My status

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Wishing everyone out there a wonderful Christmas.
We are all so truly, truly blessed.

Cheers & Best wishes,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hobby #7 - Flying

Now back to my hobbies. I started flying back in 2003 and logged about 25 hours that year. However, I had a setback that cost me some time which was a kidney stone that forced me to not get my FAA Airman's Medical certificate. (no solo flying training) I ended up having to wait to get doctor's sign-off over a year later to continue my flight training. I logged only a few hours in 2004 due my hectic work schedule, but I was determined to continue towards my goal. After my divorce, I pressed myself strongly towards finding things that we not negative, but based on things that would clear my mind and allow me a chance to really enjoy life. In 2005, I logged the remainder of my hours and quietly got my Checkride completed. It was a quiet time in my life when I had little other going on but work and just living...getting to know myself again, so it was a good time to practice on something fun.

I went through 6 instructors during that time, 3 flight schools & 6 different airplanes. I started in a 1960 Cessna 150 which was about like flying in a cockpit the size of a 20 gallon fish tank. At 6'3", 210 it made for some rather interesting days in the saddle --- When calculating the basic weight & balance loads, it was extremely tricky with such a small plane! I only flew 2 flights in this plane and while the 150 was economic for rentals, it was just too small. I then moved up to the Cessna 172 which has the dubious honor of being quite simply the most produced aircraft ever invented in the history of the world. I enjoyed the extra power, payload and roominess of this aircraft. Even with the multitudes of units out there and still running strong, Cessna planes are a unique breed of aircraft, an iconic tribute to preliminary aviation training.

Piper Warrior - Flight Training Aircraft

After getting used to the Cessna aircraft, I moved on to a few different Piper models, including my old standby --- 1978 PA-28-161 (Piper Warrior III) --- which I relied on for the majority of my later training and experience. Going through instructors was an interesting experience. The variety and range of experiences are truly overwhelming. Each instructors has his or her own style, method of teaching, method of instruction, method of correction and method of living. Ranging from obsessive, psychotic, argumentative, or arrogant to approachable, humble and even introverted...the entire gambit of flight training can be found...if you look hard far enough and go through enough instructors!

The cost of flying makes it a rich man's sport, no doubt. To this day, I cannot even fathom nor justify the expense of even the cheapest and oldest Cessna plane out there. They are expensive to own, insure, maintain & fly....simple as that. I love flying, so I keep my skills alive and well by practicing on Flight Simulator X with a full gambit of accurate flight instruments, controls and gear. The flight models are extremely accurate, responsive & much cheaper than doing it the real world. :)
* (I do have to take a BFR - biannual flight review in 2009 to stay current)

Nearly all of my FT was done at KHDC - Hammond

Perhaps one day, I will get back to flying & even get my own small plane. For now, I am content to know that I have known that I reached a very important and fun goal in my life. A goal that I haven't share with too many people in or outside of my family simply because it was just a personal goal...

But heck it is one of my hobbies...and so it is here on my personal blog! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music leads us....

Ran across the fact that my .MP3 files were missing, so I went off to retrieve them and starting searching for my old favorites. I have always been amazed at the incredible ability to match songs, their powerful lyrics and various phases and times in your life. For example, there is one song that I vividly remember after my divorce that always seemed to play when I was on my road to my apartment in Ponchatoula. It was Ryan Cabrera's "On the Way Down" --- the lyrics almost mirrored my internal struggles at that desperate time in my life. I was hanging on to someone to try to ease the fall, the collapse and that person simply didn't possess the strength nor maturity to know how to help. As the lyrics rang forth, "Sick tired of this world....there is no more air....going direction....I took a dive in. ---- On the way down you saved me from myself....I almost fell right through but I held onto you."

On the way down
I saw you
And you saved me
From myself
And I won't forget
The way you loved me
On the way down
I almost fell right through
But I held onto you

Sometimes you look outside of yourself for the strength you need, when you truly need to look inside. Finding the truth, finding the real meaning of living and loving is much more than just finding someone to ease the pain, to distract you...finding something to make this all worthwhile. It is being that strength, more than just a safety net from going "all the way down" - It is growing, maturing and not losing sight of who you are ---

Another lyric: "I won't forget the way you loved me..."
This is a special message to those who during that difficult time were there for me in whatever way...who struggled to know me, and love me in spite of my downward spiral. In spite of myself, I grew stronger and better. :)


Thank You.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am dreaming......of a SNOWY THURSDAY!

Woke up this morning to quite a surprise...a surprise that is slowing melting away, but a very uncommon sight to most people in Louisiana.


Here are a few pics of the rare event. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!! :)
(All shots taken with D2Xs)

Katey in the snow!

Found a Meerkat hiding in the snow! hehe

Sonoma in the Snow

Backyard - Snow Pic 12/11/08

Global warming, my igloo.... :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Refusal to be Happy?

I carry an insatiable desire to simply not be happy. Every time a situation, or a relationship grows close, I push it away to find quiet solace and isolation. It is a trait that I have worked hard to correct over the years, but I just don't know if I will ever find a way to overcome it. I have hurt a multitude of people by simply not being the person I simply am, by allowing myself to sabotage situations and not allowing myself to be loved. I need to learn to be thankful in every situation, not just work, not just during certain events but the majority of the time. I have so much to be thankful for, so much to offer to the world, so much to reflect upon that has gone right...I just need to find that balance, discover what is missing.

All those who wander are not lost...


Give Thanks.

My son Nick was in town. (Traded out the kids --- Katey went back to NC for the week)
It was a great time. My son is getting big, he is 6 now! We had fun "finding treasure" (we went out geocaching several times) --- he is a great kid and reads extremely well, now if he would just learn to tie his shoes... "Monkey Booyeah! my little Nicholas!"

Some recent pics to share:

Nick (6) and Sonoma - 11/08

Katey doing her Math outside!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Need a vacation....

We need a vacation. Time to relax, time to chill, time to just unwind.
It has been a while since I didn't have to think about problems, projects and plans for work --- even when I was recently out for another surgery, I still kept up with my crackberry and my email almost instantly. It is a hard habit to break, if it can even be done.

Dedication is a tough cross to bear, especially when I am not getting any younger.
Maybe a trip to Sonoma/Napa is still in the works this year especially with some of our projects getting pushed till December now. If not, at least a long weekend trip to see the leaves change would be nice.

One can only hope and plan..... :)

YODA speaks:
"Do or do not...there is no try......."
Hear Yoda speak!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hobby #8 - Handy Andy (Amateur DIY Work)

Columbus Day Project.

Hobby #8 - Amateur DIY'er.

I don't proclaim to be the next "Ty", but I do enjoy working on handy construction projects. This is a project that I started on my 1/2 day off yesterday and finished today. (with the exception of grouting, sealing and polishing the slate) --- It was a good project overall and I bought my own wetsaw out of the deal with a 1/2 price on a Ridgid unit from HomeDepot. Multicolor slate is a difficult material to work with since it is a natural and non-uniform stone (pieces range from 1/4" to 1/2" in width between the same box, much less the whole pallet. Add a few copper accent tiles and a mosiac border and 4" slate tiles around the 2 sides. Not a bad job overall, not truly perfect...but it is just a hobby ---

I enjoy DIY work...enjoy learning and doing.



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Here is some additional pics of my DIY work done after Katrina:

Slate and Wood Floors:

My good friend - Choppy!

New Cabinet Installation and floors:

Enjoy DIY work, enjoy learning and doing.

Daughter makes me proud. :)

I am very proud of my daughter, Katey as she just moved down here to live with me in August, went to a totally new school with 4 Honors classes and managed to get all A's
on her first 9 weeks report.

It is something that she is definitely "capable of", but most children do not apply themselves, study as hard, nor take such pride in their work as she does. It is that
effort, that extra bit of attention, that additional time spent away from distractions that makes the difference today and will make the difference for her for the remainder of her life.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hobby #9 - Geocaching


Picture of my daughter Katey and her first Geocache in Mandeville, LA.


Geocaching: Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. Today, well over 800,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the pastime. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

So, after that but of formality...I enjoy geocaching. I am not an avid hunter, but I do enjoy to go out and seek the GPS treasure about once a month, mostly with my daughter, Katey. (See photo above) - It is a great hobby to keep yourself in good shape (especially if you complete the hunts on major trails/walks/etc) --- you can easily walk for several miles a day easily. That combined with a dog, and a backpack is generally enough for anyone. (not to mention my photog equipment) --- :) Plus you can find a ton of really cool treasure (geocoins) which are trackable and several of the ones I have found have logged well over 50,000 miles around the world and back!

Might go out caching today.... WATCH OUT FOR THE MUGGLES!!!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gustav is Gu...Gone.

So, here I sit at our Ops Command Center in Houston as lead on the Network Infrastructure & Operations. The systems all performed flawlessly
and it was literally just another day. The contrast between the bank's infrastructure during this disaster and during Katrina was literally akin to the difference between the two aforementioned storms themselves. I guess it pays to design, build and implement a world-class network if you want quality results. :)
So many people contributed to the collective vision, and it is really nice to observe
its realization when it is truly needed.

So, Gustav is gone...hopefully I will be doing the same...shortly.
I have no damage at home for now, but I heard that there are a multitude of tornados inflicting major damage right now in Mandeville, LA I am not clear yet.

Heading home...mending my life and getting back to some bit of normalcy.
Just another chalk up to my path & life experience...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Story

I had to evacuate for yet another major hurricane. This time for Hurricane Gustav.
Right now it is looking like it will slow down and be a little milder than expected originally. I had to evacuate due to deployment orders with my work to Houston. We have been working in our Disaster Recovery Ops Center non-stop since Saturday. 45 mins of sleep in last 2 days and counting. Going to let the team grab a few hours, then head back out from tonight until the storm passes tomorrow. How will the house hold up, who will flood, who will not? Another rebuild or just a really rough shower?

We shall see. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hobby #10 : Pyrotechnician


I thought I would make a list of my 10 favorite hobbies. :)
Starting in no particular order and counting down.

Hobby #10: Fireworks
This is a picture of me (in black t-shirt - click on image for bigger picture) loading aerial shells for a big fireworks show. I was working as lead on the Pyrotechnico Fireworks Crew for a recent casino fireworks show in MS. The power and magic of a fireworks show is simply amazing but pales in comparison to the work it takes to prepare a barge for a show. We are talking 18 hours of hot, grueling work for a 12 minute show. Not the best trade-off, but loads of power packed fun! :)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Working away packetville

It has been quite some time since I posted anything about work. This week has been crazy with getting things prepared for some upcoming major projects. Designing large networks, preparing configurations, drafting up major hardware orders and putting the schedules is all part of the job. It is definitely not all technical anymore, but certainly a measure of managing resources, engineers and assets that combine to keep our infrastructure working properly. I stayed late tonight rebuilding some older Cisco routers, updating them and testing them on the network. I always find a special joy when I can pull something old that hasn't functioned in years (in this case, it was about 5 years) and put it to use. For some reason firing up those old machines, putting blood (electrons) back into those unused veins (circuit paths) makes me smile. I plan on putting one of these units back into use if nothing else, for some routine, but fun task. :)

Can I route the peanut butter over to the toast? Yummy

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Staying up with yourself...

Last night, I sat awake pondering about the current state of my life in general, strangely not looking in the unforgiving past, nor worried at all about the future that the morning sunrise would most certainly bring...just thinking about then - the absolute present. Oddly enough, I felt a sense of calm --- a sense of fleeting peace.
I have never said this, but I never had a strong belief in my soul that I would live until old age, even though my ancestry's genetics might disagree. :) I am not sure if this is divine knowledge, pessimism or just foolishness, but I always had a strange belief that I would die at at earlier age than most. Morbid negativity or something more, governor?

In any case, the time was good to reflect and figure out what in the heck I was doing and where I need to pilot this wayward ship. What would I do if I didn't have to work? I would travel around the world taking pictures and taking in all of the adventure that I possible could in one lifetime. Does this mean I should quit and follow my passion? Isn't that what everyone always says about following your dreams and doing what you would do if you didn't need the money?

Perhaps I think too much....perhaps I just need to be content.
Ironically today as I drove the laborous drive in across the longest bridge in the world (Causeway) --- I saw a small sticker on a Mazda that read, "Live in the Present" ---

Funny, huh?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Changes...Daughter moves back home.

Well, my 12 year old daughter (Katey) decided to move back home here recently, and it has been an adventure. In my heart, I felt it was a good thing for her and would provide us a chance to reconnect, bind and provide her a new start. I got her registered for school last week and she got into Honors (4 Honors courses) - I am proud of her capabilities and adaptability. She is an amazing child, and I think she will really florish in this environment. The biggest battle is deciding if she is going to bring her lunch or not, not much else. I will now have to jump back into parenting mode full-time and that will be interesting to adjust to ---

Outside of that and the overall expenses of late, life is good.
I need to get all of my pics formatted for my website and a few other things, but
the Saints are starting up soon and I am still alive and kickin' --- so things could be worse!

Will try to update more frequently than once every 2 months.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


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Monday, May 26, 2008

Good Goose Morning!


Canadian Goose - taken w/Nikkor 500mm f/4 on D2X

What a nice memorial day welcoming. Was visted by 6 beautiful Canadian Geese this morning in the pond.
They were not afraid and didn't move as I brought out the "big guns" to snap out some pictures.
Took about 20 shots in all before remembering that I had the D2x metered down and also the mode set to A-Priority
with out concern for the aperture... :P --- Wonderful, huh?

In any case love the lens and the cam setup. It is fast, sharp and what a way to welcome in the day!

Good Kooky Loo Goosy Goo morning to you!

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend --- Fun.....

Well, I got the mahogany redwood floors done including the new threshold that I had to strip, sand and restain (multiple times --- don't do I know how much urethane glue can adhere to everything when you don't want it to?) ---- :P

Got some new plants put in and life is good. Now, I have rejoined a gym for the first time since leaving Hammond, and I felt good today. Had a good 45 minute workout, felt strong especially considering the time apart from the gym, but I stay busy and active in general. I know it will be good for me, good for my health --- good for my mind. I cannot her from my mind even after all this time and I don't understand why. I just know we never got a real chance, and I let you down as a friend, but it is just in my mind --- she has long been gone away from these parts. Best to you, "M" --- wherever this message finds you.

Smiles, I am off to the beach tomorrow --- drop-top day I hope. Gonna try to catch the sunrise at the lakefront with my dog. Good intentions...alot of my past was built on those, not the best thing --- but I should actually make it.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Photos ----

Just a few random shots of photos I took recently. Click on photo for larger image.


My first moonshoot taken last night (5/18/08) with 500mm Nikkor f/4 with 2xTC on D2X (Wimberly Sidekick)


Sonoma - 6 month old Border Collie. (D2x on 120-300 f/2.8 Sigma)


My daughter diving in the retention pond. (Fuji S2 with 18-70 Nikon)


Wild Louisiana Iris growing National Refuge - D2X on 10-20mm Sigma

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Carpe Momento


I recently saw one of those faux antique signs in a small Venician-wanna be strip mall coffeehouse in Mandeville painted "Carpe Diem" --- I thought to myself that is a overused cliche' with little to no meaning these days. Seize the day? I am lucky if I get home in enough time to seize an minute. That is a fine message for utopians and those with unlimited time and zero responsibilities. In the average day, most people are so consumed with what they have to do to survive, to work, to live, to handle their kids, to just get things done...seize it? You are lucky if you can survive it --- most days.

So, I thought...seize the moment would be more appropriate. Moments are what classify and define the borders between the areas of active thought and presence and simply existing. The chances to reach out, to say the right thing, to trust in your heart, to apologize, to really empathize, to express yourself...those are moments, those are opportunities...capture the essence of that, the essence of who you truly are inside.


It has been nearly 2 months since my last post. Sicne then I have had my kids visit and I had surgery last week 4/22/08 which has not been fun at all, but it is all part of living and making each moment count. Now, I am a little more focused, a little less jaded and just a little calmer all around. Life is strange, unforgiving at times, mysterious at times...but in all, just a ride that you have to truly live to appreciate. Watching my parents get older and more feeble is depressing at times, but understandably part of the circle of life...the circle of moments.

I miss the moments that I see in my past at times, not fully understanding why.
It seems that I am still not able to move completely forward, to let go of those
who once stood there --- those moments just keep replaying in my mind. Perhaps it is just a cruel reality of life that we cannot choose our moments nor control which moments decide to stay in our hearts and minds --- which moments attempt to remind us of where we have been and how it felt to live.

Here's to better moments...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Visit with the Kids


Fields of wild Iris plants fill the trailside of Big Branch WMA near Lacombe, LA...
It was a great day for a morning stroll with my kids through the wonderous beauty of the marsh in Louisiana...
The walk on Tuesday 4/8/08 was a delightful time to spend with them and time goes by so quickly...

I love them dearly.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Orlando or bust?

Spent last week in Orlando at a VoiceCon 2008 conference. It wasn't nearly as much fun as I would have imagined it might have been. Bored, tired technical seminars and just a plain-jabe exhibit hall. The food of course by Naw'lins standards was just about par with takeout, nothing exciting --- I did get most of my tasks completed and contacts were established with all critical industry players at the event, but all of that could have been facilitate in 1 day, not 5. All in all, I still find myself tired from the whole shebang as well as the piles of tasks I had waiting for me to analyze and sort out when I returned to my faithful grindwheel.

Oh grand grindwheel show me how you turn...grind my will down to dust and then leave me here to burn...abandon me, but make me remember why I came...for Andy is merely a good distraction at best on this big orbiting plain...dust to dust, distraction is my only saving grace is my ability to adapt, like steel to rust...I only watch myself change...let each of us take their swing at the plate, for Andy is always good for another meaningless date....another time, another place --- how far will I go, then realize it might be too late to turn the clock back, to redeem myself, to rebuild who I am? When do I reach that line in the sand?

Or have I already used all of the sand in my hourglass....grinding away on the stone?

Smile....just grind and smile....and grind and bear it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Relax on the Road...

I tell you what...waking up at 5AM and leaving at 5:45AM has not been difficult so far due to the move to Mandeville, but it has definitely been a change. The ride has made things substantially calmer, and I find myself relaxing to a larger extent and actually having more energy since the move. Is it the long drive across the causeway (24+ miles) that calms me down and allows me time to unwind after the stress of work, or just life in general...time will only tell.

For now, it is a wonderful distraction...kinda of my speciality. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fatherly Message

I think back through my life and find myself at times searching for some deeper understanding of my father. A man born into poverty in Richton, MS in a church parsonage. The boy who had to endure the trials of military academy and a orphanage as well as 13 grade schools, while at the same time realizing the lost of his own father --- by choice, he simply left his own family. What is a son without a father, without a proper role model for being a man? Why did the grandfather I never knew have to leave and give up on his own family, his future generations, give up on my own father?

While there are many ways to convict my father for the transgressions of fear, violence and abuse that permeated from his hands, I step back to wonder had his life been different, would his actions have changed likewise? Would he have been a more understanding, patient and emotional person? I juat cannot get past the understanding of his actions, nor how as a father myself to how one would injure those responsilbe only to protect and encourage. My father in spite of his negativity, sacrificed himself completely for the benefit of his children, sometimes at own expense in terms of fear and sanity, but at the end of the day --- he chose to provide his children a better life. A better life than a poor Mississippi country town, a better life than poor white trash, a better life than he ever had. The things I will always remember about my father are his work ethic, his intelligence, and mostly his convictions: "promise to always keep your word", because at the end of the day, that is sometimes all you have left to give. Sandwiched within that is the ever-present fear, violence, torture and humiliation that we all endured so regularly. I just don't know how to balance the positive with the overwhelming oppresion.

I will also remember the influence that poetry had upon this man, and the contrast between his actions as a father at times and the purity and vision captured in his poetic recitals. I will always remember the words of "If" by Kipling, the verses than rang forth from poems such as "Columbus" by J. Miller.....recalling as a child the conviction and emotion of the first lines ringing through my head, only trying to imagine the vision of the land he spoke of.... "Behind him lay the gray azores, behind him lay the gates of Hercules, Before him not the ghost of shores, before him only shoreless seas......" ---- and of course the favorites such as "Invictus" by William Henley which spoke powerfully, "I am the master of my fate...I am the captain of my soul...."

I can only hope that as a man today I can say that I have forgiven my father, but I just cannot completely understand it all. I do respect him for the good he brought, the lessons that were so painfully learned as a child, but mean so much to me as a man. My father failed, failed by inflicting us all with a tremendous amount of unnecessary harm, violence and fear. I have failed myself and grew more critical of myself due to the extreme criticism I was place under during my life. But, alas...thick skin is a good thing and it has helped me grow and be strong. I have certainly fallen short of my abilities, perhaps even my own dreams, but I have tried, tried so hard to make myself proud, to make myself feel that I have achieved something worthy...worthy of my own acceptance of myself...worthy that my children will know me to be a good father in spite of my guilt and failures of making them grow up in a broken, seperated home.

Sometimes karma has a way of making it around full-circle and you do reap what you sow.

Life has a way of reminding you all of the time how you have hurt others, how your actions have affected those who chose to be part of your life...perhaps I never truly understood how to love anyone completely, perhaps I have never truly accepted my own shortcomings, and I don't want to hurt or let anyone else down again. I will always carry the scars of the past, both received and inflicted and that is what keeps me human, keeps my reaching for something better as a man and as a father myself. I carry the weight of my guilt for those who I have hurt and that is what keeps me more private, more reserved than most. I just hope that I can keep growing and maturing into someone better than I am today. To see the need in the world, and not just the selfishness of my own walk, to see others completely and not be lost in them, but to never lose myself...again.

To be just Andy....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Looking Back?

I have often wondered that if you spend time thinking about the past, is it time wasted? Is it really that bad for you as long as it doesn't force you to stop moving forward in the present? Why has it always received such a strong negative outpouring of criticism and shun? Is it really akin to "he who must not be named????"

I think about my missteps, my failures and my choices much more than I care to say I think of what some might consider my more positive moments. I think I can still learn more from what I classify as my shortcomings and my failures. Not in the traditional sense of a failing grade or a failure in business, but just not handling someone's feelings with proper amount of care, or perhaps not being entirely present during a relationship, perhaps even being too honest and too concerned with myself and my walk to recognize the affect, my lack of presence had upon others...

I am constantly trying to correct my spiritual walk, my intentions and my thoughts.
I believe that it is entirely true that your thoughts help determine your path in life and at least the way you respond to the events you face. It is not up to me to figure out why some people find it easier to write people off, or banish them completely when they are part of their past. It is just one life we have to walk, collect memories of our moments, choose those we want to share these moments with, (no matter how briefly) and move onward towards our ultimate demise.

I don't fear the past, nor the demons that remind me of the steps I made both upon the road to good intentions and the road of truth. I have witnessed some incredibly moving moments, and I push myself to live life and only fear the monotony of the days that dare to remove every last bit of excitement out of my life. I look forward to new experiences, new moments, but I will never lose sight of the power of the occassional backwards glance...if only for a moment, I recall those who were once there but have gone, but will always remain in my mind and my heart.

If only for a moment, I recall the split-second trigger pulls that catapulted my life into so many new dimensions and new levels of guilt and pain. I recall the moments of horror that taught me how to appreciate the simplicity of being at peace with yourself and be more empathetic to others. I recall those who I thought I must have loved, as much I could understand that elusive spirit during those moments, but the experiences I will carry with me forever. I will cherish all of those who called me a friend and who took the incredible patience and time to truly know me, truly see through the layers, see through the pain and guilt, see the man who saw the world as a child, and knew that no matter was so glorious, it was so perfect. Life is such a treasure.

So, I say the past is no more dangerous than looking down the mountainside from which you just is a perspective, it is a way of knowing how far you have arisen, how much you have endured, and how much time you have spent on this earth...maybe even show you how fun all of this truly can be.

Laugh, Smile and Be yourself....but forget not where you have come from, nor who
you have become.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Moving further away from sanity?

Well, got the majority of the moving done this past weekend and got an offer on the home in Metairie already. The moving company, Atmosphere Movers were excellent and highly recommended. Unpacking boxes and trying to maintain sanity are the two major issues of the day. I measured the distance of 40.1 miles from door to door from the new home in Mandeville. Leaving at 0545CST, I got to work right at 6:35. (50 mins) This versus the 6 miles or what would take about 12-15 minutes from Metairie at the same departure time. Trade-offs...quality of life? Additional expense? yet TBD at this point, but at least the weekends should be more enjoyable! :)

Blah...Gotta get more energy and more sleep.
Pics to follow soon! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Growing up.......

Yesterday was my birthday and I don't feel much older than I did let's say last Monday (grin), but I guess my life is moving me closer to my final walk down the seashore...waiting patiently for Charon to guide me across the river Archeron. :P
(What a grand event to behold!)

I do have slightly more aches and pains than I did even a few months ago, but that is probably just due to my inactivity and lack of time in the gym. I am going to join either Anytime or Snap (both 24/7 gyms in Mandeville) and use them in the evenings or mornings....shooting for a solid 3 days...heck all I need is a good eliptical machine, a smith machine and a nice selection of free weights and I am set!
I have never been comfortable in a large gym setting...prefering the focus and intensity that I get from quiet, private training. Many of the gyms have become so "active" that it is a more of a outing or a adult club than a workout facility. After-hour events, beer/wine, concerts, speed dating and cooking classes....what is all of this? Are we here to pickup people or weights?


In any case, feeling a little blah this week. Closing on the house next Monday (2/25)
and feel good about it...not about the $$$$ of moving and furnishing a larger home, but it comes with the plans I guess..... :)

Oh yeah....Had a nice birthday, cake with candles, shrimp pesto pasta...yummy.
All prepared for me for a nice change of pace. The cards from my children in the was an amazing day. Simple, yet meaningful.

This week --- almost done. Life is good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My kids...

After my divorce, my children moved to Charlotte, NC. It has been a few years, but we try to see each other just as often as we possibly can. It is a long way from New Orleans, but I have always tried to make it work and let them know just how amazing they truly are. Sometimes, just a memory or a glimpse of a child walking with their dad makes me get a little sad inside...and I have my moments of guilt and reflection, but I know I am a great dad. I know first hand that it is better to be from a broken home, than live in one. Now, our memories are rich, colorful and full of joy....not the struggles, sadness or pain of being in a bad marriage.

I miss them with all my heart each day. Perhaps that has always made me a more difficult person to know and love...perhaps that has made me more jaded and less trusting of my path, perhaps it has simply made me a stronger, independent soul. I know that my path is right and my children are a blessing to me, no matter where the sun sets any given day, their light always shines in my heart.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Moving & Valentine's Fun....

What's the next logical step to make after selling my home in Hammond?
Well, closing on a new home later this month, of course! It is in Mandeville and on the water and should be a lot better place for entertaining, having fun, drinking some good cheap wine (grin) and just enjoying life.

I don't quite get all of the Valentine's Day hype. Compelled by guilt, streams of ordinary men shuffle into their nearest 24hr drug store and peer impatiently over the sea of red (overpriced) cardboard icons of true love and herd out to deliver these gifts to their esteemed partners. Add a box of chocolate, a dozen roses and you have the perfect compilation of nausea --- that is still so appealing to most women. I think it all about control and guilt. (and whipped men) I think you love someone all of the time, all days of the year, not ones when you need to demonstrate your affection through careless gestures of prepackaged enthusiasm. (oh how grand!)
I am not saying that celebrating your bond of love is a bad thing, just don't require men to do out of pure compulsion...for only 1 day of the year.......

Ahhhh, the jadedness? the joy and the laughter......... :P
Wonder if a big box of chocolate would get me even further out of the dog house?
I wonder if the dog died of Theobromine poisoning b/c of all of the chocolate?
I wonder if I would feel different if I had grown the cacao plant myself?
Would it still be a gift or a legitimate homage????

Hey, how about a walk on the levee??????
just keep smiling and turn LEFT... LOL

I miss the simplicity and magic.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Last Parade - Trading your moments.

After all day Sunday of standing on metal stands watching and waiting for one parade Krewe after another, I finally got my last fill of parades. Visiting with my family and friends was enjoyable, but the certain misery of dealing with immature adults, jockeying for front row positions, & just being outside waiting...and watching nearly a whole day of my life get traded for a handful of colorful plastic beads, just didn't make sense. Probably just getting old some would say, others might say it was getting wiser! (or more careful of what I trade the moments of my life for)

I grew up on a major parade route, so I have many memories of chasing floats and enjoying the youthful joy of being mesmerized by the large magical parade floats since I was about 2 years old. It was an amazing joy in my life that I had attempted on a few occassions to transend into my adulthood, but it just never was the same. I have ridden several times in a some major Krewes and it is an amazing experience. When riding on the floats, you are the players, and not part of the crowd, the dictate the flow and the fun and from your seat every brief sighting of happy faces on the parade route is pure bliss. You don't witness the cussing, the jealous drunken brawls, nor the pushing and the bad attitudes. You don't always observe the drunken boyfriend and his bimbo shoving a little kid out of the way so that two grown, slightly enebreated adults can grab their fair share of plastic trinkets...and maybe for a brief moment this 38 year old girl can recapture her lost days of when she was 21 and maybe didn't have to try so hard. Fights, cussing, oh what fun...all over plastic beads, remind me this is something more, right?

I too am tired of trying so hard to realize that watching parades is a fun pastime and not just waste of time, a waste of nearly a half-day of my life...but in the midst of this bath of sour lemons, I did make some kick-a$$ lemonade! I took about 500 pictures yesterday and that was fun indeed. Captive, creative chaos all on digital media...the energy, the colors, the raw unadulterated joy was there, just all slightly less tolerable than ever before. So, these memories might have to keep me for a long time to come...


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Promises & Progress

As much as I wanted to maintain my promise of updating this blog to myself on a more regular basis, nearly another month of my life has transpired since my last post. So, what in the world is going on in Andy's world?

Work on the network is in full swing now for 2008 and my department is actively managing a tremendous amount of activity, projects and deadlines. I only see this increasing as the year goes forward. Our short lived repreive in late December was just a mild tincap speedbump against this runaway data train. New technology, new designs, new projects... change is not only guaranteed, it is the norm.

One interesting project is our VoIP initiative. While we are currently obligated to use the Mitel IP platform (3300s and 5224 phones), it has still been pretty exhausting getting everything working 100%. From a remote branch perspective, all dialtone services are traversing our traditional data MPLS network. Our voice & data networks are uniquely subnetted, so lots of planning for MVAP, VLANs, QoS, and DHCP setups had to be developed. Greek to some, music to my ears....but in any case, it had to work & work well! Most of this complex & unorthodox design was not readily simple to configure. In fact, we were told by Mitel that our design may not work, but I think that negatively was largely predicated by the lack of understanding by the Mitel engineers rather than an opinion based upon experience and/or empirical data. In the end, it works and works perfectly.

So, where does all of this place Andy now? In a situation to relocate of course! Isn't that logical? :P

In the midst of the recent "buyers market" for homes, I am contemplating the purchase of a home on the Northshore. The prices are quite depressed, the interest rates are low (5.25-5.75%) --- so instant equity is assured and that means with slight overpayment of the mortgage, that 30 year note will be quickly dissolved. (Not that I plan to live there for 30 years!) - It will be a good thing, slightly more expensive, longer commute, but much nicer area in terms of QOL...

The skies actually get dark enough to still see the stars quite well at night!

Until next time,

Friday, January 4, 2008

You asked me what I want this year...

Better Days.