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Travel

Strata 2019 San Francisco

My company was nice enough to send me down to San Francisco last week to attend the Strata Data Conference. If there’s a bigger conference in my field of data engineering/science/analysis, I don’t know what it is.

I attended a big data conference four years ago, but going to Strata was a huge step up both in terms of the quality of the event planning and in the quality of the talks. I came away with a stronger vision about things I want our team at work to accomplish and how we can make a bigger effect on our business group.

I skipped all the social events surrounding the conference, but I filled both days wither every talk I could cram into my schedule. A couple were total duds, but there were a lot of great ones from Netflix, Lyft, Uber, Intuit and others.

Aside from the conference itself, it was strange to be traveling alone. I did spend one evening in a movie theater watching Captain Marvel, but otherwise I mostly hung out in my room. I felt guilty about temporarily forcing Tyla into single parent mode and leaving my team at work short-handed, so I spent a lot of my free time working on the laptop and trying to make good use of my time.

My hotel was right next to Moscone West where the conference was held and that was fantastic. I was able to get from my room to a talk in about 5 minutes. That let me hustle back to the room even when we had ~45 minute breaks to get away from the crowds and recharge a bit. It’s surprising how tiring it is to sit on your rear end and listen to talks all day. I felt like my brain was very full!

It was a great trip, and while it’s not something that I need to do every year, I hope I can go back in 3-4 years. Thank you Tyla for holding down the fort while I took this trip!

Leavenworth Condo

Last weekend, Don kindly let us use some of his timeshare credits and we all went over to Leavenworth for the weekend. Thankfully there wasn’t any new snow in the pass so it made the drive relatively quick and easy.

It was a quick trip since we arrived Friday evening and left Sunday morning. Saturday was our big day and we got things started with sledding. There was a great U-shaped hill right behind the condos. Even those the snow was hardpacked and icy in spots, we were able to find a gentle slope that was just right for Elijah. I figured he’d be bored after a couple runs but he must have made 20 or 30 trips up that hill by himself to come ripping down.

Later in the afternoon we walked around the shops and then we had dinner at Andreas Keller Restaurant. I’ve never been to German so I don’t know how authentic it was, but it sure tasted good! Watch out for the $10 draft beers though. That was a surprise when we got the bill.

Elijah really wanted to go sledding again so we did a little more on Sunday. Unfortunately the run had changed a bit overnight and it shot him off the side head first into a park bench. OUCH. Tyla and I were pretty nervous about a concussion but he showed now signs for the rest of the day and even got back on his sled and tried it again. Note to self: teach my son how to bail out.

It’s always a lot of work traveling with a family, but it was a nice weekend. Thank you Don for sharing your credits with us!

WELS Marriage Enrichment Weekend

Last weekend was a big one for Tyla and me. Mom flew out from Indiana and stayed with Elijah while Tyla and I headed to Hood River, OR for our church organization’s marriage enrichment weekend. This series comes to the Pacific Northwest every two years. When we heard about it a few months ago, we signed up to “force” ourselves to get there this year instead of putting it off again.

I had never been to Hood River. What a gorgeous area! The class was hosted at the Best Western right on the waterfront and our room overlooked the river. It’s not a big town but there were enough restaurants, shops and scenic sights to easily keep us entertained during our free time.

The Marriage Enrichment weekends consist of a variety of programs but ours was called “Simply Marriage.” It covered five topics:

Overcome frustration
Faith moves us from frustrated over God’s ways to curious about God’s ways. Become more curious and less frustrated with your spouse.
Appreciate incompatibility
We are all incompatible because we’re fallen. But incompatibility is grounds for marriage. Learn to put your spouse and his/her happiness ahead of your own; as Jesus has done for you.

Break patterns that destroy oneness
The two shall become one; but there’s an enemy. Learn how to break common patterns that war against your oneness:  escalation, invalidation, negative interpretation and withdrawal/avoidance.

Use words that work
Move from monologue to dialogue, learn how to initiate a behavior change request, cut the negativity and communicate appreciation.
Grow more intimate
Build your intimacy in ways that most couples can’t dream of: in your faith, in your friendship and in your sex and sensuality.

Those five sessions filled up an hour on Friday evening, 9-3 on Saturday and a couple hours on Sunday morning. The rest of the time was free for us to spend time together as a couple. We walked along the river, spent time in the hot tub, visited Multnomah Falls, and ate dinners at Solstice and Full Sail Brewing.

We didn’t have many expectations going into the weekend, but now we’re itching to go to the next one in two years! We met a bunch of great couples, learned a lot and enjoyed spending a weekend away together. It was obvious that the class has been offered many times because it went very smoothly.

These events are held all over the country so if you’re at all interested, check out the website to find one near you. Thank you Pastor Hunter for leading the class and we look forward to seeing you again in two years. Thank you Mom for coming all the way here to watch Elijah and thanks Dad for spending a weekend alone while she was here.

Indiana Trip Photos

We’ve been trying to go back to my parents’ place in Indiana every summer. It’s always a nice trip and this time we decided to stretch it out for a 10 day stay. We snuck in a lot of John Deere time (the Klug’s shop, John Deere Pavillion in Moline, and Dad and Mom’s mower), seeing both Grandpa Hinkle and Grandma Martens and catching up with other relatives out in western Illinois. We celebrated Tyla’s birthday while we were there with a trip to a high tech dairy farm. That trip was perfect timing because Tyla got to pet a calf that was born about 10 hours before we arrived.

It was warm and humid while we were there so we got plenty of pool time. This was the first year that Elijah could touch with his head above water in the shallow end. He is also getting more confident with his swimming. He had a blast jumping into the pool and showing us how he could swim around without floaties.

A huge thanks goes to Dad and Mom for having us invade their house for even longer than normal. That’s a ton of cooking, cleaning, driving and entertaining. Thanks!