Current Projects

What's the Big News?
Apologies for the long silence.  I did not think life could get busier than it was at my last update, but I was wrong.  After my last blog entry, I doubled my job hunting efforts.  I spent the last two weeks of August and the first week of September averaging 4 phone screenings and 3 in-person interviews per week.  No kidding.  Just before Tom and I left for our last adventure of summer, I accepted a position with a contracting company, to work for a telecom in Factoria (Bellevue), Washington. 

In September, Tom and I took a week-plus long vacation on the Coot in Puget Sound on the San Juan Islands, culminating in a long weekend of displaying our boat at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.  The vacation was wonderful.  My only complaint was a lack of leg-stretching opportunities as we spent most of our time on the water.  Sleeping on the Coot is fantastic:  being rocked by the waves and hearing the lapping of the water.  We saw many water fowl; we ate very well, both picnicking on the boat and at fine restaurants on shore; and we spent lots of time navigating the Sound -- great fun!  At the tail end of our vacation, the contracting company (remember them?) sent me 32 documents to print, complete, sign, and fax back to them.  I found the only (overpriced) copy and print shop in Port Townsend and spent several hours there during the final days of our vacation.  Upon arriving home, I had to complete the application by taking a "pee test". 

I had a short week from the "pee test" to my start date, September 20th.  Between my full time job, some dental work I'm completing, ongoing volunteer work for NARGS Northwest Chapter, I haven't had much time for anything else...  but somehow I fit more in. 

In October, Tom's trout appeared for another visit.  We went to Craven Farm for our yearly pumpkining and also picked up some of the world's best honey.  We had our "spooky sup" dinner party. 

In November, Tom and I joined a gym.  We managed to work out a couple of times before Thanksgiving.  Then the Moms came for a visit and we went on the Argosy Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise

This coming weekend, our niece, Anne is going to graduate college (I think she might be 19 years old), in Moscow Idaho.  She started collecting college credit while she was still in High School.

What's new or updated on Alwanza?
Not much!  I put the snowflakes on the home page again, and they'll stay there through February.  All my ambitious plans get thwarted when I am working at an exciting stimulating tech job, and learning new technology as fast as I can to keep up.

What hi-tech projects am I working on?
At my job, I've learned some of the deeper mysteries of MySQL database administration.  We have a database that has a nasty habit of outgrowing its partition unless we prune it very carefully.  I wrote a script that the database had been needing for some time before I started working there.  The developer and I perfected it together and now the database is more stable. 

I've also been learning and working with the Zenoss monitoring web application; and another web application which is an obscure ticketing system with a steep learning curve.  I am also part of the on-call 24/7 production support rotation team.

What else is going on in my life?
Haven't had much time for a life, but I did attend a wonderful art opening for Kim Caldwell at the Gallery North in Edmonds.  And I went to a Yule tree trimming party in Kenmore.

Any nature observances of interest?
We didn't harvest a single tomato.  My year was so busy I didn't have time to tend the garden or plant annuals.  I harvested hundreds of apples.  Mostly I ate them raw, but at the end of the season I juiced many.  Then I chopped down the tree we called "Freedom".  Spartan and Liberty did well, but Freedom got some kind of bug or blight and almost all of its 300 apples were full of maggots and worms.  I'm thinking of replacing it with a Fuji or Akane or Winesap. 

We had an extremely colorful autumn.  The colder weather combined with milder rains allowed the leaves to stay on the trees longer and the early turners overlapped with the late ones, so that by mid October the colors were deeper, more varied, and richer than any Spring. 

Tom and I took a short trip in the Coot the first weekend in November and we saw many winter birds.  Usually the winter birds don't show up in those numbers until the end of November or the beginning of December, so when we heard that Alaska had an unusually big blizzard the following week, we were not surprised. 

We last saw our Douglas Squirrels last February, and they have not returned.  I didn't see cross-bills this year, and only a couple of waxwings.  I also missed seeing rufus hummingbirds this year.  A hairy woodpecker and a Bewick's wren have been frequenting our yards in addition to the usual chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, Steller's jays, crows, flickers, pileated woodpeckers, and hummingbirds.