Ahh, Home

The trip over to Europe went well, as did the return trip yesterday. The business meetings were very productive. It looks like my next project will have a go-live date of about mid-June ’05. I was unable to post anything while in Europe due to the proxy settings I had to use while there; that, and I had little time to do so. Arrived Sunday just fine and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in Paris. Walked the top level of the Louvre and went to the next level down to see the Lady before leaving. Friday I was able to spend the day in Brussels and had an amazing time. There is an area in Brussels known as the Grand Place; extremely old with wonderful architecture. In the early afternoon there were some showers and just as they were passing I was able to take this shot (if only it weren’t for the ladder):

Then there is this bit of juxtaposition in downtown Brussels:

Well, it is truly nice to be home and I see I have a great deal of blogs to catch up on. You have all been so prolific…

Bags are Packed

Well actually, I’m almost packed. I leave for Europe tomorrow afternoon (Saturday). In the interest of minimizing any negative impact to the delicate balance that is international relations, I have decided to leave my banjo at home. I’m excited about hooking up with several people I have not seen face to face for almost two years. I’m just not very excited about the trip over. We checked with the airlines to see if we could upgrade and were essentially told that for the price we paid for these tickets, we’re lucky they aren’t requiring us to load our own luggage. Our roundtrip tickets are well under $500 each. How can they possibly earn a living at that rate?

Lord willing, my next post should be from Paris… Au revoir!

Rude

Drive home is about 35 minutes.
It is wanting to rain, but not.
Must stop and pick up a few things.
Grab one of the small carts.
Head to the dairy section.
On my way some spaghetti; sauce on sale as well.
Head to check out.
Glance at a reasonably sized package of chocolate donuts, nah.
Total is just shy of $20.
Noise, more noise — tune it in or shut it out?
Too late, my attention is brought back to my real surroundings — by the bag-boy no less.
“I just couldn’t sleep.”
“I did the only thing a stupid teenager would do.”
“I went outside and stared at the stars.”

How long has the cashier been listening to this story.
Wait.
It hits me.
I am at whom he is talking.
Oh great. Splurt a hybrid grunt-hum and avert my eyes to the exit.
After all, he’s hardly stupid?
The boy threaded together at least a half-a-dozen coherent sentences.
Drive the last 4 miles home.
Begin to feel rude.
What a pleasant young man.
Damage done.
Sorry!

Endings and Beginnings

It is always an interesting time when finishing one project and enter into another. There is when I now find myself. The project I am finishing goes live tomorrow and the next one kicks off in two weeks. As a project ends I often want to say good riddance, but I am always excited as the next one gets underway. The last phase of a project requires a great deal of tedious, repetitive testing and retesting, many long days a weekends. Getting a new project going requires a lot of study, research and question asking. It requires that a team get into the nuances of a situation or circumstance as it currently is and ponder how it might be. I find this end of a project incredibly exciting. Now, how to constructively deal with the other end…?

Off I Go

Well, it looks like I’m in for some more traveling. Europe later in October (Paris, Mons, Brussels, Antwerp) then Chicago and/or Dallas in November. I don’t think this will return to my travel schedule of a couple of years ago, but I must say that I have grown comfortable with coming home every evening instead of a hotel room and even this little bit of travel planning causes me to pause with some reluctance. On the other hand I will have the opportunity to reconnect with some people in person that I have only been communicating with via phone and video conferences. I have been grappling with an odd decision to make; do I take my banjo along? My family tells me the best place to play it is as far from them as possible. But, is Paris ready?