Sunday, December 02, 2007

Catching Up

As usual, I am behind on my blogging, so I will attemtp to catch you up on a great load of things that have happened since my last update.

November was all about product testing an demonstrations for the company I work for. Interestingly enough, the testing and demos needed to take place in Europe since that is where our first product release is targeted. Planning for this has been going on for some time. As a matter of fact I enlisted the help of my friend Iain's sister (Jane) and his dad (Jim) to help scout for locations while I was at Iain and Ruth's wedding (see earlier post "Talkin Turkey").

With Jane and Jim's help, we did find three great locations, one in Ireland and two in Windsor (just outside of London).

I arrived in Ireland during the last week of October (delayed one week by the fires having closed our offices in San Diego). I was the advance team to make sure everything was set up and as you can see from the photo I worked hard! I worked in a quick trip to England to help make sure the locations were all ready for the customer demos.

After two weeks of testing I Ireland I headed back to Dan Diego for a week. It was great to see Bonnie (in passing). I got home on Friday and she left on Sunday morning to head for Atlanta to prep for Thanksgiving.

I did make it to Atlanta for a quick Thanksgiving; I took a red eye out of San Diego and arrived at Bonnie’s parents (Barbara and Jerry) in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. W had a great time and it was great to see everybody; Sharon and Doug, Sam, Isabella, Becky, Leslie as well as the clan from Madison Wisconsin – Uncle Michael, Allisanne, Mandy and Molly. The trip was short I headed back out the next morning for England.

I arrived in England to find a team from my office already hard at work. We did product demos in two locations: a house in old Windsor, and a flat in Windsor. The house was on the grounds of what used to be a mental hospital, and it was done up very nicely.

The flat was in a converted convent and was one of the most unique locations I have ever seen. Among its other features was a stone carving of Saints above the over sized fireplace.

I am pleased to report that not only did both locations show very well, but the product demos to date have also been quite a success.

It is the weekend now; on Friday my friends Iain and Ruth were in town so they came over to the convent where I was staying for a visit, it was great to see them again.

We also got to see his family for dinner on Friday evening.

Today is Sunday and one of my wok colleagues an I are headed into London to o touristy things, like brunch in China town and Christmas shopping at Harrods.

Now you are all caught up.

Look for news about my baby sister (Martye) visiting in December in my next update!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Update 2

A quick update.

The fires are pretty much out of our immediate area now. Most of the mandatory evacuations have been lifted.

The friends we had staying with us were able to get back into their home last night, and luckily suffered no damage.

Life is settling back to normal.

Thanks for all the calls, texts and emails!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego Wildfires

Greetings from smoky San Diego – 9:00 am Wednesday Oct 24

Thanks for all of the emails and calls folks checking to see if we are O.K.

Bonnie and I are just fine, they have closed the University where she works, and my office shut down for a couple of days. But luckily our apartment is not in an area that had to be evacuated.

We know many folks who were not so lucky; we have a couple staying with us at our apartment that still does not know if their home and car made it.

The fire continues to spread. I will post updates here when I can.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Top Up

Just a quick update.

Well, it finally happened; for the first time since I bought my new convertible several months ago, I had to put the top up when I drove it to work today.

It was misting, (East Coasters would not actually have called it rain), and so I stopped and put the top up.

This ends a steak of about 130 days, since I bought the car. To date every day that I drove to (and from) the office, I have done so with the top down.

In truth, until today, the only time I have ever really put the top up was to wash the car.

Ah well, it had to rain sooner or later.

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I often heard this kind of talk before
It never rains in California
But girls don't they warn ya
It pours, man it pours
Albert Hammond

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Talkin Turkey

Bonnie and I recently traveled to Bodrum Turkey to attend the wedding of our friends Ruth and Iain, yes that is a kilt! You can find a link below to Ian's blog below.

We felt proud to be invited to the wedding, and even more special to be invited to join several family and friends that tagged along for the honeymoon on board a wooden sailing boat where we enjoyed four days crusing, eating, drinking, laughing and singing. Somebody found a guitar somewhere, so we had a lot of sing alongs - although it may be some time before I play American Pie again :-)

Martye (Morgan) popped over from Brussels and joined us for the week, it was a treat to see her.

While we were out of town, we closed on the sale of both our boat an the loft apartment in Atlanta. Then we came home to great news about Bonnie's sister Sharon who had a wonderful three month checkup with her doctor. This has been a really good Month for us!
I am making this posting via a hotspot in the airport in Washington D.C., I am on my way to Cannes France for the week to attend a trade show. Check back here oftern to see where we are this week.


Bye Bye BlackSheep

It was a bittersweet day last week when we closed on the sail of our boat the BlackSheep. While we are happy to be rid of the expense and upkeep, I will certainly miss owning a boat.

What they say about the two best days of a boat owner's life being the day they buy and the day they sell is not at all true. An while I cannot say exactly which day was our best day as a boat owner, you can be sure it was a day on board with our friends!

Bye bye BlackSheep, you will be missed!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Tennessee Squire

When I look back at my life, there will be milestones that I remember. Among them the day that I was invited to become a Tennessee Squire. I was invited into this exclusive organization by an existing squire and new friend Beth Herman.

I was serving drinks at our house one night and asked Beth what I could get her. She replied Jack Daniel's (and I knew would be fast friends right away). When I asked her if she preferred Black Jack or Gentlemen Jack she was impressed and then told me she was a Squire. She later offered to submit my name for membership consideration.

Several weeks later I got 'the package' in the mail. I have passed the review, I am in! I now have my own plot of land on the Jack Daniel distillery property.

Now as the squires before me have done, I am proud to toast....
May the sand in your joints turn to butter, May the ache in your back disappear, May your legs stay strong when the day grows long, May your shooting eye hold true and clear.

May you hunt every fall with your friends, And with Jack, drink a toast to your peers! May your game bag never be empty, And your season stay open for years.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ramblin Man

Well it looks as if I will end up spending a lot of the rest of this year on the road.

I am writing this blog update from England. I will be here for the rest of the week (with a quick pop over to Ireland for a day).

Then I am home for 3 days before Bonnie an I had off to Bodrum (Turkey) for our friend's - Iain & Ruth - wedding. You can see more about the wedding and Turkey on their wedding page.

I will be back home from Turkey for one day before I leave to go to Cannes (France) for a trade show.

From there I am back home for a few before traveling to Virginia for another wedding -Bonnie's cousin Scott and his delightful fiance.

After that there are the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays, both of which I am afraid, are going to be overshadowed by work.
I will let you know more about those dates as they get closer.

Check back in a couple of weeks for photos from Turkey!
Lord I was born a ranblin Man
Just Trying to make a livin an doin the best I can
So when it's time for leaving, I hope you understand
That I was born a ramblin man

Saturday, August 25, 2007

California Dreamin'

Hard to believe but Bonnie and I have been living in San Diego for almost 9 months now. We are settling in, but it has taken us a while to get used to the West Coast. Bonnie finally broke down and got a California driver’s license (she wanted to make sure she was registered to vote); I have had mine for while. We both have California tags on our cars, and we have local bank accounts.

We just signed up for another lease (10 months) on our apartment. We figured we would wait to sell the boat and our loft in Atlanta prior to getting into another mortgage, especially given the price of houses here. When I came to interview last December, someone casually mentioned that “A million dollars really isn’t that much to spend on a home here” to which I replied, “What are you *&%$%* kidding? A million bucks????” Now it is clear that we will easily end up spending three times as much for a home here as we did in Atlanta.

Bonnie and I spent the day, today, with our new friends Chris and Beth (Chris works in my office). Chris gave me my first surfing lesson. We were at a beach just south of Cardiff. How totally California dude!! Let me tell you that surfing is not as easy as it looks. I got beat up pretty good and swallowed a LOT of sea water, but I had fun, and as soon as my sunburned nose recovers, I plan to go again.
“If everybody had an ocean, across the USA, then everybody’d be surfin, like Califonr -i-a . Catch a wave and your sitting on top of the world.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Anybody Know How To Turn On The Oven?

No I am not going to stick my head in it, but I am going to have to cook dinner for myself for the next few weeks. I am going to be living the bachelor’s life at home while Bonnie is working onsite for a work project during most of July.

Bonnie is a grant Administrator for the Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation. (I think it would be easier just to say “World Peace”). Anyway, starting this year (and every year thereafter) the program brings kids from around the globe (they have to be under 25 and they can never have been in the USA before) to San Diego for 3 weeks of classes, lectures, team building and of course some fun stuff too.

Bon will be moving into the dorms (at San Diego State University) with her crew this weekend and will be there for 3 weeks. She says I get to visit. Visiting Bonnie in her college dorm room is what got me involved with her 30 years ago. Might be fun again…who knows.

By the way, although we are still in "stealth mode", the company I am working for launched a web site to help us attract new staff.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A New Toy

Well after six months of living in Southern California with only one car, Bonnie and I finally broke down this past weekend and bought a second car. The best part is that it was for me! I don't know what lucky start I was sleeping under, but I got to hit the Bose store two weeks ago and the Saturn dealer this past weekend.

We are now the proud owner of a 2007 Saturn Sky Redline. It is a Chili Pepper red, extremely fast two seater sports coupe. No storage at all, but that is why we have the Honda Accord.

So now Bonnie and I are both happy, she has a car to drive to work and run errands afterwords, and I have a sporty new convertible!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Toys

Well I finally talked Bonnie into visiting the Bose store with me again. It was a shopping frenzy! This time I purchased the various bit and bobs required to bring Bose sound from the Main System into the master and guest bedrooms.

The master bedroom already had a WAVE Radio, so we just needed to connect it to the rest of the system; I did this with an AL8 System which means that I did not have to run wires.

In the guest bedroom/office, we added a RoomMate so we can have music in there while we work. I used an additional AR1 wireless receiver to make the connection to the new wireless link in the rest of the house. Once we move, the RoomMate will be migrated to the kitchen, and the guest room will be its own WAVE Radio.

Both the bedrooms got a new remote, which is truly amazing. It let’s you choose what you want to hear, be it an album, the radio or a themed collection of music stored in the Main System.

Now Bonnie can watch a movie in the living room and I can listen to Jimmy Buffet in the office. Of course, we can also set them all on the same stream and listen to Jimmy buffet in every room in the house!

So what’s next? Well I have to wait until we buy the house we are shopping for, but I already have big plans for speakers in the back yard and in our bathroom! Wohooo

Friday, May 04, 2007

May 5th On The Border

Since I now pretty much live on the Mexican border, events like Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) get a lot of attention. There will be several major parties in and around San Diego tomorrow. Lots of margaritas and cold Corona will be consumed. It is only a shame that a frost a few months ago did so much damage to the local lime crops. For the last few weeks it has been very difficult to find the large juicy limes I prefer to use when making my favorite adult beverages.

Meanwhile, allow me to use my blog to dispel one popular American myth. Cinco De Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day, that day is September 16th. Although the day does have historical reference; on May 5th, 1862 a small group of Mexican soldiers fought and defeated a much larger and better armed garrison of French army troops. The day is celebrated to commemorate the brave act of these soldiers, very much as we “Remember the Alamo”. Unfortunately as is often the case, the Mexicans won that battle but lost the war.

Now that we have that out of the way, I can happily provide a weather report for Cinco De Mayo in San Diego. The weather will be: Chili tonight, but hot tamale!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hunter 460

A friend sent me a link to a upcoming TV show called Fearless. The show is going to be about a couple who sail around the world in their 2000 year Hunter 460. What makes this interesting is that the 460 is the same boat that Bonnie, I and so many of our friends have enjoyed playing on all over the Caribbean.

Our boat is named the BlackSheep, and it too was manufactured in the year 2000. Unlike fearless, we did not outfit our boat for the open ocean. Instead we made sure that it had more important things for our kind of sailing, like a blender, a good place to store wine and speakers that can bring music to the bow (for late night dancing on the deck).

Alas, now that we are living in San Diego, we are no longer able to use the boat. If you know of anybody looking for an AMAZING DEAL on a wonderful sailboat, please let me know. You can see all the specifications here.

Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures just for fun....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Play Ball

Last night Bonnie and I, along with my little sister Martye, went to see our new home town team, (the San Diego Padres) play ball against the Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, after 12 innings our team lost the fight. But we had fun anyway.

It was a chilly evening for our first ever visit to Petco Park. We had dogs, drank beer at crackerjacks and in general did all the kinds of things that one is supposed to do at a ball game.

Martye did notice how much the team mascot, a monk named "The Friar" looked like the "Pizza, Pizza" guy from Little Ceasars.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Aint' It Grand

Well I can no longer say that I have never seen the Grand Canyon. Last weekend Bonnie and I, along with her parents (Barbara & Jerry) took a helicopter tour of the canyon. A bus picked us up at our hotel and took us to the airstrip, where we were checked in and weighed. I am pleased to note that they were discreet about everyone’s weight, but they did need it to calculate total capacity for the helicopter. I know do that none of us weigh 275 pounds, because if we did we would have had to pay for to tickets!

The fleet of Helicopters at Maverick Tours was nice, new, and very high tech. Most of the ‘bubble” was clear so we had amazing views as we traveled. First, we flew across Nevada, then circled around Hoover Damn and then finally landed in the canyon itself.

After we got back from Nevada, my sister Martye came to visit. Bonnie, my sister and Bonnie's folks went down to Mexico and had a fun day.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy 90th GrandMamma!

Last weekend I traveled back to my boyhood home of Madison Florida. It was a quick trip; on Friday I flew from San Diego to Jacksonville and then rented a car and drove into Madison. Early on Sunday morning I reversed the process.

Why the pilgrimage? Grandmamma Eckert’s 90th birthday party of course! A chance to join in the celebration of the life of an amazing lady, not to mention a chance to see my brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and all the rest of the family and friends who attended the gala event. GrandMamma is shown here, flanked by her two kids (Buddy and B.J.).

An industrious decorating crew (B.J. Martye, Nate, Mike & Gwindy) turned the fellowship hall of our small community church into party central. Given that Grandmamma shares her birthday with Pattie’s day, you can imagine the theme! All very green.

It was certainly great to see the whole crew. As you can see in the photo my brothers and sisters were all there. Maybe we will all end up in the same place again without having to wait for Grandmamma’s 100th birthday.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Traveling Jones

First let me say that I know it has been a long time since I have made an update to the blog. My fault to be sure, but I the new job has had me running like you would not believe. Out of the 8 or 9 weeks that I have had this job, I have spent at least 6 weeks traveling. This will slow down soon.

Meanwhile I am able to visit with Bonnie each night while I was on the road via my SightSpeed account so I did not get to lonely for her. I just call her in the video phone from my computer, not quite as good as being at home, but one does what one can. I am really missing the family and all my friends, San Diego is a long way from home.

By the way, Bonnie landed her dream job at San Diego State University. She starts on Thursday, and we are both very excited about it.

In other news, we took the Volkswagen (2003 Passat) in to get an oil change and they wanted another $1,000 for repairs. We had gotten rather sick of pumping money into that car, so we are now the proud new owners of a 2007 Honda Accord.

More news as it happens, I promise to update regularly!