October 20, 2018: Ciana’s New Friend and Ain’t

Saturday. The sun is out today for the first time in forever.  No rain at all today, everything is still wet from the rain last night, though.  It will take a day or two before things will dry out.

I did some cleaning this morning, the house is looking better.  Having sunlight makes me want to clean.  I tried some cleaning outdoors, as well.  I want to get at least half of the chairs, and the misting fan, moved into the garage this week if they dry out enough, so that we don’t have the atrium and patio full of unneeded furniture just getting abused for the next season.  We’ve started collecting chairs outside to the point that rather than our old problem of not having enough chairs in which to sit, we now have the problem of having so many chairs littering the outdoor spaces that there isn’t room to sit in the ones that are there!

The herbs growing in the atrium are a bit waterlogged and showing it with some of the leaves displaying a notably yellow tinge.  I moved the herbs onto a firm bucket and into the middle of the atrium to expose them to more airflow and more sunlight.  With any luck the combination will assist in drying out the soil a little more and keep them in healthy shape.  I have gone nearly a month without needing to water them and they are still drowning out there.

Without the rain, I had a chance to do just a little mowing, as well.  The lawn mower was acting funny, though, and I can’t tell if the battery died on me or if there is something wrong with it.  But I did mow successfully for a while and it is looking better.  Another couple of runs at it and it will be potentially ready for the winter.  If it stops growing like it has been.

Luciana wanted to go to the playground this afternoon.  I had wanted to walk there, but the girls just wanted to drive.  So I gave it and we drove down to Mary Head Carter and spent a few hours there.  The girls had a great time and I spent my time working hard on my DuoLingo Spanish .   I did over a thousand points today, and after over a month of work, I am now at the top of my leaderboard in it.

Luciana made a new friend, Abigail, at the playground today.  I exchanged numbers with her parents and we texted back and forth, so hopefully they will be able to get together next weekend at the playground, too.  Liesl has been doing well at making friends of her own recently, but Luciana has been struggling more to find friends closer to her own age.  So this is very good.

I made pasta for dinner, both girls wanted that after a couple of hours of exercise on the playground.  So we came home and I cooked.  I just had pasta too since I made enough.  We put on Growing Pains and watched that all evening.  We finished the third season and are into the fourth, now.  Both girls are really into it and get upset if I suggest trying to watch anything else.

Tonight for reading time, the girls requested Tom Sawyer.  We read three chapters and are making very good progress.  It moves more slowly than it should because the language is so obtuse and I have to explain so much as we go.  It really is a very advanced book and I wonder what age range it is actually appropriate for given how incredibly difficult the language used in it is.  It seems advanced enough now, seeing it through the eyes of my children, that I wonder if even when it was written it could have been widely understood.  It would be a serious struggle for most adults to just easily read it today, that’s for sure.  But the subject matter is more tuned for children.  It’s an interesting mix of things.  But then the slang is so thick, but that likely was easily to understand back when it was first written.  Today, the bad English used in the dialogue makes no sense as we’ve not carried on with those mistakes in the language.  Being “afeared” doesn’t sound like anything to modern ears, but at the time, it probably sounded like normal bad English.  The use of “ain’t” is one of the few non-words that has survived enough to make sense when reading it naturally.

Which brings an interesting point.  When I was young, “ain’t” was used so popularly that it finally moved from “not a word” to being added to the dictionary.  You heard it all of the time and teachers would always correct you when using it.  Since that time, it became accepted as finally part of the language, even if a bad part, but in my lifetime went from unaccepted, to accepted, to fallen into disuse.  My children will easily never hear it used outside of literature of a certain era.  It simply isn’t a word used any longer, from what I can tell.  They added it to the dictionary prematurely, or perhaps in doing so it became no longer the rebellious verbage it once was and those using it no longer cared to rile folks up by injecting it unnaturally into speech.  It saves no time when talking compared to the proper “am not”, even though it has one fewer syllables, because the tongue has to do more gymnastics whereas “am not” flows more easily from the muscles.

What’s interesting is that when we were young it was made out to be slang so fervently, as if it was not a standard contraction.  But just as “is not” became “isn’t”, it makes sense that “am not” should become “ain’t” and without it there is a gap in an otherwise standard trend of contractions involved a state and “not” trailing.  When it was first used, it was probably simply an obvious application of existing linguistic patterns.  I expect the first practitioners of it were likely shocked to find that people did not consider it to be proper.

The windows are all open and the weather is just lovely.  Fresh air blowing through the house all day.  It was still seventy in the house when we went to bed tonight, but with some air movement and not as humid as it was.  I always love so much when finally we can exchange all of the stale air in the house for fresh outside air.  That is one of my greatest dislikes of living in Dallas, there is just so much of the year when the windows must be closed up and we just recycle the same air for months on end.  I hate it.  I like the fresh air and the silence that comes with not needing to run the furnace blower.

October 19, 2018: Liesl Programming Again

Friday. I was actually up before seven this morning.  Apparently my internal clock is all messed up.

Liesl did all of her reading for her book club today.  She has two short books, instead of one long one, like last month.  She kept running into the office to show me pictures of cute animals.  This month she went for non-fiction books about animal rescue services.  So they are full of adorable animal photos.

Reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond last month was just way too much for Liesl, it burned her out.  So now she is resorting to the total opposite situation.

Liesl also did several lessons in her programming class today.  She decided that it has been a while so she wanted to start over from the beginning to cover the material again.  She is doing Python and making good progress.  Did something like six lessons today.  She is now able to do them mostly on her own, just reading the directions and following them.  She still needs help, but she used to need me to assist and read everything.  Now she is decently self sufficient.

It was another crazy, rainy day.  So much rain.  It didn’t rain “that” hard, but it rained steady the entire day.  A ridiculous amount of water.  The yard is completely underwater, the atrium had a few inches, the plants are showing that they’ve had too much water.

I did some DuoLingo today and found that they have extensive new “stories” when you do it on the computer and so I did a few of those today.  The last time that I did these they had maybe a dozen of the.  Now they appear to have about one hundred and fifty!  I need to dig into those and see how that will help me as I work hard on progressing through my language training.

I put in a lot of time working on some PHP and Laravel stuff today.  I am trying to get myself trained up in using that.  It is coming along well and I have something to show for my work at this point.

Tonight we watched more of the third season of Growing Pains.  It makes me so happy how much the girls enjoy this show.  The really want to watch Just the Ten of Us, the spin off series that made it for three seasons, but no streaming service has released it, sadly.  Fingers crossed, as Growing Pains is very new to Amazon Prime, that maybe they are working on getting Just the Ten of Us, too.  It was a really good show that I watched in the eighties just like its parent show, but it wasn’t nearly as popular and I have not seen one episode of it since it originally aired from somewhere around 1988-1991.

For our bedtime reading tonight, the girls opted for The Magician’s Nephew which I think that they are liking more than Tom Sawyer.  It is certainly for simpler for them to follow.  They liked some of the Narnia books years ago, but I don’t believe that we read this one.  So this is all new for them, but they know that they like the universe in which it is set.

We are about three chapters in at this point.  Hard to believe that it has been thirty seven years since mom first read these stories to me and recorded them on tape.

October 18, 2018: Returning Home from Portland

Thursday.  I was up at two this morning.  Yes, two in the morning!  At least it was Pacific Time, so it felt sort of like four in the morning to my body.  Kind of.  I was still super tired.  But I did manage to sleep pretty well for my few hours that I had gotten.

I got packed up and was out the door of the Best Western Woodburn before three and was on the road in my little rental Toyota Corolla headed north on Interstate 5.  Traffic was light, of course.

My drive was nice, traffic was no problem and navigating to the airport, PDX, was easy.  It was only about a forty five minute drive.  I did have to get gas, and gas in Oregon means someone filling it up for you.  So I got to the airport then looked for a 7-11.  There is one right in the airport road, so no need to get fuel ahead of time.

The rental car return for Dollar was nice and easy.  There was no one but me and the one returns lady when I got there.  So that was super quick and I was into the airport in minutes.

I wandered through PDX, doing well with plenty of time as it was so early.  I noticed that unlike normal airports, there is no mark up at PDX, everything is normal prices.  That’s awesome, I love this airport.

I stopped at a local donut place and got an apple cider fritter before heading into the security line.  The line wasn’t terrible, but was longer than I would normally expect at this time in the morning.

Once through security, I stopped at a brewery for breakfast.  It was about four thirty at this point (PDX starts serving drinks at five if you are flying out of state.)  I ordered some decaf coffee (I am still caffeine free since June) and then some breakfast – something with shired eggs and a bowl of veggie potatoes that was fantastic.  I hung out until a quarter after five getting my phone all charged up and my fill of food for the morning.

From there it was time to board the flight.  A packed flight to Vegas, and then on to Dallas.

The flight to Vegas went well, although I felt a little off this morning.  But it was a short flight, so whatever.  Two hours doesn’t even feel like a real flight to me.  I don’t even bother bringing something to do for such a short flight.  Although a book would have been handy.

We stopped in Vegas and I had to get off of the plane because the wait there was so long that they did not want people staying on the plane while they cleaned and stuff.  So I went into the airport and walked around a little, but not very much.  Vegas is a terrible airport with absolutely nothing to do and no where to go.  A tiny airport, but totally devoid of airport amenities.

It was about an hour at Vegas before reboarding the same plane, in the same seat, and heading off to Dallas, which is about three more hours.

The second leg of the flight went well and I was in Dallas early.  No checked bags so it was right off of the plane and out of the doors.  Paul pulled up to pick me up just a minute after I had walked out of the terminal, so perfect timing.

It was probably around one thirty, two at the latest, when I was home and got to see the family. Saw them a little, then went into the office to work for a few hours.  Loads to catch up on having been gone most of the week.  So my afternoon was decently busy until well into the evening.

It was a good trip.  I had fun and was very productive.  And now I am glad to be home.

October 17, 2018: Exploring Oregon a Little

Wednesday.  My second full day in Oregon.  I got a good rest last night and was up around seven this morning.  Another gorgeous Pacific Northwest day.  Bright sun, warm air, crisp and clean.  It was so nice.

I took some time and caught up on MangoLassi posting at my desk for about an hour and a half. Loads of activity this morning, so good that I was awake and able to participate.  It is weird being on Pacific time, as so many people have been awake and posting for so long already.

We have been getting really good interesting in MangoCon.  We are hoping for nearly double the kind of attendance that we have had in past years.

I got ready for work and left at eight thirty.  I managed to drive from the Best Western in Woodburn, all the way to the office in Mt. Angel this morning without needing to look at a map or directions even once!

We put in another full day in the office.  All work, even through lunch.  Which we had at a little local diner not far from the office.  I had an in house made veggie burger that was pretty good.

We worked in the office until nearly six in the evening.  Then I had to jump in the rental car and zip north twenty minutes to meet up with TJ at an Oregonian staple for dinner and drinks.

TJ beat me there by a bit.  We had a flight of whiskey and of local beers and ate dinner sitting outside on the patio.

We had a nice time and hung out for a few hours.  I had a goat cheese for dinner, which was delicious.

We left around nine, I had to get back to the hotel to get some sleep.  So I drove home and was in bed around ten.  If I am lucky and manage to fall asleep quickly, I might just pull off four hours of sleep, maybe.  Going to be tough.  I packed up what little that I could so that I would be ready to go in the morning as quickly as possible.  I am going to be so tired tomorrow.  My flight leaves PDX at six in the morning to go to Vegas and I am an hour south of the airport, which is way up on the river.  So I have to get up, shower, pack, check out, drive an hour, fuel the car, return the rental, get through security and be at the gate by around four in the morning! Ugh.

October 16, 2018: My First Day in Oregon

Tuesday.  My first full day in Oregon, and my first time seeing it in the daylight.

I was so tired after last night, I slept in till about eight this morning, then had to shower, get dressed, eat and find my way to the office.  There was breakfast in the hotel, so I just grabbed some biscuits and gravy which was ready to go and ate in about five minutes.  Then I hopped in the car and drove to Mt. Angle, Oregon.

The drive was amazing.  Now I am seeing Oregon in the blinding morning sun and it is so beautiful.  The leaves were changing, but it was a bright, crisp, warm day.  The central valley in Oregon reminds me of a beautiful blending of the midwest, Rockies, New England and Ireland all rolled into one.  The flat valley, with the New England colours, the giant mountains (the Cascades) in the distance, it was all just very incredible.

From the office parking lot I was able to see Mt. Hood, the tallest peak in Oregon and one of the most prominent mountains in the United States.  It was very far away, maybe eighty miles, but amazing to see.  It is one of the largest volcanoes in North America.

I got to the office in Mt. Angel and we worked all day till just after five.  For lunch we went to a local family restaurant where I got a fish and chips.

The day went well and after work it was straight back to the hotel for me.  I had thought about driving out to the Pacific coast, but I was tired and the sun was getting low and the drive was not a short one.  So to the hotel for me.

I thought about going out for dinner.  I even asked about it at the front desk.  But it all seemed like so much effort and I was just not up to it at all.  So I ordered in from Dominos and just ate in my hotel room by myself.  I was pretty tired so this seemed like the right decision.  There was a Friends marathon on the television and it was episodes that I had never seen (yes, as strange as it is, there is a lot of that show that I have never managed to see.)  So I watched at least four episodes, ate my pizza, and pretty much was right off to bed once that was done.

This is a bit of a whirlwind trip.  No time to really enjoy anything.  Just here to work and get back as soon as I can.  I would guess that I was in bed and asleep by around ten.  I also don’t want my internal clock to adjust too much because I have to shift my sleeping schedule a lot tomorrow night for my flight on Thursday.