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August 7, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Company Picnic

A really, truly busy day today.

I got up and we were immediately off on a trip! Turns out that the Xilinx company picnic in the Boulder area was being held at a dude ranch that was north and west of us. So we got all our gear together, piled it all into Borax and then went before I'd even eaten breakfast. Given that it started at 10, it seemed an okay thing to do and since I normally don't eat breakfast much anyway, it seemed useful to do.

As part of my stuff, I'd also packed a couple of allergy pills, as the little flyer said that there would be horseback riding and I was entertaining the mad hope that I might actually ride a horse! The only problem is that the other times I've done that I had to be drugged to the gills in order to breath at all, so I brought enough drug to get myself in a state where I could breath. It turned out to be a very good thing, too, because as we pulled into the picnic area, and onto the ranch, it really looked something like a working ranch with horses, hay, and grass everywhere. Before we even got out of the car, I took my pill right then and there.

We went down from the parking lot and found a really great area, where all the cabins were and the rushing of a small river around a bend that surrounded much of the site. There was also a big pond, a volleyball court, a horseshoes arena, a covered cooking and food serving area, and really nice, modern bathrooms all in an area. That was really cool, and there was a sign up saying what was happening where and when.

First thing was the fishing! Turns out that the pond was completely stocked with grown trout for the catching, and they provided fishing poles and hooks and old, dried out, salmon eggs for bait. I hooked an egg and then had a very giggly time trying to figure out how the reel let go of the line so that it was at all possible to fling the hook and sinkers out into the water. *spoosh*.

I do love fishing.

Something about it is calming for me. Repetative, simple, and relying on patience, it's very nice for me to just sit and wait. I really enjoy that, and wasn't particularly worried about catching anything. John almost immediately caught one trout, and as he went off with the wiggling fish, I blinked and realized that it was a really hot, sunny day, we didn't have an ice chest, and where or how were we going to keep the fish? Turns out that they piled ice on top of the cleaned fish in the plastic bag. So it would stay cool. John then caught another fish, so I just stopped fishing, no point to catching them if we couldn't eat them, and more than two of the rather large trout seemed greedy. John stuck the bag into the truck and came back.

Ray and Joan and Alex appeared while John was gone, as did Jenny and her husband and so the whole lot of us went on the hay ride. It was a cart of hay (and I have extreme hayfever) drawn by two enormous draft horses (which I'm even more allergic to). The cart was all wood, with great wheels, and when it was fully loaded there were twenty people on the cart with about a dozen bales of hay and when those horses took their first step forward, together, the whole thing moved forward like a toy being pulled along by a toddler. It was amazing, to feel that much mass moved forward so simply. Though they'd been giving hayrides all morning, so halfway through, they got tired.

We were being pulled through some really gorgeous country, the foothills to the Rockies. The edges and ridges of the pushed up stone was just gorgeous over green pastures and under deep green forests. As we wandered, the rain started to fall in showers here and there. On and off. The day was warm, the rain was warm, so it wasn't a problem. The rain did that for the rest of the picnic, actually, on and off here and there.

After the hayride, my allergies caught up with me and clobbered me over the nose. Oops.

We also went and ate. They had BBQ'd ribs, chicken, a few kinds of salad, watermelon, rolls and butter. Dessert consisted of ice cream with a dozen types of toppings, cookies, and chocolate cake. Good food. John played a little volleyball, we had a couple of kids chasing him everywhere, both Alex and Gracie were just following him and playing with him. That was fun to see. It was even funnier when Gracie started calling me John's mom. Something about him seems to get kids to feel like he's one of them. That was really cool.

Eventually, though the rain got pretty hard and the wind was just blowing, so we decided to go home.

The allergy drugs hit me pretty hard on the way home, so I just fell asleep in the car and we got home around 3. By the time we packed Borax with all the recycle stuff and Fezzik and I'd cleaned out one of the student fountain pens it was time to get going because Fezzik's appointment with the vet was at 4:30. His limping had gotten a little better, but not a lot; so we were going in to see what was wrong and what we might be able to do about it. The recycling went first and then we headed to the vets. Fezzik hung about in the truck patiently when we were pulling all the recyclables out. John had to lift him out when we got to the vet.

Fezzik was very good for the whole examination, though it was pretty obvious that he didn't want anyone touching the paw he'd hurt. The vet shaved his ankle to better see what was going on and found that he had a secondary infection from his licking the paw so much and she also found that there were a few needle slim grass seeds in his paw that might have been related to similar seeds that might have stuck in his pad when he put his whole paw into the grass patch. So there's nasty, pricklies somewhere in the yard and I'll have to hunt them down sometime.

So she gave him antibiotics to kill the infection, told us to get him epsom salts to relieve the pain, and we also got ear cleaner and more of his arthritus stuff as it really does seem to help his joints. He was glad to get out of the examination room when we were done, but he wasn't unpleasant about it. We loaded him back into the truck and then, since we were at South Boulder road, near a King Soopers and the yarn shop I love, we went there. I bought two skeins of yarn, one all the colors of a glorious sunset, the other all the greens that there are while John got a list of items from the grocery store. I also got a cold bottle of water and gave Fezzik part of it while waiting for John to finish.

After that we went to the brew store and John got enough stuff for 10 gallons of beer! Hoorah! He needed to brew this weekend so that by the time Fezzik's birthday rolled around there would be plenty of beer. It took a while to do, though, so he didn't start it when we got home. It was already well past 6:30 when we got home, and we were both pretty exhausted from the day.

Dinner was the trout that John caught. I just floured 'em lightly, salted 'em, cut off the head and tail and then pan fried 'em fairly quickly until the skin was crisp and flavorful and the meat all cooked. John put together a butter, lemon, and chive sauce that went right on the fish and brown rice to make them really, really nice. The larger of the two trout tasted... funny. Stronger than the other one. Not quite right, so we just tossed it and the smaller one was big enough for a good sized dinner for both of us.

After dinner I called Kathy and we talked about pen stuff and polishing nibs for a while before I finally got the courage up to do it. So I got up pulled out the grinding paper, and started polishing the nib of the student pen. It was kinda scary at first because with each pass of the nib over the paper, I could see the trail of metal that I was leaving behind. So it was definitely taking metal off the tip. The trick is to do it 'enough' and not 'too much' and actually take off too much metal. So I stopped after a bit and tested the pen and it now writes infinitely smoother. When I finally could breath again from relief I looked up and John was making chocolate cake! Hoorah!! That was really cool and wonderful and eventhough the cake fell apart when he tried to unpan it, it was really, really good. And I ate sections of it with hot milk. Yum.

The hot milk made me really sleepy after the full day, so sleep was quick and solid.

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