Monday, October 20, 2008

Monkey boys and little ladies.

Howdy! Here's pictures from our trip to visit Shellie, Steve, Elena, James and Mollie. The trip was WAY TOO SHORT. But we're thankful to have had it. We had a great time. Click on any of the pictures to see it bigger (then right click and "save as" if you want it on your computer).

We finally got to meet Mollie. What a sweety.

Jasper and James had a great time playing together and spreading toys all over the place.

Lincoln Logs sure have come a long way in 36 years!

We visited a street fair in Lafayette and Steve's Theater sponsored some dress up stuff. Jasper makes a good alien, I think.

Ah, boys, sand, water and a few toys. Life is good.

A couple of pretty ladies.

More proof that little boys are more monkey than human.

James and Jasper treated us to a puppet show.

All four cousins and some froggy friends.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Be it ever so humble...

We just got back from eight days in the midwest. We flew into Chicago and drove to my sister's house in Indiana. Hard to believe it took me this long to come see her and meet Mollie, my youngest niece. Jasper had a great time playing with his cousin James (only 6 months older) and we generally had a good time catching up and visiting with my oldest niece, Elena who is growing up into such a talented and wonderful little person. It warms my heart but it's sad the distance creates such... well, distance. But it's a big country and sometimes our loved ones just get scattered about.

Next trucked over to Champaign-Urbana. I had two and a half long days of a workshop to attend but in the free time we had a great time hanging out with our great friends the Kastens. All their kids are growing up into such wonderful little dudes and dudettes. Jasper had a great time with them as well. Again, it was great to visit old friends (family, really) but I left feeling a little melancholy that we only ever get to see each other in fits and starts and with such huge gaps of time in between. Why am I so crappy at keeping in touch during those gaps. That's sad.

Now we're home, Jasper's acting a little more like himself (had some major attitude issues during the trip - see picture above for a reasonable representation of his mood and character...) and we're back normal after only about 13 hours of being back at the ranch.

Okay, off the computer now. Gonna go build with Legos and then sneak out the door for a bike ride. Thanks for reading. Now go send someone you love a quick note to let them know you're doing well and thinking about them. DO IT!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Not exactly "Don't Worry Be Happy"... but in the ballpark.

I submit the photo the left.

The last 14 or 15 months have probably been the toughest of my career. I had a major engineering effort to get ready for several months of deployments in unforgiving conditions and then had to go with the instrument on the deployments and do all the field repairs, maintenance and then some project management on top of that.

This picture isn't spectacular. But I have actually learned something from this picture and it is symbolic of a newer and more mature aspect on life for me.

On the day this picture was taken. I had been spending every waking hour for several days worrying, working and freezing my ass off out inside the airplane trying to fix a glitch in my instrument. I was sick as a dog and at one point had to resort to notes and hand signals to communicate with people since I lost my voice. My diet had gone to hell, excercise was a distant memory and I was FIERCELY missing my wife and son.

But you know what I see in that picture? Yes, I see a puffy face. Yes I see my beard is getting out of hand. Yes I see exhaustion in my eyes. But what really strikes me is that I am smiling. Smiling. That's it? Yes. Smiling.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rider Roy

I still live! Haven't been blogging, though.

Bicycling continues to be the old friend that I wonder why I let simmer for so long. I've been loving it. Both my body and my wallet are lighter in reverence to my new dedication.

As Fall looms I find myself in better spirits than most years. I am very much a Summer type of person. To me the Fall and winter are the cold, dark, long, wet doldrums of the year. Extra effort is required in every endeavor.
-Can't make it out for a bike ride during lunch. Well forget it. You blew it. You don't even have the option of riding later in the day cuz it will be dark.
-Get migraines induced by car headlights? Too bad you'll be commuting both ways in the dark for three hours a day...
-Weekends your only opportunity to get out and stretch your legs? Too bad it will miraculously be raining every single weekend for the next four months...
-Does your job really count on clear sky to test new things and check out your equipment? Too bad it will be overcast about 75% of the days...
-Summer riding is easy sneezy and you get a biker tan: Pair of bike shorts and a short sleeve jersey, gloves, helmet and maybe a bandana. Winter riding is a pain in the butt: Pair of bike shorts and a short sleeve jersey, long fingered gloves, tights, some sort of balaclava or head warmer, wind breaker, long sleeve under shirt, maybe booties, fenders, snotty dripping nose, cold water bottles...
-Heat your house with a wood stove? Well guess how much of your precious freetime will be spent on cutting wood, splitting wood, stacking wood for the next four or five months! (Side bonus I have to admit, however is that it is an excellent excercise).

Anyway, you get the idea. There's a reason I escape to the desert when I get the chance. California is a good compromise, however. It's definitely MUCH better than the East Coast winters that I've left far behind me now. I don't know if Northern Arizon just holds the nostalgia of my youthful perspective or if it is the perfect weather-place on the planet for me.

Anyway. Fall and Winter may come and do their usual. I'll try to weather it well this year.