Cannot think of a better way to bring in the New Year than to spend it with Tom and Sharon. We had salmon barbecued on a cedar plank, mac and cheese, amazing bread, etc., etc. Then, to top it off, Tom taught Lorena, Kelly, and Christian how to make crêpes. He made them on a homemade crêpe pan with a homemade crêpe spreader. It really does not get any better than that.
P.S. I really like this picture of Tom.
After a workout at the YMCA, we will head over to the home of the elder of our meeting tonight for a quiet dinner. We are all glad. Last night was a fun busy night, but too much to do two nights in a row. Also, it is a great way to use up some of the leftovers from last night. I will try to remember to put up a picture or two.
Day 497 of 1000
I cannot believe I we are almost half way through our 1000 day count. When the count is complete, the kids (hopefully) will have graduated from NCSU and be planning for grad school. I blew it though. Somehow, I got two days off during my counting. I went to the Date Duration Calculator webpage and found that I had fouled up. Embarrassingly, due to my “don’t change the blog posts after two days” rule, I am going to have to leave it like it is.
I am in too good of a mood to let it get me down. I had a date with my bride last night while the kids had a game night party with their friends. Both were a wild success.
Day 497 of 1000
Troy, Christian, François, and I all met down at the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Laboratory at NCSU this morning to work on the GaugeCam project. It was very interesting. I have not really done anything on the project for several months, but François has been pretty busy. There were two items that were of particular interest. First, François visited Bangladesh with a team of scientists to work on some agricultural water research. They were able to use the GaugeCam cameras to monitor water levels as water passed through a crop field.
The second was even more interesting. Based on research performed using the GaugeCam water level measurement tools, it was determined that a whole category of pressure sensors used by the USGS to measure water level are significantly inaccurate, especially when water levels are rising or falling. The first paper based on our research will be published in several months. There are two (and probably a third) additional papers for which data has already been gathered.
A have my work cut out for me over the next several days as I have some software deliveries that are required to complete the analysis of the data.
Day 496 of 1000
Well, Lorena, Kelly, and Christian finally beat me into submission. We got three Samsung S III for Lorena, Kelly, and I and one Samsung Note II (for Christian). We are in the process of activating them right now. Lorena really wanted an iPhone, but there are some things that are just wrong. She has seen the error of her ways and is now wildly happy she did not get stuck with an Apple product.
Day 493 of 1000
I just bought tickets for my first trip to Oregon to visit my parents since they have moved into assisted living. I am very excited to start the interviewing. I am putting together an interview kit that everyone can use. The only thing missing that I hope we can find before I go so I do not have to buy another one is the charger for the video camera. I am going to have everyone upload their interviews and videos to a common place, then start writing it all up.
Day 491 of 1000
I have worked with my Russian friend Igor at two different businesses over a period of three years. We went to their house for dinner last night. Igor’s wife Tatiyana is one of those people who goes out of her way to make people feel comfortable. She is an amazing cook and entertainer. Their kids are almost exactly the same age as Kelly and Christian. They are super good kids, too.
Day 488 of 1000
I expected to spend much longer than a year working for Cimtec Automation. It was over a year from the first time I talked to them until when I went to work for them. They have their fingers in just about every industrial sector in Virginia and the Carolinas. In addition they have a thriving international web based distribution business. I have enjoyed working for virtual every one of my employers, but Cimtec is special. The work environment is amazing. The owner of the company makes sure everyone in the company knows how things are going in as much detail as he can give. If there is an opportunity I want to pursue, the company takes me seriously and invests in making it happen. I in the middle of my switch to a new position because of circumstances that have nothing to do with Cimtec. I surely hope I have the chance to work with Cimtec again sometime in the future when circumstance permit.
Day 486 of 1000
My parents are getting older. Lately, my brother, sisters, and I have worked hard on getting Dad and Mom out of their rented house into assisted living. Mom has fairly normal old age dementia. Dad, on the other hand, has a fairly odd malady. It was odd enough that his neurologist has asked that he donate his brain to OHSU for further study after he is gone. At first they thought it was Alzheimer’s disease. After that, they thought it was Frontal Lobe Temporal Dementia (FTD). The PET scan showed that it was both and neither. His brain scan manifests something that is somewhat less than Alzheimer’s and something less than FTD. But the both of them together are something that is fairly rare. That is pretty much the story of Dad’s life. Both Dad and Mom have long term memories that are intact. In light of that diagnosis, I have decided to try to do some interviews to document their amazing lives.
Mom is one of the first women to graduate with a four year degree in pharmacy from Oregon State University. There was one woman in the year before her and she graduated with one other woman. There were other women who graduated before that, but that was well before her time when pharmacy was a two year program. She worked with one or two women who graduated from the two year program at OSU as early as 1917. It will be fun to interview her about her memories of these topics. In additon to that, she attended OSU with the first black man that graduated that ever graduated from there with a pharmacy degree.
For his part, Dad had a wildly improbable life. He saw the first two hydrogen bombs go off when he was a cook on Eniwetok in the army. He is journey to that position is a story onto itself. Before that, as a five or six year old child, he traveled to Portland on a bus on his own so the Dornbecker hospital could operate on a growth on his throat. He was the prime mover in a business that grew to be the largest producers of doll house kits in the world, selling to store chains such as Walmart, Home Depot, Sears, Lowes, and many others.
I hope to be able to get some interesting interviews on these topics as well as their upbringing in rural Oregon. They are a product of the logging/sawmill culture that is truly unique to Oregon. I am very much looking forward to these interviews and hope that time and health permits me to do this work over the coming few years. I took a new job specifically to be able to spend time in Oregon with my parent for this purpose. If they are willing and have the time, my siblings might add a guest post to this effort as they have made the effort to get a scanner to accumulate old photos and have memories of their own.
Day 485 of 1000
I am about to hit a milestone with the pickup. I have never bought a new car, then kept it for 100,000 miles. That is all about to change. I hope to do this more often.
Day 484 of 1000
The kids grades are all set for fall semester. They did great. The big news is that Kelly is now a Senior! She claims she has senioritis, but she has only been at NCSU for one semester (summer semester does not count–it was only one class). We are very excited for her. Next semester will be, by far, her ugliest semester with her capstone Mathematical Statistics class, two programming classes, and three additional classes. It will be Christian’s ugliest class, too. He has Modern Abstract Algebra, Real Analysis, an Electrical Engineering class, and two more that are not so easy.
Day 481 of 1000
There was snow on the windshield of my rental car her in Prescott this morning, but all the snow on the ground had melted. I really like what I have seen of this town so far. What do I like? Let me list a few things:
- There is a grocery store here named Frys that makes the very best chicken (fried and backed) that I have ever gotten at a grocery store deli.
- There is an In-N-Out here. I went there for the first time and got a hamburger. It was awesome. They even gave me a box so it was easier to eat in the car.
- I went to a bible study on Friday night with some wonderful people. We have lots of common friends around the country. One couple even knew my folks. I am looking forward to meeting with them while I am here in Prescott.
- The work I am doing at Quantum Catch is VERY interesting.
- The scenery here is nothing short of amazing.
Day 478 of 1000
Based on a very limited, but quite consistent sample, I would have to say that people in North Carolina say please, thank you, and your welcome a WHOLE lot more than people in Prescott.
Day 477 of 1000
I started a new job in Prescott, Arizona this morning. Well, I wanted to start, but when I arrived at 8 AM, the place was all locked up so I am over at McDonalds eating oatmeal to kill some time until someone shows up. We remain living in Raleigh, but I will head out west a couple of weeks for several months until the project gets started and I can spend more time working from home. I am definitely going to need a key.
Day 474 of 1000
Lorena is taking two classes this semester: Macroeconomics and Managerial Accounting. All she has left is her finals. She has the same professor as Christian for Macroeconomics. The professor is great. She is excited about the material, works hard in the class, and wants her students to succeed. For the final, she lets the students have on 8½ x 11 sheet of paper with formulas and notes on one side of the paper. Lorena showed me her note sheet. I was amazed. Here it is:
Day 472 of 1000
Christian wrote and submitted an undergraduate research grant proposal earlier this semester. Today, he received notice he had been awarded the grant. He will have to administer the project, do the research, submit progress reports, and submit his results for peer review and publication by the end of the summer. It is a HUGE step in his progression toward a graduate degree. Kids who have performed and published research have a leg up when applying to graduate schools. I will post more about his research work as it moves along. He will design and build a microcomputer controlled black body source for the calibration of spectrophotometers.
Day 471 of 1000
Well, we have a confirmed diagnosis of Alzhiemer’s disease. If anyone has questions, please do not hesitate to call.
Christian interviewed Youngin for this video. I think it came out great.
Day 466 of 1000
Well, I resigned from my job in Charlotte today and accepted an offer to go for two companies, one in Durham, NC and one in Prescott, AZ. I will spend about half my time at each place. In six months or so, we hope that I will be able to spend only a quarter of my time in Arizona. Actually, I am returning to work for a previous employer, Bioptigen, in North Carolina. The company in Arizona, Quantum Catch, is affiliated with Bioptigen through a common investor.
Part of the reason I took the job out west is to be able to get to Portland more easily. Mom has moved into an assisted living home where she can receive good care. Dad is still living in their house in Portland, but things are changing fast. With the kids heading into finals week to add to the mess, we have a pretty chaotic household. Hopefully, that will calm down dramatically over the next month or so.