Tuesday, January 26 2021

snow, talking football with ying, and indian snacks



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. As we were going to bed last night, a snow flurry began to form under the cover of night, and it carried on through the night. Now outside we have at least a half foot of beautiful, unbroken snow. It's the good stuff too - shimmering, light, and airy.

I've pretty much grown to accept at least in this part of the country, we get our best snow right around the time you are getting sick of winter. Wouldn't it be nice if these surges of winter magic would show up a little earlier in the winter, like in December? Instead, we're stuck with cold rain and sleet while you are putting up Christmas lights, and then just after you take them down comes the surge of winter magic. Good grief.

Let me set the scene here in my living room. The floor is littered with monster trucks and dog toys. Rodney's giant remote control Grave Digger is parked on a wrinkled Twister mat, which makes for a weird combination. Our coffee machine still lies in pieces on the bar like a half assembled science fair project. The quiet trickle of water can be heard coming out of the corner from a dark, murky fish tank. Rodney yawns loudly upstairs, and it sounds phony enough to assume he's just trying to signal to me that he's awake and wants to come out of his room.

This morning I'm enjoying Moka coffee from across the street. Don't worry - I picked this one up myself. I couldn't in good conscience send somebody out on the snow ravaged roads just for coffee. Plus, if Grubhub happened to pick Dan as my driver again, there's a good chance that he'd be waiting on my porch to deliver a contact-free crowbar in the crotch - and I wouldn't blame him.

So this morning, I brushed my teeth, threw on a jacket and hat, and shook our car free of the snow. I skidded out onto the empty main road and took the convoluted five turn route to get to the coffee shop across the street. I returned with two extra large cups of black coffee and poured them straight into our pitcher. For myself, I bought an iced espresso - an cold shot of caffeine just to get the morning journal out.

Sip. It was a good day yesterday. Pretty much the whole work day built up to the afternoon where I'd execute the final big vault change. I joined a zoom call with Ying from our kubernetes team. As I ran commands from my laptop, Ying quietly worked and glanced at their monitors. The long pauses created by waiting for commands to finish fostered some small talk.

Miles' shrill voice screeched through the monitor. I wheeled over to the side table to turn the baby monitor off. "How old?" asked Ying.

"He's about nine months," I said.

"My daughter is ten months old," replied Ying.

"Oh yeah?" I laughed. "So I bet we're doing a lot of the same stuff right now. Diapers and drool."

There was another silence.

"I thought your slack status was funny," said Ying. "The one about the Bears."

In slack, you can set an emoji and caption by your username. Most people use it to indicate when they're on vacation or in a meeting, but I use mine for jokes and dry humor. During the playoffs I had a Bears logo captioned, I don't want to get my hopes up, but the Bears are definitely going to the Super Bowl.

Ying and I got to talking about football. I was delighted to hear that she became a Patriots fan while going to school on the east coast, but with the upcoming big dance she was considering defecting to the Kansas City Chiefs. She approved of the Tom Brady trade, if anything because now we get to see a Mahomes and Brady match-up - young vs old.

"Yeah, how about that play-off game this weekend," I added. "That was pretty wild."

"When Tom Brady..." Ying paused. "Sorry, I still have trouble talking about football in English." There was a short silence while she glanced at her computer screen. "Interceptions," she clarified. "When Tom Brady threw the interceptions, I thought Aaron Rodgers would beat him."

I silently pondered what the Chinese word for interception was. Are there also Chinese equivalents for idioms like move the sticks and wildcat snap? How would I look those up in Chinese if I had to?

"Me too, Ying," I said with a smile. "And I for one am glad that he didn't."

As much as I would have liked to spend the rest of the day talking football with my new friend Ying, we had to get on with other things. At quitting time, I made my way into the living room where Rodney was waiting to play a few rounds of beat the crap on the Super Nintendo before dinner.

My phone buzzed. Our team's intern Ritik was waiting out front of our house after leaving a paper bag on the front porch. I cracked open the front door and gave him a wave. Ritik went home to India over the break and to my delight, he brought back a bevvy of snacks. The interaction peaked Rodney's interest and he followed me into the dining room. Rodney pulled up a chair and began to dig through the bag like it was a Christmas present. Together Rodney and I sampled coconut and cardamom samosas, minty and spicy fried potato crisps, and chewy little sesame seed wedges. I think Rodney and I both found joy in how unexpected each bite was - things that looked like they would be salty were sweet, things that looked like sweets were savory. There were crisps shaped like little coiled snakes and chews lined with what looked like shiny silver leaf - and it all tasted so interesting.

2021 01 26 snacks

Will a belly full of Indian spices and Marissa's homemade Chicken a la King, I didn't stand a chance. I was doomed to sleep through an entire episode of Ryan's World on the couch. What a wonderful day.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.