Sep 12, 2004

It has been a few weeks since I have posted. When I last wrote, I was preparing to head out to Austin for my grandmother’s funeral. My trip to Texas was great! It was so nice to go home for a few days. It was a bit strange though – I had forgotten where some things were around the house. It was a strange feeling, being home after being away for almost three months. The memorial service for my grandmother was very nice. The service was held at my parent’s church, Northwest Fellowship, in north Austin. The pastor did a great job at conveying what a wonderful, gentle, but spirit filled woman my grandmother was. I suppose I gave the eulogy – I read what I wrote on the blog on the morning of her death. The service was so uplifting – there were very few dry eyes in the sanctuary. After the service, we celebrated in classic Panamanian style – we had a potluck and enjoyed way too much food. It was fun to see so many people having a good time… people I have not seen in quite a while. I got to spend some time with all my sisters and also with my tia Chela from LA. And she also brought an old friend of the family who I have not seen in over ten years. Later in the day, we all went to dinner at the Catfish Parlor (an Austin original) and had a fun time.

I did get to spend quality some time with Holly. We slept in late and ate out and ran errands together – it sure was nice to be home. We had dinner with our good friends Joy & TJ at the new house. I had been hearing about it so it was nice to finally see it. I got to meet with up with my good friends David and we enjoyed some tacos from Maria’s Taco Xpress while his kids ran circles around us (literally,) but they are cuties. Sunday we went to church at Southwest Fellowship. Again, it was so nice to see everybody – it was like I never left. After service we had to head right over to the airport to catch my flight home.

I got a very inexpensive fare from American Airlines, which is good because I am a frequent flier, but I had to fly through O’Hare, which makes for a long day of sitting in airplanes and airports. I was surprised when I was in DC preparing my bags and I got a call from American telling me that my flight from Reagan to Chicago was cancelled due to weather. They booked me on a flight to Dallas instead and I got there an hour earlier! What a treat – kudos to AA! My flight home was a different story. No, AA didn’t make any mistakes or have any delays… I unexpectedly fell asleep and slept the whole flight from Austin to Chicago. I grabbed some “dinner” (mmm… airport food) and didn’t want to fall asleep again, so I stopped by Starbuck’s and bought an Iced Chai Tea Latte. I had a taste of someone else’s once and it was really yummy, so I figured it would keep me up. I sucked it down and boarded my flight. The flight was okay and the Metro ride home was uneventful. It wasn’t until I was back in my apartment, unpacking, that I noticed my heart was racing and I was burning up! This was about four hours later and the caffeine was still in my system. Anyway, I was wired and couldn’t fall asleep for another couple of hours. It wasn’t until a few days ago when I shared this with some folks from church and they told me that the ingredient in that tea, black tea, is rich in caffeine. Duly noted.

So then Holly came up the following weekend, for Labor Day. I was told that I could have Sunday off a month and a half ago, but I guess they forgot (?) and scheduled me anyway. When I asked about it, they didn’t even apologize, they just told me to find someone else to work it or I would have to. Kenny was kind enough to fill in for me – many thanks to him. We had a fantastic time together and finally had a chance to sit around and just enjoy each other’s company. She came in early morning Friday (I mean early – like 1am early) and we got to sit in a traffic jam at 2:30am. I love life in DC. Friday we went to Gallaudet University for a tour of the campus. Gallaudet is the Largent deaf university in the country. Holly is studying sign language and really wanted to take a tour of the campus. I have to admit, I was very impressed with the history of the school and camaraderie of the student body. Interesting note, Holly had to request an interpreter for me! The tour was given in sign language and I am not fluent at all. Holly is though – she was able to keep up just fine. Later that night, we met up with some friends from Grace to drive up to the Maryland State Fair to check out one of our favorite Christian bands, Switchfoot. The fair was only about a 40 mile drive – it should have taken maybe an hour and a half. We left at 5pm and got there just after 8pm! That’s right – over three hours to get there. We got stuck in traffic headed to a preseason Redskins game, and then two wrecks were blocking the road. I don’t know how many times we thought, “maybe we should just turn around and go home.” We got there, parked and walked to the entrance and the line was longer than I have seen anywhere in a while! I walked to the front of the line and learned that people had been standing in line for over 30 minutes. It was already after 8 and they were supposed to come on at 8. I started to walk down the other line that had formed and as I came over a hill, I could hear and see the band only about 150 yards away. I called the rest of the crew and they all joined me. We enjoyed the show from a distance, but could hear them and see just fine. So we never made it into the fair, but at least we got to see the show. What a trip! BTW – the return drive took only about 45 minutes.

I started my new schedule at work: 0545-1415 Sun-Thu. It has been tough to adjust to, but not as bad I thought. The hardest part is waking up so early and also forcing myself to get to sleep around 10pm. I am not used to getting up that early! I have been doing a lot of software upgrades in the local DC area lately and it has been nice to work out of the office. And the weather here has been phenomenal! We had a bit of rain from the last hurricane turned tropical depression and we might get more late next week. I went for a 25 mile bike ride on Friday – I rode all the way up to Bethesda, MD and then back and down to see the Roosevelt and Jefferson memorials in DC. I need to start running again – PT test is soon.

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