Oops again.

If I get any further behind in history, I won't ever get to my excuses :-)

Wednesday. July ... hmm .... 7, right? Almost a month ago now.

Tubing on the Guadalupe. It was a blast. Nice, cold water in 90+ degree weather. Floating cooler with beer. The Right Person to share the experience...

Thanks to Dave for finding the URLs. None of them really fit as well as I'd like, there seems to be all kinds of information on the net about canoeing and rafting, but I want to find some of tubing, it's so laid back and gentle. Most of the time... there were a few patches of shallow, fast-moving water, but nothing you'd call rough.

We did the big walking loop a couple of times. Up close to the Canyon Dam, north of New Braunfels. There's a place where you can walk to the insertion point, and float back to where you started. It's about a ten-minute walk, which is awkward with a big inner tube, but it takes about 30 seconds of river time to get the ache from your feet and the sadness from your heart. Not that I had any sadness, of course...

I had tied my tube to Brian's, to be sure he didn't get away... at one of the shallows my tube was caught, and the current snapped the string. It took me a couple of minutes to free myself, by which time he was way further along... he looked really funny trying to paddle back to me against the current. But I finally caught him.

That was the first time. The second I just let him go on his way without string. We managed not to drift too far apart. And the second time we were ready for the exit point, which was lined with kids with Super Soakers filled with ice water. (Well, probably not ice water, but it sure felt like it on the first pass.)

If you go tubing, take water shoes. Tube rental was (I believe) $4 each (plus deposit).

After we had reluctantly returned our tubes, it was late afternoon. Brian had been bugging me to go to Sea World. I'm not a big fan of Sea World, but I guess, if you've never been... So I suggested a compromise. Instead of spending a whole day there, we'd go now and see the late shows. He seemed to think that was reasonable.

And it was okay. We missed some of the best parts, like feeding the dolphins and sharks, but we did see Shamu, petted the dolphins and watched the late-night fireworks (more later). And I think entrance was only half-price as late as we were there. (Still wasn't cheap.)

I don't know what it is about Sea World, but the attractions seem to be laid out to guarantee the maximum distance between any two. It's very tiring. Perhaps being owned by Anheuser-Busch they're encouraging refreshment consumption? Except that at Sea World in San Antonio there's no beer. I think there is at others.

The Shamu show was fun, but as pretentious as ever. At least the trainers seem to have dropped the attempt to portray themselves as "researchers". The shows are for entertainment, pure and simple, and they're okay, if you like that kind of thing. Maybe when Brian and I have kids (eeeek, I can't believe I could even think about it) we'll get more out of it.

If I seem a little disheartened by my visit, it's really due to three things, I believe. First, that we were worn out, and the long walks seemed excessive. Second, because fun at Sea World pales in comparison with a different theme park (more later). Third, because I was very disappointed with the late-night fireworks.

I have to explain that I've seen Sea World fireworks a couple of times now, and it has been a high point of a fairly bland day. Especially with the addition of the laser shows.

This year, there were guys standing around giving away "3D" glasses. Paper goggles with what seem to be a kind of diffraction grating as lenses. Why "3D", I don't know - the changes to the view they present to each eye is identical. They take white light and split it into components, the same for each eye. Vapor lamps become distinct colors, incandescent lights and fireworks into continuous spectra. The same in each eye.

I have to admit that the first couple of fireworks seen through the "3D" glasses were impressive, but after that it seemed so fake. They screwed up the laser displays anyway, so for part of the show it was better not to wear them, but I couldn't help thinking that it had killed the selection of fireworks. No interesting colors and shapes, let the glasses do all that. So they were all white and sparkly, and made identical patterns in the glasses.

I hope this is not the future of firework shows. I'm sure it's cheap, but I'm going to completely abandon Independence Day celebrations if that's the case. They won't be worth the traffic.

Thursday. Another high point... and this definitely merits Helen's Seal (no Sea World puns, please) of Approval.

The Schlitterbahn. A water park, you probably have one just like it in your town... except you don't! :-) Not unless you live in New Braunfels. Because the Schlitterbahn doesn't only have the slides, flumes and high-speed pipes, it has river tubing rides, 45-minutes and more in length, relaxing ones and ones with unexpected steep chutes. Lots of them. It's fed with river water (from the Comal river) and most of the long rides end up in the river.

To be frank, I wasn't really looking forward to it. It was Brian's idea, I wanted to do the Guadalupe tubing largely because of the ending of "Still Breathing" (and I have to say they must have rehearsed that kiss for days... or been damn lucky! :-) but I figured I'd had enough of water fun. But Brian was right, I was wrong. It doesn't happen often... :-)

I can't say it was better than tubing on the Guadalupe. I can't say it was worse... they were completely different experiences. With a family, Schlitterbahn would be a definite favorite. For the two of us, it was a beautifully relaxing day... except for those few occasions on the steep chutes and fast rides, which are exhilarating.

Most of the rides need tubes, but unlike other water parks, Schlitterbahn leaves the tubes around in big piles, they're free whether they're required for a ride or whether you just want to take one to float in the big loop. We saw families with life-vests and tubes with bases for babies, that's all free.

And it's the only theme park in Texas where you can take your own refreshments :-)

You can carry in your own coolers of food and drink... we took Dr. Pepper for ourselves, but bought food, and though it wasn't cheap, it wasn't the usual theme park extortion. Probably because they're competing to an extent with people bringing coolers.

So Schlitterbahn is definitely added to my list of must-see places when we go back to San Antone.

Mid-afternoon, a couple of girls took the table next to ours. They may have been sisters, they had very similar low-cut one-piece swimsuits and long blonde hair.

Brian asked me if I wanted to pretend to be his sister again.

I slapped him :-)

As much sun as I had seen, I though I'd be too crispy to make love to Brian for the rest of the week. Fortunately, I was wrong :-)


So we get to the end of our vacation :-(

Friday was a nothing-much day. Some more driving around, visit to the Mercado (the Mexican market where Mi Tierra is located), pick up souvenirs, especially for Clarice and Rob, relax. Saturday head back, and I wasn't looking forward to leaving. I had a horrible headache after the long drive, and I snapped at Brian. And when we decided to recover in the spa, the water was greening. Damn, we didn't check it before we left...

Fat Selky was pleased to see us, except that he was pissed at us for leaving him, and followed me around the house crying. You'd think Clarice hadn't been feeding him, but he had plenty of food and water, and was as fat as ever.

Sunday we worked on the spa and went to Clarice's. Rob was in California. Some legal papers he had to sign - they could have been FedExed, but his company wanted him out there during the week, so he had just left midweek and stayed the weekend. Clarice was not happy, and I got the impression she thought he was avoiding her.

And now it's almost a month later, and I can't possibly detail every day, not much has stayed in my mind since the vacation. So let me try to get caught up with broad strokes...

The spa took a couple of days to clear, and we celebrated in appropriate style. Clarice and Rob didn't seem too much happier when he returned than when he was away. I wish I knew what was going on. Neither of them seems willing to talk about it.

Work was... well, work. No mention of our trip to Salt Lake City. Don't know where that went... and I've been too tired and busy to follow up with Terry. Not that it was really anything to do with me.

Karen and Kelly seemed to know more about the office by the time I returned than I did. They seem to have been competing to best each other. Most of the time it has been funny, but there was one occasion where Terry had to repair some serious damage Karen had done by hurrying. Fortunately, she had good backups...

Then, two weeks ago I decided to give up coffee. It didn't work. I was trying to cut down rather than go cold turkey, and I kept finding excuses to drink more... usually because of caffeine withdrawal headaches. So last week I went cold turkey. No coffee, no Dr. Pepper (sob!), just diet 7-up and water. I've been worthless for a week now, haven't even thought about getting my journal together, haven't written anything, have just spent all day with a headache and then come home every evening and crashed.

I can tell that Brian is not pleased with as little attention as I have been giving him, but I just haven't had the energy... he'd probably be peeved to know that I spent time updating my journal when I don't find time for him. But I'm just working late to catch up, still at the office. Finally I'm beginning to feel like I'm coming out from under the tiredness, and who knows, perhaps tonight I can surprise him.


Well, I guess it was a surprise... but not quite the one I'd hoped for.

I dragged Brian off to bed early. He was pleased with the development. Very pleased.

"You're not going to fall asleep on me?" he asked, when we were partway undressed.

"No. I promise."

Well, we kept telling one another how good it was going to be, and how it had been far too long, getting each other excited. I climbed onto him, and slid down... and he swore, and came. And then couldn't stay inside me long enough to get me over the top. I came close, which was almost worse, before we had to abandon the effort.

He was so upset about disappointing me that finally I had to suggest that there was another way he could work his magic. And he did, and it was just peachy, but I was disappointed, not for me, but for him. He couldn't get hard again, joking about needing Viagra... and then I really did have to go to sleep.

Last night we sat in the spa, and afterwards everything worked just fine, but I got the impression from a few things he said that he was very embarrassed with himself, and I don't know how to tell him that everything's okay. I think he's scared that it may happen again. And I'm sure it will, this isn't the first time I've been with a guy who has had problems, but it won't ever be more than an occasional letdown.

It's funny, because I've never really known him to think of himself as Mr. Perfect in any other way, there's no reason he should be infallible in this. And it isn't like I haven't let him down repeatedly in the last couple of weeks by being too tired for him. But I'm not sure how to tell him he's just fine, except to say that I love him, which I do.


Well, my host is very apologetic, but he's playing games with the web server, and I couldn't upload yesterday's entry. Probably won't be able to do this one, either, but I'm sure I can get it there eventually.

I finally feel like I'm recovering, staying awake, no headaches. Afternoons at work can be hard to take. I'm drinking so much water to compensate for the coffee that I have to keep taking restroom breaks. Karen and Kelly have quit their sniping for long enough to give me a hard time about it. That's okay, anything that calms those two down I'm be happy with.

Terry warned me that he'll probably want me to go out to California next week. Another software conference... which is getting very strange. I complained about it to him, it not being at all job related.

He told me that there's something happening that he isn't free to talk about yet, but that it would be good to have someone able to help him with some major decisions, and that I was the best qualified. More to follow in two weeks. Perhaps.


But whatever, I don't understand it, and neither does Brian.

My host just told me the site was working again. Probably y'all haven't seen much effect, the web server was working, but it wasn't accepting FrontPage uploads.

But I realized as I was about to upload these changes that I'm missing the most important news... I'm writing again. Now that I've stopped falling asleep over the computer... I started yesterday putting together a story that I've been wanting to write for a time. More of an idea in search of the right vehicle. I wanted to describe the feelings involved in a long-term seduction, and I've done so in "The Handyman". It has affected me more, erotically, than most of what I have written (Brian could have testified to that, last night :-). In fact, I'm finding that the build up to the first sexual encounter was so intense that I can't really continue it adequately after that. I may cut the sex scenes short...

But I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Well, it's done. The Handyman - my first story in three months. And I'm mulling over an idea for another... it's fairly twisted, though... in terms of plot, that is. It will be hard to make it work. But I'm pleased with The Handyman.

Other than that, this weekend has been something of a low. Brian still seems unsure of himself... and I get the impression - this may be wrong - but I get the impression that he holds me somewhat responsible, in that I was basically pushing him away for two weeks while I was in withdrawal, then expected him to perform on demand. Which is unfair, if it's true, and I'm sure he knows that... and that probably bugs him, too.

But anyway, we've both been somewhat snappy for a couple of days, interspersed with a couple of hot episodes triggered mainly by my new story.

You know, I wonder if that annoys him? That I can imagine myself into arousal, when I write, and push him in the same direction, when I give him my work to review? It might be that he's jealous. I may be way off, here, but it's worth pondering.

The other thing that has me down this weekend is Rob. Or Clarice. Or both, I guess. Seems that Rob moved out last week, he's living in a furnished apartment. His things are still at Clarice's... they haven't burned any bridges, but they're surely burning each other.

They are both strong-willed individuals. I think I've made that clear :-) And I think they were just stepping on each other's toes too much. Perhaps with the way things worked out they were forced together too early, before they had chance to get used to the idea of not being 100% in control, and having to compromise just a little...

One thing that gives me a perverted kind of hope for them is that Clarice (I called her this morning) says Rob walked out, and Rob (we had him over for dinner tonight) says she pushed him out. The reason I find that hopeful is that they're neither of them particularly happy with being apart, and both of them seeing the separation as a conflict of wills. As soon as they can get over that, they'll see how silly it all is.

All of which probably only says it's good I went in for Computer Science and not Psychology.

And of course, if Clarice trades Rob in for another Chris-clone, all bets are off. I doubt their relationship could stand Clarice at her most adventurous.

A symptom - maybe - of Brian's current insecurity is that he has started to press me to commit to a date for the wedding. He made a few barbed remarks about it to Rob this evening.

It's funny, by conventional wisdom, I think that should be my role. I'm approaching thirty (well, twenty-nine for the second time :-). Not long ago, that would have made me eligible for old maid status (though I do lack certain qualifications... :-). He's young, male, and there's no social pressure on him to get married ever, really, certainly not in his mid-twenties.

But I'm very happy with things the way they are. If we were ready to start a family, I think it would be different, but right now, I just don't see a need to change. And everything is happening so fast right now, that although I have no real doubts about our future, I'd like for things to settle down first. Which shows no sign of happening.

So I guess I can see his point. Thing is, because we're promised to each other, I see no reason to change the status quo. And because we're promised to each other, he sees no reason to wait.

What was I saying about Clarice and Rob butting wills? :-)

Late, late, late Sunday night...

It looks like the code that I've been using in FrontPage doesn't work at all well in either Netscape 3 or IE3, both of which are still used quite heavily. So for many of you, the last month or so's entries are probably all screwed up. I've gone back to my original template for this page, but I'll need to fix up some earlier pages tomorrow.


Quick update: it seems the HTML problem only extended back as far as July part I. I'm surprised no-one mentioned it... folks, it's okay to tell me when my site's screwed up. Honest! Otherwise I won't know to fix it!

I broke the template when I was trying to do two-level "unordered lists". Now I have a different way of handling that, which should work in all cases, and I've changed the template back to its original form.

Meanwhile... yesterday I found this article on the Schlitterbahn (see 8/3 entry). It's at the Dallas Morning News, and probably won't be there for more than a day or two.

Change changes faster than I can keep up with it. About 7:30 I put that partial entry together, expecting a quiet day... as quiet as it gets around here, anyway. Terry told me last week that I'd be going out to California this week. I saw him just before eight, so I asked if I could get details.

It's a conference sponsored by one of our software vendors, in Santa Clara on Thursday and Friday, but he probably only needs me there for the Thursday session.

Well, that just struck a chord. If Rob hadn't been out in that area so much, I wouldn't even know that Santa Clara was right next to San José... and San José happens to have featured on a number of web sites in the past few days...

"I ought to go early and spend a couple of days at Linux World."

Well, I was making a weak joke, as heavily committed as we are in the other direction.

He frowned at me. "Is that this week?"

"Yeah, starts today, until Thursday."

"When can you leave?"

So here I am in San José.

Took a while for the travel agent to get flight hotel and car booked, and I barely made it in time to pre-register. No sessions today. I'll try to give more impressions of the expo after it has happened, I'm sure while it's going on there will be reports online. Brian was fuming, that I'd voluntarily leave him at just a couple of hours notice. He'll get over it. This is too good an opportunity to miss.

Leaving the convention center, I almost literally ran into Keith. He was rushing around, as everyone seemed to be, but did a double take when he saw me.

"What are you doing tonight?" he asked.

"Damn, Keith, you saw me thirty seconds ago and already you've started?" I grinned.

"Uh... actually, I'm meeting my girlfriend, and I thought you might like to join us."

Girlfriend? Damn. I should not have been jealous. Absolutely not. I didn't want him. Certainly I couldn't have him, and I should have been pleased that he was not going to be chasing me... but I felt that I had lost something.

"Girlfriend?" I asked, carefully neutral.

"Yeah. Her name's Jerry."

Which it isn't, of course, just as he isn't Keith, but when I wanted a name, "Jezebel" came to mind. My little bit of spite, but for amusement only, okay? :-)

I was tempted to see where all the nerds were going to party, and tag along with one group or another, but I took him up on his offer. Perhaps I should have stayed with my first inclination.

Jerry and I didn't hit it off. She's perhaps six inches taller than me, perfectly straight brown hair down to her shoulder blades, and didn't think I was worth the effort of dealing with. She pretty much ignored me, except for trying to get me to drink myself silly with the microbrewed beers. (Which in another time or place I might have been tempted to do. That was good beer :-)

In that, her plan backfired, because though I'm still woozy, she was much further along than me when Keith dropped me back by the hotel.

She made a few references to Keith's "ex", whether girlfriend or wife I didn't know, but she was obviously trying to appear superior to the "ex" and to me. She's a PR flak of some kind... and probably good at it, when she's sober, though if she's bedding Keith for good publicity, I don't think much to her methods.

Anyway, it's after midnight California time, which means it's after two at home, so it's unsurprising that I'm having trouble focusing on the screen, or that my head is hurting. I never did call Brian, and it's far too late now.

Tomorrow (today!) I'll go have some fun nerding out :-)


What a week.

Tuesday was the real start of the expo. It was a truly strange experience in many ways. The people there, for one... from nonconformist geeks to company nerds to totally non-nerdish salesdroids (who were totally failing to disguise themselves as nerds, but in an odd way that just fit the nature of the convention).

I felt that I was on the edge of something huge. And something which was going to involve a vast amount of money... free software or no. Something I wish my company was involved in. On the other hand, I saw several interesting potential solutions to some of our needs, which sooner or later we may turn to... or which may instead by competition open up new possibilities for us. Definitely a worthwhile week, even if we're not in the free software camp.

I want to get my ideas in order and tell more of what I saw, but first I'd like to get current with my travels. I will say that there was a very large contingent of black trenchcoats - a reaction to the way the media have equated black trenchcoats with dangerous rebels, and governments and institutions have tried to ban the attributes without addressing the problem.

Frankly, does it seem strange to anyone other than me to take a group of misfits, who you're already frightened of, and alienate them further by telling them they're not allowed to consider themselves misfits?

This is an odd world.

But that's barely even peripheral to the expo. Well, except it being an odd world, I guess :-) The atmosphere was exhilarating, and the partying was hard. I spent most of each evening with groups of nerds in various stages of drunkenness... and still able to talk rings around any of the professionals I work with. Listen, guys, why don't y'all move out to Texas, we really need you here. Cheap housing, no state income tax, and salaries almost as high as the Valley... you'll love it. Tell 'em Helen sent you :-)

Some things I was invited to I wasn't sure were technical demos or propositions. I suspect the latter, 'cause there were plenty of more traditional invitations around. There were more women at the expo than I would have expected to see, but still far more men. Available, interesting, men, I should say. Some of the propositions could have been quite tempting...

Thursday I had to skip the expo and go to my other conference. What a let down after two days of... hmm... "informational partying" is probably the best description I can find. Now I had to deal with normal salesdroids, database administrator types and suits in general. I talked to people in San José whose minds outshone our entire group. But still, it was interesting, and more directly relevant to our business.

So much so, in fact, that I called Terry on Friday morning and asked to move my flight back to Saturday. There were some crucial topics being covered Friday that I wanted to learn about.

I called Brian about two my time, four his, to tell him I wouldn't be home. I guess I should have talked to him after I talked to Terry, but I had to get to the company offices, and I was running a little late. Brian was really peeved. He seems to think I've set this entire trip up as a vacation. Of all people, he should know better... okay, I went to LinuxWorld because I wanted to, but it was a great opportunity. Given the option, I wouldn't have wanted to attend the second conference... but it is important to the company.

I would have spent a lonely night last night, but I called a woman I'd met at LinuxWorld whom I really liked, and who taught me a lot. She has a circle of extremely intelligent friends, and lives in the area, and I went back into San José to spend an evening with them, which was a riot. I did try several times to call Brian, but he wasn't picking up. He must have gotten bored and gone out for the evening.

This morning I headed home, didn't get back until early afternoon. Brian has been behaving very strangely. I guess my leaving at such short notice ticked him off more than I had realized. I tried to apologize... not that I thought I had anything to apologize for... but he brushed me off, telling me everything was fine. It doesn't seem fine, it feels like I'm walking on eggshells.

Except that one time when he was sitting looking blank, I squatted beside him, put my arms around him and told him that I loved him... and he responded with a kiss so fierce you'd think I'd been gone for years. Perhaps tonight I can see if I can get him to open up more in bed, because I'm sure something's wrong.

Oh, writing news, before I sign off... as I mentioned to David on the StoryBoard, I started another story while I was on the road. I'd guess I'm about 2/3 done.


That didn't work out quite as planned.

I finally persuaded him to come to bed. That's not normally hard to do, but this time... he seemed to have all kinds of excuses. Legitimate excuses, nothing I could point to and say "why are you stalling?"... but excuses nonetheless.

But I did get him to bed. Where he claimed he was too tired to do anything...

Well, I didn't know what to make of it, but I decided to try something he often does for me after a hard day. I brought through the massage oil, and started working on his back. He seemed to enjoy the feeling, and he was visibly turned on when I rubbed myself against him and nuzzled his ear.

So then I rolled him onto his back, massaging his arms, chest and eventually legs. I would stop to stroke his shaft with my oiled hand, making it harder.

Eventually I was doing nothing but slowly stroking his cock, keeping it and my hand well-oiled. He closed his eyes and relaxed. I would wrap my hand around completely, squeezing as I slid it up and down, then stop and tickle the head and underside with my fingertips. I could run my nail along the underside, and he'd jump and breathe heavily. His face flushed, though he kept his eyes closed.

I held a couple of tissues at the ready as I worked on him. The gentle stimulation wasn't bringing him on as quickly as he would have responded inside me - or as he would if I'd used my tongue - but after about fifteen minutes of light effort, he started to twitch with each movement. I could tell when he was on the edge, because his body seemed to tense, but still, I missed his first release, getting the tissues in place only after he had shot a small messy blob onto the bed. Stroking him with the tissues made him squirm, groaning, as his cock continued to spit sticky glop into them.

He lay silent for a few minutes. His responses had gotten me pretty much worked up - though I knew I had made intercourse unlikely, there are plenty of other pleasures he could have given me.

But it wasn't to be. "Why did you do that?" he asked.

I was surprised at the question. "Because I thought you'd like it. Didn't you? You seemed to."

"Why now?" he persisted. "Why something new? Is this something you've learned this past week?"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "What the hell? Is that what you think I've been doing this past week? What has gotten into you, Brian?"

"I'm sorry," he said, "I shouldn't have said anything."

"No shit," I retorted. "You know me better than that. And you've never acted like a possessive jerk before. What's going on?"

"I'm just tired," he said. "It has been a hard week, and I'm really sorry I said that. I love you, Helen."

"Yeah. Fine way of showing it."

Jealousy has a way of destroying even the most ardently erotic feelings, and at that point I'd have found reading "War and Peace" a more enticing proposition than making love to Brian. So I put my nightgown on, and curled up close to the edge of the bed.

At some point during the night, I woke up to find him snuggled against my back, so whatever this stupid resentment he has gotten into himself, it doesn't seem to have penetrated into his subconscious.

Today he has been more relaxed. He brought me hot tea to wake me, and apologized again. I relented enough to cuddle with him for a while, but neither of us made any moves to take it any further.

Later this morning we had a wonderful and fascinating time at the housewarming party of some friends of Brian's. The husband is an engineer in his group, his wife is also an engineer, and they are from India. Brahmin, I believe... did I get that right? I need to check with him. (And I'm not going to invent names for them, because I don't have a clue about Indian names.)

Anyway, this was not a housewarming party as we usually think of them. This is the couple's first house - oh, and it's beautiful, a large, two-story modern home - and they were having it blessed, so there had been a religious ceremony going on there since early morning.

Since it was long, and conducted in Hindi, Brian's friend had suggested we arrive between 10:30 and 11:00, when it would be through. We were there a little early, but in fact the ceremony continued until well after 11, so we got to witness some part of it.

Walking up to the house, the path had been painted with symbols, from a "WELCOME" at the street through a succession of six-sided and other patterns to the door.

It consisted of the couple sitting by the fireplace, on which was a foil pan holding food, covered in a thin layer of burning oil. An old man (priest? I hate to betray my ignorance...) was chanting, taking oil from a pan and spooning it onto the flames. Their Indian friends were standing around (we were the only white faces present) gossiping, but still paying attention to the ceremony. In a way, that made it seem more meaningful - that this wasn't something that was so revered it had to be conducted in silence, but something that was very much a part of their normal world.

Brian's friend had said casual dress, and perhaps to the Indians they were casual. I think they were, because the men were in a variety of clothing, but the women were absolutely beautifully dressed in brightly colored saris, some completely covered, some exposing dark skin around the waist. Not just the dress, though, a couple of these women would have been considered beautiful in any clothing, and by any standard. Yes, I noticed Brian watching them, but I could see for myself just how lovely they were.

I certainly felt outclassed :-) but on the other hand, I'd really love to see what I'd look like in a sari.

The ceremony finally moved from the chanting to a responsive section, which began with a bell ringing, then the priest (?) would chant something and the homeowners would respond, then more bell ringing, and another woman, who I think was a relative, sang. She was older than the couple, but she had a wonderful voice, though of course I had no idea what she was singing. Don't know if it was a religious song or entertainment.

Finally, Brian's friend, who was dressed in an almost-transparent gauze over some kind of loin cloth, took a quartered melon and some other offerings (I'm guessing again) and placed them at the boundary corners of the property.

Then we ate, except for the host couple, who were fasting. Lentils and Indian bread, spicy vegetable stews, rice. And - I have no idea what word the wife used - a sweet food made apparently with rice and milk, and certainly cardamom, from the taste, which had been "offered to God", so presumably it was what was being cooked by fire in the ceremony.

I found the whole experience quite moving.

Returning home, we were both tired, and went straight to bed... where we found that we were less tired and perhaps less peeved at each other than we had thought, and we compensated for not having made love since I came home.

But still, throughout the day, I've been noticing Brian watching me, and his expression looks... I'd have to say scared. Scared of what, I wish he'd say. Scared that I'm hiding something about my trip to California? Surely, surely he trusts me more than that, whatever he said last night. Scared of losing me? Why? Scared of something else entirely?

I wish he'd tell me what was on his mind.