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July 2, 1998

Settling Down

Physical therapy was a bit brutal yesterday. Just lots and lots of stuff and more reps and a few more things to do. For about two hours, rather than the one and forty plus twenty of icing. So that by the end of the workout Rick had me stand, first, on my left foot and do three squats on the one leg, and then on the weaker right and do three. The last three were terribly shaky compared to the much smoother control of the left leg (which also surprised me a little, I don't, still, usually think of my left leg as my strong leg); but he was pleased. I think he wanted to work it to its limit and we got that.

I think I've finally figured out what weight trainers get out of it. It's certainly not a mental exercise, as the hardest thing is just to keep track of the repetitions. What the challenge is is to the will and to physical capability. There really is something about pushing for just one more rep that gets to challenge me to the point where it's fun. One more, just one more.

It's kinda fun in a masochistic kinda way, that whole endorphin pushing feeling with just a bit more oomph in that it really has to be something that I choose with all my heart. Not something someone else does to me, but something that is mine, utterly. That's an interesting thing to figure out. That I really could get into it with time and more practice, not like I'm not going to have more practice... eventhough PT itself stops in a few weeks, I still have to get all the muscle mass up now that the flexibility is established. We got the knee to rest at 0 degrees. The bending is such that I can nearly sit on my heels, now. So that's about as far as I need to go in either direction, though we managed to get just a little bit of hyperextension in the right, and should probably be able to get another degree to have it be the same as the left.

It was really hard getting up the stairs, though, at work, when I got back. Bob took one look at me and had to laugh. That was kinda funny, as it did hurt going up. What was really weird was riding home and saying that oh, maybe we should try to go to Dairy Queen on our bikes because it's clear and beautiful out! And then realizing that my legs were so beat I couldn't even get up the stairs to the house without pain. I often think I can do more than I can actually do. My brain is bigger than my body?

We got home. I stuck a Trader Joe's frozen mac and cheese into the oven and then mixed pesto with Romano and garlic and some toasted pine nuts and added some dry bread crumbs to cut the salt from the cheese. Stuffed the center of a pork tenderloin with the stuff and tied it with string and then stuck it into the same 375 degree oven. So it roasted while I nuked some peas and waited a while for it to get done. When the outside started to look kinda dry and the thin bits looked like they were starting to get crunchy, I pulled everything out, cut the roast up and it was still faintly pink on the inside, which new guidelines say is okay, it was juicy and very nice, the stuffing providing a very nicely spicy counterpoint to the sweet, tender meat.


John took Fezzik for a walk after that, and I watched Pepin vids for a while, and took a great liking to the softshelled crab ideas. There were also quite a few really great tips on how to clean a salmon, which I loved, and may just buy a Copper River salmon to try it all on. Only thing is that I watched until about 9:30, which is past when the Dairy Queen stays open, so we made do with Ben and Jerry's fudge brownie ice cream and I got to watch more video. Yay!

Then around 10 p.m. I went up to take a bath and go to sleep. Abra has this sleep aromatherapy bath salts, and I'd gotten a small packet of that stuff to try out. So I followed the instructions and made the bed, got all ready to just jump into said bed, and then set up the bath, dumped the salts in and soaked. The scents were wonderful, most of 'em even citrus, but it turns out that it includes some essential poppy oils as well as chamomile and various other things that are sleepy inducing. And it worked very well. Just a fifteen to twenty minute soak and I felt so utterly relaxed that I mostly just fell into bed, rolled the covers over me and fell asleep.

Very nice.

Today's been cloudy and cool, slowly clearing in the afternoon. Some talk at work about next steps and coordination between various pieces. Good stuff, design before we code is always a useful and far more productive thing.

Tonight's pretty planned out. Likely dinner at Crossroad's food plaza and then see Mulan again. We liked it enough that we wanted to see it and John's parents and Regis want to see it, too, so that should be good. Friday we're likely going to the Heritage Fair at Marymoore by bike and that evening possibly see what's going on at the Clarion West party with Jon Singer. The Fourth itself is bang-full of stuff, including an evening potluck and fireworks and getting communion bread ready for Sunday morning. Unleavened bread is intersting, and one interesting bit is that pie crust is completely unleavened, usually, so it's our main stock. I'll have to bake a bit of pie crust for communion bread. I'm speakin' deacon on Sunday as well, nice thing is that the deacons don't have to do a Sharing on communion Sundays, so that's easier.

Lots of stuff planned. I'm just hoping that all the social things don't burn me out on people.

Carl and Gretchen lured me to go down to San Jose and Mountain View this weekend and there was something of me that really, really wanted to go. Ah well. Commitments and all make it somewhat impossible, but it was fun to think about.

Today was a very strange day.

It began OK. With a semi-unorganized meeting about futures for our product. At lunchtime, I played some Fiat, and just before the first dice roll I had this sudden flash of fear, started to wish for a better roll, decided I was too rational to do such a thing, and then said, "Oh, shit." It was an infernal intervention, three sixes in one roll, and meant that something really bad was going to happen.

In the game, what happened was that one of Sephar's hosts died. Badly. It was also nearly instantaneous, and there was nothing that he could do to prevent it. It was entirely within the realm of the roll and the role. So no complaints here.

The afternoon was fairly unproductive for me. There were also some disconnects in communication with the INFOS game. So it just didn't happen. Which was somewhat disappointing, as I look forward to Sean's games.

The evening was even more strange and confuse, in some ways. There were many bright spots as well, but also many odd disconnects and misses. Just getting out of the office took quite a lot of effort, and communication over exactly what we had to do before we got to Crossroads didn't quite happen. So we were about half an hour late by the time we actually got there. John's parents were waiting for us, and we got food fairly quickly, and watched for Regis as we ate.

We didn't really see her throughout the meal. So, after we were done, I took another pass through the entire food court. I found her that time in a place that was fairly obvious. I have no idea how we managed to miss each other, but we did. The good thing once that we did find each other before leaving for the movie.

The movie was Mulan again. It was as good the second time as it was the first, though in different ways. The second time through I paid more attention to the timing and layout of the film and how the plot was enhanced by the timing of certain scenes. Regis enjoyed it a lot, and I could hear Isabel wheee'ing and whooping it up on the other side of John. After the movie everyone said that they enjoyed it as well, so it was good to know that it appealed to others as well.

We said goodbye to Regis outside the theater, as the Rostyki had something they needed to tell John then I.

That's when they told us that a friend of theirs and ours from the church had taken his own life that morning. He was a contemporary of John's parents, and John had known him since John was a child in the church. The four of us stood outside the theater, and hugged tight into a knot of quiet grief. It helped John's parents quite a lot, and while the news was hard to tell, they really need to tell us. So we stood and supported and talked through some of the particulars of the grief that the rest of the congregation was going through. The friend had been one of the founders of the church that we all went to.

Eventually, we parted. They walked to their car on the far side of the theater, while John and I walked back towards the food court to find ours. As we got around the theater we saw a rainbow, nearly three-quarters of the circle to the East, as the sun was setting amid a long, flat, silver sheet of clouds. The colors of the rainbow had a gold tinge to them from the setting sun, and what we couldn't see was that it was set in a rainstorm that was headed our way.

John was in shock. I wasn't sure if I should distract him, or just let him express it and let it go. So I tried the first, by taking him into the local QFC and finding some dessert for the two of us. We got some cheesecake, and headed back for the car. The rain started falling on us, so gently, as we walked. By the time got into the car, it began to fall harder.

I drove. The sky darkened, and the rain started to sheet down. John started to cry.

I retreated into my own thoughts, giving him the room and some small encouragement to keep expressing his feelings and getting it out. "Those who mourn will be comforted." We also talked through some of our memories of the funny, creative, and kind man that we had known. It helped him work through all the things that were inside.

Sometimes I wonder about being an introvert. There is something about always turning inward that keeps me at a distance from all other people. Often it feels as if I'm just watching everyone else, but it also disconnects me from this kind of pain. I'm not sure that's a good thing, especially since I couldn't bring up much emotion about the news. I really liked the guy, but didn't have nearly as much dealing with him as the other Rostyki did. So it could be rationalized in that way. I also knew him as a very good engineer, and there was some medical history that indicated a tendency towards this outcome.

All the Rostyki were fairly sure that in his mind he had a good reason for doing what he did. They all mourned his loss nonetheless. I will miss him. I guess I just expected more pain. Especially since, in the past, I've been so emotionally adamant about the pain and selfishness of suicide. I guess in the years since I've banged that drum so much I broke it and may well never get it back.

As it was, we dealt. We watched some stupid movie on the TV, ate our desserts, and went to sleep.

It's been a long time since I was glad, so very glad, of the break between days that sleep is. The turning of the page to a new one, and getting to write something else.

Someone asked me today if my pages on faith actually meant that I was of the opinion that people should meet death by being ready for it and comfortable with its coming. I do write about people who are like that, as I've experienced them. I fear, however, that I will emulate one of Zelazny's characters, who will rage at the coming storm until it swallowed them. I will not go quietly. There's too much to do, too much to explore, and far, far too much that I wish still to create for me to go with anything but a complete fight. Even one solid look at how I tackled my knee injury would give some indication of how I would tackle, with all the resources at my beck and call, any life-threatening situation. And I would squeeze every last second of every bit of life I could get.

But that's how I've always been built. Period

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