It's an Exciting World

The life and times of David Geisert



Big Basin Camping

Lindsay organized a camping trip to Big Basin.  This year it was just the three of us for Friday night and then Steph joined us on Saturday.  We didn’t do much hiking, but we did get a good bit of MTG in; 25 games in total.  We had a lot of fun playing some spades as well.  The highlight of the evening was the campfire and cooking.  I combined both on Friday night with a steak cooked directly over the flame.  It was pretty good, despite being dropped into the fire as I tried to pull it off the grill.  We made smores both nights and they were tasty.  We found a rogue flaming hot Cheeto, making us thing that Debby was there in spirit.  The mosquitos were pretty bad, especially Friday evening.  While playing magic I was bitten through my shirt at least 30 times.  I had a few small constellations on my back in red dots.


Socorro and Tiny House

Irene’s brother Philip was nice enough to let me show up and work a little on his tiny house.  He’s been building it since 2016, and it is pretty far along.  I had never met him before, so it was a big risk on his part.  I got into Albuquerque Tuesday night at 1am, so I grabbed a hotel instead of trying to drive.  I got my rental car in the morning, but they changed it on me.  The other car wasn’t ready, and I got a black Dodge Charger instead.  It was an ok car, but solid black wasn’t good in the desert sun.

I drove down to meet Philip, and he gave me a tour of the grounds.  He is building it on the property of a friend of his, Ronnie, and his family.  There was a ton of stuff around, mostly for spare parts.

We then got to work.  I started off with a support bar on one wall of the tiny house.  It came together decently well.  I then did some metal work for the same support area for the loft.  That evening we went to New Mexico Tech to use the showers at the gym.  It was a nice campus, albeit small.  I ended up staying at the Econo Lodge, as I wasn’t up for staying in the gymnastics gym on Ronnie’s property.  I didn’t feel right using the gym without confirming it was ok with the woman who ran it (who I had never been introduced to).

Philip was nice enough to take me bouldering at the nearby ‘The Box’ canyon.  It was a nice place, but I am way out of shape for that kind of bouldering.  It was still a good time.  At the end of the night we got the strange lights in the sky experience.  A redish light would take a specific path that brightened and dimmed.  The speed and path of the light was constant, but it came at somewhat random intervals.  Turns out it was just cars driving along a nearby hill.

I stayed with one of Philips former coworkers, Kevin, the next few nights.  Kevin’s brother, Joel, was visiting from San Jose.  They were both a lot of fun to talk to.  Philip took the four of us out to dinner at the fanciest restaurant in Socorro.  They took us to San Lorenzo Canyon, a slot canyon nearby.  We got there very late so the pictures didn’t turn out, but in person it was gorgeous.  We watched the starts for a while, and I counted at least a dozen satellites.  I’m pretty sure we got a perfect alignment with one of the satellites for it to reflect the sun back at us, as it had a bright flash and was opposite where the sun had just set.  We also saw two shooting stars.


Philip then assigned me to install some trellises on the back of the tiny house, as well as cover up a few of the last holes in the siding.  We got some jasmine, and started training them to go up the poles.

After that we finished by installing the second layer of insulation.  I decided to head out to the Very Large Array, which was quite large, but in the middle of nowhere.

It was a good trip, and I got the first hand view of what it took to build a tiny house.

LA Weekend

Steph took the day off on Thursday and we hung around the house as well as getting a few new plants for the garden.  That evening we joined the others (Lindsay, Debby, Andrew, Kevin) for our flight to LA for the weekend.

We got in a little later than scheduled and checked into a pretty nice Airbnb while Andrew and Debby went to Jen’s place.

The next morning we all met up at Grand Central Market.  Steph and I got some delicious avocado toast, that also had a nice cheese and some cherry tomatoes.  Steph got a grilled cheese sandwich that was pretty tasty as well.  We grabbed our coffees and headed over to The Broad museum.  We were pretty far back in line, but among the first to get callback times for the special exhibit, an infinity room with lights.  It was pretty spectacular.

After The Broad we went to Pizzeria Mozza.  This was a place we had seen on Youtube and Netflix shows and really wanted to try.  It was pretty good, and I think Debby’s breakfast pizza was the best.  After a short rest at the Airbnb we went to Korea Town.  On the way everyone else got mani pedis, while I talked to my parents.  We also stopped by a mall and did a little karaoke while we waited.  We had reservations at a Korean BBQ place, and all ate way too much.  Our clothes also smelled strongly of the meat smoke and had to be quarantined.

The next day we had breakfast again at Grand Central Market, then headed to the next Airbnb in Santa Monica.  We got in a little early so we got some Impossible Burgers at Umami burger.  We ate them in the Airbnb while Debby and Andrew came over.  The burgers weren’t bad, but also not good.  I was pretty tired so I took a one hour nap while the others headed to the beach.

They didn’t spend long there, and we met up on 3rd to do some light shopping before heading to dinner.  We went to an okonomiyaki place and it was delicious.

After dinner we wandered around and got some tasty bread pudding.

Sunday we split up after brunch, some going to the beach again, some going to a VR Star Wars experience.

Steph had to head to the airport for her flight to china, so she didn’t get to participate.  Also we met up with Grant there.  Grant got recognized by one of the people who worked there, and was thanked for his work on Star Wars.

Jen showed me her bunnies, as we stopped by her place to grab Debby and Andrew’s things.

Easter with the family

I went back to Atlanta for Easter to spend time with family.  Stephanie stayed in the Bay Area.

I got in early Friday morning and my mom was nice enough to pick me up from the airport.  We got a great sunrise as we headed to their place, and the drive was pretty much traffic free.  I got a good nap in before heading downstairs to say hi to everyone.  Dad was up and Kim and Grace had come over.  Grace was a lot more interactive than the last time I saw her.  She was walking and able to make noises, but not quite words.  I gave her the early gift for her first birthday which was a brightly colored xylophone.

We then went to the botanical gardens, and walked around for a bit.  I talked to Kim for most of the time, and played with Grace some.  She gave me a nasty look when I pretended to take one of her Cheerios.  Jeff and Katie joined us for dinner.

The next morning mom and I headed to Birmingham to see Nana.  Mom was nice enough to drive the whole way.  I was glad to see Nana, and she seemed to be doing ok.  Coleman was moving around some, which is better than how he had been from what I’ve heard.  We had lunch there, which was a really tasty tomato and shrimp dish from Coleman.  On the drive home we stopped by the park where Steph and I are thinking of having a wedding celebration in the Southeast.  It was nice, and we couldn’t go to the exact building because there was currently a wedding going on in it.

The next day was Easter and everyone came over for a big lunch.  Benjamin came by and we got to talk a little about his plans to do a PhD in machine learning.  I pointed him to several good resources that I used for my first glimpses into it.  That evening I worked on a website for my dad, so that he could show off his guitars:

the next morning mom dropped me off at the airport and I had an uneventful flight home.


Steph and I decided to take a trip to Iceland for Chinese New Year since she had that time off.  It was pretty easy to book the tickets and get everything set up.  The flight was direct from SFO, and rather inexpensive.  It wasn’t that bad a flight, and we came prepared with our own food and water.  We didn’t end up needing them, but it was good that we had it for the rest of the trip.

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The morning before we were going to leave I got a message from the airline, WOW Air, that they will be leaving 30 minutes before scheduled.  This made us rush out the door and I forgot my folder with all the printed out tickets, and my morning breakfast mix.  We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  Steph bought some food after security and I filled up my water bottle.  We got on the plane and found our seats.  The flight was uneventful, and we both got a little bit of sleep.

Day 1

We got into the airport in Iceland a little before 4am.  We got off the plane and took our time to prepare ourselves for the cold.  From the view outside we could tell it was very windy, and very cold.  The snow was coming down lightly, but the wind was whipping it sideways when it did come down.  We weren’t quite awake so we missed the way out of the airport, and wandered around a shopping area for a bit before finding the way out.  We eventually got out to where the airport pickup for the off site rental cars were, and found the right place.  The shuttle showed up and parked on the far side of the lot from us while a snow plow went around the lot.  I walked up to the shuttle and was told to go wait at the bus stop.  The shuttle dropped us of at Geysir rental car company and we got the car pretty easily.  I had reserved a manual transmission vehicle, since it was cheaper.  I wasn’t sure if they would have that specific one or if we would end up with an automatic.  Since it was a manual that meant I had chosen to drive the entire trip.  We ended up with a white Dacia Duster, which isn’t a half bad car.  I, personally, didn’t mind it being manual transmission.  The part that grated on me during the trip was the lack of cruise control.  One interesting thing that the guy at the Geysir rental car pointed out was a high winds advisory for that day, and the following several days.  The main highway in Iceland is a big ring that goes around the island, and this is the one road that they try to keep open always.  That this advisory mentioned they could be closing parts of the ring due to high winds spoke a lot to how fast they were expected to go.  We never ran across winds over 30 meters per second (67 miles per hour), but we saw mention of winds getting up to 70mps (156 miles per hour).




We headed into town, but nothing was open at 5:30am when we got there.  We parked close to two bakeries that opened really early, and just waited in the car.   We had to turn it on and let the heat run for a bit, because it was so cold.  It turned out to be just the exact wrong amount of cold, as the precipitation turned to a wintery mix.  It was as cold as possible without being solid enough to keep dry.  We went to one bakery and got some breakfast and coffee, then I went to a store to get a nice hat.   After getting the hat we sat in the car for another hour until the National Museum of Iceland opened.  When it did we spent went right over.  The winds were going crazy that day and we broke the door to the car as it was wrenched forward upon opening.

We spent a few hours in the museum, and the exhibits were well done.  We had a lunch at the cafe downstairs then went to crash at the Airbnb we had rented.


The Airbnb was a nice little basement apartment that was in a pretty central part of town.  There was a little house behind the apartment, and the people who lived there walked a little three legged kitty, who was adorable.  We ended up going to a place nearby for dinner that day, and then immediately went back to the apartment and crashed.

Day 2

We got an early breakfast in one of the places that opened early.  I then realized that the distance to the dive we had planned to do was three times further than I had thought.  We called and it turned out to be ok, even though we were going to be very late.  We drove out to the dive site, with high winds, snow, and icy roads much of the way.  I also realized just how much the Icelanders love their roundabouts.  I found it odd that the main highway had roundabouts instead of onramps and overpasses.  I’m not sure what led to that decision, as there were some points that had onramps and overpasses.

We got to the dive site and it was bitterly cold, but beautiful.  Silfra is known for being perfectly clear water, and the meeting of the tectonic plates.  We did the dive briefing in the van, and suited up there.  Once suited up we got out and put on the dive gear.  It was a pretty well run production, and our guide Ants was fantastic.  We waddled the 300ft to the entry point and got in the water, which was 2C.  We were told to keep as much under water as possible, as the air could end up freezing the equipment if we resurfaced after getting it wet.  Once in the water both Steph and I got brain freeze, from the cold water being around our heads.  That only lasted a few minutes.  We then were able to adjust.  Steph had her fins pop off from the air inflating her suit to much.  I had the issue of my inflator valve on the dry suit being slightly open the whole time.  I just held my left shoulder up and dumped constantly to stay under.  It was a gorgeous dive, but we only wanted to do it once.   On the way out of the water, I grabbed the railing to pull myself along.  My glove instantly froze to the railing on contact, and it took a good yank to pull it off.  I did it again for kicks and noticed that the glove had frozen into the shape of the railing.  We got some hot chocolate and cookies to warm up, but didn’t want to do the same dive again.  Ants was nice enough to provide us with the pictures he took on the second dive.

We then decided to complete the golden circle for the rest of the day.  We headed up to Geysir and saw them erupt for a bit.  Then we grabbed lunch at the pit stop there.  After lunch we went to the huge set of waterfalls, Gullfoss.  This is what the golden circle was named after, and I have to admit it was pretty impressive.  The waterfalls were in two sections, and the lower falls in my opinion were the more impressive.  It was harder to get a good view of them.  We then continued on our path to the crater lake.  It wasn’t that impressive, and we made the full circuit around the rim.  We went back to the Airbnb, and then headed out for a nice dinner.  The food was fantastic and it was starting to rain again, so we went straight to bed.

Day 3

We slept in, and that was really nice.  We grabbed some food on the way out of town, but really just snacked on peanuts the whole day.  We made it to the Secret Lagoon, and spent nearly two hours just hanging out in the hot spring there.  The winds were still going strong, and causing waves in the pools.  The drive to get there was a little over two hours, and then we had another three hours to get to the hotel on the souther coast.  We got in just before sunset, and settled down to a nice dinner, and then sleep.  The drive was windy the whole way, and we probably should have pulled off for part of it.  There were waterfalls along the way that were being blown away, as in the water instead of going down was going up and sideways.  It made the cliffs look like they were smoking or steaming in spots.

Day 4

We headed to the meeting spot for the ice cave/glacier tour, and got there a bit early.   It worked out for us as we were among the first there.  We got lucky I think in being the first on the glacier that day.  The rain stopped as we got on the glacier, and started up again once we were getting down from the glacier.  We also got a bit more time in the non-flooded part of the ice cave than the other groups I’d imagine.  Since much of the ice cave was flooded we got a small excursion into the upper ice flows where the chasms started.  We didn’t see any deep chasms on the hike we did, but we did get to see some later in the day on another glacier.  Steph and I both licked the glacier and got some really good pictures.  It was very blue, apparently the rain the day before washed away much of the accumulated dirt.


After getting off the glacier we grabbed a quick lunch and headed up to Iceberg Lagoon and Diamond Beach.   The Iceberg Lagoon was neat, but the Diamond Beach was unreal.  The icebergs, instead of washing out to sea, get pushed up onto the beach.  They then slowly melt, and show off all their colors while sitting on the black sand.  It was gorgeous and absolutely lived up to the name.  We were given an extra treat as the sun actually showed up for an hour while we were out on the beach.

We headed back to the hotel, and a little past to hike out to a vista point over another glacier.  It was a pretty cool one where some of the beyond the wall footage was filmed for Game of Thrones.  We got a mediocre dinner at the rest stop across from the hotel and then got ice cream to make up for that at the hotel.

Day 5

This day was mainly driving.  There were high winds again, and we stopped by a waterfall to break up the drive.  It was almost windy enough for us to take a break, but luckily the winds were with us. We were driving down the highway and sticking your hand out the window felt like the air wasn’t moving, because the wind was blowing so strongly in the direction we were travelling in.

We made it back to near Reykjavik, to a hotel called Ion Adventure Hotel.  We hung out there, and it would have been a great place to see the northern lights had the clouds not continued their ceaseless presence.  We spent a little time in the hot tub, but mainly just relaxed for the day.  They had a really nice bar facing north that would have been great for watching the northern lights, if there weren’t clouds.

Day 6

We got up, grabbed some breakfast, and headed to the horse riding.  We got there with about an hour of driving.  Still high winds, icy gravel roads, and blind hills/turns.

The horses were very cute.  I got one that had a redish coat, and Steph was on a dark brown horse.  They were a lot smaller than the horses we were used to riding.  We headed out for a two hour out and back to the nearby hot springs.  We started slow, and then sped up as we became more comfortable with the horses.  Eventually we got to a cantor.  Along the way we had to go through a big snow bank, and up and down some pretty steep hills.  A dog tagged along for the whole ride, and was adorable.  At one point a group of young horses were being herded past us, and our horses wanted to join them in the run.  Also, Steph lost her reigns at one point and the horse ran off with her.  That only lasted a few minutes before Steph got off and the guide went to get her.

After riding we lunched in Selfoss and then headed back to the hotel were we relaxed for the afternoon.

Day 7

We had breakfast at the Ion Hotel before heading back near Selfoss to go through a lava tube.  The Lava Tunnel was the specific name of the lava tube we chose to go to, and it was gorgeous.  Lots of ice stalactites and stalagmites.  Big snow cones under the skylights.  Nice formations in the lava.  The only bad thing was Steph dropped her phone and it went down a crack to never be seen again.

We drove through some intense fog to get to Reykjavik, where we checked into Hotel 101.  We took a walk to the main church, took a peek inside, had lunch, and walked along the waterfront.  We had a nice dinner and went to sleep pretty early.

Day 7

We got up and had breakfast at the hotel before heading to a small bakery.  We grabbed a lot of stuff to eat on the flight, including the famous cinnamon rolls.  After that we headed off for the airport.  On the way I had to check out one of the gas station hot dogs that I had heard about.  It was different, with crispy and fresh onion, but not that amazing.  I wonder what the meat was.

Kevin and Lindsay’s Wedding

Stephanie and I went to Vegas for the wedding of Lindsay and Kevin.  We joined a lot of people there, and didn’t stay long.  We got in Saturday around 11am, and met up with people at the Shake Shack.  After that Stephanie and I split up.  She went off to meet the ladies for High Tea then party.  I went with the guys to play MTG.  That night the guys did dinner at Wicked Spoon.


The next day Stephanie and I went to Momofuku and got ramen.  It was tasty.


We joined up with everyone at 3 for the wedding.  The ceremony was nice, quick, and very much about them as a couple.  I really liked the vows they gave to each other.  Afterwards we hung out for a bit as they went to get the reception ready.  We had drinks at the Mandarin and then went to the Jackpot Bar and Grill for their reception.  The place was surprisingly nice, and the karaoke was a blast.  We had a great time.

We headed out pretty early the next morning, and caught our flight back home.

St. Louis Trip

I flew to St. Louis to visit with Michael, and help him with his non-profit.  I got in Wednesday Evening, with a uneventful flight.  He picked me up from the airport and then went back to his place.  The neighborhood was nice, and I was surprised how open it was for being pretty close to downtown St. Louis.  I’m not used to seeing empty lots or large unused back yards to buildings.

I led a seminar for his non-profit for the next two days, and we hung out with his girlfriend Ala.  She was very nice, although she came down with something and couldn’t spend much time with us.  I walked around and got to see some more of St. Louis.  The food was very tasty, but heavy.

The startup space here has been amazing.  In many ways it is better than the spaces I’ve seen in the Bay Area.  The price is certainly lower.  We went to a startup meetup, and it was pretty interesting.  The vibe was pretty much the same as the startup mixers in SF, which means I was uncomfortable the whole time.

Saturday we went around a few neighborhoods, a farmers market, and got lunch at a smokehouse.  We worked for the afternoon and went to one of Michael’s friends houses for games.  We played an interesting game called Clank which was a mix of Dungeon Quest and Ascension.  I enjoyed it, but it took a lot longer than it probably should have.

Sunday we went to the Zoo and worked some more.

Sunday evening we played some Dead of Winter, and it was a good time.  We won by a lot, just from getting lucky on the characters we started with.

Monday we went to a meeting for social work in Catholic charities, and it was interesting.  Michael got a lot more out of it than I did, but I still enjoyed hearing about it.  The thing that struck me the most was that they wanted to track their work and quantify their impacts, but that they were lacking a solid metric to base their measure of success on.


We got lunch at a brewpub and he dropped me off at the airport.  All in all a pretty good trip.

Half Dome Hike

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according to google maps this should take 7 hours.  It actually took 11.5 hours.

I got invited by Amit’s sister Neta to go on a half dome hike with her, should she get the passes for the cables.  The day after the invite she got the passes, after weeks of applying for them.  I was really happy to go as I had never been to the top of half dome before.  She had not been to Yosemite since she was a child, so she was also looking forward to it.

I got a Zipcar and found a cheap room nearby the park in Groveland.  She came over right after book club and we left to get to the hostel.  Arriving at 1am, we found that check in time ended at 10pm and a sign said for late check in knock on the door of a house up another road.  We went there and knocked on the door but got no answer.  There wasn’t any cell reception in this town, so we didn’t have internet to check things or call even should we have found a phone number listed.  We were planning on getting up around 4am anyway, so we just plopped down in the car.  The manager had heard us knocking apparently, but just took a while to get out of bed.  He was obviously put out at such a late arrival, and I can’t blame him for it.  We got into the room and passed out hard.

Neta’s alarm went of at 4am, and we were on the road by about 4:20.  We made our way to the Happy Isles parking area and started the hike at about 6am.  We almost took wrong turns a few times, since I didn’t recognize things in the dark.  By the time we made it to the bridge with the last potable water source it was becoming light, so we decided to take the mist trail past Vernal Fall.  I poured out some of my extra water, as I planned to fill up at the last water source with my filter.  We kept hiking up, and unfortunately missed the last water source signs, just from the set of trails we took when they split up in one of the valleys.

We made it to the switch backs and it was painful, but with rests we were able to get through that without too much issue.  We made it to the shoulder, and the bottom of the cables, and were blown away that this was a thing.  The cables go up such a steep and slick area that there would be no way to do it without them.  We started up at a time when most people were still heading up, and only had a few people pass us on their way down.  Looking down while heading up was very scary for me, but Neta said it didn’t bother her.  We got to the top and the views were amazing.  I was able to get signal and called my mom and dad.  They were happy to hear from me, and a little surprised since I hadn’t told them I was going to hike half dome.

Going down the cables wasn’t nearly as scary as looking down on the way up had been.  There were a lot more instances of passing.  I got behind someone who was making good time going down and passing everyone.  Since I was following closely the people who had gotten out of the way for her, stayed out of the way for me.  Neta didn’t get that boon, so she had a few more minutes on the cables.  The only times it didn’t feel all that safe is when more than two people were at a rung, and that was always because there was someone trying to rush up the cables.

My water ran out as we got down from the switchbacks, and Neta was kind enough to share some with me.  We made it back to the Merced River and I filled up some there, using the filter.  I we made it down to Nevada falls and rested for a moment.  We had a snack and had a feet check, with everything seeming to be ok.

We got a lot of time to talk about a lot of things, and we had almost the exact same endurance curve.  Everything was going pretty well up to Nevada falls on the way back.  For some reason that last stint on the John Muir Trail was what did us in.  The last 20% was painful, whereas the rest of the hike had been really fun and not too bad on the legs and feet.  For some reason the way down felt a lot longer than the way up, which is normally the opposite.  We found ourselves thinking a landmark would be around the next corner, when it was really still 15 minutes further down the trail.

We finally made it back to the car, and somehow Neta was able to drive us back to Groveland.  We went to the Mexican restaurant there, and it was tasty.  We really just wanted to sleep, but knew we should eat a big meal before doing so.  When we got back to our room I passed out almost immediately.  Neta still had the energy to brush her teeth and get ready for bed like a normal person.

We got up the next morning and had a pleasantly uneventful drive back.  Both of us were sore, but nothing like the night before.  Our ability to walk like normal people had mostly been restored.  I am glad I went, and Neta was great company.  I’m not sure I would seek out this hike again, but I wouldn’t say no if someone got permits.

Jeff and Katie’s Wedding

Stephanie and I went to Atlanta for Jeff and Katie’s wedding.  I got there a few days earlier than her, and spent some time with the family.  The original plan was to spend time in Birmingham to see Nana, but that fell through as planning for the wedding took precedence.  We ended up walking around a bit and I helped around with random chores.  I cleaned my parents porch and helped Jeff install a ceiling fan.

We went to the rehearsal on Friday evening, and it was a pretty relaxed affair.  We walked around a lot.  Mitch, Katie’s brother, and I walked around the most, as we were seating lots of family members.  We then went to the rehearsal dinner, and it was delicious, but loud in the small room.  Stephanie landed and I grabbed some leftovers for her.  I managed to time it perfectly with getting to the hotel as she was checking in.  We had an early night as we were both pretty tired.


The next morning I let her sleep in as I had to get to the groomsman activities.  We met up at 11 at Jeff’s hotel room and watched a sports game.  I felt a little like the odd man out, but it was still a good time.  We got to the venue right on time, and I stole a bit of time to talk to Nana and say hi to Fred.  I had made a silly birthday card for Nana, which was a popup flower.  The wedding was gorgeous, and everything went well.  We did lots of pictures afterwards.  Stephanie was tired at the reception, so we went outside and sat on the porch.  She took a nap in a rocking chair while I participated in the garter toss.  It went much better than last time.  Not only did I not get a black eye, but I caught the garter.

The next day we went to the botanical gardens and had some tasty chocolate.  There were a few stations spread around serving different chocolate things.  My favorite was a chocolate cheese, which was surprisingly good.  I took Steph to the airport, and on the way we stopped by Holman and Finch and the High Museum.

Monday was interesting, as Irma was coming through Atlanta.  The power went out in the early afternoon, and it stayed out until lunchtime Tuesday.  Nothing too exciting happened when the power was out, and when we drove around on Tuesday morning, we saw that much of Atlanta was without power.  There weren’t too many trees down, but a whole lot of branches were down.

Wednesday I helped Kim with some packing, then Levi Lowrey came by and got a guitar from my dad.  They played a bit together, and Levi played some on his new guitar as well.

I got the airport with plenty of time to spare, since the traffic was lighter than expected, and the line at security was less than five minutes.  I was soooooo ready to get back home after nearly a month of travelling.


Back in Redwood City, my kitties were happy to see me.  Steph was too.

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