November 30, 1997

The soccer game on Friday night was exhausting, but good. John didn't have to play keeper because Erin showed up, so John went off to Costco. Turned out that *all* the girls that showed up, all three of us, were also sick, but there were eight boys that were all in fine fettle, and they ran their asses off and passed really well to each other, and to us girls and it turned out to be a 5-3 decision at the very end. So that was pretty good.

John then came back near the end of the game with a carload of pop and beer and stuff for the party and on the way home we stopped off at the local Albertson's for Stuff. Lots of Stuff, it turned out, along with the hundreds of others finishing off the shopping for Turkey Day in the same grocery store. The store was just filled with people getting last minute things, so the shelves were empty and all the aisles were filled with carts roaming about. Most people stayed out of my way, as I was blue haired and grumpy and in muddy soccer gear, thumping about on cleats. No wonder.

But we got our pile of things, made a list while driving there, so got nearly everything we needed, and as I showered, John put everything away, and I put together dinner.

It also kinda meant that I started the weekend off tired. Didn't really ever make it up.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, Friday was getting ready for the party and cleaning up the house. Saturday was the party, which was really fun.

There was huge amounts of really good food. Once nice thing about being known to have a taste for good food, is that people bring really great stuff. John and Johanna brought salmon caught by Johanna's parents and smoked by a woman local to them in Alaska. Jon Singer brought a pineapple so meltingly sweet a Hawaiian native had pronounced it okay. Mai brought a steamed sticky rice with more things than I can pronounce. Gretchen and Brad brought Dilettante Chocolates and tastings of a tea that caused me to stop speaking for a while. Linda K. brought filo wheels with spinach and cheese. Steve S. brought two luscious pumpkin pies with real whipped cream. We'd made two enchilada casseroles, one green, one red; a pot of green chile stew; and stuff to make tamales. There was also the usual chips and salsa and dips and veggies to be had as well. The whole back porch was devoted to beers and pop on ice.

We had three dogs, John and Jo's Shadow, Sam's Buddy, and Fezzik all wandered about the house, mellow enough to just meander about, clean up after the kids and settle amid conversations. There was a long while where Fezzik sprawled right in the middle of the kitchen floor, taking up a lot of space, inviting everyone to trip over him and pet him. I think he liked being in the midst of all the bustle. A party kind of dog, I guess.

It was really keen to have David K. and Bob meet Jon Singer, as they are all interesting types and interested in Singer, who was feeling a bit peaked, so went home earlier than others but had an entertaining time. Jon had brought Brandon, and I was sorry I didn't have enough time to spend much time with him. All in all I didn't get to spend too much time with anyone as too many things were happening all around, but that was okay, as most folks seem to have enjoyed those around them.

It was good.

Gretchen and Brad showed up early, helped with prep, and we got to talk with them for a while, and that was really good. It was also nice to have the time and space to do the tea that they had brought properly. And, after the party had gotten down to the last dozen or so folks, we did some monkey-picked oolong for Bob and his sister, Sally, to taste, along with a bunch of curious folks. It was a lot of fun to just quiet down, drink a little tea before most folks left.

Somehow or another the conversation had gotten around to the Holiday Room, a bar in Redmond that's attached to the Hotel Cafe, a 24-hour diner, and the fact that Sally was going to have to fly back to Southern Cal the next day, so wouldn't get a chance to go there if we didn't that night. So John, Johanna, Bob, Sally, myJohn and I went there after everything cleared out. John helped me clean up some of the carnage while myJohn and Johanna hot tubbed, and then we went to meet Bob and Sally at the Holiday Room.

It's a dive bar, which is the sum of its charms. Smoky, tiny, crowded that late with locals, and with a juke box that had country/western and 70's rock, it was all lit in red with big, red-glassed candles, and Christmas lights, the walls plastered with Seahawks posters and beer commercials. It was fun to just sit and talk and feel the lateness of the night in my bones.

I drank 7-up. The John's drank odd things they thought up for each other. Bob and Sally had beers, and Johanna had a couple mixed drinks. We talked, told stories, laughed a lot and just enjoyed the more intimate company, and I relaxed a bit. Johanna had put my hair up into a French braid, the sea colors and variegation showing up far more startlingly with that setup, the black underneath showing up in streaks with each new strand added to the braid. The braid down the back of my head looking like some water-colored nautilus, strange, uniform and intricate, a contrast, especially, to the jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt I was wearing. I'll have to have that done with a little black dress, someday, just to see how it turns out in its proper setting.

But in the Holiday Room, it earned me a free drink. Some guy in the bar bought me a drink, the waitress yelling across the room to ask what it was I was drinking, and blinking in surprise when I told her what I was having, plain... always been a cheap date. *grin* The guy delivered it himself and I said thank you... he later asked Bob if he'd annoyed anyone by doing that. Bob answered, no. Which was good.

I've never been bought a drink at a bar before. At least by anyone other than John. It was... interesting.

Bob and Sally left around 2am... The John's and Johanna and I decided, then to eat breakfast at the Hotel Cafe, as none of us had eaten there before and it felt to be a good part of the whole adventure. It's a good thing, I think, to wander into that part of the night with the desire to see it through properly. So the John's had Maxie's, which is just hash and eggs and choice of meat and toast, and they enjoyed them greatly. I had corned beef hash and eggs with hash browns and toast, and the hashed corned beef was just the right balance of salt and taste and just crisped brown. The over-medium eggs were the first I've had that were actually over *medium* with the yolks partially solid. Yum. It was solid food, well-done given the context, so I enjoyed it with some de-caff coffee.

We got home around 3am... getting to sleep a little after Regis got on her plane in Boston, to come back to the Northwest. We picked her up from Seatac a little after 1pm, brought her to Nobel Court where we ate some dim sum and then sent her home to her cats. Then John and I tangled up on the couch in front of the TV and watched football until the Bowns called us and volunteered to help us eat our leftovers.

It turned out that with all the food of the day before, I'd made all the ingredients for tamales and decided not to cook them because there was just too much stuff going on. So we just fridged the masa and re-fried pork and planned to make them Sunday, which we did. Two steamer layers worth of tamales, each steamed for about an hour until the masa was cooked and firm around the sweet and spicy pork with a whole olive in the center. Lily and Betsy had run of the place, and the toys, and we managed to feed them as well, with the tortillas, enchiladas and the like from the day before. The green chile stew set Tom's mouth on fire, and the red enchiladas were a bit warmer than I had thought they were, but the folks from the day before had said they enjoyed them a lot.

I really was pleased when Singer told me that he normally considers most foods to be at most a one star, even the things labeled a three star in some Thai restaurants; and that, in his estimation, the green chile stew rated a star and a half, which was somewhat remarkable. It tasted good and was quite spritely, too. *grin*

I dreamed last night. Twice. I think that the first will make a good story, and I half-woke in the middle of the night, thought it through, and thought about just going back to sleep, but I knew I'd lose it, so actually dragged myself out of bed to write it down. It would likely be best told as a news correspondent, so I might drag out my concept of Mark's concept of me in his re-mix of a dream I'd once had and see how she flies as a story for fun.

The second was another 'I'm in college' dream, and included a professor that told us that she would lecture on mathematics and applications on Wednesdays, but Mondays would be devoted solely to the questions of the students. It had to do with dorms and cafeterias and the consequences of that class structure and the fascinating lectures that came out of it. Mostly it was daily life on a campus that was gorgeously architected, arboretums everywhere, arched buttresses, glass, and ranch-style buildings for the student union and the various building housing classrooms that were all glass to the outside, with hand-input computers that would take handwriting or drawings and store them digitally. She did a marvelous job with the class, too. Intricate and detailed renderings of n-dimensional integrations with connections and concepts as to how that tied with real life analysis and circuit theory as well as n-dimensional probability mathematics. I remembered asking for that proof of the Name of God again, but don't remember, as ever, the answer.

Theoretically, there is this number that can predict the mean time between failures for certain kinds of generic machines. Problem is that, as part of the proof, you actually prove that that number cannot be determined, and that the length is of a certain specific number, but that even that number cannot be determined. So the Professor referred to this number as the Name of God, because with it you could determine the future of anything, as the generic definition of machine was generic enough to cover most systems. I remember this proof from my communications theory class at Caltech. What I don't remember are the particulars. Why I would dream of this now, I have no idea; but it was one of the most beautiful and mysterious pieces of mathematics that I remember.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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