Clarice invited us for dinner last night, with other friends of Rob's from work. Originally it was because Rob was going to be in San José over his birthday on the twenty-first (he turns thirty-three), but now it looks like he's not going. Or not for the whole month, anyway. He's still spending too much time tying building this new office to spend that much time away.

"You'll be on your own for a month?" I asked Brian.

"Uh, no," he said. "They decided to send someone else. I can't cover everything."

"So, who's going?"


"Julie?" I must have raised my voice, because I sensed people looking at me. I smiled at them, and spoke a little more quietly. "You're gonna spend a month with Julie?"

"And everyone else at the company, Helen. Didn't we have this argument already?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

So he's leaving tomorrow with Julie. I'm not sure if we have argued this sufficiently yet...

Apart from that, the party was good. Clarice didn't eat much, which bothered me, but she said she had been eating constantly through the day while she was cooking. I worry about her.

Still, Rob will be home with her most of this next month, which he admits makes him happier with the arrangement.


Brian's flight was mid-afternoon, so we went out for lunch, and on to the airport.

was in the gate area when we arrived. She was polite enough, but I felt very uneasy... and when I kissed him goodbye, I felt somewhat guilty... like I was trying not to be demonstrative, because that would only have been acting possessively, and I didn't know what to do. I think Brian got the impression that I was being indifferent, because he looked puzzled as he headed for the gate.

It's strange. The first time he went away, I felt lost, scared that our relationship would survive the separation, we'd been together for such a short time. I hoped he'd still want me when he came back, after at least a week (which stretched, of course) to think things over, and I hoped I could trust myself in the meantime.

That has all changed, of course. Now I know our relationship will survive. But I'm scared by how much it may change, if he acts on the options I gave him. I do trust him. And I do want him to be free, within the boundaries his own conscience allows. I guess I'm just scared how wide those boundaries may be, and if I'm as comfortable with them as I claim.

So it's about me, not him. He's no Ted, but would I be able to believe that?

Because after spending a half-hour with Julie today, I'm still convinced. She wants his body.


Y'all say the nicest things in email. I want to say that I really do appreciate the feedback, kudos and even complaints that I've received. And one of my regular readers has offered to review the new story that doesn't seem to be working... I think I'll take him up on it.

I should mention, when I say complaints, that I have had one, precisely one message that was very opposed to my writing these stories. Over two years, I honestly expected far more than that. And this guy (or gal, I really don't know, and if I did I wouldn't say) writes actually quite a flattering mail, that I should abandon these "sinful" stories, because I could be a great writer.

Needless to say, I won't be changing my focus any time soon. I like writing erotica, and I like your response to what I write. And I don't accept the "sinful" premise anyway...

This week has been horrendous. We have all been so incredibly busy... and one of the hardest things to do is slow down enough to be sure we are producing quality code. I've had to come down pretty hard on engineers trying to bypass the rules to get changes in more quickly, and in at least one case I caught a potentially disastrous error before it made it into the product. One of those "innocent" little changes that really didn't need testing...

Except it did, and had the potential to destroy the hardware it would have been used with. Fortunately, we caught it in the test that I insisted on running.

But... this is the good news... as of today, we're done. Tomorrow I'm going to freeze the code. Ken wanted a decision on 3/14, we're going to beat that. The release candidate CD is scheduled to be made Friday, assuming next week's testing on the frozen code set is successful.

So perhaps I can turn some more attention back to my stories.

I talked to Brian this evening. He sounds about as worn out as me. They're working him hard. He doesn't think he'll be able to come back during the time that Jill will be here.


Heavy storms this morning. I woke up while they were still in the distance, and managed to find Selky, my fat scared storm cat, before he'd managed to get to one of his untraceable hiding places. I lifted the sheet and he slunk down to the foot of the bed. Then I fell asleep warming my feet on the big ball of fur.

Then I woke late, of course, and wasn't in any great hurry to get in to work, not after the last few days' effort, so I arrived mid-morning. Not much going on, not much to say. I'll probably leave early for a quiet weekend.


Managed to get some yard work done yesterday. My cannas are looking very good; they came through the frost just fine. After I cleared away the dead stems left over from last year, the number of shoots looks about twice what it did. They should be a nice display through summer.

I planted a couple of roses and some daisies, too.

Today I'm getting my tax papers together. Brian had his filed a month ago. I hate him :-)


Decision day today. We had meetings all day long, all basically the same, all "yes, we're ready". QA is doing their best to break hardware and software both. They've found some problems - no product is completely bug-free - but nothing yet that would even justify a corrective service release. So Ken's decision is to go with the release schedule.

Meetings tire me out more than real work. I'm going to take a bath.


The weather turned cool again. More rain overnight. I talked to Brian last night, took the portable phone with me to my bath. His voice helped me to relax. After I'd hung up, I warmed the water up and soaked for another half-hour, with the result that I slept wonderfully last night, beat the alarm clock into submission and was over an hour late for work today.

It didn't matter, there's nothing to do right now. Not quite nothing, we have problem reports from QA that we can start working on, but the priority is so low after the last few weeks' effort that it's hard for any of us to get motivated.