Well, I've got to run off to a flight in 60 minutes. If you are reading this on Friday, I was able to get it posted in time. I'm trying to close off a few items and eat before I board the plane. (Editor's note: Since I am now typing on the plane, I can guarantee you you're not reading this on Friday (unless of course you're time traveling)).
This past weekend was a quick trip to Minnesota to see some friends. Was a great weekend, and a good chance to connect with everyone up there.
I know that my Friday Five recently has included a life update, anecdote about my trip or otherwise. This week it will be a bit longer than normal. You have been warned.
Today (Friday) marked a bit of a closing of a page in our (Karin and I) lives. Up until today, I've been staying in our apartment in Houston when I travel out there. I wound up reworking my contract with my Houston client, and as part of that, I gave up the apartment. That closes off the last connection that we have from the move to Houston.
Also, this is roughly the one year anniversary of Karin and I making it official that we wanted to move to Houston - even though my brother kept reminding us that they keep Houston in Texas.
Obviously, our move to Houston didn't turn out quite the way we expected. We were very confident that we could sell our house (this was literally just before the housing market cratered). We had begun house hunting in Houston, and found "our" house. (It's still available, if you're interested.) And then, we wound up moving back.
I don't "believe" in regrets. The word "regret" implies to me that it's something you wish didn't happen in the first place. I'm certainly disappointed that things didn't work out the way that we had hoped, but we couldn't be happier with the actual result.
Karin's job is now much more manageable. She went back to a manager who's not working full time, and has a reduced load. I'm "free" again, contracting and having the flexibility to "do what I want". Karin has also been able to reconnect with friends in San Diego and form a "clique" of sorts.
We've also learned quite a bit about ourselves. We learned how to "survive" on our own - we had one couple friend out here and that was it. We learned the value of friendship in general - we missed everyone in San Diego more than we can possibly express. And we learned that we are San Diegans. San Diego is where we were meant to be.
In all, while there are times that we certainly dream of the large house, yard, and white picket fence, we know we're right where we need to be.
On a side note, having the apartment in Houston was also the first time that I "lived by myself". Granted, I was only there when I was in Houston for business, but it was an apartment all to myself. I learned that if Karin were to ever leave me, I could never survive on my own. I vacuumed a collective 0 times, never shopped, and only did the bare necessities around the house. (Yeah, I'm pretty worthless.)
My travel note for the week takes me back to the Minneapolis airport. They were asking for volunteers to take a later flight and offering a voucher. I wound up taking it, and taking up station at the bar to watch both of the Elite Eight basketball games on Sunday. Also got to know the bartender, and found out she's very proud of her daughter - she's going to Tulane, and is very "brilliant" at both math and science. I wish her a very successful future.
My 5 this week was suggested by Sarah - ballparks. The only qualification I have for the list is I have to have seen a game there.
- Best ballpark - Yankee Stadium. Don't get me wrong, I hate the Yankees as much as any normal human being. But there's no denying the history of both the club and the park. This is sadly scheduled to be its last season as home to the Evil Empire, but if you have the chance you must go. If you do go, make sure you get there early so you have a chance to tour Monument Park, which has numerous plaques and other items honoring the history of the Yankees.
- Best new ballpark -
PacBell SBCAT&T Park. While the name has changed twice, the park itself has remained the same. It's right on the water, and done nearly perfectly. They also have garlic fries with garlic from Gilroy that you can smell throughout the entire place. If you go, get a ticket in the upper deck behind home plate - you'll be treated with a gorgeous view of the park, bay, and McCovey Cove. (On a side note, Karin and I have only been there when it was PacBell Park.)
- First ballpark I saw a game at - Olympic Stadium in Montreal. As a kid, I was just jazzed to be at a game. When I got older, I realized what a hole the place is. It's cavernous, lifeless, and when there are only 2,000 fans in the park (as there were towards the end of Bud Selig's screwing over of the city) it's just atrocious. But it will always hold a special place in my heart. (Alas, I have no pictures)
- First ballpark in the US I saw a game in - The HHH Metrodome. Speaking of holes... The Metrodome is home to the "Dome Double" - the roof is white, which makes it difficult to see a high fly ball. On occasion, a fielder will lose track of the ball, it will hit the turf, and by the time someone gets a glove on it, the runner is on second. (Alas, I have no pictures)
- Best atmosphere - Any Spring Training park. Small (12,000ish capacity) parks. Ample access to the players. Watching players try to make the major league club. Every baseball fan must make it to Spring Training at least once.
If you're a baseball fan, I'd love to find out your favorite park, so please feel free to comment. (Yes, this is a shameless plug for comments on my blog.)
That rule excluded Fenway Park. I have been there for a concert that was hosted by Microsoft for a conference, so that doesn't count. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome experience. We had free run of the place, including food and beer. There's something very cool about being able to walk up to a booth, order 2 beers, 2 dogs and a pretzel and not have to fill out a credit application. (And the back story on the picture (which is one of my favorites - that's Whitey (friend) Abram (brother) Me (Me) Brenda (friend) on the top of the Green Monster). At the end of the night we asked someone to take a picture. The guy wanted the perfect shot, so he climbed up on a stool (putting him above the safety rail) to take the shot - one shot, and he risked his life to get it. I'm still amazed at how well it came out.)
Feel free to mock how young we look in that picture, and how terrible that goatee was (and how misguided I was to actually keep it).