2011 In Review

This past year has been a wild ride. Nothing sticks out more than the Penn State/Joe Paterno firing and that will be a hard pill to swallow for quite some time. I spent the past month or so thinking, reflecting, and trying to make sense of it all. I have been completely consumed by it and need to break away from it and move my focus on more positive things. Just when you think everything is going well – the unexpected happens.

With that said – 2011 was a pretty good year.

I started going to estate sales and that completely changed the way I look at “stuff” in my life. I have made a commitment to not overload myself or my family with needless “stuff” and to appreciate a lot of the older well built “stuff” that I have. Quality is definitely more important than quantity.

I met and worked with some pretty amazing people and reconnected with others. We also did quite a bit of traveling with the three kids. We went to PA/NY/NJ, Washington DC, and then most recently to Florida. While traveling is hard with three young kids – not seeing family/friends is harder so traveling is a must.

I also had a lot of fun. I got introduced to my now favorite game of all time – Uncharted 2. It has been a blast to play and I am on my fourth time through (playing Crushing). It has been a great stress reliever and I look forward to playing it whenever I can. Work is important – but so is playing.

Overall – this year was all about trying to get better balance in multiple aspects of my life. I think I did a pretty good job. There is always room for improvement but at least I am moving in the right direction!

Jappler Recommends: 2009 Finds

I have found a lot of really cool things over the last year and wanted to share my 2009 favorites before the year was over.

General

  • Cleaning Service The money spent on hiring someone to clean is worth every penny.
  • Dog Trainer With two more kids on the way – it was time we taught our dog some commands and respect. We have a trainer come to our house weekly and it is making a difference.
  • Find a Trustworthy Non-Dealer Car Repairman for the Non-Dealer Essentials Generally I am a car snob, but when a brake job is double at a dealer vs. at a friend’s trusted brake repair shop, it just makes sense to save the money. I finally ventured out of the dealer for brakes and tires.

Podcasts

Web Sites

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day I love astronomy and look forward to seeing the new picture each day. This really puts things in perspective for me on tough days.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission You can easily keep track of all recalls (use the RSS feed).
  • Twitter If you still do not get it – it is too bad. This has by far changed how I keep in touch with people much more than Facebook. I actually get updates on people and not if they are playing Facebook game.

Stores

  • Three Potato Four (store) This is where you go to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything.
  • Playgrounder (store) If you have kids or shop for kids – this is where you can get some awesome ideas for kids of all ages
  • LEGO Apparel, Home & Outdoors (store) If you were a LEGO fan when you were little or still are today – check out the cool LEGO stuff (LEGO ice cube trays, watches, stationary, etc).

Shows

  • Venice the Series With Guiding Light no longer in existence, some of the actors from GL and other soap operas can be found on this web based soap opera put together by one of my all time GL favorites – Crystal Chappell.
  • Wedlocked Another web based series with some other GL stars.
  • The Universe The most amazing TV show I have seen in a long time, if not ever. I gasp at least once every episode after learning some new amazing fact about our Universe.