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November 21, 1999
a year ago

More Dogs Running

Woke up fairly early. Early enough that I rethought all my plans, especially given that I was pretty sore all over in ways that indicated that I probably should do more moving than is required from a chair while coding. So I broached the possibility of going to Marshall Mesa with John and he said that that would be good. So we got ourselves together, had eggs and ham on bagels for a good breakfast and then got ourselves put together for fun in the sun with the dogs and water. Shorts and shoes, socks and ratty t-shirt, and I finally settled on a cloth coat that could be washed of mud.

The day was gorgeous out, sunny and crisp, but warm enough that shorts were good. Fezzik got all excited as we were getting ready, as much because we were inciting him to it as anything. He knew we were going out, I think, because we were talking with him and when we don't talk with him, he knows he's not coming along. In this case he was bouncing all around as we went out to the car and he helped John get him into the back of Borax. He even leaped out when we got there.

Debbie and Matt and Karen were there with Boris, Forden, and Haiku, the yellow lab pup from last week, and all three dogs were bouncing around and yanking and pulling and all excited. It took a little to keep Fezzik from tangling everyone up, too, and he was very eager to do this thing. Sun Dance then entered with his two owners and the packs of dogs and humans started up the hill. The dogs at a full-out charge, the humans at a more moderate pace. Well, most of the humans at a more moderate pace. Fezzik got mixed up with another pack that was following a jogger, and he just started running and running and running in the opposite direction. Oops.

Luckily, John's faster than Fezzik, now, at full-out run. And he went zooming up the hill, passed a few dogs, passed the jogger, and finally caught up with Fezzik enough to turn him the opposite direction. I think John was working of adrenaline and was pretty breathless when he finally caught back up with us. Fezzik amicably ran all the way down and back up to us and then kept charging up after the other dogs. I keep wondering if he's ever unhappy that he can't really keep up with the puppies, but then I remember all those years at Marymoore where he never really could keep up with the faster dogs, but he never really stopped trying and never really seemed unhappy that he could play with all the other dogs. He was so happy and busy with playing with the other dogs that he didn't even stop for treats the way the other dogs did.

It was also really obvious that last week had done him a world of good, because just getting up the hill seemed easier for him, this time. Last time, just getting up the hill had him breathless and tired. This time, he was running all over the place at the top of the hill, charging after dogs splashing in the water, and wading about and swimming in all directions. The colder weather probably was a boon to him as well, and just gave him more energy to run with. He usually seems to be that way. I'm still not entirely sure why, but it's a good thing to know.

So we did the long parallel walk along the top and this time Fezzik didn't go charging down into the ditch as many times as last week, but he did find and use the mud banks when he did do it, so that he didn't have to swim quite as far. Still, he got good and soaking wet and was really happy when everyone got to the waterhole so that he could charge after everyone and get in and out of the water continuously. A black lab came along with a master who would throw sticks for him, and, as usual, Fezzik latched onto the black lab and followed him everywhere, in the water, out of the water, around the master, breathing down his neck at every turn and stop. I don't know what it is about black labs, but Fezzik really seems to like them a lot.

When the black lab and his family started to go off, down the trail, Fezzik followed them instead of staying with his pack. So I had to go off after him and herd him back towards the pool of water and the other dogs, and then watch him for a good ten minutes before he got distracted enough to stay with the group rather than go off after the black lab. I'm still not sure why he's so attracted to black labs, but it's very obvious that he is.

Eventually, we headed down again, and unlike last week, Fezzik kept up with the other dogs, wandered about to either side some. He did stick to the trail a bit more than the other dogs; but he had the energy to do a little wandering back and forth. He wasn't so tired that he headed straight for the car. I saw his rear legs collapse a bit on one of the stairs down to the parking lot, but he recovered and kept going. After that, though, he kept strictly to the path and, again, at the very end, he walked right into the pond of water and sank into the cool liquid and watched the rest of us curiously as he lay there. The other three dogs bounced around some, but the edge was off, and they were all fairly well behaved after the long run and walk. That was cool. We stood around and talked while Fezzik rested, and the other dogs took a drink. When he finally decided to get up, he walked a little stiffly over to the Land Rover and it took the two of us to lift him in. It was a lot easier than either of us doing it alone and Fezzik didn't seem to mind at all.

He actually sat and watched where we were going for a while, and then lay down, rather than the stone-dead lie down and die after the fun he did last week. That was reassuring. He'd also done so much better this week than last, it obviously seems to be the right thing to do for him. It also gave both John and I a good hour and a half walk along some nice, steep terrain. Good for us, too.

Fezzik went to sleep while John and I raided Costco and meandered about as well as doing our list. John's really listened in the past, one of the things I've always felt rushed about was going in, somewhere, to shop and not getting a chance to look at anything other than what's on our list. So, he deliberately said that we were going to wander about, and we did. That was very good, and I found a $12 pair of sweatpants. All my other sweatpants are all beaten up, patched, torn, or otherwise partially destroyed and it was good to finally find a fairly good pair of Champion sweatpants for such a good price. The extra larges were obviously too big, and the larges looked pretty roomy, so I got those. Some of the more recent ladies' sweatpants are, of all things, fitted to the hip and thigh. What's the point of that? Sweatpants are supposed to be baggy, roomy and, above all, comfortable and the fitted things only serve to make me think I'm fat, which isn't what I want from them at all. Bird-seed, chicken boobs, pot stickers, huge barrels of pretzels, and many other things later, we were done.

The cart-load of stuff then went into Borax, next to Fezzik and Fezzik didn't move the whole way home, eventhough some of the load (okay, a bag of sparkling holiday bows) fell right on him.

John lifted him out when we got home and he wobbled into the house and lay down with a grunt. His back legs collapsed out from under him when he bent them, and that worried me; but he seemed content to lie there and watch us do stuff.

Home again, home again, and the last quarters of the Seahawks game against Kansas City was on, so we watched that while having lunch. John made nachos and guacamole and tomatoes and we munched it all up while finishing off the game. Seattle's team is doing a lot better now that we've moved out of the area, and the cool thing is that since they're part of Denver's division the local TV nearly always carries their games. So we get to watch them and cheer for them, and it worked out really well.

After the game I had no more excuses, so I went up to our study and started the next stage of coding and got very discouraged very quickly. The next steps looked huge, changing signatures for functions for a good half a dozen different classes, since one child had to be fixed and to do that, the parent had to be fixed, which meant then fixing all half dozen of it's children. On top of that I also had to rewrite one class to the point where it was unrecognizable. I went downstairs and turned ideas over with John and there was no way out of it. I went back upstairs thinking I'd just turn the machine off and give up for a while, but then found myself doing the major class renovation for the one class first. Got everything in and found that the only thing that stood between it even compiling was the multiple class rennovation. I looked up, then, and I'd been going at it another few hours until it was dark.

Time flies when you're busy.

I was still sticky from the doggy shakes and mud from Fezzik, so I decided that now was as good as any time to take a shower. So I did, washed everything, and noticed that, as per the last few weeks, I'm losing a lot of hair into the drain. Not as much as my sister did when she was really, truly stressed, but enough more to make me aware. I am stressed. I am going to remain stressed, I think, until this deadline is done with, and then even after that I'm going to have to catch up on a lot of fixing, still, but the next stage isn't for another month or two. I really do have the time, it's just that I hate backing down from a 'promise', which really wasn't.

I originally estimated 12 weeks for all this stuff, then someone completely new to the code was assigned half of it; but the estimate was for myself, which meant that not only did they have to spend the time to get into the code, but I had to spend the time to teach them what to look for in addition to the parts that would take longer to explain than for me to do. So I'm stuck with the latter stages of this, the parts that are so hard I can't explain them, I can only do them. And I'd originally had estimated my part of that to be six weeks, and I've really only had three, so far, for this part. But I'm getting a lot of it in, I think. Maybe. Mostly...

Well, anyway. I want to get it done on time, and I will.

In the mean time I'm feeling stressed, way too fat, and unhappy. Which, I'll admit, is just my usual method of operation when I'm stressed. I do know that none of it is really real, that it really is attitude on the most part, but I'm getting something done each day so it's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago. The fat part made me giggle a lot when I finally tried on the sweat pants that I'd bought from Costco. In Costco, I'd just held it up against my waistline and thought, "Well, it wraps at least half way around, so this might fit me. I hope it's not too small..." I put them on after my shower and giggled myself into a good mood. The darned things are a *men's* large, which means that they bag out a good five inches on either side of my hips and the waist string is a good two feet too long and the waist elastic is just barely enough to keep it on my hips. Hoorah! The epitome of soft, baggy comfort!

John talked over plans with me, and said that he'd be happy to go to a meeting in my place tomorrow so that I wouldn't have to go into work and might actually get the next hurdle under my belt. That sounds good, especially since there's supposed to be six to ten inches of snow tonight. It seems nearly impossible, with my cheeks still rosy and warm from all the sunshine on Marshall Mesa, but it sounded good when he was making the plans.

He worked on some things while I rooted about in the refridgerator. It's easy, on cooking shows, to cook just about anything, with all the ingredients right there and pre-prepped and all ready to go. They can use anything and everything and not worry about leftovers, what's rotting in the fridge, or what could really use using. Me, I get to worry about leftovers. So I rooted about, threw away some fuzzy corn chowder, and found some rice from last week, leftover and just waiting for the fuzzbugs. So I pulled that out to use it, along with a thumb's length of really, really old Chinese sweet sausage so dry it cracked when I thumped it on the cutting board. I also pulled out some frozen peas, one of the Short farm brown chicken eggs, a half a handful of celery, a hunk of drying ginger, and cut the scallion in the windowsill that was happily greening in one of the chive pots. I also pulled out two piece of flank steak, defrosted them half way, sliced them paper thin and marinated them in teriyaki sauce.

I then cut up the sausage, the scallions, the celery and finely minced the ginger. The cold rice crumbled to the touch very nicely. So I stir fried all the individual things with just a couple teaspoons of canola oil, the sausage rendered some sweet scented fat that I just kept in the pan for all the other things. The ginger went in first to season the oil as much as the other food. Each thing took a different amount of time to be come aromatic and tender, and I just piled them into a bowl. Then I beat up the egg, poured it into the hot wok and then, while it was still liquid, I poured all the rice on top of that and started just stir frying it energetically. I like coating all the rice with the egg and making it all golden. Then I put in all the cooked things, added a drop of sesame oil and stirred it until it was hot. Then I put it all into the bowl I just took all the other ingredients out of, and into the hot pan I put the teriyaki marinated beef.

It hissed like crazy and the fan roared, and I frantically stirred and turned the beef pieces until all the red was just gone. Then it was dinner time. Some of the beef over a lot of the vegetable-filled rice. Both were aromatic, seasoned so that it tasted really strongly of all the things I'd combined to make them. That was really, really good. So simple and so good at clearing out the refrigerator.

While we ate, I looked out the back door and, sure enough, it was snowing. Fine flakes that were sprinkled everywhere, not yet sticking but the night was getting cold enough that it really looked possible. John lit the gas fire and I basked in its heat as we watched Sunday night football.

Fezzik tried to get up and only managed to sit. He sat there for a while, patiently, and then, after a while, he looked right at John and started barking at him in such a way as to say, "I want to get up, I can't, but I know you can help me up." Smart dog. John got Fezzik's hindquarters off the ground and it took Fezzik a few moments to figure out which was which, but he figured it out and headed, wobbly, to the door. John opened the door and Fezzik went out into the whirling snow. He headed purposefully down the stairs of the porch, made it out to the lawn and did what he needed to do, no problem, and then, miracle of miracles, climbed the stairs back onto the porch and then banged the door to be let in again. He then walked to his bed, turned around twice on it and then he let his rear legs just collapse out from under him. It really startled me, but he didn't look at all put out, as if he'd planned it that way, knew what would happen. He then lay down with a bit of a groan and settled, contentedly, into a place where he could watch us in the livingroom and kitchen.

I managed to lift his hindquarters when he wanted to eat, and he managed that as well, just fine, demolishing his food in seconds; but when he went back to lie down, he did the sudden letting go of his hind quarters again with a bit of a crash and only sighed a little as he let the rest of himself down more gently. I'd say poor dog, but he seems to be dealing with it just fine and it'll only be temporary. I did, however, take the time to pull all the burrs, twigs, and tangles out of his fur while he was immobile. He actually looked like he rested a bit better with all the vegetation out of his fur.

We went to bed after watching some of the weather. Six to ten inches tonight, maybe another three to eight tomorrow evening, and then, when Mom and Dad fly in, it'll be high-30's headed into the 40's and clear out. So I'm glad that the snow came a bit early, so it wouldn't mess up travel into and out of the area before Thanksgiving. Maybe it'll be a pretty, white Thanksgiving with only snow on the non-road things. That'd be cool. Talked with them a bit to make sure that all the plans are okay with them, and it looks like it should be good.

Sleep was solid and quick when we got to bed. Cold and tired and I still ache all over. John gave me a quick rub and it helped some, but I am looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully the snow won't stop the massage therapist from being there. John says he'll come home and drive me there after work. That should be helpful. I know that getting off the stress wagon would be much more helpful; but I can't do that, really, until the end of the month, but then she may even see a big difference in how much and what tensions I carry.

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