October 14, 2018: Liesl’s First Symphony

Sunday.  Today is our day to attend the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  It’s early in the afternoon so we have to prepare for it all morning.  Liesl has been mulling over whether or not she wants to go or not.  It took her all morning to decide, but she eventually decided, at the last minute, that she wanted to do the symphony with Dominica and me.  I had to show Liesl a YouTube video of the DSO playing Mahler for a while for her to make up her mind.

I worked most of the morning, know that we were going to be out much of the day.  I got a lot done, especially on a Laravel and PHP project that I’ve been working on when time allows.

We had to start getting ready at eleven to be able to get to the symphony.  Liesl was super excited that she had to get all dressed up and borrow Dominica’s jewelry to go.  That is really what pushed her over the top to decide that she wanted to go.

Liesl waiting at Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton.

We left the house at a quarter till one and drove down to the Trinity Mills Station to catch the 1310 Green Line going downtown.  The weather is really nice today, warm enough to be comfortable, but not so warm that you get too hot.  Lots of cloud cover today.  Rain expected later on in the day.  Tomorrow is supposed to be really cold, only around forty two degrees!

Dominica, Liesl, and I Riding the Green Line to Downtown

We easily caught our train headed downtown.  Liesl enjoyed the ride.  It has been a really long time since she took the DART Rail and she had a very fun time seeing the city whizzing by.  It is also the first time that she can remember ever going downtown for something, other than just driving straight through it.  It is a big day for Liesl.

Liesl waiting at the DSO Symphony Hall before the concert.

Luciana decided that the symphony was like the musical version of a movie.  And just as she would not want to go to a movie theatre to see a movie that she could watch at home; she does not want to go to a concert to see a band or orchestra that she could listen to at home.  She prefers having her own bathroom, not needing to travel, not needing to leave the house, being allowed to pause and make noise, etc.  Pretty wise.  That’s why I don’t got to movies, too.

We made good time and had a nice walk from Pearl Station to the Symphony Hall.  It is about three blocks and Liesl was just skipping through the city, she was so excited to be out in Dallas.

Liesl in our symphony seats.

Our tickets were waiting for us at Will Call.  And it turned out that we got private box seats in the very front box!  We were in V4 – V7, the front right Chorus Level box.  So cool.

View from our box at the DSO.

The concert started at two thirty.  Liesl thought that the whole experience was very cool.

The first piece was not so interesting.  But the second, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was excellent, really moving.  We all really enjoyed it.

Liesl waiting at intermission.

Liesl was struggling with how long the concert was by intermission so, after a bathroom break, we discussed it and decided that we should come back home rather than pushing Liesl to sit quietly for another hour.  We didn’t want to burn her out on the symphony and make her not want to come again in the future.  This was a good introduction to it and she liked it.  But she doesn’t plan on coming with us again for a while.

Liesl outside of Symphony Hall.

Dominica, Rachel, and I are planning on going to see Carmen at the Dallas Opera in November, as our next event of this type.

We walked back to the train, took a few pictures as it was such a perfect day and Liesl was so adorable all dressed up.  Then it was the train back to Trinity Mills.

Liesl at the Plaza of the Americas

We had been in such a hurry this morning that none of us really got anything to eat other than some granola bars in the car on the way to the train station.  Liesl really wanted Taco Bell, big surprise.  We swung by Marsh and grabbed dinner for everyone on the way back.  Nice and easy day.

Liesl and I watched several episodes of the third season of Growing Pains while we ate our dinner.  She is loving that show and it is our thing to watch together now.  Luciana hung out in her room playing Roblox with her cousins.

Dominica and Paul have been watching Designated Survivor which looks good from time to time when I see it, but not good enough to make me decide to watch it.

After a lot of Growing Pains, Liesl played Mass Effect: Andromeda and I hung out with her as much as possible as she really prefers video gaming when we are together.  She does an amazing job of playing these really advanced, adult games all on her own.  I almost never help her and in reality, she is far better at helping me.  She has played a lot of the action sequences and path finding of my own game, so really her playing it controlling the story isn’t any harder, but way more interesting.

Dominica and Paul went out to the Fox and Hound tonight to shoot some pool for a while.

The girls and I started reading The Magician’s Nephew today.  They are excited about it and while it is only one chapter, are already really getting into the story.

It is really chilly out this evening.  The day stayed pretty warm, but tonight it is nice and cold.  Had to close all of the windows except for our bedroom window so that the house didn’t get too cold.

I had to work some tonight.  Some tickets came in and customers needed me.  So my evening was pretty busy.  Lots of writing needing my attention, as well.

I am on a 38 day streak on DuoLingo.  Not all that impressive for me.  Liesl, though, is on a 21 day streak now, three full weeks, and is really dedicated to learning her Spanish!  I am so proud of her.  Luciana did her DuoLingo tonight, too, without anyone reminding her.

I read another two chapters of Tom Sawyer to the girls tonight.  They are enjoying it, but boy is it a struggle for them to follow the story.  Even I am struggling a bit, the language is so obtuse.

I came back to the office to work this evening, but barely got started before I had to go take care of the girls and the house as a thunderstorm started that was incredibly intense.  At first it was far away, as storms are, but it came right over the house and go so loud that I knew that they would be crying, and sure enough they were terrified by the time that I got to them.

Thank goodness I ran to them when I did, because I had just started to try to comfort them and was explaining how to count out the time to determine how far away the lightning was when one of the brightest lightning strikes I have ever seen happened right outside of the window and the thunder was so fast and intense that it was deafening and I could still see the lightning while hearing the thunder!  The girls were crying terribly after that.  The thunder shook the house so strongly that Luciana’s light up sneakers actually lit up in the corner of the room as if she was wearing them!

I stayed up for at least an hour helping the girls to get to sleep.  So much for getting work done tonight.

October 13, 2018: Rain

Saturday. Today was a pretty heavy day of relaxing at home. I did work this morning, as usual.

Today, more than anything, was a day of rain.  It rained, non-stop, all day.  Just on and on.  It would vary between a light sprinkle and just torrential downpour.  But it never stopped raining.

At one point, it rained just right, that water started coming in up near the high roof above the bar and started coming down through our bar windows.  Now we have water damage there and more work to day.  Just great.

It rained hard and fast enough that we started flooding in the atrium again, too.  This is the first time that that has happened, as far as we know, in quite some time.  With the tree removed we thought that it was going to be a lot better, and likely it is, but it is not enough to deal with the volume of water that can still come down and all of the junk that can be washed into our main drain during a storm.

This time we had Paul to run out into the rain and clear the drain, so I got a reprieve.  That was a nice change.

Liesl Trying on Hats

The grass has been growing like crazy with the alternating rain and sunshine we have been getting.  But it rains often enough that I never get a chance to do anything about it.  So much of it is going to seed already!  Thank goodness I at least cut the back yard down to the dirt last week, so that is not so crazy now.  But out front, it is a disaster.

Liesl and I decided that today would be a Growing Pains day and we watched that much of the day.  We completed the second season today, and started the third.  I am having so much fun watching it all again with her.

While watching Growing Pains, we got to the episode in the second season where Mike is painting his room and convinces Boner to paint it for him.  The scene is copied directly out of Tom Sawyer and I was so proud of Liesl for immediately recognizing the scene as a copy from the book!

Dominica and Paul have been binge watching Designator Survivor which has good people and seems to not be so bad.

It was really just a day of relaxing.  We needed it this week.

This evening Kim called and asked to come over and hang out.  She came over late in the evening and stayed till late.  We’ve seen her a few times in the last few months, but she has not been over to the house in a really long time.

October 12, 2018: Tom Sawyer

Friday.  This is my one, normal work day for the week.  Lots of work to do today having been gone for three days, then taking yesterday off as much as possible so that I could relax.  Today is my day to catch up on tickets.

No real news for the day, but it was a fine day.  No issues.  We did lots of work to document what we did in Austin this week.  I set up a HubSpot CRM for the company to use, too.  That was a good hour of the day.

Paul put in a new door lock today.  That was really, really needed.  The lock on our front door has deteriorated to the point where I have been worried that we will either get locked out of the house for good, or get locked in in case of an emergency.  For a month I have been struggling to unlock the door when people come to visit, sometimes taking over a minute to get it open!

So now we went from our forty year old brass disaster to a shiny, new brushed nickle more modern, and solidly working, lock.

Tonight, I started reading Tom Sawyer to the girls. They do not know the story at all, and believe it or not, Dominica has never read it (or seen the movie, or had it read… nothing.)  I am excited to be working through a number of serious classics with the girls.  I get to do a lot of their critical literature home schooling stuff.

We did three chapters tonight, which includes the famous chapter on white washing the fence that is so iconic.  I am very impressed by how well Liesl and Luciana are following the story and even enjoying it.  We have to stop often to explain the language, culture, and history.  The book was written in 1876, so was exactly one hundred years old when I was born.  So it is 42% older today than it was then, and the extra time really shows.  It is so much more disconnected from current events than it was when I was little.  So much less connected to the social consciousness.

When I was young, that book felt like it was so ridiculously old.  Something from a totally foreign world.  Now reading it, it doesn’t seem so old or foreign.  At least not to me.  But trying to explain it to the kids is pretty hard.

The girls have the benefit of having spent a lot of time in Missouri and are very aware of the Mississippi River first hand.  Both things that I did not experience in my childhood.  So they have a lot more physical and geographic context for the book than I did. But I had far more historic context.

October 11, 2018: Recovery Day

Thursday.  We are back from Spiceworld and have all had way too little sleep.  We are exhausted.  Thank goodness today ended up being super slow at work so I was able to get some time to recover.

I slept in a little this morning, but not much as there was work needing me.  But it wasn’t too busy.

Rachel had to go work a bit, but came over later on in the day.  Bohdan had to get to the airport this morning to fly to Dubai, and then on to Kuala Lumpur where he is going to be for a few weeks.  We are hoping that he comes back to Dallas to visit in May.

I took an afternoon nap, not very common for me.  That is a once or twice a year kind of thing, at best.  I didn’t sleep a lot, but an hour or two and it made all of the difference.

Having worked or slept through breakfast or lunch, I was hungry by late afternoon.  Rachel had not eaten either.  So we decided to go get lunch as we were both in the mood for fish tacos and Dominica and Paul were on a completely different schedule and had already eaten.

Rachel and I went up to Rockfish in The Colony.  She has never been there before, and it is one of my favourite places to go to eat.  We were both really hungry and wanted to try several things, so we decided to just get one order of Santa Fe fish tacos and split it, split the volcano shrimp, split some rice, some jalapeno hush puppies, and some cheesy grits.  We were pretty funny splitting everything.  The only thing we didn’t split were our drinks; she likes a frozen margarita and I like a hurricane.

Rachel really liked the food and we both decided that are strategy was perfect, we each got the variety that we wanted and more than enough food and we only needed one appetizer and one main course to completely fill us.

It was so nice, we had decided to sit outside.  A perfect day for relaxing on a Dallas patio.

We did split one house beer before leaving, as she is a “beer collector” and had never had their in house beer before.

Next door to Rockfish is a cool beer pub called Lonestar Taps and Caps.  Rachel has been there before and loves it; it was new to me.  So we went there for one flight before calling it a day.

The beer selection was incredible.  I like this place a lot.

Rachel with her beer flight.

Rachel with both beer flights.

We had a great time trying and reviewing the beers.  It was a really nice afternoon out.  Really, it was more of an evening outing.  After dinner was nearly done I had realized that it was nearly four o’clock local time, so the work day was really over for us.  Which was perfect, so I did not have to worry about work stuff.  Extra good since my phone died while we were trying the flights, so I got a good hour offline, too.

Got home around six thirty or seven.  Rachel took off to go back to her grandmother’s so that she could do laundry and stuff.  She is heading down to Austin tomorrow for Anita’s 21st birthday party.  Coming back on Sunday, I think.

I am scheduled to go to Portland next week.  Going on Monday, returning on Thursday.

This evening was just relaxing at home.  Some Growing Pains, some reading.  We finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight as the girls and I do our second full run through of all of the Harry Potter books together.  Harry Potter with my kids is analogous to my mom reading me the Chronicles of Narnia books.

Speaking of which, I think it is time to read those with my girls once again.  We read some of them back when we lived in Peekskill, so likely in 2014.  Luciana does not remember them at all.  Liesl remembers them but only vaguely.

Early to bed tonight.  I am feeling much better and am mostly caught up from the week in Austin.

October 10, 2018: Last Day of SpiceWorld 2018

Wednesday, and the last day of SpiceWorld 2018.  I got up and got over to the conference at a good time this morning and put in a very busy morning of talking to vendors and Spiceheads non-stop.  It was an exhausting morning.  My feet and back were really hurting after a few hours on the hard floors.

I was in such a hurry this morning that I intentionally left my phone behind at the apartment to charge and went to the conference with no device on me!  This probably actually helped me to stay focused.

It was an exhausting, but productive morning.  Paul brought my phone by around eleven thirty.  Then he went back to help back and get out of the apartment.  We have parking all day, but the apartment only until noon.

I got to a late lunch today, well after most everyone was done.  They had a decent vegetarian lineup and I ate well. It was my only big meal at the conference.

Dominica took the girls out for lunch at IHOP today.  Then they stopped by the conference after they had eaten, and came in to see what it was that I had been doing all week.  They were not there for very long, though.  Maybe ten minutes.  But they were there long enough for Scale to invite them to come on the boat cruise tonight.  So we got ourselves “tickets” for them, and changed the day’s plans so that they could go.  This will be way more fun for everyone.

From there, Dominica took the girls to a kid’s interactive museum in Austin and spent the afternoon there with them doing educational activities.  The girls had a great time.  They did not want to leave to come back to do the boat cruise.

My afternoon stayed busy.  I talked to loads of people, met with tons of vendors, and eventually found TJ whom I had been looking for all day and we got maybe fifteen minutes to sit and talk before we had to head to different events.

The event ends early on the “third” day, so before four the vendors were all packing up.  This is one flaw I feel with the set up of this event, it gets started so late and wraps up so early.  It needs one or two more hours of “meat” stuff on the last day, but the vendors are all anxious to run away.

I went to the happy hour to get some drinks and help to coordinate people getting to the boat.  I got some sweet AMD swag at the happy hour with two silicone wine “glasses”, and a cool beer opener.

I led Brian, the one person that was waiting for me to direct them, to walk from the conference center to the Scale Boat.  It never seems like it is going to be that far, but the walk is really far and my ankles were burning by the time that we got there.

We were on time for the boat, but too far back in the line.  I had to get called to the front to make sure that I got onto the boat, so jump the line to dozens of people chanting “Scott! Scott! Scott!”.

Paul and I sat upstairs on the boat.  Dominica and the girls sat downstairs for a while, but eventually came upstairs to join us after we had dinner.

None of us eat BBQ, so we have to make due with the sides.  Liesl invented a new vegetarian meal, called “The Liesl”, which is a sandwich with potato salad and pickles.  It is surprisingly good, actually!  I had two of them.

The girls had fun on the boat ride.  And we had the perfect night for stopping to see the famous Congress Street Bridge Bats.  We must have seen hundreds of thousands of Mexican short tail bats fly out.  It could not have been a better viewing night.  I have done this boat for six years and never seen this many and seen them so clearly.

The girls watching the bats come out in Austin.

Handily, Paul had parked the minivan by the boat, so we decided to just go from the boat to the minivan and drive straight back to Dallas from there so that we would be home at a good time and not be overly exhausted.

The girls had an awesome day.  They really had fun, other than the drive home.

We got home just before midnight.  Rachel had texted me on the way back and asked me to go out tonight.  So we got home, unpacked the car, and almost immediately Rachel and Bohdan picked me up and we went up to the Fox and Hound and played pool till the bar closed.  So it was a super late night for me, I will be paying for this tomorrow.