Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion) (montecristo) wrote,
Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion)

Day to day, where do you want to be

It's been a short week. I had Monday off for the Independence Holiday. It was a really warm day today. Fortunately, it was cooler today than it has been earlier in the week. It's cracked triple Fahrenheit digits earlier in the week. I'm also fortunate in that I work in Alameda, where the temperatures average about 20 Fahrenheit degrees cooler. California has been burning. There have been fires everywhere here in the Bay Area and the Central Valley. There has been a thick haze of smoke everywhere and the sky gets completely overcast with smoke sometimes. Large patches of fields here and there have been burnt and the air reeks of burning things. As I've said before in these pages, sometimes in the summer it's like Mordor on the West Coast. I think that the fire fighters are getting the better of the blazes, as the air has been clearing a bit and has been becoming not quite so smelly over the course of the past three weeks.

I haven't seen the girls for three weeks now. I had a fun week with them in June. It started unpleasantly, with a visit to the dental surgeon for Jackie to get her wisdom teeth extracted on Friday, June 20. I took Friday, Monday, and Tuesday as vacation days so that I could have the girls with me while Jackie recuperated from her wisdom tooth extraction. Jackie had three wisdom teeth. She was missing the one on the lower left side. The trip to Sacramento was a pleasant drive. On the way up I saw a dead coyote on the right side of I-5, just north of Lodi. I thought when I saw it: "Dude, I warned you about those cheap Acme Rocket Packs."

Jackie spent a few hours in surgery with Dr. Margaret Delmore and the surgery went off without a hitch. Dr. Delmore is a nice lady and strikes me as very competent. She's very good about putting people at ease when talking to them and she answers questions thoroughly. The ride back was kind of logistically problematical without the air conditioning in the car, which has been out of commission these past two years now. Crystal set us up with some extra ice packs and got Jackie a case of chocolate energy drink powdered shakes before we left. The girls and I stopped at Jamba Juice before leaving Sacramento and everybody got drinks. Jackie was encouraged not to talk for the first day after the surgery, so she wrote her order on a piece of note paper and showed it to the clerks. We thought it was funny in that a couple of the clerks were acting as if they thought that because she couldn't talk it was obvious that she couldn't hear, even though she explained to them that wisdom teeth extraction was the reason for her speechlessness and she was asking what she could drink that didn't have a lot of seeds, pulp, or fiber in it. Oh boy. A couple of times they addressed their answers to her questions to me, as if she wouldn't be able to hear them. It kind of tweaked Jackie's sensibilities. People are funny.

Shannon has started picking up her guitar again. I guess after the flirtation with singing gave her a case of stage-philia (is this an INFP thang?) she figured that she would stand better chances of getting in with bands if she actually played an instrument too. She mentioned about taking her guitar to the park with her to play around and practice and people came along and tossed money in her case, which surprised her. I shudder to ask her how much she's made that way. She's not really got it all down yet but she's much further along than "Mary Had a Little Lamb." I'm proud of her. She brought her guitar with her to practice. She calls her guitar "Cheese" because it's stringy. My daughter has an amazing talent for odd-association and non sequitur humor.

We watched movies, played on the computer, talked, played video games and just basically hung out around the house most of the time. I love talking with my daughters. They're such interesting people. We have great music discussions. Mostly, it was just Shannon and I doing the talking on that first day, and running errands to the store to get Jackie things she could eat with her stitches. Jackie recovered from the surgery quickly. The bleeding stopped at the end of the first day but she still didn't feel like getting out and around and was still on Tylenol with codeine for the pain. On Saturday morning, I think, I was sitting in the den in my robe working on the computer when the doorbell rang. Given that Jackie was up and around, and more dressed than I and was closer to the door, I asked her to get it. It was a bit of fortunate serendipity that she did. Her boyfriend Joseph had sent her a bouquet of these really interesting pink-spattered lilies. I had forgotten what they are called but after serendipitously running across a picture of the same flower on eithnepdb's page, I know that they are Star-gazer Asiatic Lilies. They look really nifty. There was a Mylar get-well printed balloon as well. She was surprised. Apparently, Joseph had called Shannon to get my address. The boy is no dummy, and he treats her well. I think I like the guy. Jackie tells me that he often defends me to her when she is complaining about me. All right, he can date my daughter. I just hope the two of them continue to behave themselves. When she got back to her mother's house, she had me take her to the grocery store so that she could buy ingredients to make him a pie in gratitude. Apparently, one of Joseph's friends or his brother had joked that women are good for only two things, making pies and she's making him a pie. Jackie humor is so different from Shannon humor but both of them are hilarious when they've a mind to be, which is often.

Jackie also decided to reward her boyfriend with one of those knitted friendship bracelets that she learned how to make from her friend Rachel. While working on the bracelet she noticed that she could tell when the Tylenol with codeine was wearing off because the mistakes in the sequence of knots became fewer and fewer. That's when she decided to switch to the non-codeine Tylenol during the day and save the prescription ones for bedtime. I got interested in her knitting project and ended up with one of the bracelets as well. Mine is green and red and brown striped. I've been wearing it ever since. I still have a blue, yellow, and maroon striped one that her mother made me when we were in college.

Monday evening the girls went crazy and trashed my kitchen. They decided to make a good meal instead of eating the various frozen dinners which are often the staples of my place. In fact, we have frozen, take out, or dine-in meals so often Jackie is convinced that I cannot cook anything if it does not involve putting a box in the microwave. Little beast. I like to cook. Can I help it that I only like cooking with company? At any rate, the daughters have acquired their mother's sense of territoriality about the kitchen. I am allowed to be company, but not to participate. Feh! At any rate, Shannon whipped up a cookie sheet full of this delicious almond toffee that was blow-your-head-off rich. Shannon has decided that if she focuses on candies and pastries she can maintain her vegetarian principles without having the carnivores for whom she is cooking be disappointed. She had previously been experimenting with the toffee and had made a couple of mistakes with it on the previous two batches and on the batch she made here she claimed that she should have added more salt and she wanted to cover it in chocolate but I think it was perfect. She only took a little of it back with her when she went back to Crystal's house and even so, I was eating it for the next four days — it was that rich.

Jackie put together a pan of her mother's lasagna recipe but modified it by adding cheddar cheese to the top. It's an interesting variation and I like it! I think she might try some other cheeses and keep playing with the idea. The cheddar is delicious, but it tends to mask out the lighter cheeses like the ricotta and the mozzarella. She's really good at the lasagna. Crystal had to experiment with hers a few times when she first started making it in order to get the consistency right so that it wouldn't fall apart when served. Jackie's came out great the first time, although she was working from Crystal's recipe. She made a small baking dish of it without meat for Shannon and a regular sized baking dish of it for her and me.

I had a really good meal that evening. I broke out that bottle of 50% merlot and 50% malbec blend that I had been saving. It was tasty and I liked it. The thing is though, I don't think I'm getting any better with wines. I still don't know what I really like other than to know whether or not what I happen to be drinking at the moment is good or not. I'll say it again: I have a naive palate. I offered some to Jackie and Shannon. Shannon took a sip and gave me the "bitter beer face" and wasn't interested after that. Jackie had a mouthful or two and decided that she didn't need anymore either. So, that left me with enough to last out the next four days to have a glass with the leftover lasagna and the toffee.

Last week has been pretty busy. On Tuesday, Tom and I had lunch with two of the founders of Lina Software. Tom thinks he may know some people who would be interested in joining them and investing in their efforts. I'm still trying to find out the ins and outs of what Lina is, exactly so that I can get a handle on some questions we might ask them before talking to people who might want to check out the possibility of investing.

On Thursday, I took a vacation day to go with Tom to talk to Steve, an engineer at Therma about designing a definitive qualifying experiment for McGuffin. If you look at the page linked, you can see a picture of their office area. Yes, that is a full-sized casting of Michaelangelo's "David" standing in the middle of their open office space — that's not just some photographic legerdemain. It was one of six castings in bronze made from mold blocks made in the nineteenth century, before the World War I damage to the original marble statue. Steve gave us a tour of the facilities. The place is jam-packed with tasteful art. We got to meet the one of the company owners and founders, Joe Parisi. What an interesting fellow. He appears to be in his eighties and he is still sharp, full of energy, and in charge of the business. Apparently, he and his wife Niki are responsible for all of the art gracing their headquarters. Unfortunately for Tom and I, Steve was able to give us some advice, but not the comprehensive advice for which we were looking. He did advise us who to speak to next, so we are looking into pursuing that. Things have been pretty chaotic with McGuffin lately but we're still plugging away on it and attempting to pull in some funding.

Empty handed, surrounded by a senseless scene
With nothing of significance
Besides a shadow of a dream
You sound like an old joke
You're worn-out, a bit broke
An' askin' me time and time again
When the answer's still the same

See the world
Find an old fashioned girl
And when all's been said and done
It's the things that are given, not won
Are the things that you want

See the World
Tags: day in the life, exuberance, family and friends, mcguffin, pictures
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