Los Altos, California

A series of guesses and wishes and ramblings about the year that was and the year that will be.

When all is said and done, Jonah makes 2003 our best year ever regardless of whatever else transpired. That said, we also remodeled Jonah’s nursery with the help of friends (special thanks to Joe), I biked 55 miles in Reach the Beach for the second consecutive year, refinanced our mortgage with a rate of 4.897%, traveled to Montana and despite a series of automotive misadventures made it back safely (thank you Uncle Howard and Aunt Dorothy!), bought a Lexus ES 300, and survived our first months of parenthood with the liberal help of family and friends. In sum, 2003 has been a wonderful year for us, and we are deeply grateful to everyone who played a role in making it so.

Some quick hits, since illness has prevented me from doing all the web site updating I would’ve liked:

  • I don’t recall any film sequel being better than its predecessor until now. One could argue Godfather II, but it’s not a gimmee. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, however, is the best of the trilogy by a wide margin. Given the high quality of Fellowship and Towers, that’s saying something. An absolutely stunning cinematic achievement, King concludes the triology in grand fashion and is highly recommended.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl sets and maintains an entertaining comedic tone without lurching into slapstick. Johnny Depp stars with Orlando Bloom in this none-too-deep but whole-lotta-fun adventure. Jerry Bruckheimer produced, but it’s still recommended.
  • Finding Nemo, Pixar’s latest animated feature, captured the box office crown for 2003 and in similar fashion sold loads of DVDs. Saw it today. Liked it a lot. Pixar equals good family entertainment, like Disney used to before they started turning out dreck like The Lion King. Finding Nemo is excellent for kids and adults alike.
  • Prediction: Howard Dean will win the Democratic nomination for president and name either Wesley Clark or Bob Graham as veep nominee. Clark puts Arkansas in play and helps insulate Dean from arguments that he has limited foreign policy experience (though even so, I can’t imagine him doing a worse job than Bush). Graham, who would perhaps be the better choice in terms of electoral math, makes Florida the story of the 2004 election. (Hopefully not the same story as 2000.)
  • We’re ambivalent about missing the roughly one foot of snow that’s been dumped on the Mid-Willamette Valley in our absence. One the one hand, we’re glad not to be stuck in the mess. On the other, we like snow an awful lot, and we do hope that we get the chance to play in some of it when we return home on Friday. (I reserve the right to amend this entry if our Portland to Salem travel goes poorly.)
  • Jonah’s development progress continues to amaze. He can grab and manipulate objects one-handed. And speaking of his hands, they’re huge. Both his hands and feet have grown large in the last week. He’s just about pulling himself up to standing now.
  • I’ve given up on Aquila (NYSE-ILA) as an investment. It still may rebound, but I’m not as sold on the economic rebound as other commentators, and at least for me it’s true what they say about getting more conservative when you get a family. I don’t have the tolerance for risk that I did before I had a kid relying on the result. Others may want to hold on to see if ILA can come back in the 2- to 4-year time frame.
  • Speaking of fiscal conservatism, with January’s mortgage payment the principal we’re paying will finally exceed the interest. That’s a wonderful tipping point to finally be reaching. If all goes well—a relatively big if I grant you—we’ll have the house paid off in 7 years 4 months. Yes, we will be throwing a party at the end of this.
  • Quick picks for this weekend’s NFL playoff games: Ravens over the Titans, Panthers over the Cowboys, Green Bay over Seattle, and, in an upset, the Broncos over the Colts.
  • I’ve got a cold, Erin’s got a cold, and Jonah’s probably got a cold. The Lillys and the Petersons have been great about helping us take care of the little man so that we can attempt recovery. Jonah’s had a couple big poo-doos during our visit (you know, the kind where you want to immediately irradiate your hands after changing him), but he’s done pretty well during the days. Nights have been a different story, with Jonah’s insomnia proving contagious for both Erin and me. Despite all this, our apologies to everyone we’ve not been able to see this trip.

As for 2004, one never knows what the future holds but here are a few of our goals:

  • With help, remodel Erin’s office into a bedroom for child #2.
  • Start work, so to speak, on child #2.
  • Finish the bathroom remodel delayed by the necessity of completing Jonah’s room.
  • Let Ty play a lot of soccer and play it well.
  • Release my first album (tentatively God’s Eye View) sometime in the second half of the year.
  • Take a summer trip (not including our biannual sojourns to California).
  • Keep on being the best parents we can be for Jonah.
  • Hang out with family and friends as much as we can.

Our best wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2004. May all your goals become a reality.