February 1, 1998

Okay... I'm lazy... didn't get around to redoing any of the title pages or anything, mostly because I couldn't find Front Page anywhere, and didn't have quite enough time to do everything I wanted to do with tables before wanting to write this entry. So I'll worry about it after the MRI or something.

It was also partially Singer's fault, but not really. As dinner was at 6 or 7pm and myJohn and I thought we'd bring appetizers, and had to get home from work to do some shopping and putzing about the kitchen to get some hummus ready and correctly balanced. We also got bread sticks and corn chips to dip it with, the corn chips because Jon can't have wheat.

I forgot about the onion in the hummus, though, until we were well on our way out to Duval. Ah well.

The drive out there was lovely, forests, hills, and with all the recent rains, the rivers were up, the valley's silver with flowing water, and the bits and pieces of wetlands that were alongside the road were deep in water and the bare black branches of winter trees. The sky was clear and the stars were out, so we drove the Stoat and I could tilt my head up to watch the stars flow by. Out further into the forests it was dark enough to see the cloud of the Milky Way.

The winds were cold, but not with the knife sharpness of when it's below freezing, and I was glad of my Mongolian Horde hat.

We arrived at Geri's just a bit early and sat with Jon in the kitchen while Geri and Jon's mom went out to shop a bit and talked with him, admired the hugeness of the artichokes he'd found, and sniffed hungrily at the amazing chicken he'd made that was redolent with pomegranate reduction. Helped clean up a chopper for the walnuts that were going to be used to thicken everything. Zow. The salad had heart of palm, and there was a chard and Italian bacon/ham dish that was mostly stir fried with garlic.

Brandon arrived around 7:40, just after everyone had gotten up and started to serve themselves, and so we all sat down and ate. The chicken was deadly, cooked 'til it fell off the bones and sweet and tartly tangy with the pomegranate juice. That's when we started the conversations in depth, and I got to see some of where Singer got his eloquence and clarity of argument. Mrs. Singer is a professor of philosophy who still teaches a single class a year, and then goes around the world for most of the rest of the year giving papers and talks. Her present major project is getting out scholarly work on the subject of human rights, what they are, how they can be defined and what defines them.

The conversation touched on Caltech ditch day and pranks, on human rights, on the oddities of the English language and how it's spelled, on Darvel and Scotland and Scotch, on psychology, on what constitutes a basic education, on cooking for large groups, on exactly how a chocolate fruit cake might work, on Holocaust survivors, on a cat named Doggy, on Fezzik, on how and when patients might be hospitalized against their will, on what constitutes self-harm, on the canonical works of Ben Johnson and how one might add to them, on the origin of W.S.'s Elegy, on various Internet stories and 'Everyone knows Jon Singer' stories, with stops and starts when Geri and Singer brought out the two boxes of French chocolate.

The first box had seven different percentages of cocoa to them, from 35% to 99%. The second had seven different types of wafers, each with exactly 72% cocoa to them, but the cocoa was all from a single place of origin. The 99% cocoa was just deadly. Singer says that he normally doles it out in pieces about as bit as a match head. MyJohn was eating quarter wafers at a time and pronouncing it much like the head off a Guiness and loving the stuff. I really enjoyed the 85% wafer, but the 72% had a lot going for it. Of the regional ones, I went for the Sumantra and Java ones first, curious if they had the same characteristics as the coffee's of the area, and they did. The Venezuela was marvelous, the Matagascar one was oddly similar to the vanilla, with some of the same orchid characteristics and flavor. Ghana, Guam, and I forget the third, weren't quite as memorable for me... but I think Jon Singer likes watching my face when I taste things nearly as much as I like watching his. *grin*

That was fun. It was eclectic and delicious, and I learned a lot and now I know what I want to be like when I'm in my 70's. It's funny and keen to feel like a younger human being and to know that there is yet so much to do and so much to learn and so much to discover and learn about and study with all the depth and love one has for a particular subject. To dig deeper within something and know it well.

Also made me want to do something about the U.S. educational system. We'll see what comes of that. Jon Singer also served wafer-thin slices of his fruitcake, which was utterly redolent of rum and had a really great assortment of fruits within it. He had a great craving for fruitcake, real fruitcake that would stop the words from someone's mouth while they ate it, and he managed it. My.

We came home late, and I slept well, still relaxed from the backrub that Raven had given me. He'd also done a ritualistic blessing with burnt sage that was still gently hanging about the house... quietly fragrant, and I liked it. John and I also hot tubbed to make sure that I'd just drop off and so I did.

Woke up late this morning and we went on a breakfast adventure. John occasionally decides that it's time to go on a breakfast adventure and we get into the car and he just drives where he wants to. Usually way out of town to a little town with a little diner that's crowded to the gills and we eat there. This time it was to the River Run Cafe in Carnation, yes, it's where all that Carnation milk comes from, and we wandered the streets of the town while waiting for a table, found a little herb shop with a lady that liked to blend her own teas, and I bought a bit of dried whole sage, remembering the fragrance of the smoke in the house.

Breakfast was good, crowded, with absolutely excellent coffee, and white toast. The corned beef has was a bit stringy and herbed a bit too strongly for my taste and mushy rather than crisp about the edges... but the eggs were done to a very nice medium, even though the edges weren't crisp, and the home fries were lovely, thick and crisp and hot. Overall, it was pleasant. We then dropped by Eagle hardware, a bookstore and Trader Joe's, where I nabbed some Oregon Chai and soy milk.

Ever since Santa Cruz and Gretchen taking Carl and I to the Saturn, I've wanted Chai again... so we got home and I made some and it had exactly the same taste and texture to it. Hoorah!

Another very cool thing is that I happily wrote a 'what do you think?' note to Peter Zale about Helen, and he wrote back and that was very nice to have.

So, as usual, I guess I've been too busy with my life to polish up the way I write about it. I'll get to the new page look when I can... in the meantime you get to put up with this. Stark and simple and mostly content. Ha.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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