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Our back yard and baseball

After a very chill July, things picked up a bit in August. On August 3rd I was walking home from the eye doctor, a visit made required by Adam breaking my glasses, on my walk home I passed a small “National Night Out” festival being set up in the BART parking lot! As soon as work wrapped up, I piled the kids into the stroller and made our way over. There was food, music, and a couple police agencies out getting to know the community and giving out goodies to the kids. Mostly, it was another nice opportunity to get out and see people outdoors, in a socially distanced way that still feels pretty safe. Plus, Adam got a squishy BART toy and we got to see some big rabbits!

We’ve also been keeping the kids entertained by expanding our back yard activities some. A few weeks ago we got a little activity area with a tent that has places to play with water, a pretend grill, and more. It’s similar in style to the temporary tent I have out back for us adults to chill out under at the picnic table, so he likes that a lot. I also was able to snag a used slide structure for cheap from a mother in the next town over. While it’s no replacement for the playground, and the yard remains less than ideal in general, it has become a much more enjoyable place to be in the past month or so. I even got a couple of cheap throw pillows that I can use to relax and read outside on the bench.

Speaking of playgrounds, I didn’t end up doing my standard Sunday morning routine last weekend because MJ’s friend Matti was in town! Instead, we spent Saturday morning going to the farmer’s market, as usual, and then Matti also joined the three of us to visit some nearby yard sales. There wasn’t much of interest at the yard sales, except one gem: a 1940s L.C. Smith typewriter of questionable working status, the owner parted with it for $10.

I’ve been eyeing typewriters casually for years but I’ve tried to be practical. What on earth do I need a typewriter for? But art with Adam has changed me some, what if I used the typewriter in some of our art creations? Brilliant! So I did a quick search for a local shop that would repair my typewriter, and that afternoon MJ and Matti looked after the kids as I drove up to Berkeley and dropped it off. The bill for refurbishing a 1940s L.C. Smith typewriter? $320. Totally reasonable given the expertise and I want this local shop to stay in business forever, but it probably more than I was looking to spend on a small side project. Still, I told him to go ahead with it, and in a month I should have a fancy as-good-as-new typewriter for our next great art project!

As for Sunday, I had to put the kids down for early naps because we had a huge adventure in store! Around noon, we left for the A’s stadium to see our first in-person baseball game in over two years. Since we haven’t spent much money on recreation or travel since the pandemic began, we had a bit of a budget for a fun activity. We chose a less popular game (we wanted to see the A’s, who cares who they play?) and secured a suite for $100/person with a six person minimum. Our household, plus Matti, and our old au pair and her fiance joined us for the game. I’d say it was perfect if not for the gaping window in the front of the suite. It was nice to be able to get the breeze and hear the field so we kept it open, but Adam is at a stage were 1) he goes NON-STOP ALL THE TIME and 2) the temptation to throw things out a giant window is too strong to resist. We had to keep an close eye on him and everything near the window.

Otherwise, it ended up being a nice way to enjoy the game and keep the kids safe. It has a private entrance that only suite holders use, and so we were able to keep our unmasked, unvaxxed kids far away from the crowds. There was plenty of space for Aaron to play on the floor with toys, and they delivered food to our suite! The suite also had glass partitions between suites, so we were separated but could still see other fans, a fact that, to my delight, Adam took advantage of to bond with our neighbors.

Work has started picking up, and likely won’t calm down until the end of September with events coming up. I’m a track chair for the upcoming IBM Z Day, which means I have a lot of coordination to do. Plus I’m putting together IBM’s presence at the Open Mainframe Summit, which may surprise some of the attendees with how… written by me it is. I had a lot of freedom to focus on free learning materials and opportunities that IBM has developing, and I hope this resonates with the audience more than some of the typical IBM marketing copy. I also hope I don’t get in trouble, haha! I joke, but it is an exciting, interesting opportunity and I am having a blast putting together schedules and material for both these big September events, even if it does mean a little more off-hours work than I’m used to. This week I also virtually attended my first SHARE event! Finally taking part in this amazing user group that’s been around since 1955. It didn’t disappoint. I sincerely hope I can attend in person next year.