And the rest

8 am Moon
These last few weeks have been grand. Really they have. Down comforter, flannel sheets, and a good thermostat keep us toasty inside; piles of snow, a park next door, and a frozen lake keep us excited to go out. Our front door looks out over the dock and across the lake, while the brave squirrels leap maple whip limbs several meters above our heads, and the not so brave leave coward tracks tree to tree.

Our house is our home. This is a good feeling. We do not have much to put into our house, but it is a home anyway or despite. Over the last few weeks we have been blessed by the kindness of our church here, and on Sunday they threw us a “grocery shower” and luncheon. Our cup runs over, and our pantry too. It is funny to have so much food in the house because we would have had trouble finding room for it in our house in Manila. They have also provided meals (J. Munn makes great beef stew!), furniture and even this computer (which runs Linux, but that is for another post). We feel spoiled, and will be looking for ways to give back. I prefer the giving end as it is not so humbling.

In other events, I started doing contract work today. It is supposed to be a 5 day contract, but the amount of work was enough for one day, or maybe one and a half. I will see how that works out. I am still not sure if they overestimated the amount of work, or underestimated the ease of the work. It was quiet, I had a Gentoo Linux system with a 19″ LCD to work on. It-was-fun. Yes, actually fun. I have not ever had that much time and lack of noise to spend on being focused. And the screen was nice, very nice. I wonder what I will do tomorrow when I go in. For those who wonder what I am actually doing, I am producing/creating content for a specialties product website built with Plone. I set up an intranet using Plone while I was at Faith and thought it was a great system, never mind that it was never used.

“The time has come” the walrus said, “to speak of many things.”

More travel, another arrival on the tail of severe weather, holidays, and a home.
Once we got used to the “cold” weather in California, we really enjoyed being there. It was great fun to spend time with my siblings, and their kids (I love being an uncle to 9 kids). We also were able to spend time with friends (some of you), and that was wonderful. It was really hard to leave, maybe even harder than leaving the Philippines. It is really hard to not be in California now, and not just because it is snowing and 21 degrees outside. ~sigh

Frozen Desert Sunrise

Next, our trip across the great divide. The original plan included a trailer and a hitch, and the hitch was installed before we discovered that a valid CA drivers license is required to rent a trailer. As we thought about our new `98 Taurus towing a trailer in winter through possibly bad weather, we started thinking it was best to avoid it altogether, so we did not push the license issue. But what about all the 70 pound boxes that we brought with us and sent with my parents (bless them)? We packed those that would fit into the car, strapped two on top, and left two to be shipped by my grandparents (bless them too). There was a little cubby space on the left side of the car for Ethan in his booster seat, and Ariana sat between us in the front. Away we went, heading for a Home Depot for tarps, just in case. Once we got those we were off for the border. The drive was relatively eventless apart from the frequent stops for fuel or relief (bladder, posterior, cabin space) all the way through Arizona and into New Mexico. We did not stop for more than a meal till the next morning in New Mexico, and there we parked in a super market lot for a short nap. We slept for about an hour and were off again, keeping our eyes open for a Denny’s (B’s choice for breakfast that morning). There had been snow on the ground since Arizona, but the roads were fine until we were half-way through NM. We found a Denny’s and stopped for eats and what was Ethan’s first real experience with snow. It was mostly just slush, but it was what he had been waiting for since October. It had been getting steadily colder and we kept our winter things close at hand. After breakfast our route took us into the tip of the falling snow, and through Amarillo, where driving was a little treacherous for about an hour (I just like using the word -treacherous-). There was an interesting phenomenon on the frozen desert at sunrise; a layer of fog as white as the snow and about 30 feet high covered most of it, and it felt as if we were looking out the window of an airplane on the top of the clouds. It was not so nice to drive into it because it was thick and we could hardly see 50 feet ahead (at 70MPH this is quite frightening). Back to the treacherous driving conditions in Amarillo and outlying areas… It did not last, and eventually we left Texas and arrived in Oklahoma, where all the snow was gone. We found a motel, and spent a restful night not dreaming of passing trucks. We had a leisurely morning and breakfast and were on the road again by 11am. Now at this point we knew we had about 17 hours to go, and it was almost noon on Christmas Eve. So off we went, knowing that we would be driving all night again, and that there was no way we would arrive _before_ Christmas. The kids had been pretty good, and they remained so. On and on and on we went, through Missouri, Illinois, and into Indiana. In Indiana we noticed that there was a large orange blotch on the clouds about where Indianapolis ought to be, and sure enough that is what it was. As we headed north we kept our eyes on the clouds and as we passed Fort Wayne we could start to make out the blotches of Michigan. The fun part was being able to identify the blotches, knowing that we were heading for the blotch labeled Jackson, and knowing that blotch represented an end to the infernal driving. And we arrived, at 530am to a snowy landscape and a warm house. There were beds, already made, thanks to Liz (B’s Mom), and we crashed.

That “many things”, but more is to come…