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April 30, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Conference Week and Recovery

Take forty-odd graphical interface designers from all over the world, with specific groups from Ireland, San Jose, and Boulder, but a scattering from everywhere else as well. Mix with an entire three-ring notebook of material about the way things are done, could be done, and want to be done in the future. Stir in breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days; a start time for most of the mornings being 8 a.m.; and then cap it all off with going out to the local bars, pool halls, and darts places until a bit past midnight.

Ugh.

It was pretty okay food all the way through, just a lot of it.

The best bits included being able to see everyone that I'd only emailed with for the last year or so; throwing a little stuffed buffalo around the room as the 'you can talk' token and deriving much amusement from just that; and basically getting mindshare into how this company works at the GUI level. Also we got to learn a really insane game from the Irish called 25, where there are so many rules that part of the rule base is that when you teach it you have to forget to teach one rule. That was pretty funny. It's also a cool game, but it would likely go against the spirit of the game, in that part of the fun is that anyone looking on will have a hard time figuring out the rules, to actually post a complete set of rules to the general public.

But by the time it was done, John was sick and I was exhausted. Thursday and Friday were mostly recovering from it all.

Though I did get to talk with Kathy pretty extensively about her comicbook industry cruise on Thursday and heard a lot of cool things.

Friday evening we took Fezzik to the local vet, in Lafayette, and he got his third treatment there, pretty placidly. The vet said that he was good and still for the shot and no problem. Then the three of us went to the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Fezzik seems to always do well, but it's nice to be able to give him something he likes afterwards. This time, though I held the ice cream cone. There is something viscerally appealing about feeding a really large mammal with big teeth something that seems as delicate as an ice cream cone. He took a good half a dozen big licks along the side of the ice cream and then did his usual bite thing. Took the top half of the soft serve right off. Had me giggling like mad, and then he bit the rest of it off with a bit of cone, really near my hand. So I said, "Careful." a few times and he was a bit more delicate at taking the top half of the cone and then the rest of the cone out of my hand. I could feel teeth and I had ice cream and dog slobber over most of the hand, but it was just cool feeling him be careful even with those huge jaws.

He gave nary a sign of ice cream headache. Not a bit.

Hearty dog.

Afterwards I got to talk with Geoff on the phone for a while. It was very, very nice to hear his voice again. I should do a little more of that. Been relying a lot on just on-line stuff and forgot that it's nice to have the speed of speech and voice inflection implying meaning so well.

Didn't do too much over the weekend.

Though I did decide to move this journal to a weekly format unless certain days stand out. A lot of the reason I started the daily format was because I was pretty severely depressed when I started this thing at all and having a reason to find something good with each day was very good. I'm not as depressed as I used to be. Plus, I want to find some room and time to actually write some fiction or other things instead of running on about me. With past experience, if I don't plan for what I want to give up in order to do something, then something gets dropped unintentionally, which can be really bad. In this case, I'll still be writing, but just on something else that I may find more fun because lately, with work and everything else, I've been coming to regard the journal to be more of an 'obligation' than something I was finding useful.

Though I still find it useful to look at my days and find cool things, it'll just be on a different scale, not full details of every meal, every errand and every little thing. Though special events may well get treated like that and don't worry, you'll still get full accounts of the really good meals. Hopefully with more attention to the cool details.

Which isn't to say that I might not change back if I find myself with more time. But I just didn't like feeling guilty all the time.

Saturday was simple. I had the massage that I missed on Monday because of the conference. Suffice it to say it was painful, because the human body really isn't made to mostly sit for three days. I baked bread again because I hadn't really been able to taste the previous two loaves, just did the simple sandwich bread recipe again. One cool thing we discovered was a store named 'What's cooking?' that isn't too far from home, so we don't have to go all the way into Boulder to find baking parchment. That will be very useful. What was cooler yet was a Byron's nearly next door, which is a local coffee and news shop that had lots of magazines and espresso drinks. Got copies of Writer's Digest, Cook's Illustrated, and Knitter's, as I've started knitting a little again. The Cook's Illustrated was really cool because every article and recipe includes all the things that the author tried in order to get the results they wanted. All the mistakes and problems that happen if you adjust things too far. Just like the way I cook. It was fun to see a whole magazine that worked that way.

We also got a DVD copy of Dudley Do-Right and had fun watching it late.

John had to go off to a friend's house to help the guy brew for a wedding on Sunday, so he wasn't going to be able to go on Fezzik's walk. I thought he was really lucky when I stepped out our back door and nearly got blown over. The wind was just whipping, and the sky was iron grey. He did help me get Fezzik into Borax, though, and Fezzik and I motored off towards the mountains, with the wind buffeting the truck pretty heavily.

I was mildly worried, but actually got to Marshall Mesa a little before 9:30. When we arrived at Marshall Mesa I was utterly surprised to find that it was dead calm there. Usually it's windier by the mountains than on the plains, but this time was very, thankfully, different.

I then had the interesting problem of trying to get Fezzik *out* of Borax without asking him to jump and impact his front shoulders. I tried to turn him around and pull his back legs out first, the way John suggested, but Fezzik refused to let me do that. He wouldn't go backwards. Period. So I remembered how John does it, which is just take all of Fezzik in his arms and set him on the ground, and I contemplated it. Fezzik came forward willing enough for that, and when I got my arms around him, he actually leaned all 112 pounds of his weight into me. Eeeek!!

It was a really confusing mix. First the knowledge that Fezzik really did trust me, absolutely, with his safety and with getting him down like that. Second was the mild panic at feeling all of his weight against me. He really is a big dog. Finally, I gave up and knew that he'd be okay jumping down on to the softer dirt in that parking lot while he was still energetic. Later I'd have to deal with this again when I got home, but for now... I let him jump down. He took the extra step down on the step on Borax, and then took the rest of the jump pretty gracefully.

Everyone else arrived quickly, and then we started up the hill and Fezzik was actually keeping up with the other puppies. I was pretty impressed. The humans, on the trail, fared a bit worse than the dogs because there was pure Colorado clay on the trails and it would build up in big clumps on our shoes, slimy and slick and nasty. At one point we were making jokes about platform shoes and clumping about. Luckily, at the top, the trail had gravel on it, and from there on it wasn't nearly as bad.

The stream, this time was even higher than last week and running really, really fast. So fast that when Haiku jumped in she struggled mightily to stay in one place and then when she went backwards she just zoomed on by us. Boris even ran after her to be sure that she was okay. At one point Fezzik plunged in as well and looked mildly puzzled as his normal swimming stroke kept him in one place. I saw him thinking a little, and then, when he really started trying to forge ahead, the wake was a good four inches deep behind him as he starting putting some muscle into it and swam steadily ahead. We all went, "Woah." as we watched as it was a pretty impressive show of power. He did well, really well, and his hind legs were strong enough at the end to be lifted in in two stages. That was nice.

When we got back home, we went through the routine again, and finally, I ended up with Borax parked on the grass (I reasoned that if he had to hit the spring rain softened grass would be a better place to land), with my arms around him, and his very trusting weight full against my chest. So I wrapped my arms a little more tightly about him, gave a little prayer and then lifted him out of the truck and set him, very, very gently, on his side. Fezzik looked really, really puzzled when he ended up on his side, but I couldn't get the bend and angle to put him on his feet. He landed very softly, though. He lay there for a bit, looked at me, and then popped up and shook off vigorously. Not a trace of stiffness or real tiredness and then he followed me into the house.

Where he promptly lay down and napped all day. I decided to follow his example, given the rigors of the week and, after a bath, promptly fell asleep.

John had a great day learning whole grain brewing, where they actually start with the grain, do various soaks to get stuff out of it and then brew beer with that instead of the already done extracts. He liked doing it a lot and will probably get a full setup sometime as he liked it so much. That was cool.

He also saw, from my napping, that I was tired and so we went out to Lafayette and had dinner at Efrain's, a local Mexican restaurant with excellent food. I had the mondongo, which was beef tenderloin stewed super-tender with mushrooms, tomatoes, mildly spicy green chile, onions, and much wine. It was delicious with beans, rice and flour tortillas. Yum. I stuffed myself, thoroughly.

We got home when it was still light and I made my offering of Hell Money to the ancestors under a painted sky with streaks of grey and black swallowing the glowing, warm colors of flame and cotton candy. Thanks and wishes and hopes and dreams and the forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace...

One important thing I learned this last week, actually a cumulation of my time with Geoff and a really studly promotion that John got was that it's okay for me to make mistakes. It's okay to be human. Okay to be at fault and that sometimes it just is. That there are things that I choose that have resulted in some comparisons simply not being fair and that it's okay to not be as good, not be as fast, not be as strong or smart or intelligent or as quick to pick everything up. That I don't have to fear making mistakes with Geoff and I've never really had to with John. The best thing is that with Geoff I can just say I'm sorry and that's all there is to it and he really doesn't expect me to be perfect it about it the next time, either. John doesn't expect it, either, but I always kinda felt that Mark did. But maybe I built that relationship on the assumption that I would be perfect.

Specifics include simply, some days, being a tired grump; or not getting as studly a promotion as John as I don't really concentrate entirely on work all day for 10-12 hours a day. I like to write or browse the web when I want to think or talk with people on-line or play games, even. I'm just don't want to be as dedicated as John, so I get consequences, both good and bad. I don't want to seek out people and talk with them to solve problems that I don't run directly into. I have things other than my work in my life, and I don't get quite the recognition. Which is okay.

On the other hand, given how much monetary recognition I get already, it's well past what most people get or get recognized with. So I shouldn't be sad if I actually do any comparison whatsoever. I have chosen a path that pays me well. I can, utterly support myself. The funny thing is that this also implies that I would never have married John for his money. I have too much pride in being able to provide for myself and too much gain to ever think that I couldn't make it on my own.

Better to say that it's my choice and know it than to blame it on unknown forces or something and feel like I'm helpless or oppressed or something stupid like that. Depression is so rooted in assumptions like that.

It is good to know.

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