Summer 2008

Thursday, September 25th

I don't know how to start. It's difficult to try and reconcile the mixture of emotions I have right now. I'll start with the good news. For several weeks Sarah and I had been planning to spend our anniversary of three years since we met at a cabin in North Carolina near the Smoky Mountains. In actuality, this was a diversion for my real intentions. Friday I told her that we were leaving for Paris the next day.

We left Saturday evening and after the eight hour flight and seven hour time delay we arrived Sunday morning and got to the Hotel. We walked the streets, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and eventually found our way back to the hotel. The streets were quaint, the people were friendly, and the food was wonderful. Monday we went to Notre Dame and the Louvre, Tuesday we went to the Catacombs and then took a tour of Versailles. Tuesday was our actual anniversary day so we went to a nice restaurant and enjoyed a three course meal. After dessert, I asked Sarah to marry me, and she said yes! We came home yesterday and her parents picked us up from the airport and we went to lunch with them before getting home.

When we landed, I had a text message from Mike to call right away. Mo was killed on Sunday in a hit and run accident while crossing the street. I don't know what else to say. Something so sudden and senseless defies understanding and seems unreal. Maybe it seems that way because I hadn't seen her in a while, and if I saw her every day the absense would be more immediately apparent. She was smart, fun, positive, and genuine, and the people that knew her will all have a hole where she used to be.

Sunday, September 14th

What a rainy weekend. It's been raining almost non-stop since Friday. Yesterday was our rescheduled skydiving, which due to the rain, has been rescheduled. Today was supposed to be the day Mike, Eriq, Dan, and I hung out, but we hadn't gotten any specifics worked out and Mike had to go to the pet hospital, plus it's raining, so it's not a great day to be out and about. Instead Sarah and I are going to walk over to the beach for some in-the-rain frisbee.

Tuesday, September 2nd

I've been doing a poor job of keeping up with events. On the one hand it gets tiresome to journal everything, and I'm sure it's of little interest to people that know me since most of them will likely talk to me. On the other hand it does help me, since I can go back years later and see when I did something in particular or help keep sequences of events straight. Also, sometimes just going over things that happened can give me new perspective on my activities.

So, in the interest of recapping the goings-on, since the ninth of August there have been three weekends, with little of interest happening between them other than the endless litany of work. Solving problems with Windows, repackaging applications, rolling out software, and writing scripts in an air conditioned office far from home while beautiful, bright summer days slip away outside is the current routine. While I've managed to ride the motorcycle to and from work every day these last three weeks, and I do enjoy those rides, the same streets make the trips blur together, and the time spent idling in traffic is not as relaxing as open road.

Two weekends back we went up to Sarah's parents' property near Necedah and went to an air show on Saturday followed by Mount Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells on Sunday. The roller coasters and water rides were a lot of fun, the go karts were really slow, and I think we lost our beach towel.

Last weekend we were supposed to go sky diving in Kenosha as a belated birthday gift for me from Sarah. However, due to an unanswered phone number and no available directions, we drove around aimlessly for an hour before finding out that Brian was in the hospital. We drove up to Waukesha to give him encouragement for a full and speedy recovery.

This past weekend was Memorial Day and we took off Thursday and Friday to go up to Door County, where my family rented a cabin. It was right by the lake and we did a little bit of everything. In addition to shopping, hiking, swimming, and sitting around the fire, we went to a fish boil, played bean bag toss, ate cherry pie and cheese along with a lot of other good food and plenty of wine.

Saturday, August 9th

The past couple weekends have been relatively quiet. We went down to Chesterton, Indiana where we met my mom and went to the Indiana Dunes. Afterwards we went back to her house and did some work on her new bog garden. We dug it out a bit larger, added some sand and pete to one side, and planted some flowers. We had dinner with her before coming back home.

Work has been really busy, with far too many things to do simultaneously. I managed to get some of the things I've actaully wanted to get done finished, without letting all of the things I had to get done slide. I've been riding the bike every day, which didn't work out so well on Monday when it rained on the ride in. I got fairly soaked, but the ride home was much better.

This weekend is an at home one. I took a crack at pulling out the catalytic converter in my car, but gave it up when I couldn't even get the first bolt loose. Hopefully I can find a mechanic willing to use the OEM replacement that's available, since I don't want a welded in model, or the obscenely expensive original Audi part.

Thursday, July 24th

It's been a while since I made a Journal entry. Two weeks ago I rode my bike up to Milwaukee where I met with Mike and Eriq. From there we rode up to Pembine, WI near the Upper Pennisula of Michigan and spent the weekend at the cabin. The 700 miles I put on the bike got a little grueling at times, but it was still a fun weekend. We had a fire, grilled some burgers, rode the motorcycles about, and had a good time. We hadn't done a guys weekend since 2002 (the pictures are on the Photos page), and we revived the vodka eggs tradition for better or worse. I also managed to get my shoelace stuck in the gear shifter and as a result couldn't put my foot down when I went to make a slow u-turn and laid down the bike for the first time. No damage to speak of, but I could have done without it just the same. I forgot to take my camera, so I won't have any pictures unless I get some from Mike or Eriq.

Last weekend on Saturday we went up to Silver Lake for a picnic with Sarah's extended family. The day was kind of overcast and it rained in the morning, but we still made the best of it with some grilling, riding on Ryan's jet ski, and playing frisbee. On the way back home we went to see the Dark Knight, and Sunday we took advantage of the better weather and spent the afternoon over at the beach by home.

Yesterday, Sarah and I went down to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet for the Audi Driving Experience. We test drove the new Audi A4 around the race track and then did comparison drives around an autocross course with the Audi A4, BMW 328xi, Mercedes C300 4Matic, and Lexus IS250 AWD. After that we drove an Audi TT and a Q7 around the race track. It was a blast, especially the autocross circuit. Finally, yesterday evening we hopped on the train and went down to SmartBar in Wrigleyville for the Digg meetup. We met Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose along with a bunch of Diggers, got some Digg gear and had a couple drinks.

Tuesday, July 8th

I'm back from a long holiday weekend up at Sarah's parents' property with most of her family. We drove up Friday afternoon and headed over to Lake Petenwell, where we went tubing and played frisbee. That night we had a massive bonfire, and Saturday we shot skeet and did some target practice with a replica front-loading cap revolver that fired round shot. before driving to the LaCrosse Speedway to watch stock car races and fireworks. The drive back was terrible. We left at noon and didn't get back until about six, and only included one stop for gas and one stop at a cheese factory.

Tonight is a condo association meeting, and then I'm hoping to work on Spark, though my computer started crashing pretty regularly recently. It's possible that it's the memory, but I just replaced it a few months ago so in general I'm not very encouraged. At least all of the important stuff is backed up in case of any catastrophic data loss, but just the same I'd rather my computer would just work, without the periodic hardware failure that seems to plague me more than most people.