What's the Big News?
I haven't written an entry since March, life was just way too hectic. First there was the Java class from March till June, which I barely passed, but not to my satisfaction, so I plan to retake it. Then there was a super-busy period at work when I was working a lot of overtime (early summer), by late summer I was very busy preparing for my trip to Turkey, then there was the trip to Turkey, then there was completing the journal of the trip to Turkey and Hallows prepartions, and then there was the election and a period of mourning (now I'm regrouping to fight).
What's new or updated on Alwanza?
After 20 years of hoping and planning, I finally went to Turkey. Tom and I were there for 3 weeks in September and I wrote it up so that it could be shared and remembered. If you are interested, you'll find it here.
The trip included lots of hiking that would have been beyond my ability last year, even ten years ago, and I got through it just fine thanks to Dr. McInness with his genius and steady hands.
This page is new, and the December colors, and the Travel section is new. I've added a few links to my Inspiration page, although I still think that page is underpopulated.
What hi-tech projects am I working on?
My Linux developer machine died last September and I haven't had time to repair or replace it. I'll be working on that within the next couple of days. In fact, all my computers are about ready for hardware maintenance and reevaluation.
What else is going on in my life?
I can feel a couple of big Web projects coming on and I just hope I finish them before I get involved in retaking that Java class. I don't know if I'll get to all of this, but SeattleLinuxChix and BFreeBelize both need serious upkeep, and I've had an XML Cookbook project in the back of my mind for about 4 years, and I have a Java application to turn into an applet and post on my site to prove I did it (it's my "game of life" and I did an amazingly good job on it for a beginner Java programmer).
Tom got laid-off (and just got a haircut - I took plenty of pictures first). Bad move on the part of his ex-employer (what WERE they thinking?). The great part about this is that Tom and I already know how volatile high tech is and we planned our finances and our future with the idea that each of us might experience periods of unemployment and we have a good strategy for it.
Any nature observances of interest?
In the last 6 years that Tom was steadily employed for the same employer (and I was unemployed part of that time), I increased my computer skills, I had the 2 surgeries on my legs that I required to maintain my health into middle age, and we bought and moved into a house we could live in for the next 30 years, and we went to Turkey.
The big news at the "homestead" is that Tom built us a porch. We don't intend this to be a permanent porch (he put it up in about 2 weeks when not at work), but it is a workable porch that will help us solidify our ideas about what the permanent one will need in the way of dimensions and design.
My garden went through it's first full cycle since I planted. Squirrels and Stellar Jays are steady visitors to our front porch every morning. We enjoy throwing peanuts at them and watching them scoop them up. Our cats also find this very entertaining.
I had a harvest of 40 pumpkins this year and about as many sunflowers.
Both the driftwood birdfeeder in front and the feeder in the shade garden in back are attracting lots of birds. Visitors include: bushtits, juncos, housefinches, chickadees (blackcapped and chestnut-backed), nuthatches, pinesiskins, goldfinches, flickers, pileated woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, robins, rufus hummingbirds, Anna's hummingbirds, and spotted (rufus-sided) towhees. So far I've been fairly successful at keeping out the crows, starlings, and pigeons.
This autumn there were good lasting colors in the Pacific Northwest; that isn't always the case. My own vine maple was disappointing. I'll give it one more year to shape up.
Tom created a make-shift watering system in a hurry before we left for Turkey and it overwatered the garden. I'll have lots of weeding to do whenever the rains stop.
The winter ducks are starting to arrive and Tom and I are planning our birding trips. We'll need to inspect the oil spill damage at Quartermaster Harbor (Vashon Island), because that has been a favorite winter duck birding spot of ours for years.