Father and Son
(18-27 December 2002)

27 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-Last night I had (more) dreams about Pandora running all around town, including something about her acting in a play & getting run over but not being killed.  Also, deleting half my hard drive, being threatened & attacked on a Russian railway, & other fun stuff.  Guess I slept too long.
-How am I still sick?  I think the fact that I've actually taken some medicine for this cold is the reason I'm still sick.  Things that treat cold symptoms (since nothing actually CURES the cold, just treats its by-products) probably prolong the cold somehow.  Maybe they convince my body it doesn't have to fight the cold while the symptoms are gone, or since symptoms are often the body fighting off the cold, they delay the actual recovery.  In any case, my colds never last this long, especially in this final phase.  Bleh.

26 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-We went bowling (after some deception from my friends), I finally got to see Gris, & ended up seeing Katie Chavez, Natasha Diels, & David Roach for the first time in a long old time.  'Twas fun, especially since we set it up as a 4-on-4 (Emily, Fish, & a friend of Natasha's rounded out the 8 total people) lane-to-lane competition.  Em, Roach, Katie, & I took the first round when I bowled atrociously & then dropped the second when I rolled a 189.  Though that last matchup came down to Fish's 10th frame & he was the last person to bowl.
-Emily met all of Gris' family that isn't in Norway & then we settled down to some bridge.  Clayton/McFeeley def. Garin/Gray 2200-1340 (2-0, 2-0).  Despite being set by 3 in an ill-fated 6-hearts (doubled, vulnerable) contract, we converted 5 of 9 contracts while they made only 1 of 4.  I guess we got generally better cards, but we also made some clutch contracts which surprised even us.
-I was going to write something here that was awfully angry & doesn't look true to me now.  But a modified version of it talks about how friendship has a hard time getting past the urge to sell someone up the river for a well-received joke.  Sigh.

25 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-It is a Merry Christmas!  Almost infinitely better than last year, since Em's around.  Many books were the order of the day, plus a heater for me to take to work, an Economist subscription for Em, & some other random fun stuff.  Dad liked the clock we got, Mom liked the rabbit calendar, & all was well.  Mom did not like trying to learn Rook quite as much, but 'twas still a great morning.
-Dinner at the La Fonda (or really most any time spent there) is always great.  Though apparently they have some new pork-crazy chef who has put pork in the green chile & the rice.  Nevertheless, I had red chile rellenos for the first time in my life & found them just about as good as their green counterparts.  The guacamole was hand-made in front of us with some of the most perfect avocados I've ever seen & our choice of additional ingredients.  The atmosphere was amazing, & all seemed right with the world.  The ride home most of us felt sick & the heater in the car broke, so this dampened the night a little, but not enough to worry about.

24 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-507 is the final count on the luminarias, after an utterly exhausting day.  We actually got overconfident about our pace of placing them, taking a 2-hour afternoon nap after almost all of them were up.  But though we were the first in the neighborhood to start lighting, we were the last to stop (by quite a bit), which should tell you how many 507 really is 'round here.  We did the roof, the base of most of the house walls, the standard sidewalk & paths, top of the front wall, base of the front wall, windows, & fell apart on the side wall since it was a little high.  Nevertheless, it would've been an utter failure without Em, especially since I was so ridiculously sick.  Being sick, I wound up just as tired as I did in years when I did something in the 400's all by myself.

23 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-McFeeley/Frese def. SClayton/Garin 1170-100.  Another no-cards round for me.  We played a few hands of part-score after this to the tune of 180-50 advantage us (my first points below the line all night!), but it had taken just 4 hands for them to dispatch us in the rubber, including 2 bids of 3-no-trump where they converted 11 of 13 tricks.  I had about 2 biddable hands between all the games all night.
-Today will be a day of luminarias, which Freez said was somehow cheating, but I think is the only sensible thing in the context of me being sick.  Hopefully a folding-&-sanding fiesta by the fire will yield decent enough health to run myself ragged on Christmas Eve itself.  Though it won't be as exhausting as usual with Em around, hopefully.

22 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-Woke up this morning more or less without the sore throat, which I interpreted in my half-asleep feverish near-delirium as a "Christmas Miracle".  Turned out just the result of a fitful night's sleep in a parka while under the covers.  I was rather cold.  Then I squandered some of my improved health on a shopping run with Em & Fish that was productive (not as much for Fish), but left me winded beyond belief.  I'm also in the middle stages of the way I go through colds, with runny/stuffy nose & watery eyes & mild cough.  & no energy at all.
-Garin/McFeeley def. SClayton/DClayton 1280-200 in bridge.  This was an old-style episode of never getting the cards.  We were shut out below the line & made a poorly timed move to double a 3-diamonds bid into game.  I had one hand with a 10 as a high card, backed by 3 8's as runners-up.
-Shortly after the above bridge rubber ended, Freez stopped by reporting many symptoms of a heart attack.  We've since concluded that it was an allergic reaction to some sort of fish he'd eaten earlier, but it was enough to bring the paramedics to our house.  Infinitely better to be a little quick to dial 911 many times over than too late once.

21 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-A bleh day, mostly taking everything I can (Emergen-C, tea, orange juice, water, & even Excedrin which doesn't do anything for my headaches but seems to ease the pain of this sore throat) so that I feel better by luminaria time.  It's great being home & seeing Em relaxed, but I feel like absolute crud.
-225 bags folded in an hour is nice work.  Of course, that was with 3 of us working on them pretty much the whole time.
-Enter Fish, with friend, from Wisconsin.  After apparently driving 1400 miles in 26 hours or something absurd like that.  Ridiculous.  If he wakes up within the week, I'll be impressed.

20 December 2002
[from Albuquerque]

-So I went & got sick.  Joy of all joys.  Best yet, it's a sore throat, which threatens my voice & (worse) feels like a sore throat.  You may not know this, but I really despise sore throats.  I have frequently offered to have a migraine for the rest of my entire life in exchange for never getting a sore throat again once in my life.  I'd take that deal any time.  But no, I've got me a sore throat & I hate it.
-Meanwhile, we've flown home from Berkeley & all that as well.  The flights were fine, though they were latish & one of them was on an entirely unmarked jet.  I guess that's what we get for flying Frontier Airlines run by Mesa &/or Canadair.  Then we went to the Frontier (Restaurant, not Airlines, & they're not commercially connected either), & the green chile was great for my sinuses.
-Good to be home.  My Dad's changed it all round (duh), but it's pretty nice.  The garage is all lodgy now & is probably my favorite of my Dad's design work, all-time.

19 December 2002
-Looking for a humane way to get ants to go away?  We were a couple days ago & a co-worker of Em's suggested cinnamon.  Better suggestions have rarely been heard.  Pouring cinnamon around the area you don't want ants to be (or where ants already are) will chase them away without actually harming them.  It's like guarding an area where you don't want me with dogs.  They hate cinnamon.  Plus, though it's a wee bit messy, it makes your house/apartment/room smell like cinnamon!  Very pleasant for everyone involved.
-The flood-worthy rains are back again, washing out the drive from Berkeley to work.  For the record, one should not be able to listen to the entire August and Everything After disc in a one-way trip to work.
-Sweet sweet timing.

18 December 2002
-The Counting Crows concert was unbelievable, in a night that started out potentially disappointing.  While the opening songs were a little flat, they slowly built up & led to an amazing "Rain King" followed by Adam Duritz screwing up on "Big Yellow Taxi".  This mess-up ignited some of the most powerful music I've ever seen thereafter, with many great songs, culminating in "Miami" leading straight into "A Murder of One".  This combination, combined with the delivery of the last of these songs, is the most emotional & powerful experience I have ever had involving music &/or poetry, & thus may be one of the most powerful experiences of my life.  It's indescribable.  I was actually sobbing uncontrollably throughout most of the song (which ended the non-encore set) & about 5 minutes afterwards.  The only time I'd ever actually sobbed at a concert was during the insertion of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" into "Round Here" at the previous CC concert I attended.  Wow wow wow.
-Exit Ariela, stage east.  She will be greatly missed... it was wonderful to pretend that she'd been imported to the West.
-In 2 days' time, I'll be winging my way into 'Querque.  Seems a long way off, but it's just not.
-Humans seem so innately foreign so much of the time...

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