December 9, 2017: YouTube Day

DuoLingo Streak: 98 Days

Saturday.  Home alone for the weekend.  There was just enough sun today to keep the house “warm” so that the heater did not have to kick on.  The house got as high as sixty six today.

I got a number of YouTube videos done today for my SAMIT channel.  That is really taking off.  I have hundreds of subscribers now and am getting regular comments, loads of activity, and a few new people subscribing every day.  Very exciting.

I unboxed my new Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC Bluetooth noise cancelling headset today that was a gift from Plantronics.  It’s tan and white and very comfy and sounds great and quite stylish.  Not something that I could have bought for myself but very nice to have.  I am going to be using this a lot.

After the sun got low and I could not work on videos any longer, I watched YouTube for a while, catching up on loads of educational stuff that I like to watch.  I watched Spectral, which was a Netflix movie supposedly set in Moldova, but it was clearly filmed by people who had never seen or been to Moldova and was very clearly Hungary which is a totally different looking kind of place and never once did they even bother trying to pretend that anyone knew the name of a city in Moldova, including the one that they were pretending to be in.  The whole movie was shot around a river – which there isn’t one of in Moldova’s capital either.  The movie was really weak, but the cast wasn’t bad.

Before bed I also watched an amazing documentary about Peru on Netflix called Peru: Tesoro Escondido.  I highly recommend it.

Late at night there was a shooting at Baybrook Mall in Friendswood, Texas, which is where all of our family is located and where Dominica and the girls are right now.  They always herald it as the seventh safest city in America and there was a mall shooter just down the street from where everyone was.  We were at that mall just two weeks ago!

December 8, 2017: Snow Covered Southern Texas

DuoLingo Streak: 97 Days

Friday.  Late last night and early this morning, snow fell all over the southern United States in places that never, ever get snow including nearly all of southern Texas including Houston, Galveston, Austin, and San Antonio; but oddly, not in Dallas which gets snow every year.  It was just too dry up here, I guess.  Down in Friendswood, everyone was up and making snowmen in the wee hours of the morning.  I’m not sure if any of the family has ever seen snow down there before and there was a lot of it today.  Enough to go out and play in.

The roads stayed clear, though, so even with this crazy weather they still had school which surprised me as even heavy rain can bring the region to a standstill.

I spent much of the day on the phone today working on one project or another.  I tried to do some work for my YouTube channel today, but my camera battery for the Lumix died the moment that I tried to get started.  So that did not happen.  I only have the one as all of the off-brand batteries that we bought are totally useless and don’t get even one minute of power once charged.  So I have to work from the one, good, Panasonic brand battery.  So the day was lost for that.

This evening I went up to the Dallas Brewing Company in The Colony and had a couple of beers.  Stefany is working up there now and I’ve not seen her in a year.  The DBC has a nice outdoor seating area that is perfect for chilly Dallas nights with a big fireplace and is full of dogs to play with.

Actually had to turn on the heat tonight.  Only a tiny bit, but it was pretty cold in the house.

December 7, 2017: The Family Heads to Friendswood

DuoLingo Streak: 96 Days

Thursday.  I got up and did some work this morning.  Then around ten in the morning Francesca called and asked Dominica to come down to Houston and help out with Christmas preparations.

So we raced all morning, me trying to get enough work done that I would be able to leave to drive them down.  And Dominica to get the kids ready and packed.

We managed to do it and at around one we headed south and Francesca headed north and we met around halfway so that we could transfer Dominica and the girls, and I could drive back to Dallas.  So it was a busy day of driving.

Francesca remembered to grab one more piece of our couch so I was able to haul that back up to Dallas with me.  We now have just one piece left to go before we have it all back up with us.

I got home just a few minutes after the family arrived in Houston.  It was dark out when I got home.

So it was a quiet evening at home alone for me.  It got quite cold tonight.  The kids took the Steam laptop with them so I am basically without video games for the week, which is kind of sad as when they are gone is the one time that I really get into playing video games.  So I’m left with far less to do that I would normally be doing.

October 17, 2017: New Tires

DuoLingo Streak: 45 Days

I was up early this morning.  I did some work and while the kids were still sleeping I took a little chance to play an hour or two of XCOM.  Then Liesl woke up and came to join me.  It was a tough session, though, and I had to roll back everything that I did today as I was unable to beat any missions at all.

Dominica was up early today talking to a client for a while this morning.  We are slowly getting our schedules onto a more normal time zone equivalent.  We’ve been skewed horribly late with Luciana sometimes not getting to fall asleep until the sun was starting to come up!

The kids had school today.

Yesterday Dominica made an appointment for me to go to Discount Tire in The Colony today at three in the afternoon to get new tires put on to the Nissan Quest.  Our old ones are essentially thread bare and have to be replaced before we use the car for anything and certainly before we have any chance of managing to get it inspected, which has to be done this month!  So at two thirty I drove up to The Colony and waited about an hour as all four tires got replaced.

While I was waiting at Discount Tire, I got about an hour in on DuoLingo and Mango Languages.  A good use of my time.

The car was handling better on the way home.  You know the tires are in bad shape when you can instantly feel the improvement in how the car drives.

For dinner this evening Dominica made samosa pie.  It was really good, but the kids were not into it.

We watched Blacklist this evening, we are on the third season, now.  Netflix only has four seasons, I think, so we will have to wait a while for the fifth season.

We read more of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban tonight and are ready to start the fourth chapter tomorrow with the girls.  For the first time since I have been back from Phoenix, the girls slept in their own room tonight.

October 16, 2017: Library, Denny’s & HP3

DuoLingo Streak: 44 Days

Monday.  Have to actually get into a work routine now, I guess.  The traveling and conference weeks are over and there is stuff to be done.  I did a bit of work logistics this morning, still have paperwork and what not to get wrapped up.

I worked most of the day, but was able to knock off early and spend some time with Dominica.  Then, this evening, we had to go to the Carrollton Public Library to drop off some books.

The girls always love going to the library.  They discovered more computer and tablet games available there today.  There are lots of kids activities, it is really well done.  We got a stack of new books, too.

Liesl at the Carrollton Library

After the library, both girls had requested that we go out to Denny’s.  Dominica and I had already planned on that, but it was good that both kids requested it without us prompting for it.  Kids eat free there in the evenings, which makes it that much easier for us to go.

Liesl & Her Snowman Milkshake at Denny’s

Luciana tried my grilled salmon skillet and decided that next time, that is what she wants to get when we go out.  She loves grilled salmon.  She went on and on about it.

Once home, Dominica and I watched Blacklist for a while, and the girls played video games for a while.  Luciana was in the middle of a game of The Sims 3 when we had left, so she came back to finish that.

At around midnight, both girls asked me to make them scrambled eggs for “dinner.”  At least it is something healthy.  I was a bit surprised to be cooking scrambled eggs at that time of the night, though!

This evening we started reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for our night time reading.  We got through two chapters and called it a night.

October 15, 2017: Restarting XCOM

DuoLingo Streak: 43 Days

I was up long before anyone else this morning.  I have been playing XCOM for a while and am not doing so well at it.  I have identified some places where I really messed up in my original run through of the game and feel that because I screwed it up so badly that I need to go back and do it all again to get it right this time.  So this morning, while everyone was sleeping, I fired it up and began another play through of XCOM: Enemy Within.

I got in several hours of gaming today and, in many respects, my new game is already way ahead of the other game that I have put nearly sixty hours into!  Liesl did eventually come out and hang out with me in the living room so that she could watch me play.

After the kids were up for a while, the kids wanted to use the Steam laptop.  So Luciana, who had waited better, got to go first and played Slime Rancher.

Later in the evening, Liesl played some games on line with Garrett.  They got several hours in on Age of Empires 2 HD.  Such a great game for them to be playing.

While the kids were video gaming, Dominica and I got back into Blacklist.  We are plowing through that with reckless abandon.  We will be done with the second season very soon.

Tonight, at bed time, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the series.  The girls are loving it.  They are so into the story and the universe.  And they are loving our night time reading time.

October 14, 2017: Another New Project?

DuoLingo Streak: 42 Days

Saturday.  We have nothing planned for this weekend.  In theory I am supposed to be flying out to Phoenix late tomorrow night, but nothing about the flight plans or schedule has been discussed yet and I am still awaiting information on other things from earlier in the week.  So, it seems rather unlikely that I will be flying out all that soon.

My morning started with me getting out of bed to news that I need to help with looking into the development of some new banking systems in central Africa.  Some extremely interesting stuff.  I was involved with that for much of the morning.

So that was exciting way to start the day.  Not at all what I was expecting.

By mid-afternoon I was no longer needed at my desk, so I watched Blacklist with Dominica for much of the afternoon and evening.  We are addicted to it now.  Thankfully it is on Netflix so we are able to just binge watch it.

This evening we continued reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and got through about one chapter and then Luciana said that it was too scary and that we need to read it during the day, not at night time because it is so scary that she is not able to sleep after we are done reading it.  So we wrapped it up on the early side tonight and are saving the conclusion of the book for tomorrow night’s reading.