shannon_a: (Default)
Writing in my journal has been constantly lagging lately, as all of my free writing time has been going to D&D histories, and when I can manage it, a little something for Mechanics & Meeples. I think I may have turned a corner for that, but more of that in another (delayed?) journal entry.

For now ...

Last weekend, Kimberly and I celebrated our 17th anniversary. It's the furniture anniversary, and though we certainly have cat-scarred upholstery, we had no interest in buying anything new, because every new piece of furniture is something that needs to be expensively shipped to Hawaii on a container ship — or wastefully discarded.

I ran my Burning Wheel game at Endgame on our anniversary. How romantic!

But our celebration occurred afterward. Kimberly and I met at Millennium, which is now conveniently located on College Avenue, between Endgame and home (more or less).

We've eaten there for several celebrations over the years, and this is our third time eating there since they moved to the East Bay (and thus, our third year running). As usual, we had very tasty food ands great service (from our same server as last year, which Kimberly realized and I would not have). Very pleasant!

Since nothing thrilled us on their desert menu, we then went to Smitten Ice Cream a block away, which they slowly make your ice cream while you watch. It was tasty enough, but nothing amazing. But we're already spoiled by Ici, down the street. Mind you, the wait for Smitten to literally create your ice cream was shorter than the typical wait in line at Ici.

Then we had a romantic walk home through the mean streets of north Oakland and south Berkeley, with me pushing my bike and its pannier full of gaming supplies.

On Sunday, we continued our celebrations by taking BART out to Glen Park. This had been our plan, but Kimberly was somewhat reluctant because of the possibility of a big festival at Golden Gate Park making BART very crowded (especially now that they've stopped running more or extra trains for it, because BART sucks), and I was somewhat reluctant because I was feeling highly congested and wondering if I was coming down with something.

But, we persevered.

BART was crowded. And I was bemused how many dumb/new riders there were. Because if you're experienced rider going to Golden Gate Park you get off at Embarcadero, to catch the N-Judah line to the park as soon as you can, and hopefully get a seat. If you're a new/dumb rider you wait until the Civic Center, which is the last N-Judah crossover. Then you certainly don't get a seat on such a busy day, and maybe pay extra for BART too. So about half the crowd got off at Embarcadero, but about half waited until Civic Center. (And afterward the BART trains we were blissfully quiet, but we'd managed to get two of the last seats at MacArthur, so no biggie.)

We had tasty sandwiches out in the park and we enjoyed a walk out to the end and back along the bottom of the canyon.

And that was our anniversary.

Unfortunately, I indeed was getting sick. First cold in a couple of years, and in the middle of summer to boot. Very annoying! (But at least I didn't get a cold during any of my many travels last year or during this year's trip to Hawaii.)

It was never bad, but I was a bit under the weather throughout the week. Bleh.

Other stuff Kimberly and I have done lately.

We finally did another walk from our Berkeley Walks book. We had stopped around this time last year, because the returning students were making the local walks unpleasant for Kimberly, but in July we started with our third, the Berkeley campus walk. We finished it over two Sunday afternoons. Sadly, it was a bit disappointing. The authors seemed to totally punt all the discussion of architectural detail that made the southside walks interesting and also missed many historic details that we were aware of. Ah well. We did still find some interesting stuff on campus. I'd never been to the Women's Faculty Club before, because it's kind of hidden by Strawberry Creek, and I'd never been in the "new" business school, which has a magnificent court yard, where we read during our second walk.

And speaking of reading, we finished Assassin's Fate last night with a 2.5-hour marathon read, which concluded our massive 18-book read-aloud of the Robin Hobbs' 16-book Realm of the Elderling series. (We read two of the three newest books twice, once when they came out, and once as we were concluding the series, two or three years later.) It's our longest series ever to read-aloud (with the 11-book Gene Wolfe Sun series and the 10-book Roger Zelazny Amber series being next up, I think), and it's even more than that by page count, as the books tended to run 500-900 pages(!). Also a magnificent series, full of great characters, and sufficiently distant from the fantasy norm to be truly unique. We'll miss our Fitz and Fool reading, which has been part of our daily life since we started Fool's Assassin almost exactly three years ago. Whew
shannon_a: (Default)
In Which My Hair is Butchered. K. was kind enough to cut my hair on Sunday, which she had done once before with the newish electric razor we have. Because of the long hiatus between the two instances she got confused about what the proper setting was for the razor, which was amplified by her trying to cut with the cover on backwards. When she was done, I had no hair. Quite literally. Between my hairlessness and my Van Dyke, I just need a black porkpie to look like a sociopathic drug manufacturer.

In Which My Cat Escapes a Harness. I've wanted to harness train Callisto since we got her, so K. and I started in on that in the last couple of weeks. Except she totally freaks out when the harness is on, moving like her back is broken, scuttling like a crab, etc. She also tries to lick it off continuously. To try and show her the benefits, we took her out to the deck last week, and that seemed to work OK. But then K. took her out to the front yard and sat with her on the steps. She apparently got freaked out, because when I opened the front door to see how things were going, she bolted for the foyer so hard that she somehow slipped out of the harness. I think we're done harness training her.

In Which I Hike. I am once again on no-biking duty because it would upset a test my doctor has requested. So instead I hiked from Lake Anza, through Tilden, and down home on Saturday. It was a nice long hike. I also did my more typical 70 minute hike this evening, up the fire trails and back down Panoramic Hill. Lots of beautiful views on both those days (though Saturday was a bit hazy).

In Which I Also Walk. On Sunday, when K. wasn't busy butchering my hair, we went out for a long midday walk, traversing another half-a-walk from our Berkeley Walks book. This time we did the first half of the Southside walk, which took us from Telegraph & Bancroft, up toward College and back. (I figured it was the time to do it before the streets filled with returning students.) I knew a lot of what we saw and even predicted some of sites. However, I added dates and details to my knowledge base. Most surprising was that the Togo's was designed by Julia Morgan. That is, the storefront on Bancroft that had a Togo's twenty-five years ago (and the Double Rainbow Cafe on one side and something else on the other) was a Julia Morgan design. The only major change mentioned was that the interior courtyard used to be open. We still have half that walk to do, then another 16 in the book.

In Which the Health Problems Continue. Saw a Doc last Wednesday, to no great results. We agreed that all the drugs had done little good. So he's now got me scheduled for more annoying tests (c.f., no biking), which are to look for unlikely but scary things. If that doesn't turn anything up, then it's off to different specialists. The psychological weight of this (really, of constantly feeling uncomfortable) was really getting to me last week, but I managed to lighten it a bit by taking some music out with me on some of my walks and dancing and singing as I went, without caring who thought I was crazy. (I rarely care who thinks I'm crazy.)

In Which Our Anniversary is Coming. K. and I will be celebrating our 16th Anniversary on Friday at Millennium. Yay.


Mar. 27th, 2016 10:46 pm
shannon_a: (Default)
Kimberly and I have birthdays that are four days apart, so we often end up having a birthday week with continued celebrations over that time period.

The year, that started on Thursday. I was working (because I'll be taking vacation soon enough), but Kimberly and I had a lunch out at Smart Alec's, then in the evening I had Mike B. and Eric L. over for Pathfinder ACG. It was a nice compromise between work and relaxation. And Mike was really sweet at gaming. He brought over tons of deserts made of dark chocolate, peanut butter, and mint, and even a new Miskatonic mug for me.

Kimberly and I usually have dinner out on Friday night, so this Friday I planned to go to Le Regal, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the area. Except it had gone out of business last October. Dammit. The funny thing is that Kimberly and I have commented several times on the business that's replacing it, "Le Halal Guys". Their Coming Soon sign says "We Are Different" on it, and that has constantly cracked us up because Oasis Grill, which also sells gyros, is literally two doors down. Anywho, we'd never realized that that the Halal Guys sign was in the old Regal storefront. There's some lesson in there about familiarity or contempt or some such crap. Looking at the storefront again today we realized that the old Le Regal icon is still (sadly) on the door.

We ended up going to Angeline's instead, a kick-ass Louisiana Kitchen. I'd been avoiding picking that for my b-day dinner because I'm not supposed to be eating spicy foods right now, but what can you do? (I at least ordered my shrimp po'boy without hot sauce.)

And then today we had the Wiedlins up to Berkeley. We hung out and talked for a bit then went down to Chevy's. (No spicy stuff? Well, mostly, I mean it was Chevy's.) Funny story: it was hard to find a restaurant that could accommodate the seven of us and was open on Easter. Kimberly suggested Giovanni's, but they burned down last year. (There's been a rash of burning restaurants in Berkeley this year.) We also tried La Med, but they were somewhat surprisingly closed for Easter. Then there was Remy's, where it took two phone calls and two people before I could even find someone to tell me they were closed on Easter.

But I did find Chevy's was open, so I made reservations back on Thursday, to make sure they would have a table for our party. And of course they'd lost them by the time we got there today. (Fortunately we were eating at 3pm, so they had space anyway. And fortunately no one seemed to have told them it was Kimberly's and my birthdays, as there was no singing at the table.)

Overall, nice weekend. Nice getting together with family, with friends, and hanging out with Kimberly. (And hiking on my own yesterday, of which I have already writ.)

I do feel like I ate just a little too much bad stuff over the weekend, between spiciness and caffeine (from chocolate), and I can tell it a tiny bit tonight, but hopefully I haven't set myself back as I'm pretty sick of feeling off-kilter and not biking.

But it was a nice few days of b-day.

That's the bulk of birthdaying, but we'll get a little bit of food tomorrow night in commemoration of Kimberly's actual birthday, then she'll be picking somewhere nice for next Friday.
shannon_a: (Default)
Last night Kimberly and I travelled up to Lake Temescal to see the SUPER BLOOD MOON.

It was actually (and amusingly) my second bike ride up to Lake Temescal for the day. I dropped Kimberly off at a get together in Rockridge around 4pm, biked up to Lake Temescal, edited 3,500 words (and read one issue of Swamp Thing), biked back down, picked her up, and then up we went again.

It was Kimberly's first ride up into the hills like that, and she did great. Mind you, I know the terrain between Rockridge and Lake Temescal very well, so I carefully directed when she should get off her bike and walk, and when it was OK to ride again (to avoid biking the really steep stuff). I remember well getting up to Lake Temescal for the first time, 'lo these many years ago, and feeling like I was about to pass out, and I didn't want to repeat that experience for her.

So, we made it in 25 minutes or so with a bit of walking.

At Temescal we found a bench on the North side of the Lake and sat down to read Mad Ship for a while. It's the 7th book in our mega-Robin-Hobb read aloud that we're now over a year into. We finished up a short chapter around 7pm and then started to look for the moon.

And we looked.

And we looked.

We talked with other people, also looking for the moon.

They stumbled away in despair.

And we looked.

We wandered back and forth around the nearby grass.

We wandered up onto the high path running along the west side of the Lake, and got to an overlook which allowed us to look eastward across the lake and hills.

And we looked.

We wandered back down.

The minutes kept ticking by. Soon it was 7.40, almost an hour after moonrise.

No moon.

Eventually we decided that some combination of the very slight haze in the sky and the fact that the moon had risen already mostly eclipsed were keeping us from spotting it in the sky.

So, we decided that we'd had our adventure, and biked back down to civilization.

Ironically, the bike ride back down was at least as trying for Kimberly as the bike ride up. That's because it's almost pitch black on the roads near Lake Temescal. I'd mentioned this, but hadn't made a big deal about it, and Kimberly had probably never ridden in conditions that dark. So, she got a bit concerned about the safety of the ride, but managed it, and all was well when we emerged back in Rockridge.

Afterward, Kimberly took us out to dinner at Cactus. Now, with less screaming children and better quality food again.

Then we went to Trader Joe's to pick up "necessities" like Pita Chips and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

As we crossed the Trader Joe's parking lot, we were puzzled by a security guard holding his phone up toward the eastern sky, like an offering to the star gods.

I was bemused, but assumed he was just crazy. Because, Berkeley. Kimberly said, "Look!"

There, in the sky was a quarter or so of a moon, the other three quarters dull-red in the eclipse.

We'd found it at last.
shannon_a: (Default)
Wednesday was my and Kimberly's 15th Wedding anniversary. 15 years ago yesterday we were getting married at the Faculty club on the Cal campus, and 15 years ago today we were enjoying a picnic lunch with friends out at Codornices Park. I still regularly visit both locales while out biking.

Did you know that the 15th anniversary is the last one that appears on the lists in the UK and US? It's crystal. After that you're only expected to remember your anniversary every five years, which is a relief. Except the pesky Chicago Public Library made a modern gift list and it goes up yearly to 25. So maybe I have to keep remembering every anniversary until the 25th, because I lived in the Chicago area for a year or two when I was very young. CPL says that next year is the silver holloware anniversary. I don't even know what holloware is, unless they're talking about the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager.

Anywho, Kimberly has had a pretty tough four months or so between bronchitis (sadly, #2 in a series) and med side effects, so we haven't really gotten out and done anything big together, at least not since our birthday celebrations in March. So I was thrilled that we were able to walk out to dinner and back.

Dinner was in Rockridge, so our total walk was about 3 miles back-and-forth, through a variety of nice areas. We enjoying looking at many attractive houses as we walked, something that we used to do with some frequency when we lived in North Berkeley (another haven of nice housing, much like Elmwood and Rockridge, the areas that we walked through last night).

Dinner was at Millennium. This is a vegan restaurant that makes some of the best food you've ever eaten despite being vegan. Kimberly and I have eaten there for anniversaries past at a couple of different locations in San Francisco (most recently, near the Civic Center, which was never the most pleasant area). However their hotel gave them the boot early in the year ... and they decided to reopen shop in the East Bay.

Millennium actually held a Kickstarter earlier this year to fund the move, and Kimberly and I were happy to be among their 650 backers, and as a result we had a free meal coming. Since the new restaurant just got off the ground last month, our anniversary seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of our free-ness. So we walked to Millennium for the first time ever and ate.

The previous time that we ate at Millennium we a bit put off by the increasing pretentiousness. About half the menu was totally indecipherable. This time, things were much better. The food was readable and the food was good as ever (very good! I really loved the potato appetizer and the chocolate desert, and Kimberly and I shared a tamale and a purse between those highlights). The new venue was also very pleasant, all done out in wood and distressed metal, and it even has a terrific patio.

And so, a nice anniversary dinner with my nice wife at an old favorite in a wonderful new venue.
shannon_a: (Default)
So a month went by in between my birthday post and my note on the end of Kingmaker. It was a gray month in between, in which I felt constantly busy and tired.

It started off with a houseguest in early April. I'd thought it would be a visit of a couple of days, and it ended up being closer to a week. We also found out that our current house layout isn't really setup well for a guests. Our doors creak (though less than they used to) and our guest room is immediately opposite our bed room. We also hadn't expected it to be quite so tiring to have someone constantly in our living space ...

I had some bad nights of sleep, but Kimberly slept really badly. So it wasn't a huge surprise that after a couple of days of that (and being out amongst other people in between), she suddenly came down with an awful hacking cough. I encouraged her to visit a doctor and when she did ... it was another 'bout of bronchitis.

Now of course this sort of thing is worst on Kimberly. She's been weak and mostly confined to the house for a month. But it also has an effect on the whole household. It felt like there was a gray miasma hanging over everything. And, me doing all the chores and making semiweekly runs to the drug store for all matter of drugs certainly has impacted my feeling of busyness.

I think the third thing that contributed to my gray month was my allergy meds. Last year after I came back from Hawaii I came to the conclusion that my long-undiagnosed headaches were the result of allergies. If anything I'm more convinced of that now, because I started having more symptoms mid last year, like a tickly throat and coughing. So, I started taking a Claritin generic, and it sort of helped.

Fast forward to this year's Hawaii trip. Sure enough I once more had a week that was headache and sinus-pressure free in Hawaii, then upon returning to the Bay Area, the problems set in again. So I decided to try some different allergy meds. Next up was Zyrtec and to a large extent it was a miracle drug. My throat problems and headaches disappeared the majority of the time, where I'd been feeling bad for some of every day leading up to it. Unfortunately, it also led to drowsiness.

Now, I've had drug-induced drowsiness before. Both of my blood pressure meds that I've taken have done that ... but they cleared up after a month or two each. So, I kept with the Zyrtec, but the drowsiness didn't seem to be going away. And finally I decided it was contributing to my daily grayness. So I gave it up over the weekend. I've had some sinus pressure and headaches since and I should find another allergy med to try, but for the moment I'm enjoying being drugfree.

Meanwhile, I've been feeling overwhelmed with work. In my Skotos time, my biggest problem was just that I couldn't get a creative handle on the one creative project I had going, but after a talk with Christopher and a first outline, I think it's under control. In my freetime, it feels like I've had too much to do. The ongoing DnDClassics writing has been taking up more of my energy than it should, while I feel like I've been playing catchup with other projects like my Moorcock book, my Mechanics & Meeples articles, and my Wizards of the Coast articles. The last couple of weeks I've been working on a Designers & Dragons index too.

But, after my big Kingmaker finale last weekend, I did a bare minimum of writing over the rest of the weekend and read a whole book instead. Between that, better health about the house, and less drugs, I'm feeling a bit better now. Hence the journal writing.

(I'll also have the Designers & Dragons work mostly out of the way by the end of the weekend; I just got two pages short of the end of the index, with lots more polishing and a bit more work still to go. And, I've got just one more article on my current WotC contract, and then there will be downtime as they catch up with what I've written, which I think currently includes four unpublished histories.)

So that's the month that disappeared, journalwise at least.
shannon_a: (Default)
Weddings Away. My sister is getting married in three weeks' time. (Less than that now!) So, I spent some time this weekend prepping for that. After Kimberly intelligently contacted my Dad and Mary about dress code, we learned that I could get away with something pretty casual, so I spent part of Saturday hunting for a new Hawaiian shirt at Hilltop Mall. I ended up finding one that I really liked and one that I thought looked fancier for a wedding, so I bought them both. Amusingly, Kimberly liked the one I liked better too, but when she saw me wearing them both, agreed that the other was dressier for the ceremony. I also got my hair cut. That had needed doing, but I'd been putting it off until it was closer the wedding.

Biking. I've written little about biking lately, because I've used up the newness of most of the areas in easy biking distance. However, I've continued on with my regimen of 30-50 miles a week, even extending out to 30-60 miles a week. Lately my rides have been taking me to my two favorite places in the north (Miller Knox Regional Shoreline past Point Richmond and Point Pinole which is way up in the corner of the East Bay) and my couple of favorite places in the hills (Wildcat Creek Canyon, Tilden Botanical Garden, Lake Temescal, and Shepherd Canyon above Montclair). So this weekend I went over to Hilltop Mall, and then past that to Point Pinole on Saturday (for a round trip of 32 miles), and up to Lake Temescal on Labor Day (for a round trip of a lot less). I did writing in both places, which had been my wont.

Writing. I continue to be writing and editing obsessively. The Designers & Dragons Kickstarter continues to eat some of my time as it generates various tasks, most recently verifying and logging error corrections for the "completed" books. I've also been working on new articles for Mechanics & Meeples, a new board game review, new articles for DnDClassics, and a new article for Wizards of the Coast. Whew! With a little bit of effort I'll soon have all those other things completed through the end of September, which means that I'll have a clear schedule for wedding attendance and for the last push on Designers & Dragons (which will be mainly more error verifying and the index for the '00s, plus work on what we're calling the Platinum Appendix).

Kimberlying. Despite my other busyness, Kimberly and I spent some nice time together this three-day weekend. We wandered around town and got ice cream and enjoyed a "date" on Sunday, then today we had an unplanned brunch out — which was primarily to get Kimberly some nice food after a week of mushy food due to oral surgery.
shannon_a: (rpg stormbringer)
1.) Early in the week, I had to make an unexpected trip with Kimberly to a doctor's appointment. The doctor's appointment wasn't an emergency or anything as it had been on her calendar for a few weeks. But she wasn't up to going on her own due to fuzzy head. Fortunately, I was finishing up work on a book I've been editing for Skotos, so I was able to push it over to my laptop and work while I was out and about.

2.) On Friday, Kimberly had oral surgery. I'll have to say that my exhaustion related to this is certainly much less than hers, but I have been busy doing extra housework, collecting extra groceries to give her soft food she can eat, and generally staying on top of things.

3.) Saturday was another Pathfinder run, and one that required quite a bit of prep. We've been shockingly consistent lately, just when I've gotten very busy. Unshockingly, side treks keep the campaign ending in the distance. This would be the campaign I was sure would end in 2013.

4.) Early in the week I also got the index for Designers & Dragons: The '90s, which meant that I suddenly had 10-15 hours of polishing to do in my evening and weekend hours.

5.) Late in the week I also got the second draft layouts for Designers & Dragons: The '00s, which meant that I suddenly had several hours of review to do in my evening and weekend hours, particularly on an article that I'd done a piecemeal revision of after it was in layout.

(I had long dreaded the possibility of simultaneously getting high-priority Designers & Dragons work from two different sources on our team — which is the danger of pushing 4 books out at the same time!)

On the bright side, things are quieted down now! Kimberly is safely ensconced with good food and hopefully recovering. My RPG session went well. All of the immediate Designers & Dragons work is done (the layouts at midnight last night; the index at 11pm tonight). The Kickstarter itself is going quite well. I even spent about 2 hours today on a restful bike ride. I went up to Lake Temescal, finished the first pass on the index there, enjoyed the sun, and then returned. Sadly, a couple of the roads were totally jammed on the way back (Old Tunnel Road & College) because students and student-families are filling the town, but having a bike I was undeterred.

Tomorrow: Back to Skotos work.
shannon_a: (Default)
So this last Tuesday was the 14th anniversary of my and Kimberly's wedding. It used to be called the ivory anniversary, but that's no longer PC, so husbands give their wives shortbread cookies now. For those married less than 14 years: take note.

We had dinner out at Skate's on the Bay, which is located out on the Berkeley Marina. It's actually hanging out over the Bay, which means that it's going to be the first up against the wall when the Global Warming Revolution comes.

The staff was all very nice and attentive, and the sea food was good, but we were really paying for the view, and we definitely got that. Per our request (and we had reservations, of course), we got a window seat looking west. That means that as we ate we got to watch the sun slowly drop down through the sky, then behind the Marin Headlands. We really couldn't have asked for a much nicer day to watch the sun set. There were enough clouds about to paint the sky interesting colors, but not enough to block out the view. And having a day in Berkeley when we could still see the sky at 8pm is nothing short of miraculous.

Overall, it was a nice evening when we got to just relax and enjoy each others' company. Then we got to enjoy the fresh (but cold) air out on the Bay for about 5 minutes before the bus came and took us home. (Yeah, we took the bus to our nice anniversary dinner, and that's not the first time we have; last year it was a different bus to downtown Oakland, then a walk to Jack London Square.)

So that was our shortbread anniversary.

It was good to have some downtime because the week leading up to the shortbread anniversary was just exhausting for me. As I wrote last week my RPG history book, Designers & Dragons when live on Kickstarter the previous Monday.

I'd suspected it would be emotionally draining, but it was even moreso than I thought, plus there was the work figuring out stretch goals because the Kickstarter took off so spectacularly, plus there were questions to answer, plus a history to suddenly rewrite, plus, plus, plus ...


I could really tell how tired I was on Saturday. (After I ran an RPG session!) I got home and only then realized that my bike odometer/speedometer wasn't working. The fact that I hadn't paid attention to it the entire way home means that I really wasn't paying enough attention to be biking ...

So on Monday I went up to Lake Temescal and did some quiet writing there from dinner time until the sun went down, and then on Tuesday we had our anniversary, and then I did some gaming on Wednesday and Thursday. And between all of that I've destressed. The Kickstarter has revved down to its long-term burn, which helps, and we've probably figured out the stretch goals for where it's likely to run ...
shannon_a: (Default)
Kimberly had her second cataract surgery this last Wednesday. Unfortunately, it was somewhat more trying than the first, in large part because the Oakland hospital refused to use the same anesthetic as had been used over in Walnut Creek the week before. The result left her anxious and tense during the surgery and achey, headachy, and nauseous ever since.

She also found out that there's a sad difference between the hospitals in Walnut Creek and Oakland, where she had her two surgeries. The first totally pampered her, while the second was abrupt, rude, and/or stingy. It's a pretty said commentary on how we treat people in different economic circumstances (as exemplified by the different economics and demographics of the two cities).

Anywho, the actual results of the operation seem good. She had the second eye corrected slightly differently to improve her close-up vision, and despite the eyes being different, it all seems good. The biggest problem from here on is (hopefully) that it'll take her eyes about a month to settle, and she shouldn't get prescription reading glasses until then.

So that's (hopefully) stressor #1 out of the way.

On the downside, she's still having headaches, but that might be due to the bad anesthesia. Hopefully it'll be getting out of her system soon.

Kimberly has really not been biking this year because of the cataract problems, so she was eager to get out and bike this weekend now that she has two fixed eyes. So today we rode the Ohlone Greenway to El Cerrito Plaza and back (stopping for lunch at Rubio's while there). It was an absolutely glorious day and the biking was great. All around a pleasant experience.

I haven't really been writing about my own (minor) health issues.

First up, I changed beta blockers (for my blood pressure) last week and the immediate result was tiredness all day long and some GI issues. I *hope* they're both improving. Certainly, the tiredness seemed a bit less every day. I haven't noticed it at all this weekend, but I was out on a bike by noon each day, so it's a bit of a different thing. We'll see how things are over the course of the work week.

Second, I managed to hurt my shoulder a bit over a week ago for pretty much no good reason. (I was vigorously shaking a neti pot.) In the last few days, it's seemed better, except when I was coughing this afternoon. Hopefully it's on the way to recovery.

Third, I guess, are my eyeglasses. The optometrist actually got new glasses in last Wednesday, but I didn't feel like starting a new optical battle during the weekend. I'll try to schedule to pick them up this Wednesday. (Monday is a holiday and I have Skotos plans on Tuesday that might keep me constantly busy).

The machine move continues at Skotos. It continues to be a ton of work, but not only can I see the end in the distance, but I also FINALLY got someone at our cool to talk to me about our move-out, three weeks after I started, which had previously super-frustrating.

I've decided to work on Monday (a holiday), and of course I'll keep working through the week, and perhaps for two weeks afterward. And after that I'm going to take a couple of days off work to have enough time to really relax again.

(Because that'll be another major stressor out of the way.)
shannon_a: (Default)
So Wednesday was Kimberly's first cataract surgery. We were up at the crack of dawn and out of the house by 6am. Katherine was kind enough to give us a ride to the Aspen Surgery Center in Walnut Creek.

After a few minutes of waiting, Kimberly was taken off to the surgery, and I set in to wait. The waiting room was comfy enough and even had a monitor that showed what state all of the patients was in, so I could watch as Kimberly went from pre-op to surgery. The TV was unfortunately audible, despite having subtitles, but I was able to mostly ignore it and work on the writing (a DnDClassics history) and reading (a Mike Carey graphic novel) that I'd brought with me. I finished the writing but not the reading.

As the morning went on, the completion time of Kimberly's operation kept moving — from 8.45 to 8.31 to 8.26. The last seemed to hold. Shortly afterward I was brought in to the recovery room and Kimberly happily (but groggily) told me that they'd offered her drinks and she'd demanded two. After several minutes in the recovery bed they took her over to a recliner. I was amused to learn a few days later that she remembered almost nothing from pre-recliner. We sat around for a while and chatted with an old guy who'd just had his second cataract surgery and a young guy who was in there for some unspecified surgery.

Eventually Kimberly's ride home (Crystal) showed up, and we headed home. We were back home by 9.30. Kimberly then retired to the couch and I setup my workday in the dining room, so that I could take care of her as needed.

And that was our trip to surgery #1. Kimberly has since had her first post-operation appointment and the doctor says that her eye looks great. It seems to work well too, though the discrepancy between the eyes is causing problems. She's got one more of those post-operation appointments next week and then it's on to round 2! (But in Oakland and not at oh-my-god in the morning.)

I figured that I was going to get way ahead on my many writing projects over the course of this week because I purposefully stayed home from my Endgame gaming on Wednesday, to be there for Kimberly, and my Thursday night gaming fell through. But I discovered I had almost no Tuesday night in the prep for the surgery, then I was exhausted by the time evening fell on Wednesday, so that I couldn't do much useful. Then after 10 hours or so of sleep I was still pretty tired on Thursday night.

Ah well. I've actually been getting caught-up/ahead on my many writing projects generally, so losing out on those two bonus nights that I thought I had wasn't a big deal.

My Saturday gaming fell through too. (Bad week for gaming!) Our group is a little smaller while C&C are in their early baby days, but we actually only had two players available today. Oh well! Probably not a bad thing to have my saturday busyness fall through when we have the stressor of Kimberly's surgeries and I have the stressor of the big move-to-the-cloud at work.

So I did a bike ride instead, unsurprisingly (and did some writing up on the hill). I actually rode all the way up to the top of the Oakland Hills south of us for the second Saturday in a row, then doing a nice ride from Huckleberry Regional Preserve along Grizzly Peak to the top of Claremont and down. So, good exercise and good views (though it was a bit foggier and chillier today than it had been last Saturday). I'll have to make sure that I do another (shorter) bike ride on Monday or Tuesday night to get my exercise for the week, since I again won't be going to Endgame on Wednesday.

(And then Kimberly's surgeries will be done, and hopefully vision and headaches and quality-of-life alike will improve.)
shannon_a: (Default)
Last month I was talking to my friend Aaron, and I told him that my Hawaiian restfulness and calm hadn't yet receded, almost 6 weeks (at the time) after we'd been to the island. Sadly, it's gone now. Right now, there are three main stressors in my life.

#1 is K's upcoming surgery. She's having cataracts removed on both of her eyes in the coming weeks, and this has understandably stressed her out. Unfortunately, I find stress above a certain level to be transitive, so I've been feeling more stressed too, even though all I'm doing is accompanying her to her first (very early) surgery. Meanwhile, poor K. has also been having severe troubles with headaches and with constant sleepiness (due to headache pills), and this has added to the stress of the household.

#2 is the machine transition at Skotos. I was doing fine when I was just dealing with the sysadmin side of things (though figuring out stuff ate up my time horribly), but now I'm dealing with the bureaucratic and legal side of closing out our contract for our current machine space and our co-lo is being slower than I'd like in talking to me, and that's all very annoying because it's keeping me from knowing when exactly to move things.

#3 is the damned ongoing problems with my glasses. That's right, pair #3 didn't work either. There was a wide area of distortion toward the middle of the lens that was big enough that I literally could not focus both eyes at a reading distance. This is clearly unacceptable, but I've found these incorrectly made lenses to be such a visceral, personal thing that it stresses me out dealing with them and worrying about whether I'm being overly picky etc. (but then I compare them to my old lenses, and I can actually read with my old lenses, though the prescription is no longer quite right, and it's clear there's a difference ... and then I drive myself crazy flipping back and forth between old and new lenses for 15 minutes, because the difference is somewhat hard to see). In any case, I've come to dread going to the optometrist, whose office I've now been to about 10 times since the end of February.

These stressors should all clear out soon. K's eye problems will hopefully be history in just a couple of weeks, with headaches and sleepiness soon to follow; and I'm hoping to get Skotos' move dates locked down within a couple of days (after sending another certified letter today due to the lack of response). The eye glasses are the only thing that seem like they could go on forever ... but we'll see what my next appointment on Thursday brings.

So, stressors should be reduced, and I'm even getting caught up on all my writing ... but I fear that my calmness and relaxation won't return afterward. Unless I maybe take a weekend doing nothing but reading and sipping Pina Coladas. Maybe I'll try to schedule that after the current annoyances end.
shannon_a: (rpg stormbringer)
I had a good day at work on Friday, doing some totally creative work of the sort that's been in short supply while I've been working this year to get Skotos' feet under it again. The work was a little script related to Touched and it was apparently successful, as Chris liked it. (I did too!)

There are probably still a few more stressful weeks at Skotos while a couple of major issues settle, and while I decide what's actually getting done pre-Hawaii, but in March I hope to have more creative work (and less stressful work) on my plate once more.

After work on Friday, Kimberly and I had some nice plans for Valentine's Day.

We BARTed down to downtown Oakland and got some dim sum that we ate at Jack London Square. We sat right at the Bay and got to see the last vestiges of red and orange in the sky as the sun dipped behind San Francisco.

We read a bit of Knight of Shadows, our current read-along book, then went over to the Regal Cinemas at Jack London Square, where we had tickets for Winter's Tale, which opened the same day.

We'd both read the book and enjoyed it to various degrees of enjoyment. (We both found it a bit long and slow.) And, we both enjoyed the movie. It's absolutely beautifully filmed and the actors in it are all wonderful. The plot is interesting, and though it has some problems (it goes too fast and it over explains things) it was a touching movie that was a moving experience. I was also impressed by how non-Hollywood it is. It's been at least a decade since I read the book, but as far as I can tell it wasn't corrupted in the way that books brought to the screen often are.

I'm fairly shocked to see that the film has gotten awful reviews. But then I've often thought film critics were idiots. I mean they not only liked the awful The Hobbit 2: Elves with Swords, but actually thought it was better than the luke-warm The Hobbit 1: An Unexpectedly Slow & Long Journey. If a film gets outside their boundaries for what a Hollywood movie is supposed to be like, they seem to have particular problems. In any case, I say Winter's Tale is a strong movie, Neil Gaiman says it's a strong movie, and the critics think it's as bad as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which K. says they widely panned back in 1981.

After our movie, we BARTed back to Berkeley, had some Ben & Jerry's and called it a night.

Good Valentine's Day.

Today has been much more pragmatic. I got my hair cut, picked up a prescription (which CVS and my doctor were taking turns deciding who was most incompetent about getting a refill ... but I managed to finally get it done filled after FIVE phone calls over three days), and got groceries. Kimberly got a well-loved jacket into the jacket-repair shop. And we both napped. Apparently Valentining is exhausting.

Oh, and I finished watching Doctor Who today. When I moved to Berkeley in 1989, PBS had still shown only part of "Trial of a Time Lord", and as a result I never saw all of that or most of Sylvester McCoy's episodes. I've been catching up as they've been released on DVD and today I saw "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" which was totally weird ... and the last original episode of the show I hadn't seen.

Well, except BBC has released new episodes in the last year. I think there may now be six more that I haven't seen: "The Reign of Terror" (completed with animated episodes), "The Tenth Planet" (completed with an animated episode), "The Ice Warriors" (completed with animated episodes), "The Enemy of the World" (rediscovered!), "The Moonbase" (completed with animated episodes), and "The Web of Fear" (rediscovered!, with one episode sadly held together with still frames).

Unfortunately Netflix has become HORRID about getting BBC DVDs into their collection for some reason, so they only have one of those (and are still missing the back half of series 7 of the new show). I'm pretty excited to see never-before-seen Hartnell and Troughton episodes, as they were built on an aesthetic that largely disappeared from the show when it went color.
shannon_a: (Default)
So Kimberly won a prize for her artwork this last week. It was from the 10x10 Wellness Campaign for Alameda County. Kimberly had submitted a lovely collage of a pink cherry blossom tree which I thought was terrific ... and it won.

The prime coolness is that her collage is going to appear on a bus, BART train, or billboard. The secondary coolness is that she got a pretty big Visa gift card as a prize. The third coolness is that there was an award ceremony on Saturday night, which we attended.

The award ceremony was at the Oakland Asian Culture Center on Saturday, starting at 5.30. This was tremendously convenient because I had my RPG group at Endgame on Saturday afternoon, and it's literally 3 blocks away. So I finished at Endgame, packed everything up, and walked over to the Culture Center. I've never been that before, but it's got a really nice indoor plaza with a fountain. I took a picture of it; I'll have to post it to FB if it came out.

Anywho, all of the artwork from two related contests was in the Center. So we looked at it all, then sat down with a few of Kimberly's friends for dinner, then the awards were given out. People complemented Kimberly (and both of her friends) on their art throughout the night. It was quite nice.

It was a tiring day, though. I was in Oakland from 1-8 or so, and I'm recovering from a cold that I picked up last weekend. I actually biked in to Endgame and felt a little sick from the effort when I got in, so I guess I'm not totally better yet. At the end of the day, I was just tired, not sick.

Today, Kimberly and I celebrated by going down to IHOP in Emeryville for a celebratory lunch, then going to Target for some celebratory spending. We were both pretty tired after that! Then it was home and having some celebratory pizza for dinner. I still feel overly full from all that food. With the fall now gone, I need to lose the Holiday-10 that I picked up in November and December. More biking and less sweets are required!

At Target I picked up some new jeans and a new overshirt. Kimberly was generous enough to split up her prize money afterward, and I've since spent some of mine on Amazon books, and am considering if I want to make any more Endgame purchases. (I *just* made some post-Christmas purchases at Endgame Saturday afternoon: the newest Alea game and the newest Kingdoms supplement.)

All around a very nice weekend!

I never wrote about my biking adventures on the previous weekend, so a quick synopsis: I wanted to go on a big biking trip to celebrate (a continuing theme!) the completion of Designers & Dragons. So back on the previous Saturday I biked up to Hilltop Mall (for lunch) and from there to Point Pinole.

It's a beautiful place that looks out on San Pablo Bay and at some points you can turn 180 degrees around, and see the Bay all around you (since it's got Bay to the west and north).

There was a bit of trouble when I lost my biking computer, it apparently having bounced off on one of the dirt roads. I rode back over the last mile or two I'd ridden looking for it then walked back over that same amount ... and found it just as I was going over the last bit. Whew! I was literally within 10 feet of giving up. (That was adventure #1)

Unfortunately, a bit later I hit a huge honking nail, and though it may not have pierced my super-tough tires (for Telegraph Avenue riding), it definitely did cause my tire to puncture itself on my rims. This was a bit of a problem (and adventure #2) because Point Pinole is way out in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately there are AC Transit busses that run out there. I hiked a few miles to get out of Point Pinole, found one, figured out to use its bike rack, and then took it back to San Pablo which is full of bike shops. There, I had them fix my innertube AND my brakes (which were worn out) AND my rim liner (which had probably caused two punctures, including this one). They did it while I waited, but I did have to sit around waiting for 45 minutes or so.

None of that spoiled my fun, as it had been a glorious day for riding. I eventually was able to bike home and the sky to the west was pleasantly pink. The only downside was that I'm not sure the bike shop fixed the tire without repuncturing it, as the tire was low next time I rode, about two and a half days later. Maybe they just didn't fill it enough; I dunno. I'll find out NEXT time I ride. (At this point it's been three and a half days since I last put air in the tires, so if I walked out to the garage right now I could see how it looked, but I'm too overfed and lazy for that right now.)

(Oh, and the other downside was I came down with a cold the next day ... leading to a tired week and this weekend; so it goes.)
shannon_a: (Default)
Kimberly & I went to the De Young museum on Saturday. It was to see an "Art Slam", which was a slideshow of various art works -- including one great piece that she'd done.

Unfortunately, the experience was somewhat subpar. Her slide was literally first, showing before they had the window screen all the way down and before most of the audience even realized that the presentation was starting. They showed it for all of 5-10 seconds. Worse, three of her friends who'd come to see it all missed it because they were running later.

Worser, there were some people right behind us in the auditorium who constantly cheered and gushed and talked about every slide in a way that made K. (and, really, everyone else) anxious. (They were De Restless.) We had to move and then we had to leave. Kimberly's friend Jay gave us a ride home.

On the bright side, we had a nice trip out to the De Young and we had an enjoyable and decadent lunch of Andronico's sandwiches and deserts in the De Young garden before the show. And Kimberly did have a piece of art ever-so-briefly showing at De Young! It was fun to see!

Got home a lot earlier than expected, so I spent the afternoon and evening writing and editing.

Then today I biked up to Temescal and wrote and edited more. By the by, that turned out to be at the limit of my endurance as I'm still sniffling a bit from my recent (light) cold. And speaking of cold, the park was. After two hours, I headed home. It was 2.30, and I was chilled, and I decided the park was only getting colder from there. Sadly, Winter has come.

And tonight I wrote and edited more.

Total damage was about 8,000 words over Saturday and Sunday: three more D&D Classics articles (2,500 words total) and my eighth new history for Designers & Dragons: The '00s (5,500 words).

shannon_a: (Default)
With fatigue and sickness inundating the house, Kimberly and I haven't had that much of a chance to do fun stuff together lately, so I'd hoped we could this Labor Day weekend ... and we did!

My plan was a picnic lunch in Glen Canyon Park, which is toward the middle-to-south side of San Francisco. It looked great because it sounded pretty, we'd never been there, and it was really close to BART. We headed out there on BART a bit before noon. BART, I should note, sucked, but no surprise. It was super crowded because the idiots that run BART were still running a Sunday schedule, despite the closure of the Bay Bridge. So, it was standing room only until we were into the City. As I said, not a surprise, and the only real downside of the trip (But you just have to shake your head at BART's inability to more reasonably deal with the Bay Bridge being closed).

We got off at Glen Park Station and went to a small grocer I'd found called Canyon Market. I picked them because it looked like they had excellent sandwiches, and they did! So we picked up sandwiches (Kimberly got "House roast turkey with provolone cheese, mixed greens, tomatoes and pesto mayonnaise on house baked focaccia." and I got "Smoked Turkey served hot with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and sun dried tomato spread on housemade sliced sourdough.") and macaroni chicken salad and some terrific desert, and them took them up to the Park, which was only a short distance beyond.

We did have one nasty surprise in the park, which was that all of the buildings and facilities were fenced off (and in some cases bulldozed) due to renovation that's going on through November. Fortunately, that didn't affect the rest of the Park. We ate lunch not far from those facilities at some tables that remained unfenced and found it good.

I didn't really expect to do much hiking because Kimberly has had so much trouble with fatigue, so I was quite surprised. We hiked through the whole park! And, it was a very beautiful park. Some of the lowland park was just trees with the canyon rising ever higher around us. However, as we got further in, the trees and shrubberies started to form tunnels, where foliage surrounded us on all sides. It was like secret nature paths. I loved it. It reminded me in sights and smells alike of the Ed Levine Park that I used to spend summer days at when I was young.

We climbed out of the canyon on the far side of the Park (and saw some great views from there, including clouds rushing over the far side of the Park). From there we decided to head out to the 24th & Mission BART Station, rather than just back to Glen Park. This turned out to be a longer walk that we realized, but we both enjoyed it and since we walked through the Diamond Heights, then down into Noe Valley, we got some magnificent views of The City. I'll have to go through my camera tomorrow and see if I have any good pictures. Google says we walked about 3.2 miles, a bit less than half of that from Glen Park BART to the edge of Glen Park Canyon; and a bit more than half of that from the edge of the Park down to 24th Street BART (24th Street Bart *seemed* a lot further than the walk up from Glen Park had been ... but we were more tired by then, and didn't take a lunch break in the middle).

Overall, a terrific day. We were out and about for about five hours, and it was so nice that Kimberly was able to actually do all that hiking and walking. She didn't even seem too wiped out tonight.

Tonight I finally broke down and did some writing: a first draft of the AP for my Saturday game. I wrote that at about 10, so I managed to have pure R&R over this holiday weekend for about 50 hours. Yay me! (And I wrote that first draft in about 45 minutes, and that's all I'm doing tonight.)

Tomorrow: a first draft of a review I have pending, and second drafts of both the review and the AP. I may also think about my next Mechanics & Meeples article. And reading! And ice cream! Then on Tuesday night I'll get started on the research for new company history #5 in Designers & Dragons: The '00s.

And with 25 miles of biking yesterday and 3 miles of hiking today (+1 mile or more here in Berkeley), I don't feel any need to head out Monday or Tuesday to get more exercise! (And come Wednesday I'll of course bike down to Endgame.)
shannon_a: (Default)
It's the end of August, and that means the students are back in Berkeley ... and I'd swear we've gotten a worse than usual batch this year. The loud music playing, yelling, and screaming have been constant in our neighborhood for days. Also, downtown has been packed, the streets have been packed, and none of the drivers know how to drive. The change in Berkeley in just a few days time was ... startling.

Very annoying.

I wish they'd get the hell off my lawn.

I've been taking the Labor Day Holiday as an opportunity to not work obsessively for a few days. I got my DnDClassics work done through the end of September last week (quite purposefully!), and I've been setting Designers & Dragons aside (as well as my many more minor writing projects) for a few days.

So, nice relaxation. I've been mostly reading. Among the reading, a book that I'd especially saved for the weekend The Animal Man Omnibus. Grant Morrison's writing is as great as ever, but when I reading last night I found the pages were irritating my fingertips(!). Most odd; I've had that problem from time-to-time with pulp paper, but this is nice glossy stock. Bummer; I may have to get rid of the nice omnibus. (For the moment I've saved my old TPBs from the sell-to-Moes pile; I'll see how I feel (and how my fingers feel) after I finish the omnibus).

And either tomorrow night or holiday Monday I'll get back to my gaming writing. I have an AP and a review to write early in the week. And then I need to decide what my next company will be for the ongoing writing of Designers & Dragons: The '00s. I'm four down, but more than that to go.

We also had some good news to head off the weekend: it looks like Kimberly's most recent health concerns have come to nothing. She's still trying to figure out where some excessive fatigue is coming from, but this was still very good news, as there were some scary possibilities.

And today I spent about 4 hours doing a nice bike ride up to San Pablo and then into the hills. I was back in Wildcat Canyon Park, but this time I rode straight up the north side of the park, which was a very challenging climb and which also had beautiful views of San Pablo Bay. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I was too tired to ride the loose dirt trails by the last mile or so. (I walked that, as well as some of the climbs which were pretty much impossible due to the loose dirt combined with the angle of ascent -- more than once my back tire started just spinning in the dirt.) Fortunately Nimitz Way which runs along most of the ridge line is paved; I was fine when I got there.

All told, about 25 miles and a climb to 1000+ feet.
shannon_a: (rpg stormbringer)
Friday was Kimberly and my's thirteenth anniversary. Yow, where does the time go? We opted for a more mellow outing than last year, because she's still finding her energy level. So we went down to Jack London Square and had dinner at Scott's. Good seafood there! We've done that at least once before. It's a fair amount nicer than we usually go to, and thus a treat, and I like the fact that it's far enough out of town to feel "exotic". It was a nice romantic dinner with a view of the Bay. Kimberly managed the bus + walk (about 22 blocks round-trip, from the bus to Jack London Square), but was pretty tired (and a bit sick) by the time we got home.

We also recently got a new computer for Kimberly. She'd been mentioning slow speed for a while, and more recently has been having some disk problems (maybe). I looked up her computer and saw that it was 5 years old, 2 generations back, and the newest Apple iMac generation was quite new. So, we opted to get her a new one. The setup of Macs is now quite easy, especially with a tool that automatically syncs all your data to the new computer. It took something like 36 hours(!) to do the data sync which was about 3x what I expected, but it's done now, and her new computer seems to be working well.

Kimberly also got our front door fixed yesterday, thanks to a handyman her friends were able to suggest. Before that it had been dragging against the ground and it was getting increasingly hard to deadbolt (and unlock!). Part of the problem is just that we're in an old house and so things shift in weird ways. However, the other problem was that our fine, fine contractor had used cardboard as part of his structure for keeping the new door in place. Unsurprisingly, that slipped. This is, I should note, the second time we've had problem with that contractor's creative use of cardboard. Anywho, door opens like a dream again.

In my own minor house work I recently got one of my main closets all cleaned and organized, without stuff all stacked here and there. It's a books and games closet. Good to have it all in order.

And I've been trying to train our cats to be friendlier to each other. Whenever I find them lounging about the same couch, rug, or bed pretty close to each other, without being aggressive, I give them a treat. Here's to hoping for fat, friendly cats.

I've been getting noticeable stronger in my biking lately. I'm able to get up to Tilden a lot easier now and I'm also able to do more rides along the ridge line without being totally exhausted just from getting up there. Yay!

And tonight I got to play Castles of Burgundy at Endgame. Feld continues to be one of my recent favorites, and I think that's my favorite of his games. I played against Brad & Hey, and Brad has played the game tons more than I, so I was happy to come within 10 points or so of his final score. I'm sure I could have won with just one or two good moves that I missed.

In the less "good stuff" section, life currently feels like a constant struggle just to push forward to the next day/evening/weekend/whatever. If I make it to Thursday evening, there's ice cream. If I make it to Friday evening, we have our regular dinner out. If I make it to Saturday evening, my gming-obligation is done for a couple of weeks. If I make it to Sunday, I get a free day ...

I'm once more feeling way too burnt out to run my Pathfinder game on Saturday. But, I'll soldier through. The last game was definitely a good experience when all was said and done. I think I feel more at sea for this one, because I haven't figure out the run yet, whereas I'd outlined some main plot points for the last three adventures about three months ago.

And comes Thursday, Kimberly is going to get some more news about her health, so things should be less in stasis soon ...
shannon_a: (Default)
So it's been something like 3.5 weeks since K. got her diagnosis. It was a bit shocking for both of us. At one point I told K. that I felt back for reacting to it more emotionally than she has, and she said it was in part because she was dealing with the problems caused instead. At first I found myself largely incapable of doing much else other than my work routine, which is why I cancelled my Saturday gaming 2.5 weeks back. It seemed like way too much (especially with a con going on that day). Then, a couple of weeks after her diagnosis I felt more capable ... but realized that I was constantly on the verge of emotional upheaval. Some little problem would come up (typically through work) and I was on the edge of not dealing. I think things are starting to come around from that, but I'll have to wait for the next small problem, I suppose.

I did run my Pathfinder game this recent Saturday, and it was good. Part of it was more open-ended, and I think everyone enjoyed working through what to do about a problem.

Unfortunately I've also recently been hit with some troublesome user-related issues, related to people that our staff has opted to kick off various services (very rightly from what I've seen). One of these users has responded by saying that he's going to try and drag *my* name through the mud all across the internet. Unless I fire some of our moderators, or have them moderate like he says, or something else that has no chance of occurring in a reality-based world. Yep, good times. Over the years, I've also been physically threatened, legally threatened, and had my house threatened because I have the audacity to sort of be in charge of a few online sites. So that's pretty much what humanity has come to in the internet age. I'm getting a little tired of it all. (And this is why we don't have nice things.)

To burn off my anger last night I decided to do a major bike ride of the sort I hadn't done previously on an evening after work. So I biked Tunnel Road all the way up to Grizzly Peak Blvd, then took that across to Claremont and back down. 10 miles; 1000 feet up and down or so. It was a nice ride that certainly burned all the emotional energy like I wanted to (at least at that moment). It was particularly cool when I was biking along Grizzly and suddenly the clouds/fog was barreling across the road. It was actually quite thick at some parts of the ride after that, and when I came back down to civilization, and it cleared, I felt like I'd returned to another world.

Meanwhile, construction started up again near our house at early-o-clock this morning. This time it seems to be some apartment buildings one house over from us. They've been renovating them for many months, and actually have a sign up now that says they're "renovat*ed*". But they were hammering and sawing early this morning, and when I passed by them today on the way to pick up some mail, it looked like they were *gutted*.

Over the last few weeks I've been looking at my to-be-read shelf of books that I recently cleaned and reorganized ... somewhat sadly because I haven't touched it since then. That's because I've been reading Toll the Hounds for a few weeks (900 pages in!) and my other attention has gone to library books. In any case, I'm really looking forward to digging into some of those excavated books soon.

Tonight: a play. We've been delaying those a bit since K's diagnosis hoping things will be better down the road, but this is the last Wednesday to see the Shotgun's current show ...
shannon_a: (Default)
Another fairly relaxing weekend, helping to slowly lull away the troubles of the world.

I went out to the Target in Emeryville for groceries Friday night. I'd forgotten how far it is! About 10 miles round trip. However, there are mostly nice bike routes there, now that the bike paths around Berkeley Bowl are almost complete, and I was able to get tasty groceries that don't tend to be available at Safeway.

For Saturday I opted to ride over Tilden down into Orinda, then into Lafayette. The ride up to Inspiration Point is almost easy at this point. (Yay!) I still walk two particularly steep blocks near the start, but I think I could have made it all the way over the hill without my traditional stop in Dorothy M. Bolte Park if I'd wanted.

The day was cold and chilly. When I got up into Tilden I was occasionally in the clouds, and the foliage was very damp. Up at Inspiration Point the winds were very high. All pretty cool other than the winds, actually.

Then I headed down Wildcat Canyon Road, which I've never biked before. It was a nice ride. Lots of nice trees, and generally a pleasant road (though sadly the foliage kept me from seeing the Reservoirs off to my left). It looked rideable in the opposite direction too, though that's a task for another day. Once I reached the bottom of the Road, I suddenly emerged into sunlight and warmth. It had been the low 60s on the Berkeley side of the hills and was the low 80s toward Orinda. Fortunately, I'd dressed appropriately, and just needed to shed my jacket.

I had two EBMud Parks on my list to explore over the course of my ride, but they were sadly both disappointments.

The first was the San Pablo Reservoir. There were some paths that Google claims were bike paths, but when I got there I discovered that they were unpaved, required a permit, and disallowed bikes. 0 for 3! Yeow! Maybe there was a paved path further on, but the trail markers were so awful that I couldn't find one. I road about a mile north on the big paved road heading along the Reservoir, but it was scary empty and you couldn't see any Dam or anything interesting, so I eventually headed back.

After traveling through Orinda I hit the St. Stephen's Trail heading toward Lafayette. I'd seen it mentioned in the newspaper lately. It'd been described as ugly and utilitarian, but I wanted to see it anyway. Not too bad, really. Yeah, it's right next to 24, but it's off-road and its got nice foliage off to the other side.

Past it was my other EBMud Park, Lafayette Reservoir. Just inside there's a nice paved path, and a big sign saying that bikes are allowed, so I'm all, "Score!" Then another 10 feet on is a second sign disallowing bikes anywhere in the park. WTF!? Apparently they only allow bikes on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Sunday mornings. To which my reaction was, "Screw EBMUD Parks", which has been my reaction before given their ridiculous permit requirements (and the fact that you can't get the permits at most of the places requiring permits). Whatever.

In any case, despite EBMud silliness, it was a very nice ride. Total was (I think) 21.5 miles and I went up to about 1000 feet or so to get over the hills. I was much less tired than I expected when I was done, though I was moreso in the evening and today.

I got into Lafayette earlier than planned, so I found a little kid's park near the BART station where I sat for an hour or more and wrote my two D&D Histories for the week (based on info I collected and outlines I wrote Friday night). It was also kind of nice seeing people be very interactive with their kids, but simultaneously keeping them from running totally wild. Very not-Berkeley.

Then I headed over to the Baja Fresh next to the BART station, where I met Kimberly and we had dinner.

After that it was back to Berkeley (on BART together) then back home (me biking after Kimberly's bus showed up). Though I was tired and riding slowly, I beat her home by a considerable amount ... even after I'd waited for her bus. Yep, that's public transit for you.

Today, Kimberly and I had a bit of an afternoon outing. We went to Out of the Closet, then to Trader Joe's for shopping. It was a real treat to get to spend some time out with Kimberly two days in a row, because that amount of exertion has largely been beyond her lately.

Kimberly found good stuff at both places, while I was less fortunate.

At Out of the Closet, I picked up a copy of The Last Colony, the only Old Man's War book by John Scalzi that I haven't read other than the brand new one. $1. Whatta deal. No nice shirts though, alas. I've found many there, but everything was very plain today.

At Trader's Joes I was aghast that they didn't have the two staples I regular pick up there: very delicious chicken burritos and very delicious chocolate chip cookies. Their burrito supplies have been disappearing for a month, so I fear they may be gone permanently. Ack!! I have better hope for the chocolate chip cookies, but we'll see next time I go. I picked up a mexican pizza ($2) and a candy bar ($2) to assuage my pain.

Writing has gone as well as needed this weekend. I've since posted those two D&D Histories over to (for publication on August 6), and I also just about finished a draft of my next history for Designers & Dragons (tomorrow I write some boxes and check some dates; Tuesday I edit it, then I send it off to the company for comment; next weekend I start on an easier history after doing three tough ones in a row).

Meanwhile, over in Skotos land, I'm almost done with a book I've been working on since March. Whew! More on that when we announce it, I guess.

September 2017

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