The world is still moving. I'm still trying to figure out my balance points, and juggling the knowledge of Fezzik's possible condition along with the fact that Fezzik himself is particularly content, happy, and his usual dog self. I have a feeling we're going to spoil the heck out of him for the next few whatevers.
I didn't get up until late, trying to stay asleep as long as possible, even though Fezzik himself got up around seven and did his usual routine. John got up earlier than I did, and the two of them were out on the front porch when I woke up. Since they seemed fairly content out there, I decided to just make breakfast. There were leftover tomatoes from the cocktail sauce, and all the eggs that I've gotten from the Short farm. The little basil bush needed trimming and chives were overgrowing one of the pots, so I trimmed all the herbs, smashed one garlic clove and pulled a sad and single slice of ham, left from the sandwiches Wednesday night, from the refrigerator as well. Leftover omelet seemed to be in the cards, especially since there was still the croissant leftover as well.
I put a little olive oil in the chef's pan, turned a medium heat on under it. The chopped garlic was tossed into the pan until it was fragrant, and the drained tomatoes went in on top of it, sizzling until the pan's temperature dropped. The chopped ham went in some time after that along with a splash of Marsala wine, which I let reduce until it was almost gone. The fresh herbs went in near the last possible moment, and the whole stayed warm in the pan while I put together the omelet.
I enjoy the American-style omelet, with the large curds, the brown exterior, and stuffing inside. I beat four eggs with a little water and some more chopped chives. Butter melted, foamed, and then subsided before I poured the eggs in and just gently stirred to make sure that all the wet stuff eventually met the heat. The whole mass gently congealed before I poured the filling into the middle of the pan. I grated a whole lot of Parmesan cheese on top before turning it out onto a plate. It came out perfect.
John was very happy with it, as was I. The tomatoes had cooked just enough to soften a little around the edges and still be sweet and firm in the center. The Marsala wine had cooked into everything, lending sweetness and depth of taste. The croissant went really well with it all and sopped up all the juices. Fezzik got the last bite of the croissant.
John went out to do things while I went upstairs to train the dictation software. I hadn't run the vocabulary builder on the new user dataset. The literature with the new versions said that one could use the old data with the new software, but recognition and performance would be slower and not as good as if one started anew.
Once the computer was on, however, I decided I really needed to just talk with some people about Fezzik. So I got on line, where usually meet Geoff, and a bunch of our friends happened to be on. He was idle for awhile, so I was half sure that he was off doing weekend things. It turns out he wasn't gone. It was really nice to just hug him, and just talk and share things with him and everyone else. Jason was on, and it was good to talk with him and others about what John and I had learned as well as about their pets, their experiences with death, and, best of all, finding that I could still laugh.
I know, it's pretty obvious that I still have to live and do things and still be everything human even Fezzik is dying. I guess we really are all dying anyway. I guess it is all a matter of time, but the real goal is to make the time worthwhile. So long as Fezzik is happy, it will be good.
Trip was also on and was a very, very great comfort.
So I got off and did some dictation, I have *so* many entries to catch up on, what with the trip and everything and this new set of emotions as well. I really liked my mindset a few days back, and it's somewhat nice to be able to go back, but there are moments when it's really hard. The days in Pittsburgh were so very nice.
Then we had to leave to go to the Short Farm party. There was one last year, as well, and it struck me that we've actually been in Colorado for a year. It's been a full year, and it is finally starting to feel a little more familiar, though it all still strikes me as alien on occassion. The Short farm party was fun last year, so we went out with my electronic camera and forgot the hat, which wasn't too smart, and we went and stood around, watched the chicks, the ducklings and the two giant goslings peep and run around and get chased by the kids until all the little critters were huddled into sleep in the corners afforded by the haystacks. The farm itself is fairly large, there's a horse, three beef cattle, and dozens and dozens of chickens running around.
Yeah, the very same chickens that lay the eggs that we get every once in a while. On the farm, it's Easter every day, with eggs everywhere, including in the middle of the horse pasture and in the horse's stall. That was really funny. Amusing to tell Steve, "Hey, I think your horse is laying eggs."
One of the guys from work was telling interesting stories about when he was hunting in Canada. One of the things that really amused me was the fact that his hunting party had drunk an entire small town out of all the beer they had and offered the excuse that with all the extra oxygen it was easy to drink people under the table. I never really thought of it, but the high-altitude really does make alcohol take effect more easily. So if one can actually hold their alcohol up here, it becomes much easier to drink heavily at sea level.
There also many stories about Xilinx and how it used to be. Also lots of stories about how phenomenal it has been and looks like it's going to be. The problem, however, is that most of the high-powered, longtime employees are starting to get to the point where they really don't want to work anymore. The options they had five years ago are now worth so much, there really isn't any reason for them to stay. Even if management offers them a great deal more, most of them have already hit what they wanted and know when they want to quit and take the extra time for their families, kids, and other parts of their life. The good thing is that, I think, Xilinx sees this problem and we're hiring like crazy in order to have new folks that we can train into the positions that are going to be opened. That we'll have the time to get the lore passed down and make sure that the magic works in the next few years.
At Data I/O we saw the experienced engineers all leaving in one huge drove and it went downhill from there because no one really put any of the younger engineers all the way through a design cycle for a programmer to learn all the possible problem points. Here, I think, someone will make absolutely sure that some of the younger engineers, software and hardware wise will get to go through it before folks actually take off. We'll see how that works out in the long-term, or if the company figures out that putting some of these old hands on part time might be the best solution. Then they won't get bored, will have the extra time they want for their families, and also have adventure time. I was glad to hear that one of the senior engineers got to take a four month sabbatical, no problem. That is a good indicator that someone has sussed some of this out.
I had fun wandering around the farm finding eggs, too. Filled half a bucket with them, but since I still had a dozen of the Short eggs and half a dozen of the other eggs I'd bought, I didn't take any home.
We also had to book in order to get into south Denver for the 4:30 start time of Kakali's dance performance/recital. It was the first Indian dance program in the area, and the first recital ever for the whole group in the area. It was somewhat obvious once we got into the threater and sat down and it was a bit like watching a high school Talent show trying to get everything to work. They were already half an hour late when we sat down and it was another twenty minutes of delay and then talking by the MC, various dignitaries and the lighting of a huge oil lamp for the whole thing.
The dances themselves were very interesting. Motions and movements that were athletic and almost martial in nature combined with colorful silks and gold lame, great cuffs of bells and shiny bangles, and elaborate headdresses with silver-wrapped hair. Since every motion of the legs were accented by the bells, it was almost in the nature of a tap dance, in so far as the dancers kept rhythm with their feet. There were also elaborate head, arm, and hand motions that were fascinating to watch for the first hour and a half. John and I, however, had no way of understanding the symbolism or even the lyrics of all the songs that went with the dances. It was fun to watch and learn and I really envied some of the dancers' costumes. I think some of them would make excellent hall costumes for some convention. The problem was that neither of us shared anything of the culture offered, so we had absolutely no background with which to understand any of it. An hour and a half was enough.
It was also interesting to listen to the ebb and flow of the crowd itself. They never were actually quiet. People also came and went as they pleased. There was always motion in the audience. There were babies screaming, phones ringing, and the white noise of constant conversation in the back. There was also the scent of spicy food from the back, and since there wasn't any real food at the Short Farm party, I was starving. So after one dance, we went back and bought a plate of curried chickpeas, deep fried vegetables, and fried bread. There was a spicy mint sauce and a sweet and salty sauce for the vegetables. I ate hungrily, and then talked with John about whether or not we needed to go back. We hadn't seen our co-worker, Sudipto, at all, and his wife was involved with the dance, which is why he invited us. The problem was that this social event was turning out to be not particularly social because we didn't know where anyone else was. So we decided to leave.
John wanted to do something interesting for dinner, and I didn't have enough desire or brain to actually decide on what I wanted to do. I did say it was okay to explore some in Denver and then decide on what we wanted to actually eat. So we drove around, got into the middle of Denver, and both of us remembered the Palamino, the place that Singer called a rotisserie chicken place. It seemed to be the right kind of comfort food for the way we were feeling, so we went to look for it.
On the way into town we drove along a street named Santa Fe that seemed to be a section of town that looked very New Mexican. There were Mexican eateries all along the way, with plenty of Spanish on all the signs. It was a very clean section of town, and looked like it was something that would be fun to explore some day.
We got into town with no problems, and we ended up near where we had been walking with Singer when he was here. We found an open parking space, and slid into it easily. We had to find quarters to pay for the parking meter, and there was the Rocky Mountain Diner right next to us. I studied the menu as John got quarters, and looked like a very good diner, with regular diner food. I wasn't quite in the mood for that, and John explained at that point where he really wanted to go. I was amenable, so we started out walking in the general direction of the restaurant.
It was a beautiful evening, the air was warm, the sky was clear, and all the people were out. The walking Mall was filled with people of all types. Denver, itself, as far more diverse than Boulder will ever be. There were actually people of color wandering around, Hispanics, Asians, and blacks all mixed in and happily shopping together. The skyscrapers are so different than those in Pittsburgh, their all-new, all shiny glass, and even the old buildings are relatively new concrete and brick. Nothing like the Gothic structures that haunts sections of Pittsburgh's streets. I think I'm going to have to learn this city better. There must be something to it other than shiny modern boxes.
We walked nearly six blocks to find the place, and it was a very nice walk. It turned out to be a place that John had eaten at while I was away, he'd been there for business and hadn't known that it was called the Palamino. And what a place it was. Definitely a business lunch type place, expensive, well run, and with some excellent dinner selections that are all pretty highly priced for the fact that John was in his Hawaiian shirt and shorts and I was in just leggings and a sweater. We were discretely tucked into a corner and handed menus and my eyes went big on seeing that they had a rotisserie duck. I had to get it.
We looked around, and commented that we probably wouldn't have called it a rotisserie chicken place. But it seemed very Singer to have done so. The actual house specialties included a rotisserie prime rib, several interesting salads, including one that looked like it could stand in for the Cuchina! Cuchina! chopped salad, so John ordered a large one of those. Since the restaurant actually sources from Seattle, it was nice to have something that could be thought of as a taste of home.
The duck appeared. It was half the duck, roasted crisp, with a reduction sauce that appeared to have many caramelized mushrooms studded throughout. I took one bite of the mushrooms and melted. It was tangy, sweet, and utterly intense with the woodsy aroma of mushrooms, the tang and intensity of several wine reductions, and caramelization of roast juices. Combined with the crisp skinned and tender fleshed duck it was an extraordinary experience. 'Rotisserie chicken place' indeed. The stuffing, however, was a disappointment, it was an odd mix of wild rice, apples, and bitter herbs that really didn't do the duck justice. I left pretty much all of the stuffing on my plate. I sopped up the mushroom reduction with all the spare bread I could find, and finished every bite of the duck.
That also meant I had no room for dessert. Not an entirely bad thing, as John didn't have any room for it either. We walked back in the warm night air, noticing that the sky held no stars at all. City life is different than our country life, more excitement, more danger, more things to watch out for and more things to see; but also so much more noisy and crowded. Different. Not better or worse, just different. I like the peace, though, on a daily basis. Still, it would be interesting to set my book here in Denver and have a real reason to look into what might be interesting in this city.
We decided to go back towards home, with the movie, get some caramel popcorn, ensure that with Fezzik while we watched the movie. We picked Super Cop II, which stars Michelle Yeoh and were very pleased with the choice. The action was excellent, the character conflicts were good and dramatic, and it had a typical bitter Chinese ending. I really enjoyed that, and Fezzik really enjoyed the caramel popcorn along with us.
Sleep was easy after all that.
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