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In which I ramble my way through November

It’s good to be home! I’ve now been home for almost three weeks and still trying to catch up with everything. I’ve slowly been reducing the number of boxes in the condo as we’ve handling a lot of paperwork following the Philadelphia trip. We still have a fair amount of mail to go through, going to try and tackle a chunk of that this weekend. We’ve also been doing other home things and recently a City Target opened up just a couple blocks from where we live. I headed over there during a lunch break a couple weeks ago to pick up some storage containers and found the perfect laundry basket replacements for our bedroom, prompting a weekend of buying a couple more small pieces of furniture for the bedroom, hooray! I’m probably more excited about the Target than I should be, but the store includes a grocery section and it’s super nice to have the basic stuff available in such close proximity to home now, we’ll see how this impacts the frequency of our big shopping trips.

While I was gone my Raspberry Pi also went on a vacation. My friend Dan was doing a Raspberry Pi presentation and asked to borrow it so I got it sent off before my trips. It came home to me recently along with the great slides from Dan’s presentation. Now that it’s back home I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it. A lot of people are using them for little media/streaming servers, but we’ve got a great setup between what our TV does natively and the capabilities of the PS3. For now it’s running an IRC bot.

Since my return we’ve also gone full speed ahead with wedding planning. Coordinating the selection and hiring of vendors for flowers, music, photography and more, trying to plan our next trip out to Philadelphia (which needs to be soon!) where we can have appointments with all of them. We’ve been using Google Docs for all of this stuff so we can both edit all the documents and keep tabs on precisely where each other is in the process, it’s working very well. I’m also in the middle of going through options for invitations, I really need to make some choices and order some samples by the end of the weekend.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time in meetings as I catch up and continue with with various work and volunteer-related things and I really hope to have some good, announceable news on the job front soon. I’ve been able to meet up with some of the Partimus organization folks and have been having some great chats with our lead engineer on some of the projects he’s been spending time on in Oakland. It was also exciting to learn that the Ubuntu Necklaces have been very popular and are turning out to be an even better fundraiser than the earrings (which should be back in stock soon) last year! My own necklace order came in recently (pictured with the earrings):

I haven’t been able to make it out to many events in the past month, but I did get out to BerkeleyLUG for an hour last Sunday and BALUG for their recent meeting on FreeBSD. I’ve also finally gotten back into the swing of things with Ubuntu Hours and will be hosting one on Wednesday, with an unofficial Debian dinner following it.

Also, a few updates on Ghana stuff. The lightning talk I did at the Ubuntu Developer Summit has been published online, my talk starts 5m36s in: Ubuntu UDS R – Thursday Lightning Talks. I was also approached by Ubuntu User Magazine about publishing an article covering our work, which I happily did and will appear in issue 15, but you can view it online before it hits the shelves: Edubuntu in Ghana. The folks at Africa ICT Right on the ground in Ghana are continuing the work and recently published some press releases, including AIR Donates 50 Computers in Gomoa East, I’m really happy that we’re being kept in the loop as their work moves forward, they’re doing a great job of keeping records.

And holidays. For Thanksgiving we kept it pretty low-key, had a Thanksgiving lunch at the Beach Chalet and then did a quick trip to the San Francisco Zoo, they had dinosaurs.

The December holidays are quickly approaching and dealing with this time of year has been a struggle for me. I love the lights and trees and music around the secular celebration of Christmas, but I’ve committed to having a Jewish household with MJ, and there really is no place for a lit up tree here. For now the compromise has been limited “Hanukkah Lights” in blue and white with some dradle and star Hanukkah garland. It’s still not really doing it for me as I fondly remember traditional celebrations from my childhood and how culturally significant a time it has been in my life both because of my Americanness and my Germanic heritage (there were so many beautiful German Christmas decorations at the Frankfurt airport!). I’m hoping this gets easier as I begin to feel more affinity for Jewish holidays throughout the year and so no longer need to put all my festive holiday eggs in the Christmas basket (I swear, the amusing characteristics of that metaphor in this context only hit me after I wrote it).

It’s been an unusually rainy week and that continues today. It’s further encouragement for us to stay in and work on home projects and wedding stuff that needs attention rather than going out on beautiful day adventures. Now to just make sure I don’t spend all day playing video games… played with my Xbox last night for the first time since my return, it’s still calling to me.


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