Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Blogger is Back - Week 8

I think I finally hit my groove as week 7 came and went without a blog and I almost let week 8 get by me as well.  But have no fear - the blog is back and better than ever!

Visitors from the Left
Birthday Boys!
Ian's first look at the Linc!
We welcomed my brother Owen to town 2 weekends ago for his birthday.  For those that have heard of some of Owen's adventures all over the globe, he loves getting out and seeing new places.  We have done quite a few brother road trips over the years including countless day trips to Berkeley (from LA and we drive), baseball draft weekends all over the Western US, and an epic trip to Phoenix 20 years ago to see the Cal Bears play on Saturday and the Philadelphia Eagles play on Sunday.  One stadium - our two favorite teams.

Well his birthday weekend set up for some greatness.  Saturday night - New Jersey Devils hockey game against the NY Rangers (Devils swept the ice with the Rangers 4-0).  Sunday (Owen and Ian's birthday) - road trip to Philly to watch the Eagles tangle with the Cowboys for 1st place (we maximized our fun despite watching a horrific Eagles performance where they didn't score a touchdown and lost 17-3).  Monday Night Football - great seats to watch one of the worst MNF games in recent memory where the Giants might have won on a mercy rule as viewers.  Three stadiums, three days, great memories!

Return to Carlo's
For those that love the show Cake Boss, they might know Marissa, who works at the store in Ridgewood.  We took Owen there and with a little help from his friends (Beth), we got to meet her and had her sign shirts for my nieces Liadan and Mirren.
 I heard they were excited to get Eagles gear, but more excited to get an autograph!

Birthday Boys
We have a tradition in our house that on the morning of the kid's birthdays, I make pancakes in the shape of their age.  This year Ian turned 10 and for bonus points my brother turned 47 - so I rolled out some serious stacks of pancakes in the morning before we rolled off to the football game.

Pumpkin Patch
What is fall without a pumpkin patch.  While the boys were out at the Eagles game, Rachel and Beth took advantage of the local farm and visited their pumpkin patch.

 Rachel is not having too much fun in these pictures, is she?

Deer in the Headlights
We have spotted several families of deer while we have been here, but each time Rachel has missed it and was having a little FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Well last week she finally caught a good look at some deer on the side of the road on her way to school.  Beth stopped the car, pulled over and took a shot of them with some fall trees as a background.

Ian's Birthday
Last Saturday night Ian got to celebrate his birthday with 10 of his new friends from school, soccer and Hebrew School.  The highlights were watching them play football, basketball and soccer in the yard and screening of Rookie of the Year.  Somewhere in the middle of all of that they helped Ian celebrate with an Eagles ice cream cake.  It took a little convincing but we got the Giants fans to eat a slice, but then the real Giants ate the Eagles the next day in the game.  The kids stayed until nearly 11pm and had a great time - felt like the type of party I had when I was his age - a bunch of kids, a ball and an open space....go!!

Traveling Man
I have been on the road something fierce the past few weeks as I attempt to get in front of all of my new clients and agency partners.  This has taken me to SF twice, LA (yes, I stopped back through this week), St. Louis and Indy (Jacob - I will get you next time I am in town).  The highlight so far was probably driving from St. Louis to Indy.  Everyone told me to fly, but I love seeing our country and while that part is particularly flat, it is the Heartland!  I had visions of looking up Hickory and seeing if I could find Jimmy Chipwood.  Here is a good shot of the Arch on my way out of town.

It Comes in Threes
I am writing this to if nothing else stop Beth's run of luck lately and hope this turns a page.  It started with her car stalling earlier this month on the way home from school and on the same day I was on my way to the airport to go to SF.  Then our heater stopped working just as temperatures at night started dipping into the 30's.  In the process of getting that fixed, something else started leaking and our laundry room was not flooded but pretty soupy.  In order to clean it up Beth (the best tenant ever!) decided to pull up the carpet to get it to dry and did a number on her hands.  Then Tuesday the fridge in our garage almost fell on her leaving a nice bruise on her shoulder.  May that be the last of it for now!

Sign of the Week
I saw this sign on my walk home tonight - made me laugh!

Tomorrow is the start of Movember - yes, you read that right.  For those that are not in the know, men all over America will be growing out their mustaches this month to help raise awareness and money for Prostate Cancer.
I think Eli Manning is getting a running start.  In any case, I joined a team at Google and will be rocking a mustache this month so don't be scared if you see me.  My team is raising money and any donations, no matter how small are welcome. You can go here to contribute:

Have a great weekend everyone and happy Trick or Treat-ing!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soccer, Jersey Shore and Carlo's Bakery - Week 6

Another busy week and weekend back here in Jersey.  It is safe to say we are doing our best to take full advantage of our time out here - especially while the weather is as warm as it has been.  I have been told by many of the natives that this is one of the best Fall seasons they can remember in terms of weather and of course I am taking full credit!!  Why not - California has to get credit for doing some good in the world since the Gold Rush was 165 years ago, right?!!

Soccer Updates - Jersey Shore & Woodcliff Lake
Ian had his first big soccer tourney with Arsenal this past weekend in Wall Township, which is located by the Jersey Shore (close to Asbury Park and home of the Boss!!).  His team is really making strides as they start to embrace passing the ball.  They went 2-1-1 which was a great result.

The boys had a chance to do some bonding on the Jersey Shore on Saturday.  Beth and Ian explored the Boardwalk, played some games, went on some rides and I am sure there might have been a funnel cake or taffy in there somewhere.  I had the chance to watch Ian on Sunday and got this great action shot (see above).

Rachel team, America, is having a blast and building some great skill along the way.  You can literally see her giggling as she dribbles the ball in one of these pictures.

Ridgewood - Carlo's Bakery
Rachel and I went on a Daddy-daughter date on Saturday and ended up Ridgewood at Creatively Yours.  Not a surprise given Rachel's love of art.  We were looking for Color Me Mine and I figured they had just bought out the franchise and only realized after we left that the real Color Me Mine was 6 doors down.  All good.  Rachel made a special surprise for Ian's birthday which is next weekend.

Since we were in the neighborhood we walked around and I had heard Carlo, from Cake Boss had opened a store in Ridgewood.  We went exploring and found it.  They don't make eggless cakes, so Ian is out of luck for his birthday, but they do make great cupcakes and sprinkle cookies, so Rachel and I figured we would find out what the hullabaloo is all about.  It did nothing to break my allegiance to Bea's Bakery, but some of the cakes on display were impressive.  Rachel wants to have her next birthday there to do a cake decorating party.

The Google
I was back in California last week at the headquarters in Mountain View for a meeting with one of my client.  Pretty cool to be at Google and have a badge that gets access and the ability to talk around.  I was told I could include a picture of this slide since it is in a public lobby - pretty darn cool, but did not take it for a spin.

Yesterday, since it was Columbus Day, Beth and the kids visited me at work in NYC.  By far the scooters and the slides were their favorites.  Of course they did not mind all the food at their fingertips. From there I went back to work and they explored the city including a stop at Dylan's Candy Bar, bumping into a Columbus Day Parade and going to Central Park.  We ate dinner inside Chelsea Market, which was a real treat for me as I have no reason to explore the food there too much with all of my free cuisine.  Grilled cheese and tomato soup - amazing!!

Food Corner
The most unusual thing I had in the last week was the Pumpkin Srirachi Sauce Fro-Yo. Sweet on entry and burning on the back end (not literally :-)).  Amazing combination of sweet and hot that I would never have put together.  Move over Menchies!  For those that saw The Internship, the food at Google in Mountain View is beyond crazy.  I discovered Slice this time around which is a smoothie bar that is open all day.  I had one that was a combination of almond milk, bananas and cocoa.  Pretty amazing! Finally, I have to highlight my find of the week.  I went to breakfast and right there sitting between the egg whites and the turkey bacon was a potato knish.  Pure heaven and one of my all-time favorite foods.  Yes, a paragraph about food and I have not even scratched the surface.

Be Like Him
For those of us that are the youngest in our families, we get swept up doing what our older siblings do with us or to us sometimes.  I can remember a picture much like this one from when I was a kid and my brothers dressed me up in a full football uniform.  This time it was Rachel's turn to pretend being DeSean Jackson courtesy of her brother's locker room located in our ManCave.  They really have a blast playing together!

Beauty in the City
I spotted these mums on my way to work last week and it made me stop in my track.  I guess I am not the typical New Yorker yet as I stopped and took a picture.  Yes, several people then stopped and looked at what I was doing as I am sure I looked a bit out of place.

We are preparing for another visitor from the Left Coast next weekend.  My brother Owen is coming out here for a long awaited trip to a Philadelphia Eagles Football game in Philadelphia.  For those that know us, this has been a long time in coming as we have been to games in LA, Arizona, San Francisco, San Diego and New York, but never in Philly.  Not only will we be at the Eagles-Cowboys game for 1st place in the NFC lEast, but also we will be celebrating Owen and Ian's birthdays the same day.  If we get to Pat or Geno's and Eagles win it will be a top 10 day!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Start of Fall - Week 5

Ahh...the change of seasons.  Everyone talks about it and if nothing else, the weather back here is much more varied than in the West.  The leaves are starting to turn and what a show this is to watch.  Some of these trees appear to be turning overnight.  Then today we were met by a Tornado Warning and is poured cats and dogs.  I have to imagine we have quite a few more leaves in our backyard tonight than last night.

We had a great visit with my mom and it was amazing to have her out here.  For those that know her, she loves playing cards and so there were quite a few games of Go Fish and Old Maid with Rachel and Steal the Old Man's Bundle with Ian.  We tried our best to be good hosts, although we are so new to the area that we were all learning about the surrounding towns in real time.  Even though the weather was pretty gray yesterday, we ventured out to the town of Glen Rock where we saw there was an Autumn Festival.  One thing I really like back here is that downtown streets are collections of local vendors.  The festival was not much to write home about but there were a few stores we might go back and check out.

Here are a few pictures we took with my mom (Bubbe) and her grandkids before she left town.  Great memories we will cherish!

My mom left today and we hope to have her back before the end of the year.  Next up is Uncle O, my brother for those that don't know him well (aka Owen, Spud, Sol, O-man, and the list goes on).  He will be out here for his birthday later this month and we are honored he would share his special day with us.  It is the same day as Ian's birthday so we are all going to see the Philadelphia Eagles play the Dallas Cowboys at The Linc - for me and Owen, this is a pilgrimage we have talked about doing for years.  As long suffering Eagles fans, we have never seen them play a home game, so we will be able to let our our inner fandom!  Let's just hope there is a game to watch as the Eagles are not exactly a juggernaut (but thankfully either are the Cowboys).

Fun and Fitness

Dorchester Elementary had a fund raiser this past week to increase awareness for fitness and taking care of your body as well as raise a little money in the process.

For those who go to Lanai, think Laps for Lanai, but not quite as much running.  My kids got very into it as Laps for Lanai veterans and had a great time.  The day was punctuated by our principal, Mr. Fiero, doing a little Gangnam Style dance - he is truly one of a kind and I see why all the kids love his energy and enthusiasm.

Another great week of soccer for Rachel.  I am getting a chance to coach which is awesome, but I do miss the Sweet Peas.
The program here is great as they spend an hour teaching skills using a variety of games and drills.  Then we break into 2 games of 6 vs. 6.  Rachel is doing great and really developing a good sense of aggressiveness when it comes to getting her nose in the action.  Her team is America - how do we look in yellow?

Both kids are taking advantage of going into our backyard.  They both said that is one thing they always wished they had in Encino, as well as stairs.

I am totally down with the former, but the latter is interesting to say the least as I find myself going up and down about 20 times a day on weekends.  Beth got in the action last week and amazingly Ian caught this shot of them when he took a video of them and snapped a frame.  It looks like Beth is a little into it...wouldn't you say??

This is not in honor of Jim Furky's caddy (but not sure why they haven't tried to sign him up yet).  This one is for my friend Georgene - I saw it at the market this weekend and needed to snap a picture.  I think there is a fluffernutter (will have to sub in something for the nutter for Ian) in our future.  I am thinking s'mores and I am sure we will find a few good recipes.

Man Cave
While we have not had a chance to
hangour mezuzahs quite yet, we did bless the Man Cave this weekend with the help of a great sign my mom and Beth picked out for us at the aforementioned Autumn Festival.

There was even a nail already in the brick for it - destiny!  Ian and I love watching our football games and other sports down there in our home away from home.  Check out the bobblehead collection - some old ones from my childhood and some new ones including Vin Scully sitting front and center getting ready to announce Dodger Baseball.  Hard to believe the game tonight (Game 4) starts here at 9:37pm, are they trying to make sure every kid never watches even a pitch of the postseason?

Triboro Bridge
One of the strangest parts of moving here is that while I work in Manhattan, I really don't get out much into the city beyond 15th and 9th.  I walk through Greenwich Village every morning on my way into work and love the are around me, but since I am getting fed a fantastic breakfast and lunch every day, I have no reason to leave the area.
A glimmer of the Empire State Building in the distance

Last Thursday my team had a great team event where we all took part in cooking our dinner and had a great 5 course meal.  We were hosted by my boss who has an amazing apartment on the Upper East Side.  The weather was spectacular so we got a great view of the city. The food and the company were even better.  I am lucky to be working with such a great group of people and that has really helped my transition back here.

That is all for this week.  I am once again on the road headed out to the headquarters in Mountain View for a client summit.