Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Lights Are Up!

It's been a busy week and I have a week of travel coming up, but I had to squeeze in some holiday decorating today.

It took 4 hours and 3 trips to Lowe's, but I think the result is very nice!


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Freedom From WantThanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  It probably has a lot to do with the happy memories of going to my grand parents' house in Essington, PA and being surrounded by family and great cooking smells and laughter.

Norman Rockwell's Freedom From Want reminds me of all the good things from those days.  It's become a tradition here at Another Delco Guy to use it on Thanksgiving.  It's an iconic image that resonates with me in a way that is hard to describe.

Today's also a day when the liberal dad blogger would really like to thank the people who give so much so that I can live so easily.  I've got a cushy office job, a new house, wonderful kids, great friends and family.  

I've got very little to worry about thanks to the work of millions of brave men and women serving in the military here and all over the world, and the first responders who keep us safe in our homes and work places.  I am not fighting sandstorms, insurgents or roadside bombs.  It's easy and safe to travel around this beautiful country and do the the things we love to do.

Much changes each year, but one constant in my life is finding a quiet few moments on Thanksgiving to reflect.  It's too easy to let the moment pass in the rush to get turkeys in the oven and floors vacuumed and whatever else.  But easy isn't the right thing to do on the day we set aside to think about how much we have. 

We've been giving thanks on this day in the United States since 1621, when men and women who had a whole lot less than we do stopped their work to give simple thanks that they had been able to survive their first year in this new world.  They got it right. This is my fourth Thanksgiving blog, and I always feel that there is so much I just don't know how to say.  I did it best the first time, so please go back and think about where you were four years ago and how much your life has changed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's Going On

Ok! Ok! Ok!

I get it. When I don't post, people worry. Everything here at Another Delco Guy is just fine. We are super busy getting ready to host 40 friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

Since a few of the guests are getting up there in years and steps have become an issue, I am building a temporary ramp to help them get in the house. Plus we bought a scratch and dent range for the second turkey. And the whole house needs to be cleaned and the kids have conferences all week.

Ok. The fence guy is here. Got to go!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Emma Likes Sonic

The kids were thrilled when Sonic arrived in Lumberton, not far from our house. John is enjoying hs double cheeseburger and cranberry limeade and Emma loves her corndog and fruit punch!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chew Man Chu

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Occupying the space formerly known as DuJour at Broad and Pine, Chew Man Chu is a welcome addition to the foodscape on the Avenue of the Arts.

Kristin was my perky guide to the menu and she let me know that the portions were fairly large and would be served as the kitchen prepared them rather than in courses. She approved my selection of Ox Tail Soup Dumplings and Chicken Satay Salad.

I was attentively hovered over for the 20 minutes it took for the food to come out. The chicken was grilled in a very sweet sauce and presented on skewers with a generous helping of sweet peanut satay. The 'salad' portion was a pile of crisp sliced cucumbers and red onion.

The four golf-ball sized dumplings were served in an over-large bowl and swam in a tarragon, wine, vinegar and ginger broth.

The dishes were nicely prepared and presented, but the chicken was overly sweet. There was no easy way to eat the large cuts of chicken without a knife to cut them up. I thought the use of the word 'salad' was a bit of a stretch.

The meaty dumplings were quite good, but varied a bit in temperature. The savory broth was an excellent counter to the chicken.

The place is owned by the same group that owned the predecessor restaurant. They have remodeled a bit, adding a full bar with 6 seats featuring wine, bottled beer and cocktails.

Overall, Chew Man Chu is worth a look. The food and ambiance are quite chic and there is nothing like it in the area. The staff is friendly and helpful and you get a good bit of food for your money.


Leading Beats Managing

I was doing my morning internet peruse and hit upon a great blog entry over at Akkam's Razor.  I read all the stuff there, and while usually it's a gathering of links that are of interest to rzklkng, the log creator, when he does a full post, it's always worth a read.

Today's post is about the distinction between leading and managing.  While this may seem like word play, it's a huge difference.  The difference is something that I try to stay conscious of in my day-to-day work with my team, as well as when I am working on longer-term projects. 

rzlkng hits the nail pretty well on the head:

"My personal mantra has always been that managing and leading are two separate things that are not mutually exclusive.
Narrowly defined, managing is about policies, procedures, and the allocation of scarce resources. ... Leadership is about opportunity by winning hearts and minds and motivating your team."

You can see from my bio that I state right up front that I lead.  There are parts of my job that involve management, but those parts are hard and boring, so I delegate them as much as I can.   Seriously, I get paid to develop our goals for the year, and then figure out how to get the most out of the 15 or so folks who work for me and to develop the planning and procedures to accomplish them.  having me filling out forms and crap like that is not an efficient use of organizational resources.

That means there is some nitty gritty now and then, but mostly my job is about providing folks the resources and support they need to do their jobs and protecting them from the BS that would interfere with that.  I differ a bit with rzlkng in that I think that finding and allocating resources is part of leadership.  Motivation, mentoring and development are larger parts, but resources are needed to do those things.

I am not saying that i am above it all.  I'm just saying that the best managers are the people who do it as their primary job most of the day.  They handle things.  The make operations run.  They are the gears in the machine.  My job is make sure that sand doesn't get in the gears and to figure out what we're going to do with all this organizational efficiency. 

I think the most important part of leadership though is respecting the work that people do and making sure that they know its value to you entire organization.  Some days it's hard to see the forest for the trees, but you've got to make sure that your people know that what they do is important and so are they.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fantastic Four

I've been traveling a bit this week, but I am home now.  So we've got a travel-themed Fantastic Four this week:

What are the first four things you do when you get home from a trip?

  1. Kiss the kids.  Even if they are asleep.  It's hard to believe how much you can miss them in just a few days.
  2. Go through the mail. Email keeps you up on just about everything, but there is somehting satisfying about seeing what has accumulated on the counter while you were away.
  3. Use the bathroom.  I know - TMI - but it's just better at home.
  4. Put the suitcases away.  Otherwise they will be there 2 weeks from now.

How about you?  What's your get home ritual?

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 09, 2009

Dinner At Dallas Union Station

Another Delco Guy and 400 of his friends are having dinner I a beautiful old train station in downtown Dallas tonight. Hopefully the food is as good as the room!

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Good Morning From Dallas

Today's image is looking south from the 18th Floor of the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. Cloudy and warm here at the AACRAO SEM 19 Conferencem. I am headed to breakfast. Have a great day!

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Good News, Bad News

The good news from US Airways Flight 729 is that the flight time will be three hours and five minutes to Dallas. When we finally get airborne. We are 20th in line for take off.

And I am illegally using a portable electronic device.


HMMMM...

Sushi in an airport. Brave or stupid?


A Granite Changing Table?!?

Oh, that has to be comfortable on Junior's backside!

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Sorry - Been Busy!

Sorry for the recent delay in posting.  Between kids and work and travel and such, I can't say I have had the time.

I have a few great posts in the editing bin right now and hopefully will get some writing done tonight on my flight to Dallas.  Look for some posts tonight and tomorrow.

Coming attractions include:

  • An overview of my thoughts about the NCMPR conference session I was part of in Atlantic City on Tuesday.  All kinds of goodies about new media, working with bloggers and how social media will affect us all in the coming years.
  • Some photo updates from the week, with special attention given to my little birthday princess.
  • A hands-on review of my new HP Home Media Server.
  • A discussion of photographic rights in public spaces.

Right now I have some shopping and packing to do for my trip, so I will have to see you all soon!


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

SEPTA Strike Commute

I am 48 minutes into my first commute into Center City Philadelphia during the current SEPTA strike. And I am still in New Jersey. Normally I would be parked in my spot and walking to the office.

Sigh.

At least I have Michael Connelly's latest, 9 Dragons, playing on my Blackberry to make it way easier than it would be if I was just listening to the talking heads theorizing about Pedro's chances against the Yankees tonight.

Go Phils!!!

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Not Good

Fresh off my round table talk at th NCMPR conference in Atlantic City, I am hitting Tun Tavern for lunch. Limp, brown lettuce covered by a smattering of shredded canned backfin crab meat and 3 shrimp is a pretty lousy seafood salad.

Thankfully the discussion was FAR better than the food!

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Blogging About Blogging

I am here at the NCMPR regional conference talking about blogging to college PR folks. So this is a little live blog from our round table discussion freaturing Matt Dembiesky of the Community College Times, Diane D'Amico of the Press of Atlantic City, Ted Greenberg of NBC-10 and me!

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Doing My Civic Duty

New Jersey casts its vote for governor today and for county elected officials as well. I just voted at Fleetwood School, where there are no children and not many voters yet either.

As the picture shows, they don't want any cellphones in the polling place. It's a new regulation this year and no one here knows why it was enacted. My guess is that the powers that be don't want any mobile blogging about potential issues at polling places.

Traditional print and television media are of course allowed in. HMMM! Double standard? Sure seems like it! So much for the First Amendment in Burlington County.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

NJ is Too Close to Call

In the last three days, I have had two calls from President Obama and another from Bill Clinton.  I feel so lucky to live in NJ.  Can they do something about my property taxes?

Seriously, in case you have been under a rock for the last 3 months there is a nasty battle for governor going on in New Jersey and based on the calls Another Delco Guy is getting, the Dems are running scared.  We're registered Independents here, so if the Dems are calling us to come out, then they think we might be on the fence.

Since it's traditionally the Independent vote that gets anyone elected in a New Jersey statewide race, this means something.

It means the Dems are afraid that Jon Corzine and his special interest pals are going down tomorrow to Chris Christie and his corrupt machine politics brethren. 

You don't need to read between the lines there, I don't like either of these guys.  Jon Crozine inherited a mess and he's managed to make it worse.  It;s been gridlock in Trenton, but gridlock is better than where this administration has us headed.  There is no GM bailout coming for NJ, so it's time to cut the public employees benefit programs and get spending under control by consolidating services and the state workforce.

Chris Christie?  Please.  A classic republican insider who has no clue who to govern.  It's about power and jobs to this guy and he's going to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Troubling to me as well is his "Do as I say, not as I do" approach to law enforcement and taxes.  Yeah - those ads worked for me. 

Chris Daggett?  Well, I don't know if he's a republican in sheep's clothing or not.  I'm troubled by his recent conversion to the Independent faith, but he's the guy with an actual plan.  I have heard the "you're throwing your vote away" argument, but it just doesn't apply here.  Daggett is the best candidate with the best experience and ideas.  Voting Daggett is not wasting your vote.  It's sending a message to Trenton that it's time to change the way business is done in this state ans that the guy to do it is Chris Daggett.

Get out and vote tomorrow.  And vote for Chris Daggett.


Emma is Six!

Today is a very special day here at Another Delco Guy because our little princess turns six today. She came into the world six weeks early, and it's been one surprise after another since then.
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Emma is a super sweet little girl who loves her brother more than anyone. She is always ready with a big smile and hug to cheer you up. Emma has overcome her tendency to take it easy and has grown to love her dance class this year.

Taking care of her babies and cooking are her favorite things to do at home and she loves to snuggle up and read before bed. A trip the Chick-fil-A makes her day, but Emma also love to eat vegetables of all kinds.

Emma makes us proud every day and we are so happy when she brings us new artwork or reads to us from Olivia.

Happy Birthday to the best little girl in the world! Daddy loves you very much!!!