December 29, 1997

Last night John showed me an advertisement for a cook shop that had cool things for sale, and it was close to the Pike Place Market and since Gretchen had pointed out the World Spice Merchants I've wanted to go there badly. Johanna's John called a few days ago, asking when we could get together and do something fun, so when Johanna called yesterday, we setup meeting today at Starbuck's by the Great Harvest bakery and got ready to go shopping with plenty of coffee, good bread and a plan of Attack.

The carpool lane is always nice across the 520 floating bridge and it was more fun with lots of conversation. On a Monday, the market wasn't too crowded, and we got to go about, just shopping for the things that we wanted to get to or look at. First an Indian shop with plenty of fresh Nan and sesame seed paste for hummous and other flavoring for dishes.

On to a Mexican shop that had fresh masa for tamales as well as dozens of tamales of substantial size for sale from their refridgerator. Johanna got chiles there. On and around and through displays and people to Market Spice, for anise oil, then through and around the booths to find local honey from local wild flowers for anti-allergy help. Then down through the labyrinth of shops below the main Market to find World Spice.

It was a cool, quiet, dark place, split-level shop, with the spices above, the teas below with a gorgeous display of Yixing pots. Undescribable. They not only have to be seen but touched, with that special porous surface, the utterly smooth joints and unbelievable colors, many clearly a child of the earth, others a deep vibrant color that clearly could only be done when all the material was that color alone.


And then there were the teas. Brad and Gretchen were right about the selection. Broad and knowledgeble, and the man behind the counter was not just knowledgeble, but in love with his trade and wares. It was really keen. I just wished that I'd had more time and maybe just John with me, as I was sure that he wouldn't have minded staying and talking and trying a few things to see what they were like and asking questions and learning more about tea from someone that clearly knew a lot about them. As it was I was a little afraid of boring Johanna and her John, so just got the things that I knew I needed and we wandered off again.

It's in the city so I shall have to visit it again when I have the time and desire to learn. As it was I went away with quite the spread in teas, whole flower hibiscus, chrysanthemum, seven year old pu-erh, some delicate silver monkey, and the odd-looking sea anemone. The proprietor was amused by my selections, and recommended a first wash for the pu-erh, though noting that some people liked the taste of old-socks, and warned me away from the dragon's beard as it wasn't a very good oolong, just funny looking. *grin* So I gladly heeded his advice and then made off with a cannister of his a-li-shan, which, I think, is why he accounted a little for my taste in teas.

We never found the kitchen store. So went to Sur La Table to find a grater for Johanna's John's mom, and I found a sealable cannister and myJohn found me a thermometer for measuring the temperature of my water for my tea. Hoorah!

We stopped at Dixie's for lunch, introduced them to The Man. It was good, and John was sweating and happy when we were done.

We got home soon after, and I made myself tea and then set up my work area. I have everything, now. No excuses anymore to not write. *grin* Not that I really had any. But now I have my laptop connected to our outside line, to my Kinesis keyboard, and my new CD player hooked in. Music.

It really is necessary, actually.

It's frightening how comfortable this all is, and just how much I'm able to just write when I sit down to do so. All those thoughts that have been honed in the back of my mind, plots just unfolding now that I have the time and the physical ability to set them down. It amuses me to realize that I'm a more effective writer by *not* having the time to actually put words down because I'm thinking of the words all the time. I sit down and the words just come as quickly as my hands can go.

Bad for the tendons, though, so I have a timer set so that I stretch every 30 minutes. I can just imagine a few people screaming in anguish at the thought of being interrupted so often, but, hey, if I want to wipe my butt in five years, I have to. Why angst about things that reallly don't matter to the steady translation of my dreams to digital?

And Cera was right about Rent. As was my sister Kathy. Yeesh... crying all over my keyboard. Why is it that screwed up people always make for such more interesting protagonists?

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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