Good and bad news

I have good news and I have bad news.

First the good news: I’m back. It was a busy week in Luxembourg, but the meeting went well, after a pretty slow start. We shortened it from three days to two and accomplished everything that needed to be accomplished. The weather was cool, with rain one day and pretty heavy fog in the mornings. The travel was as comfortable as it could have been – I traveled in first class in both directions – so I can’t complain. Okay, yes I can. It takes too long to get there.

I don’t work at hard at these meetings as I did when I was with ILS. That’s a really good thing. I can get to the hotel from dinner at 10:00 or 11:00 and read a little bit and then turn in, as opposed to working until 2:00 every night just to keep up. We don’t bring our computers overseas as a general rule, so I can’t even work on emails. I check my phone messages and return calls as needed, and then an hour or two in the evening is free. On the other hand, I don’t get that elation when the meeting is finally over like I used to. It’s still a good trade, though.

Now the bad news. I forgot my camera! I was hoping to take a few pictures to post here. Not to worry too much, though – I’ll be back there in a few weeks. This year’s travel schedule is looking to be pretty heavy, and not just for me. We have four people in our group, and it doesn’t look like we’ll all be in the office at the same time all year long. The good thing is that we have seven launches scheduled this year, so we’ll be making the company a boatload of money.

Anyway, in lieu of Germany/Luxembourg pictures, here’s Reader Number One, with a glimpse of Number Four in the mirror. As with many photos featured here, it was taken during one of last summer’s camping trips. Specifically, at the Hopewell Furnace.

I started reading The Gardener’s Handbook, by Dr. Stefan Buczacki. At least he was the “consultant editor.” It was really written by Tessa Paul and Nigel Chadwick. As you might guess from the names, it’s from England. They write a lot of good gardening books there. Anyway, I guess Dr. Buczacki is world-famous in England as a radio and TV gardening expert. I’m only on page 20, but it’s starting out fairly well as a clear, concise how-to book for beginning gardeners, which is what I expect to be pretty much permanently. The book and the spring-like warm weather we’re having are making me anxious to see our garden start growing again, and for the fish in the pond to wake up. We’re still two or three months away from that point, but I’m just about ready for it.

Another book I really enjoyed during this trip was Engineering in the Ancient World, by J. G. Landels. It’s a well-researched overview of engineering accomplishments (and a few shortcomings) in ancient Rome and Greece. It covers power generation, water supplies and pumps, cranes, catapults, and sea and land transport, along with a few words on general technological development. There are many hand-drawn illustrations that, along with the clearly written text, give the reader a clear look at the state of the art a couple thousand years ago. In many ways, their work was quite advanced and they were able to accomplish amazing things. Sadly, their knowledge and skills were not passed on to subsequent European civilizations and things got much worse before they finally got better in the last 150 years or so.

Went to Costco for dinner tonight – hot dogs, french fries, sodas, and samples. It was great!

Enough for now. See you from Denver on Monday.

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