Category Archives: Jon’s Journal

Cutting the Cable

Last month – I had to double-check because I couldn’t believe it’d been that long – Suzanne and I officially cut the cable and turned in our cable box. No more movie package. No more DVR. No more hundreds of channels with barely anything worth watching. Done.

We’d talked about it for months. Probably longer. But we never really got serious about it. Then it came time to pay July’s cable bill and I was like, “I really wish I didn’t have to pay this bill.” At $160 for cable and Internet, it’d grown pretty large. Sure, I could have called and gotten them to move us to a new promotional plan, but that’s a hassle. I guess I’m the kind of customer they like.

I figured I could get away without cable pretty easily. Most of the time I’m watching a St. Louis Cardinals’ game on MLB.TV or using the computer in the evenings. Occasionally, I’ve even picked up a book in my recent efforts to make time for the things that I’ve often said I don’t have time for. And with football season around the corner, the majority of those are on broadcast television. I can also usually find an online stream with racing on it if I really want to get my racing fix.

So for me, I didn’t foresee it being a problem. But Suzanne is at home with Micah all day long. I know it’s an easy thing to watch to keep some level of sanity during the day, so I didn’t want to be the guy who took away an escape for her. And if I brought up the topic, I was afraid she’d just agree with me without really being totally for it. So I said, I’ll let her bring it up. Continue reading Cutting the Cable

2013 In Review

It has been a crazy year for the Dobles in 2013. If you’re looking for a list of major life stressors, we probably had you covered. A new job for Suzanne, buying a house, bringing in another dog, starting graduate school, and having a baby topped the list for the year. At the end of last year, I was working at Value Printing, Suzanne had just lost her job with Duke University, we had one dog, and lived in an apartment. If you ask Marble, life was just about perfect.

Suzanne found another – better – part time job with Wake Tech as a skills instructor in their EMS department. It wasn’t much regular work, but it is something she loves and has plenty of experience doing. It really is about the perfect job for her. She did take some time off this fall because of Micah, but she has plans to return.

I’m still working at Value Printing. However, I am now the Print & Design Services Manager, whatever that really means. For the most part it means that my job is to keep the office running smoothly, get the customers taken care of, and make sure jobs are getting out in a timely manner. Some days are easier than others, but I do love my job and what I do, even if there are a particular set of associated stresses that make it wish some days I didn’t work there. But I think everyone has those days at work. Continue reading 2013 In Review

What are you thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving Day. The day of the year that families get together, eat a big meal, watch some football, and take a nap. I mean, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a day?

But the concept behind Thanksgiving is more than that. It’s to remember and think about what we’re thankful for. It’s so easy in our every day lives to be living so fast that we forget to be thankful for what we have. I see many of my friends doing the “month of thanks” on social networking, taking a post each day and talking about something they’re thankful for. I’m entirely sure I could come up with 30 things to be thankful for without getting overly corny and simplistic.

However thinking today about what I’m thankful for reminded me of a conversation that I had a couple weeks ago with my mom. I realized during that conversation that I really have everything I ever really wanted. You see, as long as I could really plan what I wanted to be, I really wanted to be a husband and a father. Being rich (though I certainly wouldn’t turn down the option) or having an important job really wasn’t the goal of my life. I wanted a job that would allow me the money and time to ensure that my family was taken care of and that I would be there when they needed me.

And I have that.

I have an amazing wife who makes me happy and constantly makes me strive to be a better husband with her selflessness as a wife and mother. She has been the anchor through the storms of life that have hit us in the four years of our relationship. We’ve been married a little more than two and a half years into our marriage and I love her more today than I did that day as I waited for her at the end of the aisle to take her as my wife.

We have a newborn son Micah, who I would already do anything for. He was healthy and happy when he was born and I praise God daily for that. I love talking to him and seeing him start to learn his way through this world, whether that be rolling over, standing up, or burping (he’s already a pro at that, by the way).

We have a couple rascally dogs that run around at our feet, Marble and Jax. As much as they are frustrating, it is a constant lesson in patience, but they’re cute and willing to unselfishly share their love. It’s been a couple months since we got Jax, but they have finally become accustomed to each other and have begun playing together. It is fun to watch and makes us smile. It brings joy to our lives.

We own a house that meets our needs. It’s not huge, but it fits us well. It’s in good shape and doesn’t need any major work. We have a bedroom, Micah has a bedroom, and we have a room for our office. There’s also plenty of yard for our puppies and, one day perhaps, Micah to roam around on.

And I have a job that provides enough money to care for my family. There may not be much to spare some months, but its better than being unemployed. There are some particular stresses to it, as there are with any job, but I enjoy what I do and I’m good at it.

So you see, it’s not every day you realize that at the age of 28, you have everything you ever really wanted. That is what I’m thankful for. Today and everyday.

Franchitti ending his racing career

Dario+Franchitti+Shell+Pennzoil+Grand+Prix+eWW4_kwMYxKl Yesterday it was announced that IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti was retiring from racing on the advice of his doctors. For those of you who don’t follow racing, Franchitti was in a devastating accident in this season’s penultimate race in Houston (video link). As a result of the injuries sustained in that accident, doctors advised that the risk of further injury was too great if he returned to racing.

Since the announcement was made, I’ve seen many friends and fellow racing fans express disappointment that Franchitti is having to retire and walk away from the sport. I haven’t been able to express such disappointment, because I don’t have it. The way I see it, Franchitti is lucky that he gets to retire from racing, and he should know this all too well.

You see racing, especially open cockpit style IndyCar racing, is pretty dangerous.

On October 31, 1999, the racing world watched as the #99 car of Greg Moore crashed into the wall at California Speedway. Moore, 24 at the time and poised to be open wheel’s latest rising star, was fatally injured in that accident. A close friend of Dario’s, Moore even introduced him to actress Ashley Judd at a party. Dario and Ashley would go on to get married in 2001. Franchitti would win in Vancouver, Canada, Greg’s home race, in 2002 and dedicate the victory to Greg. He would dedicate his second IndyCar championship to Moore as well, won ten years after Moore’s death. Even the picture posted to Dario’s Twitter account as part of his retirement announcement had a quote from Moore on it.

Twelve years later on October 16, 2011, the racing world watched again as Dan Wheldon was involved in a spectacular crash in the early laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon, 33 at the time, was fatally injured in that accident and died at the track. He left behind a wife and two young kids. Wheldon, a former teammate of Dario’s, was a close friend of his away from the track too.

After the death of Wheldon, I expected 2012 to be Franchitti’s last season behind the wheel. From 2008 to 2012, Dario won four consecutive IndyCar championships (he didn’t race in the series in 2009). He has won three Indianapolis 500s. While I’ve always downplayed Franchitti’s success as attributed to quite a bit of luck, the fact is that he has been very successful. There wasn’t anything left for him to accomplish.

So on October 6, 2013, I watched in horror as Franchitti’s car go airborne and fall apart in a wreck in the Houston Grand Prix, I feared the worst. I feared that we had once again lost another great race car driver. Yet he survived.

So excuse me if I can’t see the disappointment in his retirement. While he may only be 40 years old, I see him as lucky that he gets to make that decision. I see him lucky that he gets to retire and walk away from the sport. And of all people, he should realize what that means.

2012 Christmas Tags!

577768_10100980476973199_1617574797_nHey all! It’s Jon again. Suzanne still has a husband. Haha.

As you may or may not know, I like to design my own Christmas present tags every year. They started out really rudimentary a few years ago and have evolved every year since. Two years ago it was a project for my flexography class. Then they really hit a new level last year when I went all out.

And wow. And I am kind of ashamed that that was just 3 posts ago for me on this blog.

Anyway, the PDF of them is linked below after the jump. If you like them, please use them. This year’s are a little more difficult to cut out than last year’s. It’s the price for getting adventurous. Or you can always go back to last year’s page and download those and use them.  Continue reading 2012 Christmas Tags!

My favorite Easter candy

My wife says I don’t write for our personal blog nearly enough. Since my last post was December 8th, I’m inclined to agree with her. Of course my life is fairly mundane and I don’t cook nearly as frequently as she does. Plus, since she’s at home right now she has all the time in the world while I am very likely overcommitted in a lot of areas thanks to my recent internship with the National MS Society.

However, I am here today to write to you about one of my favorite things in the world: Easter Candy.

Christmas candy might have it’s moments, but nothing comes close to my love of candies that for some reason only find their way to shelves for the time between Valentine’s Day and Easter.

#4: Brach’s Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs

The third favorite Easter candy has to be the classic Brach’s Jelly Bean. Everyone knows what these are.

I certainly won’t turn down the big ones, but I prefer the smaller ones because they’re about half the size. So you can eat less of them but feel like you’ve eaten a lot. That means the guilt stops you all the quicker. Continue reading My favorite Easter candy

Christmas Tags

While my wife is crafty, I design. Last night after I had wrapped up the first of my wife’s presents I wondered what I was going to use for tags. After a quick search I couldn’t find the long roll of tags that I made last year in my Flexography class, so I decided that it was time to hit Illustrator and put some of my own together. What you see on the right is the final product after printing.

So what did I do? Well, I decided that why keep these all to myself. I have two different PDFs, one has the tags in multiple colors (green, red, blue, yellow, purple, orange, red, and black) and the other has them in just the traditional Christmas colors (red and green).

I recommend printing them out on a glossy paper stock, something like photo paper, for the best results. A simple hole puncher works well to punch out a hole to make them a true tag or you can just leave the white dot there for the same effect. And I just used scissors to cut around the tags.

You can find the download links after the link. Enjoy! Continue reading Christmas Tags

What the death of sports star can teach you

Today the racing world lost one of it’s best and brightest starts. Dan Wheldon, winner of the 2005 and 2011 Indianapolis 500s, was in a devastating wreck this afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the IndyCar Series season finale. His injuries were fatal and he was announced dead a couple hours after being airlifted to the hospital.

This isn’t the first race car driver’s death that I’ve experienced. I heard about the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin in 2000. I watched the wreck that claimed Tony Roper live in 2000 at the age of 15. I saw the wreck that claimed the life of Dale Earnhardt live in February of 2001. Even in baseball I haven’t been free of it. I remember hearing of the death of Darryl Kile in June of 2002 and then that of Josh Hancock in April of 2007.

None of those affected me quite like hearing of Dan’s passing today. As I rode home on my scooter from my parents home on the gorgeous fall evening, I was questioning myself about it. I seriously felt like someone had punched me in the gut and was in an emotional fog. But why?

I hadn’t felt like this through any of the other losses of sports stars that I’d experienced. The difference I determined? I had something to lose now.

I’m married now. There are times I go through the thought process of how it would affect me if I lost my wife, either in a work related incident or other means. It’s not something I want to think about and nearly brings me to tears when I do before I snap myself out of it.

I always felt that there would be some things that I wouldn’t understand until I reached this point. Until I had a wife or until I had kids. But it just hit me that I do now understand. Dan leaves behind his wife, his two sons who are both under the age of 3.

For once it truly affected me and made me thankful for what I have. Needless to say that I will be reminded to thank God when my wife comes home from work tomorrow. The Wheldon’s will unfortunately not be able to do that. 

Review :: Deus Ex

My wife has been telling me that I don’t post nearly enough here considering I post more frequently at my Cardinals blog and on my Tumblr account. My life is usually pretty boring without a job and playing house husband, but life has been busy lately. However, the other day I had a little bit of time between dealing with setting up my internship and interviewing for a job. So I rented a copy of Deus Ex Human Revolution from the Redbox at the local Harris Teeter.

This was a game that I’d been a little interested in since I heard some good stuff about it. I got to play about 5 hours into the game over 4 days before I decided that I needed to give it back to the Redbox and focus on some other things.

I think the storyline definitely has potential. In fact, it’s really the one thing about the game that has me wanting to keep playing it. I ended up ordering it off of Amazon.com for $35 on Monday (it should arrive shortly on my doorstep thanks to the UPS guy). I’ll get on to more of that later.

I liked the way that the game presented you with the difficulty options. You had “Tell me a story” mode which was the easiest mode. You also had “Give me Deus Ex” which is the toughest mode. Then you had a medium level mode whose name currently escapes me.

There are a lot of things to like about Deus Ex Human Revolution. The story line, the free flowing environment, etc. I really liked how markers for the next stages in your quests are designated on your screen without having to manipulate menus to get to the maps. That’s something I wish a game like Mass Effect would implement to speed things along and limit the amount of reading I have to do. I’m not a huge fan of having to do a bunch of reading to figure out what I need to do. Tell me or mark it for me. I’m playing a video game. If I wanted to read a book, I’d read a book. Continue reading Review :: Deus Ex

One. More. Semester.

Hopefully that will be the case. Tomorrow will begin what will hopefully be the final semester of my undergraduate career. It should at least be the last one that I have to take an actual class in anyway. Now, if only the financial aid office would get their act in gear.

So I thought that it was about time that I wrote a blog post here about what’s going on in my life these days. It’s a really short answer: not much.

As I referred to myself this afternoon, I’m a professional job applicant. However, after thinking about it for awhile, it’s more like I’m an amateur job applicant who does it as a hobby. After all, don’t you have to be paid to be a professional?

Just over the last week I’ve applied for a graphic designer job at NC State, a graphic design internship at Eisai, and I am in the process of applying for a graphic designer job at the Baptist Convention of North Carolina. There are sometimes that I think life would be easier if I just had my degree, and maybe so, but it doesn’t feel like it. I still don’t get any reaction from my applications.

Softball has started up for us. Dad, Mike, and I are playing this season for Colonial Blue. While it is really nice to get back to playing, I’ve taken 3 seasons off and are no longer in any kind of playing shape. Hopefully that will change as the season winds in. I’m also hoping that I will be able to hit better this season than I have my last two seasons on Colonial Blue. The first game gave me hope as I went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Continue reading One. More. Semester.