights where my sister picked me up shortly after noon.

We went straight over to Jim's sports bar "Flanagan's" where Jim met us for an awesome lunch. Few beers and a buffalo chicken wrap and a couple wings, and a side salad, and thats it, really.

After picking Summer up from her school, we then went over to pick up the Ferrari at Jim's shop. Just as promised, the 2001 silver Volvo S40, was in tip-top shape, fully fueled and ready to go. Lucky I am marrired as I will surely not be picking up any chicks with it, but with 38,000 miles, how could I pass it up. 4,000 a year isn't a bad average, especially when compared to the 34,000 Jean puts on her vehicles.

After a short swim at Teresa's in the rain, and meeting Daisy, their new puppy, it was almost night. Some more delicious eats with Papa Tony's pizza, finished off the belly for the night. The lightning fast day ended with a "Slumdog Millionaire" showing, what a great movie.

THE VOYAGE HOME

Departing at 7am, it truely was a whirlwind trip. I'd be in the state of Florida less than 24 hours.

Firing up the GPS right at 7:00am upon my departure, I had an arrival time of 10:35pm. Uggh, 15h:35m trip before stops, yet still better than the 16h estimated by AAA. After immediately getting on Interstate 4 headed east for Daytona, a little KIA RIO passed me like I was standing still. I decided to ride some coat-tails to see where it would get me. After finally catching up and debating whether to stay with him, I kept pace staying about a 1/4 mile back, he averaged between 90-95 for almost the next hour and a half hitting a top speed of 106mph just before he got clocked around St Augustine. Sorry buddy, but thanks. This daring pavement recon helped me shave 40 minutes off my arrival time before even reaching Jacksonville. Dropping down to 75-80 after that was very difficult. My target remained 8-10mph over the speed limit for the remainder of the trip, riding more coat-tails whenever possible. Maybe ill-thought, but I felt this was a comfortable speed that no officer dare give out a ticket for. Especially with the occassional fool traveling 35mph over the speed limit. After cruising through the city of Jacksonville where I lived for 5 years, I would reach the FL state line before I knew it, cutting 45 minutes off my ETA before leaving the state. It was exciting watching an arrival time tick down one minute every two minutes... like was fast-forwarding the trip somehow in time, and it definitely set the attitude for the remainder of the trip.

The state of Georgia would prove to be uneventful and go by before I knew I was in it thanks to an audio book recommended by Jim, Vince Flynn's - Memorial Day. My first audiobook ever and honestly the last book I read/heard since the mid 90's in college. My first fuel-up/brunch on an empty tank only took 8 gallons of a 16 gallon tank? so creative mileage tracking would be needed for the rest of the trip due to a faulty fuel gauge. If that's the worst.....no problem. Total stop time so far, 10 minutes.

The South Carolina border came and passed at 11am without slowing me down abit. Blew past Charlotte without a thought.

My second stop in North Carolina, 7h:20m into my voyage lasted a whole 7 minutes, bringing my total stop time to 17 minutes. If only I had one of those wide-mouth gatorade bottles, I would not have had to stop! My ETA accelerated up to 9:15p at this point. Making great time and still very excited looking forward to every turn of the road.......

And then Virginia.... Oh my God, move this state to Iowa or further West. On the bright side, I did not get a $455 ticket from this wonderful state as was incurred two years ago, and I was only 18mph over at that time. Whomever the idiotic, fool is who designed the exchange from 77N to 81 East, is an idiotic fool. A two-lane heavily traveled 77N is funneled into one lane which proved to be a 2mph, 20 minute set-back which would be the buzz-kill of the whole trip. No accident, no nothing, just terrible road engineering causing the backup.  Our last vacation to Ocean Isle in June brought us through the same intersection for a half-hour traffic jam, again no accident. Slower speed limits and always state troopers, thank God that state was less than 70 miles of my voyage.

Why does West Virginia have to be such a long state. I reached Charleston, WV by 6:10pm, 11h:10m into my trip, amazingly, I was still feeling great, no sore butt and not dying of boredom. Nice alone time without Brandon babbling something. I would stop for my 3rd and final stop in Rockport, West Virginia exactly 12 hours into my trip. I would grab lightning-fast-food and gas in 10 minutes bringing my new, and end, total stop time to to 27 minutes. That's about how much time it would normally take to get the whole family, gassed, bathroomed and fed on an average stop.  Incredibly easier traveling alone.

I would reach the Ohio border by 7:20pm, 12h:20m into my trip. Surely without the state of Virginia, it would have been some type of record. Just starting to get dark at this point, it wasn't until southern Ohio, where I actually started thinking this was a very long trip. Especially since the speed limit drops to 60mph. Come on ODOT! I would also end up passing three police cars in Ohio whereas I passed two in all the other states combined.

I would arrive safe and sound on the compound at 9:40pm, 1,004 miles from driveway to driveway. Thank you God for a safe trip.

GPS TALLIES: (Orlando to Streetsboro)
Total time: 14hours, 40minutes
Total stopped time: 27minutes
Average Speed: 74.8 (no thank you, virginia)
Max Speed: 110mph (southern ohio, just because)

Disclaimer: For law enforcement agencies, this blog entry and all posted speeds are entirely fictional.

 

Thanks again to Rick and Tasha for taking me and the boys out boating. Too bad Jean and Aly couldn't make it. They had a bridal shower to attend.

The Day family brought their boat and family along as well. Ali Benci joined us too.

We finally had summer show up and give us a very sunny day.  We were out on Berlin Lake for almost 6 hours.

Nate and Brandon both knee-boarded for the first time in their life.  They both got up on their first try and within minutes were feeling pretty comfortable.

I knee-boarded as well and had fun catching "a little" air over the wake.  Just what my freshly healed back was looking for. :)

Captain Rick ended the day with a good deed by towing someones "dead" boat back to the dock.

You can click here for some photos of a few different boat outings with friends.

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