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August 6, 2000
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A Quiet Alternative

The ponds were wonderful.

We took our leisurely time getting up this morning and then went to Walden Ponds, which are just a set of man-made and fish stocked ponds near Boulder. We just wandered around the placid waters and eventually sat down on a fishing bench and had Fezzik on his leash just paddling placidly around us. The drop off was steep enough for him to be fairly close to shore while he was swimming and he was only ever a stroke or two away from the edge, so he could put a paw on land and breath or watch us or whatever. He just paddled about placidly, enjoying the water, enjoying us, and enjoying the floating dog biscuits we'd toss here and there.

It was funny watching his body underwater, his fur floating out in all directions, making the water black around him. He moved effortlessly in the water, unlike on land. He's still having problems figuring out quite where his left hind leg is, and on the trail itself he would occasionally stumble and catch himself with his right leg and forelegs and look mildly puzzled. But in the water he was all grace, like some mournful looking seal with a huge nose. He had fun chasing dog biscuits around, grabbing at them when he came upon them and bringing them to shore to eat them. I figure if the fish live in there just fine, he'll be fine drinking the water, no matter how flavored it is.

It's really good to have the time, to know that it's limited, in some ways. I can do things with him, treat him really well, play with him, pet him, and never regret, when he dies, that I didn't do something for him or with him. I have the time to say my goodbyes, and the knowledge, on the most part, to make him happy, content, and enjoy what time he has. That's been worth everything.

He walked the rest of the way without too much effort or exhaustion and didn't have to sit down at all, but when we got him back to the truck and John tried lifting his front end first, his back end did collapse on him. So we had to get him in together. He lay in the back happily and just watched things go by, and was happy to be in the car, in the shade while we shopped for a futon for downstairs and had lunch at Dot's in Boulder.

The futon is a wonder. There's a clearance house locally for futons and John had already done the footwork of going to several other futon stores in the area to see what was available. This store had futons with springs in the pad, that emulated real couch cushions and real spring beds, so the cushion is infinitely more comfortable than the flat cotton mats most futons have. So we got one of those. Better for my back, downstairs, than the nearly flat, ten year old futon we have now. And the price for the special pad and frame was about half what John had seen anywhere else, so we snapped it up.

I'd been wanting Dot's Arnold's eggs for quite some time, a biscuit topped with ham and your choice of egg and then sausage gravy, but the gravy was far, far too salty for my taste this time around. So I only ate half. Fezzik was quite happy to get the other half, but I'm having more problems than I like with the foods I used to love. I'll just have to stick with the stuff I know works okay. My stomach was fine, but my taste buds were just completely off.

Home again home again, and John went off to get the futon while I typed away upstairs, mostly on journal entries, and just the beginning hint of the story of Carl's game. Way too much angband. I needed something mindless, I guess. It fit too well, in the additional heat, so I just went downstairs and iced things until they and I felt better.

Only problem was I hadn't had my usual afternoon snack, and by the time I started making dinner, I was already feeling faint. So John did the good thing of putting some guacamole together. Hoorah! Guac from fresh avocados and whole corn tortilla chips and I was feeling good enough to actually cook.

I'd been wanting mousakka for a while, so I thought I'd just put something like it together, with an old, more traditional recipe I'd found from the Internet. Ground meat, garlic, onions, spices, a can of tomatoes for the center, a layer of partially boiled potatoes for the bottom, and the bechamel on the top. For herbs I used oregano, fresh mint and fresh parsley, and used nutmeg in the bechamel, and instead of the inch-thick creamy layer of bechamel I've seen in some restaurants, I only made enough to just coat the top of the dish. It turned out really well, the potatoes were cooked through and creamy under the meat and sweetness of the canned tomatoes. Normally, I'd make it with ground lamb, but the grocery store didn't have anything but old lamb chops, not even a roast, which I could have ground. So I just used good, old hamburger, instead and did a good job of draining the browned meat.

I'd been getting mildly tired of the amount of salt that's in the frozen meals I've been eating, so this should be a useful, nukable lunch for the next week.

Mostly watched TV until it was cool enough to go back upstairs and write a little more. Found my notes for Carl's game, so I actually have all the ridiculous details I actually did capture while we played. Everything from the order of some of the shots we took, to everyone's names. So I'm happier. Got a little writing done before going to bed.

Sleep was easy after the walk.

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