Reading

Watching Li read on the couch: it seems to include some personal form of yoga or tai chi as she goes from prone on her stomach to standing (yes, standing) to squatting to sitting to lying on her back, then to the floor with her feet on the couch and back to sitting on the couch over the course of about 5 minutes… and all of those transitions occurring smoothly and slowly with the book open and held in both hands, and without any apparent interruption of the reading.

I wonder if she is aware of her movement.

Busy, busy, busy…

Life has been pretty hectic of late… in no particular order…

  • Ian heads off to school early Wednesday morning, leaving a huge hole in our home and our hearts. Deb is flying down with him. Li and I will get three full days together…
  • Ian survived getting his wisdom teeth extracted last week in pretty good shape; he’s pretty much back to normal at this point and enjoying being able to eat something other than fruit smoothies and jell-o again.
  • Fall soccer has started back up; I’m taking on my last season as the boys head coach for one of the local junior high schools. First three tryout sessions are behind us, with the final tryout session and the start of real training ahead this week — made all the more interesting by the fact that one of the local HS football teams has taken over our training field, so now we’re back to fighting for space with the lacrosse club and grid kid football programs.
  • With the start of fall soccer, summer soccer (getting to play, rather than coach) has wrapped up for both Deb and me.
  • Work has been pretty hectic, as well, with an office move a couple weeks ago introducing some interesting wrinkles. I will post a picture or two of our new digs one of these days. For the first time in over 20 years, I have a spot in the cubicle maze with… a window!
  • We’re headed out looking for huckleberries today (assuming any of these lazy late-sleepers ever manage to drag themselves out of bed before noon). This is a good two weeks behind when we normally go, but the cool wet spring we “enjoyed” has everything — including our garden — way behind. Now we need the typical eastern Idaho early frost to also be a couple weeks late so our garden and peach tree have a fair chance at producing.
  • Li will start preschool in September. Let’s see: one starting college, one starting preschool… interesting timing God has for us.
  • I’ve done a bit of reading this past month or so: re-read John Irving’s most excellent A Prayer for Owen Meany and just finished C. J. Box’s Blue Heaven (not bad).

A New Year Begins

A bit of a catch-up post for the start of the new year: Christmas, Li, Deb, Ian, a bit of reading, and some geek stuff.

It has been a bit since I last wrote anything here, I realize, but I will try to get caught up on a variety of fronts with sort of a catch-all post here…

Christmas and Li

Li and the Christmas tree (12/2009)
Li and the Christmas tree (12/2009)

We survived Christmas, with the combination of the holidays and an extended break from work (for me) and school (for Ian) being something of a mixed bag. My workplace shuts down (officially) between Christmas and New Year’s Day for a holiday curtailment, so I took all of the week ahead of Christmas (mostly) off as I had some banked comp hours I needed to use ahead of the end of the year (or lose them) and I’m taking a couple more days after New Year’s, as well, which will stretch my holiday break to almost three weeks. Ian has had the past week and a half off from school, too, so we’ve all been home together for the first time in a long time — which has been wonderful.

Li was definitely “in” to Christmas this year, and loved having three Christmases: ours as a family on Christmas Day, followed by two more as both sets of grandparents came to stay with us for a couple days each. We had decided, after traveling with her for Ian’s state soccer tournament in October, that travel just wasn’t in the cards for us at this point and in retrospect staying home with her (and having visitors here) was the right move.

We tried to keep as much of a routine through the holidays for Li as possible, but we still ended up with some sleep struggles beginning the Friday before Christmas. Lots of rest-less nights, particularly ahead of Christmas itself, and several days with no naps… which were trying and exhausting for all of us to varying degrees. Just in the past couple of days, it seems — based on sleep patterns — that she is working her way out this latest cycle.

Li participating in her first Christmas program at church
Li "participating" in her first Christmas program at church (12/2009)

Aside from the sleep problems, Li is doing great. She continues to grow and develop in leaps and bounds. When it comes to food, her palette is continuing to expand (her new favorite is “pork chop” — pork tenderloin, in actuality, which she tried for Christmas dinner when I grilled a couple) and she’s more willing to try new things. She “participated” in her first Christmas program at church this year, where “participated” would be defined as learning “Away in a Manger” and then standing stoically at the front of the sanctuary with the other kids while they sang. It’s about what we had expected; when we asked if she was going to sing, she responded “No, I already sang that song.” She’s close to reading at this point, and her sense of humor is pretty amazing for a not-yet three year old. We took her sledding for the first time yesterday and she loved it, even being willing to go down the hill by herself.

Deb and Ian

Ian and his adoring little sister
Ian and his adoring little sister, both in tye-die splendor (12/2009)

Ian has a bad case of “end of break blues” right now, but other than that is doing well. He found out in early December that he and a couple of other interns from his summer job won the high school division of ¬†an international digital forensics competition sponsored by the DoD and will be traveling to St. Louis for a related conference in late January (we’re still trying to figure out how this will work). He’s in the midst of the college application process (continually being prodded slowly forward by Deb) but hasn’t yet decided where he will attend. He’s squeezing in a bit of soccer (indoor) when he can and generally suffering through his senior year of high school.

Deb also has been playing a bit of soccer (also indoor), playing in a women’s league and on a team that competed in a Christmas break tournament which was definitely a change of pace for all of us. The highlight of their tournament was playing the eventual tournament winners 3-2 (Deb’s team lost) with the winning goal being scored in the last minute of the match; not bad for a team with 3 players over 50 against a bunch of college-aged players. She has also been attending a weekly Bible study (one that provides childcare for Li during the class), which is a good change of pace for her in a couple of ways.

A Bit of Reading

Over the break, I managed to squeeze in a bit of reading, too. I finished “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy (a gift from Santa’s bibliophilic elf — a tradition at our house) and “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, sandwiched around a bit fluff (“Thunderhead” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child). To Thunderhead’s fluff, “The Road” is flint: beautifully and sparely written, gripping, haunting, disturbing. It’s a movie I won’t see; the book is extraordinary and more troubling than anything I’ve read in a while. It’s the first of his works that I have read, but almost certainly will not be the last. “Into Thin Air” was a gift from Ian; engaging, fairly well-written, tragic.

Some Geek Stuff

I’m in the middle of a couple of projects on the geek front these days, too, in the odd moments of spare time I can squeeze out: working on getting a lightweight CFML and database server environment up and running on my netbook (based on Railo and Apache Derby, respectively) and also working on a CFML mode for ActiveState’s excellent Komodo editor. I will write a bit more on both of those at some point in the near future. I also did a bit of troubleshooting on another project (a cross-platform editor called “redcar” intended to be semi-compatible with TextMate but capable of running on Mac, Linux, and that other OS) and got to play a bit with Ruby in the process.

Those of you with reasonably modern semi-standards-compliant browsers (read: not MSIE) will notice a bit of geekery in the handling of the pix on this particular post. I’ve tweaked the styling for my blog here based on some CSS stuff I was playing with ahead of Christmas. Those of you still clinging to MSIE should consider an alternative…

More Assorted Shorts (11/2009)

Some assorted shorts, given that I haven’t had much time to post of late. I’ll write more on some of these in the coming days.

More to come on some of these as we get our lives at least marginally back under control as soccer winds down for the fall…

  • We’ve got Halloween pix coming; you’ll want to keep an eye out for those in the next couple days!
  • On the Linux front, Ubuntu 9.10 is out as of late last week. I pushed one of my older boxes to it with reasonable success. Not much more there to say other than the startup and shutdown times are impressive, even on old hardware. Brown hasn’t done much for me lately.
  • The time change is wreaking havoc on our mornings at this point, particularly with Li.
  • The first pre-release of Firefox 3.6 is out, but I haven’t had a chance yet to pull it down and give it a try. At least on the surface, the only interesting aspect is the return of some eye candy regarding switching tabs. Also on the browser front, Google Chrome continue to progress, but the continued absence of the ability to control default font sizes on Mac OS X is mystifying.
  • Ian wrapped up his high school soccer career with a trip to the state tournament in Boise in late October. Odd to think that’s over and done with; odder to think that I am going to be saying that more and more over the next few months as he works his way through his senior year.
  • Done a bit of reading, although little of it was worth noting aside from “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. I haven’t read anything by him for several years and this was a great reminder of how much I love his writing.
  • On the movie front, go see “500 Days of Summer” if you haven’t yet and can still find it in a theater. Best movie we’ve seen in a very long time.

Long Weekend

Long weekend at the end of a couple long weeks: I headed to Chicago later today for a conference, and we’ve been scrambling at work to be ready. Deb, Li, and Ian drove over to Boise to see her family on Friday which made for a wierdly quiet weekend.

Long weekend at the end of a long week…

I’m headed to Chicago later today with several members of my team from work for an annual federal conference. We’ve got several sessions we are presenting and/or participating in, including one where we are demonstrating a new tool we are building. I commented to a friend Friday evening that if this — the upcoming demo — were a home show, we were still at the stage where we were pouring footings for a couple of the new rooms. I’ve spent most of the past couple days framing in the walls, hanging sheetrock (and in some cases, hanging siding directly on the studs), etc. There are a couple of places where we’ve just hung posters over holes in walls, and some of the electrical outlets and light switches don’t actually have wiring running to them. But having said that, we’ve gotten quite a bit done.

I can’t say I’m really all that excited about going to Chicago, particularly at this time of year. I spent a week there several years ago for a soccer coaching license course and it was miserably hot and humid. I’ve also gotten stuck in the airport and/or missed connections there most of the times we’ve been force to fly through O’Hare… we’ll see.

Some random bits from life:

  • Deb, Ian, and Li drove over to Boise to see Deb’s family for a couple days, which made for a (wierdly) quiet weekend. I gotten lots done, but miss them desperately and having them gone for the past couple of days will make the trip to Chicago seem even longer.
  • Li is going through one of those huge leaps on the language front. Just within the past couple weeks, her language patterns are changing: stringing more and more words together, and everything is so much clearer. Counting to 20, naming body parts (“arm pits”, “eye brows”, “forehead”), helping with everything (“Li help Daddy make coffee?” — I think if she could reach stuff, she’d probably do it herself although she still a little leery of the coffee grinder at first).
  • Earlier this week, Ian and I went to Pocatello for a concert. The headliner was Kutless. Incredible show; we’ve long been fans of their music and their ministry and to see them live was very cool. It was a welcome change of pace from lots of work. If you get a chance to see them, by all means do. At the concert, one of the promoters mentioned that another band we love — the David Crowder Band — is coming to this area later this year; that will be another show we definitely want to hit.
  • I’ve been working on Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” these past couple of weeks (I gave up on his “Baroque Cycle” after a couple hundred pages of the first volume of three; just couldn’t get in to it) when I have the odd minute or two to read. 900+ pages that wander between thriller, math and theory of crypto, comedy, sarcasm, and weird/silly. The shifts in tone are almost schizo at times, but I’ll probably try to finish it. Parts of it have been laugh-out-loud funny… and I need that.
  • Summer is getting close to the point where it will start winding down for us; soccer tryouts at the high school level for Ian (his senior year!) and at the junior high where I will be coaching at least one more season begin just ahead of the middle of August.