Showing posts from July, 2014


One of my colleagues turned me on to the idea of 100 Happy Days. I jumped on it because I felt my 21 days of gratitude exercise a few years ago really had a positive impact on my outlook on life.

The concept is to post a picture every day that makes you happy. You don't have to explain it, just post it on your medium of choice. I chose to do them all on Facebook because it was fast and easy. A few of my other friends joined in, too. It was fun to see what was making them happy.

My last day was yesterday and this is my favorite picture of all.

My Dad is turning 80 next week and three of his siblings flew out for the party. They got in yesterday and weren't expecting me to come over but I surprised them by leaving work early to go hang out. I'm lucky to have a family that I truly enjoy being with.

I reviewed all of my pictures today and saw that I missed posting more days than I thought I had. Not a big surprise, those were days from my last Germany trip when we were working…

Speedy Seattle Siteseeing

One of the lures of going to the Laid Back Attack event in Seattle was a chance to see the city. I've only been there once for a four hour layover at the airport. That wasn't very fun.

My San Antonio peeps offered to let me tag along on Thursday as they ventured into the city to see some of the action. We started on the light rail at one end as our hotel was right next to the airport and ended on the light rail at the other end. Then, it was a monorail ride to our first destination.

The idea was to have lunch at the restaurant in the Space Needle. The reality was that we should have made reservations way ahead of time. The line just to go up was super long so we made ourselves feel better that "our" towers were taller. Of course, my tower was in Berlin and theirs was in San Antonio.
For the record, we were justified in that feeling of superiority. The Space Needle is 605 feet tall, the Tower of the Americas is 750 feet and my TV Tower dwarfs them both at 1,207 feet.

Phamily Reunion

It's not an uncommon Parrot Head practice to replace the letter f with the letters ph when typing. Phriend, phlock and phlocking and phamily. Some go to the extreme and throw away their f key, some use the replacement judiciously and some absolutely hate the practice.

I use it when it gives better meaning to my words. Hopefully, that helps you get what I mean by a Phamily Reunion.

Every year, I try to hit a new Parrot Head event put on by another club. This year, I chose Laid Back Attack up in Seattle. I've been meaning to go for years and a friend of mine said he would attend, too. Our plan was to go in early, explore some of Washington then hit the event.

Unfortunately, he couldn't get the time off from work so I just scheduled myself to get in on Thursday and leave on Sunday. Fortunately, that worked out well since I was trapped in Germany for so long.

I have to admit that, even though I'm a major social butterfly, I was a little anxious about attending a weekend ev…


On our last trip to Germany for work, we decided to fly into Amsterdam and explore the city for the weekend then drive to Hamburg on Monday. We landed on Saturday morning after the usual grueling overseas trip and, after taking the right bus the entirely wrong way, got into our hotel early to shower then head back out.

Here's the first thing I learned about Amsterdam, the main train station is the center of all activity. No matter where we wanted to go, it was via the train station to get either a bus or a tram. It was actually pretty convenient once you got the lay of the land.

We wandered around like aimless tourists then made our way to the Heineken Experience. I can't pass up a brewery tour. In retrospect, I could have passed this one up. It's no longer a functioning brewery and, while they did give some history lessons, it was more of a "Hey, watch this cool video promoting our beer!" I don't really care for Heineken so I didn't even finish all of th…

I Felt REALLY Secure

With the new rules about proving your cell phone and computers can turn on before boarding a plane, I thought I would share the security process I went through at the Hamburg airport on my way to Newark. It's going to take longer to get through security than it is to fly...OK, not really, but still, it's getting to be a lengthy process.

Passport check and questions answered about who packed my bag, etc. before being allowed to check my bag.Passport verified again when checking in at United counter.Regular Germany security. Shoes on, metal detector, computer out of bag.Newly implemented (second time only) additional scan of computer that was carried by security to a side room and swabbed down before returning it.Free to head to gate.Get to gate and go through customs check.Additional security scan. Shoes off, pockets empty, computer out, the wooshy full body scanner. Computer swabbed again. My TSA Pre status meant nothing.Another passport check with further questions about what …

I Thought I Would Never Get Home

We were finally going live with our German corporate acquisition in June. The plan was for a colleague and me to fly in to Amsterdam and check out the city for a weekend then spend two weeks in Hamburg for the project cutover then spend another weekend in Prague before coming home. We also were considering an overnight to Copenhagen to visit another colleague on the weekend that fell between the two Hamburg weeks.

How did that work out for me?

Well, Amsterdam was cool.

The details of every event that conspired against us are the stuff of a novel. A long novel. I'll spare you all of those but, to give you an idea, we had three separate medical situations amongst our team members. How does that happen? Seriously, what are the odds that three different people would go down in one implementation?

A few days in to the first week in Hamburg and we called off Copenhagen. At the beginning of the second week, we knew Prague was going to fall by the wayside. Midway through the second week, …

The New Kittehs Are Here - Finally!

Yesterday was the day that I brought home my new babies. It was a long time coming but it was worth it. Steven and I drove down to Tucson to pick up Starbuck and Samwise Gamgee from Rhonda and Chuck in Tucson. I had to retype that sentence twice because I had some help:

Poor Chuck had to drag them out from under the couch where they were napping and, at first, they seemed OK with going into the carrier. That OK feeling lasted until 30 seconds after we were in the car and the crying began.

They mostly settled down once we hit the interstate and after I realized that they were shifting in the carrier to get away from the sun. There was one close call with an escape attempt along the way. Samwise managed to push the zipper back and got his head out. As I was pushing him back in, Starbuck popped her head out on the other side. Kitten containment was preserved, though.

When we got home, I let them out one at a time and put them in the litter box with a little push on their butts. They got…