Looking Both Ways…

It’s the end of the year, and I’m sitting here thinking about this past year as well as looking toward the coming year and what lies ahead for us in 2008…

In retrospect, I wish I’d written more as this past year went by. (And that’s something that perhaps I can address as this next year passes.) Lots there to reflect on:

  • Work was way too busy, between new projects and what felt like a never-ceasing string of reorganizations. The most recent appears (finally) to have stuck and — as opposed to the others during the year — seems to bode well for my team, at least in terms of leadership for our organization. Time will tell.
  • On the geek front, Linux Mint 4 is now my distro of choice with Fedora 8 a close second. I’ve had some version of Mint running on my primary system at home now for almost a year and I don’t have any plans to change — which is the first time I’ve felt that way since switching to Linux. Deb is now using Linux almost exclusively, as well, so the stability of sticking with a single distro gets more important.
  • Soccer was kind of a mixed bag, based more on stuff off the field than on. Politics are never fun, and they surfaced in a most unpleasant and unexpected manner this past summer. That said, however, we had a good spring season on the competitive front, had a blast coaching the junior high team this fall, and Ian had a really good season with the IFHS JV team (and played enough with the varsity to earn his first letter).
  • We’re finally close to having the project of finishing several rooms in the basement finished, although it looks like that particular project won’t be wrapped up by the end of the year as we had hoped. But it’s close.
  • Our vacation — a week-long camping trip in central Idaho — was one of the highlights for me for this year. We spent a week there doing as close to nothing as possible. Sleeping late, hiking, mountain biking, and eating well from the Dutch oven. Deb was admittedly dubious about the idea of a whole week camping, but it was a wonderful week. I really needed the time away from pretty much everything.

Looking ahead, there are some big changes ahead…

  • The largest of the changes coming for us will be the addition of a little girl to our family. For almost three years, we’ve been in the process of adopting a girl from China. We started in February 2005, and got our paperwork into the mill just as the whole process ground to a glacial pace on the Chinese side of things. At this point, it looks like we should finally be matched with our girl in early January. That would most likely put us in China in late February or early March.
  • Spring soccer will be a little different for us (and Ian) this year, as we have primarily a new team to work with (after having basically the same core group of players together for the past five years). Our focus early will be primarily on getting the group to play together as a unit.
  • Work is likely to hold some changes and challenges for us, too. The workload and the reorganization will no doubt necessitate some tuning and reshaping of our team. We’ll end up updating our CF servers to run CF8 at some point early in the year, and jQuery is playing a bigger and bigger part in the client side of how we develop.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I am going to try to write more as we go through the year on both the geek side of life and on the personal front, too. There will be lots to share as we wrap up the adoption process and begin what will feel, at times, like a new life with a new child.

Fall Season Wrap-up

The fall soccer season is all wrapped up, and it was a good season no matter how I look at it.

The fall soccer season is all wrapped up and over at this point, and I would have to consider it a success no matter how I measure it. Both our teams qualified for the post-season tournament, going in as the #3 seed on their respective sides of the tournament brackets. TV Fuego won their first round match 5-1 over #2 seed Madison Red and then lost in the tournament semi-finals 3-1 to Mountainview (who subsequently won the title with 6-1 win over Eagle Rock). That 3-1 loss was a significantly better showing than our early-season 8-1 loss to the same team. TV Azul lost in the first round of the tournament, losing on kicks to Eagle Rock after ending regulation tied 1-1. Taylorview was the only squad fielding two teams on either the boys or girls side to put both teams in the tournament.

In addition to qualifying for the tournament — and more important to me as a coach, though — we saw some significant growth in the play of the teams and from many of the players over the course of the season. Watching TV Fuego come together after a miserable 4-1 loss to rivals Gale that dropped us to 2-2, and then winning 3 straight to clinch a tournament berth was pretty cool. Our defense in particular just continued to improve each match.

All the gory details from the season are available on our team’s Web notebook. (And as has been the case each time I use it do put something like that together, I am just continually amazed by the power and flexibility of TiddlyWiki.)

A quick word of thanks to several people: to Mike for helping coach; to Dave for serving as team manager and for bringing your air tank to all the training sessions so that I didn’t have to pump up balls; to Meesha, Garry, Dave S., and Dave D. for helping with some of the training sessions;  to Jake for helping with goalkeeper training; to Lisa for helping with the team party at the end of the season; to Kris for taking pictures and putting together the photo DVD. Most importantly, thanks to the players for their hard work, their great attitudes, their sense of humor, and their love of the greatest game.

Now we turn our attention to tryouts for the spring season’s competitive teams, and then to indoor soccer over the winter. And best of all, now I get to go back to playing pickup matches in the park on Sunday afternoon with my soccer-loving friends…

Summer is officially over…

The end of our gorgeous fall weather, a skiff of snow, a freeze warning, and the patio furniture has been put away. It’s official.

Yeah, I know — I’m writing this on the next-to-last day of September. Of course summer is over, but we have been enjoying a very pleasant couple of weeks of weather that reminded me of why I like living in the northwest: warm sunny days in the 60’s and 70’s, with cool mornings and evenings. Perfect weather for being outside… which we are quite a bit these days with soccer.

When I got up this morning, though, the temperature is 33, the wind is blowing, and there is a skiff of snow on the grass and the roofs of houses. Ian has a match later today, and both of the teams I am coaching play this afternoon, as well.

There is also a freeze warning posted by the weather people, indicating that we are likely to drop to the mid-20’s tonight. That will pretty much finish off everything in the garden.

And just to make it official, we put away all of the patio furniture yesterday.

Summer is gone.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Saw it. Loved it. (No spoilers here.)

Saw it this past weekend. Loved it. Will probably see it again in the theaters (as well as buying the DVD, when released), which says quite a bit. Ian thought it was the best of the three, but I’m not sure I’d have a hard time deciding which of the three I liked best. A couple of interesting plot turns surprised me…

Back from Orlando

I made it home from a week in Orlando without incident yesterday. After spending a week there, I will reiterate my feeling that Orlando is not a place that holds much of an attraction for me. No plans at present to return unless I have to for work…

I made it home from a week in Orlando without incident yesterday (although it was a pretty long day, factoring in a 3:45am pick-up for the shuttle to the airport and the two-hour timezone difference). After spending a week there, I will reiterate my feeling that Orlando is not a place that holds much of an attraction for me. No plans at present to return unless I have to for work…

The conference itself went reasonably well. Our presentations were well attended and seemed to be fairly well-received. As always, it will be good to get the feedback from the conference group from the evaluation forms all of the session attendees were requested to provide.

As for food, we had what I felt to be one very good meal (surprisingly, one of the hotel’s restaurants is a top-notch steakhouse called “A Land Remembered”; I had the 8 oz. fillet and it was very, very good and the service there was excellent), and two good meals (one at a little Indian restaurant called “Passage to India”, and the second at a little hole-in-the-wall Brazilian barbeque called “Crazy Grill” — both on International Drive). Other than that, what we found was average at best.

By the end of the week, I was so tired of being in air-conditioned buildings that it was wonderful to return to the warm, but dry, West. There were times that I had to go outside in Orlando just to warm up, and the warmth — even if almost unbearably humid — felt wonderful. Waking up this morning at home with the windows wide open and temperatures in the upper 50s felt like heaven.