Hope your holidays went well.

I have struggled over the last few months with what to put in this next newsletter.  I jotted a few things down and will try to make them coherent but in that time we have not gone anywhere, little new at work for Kara, there just was not much to talk about it seemed.  I hate to always talk about the weather though it is still new for us having been here less than a year, of late the neighbors have not called the police on us because THEIR child was in OUR garage and other than some medical stuff we are taking care of, it has been quite uneventful here.

Chinese fortune cookies say “man who run behind car get exhausted”.

Desert drought update:  I saw a couple snowflakes on Nov 5.  Subsequently there was one measurable snow fall early and nothing since.  Since early Dec, it has been in the 50s during the day most of the time.  To indicate how dry it is here, Kara noticed the other day that her shoes had severe splits in the soles and didn’t notice!  If it never rains, I guess its hard to tell that you have a hole in your shoe.

That same day of the first snow we actually were invited over to one of the neighbors.  They were having an open house sort of thing at 8am!  They made pancakes and such for everyone.  They were quite nice actually.  About 4 other families showed up but no others from our street.  I know everyone on the street was invited, I think save this one family, we got a bad street.  The visit went pretty well, so much so they invited us over for turkey dinner.  All the families had one NCO (sergeants) that works here on base. There were a few interesting stories we heard and we found out about a few restaurants to try out.  We tried not to tell too much of our story.  We learned back in NH not to admit Kara went to an ivy league school for a phd, at least don’t fess up to that until they get to know us.  Postscript, we did not get invited back to turkey dinner.

One last weather tale;  In early Dec. we had a real blow!  Wind over 50 mph.  Still very dry.  Mid 50s that day.  I went outside for a bit just to get out of the house.  The very dry blowing leaves caused damage!  I got several paper cuts on exposed skin from blown leaves!  Who would have thought?

Otherwise, times are slow for news around here.  Kara’s job has changed little.  They still don’t know about budgets which affects travel etc.  I have continued to have small consulting jobs.  I did look into government Small Business Innovation Research (SBIRs). There was nothing I found for which I though I should submit a proposal.  This did give some incentive to further work on registering KMC corp as a disabled veteran woman owned business.  Such entities get preference when bidding or submitting proposals to the gov.  What a pain that process is!  SBIRs come out 4 times a year so I figure it is worth it to continue the corp registration effort.  KMC is owned by Kara.  I am just a lowly employee of KMC.

We did go to New Orleans in January for the American Meteorological (AMS) conference, I did tag along.  We went to the same conf last year in Seattle..  It turns out that if you sign someone up as your guest, they can attend meeting talks as well.  So Kara went off to the space weather talks and Dave went to hear about python in scientific computing.  What a geek.  We had never been to NO before.  We were not in town long, i.e. little spare time but we did walk around the area a bit.  It was a down town type area, as most of you know we are not city people.  Eating out I fully expected to be offered fins, claws and eye balls but that was rare.  I did have crawfish in some form twice.  Save the very downtown the rest of the place was quite unsightly.We don’t feel the need to go back anytime soon to visit.

As many of you know, there’s a conference that Kara usually goes to every December in San Francisco.  This is a big city and you might wonder why Kara enjoys going when we didn’t really like NO.  Well, first remember that we were going there while living in a small town in NH (where its 20 miles to the closest McDs).  SF near the conference center has TONS of great shopping and restaurants.  So this is the appeal.  There is, among other things, the hugest Old Navy I’ve ever been to, a two floor Apple Store, and a Container Store.  If you don’t know, the Container Store is Kara’s all time favorite store.  Plus a lot of great places to eat.   All of which we are lacking in rural NH and fun to do once in awhile.

Jobs here in ABQ are still as plentiful as anything green.  At the AMS conf. Kara and I did have lunch with Joel, the local director of AFRL (place Kara works).  He did make a few intriguing comments about possible hiring.  While the government wide freeze on hiring has ended, rarely are there any job postings yet and AFRL specifically has not managed to get any paperwork through so as to post any jobs.

The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), Kara’s employer, has a video on youtube that is sort of a marketing type video but you might find it interesting.  AFRL has several divisions working on many things.  I did not see any clips from anything related to what Kara is working on but at the 2:06 mark in the video we know that lady (have had lunch with her :).

The government is of course short on money so Kara won’t be attending many meetings this year.  The one exception is the Space Weather Workshop in Boulder, CO at the end of April.  Kara’s been many times, but its usually a good conference and there’s usually one afternoon free to visit several friends we have there.

Kara did most of our holiday shopping.  It appears most of the shopping was done at Amazon.  They along with the shippers were very prompt, most items showing up in only a couple days of the order submission.  It caught Kara by surprise, she came home one day the the space around the front door looked like a warehouse with all the boxes there.  One order shipped in the original box spoiling the surprise a bit.

As far as what we do in our free time, not a whole lot.  We eat out a lot so Dave gets to leave the apartment to do something other than grocery shopping.  Not all that exciting, but out of the house at least.  We’ve also been playing tennis a lot.  There’s several courts on base so it’s never a problem to find an open one.  The only problem now is it seems that the windy season is starting, which makes playing tennis a challenge.  If I understand correctly from the locals, it is windy for several months every spring.  And while it might not be spring to the rest of the country, it’s almost spring here.  We also do some biking around the base.  It’s a good size base so there’s plenty of places to go w/o having to leave the base.  I still have a bike that I bought back in NH about 10 years ago.  It’s really an off-road bike and we ride almost exclusively on the road.  Not ideal, so we’re thinking of buying a new one.  We found a bike shop that we like so we’re checking into that.  The thing around here you have to worry about is burrs.  They’re everywhere and if you ride over one, flat tire for sure.  You have to use special ‘tough’ inner tubes and put goo in the tire to prevent flat tires.  And this is also the reason you NEVER go barefoot anywhere.  They hurt like the dickens.  I once walked across a field instead of staying on a sidewalk.  That was a mistake.  I was trying to get rid of pickers for a week off the bottom of my sandals.  Inevitably, some will make their way into the house where you go barefoot and this is how I know they hurt when stepped on!

We will be making a trek to NH in late March.  We are attempting to keep in good standing with all of our doctors back there.  That as well as David needs to renew his drivers license, we will make a quick 3 day trip.

Recently we had a friend Tom visit us.  We decided to take him out to eat, as we were leaving we handed him a cup and telling him you have to bring your own cup where we are going to eat.  I suspect he was not initially impressed!  We went to Rudy’s (decent BBQ place), mind you, they do not required to bring your own cup but in the past we had purchased some of their cups and you get a discount on drinks if you bring back the purchased cup.

Enjoy.  Please keep in touch.

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