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).

Last Match

We are passing milestones with Ian at what feels like a frightening pace right now: Thursday was his last day of high school (graduation is this next week), and yesterday was almost certainly our last soccer match together as father/coach and son/player. It has been an incredible experience to have shared in this aspect of his life in such an intimate way, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.

We are passing milestones with Ian at what feels like a frightening pace right now: Thursday was his last day of high school (graduation is this next week), and yesterday was almost certainly our last soccer match together as father/coach and son/player. Bittersweet, to say the least: we won an easy match against a Utah team after dropping a pair of close matches against teams from Utah and Nevada, matches we could have and probably should have won. Soccer is a funny game, and sometimes it’s simply not enough to play better than the opponent…

We ended our season with a trip to the Salt Lake City area to play in the Wasatch Classic tournament. We ended up coming down with 15 of our guys and played well, but were more than a little unlucky on both sides of the ball particularly in our second match. So that easy win yesterday represents what will be — unless something really unexpected would occur — the last time I will coach Ian or a team he’s playing with. This, in particular, has been a fun season to have been with these guys, in part because we had some success but more because the mix of young men and personalities were just a pleasure to work with and the be around.

It has been an incredible experience as a coach and as a father to have watched him grow and develop as a player and as a young man over these 10-plus years. I know it hasn’t always been easy for him to be a coach’s kid, but he has dealt with that aspect of this with grace. I’m tremendously proud of him, and grateful to have had this opportunity.

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.

End of summer and Cyrillic spam

The first snow of the season marks the real end of summer, despite being a ways from the end of the fall soccer season; ratatouille last night for dinner and a full plate of Cyrillic spam before breakfast this morning.

It’s official: we’re done with summer. We woke up to snow on the ground this morning. (I suppose you could say it actually ended midweek last week when we had snow on the hills around town, but I didn’t want to rush things.) Of course, we’ve still got a little over a month of soccer left… so I’m hoping for at least a little bit of an upward trend in temperatures from where we are forecast to be this week. Hoping, but not holding my breath…

Our garden has long since been cleaned out, since we’ve had a couple hard frosts over the past week or so. We used up some of our zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers in a nice ratatouille last night (the first time I’ve tried making it) — a great way to use up some of the piles of produce we have from the garden.

On the spam front, I woke up to 31 spam messages on my blog which pushes the total number to almost 1,000 since I started accepting comments on some posts. (Again, I am very grateful for the Akismet plugin within WordPress.) The difference today: all 31 were posted in Cyrillic.

Still catching up

Lousy (wet, cool, and windy) weather today, so we’re trying to get caught up on some things around here; a couple pictures from this past spring soccer season.

The weather here today (and, in reality, most of this week) has been pretty lousy; it’s pelting down rain and the wind is blowing right now. We’re trying to make the best of it by getting caught up on stuff that just seems to have been overtaken or lost in the scramble these past couple of months.

Li watching one of Ian's soccer matches (Spring 2009)
Li watching one of Ian's soccer matches (Spring 2009)

I was going through some pictures our friend John took during the course of the soccer season; pictures of most of our team and quite a few of Li. He got quite a few really good ones; here are a couple.

This picture of Li has to have been taken on one of the few halfway decent days on which we had matches, given what she’s wearing and given that her hair isn’t streaming out behind her from the wind. Until the final two weeks of the season, most of the matches were played in some combination of extreme wind, rain, or snow.

Ian on the ball (Spring 2009)
Ian on the ball (Spring 2009)

Given the generally lousy weather we saw all season — I can remember only two practice sessions all season that I was there in shorts without warmups — it was somewhat fitting that we closed our season out on the Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend with an early match under grey skies and light showers at the State Cup tournament. The exception to that was a local tournament a week ahead of State Cup, where we did get to play in relatively warm weather and under sunny skies. This picture of Ian is one of the few John got where the players aren’t all wearing at least one layer under their uniforms.

I’m headed for DC for most of this next week, and as much as I like DC, I’m not looking forward to being gone.