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topaz: (respect the bike)
So [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth and I rode from Boston to Provincetown on Saturday, on a tandem bike borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and [livejournal.com profile] dilletante.

What happened?

  • Tandems are way cool. Everyone we rode with seemed to be cheered up just having a tandem on the road. We became known to the rest of the riders, and later, by apparently random people in Provincetown, as "those crazy tandem people."
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth did not keel over and die from biking on her broken ankle.
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth actually finished in way better shape than I did.  By the end of the ride, she was doing the bulk of the hard cranking.
  • [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth is clearly a mutant who has supernormal healing powers and possibly an adamantium endoskeleton.
  • Good bike fit is really important.  Really really important. Like, as important as you thought it was, and then more important than that.  I did an okay job of sizing the tandem to me, but "okay" is not good enough, especially for a trip like this.  I finished the ride with severe numbness in the ring and little fingers of both hands, and profoundly diminished gripping strength.  Right now I can barely turn a key in a lock, put on my socks, or write my name.  Calling the doctor first thing in the morning.
  • As important as it is to wear sunscreen, for the love of god remember not to wear it on your face. Because then when you start sweating, it melts and trickles down your forehead into your eyes, and it stings and you can't see and THAT WILL MAKE YOU DIE.
I have many many heroes today, but especially [livejournal.com profile] keyne and kids for their love and ongoing support of my madness, [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and [livejournal.com profile] dilletante for the loan of their contraption and for invaluable technical advice, [livejournal.com profile] soong and [livejournal.com profile] sandhawke for sharing their homes (sometimes unexpectedly), [livejournal.com profile] bubblebabble and [livejournal.com profile] bitty for sharing their home and for gamely going along with our insane plans, [livejournal.com profile] inseriatim for repaying the favor and registering me when I started acting lame, and [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth for being such an amazing, untiring, perpetually upbeat and inspiring ride partner.  This life is sometimes an amazing place to be.
topaz: (Default)

John, Ellen, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
Ellen: "After you've done that, Dad will take you out and show you where the compost pile is."

Morgan: ...

Morgan: "Why?"

Ellen: "So then you can take the compost out!"

Morgan (dubiously): "Why would I want that?"

Me: "It's all the rage!  Everybody loves the compost pile!"

Morgan: "Great.  You do it."

Me: "I already do it.  I just like sharing the wealth."

Morgan: "I don't want your millions, mister."
topaz: (dream avatar)
There are three things in particular that I feel especially thankful for this year.

I'm thankful that, after so many years and so much work, we get to spend Thanksgiving at Mosaic Commons.  I love spending this day cooking and socializing with friends and family, and I love it even more now that taking a break from dinner prep means going for a stroll and stopping in at friends' houses for a glass of wine and to wish them a happy holiday.  It's amazing what a difference it makes.

I'm thankful that at this time, this year, [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I are in a much better place than we have been in a long time.  We are doing much better at working with and communicating with each other about the hard stuff of life, and I'm incredibly grateful for the work that we have done to get here.

And I'm thankful for my friends.  I'm always thankful for my friends, but I'm not accustomed to leaning on them.  Lately things have been really hard for me, and I've found myself leaning on you a lot, and it's given me a chance to discover just what an amazing, thoughtful, resourceful, brilliant band of brigands you are.

So this is me.  Giving you my thanks.  And if for any reason you think I'm not talking about you.... you're wrong.  I mean you, too.
topaz: (strawberry)
"The next time I pick a complicated recipe without knowing where everything is in my kitchen, just shoot me, okay?"

This message has been brought to you by the department of improvised parchment paper, wax paper, fine mesh strainer, and wire drying racks.

P.S. Beth, you'll get the parchment paper and wax paper back first thing in the morning, I promise!
P.P.S. No, I didn't take anything else!  Honest!

turning 39

Nov. 13th, 2009 12:35 am
topaz: (birthday)
So I had this birthday.  And a really, really lovely birthday it was, with highlights including:
  • Surprise visit and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth in the morning
  • Surprise visit and gifts from [livejournal.com profile] chaiya in the morning
  • Long lunch and great conversation with [livejournal.com profile] ectophylla 
  • Surprise birthday dinner and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne, Mom, Dad and the kids
  • Lots of post-dinner visits from the neighbors to help polish off as much of the cake as possible.
The funniest part:

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth was a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting.

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne and [livejournal.com profile] npierce was.... a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate glaze.

I think I may be getting predictable.

But enough of that.  Here's what matters.  All day long, I ran into people at every turn who were conspiring to make sure I had a good day.  And wow, apparently I needed that more than anything.

Thanks and love to you all.  You are my rockstars.
topaz: (Quinn - holding breath)
Quinn: Do you know what I'm going to get for Christmas?  A box of TOOLS!

Me: You're what?

Quinn: With an AXE and a SAW!

Me: Exactly how do you think this is going to happen?

Quinn: I'm going to put it on my list!  And Santa knows what you want!

Ellen: Quinn, you already have a toy axe and saw.

Quinn: I mean a REAL one.

Ellen and me: ...

Quinn: And batteries!  And a CHAINSAW!

Ellen: Has daddy been showing you The Shining?
topaz: (dream avatar)
Meme from many people.  Cute!

1. They are watching TV. What are they watching?

These days?  Either the Olympics, election-night news coverage, or there's been a natural disaster somewhere in the world.

2. You're out to eat. What kind of dressing do they get on their salad?

Poppy seed vinaigrette!

3. What's one food this person doesn't like? What's one food this person could not live without?

She will not abide by fennel (among other things) but cannot live without chile peppers.

4. You go out to the bar. He/she orders...

A caipirinha.

5. What size shoe do they wear?

Oh god, I don't think I even know what size women's shoes come in.  A women's ten?

6. If this person were to collect anything, it would be...

I bet it would be Celtic crosses.

7. What is their favorite type of sandwich?

This person is not especially fond of the "sandwich" food group.  I think the closest thing to a favorite sandwich is a gyro.  Does that count?

8. This person could eat ______ every day.

Thai chicken basil.  No doubt about that one.

9. Favorite cereal?

I'm going to guess frosted shredded wheat?  See "sandwich" above.

10. This person wouldn't be caught dead wearing?

Stripes with plaids.

11. Favorite sports team?

The Red Sox, but only barely. :-)

12. Who will he/she vote for?

Obama.  She only voted for McCain once before, and that was in a bid to keep W from getting the Republican nomination in 2000. :-)

13. What is their sign?

Uh-oh.  Taurus?

16. How many states has this person lived in?

More than I can count.  She was a military brat.

17. What is his/her heritage?

Mostly German peasantry.

18. You bake them a cake for their birthday. What kind do you bake?

I do not bake them a cake.  I learned that lesson. :-)

19. The CD I would probably find in their vehicle is...

Well, technically none, since none of our vehicles has a working CD player at this point.  But when we last did, some of the standards included the Dixie Chicks, the Indigo Girls, and Garth Brooks.

20. What can you do that will guarantee a laugh from him/her?

That's hard to define.  I often seem to be able to find the punchline that sets her off laughing, but don't really know how I get there.

21. Does he/she get along well with their family?

Fairly well with her father and her father's relatives.  Not at all with her mother (but still has some strong ties to her mother's cousins).  Lots of minefields there.

22. If money wasn't an option, I would buy him/her...

A pied à terre!
topaz: (arrr!)
I do not say this nearly often enough, so on this day in particular I want to express my deep love and gratitude for my life partner [livejournal.com profile] keyne.  For many reasons, of course, not including her love and support and patience with my many quirks, but for one reason especially that is on my mind right now:

She does the taxes so's I don't have to.

Great guns almighty, you rock, babe.



Apr. 26th, 2006 09:41 pm
topaz: (dream avatar)

Originally uploaded by qwrrty.
Tuesday was our thirteenth anniversary. [livejournal.com profile] keyne went to the Cheese Shop in Concord and asked for suggestions. They gave her Rooiola, which is a cheese made from goat, cow and sheep milk. There's so much milk in this cheese, they actually felt the need to write "CONTAINS: MILK" on it. (In the full-size picture you can just make out the words on the right side of the label.)

This is a remarkable cheese, not least because of its odor. Rooiola smells like a farm. Literally. If you have ever visited a working dairy farm, and gone to see the moo-cows, and stood by the fence or the pasture, pointed and said, "See, kids? Those are cows! Right there!" and watched them graze, smelling the earthy, muddy, damp cowness of the whole place -- that is precisely what this cheese smelled like when I held it up to my nose and inhaled.

Ellen knows just exactly what I like, bless her. Happy anniversary, babe!

(The flavor was about what you would expect from a blend of goat, cow and sheep's milk - very rich and buttery like a Camembert, with the tang of a sheep's-milk cheese and the crumbly-creamy texture of a goat cheese. It's a lovely food. But the scent is what really sets it apart.)
topaz: (cartoon)
We had an hour or so without the children on Saturday, and wanted to relax and play a game. We settled on UpWords, which is sort of like Scrabble except you get to change existing words by stacking tiles on top of each other.

"What do the rules say about legal words?" Ellen asked craftily. )
topaz: (Default)
For those who don't read [livejournal.com profile] keyne's journal, and also in response to [livejournal.com profile] fj's request for a story about a time when I took a leap of faith:

In November, 1993, [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I had fallen quite completely in love, while we were still inconveniently partnered with people who were, unfortunately, really just very wrong for us. During one particularly difficult night she called me up and said that she needed to know if I was as committed to this relationship as she was, and she needed to know immediately.

"Yes," I told her without hesitation. And in fact, just like that, it was true. Any residual nervousness or uncertainty I had before then was gone. Six weeks later I had moved out of my apartment and back home with my parents; by the following summer I was packing up the car and drove it out to Chicago.

On March 25, 1995, we even made it legal. And damned if it wasn't one of the best things I ever did.

Thanks, kiddo.
topaz: (cartoon)
Every now and then you've gotta have a good day.

Three times today, I solved someone else's knotty, hair-pulling problem so fast that it made them say, "Wow."

A co-worker found the elusive spare webcam that I'd been trying to locate for ages.

Tonight I have a hot date with a gorgeous redhead.

And today... just to cap it all off: )

Sometimes you've just gotta have a good day.
topaz: (Default)
I need a new job.

Actually, I don't. I love this job. I just need it to be located somewhere farther west.

When I started working at GameLogic a year ago, the official workday for the engineering department was a 10-hour day. That plus a commute that could get up to 90 minutes kept me out of the house for 12-13 hours a day. Earlier this year they brought the workday down to 9 hours, and I've managed to get the commute to just about an hour and fifteen minutes each way, so I'm usually home in less than 12 hours. But that's still a hell of a long time.

I can't keep it up. I can't keep leaving the house at 8:30 in the morning and getting home at 8pm. I'm barely getting home in time to get dinner for the kids and put them to bed (always late), to say nothing of spending any real time with them or with Ellen. I can't leave earlier without leaving Ellen high and dry about taking the kids to school. Relations between everyone at home are deteriorating. I really don't see it getting any better unless I can find a way to spend less time each day out of the house.

We've gone around and around at work about the number of hours I'm working, but really, given how long the commute is I think I'd have to get down to about a seven-hour workday in order to make it workable, and I don't see that happening.

Tomorrow I'll be having this conversation with my manager. In the meantime, I need to be thinking actively about a new job. Anybody with leads on a position for a Unix software engineer in the Boston metrowest area -- e.g. Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Burlington, Concord, Acton, Westford, etc. -- give me a holler, huh?


Sep. 8th, 2004 11:56 am
topaz: (frowny)
It's been kind of a stressy few days. The weekend was nice and relaxing, hanging out with just Quinn and my parents and not trying to get anything done. But in between getting ready for [livejournal.com profile] keyne's trip with Morgan, and the trip itself, and the aftermath, we kind of dropped the ball on preparing Morgan for going back to school. I somehow thought school was starting on Wednesday and didn't discover until late Monday night that it was the next morning. He seems to have dealt okay, but wow do I feel like the careless parent.

Plus, with all the mayhem it feels like E and I haven't gotten to spend much time together in the last week, which always makes me feel discombobulated.

Today it was grey and dingy when I woke up. The forecast said "showers" in Bedford and Cambridge, so I figured I'd go ahead with my usual ride to work, but when I got to Arlington it was more like "torrential downpour." Well, at least it was warm rain.

Then in Cambridge I got not one. But two. Flat tires. I changed the first while huddling under the eaves of a drugstore on Somerville Ave. The tire blew out again about a ten-minute walk from the office, so I'm going to have to figure out some time this afternoon what's up with it.

I don't want to jinx myself -- especially since I know this isn't true and I don't want to tempt fate -- but it really seems like things can't go anywhere but up from here today. I have swallowed the live frog of my destiny.
topaz: (Default)
Vacation is over and, alas, far too fleeting. [livejournal.com profile] keyne and the boys and I spent a few wonderful days in Maine. Pictures to come! I tried to take the boys up Mt. Tumbledown but didn't get very far. Morgan and Quinn and I got to do a bit of swimming. Morgan's still wearing his lifejacket but was able to swim all the way out to the float and back. Quinn is not swimming much, but he was alternately excited and scared by doing the "big SPLASH!" with me.

Home by Wednesday night, to put the boys back in day care and spend a couple of relaxing days with Ellen. Finally got to see Spider-Man 2 and Before Sunset, both of which are highly recommended.

I didn't do any biking at all. May not have been a good idea, as now my body has gotten accustomed to not doing 28 miles a day to and from work! I think we can get back into that pattern before long, though. :-)

And it's back to work. Very disagreeably.
topaz: (Quinn on shoulders)
Quick attempt at a recap before I fall over in bed.

Friday. After work, a marvelous date with [livejournal.com profile] weegoddess. Had planned to see Harry Potter on opening night, but that's a bit tricky when you can't plan far enough ahead to buy tickets in advance. Had a delightful time anyway, over dinner, walking through the public gardens at night and coffee at Caffe Bella.

And may I just say? REDHEADS. YUM.

Thank you.

Saturday. Took Morgan to the fire truck wash in the morning. The boy is getting jaded about the whole thing. When I suggested it, the first thing he said was, "Will there be snacks there, like last year?" When we got to the fire station, he immediately satisfied his craving for fruit punch and mini-muffins, then desultorily washed the pumper truck for about ten minutes before deciding he wanted to play hide and seek. Surely Quinn will have some interest next time, assuming he doesn't nap right through the whole thing again.

Later: took Morgan to his grandparents' for an overnight visit, went with [livejournal.com profile] keyne to [livejournal.com profile] tamidon's margarita party. BOY HOWDY was that a fun time. Many familiar and not-so-familiar faces... the most pleasant surprise being running into [livejournal.com profile] weegoddess again, of course.

Sunday. Took Quinn to join his brother at Bunny and Boppa's for lunch, so that [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I could get a much-needed date. We got off on the wrong foot in just about every possible way, but eventually got ourselves out the door, and mostly managed to make it work. Had brunch at Johnny D's in Somerville -- fun. A nice time even if way too short.

Monday. Well, you know. Monday. Bleh. But it was mitigated by getting to see Harry Potter on the whompin' big IMAX screen at the New England Aquarium, with my dad. My dad is a great movie companion, often noticing and pointing out little details in the acting or direction I might not have noticed. Got a late supper at Legal Sea Food afterward, which manifestly did not suck.

Tuesday. Today. Got home late. After putting the boys down, [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I collapsed on the couch, trying to unwind. I finally put on A Mighty Wind, which we've been waiting for months to see, and that seemed to be what we needed -- sweet, goofy, relaxing movie.

Plenty of good stuff. Still need to remember to make myself alone-time, though, or I start to feel like I'm drowning.
topaz: (shorn)
Did you know that there's a service called Google Alerts?

So that you can get advised of new pages as soon as they appear in Google? Like, say, any page mentioning your last name?

Yeah, neither did I.

Oh well. :-)

April 2012


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