First, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout out to strausmouse . For your birthday, I give you warmer weather than you’ve been having lately. You can thank me later.
I know, it’s been a few days. I’ve had intermittent wireless access and limited time. Nevertheless, I’ve got the backdated posts mostly written and should get them posted shortly. Just a few quick items of business. Doug has a blog! (And kruppenheimer will be happy to see just how much the content of Doug’s blog entries take after his big brother’s.) I have passed the halfway mark in The Hard SF Renaissance. More on that shortly. No writing today, but some notes and ideas down on paper and maybe I’ll squeeze in a little bit of writing sometime tomorrow. Along with the aforementioned backdated blog posts.
Up and into work this morning. It was one of those days that seemed to grow steadily more hectic as the day progressed. I kept an eye on Doug’s flights, and I headed home around lunchtime to wait for him to arrive. They got here shortly after noon, and it was really good to see them. The kids had gotten sleep on the plane but Doug and Rachel hadn’t gotten much sleep. I gave them a quick tour of the house and then showed them their room. Doug was very happy to see that the kids had their own place to sleep and that he wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor.
I headed back to work for a couple more hours and then around 3 PM, after my last meetings were over, I headed home. I stopped at the library to return my "overdue" book, but as it turns out, I had my dates mixed up and the book was not overdue after all. I also found out that I could return the book to my local branch, which is very convenient.
Kelly’s parents were out most of the day but were back before 4 PM. Doug, Rachel and the kids were up shortly after 4 PM. And were the kids ever hyper! It was a lot of fun. We gave them the gifts we got them. Doug and I picked up Kelly from the metro station, stopped at Starbucks, and then headed back home. We all walked up to Shirlington for dinner, where Kelly’s parents treated us to a nice meal at Capital City Brewery. Both Carson and Ruby fell asleep at dinner. I carried Carson back home the entire mile-plus walk.
I got an invitation to join Will’s writer’s group today, which I accepted happily. I can’t do much there until I get back from vacation, but I’m looking forward to working with the group.
I got a card from a bunch of people at work today. It was very nice and included an extremely generous gift.
We’re on vacation! I still feel so busy with wedding stuff that it hasn’t sunk in yet.
stubiebrother arrived tonight, as scheduled. We picked him up around 10:15 PM. Stopped at the grocery store on the way home.
Mom and Dad get into town tomorrow.
Just wanted to wish Doug and Rachel a very HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. I hope you guys have a great day.
A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY cheer goes out to Doug today. I hope you have a terrific day, one that is perhaps somewhat less hectic than it sounded last night when I spoke to you on the phone. 😉 Happy Birthday, bro.
Saturday began early for I was anxious to see everyone and wanted to get an early start. Kelly and I had gone to bed around midnight and I was up at 6:40 AM. I showered and then headed downstairs to sit on the couch and read until everyone else woke up. Kelly was up early too, and so we waited for vickyandnorm (Norm and Vicky) and kruppenheimer (Lisa) to awaken and get ready. It didn’t take too long but it seemed as though it took forever. However, we were ready to go by 9 AM, which is what I was hoping for, and at that point, we hit the road.
Yesterday, while the girls went to their fancy spa to get their fancy facials and whatever else people get in spas, the boy went scuba-diving.
Mom arranged it with a friend of hers who teaches scuba diving. Doug, stubiebrother and I headed to Thousand Oaks to the Sports Chalet, where at about 10 AM, we signed our lives away and proceeded to learn how to scuba dive in the 13 foot-deep pool that they had on site. The pool was kept very warm so that we didn’t need wet suits.
We learned how to wear the gear. We learned how to clear out our masks. We learned how to breath through the regulator. We learned to different ways for clearing the regulator while underwater. We even learned how to recover the regulator underwater if we lost it. We learned some basic hand signals as well. Once we’d done a few practice runs, we headed for the deep end. We spent a total of about 40 minutes underwater, and might have spent a little longer if Doug hadn’t come close to running out of air. (When we finally surfaced, me and Jason’s tanks were at about the 1,000 PSI mark. Doug’s was almost at 0 PSI.)
It was an interesting experience. For the first few minutes, I found myself much more conscious of my breathing than normal. I made sure to practice removing the regulator from my mouth, clearing it, and getting it back in. It was easy. We tossed around underwater frisbees. We swam through hoops. We laid down on the bottom of the pool (making sure to equalize the pressure in our ears). It was a lot of fun.
After it was all over, Doug, Jason and I headed to a nearby T.G.I. Friday’s for lunch.
We spent the afternoon hanging around the house. Then, in the evening, we headed to Wood Ranch grill for dinner. Almost everyone had tri-tip and it was excellent! We celebrated Ruby’s birthday after dinner, with a birthday cake from Coldstone, and a bunch of presents (Ruby turns 4 on December 1). By the time that was over, I was exhausted. Mom, Jen and Jason put on a movie but I was out cold. When I next woke up, the lights were out and everyone had done to sleep.
I head back home tonight. My flight departs LAX at 10:20 PM. I’ve used some more upgrade credits to upgrade to first class. The airplane is a 767 on the flight home so First Class may be a little bit nicer than on a 757. There are fires in Malibu, so we’ll probably have to take the freeways to LAX this evening, and miss the pretty ride along the coast. I get into Dulles at 6 AM, and if everything goes well, I hope to be home (and in bed for a little while) at 7 AM.
We had a great Thanksgiving dinner last night. First, we had everyone over at Mom and Dad’s: me, he110_sunshine, stubiebrother, Doug, Rachel, Ruby and Carson. This year was a non-traditional year for dinner. We had excellent crab legs, delicious prime rib, rice, and broccoli. There was plenty of food and it was all delicious. Doug and Rachel made dessert. We sipped drinks after dinner, it was a lot of fun.
I was exhausted soon after dinner, but we stayed up so that Mom, Jen and Jason could watch Gray’s Anatomy. Jen, Jason and I slept on air mattresses down in the living room. Lights were out by 10:30 PM and I slept really well.
We were up at around 7:30 this morning. I was hungry as soon as I woke up. Mom made me chocolate chip pancakes. I ate 6 of them and they hit the spot. Doug, Jason and I head off to our Scuba lesson in about half an hour. Meanwhile, Jen and Rachel are going to their spa treatments soon. I think they are going shopping later. Today is black Friday. But if you ask me, you’ve got to be crazy to go shopping today.
I was up at 3 AM because I couldn’t sleep. My alarm was set for 4 AM, but there I was, awake at 3 AM and so I watched and episode of The West Wing before heading into the shower.
The car was there at 4:30 AM to pick me up and we headed off for Dulles airport. The roads were empty and I was at the airport at 5:15 AM. The airport was empty as well. It took only 10 minutes to go from the curb to the gate, and for those of you who know Dulles, that includes the short ride in the mobile lounge to the C-gates.
Turns out the Red Carpet Club at Dulles doesn’t open until 6 AM, so I sat around until it opened and then spent about 25 minutes there. I had a light breakfast and then left to board the plane. I boarded at 6:30 and not 5 minutes later, we had to debark the plane because of an issue with the navigational equipment. We were told there would be a 40 minute delay, but 10 minutes later, we were boarded again, and this time, without incident. The flight left 10 minutes late, at 7:10 AM.
The flight itself wasn’t too bad. I upgraded to first class. I spent some time talking to the person sitting next to me (who was quite talkative). She was from Hawaii and she was returning home. I managed to get a little sleep, too, but not much. I also added about 800 words to Graveyard Shift, not as much as I had hope to get done on the plane, but better than nothing. My word count now stands at 18,155 words.
I arrived in L.A. at 9:50 AM. Doug and Rachel were waiting for me when I got there. I hopped in the minivan and we headed to Oxnard. It took us a little over an hour.
Since then, we’ve been sitting around, waiting for he11o_sunshine and stubiebrother to get here. Mom was here when we got here, and so was Ruby and Carson. Carson is so cute–he is to Doug what “Mini-me” is to Doctor Evil. Even their facial expressions are an identical match!
Mom and Dad have had a lot of work done on their house. It’s been painted, there’s new carpeting, and new base-boards. It looks great.
My text-messaging seems to be delayed. Kelly wasn’t getting my text messages and sometime around 1 PM, she called me. This is significant because up to this point, we’d never talked to each other on the phone. It became a kind of game between us–a streak if you will. And so when I saw her calling, my first words when I answered the phone were, “You broke the streak!”
Ever other year, we have a “non-traditional” Thanksgiving dining, and this is one of those years. We’re having crab legs and prime rib for dinner.
Today is Doug and Rachel’s 6th wedding anniversary.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, GUYS!
Hopefully you get a chance to do something fun to celebrate your big day today.
Almost 11:30 PM and just home from the Happy Hour after our last softball game of the regular season. We lost. Badly. So badly it was hard to take seriously. We finished with a record of 7-2 which places us 3rd in our division and guarantees us a place in the playoffs on September 8th. After the game we went to an English pub on 13th and Penn and I did my fair share of drinking to celebrate our season.
I had 6-1/2 hours of meetings today. One meeting was 4 hours long! In fact, I had to leave that meeting for an hour and go to another meeting, then come back. I spent the entire morning preparing for the second meeting, and the last meeting of the day, a short half hour number, was postponed until later in the week. Not even time for lunch today. Let’s just say it has been a Long-Ass Day.
Spoke to Doug tonight and he sounded good. I even got to speak briefly to Ruby, who said, in a cheering, voluble voice, “Hi, Uncle Jamie!” How can you resist something like that! I had a message from he11o_sunshine, who I think is back from her trip to L.A. I called her back, but got her voicemail, so I’ll try talking to her tomorrow.
When I got home from work, I had a package from Powell’s Books awaiting me. Two books that I look forward to reading: Robert’s Rules of Writing, which I am exciting to read in conjunction with mabfan‘s series of blog essays called “Robert’s Rules“. I also got Damon Knight’s classic book, Creating Short Fiction, which I am equally eager to read.
But for now, it’s into the shower, and then off to bed, to start all over again 6 hours from now.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I was thinking that this is my first trip to Europe and that I can remember, when I was younger, wondering when I would end up getting there. So I decided to look back through my diaries and see what I was doing 10 years ago today, July 2, 1997. I don’t think Europe was on my mind at all back then:
Today was another day that I felt somewhat overwhelmed. I have a lot to do today but couldn’t really focus on any one things.
Doug called me at work today and he is doing pretty well. He is the first person in the history of the Debois County Dragons to be ejected from a game–for arguing a call*. But he was in good humor and it was good to hear from him.
I made my lunch again tonight which means a full week (though this is a short week) of packing my lunch. That’s not bad, and it helps save money.
*You’ll have to ask Doug to tell the story sometime, as it is a funny one, and typical of Doug. Better yet, maybe Doug will reply and post a comment telling the story here.