It was a lovely weekend here in outer Monrovia. On Friday we had some bad ice on the roads here. The rest of Puget Sound seemed less affected, but it was enough to keep me from wanting to drive into work. Instead, I spent part of the morning attempting to convince Shawn not to go into work (to no avail) and the other part attempting to get Symantec's Systemworks 2005 to install on my PC. I downloaded the software this year, rather than have them send me the disc. I had Systemworks 2004 on my PC and had few, if any, problems installing that over the 2003 edition. So, I thought that this would be an easy task. Heh, famous last words.
For some reason, the new install failed to install some crucial files. Among those files was the one that aids in uninstalling the software. When my live update feature failed, it sent me to Symantec's website which suggested that I uninstall the software. It offered 3 suggestions on how to do this. I tried them in the order of least painful to excruciating. I ended up doing a manual uninstall in Windows Safe mode - the most excruciating. It's not that difficult to do; just time consuming, but why was I doing it in the first place? I don't have a tricked out machine with special configurations. It royally pissed me off. I got Systemworks 2005 running, but I'll be looking elsewhere next year unless there's a compelling reason not to do so. My father has had problems with Norton Anti-Virus and Internet Security upon install 2 years in a row and has spent many hours on the phone with the company to resolve his problem (same problem, 2 years in a row, but you know how the drones are when you call the help lines - they go through a manual of questions by rote and barely listen to the customer, assuming that s/he is a novice - which puts her/him a half step below the person you're speaking with usually).
The rest of Friday went along smoothly. Zone Alarm had no issues updating my license and I've never had an issue running updates on their products. I actually got a nap in on Friday and made a nice, light dinner which was done by 5PM (unusual for our home, unfortunately). Shawn was out that night until after 10, having a nice Indian meal with her classmates at the beginning of their new term.
Saturday, Shawn went off to class. She decided to let me return our tree to IKEA alone. This delighted me as I was able to plan my day without much interruption until she came home. I went to the DOT and got my license renewed (yes, nearly 2 months late) and then off to IKEA where it was a quick in and out (no reference to either the burger chain or Monty Python intended). Shawn came home around 2 that afternoon. We were both clearly tired, apathetic, and she thought that she was coming down with a cold. It was the 10th anniversary of me conning Shawn into moving in with me. We laughed about how, when she was explaining that she was moving in with me to her skelatives and friends, she would explain, "He's letting me have my own room." She still gets teased about that. Sure, I told her she could go there any time she wanted and sleep there of she felt like it, but she hasn't spent a night out of my bed under the same roof since she moved in.
It appeared to me like we were going to make it to dinner out that night, so I had a back up plan just in case. However, Shawn was a trooper and we got ourselves up and went downtown for dinner at the Dragonfish Cafe. It was a Saturday night, "The Lion King" stage show was playing a half block away, and we didn't have reservations - it was packed. Still, we were seated in about 20 mintes right next to the open kitchen. While most people would consider these bad seats, we enjoyed watching the crew work. I drooled over their cool, macho, range. Shawn and I watched how they managed the meals and prepared them. We joked with the cook nearest us and he joked about being hispanic and cooking Asian food. We had a terrific time and the meal was excellent! Upon returning home, we collapsed. Ginger called us shortly after we got home. She was in town and wanted to come by on Sunday and of course we were happy to have her here.
Sunday came around and it was snowing outside. I was at the computer for an hour before I noticed. This was the first snow of the year for our region and may be the only one. I woke Shawn at 5:30 to tell her about it and she got up. We sat by the fireplace, watching the snow, reading the paper, drinking tea. It was lovely. I made a breakfast of Amaranth pancakes and fresh blueberry sauce (using our hand picked berries from the freezer). I served ginger peaches on the side (canned by myself last summer). We began picking out seeds for our veggie garden this year. Ginger called and we decided that it wasn't a good time to visit: she wouldn't have the time before she had to catch her bus, Shawn was sick, and the roads were messy. Sad, but Shawn will see her later this month in Oregon when she goes down for a conference for work.
Shawn went off to take a nap. I did some shopping for dinner. SHawn had requested some herbed biscuits for dinner to match my plan for a roasted butternut squash soup. While rummaging through the kitchen I found some beets that we needed to use up, so I decided to roast them as well for the salad. The soup was dead simple: peel and cut the squash into 2 inch chunks, then top them with 4 tablespoons of butter, salt, and pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until tender. In the meantime, slice a couple of large onions and carmelize them slowly on the stove (I took 45 minutes to carmelize them...the slower you work on this, the sweeter the onions). WHile that was going on, I put a quart of veggie stock into a pan along with a bunch of thyme, brought it to a boil, simmered it for 5 minutes, then let it steep for 20 minutes before straining out the thyme. Towards the end of the onions cooking, I tossed in 5 cloves of garlic, sliced, and let them brown a bit, though not as brown as the onions. To pull the soup together place the squash, the onion mixture, and half of the strained stock into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return it to the pot with the other half of the stock and whisk together. Add a cup of cream and warm through, but do not boil. To serve, add a dollop of the following items, whisked together: 1/2 cup sour cream, juice of a lemon, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 2 teaspoons tumeric. Served with the fresh herbed biscuits, a salad with grated roasted beets, feta, carmelized walnuts and topped with balsamic vinegar, it was a delish dinner.
We watched cartoon network during dinner (something we hadn't done in a while), then went off to bed and read: Shawn her schoolwork and me, The Digital Person, a book on privacy and technology, particularly databases. It may sound like a let down, but I was happy being there, next to my partner for 10 years and enjoying the moment.
Ten years! We've last longer than many couples and many marriages. After all this time, I can say that I love her more today than ever. She's my best friend and my lover. I am a rich man, though my bank account would disagree.