Monday, July 30, 2007

947 Mile Roundtrip

I spent a wonderful weekend in San Fransisco and Sacramento. I hung out with many familiar friendly faces and met some new ones as well. Thanks to everyone who was so welcoming! Lots of fun, lots of sun, not much sleep to speak of. Managed to keep myself alert while driving by listening to my music mixes, a funny book on CD (JE's "11 on Top") and talking to my mom on the phone. And stopping to refuel both the car and myself.

On the way back from Sacramento to home, 35 miles of the 400 is pretty much straight uphill. The mountain range between the central valley and LA on the I-5 is many thousand feet up and it just keeps going and going. For some reason the traffic, while clumped in places, was easily navigable. It was almost eerie how easily I could get around traffic and just zoom zoom off ahead. At one point I noticed that everyone else was going really slowly. Then I looked down at my spedometer and realized that I was just going very fast. My wonderful Mazda3 had hit some sort of groove and was flying along like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I even took my foot off the accelerator and the engine kept going and the car kept going and so I went with it. If the car is happy going that fast uphill, who am I to argue?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Critical Path Detour

With age, experience, and coursework I've gotten better about prioritizing. Instead of doing trivial stuff and missing the big picture, if I write down all the trivial stuff so I don't forget it and do the stuff on the critical path first, things tend to work out better. For instance instead of putting earrings on when I'm naked because I won't forget pants but I might forget jewelry, I write down "earrings" on my list by the door and put my pants on first. If I run out of time for the earrings, so be it. I don't run as late and I remember all the little stuff. Except when I'm running on fumes. Then it's recidivism city.

I decided this afternoon that tomorrow afternoon I'm going to hop in the car and drive up the 101 to San Fransisco. The sign on the highway near my home says it's "394 miles" from here. I'll stay with a friend on the North Bay friday night and saturday through brunch. Around three I head over to Sacramento for a luau with a Cued Speech buddy. I'm not sure where I'm staying saturday night. Perhaps in a tent in the party yard. Sunday morning I'm meeting my NorCal book club ladies to send one of them off to Boston and gradual school. Finally I hop on the 5 and head back.

To get ready, tonight I checked out "Eleven on Top" and "The Bean Trees" audiobooks on CD from the library 5 minutes before they closed. I bought a grass skirt, a lei and some bubbles from the party supply store 5 minutes before they closed. I bought some snack type fruit to take on the drive (including pomegranate fruit roll up - more on that later). I turned on the iPod. I got out a tent and tent related sleeping gear. I picked out outfits for tomorrow and sunday. I packed some toiletries. I got stumped on what to wear saturday.

I have a hand dyed T-shirt from an artist that has wonderful color and suns on it, but is boxy and not flattering. While I love it, I often decide not to wear it. I decided to cut the neck out just above the seam so it doesn't choke me. I stared long and hard at the boxy sleeves. I thought about the book on how to reconfigure T-shirts to your own liking which I read while waiting to purchase Harry Potter. The advice was to use one of the many T-shirts you keep for no reason because you would never wear them anyway to do a test fit with. I remembered sconome's attempt at a fitted shirt and Kvarko's Beaubaton's handmade halloween outfit. Both did tests with less precious material. (And wound up keeping the test pieces.) I dragged out a T shirt from the infinite pile and started marking, pinning, and cutting.

A mere hour later, I have a great new tank shirt with Stone Cat ale on the back (I kept my test piece), I'm burning CDs for the road trip, and I'm still down an outfit for saturday and not packed. This blog was relatively quick, but I need to finish packing in about 15 minutes if I'm going to be awake for my drive tomorrow. Must. stop. making. mix. tapes. Methinks I'll be finishing at lunch.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy Feet

I've been realizing recently that my feet don't hurt much anymore from the hateful plantar fasciitis. I attribute this to three things.
  1. stretching the backs of my legs with the BodyRev
  2. wearing cushioned flip flops in the shower on the advice of my podiatrist and
  3. finally finding OTC orthotics that support the fascia in the middle of my foot (see pic), not the inner edge of the arch, allowing me to walk pain free in something other than Chaco sandals.
This is something that makes me VERY happy. Let me 'splain. PF feels like walking on broken glass. It sucks. The standard "treatments" for it are mostly useless. It is an exercise in pain and frustration that should not be necessary.
line drawing of plantar fascia tendon running up center of foot
When I first started feeling pain in May of 2005, I was running 5Ks, not stretching enough, getting calf cramps, walking up 10-16 flights of stairs a day, and weighed more than your average bear - your basic recipe for foot disaster. I'd always had great feet except for some chronic athlete's foot - never sore, blisters healed fast, high arches, fit in well stocked sizes of shoes - so this caught me by surprise. (In looking up that picture, I ran across some new to me information that people with really high arches are more susceptible to PF. Yay me.)

I figured the pain would go away on its own if I rested and cushioned the sore spots. I bought heel cushions for my shoes which was sufficient for a while. But the pain got worse. I was having problems standing for more than 15 minutes. I stopped running (and, my bad, didn't replace it with swimming) and gained weight. When I looked for a new job, I factored in the amount of standing time required with trepidation.

I went to see an internist who told me to take insufficient ibuprofen. I went to see a podiatrist, got a diagnosis and some tape under my arch that made my feet itch but worked okayish on the pain. He also recommended $250 custom orthotics but didn't explain to me sufficiently why they would work and failed to close the deal. All my running friends offered moral support and I found out a fair number of them do wear orthotics. A doctor friend in chorus explained that the needed anti-inflammatory properties of ibuprofen only come out at doses of 600mg or over, not the 400mg I'd been told to take. She also counseled that one only wants to take that much for 2 weeks at a time to prevent killing ones liver. I did ok during my 2 week stint of doping, but the expected lingering inflammation reduction did not take place and the following day all the pain was back. I was not happy with my medical care.

I can't remember who suggested I try them again but the Chaco sandals that sat under my bed for months because of an odd and annoying arch placement (I had to partially file the footbed down to avoid under foot blisters) suddenly became the only shoes I could stand in for longer than a half hour without incurring pain. I figured out a mere 2 weeks before my trip to Genoa last September that I could actually walk for hours in them. Without those sandals, I would have wasted a trip to Italy. (Thank you, Chaco fairy!)
my feet in Chaco sandals after climbing Mt Wittenberg and cleaning the residual dust off one foot

Spiffy sandals didn't help at work because they are not the cleanroom required closed toe, closed heel shoes. Still not convinced that custom orthotics were worthwhile, I nonetheless churned through an array of over the counter options buoyed on by my early success with the $4 heel gels. I have yet to find an arch support that is actually as high as my own arch; you might guess that my success from them has been limited. The astounding thing is that until about 2 months ago I couldn't find a single OTC orthotic insert that supported the middle of my foot in the Chaco style. Then within the space of a week, I found 2 likely candidates. The first pair I found at the dollar store. It was close, but not quite right. It set me on the path to find a $20 pair with interchangeable *middle foot supports* of various heights at Mecca.

I haven't been able to go barefoot in two years. I love being barefoot so this has been a trial. Around the house, I've found that the best sock compliant sandals for the job are my beat up Land's End Birk knockoffs. No one seems to sell cheap Birk knockoffs anymore and I don't want to pay $90 for house slippers, even if there is a return on the investment, so I keep wearing my ratty, cork shedding ones and hoping they last just a little longer. Wearing the house sandals helped but not enough.

It was when my new podiatrist told me that I even had to wear cushioned or supported sandals in the shower that my feet really started healing. I had imagined that the slight give in my bathtub was enough to help, but no. The combination of waking up in the morning with stiff feet and legs, hopping out of bed and actually using my feet was enough to undo any gains from previous days, ibuprofen, icing, etc... Unless I got out of bed and walked in dry sandals to the bathtub where I put on wettable sandals, every day my feet hurt anew.

Combine the rest with the surprisingly effective, yet easy BodyRev stretch. If you don't have a BodyRev, you can replicate this with a 10# hand weight or a bag of sugar. Essentially do standing toe touches, but allow this small extra weight to pull you down. (When you can reach farther than your toes, curl your arms a bit.) That little extra weight made all the difference for me. Wiggle around until you're getting the maximum stretch through the back of your legs. Try it also on the bottom stair with your toes on the riser and your heels hanging off. Alternate bent and straight leg stretches to target both calves and hamstrings.

Perhaps you didn't catch it, but I wore heels on my date the other night. I also wore heels to my friend's wedding a couple weeks ago. And I'm running again. None of this would have been possible without the trifecta of new stretch, center of foot orthotics, and shower shoes. I haven't even taken ibuprofen. I'm pretty sure that I won't need the $250 orthotics. Or uncomfortable overnight braces.

This post got a LOT longer than the one paragraph I'd anticipated writing. Thanks for sticking with me if you did. If not, I'm working on my HP7 thoughts, so check back in soon. After you've read the Suz Brockmann free .pdf with short stories, excerpts and tips on POV writing. And be kind to your feet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bibbidi Bobbidi Bingo

Many a magical happiness update today:
  1. Bakery Songs
    While my favorite bakery is in San Diego, my local Great Harvest does a commendable job of providing my whole grain bread with flax in it. They also have fun, interactive promotions. I got a Bingo card with my last loaf and got 2 spaces marked off: "bread" and "smiling in the bakery". I decided to give some thought to what to "sing in the bakery" and practiced my jazz square and so got 3 squares marked off with today's whole grain loaf and a quick trill of "the thingamabob that does the job is Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo". The staff even joined in! I'm now one scone and one muffin from a free loaf of bread. Oh the suffering I will have to do!

  2. Another date!
    I forgot to check in with my fairy godmother last night and thought I was heading out to meet Cartoon Writer, but wound up with Geek Hiker. Whoops! I would have worn Chacos instead of heels had I paid any attention whatsoever to who it was that I actually agreed to meet for a drink. Again no love at first sight. But like Enormous Man he could give directions, chose some place reasonable, and seemed like a nice fellow. I haven't really been seeking out engineers, particularly EEs as I've had a fair run at that subcategory and well, they're geeks. Being a geek myself, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was hoping to find someone to stretch the horizons a bit. And GH might do that in that I've agreed to meet up for a hike sometime soon. He likes hiking, I like hiking when I have someone along for the company. And I want a companion just in case I get bit by a rattlesnake.

  3. My Qual Passed!
    I'm trying to make a process change at work. My previous parts that went through the reliability testing failed for reasons unrelated to my qual and I had to do it all over again. I just have a couple more steps to do and then I can implement a change that will save about enough to cover my salary. And do it in time for reviews.

  4. I finished Harry Potter 7 (no spoilers)
    I had about 20% of the book to go when I lost consciousness very late on Sunday night. I tried to finish after my date, but a glass of wine and a damn fine mojito turned me into a pumpkin right at midnight with a mere 50 pages left to go. I managed to finish the final tome over my lunch hour today. I'm reasonably satisfied with the resolution; after a couple weeks I might post my thoughts on it. [off scribbling them down now. yes in pencil.] And oddly, I think it helped to stop and digest some of the endgame before hitting the final resolution.
I usually have a post book funk when I devour a book at warp speed. Especially one I've been looking forward to and/or which resolve something in a series. In cases where I can exhibit a modicum of self control, I think I'm going to keep trying to parcel out my reading of any "suspense" type novel over a couple of days, even forcing myself to stop during the final action, to give the story more dwell time. Or hang time for those who prefer sports metaphors. I'm finding that I feel more satisfied when I can force a longer association with the world and characters I've come to care about and enjoy.

Remembering to put "spoiler" in the subject header if you reference anything past page 100, feel free to add your two cents to my comments about Harry Potter. Or about using dates as a snake decoy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Burn, Baby Burn

Actually, I'm a little surprised at how not lobstered I am. Definitely red tinged. My left arm is probably the most fried and it's mostly just deep pink. I'm not sure why neither my feet nor legs seem at all burned while my arms, shoulders, upper back and the edge of my hairline are showing signs of being over done. They were all exposed to direct sun for the same amount of time and my legs had the sketchiest sunscreen application. I have a notion that the water sucks some heat out of a potential burn and did spend a fair amount of time in the pool both swimming and floating. It went a little something like this.

floating otter

It's possible that I could still develop more burn, but after being out by or in the pool for 2.5 hours yesterday and 5 hours today I've got more color and it isn't all red. Despite layers of sunscreen, I could feel the heat in my skin while out at the pool above and beyond the 90*F day. When I came in today, it seemed prudent to shower fast while I could still tolerate a towel on my back. Yet Fast forward to 4 hours later and I'm still ok. Perhaps the tylenol and spray benzocaine (topical anesthetic) have lulled me into a false sense of security, but I seem to have timed the sun exposure to just the border of too much.

There were just enough people at the pool to distract from the reading today. I enjoyed meeting more of my neighbors. I also spent a fair amount of time yesterday with "The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes", which I quite enjoyed, meaning I've only got through about 300 pages of Harry Potter. So I need to avoid spoilers for just a little while longer. But so far so good. I've read just far enough to find out that Hermione's reluctant patronus is an otter. Go otters!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Got My Potter On (no Spoilers)

I'm pretty sure that taking a nap before heading out to the local Borders for the final Harry Potter release qualifies me as an old fart. I didn't make it there until 10:55pm, pulling in behind 4 other cars and parking at the nearby hotel. I wound up in the 5th wrist band group - pink - but number 8 in the group, which translated to 3 chapters read of Lean Mean 13 and a check out time of 1:22am. Not bad! I think I had roughly the same midnight-to-buy time as my twin sister (from another mother) who lives in DC.
Here is the take:
Harry Potter 7

I'm not sure when I'll next see 800 people in a bookstore. It was almost as crowded as an RWA literacy signing. Mom's also expecting a rush at the library tomorrow. She didn't say how many books they are getting, but she's on the hook for getting them all registered in the database. Their line might not be quite this big.
Harry Potter 7 Crowd

With all the kiddos hyped up on caffeine and adrenaline circulating through the stacks, Borders will have a lot of cleaning up to do tomorrow, but at least some of the staff - notably the ones in suits with earphones, like "it's Pat" in the middle here - were having the time of their lives.
Harry Potter 7 decoration and secret service wannabe

And I'm sure they had fun contriving all the decorations.
Harry Potter 7 Potions Lab decorative sign

Part of the time I spent in line I did what I do best and talked to strangers. While there was a dearth of 35 year old datable men, it was really fun listening to the young'ns talk about their hopes and dreams for this book and bemoan the fact that it appeared to be ONLY about 700 pages long judging the stacks from afar.
many many Harry Potter 7s

To entertain the masses there were various activities including a trivia quiz and a costume contest. Lots of adult ladies went in full witch wear, and several were nice enough to answer questions and direct traffic despite just being customers. There were some awfully cute costumes. There was a plethora of Harrys and Hermiones. Some skimpier outfits for specific houses were in evidence. One shy little girl dressed as Pigwidgeon. The tall boy dressed as Snape won, probably because he played the character on stage. His exuberance and ability to lead his crowd of friends (some of whom pretended they didn't *really* want to be there) reminded me a lot of a young version of a college boyfriend, even more so after I talked to him in the cafe line and found out his major expectation for this book is for Ron and Hermione to hook up. It made me feel a smidge less sick and wrong for hoping for just that thing too.
Harry Potter 7 Costume contest with winning Snape

I almost escaped the store without anything but the Potter and free poster, but as I passed the sale table I found my box was still there. Not just any box, but a box that goes delightfully with the cover of The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, which is now my computer background because it's lovely. When I found it the other day, I decided not to get it but kept wanting it and decided that if one was still there on my next visit, I would get it. And here it is, my new cute box with pointy flowers and mariposas (butterflies).
Blue flowered novel and matching pink box
It's pink inside too. I used to hate pink but it's really grown on me recently and pretty soon dogs and cats will be living together. But it was a nice end to my evening of Magic and Witchcraft.

Tomorrow I plan to read by the pool until I fry or turn into a giant freckle. I want to get through the book before the spoilers hit the ether. [warning! speculation follows] I want to be surprised if Harry (a) dies, (b) dies but gets brought back to life (c) winds up back in the cupboard under the stairs or my favorite (d) lives Happily Ever After, preferably with the doting Ginny somewhere in the scene.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're Walking, We're Walking

After work today I made a quick trip to Mecca to pick up some supplies and realized I could get my cranberry juice and yogurt there too. As well as some snacks in 100 calorie packs to restock the desk with things that are cheaper and smaller than vending machine offerings. As I got home and ate some yogurt to settle my guts a bit by replenishing the beleaguered acidophilus, I decided I needed to call Enormous Man before I sat down and got distracted for the third day in a row. I was apparently on my game and made him laugh so we decided to meet up and chat in person.

He lives about a half hour up the 101 from me near where I like to go to the beach. I made him choose a place to meet and it sounded generic but easy to find, so I agreed and went the the Coffee Bean in the new mall at the SW corner of Victoria and Wooley where this map shows a field.
map of Victoria and Wooley in Oxnard

Enormous Man is 6'7" and used to be a defensive tackle. But he was not overwhelmingly large in my estimation. In fact, I would probably have guessed 6'5" but we all know I'm not good with judging heights if I think 6'2" is "average". He is one person that I can't fault for driving a large vehicle. I had ordered myself a Chai Latte before he arrived and he decided just to grab some bottled water from his car then pointed me past the fountain and off we went on a nice little walk which wound up being lovely, and not at all generic.

There has been a huge surge in development in the last couple years, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was well done. The apt/condo buildings weren't just solid lines of wall, but had insets and bump outs and were painted in several fun colors making the place look very nice by giving the eyes places to rest. I think they've also extended the canal and boat dock region into this space because it was unfinished and therefore more interesting to me. There were wide walking paths and restful landscaping. We walked around the canal and down to a bridge where we stopped so I could drink, we could chat, and he could look at fish. We saw a couple small rays cavorting which was unexpected.

He's from Georgia but has friends out here from home and not much of an accent. He works in special ed/ mental health which is something my dad used to do. He was nice and laid back and fairly comfortable to be with except he didn't look at me much. I kept trying to make eye contact and sometimes he engaged, sometimes he did not. I don't think it meant anything. He does have nice eyes. The other con was that he smelled a little strange, but I think it's because of a scented cleansing or cologne product, not a showstopper. Since we were walking around outdoors it wasn't a big deal. EM's a big fan of cartoons so we had some fun calling up South Park episodes that tickled our fancy. I showed him some pics of the Kwik-E-Mart in Burbank. Then as it became closer to dark there were bunches of fishes disturbing the surface of the water in order to eat which reminded me of the fish hatchery in Sandwich which we watched for a while. I managed not to mention anything about going to the ER. He didn't mention anything about ex-girlfriends. All to the good.

He called again as I was arriving home to check in and make sure I made it home ok, which seems like a nice gesture, if an unfamiliar one. I had to drive home at 70mph after a policeman grinned in my window as he passed me. He looked at me deliberately so I figured it was a friendly warning and I took it easy. It occurs to me now that I probably also looked harmless and didn't fit the profile of Speed Racer (little did he know). Thankfully the traffic didn't back up because of him and I had Hellcat's mix on the CD player to groove to, so I was still mellow when I got home. And I've agreed to take another stroll with EM at some unspecified future time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Suspense is Killing Me

My telemarketer avoidance skills have been slipping since I rarely get them with the new number. So when I got a recorded voice calling me today, I actually listened long enough for him to tell me about my reserve copy of Harry Potter. Apparently Bor.ders struck a deal with the audiobook people to have the book's narrator record the phone message. Perhaps having employees call customers was just too much work? I was reassured that while my copy was reserved, I have only until end of business Saturday to claim it or they will sell it to strangers. After the somewhat odd plotting of the last few I'm not entirely sure I'm going to like the book this time yet I'm actively trying to avoid spoilers. I'm still debating the pre-Potter party on Friday night and the midnight line. May as well go. It's not likely a round the world book party like this will happen again.

But this makes me think of how Agonizing it must be for an author to wait for her book to be published so she can speak freely about it to the masses. Or how a movie director/producer/star feels the month before the movie is out. Everything is done and just sitting in stasis waiting for the marketing machine to work its magic. HOW CAN THEY STAND THIS??? I guess one endures what one must. Force of Nature will be out in a little less than a month. I'm merely a fan and I can barely stand the suspense. Add to that the Potter book and movie, the next Bourne installment, the Serenity "collectors edition" DVD, and a couple other flicks that seemed good and a book I'm off to start now... it makes this the best and worst of summers as regards my interest with stories.

And onto making happy lemonade from lemons:
  1. Defects. Had a non-null experimental result on a project that has been thwarting us at work. I freely admit that I thought this particular investigation was a long shot, but we are pretty much at wit's end with potential root causes. It will take more doing to find out if this result is meaningful, but having funky pictures of defects is always cheering.
  2. Antibiotics. Not always good for the digestion, but on the whole excellent for a less miserable existence. Plus, Grace is the best pharmacist.
  3. Cable box. I work a quarter mile from the cable company. My box didn't work right so I swapped it before FW2's visit for one, it turned out, which worked even less well than the original. (That was ok because she's not a TV fan.) Then I went on vacation, then I got sucked into all Firefly all the time. I finally remembered to take the bad box with me today. In the space of about 7 minutes I was able to leave work, get it replaced, then get back to work. And lo and behold if it doesn't work like a charm.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Unfortunately, There Isn't...

Thistihos, oles i thesis tis protis thesios ina piazmenes. Roughly transliterated from the one Greek phrase I remember 6 years later, that means, "unfortunately, all the first class seats are sold out". Yet somehow I still paid $75 for a not totally uncomfortable berth for the last 3 hours. Which was lots better than the schmoes who showed up at the ER, in droves, with various contusions and woes but came later than me.

I'll stand by my first aid training where they tell you that the person making the most noise is probably the least injured; look at the quiet sufferers closely. You would not believe the amount of sympathy a guy with a lousy sprained ankle wants. He did get an ice pack finally, which was just work saved. Word to the wise - if you sprain something, stop at a restaurant on the way to the ER and get them to give you some ice in a bag. Even though they should hand out ice packs at the door, they don't.

My plans for the evening had been to call enormous man and set up a date. I did send out more messages of pleading and hope and got 2 responses this time. I'm not at all sure that either is the one for me, but I'm game to try. And after all my bitching about short guys, 6'7" boy is intriguing. But about the time I was trying to see if I wanted to run just one more experiment, before going home to place the call, my body said, "No! you must leave now!" When I tried to reason with it, my body repeated the message with added emphasis on the NOW!
If personal bodily functions bother you, stop reading now and come back for the next post, should you be so inclined.
So I left the cleanroom, went to the bathroom, did some stuff at my desk, went to the bathroom, drove home, went to the bathroom, started looking up "urgent care" in the yellow pages (it's under "Hospitals"), went to the bathroom, called the hospital (and the lady said, "come in earlier rather than later to beat the rush"), went to the bathroom, and decided I was going to find out where our local ER happened to be. As it turns out, I can also find 3 bathrooms in and near the local ER.
Hey! That last paragraph wasn't so bad. I can take it. - well ok, but it gets worse.
Given that I drink 60-90 oz of water a day, I'm no stranger to the loo. But this was excessive, I thought. And it turned out that I wasn't getting my period again, but was losing more blood than I was comfortable with in the space of two hours. Enough that the blood itself was sufficient to make me think I had to go again. I couldn't apply pressure, and I was still bleeding, so I chugged some water and a multivitamin with the thought that the iron would enhance oxygen carrying ability of my remaining blood, and drove over to the ER. Where I peed. Then again in a cup. And again in a cup. You might have guessed that giving up two urine samples back to back posed no challenge for me this evening. And they were the color I last saw in this little quiz on disgust.

The process went faster than I expected, at first. I would barely get my book out when someone would call my name. On the third interruption, the doctor looked at me, made sure I didn't have other symptoms TB or something, and sent off my sample to tell him what he already knew. I had joked with him that they weren't letting me read, and he laughed and said, "That I can fix, I'll be back in an hour." I think there is some rule that you can't go for more than 2 hours in a hospital without getting your blood pressure checked. The nice assistanty type person who addressed me as "Miss UTI" came over to let me know I hadn't been forgotten, and for good measure slapped a cuff on me.

I'm not sure I like blood pressure measurements any more than the BMI. They seem a little made up. My first one was either 124 or 136 over 70. My second reading was 113/90. I pretty much never have the diastolic go over 70 unless I've been sud.afed. Maybe it was because my arm was nearly asleep from my reading position and the blood was rushing back in. I did get to see the oxygen level in that appendage go from 80% to 100% during the course of the measurement. At any rate, I made good inroads into the very long "The Red Lion's Daughter" by Loretta Chase, and it was engrossing enough to take my mind off my troubles at least a little. Long enough for the assistanty lady to come back with a prescription, a horse pill that seems to have taken the edge off, and some discharge papers.

So that was 3 hours of my life for $25/hour out of pocket, but it was reassuring to know that I had something they could give a generic treatment for without hardly thinking about it. I just don't know how I got it, certainly not from my sex life. I'm glad I went. Because as much as I'm into making my own medicine, Listerine wasn't up to the task this time. I know when to call in the big guns.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Productivity Enhancement

I've been thinking for some time now that I would be a better employee if I took a longer lunch and used it for some exercise. Granted, this would only work if I did the exercise and didn't use it as an excuse to read and perhaps nap. Exercise early in the morning tends to make me tired and cranky, but later in the day I can get quite a little pep out of it. I got my chance to prove myself right today.

During the summer months we tend to have extra power outages. It was the same when I worked in Boston - someone would dig in their back yard, a squirrel becomes a nice short between wires, someone blows up a manhole, and the electrical power will glitch. This might be a brief flicker or it might be a distinct on/off. Often this lasts less than a second, usually less than five seconds. Today the power went off in this whole end of town for 2 hours. It wasn't even that hot out, just a steady 82*F or so. Oddly, the streetlights were all still on, which is different from my Cambridge experience, but everything else was out cold. Even the "In and Out" was closed, fortunately only at the tail end of the lunch rush.

When stuff like this happens, the power hungry industries in the area like us and Am.gen get a friendly call from the power company. Today they called and said that a substation went down but they weren't sure which substation. With no power, we have no exhaust and after a long downtime, the airhandlers need to be on for a while before we can re-enter the cleanroom. With no idea how long we'd be down, I got the green light to go home for a couple hours and come back an hour after the power came back on.

If I have a couple hours on a weekend that isn't scheduled up, I can totally piss it away like there are infinite tomorrows. But when I have an unexpected couple hours free and an agenda on a beautiful day like today, I get my poop in a group and get stuff done. I drove home to find the power ON in my section of town - usually I get glitches when work gets glitches so I was pleasantly surprised by this. In 2 hours I:
  • Got the car washed
  • walked over to the local jeweler and had them tighten the settings on a couple loose stones in some rings that have been bugging me.
  • got the next laundry load washing and the next dryer load drying
  • went swimming for exercise and didn't just float
  • snuck in about 10 pages of a book while I drip dried from the swimming
  • showered and got back to work

For the swim, I did use the condo pool not the gym's lap pool. So 16+ laps in that turned out to be about a 400yd swim, or a quarter mile. Respectable as more than zero and I felt at the end like I had a lot more go in me (it was a good warm up and got the blood moving) but I knew I had to get back to work as the recall call had been made shortly before I got wet.

I came back to work, dispositioned my lots affected by the power outage (no scrap, thank goodness), and I'm now waiting around to see if the night shift needs me for anything but it's looking like I'm free to go. I *had* planned to do some experiments this afternoon but that got canned because all my tools use cryo pumps that have a four hour regen/recovery cycle after a long power down condition after which they still have to be requalified. We should be back up and running around midnight/2am but I'm not going to be doing my test runs then, even if production would let me.

It seems odd to feel so good about a day that went so horribly wrong. But it's one of those "there was nothing I could do" situations that I won't let stress me out. I couldn't even get into my office for most of those 2 hours to do presentation prep work so I don't even feel guilty about that - or about this blog entry because I'm the last one here. And I think using my "meh" early afternoon hours to exercise every once in a while might be something I can talk to my boss about - see if she'll let me do that once or twice a week. As long as I stay on task and really hit the gym it might be just the right thing to do for maximum productivity enhancement.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

She Bop Bibimbop

I finally got a date. It was fun-ish. But no magic happened. I can see this guy being kind of a buddy, but I'm not looking for another buddy. Although we'll probably go to Magic Mountain to ride rollercoasters. We seem to enjoy similar activities and attitudes toward driving. And I drove rather a long way for this date. I like driving, and I learned a new and less traffic-ful route or two so that's all good. But we went out of our way, even from his place, to go to this mini-golf and go-kart racing place that was not much better than the gol.f-n-s.tuff near me. I was not thrilled with the quality of the venue.

They had two golf courses in equal states of disrepair with worn out and lumpy astroturf and hole cups that weren't secured or level and a couple of times actively prevented scoring on a solid shot. I got better toward the end, he got lazier (he had amazing aim, when he barely tried). I should have known when they asked us if we wanted a scorecard. Uh, yeah? But this course rewarded crap shoots, not solid play. The primary difficulty encountered was holes that sloped uphill. Any time you were even a little off, the ball came back. The second major obstacle was shooting the ball off the green through the step-through to the sidewalk. These kinds of holes don't allow you to get progressively closer to the hole, and punish out of proportion to the crime and are not fun for me, even when I do well on them. We alternated between 2 and 6 shots on holes of this type. I sort-of-kind-of won because the holes became ridiculous and my lucky shots were better than his lucky shots.

We went out around 1pm and the courses were empty. We picked one. We got to hole 3 and a dad with a cyborg blackberry earpiece and 3 young boys started on the same track. They would basically tee off in a big pile and keep shuffling their balls along en route while jumping over each other and shoving a bit until they got balls in the hole. They almost whacked each other in the head but never quite managed it. They played fast as a result of having different rules than us. We tried to let them play through at hole 6 because son#2 would tee up on our hole before we were close to done. Dad occasionally held him back from this, but it was extra super annoying to be talking to someone and not enjoy it because there was a pile (literally) of oblivious boys on our heels swinging golf clubs too close for comfort on an otherwise empty course. Dad stalled them for a while, but we finally forced them around at hole 13, which was another uphill hole that they completed in about 5 seconds using the putters as pushsticks. At any rate, being "in the way" after a fashion made me all nervy. But I think we had a good time with it. And he got a kick out of my shade hat which is this floppy straw thing I plucked out of the Cache Creek last summer.

Ok, I've now spent more column inches on the rascally boys than on my date. I think he claimed to be 5'8" to my 5'9" but I'm guessing 5'6" is closer to the truth. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't want height to matter to me, but it kind of does. My mental meter for "normal guy height" is 6'2" thanks to growing up in the nordic midwest. Boston and LA are not good places to meet men this tall. (Although I did get a wink today from a 6'7" guy who likes to type "u" for you.) But what it comes down to is when we got all hot and sweaty from standing in unrelieved sun on concrete next to go kart fumes, I didn't get the urge to wipe his sweat away.

I wasn't keen on the expensive and bad deep fried food offerings at the place so we headed over toward the nearby mall and ran across a rash of korean and vietnamese places. After ascertaining that they didn't cook with something he's allergic to, and none of the side dishes had something I was allergic to...
date with Korean side dishes
I got bibimbop because it has a great name and is basically a bowl of veggies on rice in a hot stone bowl.
bibimbop veggie rice bowlHe got chicken bbq because it's safe and reliably tasty. I really liked the radish side dish. He was relieved to eat with someone who didn't mock his allergies. I do think that his food allergies are rather inconsistent with my palate. If he was the great love of my life, I'd work around it, but I'd rather not. Even if he was a very good sport about going into some unknown place where only one employee spoke functional English.

We went back after lunch to ride go-karts. There's a cool place in Boston that does F1 kart racing that's really fun. This was not like that - they put any ol' person in the driver seat, offered no instructions (no "here's the gas, here's the brake"), didn't have any safety briefing beyond making sure the seatbelt harness was fastened properly, and the cars were not running on all - well they probably had only one cylinder. More than one string of cars had someone just crash in from behind when they were unloading. I didn't mind not gearing up in someone else's sweaty helmet, though. If I keep trying kart racing, I'm going to have to figure out how to keep the momentum going around curves because losing badly is not so fun.

I picked up the tab on this since he'd done the golf and lunch. We then waited in line for too long and got the cars just before refueling so we got stopped on the track while someone in our heat changed out a car that had run dry. Then I couldn't figure out how to get my car to keep speed after the turns. I would get up to someone then be unable to pass them as they sped away and my car sputtered. It was probably a combination of running on fumes and me cranking the wheel too hard because I couldn't pass someone the same size as me, then got gently bonked out of the way by the date and got passed by the whole crowed before my car made it back up to speed despite my flooring it the entire time. That was kind of a bust entertainment wise due to frustration although the date liked it well enough. I got to go 80-85 on the way back in my lovely Mazda though which made up for a lot.

We stopped for a drink, or rather ice cream, on the way back, then took surface roads (First to Alvarado to Sunset to Hollywood Blvd) back to his place where I dropped him off. I was pretty done by then and just wanted to come home and shower. Or go for a hike. So I got back to town, went over to the hiking path I know and found out the gate was getting locked in 15 minutes. I drove around a bit and found a little place to walk and get a view but the ground was chewed up like things lived underfoot that could bite me so I went home. And made my last avocado, cucumber, tomato, arugula, corn, jicama salad for a while. And did some laundry. Yay. I finally have a date and I feel "blah". But my brother called to chat about Firefly and tell tell how I should have told him it was only $20 for the whole season, so that was fun. I think it's a sign that this was not a love connection when the highlights of my day didn't have a lot to do with my date.

Flake Boy:
  • Pro:
    Game for weird food and cheesy activities, can keep his end of the conversation going, knows his way around LA, didn't hate my driving.
  • Con:
    Not feeling the chemistry, has food allergies to things I consider staples (mushrooms, corn, nuts), talked a lot about his bisexual ex-girlfriends (why? to prove he had some?), about working to get over his aggressive tendencies from his bad home life, and high school for some reason.
  • Overall:
    Would be fun to go to Magic Mountain with, maybe. But did not light my fire. I might not even do Magic Mountain because the perfect recipe for my future failed relationships is "He was interested; I was bored."

Saturday, July 14, 2007


So flake boy is back and emailed me. I'll see if he's still up for some mini-golf in the morning. But that got me thinking and surfing the match website on a fine saturday night because I don't have a date. A lot of hot guys have signed up recently! It was worth it just for the pictures. I emailed a half dozen to see if I get any replies. What I find hard to believe is that my portrait has been viewed 152 times and I've got 1, count 'em, ONE actual date out of it, and that one date has been canceled twice so far.

People offer the advice of "oh it's just a numbers game" but WTF is going wrong? I don't have numbers to play games with! Maybe flake boy will work out, but I'm not going to pin my hopes on him yet. I don't need to date 8 guys simultaneously, but if I'm to sort the wheat from the chaff, I need a little chaff to work with.

I've thought about revising my profile again but I don't know how I'd change it! It says what I'd like to say and what I think someone who will like me would like to read. I'm not saying it can't be improved on, but seriously, am I so hideous that 152 guys find me not to their taste? So much that they won't risk meeting for a freaking beer? I like me, why don't they? Any and all advice appreciated.

I would say "I'm a nice person" but I'm not, really I just fake it better than most. I'm in pretty good shape but don't look like it. I'm strong. I'm independent. Some days I know what I'm doing. I mostly pay the bills on time. I'm an engineer yet literate. I'm an artist. I love doing things outdoors if I have a buddy. I'm all the things guys say they want except skinny, so I'm started to get a little cranky about this whole thing. The magic that is me also has some special skills that could be put to good use, if only someone would get past whatever it is that's putting them off and take me on a date or three.

Maybe I should use some of that "I'm everything most guys say they want except skinny so put your money where your mouth is and buy me a drink. If you're lucky and I like you enough, you'll get my mouth where your mouth is." I'm so annoyed right now I'm tempted to try it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Cherries Have Hit!

I'm not sure what this means but it's what my mom just said. It finished with, "Gotta go, I'll call you ba.." We were on the phone because she called to tell me about these wonderful Bing Cherries she just scored. They are apparently wonderful specimens of cherry goodness. So wonderful that she bought a "lug" of them. "What are your father and I going to do with eighteen pounds of cherries?" she asked me. Well, sixteen now.

A friend from the library where she works suggested freezing them. "The horror!" you say. Frozen cherries don't thaw well! You don't want to pit and stem that many cherries! No problem. The friend says, give them a rinse, pat them dry, freeze them and eat them frozen as cherrycicles. So mom was doing the test run as she called and says they are fantastic. I know it works great with seedless grapes. Once I have a real freezer, I'll have to try it. Because I love cherries. It seems I come by it honestly.


More on taste buds.
So here's the thing. Counting taste buds (fungiform papillae) is difficult. The food coloring stains everything and varies every time I close my mouth. I can scrunch my tongue up or widen it out flat. So I can get whatever number I want assuming I can hold still and not swallow long enough to count. Which I can't. On my third attempt, I'm now suspecting "normal taster" numbers of 25 or so taste buds. Apparently last night I was counting the non-tasting filiform papillae which are the things that make a cat's tongue rough - we have them but they're less strong.

Considering that I have a "yowza" reaction to Pale Ales (OMG how can someone consume something that painful?) yet I can watch 40 other people in a bar call that beer smooth and refreshing, I've got to be more sensitive to bitter whether or not that makes me a supertaster. I dislike the flavor of coffee so much I have no idea if it's due to bitterness. I can't even eat Tiramisu because it's ruined with coffee. I had an amazing amaretto Tiramisu once that made me think I'd found the love that other people show for the kahlua version.)

Some articles pointed out that supertasters overreact to sweet also, and can sense fat levels in foods. Does the fact that whole milk, aka 4% fat, feels like drinking wallpaper paste mean I'm a supertaster or just that I've been acclimated to 1-2% milk since I was two? In my first foray into the south I ordered the "sweet tea" they pride themselves on and could not gag down more than a sip of the sugar water with brown color in it. I can only eat a kiddie sized ice cream cone before it's too much. I don't eat fudge at all - one bite is enough to literally feel "full" of that item. I prefer light and airy cakes - dense fudgy ones are not to my taste because of the fudge thing. I've never liked cream cheese even in the form of cheesecake. (shudder!) All these things seem consistent with the supertasting, but it may be that I'm just picky. It's hard to describe relational sensation experiences - how do I know if something I feel is "normal", more than or less than what you feel? It's the only thing I know. Unless I get someone less invested in the outcome to count tastebuds for me, or try a tab of PROP, my tasting status may remain a mystery.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Garlic Rockets

Three things that made me happy today, with addenda:
  1. My cucumber, arugula, avocado, cherry tomato, sweet corn, and bok choi dinner salad with balsamic vinaigrette seasoned with celery and oregano leaves, salt, and garlic. Those who know my food preferences will be surprised by the inclusion of raw tomato because in the ordinary way of things, I don't like raw tomatoes. But thanks to some new genetic variants, there are a couple kinds of small cherry and grape tomatoes that don't have the vile bitter acid I find so repellent in most tomatoes.

    This acid's not just something in the seed slime, but endemic to the whole tomato. It cooks out meaning that I like almost every form of cooked tomato, and dislike almost every raw tomato. Except for this most tasty variety that has no name but comes labeled "sweet cherry tomato" from the Japanese lady who sells me curly cucumbers. I buy the curly cukes because I get more per dollar for them being tricky to cut.

  2. Microwaved garlic cloves will spin like a Catherine wheel when nuked on high power for 15-20 seconds. Whee! Try it! They can then be put into a dinner salad tasting more of baked garlic than raw, which I find on the bitter side. You might be noticing a theme.

    I've often wondered if I'm a "supertaster" because I'm extremely averse to bitter foods. I find coffee, raw tomatoes, tonic water, cooked spinach, cooked cabbage, cooked brussels sprouts, and until very recently, dark chocolate, largely inedible. (Stir-fried "cooked" are fine, but stewed, UGH! I love mattar paneer but cannot get near saag paneer.) I eat grapefruit regardless, and I can personally taste a lot of sweet in broccoli.

    I would love to get ahold of some PROP to check it out because I tried to count my taste buds and came up with about nine, but I'm pretty sure I'm at least a normal taster so I must have gotten the methodology wrong somehow - "non-tasters" have fewer than 15. And in searching for links I just found a picture of tongues in each category and mine looks more like the normal/super tongue. (If only I could mention my super tongue on match without attracting the skeevy types.)

    UPDATE: I checked out my tongue last night with a little ring of paper and once I knew better what to look for after checking the pictures which is that I have a few giant taste buds and a lot of little skinny ones (which I had previously discounted) - I counted about 50 in my 7mm circle which is way more than 35. So yep. Supertaster. This is why I brew my tea for about 45 seconds with not-quite-boiling water rather than 3-5 minutes with a rolling boil - that extra heat and time leaches out bitterness (tannins?) that I cannot enjoy.

  3. Books! Only a few more weeks until Suz Brockmann's Force of Nature hits shelves.
    Force of Nature cover art I'm still totally sucked into my Serenity screen play book with color glossy photos but that will end soon. To tide myself over I hit up the border's today for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes pretty TUMF book cover (found in "Summer Reading" not Romance), got suckered in by the 4 for 3 sale, and also picked up a copy of the new Icky Thump. I'm trying to decide whether or not to hit up the pre-Potter ball the bookstore is throwing. I think it would be kind of fun. Anyone want to join me? Say yes before I add more gratuitous links to this blog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It gets worse before it gets better

I went to the dermatologist today. What I learned is that almost any skin condition can be cured with a blast of LN2, otherwise known as liquid nitrogen. It's something like their big hammer that makes many skin issues resemble nails. Got some flaky skin? LN2! Got a wart? LN2! Got a lump of scar tissue? LN2! The "worse before better" part is that anything you hit with the liquid nitrogen will then blister like a 2nd degree burn. Funnily enough their other trick is to actually burn things with a miniature, pin-sized arc welder which has the added advantage of cauterizing.

Luckily I have a home remedy for blisters and none of my particular skin issues are pre-cancerous, just ugly. Since I had 2 lumps of scar tissue, a flaky bit of skin and a red bump, I now have 4 band-aids over cotton balls soaked in a blend of wintergreen alcohol and witch hazel placed strategically about. And if I need to repeat the LN2 treatment I just have to devise a targeting mechanism and go behind my sputter tool for a short while. Ok, that's not clean so I wouldn't. But still, now that I know the process I'm pretty sure I can do it myself with over the counter stuff you use to freeze gum out of carpets. For the record, a damp cotton ball coated with salt worn overnight on a wart will eventually make it go away. It will also salt the bejezus out of your bedsheets for a month or two - some home remedies have downsides like that.

Well, I need to upload some pictures from the lovely wedding since I mentioned I'd do it last night. And no "I'll do that after I watch the last disc of "Firefly" either because we know how that turned out: lots of Firefly, no uploading.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Mounds is NOT a Sprinkle.

Once again, the date flaked. I was geared up for mini golf and go kart racing but he was a no show. Family emergency. Um. Ok, can't really argue with that.

So I snatched a book club friend from her apartment and made her go with me to the Kwik-E-Mart for Slushies and a (very fresh, right off the truck) donut with pink icing and sprinkles (jimmies for you Boston folk). Thanks go to my friends in, ahem, Seattle, for letting me know about this event near where I live. If I get less lazy, I'll post my own pics, or you can follow the link and imagine a line of humanity out the door to the right. I was kind of surprised that the security guard keeping the number of people in the store to some pre-set maximum wasn't wearing a badge saying "Wiggum", but my check out clerk was Indian and had an accent. Well worth bopping over to see for any Simpson's fan.

Took a lazy day today and enjoyed it. Read by the pool, swam a bit, and watched another few episodes of Firefly. People told me I'd like this series, but I was skeptical of the glowing reviews based on previous experience with glowing reviews. But it's fantastic. Excellent characterization, the relationships are wonderful, plots and situations are fun, costuming is great, well acted by a cast who worked as a whole... I don't know why it's not more popular than Star Wars (by which I refer only to the original 3 movies). So to everyone who said I'd like Firefly, yes, you told me so. I have seen the light. And for the record, I'm going with the savoring plan, at least a little.

Fitness Fest

Took a roadtrip down to San Diego with some book club friends who also use the BodyRev. Had a great time. Met Alden, tried some fitness stuff, and went to my favorite bakery, Con Pane, for lunch. You can read about it here. There are pictures with faces which is why I'm not posting it here directly.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Five Elements Energy

The last two days have been interesting - in a good way. The two day work week is odd yet I kind of like them once in a while as a way to ease back into work. But what's more interesting for me is that my first thought on leaving work isn't when I can sleep again, but what I can get done. I just wish I was better able to self gauge how low is too low to let slide so I don't regress into huge energy crashes. The last few months have had many happy moments, but there has been a distinct lack of energy in my life that is only hugely obvious after its fixed.

The recent average day for me goes a little something like this:
Go to work, eat lunch, email and do busy work for an hour or more until my food coma ends, get an energy burst around 3pm and really get going on a project just at the end of the day so I work an extra hour because I'm into it and I killed that hour after lunch. Then I go home, fight sleep, change into workout clothes, think about how much I want to lay down, may or may not exercise, make something to eat and fall asleep at 7 or 8 only to wake up again at 11 awake enough to email or blog, but not coherent enough to organize bill payments, move furniture, or make decisions generally.

Compare and contrast that with:
Yesterday I got some stuff done at work, left on time, then hit up the farmers' market (with the best view!) and bankrupted myself on fresh veggies. I then had energy to wash and prep all the veggies for eating, make dinner, watch disc two of Firefly, do a little exercise, and set up a date.

Today, I got some experiments going, got my 2nd hep B immunization dose, helped document some past experiments for a summary, contacted a vendor about equipment issues, printed out directionss for tomorrow, left work on time, got my box mail, got the car cleaned and gassed, bought a car organizer for the big maps and installed it, touched up paint where someone scratched the driver's side at lunch, returned a ladder and stayed to chat for an hour and a bit, tried out a neighborhood sushi place (average, but proximity is great and they serve the edamame hot), then washed the teva stink off my chaco sandals. I'm trying to decide now between putting in a new firefly disc (devouring pace) or watching the first episode on this disc with the commentary (savoring pace). I also want to rev a little, read a few more pages of Cathy Mann's latest and write up my to-do list for tomorrow - energy or no energy, I don't think or remember well in the AM so I have to write things down before bed.

Anyhow, like those few miracle days from a few weeks past, it was lovely to have energy at and after work. I'm starting to feel tired enough now that I should probably just do the to-do list and read until I sleep after I finish this entry. Oh, and download my vacation pics after the camera battery charges. But 10:30pm is a reasonable time to be tired, even if Blink 182 is blaring "Ready to Drive all Night" from the cheap speakers I've hooked into the iPod.

Whether this energy boost is due to seeing my 'peeps' again or the comfort of my vacationing in a mostly familiar space or the visit to my long time acupuncturist or being a little time shifted or all of the above, I'll take it with gratitude.


I also want to mention that I'm a "make my own medicine" girl whenever possible. One reason why I like acupuncture is that it has the "make the body do the work itself" vibe that corresponds with my preferences. (That and it works.) I like home remedies bases on relatively benign things. Meat tenderizer with papain for mosquito bites is a favorite. Sinus Rinse is great for this being water buffered by salt and baking soda yet prevents me from needing antibiotics. Snot and swelling prevention might not be the best segue into the use of household chemicals in new and wonderful ways but it's what I've got.

I read in the recent Cooks Illustrated that rinsing berries in 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water, then rinsing in fresh water and spinning dry will keep off the mold if you want the berries to last for a couple extra days in the fridge. I tried it and then devoured all my berries in 24 hours. So it might work for that, but I can't say. Expanding on the theme, I also tried it on my veggies yesterday like baby bok choi, green beans, and cucumbers. I like to rinse and prep my veggies as much as possible when they come in so they are easy snacks or ready to cook with. So far everything still looks good.

And with the versatile vinegar, I've also dosed the Chacos with it after giving them a good scrubbing with concentrated This combination seems to keep the stink away longest and I'm wearing them to meet my online fitness coach tomorrow, and I don't want my strongest impression to be of feet.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Smooth Sailing

I've made it back home with all my bags and my car. The vacation was lovely, the weather was perfect, the friends were all friendly and available, the food was tasty, the flights were smooth, the roads were clear. That was just about the most perfect week ever. It was smooth enough so that I'm wondering what disaster is looming in the near future. But for now, I'm just going to be very, very thankful for such a fine week. Not to mention grateful. I'm not really used to things working out so smoothly - it makes me a little nervous. It could be that I used up all the angst in the prep work so that the karma is still balanced.

The trip worked out like this. For all you blog readers who claimed you'd enjoy reading a list I wrote, here's your chance to find out.
  • Thursday: Wake up at 1am, panic for a while, get bills paid, pack, go to work, fly to Boston.
  • Friday: Arrive in Boston, have dinner with friends, nap on couch, have lunch with work friends, go shopping.
  • Saturday: Get cool haircut, have brunch with friends, go to friends' wedding with friends.
  • Sunday: Go hiking with friends, have lunch, help friend's husband unpack U-Haul, go for beer and burger after.
  • Monday: Sleep in late, meet for late lunch with friends, close Boston bank account, get drinks from Diesel in Davis, go to acupuncture, veg out for the evening, have dinner with host friend, watch "Stranger than Fiction." (Thumbs up)
  • Tuesday: Get up earlyish, pick up friend and head to Sandwich, meet more friends and feed pirrahna like trout at hatchery, have lobster roll for lunch, practice juggling, give rides in the hybrid with the motor off, check out a glass shop, head to Provincetown, take in the scenery, see the Gold Dust Orhphan's drag queen theater show, head back and make it in record time.
  • Wednesday: Pack, meet with friends and see their now very large 2yr old and his frisbee "hats/caps", meet with other friends on their daughter's first birthday, see their new pooch, mooch some excellent bacon wrapped steak, and head for the airport. Fly back on a mostly empty plane, sleep across three seats for a few hours, check out the country from above, watch the streetlights flicker into existence, the fireworks start to flare up, and get home with no fuss. Unpack, watch Firefly episodes 2 and 3, and get to bed.

It was a lovely vacation. It was a little strange because it felt more like vacationing at home than it ever did to go back to my parent's house. But it was still vacation and not how I would live daily life there. And I'm still happy I moved here, although it was so comfortable to hang out with my Boston friends that I know I will miss them all over again.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What can Brown do for you?

For one thing, Brown University can be a lovely setting for a wedding. And when they decide to remodel your reception area shortly beforehand, they can substitute an even better venue that looks like the Hogwarts great room. Saturday was a lovely day for a wedding - hot but not too hot, dry, and pleasant.

My friend got married in a lovely ceremony of decent length, mostly non-religious, but with some Quaker and Jewish elements. (This is my 2nd Q&J wedding, for the record.) The bride is an identical twin, so when the very similar looking maid of honor walked down the aisle, a college buddy said, "False Bride" and the people who were there as significant others looked a little confused. But it was all sorted out when the bride arrived in a stunning dress that she got off eBay for $50. And we beheld the lovliness of the bride, the wedding party in their finery, and the backdrop of classic Ivy League scenic campus.

The reception had some of the best food. There were 4 partial-service buffet stations with 2 serving meat and 2 serving veggie so there was little waiting. Although we did let the family go first. There was baked garlic broccoli rabe, goat cheese stuffed portabella mushrooms, build your own salad, other stuff, purple potatoes (I'm inordinately fond of purple potatoes), and chicken and tuna. There was no big cake cutting ceremony, but they laid out several kinds of cakes and dessert bars. Speaking of bars, they had all the Sam's Summer, Guinness, and Hoegaarden one could drink, or some wine. I didn't actually get pics of the food but just think, 'tasty' and you'll get the idea.

I was at the "work friends" table and we had fun stories to share and good food to eat, good drinks to drink... This would be a much improved entry were I set up to show some pictures. I'll try to do that when I get home, but we'll see. Being ultimate frisbee buffs, the wedding giveaway was a memorial frisbee. And I got a great shot of the bride and groom making a decision shortly into the happy hour with the traditional frisbee method of roshambo - or rock-paper-scissors for the rest of us. Very "them."

I had a lovely ride down with one set of friends, and the friend I'm staying with had offered to come to Providence to pick me up. But it started to look like he wouldn't get there before the reception wound down, so another set of friends (that I like but don't know as well as they were new to boston shortly before I moved) offered a ride partway back. Then miraculously, or due to a couple of cousins determinedly staying on the dance floor, the dancing picked up and I left the reception 15 minutes later than I'd originally planned to get picked up. It was fun dancing to the mix that included ska and the ramones, but there had been a wonderful 40's swing band for most of the happy hour and reception. I somehow missed dancing to them - partly because my feet in borrowed shoes said "no", and they started packing up when I finally got my spare shoes. But partly because time passed really quickly.

Sunday, I met my good friend and her son and got to meet her girlfriend for the first time. GF seems nice and at ease with them both. Despite having spent the previous day walking around in the sun on the Harbor Islands, they joined us for a hike up Prospect Hill, upper and lower, to get a panoramic view of Boston. I had found some age appropriate books for her son, and it was all we could do to get him to leave them in the car while we hiked. We promptly undid all the good exercise by eating onion rings and sausages at the Skellig (the bigger Burren).

After a nap, we headed over to Brookline to help a friend unload a U-haul. It's my high school friend's husband and he started today at Harvard Med doing something post-doc-equivalent thing for a year. (At the same hospital GF works at :) She's following in a week or few with their kids, he has the cats. We got his stuff inside, reassured him that a 3 bedroom place near a T stop with 1.5 baths, in-unit laundry, and a dishwasher is quite the coup, returned the trailer, and had a nice wind down at the Sunset Grill. He quite enjoyed perusing the beer menu and thinks my friend will like the place too.

As for today, I got to see my acupuncturist and that was lovely as I'd been going to her for >5 years (before moving) and she kept me functional, and I like talking with her. We did a fair bit of driving around today so I decided to reschedule this evening's visit for wednesday morning so we can sit back and watch movies or play video games. And exercise. A 10 lb barbell is not the same as a body rev, but I'm giving it a fair shot at trying.

Tomorrow we head for the cape, sandwich glass shops, and drag queen theater. After all my pre-trip panic, this is working out marvelously well. It helps that my host with the car is pretty much mine to command for the week, so there are no competing schedules. (Except, maybe, for computer time). And I think having a short time makes me more decisive, and I had a list of people to see. In some ways it was very easy, and in other ways, it makes me realize that I'm headed back to a wonderful place where there's no one that I regularly get to eat dinner with. So I'm cramming in a couple months worth of dinners and we'll see how that holds me.