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BALUG, Sonoma, and the 4th in Philly

Some changes in life circumstances recently has caused the past couple of months to be a bit more chaotic than I expected. Still, the usual outings and regular trips back east have continued. In late June I had the pleasure of going to a Bay Area Linux Users Group meeting for the first time in months. The turnout was better than I expected, causing us to expand out to two tables in the corner of the restaurant. I gave an introductory talk on DC/OS sans projector to the tables, which worked out better than I had hoped. A talk on DC/OS at a place like a local LUG can be a bit hit or miss, but for the most part it seemed like the right people came out to the meeting and we were able to have some nice discussions after I gave the overview and explained some usage examples. I also enjoyed catching up with some of the Partimus crew, and hope to have a couple new volunteers as a result.

Thanks to Nathan Handler for getting a picture during the meeting (source)

Later that week I met up colleagues early Friday morning in San Francisco for a team off-site in Sonoma and day of wine tours. We stopped at Benziger for a quick tram tour, then went off to Imagery to enjoy a boxed lunch at a table I’d used my membership to help arrange. From there we went to Petroni, which was a new one for me, and enjoyed a wine tasting and stories of the history of the family and winery in their caves. It was a nice to get to know some of my colleagues who I don’t work with every day, and in spite of being on the warm side, Sonoma is always beautiful and a pleasure to visit.

At the end of June we flew out to Philadelphia for a week. The trip was aimed at spending time with family and going through lots of stuff to organize and decide what we’re keeping there at the townhouse and what we’re going to ship out west to use and store here at the much larger house in California. It was an exhausting week, so I’m glad we took a nap on Saturday afternoon after stepping off our flight and spent the first evening with MJ’s sister Irina and her husband Sam over at Longwood Gardens. I went with a friend last year to see their fountain light show, and it featured a delightful mix of classic jazz. This year they changed it! Instead of the standard spot for viewing the show, we stood on the bridge in the middle of the fountains and they had switched to a soundtrack of pop music reaching back to the 70s. I was a big fan of the Pinball Wizard bit. The company was good as well, it was nice to grab some dinner at their outdoor beer garden, wander through some of the gardens, and generally catch up for a couple hours.

Mid-week my cousin Melissa was driving down the east coast and stopped by for a visit and dinner. She’s one of the cousins I see the most because we both travel and our paths cross often, especially when work or events bring her out to San Francisco every couple of years. She had her dog with her so I scoured restaurant reviews to find one with an outdoor area, and we lucked out with a 5PM thunderstorm that broke the heat wave a bit just before she arrived. We had a lovely dinner outside in the freshly minted 75 degree post-storm weather, which had earlier been in the 90s and humid.

The 4th of July was spent at MJ’s father’s house with BBQ and some extended family joining us as well. Plus, there was cake! We also got to meet up with family later in the week for a birthday at a nearby hibachi restaurant.

All the family visits aside, those boxes of stuff were front and center in this trip. We were able to get through everything and now have a solid inventory of it all with decisions about what we’ll be sending out west. We’re a bit concerned about whether everything will fit into the container we ordered to ship everything out, but we’ll find out next week. We’re taking another Friday night flight to get us into Philly around 8AM on Saturday, then spend the weekend finalizing what we need to do before the movers arrive. I will be so thrilled to have most of the boxes, totes and extra furniture finally out of the den we’ve designated as our shared office, in no small part because of all the comments and questions I get when I’m on work video calls about the sea of boxes I live with.

Our trip concluded by taking SEPTA down to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia where MJ had lunch before parting ways. He was headed out west on a plane for a quick work trip and I was taking the Amtrak Acela north to Boston for work of my own.