Archive for the ‘Stories of Home’ Category

See the world and marvel

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake

I spend so much time on the road lately that sometimes its hard to smell roses.  It doesn’t always work but I do my best to manage it.

Lately I’m marveling more at my daughter.  For over a decade I have blogged about her, from the time she was born to current. Off and on, tidbits, made up stories. Its weird looking back.

She’s becoming a teenager, but so far I have seen none of the stereotype Mom-and-Dad-are-idiots-hate-the-world mentality Hollywood and society perpetuates.  I hope it stays that way but I know it can change. Pragmatism thou art my curse.

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Lions Den

So Washington D.C., if you listen to any of the current media over the last 48 hours is in flames.

While I’m sure its no picnic I doubt its as bad as the media makes it out. Or at least I had better hope so as I will be there in the middle of it, almost literally in 48 hours.

It was a madhouse right after the election back in November. This time doesn’t look to fare better. I had to create and send a safety plan to my project team describing actions to take for their personal safety as well as our corporate assets and vendors. Not the way I wanted to spend my weekend. But a necessary action just the same. never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups as the saying goes.

 

For myself, its all moot. No matter what ones position is political Trump was elected by the laws of our country.

In the Army we salute the rank, not the man. The Presidency is no different in my opinion.

If one can’t respect the person, then respect the office.

That’s the position I have taken for over 20 years. So for me anyway, not much has changed.  Suck it up buttercup, and move out smartly.

For the rest of us who aren’t car bombing limo’s and trashing private property, we have work to do.

As far as I am concerned once you lose your professional bearing in attempting to communicate a message, you have lost the debate.

 

Sanity Break

Lately been struggling. Super fatigued. Long hours trying to keep all the balls in the air.

For Thanksgiving I got to sit in the local VA ER while they tried to figure out why I have been having consistent chest pains.

I say consistent because I want to make it clear I am not having heart attacks. Not unless you know of one that can last 6 weeks.

Anyway, I have been working 16 to 17 hour days for almost 4 months…toss in my school work on top of that…and I’m …tired. Last week is a good example. Washington DC on Monday, Cincinnati, OH by Wednesday, Charlotte NC by Thursday, Atlanta by Friday before getting home. The trip was originally supposed to be just DC and home by Wednesday. Turned in to a whirlwind of long hours and jet lag.

I have taken almost all of the end of the year off in vacation time. So I am trying to spend it away from work….and failing miserably.

I have managed to get it down to just one project that I am still working on, located over seas, so that helps. But woke up this morning looking for my work phone an feeling like someone was trying to crush my chest with a battering ram. Yeah not good.

Therefore this morning is homemade buttermilk waffles as kiddo and I embark upon our #12DaysofWaffles …though this year due to my travel schedule it’s been barely 7.

/sigh

Trying to check out mentally for a few. Wish me luck.

One More. Maybe

What I hope is my last trip of the year comes up shortly. Is supposed to be a short and sweet one, but it has the possibility of becoming a multi destination all week journey.

It’s back to Washington D.C. again, however I have to be honest I am not looking forward to the trip. As I get older I find I dislike large cities more and more. Where once I could tolerate them, and enjoy passing in to the lives of other for a brief wistful moment, find colour and joy in little things like leaves of trees on a city street or sidewalk cafe conversation…now it all just annoys me.

I’d rather be home, in the quiet, without the hustle, without the crowds and people. Man may be a social creature but i wasn’t part of the survey. My idea of social is a very small amount of freinds over a nice adult beverage talking about what have you. Not a cacophony of sirens, people, arguments, begging, lack of personal space, and degeneration of human civility.

I have lived in several large cities in my time, and travels. Seattle, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas to name a few. Now I find myself wondering how the hell I ever did it.

I always take the last 2 to 3 weeks of the year off as vacation, and I am doing so again. Let the movers and shakers earn their keep, prove their worth, and value. I’ve spent over 110 days on the road this year, alone.

Me, I’d rather spend time with my family, and my dogs over a special holiday season.

Another step forward

Been a red letter week around here.

I got back from Washington D.C. late last week, but just in time to help my wife plan our daughters first real birthday party with people who weren’t family.

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The adventure begins….

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

ItBegins

Winter is coming

Brace-yourself-Winter

For most folks it’s a TV show meme

For me its more of a statement of fact heralding back to the early years of our country. A reminder to prepare in the way we do every year here at my home place, off the beaten path.

We spent yesterday splitting firewood as you can see via the Twitter account. We still have a long way to go. Fire for us isn’t a cutesy thing we snuggle around for fun and romance (although it can be), it’s our primary heat source. So the work we do in preparing for winter is serious business. Failure to do it, failure to make time and get the cutting of food and other items we do such as prepping our garden for winter, checking house seals, and prepping out winter gear like chains, snow chains, de-icers etc can impact our long term ability to get to our jobs, stay warm or grow food.

It’s part of the price we pay trying to move to a off grid life style. Maybe it’s crazy. But it gives us reason to get up each day and we spend a lot more time together as a family.

That alone makes it worth it.

 

Return of the Road Warrior

Think I’m growing feathers.

Was in Washington DC at the beginning of this week. I fly international Sunday. The following week I am back in Atlanta. Then I will either be back in DC or back International. It’s anyone’s guess. Either way keep an eye peeled on the Twitter and Tumblr accounts linked here on the main page as you may get a chance to see some cool places, cocktails and things in the coming days.

I’m trying to find time to wrap up my prospectus but it seems like everytime I sit down to work on it I either fall asleep or the phone rings. My intent right now is to spend some time finishing it on the plane this Sunday since I will be in the air about 13 hours.

Surely I can can get it and my references in to APA in that amount of time.

Otherwise the grind has been in full affect. I had my knee surgery last week, and of course in typical me form had to set off for DC at the start of this week. So I am limping along without any grace whatsoever, completeing the look of an overweight, broken American brought down by his size (although I actually injured the knee on the job). Oh, well.

Got to sit down and shoot the bull with my chair again this week which was good. Is also why I intend to spend Sunday running this thing down.

I start the first of my last 9000 series classes on Monday. I only have 5 of them in theory, but in practice I will be taking the 9000 series until my dissertation is done no matter if its 5 or 25. Granted I want it done in 5, the school wants it done in 5, so that means my already very busy year is about to get a whole lot busier.

Feast or famine around these parts.

A month, a day?

Cant believe its been almost a month since my last post. It seems like yesterday.

If you have been watching the Tumblr account embdeded in the main page you know I have been busy (and thirsty!). Went to Atlanta, followed by a trip to Washington DC. I will be making several more trips to both before the year is out currently by the way the land lays.

Had a change at work, and now I finally have some help. Won’t do me much good in the short term but in about 13 or 14 months I may not have to travel the way I have been.  Thats very good news.

Meantime I have to try to train the new guys and teach thm what I know. That could prove interesting.

Pat Summit: One Fans Tale

Back in 2009, I was just wrapping up a job in Tennessee. I had been doing a UMTS expansion throughout the state for AT&T and was heading for home finally.

It had been a rough year. I had taken the job due to some troubles my bride and I were experieincing, both me in my previous career, and she with me. So I changed jobs. We’re still together so the change must of worked.

Anyrate, my daughter was becoming enamoured with Tennessee, part of what my bride has jokingly called “brainwashing” for several years…with a laugh.

So it was that on January 22, 2009 I took Critter to watch the Lady Vols, under Pat Summit take on the local Arkansas Razorbacks.

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What a Weasel!: How Delta damn near destroyed a dream vacation

It’s been a while since we had one, but Delta is officially our Weasel for 2016.

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So we just got back from our vacation. Barely.

I’ve recently been on a screed about Delta. As a long term, medallion member, I used to have a lot of loyalty towards the company. That loyalty has greatly waned, to a point of near despisal. If I did not already have several trips bought and paid for through them I would not be using the company anymore. But for at least two more months I am stuck with them. We booked this one via Delta Vacations, way back in March.

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More travel

Nice long trip coming up. So should be updating Tumblr and here with some good pictures and adventures I hope.

Looking forward to the R&R as well as the grind has been brutal lately. Trying to get ahead on my school work has been punishing as well, but worth it in the end to have some breathing room for a few days.

Will update either while on the road, or when back. In either event should have some more blogging coming

Meanwhile I have updated the doctoral area with more resources for those who find it useful

Residency 1 in the bag

So I just finished my first doctoral residency for my current school. I had attended residencies for my previous school, but sadly they do not carry over. In any event, it was an interesting experience. My brain feels mostly like mush after grinding away at my prospectus for almost 5 days straight. It was odd discovering that i was ahead of many of those attending their first residency but I think honestly I was in a better position than they were to absorb the details being provided due to being in that position. I had several of my peers come up to me with blank expressions not understanding large parts of data because it simply wasn’t something that they had encountered in their educational journey yet. I can see how that may make them discouraged, and lead to some of the turnover rate in the program. Just my take, anyway.

In other news I am working on trying to publish a short story I wrote quite a while ago. I have to do some editing to it and I have to put it in the format required by Amazon, but it is my intent to try to clean it up and read like something better than a 5 year old. Don’t know that I will succeed in the last part however, but what the hell might as well try.

I have a lot of travel on the books still to go this year, but such is how it goes yes?

 

Insulating An Duin 2

So the first thing we did was put plastic down in the hallways and anywhere we ran the hose. The idea is to prevent insulation from going throughout the house if the hoses separated at a joint. We also laid plastic down under the attic door, as with a hose you are bound to push some down in to your living space. WP_20160521_08_33_34_Pro WP_20160521_08_34_05_Pro

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Insulating An Duin

So today we have an electrician at An Duin who is finally rewiring the house.

I’m all for do it yourself engineering but there are somethings I much prefer leaving to professionals so I know that they are adhering to local code. Saves me a lot of headaches as well.

Meanwhile once he wraps up it will be time to get dusty with one of the easiest and dirtiest things you can do to help reduce your electric bill: insulation.

We found that a big portion of our attic space was completely void of insulation when we first did our home inspection. We used a broom and kicked some of it around (reducing the overall thickness) to try to make up the difference but that was  band aid. Its time to actually fix the problem.

So here is some information that may help you should you ever decide to do this.

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Whew

So I haven’t added anything in a while mostly because I have been cleaning up storm damage around the home place when I am home. Travel schedule is about to pick up again so expect to see a lot more pictures from my tumblr account.

We had a tree that was in front of our house, about a 40 or 50 foot oak that came out of the ground. We got lucky. Had it went backward it would have crushed our house. It went forward instead. All the rain we have gotten has played hell with us trying to get it cut down to manageable pieces. We finally got it done yesterday…just in time as it is supposed to storm again today.

Have an electrician coming out to check the house today as well. Finally going to have a pro try to fix the wiring now that we have replaced all of the bulbs in the house.

Busy times as always!

“Diet” Food

So you have probably noticed that I like to drink. For the last month I have been trying to counter that with eating better and a quasi diet. Let’s face it I’m not getting younger and frankly I’m not a paragon for healthy living.  I hate calling this post”Diet Food” because when folks say diet it inspires visions of long hours in a gym, and religious almost cult like dedication to a food regime that would gag a goat.

Hell no.

For a guy who used to run around in camo and try to kill people I am decidedly a lazy bum. I enjoy not running 5 miles a day, and frankly between my travel, work and school schedule I dont have the time to do such. I barely have time to sit down and pound out little missives such as this one.

Anyway I have swapped two meals for either a yogurt and granola combination, or a broccoli and green apple smoothie with a little PB2 added. The smoothie was inspired by the recent Rory McIlroy commercial. Granted using a commercial to come up with diet recipes probably isn’t the brightest thing but hey what ever works right? It also isn’t half a bad even if a little pulpy which probably has more to do with my blender than the recipe.

I’ve also been trying to watch carbs and protein etc. I can’t say that I’m religious but I am making an effort.

I recently purchased a sample package of soylent so Friday I am going to give the version 1.5 a run and see how I feel after using it for a few days.  I’ve heard that it gives people horrid gas, so I think I will wait until Friday evening after work to begin the experiment.  I have heard a lot about the product so I am interested in seeing the results of it. Based on the flavour profile for the reviews the PB2 may be a good additive for it as well.

 

 

Still grinding

So as I mentioned earlier my classes for the semester are almost over. In fact this is the last week. I will get a week off, which frankly will be nice, and then I start my last college class I will take. From here on its all research and trying to write a thesis that meets APA and everyone else’s requirements.

So if updates are slow this week, that’s the reason why. I’m just  trying to get through my finals for the week while maintaining my sanity and keeping my job.

Finally getting to kick off my project in Indiana, so I am looking forward to seeing how it will develop. I am also still working with my management to develop a team of people who do what I do. Its nice being the guy in the box but for the last 5 years all I have done is trail blaze, and truth be told its tiring.

Having a team will help. Even then, it will be a year or more before they can get their feet under them well enough to manage on their own.

For now I just need to make it through the week, however.

 

Radio Intercepts

Getting quotes on a geothermal heat & air system. Finding reputable installers is painful.

  • photo from Tumblr

    My all time favorite cocktail: The Hemingway daiquiri

    03/15/17

  • photo from Tumblr

    Indio beer

    03/15/17

  • photo from Tumblr

    Salinas de Medina as served in Guadalajara

    03/15/17

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