I’m back from my week-long vacation in West Virginia.  I gotta tell you, the Northeast does autumn much, much better than the Northwest!  It was sunny, the leaves were changing color – reds and browns everywhere – it wasn’t even that cold.  Meanwhile, since I’ve been back in Washington state, its been raining, freezing, and we even had some brief snow yesterday morning.  Sigh.

In case I haven’t mentioned it before – my in-laws run a Bed & Breakfast in Harpers Ferry, WV.  Stay there if you ever visit.  Its cheap, the breakfast is great, and the company can’t be beat.  My father-in-law, Al, is a retired software test manager from Lockheed; tons of good stories there!  He can also build or fix pretty much anything under the sun.

On the down side, the cancer treatments aren’t being good to my mom.  She’s terribly thin, and doesn’t have a lot of energy or appetite.  Technically, the treatments are helping – they say the tumor is shrinking; I just hope she can stay strong enough to stand the punishment.  Second round of treatment starts today; I hope you’ll join me in wishing for the best.

It was actually a very odd Harpers Ferry visit for me.  Usually when I go there, it is for some family event, to which my sister might bring her three kids, Gina’s sister might bring her two kids, and her other sister might bring her three kids (with #4 on the way).  I did get to see my sister’s kids briefly, but for the most part it was a kid-free vacation.  The house seems much quieter and emptier without them.

Gina and I decorated the porch for Halloween.  We put up a bunch of fake spiderweb, some black lights, and a life-size skeleton that we found for 40% off at Ben Franklin – good discounts when you shop the day before Halloween!  In my infinite wisdom, I decided that the skeleton’s name was Fred.  Fred the Dead.  We stuffed gobs of luminescent webbing in his eye sockets and chest cavity – I consider it a victory that at least one child refused to come on the porch to get candy.  [grin]

As you might have picked up from the title of this entry, this vacation caused me to miss PDC and the yearly company meeting and product fair.  I’m very disappointed – sour grapes!  On the plus side, my team is going to see the final Matrix movie on Wednesday, on an IMAX screen; I can’t wait!

On one final personal note, Lucy (my little girl who is still baking in her mother’s oven) is well; growing, kicking, and generally being a pain to her long-suffering mom.  I can’t wait until I can see her and hold her!  Just a couple more months…