may, 2013

Fri, 17 May 2013 17:04:20 -0700

On the one hand, I've submitted very few lines of code recently.

On the other, well, first there was New Orleans: A work offsite to which I didn't bring my laptop; teammates from Cambridge and London; beignets raining powdered sugar down the black geek uniform of SREs and devs at Café du Monde; I sent my mother prailines; pilgrimages via taxi to check out where Nick was behind the stick (a dive tiki bar the contents of whose Easter-Island-faced cup did me in that Tuesday night; posh variations on a Sazerac the next); and the jazz club Ryan, rda & I found serendipitously, I still hungry after the vegetarian dinner unsurprisingly failed to satisfy, looking for a slice of pizza and finding instead a woman who wailed on her oboe and then put it down to sing with a voice like Billie Holiday, and a pianist who matched her move for move.

I had 48 hours back in San Francisco with Jack. We did nothing for an entire glorious Saturday; Sunday, I sang a matinee of Bach's tricky Jesu Meine Freude chamber-choir style in Davies with a pared-down Symphony Chorus, skipped out on the Clavierübung whose length I didn't realize ahead of time would have prevented me from making the international bag-check cutoff), and fled town to Venice. I closed my eyes and paid euros for a water taxi into town -- the driver put on a soft-rock station playing covers of 80's ballads as he cut the motor and we drifted through the Grand Canal, taking the scenic route, my jaw hitting the bottom of the boat. I've read countless novels about, and seen as many operas or more set in this city, but the meaning of "built on water" doesn't become apparent until you're dropped off at the dock of your palatial hotel, and remain unsure if there's a sidewalk (alleyway, really) out back until hunger overrides Trisha's sleepiness and we ventured out to an enoteca for dinner. Completely surreal.

I got the call from stc as I was on a vaporetto dock, still luckily on my American SIM card: My promotion was successful. I probably shrieked after I hung up the phone.

What did we do in Venice? Why, what any two Staff SREs and TPMs with fancy cameras and fabulous dresses would do in the most picturesque city in the world: Ran all over (rain or shine, and we had both) and photographed each other jumping in the sculpture garden of the Guggenheim collection; swinging colorful bags on tiny, opera-set bridges; throwing our hair energetically in various directions against crumbling brick backdrops; swinging out precariously over canals while swishing our skirts; drinking €18 Negronis at twilight on the three-table hotel patio (what do you call the tiny strip of flooring supporting a few chairs between the marbled hotel lobby and the canal? "Patio" is too lawn-like in implication; "dock" too rustic) as tourists crowded into passing vaporetti leaned over the railing and snapped photographs of the glamorous expats with their cocktails. I even dragged Trisha to a Titian or two. And, dio mio, the Michelin-star restarurant right on San Marco Square we ate at one night, with its hand-blown champagne flutes and wine-colored velvet damask wallpaper, pairings from a generous som of Franciacorte and a supertuscan that came in a glass the size of my head (there is photographic evidence), delicate flavors, and somehow four ordered courses morphed into seven with amuses-bouches. Was I wrong to later tell JennyBeth that Ristorante i Quadri was the highlight of the trip? It certainly eclipsed nearly poisoning Trisha with Soave twice (a shellfish-containing fining agent in the Veneto wines, perhaps??), or the lackluster Don Giovanni in the disappointing La Fenice operahouse -- yes, yes, the degree to which I am spoiled was made so apparent in Venice, in preferring the Met or the Staatsoper to the house where Verdi premiered; in, over a solitary dinner on a canal served by a waiter who called me principessa while Trisha slept off the allergic reaction, mentally enumerating the restaurants within a square mile of my house that all do Italian better than this. I am aware. Aware, and pretty happy about my sitaution.

The Beethoven Missa Solemnis, which took up the entire following week, was sublime. I may have even done some work that week, caught up on email. I put Jack on a plane to Brazil for a conference, and then slept like a rock for what felt like two days. I've spent the entirety of this week studying documents, meeting with people, asking questions, researching, complaining loudly on public forums. Not much by way of coding, but differently productive.

Today, I went to my second ever Pilates class (I suspect laughing will hurt tomorrow), unpacked and then re-packed my suitcase, and stuffed my new, absurdly-Nori-colored purse full of eyewear and cameras. I'm now halfway to New York with a redeemed upgrade, the cloud formations at 30,000 feet always brilliantly sunlit, flying to meet Jack, whose plane from Rio gets in tomorrow morning. I can't wait.

When I say that the decade I've spent since graduating from college (I'll be skipping my reunion in two weeks to go to a yoga retreat in Hawaii) has been well-spent investing in my career and my friends, this is what I mean. This past month. Now.

all this Šnori heikkinen, May 2013

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