20. October 2020 · Comments Off on Leaving Oakland · Categories: California, family

Southwest Airlines window seat pic of our flight out of Oakland after a week helping my mother-in-law and a bit of relaxation on the Pacific. The Bay Bridge to the south, Golden Gate cloaked in fog to the north. Always a beautiful departure from the Bay Area!

I decided to actually taste the infamously cheap two buck chuck wine from Trader Joe’s. This would be okay in a sangria but not okay as a table wine! It costs under $2.

Birthday dinner for me in Carmel’s Bistro Giovanni. Delicious appetizers, main course, and dessert! Fantastic service too!

18. October 2020 · Comments Off on California Coast · Categories: birthday, California, vacation

A short visit down the California coast on Sunday. Fog in, fog out, fog back in. Pelicans everwhere. I never tire of this beautiful place!


I took a sunrise walk in California’s East Bay area. Cool morning, hand-in-hand with my wife. Nothing could be better.

Updated the lighting around my mother-in-law’s CA home. Converted to all LED bulbs, repaired a few fixtures. Lots of security lights added to improve her security (or at least her feeling of security).

07. September 2013 · Comments Off on Inevitable change · Categories: change, family, summer, vacation

I took the week off from work for the first vacation for the year. It was not a relaxing break but was a break from work. Without going into too many details, I did too much outside work, had rainy weather, and spent too much time alone and too much time feeling stressed for this to be considered a relaxing week.

Monday was the day to take my baby girl back to college. She had a rough first year, mostly roommate related. This year, she is in a new dorm with 3 other gals that had similarly difficult roommate issues last year. They are each determined to make this a better year. After less than a week after being at school, she and several of those gals took a road trip to see country star Luke Bryan. Given that she saw him over the summer in Hartford, she was in heaven seeing him again. I am so happy to see her in a much better place this year.

Last Thursday, I went shooting with my 21 year old son. He owns a couple of rifles now and I own one rifle that I’ve had since I was a kid. I inherited mine from my grandfather and have used it in the past to kill two deer as I was growing up in Pennsylvania. The shooting was both fun and entertaining. We had no hope of actually seeing the target from 50 yards away but had fun shooting nonetheless. The ammo was purchased by my son and I paid the range fees. All in all, it was a fun couple of hours together.

The big project that I started this week was the repair of our side yard that had stones covering the slope from the back yard to the front that the previous homeowner created. The stones were needed as the pine trees that were between us and the neighbor down the hill prevented most grass from growing on the hill. We removed the pine trees a few years ago and the soil has returned to a pleasant, grass-growing state. So the landscape cloth that the previous owner has laid down was now covered with dirt from the front yard (thanks to heavy rains) and grass that had both started in and now thrived in that same dirt. As I shoveled the stones into a wheelbarrow, I moved the stones that were on the side, many under the ivy bushes. While I was there, I pulled a few random branches while shoveling. Bad mistake. Poison ivy covered most of the ivy so my arm are now covered with what is left from that poison ivy, a week later. It has been a miserable experience that I don’t want to do anymore! To top things off, I had my first colonoscopy on Friday. Fasting for 48 hours and taking the meds to prep were among the least fun experiences of the year to put it mildly.

While there’s a bit more going on at home, I’m not quite ready to reveal that yet since it’s still pretty much just starting to be juggled and is very much up in the air. Let’s just say that one life coach and one therapist will push a few things into changing. It’s been a rough 5 years with no friends outside of work and two very demanding jobs – things are certainly ripe for change. Also, when you no longer need to have your kids in a specific town or high school, options open up. When one of you is in a job you hate and get beat down every day, things have to change. We’ve been together 27 years, married for over 26, but things change. Hopefully, whatever changes come will include both of us.

More to come…

This morning, my wife and daughter took off for Florida on the first stop to their Caribbean cruise. They flew from Bradley to Tampa, then Tampa to Fort Lauderdale where they are spending the night. Tomorrow, they make their way to the ship and spend a week floating around the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Neither of them have ever been on a cruise, and neither have ever been to the Caribbean. Sue was a bit nervous before leaving, but I’m sure that she will be fine once on board. This is Kaite’s graduation present from her grandmother, and intended to be a once in a lifetime trip with her mom.
I cannot wait to hear the stories and see the pictures!

The past few weeks at work have been absolutely nuts. Our team moved under a different manager during the summer, including a different VP over our team. This changes our direction somewhat, but we’re mostly doing the same thing we have been doing. The biggest exception to this is what I am specifically doing. We have three members of our team, but each brings a different level of experience to the team. I am, by far, the most seasoned info security professional on the team. I am a bit younger than my closest teammate in age, but she has spent a considerable amount of time in a related but somewhat more focused role. The youngest member of the team has moved around a bit and has, again, been less focused on our primary goal of information security for his entire career.

My focus on information security started when the industry was really in it’s infancy. Part happenstance, part luck, I ended up where I am through many hours and lots of persistence. So, I have a new role. The migration of our team into the new VP somewhat lined up with other changes happening in the Enterprise Architecture Services group. People would be aligned with specific domains – information, technology and applications to name a few. My specialty continues to be a strong background in data security, so I am now the domain advocate for the security domain that crosses all of the other domains. This is either a blessing or a curse. A blessing because it provides more corporate focus on information security, a curse because as of today, I am the only one in this domain. The fact that I still have responsibility for all of my existing projects, each requiring a great deal of attention, is my biggest challenge.

As this year winds down, I have an increased workload and decreased ability to “opt out” of projects. At the same time, I have increased visibility with the senior management of the company. If executed well, this could be an excellent career move. If I stumble and don’t ask for help and training and patience, I can easily be the driver of my own failure. The choice is easy – ask for help, pawn off existing projects, and create some time to focus on the new opportunity and doing the right thing for the company. I’m sure that I can work this out and succeed if I handle this right. Now, about that vacation I had to take before year’s end… that might just have to wait.

Last night, we went on a three hour sunset kayak trip in the water near our rental home. We went with Castine Kayak Adventures to see the bioluminescent dinoflagellates that live among the seaweed in the shallow waters. After an introduction of each person (including their favorite 80’s song), we got a very brief lesson in paddling. We were then outfitted with our kayaks – three doubles and three single watercraft. The nine of us, plus two guides, took off as the tide was coming up quickly. We stayed close to shore, in fairly shallow water. The near full moon was obscured by clouds, providing for a very dark night and excellent viewing.

As the sky darkened, the lights started to twinkle as our paddles moved the water. As the darkness progressed, our paddles stirred up more and more light. Not knowing what to expect, we were all fascinated by the lights coming out of the water. Once the dark was fully upon us, we noticed the glow coming off from most of the kayak bows. The light was in streams on either side, plus the paddles were stirring up a full arc of light with each stroke. The guides said that this was the strongest they had seen the bioluminescence this year (if not ever).

This has to rank in the top 10 coolest things we’ve ever done on vacation, and one I would recommend for anyone even slightly comfortable in a kayak.