Home from Houston after the Holidays

We went to Houston this year, for Poppy’s first Christmas and spent almost a week with my family.  Everyone loved and was amazed by Poppy, of course and she did splendidly.  She traveled quite well, sleeping for the first part of both flights and playing quietly for the second.  She also did a remarkably good job dealing with all the people she didn’t really know and the back and forth craziness of going from house to house to house.  We of course had a great time and look forward to seeing all of the family again this summer for the bi-annual reunion (every two years).

Obama’s 27 year old speech writter…

Helping to Write History
By Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 18, 2008; Page A01

During the campaign, the buzz-cut 27-year-old at the corner table helped write and edit some of the most memorable speeches of any recent presidential candidate. When Obama moves to the White House next month, Favreau will join his staff as the youngest person ever to be selected as chief speechwriter. He helps shape almost every word Obama says, yet the two men have formed a concert so harmonized that Favreau’s own voice disappears.

“He looks like he’s in college and everybody calls him Favs, so you’re like, ‘This guy can’t be for real, right?’ ” said Ben Rhodes, another Obama speechwriter. “But it doesn’t take long to realize that he’s totally synced up with Obama. . . . He has access to everything and everybody. There’s a lot weighing on his shoulders.”

Especially now, as Favreau and the rest of Obama’s young staffers begin a transition that extends far beyond new job titles. Three months ago, Favreau lived in a group house with six friends in Chicago, where he rarely shaved, never cooked and sometimes stayed up to play video games until early morning. Now, he has transformed into what one friend called a “Washington political force” — a minor celebrity with a down payment on a Dupont Circle condo

Inspiring to see someone so young accomplishing so much, through composition alone.

we refinanced our mortgage today

We have refinanced (or at least started the process) and locked in at 4.96 after paying a point (it was 5.6 without the point, lenders wanting up-front money and assurance in today’s market). We are rolling in the point and closing costs into the new loan and we’ll still be saving $140/month over our current loan (and if we hadn’t rolled in the costs, it would only have saved us $21/month more).

Obviously, this may be biased, but here’s an article that helped me make up my mind:

Say Hello to the Best Rates in History
by Victor Burek
Posted Dec 17 2008, 08:11 AM

In today’s economy things are changing very quickly and you can chase rates for a while but you don’t want to miss the boat. I would advise all readers, determine a rate that makes sense as far as what it costs and how much you are saving. Once rates hit that level, lock, close and move on with your life. Rates can and will go lower, but there is much more room above for rates to go higher then below for rates to go lower. And keep in mind, LIFE happens, things can change, you could simple forget to make 1 payment to a credit card and your credit could fall and now you don’t qualify. One month ago, rates where 1% higher then they are now, 2 months ago rates where 1.25% higher then now. So, as you can see, things can move quickly.

repost: If programming languages were religions

A very funny post for the programming nerds out there:

If programming languages were religions…

By amz – Monday, December 15, 2008 at 14:52

PHP would be Cafeteria Christianity – Fights with Java for the web market. It draws a few concepts from C and Java, but only those that it really likes. Maybe it’s not as coherent as other languages, but at least it leaves you with much more freedom and ostensibly keeps the core idea of the whole thing. Also, the whole concept of “goto hell” was abandoned.

It’s been a busy couple of years…

We were talking about this recently and we realized that in the past two years:
We have lived in 5 different places (our apt in Columbus, Anita’s mom’s for a few months, Chili’s house for almost a year, Houston with my family for a couple of months, and finally our new house)
I have worked 6 positions in 3 companies, not counting consulting gigs on the side.  During that time I worked in 5 different offices (mostly due to the moves mentioned above).
Anita has 
  • taken cumulative finals in classes
  • done a year of on-site internships at all manner of pharmacies in 2 states while pregnant and then with a newborn
  • gave birth sometime in there
  • studied for and taken her state and national liscenure boards and passed them
  • and started a new job as a pharmacist for the first time
And most importantly, we have been learning how to be parents to Poppy.   And that keeps changing on us weekly, it seems.
It’s been a busy time.
If we seem frazzled, there’s a good reason.

The Mates of State, the story of taking the family on tour

There’s a great video done by Dan Harris of ABC news on the Mates of State and what the family does when they go on tour.

I love the wholesomeness of it and it fits right in with what I think they would be like.  This band is one of my absolute favorites and that’s only encouraged by this peak into their good parenting and family priorities.