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March 16th, 2002

on spring break

Today was the last day of classes before Spring Break.

Traditionally this is time for my group to make "mid-course corrections" in the network backbone: disruptive topology changes, limited capacity upgrades, stress testing, and other maintenance. Usually I look forward to this because it's kind of fun, and we all get to get our hands dirty.

For some reason, though, I'm dreading it. I'm questioning my ability to hold the whole thing in my head these days, something I always used to count on to make my intuitive-style decisions about things. Also, we usually discover what extra stuff we need to procure at the end of the semester to be ready for next fall, but the state budget is in such poor shape that I'm probably going to be unable to even do incremental capacity upgrades via patching and temporary fixes, let alone the shiny new fifth-generation backbone I have been designing.

And, I think I'm getting sick. I was hoping against hope that I wasn't going to pick up the awful cold my wife has been fighting off for a week, but it looks like my immune system is losing the battle. I'm going to try to pamper myself this weekend in an attempt to keep from getting too bad.

I wasn't expecting to see Becca around at all, but she showed up online while I was out to dinner and I missed her, Grump. I've also seen one picture of her making a lewd gesture, go figure. I miss her. On the one positive side of her being gone is my distraction with online chatting is reduced to almost nil, meaning I'll get some more work done than I normally would.

I haven't even started my taxes yet. They're going to be a bitch, too, with the change in marital status. Or not. Long story.

Thirteen weeks until the big move to Seattle. Ten weeks until life starts really getting disrupted with packing, traveling, and moving. Sixteen days until Easter.

on mementos

We had dinner with Greg tonight. Greg was married to Sandy, who was my very best friend until 6/30/2000 when she finally, after a long heartbreaking fight, succumbed to cancer at age 37. I miss her keenly.

Greg's moving to Seattle soon, and was cleaning out his house. I'm not sure if he was actually looking for things to give to people in memory of Sandy, or if he just ran across this, or what.

Back when I was visiting our pottery studio weekly, Sandy would show up now and then and, and this is just like her, would throw clay down on the wheel and with great hilarity try to make something. Occasionally she'd wind up with a small dish or something; more often the result would be a sodden lump of clay on the wheel and a Sandy entirely spattered with clay.

I unwrapped the present to find a small ceramic dish, maybe suitable for holding candy by the front door, or salsa served with chips. On the bottom was "SVS 1994" scratched into the wet clay before firing. I was pleased he thought to give it to me. When I got home I noticed that it exactly fits inside a similarly-shaped dish I made when I was first learning to throw clay on the wheel, which I think is just about perfect.

It's funny, thinking about this thing that my friend made, years ago. Fired clay, especially glazed, is incredibly tough stuff. Impossible to wear down, difficult to break, it has a tremendous sense of permanence to it. It reminds me that I often think of Sandy in the present tense, as if she were still around. Not like she's in heaven or anything like that (for who can say where the dead really go), but that she really is still here, because I still think about her, and I still love her, and she is still in my heart and so still has a say, in some way, about what I think about things. She used to give the best advice, and sometimes I think she still does.

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