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first dates

Dec. 6th, 2009 01:00 am
topaz: February 20, 2008 (lunar eclipse)
First dates are odd enough, but it's even odder to have one with an ex.

Edit: just to be clear, it was a fabulous date. EVOO was a hit out of the park, we got to hang out for a bit with [livejournal.com profile] inahandbasket (who did his best to entertain us when we found that [livejournal.com profile] prosicated was at work), and stopped by [livejournal.com profile] spike's for hilarious conversation and some delightful cocktails mixed by [livejournal.com profile] aroraborealis.

And having a first date on the first snowfall of the year is.... sublime.

But it's a funny experience to be having a first date, a date which is explicitly designated a "first date", with someone who you know so well in some ways and yet in others are starting from scratch.

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: (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.


some days

Sep. 26th, 2006 07:12 pm
topaz: (sun-moon-coffee)
are harder than others.


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: (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.


Nov. 14th, 2003 11:13 pm
topaz: (hair)
I worked late tonight.

So, yeah, yeah, everyone stays late to finish up some work every now and then. But my "normal" office hours are 8:30 to 6:30 anyway. And I got there at 8:10 this morning. There is just no conceivable explanation for my staying in the office until almost 7:45.

It's just that I was this close. I said this morning that I'd have the machines ready for a testbed release by the end of the day. And by 6:30 I was most of the way there. I just had to fix one misconfigured NAT system so I could finish it up, and man, it just took forever to get to the root of the problem.

Staying in the office an extra hour longer than the already severe schedule means that I barely got to see the kids tonight, and didn't get any relaxing time at all with [livejournal.com profile] keyne, time I've been needing badly. And I can't blame it on anyone else -- just my own misguided drive to overachieve.

On the plus side, I spent a lovely hour over hot drinks with [livejournal.com profile] ectophylla. And bumped into [livejournal.com profile] mizarchivist on the red line at Alewife -- bonus!
topaz: (Default)
I know, this meme is just so last week. But it's all about the timing, y'know.

Age: THEN: 22. NOW: 32. FUTURE: 42.

Employment: THEN: part-time dishwasher. NOW: software engineer. And dad. :-) FUTURE: probably software engineering.

Address: THEN: Garman House at Amherst College. NOW: Carlisle, MA. FUTURE: Somewhere right around here, I expect...

Residence: THEN: roomy dorm room (converted frat house). NOW: 4-bedroom ranch-style suburban house. FUTURE: something with more light, more wood, and more open space.

Education: THEN: recent college graduate. NOW: nothing since. FUTURE: nothing planned; master's degree? law school?

Pets: THEN: none. NOW: neurotic 14-year-old cat, Gwydion. FUTURE: not sure, though we keep talking about a big Golden Retriever or something like that...

Kids: THEN: none. NOW: two sons, Morgan and Quinn. FUTURE: who knows where it's going to end?

THEN: April 25, 1993, arriving on the Mall for the March on Washington, trying to find Ellen -- who I knew only from the net -- among the hundreds of thousands milling around in the city.

NOW: still here, baby.

FUTURE: still here, baby. :-)
topaz: (Default)
Ellen came in to the living room late tonight and asked, "What are you watching?"

I'm still not sure, but I think it was the prelims of the Eastern Log-Sawing Competition.

We are discovering the great social experiment that is American cable television. Neither of us has had much exposure to cable TV. Ellen had cable in her youth, but it was pre-MTV, before the era of 500 channels, when "cable" was how people in the sticks got any TV reception at all. I grew up in a neighborhood in Brooklyn where cable TV wasn't available. (Or so my parents told me. They may have been conveniently fibbing.) We did eventually get something called WHT, which was like the bargain basement of cable services -- it was the movie channel that ran all the bombs and B-movies of yesterday, movies like "Bronco Billy" and "Rough Cut." It was horrible. The memory still gives me nightmares.

As adults neither of us have ever spent much time watching TV. In Chicago we always ran home from work to catch "The Simpsons," and we'd pick up "M*A*S*H" at 11 p.m. In the last few years we've picked up a wicked bad "West Wing" habit but have (proudly) successfully avoided getting sucked into anything else, despite earnest attempts by "ER" and "Will & Grace" to occupy our attention.

Now, beyond our wildest dreams, cable Internet has finally come to our town. We signed up right away. I wouldn't have bothered with the cable TV subscription, but Comcast offers TV + Internet service for $5/month less than Internet service alone, and I could not resist. (Something about capturing eyeballs. The poor fools.) The fellow came this morning to hook us up, and now we're hooked.

Since we both are weirdly obsessive about organizing information, I immediately went about writing down the names of all the channels that scrolled by on the TV Guide channel. This information is surely available online somewhere, but wouldn't you know it, I just had to do it by hand. Then we typed up the list and looked up the ones we weren't familiar with. ("What the hell is EWTN?" "Something Catholic." "Okay, how about TNN? What is that, country music?") Then we reorganized the channel list, sorted by category.

Sick, sick, sick.

What was most interesting about it all was that -- ods bodkins -- we actually spent the evening hanging out together sharing an experience. I have come to look down my long pointy nose at TV, considering it entertainment for the brainwashed. We have resisted cable TV mightily. We have wanted not to become zombies to the box. Because, sure as sunset, as soon as our cable was hooked up, we were completely engrossed in a half-hour TLC spot on dwarfism. This is not necessarily how I want to pass my days.

The surprising thing was that it was a more active, personal experience than I expected. After the kids are in bed, we often retreat to our separate offices -- "to check our mail," of course -- and emerge only hours later, pale and drawn, spent of energy and hardly able to drag ourselves to bed. Tonight we sat down in front of the television while we both still had some energy and spent the time talking and laughing together. (Which led to having some really fabulous sex and eating up the leftover Thai food in the fridge. All in all a better night than I've had in a long time.)

It's still the honeymoon period, of course. This NRE thing can't last. Before long we'll be watching reruns of Happy Days, drooling, slackjawed, and wondering where the evenings went. But until then we can enjoy the present....

April 2012


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