Mark's blog

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Greetings from the Ottawa Mancas - Christmas 2010

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Manca Family - Christmas 2010Manca Family - Christmas 2010
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our friends and family! We want to share with you all some of our experiences from the past year. We hope you enjoy our Christmas letter. Stay tuned to mancascafe.com for updates throughout the year. We promise to update it more frequently in 2011!

What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
Jessica: Somehow, I've managed to continue to be a top performer at work since being back in July. After having a year off, going back was a difficult transition for me. My identity, the way I work, my expectations all had to be reset. I still work hard and long hours but it's all worth it to support my family while Mark takes on new challenges and his life-long dreams.

Mark: Being a father and helping Milo grow through his first full year. It is an amazing experience to see him change. Each day with him is a special treat. Every day he does new things! He is learning how to talk. One of his latest words is "play." He says it when it is time for us to have fun together.
 
Tell us the best moment of 2010 so far.
Jessica: Milo's first steps during his uncle's wedding rehearsal on the 14th hole in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. I was absolutely speechless.

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I am a Michael Jackson Fan

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MJ - His Music Will Live Forever I admit it. I'm a Michael Jackson fan! And I have Jessica to thank! I don't know what it is, but over the years, and especially since he passed on, I've become a big Michael Jackson fan. I don't know why. But I love it! I'm a manly man, so I can admit the next part -- once in a while I'll tear up during some of his slow songs.

If you have any history of growing up in the 80's -- the white glove, the red leather jacket, moonwalking, and all the rest, you most likely have a place in your heart for Michael too.

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The First Day of a New Era

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Today is the first day of a new adventure!! Yesterday was my last day as a full-time employee of Adobe. I am now part-time so I can spend time pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity.

I started at Adobe on October 15, 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've worked in multiple locations on multiple products. Lately, I've been a Senior Product Manager for LiveCycle. Life at Adobe isn't all about the product -- I've worked with some great people! It is the people that make the experience. Even though I'm going part-time, I continue to bleed Adobe red.

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Wow, I'm a Dad

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Mark and Just Arrived Baby MiloMark and Just Arrived Baby MiloAfter 9 months of waiting, I'm a Dad! We've uploaded a photo album of his first week. Like most proud parents, we've probably included too many pictures in it (45ish). Take a look. There are some good ones!

Jessica did a tremendous job bringing baby to term. It is a boy! Baby Bun is now Baby Milo. Milo arrived in this world just over one week ago on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 3:43am. He weighed 3730g (8lb 3.5oz). Jessica and I were so excited to meet him!! Jessica labored for over 27 hours, and then had to deliver via C-Section because Milo's head was not quite aligned properly.

Even though Milo came in to this world the modern way, Jessica and I were old-fashioned when it came to knowing whether our bundle of joy was a boy or a girl. The few moments between hearing the baby cry and knowing the baby was OK and the time when we found out what we had were filled with great anticipation! Even though it is clichéd, I'll never forget when the doctor brought the baby around the curtain and I announced to the world that it was a boy!

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Rejected by the Bluesfest

pasodoble Well, I heard back from the Bluesfest last week. And got REJECTED! Well, it is their loss. They have no idea about the delicious burritos that their patrons will be missing. I have to admit that I'm a bit confused and was surprised by some of the back and forth emails.....they didn't think that the Blackberry/iPhone burrito ordering idea I had was the right fit for their event. I was very surprised to have gotten that email -- people don't want to stand in line for food at the Bluesfest, they want to listen to music! This could have let people have the opportunity to spend less time in line. Oh well.

One really good thing about the whole process is that they asked for reviews of our food. I was able to go to some friends and friends of friends to get some reviews. And they were all stellar!!! When we finally update the Paso Doble web site, we'll post them up there. If money wasn't a problem, I really would like to open up some burrito restaurants. I still don't feel that Canada has a good burrito restaurant. Paso Doble would be unique here.

Click on the title above to read the full post.

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Bun at 31.5 weeks

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Bun at 31.5 weeksBun at 31.5 weeks

Bun is getting big!!! At this ultrasound on April 1, Bun was almost 4 pounds. In the ultrasound you used to be able to see all of Bun - from head to toe. But now, only Bun's head fits in to the frame. Soon we'll get to meet Bun in person. It will be an exciting day!

These days it is easy to feel Bun in Jessica's belly. I remember the early days when she got so excited when Bun would move. She would call me over to feel the movement -- but I would never feel anything :-( But, as Bun grows, it is really easy to feel him or her move. And baby moves around quite a bit! We've even gotten good at feeling baby in when it isn't moving -- you can feel what is baby and what isn't.

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Ahhh, Disneyland

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Trip to Disneyland With Maria Ahh, Disneyland :-) At the end of March I got to go to Disneyland with Maria! I had to be in SoCal for work, so I thought it would be nice to take a few days to go to one of my favorite places on Earth! It is always so relaxing there. Your cares fade away to the background. Your biggest concern is how to dry off after going on Splash Mountain and to find where the nearest churro cart is. It is always sad to go back to the real world at the end....

Jessica was a *great* sport about my going. She is so far along with Bun that she is past her travel expiration date. I really needed a mental vacation, so she had no problem with me going. I was able to fly Maria down from Seattle for the weekend -- we had a great time together! But we did miss Jessica and Bun. Maria and I ended up spending a lot of time looking at other people's Buns.

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paso doble at the Ottawa Bluesfest

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Well, it is the beginning of March, and even though there is still snow on the ground, it is time to think forward to the summer and the Ottawa festival season. We want to make Paso Doble Burritos a tradition in the festival circuit!! If we ever do want to open up a series of burrito restaurants, we need to get the word out. That way when we open up, we'll have a set of ready-made customers eager to eat our burritos.

Last year we did the Ottawa Tulip Festival. This year, we're thinking about doing the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest. It would provide us with great exposure!!! We believe it will provide us with a better customer base that is more representative of the target Paso Doble customer -- younger and hipper.

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Cruising the Caribbean

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2008 Caribbean Cruise

We're back from our Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. We had a great time! It was so nice to be down in a warm climate away from work and away from the snow. Us and 3600 other like-minded people had a lot of fun on our Southern Caribbean itinerary. We departed San Juan, Puerto Rico, and went to Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas.

We've posted our pictures of the cruise so you can check them out! I know that we'll periodically go back and look at the pictures to pretend we're on vacation again.

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Project Better Place

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For those of you that know me well, you know that lately I've been very interested in our environment. One of the things that I've been especially passionate about lately is electric cars. In my mind, they are definitely where the future is. With the latest advancements in battery technology, they can be built to go as fast and as far as a gasoline car. You no longer have to compromise performance for the environment.

There has been one area that electric cars still have issues with -- the cross country road trip. Even the most sophisticated electric cars have a range of only 250 miles. That is where Project Better Place comes in. The wonderful YouTube video below (you may need to read the full blog entry to see it embedded at manca's cafe) does a great job of explaining their battery exchange concept.

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