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 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 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).