September 20, 2018: Pool Time with Friends

Thursday. I slept till a quarter after eight this morning.  I accidentally let the phone die during the night, so thankfully no one was looking for me before I plugged it in!

Liesl got up and watched Liberty’s Kids for a bit this morning.  She is getting into the show.

Today’s main project is completing the build of the Windows 2016 Server, installing SQL Server 2017, doing a 2014 to 2017 migration, investigating some telecom failover issues, and more.  A busy day with a lot of communications, meetings, technical work, and more.  But, I have to say, it went overall pretty decently.

Lunch was some leftover sushi.  I like sushi quite a bit, but day old sushi leaves a lot to be desired.

This afternoon the girls had a play date at Isabella’s to go swimming.  And Dominica gets to go and meet Isabella’s mom today.  We had to start getting the girls ready at two thirty to be able to get there by three thirty.

We left the house at a quarter after three.  It is only ten minutes away in Addison.  The sun was out and it was warm when we left.  We got to the pool and the girls played with Isabella and Juan for about three hours.  They had so much fun.  They are all like old friends.  Dominica and I hung out the whole time with their mom, as well.  It was good as they have not had a chance to meet yet.

When we left we learned that tomorrow is the last day of Homeschool Week at Legoland DFW in Grapevine.  So Dominica might try to take Liesl and Luciana to that.  It’s a STEM activity center with lots of educational stuff and activities.  There is no way that I can go, even though I’d probably have a lot of fun.  This week hasn’t been too crazy, but it has been busy and I cannot be stepping away from my desk again as I was away so much on Tuesday morning and a little this afternoon.  I just need to be head down and working tomorrow.

Once home it was setan pot roast for dinner, which was excellent.  Liesl devoured so much of it with cooked carrots and boiled potatoes.  We watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager with dinner.  Luciana was good with the carrots and potatos but the setan roast was not to her liking.

We told the girls around nine that they had to get to bed super early tonight so that they will get enough sleep before getting up “early” tomorrow to be able to go to Legoland for the day.  Paul said that he would go, he likes Legos a lot.  So I will have a quiet house most of the day.

I’m on a two day DuoLingo streak now.  I’ve been working very hard at it and I can really tell an improvement.  Over 230 Spanish crowns achieved now!

Got the kids to bed early.  Ready The Chamber of Secrets, then to bed myself.  No time for my own reading tonight.  The girls are excited about tomorrow.  Hopefully they can get up in the morning, and manage to coordinate meeting up with Isabella and Juan while there.

September 19, 2018: Grocery Restocking

I got up quite early this morning, just after six.  There was a lot to do and I wanted to be well prepared for the day.  Paul was awake when I got up, but was not feeling well and he went back to bed and slept most of the morning.  I was productive and prepped well for the day and got several projects moving along before my early morning meeting at nine.

Dominica and Paul did a huge shopping run today.  First to Cosco where they got a truck load of groceries (the house is totally depleted after two weeks without a grocery run other than the little one that the girls and I did over the weekend) and they found an air fryer on sale.  I have wanted an air fryer for a while and this one looks to be really nice.

Then they went out to WinCo and did another full grocery run there.  There is plenty of food in the house, now!  It’s not just stocked, it’s full.

Dominica brought home sushi for lunch, which was tasty.  Liesl really enjoyed hers.  Luciana had a little, but I got most of hers.

I had to do a lot of Hyper-V 2016 management today in a system that was not working correctly and had no GUI, which is a great way to be forced to figure out ways to use PowerShell for absolutely everything.  Even the simplest tasks to typically handle via a remote workstation had to be done from local PowerShell which was actually a challenge, but made it all kind of fun.

My day was really just a rather long one.  I had to work continuously until seven thirty.  So very little to say about my day.  Sitting in my office, on the phone for probably four hours in total!

Dinner tonight was the amazing maple glazed salmon, with green beans, and potato wedges from the new air fryer.  I tried one.  Potato wedges are not that much of a thing for me even at the best of times.  These were still from the learning stages of using the new fryer so not enough to entice me, really.

While having dinner we made it through an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.  Then Dominica wanted Sonic ice cream and they made a run to pick some up for everyone while I squeezed in another half an hour of work.  Then it was ice cream (I broke down and had some, Sonic does such a great job) and we watched a second episode during which I cooked the girls their second dinner of mac and cheese.

Paul and Dominica are feeling the shame of me having been dieting for the last two months on my own and supposedly they will be starting diets next week, as well.  I will believe it when I see it.

After the mac and cheese was finished, Luciana wanted me to read her the sixth chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while she took a shower in the new shower.

Liesl spent the entire evening playing Roblox in the living room, so we saw very little of her.

The plan is that the girls will be getting together with Isabella tomorrow, but I do not know any details about that, yet.

Tried to get the girls into bed at a reasonable time tonight so that we could relax and do our reading and our DuoLingo.  Liesl has been working really hard at maintaining her DuoLingo streak.  It’s a good incentive for her.  We only have her set up to need to acquire ten points per day to keep it going; that is the lowest number.  Mine is at the highest, which is fifty, but I am striving for at least three hundred as a daily minimum goal if I can help it.

I had to build one Windows 2016 Server and one Deepin 15.7 server before calling it a night.  Always “one last task” to squeeze in before bed.

September 18, 2018:

I had to be up at seven this morning, and shower right away.  Only time to get ready and get out of the door.  Paul and I are headed downtown Dallas today, and the last thing that we want to do is fight Dallas traffic all morning and then deal with downtown parking; so that means that we are taking the train.  The train goes at 8:30 and at 8:34; and we don’t want to miss them and be stuck taking the 8:50, that would cut it too close to make our meeting.

Luciana loves her new wolf stuffed animal.

I got to wear my new shows this morning.  And my “old” suit.  Good deal.

We were running late and were actually quite lucky to make the 8:34, the 8:30 pulled away as we were trying to park.  But getting the next one was easy.  Because we got the “in between” train, we had to ride our local Green Line DART down to the edge of Dallas proper, then switch to the Orange Line.

This is my first time riding the Orange Line at all, it was being built when we were first living in Irving and is a congestion relief for part of the Green Line down in the city, then goes west to service Irving, Las Colinas, and the DFW Airport, so is very popular, now.  We had watched it being built and had hoped that we would have been able to have used it a lot as it goes right to the complex at Las Colinas where we used to be members at La Cima, which would have been super convenient.  But we left La Cima long before they completed the train line, and any friends we had who lived there moved away, and now we never have a reason to go to Irving at all, even though it is very close by.  So we’ve just never used it.

The Orange Line took us all of the way up to Cityplace, which was neat.  I’ve used the trains downtown plenty, but never to Uptown, before.  I had no idea that north of downtown that the trains turn into a subway!

At Cityplace / Uptown station it is two long elevators, and then several stairs to get up to ground level.  We were quite surprised.  The station is shared with the ground level trolley service, too.  I had not known that Uptown had a Trolley at all, nor that it was free.  This would be very convenient if I knew the schedule or what was along the line.  It is called the M-Line.  I need to acquaint myself more with Dallas transit options.

What’s neat is that at Uptown Station, the M-Line Trolley has an old fashioned turn table that spins it around to reverse its trip.  Pretty neat.

It was super hot, heat index over one hundred, so walking to the office where our meeting was, even though it was only a fourteen minute walk, was not a good option.  We called an Uber and asked them to crank the AC for us.  That made it quick and easy.

Other than the heat, it was a gorgeous Dallas day.  The ride was quick and our meeting lasted about an hour.  Went well, we think.

We got to see Kim while there, just for a moment.  But when we were done we grabbed her and went to lunch.  She recommended a little Thai Street food place on the quadrangle that turned out to be really good, and was just opening as we got there.

Paul and I got Thai Fried rice, mine was tofu and was so good.

It’s been many years since I managed to have lunch with Kim uptown.  Last time was at the Tower Club and I can’t even begin to imagine when it was, I bet it was back in 2013!

We Ubered back to Uptown Station, caught the Red Line to Pacific, and switched to the Green Line.  I hit the 7-11 while we had a few minutes to wait for a cold drink.  Then a nice, long, air conditioned Green Line ride back up to Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton.  A successful morning.

Once back, it was out of the suit and straight to a busy afternoon of work.  Having been out all morning makes for an incredibly busy afternoon and I ended up working much of the evening trying to stay on top of things.

It was a busy evening, I had to work and had some meetings going late into the evening.  No time off for me.

September 17, 2018: Ciana’s New Glasses

Monday morning.  My day seemed to turn into a day of meetings.  I was on the phone for a large portion of the morning.  Kept me very busy.  A bit kick off to my work week.  And tomorrow I am already due to be out of the office for most of the day with Paul and I heading downtown Dallas for a morning meeting.

MangoLassi was super busy today, too.  Lots of traffic, lots of posting.  I was trying to keep up, which is actually relatively conducive to being in phone meetings since I can’t do normal work, but a little posting keeps me on my toes.

This morning Dominica took Luciana to America’s Best to pick up her new glasses.  She now has two pairs of normal, every day glasses to wear for regular activities.  They are so adorable, and she loves them.  She loves both that they are so cute, and she loves that she is able to see.

When I was Ciana’s age, I hated how my glasses looked, and I wasn’t all that excited about how much more I could see.  Although I can still remember being seven and mom driving me home from the eye doctor in Geneseo, New York and seeing the trees on the far side of the fields in the flats down on Route 63 and being amazed that I could see the trees so far away.

Since Paul and I have the meeting tomorrow, I need a suit and I don’t have any shoes that fit me.  I wear a size fourteen, now, and my last dress shoes were from many years ago and were more like an eleven.  They are so small that I am in a lot of pain just trying to get my feet into them.  So new shoes were an emergency.

Paul and I ran out to Nordstrom Rack and it took no more than five minutes to try on several pairs of shoes, and to find something that I liked and that was pretty cheap (for dress shoes.)  Black, simple, functional.  That’s all that I needed.  We were in and out and I am ready for tomorrow.

I had tried on my black suit tonight and it fits.  I have only used the suit once before, I believe.  This is the black suit that I got in 2013, during the summer, for doing my interviewing with the hedge funds in Connecticut.  So over five years ago!  I was only thirty seven the last time that I wore this suit, back when I was still working a normal financier job in Dallas and looking for a change!  Mind boggling how the time flies, and amazing that we still have the suit and that it still fits.

Dinner tonight for me was spaghetti squash in oil and garlic, and a side of broccoli.  A very healthy dinner.  During dinner we got through an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

I offered the girls a chance to go out for Froyo and Liesl was excited to go and Luciana wanted to stay home and play with Clara online.  So Liesl and I made it just the two of us and went to Yorgurtti.  We had a very nice time.

Liesl went for cake batter again.  And, of course, I had to get cotton candy.  I keep it simple: cotton candy with mini M&Ms in it.

On the way back from yoghurt, we stopped at Sonic and ordered ice cream for Dominica and Paul.  This ended up taking forever.  No idea why but we sat for a good ten minutes, even though the place was empty save but for one car.  Then other people arrived, ordered, got their food, and left; all while we were sitting there just trying to order.  It was at least three times longer than the longest that I have ever waited at a Sonic, and was easily one of the slowest Sonic stores ever, too.  Hardly anyone was there getting food.  At least twice, we were the only car!

I managed to watch some Deep Space Nine.  Technically I was watching it, but Dominica was puttering about the room much of the time so sort of watched it with me and at some point actually watched it with me.  Only half a season left before I have completed the entire show.

Liesl started watching Liberty’s Kids tonight.  She loves cartoons and Dominica got this for her years ago but I don’t think that she ever watched it.  Liesl certainly can’t remember having watched it, at least.  So she watched that for a few hours tonight.  We really want her to watch that so that she gets a feel for colonial America because she needs that background to be able to understand the context of The Witch of Blackbird Pond which she is reading.

The girls and I read chapter four in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before I got them off to bed.  Then I read some of East of Eden and fell asleep myself.  That book will definitely put you to sleep very quickly.  At least as an adult I can appreciate Steinbeck’s writing far better.  When I was really young and decided to read grandma’s ancient copy of The Grapes of Wrath it was so slow, and dry, and seemed to just wander without any direction.  Now, I think, I’d appreciate it far more.

Just saying that, I can picture finding that old novel, along with a copy of 1984, on the little book shelf in grandma’s front bedroom, the one that had been my Aunt Sharon’s room when I was really young, before she got married and moved to Leicester, and her letting me have them.  And the feel of those old 1960s to 1970s novel pages, and the musty smell that all of the books at grandma’s house had.  I don’t even have the book in front of me, but it’s as clear as can be in my hands and I can’t be more than twelve years old, so a full thirty years ago, finding these classics of American literature that no one but me in the family would ever have an interest to read (and to this day, still no one reads them but me)  and asking to have them and working to read this very difficult material.  I haven’t pictured that front room in years, decades maybe.  I can’t remember the last time I was in that house, let alone that room.  It was the house she got when I was little, just two doors down from us on Peoria Road.  I got so much of my reading from her, which I never really realized till I was older.

September 16, 2018: Lychee Fruit

I was up at eight.  The sun is out.  I did some writing, made myself a bagel for breakfast, made the coffee, did some cleaning in the kitchen, did some DuoLingo.  I got the day kicked off pretty well.

The girls were up mid-morning.  They both wanted fresh bagels for breakfast.  Good thing that we bought a dozen yesterday.

I am on two months of no caffeine now and it has been going great.  No cravings and I have a better sleep schedule and I just never get tired during the day.

While Liesl ate her breakfast, which was actually in the afternoon, I read some more of The Witch of Blackbird Pond to her.  We are on the fourth chapter now and I am rapidly catching up with where she is in reading it herself.  Doing the reading twice, and having me explain things as we go, seems to be working well.  My goal is to be reading it right behind her as reinforcement once I can fully catch up.

I looked up the author, today, Elizabeth George Speare.  She was an important author, especially in my day.  She was born in 1908 and it turns out that she passed away in 1994, just months after I graduated from school.  The book we are reading now was written in 1954, and is probably her most famous.  But nearly equally famous, and also one that I read as a child, was The Sign of the Beaver (a copy of this is at dad’s house somewhere) which was written in 1983, so was a very new book when I had read it being only a year or two old – I had no idea at the time that one was so old, and one so current.  Oddly, I have never heard of her other Newbery Medal winning book, The Bronze Bow, which was written in 1961.  It’s still in print, but not even remotely as famous as her other two.

Luciana spend the morning in my room, in the bed watching videos.

The girls tried out some snacks that they had found at the grocery store yesterday.

While we were reading, Helen came over from next door and asked if Christian could mow our lawn, he was already out mowing and wanted to use up the gas that he had, and she said that he liked mowing, that it helped him to relax.  I’m skeptical that they just didn’t think our lawn looked awful, but said that he could.  So the lawn is all nicely mowed now for Dominica’s return.  I had intended to go out and mow some today anyway.

Christian also trimmed the bushes in front some, and we talked and he has a machine that can take them out.  So he said that he’s going to come over on Wednesday and remove them.  While we were looking at them, we noticed a huge crack in the side of his house.  Luckily he is only renting, so the wall damage is not really his concern.  But he said that when it rains hard, the wall gets wet and water runs across the floor from the hole in the side of the house!  He said that the roof is damaged and water comes in from that way, too.  He had to move his television because of water raining down on it.

I invited them over to drinks or something next weekend, and to bring the kids so that they can meet our kids.  Liesl and Luciana came outside to talk to Helen, too.  Or to say hi, not to really talk.  And they invited the girls to go over and play on their trampoline sometime.

Liesl and I ended up reading seven chapters together today and I didn’t just catch up with her, but am a page or two ahead, now.  It has been so long, over three decades, since I read this book, but as I read it it is all so familiar.  Amazing to read it again, so long afterwards.  I can only guess that I was ten or eleven when I last read it.  It was one of the many wonderful books that I got from the Scholastic book catalogues that we had before the days of Amazon.

We would order from these small catalogues at school.  They were just a couple of pages long, and we would be send home with them.  You would fill out an order form and in a month or whatever, some books would arrive.  I got loads and loads of great books this way, like Moccasin Trail, The Sign of the Beaver, Johnny Tremain, To Kill a Mockingbird, Danger on Panther Peak, All Quiet on the Western Front, A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Up a Road Slowly, Across Five Aprils, Watership Down, The Lottery Rose, No Promises in the Wind, The Summer of the Swans, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, Rabbit Hill, Little Women, Trapped in Death Cave, and many, many Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes comic books.

Luciana made some slime on her own today.  She went and found the ingredients, and even a container.  She did the mixing on her own in the kitchen and voila, she made her own slime.  It was way easier than the kit that we had for doing slime previously.  It seems that slime mania has taken over with kids today.  Everyone does it.  From their friend Emily in Missouri, to Isabella to the kids directly next door.  It’s all the rage.

It took a lot of work, for some reason, to get the kids out of the door today to go to the playground.  I wanted to be on the way at five, but it was after six when we ran out the door.  We got lucky, though, their new friend, whose name we do not know, was there and they played for a long time.

They played for a while.  He brought then a yoghurt to share.  And introduced them both to lychee fruit, which they both liked.  I tried it, too, it is delicious.

They had a good time and played for about two hours.  Dominica got home while we were there after stopped at Taco Bueno around the corner.  The girls did not want Taco Bueno, Liesl wanted Taco Bell and Luciana wanted my home made pasta.

We left the playground before eight, swung into Taco Bell getting Liesl and I dinner, then came home to visit.

The girls each got a stuffed wolf from Colorado.  They love them.

Spent most of the evening catching up.  Then read the third chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before getting the girls off to bed.

Dominica was pretty impressed by how clean I was able to get the house.  Of course the first thing that she did when she got home was to close all of the windows.  Ciana was sad, the girls love that they get all that natural light when it is just us.