naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (autumn bountiful harvest)
Congratulations to newlyweds Ben and Kendra! Welcome to the crazy wonderfulness that is we Shakal cousins-by-the-dozens, Kendra!

I now know for certain that various Shakal relatives are reading this blog and never commenting here...

*waves a special cheery hello to the Carmel and Sparks clans* It was wonderful seeing you in person again after all these years!

If there are other random relatives reading this, feel free to comment here or to email me. I'm not scary, I promise, and I'd love to hear from you. My email address is my first name @ my last name .org (because I'm... um... organized. Mostly.)

:-) And yes, I'm still working on the new family tree and discussions website. :-D I have high hopes for December and January.

OK, on to more travel news...

I will be attending the League of Professional System Administrators' training days in Phoenix, AZ, this coming Monday and Tuesday. I'll be learning more about Change Management, Disaster Recovery, Communication for IT, and Developing IT Policies. This makes me very happy.

If any of my sysadmin buddies are also going to be there, let me know, OK? If you want my cell phone number so we can connect easily in Phoenix and you don't already have it, drop me an email.

It is becoming more and more likely that I'll be attending my 15th high school reunion in Indiana near Thanksgiving. If any of the ol' CGHS Science Club or German Club or Academic Superbowl or Decathlon crew are going to be around Greenwood then, drop me an email -- it'd be great to meet for coffee or something if there's time.

I will be regretfully unable to attend the LISA 2006 sysadmin conference in Washington, D.C., during the first week of December. This is slightly depressing, because it's such an amazing conference. But maybe I'll be able to attend next year.

I'm going to be wandering around the downtown Burbank Fine Arts Festival on either November 11th or 12th. The last two times I've done so I had a great time. If anyone from the LA area wants to wander the festival with me, let me know... I'd love to introduce you to my new favorite coffeeshop in Burbank: Romancing The Bean. They make a green tea iced blended thing that's really wonderful.

There's a good site for gem, mineral and bead shows across the US at the Lapidary Journal and another one at that mentions some of the Santa Monica shows... If anyone wants to wander the Santa Monica bead show with me that's on November 18th or 19th, or the one that's on December 2nd and 3rd, let me know. I may attend one of them... but I don't know yet. Mmmm, beads and rocks... :-)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (path less traveled)
I can never figure out quite how to start a new entry here when I haven't updated in such a long time... I'll try to at least mention the big events of the past few months.

The lovely contract sysadmin documentation job I began last spring has metamorphosed into a "real job"... I'm now part of USC's ITS department.

This has meant that I just couldn't manage the commute and time required to stay with the MSIS program at Claremont, though. I can't decide whether to think of this as a hiatus, a sabbatical, or a leave of absence from grad school.

Being laid off from Caltech formerly-ITS-now-IMSS last October sucked in a lot of ways, and removed certain possible paths from my life, but it did open others. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year.

It's a little bit of broken deja vu to be surrounded by Trojan iconography in cardinal and gold these days, since my high school mascot was a Trojan in red and white, followed by over a decade of being surrounded by Caltech hazard-orange and white.

It's autumn, which always means facing transitions and saying farewell to the past for me, but I seem to be in the midst of a soul-deep Must Simplify, Must Actively Transition With Intent phase than usual for the time of year.

I had an amazing, amazing time in July vacationing with my parents and backpacking with my father. I'm still in the process of organizing umptymillion photos and writing up a trip report from my handwritten journal entries. Gosh, the wild spaces of the Pacific Northwest are incredible. Southern California is far too dry and doesn't have enough trees by comparison.

My last remaining grandparent passed away this summer. It feels odd how family dynamics change and don't change as we all face these milestones in our lives. I was able to make it to rural Wisconsin for the family gathering for Gramma's funeral, and though it was a difficult time, it was wonderful to see everyone. Distances make everything so much harder.

I may be attending my 15th high school reunion in Indiana near Thanksgiving.

There's a possibility that I may be attending the LISA 2006 sysadmin conference in Washington, D.C., during the first week of December.

Every day is filled with so many little things, and big things masquerading as little things, and little things masquerading as big things... and still the wheel turns. It's been a doozie of a year.

Unrelated geeky question: is anyone using and/or and if so, are you in any way unhappy/dissatisfied with either one?
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
Remember this mess about WalMart building a store at a really stupid, dangerous location where I grew up?

Wal-Mart withdraws plans for WRT store

Residents glad retailer dropped push for new store

What these articles do not mention is that the 24-hour megastore would have been situated right next to and around a funeral home, and near a large cemetary... and that Hoosiers stop traffic completely for funeral-related automobile processions.

There are so many more suitable areas for commercial development which are already zoned commercial... but as I understand it many of those locations aren't connected up to the local sewer system yet, which means that putting in those connections would add significantly to the cost of putting a store at those ideal locations.

It's all about the money, and suburban sprawl, and open spaces and farmland disappearing, and about people dying on narrow low-capacity roads as traffic increases faster than the public works are prepared for it.

My parents were part of the group of activists who made their voices heard.

And yeah, I have the coolest parents ever.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
One of the local newspapers in Greenwood is running an unscientific poll today, March 18th, about putting in a Walmart near where I grew up. For years the roads there have been unable to handle the traffic there is already, and Olive Branch is very narrow and twisty. I don't remember how many friends got into accidents on that road, but it was a high number even when I was in high school a decade ago. On top of that, the proposed Walmart center is right next to the funeral home there... how tacky is that?

Please go to and vote to oppose the Walmart at Olive Branch and 135. Thank you.

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February 2017

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