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October 13th, 2005

Turning forty-fucking-eight...

My stomach was upset all day today.



My manager insisted that I work from home today, since it's my birthday. Actually, she told me that I should take a vacation day, and that she always takes a vacation day on her birthday.

I told her that I had planned to take my birthday off, but decided to use an extra day on my ski vacation in December instead. "Well, then, you should at least work from home on Thursday -- save yourself traffic headaches, if nothing else."

This morning, on wral.com, the warning appeared:

TRAFFIC ALERT: Two lanes of westbound Interstate 40 near mile marker 290 are closed while crews respond to an accident.



Botswana's Dry Sanctuary

Now is the height of the dry winter season in arid Botswana where the warm winds conjure dust devils to dance on the parched brown landscape. When the rain comes again in October, the savanna of Mashatu Game Reserve will blossom, and the rivers will run again. Through it all, the animals will crisscross the territory, stopping at the year-round sanctuary of Pete’s Pond.

Embark on a quiet adventure and watch wildlife gather at Pete's Pond. Baby baboons scurry in the dust. Wildebeests push and shove to make room at the watering hole. Warthogs wallow in the mud. Watch them on cam below!

Peak Viewing Period: 7 a.m.-Noon Botswana Time

In September as Mashatu moves into its summer season, Pete's Pond will see increasing traffic in the afternoon hours from about 4-6 p.m. Botswana time is 6 hours later than Eastern Time.

The friend who pointed me to this cam said, "It's really amazing to sit and watch for a while. I like to put on my pith helmet and some Deep Woods Off and imagine I'm really there."

Click Here to View the Cam at Pete's Pond



At around 4:30, I called Steve to ask him if he'd mind us rescheduling my birthday dinner tonight at Irregardless. It was just me, him, and Robert, so it was no big deal, and he happily accommodated the request.

At around 5:30, or so, Robert and I took a half-hour walk around the neighborhood.

Soon after that, we went to the K&W in Cameron Village to have dinner. Robert had turkey, dressing, and gravy for an entree, and I had the baked spaghetti. We got a lot of good food for $12.95.

We had a scoop of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Robert had pistachio. I had jamocha. This was to settle my stomach, of course. That's my story, and it's sticking to me.



We took an hour nap, after which I met Joe at
Cup-A-Joe's (no relation) at Mission Valley.

Joe and I caught up for about an hour. At our cars, before leaving, Joe handed me a card and a gift bag, which contained a bottle of .

While this was happening a stocky guy, maybe 25 years old, eyes only half open, walked up to the back of Joe's truck and started mumbling.

I later found out that he'd started with, "I'm not trying to get money to pay a bar bill or anything." Hmmm. Wonder why anyone would start a conversation with that line.

He went on to say other mostly inaudible things, something about a girlfriend, and highway 64, and needing some gas. Just statements; no question.

I spoke around Joe, who was between us, and I said, "Are you asking us for money?"

"I'm not a bum," he said, trying to show how proud he was while slurring his answer.

"I said, 'Are you asking us for money?'"

He just looked at me, and for some weird reason I got the impression that he was trying to determine if I was an undercover cop.

I repeated the question one more time, "Are you asking us for money? I don't understand what your question is. Are you asking us for money?"

"Yes," he finally said.

"I'm sorry we can't help you this evening."

He walked back over to what was presumably his car, and leaned over it.

Up in a grassy median to the left, stood a guy on his cell phone.

Further up, in the upper parking lot, was a group of guys that looked like they'd just come out of a restaurant or bar there, and might be waiting for the unbum.

I said to Joe, "Let's get out of here before any shit hits the fan."



Robert had stayed at the house to give Joe and I some catching up time, which I so appreciated. Again, there's that thoughtful part of this wonderful man. He'd taken the clothes out of the dryer, too.

All in all, I had a very relaxing day, and did just what I wanted to do. Happy Birthday to me.

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