August 29, 1999
The quick and dirty laundry list for today:
The biscuits didn't quite turn out the way I wanted them to, as I forgot, at the very last moment to NOT add all the buttermilk at once, that I should have just stirred some of it in and then added the rest to make the right consistency dough. I just forgot. Stupid me. Blob city and unhandleable not-dough. Grump. So they turned out a bit flat because I had to put way too much plain flour on them to get them to even cut out with a biscuit cutter.
The gravy was too greasy and too sausagey. And the whole concept of sausage gravy seems to be something that I'd rather let a greasy spoon handle in the end. It's just... it's like making croissants, when you know what's in 'em you really just don't want to eat 'em.
So it was an experiment that failed, but I learned from the experience.
There are big bare spots on the lawn and after the thunderstorms of yesterday afternoon and evening, the ground was *wet* and sloppy but not exactly soft. Still, it was wet enough for me to think about planting grass seed. The seed really needs to be consistently damp for 7 to 10 days after planting or else the seeds will die. Since the ground was already damp, I thought I had a head start on the process. Was that even when it was wet, the ground wasn't particularly soft. It took a lot of shoulder, leg, and back work to get the rake into even the top inch of soil. So, I hacked, raked, and swore at the grass seed and the near-clay of the ground until I could get it loosened up to my satisfaction. I planted the seeds, raked some of the loose soil on top of them, and then filled my wheelbarrow with water. I then took my watering can out with me, and watered all the patches that I had just made. I got mud all over my Birkenstocks. I guess I can call them my gardening sandals now.
Tackling a 120 pounds dog and clipping his toenails is quite the job. This is especially true when he doesn't want to be clipped. Fezzik really doesn't like having his toenails clipped. He doesn't like it when I grab his feet and try to do things them. He tries to wave them around, knock any hand holds that I have on him off, and basically make a nuisance of himself until I let go. But I wanted him to have his toenails clipped before the visitors came, so I stuck with it and got them all trimmed back so that he doesn't click on the floors anymore.
Debbie at work has two Samoyeds, beautiful white dogs that are only about nine months and a year and a half old. They're youngsters, really, and their owners were looking for a place for them to run around some more. The pair have enormous amounts of energy and our acre was fenced well enough for them to stay within the area. So, they came, and started running circles around house. Fezzik really tried to keep up, and did a pretty good job of it for a good hour. Then he was tired, hot, and you could see that while his muscles were really tired he really wanted to keep going. That was when I filled the wading pool for all the dogs, and Fezzik ended up lying in the water to cool down. Boris, the younger of the two dogs really liked Fezzik, and stuck near him for most of the afternoon. It was really fun to talk with Debbie and Matt while the dogs ran, and John and Matt had a good time playing catch with the dogs. Fezzik has a box of toys that he doesn't really play with, as it's been years since he played fetch or tug-of-war. Boris was really happy to play with anything he could get. That was fun to see. After several hours, Fezzik hind legs were about ready to give out, so they loaded their dogs into their car and went home.
Fezzik really seems to have been favoring his hind legs. So, having the other dogs over gave him good incentive to exercise. He was really sore in the evening, and when they left he lay down in his favorite shady spot and I don't think he moved the entire time we were away for dinner. We fed him an aspirin with his dinner to help combat the soreness, and he seemed pretty happy, if dead tired, all night.
On the way to dinner I asked John if he thought it might be good idea to bring the bananas, some butter, and some brown sugar. Jenny had said she was going to do an ice cream dessert. John said it sounded like she had something planned, so he advised me not to bring anything. He also reminded me that I would have my chance when we invited them for dinner.
Dinner was lots of fun. Jenny and Colin had made a really cool casserole from an old family recipe, and started the dinner with guacamole, chips and all kinds of condiments. The food was really good, and conversation was a great deal of fun. Sometimes it's really cool to just be with people who have never heard any of the stupid stories you've told everybody else that you know. We had a great time telling Fezzik stories, Land Rover stories, and general stories about how we met. They had fun telling cat stories, school stories, and all of this shared in telling soccer stories.
When it came around to dessert time, Jenny said that she had some bananas and she had seen someone do a banana flambe. She said she was willing to attempt it, but that there were alternatives of chocolate sauce, nuts, and the regular banana split condiments. I fell over laughing. John explained the conversation we had had on the way to their house, and both Jenny and Colin asked me to do a banana flambe. So, I pretty much did what I did yesterday, with the entertaining addition of throwing rum on to be cooked bananas. Between the fact that I had it on medium-high heat and the fact that the vent fan was on, the alcohol fumes had traveled above my head before I got the match lit. John says the flames went over my head. I saw the tips of them licking at the microwave for just a bare moment before the flames went out. It was so quick I didn't really have much time to react, and part of my lack of reaction was watching to see if the flames hung around long enough to do any damage. Luckily, they didn't. I think there was a pan lid four steps away, so, if the flames had lasted there was a way to put them out.
It was very entertaining.
The bananas and ice cream were as yummy as they were yesterday, with the additional kick of a little rum. Everyone liked them a lot.
Afterwards, we played Spades, with partners and the requirement of bidding the number of tricks we thought we could make, as partners. I'd never played this variant of the game before, and it is somewhat nerve racking to try and predict what one can do. Very, very old bridge reflexes turned out to be useful. Both Collin and I were fairly conservative about estimates, which meant that we usually made at least what we bid. The rules were that we made ten points for every trick we won that we bid, and only one point for every trick beyond that; but if we didn't make what we bid there were no points at all. If made for a very interesting game.
It was ten when we finally left, and we all felt that it was fun. I'd do it again in a shot, and I feel like we've made some friends here after today's adventures with people from work. More social friends that we get to work with, too. So that's good.
The thing I really realized is that in the last five or so years, I've been doing a better and better job of being with people that like me for me. That I've gradually gotten less interested in putting up a facade or an act or a Way of Being for those that want only a certain type of person to be their friends. That I have less and less patience for folks that like me for everything 'but' a certain aspect of who and what I am.
I was afraid that Fezzik would be so sore he couldn't get up from the ground when we got home, but he made it okay, wolfed down his dinner and then lay down on his bed and went to sleep, content.
Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.