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.

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.