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August 8, 2002
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago
four years ago

Fifteenth Anniversary

I think the painters got me used to a far more leisurely way of working, because it surprised the hell out of me when I woke up, at 8 am, to the sound of landscaping equipment right outside the bedroom door. We have the door and the windows open at night to allow the room to cool off at night. So it was mildly... disconcerting.

I hopped up, wrapped the robe around me that I use when I get up in the middle of the night for Jet, and then closed the door and windows as a billowing cloud of dust wandered by. Yow. They were here bright and early and getting to it. It is really cool to see just how much work can be done by ten guys all working their butts off at the same time. The yard already looks so different.

Jet was up and happy and going at it with John. Then John took Jet off to Joan's at 9 and I worked until 11. My 10 meeting was cancelled and I just worked like crazy instead, which was a good thing. I like having the uninterrupted time more than I can say. Jet came home at 11:30, nursed and promptly went to sleep. I worked. I also popped a frozen chicken pot pie into the new toaster oven, set the timed bake and just let it go while working.

I heard a ding while I was in the middle of a paragraph and was very happy when I went down ten minutes later to find a perfectly cooked, still hot chicken pie all ready to eat! Wow.

I'm very, very glad of the new toaster oven. It's making me look mildly askance at our 16-year-old microwave, which I'm sure isn't up to modern safety standards, but has been a part of our kitchen for so long...

The maids arrived at 1, and went, immediately, down into the basement to clean things up there, and upstairs as I told them that Jet was in the master suite. Half an hour later, anyway, Jet woke up. I fed him half a grilled cheese sandwich and then tried to keep him away from all the cleaning implements. The maids didn't mind, as he grabbed the duster and started whacking everything in sight, "He's so CUTE!"

Finally, I gave up and just took him into the basement with me, and we watched Nickelodeon and played with all the toys, the slide, and the train down there. he liked that. We drank green ice tea, ate goldfish and generally did stuff together. That was fun. At about 4:30, I heard John come home and the maids leave, not necessarily in that order, and John took over with Jet for half an hour while I got some more work done.

At precisely 5:15, I went downstairs, put on my long, black dress. The wide belt that goes with it went on next and the buckle broke. It was cool, though, as broken I was able to see how the darn thing was made. So I took it completely apart and then put it back together stronger than it was before. That buckle has given me much grief in the ten, plus years I've owned it, making me feel really fat because it would always slip whenever I put it on. This time I built it back so strong that I was able to tighten it to three notches, and it held like a champ. It looked good, too.

I also pulled out the many, many strands of red seed bead necklace. It has about fifteen strands of plain beads all strung in parallel. I gave it a few twists and then hooked the silver anchor hooks together at the back of my neck and I enjoyed how they looked. I'd gotten them on one trip to New Mexico, and they're dead simple to make, but they take time, as each strand has at least half a dozen different colors of red seed bead on it, all strung in random order, but each of them strung.

I also thought, for a brief moment, about putting on my red pumps. I even put them on for about ten seconds, put all my weight on them and said, "Uh uh... not in a million years..." and put on my 'dress' Birkies, which are white sandals with a more open lattice work for the straps. Mmmm... walking comfort. It turned out to be a good thing to do.

At the beginning of the week, Joan had offered to take Jet for our anniversary, as we'd taken her kids for their anniversary last year, and it was fair enough. Plus, I think, John had taken both their kids last Wednesday and Joan felt it was fair. Jet went over to Joan's in a great mood, talking and playing with his magnetic drawing board. He had no qualms as we went off.

John and I went into Boulder, to Dolan's, a straightforward seafood and steak house. They do good, yeomanlike workmanship on their meals, and they don't charge and arm and a leg for simple fare done well. They are a bit expensive, but not extravagant. But what they do, they do well.

We sat there, ordered drinks. I got simple club soda with lime. John got a beer on tap. We thought over our orders and then just sat and talked as we waited for the waiter.

Fifteen years. It is a long time. So many things we've done and seen and tried and faced together. So many things that we want to do. It seems amazing that after fifteen years, we'd have just an eighteen-month-old, gone through the whole life cycle of a very dear dog, owned three different houses, I lived through nearly a dozen jobs, moved halfway across the country, and, of all things, gotten to the point where both of us could work part time. That is very neat. It seems mildly surreal. Especially on top of the fact that we can pretty much do what we want, since we live so frugally most of the time.

Speaking of which... I got the clam chowder, and John got the green salad. Dolan's clam chowder is a perfect example of a chowder that relies entirely on heavy cream for thickening, turning its nose up at even the thought of a rue based broth. It's rich, thick, satisfyingly creamy, and is filled with more clams than potatoes and just enough aromatics to make its flavor dense and complex. Yum. John's salad also had blue cheese crumbled all along one side of it as well as a plethora of fresh veggies on crisp greens. The bread that went with it, normally, didn't come until after, and it's nicely dense, with a chewy but not hard crust. The waiter looked either overstretched or new, as he seemed to completely forget the bread and came back to double check our orders. I'm glad he double-checked instead of getting it wrong.

John got the blackened halibut with a corn fritter and creamy mashed potatoes. He enjoyed the spiciness of the dish and the sweetness of the fritter. I was brave and got the lobster special. It was cheaper than their Alaskan King Crab, and they'd advertised the lobsters as being live and there was no way on earth they'd have cooked their King Crab alive... So I went with the lobster and didn't regret it. It was a lot of work, but the flesh was sweet and crisp and wonderful with the drawn butter. I also enjoyed the grilled tomatoes and I ate just a couple of the many potato wedges that came with the meal. I didn't really need to fill up on potatoes. It was a big enough meal to be satisfied, not so big as to preclude all possibility of dessert.

Still, we declined dessert there, paid and went off towards Pearl Street. We had some walking and some shopping to do.

Our first stop was an amusing one. We stopped at Wild Oats because we needed milk. Also, there were several things we couldn't find at Safeway that we knew we'd find here, and, sure enough, at the first stop in the bulk bins, we found bulk wheat bran and soy flour. I have Isabel's bran muffin recipe. It's modified from a cookbook recipe, and goes something more like this:

In a large bowl mix and let stand:
3 cups wheat bran
1 cup boiling water

Beat together and then add to bran mixture:
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey or sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups water and add 1/2 cup butter milk powder to dry things)
1/2 cup corn, canola or other vegetable oil

Sift together and fold into everything else:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup buckwheat
3 tsp. baking soda
1/2-1 cup raisins

Plop onto baking sheets or spoon into muffin cups, about 3/4 full, and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

This recipe is full of things we do not normally have. Jet, however, ate these bran blobs for breakfast just about every other day we were in Bellevue, and it seems a very good way to get bran and other good proteins into him. So we got quite a few of them at Wild Oats, and I had to laugh as we were checking out and what I felt might be three cups of bran was rung up as twelve cents' worth of bran. It's hard to buy twelve cents worth of anything these days, as the packaging and ads would have things cost at least a quarter.

So it was good we did bulk, and I got just enough of most things to make one batch to see how we liked them at home and at altitude. It also amused me to do it this way as it's typical of how we buy things, while we get what we want we also get it as cheaply as possible.

From there we headed to the mall proper and found free parking. We walked from the parking structure into the mall and found the Starbucks. John got his usual. I wanted a dry cappuccino with two shots of decaf espresso. The guy taking the order was impatient and decided, for me, that I really wanted a tall cappuccino. I blinked mildly at him, "A tall?" I asked. He responded, "Yeah, a tall. This is a tall cup." He showed me the cup. I peered mildly at it, as if confused, "Do you have something... uhm... short?" My brain was going, "Yeah, right, you're going to sell me a tall cup of foam for extra money?" I knew they had short cups, and he pulled one out and said, doubtfully, "You mean one of these?" "Sure!" I said, happily. He shrugged, "Okay... a short, dry, double-shot decaf cappuccino."

There's an attitude difference in the Colorado Starbucks compared to the Seattle ones. I think also different from the California ones I've been into. The Colorado folks seem far more abrupt, less caring of the product they serve or the people they're serving. I don't know why. I just know that I'm pretty sure that in Redmond, the barista would likely have suggested a short cup when I first sounded questioning about a tall. I don't know why I'm so sure, but there it is.

Ah well.

Okay, it also amuses me that I now, routinely, drink coffee drinks that take more than one breath to describe.

From there we wandered. Up and down the warm outdoors shopping area and mall. Watching the hucksters with their crowds. Some of them starting shows and trying to draw folks. Others with show in full-swing. It was fun. We hit the far end and decided to go back and hit one of the art coops and get some birthday cards and see what there was to see.

We managed a lot of shopping there. I was glad. It's stuff that would have been hard to do chasing Jet around, we could just stand and think and look and wonder. That was fun and quite the breath of relief.

Afterwards, on the way back to the car, we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory and bought a brownie sundae cheesecake slice to go. They gave us forks and napkins and we sat out in the balmy night on one of the benches. We ate cheesecake, talked, marveled at the time gone by, and watched the people walking by. There's a new fountain in the Mall. It's a piece of sidewalk with a grid of eight by four fountains that go off randomly. They squirt and stop and squirt and stop. There's a sign saying that the water is highly chlorinated, that it's not safe to drink, and that it's recycled. Kids love it. There were half a dozen chasing the squirts and they were happily soaked and cool. There were two too-cool teenage boys nerving themselves up to walk across. I though they were far less cool dry than the kids who were screaming with laughter and soaked in the warm night.

Home again, home again, and Jet was asleep in Joan's arms in a warm circle of light over her easy chair. He went into his seat without a protest and we gave Joan and Ray hugs and our thanks and we went home and to bed. Jet just went up into his room in his seat. He woke up around 10:45, nursed, and went back to sleep, this time in his pajamas and on his futon.

All in all, it was a very nice anniversary. No hoopla, just quiet and John and I doing the things that now make up our lives. It is pretty cool that so many of our anniversaries find our lives changed once again, and that we have liked each new life all the better

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