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January 17, 2001
two years ago

On My Own In The Evening

I can't believe how good a simple cup of cocoa tastes.

This after getting to work by driving for the first time in a rather long time on snowy roads sided by incredibly snow flocked trees (I always used to think that flocking was so artificial and so unreal... now I know what it's actually based on) framing perfectly flat white plains of sunlit snow. It was like driving through Christmas card winter wonderlands made real.

The morning meeting was at 10, so I had some time. The roads were wet and clear and with all the sunshine, everything was melting really well on the blacktop, and staying crisp in the middle of the air. I pulled into the parking lot, no problem, and the lot, itself, was all packed snow and ice, but it was all melting and loosening up. I was still pretty careful on the ice and didn't slide around at all. Pulled in at exactly 10. Folks are always late to the meeting, though, and I wasn't the last one into the meeting room today.

It's funny, with the morning meetings of the last few days and the fact that my right hand feels a bit like it's made out of stone, I haven't had any problems staying off-line at all. There's plenty of work to keep me occupied and things to do that don't involve a lot of typing. Realized that just by being here, I'm answering a lot of questions, getting people to think through their solutions and overall helping out just by existing. It's a mildly cool thing to realize.

Lunch was haphazard. I brought in the leftovers of my penne from last night and I nuked that for lunch. The cream sauce separated and it must have been a burre blanc as I had a good quarter inch of butter at the bottom of the bowl when it all was hot. Wow. Oof. I mostly let it all drip off the pasta and veggies and ate what I could. I also had two of my beef curry pies as protein backup, but I didn't eat them until very late in the afternoon, in fact not until after 4. I did, however, walk the treadmill around 2, just to have time to think about some coding problems that I couldn't solve at my desk.

Sometimes it's just hard to think when there are all the things to push and poke and prod at right in front of me. It's easier to just walk away and 'not do anything' and really figure out the structure of things before really getting anywhere.

John was carrying the celphone on, as he was at an off-site near the plant, and at lunch time I tested how well it worked by calling him. The first call said he was out of cel range, the second rang a good number of times before he answered it, but he answered it. I had fun saying hi and how was he and that was good.

I had planned on only staying for part of the afternoon and then going home and dictating a bunch of reports I really had no desire to type into the machine. Problem was that the quarterly results were being released today and Wim was doing a quarterly meeting afterwards. The original email said that it would be broadcast at 3 PST or 4 our time, and when I went to bring up the displayer, it said that it wouldn't be until 1700! Bah. I'd stayed for the broadcast, but I didn't want to be here an hour past the time I was thinking of leaving to begin with just to see it. It then started a few minutes after 4! Someone was obviously confused, or the rolling blackouts out in California delayed or messed up something on the timing. We got the presentation and I watched it.

Nothing really new, the stock's fallen significantly since the whole tech fall. Our revenues have slowed as the economy has slowed. It's funny, with all my grumpiness and happiness of the last year or two over the stock price, since Fezzik got really sick I haven't really cared too much. It just is. A force of nature, nearly, with nearly as little logic and predictability.

I went home after the broadcast, and while everything had melted significantly during the day, with the cooling darkness, there were sheets of ice again in the parking lot. So I was careful going out and fairly careful going home. I debated going to the grocery store on the way home, but was tired and cranky and uncertain of what I would get. Some part of me craved brownies, but I'd lost Mary's recipe for them, and I couldn't get the enthusiasm up for anything else. Since I'd eaten the curry pies so late, I wasn't all that hungry. So instead of cooking I went up to the study and started dictating the minutes for my meeting tomorrow.

For some reason the dictation software was acting up badly. I have a feeling the sound card is doing something weird, and so I started a whole new profile with a new calibration of the microphone. With 5.0 it's actually feasible to do this as a fresh start seems to make it behave better. I still have to teach it the vocabulary that I use, but with the dry technical fodder, it actually does quite well. While it was loading profiles and setting things up I read the last of David Drake's Cross the Stars, found that not having pages made the end somewhat disconcerting as I wasn't expecting it to end yet. No physical clue to anticipating the ending. It's an okay book, like all the other Slammers' books, and Drake's afterword made no bones about the fact that he was paralleling The Odyssey. I think I could like reading this way, since I'm carrying the Visor with me everywhere anyway, having reading material without extra weight in waiting rooms and when things are loading is not a bad thing at all.

By the time I looked up it was 8. I still wasn't particularly hungry, but the Fish was kicking me pretty hard. So I went down, got a big glass of cranberry juice and peered into the fridge. I had nothing I really wanted to eat, so I settled on a large spinach salad with Stilton crumbles, and absentmindedly ate that while finishing off the minutes. After that I also toasted and ate the last piece of leftover pizza from last week. Didn't really want it, but knew that I should have something with some protein. Without John or Fezzik in the house, I didn't really have any impetus to take care of myself. The Fish's kicking was helping some, but I find, sometimes, that at the heart of me, I have absolutely no need or desire to take care of myself for my own sake.

When done with the minutes, I plopped myself in front of the TV and watched my recording of Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on beans. It made me want to make Boston Baked Beans, a lot. So I might have to do that this weekend. Along with a lasagna for the freezer and the like. Stocking up on food for the beginning of the baby siege. I always figured that if I had nesting instincts and all that hyper energy they talk about, I'd use it cooking.

John got home soon after and he was a real sweetie and brought me home dessert, an apple, cherry and pear tart slice with a lovely blob of real vanilla ice cream. Happiness. The fruit was tart and fresh and lovely in a cinnamony custard on a rich tart shell. He flopped in front of the TV as I ate it happily, and we just talked about the day. His had been full, too.

I think it might have been a mistake to eat that late. That on top of the fact that it was in the single digits outside and the heater was on a lot made it so that both John and I were snoring pretty badly and my digestive system was really unhappy with me.

Anyway, there as a point when both John and I were poking each other when the other woke us with their snores, and I finally gave up and asked John to sleep upstairs and even if I woke myself up with my snores, we'd both get *some* sleep. He was glad to oblige. Problem was that this was one of those nights when he couldn't get back to sleep on being woken up. When I was up again in an hour because of my bladder, I saw the lights on under the door. He'd gotten up and was working or something to get his mind off whatever it was on. He never really did go back to bed.

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