Back to “normal” life…

It has been ages since I last posted anything, I realize. Life at this point should return to something resembling “normal” for a couple of months, based primarily on the recent end to the spring soccer season. We have a break of about two months between the end of that season and the start of the next, so I will try to be a little more regular in adding stuff here. Lots to write about: soccer (of course), a couple of big shifts in my small slice of the Linux world, a couple of interesting (at least to me!) developments in ColdFusion.

I took Friday off this past week — even though it was already a short week, with Monday having been the Memorial Day holiday — to try to get caught up on several things around home that have been wanting for attention. This felt like the first real “day off” for a long, long time, and in addition, it finally feels like summer (mentally, that is). The combination of not going to work, having Ian out of school, and warm weather made for such a relaxing and energizing combination… we made quite a dent in that to-do list. Friday ended with our first Friday evening pick-up match (I finally get to play again!), and despite it being obvious that I really haven’t played much the past 4 months, it was wonderful to get to play again. Our weekly kick-about is one of my favorite parts of summer: a summer evening, surrounded by friends, kicking a soccer ball about, on the best pitch in town.

I’ve had a little time to read lately, and have been re-reading Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy and “The Stand” by Stephen King, and have started working on Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am A Strange Loop”. I also read Robert Ludlum’s “The Apocalypse Watch” (crap; skip it), Len Deighton’s “Berlin Game” (fluff, but the writing is so much better than Ludlum; I liked it, but Deb couldn’t get into it), and Joe McGinniss’s “The Miracle of Castel di Sango” (great story, average writing; required reading for anyone associated with soccer; I was furious at the end of the book, but I suppose its the only ending that really works).

Work has not been all that great lately. Very little technical work, mostly project management stuff, and lots of turmoil and uncertainty within the org and the team based on personnel changes at all levels.

More to come…

3v3 Tournament in San Antonio

We spent this past weekend in San Antonio for the Nationals of the 3v3 Live soccer tournament. Ian was on a squad that had qualified for the Nationals by winning a regional tournament in Utah last summer. As a team, they finished tied for 5th (of eight) in their age group. One win, two losses, and a draw. I think all of the boys went into this tournament with a lingering question of whether they really belonged there, whether they could compete. They showed well, and from a technical and tactical standpoint, they were even with or better than all of the teams they saw in their age group. They were the victims of a couple of slow starts (in the first game Saturday, and then again in their Sunday morning match), but other than that they played well. Even in the two losses, once they got past the rough starts, they showed they could play with any of the other teams in their age group.

Ian playing in the 3v3 Live National Finals soccer tournamentIan scored the team’s two goals in their opening loss, and then tweaked a muscle in his foot early in the second game. He didn’t play Saturday after that, and was understandably frustrated and disappointed. It was till sore Sunday morning, but he did see some playing time. It limited his mobility which hurt defensively, but he still played well on offense.

San Antonio itself was a bit of a disappointment in some ways to us. Our timing from a weather standpoint was not great: cool, grey, damp, and breezy. We didn’t see the sun the entire time we were there. There was quite a bit of highway construction going on, which made getting around challenging (particularly when coupled with the fact that I don’t think there are straight or square highways in the entire city). The Riverwalk area downtown was pretty cool, we had some good Tex-Mex and barbeque, and were able to spend some time down at the Alamo after the boys finished their tournament play. The travel Friday/Monday schedule made for a pretty relaxing schedule, too.

Home Again, Home Again…

After a hectic week in DC, it is good to be home again…

  • Dinner on Thursday evening at the Lebanese Taverna down in Pentagon City: shawarma, a glass of Ksara cabernet, um ali and Turkish coffee. Still one of my favorite places to eat.
  • Uneventful trip home; despite having very close connections in both Cincinnati and Salt Lake City (particularly SLC, like dash from one plane to the second which has already boarded) my bag made both connections. Ironically — given my flight into SLC earlier in the week — I sat next to guy who would not stop talking.
  • The best part of the whole trip, though, was seeing Deb waiting for me when I came through the airport.

I am so glad to be home!

We spent most of the weekend working on Christmas preparations, and despite the complete lack of snow or anything else that would lead you to believe we are now in late December, it is at least starting to feel a bit like Christmas. We got our tree up and decorated on Saturday, and then all three of us went to see the movie “Stranger than Fiction” — different and wonderful, a real treat. We don’t see many movies in the theater, but this is definitely worth seeing (and this, in spite of the fact that I am definitely not a Will Farrell fan).

Dense Fog

The past couple of days back here in DC have been interesting, to say the least. Dense fog could describe yesterday’s weather as well as my own mindset…

  • After a couple days of amazing weather — or at least it seemed amazing from what I could see from occasional glimpses out the window — with high temperatures in the upper 50’s, yesterday was cool, wet, and very grey. On the Metro in yesterday, crossing the Potomac, the clouds and fog were right down on the water which was a stark contrast to the sun and mirror smooth water on Monday morning.
  • Dense fog would also describe how I felt the past couple of days. Work back here has not gone well — some very visible and important areas of the system I am back here to demonstrate and train users on simply are not working. I am also missing home, family, and friends, and generally feeling a bit Grinchish. Yesterday and today were the services for my friend’s son that died last week, and I am still wrestling a bit with that, and I know that is a big contributor.
  • Greek food for dinner on Tuesday at Athena Pallas in Crystal City: salad, broiled bass (the whole fish!), rice, vegatables, a glass of Greek red, rice pudding, espresso. Very good.
  • Italian last night at Cafe Italiano, also down in Crystal City: minestrone, bruschetta, chianti, coconut ice cream, and an espresso. Also very good — I had forgotten that I had been in there in the past, and the food is very good.
  • The Metro ride out of DC back to the hotel was pretty amazing. For a period of about 30 minutes there were no yellow-line trains; this was rush hour, so you can well imagine the crush of people trying to get on that first train that came through. The car was more than just packed to the point of people being squashed together. Luckily, it is a pretty short ride back to my stop, and once we got past the Pentagon stop and a few people got off, it wasn’t too bad. I am not normally claustrophopic, but the first few minutes were a bit much even for me. It makes me appreciate my 15 minute “commute” to work each day at home.

More Bits from DC

  • Dinner Monday evening at Tutto Italiano in Crystal City: great lasagne, a salad, bread, a class of chianti, a canoli and a an espresso to finish things off. It’s a tiny little place on 23rd but the food was very good, the service decent, and the price incredibly low. I will admit that it wasn’t my first choice, or even my second, but when I found that both of the places that I had planned on going were either out of business or being remodeled, I had to find something else. I was not disappointed…
  • Physically I may be here in DC this week, but my heart is home. We found out late last week that the son of a close friend had died unexpectedly. The funeral is this afternoon.
  • I generally enjoy traveling, and I kind of like DC as a place to visit, but I’m really not all that excited about being here this time. I think part of it is that I don’t like traveling this close to Christmas. This is a time of year where there is so much going on at home, and work is incredibly busy these days… and being away on both fronts right now doesn’t feel like a good thing.