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February 5, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

R&R

I really tried to sleep late today, but with my brain still on active, it was really hard, so I got up around nine. John and I made breakfast, hash browns, eggs, and patty sausage. John also called All-Pets and made an appointment for Fezzik at one, as his eye really isn't getting any better.

Mom and Dad gave John a gift certificate for Williams Sonoma, and we intended on spending it before too long. So we drove down to Cherry Creek in Denver, and went shopping, big time.

The day wasn't very bright, as there was some thin cloud cover. It wasn't tremendously cold, either, and the drive down was pleasant. When we got to the mall we parked in the parking structure, and came into the mall right at the point opposite Williams Sonoma. That was pretty cool. There were a number of things that I needed as well, but John's gift certificate was for John, and anything I got was on my own ticket. Not a bad deal, as then I could get what I needed or wanted without feeling like I was stealing part of his gift.

I bought dutched cocoa with vanilla, Meyer's lemon juice, an oil can, some grapeseed oil, and one cookbook. At this point in my life I don't buy very many cookbooks. This one, however, was Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. When I saw it, I thought it was a modern version of The Joy of Cooking or Fanny Farmer, both of which are excellent references for basic cooking concepts, but both of those were also written many decades ago and reflect the cooking of those times rather than truly modern cooking. Bittman's book, at first glance, had things like basic sushi rice, risotto, twenty kinds of pasta sauces, and a really good section on how to buy and prepare fresh fish. Not things I could find in the older books. It looked good enough to try for the $25 price tag, not too expensive to just get on a whim. Besides, it had an entire section on beans, which I don't do very well yet.

After Williams Sonoma, we went just across the mall to Origins, a cosmetics and natural bath and beauty store. I am normally allergic to most cosmetics, and even The Body Shop and Lush products have been known to cause irritation, either of my breathing or my skin; however, for Christmas, I asked for a number of bath products from Origins, and Mom and Dad sent a good number of items. Since then, I have used them all, and had no side effects, which is unusual. So I thought I should try their facial regimen, and since I was in the neighborhood I went and bought it.

The shopping experience was somewhat surreal. The actual shop keeper was very good about asking me what I was looking for, and when I stammered out an approximation of "face stuff" she took me right to the correct spot on the shelves explained what went with which. She also asked me if I had taken the questionnaire about skin types, and when I stammered out that I had taken it on their web site, she just smiled. I could just imagine that she was thinking oh, this is a geek girl. It probably only enhanced the image when I bought pretty much everything she mentioned, though I admit I had done my research early on the same web site, and the three things she handed me were the minimum set. She also mentioned, as everything was being run through, that it looked like I had had a busy day, I guess because of the three huge bags of Williams Sonoma stuff that John and I had ended up with. I don't know why I said, "Oh yeah, I don't get out much, so we decided to do everything at once."

Some part of my brain was just laughing.

John wandered through some of the richer parts of Denver on the way home, close communities with huge mansions all stuck right next to each other because they were in the city. It seems to me that if I were going to spend that much money and get that big house that I would do it out where I could have some elbow room. It was, however, a very elegant neighborhood that was fun to look at.

Once we got on the freeway, however, I fell asleep.

We got home, loaded Fezzik into Borax, and then went straight to All-Pets. The doctor there was very nice and pointed out that the antibiotic drops, if they weren't helping, were also an irritant. So we changed to an antibiotic cream that would stay in the eye better. She also pointed out that there is this thing called Horner's Syndrome, which is basically the inflammation of a nerve that controls the very things that are not working for Fezzik. The third eyelid, inside the main two, is further up than it should be, and we aren't quite sure of the pupil dilation, but on first glance it seems to be not working quite right. She said that the only real cure for the syndrome is time, and they really couldn't do too much about it. Finally, there is an eye specialist for dogs that comes in on Wednesdays, so we might just have him look at Fezzik on Wednesday if things don't get better with the cream. On the way home from the vet's, I fell asleep again.

I had a headache, and still felt exhausted, so when we actually reached home John shooed me into the bedroom and tucked me in for a nap. I took an aspirin and went to sleep. It was around 3:30 when I went to sleep, and nearly 6 when I woke up. The company party was at 6:30, and we were going to be late, but John didn't mind. So, I took a thorough shower, used the entire facial series, and dressed up in the sea colored dress with heels and seamed stockings. My heavy coat went over that, and I was ready to go. After the nap, I felt human again for the first time in days.

John drove to the Omni. We got there only half an hour late, and everyone was crowded in the foyer getting drinks and appetizers and just talking. The theme was A Tropical Paradise, so most people were in Hawaiian shirts and dresses. It was a very colorful group. There were a few intrepid folks in grass skirts and coconuts, and one girl in a shimmery blue-green mermaid's dress. All very young and very drunk. About 20 minutes after we got there, the fire alarms started going off, and, as usual, everyone ignored them until the managers came by to shoo us out. No one really wanted go out into the cold and wind, but once we were convinced that there was actually a fire in the hotel we actually did go out there.

John, being John, went to the party in Hawaiian shirt, Hawaiian shorts, and a completely clashing orange and yellow smoking jacket from the '60s. I was very glad of the smoking jacket when we went outside. It was nice and warm. The hotel was also hosting a formal music gathering in another of the conference rooms, and those folks came out in formal wear. One old man in a tuxedo gleefully smoked a cigar outside with us, though he did ask if it was okay. We had interesting conversation with him, and he was surprisingly adamant that I be proud of my Chinese heritage. It was an interesting tangent off of a conversation about progress, when he heard that we were from Xilinx. It was a very interesting interlude, unexpected.

The party itself was fun. People drank a lot, had a lot of fun, there was good food, an okay dessert, and a really fun tropical band that had a lot of Jimmy Buffett and Beach Boy songs in their play list. There was limbo, plenty of rum drinks, and the food tried to be Hawaiian. At least there were mangos in the chocolate fondue fruits. One of the coolest things was when one of the wives really wanted champagne, and the bar didn't serve any, her husband actually went and bought her a bottle from the hotel restaurant with ice bucket and flutes to go with. In some ways, it felt something like the dance and dinner after a wedding, with everyone sitting with the people that they know and celebrating the chance to just be together. That was very cool indeed.

John and I got to dance in significant amounts, it has been nearly two years since I have danced with no fear of my knee. It really is good enough now, and I felt entirely certain on the dance floor, which was a very good thing indeed.

Throughout the evening I drank cranberry juice, water, and ginger ale in my usual manner; and so I was the designated driver going home. John was giving directions, and I got frustrated with one missed turn, did a quick U-turn, and found the on ramp to major street through some construction. I didn't see any yield sign on the ramp I took, but as I went up a car appeared on the left side. I saw it brake, and since it started behind me, I went into the space it left for me. That's when I realized it was a police car. Oops.

The bubble gums go on, pretty flashing blue lights. I pull over. The officer comes up and gets my driver's license, insurance proof, and registration and lectures me about how embarrassing it would be to have run into a police car because he had to slam on his brakes to avoid me. I'm actually somewhat glad he pulled me over, because I was driving like someone lost, which isn't all that different from someone drunk. He was also fairly nice, and I explained that I was lost, coming from a party, and that I was sorry for cutting him off. John also explained that I was his designated driver, because he was drunk. The officer did a quick check of my light reflexes, only explaining afterwards that he wanted to make sure that the scent of alcohol was only John and not me. He then went off to check up on me, and came back to give me a warning on one condition.

He gave a chuckle and said, "The one condition is that you tell at least one friend that you almost ran into a police car."

There. I've done my condition.

I was very pleased with how and what they did. I will readily admit that at a younger age I would probably have raged about being pulled over at all; however, what he did and how he did it was entirely professional with a sense of humor and some respect for the fact that we were trying to do the right thing.

Afterwards, John had fun telling me his thoughts while the officer was speaking, which basically ran into the realm of, "There's no way you could have run into her. Not with her driving this car." I will admit that the main reason I went ahead was because he braked. I saw the car pause, and had to make the instant decision of what to do, without any input from signs on my road. It just didn't seem wise to stop if he was stopping as well, which was the wrong decision, in some sense; however, the officer probably didn't see me brake at all, which is indistinguishable from having seen him and going versus having been completely oblivious. So I was pretty glad that they were that alert, and there were five cop cars all in the same intersection pulling people over right and left.

I was very glad, however, that I was driving and John wasn't.

We got home safe and sound. John drank a lot of water to counter act the alcohol, and I wound down with a mug of hot milk and some vanilla. It took awhile to get down from the adrenaline rush, and it was 2 in the morning before we went to sleep. Sadly, Debbie and Matt won't have their samoyeds for the weekend, so the good thing is that we won't have to get up early in the morning for Fezzik.

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