brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

tent city

I took off work early, grabbed TheDog, and the two of us headed up to the mountains.

I slowly took my little car up the last (hopefully) little hill. there's no way I should have been driving it on the dirt road. when I got up the hill and saw the other cars, I carefully pulled off to the side.

*note to self: get a Jeep, get some clearance

there was only one couple there and one guy, but already four tents set up. hmmm, that's a little weird, but whatever.

the site was nice, not too far from the road, but very secluded. definitely not one of the more picturesque places, but perfect for the weekend.

we settled in, and started cooking dinner. there's nothing better than fajitas grilled over a camp fire.

a few more people showed up to help us drink after dinner. and eventually everyone retired to their respective tents.

I settled in on my Thermarest, worried I wouldn't be able to sleep at all. the accident was only two months before, and I hadn't slept more than a few hours at a time since then.

the beginning of the summer had been terrible. I was determined to salvage a part of the remainder of the summer. starting with going on this camping trip with my friends.

what, morning already? I slept so soundly and comfortably. I decided to camp out on my bedroom floor when I got home.

after breakfast, TheDog and I took a little walk, as hiking was still out of the question.

later in the day even more people joined us, including some friends and their kids and OhThoseEyes. he was harassing me that my boyfriend wasn't man enough to go camping, yet he didn't have a flashlight, and brought only a granola bar to eat. I had a spare light and there was plenty of food.

but the harassment continued.

he gave me an incredibly hard time when I declined the offer of a four-wheeling excursion in one of the Jeeps. um, yeah, bouncing around on incredibly rough roads with this damaged back, that sounds like fun.

it wasn't until we were shooting off the fountains for the kids in the middle of the creek* that OTE's friend was talking to me and let it slip that if the boyfriend and I were on the rocks, that OTE might be interested.

that would explain lots of things. his pitching his tent too close to mine. all of the harassment. the drinking game imbalance.

but I thought I was happy with my situation, and told OTE's friend that.


when my friend who set up that trip asked if I wanted to go this year I was a little hesitant.

there were way too many people last year. the tent city was too much for me. I'm not a fan of huge group camping trips. I'd camp solo if I didn't think it was a little too unsafe.

she insisted it would be smaller. just the core group. OTE was planning to go.

well apparently his immature ways have not ceased. when he found out I was possibly going, he told her he wasn't sure if he could go, anymore.

seriously? I know I'm impossible to get over (uh huh). but we were friends long before the drunken kissing in my kitchen. must this silly game continue? can't things just go back to the way they were before the drunken kissing?

* to reduce fire danger, of course. we'll get wasted and light exploding things, but no way did we want to risk a forest fire.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

getting dirty

tonight was incredible. it was even better than I remembered. and it had been way too long.

I hadn't physically been able to since the accident. I'd been talking about trying for a while, but the timing was never right. I was worried it might be painful or that I might have forgotten my technique.

I decided tonight was the night I'd give it a try again. hope there wasn't too much pain, and that I still knew what I was doing.

turns out it's a little like riding a bike. swing one leg on over, press a foot down, make sure it's centered and get to it.

that's what I've missed. the power of being able to make it respond with only my hands. the way it felt between my fingers. even between my toes. getting dirty.

I pressed and lifted and shaped it into whatever form I felt like. it was a slave to my desire.

he commented that I was grinning just letting it glide beneath my hands. I was. that feeling of it turning and turning and sliding by. I hadn't realized until that moment how important it had been to me before.

but now I realized.

and I discovered the pain was not too severe.

and I hadn't forgotten my technique.

comments were even made at how well things turned out given it was my first time back in so long.

it wasn't until I was finished that I considered what he might think. I was satisfied with the outcome. although he may want something more symmetrical.

part of the reason for getting back into it now was to display his masterpieces. part of the reason was purely for my satisfaction. well, if he's disappointed, then his suspected overly-perfectionistic tendencies are confirmed.

and either way, I'm not doing it for him, really.

(really, despite this "like in Ghost?" inquiry inspired telling of my first night back to pottery class.)

I'm doing it for me. and for A and her fiance. creating stands for their wedding cakes. which he just happens to be making. if he takes notice, that's merely an added bonus.

and if not, his loss. I'll keep throwing pottery anyway.

it was truly amazing to get back at the wheel, covered with clay, grinning from ear to ear, and getting really dirty.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

looking for my who?

I usually just write whatever comes into my head. I forget that other people read it, and comment. that they can sometimes have been there insight, good advice, or at least comforting support. gentle prodding and not-so gentle insistence. empathy and why nots. wingman offers and a fabulous trip idea.

thanks everyone, very interesting comments and advice on last night's post.

there was one comment that made me think in a totally different direction, and come up with a different question. I'm definitely paraphrasing here, but one of the insightful ones said something about looking for the who and not the how.

the thing is I think I know what the who is (more or less, even though, it's the who I can't find). the how is what I don't know, which is why I was trying to figure out if I should expand the how by casting a net online.

still not convinced on that one, but back to my who for a minute.

I have almost always had great role models in men. sure they all have their faults, but for the most part my dad and brothers, all of my guy friends, the guys my female friends date and have married have all been great guys. many of them have many of the characteristics that make up my who.

and sure, I've known plenty of guys that have helped form my idea of what characteristics my who definitely doesn't have. those stories have and will be told.

the question this comment made me ponder was the standard waiting for Mr. Right when there are plenty of Mr. Right Nows around. if knowing what I'm looking for in my who is keeping from finding any who.

I've had people tell me I'm too picky. maybe I am. I think that's mostly because I know there are guys like my who out there. a guy that is caring and intelligent and fun.

a guy who is smart and successful, but doesn't see the need to brag about it. a guy that knows the value of lifelong friends.

a guy that would dance with my single girlfriend at weddings, so that she doesn't feel left out of the coupled crowd. a guy who would drive with their new girlfriend for hundreds of miles to introduce her to his (female) best friend.

a guy who would stop by my friends' house to pick up her dog, so she could go straight from work to happy hour with me. a guy who would take his girlfriend to a hockey playoff game if she knew what the blue line means.

a guy who treats his sisters or brothers with respect, yet acts a little protective of them. a guy who respects his parents and doesn't blame them for everything that has happened in his life.

a guy who values his career, but also his family and his social life. a guy who truly believes I'm beautiful, inside and out, despite my lying in a hospital gown, definitely not looking or acting my best.

a guy who likes roughing it camping as well as traveling in style. a guy who understands that a night out with the girls is a great chance for him to have a night out with the guys.

I know, I know these are characteristics of many different guys. but the general things I hope to find in my who are inherent in some of these. and maybe I am being too picky. but I don't want to settle. and I know there are these great guys out there. surely they're not all related to me, or married to my friends, or my good guy friends?

Monday, June 27, 2005

everyone's doing it

my sister thinks I should. my friends think I should. my mother even suggested that maybe I should, as long as I'm safe about it.

I'm not sure I'm ready. I'm shy when it comes to guys I like. and I'm a bit scared. I'm a private person (yes, really, even though I write my thoughts online for anyone to discover).

my girls' night out friends not-so-gently insisted the other night that I do it, just like they have every month when we get together. ever since NowEx exited stage left.

I have my reasons why I won't. the last time I started to, I had to stop immediately. things got weird. the guy was a bit of a stalker.

but will it really be like that last time? all guys are not the same. there may be someone out there that would make it worth it. my friend J found the One by doing it.

but what of the guys I know that do it. NowEx, good friend, stalker, old friend. yes, I checked around. my other friend J had some fun with it this year, and she convinced me to look into it a little. I did, and that's who I found. scary.

if people like that are doing it, what makes me think there's anyone I'd be interested in doing it?

and even if there were, how do I portray who I am and what I want through it? what would I say?

incredibly intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, obviously quite modest woman who loves traveling, live music, sports (really) and the outdoors, who views life with a great sense of humor. looking for guy with many of the same qualities listed above. a guy who isn't afraid of those qualities in a woman, will not feel inadequate or tell her he thinks it's great she's independent then dump her because she doesn't truly need you, but definitely wants you.
not sure that would go over very well.

and I don't know that I'm ready to truly dive into the world of online dating. I barely have time for my dog, friends and family, can't imagine trying to take the time to answer all 3 e-mails I would receive when I post that.

I do want to meet new guys, the ones I've met lately have not exactly been keepers. but is online the way I want to do it? am I ready to? is it even a good idea? are there guys online looking for someone like me? are they the kind I'm looking for?

and then, what of the romantic story of how we met?

Friday, June 24, 2005

all it takes is a little reminding

we're all different. we're all remarkable women in our own right. it wasn't the excellent wine or cheese or chocolate soufflé, but rather the excellent company that made last night so fabulous.

one of the girls had a beautiful baby a few weeks ago, and since she can't quite rejoin girls' night out just yet, we met at her house before we headed to the wine bar.

it's amazing to see a good friend with her husband and new baby boy. she was just glowing. and baby boy is adorable. after cooing over baby boy, we let the new little family relax, and headed over to the wine bar.

we talked about guys and kids and pets. we discussed politics and work and travel plans.

some of us have similar opinions, and some of us have differing opinions (politics, raising children, how to get a guy*), but we all value each other's opinions, and that's what makes these gatherings so meaningful.

each of us has exciting things coming up (marriage, trip to South America, half marathon). only one of us has something that's standard "life milestone" exciting, but that doesn't diminish the importance of any of our plans.

each of us has had difficult situations to deal with (car accidents, break-ups, medical concerns), but we're all there for each other to help get through the tough spots.

my friends reminded me of these things just when I needed reminding. and I love them for it.

I truly have amazing friends.

* more on this later.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

week x

hmmm... interesting...

it's been a reminders-of-exes week, again.

work's been crazy, but a few things have kept me entertained. such as a text from 24, e-mails from E, the recent fwb*, and NowEx's friend.

despite the funk** (diminished but somewhat continuing), I realize I'm much happier without them all. I don't really miss any of them. (well, except maybe 24, that might be fun to start up again for a little while, she thinks mischievously.)

besides, I get to drink wine with the girls tonight***, and if that won't help the funk, not sure what would.

* friends with benefits
** yes, my friend is indeed engaged.
*** stories to follow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

lost day

warning:: if you don't like stream-of-conscious rants, you may want to skip this one.

it's one of those days. one where I feel completely lost. I was up too late last night. went to a concert, and didn't get home until late. and didn't sleep very well, as I had to have some caffeine on my way home to stay awake to drive. snooze bar was my friend (enemy) this morning. now that I'm at work I can't seem to find anything I need. no one I need to talk to is in. and my brain is in slow-motion. all I want to do is either sleep or go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

on top of that I have that anxious feeling. I need to do more training. the race is less than a month away. I haven't been in the water in weeks, my back still hurts when I bike and run. maybe I shouldn't do the race. but I have to. that's my way of reclaiming my life. I'm still angry that this had to happen to me. and part of the reason I'm doing the race is to prove to myself that I will be back to fully functional soon.

also, I got a message from a friend last night. one of those I have news, but I have to tell you in person (meaning on the phone). yep, I'm sure she's getting married. that leaves me as the only one of my close circle of friends my age from college that's not married (or shacking up with her boyfriend for years). every time I get the I'm engaged or I'm having a baby call, I'm always very happy for my friend, but always feel a little left behind in the race of life. like I'm not part of the team anymore.

I'm just in a funk. it's just a lost day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

the best gift

I'm a terrible daughter. I had all these great things planned for Father's Day. but ended up deferring most of my errands to my sister. luckily she loves to shop.

part of my negligence towards my daughterly duties was due to wanting to go see my grandma before Father's Day dinner, and part of it was because I drank way too many vodka drinks/margaritas the day/night before and had to sleep in and nurse my hangover.

sometimes I think I have too many good friends... ok, perhaps that's not possible, but I was overbooked this weekend. and I tried frantically to fit it all in.

it started off rather low-key. my parents' dog C had to have surgery Friday and had to stay at the vet overnight. my mom stayed at my house until she could take C home. after visiting C at the vet, we grabbed dinner and both feel asleep on my couch watching Finding Nemo.

Saturday morning, TheDog woke us early, begging to be taken for a walk. so, we combined that with our coffee run. then, after picking up C (who came through surgery like a champ), my mom headed home.

I, of course, was running late and had to hurry to meet a few girlfriends to eat lunch (and drink greyhounds). we chatted about trips and guys and life. after lunch, we walked around looking at the street art (and drank vodka lemonades). the artists were enduring the 90+ degree heat to create incredible pastels on the black pavement.

my lunch&art friends had enough of the heat, so I headed over to the music festival to meet up with my music friends (and drink more vodka lemonade). we watched the Nadas, who were great, as usual. but unfortunately I had to leave before my music friends' cute friend was able to join us. (bad timing?)

I hated to dance around and run, but I had to leave to meet up with yet other friends at one of their houses to have dinner (and drink margaritas). the gathering was sort of a joint bachelor/bachelorette party for my friends who are getting married next weekend.

dinner was amazing (as were the margaritas). we chatted about life and friends and marriage and kids. my friends R&J even brought their little 2 week old by for a quick visit!

after dinner I was planning to head back to the music fest (in hopes of catching up with not only my music friends, but also their cute friend), but when I called, they were leaving the festival. (bad timing?)

as it was obviously time for me to get some sleep, I stayed at the b/b party. we moved up the street to a mexican restaurant/bar (and drank many more margaritas).

at the mexican place, we put some tunes on the jukebox so my soon-to-be-married friends could show off the new swing moves they've learned. soon after, the rest of us started dancing around. some of the at-first-disapproving regulars even joined us. the waitstaff and most of the bar-goers thought us insane. we were and are.

definitely not your typical b/b party, but everyone had a great time. I had a great day/night except maybe for the amount of vodka drinks/margaritas I consumed. that was not so bright. I had to crash at my friends' for a few hours until I could get myself home.

when noon rolled around on Sunday, my head was pounding, my mouth felt like I'd been chewing on dry pine needles, and I realized I had only a few short hours to do the 8 hours of errands I needed to get done before dinner.

think, think, think! what did dad say he wanted yesterday? oh, yeah, for all of us to get together for dinner. he doesn't need anything, or want anything. just to hang out with his kids and granddaughter.

but I can't show up empty handed, surely my sister's thought of a fantastic idea. she has. and she offers to buy a card for me, too. that bit I think I can handle.

one errand off the list, I run around tackling a few more, then cut the list short as it's time to head down to my parents' house.

once I get there and get TheDog happily settled in playing with the 'rents' other dog, my mom and I head over to my grandma's to visit with her. she's not feeling very well. she's not up to going to dinner with us.

we chat and catch up, and I ask her what she wants to do for her birthday which is in 2 weeks. (she'll be 90!) she says she doesn't want anything, doesn't need anything. just wants for the family to all be together.

again I can't show up empty handed, and I'm sure I'll think of some great thing for her.

but her answer made me think. it was nearly identical to my dad's.

and I think I know what they both mean.

the best gift is to be surrounded by the people you love. whether that be kids and granddaughters and grand dogs on Father's Day. all of the various flavors of friends on a random Saturday. or your entire family when you're entering your 9th decade.

friends and family are truly the best gift. for any occasion.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

pictures by the bay

I'm a bit of a photo nut. I love taking pictures.

I took a black and white photography class a few years ago. during the class, I had a trip planned out to San Francisco to visit a few of my good friends. what better excuse to tote my huge camera out there and snap some shots?

here's the tale of that trip to SF and a few of my favorites.

Golden Gate Bridgeso, the day before I left for San Fran my friend D called me to tell me he was in New York... um, but I was flying out the next day and was planning to stay with him. no problem, he said I could still stay at his place, he'd be in town by Saturday so we could hang out, and his friend (whom I'd met earlier that year) wasn't working that week, had lived in SF for years and would play tour guide.


TourGuide met me on my way into town from the airport. he was very enthusiastic about showing me around and was excited to take me to all kinds of places that he envisioned being good subject matter for pictures for my class.

first thing, we headed to the top of Twin Peaks* to look out over the city and get proper perspective on things. as we wound our way around, we stopped in Golden Gate park to look at the red structure spanning the bay.

Golden Gate Bridgebeing an engineer, I can actually stand and look at bridges for long periods of time. as such, TourGuide suggested we go to an area underneath the bridge where I could get an unusual perspective of the bridge.

I stood there trying to get the best angle, heavy camera in hand, when *BAM* I'm on the ground. I had side-stepped into a huge chain that was strung between cement posts. of course I had.

TourGuide inquired if I was ok, then helped me up with the help of the military policeman that was nearby, gun in hand. (this was not too long after 9/11 and the security was heightened at things such as the enormous base structure of a large bridge.)

after TourGuide and mr. policeman determined that I was indeed ok, they laughed. and although my knee was in pain and I was completely embarrassed at having to be helped up by a gun-toting policemen, I could appreciate the humor in the scene, despite being bummed that I had cracked my camera lens in the fall.

being the good guy that he is, TourGuide stopped by a drugstore and got me an instant ice patch, some advil and an ace bandage, and laughed with me as I lamented my luck in the first few hours of my four-day trip. D had apparently told a few stories of my klutziness and unfortunate luck, so although TourGuide was not surprised by this turn of events, he was very nice about it.

Sunset - San Franciscoafter taking measures to reduce the swelling in my knee, we headed to the beach to watch a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.
as we sat on the wall and watched the sun sink into the ocean, we saw some crazy disappearing vapor trail that looked as if it might be a jet heading out to be lost at sea. we later found out it was some missile being tested, but it was a very strange site that mesmerized us.

after the sun had sunk below the horizon, we headed back to the city.

Moon over San Franciscobefore meeting D & TourGuide's friends for dinner, we headed back up Twin Peaks to get a view of the city at night, the moon was out, but I'd forgotten my tripod and the shots came out a little blurry. at dinner I got to meet R's girlfriend, who was extremely nice to me, despite my monopolizing her boyfriend as my tour guide.

we had a fantastic meal, drank and told stories. I was automatically taken in as part of the group, cool by association, based solely on the fact that I was D's friend.

after dinner we drove to D's place on the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge and I settled into the amazing accommodations, happy to have such a fabulous place all to myself.

turns out, TourGuide had a friend with a speed boat, so the next morning we took it out on the bay, cruising around a bit, chatting and taking in some great views of the city, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

Fisherman's WharfTourGuide had a meeting in the afternoon, so I was set free to do the tourist thing alone. I went to Fisherman's Wharf to walk around a bit before I caught the boat over to Alcatraz. (I'd been to San Francisco a few times before, but never actually done the Alcatraz tour.)

wandering around Fisherman's Wharf I saw Robin Williams, it was kind of strange, because at first I wasn't sure it was him. there was no one around. so I stood there and observed as he interacted with the few people he was with. he seems much more sane in real life, although his humor is not far from the surface.

then other people started noticing who he was, too. so, I continued on my way, looking out over the water where the sailboats are moored.

then it was time to board the boat to Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Lighthousewalking around the little island with so much history was intriguing. I snapped dozens of pictures, both black & white and color. there is such a stark contrast between the crumbling remains of the concrete structures and the beautiful natural scenery surrounding it.

the history of the island includes not only the infamous federal penitentiary, but an early military fort, a period when Indians used the island perhaps to ostracize others, and the West Coast's first and oldest operating lighthouse.

I remember waiting below the lighthouse for a long time. waiting for the flag to blow out just so.

the walking tour has an interesting tale of the various inhabitants of the island, including information on the more colorful prisoners that inhabited the cells.

Ruins at Alcatrazwalking around the grounds is fascinating. the cellhouse, the old buildings where wardens and their families lived, the dock, the grounds where some prisoners were allowed to exercise.

there are so many interesting buildings in various states of deterioration. concrete eaten away by saltwater and wind.

the structures hanging onto the edge of the rocks, refusing to completely decay. standing as a reminder to those that come to visit of all that have lived and worked there before.

this was one of those times that I was more than happy to be touring alone. I like to stop and take pictures... alot. and often the people I'm with get annoyed at my addiction.

Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatrazthe views from the island are spectacular.

I love the juxtaposition of man-made creations against natural beauty. this was an ideal place for that. there's overgrown ivy on some of the crumbling buildings. trees and bushes growing amid the concrete.

it was time for the boat back.

D got back into town late Friday night. TourGuide and I met up with him after dinner and grabbed a drink. I thanked TourGuide for his services.

Saturday D and I went for a hike in Muir Woods**. and that was about it for my touristy adventures in and around the City by the Bay.

I had some friends from high school and grad school in Fremont. so, I drove to the other side of the bay to visit with friends. we had dinner, then I headed back to D's for a little late night crazy dancing.

before I left Sunday, D and I had a quiet brunch at Sam's. and chatted and caught up, as we hadn't been able to do with so many other people around earlier.

it was a great trip and a great opportunity to take some pictures for class.

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts this last one is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. TourGuide and I stopped by the side of the road the first night I was in town. I sat on the ground (again without my tripod) and wore out TourGuide's patience while snapping pictures of the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts reflected in the lake in the foreground.

* thanks The World Against Me!

** will post some pictures if I find them.

Friday, June 17, 2005


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers
to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting,
or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's {2005} winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund,
which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that
stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately,
shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself
for the purpose of getting laid.

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders
the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit
and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes
and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through
the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter
when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just
after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into
your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding
half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a$$hole.

perfect lunch

we just had the perfect lunch... the girls in the office (I work with two other cool engineering women and our intern is cool, too) all went to the park, sat under a tree and ate scrumptious leftovers from the caterer from last night. smoked salmon, roasted turkey, delectible cheese dip, and a Stella.

love Friday lunch, particularly when great food, good conversation and a beer are involved.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'll e-mail you

we had an anniversary party tonight. I was only looking forward to it for one reason. a certain guy was supposed to be there.

as is par for the course, at lunch, my arm-numbing neck-injury residual* reared it's ugly head. I dropped a teriyaki ladden piece of chicken on my skirt. it apparently jumped around on my lap like a fish out of water, as there were bits of sauce everywhere.

my first thought was, of course... why wouldn't I drop food all over me when he's supposed to be there tonight.

my friend M ran and grabbed some club soda and as I was dabbing at the stubborn spots, A was asking if I had any extra clothes. (I tend to have at least jeans in my trunk at all times.) and I did have clothes in my car. afterall, I'd picked up my dry cleaning on the way to work... but oddly it was all shirts and sweaters.

as we talked about backup plans, the spots began slowly disappearing. club soda, the miracle spot remover. disaster averted.

so, tonight, as the party wore on there was no sign of the guy. but all was not lost, as I did make plans with someone I met to go for a hike or something soon... it wasn' t the other single guy I talked to for a while, but rather a really cool chick.

now, before you guys get all excited, today Fish wrote a little something about Girl Dating. the cool chick and I decided it would be fun to do something sometime. I've realized I do that more and more lately. meet fun girls that I would like to have as friends, and we exchange info, and usually end up hanging out.

Fish is right. it can sometimes be easier and more comfortable to Girl Date, than it is to date date. and until I can find someone fun to date, I might as well have fun on girl dates, like last night, Tuesday, and last week. and I'll continue doing so when I find someone to date date. my girlfriends make life fun and interesting.

* related to a little bathtub mishap I'll have to write about later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

another great outdoor venue

S and I went to listen to a little live music in the round. the stage is sunken in the middle of a grassy area with sloped sides. you can take in a picnic and a bottle of wine. it's an amazing, low-key place to see a concert.

before the show starts or in between acts, you can stroll among the flowers and trees and fountains. the flowers show off their amazing bursts of color throughout the grounds. the fountains soothe you as you pass by or relax nearby.

well, S works more than I do, so we were running a little late. the place was absolutely packed, so the only spot we found was to squeeze in behind a group of parents and their kids.

I love kids, I even like most parents. S, too. but this group was a little different. the kids were great, even mostly quiet. but some of the parents, well, they were a different story.

one of the women talked, loudly, throughout the show. it was a very quiet show.

one of the guys introduced himself as soon as we got back to our blanket. and was nice, later on, to share an extra blanket. but he made some comments that seemed a bit, well, disheartening.

he told us some story of how they all used to be hip, young and fun, but then they had kids and now their hip friends won't hang out with them anymore.

I'm not sure if he was trying to say he wished he were still single and hip, or that he misses his friends, or what. but S thought it sounded like he was saying he wishes he could be single again. and with some of the things he said to his wife and his kid, sadly, that may very well be the case.

I don't understand the type of person that is really nice to strangers, but not nice to their own family. I also don't understand people who lose touch with friends just because they have kids. that has happened with some of my acquaintances, but most of my good friends that are parents are still great friends (and great parents).

granted, we may not do the same things together, but a concert at the botanic gardens? I go all the time with my friends and their kids.

it really is a great place to bring kids, S and I enjoyed watching and playing with the little ones in front of us during the show. (I keep trying to get my brother and sister-in-law to bring my niece. she loves to dance, she'd love the music there. but it's tough to find a night everyone's free.)

S and I had a fun relaxing evening despite a few adults that acted more childish than their kids. the music was good, and the atmosphere is one of a kind.

life's little curve balls

had a really rough start this morning.

woke up late (alarm battery apparently died).
my head was pounding (too much wine/not enough water at dinner last night).
blow-dryer fell in toilet (even after drying out, appears to no longer work).
very important button flew off shirt I was going to wear (other options not plentiful as laundry and dry-cleaning have piled up).
slipped on dog toy on stairs (will have a colorful bruise on my leg and arm).
some guy nearly hit me changing into my lane (he then had the nerve to shake his fist at me).

once I got to the dry-cleaner, things turned around, though...

there was a guy waiting, the dry cleaner was in the back, and apparently did not know we were waiting. I was feeling a bit disheveled (wearing really old ill-fitting shirt. hair looking a mess because of blow-dryer incident) and unsocial (hadn't even had my caffeine fix yet). but he was cute and nice, and began chatting with me. when the dry cleaner came to the front, the guy let me go ahead of him, although he'd been waiting longer, and I'd made no mention of being late or anything. perhaps my frantic state was apparent the minute I walked in the door.

one of life's little curve balls, just thrown out there to let me know there are considerate people around, nice guys, and really awesome dry cleaners that have promised to get the ink mark out of my favorite shirt!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

days of wine and crushes

tonight I sat and relaxed for a bit, enjoying wine, salads, steaks and seafood with my sister, her college roommate (who's like another little sister to me), and my friend A.

conversation turned to weddings and honeymoons and wedding dresses and babies. my eyes must have glazed over at some point. someone noticed. and soon the conversation turned to my being single and what I was doing about not being so.

wait. I'd rather talk about the beautiful wedding dress A just tried on. or how my sister and her husband so badly want a kid. or how my "other little sister" doesn't want kids, ever.

but, instead, I hear stories of how so-and-so met online, or how ms. thing met her now boyfriend on a blind date. and get questions about what I'm doing to meet new guys. more of the happily-coupled thing.

well, girls, let's see I worked nearly two weeks worth in one last week, found a little time to hang out with friends and TheDog, tried to get some training in and slept a few hours. no, I wasn't out and about meeting guys. it's just not a priority for me right now.

the talk turns to prospects. the only one I can think of is A's friend W. my sister(s) try to tell A that she should set me up with him. but I agree with A, it's too weird for her. he's one of her good friends and if things got weird it would be tough for her. I don't want to put her in that position. she does help us to hang out together, and I'd try to get my game on to flirt with him, but he renders me flirtless.

I'm not funny when he's around, I'm not witty, and I've certainly got no game.

I do that. I get tongue-tied and nervous when there's a guy I really like. I'm relatively talkative and outgoing most of the time. but every once in a while I meet a guy that I think would be so absolutely perfect for me that I become too nervous to let my fabulousness shine through. (perhaps another reason I'm single.)

I know I need to work on that. and work on finding more prospects. but I have no idea how to become less nervous around the guys I truly like or a clue as to where to begin looking for prospects.

but perhaps I need to make the looking a priority... if I only knew where to look.

Monday, June 13, 2005

who's to blame?

I blame my family...

my mom
for teaching me it is alright to be a strong women in love with a strong man. for teaching me to believe that there has to be love and friendship in a relationship for it to work. for instilling in all of her children an appreciation of music and art. for insisting I play the saxophone through ninth grade. for enabling my concert habit. for teaching me how to be caring, kind and compassionate, as well as stubborn. for teaching me how to hover.

my dad
for teaching me it can be fun to be a science nerd, and that smart women are interesting women. for showing me that reading can be an escape and a way to connect with the world. for my addiction to the history and discovery channels. for being proud of me even when I wasn't sure I should be proud of myself. for insisting I learn how to change a tire before I was allowed to drive out of the driveway.

my oldest brother
for teaching me to work hard, and play harder, and cherish the little things in life. for showing me that life is what you make of it. that adventures are important, but family is more important. for instigating my desire to be the best at what I do. for helping me believe in my talents. for challenging me to be my sharpest and strongest. for showing me how best to sneak vodka into a concert.

my older brother
for teaching me that although some guys are players, when they meet the One, they can be amazingly sweet and caring. for teaching me that I can hit a baseball, and fix a car. that college can be the best time of your life, or merely one of the best. for showing me that true friends are the ones that stick by you when it's not popular to do so. that big brothers will stick up for you even when you are certain they will not. for letting me believe driving a turd-brown '77 VW Rabbit was cool.

my baby sister
for teaching me how to have fun and not be so serious sometimes. for teaching me that love may just be able to conquer all. for letting me believe I am a cool big sister. for helping me discover what true friendship means. for being my biggest ally even when she wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. for helping me understand that friendship is a mutual thing, the one-way street doesn't get you there. for teaching me how to not be fearful. for keeping me from doing too much damage when I believed in the wrong people. for letting me know when I was turning into my mother, and that it was ok. for being there for me when I really needed her. for being my partner in crime misadventure.

my grandma
for teaching me that strong women are amazing and beautiful. that stubbornness can sometimes be a burden. for showing me that family is the most important thing. for letting me believe I'm special at least in her eyes. for telling me the tales of her life. for showing me that my family will always be there for me. for teaching me that life is worth living even after you've lost the most important thing in it. for laughing with me when we got pulled over for speeding in the Arizona desert.

my aunt
for teaching me that women can be successful scientists and business women. for giving us an insight into our dad's childhood. for always having intelligent conversations with us, even though we were just kids. for being the cool aunt who still brings the fun toys.

my niece
for showing me that no matter how old you are the world is still full of wonder. for re-introducing me to the yumminess that is strawberry ice cream.

I blame my family for helping create the complex mostly (in)sane person that I am.

and I thank each and every one of them for it.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

single reason

there's a reason he's single...

that seems to be true of many of the single guys I've met lately.

some have excessive baggage from previous relationships.
some can't seem to move out of their parents' basement.
some work way too much.
some are too selfish.
some are only interested in the exterior, not the interior.
some are too melodramatic.
some are completely insincere.
some have no sense of humor.
some are inconsiderate jerks.
some don't have any passion.
some don't have the ability to hold a simple conversation. this one is true of the guys we met out last night.

but, then again, there's a reason some women are single. true for some of the girls I went out with last night. one's too shy. one's either too abrasive or too forward, and either way seems to eventually scare guys away. and one's, well, just plain crazy.

so if it's true for guys, and it's true for my friends, does that make it true for me?

maybe there's a reason I'm single?

yes, there is a reason (and possibly many, but this is the one that I think has wreaked the most havoc), my timing sucks, always has... now if I can just figure out some way to change that...

Friday, June 10, 2005

tag... not just a children's game anymore

Thanks so much for the tag, 28goingon40... I'll tag you back (with something else) for this... ;~)

Here's how it works:

Pick 5 of the following questions and then complete the sentences. Then pass it on to 3 more of your blog friends! (No tag backs allowed.)

If I could be a scientist?
If I could be a farmer?
If I could be a musician?
If I could be a doctor?
If I could be a painter?
If I could be a gardener?
If I could be a missionary?
If I could be a chef?
If I could be an architect?
If I could be a linguist?
If I could be a psychologist?
If I could be a librarian?
If I could be an athlete?
If I could be a lawyer?
If I could be an inn-keeper?
If I could be a professor?
If I could be a writer?
If I could be a llama-rider?
If I could be a bonnie pirate?
If I could be an astronaut?
If I could be a world famous blogger?
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world?
If I could be married to any current famous political figure?

Here are my choices:

If I could be a musician? I would play Red Rocks as much as possible, it's such an awesome view from the stage!

If I could be an architect? I would design useful and beautiful buildings, but try to maintain historical and regional beauty. I wouldn't try to make my buildings stand out like a sore thumb.

If I could be a lawyer? I would reduce the amount of b-s that goes into the court cases I deal with at work. I wouldn't try to think of more things for me to do, just to waste my client's money. And I would be nice and fair... (and because of this I would never make it as a lawyer...)

If I could be a writer? I would write about whatever I wanted, not caring if it would sell or be seen by anyone... wait, isn't that the point of this whole blog thing.

If I could be a llama-rider? Well, I wouldn't actually ride the llama (they're not too keen on being ridden) but I would definitely take it on all my backpacking trips, as they are amazing pack animals. I would just have to be careful that they didn't spit at me.

And I tag (sorry):


Have fun with it...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

hooky by the lake

I don't like to complain about work, but the last couple of weeks have been ridiculously busy. and, so, I decided I deserved little break, as did TheDog. I've neglected her far too much for work lately.

Lake Dillonwe took a little detour on our way back from Breckenridge yesterday. I was in search of a relaxing "lunch break" before getting back to Denver and back to work.

I was looking for an easy trail, not too far off of the highway, so I wouldn't feel guilty about skipping work the entire time we were on the trail. we stopped for a little pseudo-hike near Lake Dillon.

we set out from the trail head. the trail meandered through the trees to the Lake.

as soon as TheDog saw the water she took off running.

she was having a wonderful time, she ran slalom through the trees and bounded over the sand to the water. after a short while, she grabbed an enormous tree out of the water.

not a little stick, a large partial tree, about as tall as me.

she was very proud of her tree. she carried it around for a while running in and out of the water with it. but after she hit my knees with it a few times, I found her a more appropriate "dog-sized" stick.

Lake Dillon the lake was beautiful, it's nearly full, for the first time in years. (hopefully the wet weather will continue and this lake level will be the norm, not the sand flats of the last few years during the drought.)

a few sail boats glided by, and a few motor boats created waves on the shore as they sped past.

I enjoyed the peacefulness of an hour alone on the trail (particularly when I was supposed to be at work).

Lake Dillonthe weather was absolutely perfect.

the sky was that beautiful Colorado blue.

it was warm with an occasional cooling breeze.

I'm so happy to be able to hike again. I wasn't able to last summer.

I plan to make up for that this summer. may head up camping this weekend if it's not too wet and rainy.

if it is, I'm glad I played hooky for a while to enjoy the day.

Lake DillonTheDog and I had a relaxing mini-vacation for a few hours.

we both deserved it.

help, I need a computer geek!

anyone out there know laptops? and what the best/most reliable brand is right now?

my company is buying me a new one, but the one they're suggesting will not be a significant improvement over the one I've had for 2+ years. I would imagine in two years there has been some improvement in laptop technology?

I need one that's fast and reliable, has a good screen, and the capability to use dual monitors.

any help/advice would be appreciated!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

a different shade of green

my friend called me this afternoon at work.

do you have time to grab a glass of wine tonight?

me: (thinking, no, I have hours of work to do tonight) I need one, now.

what time can you get there?

me: (thinking, now!) right after work.

we used to work together, now she's a mom of two beautiful kids. I so miss working with her. we used to escape some mornings to the coffee shop across the street for a little sip (of freedom). I miss going to the ceramics studio with her to throw (our work frustrations at the wheel). it's not nearly as fun without a friend to gossip with.

I love how friends can have perfect timing, and how it's usually completely unintentional.

tonight, we both needed a break. she'd had as rough a day with her little ones as I'd had a week at work. it had been a while since we'd relaxed and chatted without one of her little ones around to distract us, or a work interruption.

so, a glass of wine turned into two, and cheese fondue and salad... then a little protein added in for good measure... of course some chocolate fondue... and cappuccino.

we talked about kids, dogs, families and friends, a currently non-existent love life, first birthday parties, run-ins with exes, and a disastrous job.

listening to her stories of her kids makes me wonder if I'm really missing out on something. so many of my friends now have kids. I find myself wondering if there's something profound I'm missing out on by holding out for my one. but then nights like tonight, enjoying an extraordinary meal with a good friend makes me realize that we all wonder if we're missing out on something.

I may be a little jealous of her family. she may be a little jealous of my continuing career. but neither is jealous of the horror stories we've shared tonight. I am definitely not jealous of the temper tantrums or tears. she is definitely not jealous of my marathon work weekend and sad pathetic dating stories.

perhaps over a fondue pot, set aflame to roast marshmallows, we both realized having wine and cheese (and chocolate) with a friend, venting and laughing helps us to simply appreciate everything we do have in our lives; that the grass may not really be greener, but rather just a different shade of green.

feeling more relaxed, but a bit over-stuffed and somewhat guilty, for escaping her kids for so long, for putting my work off, we started for the door. we promised to get together and relax and chat again before it was as absolutely necessary as it was tonight.

Monday, June 06, 2005

love on the rocks

the beautiful red rocks soaring into the cool evening sky creating the natural amphitheater came into view. my friend asked me how many concerts I go to in a year.

I realized I don't have a clue what the answer to that question is.

I have an addiction. I admit it, but I can't quit. and I don't want to.

I love the feeling of dancing to live music. I love the incredible outdoor concert venues that are basically in my back yard. I also love a band that many people think just doesn't have it anymore. with these people I disagree. completely.

the local boys of Big Head Todd and the Monsters graced the stage of Red Rocks over the weekend.

I've seen them there nearly every summer since they've played there. the first time I saw them on the rocks was the Horde tour when I was in college with my brother and a bunch of his friends. one of the girls and I ended up in the press box, in the first row.

that was when I fell in love.

it was right after their sister sweetly album was released. it was their first national release, but I didn't know the songs, except the ones that were also on their local releases. at the time I was a poor college student in Texas, where I couldn't quite tune in the good Austin stations, and I relied on my brothers and a few friends to feed my musical craving.

I liked BHTM's music, but I couldn't grasp the pure emotion behind their songs until I saw them live, on the rocks.

I've hooked several of my friends. their live sound is completely infectious. I dragged my friend Jen into going to Austin with me for SXSW to see them. the lack of an audience they had when they first started playing that night was unbelievable. the mass that had grown by the time they ended their second song was equally unbelievable.

my sister has accompanied me on many of my infatuation-driven concert-going excursions. we've driven to Vail through a blizzard to see them. we've hurried back from Winter Park, where they played during the day, to see Todd play the Fox in Boulder with just his guitar. we hope Hazel Miller accompanies them every time we see them. she was as equally bummed as I was when they announced last year's red rocks date... on her wedding day.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times my sister and I have seen them together on the rocks, but I have never been happier to have her there with me than I was this weekend.

although it was cool and rainy most of the day, by the time the concert rolled around, it had stopped raining, and by the time BHTM took the stage, a few stars had peeked out at us through the cloud cover.

being the fan(atic) that I am, I had VIP passes to get all of us into the first few rows. well, my friends, my sis and I spent too much time in the parking lot "tailgating" and ended up getting there after the VIP section was already overflowing.

although my friends gave up staying there, my sister and I refused to admit defeat. our stubbornness paid off, we ended up center stage about five rows back. the show was incredible. Hazel helped out with the high notes. they played many of our favorites, save for a litle Vincent of Jersey.

I am so glad my sister went with me on my wishful ticket for the show. she's better company than most dates I've been on lately. no one else understands my (solely musical) infatuation with the band like she does. probably because she is equally infatuated.

the only other person I've ever met who was almost as into seeing them live was the NowEx. so no real surprise that I was reminded of him during the show, but was the buzz kill of seeing him on the way out of the show really necessary?

well, despite the pain it caused that night, the unpleasantness of running into him has faded into the recesses of my memory.

it's alright echoes in my mind. my euphoria of seeing my (musical) love, live, with my sister, is all that remains.

love you kiddo, thanks so much for going with me!

Sunday, June 05, 2005


we were sipping tasty beverages in the parking lot outside of red rocks before the concert*, when my friend B walks by, he and his wife join us and we're talking about how strange it is sometimes to see random people. how it's almost always good when you accidently bump into someone you know.

then I said something about the few times that it's not good, it's usually an ex or a friend of an ex.


the concert was absolutely amazing. my sister went with us. she and I ended up in the fifth row, dancing with random people and getting served tasty beverages in the VIP section. we had so much fun together. I miss having her hang out with just me. she sometimes isn't as fun as she used to be when her husband is around. but I digress.

as we're walking down the stairs near the bathroom to meet up with my friends after the show, I see him. I tell my sis that NowEx is standing there. she said to switch to the far side of the stairs. I said no, I'm going to walk up and say hello.

despite her look of disbelief, we did.

and it was all very weird. and it seemed he talked to my sister about something or other for a short while. but the only words he spoke to me were something along the lines of how are you doing?

and he asked that more than once.

perhaps my answer of great the first time he asked wasn't adequate?

after a minute I realized I was shaking. really shaking, standing there trying to hold a civil conversation with a guy I thought might be The One a few short months ago. and I realized I couldn't speak. if I did I wouldn't be able to keep it together.

the many things I had wanted to tell him and ask him raced through my mind. the insecure thoughts his fading had uncovered. the questions I thought I didn't care about anymore. why did he just fade away? was he okay? did I ever mean anything to him? did I do something wrong? what happened?

I really wanted to ask him that last one, what happened?

I know I deserve to know that answer. but, I knew tonight, while he was waiting outside the ladies room, likely for his date, was not the time. and I knew if I said much of anything to him, my tears were not going to stay hidden.

as my sis and I walked away from him, they came pouring out. I felt the complete fool all over again. the hole in my heart torn wide open again. how can one person have such an effect?

I so wish I'd had the courage to say what I need to say and ask what I need to ask tonight. but I'm not courageus enough.

I wish my sister, who is definitely the more outspoken one, had said some of the things she had wanted to say to him on my behalf. but she was still in disbelief that I wanted to talk to him at all, so it didn't occur to her. I don't think either of us will get the chance again.

after the tears subsided and my friends and sis all insisted what I already know... that I'm better off without him, my friends dropped me at home.

so here I sit, still tearing occasionally thinking about things I don't want to think about. thinking of how differently I wish this little encounter had turned out. I'm upset with myself that I'm still upset with him.

I'm upset with myself for falsely believing that I was over him. I guess my first clue should have been that during the concert tonight I was really reminded of him. the last time I was there, it was with him. the last time I saw the band, it was with him. their last show was supposed to be his Christmas present from me. but he faded away before that, with not so much as a goodbye.

I hate that he robbed me of saying goodbye to him (us) when he faded away.

how do I say goodbye to him (us), without really having to?

* I'll tell you about the concert later. just needed to vent about the encounter right now.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

story for a rainy day

since it's rainy and cold and I'd rather stay inside than do the yard work I wanted to catch up on this weekend, and I'm tired of doing work right now, I'll fill you in on one follow-up to the can guys and girls just be friends conundrum...

I went to a baseball game the other night courtesy of my company's tickets with two of my friends. one of them was OhThoseEyes.

when we sat down for the game, OhThoseEyes sat next to me. we talked about all kinds of things and everything seemed fine and back to friendly normal.

we all went to get beer. my other friend P bought mine as thanks for the free ticket. I was back in the seats first, P was next, so he sat next to me. (P is definitely happily-coupled, and one that was convinced that OhThoseEyes and I should try the more-than-friends thing.)

P and I always talk about random things when we hang out, and more so when beer is involved. so we talked about 24* (not the show, although I am addicted), potential camping trips this summer, another friend's wedding, what we'd do if we won the lottery, the players I thought were cute, etc.

sometime during the game, OhThoseEyes started acting strange... to the point that by the end of the game, P thanked me for the free ticket, and OhThoseEyes said nothing, except to P, and then it was only that he needed to get home.

I said goodbye to them both and headed out of the stadium the opposite direction, wondering why some guys act so strangely... also feeling a little sad, sad as it appears OhThoseEyes and I aren't back to being friends, just yet.

* a story for another rainy day

Friday, June 03, 2005

unreasonable deadlines

my boss is currently not happy with me for what I imagine to be some combination of the following reasons:

1) Monday was a national holiday.

2) I had to be out of the office for jury duty this week.

3) the server at work ate an entire project directory, and although we have daily back-ups, the work I'd done over the weekend (yes, over the weekend) and Tuesday was lost due to this little problem.

4) I actually left the building for lunch today, and not just to run back and eat it at my desk while working.

5) one of our project managers can't manage, and since I'm the only other person that has a clue what's required in the technical portion of the project, I now have make sure this gets done, along with all of my other projects... by first thing Monday.

6) I only worked until 2am last night this morning, when, despite my highly over-caffeinated state, I fell asleep on my laptop.

7) because I was sleeping in my living room, with a keyboard for a pillow, I didn't set my alarm and I didn't get to work until 7am today.

8) we're days behind on where we need to be on this project (and I'm taking time to vent to my blog, so I don't bite someone's head off, although he doesn't know this.)

9) and It's Friday and I'm refusing to stay too late.

but I shouldn't complain... even if I do have to come in over the weekend, at least it is Friday, and I will get out of here at a decent hour!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

civic duty

the Denver City and County building is an architectural gem.

this beautiful building sits across Civic Center Park from the Colorado State Capitol. I drive past it frequently. I have always thought it beautiful from the outside, but had never been inside, well, until today.

I was only slightly aware of the importance of the day ahead of me when I climbed the stately staircase in front of the building. despite feeling transported back to the era in which it was built while walking up the steps, reminders of the present were glaringly obvious upon walking through the doors. the x-ray machines stationed at every entrance, the backlit soda machines, the coffee stand.

but for the most part, the interior is of the same grandeur as the exterior. the marble-walled hallways seem wide enough for a two-lane road. the 20-foot tall ceilings remind those that pass under them of a time when everything wasn't built solely for efficiency, when beauty and style were considered in architectural design.

for about an hour this morning, I sat with about 300 or so other people in a very bland room in the building , awaiting our fate to be determined for the day or week. I've never done this before. I've never been called for jury duty until today. which is odd, given the many years since I turned 18.

everyone told me that I probably wouldn't even be called into a court room, that I'd be dismissed straight from the jury room around lunchtime.

well, I can tell you the courtrooms in the building have beautiful woodwork. they have the feeling of an old Perry Mason movie.

everyone told me that if I did get called into a court room, there was only a slight chance I'd actually serve on a jury. just say something opinionated and they'll dismiss you.

well, apparently my "opinionated" isn't opinionated enough. I wasn't dismissed. I was chosen to serve on the jury in a criminal trial.

it was a mildly interesting case, but learning about the judicial process was more interesting. although my sister is an attorney, and I have been an expert witness in cases, a criminal case is much different than anything I've ever even thought about. the trial itself, the legal aspects of it, and my fellow jurors were all intriguing and educational.

I guess I expected the cross-section of citizens chosen to be on a jury would be more similar to the people they interview on the news, not people that are engaging conversationalists. there was an attorney, a psychologist, a pathologist, a television producer, a boutique manager, and other normal and interesting people.

completing my civic duty for at least the year was not nearly as tedious as I had imagined it might be. in fact, it was rather interesting and rewarding, although I wonder if my perception might have been different if the trial had lasted 6 weeks instead of 6 hours?