Monday, August 31, 2020

Reminding Myself of life under COVID - Day 173

 Things are weirdly getting back to mostly normal for me. At least, as normal as we can be.

We coached volleyball this weekend, the first tournament of this season, which just might be the longest season ever. After a practice and a positional training, we had entered a high school tournament, which was going on with no high schools. Our club, sent a number of teams, and we were one. Tia and I drove up Fri night, getting a hotel nearby.

That was both comforting and strange. An almost deserted hotel, which is almost always bustling when we go for tournaments (Crossroads Dr/Event Center in Windsor). We had to wear masks, and we could get a drink, but all drinks were in plastic cups and food in to-go containers. Waiters in masks , and they closed down at 9.

The tournament was trying to keep teams separate, so of the 4 courts (3 on each end of the building), they kept the middle one free, had people enter from the sides of the building and exit the main door. We also had to leave the building after our match, letting 8 other teams in. The weather was fine, so it worked out, but with masks on all the time, even for players, and things spread out, it was both familiar and strange.

In any case, it was good to be back coaching and dealing with kids.

Sunday was a black belt award ceremony for one of my former players. She'd asked me to write a recommendation letter, and I did, so I felt I should go watch. They held it outside, students spread out across a football field. Apparently they often do this in the mountains, testing outside and awarding inside, but they can't this year. Still, it was a touch or normalcy, and I saw with her parents, no masks outside, and it felt good. Of course, it was ninja like to see all students wearing masks.

This last week was hectic with work, with multiple online things, which had the feeling of being busy for events. I still don't love the online delivery, but it is becoming slightly more comfortable. I am hoping we can get back to something in 2021, but I wonder. Football is moving at the college level, a few colleges have had breakouts, but the national news isn't reporting big issues, so hopefully things go well.

My middle kid has college starting, with almost everything online. One class was in person, with half the class going each week. He doesn't like the format, as the class isn't a lecture. The prof records lectures and runs the class like a recitation. I agree, not a great format. Still, he knows he's almost done, so he's plowing ahead.

The girls we coach are in school a couple days a week, a couple online. It's not too bad with good weather and the start of school, and I hope they cope with this through the fall. Also hoping no major issues and schools try to open all week in the spring.

The rest of life is mostly normal, with me going to 2 outside yoga classes last week, 2 swims (because of the weather) and a lifting session. A busy week. The election is making life more contentious, and I certainly see more complaining about masks, but more compliance locally, which I think is the best way to handle things.

My brother just got out of quarantine, with his whole family getting COVID, but they're young, and healthy. It was a flu to them, which is good to know.

No travel, and it's been busy at the end of the summer, so mostly things have felt normal, but the lack of changing environments is hard. I haven't been on a plane since Feb, and I'm ready to go back. The economy doesn't seem to be picking up overall, and I'm worried that we'll start to have bigger issues in the fall as evictons take place,  and lots of layoffs come as government money runs out.

Fingers crossed we find some way to lessen the impact to a large number of people.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tired baby

via Instagram

Practice has started

via Instagram

Monday, August 24, 2020

Reminding Myself of Life During COVID-19: Day 165

 I meant to write this last week and never found time. I'm not sure what that says when life without travel is that busy. Clearly I'm a little too Type-A.


As I write this, we're waiting to start volleyball, with club season moved to the fall as high school in Colorado has moved their sports to the spring.

In one sense, I'm excited. It's good to have something to focus on. I'm nervous, as I am most years, learning to work with a few set of kids. This year is different in a few ways.  First, I know quite a few of the girls. 8 of my 10 are kids I've coached multiple times, either on a team, or in the positional work we used to do.

However, I need to mesh this team, it's a disruption with no high school season for these kids, and we're in a new gym. We lost the other one when things shut down. The rent was high and the owners closed. We found a new spot, got kicked out for not being strict about masks, and now rented a single court. I helped set things up last Friday, but we're not completely done. I'm hoping things get finished as the plan is to start Wed or Thur with practice and a friendly tournament on Saturday. 

Things are moving fast. I ordered some athletic, breathable masks since we need to wear them for practice. Between coaching older girls (15) and the lack of a real home gym and the disruption, I have no idea how things will go.

It's Hot

This has been a hot summer. Climate change isn't weather, but it does seem the trends are more fires across the last few years, less rain, or shifted rain, and some strange weather. As it is, things are dry and crispy at the ranch. Far too little rain in the last month and while cutting some grass Saturday, anything outside the sprinkler radius is desert-like.

On the plus side, some better cutting and sprinkler work, along with some manual sprinkling, as the main lawn looking better than it has in years. Not sure how I feel about it. Some pride, some wish I didn't use water here.

I fixed fence yesterday, catching up on chores. While locked down, we've focused slightly more on maintenance around here. It's been hard and hot in the weather, so I'm moving slow, but I've learned to do a bit more myself. Got some techniques, like using 2x4s in the broken posts rather than digging them out, or using a 4x4. I've also found some sleeves to help me get the monofilament breaks fixed, which is something we've struggled with for years. I bought a swag tool and figured out how to do this myself.

I'm hoping the ski season is better. Last year was looking great when things closed down.

A New Horse

We had a baby horse! Tia rescued a pregnant mare from a lot and after quarantine, brought her home. That has been neat. She got me to set up cameras, and I find myself using them sometimes to check on things, or see who's outside. 

The live view today.


 Since my last update, we actually had a vacation. Tia and I went camping with some friends down to Dome Rock. We managed to get away with no kids or dogs and spend a couple days in our trailer. It was nice, and fun. I missed the dogs, but was also glad to not have the responsibility.

We rode for a couple days, did some projects together, like cooking a bit and fixing the trailer, and IO played some guitar while we relaxed. We slept in, no timeline, and enjoyed the slow pace of no schedule.

I want to get away again. I need a few more days off, and am hoping we can get a day or two in the mountains at the condo and another camping trip. Not sure how, now that volleyball is kicking off.


Work is busy. Despite no travel, more sales engagement, and more content work for me. I think that if I were traveling, I'd be struggling as few people seem to be writing. I'm busy working on content, so I'm learning, but it's a hectic time.

I also lost my boss. She's moving on in Nov to a new opportunity, so it's good and bad. Time for her to go, bad because I'll miss her. Despite the closed offices and no travel, things seem to be moving forward. We're hiring, people are changing roles, and our business is good.

No idea when I'll fly for work again, but not likely until 2021, and then I wonder if it will be before Q2.

The World

I feel a bit guilty that things are back to normal for us in many ways. Life is moving on, we're coaching, we take some limited vacation, we're eating out about once every 10 days, and we're prospering. Kendall is taking the semester off and working on horses, but Delaney is back in school today (virtual mostly) and Kyle is still planning on going to Spain in a month.

However, lots of people are out of work. Businesses are hanging on, but as I talk to owners, they're stressed. They all feel like they might go out of business in a month or two without some change.

Parents with kids in lower school (< grade 12) are stressed in different ways. Some have kids going to school, some don't, both are worried about different things. A few teachers I know are still unsure of how this year will go, or how they are supposed to teach. They're worried if they're in a classroom, or worried how effective they are remotely.

It's wild, sad, upsetting, and more.

At the same time, the election getting going adds to stress. I have few conservative friends online anymore. Most I used to have presented themselves, in my view, as much poorer versions of themselves and I've removed them from my life. It's a bubble, but rarely when I listen or watch conservatives do I find myself thinking they have good thoughts. It's dog whistling, or a view I just don't think is rational.

I think liberals are overreacting at times, but I'm more sympathetic to their efforts. Failure there is wasting money, but is trying to make things better for more people. I get the nanny-state stuff, but I also think that the mercenary, everyone for themselves is just poor behavior. Gross generalities, but they in general are how I feel. This next 60+ days will suck.

Good Things

As I've had the chance lately to engage with a few people, I see the positives. Tia and I had a flat in the trailer, and a cop blocked some traffic to help us change things and a couple of guys stopped with a impact drill to help get the nuts back on the tire.

I see lots of little things where people are helping others and behaving well. I'm hopeful in many ways that there is lots of good in people at small scales.

I hope that I continue to find good reasons to enjoy life in the US and Colorado. I suspect another 4 years of this administration might have me packing and planning on New Zealand when Kendall is done with college.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The ranch equivalent of toilet paper on your shoe

via Instagram

Friday, August 21, 2020

@saturn_gets_a_home and baby Phoebe as the sun sets

via Instagram

Baby horse, born last night to @saturn_gets_a_home

via Instagram

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Enjoying 90F weather

via Instagram

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tuesday work

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Saturday, August 15, 2020

More riding

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Friday, August 14, 2020

Dome rock

via Instagram

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

10:23/2500, 10:54 5k. Not fat but not bad

via Instagram

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

@saturn_gets_a_home chilling today

via Instagram

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Ramen and sushi night. I didn't roll the すし

via Instagram

Saturday, August 8, 2020

One lonely bucket

via Instagram

Friday, August 7, 2020

Memories of the first 148 Days under COVID-19

 I wrote a post outlining the current state. This one looks back.

Memories of the last 148 days

We were ready for Crossroads on Mar 6, and Tia made me cancel our trip to the UK. I told my boss, cancelled the flight and hotel and car. It was a PIA as the hotel cancellation took me a few weeks until the hotel at Heathrow accepted pretty much no one was coming and they just needed to refund things.

We went to Crossroads, slightly worried, but not too much. Weird to see kids waving from the 10ft lines instead of high fives. We cleaned tables and balls, refs elbow bumped with kids. Overall, it was a normal tournament. We finished, had practice on Wed, Mar 11. Thursday my office shut down. Friday Crossroads week 2 was cancelled, as was our practice.

All events cancelled for work, and the few places I'd submitted to started closing down across months.

SQL Saturday and Speaking

I'd submitted to three SQL Saturdays in Feb/Mar. One went virtual for April, and I presented remotely. It was the same type of user group presentation I'd done remotely in the past. Nothing special, and my energy was low. I still held out hopes of SQL Sat Virginia Beach in April. By early May, all hopes were dashed.

Since then, there have been a few virtual events. I spoke at the Guatemala Tech Day, and have a couple SQL Saturdays out there. Virtual is still sucky. I can't even think of when the next live event will be. 

PASS will be virtual and I submitted in the second call for speakers. I'm mad at PASS, I think the BoS had a shitty culture, and has for over a decade. I think they've poorly managed funds. I also think, after lots of conversations, we are worse off if they go under. At least for now. I'm supporting them, against some of my ongoing emotions.

I'm trying to be more open minded.


Losing the second half of our season was upsetting. I struggled to even think about communicating with this year's girls. I was really enjoying seeing them every week, and pushing them to be better. We got notes about restarts, and things kept sliding as the state kept moving orders. Eventually the state opened at the end of May and we got the go ahead to schedule practices. 

We did two a week, and got a lot of girls. It was a fun time and we were glad to be in the gym. No masks, just the 10 of us, playing and having fun. Near the end of June we stopped for vacation, and then never got going as we focused on next year's team. Tia and I got talked into coaching 15s, which would be the girls I coached last year.

Tryouts were a mess, and I realize a weak point in my coaching skillset. We only got 2 girls from my old 13s team, and then 3 others from last year's team. I was disappointed and sad, but I understand. I'm not mad here (unlike with PASS).

We've had some open gyms and did some tryout prep, but most of the girls from this year's team moved on. I was amazed we got 6 at the last practice, which was cool.


Colorado opened early, with Georgia and a few others, and we managed things well. A few weeks after businesses opened, we got gyms. I was excited to go back. I even got a massage, though with a mask it sucked. A few weeks later we opened bars.

Then cases rose. People argued about masks, and we slowed down again. We closed some things, have a 10pm last call, and after a couple weeks cases slowed with everything else.

Overall I think we managed well, but I live in a bubble. My life is easy. I get why some people might not feel that way.


We had plans this year, but they were scrapped. Really, we weren't sure when we could go anywhere. I early May, we finally got in contact with a campground near Custer and booked time away. A week with all three kids, and Nora, was fantastic. We really had a good time.

I came back and headed to Keystone, CO. Our condo opened and I needed to work away from noise. We had floors being refinished, and I had to run a 6 hour broadcast to Australia. I thought everyone was coming, but everyone bailed. I had a night alone, but then Tia came up and we had two nice days in the mountains.

Every other camping thing has fallen apart. No endurance races, no places, a trip planned to VA cancelled. 

I don't know when we'll travel. We're supposed to go camping next week, but until we go, I won't count that. Not sure when I'll fly, though Kyle has to go to CA sometime this month and I may just go. I may try and talk Tia into a trip to see my Mom and one to see my brother.

That and more condo time.

Working Out 

I was in a good routine after my sabbatical, but when the gym closed, I was a bit sad. I started some bike riding inside, and a little yoga, but I was struggling. After a week or so, I realized I needed to take care of myself, so I hit the rowing machine. A few other friends online were doing it and it inspired me. I worked through a number of 5ks, a few 7ks, and even a 10k. That was good for me to push myself and realize I can do that. 

I also started more yoga at home, committing to videos from Lifetime and Yoga by Tim. I've come to enjoy those times, mixing in some basement weight lifting with yoga and rowing.

When the gym opened, I went back 3 days a week. 1 yoga class because they're in demand and only 17 slots. I started to swim once a week and lift once a week. The rest of the time I do yoga at home, row, walk, lift.

An exciting time this summer was Delaney coming home a few times. He did Yoga with me, enjoyed it, and is doing it daily at his place. He did a few lunchtime classes outside with me, and then started asking me when he came if I was working out.

He also went swimming with me twice. I dusted him because he doesn't know how to swim, but I know with 2-3 weeks of practice, I'd likely not be able to keep up with him.

Even today, I do play a little volleyball at open gym, 3 days at lifetime, and yoga twice at home. Life or row a day as well


I've learned a lot of songs this year. I worked through some fingerpicking during the sabbatical, but then added on some Beatles since then. I'm trying to learn a song every couple weeks, which is hard when I'm tired at the end of the day. Still, I've gained confidence and feel better about playing. 

Working on Stand By Me right now.


Work has been busy. We had about 2-3 weeks of limited communication, but then things took off. Too much for awhile, with lots of virtual events. I've done some, pulled back from some because I need creative energy for regular work.

Lots of customer calls, as we find people need more hand holding for now. I'm on regular sales calls with customers, which is a nice challenge and a good outlet. Putting together PoCs has become fun.

I also have lots more morning meetings. It seems as we try to coordinate, I seem to get lots of things with the UK people early, more so than in the past.

I also look forward to Friday morning happy hour with the UK and Thursday afternoon with the US. I miss as many as I make, but they're fun.


 When things closed down, we scheduled ACL surgery for Vega. She did the left one in March, and it went pretty well. A pain with the cast and the snow, but then she healed nicely. We did the right one in July, and it was less smooth, but she's looking better every day.

Tia rescued a pregnant mare. Quarantined somewhere for 20-some days, but came home last week. I installed cameras so we could watch her. Here she is in the round pen.

I also did a bunch of riding in April with Tia. I'd go out once every week or two with her, learning a bit, but spending time with her. If we weren't skiing or traveling, I am glad I decided to take advantage of the chance to be with her more.


 For a long time all restaurants were closed for dining. We did takeout every couple weeks, but not too often. I cooked a lot. Then they could open.

I still remember us booking a dinner with Sandy. Tia, I, Kendall, Kyle, we drove down to Castle Rock, went into a place where staff had masks and at least half the tables were taped off. We got drinks and when Sandy walked in, we all hugged her a lot. It was nice.

Since then, it's not been too often, but we have had a meal in a place every couple weeks. Weird to be there with few people sitting, but nice to be out.

Social Contact

I went a long time only seeing my family. When I had the chance to see boarders or someone in the neighborhood, I talked with them longer than I expected. I realized that as introverted as I am, I miss contact with people. Even Tia noticed I talked with people more.

I invited a few families out for happy hour. I think I annoyed Tia, but I really missed people and was glad to have some people come out and see us. It fulfilled something inside me.

Lately I've gone out for a beer with friends after open gym. I realize I need more contact.

There are more memories, and likely I'll drop more notes, but I need to do a current post every week or two, as this crazy world continues to evolve.

Reminding Myself What Life was Like During COVID-19: Day something

 Actually, I figured out the day for me. I'm going to start from Mar 12, which was the day that we were told that everyone at Redgate needed to work from home. That means:


It's day 148.

Today is August 7, 2020, and while I've been working from home since 2002 sometime, I'm in day 148 of the COVID-19 crisis. I'm also stealing this post title from Brent Ozar, who wrote this post on June 13 , and again on Aug 4. I should have written this when I saw his post, and I started one in July, but abandoned it.

In any case, I can't believe we're still in this situation. However, I'm going to run down a look at today and then some memories in another post.

Life in August 2020

We wear masks everywhere, or most of the time when we're out. Colorado is under a mask order, meaning that if you are in public and cannot stay 6ft away from people, you should wear a mask. This means I have some in every vehicle. 

I also forget. I have walked to a store many times, only to turn around and go back to my car to get my mask. Some people don't wear them, but a minority. Lately, it's 90+% of people in masks in the grocery store or gas station.

The gym is very compliant, though there are always a few musclehead meatheads that won't wear them. I try to, and I clean equipment before I use it. Yoga has moved outside (had a class today) as if we hold it inside, the gym feels we need masks. No one wants that.

I have a dinner scheduled for tomorrow with a friend, both of our families together. I think we're fine, as most of us are just at home, and we won't wear masks in the restaurant, but so far that hasn't been a big problem. We went to a friend's house last night to sit on their porch and drink wine. We shook hands.

I have no travel for the forseeable future. I had one trip in my schedule, really my daughter's trip, that I cancelled today. She's staying home for the semester. I'm hoping that it's just one. She also got her braces off yesterday, which was cool. She's cute.

I miss traveling. I miss seeing more people. I'm struggling, however, there are no shortages of things going on around the ranch. We have a pregnant, deaf mare due any day. I need to cut grass and maintain some vehicles. I'm playing more guitar, but not enough. Mostly I think I have low grade depression over the state of the world.

I'm not afraid to go out, but I am being careful. We still coach a bit, once a week with open gym, but as of today, things are in flux. The state moved high school volleyball to the spring, so I'm not sure what that means for club coaching.

Mostly life is normal, but like a slight shift, as though we're living in a fuzzy view of what we used to have.

Morning view

via Instagram

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The aftermath. Chicken fajitas, shrimp out there somewhere

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Tuesday seems to be Arm Day

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Pregnant mare. Due any day

via Instagram