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April 12, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Home Sick

I was very glad that I got everything done yesterday that I had to get done, so I could just be completely and thoroughly sick today and enjoy being at home without work and with Fezzik. Very first thing I did on actually waking up and realizing that I wasn't going to sleep any more was go and make caramel corn. Then I showered, so that I wouldn't smell like caramel corn all day. Then I wandered into the kitchen to make myself oatmeal as it's a very good 'I'm sick' kind of food.

I couldn't eat even half of it. Just not much appetite, so Fezzik got oatmeal and caramel corn.

Since I'd been to Geoff's I'd mildly obsessed about the cheap white bread he'd had. Nearly square slices that were thick, good crust, tender crumb and really good under eggs. I wanted more of that, and didn't find it at any of the grocery stores around here, so I decided I had to make it. Sandwich white is ridculously easy to make, it needs a bit of fat in it to keep it tender for a while and a little sweetner, and I like honey, so I used that, and I put a bit of butter and used milk instead of water. Heated it so that the yeast would be happy and put it with the flour and salt and used the big ceramic bowl we have that's perfect for bread making as it's heavy enough to stay very solid on the counter while one is stirring thick dough in the bowl.

I stirred until it was good dough, not too sticky but still elastic and wet enough to provide a tender bread. When I was younger I always ruthlessly added flour until the dough was easy to handle, now I've learned through watching John do bread machine bread and through doing biscuits that the liquid is necessary for a good texture. So I just added enough to make it handleable. With the cold the ten minutes of kneading left me breathless and with just one minute left, the phone rang.

It was John. He was trying to call the vet that would know how to treat or do the blood tests and X-rays of Fezzik to be sure that the treatment would be good, and we were left on hold for a bit. So I finished kneading things up and putting the dough in a bowl in the warm oven and we found out that the vet just couldn't talk with us, yet. So John said he'd figure out something and call me back.

So I washed up, scrubbed the bowl and the counter, and that was that for the bread making implements. Easy clean up. Making ones daily bread would be an interesting thing to make very efficient.

After that I went upstairs and started typing in the journal entries to fill in the gaps. I didn't have a voice that the computer could recognize and I was sneezing and coughing a lot and didn't want to mess up the mike anyway. So I decided typing would work and it worked much more quickly than I expected. That was very nice. The accounts just flowed much more quickly and I really like how the shapes of the phrases and sentences come out when I'm not constantly distracted by having to correct the darned thing. It's also nicer to be able to use my entire vocabulary, rather than just the one it recognizes and actually be able to build my sentences.

Actually, if I write things down by hand and then dictate them in it has no problems. I think the problem is that when I'm composing by voice, I have to think in entire phrases rather than a word at a time but the recognition software is even better at entire sentences rather than just short phrases. So when I can read it an entire sentence it actually does far better with the full context than when I stop and think about what to say next.

Anyway. I plowed through a lot before I decided the dough had risen enough and I went downstairs to play with it. I had punched it down and set it somewhere to rest when the phone rang again. It was the guys delivering the huge screen TV. They were outside the gate and called to ask if a dog would be released if they opened the gate. It sounded like some pack of dogs would go rampaging out into the wide wide world if they opened it. Fezzik cocked an ear at me when I looked at him. I said no, the dog's inside and he won't go running out the gate. So I heard the rumble of the diesel truck coming into the driveway.

The two boys looked over the layout and lugged the huge thing downstairs, into the right place and tried to sell me power strips and high grade co-ax. I quoted the co-ax parameters for what I had and they shut up and were good and didn't try to sell me any more stuff.

The new TV is huge. It's just this monster thing. We have a few folding chairs downstairs as it's all just finished, and I just sat in one in front of the huge tube and it was like woah... it's *moving*... and I got to watch while they set up a few things and then they took their leave, happy to be done with their day's work by noon. That was cool. I saw them out, saw the HUGE box into the garage, made sure that Fezzik hadn't escaped as they'd left the gate wide open. Then it was time to shape the loaf, which was easy enough. I then left it in the sunshine, with a cover on it, to rise yet some more. Bread is mostly a matter of letting it sit. Lots of waiting around for it to grow, so it doesn't really take that much effort. Nice thing is that it's very flexible and various stages just go until they're 'done'. Not a specific timing thing. Fezzik banged to be in again.

So I went back upstairs with Fezzik, did a few more entries and came back down to start the oven and eventually shove the bread into it. Fezzik just opened one eye and when I didn't encourage him to go downstairs, he went back to sleep again. I forgot the timer, completely, and went back upstairs and posted more entries and when it smelled done, I went downstairs again and pulled it out to cool. Finished off everything up to yesterday and went back down. This time Fezzik followed me, and I gave him the heel piece of the loaf when I cut myself a tender slab of the buttery yellow bread. I also heated myself the last of the ready-mixed tomato soup and had bread and soup for a latish lunch that felt really, really good.

I only wish I could have smelled it. I guess I'll have to bake more.

I got online for a bit to tell people Fezzik's prognosis, post all the entries, and then go through them and neaten them up a little. Also found out that all the tech stocks slid a bunch more. Oog. Well, we'll hope it levels out eventually.

John called to tell me that he was coming home and I couldn't think of anything to make for dinner that would go well with the bread, so I just decided to make a random cassarole with potatoes, turkey, corn, spinach, mushrooms and whatever else I could find in the fridge that looked ripe for eating. I added plenty of garlic and curry to some sour cream based sauce to pour around everything and give it some moisture. It baked aromatically in the oven when John got home and we left it until the cheese looked like it was browning. I probably should have left it a bit longer, as the potatoes were still a little crunchy, but John liked it and I couldn't really taste it but it went okay with the bread.

After that we went downstairs while Fezzik barked at the chickens, and plugged the PlayStation into the big screen TV and it was Crash Team Racing on the BIG SCREEN! It was wild. Everything moved a whole lot more and in the really high speed sections it was moving so fast and so hard it was really cool. We're going to have to get some kind of incredible action game just so we can play it on this huge screen. We went through a bunch of races and finally I was so tired and sick that we had to call it a night.

I dosed myself up on everything and fell into sleep.

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