Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Wrap Up

The Christmas Season is over. Noel marked the occasion on Sunday by taking down the tree. "I'm over it," were her exact words. We had two delightful Christmas celebrations; the first with the extended Huber family (seen below, minus Mom and Dad as they were grabbing the grandkids' attention and snapping pictures, respectively) and the second with just us Indy Hubers on Christmas Morning.

The Annual dysFUNctional Huber Family Christmas (as Mom calls it) was a great time to catch up with the entire family. The wives put up with the Huber boys crude innuendo and inside jokes. Dad was nice enough to set up the trains for the young ones, but I think Greg and I had just as much fun with them.

A hat tip to my lovely wife for the idea of devoting part of the gift exchange to an As Seen on TV product. Gifts ranged from an Obama Chia Head to the Big City Slider Station. Mom cooked a wonderful meal and the grandkids managed to stain only half of the furniture (they'll circle back the remainder next year).

In Indy, Santa arrived on schedule on the 25th. We tracked him on NORAD's website for most of the afternoon before settling down for a long winters nap. The children woke up (early) to a beautiful tree (as seen at top) before diving under it to rescue the presents from their wrapping paper cocoons. The stars of the morning were the Zhu Zhu Pets that were located by one of Santa's more resourceful elves (with a big hat tip to Alan for showing the aforementioned elf http://www.slickdeals.net/).

We trust that everyone had a Merry Christmas and is looking forward to a safe, healthy and Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

12th Wedding Anniversary

Twelve years ago today, I married my wonderful wife. As I look back on all we have been through, I would do it all over again. Thank you, honey, for sticking with me through thick and thin.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Culinary Elf

A culinary elf that goes by the name of Beth (my sister-in-law), graced us with some delicious jams for Christmas. Sour Cherry and Strawberry Banana! Yum!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Tonight we tracked Santa on NORAD's website and did all of the other things necessary to prepare for Santa's arrival. The kids made sure Santa had his milk and cookies along with reindeer food (dry oatmeal and glitter) that they made at school.

Let's hope Santa turns up to grant all of the wishes that were made over the last 60 days.

I will miss him. He is great leverage with the kids.

Note: I put Santa's milk in a lowball glass in case he felt like he needed to add anything to it to make the rest of the night more palatable.

House Dad

Being at home these past few weeks has taught me a great deal. Things like: an 'easy dinner' is not (unless you do the hard work the day before and have forgotten about it); entertaining a child or two for days on end takes patience, creativity and (sometimes) divine intervention or the house gets dirtier more quickly when one or more people are home all day.

But, it has been very rewarding. I have spent lots of time with Mallory this week as we kept her home from daycare to save a little bit of coin, using a 'vacation week'. Yesterday, we went to the Entemann's outlet and picked up some yummy baked goods (which are now frozen to maintain freshness!). After that, we headed to Babies 'R' Us and used our recall voucher to buy a crib (don't get any wild thoughts folks. We are helping one of Noel's co-worker whose house burnt down). Then we went to get the oil changed on the Pilot. She bounced up and down in the waiting room for 45 straight minutes before crashing. We had such a great time.

Alas, being a house husband and father is not for me. In between grocery shopping, dropping kids at school, applying for grad school and doing household chores, I have been applying for jobs. Yesterday, I received (and accepted) a job offer. I am not going jinx it by describing it yet but I start on Monday!

Thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers. As I look back at this past layoff, it may have been one of the best things to happen to me. We'll see if that is true. Only time will tell.

The Huber Family here in Indy extends the warmest tidings and hopes everyone has the Merriest of Christmases.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chess Player

Mallory is home today. She let us know that she didn't feel like going to school by throwing up four times last night. So, it is Daddy's day in with the princess. We have read a Clifford book, watched The Flight Before Christmas (TiVo'ed so we can watch it over and over!) and we played chess; at least some form of it. This version involved putting as many chess pieces on the board as possible and them smacking them all over with a big arm swing.


What fun!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mason Plays Santa

Today, Mason did his best Santa impression as he delivered presents to his teachers/administrators at school. He was so excited after school he could barely contain himself has he fast-walked down the hallway (the speed limit in each hallway is 'walking', as posted). Like his mother, he can't get enough of the Christmas season.

As you can see in the picture above, Principal Cavolick's dog, Missy, loved her gift. It was a stuffed abominable snowman from the 1964 Rankin-Bass classic, Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer (more about that in a later post).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This is Why Banks Aren't Lending

President Obama, please take note.

Low interest rates don't make it attractive to lend to small businesses. In fact, just the opposite.

Why would a bank risk their hard-earned (or TARP-borrowed) cash by lending to a small business when they can go to the Fed's discount window and borrow money at 0.25% interest and then buy U.S. Treasuries that pay a robust 4.45%?

I don't know either.

Abacus Holiday Show

It is that time of year again when the little boys and girls of Abacus pre-school present their annual holiday show. Each age group graced us with a couple of songs before the entire group sang at the end.

Below is video of Mallory's two songs with her friends. The video is grainy but she is the one in the middle with the red dress and the cropped sweater. She didn't want to sing for the first song but she participated in the second.

We hope you enjoy (for those of you that get the email blast, go to www.doughuber.blogspot.com to view the video).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Many (More) Thanks to Mattress Firm

A week or so ago, I posted the fact that we moved Mallory to a 'big girl' bed. The fine folks at Mattress Firm picked up on this and left me a comment about wanting to make Mallory's bed extra-special with a teddy bear.

It arrived and Mallory loves it! The bear is stuffed with Tempur-Pedic material. It is super soft and comfy (here is where I hint to the folks at Mattress firm that I love the Tempur-Pedic material and I would be happy to blog more about it if they sent me a free queen-size mattress made out of that exquisite Tempur-Pedic material. I'm just sayin' ...).

Anyway, super-big thanks to Sandra and all of the fine folks at Mattress Firm. Your customer service at the point of sale and after the fact have been tremendous.

(Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for these posts; except for the bear.)

Breakfast with Santa

Yesterday, we had breakfast with Santa at the Indianapolis Zoo. It was a delightful spread of french toast sticks, sausage, mixed fresh fruit and hot chocolate for Mason and Mallory.
Mason was happy to see Santa. Mallory, not so much.

Although, she warmed up to him once Mommy took over and after Mallory saw that Santa had Candy Canes.

There were plenty of activities including making reindeer hats and decorating cookies.

The Indianapolis Zoo always puts on a good event and this was no exception.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



If you have made it this far, you can see that there are no 'How to' instructions on Paypal or creating a usename and password for eBay here. But, while you are here, take a look around. This is my personal blog where I talk mostly about my family but always about whatever is on my mind.

For everyone else, please ignore this post.


The Onion Gets it Right (Again)

This isn't new but I thought I would share it as this 'news' clip from The Onion is now more appropriate than ever. For those getting the email version ofthis, go view the embedded video, go to doughuber.blogspot.com.

In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hubercus Domesiticus

As I spend more time at home, I am becoming better (and by 'better', I mean 'less bad') at running the home front. Now, keep in mind that I am still terrible at it. I tend to place the mail in too many different piles, the sink always seems to be dirty (empty, mind you, but dirty) and I have managed to shrink/ruin/mess up a few articles of clothing along the way. Alas, I am working on it.

Between hunting for jobs and applying to graduate school, I have begun to cook dinner. My latest weapon of choice is the Crock-Pot. Whoever invented this thing was a genius. Even I can cook a meal that tastes like I didn't cook it with an Acetyline torch.

Tonight's dish: Pulled-pork BBQ sandwiches with fresh onion, topped with a blue cheese crumble cole slaw.

Before you get too excited and 'wowed' by such a delicious meal, it is as simple as throwing 2.5 pounds of pork in the Crock-Pot. Four hours later, mix in BBQ sauce, onion, brown sugar and lemon juice. Top with store-bought cole slaw. Serve.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Guess

My guess for the next Notre Dame head coach is Steve Spurrier. Why? Why not. Spurrier wanted to coach in the pros and it didn't work. Notre Dame is the next best thing. They think they are a pro team.

ESPN is reporting that the university may announce their new hire tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Another Milestone

Last week, Mallory 'dismounted' her crib, when trying to reach for a blankie that was out of reach. At this point, Noel and I knew we needed to upgrade her from her crib and convert it to a day bed. As I was reading the instructions (yes, we keep the instructions for stuff like this), I saw an option to convert it to a full size bed with rails that were (of course) not included. I thought to myself, I wonder how much rails are? It would be nice to convert it to a big-girl bed and be done with it. So, I emailed the company and got this in response:

Dear Mr. Huber,

The model you have indicated has been recalled. You will have to contact the recall hotline and they will assist you the phone number is 1.800.646.4106.


Customer Support Services
So much for that idea.

On to another. We decided on a simple twin bed. And, since I have plenty of time on my hands these days, I set out on a quest to give the young princess a fitting bed. After a visit to Mattress Firm and Target, I was all set. Here are the results.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Envelope

Yesterday, Mason brought home an envelope that was addressed to 'Mr. Huber'. It wasn't a letter envelope, it was big enough to hold 8.5x11" papers flat. I was curious. Mason was very curious. 'Daddy, can I open it? Please?' 'Um, if you open it, can I take the stuff out? We can do it together!'.

After negotiating on who/how we were to open and distribute the contents of said envelope, we finally got it open. Inside, I found a wonderful surprise; 20 hand-written letters from the students and faculty of Stonegate Elementary. Each one thanking me for speaking at the Veteran's Day convocation last month. What a wonderful gift to receive. It made my day to see the hand-colored flags and the young children practicing their writing (with the older students perfecting their cursive).

One of my favorites was from Olivia. It simply shows the purity of a child's thoughts and feelings and how much they want to share with the world all they know and feel. Below is a photo of Olivia's letter (below that is the text of the letter, as written).

Dera Mr. Haber

Thak you for sainge (saying) that stur (story) abowt veachers Day.
it ment alot to me it was hart brackeing to me I loved it so much you rock on
and I am a kide (kid) and I am a geril!


Thank you so much for the letters and the opportunity to speak to the bright students of Zionsville's Stonegate Elementary (where eagles SOAR!). I hope I am invited back next year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Princess is Three

Most days it seems like it was just 3o days ago that our precious Mallory was born (there are times when it seems like 30 years, but those are few and far between). My baby girl is now three and she brings us joy every day.

She is not without her challenges but my grandfather gave me ample warning prior to her birth. As the proud father/grandfather/great-grandfather of (dozens?) of girls, he said to me, 'Doug, when Mallory is born, she may look like a baby girl, but you must understand one thing. There is a full-grown woman inside there, with all of the same wants, needs and demands.'

Boy, was he right.

Mallory, we love you. We couldn't be happier than you were today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving ... You've Been Laid Off!

Well, I have proved that I am not immune to the Recession (yes, it is a proper noun, now). I was notified a short time ago that I am no longer employed. I am leaving a company with some wonderful people; folks that I care about and that do the same for me. When the ladies in my (former) receiving department heard the news, they made coupons for one 'Doug Hug' and all three came up to use them this morning before I left.

Some of the folks took me to lunch for my 'last supper' as one of the ladies called it (It was ironic if the woman behind the counter at the restaurant asked if I wanted a 'to-go' cup. I had to laugh). It is good to know that people care.

I am not sure what I am in for now. I am reminded of the quote from Jules (played by Samuel L. Jackson) in the movie Pulp Fiction, after he had an epiphany. John Travolta's character, Vincent, asks him what he is going to do.

... Basically, I'm gonna walk the earth.

What do you mean, walk the earth?

You know, like Caine in "KUNG FU." Just walk from town to town, meet people, get in adventures.

How long do you intend to walk the earth?

Until God puts me where he want me to be.

What if he never does?

If it takes forever, I'll wait forever.

So you decided to be a bum?

I'll just be Jules, Vincent -- no more, no less.

I don't know if I will wait forever but I know that whenever one door closes, another opens. I thumb my nose at this downturn. 'Bring it!', I say. You can't hold me back. Some of my closest friends have been laid off and they have embraced their inner-Tim Gunn and have 'made it work'.

Please keep us in your thoughts as I am sure the coming weeks and months won't be easy or stress-free. I know something will come along. Rest assured that the Huber Family will survive and thrive. There is something out there for me. I just have to go out and find it and be Doug -- no more, no less.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Friends on Late Night?

It appears that our President hasn't endeared himself to the folks at Saturday Night Live.

Birthday Week

We kicked off Mallory's birthday with a gift from Gramma Rosie today. As you can see in the video below, she is happy with her present (if you get the email blast, go to http://www.doughuber.blogspot.com/ to view).

Also, thank you to Gramma Rosie for including a gift for Mason (no, this is not a solicitation for others to send a gift for Mason). He is having some growing pains with it not being his birthday. Yes, he had a wonderful birthday and got lots of presents and cards, but that was what? a whole month ago? Boo-boo tears all around today when the package at the front door wasn't for him. As dad reminded me in an email a few weeks ago, parenting is never dull.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Sure you Read #81

If "The Simpsons" have taught us anything it's that two-dimensional characters are funnier than three-dimensional ones. There are as many great Simpsons quotes as there are Republicans in hell, which is another way to say "a lot." For 18 years the residents of Springfield have been piling up the wittiest quotes ever uttered on TV.
1. Homer: D'oh.
2. Ralph: Me fail English? That's unpossible.
3. Lionel Hutz: This is the greatest case of false advertising I've seen since I sued the movie "The Never Ending Story."
4. Sideshow Bob: No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it.
5. Troy McClure: Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!
6. Comic Book Guy: The Internet King? I wonder if he could provide faster nudity…
7. Homer: Oh, so they have Internet on computers now!
8. Ned Flanders: I've done everything the Bible says — even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!
9. Comic Book Guy: Your questions have become more redundant and annoying than the last three "Highlander" movies.
10. Chief Wiggum: Uh, no, you got the wrong number. This is 9-1…2.
11. Sideshow Bob: I'll be back. You can't keep the Democrats out of the White House forever, and when they get in, I'm back on the streets, with all my criminal buddies.
12. Homer: When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power…like God must feel when he's holding a gun.
13. Nelson: Dad didn't leave… When he comes back from the store, he's going to wave those pop-tarts right in your face!
14. Milhouse: Remember the time he ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl, Bart? *Why did I have the bowl?*
15. Lionel Hutz: Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly" and replace "dog" with "son."
16. Comic Book Guy: Last night's "Itchy and Scratchy Show" was, without a doubt, the worst episode *ever.* Rest assured, I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.
17. Homer: I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman.
18. Homer: Save me, Jeebus.
19. Mayor Quimby: I stand by my racial slur.
20. Comic Book Guy: Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix.
21. Homer: You don't like your job, you don't strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.
22. Chief Wiggum: Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city! He is the cancer and I am the…uh…what cures cancer?
23. Homer: Bart, with $10,000 we'd be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like…love!
24. Homer: Fame was like a drug. But what was even more like a drug were the drugs.
25. Homer: Books are useless! I only ever read one book, "To Kill A Mockingbird," and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the color of his skin…but what good does *that* do me?
26. Chief Wiggum: Can't you people take the law into your own hands? I mean, we can't be policing the entire city!
27. Homer: Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals…except the weasel.
28. Reverend Lovejoy: Marge, just about everything's a sin. [holds up a Bible] Y'ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we're not supposed to go to the bathroom.
29. Homer: You know, the one with all the well meaning rules that don't work out in real life, uh, Christianity.
30. Smithers: Uh, no, they're saying "Boo-urns, Boo-urns."
31. Hans Moleman: I was saying "Boo-urns."
32. Homer: Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.
33. Homer: Here's to alcohol, the cause of — and solution to — all life's problems.
34. Homer: When will I learn? The answers to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV!
35. Chief Wiggum: I hope this has taught you kids a lesson: kids never learn.
36. Homer: How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?
37. Homer: Homer no function beer well without.
38. Duffman: Duffman can't breathe! OH NO!
39. Grandpa Simpson: Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please, eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot.
40. Homer: Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.
41. Troy McClure: Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such self-help tapes as "Smoke Yourself Thin" and "Get Some Confidence, Stupid!"
42. Homer: A woman is a lot like a refrigerator. Six feet tall, 300 pounds…it makes ice.
43. Homer: Son, a woman is like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you'd step over your own mother just to get one! But you can't stop at one. You wanna drink another woman!
44. Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
45. Mr. Burns: I'll keep it short and sweet — Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business.
46. Kent Brockman: …And the fluffy kitten played with that ball of string all through the night. On a lighter note, a Kwik-E-Mart clerk was brutally murdered last night.
47. Ralph: Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and then the baby looked at me.
48. Apu: Please do not offer my god a peanut.
49. Homer: You don't win friends with salad.
50. Mr. Burns: I don't like being outdoors, Smithers. For one thing, there's too many fat children.
51. Sideshow Bob: Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?
52. Chief Wiggum: They only come out in the night. Or in this case, the day.
53. Mr. Burns: Whoa, slow down there, maestro. There's a *New* Mexico?
54. Homer: He didn't give you gay, did he? Did he?!
55. Comic Book Guy: But, Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills. You're from two different worlds… Oh, I've wasted my life.
56. Homer: Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
57. Superintendent Chalmers: I've had it with this school, Skinner. Low test scores, class after class of ugly, ugly children…
58. Mr. Burns: What good is money if it can't inspire terror in your fellow man?
59. Homer: Oh, everything looks bad if you remember it.
60. Ralph:Slow down, Bart! My legs don't know how to be as long as yours.
61. Homer: Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?
62. Frink: Brace yourselves gentlemen. According to the gas chromatograph, the secret ingredient is… Love!? Who's been screwing with this thing?
63. Apu: Yes! I am a citizen! Now which way to the welfare office? I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I work, I work.
64. Milhouse: We started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy.
65. Mr. Burns: A lifetime of working with nuclear power has left me with a healthy green glow…and left me as impotent as a Nevada boxing commissioner.
66. Homer: Kids, kids. I'm not going to die. That only happens to bad people.
67. Milhouse: Look out, Itchy! He's Irish!
68. Homer: I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes!
69. Smithers: I'm allergic to bee stings. They cause me to, uh, die.
70. Barney: Aaah! Natural light! Get it off me! Get it off me!
71. Principal Skinner: That's why I love elementary school, Edna. The children believe anything you tell them.
72. Sideshow Bob: Your guilty consciences may make you vote Democratic, but secretly you all yearn for a Republican president to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king!
73. Barney: Jesus must be spinning in his grave!
74. Superintendent Chalmers: "Thank the Lord"? That sounded like a prayer. A prayer in a public school. God has no place within these walls, just like facts don't have a place within an organized religion.
75. Mr. Burns: [answering the phone] Ahoy hoy?
76. Comic Book Guy: Oh, a *sarcasm* detector. Oh, that's a *really* useful invention!
77. Marge: Our differences are only skin deep, but our sames go down to the bone.
78. Homer: What's the point of going out? We're just going to wind up back here anyway.
79. Marge: Get ready, skanks! It's time for the truth train!
80. Bill Gates: I didn't get rich by signing checks.
81. Principal Skinner: Fire can be our friend; whether it's toasting marshmallows or raining down on Charlie.
82. Homer: Oh, I'm in no condition to drive. Wait a minute. I don't have to listen to myself. I'm drunk.
83. Homer: And here I am using my own lungs like a sucker.
84. Comic Book Guy: Human contact: the final frontier.
85. Homer: I hope I didn't brain my damage.
86. Krusty the Clown: And now, in the spirit of the season: start shopping. And for every dollar of Krusty merchandise you buy, I will be nice to a sick kid. For legal purposes, sick kids may include hookers with a cold.
87. Homer: I'm a Spalding Gray in a Rick Dees world.
88. Dr. Nick: Inflammable means flammable? What a country.
89. Homer: Beer. Now there's a temporary solution.
90. Comic Book Guy: Stan Lee never left. I'm afraid his mind is no longer in mint condition.
91. Nelson: Shoplifting is a victimless crime. Like punching someone in the dark.
92. Krusty the Clown: Kids, we need to talk for a moment about Krusty Brand Chew Goo Gum Like Substance. We all knew it contained spider eggs, but the hantavirus? That came out of left field. So if you're experiencing numbness and/or comas, send five dollars to antidote, PO box…
93. Milhouse: I can't go to juvie. They use guys like me as currency.
94. Homer: Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get.
95. Homer: I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaming.
96. Apu: Thank you, steal again.
97. Homer: Marge, you being a cop makes you the man! Which makes me the woman — and I have no interest in that, besides occasionally wearing the underwear, which as we discussed, is strictly a comfort thing.
98. Ed Begley Jr.: I prefer a vehicle that doesn't hurt Mother Earth. It's a go-cart, powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction.
99. Bart: I didn't think it was physically possible, but this both sucks *and* blows.
100. Homer: How could you?! Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain Whatshisname? We live in a society of laws! Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn't hear anybody laughing, did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Makes sound effects and laughs. Where was I? Oh yeah! Stay out of my booze.
101. Homer: Lisa, vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos.

Time with Mason

This morning, Mason woke up a little early. After getting dressed, we sat at the table and reviewed some of his homework from school yesterday. Once done, he announced that he wanted to draw a picture for his friends, Elliot and Owen. They are twins in Mason's class and today is their birthday.

I retrieved two pieces of construction paper and a box of crayons. He began to draw a picture of each of them and then wrote 'Happy Birthday' at the top of each page, along with each of their names. I just sat quietly and watched. I watched him choose colors for the drawing, create shapes and print letters. All of this done for other children; all of it his idea.

It was some of the best 10 minutes I have spent with Mason in a while.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Cookin'

Tis the season where Noel enters 'the zone' of cooking as she prepares for (what is becoming) the annual Thanksgiving feast at the Indy Huber household. She embarked on a journey to Marsh at 6:30 this morning to gather the items necessary. This was possible only after creating a spreadsheet with ingredients from all of her recipes listing the measurements needed for each recipe and ingredient.

I did my part by taking the kids to Cracker Barrel to have breakfast with 'Uncle Kennykins'. The kids were well-behaved and Ken and I got to catch up for an hour or so.

Back at the home front, Noel was 'getting her cook on' (as the kids say), deeply submersed in pounds of dough, simmering bacon and mixing bowls that lined the countertop. The results of these two weekends (there will be more, bigger and slightly panicked cooking next weekend to finish the preparation) is a wonderful feast spanning three days. Tom Turkey won't go in the oven until Thanksgiving morning, but the rest of the items will get underway well before hand.

I can't wait!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mason Through the Ages

One of the projects this week is to make a poster for Mason's 'In the Spotlight' week at Kindergarten. I put together this montage to show Mason at each birthday.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Tale of Two Doctors Visits

I am off (of work) this week. Noel and I have scheduled just about every preventative maintenance appointment possible this week. Today was Mallory's first 'real' dental visit followed in the afternoon by a six-year-old checkup for Mason.

I was expecting the worst for Mallory's visit. She sat quietly in the 'ladybug' chair (named because the seat has a ladybug pattern on it) while I got my teeth cleaned. She asked a few questions: 'Why you doing that, daddy?' and 'Daddy, what's this?'; pointing to the tray of implements used to clean teeth (or extract information).

Next it was her turn. As I was putting her on my lap I told the hygienist to 'expect some objections'. I was trying to prep her for the worst. The hygienist did a wonderful job of showing Mallory each tool; the rubber rotating brush (that will tickle your teeth, I told her), the scrapey thing and the small, tilted mirror. Once the orientation was complete, the hygienist picked up the mirror, moved it toward Mallory's mouth and the most amazing thing happened ... she opened wide. And there she sat, with her mouth open ... the whole time. Not even a peep when the tooth tickler was present. This is the reason I am not a betting man.

Fast forward to Mason's 6-year appointment. I love the fact that he can talk with the nurses and doctor directly now.
Nurse: Mason, what grade are you in?
Mason: Kindergarten. I don't ride the bus.
Nurse: Mason, can you ride a bike?
Mason: No.
Daddy (interrupting): No?
Mason: I don't ride a bike to school. Daddy takes me.

All was right with the world until we discussed the second part of Mason's two part Hep-A shot. To date, Mason has been a world-class patient when it comes to vaccinations. He should wear a shirt that says something witty like, 'Gimme your best shot' or 'Shot Down in Blaze of Glory' (Both shirts would have a Bon Jovi likeness as it would save on the silk screening setup charges). If either shirt existed, he would have lost his shirt-wearing privileges today. At the first mention, he was up off the table and pacing. As the doctor left and the nurse came in, he dropped to all fours and climbed into the corner behind the exam table, bracing himself with his legs. After reasoning and calm tones failed to draw the man cub from his lair, I leaned over and yanked him out. I held him tight as I laid him down on the exam table. 'IDONTWANTASHOT!IDON'TWANTASHOT!IDON'TWANTASHOT!' I pressed my chest against his and held his underwear up (preserving what hint of dignity that had yet to escape the room) as the nurse tugged down his jeans. 'IDON'TWANTASHOT!IDON'TWANTASHOT!IDON'TWANTASHOT!'

'All done!', the nurse exclaimed.

'IDIDN'TFEELATHING', he laughed, as his sobs immediately turned to a deep chuckle. The tears and fear were instantly swept from the room. He looked up and said, 'I wanted the shot in my arm, daddy.'

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veteran's Day Convocation

Last week, I wrote about the upcoming Stonegate Veteran's Day Convocation. Thank you to all who wrote back with wonderful suggestions on how to tackle teaching 'freedom to first-graders'.

Today was the big day ...

I arrived at around 8:30 am, in order to set up. The day didn't start out well with me being unable to connect to my server, which held both my notes and the presentation itself. After cursing, stomping around and (finally) pulling an old monitor/keyboard/mouse out of storage to connect directly to my server, I was finally able get the files I needed (I figured if I was having these difficulties at home, it may pay to get to the event early and tackle any automation issues. Fortunately, there were none).

My presentation focused on Freedom, what it means to be a veteran, pride and patriotism. I tried to use as many of my own photos as I could, meanwhile trying to be cognizant of the fact that I didn't want to try explain war, fighting or dying in the defense of our country. So, I combed through my 3,000+ photos from Iraq and found at least 10 that didn't have a weapon of any sort in them. I focused on what it means to be free, who veterans are and how they help other countries gain their own freedom.

As the children filed in the gym at around 9:20, it dawned on me that the room wasn't just filling with children, it was filling with potential. It reminded me of a book my battalion commander lent me in Germany; The Tao of Pooh. This book uses A.A. Milne's characters to explain Taoism (pronounced Dowism). One such tenet of Taoism is the Uncarved Block. As Taoists explain, the Uncarved Block has the utmost value and is the 'ultimate art form', since the uncarved block can become anything. That's exactly what these young K-4 children are; like coiled springs, ready to release their potential energy. Each day, teachers and parents apply a little more pressure to these springs increasing their kinetic energy in the future.

The convocation started with an amazing student (my guess is 7th or 8th grade) who played 'Scotland Brave' on the bagpipe. The cub scouts of Pack 358 posted the colors and saluted as a woman sang the Star-Spangled Banner. There was 3rd and 4th grade poetry and the Stonegate Choralaires sang a couple of songs. Roughly 75 veterans were at the event, representing all of the branches of service. Each stood as their respective service song was played.

For the adults, I took a moment in my speech to remember three soldiers that I knew in the Army. Capt. George Wood was a friend from my Armor Captains Career Course at Fort Knox, Ky. He lived down the street from me and I would always see him, his wife and his children when I was out walking Jake. We both went to Fort Hood, Texas; George reporting to the 4th Infantry Division, me to the 1st Cavalry Division. He died when his tank drove over an improvised explosive device. I also mentioned Specialist Ramsey, whom I wrote about here. Lastly, I recognized Capt. Chris Seifert; my counterpart in one of the other battalions in Baumholder, Germany. You may remember his death, as he was killed in Kuwait when a soldier threw a grenade in his tent, killing him and another solider, in 2003.

It was my distinct honor to talk with these children this morning. They were well-behaved and attentive. I hope I was able to relate a little bit of what soldiers do and why they are some important to this country. Thanks to Ms. Cavolick for inviting me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Understatement of the Year Award

University of New Mexico Women's Soccer Coach Kit Vela said:

In this instance, her ( UNM soccer player Elizabeth Lambert's) actions clearly crossed the line of fair play and good sportsmanship.
Don't know what I am talking about? Watch the video below and see for yourself.

Lambert apologized saying that her actions 'in the heat of the moment' were 'uncalled for'. Wow, yanking an opposing player to the ground by her hair? I would say that is uncalled for. I doubt seriously that the heat of the moment lasted a full 90 minutes. Amazingly, the refs missed most of this and she received only one yellow card (a warning) despite the string of penalties she committed. It would be also interesting to review tapes of previous games to see if this has been a pattern of rough play. If one does emerge, Coach Vela should be the next to go.

The sad thing is that someone (or group of someones) taught her that this type of play was okay.

The university has suspended her from the team indefinitely. She should be expelled.

Ant Farm Update

For those of you that asked, here is an update on the ant farm.

It continues to be a smash hit at the Huber household. Mason looks at it every morning after he wakes up to see what progress the ants made during the night and then again before bath time.

Thanks again, Gramma Rosie!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tragedy at Fort Hood

Today, a soldier opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas killing several soldiers and wounding even more. Please keep the soldiers and their families in your prayers.

Having happened only six or seven hours ago, here is my way-too-early analysis of what happened. It is reported that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an army phsychiatrist, was the shooter. My guess is that this guy had Uncle Sam pay for his medical degree. At that point, the Army put his butt in a uniform and told him to go to work (and that, of course, includes deployments). I doubt he had fully considered the scope of his duties and bristled at the orders for deployment. He probably fought them for a few years until the army said, "get on the plane". At that point, he realized he lost his fight to not deploy and lost his mind. Today's tragedy was the result.

The real irony is that this guy was supposed to be one of the unsung heroes; helping soldiers who have been mentally scarred in battle. Instead, the mere thought of war drove this guy so far over the edge that he felt compelled to lash out in a horrific way.

Just my un-informed guess/analysis. We will see what is revealed.

God bless the soldiers who died today.

(Matthew 5:9)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009


During our trip to Cincy a couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Mason's 6th birthday. Gramma Rosie outdid herself with treats, trinkets and fun games (her favorite game is talking Mason into helping out. He ran around for an hour with a dish towel draped over his arm asking the family around the table if they needed anything else).

The present that stole the show was an ant farm. Pooh-pooed by the uncles, I knew she had a hit as soon as Mason opened it. He marveled at the picture on the front, the larger-than-life ants crawling through the tunnels (This particular ant farm has a gel instead of dirt to allow all to see the ants wherever they may be). The night we got home from out trip, I found Mason curled up asleep with the yet-unopened box. I knew right then that I had to order some ants to make this dream a reality.

Twenty minutes online and $5.95 later, I was the future, proud owner of 20-25 carpenter ants that I would receive in 7-10 days. Those days came today and I opened the envelope to discover a vial of ants (of which most were alive). After dinner, we broke out the ant farm and carefully followed the instructions.

I will keep you up to date on how the ants are doing. So far, just a lot of walking around.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Long, Fun Weekend

Last weekend was Fall Break at Zionsville Community Schools, marking the end of Mason's first quarter of school (only 51 more to go!). Given Mason's couple of days off, Noel and I took two days off, packed up the car and headed to Cincy to visit with family.

Saturday, we trekked to Kings Island with Allan, Leanna, Henry and Baxter (Noel's brother and fam) for a Hallow-Fest replete with costumes, candy and a bitter wind chill.

Mason took the stage with Mr. Cowpie with a rousing performance. Please click on the video below to check it out! (for those of you that get the email blast, log on to doughuber.blogspot.com to view the video, or click here)

After a breezy day at King's Island, we headed back to Gramma Rosie's and Grampa Huber's to visit. We had a wonderful time catching up with Gramma, Grampa, Uncles Ken and Dave and watching lots of college football. The next morning we headed off to Great Wolf Lodge for some indoor swimming fun. Gramma and Grampa joined us with Mason seeing exactly how many slides he could drag Grampa on to (the answer is all of them).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Teaching Freedom to First-Graders

I need some help. The principal of Stonegate Elementary has invited me to speak at the Veteran's Day Convocation to be held November 9th. The topics are the Meaning of Freedom, Pride, Heroism, Bravery and Patriotism.

My question is ... how do I explain that to an audience of K-4? I have some ideas but I am open to any suggestions! (If you get this via email, please respond via email or go to doughuber.blogspot.com to leave a comment so that others may see it, as well.) I have access to AV equipment and have a window of 10-20 minutes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I am now Dumber

If you have two minutes to waste, check out the latest drivel from Joy Behar. It is terrible.
It's no surprise the Glenn Becks of the world have been attacking Obama since the moment he stepped into the Oval Office. Beck and his blathering buddies on the right -- you know, the stinky kids in the coatroom who eat their own boogers. Always pick on the kids least likely to fight back.
Really? Everyone that disagrees with Obama is stinky and eats boogers? A well-thought argument, in deed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bob Hope - Way, Way Ahead of His Time

In a scene from the 1940 Bob Hope Classic, Ghost Breakers, there is a great line that fits very well today:

Geoff Montgomery: It's worse than horrible because a zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes walking around blindly with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.
Larry Lawrence: You mean like Democrats?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Don't Ever Say that Sen. Max Baucus Didn't Warn You!

The summary statement at the top of the just-released S. 1796 Finance Committee bill says it all:
To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.

My emphasis added, of course. Standing at just over 1,500 pages, I would put a disclaimer, too.

Mallory's Two Cents

This is what Mallory thinks of the flu!

As an update, the flu is much better today. On a down note, I coughed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my lower back nearly incapacitating me. I can't win.

(P.S. We caught this photo randomly. I hope Mallory had no idea what she was doing)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An Event-filled Weekend

The weekend started Friday night, with me coming down with the flu (lucky me). That didn't stop the rest of the clan. Saturday morning, Noel dressed the young ones in their Halloween garb and made the trek downtown the Children's Museum for the annual Feast with the Witches.

Mason and Mallory got their faces painted, consumed mass quantities of french toast sticks, syrup and sausage and then checked out the brand new addition to museum (Noel says it is beautiful).

After a trip to Wal-Mart, everyone came home to see our beloved Buckeyes self-destruct against Purdue (of which I am sure to hear a lot about when I return to work).

Today we made Mason's birthday cake. Mason helped with the batter and then iced the cake and topped it with sprinkles.

A wonderful weekend (other than being nearly bed-ridden with this gawdawful virus). Back to bed for me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crazy Hair Day!

Today is Crazy Hair Day at Stonegate Elementary. As you can see below, Mason is all set.

This reminds me of my elementary days, but every day was crazy hair day. I distinctly remember a day in Mrs Davis' class (in 2nd grade) when she awarded me (literally, with a certificate) the Betty Crocker Award. The implication was that I combed my hair with an egg beater (Not sure teachers could get away with that today). Do I sound emotionally scarred?

Anyway, here's to a great Crazy Hair Day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Miss Indiana

Courtni Hall, Miss Indiana USA, joined us for the Dad's Club Pancake Breakfast on Saturday. She volunteered her Saturday morning to sign autographs and stand (patiently) for photographs with folks twice her age (even thirty-somethings with thinning hair).

I didn't know what to expect when first contacting Courtni. I was put in contact with her through a friend of a friend (thanks again, Greg!). From the intial contact, she was polite, outgoing (without being overbearing) and interested in our event. The rap is that these girls are fake; turning on the charm when in front a the camera, but I didn't get that impression at all. She was geniune. She took interest in the guests and participated with a great big smile. When asked if the title of Miss Indiana USA meant she had one the Miss USA pageant, she polited said, 'No', explaining that Miss North Carolina had won and that she represented Indiana in the competition. There was no sense of boredom or tiredness in her answer. Courtni responded as if she was answering a pageant question; matter-of-factly and with a very positive tone.

Certainly a positive role model for girls from sea to shining sea.

Thank you, Courtni, for making our event that much better!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Successful Breakfast

Saturday started at 4:10 am. I woke up early; wondering if I had forgotten anything. I ticked through the list. Content knowing that I wasn't going to fall back to sleep, I made my way downstairs to clean up the TiVo. I burned through The Office and Survivor before it was time to start getting ready for the day.

I had stayed up until 11 or so the prior evening working the signs to direct traffic to the Dad's Club Pancake Breakfast. I wasn't tired, though. I was ready for a great day; and nervous about doing a good job for the PTO and for the school itself.

I arrived at 7:20. This after a stop to CVS Pharmacy to pick up peel-off name tags I had forgotten (you can't remember everything!). Ben, the custodian, greeted me as I walked in the door. He was tremendously helpful throughout the morning orchestrating the setup or tables, AV equipment etc. My early arrival gave me a few minutes to gather my thoughts before the volunteers began to show. As they arrived, I handed out tasks to complete: put out placemats, start the coffee, set up the juice station, set up the welcome desk, and so on.

The volunteers were terrific. The came to the party with a happy attitude and a willingness to do whatever whas necessary. Nancy, the food service manager, was invaluable. She prepared all of the sausage and 'tri-taters' (triangular hashbrowns) and had the kitchen prepared for us when we arrived.

At 8:30, we started making pancakes ... dozens of them; just in time for the doors to open to a horde of hungry parents and kids. The cub scouts were there to sell their items (among other things ... their offerings have certainly expanded since my days of peddling Trailways Popcorn) and Miss Indiana USA took her seat to sign autographs for the children (and have her picture taken with the adults).

All in, we raised just under $1,000 for the school. We will put it to good use in the near future.

Thanks so much to Kris, Joyce, Cindy, Nancy, Ben, Darrel, Jeni, Brian, Mike, Josh, Courtni, and all of the folks who donated items to make this such a wonderful event.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pancake Breakfast

The Stonegate Elementary Pancake Breakfast is coming together. Having never truly run a fundraising effort before, it is interesting to see the mix of technology (like mysignup.com; which allows folks to register to donate items) and the old-school pavement pounding it took to garner a sponsorship. The analog portion included dozens of phone calls and visits to businesses who didn't seem to excited to part with their money. I (finally) found one. The Indiana Members Credit Union has graciously decided to sponsor our breakfast.

The volunteers have begun to raise their hands to donate their time and the use of their griddles. Miss Indiana USA has confirmed her appearance, as well. We are looking forward to a great event!

Let's pray for decent weather ...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reading Room

Mason's elementary school is focused on reading. Each child is given a goal of reading 200 minutes per month (for kindergarteners, being read to counts). Each night, we do our 'homework' and read for at least 10 minutes. Mason has always enjoyed books (he gets that from his dad) and likes to read (I would use 'read' in quotes, but he is really starting to sound out words and sentences) during his quiet time.

Motivated by a suggestion from Mason's teacher in her monthly newsletter, we decided to set up a special 'reading room' for Mason so he can enjoy his books. Complete with a book shelf, a map of the U.S. and Christmas lights, he now has a special place where he can relax and read.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mighty Morphin' Mason

The first eight weeks of school have been transformative for Mason ... and frustrating for Mommy and Daddy. It seems the manners we have instilled in him have been pulled out, wadded up and thrown to the side. In the blink of an eye, the 'pleases' and 'thank yous' have been replaced with 'uh-huhs' and 'gimmes'. I have always said that my kid may not grow up the smartest or the most athletic, but he WILL be well-mannered. It is maddening that a group of 6-year-old can undo 5+ years of training in what can be summed up in hours. AAARRRGGGGHHHH! Where did my son go? Who is responsible for replacing my eager-to-please, 'nice to meet you, sir', door-opening Mason with a me-first, gimme kindergartener.

It is especially hard on Noel, who takes so much pride and ownership in Mason's behavior. She does this because she raised him solo for a while I was deployed. I refuse to let go of the notion that my son should operate with a set of core manners that he should use day in and day out. I know it is easy for him to drop them when other kids don't use them and saying please and thank you doesn't get him 'cool points' with the older kids. But, I can't (and won't) let go of my original premise. He WILL display good manners.

Back to the drawing board ...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Bowl Full of Crazy

Alan Grayson is another shining example of our political class. Today, he compared America's lack of health care reform to the Holocaust.

Mr. Grayson, I would encourage you to visit Dachau or speak with a man with a serial number tattooed into his arm. Maybe you should ask him if the comparison is valid.

A Soccer Game

This evening at Mason's last soccer practice of the Fall 2009 season, the coach asked the parents if we wanted to scrimmage against the children. Did we?! We jumped at the chance. We ran around like kids; dribbling, passing and shooting (not well, I should add). I haven't played organized soccer since I was roughly Mason's age.

In my day, it was the North Sycamore Youth Organization (N-S-Y-O, Let's Go!). Dad coached our team. I remember the giant kick board some parents constructed (where kids could kick the ball and have it bounce back to them. I also remember that we used it more for peeing behind than actually kicking a ball on.

Our game tonight took me back to the parent/son soccer games we would have at the end of the season. If I remember correctly, they were at Sharon Woods (although Dad would know for sure).

I hope Mason looks back fondly on times like tonight as I do on those of 25+ years ago.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ahhh ... Sophomoric Humor; Fast Food-Style

Please take a moment to soak in this juvenile Hardee's commercial. You will laugh out loud or you won't think it is funny at all. I doubt there is much in between.

P.S. I still cannot stop laughing.

(For those with the email version, go to http://www.doughuber.blogspot.com/ to watch the video)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kitchen Gadget

I am not a big 'kitchen gadget' person. As far as we are concerned, our griddle is cutting edge technology. But, I have to admit, the apple peeler that Noel brought home from Bed, Bath and Beyond has captured my imagination.

From the first use, I began to try and figure out different ways to use it. I may have to make a youtube video to show everyone how it works. It peels, it slices, it cores! What else could you wish for from an apple peeler/corer/slicer?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Wonderful Fall Afternoon

Another Fall day; another wonderful trip to Stuckey Farm.

We try to get to Stuckey Farm at least a couple times of year, but definitely in the Fall. Each visit is like visiting relatives that we don't know that well. The folks there are strangers but we always feel welcome. We feel free to roam around on our own, searching for the perfect fruit or vegetable.

Each year, Mason morphs into Linus from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", on the hunt for the biggest pumpkin in the patch. This year we landed it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

An Un-Fortune-ate Article

My beloved Fortune Magazine, of which I read cover to cover each month, has disappointed me with a terrible article about marijuana. In case you didn't know (and as a disclaimer), I am vehemently opposed to the legalization (or even decriminalization) of marijuana. Even as I have a strong Libertarian streak that runs through me (mostly when it comes to free markets), I just can't wrap my arms around the benefits of legalization. I have seen more than one life wrecked or permanently altered by this drug. And I believe that the negative externalities of one's own choice to smoke marijuana creates too many negative externalities. (In simple economic terms, if you remove the leaves from your yard in the fall with a leaf blower, your yard is free of leaves, but you have created a lot of negative externalities. Just ask your neighbors.)

But, back to the article. This fairly lopsided article paints folks pushing for the reform of marijuana laws as champions of the weak, frail and sickly. When, I believe, that they are pushing medical marijuana as a way to get he camel's nose under the tent. In California, they already have permitted medical marijuana. In one 'health center' they display their 'medicine' with names like 'Blueberry Goo', 'GDP X Bubble Gum', 'Grape Skunk' and 'Jack Ripper'. Sounds like something that is well-regulated, huh?

At one point in the article, the author all but admits that he wants to try marijuana to help with the story:
I then notice a journalistic hole opening up in my reporting. Until now I had assumed that my haphazard, stale, youthful experiences with marijuana would need no refreshing in order for me to write a thorough article about medical cannabis. Now I'm not so sure. Unfortunately, most dispensaries are intransigent about serving only California residents, and I am not one. I explain my quandary to Jacobs. Listening back upon my words as they hang in the air, I realize that it sounds as if I've just asked him to break the law. He very politely declines.

Really? You think you need to smoke pot to add some flavor to the story? (Glad he didn't do an article on gang rape).

How could Fortune top this terrible article? Hey, I know, how about an online marijuana pictorial!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Amazing Art

If you haven't see this video, it is worth the 8 minutes you will invest.

(Tip of the hat to Greg F. for pointing me towards this).

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Puppet Show!

Mason and Mallory love the tub. Some of their most creative play is done with water; pouring, splashing, 'swimming' and (of course) puppet shows.

Let the goofiness begin!

(For those of you who get the email version, please go to www.doughuber.blogspot.com to see the video)

100 Posts!

What better way to celebrate 100 posts than my 101st? Thanks to all of the readers out there who take the time to peruse my ramblings. I appreciate it. Here's to 100 more.

Obama's Non-Tax Tax

For those of you that didn't get a chance to read it, the Wall Street Journal has a great Op-Ed on how Obama views taxes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Bachelor

At the dinner table this evening, Mason announced that two girls had a crush on him. Apparently, he has two friends, Morgan and Kaitlyn (sp?) ... and they happen to be girls. This, from the 5-year-old who walks around with a fake BlackBerry saying, "Hold on, let me take this in the other room."

What are we in for?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Versatile Patrick Swayze

Anyone who can go from Dirty Dancing to Ghost to Road House (one of my personal favorites) is alright with me.

Of course don't forget this little gem with Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Promised Land

This past weekend, we took a trip back to the promised land. I am, of course, talking about Columbus, Ohio. We travelled there via Cincinnati to leave the children under the watchful eyes of Grandma Rosie and Grandpa Huber. They were excited to get some time with the children and had plenty of treats and chores lined up for Mason and Mallory.

We headed north to campus to watch the Ohio State-USC game. Somehow, we were graced with tickets to what may be the most exciting regular season game of the year. We arrived on campus five hours prior to kick off absorb the sights, sounds and yummy street vendor food that is football Saturday at Ohio State. The sea of scarlet and gray, the tailgaters, the engergized crowd (including the off-color remarks directed at the USC-clad fans), and carnival-like events made for a wonderful afternoon. Marcus Allen was in the Sports Illustrated Heisman Trophy tent along with the Trophy itself. Randy Gradishar, a former Ohio State linebacker and Denver Bronco great was signing autographs, as well. Of course, I had to go to Kuwait to see him.

We stopped by Converse Hall (home of Army ROTC) and posed with one of the various Brutus Buckeyes that are around campus.

Noel's brother Allen came down from Upper Arlington to spend a couple hours with us and it was nice to catch up with him. We saw Ohio State rappers (if you can't see the video in your email, go to http://www.doughuber.blogspot.com/) who were very entertaining.

(I didn't say they were good; just entertaining)

The game itself was terrific. The band executed brilliantly and the Buckeyes played their hearts out. We are proud to boast that we are part of a record-breaking crowd of 106,032 fans screaming our collective heads off for 'the men of scarlet and gray'.

Unfortunately, the wrong team won. Thanks to Mom and Dad for making this possible. The kids enjoyed the Hot Chocolate/Oreo drink concoctions, watching fireworks and doing 'chores' for Grandma Rosie.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Starbucks is quick to point out the number of ‘responsibly grown, ethically traded’ pounds of coffee they buy each year; 228 million pounds, to be exact.

What they don’t tell you are the number of irresponsibly grown, unethically traded pounds of coffee they purchase each year. Where is that number?!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Walking into Mason's school this morning, a couple of the kids were playing a game called Spoons. That simple game, involving nothing more than a few playing cards and some simple kitchen teaspoons, took me back for a few moments on the way to work.

Those little plastic spoons triggered a flood of memories I had forgotten until this morning at 7:35. Grandma Huber (my father's mother, not Grandma Rosie, who is my mother - those distinctions are important with more than one Grandma Huber living) and Grandpa used to play card games with us. Spoons was one of those games.

Grandma and Grandpa came to live with us after my birth mother died. Dad was charged with raising three boys (one an infant) and Grandma and Grandpa were there to help. I was five at the time. Grandpa showed me how to mow the lawn (slicing his finger open in the process), drove 'little Timmy Hunter' and I to kindergarten and had a standing bet of 5:1 that he could flip over all the Scrabble tiles at once (the bet was that you pay Grandpa a penny for every tile face down and he would pay you a nickel for everyone face up ... no one ever took him up on it). Grandma cooked and cleaned; diligently straining out the meatballs from the Campell's Alphabet Soup to ensure that there was an even meatball distribution between myself and Greg. She knitted endlessly (sometimes at the top of the stairs when Greg and I refused to settle down at night), got us off to school and generally cared for the boys. (Her other job was to triage the women that Dad brought home, apparently. Ask Grandma Rosie sometime).

I was blessed with lots and lots of Grandparents (from all sides) whose firm hands and gentle love helped shape me and my brothers during a challenging time for the Huber family.

Thank you, spoon game for allowing me to remember that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another Milestone

This weekend was big for the children's milestones. Mallory did her thing and Mason impressed us all with his new-found bicycle skills. The training wheels weren't cutting it. In fact, they were just teaching him bad habits. So, of they went. We picked up a handle that I could hold onto while he pedaled and kept his balance. It worked well as I could loosen or tighten my grip to help him correct (and not over-correct) his balance.

And then .... off he went.

Blogging on the Go!

So, Blogger let's me post from my cellphone. Think of it as the un-twitter.

I can't imagine posting much on the go as my cellphone doesn't have a camera (blogs are always better with pics!). We'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Mallory Milestone

Mallory reached a milestone today. It was a rather scatological milestone, but a milestone, none the less. After months of soliciting, begging, pleading, bribing, cajoling, coaxing, convincing, and praying she finally did it. Mallory went poopy on the potty (and then on the floor, but, hey).

Below is a photo of Mallory on 'her' BlackBerry telling Grandma Rosie all about it.

Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw has Ten Principles of Economics. No. 4 is 'People respond to incentives'. And, yes, the princess outfit was a payoff.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Government Getting in the Business Business

A couple of days ago, lawmakers in the state of Kansas announced that they were getting in the casino business. Of all the businesses to get involved with, it seems terribly odd to choose casinos. I guess it should be no surprise, as our fearless representatives view gambling as the eternal spring of revenues. Indiana has gotten bitten by the gambling revenue bug and is tempted continuously by the thought of expanding casinos even in the face of declining revenue from such venues.

The larger question is where they feel they are empowered to enter select businesses in the first place. Or (better yet) is why the government feels they will be any good at it. There is no objective evidence supporting the claim that governments run businesses very well. Although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary (Amtrak, the post office, Freddie and Fannie, etc. ad nauseum).

It appears that economist Michael Hicks, a professor at Ball State University, has some evidence that lawmakers will surely ignore. As quoted in the Wall Street Journal:

(Hicks) calculated the rate of return on the corporate tax credits. He found that for every $1 million in tax credits awarded, there were 95 lost manufacturing jobs in the counties where the companies were located—a result that is "strongly statistically significant." There was no gain in personal income in these counties. Perhaps more jobs would have been lost without the credits, but what is undeniably clear is that the businesses that got the government loot were not magnets for other employers.

Counties may lose jobs in the short term, but I am sure they are hoping they will make up for it in volume.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Lifetime Ago

Twelve years ago today, I reported for active duty at Fort Knox, Kentucky. That seems like a lifetime ago. I miss it every day, but wouldn't trade it for the time I get to spend with my family.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Financial Literacy

In a USA Today story published today, Sandra Block questions financial return on investing in a college education during a recession. Citing one student who graduated from college and then lost her job, she paints a picture of the now-graduate who is struggling to pay back her student loans.

To this day, I have yet to see the complete value of my education, she says.

Of course she hasn't see the full return on her investment! She has been out for four years. In this pellet-from-the-feeder-bar, instant-gratification world, folks forget that investing takes time; even more time in an economic downturn.

Block continues with:

For years, an article of faith in this country has been that college is the
gateway to a better life. So deeply held is this belief that many students, such as Horn, borrow tens of thousands of dollars to attend prestigious public or private universities. But as the worst recession since World War II trudges into its 21st month, many graduates are discovering that the college payoff could be a long time coming — if it comes at all.

I will agree that it may be true that a college degree may not pay off. But, if you coast through college and you coast through life, then yes, you may not see a return. But facts (which can be stubborn things) show that college graduates earn more over time. Folks like me (and my brothers and parents) would argue rather convincingly that you don't need an Ivy League education to be successful. I wouldn't consider myself wealthy (I have Google ads on my blog for cryin' out loud!), but my degree from Ohio State has served me quite well throughout the years. There is a classic scene from Good Will Hunting:

See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.
But there is something to be said for a degree. To quote my brother, Greg, "The only thing a bachelor's degree proves is that you can earn a bachelor's degree." And that proves you have work ethic, can prioritize and have basic time management skills.

We need to teach our high school kids about how to figure out a return on investment. And, that if you want to get ahead in life; you have to invest - mainly in yourself and in an education. Good education doesn't have to be expensive. But you need to get it. In a great piece in the Wall Street Journal set for publication tomorrow, William McGurn show that you don't need a four-year degree, but you do need to learn a skill. How do I add value? What can I do that can't be outsourced?

I have 12 years to teach my two young ones to ask those questions and then hope they figure out how to answer them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Crack Cocaine of Primetime Television

In case you haven't heard (which I am sure you haven't), the 'CW' network is resuscitating the long-dead TV show, Melrose Place. Yes, that's right ... Melrose Place. To warn you, there is nothing redeeming about this show. Or, at least there wasn't 15 years ago. There were mysterious brain tumors, torrid love triangles, haunting addictions ... you know, the typical stuff you would find packed into one not-so-quiet apartment complex at 4616 Melrose Place. It had some innate qualities like Heather Locklear, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Marcia Cross (of Desperate Housewives fame).

The original ran from 1992-1999 and I finally kicked the habit when Fox cancelled the show and I went cold turkey. Now, with the crack cocaine of television coming back on the air, I fear that I will get the shakes if I don't at least try it. On the other hand, if I watch just one episode, I could be hooked again. I hope that doesn't happen.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Football Season is Almost Here!

One week from today, Ohio State (and many others) will suit up for the 2009-2010 College Football Season. Mason has kicked things off with a delightful picture of a football player.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Season 4

Mason is entering his fourth season of ZYSA (Zionsville Youth Soccer Association). Dad is sitting out as coach this season so I am left to the sidelines as another dad takes his shot at corralling 5-year-olds. As I watch the practice of kindergartners, it seems there is much less of the wandering (that you see with the four-year-olds). Unfortunately, that is not replaced with any real practice; just more grabassery (errrr...., horseplay).

Regardless, Mason returns to the nest tired. And, that is what is all about.