Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My amazing 2014

I labeled 2012 as the worst year of my life.

How grateful I am that 2014 turned out to be one of the best!

While it was overall a great year, not everything was happy.  Below are the Top 10 biggest events of my year, in no particular order.


  1. I got engaged!  Probably the most obvious. :-)  I've said before, after my divorce, I figured I would never remarry.  And then I met Kim.  And, this summer, we get hitched!
  2. Hawaii!  I got to spend a week with my little man, my folks and the person who would go from girlfriend to fiancee on the trip.  An outstanding trip that will likely only be topped by next June's trip back to Hawaii!
  3. Desmond starts Kindergarten!  KINDERGARTEN!  Can you believe it?  
  4. I got a promotion and a new job!  Microsoft rewarded me this year with a promotion and a new role on the Global Recruiting team.  While I am sad that I can no longer call myself an "Xbox Recruiter," I just went from supporting one team to supporting the whole company.  
  5. On the sad side, my Grandpa died.  I was very close to him.  His mind deteriorated very quickly.  I was able to spend some quality time with him just before he passed.  I am very grateful for that. 
  6. I moved!  Kim and I are shacking up, now!  We moved into a house in an awesome neighborhood.  While the house is a little smaller than what I've been living in (and only ONE bathroom), it comes with a very nice backyard for kids and dogs.  And, there are no more stabbings happening in my neighborhood. 
  7. I got to meet long time "Internet" friends Emily and Dom.  I've known Emily for almost 10 years now and met her husband Dom shortly after they got married.  Only, I never actually "met" them face to face.  Our relationship was all online via blogging and social media.  However, I consider them very close friends.  Finally, we got to meet in person in Colorado!  I plan to make this a regular meeting. :-) 
  8. I got to visit my super good buddies, Joey and Andy, and see my Goddaughter receive her 1st communion!  I haven't visited since Maisie was little.  Maybe 4 or 5.  She's a big bad second grader now.  AND...starring in commercials!  She's famous!  While down there, we also went to Disneyland and even took a trip to Legoland with my cousin Laura!
  9. Swimming with Sharks!  Now, technically, this could probably be lumped under "Hawaii."  But, it stands out as something particularly awesome.  I WILL be doing this again, sometime. 
  10. And, finally...THE SEAHAWKS WON THE SUPERBOWL!  This is the first time I have ever had a championship team in my life!  It feels great!  And, they're on track to do it again!!!

So...thank you to everyone for being a part of 2014.  It was great.  And, you know what...2015 is on track to be even better.  

Hugs!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Conversation Pieces - Jesus...aka Cockadoodle Head

Was discussing Advent with Desmond. Telling him the story of when the angel came to Mary and Joseph.

In the story, I say, "And, the angel told them that they would name the baby Jesus."

Des: "I don't think the angel told them to name him Jesus."

Me: "You don't?"

Des: "No. I think they chose to name him Jesus. They could have named him Cockadoodle Head. Then, we would be praying to Cockadoodle Head."

Thank you, Lord, for my son. I pray this in the name of my savior, Cockadoodle Head. Amen.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 Edition!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  It's not about giving or getting presents.  It's not about hunting for eggs or firing up the BBQ.

It's about remembering what we have to be thankful for.  And, boy do I have a lot to be thankful for.

Here are just 10, in no particular order:
  1. Life!  I am thankful for life.  Without it, I couldn't experience anything, much less the many blessings I've received.  I know life life is hard, harder for some than others.  But, overall, life is beautiful and I am thankful to be alive. 
  2. My amazing little dude, Desmond.  His is such a gift to me and my family.  I know every parent is supposed to say things like that. But, I can't over emphasize how many times that kid makes me smile every day.  And, as a sub-note, I am grateful that I have an amicable relationship with Shaundar so we can co-raise this young dude to grow into a good, strong man. 
  3. My family.  I have an amazing family.  They've been there for me through everything.  And my mom still drops everything to come up here and spend time with us in Washington.  I look forward to spending time with my parents again this summer!
  4. My job!  I am about to celebrate my 10th year at Microsoft.  One of the life changing moments in my 37 years was when I started work at Microsoft.  It's been an amazing ride and I look forward to the next 10. 
  5. My team!  I recently got reorged onto a new team.  Some people dread reorgs, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous going into it.  But...I landed in a great place, working with some amazing women that will make be better.  
  6. My Kimmers!  It's no secret that my divorce was hard.  I never thought I would meet someone as amazing as Kim.  Someone who shares my same values, someone who is amazing with my son, someone who brings me happiness that I have been missing for a long time and, finally, someone who is an amazing freakin' cook!
  7. My church!  I have recently rediscovered my Catholicism.  Not that I ever lost it, but I certainly didn't enjoy participating as much when I go alone and find certain things annoying.  My church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Fr. Jack have reminded me that my faith is about love.  Not about judgement.  I am not your average Catholic (divorced, getting remarried, etc) but I am welcomed and accepted. 
  8. My friends!  You can't pick your family (but, I still got really lucky) but you can choose your friends.  And, boy did I pick some friends.  People I know I can count on under almost any circumstances.  And, to make it even better, I am inheriting some great friends by marrying such a great lady!
  9. The Seattle Seahawks!  Cuz, I man...come on!  My team won a Superbowl this year!  That was so rad. 
  10. Our new house!  We have a big back yard for Mr. Blind Quincy Pants.  We are in a wonderful neighborhood and we are within walking distance of some of my favorite restaurants. 
I am grateful for a lot, and I know that I am exceptionally blessed.  I try to never take it for granted. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Enjoy your holidays!

Monday, November 17, 2014

6 years ago today!

It's so funny to look back on my life over the last decade.  So much has happened.  Good, bad, great, horrible.

But, easily, the best thing to ever happen to me happened 6 years ago today.

My little man was born.

There is truly nothing that makes me smile more than my Desmond.  He makes me laugh so hard.  He cheers me up when I am down just by cracking up at his own jokes.

I love this little dude!  I am grateful he's in my life.





Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1st Day of Kindergarten pics!

As promised...here are some pics of my little dude's 1st day of school!!!

Here is the very first 1st day of school pic.  As you can see, he is revving and ready to go!


Here are more!

Bunny ears for Dad.

Getting a hug from his buddy, Conner. 

 Our new family!

With almost step-mom Kim.

With Grandma.

Getting a kiss from Mommy. 

 On the way!

Welcome to Our Lady of Guadalupe!




Monday, September 1, 2014

Big Day, tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of school!  Not just the first day after summer, but the first day of KINDERGARTEN! 

The very very first day of school ever!  My little buddy is almost a student!

He's attending Catholic school in West Seattle.  And, I know I am biased, but DAYAM...he looks super handsome in his school uniform. 

Pics will be posted, tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting Caught is not the same as Coming Out

I frequent the Huffington Post.  It often pushes my buttons because I frequently disagree with what is posted there.  Not always.  Maybe not even most of the time.  But, often.

Here is one of those article that pushes my buttons.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/18/husband-coming-out-gay_n_5689221.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

The headline that drew me to the article (not the actual article headline, but the headline of the link that drew me there) was "The Amazing Way This Woman Reacted When Her Husband Came Out as Gay."

Now, to be clear, before I get started, this is not a post about him being gay.  I am 100% pro-gay.  Those of you that know me know this.

This is a post about how it shouldn't matter if he's gay or straight or criss-cross. 

In the article, the wife (they are married with children) discovers that her husband has been carrying on an email relationship with a dude.  She had suspected that he was gay for a year, she says.  These emails confirmed it.  And, it helped them start their new lives together, not as husband and wife, but best friends.

There are a few things that drive me batty in the battle for gay rights (what is a gay right, anyway? Rights are rights...you have them or you don't).  One is when they compare the fight to the civil rights movement of the 60s.  Gays are not being forced to use separate drinking fountains.  I will fight for your right to marry, but being restricted to a civil union is not the same as sending gays to the back of the bus.  The other is when I feel like there is a double standard.  This is one of those double standard times.

Would we be writing an article about this if the wife caught him sending romantic mails to another woman?  Would we be talking about how amazing it was that they could start their new life as best friends or would we be calling him an asshole for going behind her back? 

Congratulations!  You came out of the closet...by getting caught having an emotional affair.  So HAPPY for you!

I'm not saying we should be writing that article about how this guy is a dick.  However, if we want to enlighten those that oppose rights for LGBT people, then maybe stop pretending that something is touching and amazing and courageous just because it involves someone coming out.  This guy didn't "come out."  He got caught.  And we're congratulating him. 

Nope...not me. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Conversation Pieces - Eye Doctors and Tattoos

I have 2 today.

First, Took Desmond to his first eye doctor appt.  

Optometrist lady asks, "Do things ever look blurry when you look at them?"

Des looks at her straight faced and says, "Only when I do this..." before crossing his eyes.



The next one, Des flashes me his Despicable Me tattoo and says, "I'm tougher than you! I have a tattoo!"

I flash him my REAL tattoo and say, "Whatever! I have a real tattoo! That's like getting a million shots. You just put yours on with some water."

Des thinks for a second. Then says, "Well, the water was FREEZING COLD!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hobby Lobby

Ok...I am going to get political, today.

I do not understand why the SCOTUS decision on Hobby Lobby has so many people up in arms.  I would like some clarification.

"Corporate CEOs shouldn't have a say in the health care choices of women."

I agree...they shouldn't.  And, that's not what the ruling did.  The ruling was specific to small "closely held" businesses.  Business who's owners are so few that there is no distinction between the values of the business and the values of the owners.

"Viagra is covered.  Birth control should also be covered."

Ok...2 things.  1st, Viagra is used to fix a health problem.  IE: Dude is supposed to be able to get it up.  Can't get it up.  Needs medical intervention.  Birth control is a preventative.  Women are designed to get pregnant. 

Don't get me wrong.  I am not anti-birth control.  In fact, as a currently unmarried dude in a relationship, I am a big supporter of birth control.  My point though is that one fixes a problem.  Getting pregnant is the natural order of life.  The two are different.

2nd thing...birth control is still covered.  The case only involves forms of birth control that could potentially affect an already fertilized egg.  To many (including myself) this is an abortion.  It fits in another category altogether.

There's a ton in the social world right now.  Much of which annoys the crap out of me.  I support the decision and I am confused as to why more people don't.  The reason I support it is simple.

I believe that it is MORE dangerous to allow the government to FORCE an employer to pay for a practice he morally disagrees with than to allow that employer to abstain from the coverage.  Yes...an employer is having a say in a health care choice.  But, the birth control doesn't magically become unavailable.  It's still there.  It's still an option.  Go get it if you want it. 

There are cries that freedom is being eroded because women can't choose how to take care of their bodies.  I disagree.  Women can choose what they want.  But, their boss shouldn't have to pay for it.

What about Christian companies not hiring gays?

Different...that's discrimination. 
What about Christian Scientists not allowing organ transplants (or something?)

Different...an organ transplant is thousands of dollars.  Highly unobtainable to most of us without insurance.  Birth control is often cheap and easily accessible.

Blah blah blah, more and more excuses.

Really, folks.  Birth control is still available.  What's worse?  The government forcing someone to pay for something they are opposed to?  Or an employer making his employee pay for something herself? 

#NotMyBossBusiness...except I want him/her to pay for it anyway.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Conversation Pieces - I don't like chicken!

Des: "I don't like chicken!"

Me: "Yeah you do!"

Des: "No, I actually don't."

Me: "Since when?"

Des: "Since the day I stopped liking chicken."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Conversation Pieces - Don't Boss Grandma Around!

Grandma arrives on Saturday.

Me to Desi, preparing him for the new rules I plan to enforce: "I have told Grandma that she is not allowed to spoil you. You need to earn your presents."

Des: "Dad...why are you ordering Grandma around. She gets to order you around. She's your mom!"

Me: "...."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Politics and Junk

I was recently asked to consider being a PCO (Precinct Committee Officer) for the Republican Party.  In a nutshell, this means that I would be a representative for my precinct (which consists of about 10 square blocks), remind people to vote and be available to discuss policies and junk.

The first thing I said was, "I don't know if they would really want me.  I am not your typical Republican." 

What do I mean by this?  Allow me to explain.

I once heard a radio host (actually, I have heard this more than once, but it was one particular time when it really hit home) who, at the time, was very fond of the tea party, explain that he is a Conservative first, a Republican second.

That right there is where I get annoyed.

To me, Republicanism does not always equal Conservatism.  I will explain later.

Next...when I attended the "victory" party during the 2012 election (victory in quotes because we lost most of the elections), I was remarkably put off by the distain expressed towards Chris Christie, a fellow Republican.  People were furious that we had the gall to walk arm and arm through the newly ravaged New Jersey coast with Barack Obama.  You know...the President of the United States.  Their problem had to do more with the fact that he's a Democrat. 

Here is my voting order:
I am an American first!  This means simply that I don't care who is walking arm in arm with whom.  Chris Christie and Barack Obama are both Americans  And...New Jersey just suffered a major hurricane.  To me, their unification was a sign of greater strength as a country.  It's what we've been missing for a while.  They can argue taxes later.  That day, they were both Americans and they were there for each other.  Just like we should all be there for each other.  Regardless of Party.

I am a Republican second. Party comes after country.  I believe in lower taxes, states rights, individual freedoms, the free market, a strong military, etc.  You know what I don't believe in...telling people what to do in their bedrooms.  When did this become a Republican value?

I am a conservative third-ish.  I mean, I don't really even consider myself conservative.  Certainly, I have conservative views on some things.  But, I consider that more coincidence than anything.  Low taxes is conservative.  Being allowed to pray in schools is conservative.  However, being allowed to pray in schools has been turned into school led prayer.  Which, unfortunately, goes against my Republican values of less government....sooooooooo, we have a problem.  If the Jew wants to pray, he can pray.  If the Baptist wants to pray, he can pray.  If the Atheist wants to do nothing, he can do nothing.  But, when the principal gets up and says, "Let us pray..." you just alienated everyone who doesn't want to participate. 

I am a Catholic forth.  Meaning, I do take Christian values into account, but not on the level that my values will infringe on another's religious freedoms.  More along the lines of "Teach a man to fish" or "how you treat the least of my children is how you treat me." (I don't have the Bible memorized, in case you couldn't tell from my paraphrasing.)

And 5th, I am me.  This means that I reserve the right to change my mind.  I will always vote my conscious.  If I think the main guy is a schmuck...I won't vote for him.  I will write a name in before I vote for someone that I don't genuinely believe will do a good job. 

Anyway...apparently, as I was told my a friend in the party...they need more people like me.  Otherwise, the Tea Party nutjobs will take over.

Those guys...they need their own party.  Because, right now...they are really screwing mine up. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maholo, Maui!

Ok...so, I thought I posted this already.  I wrote it up, like, 2 months ago.  Not sure why I didn't hit publish.  Anyway...here it is.

_____________________________________________________________________

Last week, I returned from an amazing trip to Maui!  Last year, when I got my Microsoft bonus, I decided I wanted a nice big, long, real vacation.  Disney to start 2013 was a vacation.  But, I spent a significant amount of time during that vacation running.  I wanted a vacation where I did nothing but relax and have fun.  So...bring on Maui. 

Now...I haven't told my 9 blog readers much about Kim.  Realistically, most of you already know me, therefore you know about her already.  For anyone stumbling across this blog, you'll find pics in here of Kim.  She's gonna marry me next year.  But, I'll talk about her some other time.  Right now...here are some Hawaii pics for the grandparents who don't use Facebook. 

Some activities on the trip: swimming (obviously), mini-golfing, scuba diving (for me), the Old Lahaina Luau, and the shark tank...yes...I swam with sharks!  And, it was AMAZING!

Check it out.

Lady killers. 
 
That would be a shark about 1 foot away from me.

Don't touch the spikey things. 

I believe this is called a Horney Fish. 

Sharks!

More sharks!  And, a huge ass manta ray!

Sup, dude? 

I don't remember what kind of fish this is on the left...but, imagine how much sushi you could get from him. 

What's a dive without a scuba selfie?

Dad in Lahaina. 

Des was lovin' the ocean!

Waiting for the sunrise at the Haleakala summit. 

And, there it is! Amazing!

With Dad at the Summit sunrise. Don't mind the fact that we had to get up at 2 AM. 

From the bike ride down the summit. 

Same. Overlooking Maui. 

Showing Grandma how to play Nintendo DS. 

Paying more attention to my new camera than the spotted Eagle Ray in front of me.  

Des was a little scared before I got in the shark tank. 10 mins in, he was bragging to the rest of the spectators that it was his dad in there!

On the flip side, Kim wondered what she was getting into by accepting the proposal of a dude who pops the question one day and jumps in a tank with man eating creatures the next. 
 
Tiger shark.  The highlight of the shark dive.

With Grandma and Grandpa. 

Me, Des and Kimmy.

At the Old Lahaina Luau (which was good, but very overpriced).

Des conned Grandma into buying him a wooden turtle. 

My mom and Kim with my dad. 
 
Sunset in Lahaina





 
My old man at the top of the climbing wall
 
And again.  Can you believe this guy is 60 something?

Playing in the pool with the grandfolks. 

 
The only good pic I got from the very brief trip down the Road to Hana. 

Sunset on our last day. 

From inside the shark tank. 

Desi's first snorkeling! Next time, we'll go somewhere other than just off the beach. He was great!

 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Popey McPoperpants

So...in case you didn't know (aka...you are a heathen), it's Holy Week.  Beginning with Palm Sunday last weekend and ending with Easter Sunday this coming weekend, it's the week that we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Yadda, yadda, religion, religion.  Bet you didn't come here to listen to me preach. 

I wanted to talk about the Pope.  Pope Francis...my favorite pope ever in the history of popes that I actually know anything about.  Which is actually not very many.  Peter, John XXIII, John Paul II, Pope Joan, Ringo and Francis. 

I don't know if this is done every year, but according to the National Catholic Reporter, His Popiness will be washing the feet of a bunch of people on Thursday.

For all of you who are going to Hell...Thursday is the day when we celebrate the Last Supper.  Catholics teach that, during the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of his apostles, basically kicking off the priesthood.  So, many priests, bishops and popes have recreated this scene in modern days.  I have never had my feet washed by a priest, but frankly...I think it would be pretty awkward.  I don't even like pedicures. 

Anywho...this year, the list of popes the peeps are washing...wait...I mean the list of peeps the pope is washing include Muslims and *GASP* women!!!!

As you can imagine, there are some traditional Catholics who hate this.  They hate it because Christ washed the feet of men, only chose men for his disciples, etc.  The same thing we've been hearing for 2000 years.

For those of you who have never talked to me about this, I am a huge supporter of women in the priesthood.  I don't buy the argument that because JC picked men to follow him that means he only wanted men to be priests forever.  I think JC picked men because nobody listened to women back then.  Women were not in positions of power.  Stay home and make babies!  Obviously, Jesus was controversial enough to be crucified.  Why add another thing to piss people off.  He needed his message to be spread over thousands of years.  We all know how women gossip.  "He's the son of God" quickly turns into "He's the Son of the milkman and God has no idea...Jesus doesn't even look anything like God."

In other words...this is yet another reason I love Pope Francis.  He has really helped to restore my faith a bit.  Not that I ever lost faith...but, I certainly didn't enjoy church as much when all the stories I hear are bad and all the messages I get are more about exclusion than about love. 

This pope is amazing!  I hope he's around for a long time!

Oh...and PS...I just got engaged.  More on that later.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In case my page goes away....

So...I am having some problems with Google.

I purchased pankow4president.com in November 2012.  During the following year, the card I used to make the purchase expired.  I updated in Google Wallet, but apparently that wasn't sufficient.  I am getting monthly-ish mails from Google telling me the payment failed and my blog will expire if I don't pay the soon.

Only, when I go to pay them, they tell me I don't have an admin account, which is what I am supposed to use to pay them with.  I only have the one account with Google (actually, I guess I have 2, but I never ever ever use the other one.  Not even sure I remember the password.  Regardless, that one isn't an admin account, either). 

I find myself in a position where I need to pay Google, but they don't seem to be very interested in taking my money.  What the heck is that about?

Anyway...it won't be disappearing until later this year.  I can't seem to find any solution.  And, in my hunt for Customer Service, I am told I can't talk to a live person unless I have a paid account.  Which I do.  But, I can't seem to log into it because it needs to be an admin account, which I apparently don't have even though I used this same account to purchase this page.

*sigh*  Time to move to another hosting site?