We celebrated "Fishie Day Part 1". I walked home from work and discovered a grinning La, a dozen heart-decorated cupcakes, and some divine chocolate-coconut-pecan cake.
We went to our weight training class, then bought huge salads at Dharmas. After work, I walked home, and we began celebrating "Fishie Day part 2". We walked to the Saturn for dinner, and back home I presented my fishy valentine to my beloved. It was the first vector animation I'd done in Flash, so it took a lot longer than it should have ... some 15 hours or work. But it sure is cute.
A long day at work in IT-hell, detailed in a previous entry. At home, I helped move furniture around for the big upcoming dinner party.
A better day at work. While I tied up the loose ends of yesterday's IT operation, my co-worker and I traded bad jokes and humorous insults. Then the boss came over to confirm that my new setup would work for executing payroll, which it did. At close to 7:00 I walked home, listening to a BBC radio show.
La and the housemates had been working all day on a gigantic meal. La made two loaves of bread from scratch, two kinds of fried rice, a huge pan pizza, a pot of yellow curry, and a salad. Ben also contributed a heaping pot of curry noodles. Guests arrived, including Kashy from up North, and a new friend La made at Cabrillo, bringing the total to nine people ... a big turnout even for a Friday. Kashy immediately set to work helping La in the kitchen.
I cleaned off the table from the porch and brought it in, and Alex and I set it. Someone made a run to the grocery store and bought back firewood. I heaped it onto the mound of papers we'd accumulated in the fireplace. We all sat around talking and soaking up the heat while the last few items finished cooking. Then a crowd of us went into the other room to light the Shabbos candles. We had a nice group hug afterwards.
La and I sang our song by the door while Kashy kept a "kitten patrol", to keep Mira from sneaking outside. Then we all sat down to eat. The meal was terrific, as usual. The conversation was lively and fun. It was one of those evenings where, in the back of my head, I think "This is what life is for. For a solid, unbroken moment, the world stops at the walls and doors and absolutely nothing -- not one little thing -- is wrong. This is the time that I'll remember when I'm alone or sad, the time that creates a memory like a shining treasure. I can hold it up, and use it as a beacon, and find my way to others of its kind."
The meal wound slowly down. Eventually everyone was talking and lounging around, but no one was eating. We adjourned to the living room and seven of us played a card game next to the fire, and ate chocolate cake. Meat Beat Manifesto provided a fine musical backdrop. Kashy read a book of poetry nearby.
Double-crossings and dirty tricks transpired. Mira the cat occasionally pounced into our field of play, scattering cards around. I got a good opening hand, and La rescued me from defeat a few times. Then the other players concluded that I was getting preferential treatment, and hammered me with trap cards and monster cards until I was crippled. I drew the "Level 42 Flounder" card that La had designed. The game took hours to finish, and finally Alex executed a crafty move for the win.
We put away leftovers and poked at the fire. All the guests left except Kashy and Alex, and we sat around talking. The fire died down, our eyelids drooped. Finally I shuffled off to a snuggly bed with La.
La and I slept in leisurely. When we emerged, we discovered that the housemates and Kashy had done an incredible amount of dishes from last night. The kitchen looked terrific. Kashy, La, and I met Margaret and my pop for lunch at Dharmas. Then we sat in blankets around the fireplace back at home. I got a couple pictures of Mira, displaying her limitless kitten curiosity. She sure has grown. I used to be able to hold her in the palm of one hand.
The rest of Saturday passed in the same calm, quiet way. I played several rounds of Warcraft, sorted some music, and explored The Colonel's Bequest for a while. Very late in the evening, Kashy and La created a chocolate mousse pie, which is chilling in the refrigerator as I type this.
I know I sometimes whine about various aspects of my life, but it's days like these that make me realize I truly have nothing to complain about. The demon of stagnation still torments me, and perhaps things haven't changed as fast as I'd wanted them to... We've only recently paid off all our debts, for example... But the days pass well.
I also know that from some other people's perspectives, the things that keep me amused and pass the time are too mundane, too typical, even boring. So be it. I never have lived for a quality of life based on what other people think. A few feet away, I can hear Mira chewing on a tangled ball of string. It came wrapped around a package - it cost nothing. It's not rare, it's not complicated, it's not new. But cats have liked string since the beginning of time.
And I like dinner with friends.