Let’s talk Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

I guess I should back things up here since I am kind of taking this Europe trip in reverse order of how we did things. This is Wales, the final stop before our departure two days later out of Dublin (more on Dublin later).

We stayed in a town called Llanfairfechan in Northern Wales. If you can’t tell by the photos above, it was breathtaking. This was a small town on the coast that had a beach and then a hike up a long hill into the main town. Becca and I loved everything about this stop and it quickly became one of our favorite places during our entire three week stay overseas.

One thing we did for the majority of this trip was use AirBnB for our lodging and our hosts in Wales did not disappoint either. The two men were a sweet couple that cooked us breakfast and really made us feel at home in their basement loft.

I personally enjoyed going to the town’s only open place while we were there, the local inn. There was a pub there that pretty much all the locals that would go there, did on that evening we were in town. They also treated us well and offered up a nice bit of hospitality during our couple of hours eating and drinking the local beer (of course I had some local ales, come on!).

Becca and I kept saying we would go back to this part of Wales in a heartbeat when given the chance. We would love to see it more in action during the summer months too. You could easily tell that it would be a pretty lively place in those warmer months of the year.

Alright, next up will be our stop in Liverpool. Hopefully I can get to that one here soon.

One of my favorite things to do is drink a good local beer. This one right here is probably my favorite Dallas-local beer, from Pegasus City, their amber ale, the Cannoneer.

I like beer…maybe too much

Local beer during my trip to Israel in January 2020

For the last few years, drinking at a local brewery has become one of my favorite things to do. Dallas has really exploded with good local beers these last few years, which has also allowed me to develop my favorite style of beer along the way.

Typically I follow the seasonal patterns of beers. Winter beers like a bourbon barrel-based stout like the BBT from Lakewood Brewery, or a winter warmer like Rahr and Son’s Winter Warmer. Spring time hits and I begin breaking back out the amber ales, brown ales, red ales and even some IPAs. Summer brings the heat here in Dallas, which means I need something refreshing like a bock or kolosh. Fall ends up being a lot like spring and winter as I drink lighter yet darker beers.

I also try to drink local when I travel. Like on my trip to Israel earlier this year and our family trip to Nashville last summer or our anniversary trip to Austin last fall.

So back to the local beer…

Right now during this weird COVID-19 life, supporting local beer is vital. I’m trying to make sure I can get to my favorite spots as much as I can (within some reason of course both for not over doing it on the drinking end, but also for the financial end of not spending too much). So far I’ve been trying to go out every couple of weekends to either buy a couple bottles of something new, or to support some new promotion that is going on.

I hope this weekend I can make it back to one or two local breweries to give more support to them.

So, we’re at what…week six? Seven? At this point, I have no idea. Maybe it isn’t even worth counting the days or weeks at this point as that may only make me go a little more stir crazy.

What is new with me, Becca and Rigby right now? Not too much other than the fact that I bought a PS4 last week with a few games like FIFA 20 (man I forgot how much I enjoyed playing that game). Now some of my spare time is spent playing that.

I have also begun taking a little more time for my physical self during this time too. Now that I spend most of my days in our office doing work (which has basically been a daily thing, even on weekends), I am trying to be more diligent about taking 10-15 minutes to get up and do a short workout. Having no true gym equipment makes it tough but at least I have a set of resistant bands and small weights to get me through it. Also, there are a ton of videos online for short workouts without equipment too, which helps a ton.

What else…oh, this guy has been keeping us busy.

Lastly, we did a little social distancing drinking with our good friends the McClungs last weekend. We surprised them with some beer.

Okay, so where do I begin in this weird-assed time that we’re living in?

So today is April 8, we’ve been in quarantine for nearly a month now. We began this back on March 16 but really it was the Friday before, March 13. So yeah, nearly a full month of being at home nearly 24 hours a day. 

I’ve been meaning to write down my thoughts for the past couple of weeks each morning but work has been so time-consuming that I just get sucked into that world before I really do anything. Oddly enough this is the first week during this time that I feel like I truly have the mental space to really do what I am doing right now, writing. 

The first week of this experience wasn’t bad though, Becca and I got used to our at home set up. She stayed mostly in either our bedroom on calls or in the dining room where I set up a mini-desk for her with a spare screen. That week I mostly stayed on the couch. 

Things changed drastically in the second week as a Shelter-in-Place order was placed on Dallas County. I made sure to get a few things from my office to help me have a desk in our back room where Rigby’s stuff in. That has helped me out a bunch in these last couple of weeks, to have a space I can take meetings and get work done thanks to a second screen. 

The work side of things has been a bit crazy. Before this, I was actively looking for a new job and was excited that the new MLS season had just begun. My energy level was racing between the job hunt and the new season. Now it is primarily on the job I do have with HPUMC and staying sane around the house with Becca and Rigby. The ladder of which I think I’m doing fairly well at. 

Work has been super busy for me for a change. My normal busy really doesn’t hold a candle to what I am experiencing right now. Since everything is digital with no way for people to come together in person, a spotlight is basically shown on everything I do or touch. In some cases it is has been good, as I’ve been able to open up my creativity a bit more in this time. But on the bad side of things I’ve seen so much nit-pickiness from almost everyone that it is wearing me out. 

Right now I still have a big website relaunch project in the works, along with a reading plan for the next four weeks to build out in both web and out app. Some of that extra work is my own doing but I think it is for the best. 

As for Becca and Rigby, things are going as well as they could with them right now. I’m thankful that I’m getting this extra time with the both of them. Becca and I have been cooking and baking more together, which is always a joy. This time has really forced us back into some habits that we know we need to find a way to keep down the road when things go back to whatever normal is. We’re also finding good ways to stay sane by walking a whole lot more around our neighborhood, sometimes with Rigby but a lot of times without him. We’ve built three Lego architecture sets so far, with a fourth one on the way through Amazon. 

Another good thing is how we’re slowly cleaning up and cleaning out our house. Its like little by little we’re able to do more around here. Hopefully when this is all said and done we can truly get to work on these house projects that we’ve been talking about for what now, three years? Yeah, something like that. 

Lastly, since everything has gone digital these days, we’re doing a lot of Zoom, Google and FaceTime calls. Which has helped a bunch since we can’t be in the same room as anyone else right now. It has also gotten me thinking, why weren’t we doing this more often with some folks?

Okay this has been super helpful for now. Hopefully, this can be more of a habit for me each day as we go through this time. 

So, three years. That is how long it has been since I last updated this space. And really, all I’ve done today is gone through my work and added stuff from the last three years at Highland Park UMC. A couple links, some job description and that is about it.

Basically I’m bored on a Sunday afternoon while the laundry is getting done. That and I thought it was high time I actually updated this space before I truly forgot all about it.

So what is new? Let’s see…

Becca has a new job with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Rigby is almost nine and is still crazy as ever.

All the nieces and nephews are getting older.

We went skiing last month in New Mexico.

I still love me some good beer, as seen above.

I’m still blogging at BigDSoccer, though not at WVHooligan anymore.

I’m sure there is a ton more to discuss but my brain is fried.

Boy it has been a while since I last had an update on this space. What can I say, these things tend to happen when you’re busy, holidays hit and new jobs come up.

Yep, that’s right, I’ve recently (and finally) taken a new job. I am now the Interactive Content Manager at Highland Park United Methodist Church. The position sort of fell into my lap late last year before Christmas and then came to fruition right after the new year. In a small way it was a birthday gift too as I began my first day just a couple days after my 29th birthday in February.

So far I love it. I’ve been super pleased to work with passionate people who are devoted to what they do. Plus, finally working on things I’ve been wanting to do like manage web content for a company, have a creative voice in how to market and manage content is also a big plus. I have to say I finally feel that I am coming more into my own professionally.

It was bitter sweet to leave Wieck Media after six and a half years of working there but it was the right time for a move. Most that know me know that I had been looking for a new job for the better part of a couple years really. It wasn’t anything personal to the folks at Wieck but more of a thing that I needed to do. I felt like my job at Wieck wasn’t going anywhere and in a small way that Wieck as a company wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is no knock on the people there – they were always fantastic people to work with – it was something I noticed after six and a half years of being there.

Anyways, aside from the new job the soccer season is back up and in full gear. That has taken a lot of my time over the last two months already. I’ve been managing Big D Soccer for almost a year now as well but I think that site is finally taking off the way I want it too as well. We’re inching closer and closer to 100k page views every month, a lofty goal I set out to reach last summer. The last three months have been around 70-85k page views. So we’re so close to getting there. The World Cup this summer should certainly help that out.

Family life is as busy as ever too. Becca and I are nearly getting ready for some more house work to be done likely with painting our living room. We did our dining room last fall and it turned out great. I’m sure we’ll never truly be done though in that department of fixing up our house.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things I’ve failed to cover in this first post since last fall but this is a good enough start.

Last night was a great night for me. After years of waiting, I was able to finally see Pearl Jam again. The Seattle band came through town last night for the first time in 10 years apparently. Needless to say the show was epic.

Becca even had a good time!

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Just an amazing setlist too:

01. Pendulum-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
02. Nothingman
03. Can’t Keep
04. Interstellar Overdrive-(Barrett, Mason, Waters, Wright)
05. Corduroy
06. Lightning Bolt-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
07. Mind Your Manners-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
08. Got Some
09. Brain Of J
10. World Wide Suicide
11. Given To Fly
12. Sirens (with crowd Ah ah oh oh outro)-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
13. Lukin
14. Not For You/Modern Girl-(Sleater Kinney)
15. Jeremy
16. Glorified G.
(at the end of the song Ed jumps down on the subs and pours some wine for people along the barricade)
17. Infallible-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
18. Unthought Known
19. Better Man/Save It For Later-(Charley, Cox, Morton, Steele, Wakeling)

Encore Break 1
20. Yellow Moon-from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
(“Some of you may know, I don’t know if I have mentioned it but I have sister here in Texas.  The great thing about sisters they can introduce you to things.  Like nephews.  So this is for Garrett and Garrett’s mom.”)
21. Future Days -from the new album “Lightning Bolt”
22. Footsteps
23. Daughter
24. Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns-(Mother Love Bone, A. Wood)
(“That was for Andy Wood.  He loved Dallas.”)
25. Why Go
(Ed plays a long intro for ‘Porch’ and doesn’t notice at first that the audience has started singing the song.  Once he does notice he asks them to do it again and starts the first verse over)
26. Porch

Encore Break 2
27. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town (played to audience behind the stage)
28. The Real Me-(Townshend)
29. Do The Evolution
30. Alive
31. Rockin’ In The Free World (with Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia/Sleater Kinney)  and Annie Clark (St. Vincent)
32. Indifference

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From time to time my niece Audrey will call us on FaceTime to read us a book. Last night Becca and I had just finished up dinner when we got a call on her phone from her sister Rachel (Audrey’s mom), it turned out that Audrey was calling us to read us a story. I love it.

As you can see from some of the photos, we got a little goofy towards the end. Not to mention we got an appearance from our other niece, Amelia. I loved it.

After four and a half years, Becca and I have finally…yes finally painted a room in our house.

This past Friday, we both took the day off from work to re-do our dining room. We had bought the paint back in May and had originally planned to do the room earlier this summer but that never happened. But Friday was the day. As I got the room ready late Thursday and began painting early Friday. We finished the room off midway through Saturday evening with some finishing touches.

Overall, I’m so pleased with the way things turned out. I do have one more painting to hang on the wall but I’m okay that that is all we have left.

Now on to another room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From time to time, I receive gifts or items from apparel companies or even teams in Major League Soccer. My almost seven years of covering soccer has come with some perks to say the least. I’ve been fortunate enough to get free jerseys, clothes, soccer cleats and more.

But yesterday may have been the weirdest item I’ve ever gotten in the mail. I got home from work to see a large box on my front porch that read ‘fragile’ and ‘do not lay flat’ on it. It was a large box too. I thought, maybe Becca ordered something and forgot to tell me. Or maybe worse, I ordered something and forgot all about it.

No, it was the picture above. A large frame from the soccer team in Portland. See, each year I vote in the media site of the end of the year awards for MLS. This frame was a way of lobbying for my vote for the various awards. I’ve had this happen before in years past. One team gave a plastic mug, others have given thumb drives with highlights of the players in it. Some teams are just more creative than others.

The frame is pretty cool though. It will be a nice addition to the home office one day when I get around to hanging it up.