Piano Recital

Well, it’s that time of the year. The first of two piano recitals for Abby has come and gone. She did great! Here’s a link to the video up in a MobileMe gallery:

http://bit.ly/hyEh4e

Keep an eye out for the invite to Performathon in May. Thanks!

Flower Show 2011

Another year, another great evening at the Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme is ‘Paris’ and the Eiffel Tower replica that greeted you upon entering was neat. Abby really enjoyed the displays and Staci was able to do some research and put together ideas for the redo of our front landscaping. Good times were had by all!

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Finally got an iPad

Well, I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. I decided that I wasn’t going to get an iPad 1 while iPad 2 was on the horizon. So I waited, not so patiently, for the big announcement. Rescheduled a meeting to watch the live stream and was just as shocked as everyone else when they wouldn’t be doing any preorders. But I figured that would be alright-I’ll just pick one up on launch day. I had a decent amount of money saved up in Amex and Visa gift cards, so online ordering wasn’t in the cards since you can only use two credit cards at the max.

Lo and behold- I couldn’t get anywhere at 5 pm on launch day, since I had to work until 7:00. At 7, I trudged off to the Collegeville Best Buy and was given the bad news: ‘Sold Out’. But I could come back and preorder and be on the top of the waiting list for their next shipment. I mumbled under my breath and walked out to my car. I called 2 Apple stores, several Best Buys and Targets to find the same situation everywhere.

When I got home and went online, that’s when I started to read about it was sold out everywhere. I decided to head back to Best Buy in the morning and get on that list. At least I could use my gift cards there. 10am and I’m number 3 in line and first on the list for a 32GB AT&T 3G. And I stalked the macrumors and Best Buy message boards. And started to read the stories of limited shipments, scalpers waiting in line every morning to pay cash. Especially bad was that these scalpers were waiting and buying the model that I wanted!

After a week of constant reading and getting frustrated, I gave in and ordered from Apple. 4-5 weeks estimated delivery. At least the Navy SmartCover would be delivered within a week! So every so often I’d head over to MacRumors to see what the internets had to say. I’d also call Best Buy and make sure none had come in. And yes, I’m still first on the 32GB AT&T list. But then I checked MacRumors this Monday and a poster from Lansdale said that his Target had some. I checked the online inventory and my local store had ‘Availability’. I called and they said they had 4 left. I raced over and bought one…they had White 16GB Wifi’s. Definitely different than the black 3G I had on reserve at Best Buy. Impulse took a hold of me and I bought it.

So, I got home and activated it. Would I have buyers remorse? Then a buddy reminded me that I had a Verizon MiFi. Why do I need 3G, if I had that. My rationale was that if I go to London next year, the Verizon stuff won’t work. Then it dawned on me- I’m really over thinking this! The whole reason I waited for iPad 2 was for the cameras and speed boost. My impulse purchase just saved me a big dose of cash. If we’re lucky enough to win the Olympic ticket lottery, I’m going to need that cash to pay for the trip! Plus, by the time the 2012 Olympics start, iPad 3 will be released and maybe I’ll get that one in GSM 3G!

Do I like the iPad 2? Absolutely. Smart Cover is a neat addition to the device! And speaking of that, I cancelled the entire online order. The Ardmore apple store got a shipment in yesterday of the Navy leather version that I wanted. I didn’t buy a second iPad to try and sell because I believe in karma. If i bought them all to try and make a quick buck, I wouldn’t be paying it forward at all. Well, the smart cover being in the very next day was a nice cosmic reward!

After I start to use my new toy a bit more, I’ll post a more detailed review. Right now I’ll just say that this post was completely typed on the iPad using the WordPress app. Not too shabby.

The airport- a microcosm of society?

Last weekend on a snowy day, I ventured to Philadelphia International Airport to catch a flight to Chicago for the ASUG Volunteer Planning Meeting.  Since the roads were clear and schools were delayed two hours, I got there plenty early and had time to relax with a cup of coffee at Peet’s (Terminal E) and walk easily to the gate.  During the pre-flight and flight itself, I thought that I would jot down whatever societal observations I could.  Is the airport a microcosm of society?  A peek inside our lives?  Probably not, but there was some funny stuff going down!! Continue reading “The airport- a microcosm of society?”

Blizzard of 2010

While Royersford was spared the brunt of the Blizzard of 2010, we were deep in the heart of it.  Central Park reported 20 inches of snow and we can confirm it- since we were there for it!  Why? Since the ‘show must go on’, that meant we did too…

For Christmas, Staci and I decided to take Abby and our niece Katherine to see the Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  Calendars were checked and tickets were bought.  In the beginning of December.  When there was not even a Farmer’s Almanac entry for snow.  See where this is going? Continue reading “Blizzard of 2010”

Christmastime in the Nation’s Capital

DISCLAIMER: Sorry, but this is going to be a long post!!

This weekend it was REALLY cold weekend in Washington, DC with highs only in the 30’s and wind chills even lower! But we braved the chill to enjoy the capital all dressed up for the holidays and were rewarded for our efforts.

After a late start on Friday night, we arrived at the Omni Shoreham. What a classic hotel- a grand dame of DC. The lobby is decked out with over a dozen individually themed and decorated Christmas trees that people bid on, with the proceeds donated to the Special Olympics. Abby’s favorite was the Disney themed tree, its ornaments being stuffed animals.

Saturday was a self-guided walking tour. On the Ellipse- the National Christmas Tree and Ye Olde Yule Log, the White House and Treasury Building were the mornings sights. We started to get hungry and luckily Abby decided that she was not in the mood for the food court, so we kept walking and stumbled onto a Pret a Manger- probably one of our favorite cafes in the world! After a visit to a Christmas Market, it was back to the Shoreham for a break before the ZooLights at the National Zoo.

Sunday brought a cold, rainy day. We toughed out the weather and headed to the Noon Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Really pretty church that took over 80 years to complete. We then took a late brunch at Dupont Circle before wandering through the Kramerbooks and wandering through the stacks. We finished the day at Kennedy Center for the Holiday Pops concert- which was a nice treat!

Staci was in her conference all day Monday, leaving the day to just Abby and I. Abby made her choices and we were off! National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Castle and the American History Museum were the days activities. The evening brought the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial and the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Dinner warmed us up before a freezing trip back to the Ellipse to see the tree and yule log lit up at night!

We spent Tuesday morning recovering! I took Abby across the street to Open City for an excellent breakfast and then packed up for the trip home. On the way, we took a detour to Monkton to hang out with Alec and Megan. Had a great time hanging out and a good dinner out of it too!

And to cap off an awesome weekend: On US 1 in Nottingham, PA we saw a really big display of Christmas lights from the highway. We made a U-Turn to see what it was…and it turned out to be a treat! The Herr’s factory has the ‘Holiday Tradition Family Lights’ display. 400,000 lights are displayed as you drive around the Herr’s grounds. Awesome display and definitely worth the trip if you’re local! Here’s a link to check it out for yourself! Herr’s Holiday Lights Family Tradition

Lastly- here’s a slideshow with some of the highlights! Click the balloon icon to see any captions that might pop-up…

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Walking for a good cause

On this brisk November morning in the City of Brotherly Love, we walked and ran (mostly walked, save for three brave souls in much better shape than the rest) in honor of my mother-in-law, Terri Wilhelm.  The occasion was the Philadelphia Walk for Hope, the National Brain Tumor Society’s fundraiser for research, awareness and advocacy on behalf of patients, survivors and families affected.  It’s been 2 years since Terri passed away and Team T-Dawg walked again to honor her. And this year, I was also walking to support my close friend, co-worker and brain tumor survivor, Jason Bajorek.

I am really glad that we take the time each year to remember her and show support for others battling this disease.  It’s a small sacrifice to walk and seeing Terri’s memorial on the Wall of Hope at the walk’s conclusion reminds me that it’s always worth it. 

We had great weather this year and enjoyed a crisp fall day in Fairmount Park with over 5,000 other supporters who raised over $750,000 to help in the battle against brain tumors.  If you’re interested in supporting the fight, donations are still accepted!  Head to www.raceforhopepa.org, click the donations tab and search for me. 

Here are some of the photos I shot today during the walk.

The Schuylkill River from the Girard Street Overpass :

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Center City from West River/MLK Drive

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