The Adventures of LatteMan....

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Monday, January 30, 2006

New Job Search... Expedited

Nothing makes you start your job search quicker than the words, "We are going to have to let you go"

Friday, January 27, 2006


It has been a while since I have so desperately looked forward to a Friday.

Reservation for "Date Night" have been made for Park & Orchard. Fortunately their chefs are much better than their web designers. I am so looking forward to getting out and having an an adult conversation. Perhaps it will be a cure for all my Disney posts.

Work is making me miserable. I really need to start a full court press in finding something new. I have been dragging my heals to ensure I get my full service time where I need it to get my next 18 Paid Days Off (they don't "do" sick days here, it is one big blob of days for vacation, sick, personal). I rolled 10 days over from last year, so that gives me a month bumper for the changeover which is nice. Although I really could have used a day or two for mental health, expecially right after the holidays.

My apologies to those that I owe cookies to. Tonight, LatteGirl and I are baking for sure, and the packages will be out to you tomorrow. Things have just been crazier than a Republican trying to cover up his ties to the K Street Project.

I should be back to regular posting (maybe even with some substance) next week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Date Night" at Latte House

TheWife and I are going out on a "date" this weekend. Amazingly, it has been two years since we have done anything without LatteGirl.

And to be honest we have not told her yet. One of her evil powers charms, is her ability to make us feel guilty for going out. And that is when it is ONE of us that is going out. She is going to freak when she finds out that we are both going out {{gasp}} without her. Hopefully this will be tempered by the fact that she will get to spend the evening with her Aunt.

I am hoping she is going to be better about this now than she was THEN, but I am not banking on it. Her vocabulary has increased dramatically (gee, nothing gets by me, huh?), but so has her conning skills. For example, we have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get her back sleeping in her own bed... alone. We have been making good strides. But when TheWife brought up the idea of her sleeping alone last week she replied, "I'm not ready. I am still still a child, and an impressionable one." (Where the he** did she come up with "impressionable"?)

So, I am both thrilled and nervous. We are not telling her until Saturday. At least that is the plan at the momment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I swear this is NOT the Disney Blog

But I am going to take momment (yet again) to comment on the House of Mouse.

A while back after the release of Chicken Little, I commented that after the disasters that were Valiant and Chicken Little, that Disney NEEDED to get Pixar back into the fold. This became even more imperative when Paramount bought Dreamworks.

Well, it comes as no surprise to me that today it was announced that Disney acquires Pixar.

Of course that will now cause Steve Jobs to become a member of Disney's board of directors. But maybe the man who engineered the rise of the iPod, can help bolster the sagging House that Walt built.

Yes... Disney... Again

Tonight, as I toil away at work, TheWife (Formerly DietCokeWife before she swore off soda), and LatteGirl (no she doesn't drink it, but has the energy of an over caffeinated person), will be heading off to Disney on Ice, Princess Classics.

It is one of those things that being a father makes me think entirely too much. No not about Princesses and such. About whether or not I am a good father. On the one hand, I am sad that I will miss the opportunity to attend something like this with my daughter. She always has such a blast at shows like these, and as I said some posts back, her cheefulness is highly infective. Just being around her when she gets that excited could cheer up just about anybody.

But then there is the flip side. The side that says I need to work to help pay for things like this. The side that says, it is a girl thing and it SHOULD be a mother-daughter thing. And the one that actually somewhat gnaws at me when I think about it... The side that says, "Thank Goodness it is a Mother-Daughter thing" and I do not have to attend this "girly thing." It is not something that I can even feign to enjoy. I have smiled through several renditions of Seasame Street Live and several other shows. But I really wanted nothing to do with attending this show. Most of the time these shows are on weekends, and I can deal with it. But to have to rush home from NYC, to hurry out to see Disney on Ice, just seemed like a recipe for disaster.

TheWife is more than happy to have the Mother-Daughter event. LatteGirl was a bit disappointed that I "couldn't" go. And when she looks up at me with those eyes, and SAD eyes, because I will not be going, it just tears my heart out. I still don't want to go, but I feel like such a cad.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Growing up Disney

I have alway paid attention to what my daughter has watched on television. Our television for the better part of the past 5 1/2 years has rarely deviated from the Disney Channel, except of course when we moved over to DirecTV and gave her the "choices" of Disney Channel, Disney Channel West and Toon Disney.

Her favorites have varied over time, and she is now starting to outgrow some of the "baby shows" as she calls them, such as Winnie the Pooh, Bear in the Big Blue House and The Wiggles. Some shows that are very similar still hold her interest including Little Einsteins and The Doodlebops (to be honest, I think the Doodlebobs won out over the Wiggles only because of the Wiggles Overload stage she went through were it was "All Wiggles, All the time" for several months).

Now she is still growing up Disney, but the shows that are entertaining her are a bit more complex, Lilo and Stitch and Kim Possible constitutes her "Must See TV". As a matter of fact I now have something like 48 episodes of Kim Possible and at least 2 dozen Lilo and Stitch episodes stored on the Tivo. These shows I do not mind, because they are still (usually) designed to teach some sort of lesson to the viewer.

However, now some new shows are entering the fray. Shows like, That's So Raven, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, and Phil of the Future. None of these shows are "bad" per se, particularly when up against some other choices. But they do not alway convey a "message" and even when they do it is a bit over her head (at least so far). The other problem (which is more MY issue than anything I guess), is that these shows bring up topics that are spurring new lines of questioning from my daughter than I am just not ready to handle. Granted, it is good that it makes her "think", but I am just not ready for the questions she is asking.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I pick up my Princess at the aftercare program. I love picking her up, but hate the fact that she has to go to the aftercare program for me to do it.

We were spoiled I guess. The Pre-K program that she was in before she started school this fall was simply wonderful. No better than that. It was nothing short of spectacular! The teachers were nice and caring, everything was clean and well tended to. Alas, they do not offer an after school program. So the new place is closer to home, less expensive, and she only has to go there for a couple of hours twice a week. She likes her friends there, but it is still a far cry short of her old school. That plus I just wish I could be there to pick her up after school.

She is after all, my little princess.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Breaking Out

My little princess seems to be breaking out of her shell just a little bit. She has always enjoyed different activities, but since she started kindergarten this past fall, she started as self-imposed "time-out" from many activities. Instead she was opting for more Mommy and Daddy time, and anything that didn't DIRECTLY involve doing something with Mommy or Daddy was just not of interest to her.

Well I guess she is now starting to get into her comfort zone, as the desire for activities has greatly increased. This weekend though she has also started dance classes again. She always loved them when she took them in her Pre-K school. She took off with a bang. Because she started so late, the first recital is not all that far in the future, but she caught on so well on the first day, her instructor said she felt she could be caught up to the other kids and be in the recital. Can you say PROUD?

Now we have not completely gotten away from Mommy and Daddy being involved in her activities (not that we would want to), but she has reaffirmed her desire to take ice skating lessons, so her and Mommy are going to do that. She also has a blast bowling, so Daddy will be taking her to the lanes every other week (off weeks for ice skating), to knock down pins for a couple of hours.

I am so happy that she is building up her confidence, and I am sure as she continues these activities she will break out even more. I just hope that we will be able to keep up with her when that happens.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Your Killing your kids...

If you are a parent, you may or may not have noticed, but you are under siege. From the moment a woman gets pregnant, you (man or woman) are under attack. Attack of information. Some good, some not so good.

It is simply amazing that there is any parent that doesn't go simply insane! I mean life happens, and some days you have to deal with it. We all want and need to protect our children will do anything to do so. We worry about it. We take quizzes to rate ourselves. But it is this same need and desire that makes us easy to exploit.

It is bad enough that we sometimes feel the need to beat ourselves up about the little mistakes we make, everybody knows that sometimes accidents happen. We do not need the deluge of information out there telling us what bad people we are.

Madison Avenue Attacks

Did you breast feed? Similac has "just as much iron" as mother's milk, "Plus" yada yada yada. What bottle did you ultimately buy? Avent for their "natual" style nipples? Playtex Nursing Bottles which help "keep air out of baby's tummy"? How did you come to that decision? By reading ads that told you what is the "best" for your child.

Who didn't go out and buy, or have someone buy for them a tape, video or some other item that was supposed to benefit your son or daughter from The Mozart Effect? We scrutinize toys for the development benefits. We buy things that will give our children whatever "edge" we can give them in life.

Pushing Your Buttons: Not Just For Advertiser Anymore

Advise on raising your child hits you from all angles. From your mother-in-law (or mother) who just means well, to the snobby neighbor who is always pointing out how their amazing child could do calculus at 6 months, to PETA telling you how cruel you are to Bovine-Americans for stealing their milk and feeding it to your child, it is not just advertisers preying on your fears and insecurities.

If you have even given your child Tuna Fish, you are poisoning them says PETA. "The message should be: `Eat more fish for your health while minimizing your mercury intake,"' adds Ned Groth, a scientist with Consumers Union, a nonprofit group. Which is right? The decision you make will affect your child for years to come.

Your doctor makes suggestions in such a way to make your feel bad to not listen to their suggestion even if you disagree with it, because hey it is better to be "safe than sorry" right? Advocates from all walks of life try to get you to bend to their will, by instilling fear that you are in some way harming your children.

Organizations who want every chemical compound ever made be removed from our lives and in order to do so try to convince us that a Fabric Softener Sheet is Biohazard Waste, and allowing one in your home, nevermind allowing your children to touch one is tantamount to murder.

I even fairly recently overheard a comment from a lady as she walked to church (on the corner near my house I have not one but two churches), how "horrible" this mother she saw walking with her family in front of her. Why? Because "that horrible woman" had her daughter dressed in "slacks" and that only leads to "no good." "For goodness sake," she went on, "the poor little girl will probably wind up being a lesbian." A Lesbian? From wearing "slacks"?

Where does information like this come from? How do we filter the good from the good-intentioned to the just plain out BAD? Please make it stop! We worry enough about whether or not we are doing the right thing for our child... we don't need this! Stop the insanity! Leave us parents ALONE!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Difference between Moms and Dads

(Well one of them anyway)

TheKid comes home from school yestereday. She informs me that she needs to tell me a "funny" story. She recants how SchoolMate's (a boy) mom goes to some play where she takes off all her clothes and shakes her "booties." At this point she starts laughing hysterically, and I offer not much more the a stunned, "Excuse me?"

She goes on to inform me that SchoolMate mistakenly though "these" (pointing to her chest) was "booties." Now I realize she probably heard it wrong and SchoolMate probably said Boobies. But I certainly was NOT going to correct her, "No honey, she shakes her naked BOOBIES... " Nope. Wasn't happening.

Now here is when the differences come in, when I related this story to DietCokeWife, she asked, "Do you think there is a way we can get LatteGirl to not have anything to do with SchoolMate anymore?" Now of course this was much different than my line of thinking which was, "Do you think she can find out where SchoolMate's mom works?"

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just another reason I gotta quit smoking

Today, NJ joined something like nine other overbearing obnoxious states like NY and CA in banning smoking everywhere indoors. Bars don't bother me since I rarely go to one anymore. Restaurants don't bother me since my wife quit, and before that we never went to a smoking area with out daughter, so that was limited in the times we went that I would possible be in a smoking area, again no big deal.

BUT, that now includes BOWLING ALLEYS! The one place I had left were I could relax, have a smoke, enjoy myself for a few hours bowling, is now (well in about 90 days from now) history!

I understand the rationale, and would have been perfectly happy with a "designated smoking area", but not even that. Damn!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Tiny Terror

OK, I am NOT faulting the government here for the no-fly list as some bleeding heart liberals are apt to do. But at some point you would think that after 4 plus years, security at the airports would be improving. And that doesn't only mean catching the things they should catch (Newark Liberty is the worst when it comes to these tests), but also being aware that a 4-year-old-boy that happens to have the same name as someone on the no-fly list, is NOT the person that they are looking to keep off the airlines.

ABC News: 4-Year-Old Boy on Government 'No-Fly' List

I am continually amazed...

At the lengths people will go, claiming things were done "by God." I guess radical (read:idiot) Christian Leaders such as Pat Roberston believes his God ("his" because as a Christian I certainly do not believe the loving God I was taught about would do such things), is as much a vengeful, despicable, hate mongering,miserable rat bastard as he is. - Robertson suggests God smote Sharon - Jan 5, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Latte Man on Ice

As they same, time heals all wounds. And being a day futher away from our ice skating escapades, I am now able to deal with and write about it.

First I will say, it is probably not as bad as I felt at the time. First off, I only fell one time, which when you couple the fact that I haven't been on skates in better than 18 months, was never what you would call "graceful" even when I was on top of my skating, and attempting to hold up a 5 year old whose skating grew worse as her poor little legs started to get tired, is really quite a feat itself.

I made one not serious error in judgement, and that was opting for the thicker blade "figure skate" as opposed to going with the "hockey blade" I am more accustomed to because I thought it would be safer to go with the duller blade style, especially when skating near the little one. I also for some reason expected it to be easier to skate with this wider blade. It wasn't. It was uncomfortable, and the figure skates do not come with the wider shoe widths that the hockey skates do. Despite getting skates a full size too big, it was still so small width wise that after about 15 minutes my foot was so squished it started to go numb. This of course does nothing to improve your skating abilities.

So while I was extremely worried about my ankle it held up remarkably well. My back was quite sore as were my legs afterwards, but if we start to make this a regular thing, those will eventually stop being a problem. It certainly served as a grim lesson of just how out of shape I am. I have always been heavy, but not out of shape per se. I guess being 40 is starting to catch up with me and I am going to have to commit more to getting and staying in shape.

We found a Parent/Tot Lesson Program which LatteGirl and DietCokeWife are interested in. I told them we would go a few more times, and if they still really wanted the lessons (the next lessons start in March so there is time before registration closes), then they could take the lessons, and I would attend the open skate at the same time so we could still sort of make it a family outting. (They wanted me to take the lessons with them, but at $150 per person, since I already know how to skate, I would prefer to not spend the extra money).

Overall, a fantasic and enjoyable experience was had by all. At least this time. We shall see what the future holds.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And people here worry about Gay marriage

Woman marries dolphin

Thanks to Silly Old Bear over at Hey, You.

I am probably alone on this but...

I am one of probably only a handful of people that is NOT happy that the holiday season is now behind us (or mostly behind us, depending of course on your choice of faith).

I feel like I just started complaining that, the stores have Christmas items out "already," and now I have blinked and Holiday decorations are 70% off, my beloved (Triple Venti) Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks is on it's 11 month hiatus, Valentine merchandise and SPRING CLOTHES are starting to appear in stores alongside that poorly stocked rack of Winter coats that are now sporting markdown prices.

I went with the family to Target after our adventure on ice yesterday. The store was more crowded yesterday than it was for most of the shopping "season." Why? I'm guessing because of all those people that had no idea what to buy each other, and opted for the seemingly popular Gift Card.

The problem, as I see it, though is the lack of the cheery Christmas Music. People have stopped being polite and returned to the rude, miserable, "Me First" jerks that they are 11 months of the year. Stores have already started laying the holiday help off, which shows in the lack of open registers and longer lines in the stores. The only upside (and I am reaching a bit here), is that the cashiers go back to talking to each other about their personal lives (no that is not the benefit... that is annoying, but I digress), and are no longer required to attempt to upsell me at the register. I do not need to be asked the million question list that some marketing group has decided will boost sales. "Do you need batteries for your purchases?" "Would you like to purchase an extended warranty from a company that will go out of business as soon as you need to use your warranty?" "You've already spent an arm and a leg at our store, how about leasing a kidney and buying a Gift Card for someone?" (OK, OK I am paraphrasing on that last one). A small benefit, but one that helps make up for having to wait at one of only 3 open (out of 15 - 20 registers) on a crowded weekend.

I baked up a storm, and most (if not all) has all been consumed. But now it is diet season for most of my family, extended family, co-workers etc. So I am left without an excuse for baking, except of course for Mom is Nutz, who sucessfully begged, pleaded and gave me a location to send some more cookies. So this weekend at least LatteGirl and I will be baking away, with the safety net of having another location to ship the cookies off to so that DietCokeWife doesn't go ballistic about us trying to undermine her diet.

Wow have I wandered off. Let us see if we can get back on point here. I feel like I never got a chance to enjoy the holidays this year. No not the days themselves, but the shopping and such. For example, in Tomkins Square Park in NY, there is a little tented market (for lack of a better word) that goes up every year. A hundred or so small vendors offering assorted goods for the holidays. Last year, I made 4 or 5 trips through there picking up little trikets, gifts, ornaments or just browsing through with a Latte on a cool evening looking at the goods. Not a big deal, but a pleasant way to spend a little time away from the usual rush of working in NY. This year, not one pass through did I make. For some reason this year, everything seemed so rushed, work was busy, no time for anything, hurry hurry hurry. And I hurried myself right through the season, and never got to stop and smell the Poinsettas. I want a do over.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year New Pains

Tomorrow we are all going ice skating. I can skate, LatteGirl and DietCokeWife cannot. But I can not TEACH anyone to skate. I haven't been on skates since tearing my achilles heel almost two years ago. I still haven't completely healed from my sprained ankle a bit more than a month ago. How well even I skate remains to be seen (or felt depending how many times I fall).

This could be a painful start to the New Year.

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There are two basic types of reviews you will find here. The first being for products and/or services that may have been sent to me by a company to review free of charge. (Though, this has been quite rare). The fact that this product was sent free of charge will in no way alter my view of the company or my review. If I happen to love the product and think it is something that people will like, I may (at my discretion) choose (if available) to tie in with the company as an advertiser. But that is ONLY after I have reviewed the product/service.

The second reviews are those in which I have recieived no such product/service "sample" for my review. These can simply be though of as my sort of Public Service Announcement or opinion. I happily promote products that I have no monetary interest, if I think that people "need to know" how good (or bad as the case may be) a particular product/service is.

I hope this is clear enough, but should a question arise, please feel free to contact me and ask.

Last Updated 09/27/06

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