I’m back. Christmas visit with my family was busy and satisfying: there was something going on every day, and I had a chance to spend time talking to each person. We had a big family dinner on Christmas Eve, with presents and songs and dancing after, and a laid-back buffet-style Christmas Day; Christmas evening we all went over to Olivia’s apartment, played on Carolyn’s dance pole, and watched a “Christmas Carol” movie.
Friday I spent a few hours trying to upgrade Mom’s computer, with no success. Looks like she needs a new disc drive. In the evening we went down to Midtown for a night out swing-dancing, to celebrate Carolyn’s birthday. I was feeling pretty tired but everyone danced and we had a good time.
Saturday, Ava and I went to San Francisco with MJ and spent the day wandering around being tourists. We had chowder bread bowls at Fisherman’s Wharf, taxied over to the Castro and browsed the shops, then hiked up to Haight and nosed around the hippie strip. Eventually we headed for a restaurant where MJ’s friend Debbie works and killed an hour sipping scotch. I like SF; I haven’t been there in a few years but it still feels familiar and comfortable. I could happily live there someday.
Sunday I worked with Joel on his new robot kit. We started by practicing some splices with his new soldering iron, then got going on the kit itself. We had a mishap right at the beginning, when we soldered the IR-detector eyes in on the wrong side of the board, and ruined one of them trying to tease it back out again, but after that things went smoothly. Joel has never soldered anything before, but he has been interested in electronics for a long time, and I hope he’ll be able to finish the kit and build other projects.
After that I met up with my dad for a couple hours of volleyball at the gym near his house. It’s a regular thing; thirty or forty people show up and play all evening. We cut out early and headed for a brewpub downtown to spend a couple hours catching up.
Monday, Andrew picked me, Ava, and MJ up and we headed for the hills. I’ve gone skiing / boarding with Andrew and Mike every year for the last several; we decided for some variety this time and went to Sugarbowl instead of Sierra-at-Tahoe. The snow wasn’t great, but the weather was nice, and we got a decent few runs in. I still love my new skis. MJ and Ava signed up for lessons – MJ had a great time but Ava unfortunately injured her foot and had to bail out after half an hour. Not such a good day for her.
I spent today driving home, in one straight shot: we left at 8:45 this morning, and arrived in Seattle – 750 miles, half a dozen fuel/water breaks, and one dinner stop later – at 10:15. I was feeling pretty stiff by the end but still alert. I think yesterday’s ski trip actually tired me out more. Last time I tried to drive the whole distance in one go I was in an ’86 Suzuki Samurai – the nice little Pontiac rental I drove this time was vastly more comfortable.
Tomorrow I’ll go back to work. In the evening, I’ll be playing an hour-long set – improv downtempo electronica, live-PA style – at the Offspring New Year’s Ball. I’m doing the 10 PM shift so I will have plenty of time to enjoy the party afterward. I’m not sure I’ll make it all the way to the 11 AM brunch at the other end, but there should be plenty of music and dancing and catching up with friends, and I’m sure it’ll be great.