Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Diary Entry (LONG)

Last Friday: msmemory's birthday. Birthday dinner was postponed, due to tonight being the naming ceremony for Michelle, hungrytiger and isisofcool's daughter. Went out to the brewpub for a quick dinner beforehand.

The temple was a pretty building in Winchester: a converted house quite appropriate for a small congregation. It was a laid-back ceremony; the rabbi seems to be a very nice guy, and ran a good service, with just enough handholding for those of us not used to it without getting too diluted. After the formal service, he and one of the other members of the congregation played several classic American patriotic tunes in honor of the upcoming Fourth; the rabbi plays a high-end ukelele, essentially a high-pitched banjo.

Afterwards, we repaired downstairs for the oneg, mostly schmoozing with elizabear, dsrtao and the relatives, most of whom we know at least slightly.

Last Saturday: Since we were going to be in town anyway, msmemory and I went to lunch at the Marche Movenpick, which I've been looking at for years but hadn't had a chance to check out. Very interesting place. You enter and get a ticket; then you wander around a large "market" full of food stands, getting your ticket stamped whenever you take something. It seems like it would work well for ill-defined groups with differing incomes and hunger levels, so it seems quite suited to Worldcon -- I'll have to talk it up.

Afterwards, we ambled down Newbury Street on the way to the Esplanade. I always marvel when I realize how many eateries there are. I suspect the convention is going to collectively have a lot of fun eating its way through them.

Eventually we found ourselves at the Hatch Shell, for the outing that ladysprite had organized. We found tpau, learnedax and rufinia already there; the rest of the crowd started arriving after we did. The group had collectively decided not to try to get onto the grass in front of the shell (we had cutlery for the picnic, and no desire to deal with the security arrangements), so they had picked a nice tree-shaded spot just outside -- all things considered, it was probably a better location anyway. We stuck around, noshed and schmoozed for a couple of hours. Culinary highlight of the afternoon was oatmeal cookie sandwiches with gooey sweet icing in between; basically a "real food" realization of my favorite Little Debbie concoction.

We left the party early, to swing home to change, and thence to Blue Ginger for dinner. The restaurant was wonderful as always. I had a crab-crusted halibut; in retrospect, this was probably a bit milder-flavored than I should have gone for, but tasty nonetheless.

Last Sunday: Very lazy early afternoon, doing nothing in particular and quite enjoying it. Then over to elizabear's for a couple of hours, to hang out with folks and chat over grilled food.

We left there at 6ish, to head downtown for the fireworks. However, after a little walking around, msmemory decided that she really wasn't feeling very well, so we headed home. (No huge tragedy: we've seen the fireworks on the Charles many times, and it turns out that the schedule is now even later than it has been.) We had a quiet evening at home, but she was in major pain for several hours. This was the first sign that Something Was Wrong.

Last Monday: Did we do anything on Monday? We had the day off for the holiday, but left it mostly unplanned. We had intended to see Shrek 2, on the theory that everyone else would be going to Spider-Man 2; we were brought up short, however, finding that Shrek was entirely sold out by the time we got there. So we had another quiet hour or two, then went in for Great Council. This came pretty close to the record for quick Council meetings: there was no real business, and a number of people didn't show (some didn't realize that Council was being held despite the holiday), so we were out by about 8pm.

Tuesday: Accademia. The focus this time was Este Gonzaga, which did not prove to be as straightforward as the first couple of dances were. The dance has four verses, and we weren't able to rectify their lengths. I had a theoretical musical structure planned (AAB), which matched the second verse perfectly, and matched the first if you interpret the choreographic repeat in a particular way. But we couldn't easily make it fit the third and fourth verses, no matter how we tried. The alternatives we were presented with were:

1) The music is shorter than I thought. (In which case, we have no idea how to make the second verse work.)
2) The third and fourth verses are a different length than the second. This is unsatisfying: in my experience, Caroso just doesn't do that.
3) The step lengths are variable within the verse, and preposterously slow in some cases. This is possible, but the dance is distinctly unfun that way, and feels like it doesn't match the music well.
4) There is a huge typo in the original, leaving out a repeated section. If you interpolate that repeated section, the verse mostly works (and actually feels quite nice), but if you do it literally, you wind up far from your partner. So you not only have to repeat it, but reverse direction as you do so. So this option essentially postulates that Caroso dropped an entire sentence -- not impossible, but also definitely not a happy-making choice.

In the end, we didn't resolve it. I think we're going to have to leave this one be; the mandate for this project was to reconstruct all of the "easy" dances, and this is clearly falling outside that bound. I should write up some notes on the problem, though.

Wednesday: Got a call from msmemory late in the morning. She'd been in enough pain at work that the receptionist essentially ordered her home, by way of the doctor. Her gyn took a look, and decided that the uterine fibroids were now acute, and it was time to do something about them. The preferred surgeon was going on vacation for the next two weeks, so she had to either go forward with it immediately, or wait those weeks. Given the extreme pain, she decided that waiting was a bad idea.

That pretty much threw the assumptions for the summer up into the air; OTOH, it was largely a return to Plan A, so not a huge tragedy. We'd originally planned on a quiet summer, with the big event being Worldcon -- we didn't decide to go to Pennsic until she wound up as svava's Lady in Waiting. Given the surgery, it was clear that Pennsic was going to be a Bad Idea, so we shifted back to a restful couple of months.

Anyway, I told my bosses that I would be out Thursday and probably Friday. Went to dance practice, but tried to keep it a little more efficient than usual, to get home at a decent hour.

Thursday: Surgery day. My self-designated task was mostly to wait and fret. Everything went reasonably smoothly, but all a bit inefficiently. Probably the hardest bit was waiting for the surgery itself -- msmemory wasn't supposed to take anything by mouth, so she had avoided her painkillers, and was in *major* pain for several hours. Watching her hurting wasn't at all easy, and waiting for the surgery itself had me a tad tense. But there were no serious issues, and I was able to see her again in the late afternoon. She was extremely tired (and quite well drugged), so she faded in and out for the next couple of hours, but I kept her company until I got kicked out at 8ish. Then wandered down to Harvard, to drop off a project with napoleans_mommy. Dinner was some fried rice from Sato.

Friday: Running around and dealing with surgery issues. Started out by visiting msmemory, who was doing much better. Her roommate turned out to be a very good choice: similar age, same procedure, also from Waltham, so they had things to talk about. I got a list of tasks, and headed out on them. Picked up a wedding present for richenza and jjjjack in Harvard Square, and had lunch at Bartley's (a treat I enjoy when I can get it). Headed up towards Woburn, taking the *wrong* route to 93 (the Science Bridge is, if anything, even worse than it used to be). Dropped off the doctor's note with her office, so they could start up the short-term disability. Home to dig through email, and prepare a briefing for her on What's Going On. Quick stop by Steve's for comics, thence back to the hospital to deliver the briefing and hang out with her while she had dinner.

Thence over to the Weston, to rendezvous with Dad and Sandy. They were in town this week -- ironically, at a healthcare conference. We'd planned on going out somewhere fancy, but I broke those plans when the situation changed. Instead, I picked them up, and we all visited at the hospital for a little while. Then over to Moody Street. I gave them a list of dinner options; they chose Indian, so we went to New Mother India, long msmemory's and my favorite Indian restaurant. Hung out with them until fairly late, talking about the state of the universe and especially the state of broadband. Chatting with Dad is always interesting -- we're both deeply immersed in the Internet business, but with radically different viewpoints. (Me down in the trenches and him a thousand feet up.) So comparing notes tends to be fascinating.

Saturday: She continued to improve rapidly; by morning, her doctor had given his approval for her to come home. So after lunch, I brought her home. Quiet afternoon otherwise. Susan's sirloin tips for dinner, always one of our favorite comfort foods.

Sunday: Nice quiet day. Went biking aimlessly, which was a fun change of pace. Didn't go very far -- maybe six miles total -- but that's the furthest I've ridden in many years so it was still satisfying. (And I'm glad I took the opportunity: the road in front of my office is being ripped down to gravel this week, so no biking to work until they're done.) It was our wedding anniversary (17th); she obviously wasn't ready to go out to eat yet, so we ordered in lots of sushi.

The evening was slightly marred by my discovery that our new DVD recorder, a Philips DVDR72, is an Unmitigated Piece of Crap. It has several problems, but the worst is that fast forward doesn't really work right, which made me entirely nuts when trying to skip ads. Quickly decided that I'm going to have to return it to Costco and get something better. I think it's time to just bite the bullet and get the combination TiVo/DVDR that I'd been thinking about all along. A bit expensive, but likely to do just what I want.

Today: Back at work. Mostly putting out fires today. Since Michael is away for two weeks, naturally there were a couple of problems that would normally fall into his bailiwick. Since I'm the least overburdened of the engineers, I began to dig into the problems; if nothing else, it's a change to get more familiar with a section of our codebase that I don't know as well.

For dinner, made what I'm calling Quick Mu Shu. We saw this on 30 Minute Meals the other day, and it sounded good. Came out quite well, although it needs a little tweaking. Still, I'm always happy when I come out with a recipe to add to the cookbook.

Coming Up:

Wednesday: Dance practice.

Tuesday and Thursday: Cooking and prep for GNE. I have a bunch of stuff to prepare for the event.

Friday - Sunday: Assuming that msmemory is doing okay, up to Maine for Great Northeastern War. I'm looking forward to this: with Pennsic off (and therefore no pressure to treat GNE as a Pennsic Warmup), I expect to have a fairly mellow event.

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