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August 6, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

False Alarms

Around three in the morning, the fire alarm went off. Just long enough for me to wake up not long enough for me to really identify it. Then it went off again, for a very short beat. Twenty minutes later... I was sure it was the fire alarm. I elbowed John a bit and he got out and got his brain together and then gutted the alarm, which was hooked into the house wiring, a battery and its own internal source.

There was no fire. At all.

But it was uneasy sleeping after that, knowing that there wasn't something that was going to wake me up if there was a fire. So I slept really uneasily, waking up at ever Fezzik groan and turn by John. That was mildly rough. Fezzik didn't wake up and bark at the alarm, instead, he just turned over, groaned at it and went back to sleep.

By morning time I felt really awful, had the early meeting to do and so I put on one of the Vampire shirts I'd gotten free from White Wolf to give folks clear warning that they were dealing with the Undead. John was a sweety and made a mocha for me while I was in the shower and the two of us went to work, squinting even behind dark sunglasses as the sun came out again.

I really hadn't worried last night, but this morning proved that I really had nothing to worry about. The review went really well. I was really happy. Lots of things to change, but at least the changes made sense, and they played better with how things went, and both Jeanne and I got a much, much better understanding of the underlying structure to all that was going on. And everyone that wanted to have a say did. That was really good. And when it was done, first thing, I could relax a bit. That was very nice as well. They all loved the scones and I felt a lot better for calling a next-day 9 a.m. meeting after handing those over.

I got to talk with Cera some, after, and with one of her long-time friends. That was good. Happy making.

I also printed out a lot of the Food Network recipes that I'd seen. One for a buttermilk based cream made with lavender sugar, and another with a steamed pudding that was almost more cake like in the British sense of pudding. I had seen them both made and wanted to try them. Dessert First! I really enjoyed that a lot.

What just floored me, however, was that just before lunch I got a bit of email from my boss, who had mysteriously appeared in my review for a while and then disappeared when he had another meeting to go to. I swear Steve is the Angel of Useful Meetings, as he keeps everything on topic, we get through a clear agenda, get stuff done and when it's done we go. I remembered him on Wednesday when the usability meeting petered down to nothing, and we were only twenty minutes into our time slot and since we had nothing left to do, I said, "Okay. Time to go. That's it, we're done." Some of the folks had looked surprised, but when you're done, you're done. The thing that floored me, however, was that he actually wrote me email with positive feedback about what he'd seen in the meeting. That the specification was good, the meeting was held tightly on-topic, that there was a useful goal, and that he was very impressed with how much I cared for the actual betterment of what I was trying to do rather than 'being right' about anything in the specification.

I've *never* in my fifteen years of professional business life ever gotten anything like that. It was matter-of-fact, direct, and something that really made me feel good about working here and for him. It also gave me some real feedback that I might have kicked at least part of my really long-term and old problems of my self-esteem being built on how 'right' I am. That was really, truly good to know. I guess the way I'm approaching it now is that a group of people are always going to have more creative ways of doing things than any single person, and if I have all the possibilities lined up before me I really can pick what's best. That's really cool to know at a gut level.

John had a half hour window for lunch, so I decided to go to Wok and Roll to get some lunch. On my way out Jenny was trying to decide between lunch and riding her bike, so I offered to get her food while she rode and she was really happy with that. It was fun and easy and really quick, as the drive-thru window was really fast and really easy. I had to pile things safely for getting them back to work; but that worked out pretty well. The food, when I got it back to the office, was delicious and I snarfed it down in the half hour I had before the afternoon's meeting. The local teriyaki is very different than Seattle's style. Seattle's was all more meaty with much more drippy sauce everywhere, and more variety in what kinds of meat, everything from shrimp and short ribs to whole chicken quarters and beef chunks. Here it's all in little pieces, but intensely flavored as it's marinated for forever.

Most of the afternoon was taken up in training. I nearly fell asleep during moments of it as it was in a dark room with a screen projector for most of the Stuff. So it was really funny. But I got through it okay with some detailed notes and I got something out of it.

Spent most of the late afternoon talking with Cera, with the Fiat folks, and with the Horde as a whole. Trip is *back*! Hoorah! Hoorah! He's back! I'm so glad to see him there and so glad to just play off him and his creativity and his fun and it's really good to get him to laugh. He had an interesting gaming idea, which is actually one of a great many, and now Marith and Others are thinking of running it and playing in it and making sure that Trip has fun with it as well. That's very cool.

I wanted to get some journal stuff done and some work stuff done, so I eventually got out of all that, and just settled to write and think and do. Some of that was just quiet time that I spent on-line with Cera and the two of us occasionally talked some things through, which was really good for me to get motivated to write journal entries again. Some of it is that figuring out of something more than just the laundry list of "I did This!". She also reminded me of a story start that I'd written a very, very long time ago, and isn't here, so I should dig up the fragment and put it on my stories page.

Way I figure, this journal isn't going to be done until I'm dead. Maybe not exactly this particular on-line journal, but this thing is a part and parcel to the long line of notebooks and books that I have at home. Shelves and shelves of them that I have had for my entire life, so it's not like it's ever really 'done'. And it really, truly, isn't worth beating myself up over. What matters is the time for reflection, for being conscious, and when and how and how often I do it isn't nearly as important as being ready to do it when I can and when I want to.

A good thing to remember.

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