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July 20, 1999
a year ago

Helter Skelter

Crazy day, today.

Meetings made it hard to concentrate on anything. All the things that I was doing made it hard to concentrate on any one thing. Finally, there was the feeling that this one problem was just completely and totally impossible to solve, so I just felt awful about it and just stopped, for a while, from even trying.

That was bad.

Old habits, old feelings, old ways of falling into a depression aren't always easy to spot when I'm in the middle of it. Sometimes it's nigh impossible, and I just wasn't catching it at all. Lunch was leftover beef stroganoff and while, yesterday, I'd thought about riding the exercise bike today, I just wasn't into it when lunch rolled around. I just gave up and munched lunch moodily and stared at what I was supposed to do somewhat helplessly.

Cera helped clear my brain in the afternoon, enough. Enough that I went over to John's cubicle and asked for help.

I'm lousy about asking for help. I should do it more often. He went through some ideas with me, and they seemed to make sense, so we went and bugged Jim for a while and experimented with his machine a bit, as it was showing the problems we'd been seeing. It was really frustrating, having marketing and apps have the problem, but no one in engineering, which kinda pointed towards a development environment problem, or so it seemed.

John had to run off to another meeting, and while he did that I worked through the smaller next steps, and felt a little better. Then he and I went to KT's BBQ for dinner, and I had their fall-off-the-bone tender, long-smoked so they're smoky, smothered in spicy BBQ sauce ribs with a cob of sweet, tender, crisp corn that was so hot the guy couldn't handle it coming out of the cooker. I also had a cup of slaw and a large glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Quite the dinner. We ate out on their patio, in the back, under the shade of a tree and it was very, very contenting to do so and just relax and enjoy each other and talk through all the possibilities with the problem.

I then went to Debbie's for a knitting night with a bunch of her friends and some folks from work. I brought my spinning wheel with me instead of knitting as I'd run out of my silk sock yarn and had to make more before I could make many more socks. It was a little bit of work finding her house, but the instructions she's given me were clear and thorough and I got there just fine. Hauled just the wheel, a basket, and my lemonade into the house. It was surprising how easy that was compared to the half a dozen crates I used to haul with me into spinning classes.

I got in and they have two marvelous dogs and a cat. Oops. I am so allergic to cats that even though it stayed well in the other room of the house, I was tearing up, sniffling and runny nosed most of the evening. The conversations were those that happen when eight women get together, with the added, nice twist of more than half of them being engineers. Debbie and I are probably equal in equipment and amount of stuff, but she's got a lot more experience than I do. I really specialized when I went after all the lace spinning stuff, and I haven't had the wider experience of experimenting with a loom and stuff.

It was interesting. The conversations themselves were very innocuous. I do have a lot of experience with knitting. Mom made sure of that when I was a kid and I loved it all my life, and it was interesting being in a roomful of folks that had just started and a number of them were struggling a bit. But it was easy to just slip into the role of telling stories about the experiences that I've run into. John can tell folks that I've ripped apart more sweater pieces than could probably make a few sweaters, and when I was in college I knit all the time while reading just to stay awake to finish the section of text.

The problem was, that with my mood from the day and from the habits I'd had all day, on the way home I started mentally beating myself up for nearly everything I said. It was really odd after I got home and started verbalizing some of that. John just kinda looked at me, all puzzled and then calmly, clearly, directly contradicted me when I told him that I was stupid and an idiot and and and...


That's when I really realized what I was doing. Grrrowf.

It took a while for me to get out of the loop, and then I went to sleep pretty well. John did get up in the middle of the night because he couldn't sleep but went out of the bedroom so that I could, and I did.

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