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Baby-Led Weaning Books

These are really worth checking out:

Baby-Led Weaning

If my daughter recommends them, then I’m sold.

Pete Carroll Optimism

This article was just too funny not to share. For all Seahawks fans, you’ve got to read this satirical interview of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson.

I have to admit – I share much of Carroll’s optimism. I’m expecting and looking forward to a good season. Go Seahawks!!

Inspiration for my Blog Posts

I’ve been asked where I find the time to write my blog posts. Time isn’t really the issue for me. I don’t spend more than about a half hour each day writing my blog. It’s relaxing to me and at the same time gives me a feeling of accomplishment. It’s something that I enjoy and look forward to doing each day.

I get up a little early each morning and spend some time at my computer before I have to go to work. “Work” – now there’s something I dread. There’s a good reason they call it “work”. Blogging is not work. Blogging takes me away from work.

I used to try to convince people that it’s work. Like when my wife, Leslie, is dusting and vacuuming – I wanted her to think that blogging is work – otherwise, I would have to help around the house.

Now, I’m more mature, and understand how things work, so I blog in the morning and I help Leslie around the house when she needs it.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
– Jack London

Learning How To Install Laminate Flooring

My daughter, Ashley, and her husband, Eric, recently asked me to help them install some laminate flooring in their house. Twice, I put some laminate flooring in the house that we used to live in, so now I’m an expert with that sort of thing…LOL!

That was an interesting story. In fact, I told my daughter that the only way I would help them with that project is if they purchased the snap lock type of flooring, because I had some experience with the tongue and groove type that you have to glue together. I’ll never use that style of material again.

The glue together type of laminate flooring is what we first put in the dining room in the house we were living in at that time. I was so careful and worked so hard to pull them tightly together and I strapped them and waited for the glue to dry before moving on to the next board. No matter how careful I was, it seemed that the gaps between boards got bigger and and bigger. By the time I made it to the other end of the room, there were some easily identifiable flaws in my workmanship.

I don’t remember if it was the next Winter, or if it was a year or two later, but we had a problem with some water leakage from our roof that ran down the wall and under our flooring. The water caused the edges of the laminate to warp and buckle. (Note here – always sop up any water that gets on your laminate flooring and don’t give it time to soak in through the edges of the boards.)

We ended up having to pull up that flooring and re-do it. This time I was wiser and used the snap together type of boards. It was so much easier and looked so much better. Lessons learned!

Anyway, I dug through YouTube to find some good how to videos to get some pointers for putting down the flooring. This is partly for me to remember how to do everything and to do it correctly. It’s also for Ashley and Eric to become a little more knowledgeable of the process before we go to work on their flooring.

This video gives an overview of the process of laying laminate flooring, including a list of the tools necessary for the project.

Another video with some good prep tips.

Learn here how to tap the ends together with a tapping block.

Here are some installation tips and tricks.

That gives a pretty good overview of the process, but the best thing to do before beginning to install laminate flooring is to Read Through the Directions That Come in the Box of Flooring Material. Oh, and be sure to ask question to the service people at the store where you purchased the material.


I collect witty sayings. Whenever I find something I like, I email it to myself and keep it in a file for later use. Then, when a time comes to recite them, I can’t remember them, anyway.

Here’s a few that struck me as particularly witty, and in many cases, funny.

It is bad luck to be superstitious.
– Andrew W. Mathis

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
– John Adams

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.
– John Ciardi

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
– John Kenneth Galbraith

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.
– Gerald Ford

Anonymous Phrases

I wish I could give credit to those whose originality brought these statements, but I don’t have a source. All I can say is that I wish I were so clever as to come up with these thoughts, but I’m far from it.

You should not confuse your career with your life.

Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Graduation Speech

My cousin, Rick, sent an email a couple days ago in which he shared a copy of a speech that was given by a graduating high school senior. I was so moved by the content that I asked for permission to post it here on my blog.

I want to preface the speech by mentioning that this student was graduating from a school in Tokyo, Japan where my cousin works.

It’s a long read, but well worth the time to read through to the end. I’d have to say that this is the most deep and meaningful graduation speech that I’ve ever known of. Read on……

When posed with the challenge of giving the graduation speech for the Class of 2011, I had trouble formulating exactly what I wanted to say. There was no rubric, no prompt, and an infinitely vast expanse of possibilities I could cover. While the idea of this freedom might sound freshly exhilarating to some, I found it rather troublesome.

This is, essentially, the closing statement we have to make, our final hug before we say goodbye, the punctuation ending our sentence here. But perhaps most daunting, it is the last time we will all be together. If you can’t tell, the pressure was starting to get to me. So, I thought to myself, what is it that needs most to be said? And more importantly, how do I not make this boring?

As cliche as it is, I could nostalgically trace back through our educational history here at CAJ, citing important works of literature we’ve read, global issues we’ve discussed, or the mistakes we’ve made – can anyone say ‘freshman ditch day?’ – but really, none of that matters at this point. Either we’ve learned something from these things or we haven’t, but I do not think that now is the time for me to stand here pretending to wax
poetic about the beauty of the journey we have taken thus far, and the resulting metamorphosis that has turned us into gorgeous butterflies ready to come forth from our cocoon and take flight. Because the truth is, retained academic knowledge and the pursuit of factual intelligence is not what the last twelve years of our lives have been about. When we need it most, though I know of some who undoubtedly question that
we’ll need it at all, we won’t be able to recall Newton’s third law, the graph of the cosine function, or which worldview Hobbes created.
Instead, we’ll remember a mix of the conversations we had with each other in class and waiting in the lunch line, a catchy chorus from that one choir song and the last second shot that determined our temporary fate, and, of course, the friendships we’ve forged with the very special people around us who have left lasting fingerprints on our lives.

But maybe most importantly, we’ll remember where we were at 2:46 pm on March 11th. I say this not to be dramatic, touching, or trite, but instead, to best summarize the feelings we confront tonight. The emotions stirred in our hearts from the earthquake and the weeks after it presented two paradoxes. The first was a feeling of fear in wanting to run to safety, but at the same time, courage in the determination of overcoming the obstacles before us. The second paradox we faced was the desperate desire to help those in need, while we found ourselves in a state of feeling utterly helpless. We faced the realization that, as much as we may have formerly believed, we were not in the driver’s seat.

But in this tangled mess of confusion, one truth ruled over all others: God’s sovereignty. Tonight, we are faced with similar feelings of fear, courage, and the understanding we are not in control. And tonight, we are met with the exact same conclusion: God is sovereign. For us Seniors, the moment we experienced as we stood evacuated on the soccer field, and the monumental earthquake we experienced in Thailand a mere two weeks later, shook each one of us to our cores. The emotionally draining experience of going through two straight life altering events left us with no other option than to run to the outstretched arms of God. Suddenly, the eyes of each student in this class were opened to what life is all about: depending on God. For the Class of 2011, these earthquakes brought cosmos into our lives, as we realized surrendering ourselves to God was the only thing that made sense.

As we move on from high school, we are thrust into a new chapter of our lives that is mysterious and unknown, much like the days after the earthquake. And while some part of all of us wants to stay behind in the comfortable habitat we’ve been in for so long, somewhere inside we also want to bravely jump into the enigmatic future, despite having no idea of what will happen to us when we do. But we do know one thing: that in the face of the coming uncertainty, as well as in the moments of peace, God remains in complete control. Though tonight is a reminiscent event full of farewells and tears, let us not treat it as such. But rather, let us enjoy tonight as the celebration of a leap of faith for these 47 individuals into an all-powerful, all-loving God’s arms, because he has a wonderful, wonderful plan in store for each of our lives.

Thank you.

Video musical de Austin – Vuelve a mi de Reik

Austin was assigned a project in his high school Spanish class. He was to play a Spanish song for his class and speak the words of the song in Spanish. He also had to prepare a powerpoint presentation and talk about the song and the band that performed it.

Austin thought it would be fun to do a video presentation to show to his class in addition to the powerpoint presentation that was required. Here’s the video that he prepared. It turned out much better than I thought it would. Sit back, relax, and get ready to laugh a little.

I’m Feeling the Love on My Birthday!

Facebook has made its mark for my 50th birthday. I received 51 birthday greetings. At first, I was going to respond to each one individually, but my life is now officially half over so I’m not sure I have enough time left to do that.

Thank you everyone for noticing and caring enough to shout out to me today (and a couple from yesterday).

My family and a few friends surprised me with a surprise party at the New Thai restaurant on Saturday. They showered me with some lovely gifts….like Depends, Geritol, and other similarly themed goodies. Funny, I don’t feel that old…so why did AARP send me that application form?

Anyway, at work today, for lunch, my employees held a potluck lunch for me and another person in our department whose birthday was yesterday. I ate a lot, then fought back the sleep for the rest of the afternoon. I guess people my age need a nap in the afternoon.

All day, I was getting the greetings through Facebook, SMS, email greeting cards, phone calls, and in person. As I mentioned before, I greatly appreciate every thought, blessing, and prayer from each of you.

I heard from each one of my immediate family, several of my more extended family, school classmates (most of you already know the feeling of 50 or will very soon), friends from my church – now and past, friends from my daughter’s church in Idaho, many of my new friends from Virginia, racing buddies, people who know me from so long ago that they call me “Donny”, and family and friends from as far away as Spain and Japan. You are all amazing.

But now that I’m old, I need to stop writing this blog post and go take my early evening nap, so I can refresh myself enough to last all the way to bedtime.

Enjoyed our Blueberry Banana Smoothies

Tonight, Leslie made blueberry-banana smoothies with our new Ninja Master Blender. The smoothies were wonderful – made from frozen blueberries that we had picked this summer at the u-pick up the road from our house.

Making Smoothies with the Ninja Blender

We used to have an old food processor to make smoothies, but we wore it out. For awhile, we were left with the Magic Bullet to do the smoothies with, but finally came across the Ninja, and I’m so glad we did.

The Ninja is so easy to use. It’s perfect for most every use in the kitchen. The main thing, as a blender for smoothies, is that it has enough power to chop up the ice with ease.

Don’t get me wrong – we love the Magic Bullet. In fact, I used it just yesterday for pureeing some veggies to put in the chili that I was making. It has it’s place in the kitchen, but the Ninja is much better for the heavy duty jobs like chopping ice for smoothies and fraps.

Wood Spider on Drugs

I have so many relatives who teach science, I knew that I needed to share this video.

The Effect of Drugs on a Wood Spider

This is absolutely hilarious. I has to rank on the top 10 of my all time favorites. Watch the wood spider as he is exposed to various drugs such as LSD, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, and more.

I don’t have any personal experience with any of the above, outside of caffeine, but I’ve seen enough of it from high school acquaintances to know what the various drugs do.