There are few better ways to start the day than with Blue Mountain coffee and toasted fruitcake with mascarpone cream cheese. Wow. I toasted things while John made coffee and we had breakfast early. He hadn't been able to contact Debbie or Matt, so we had a mild mystery as to whether or not there would be anyone at Marshall Mesa when we appeared there. On the way there, however, we had a mission to accomplish, and that was to finally recycle the Christmas tree that has served us so well during the season.
Turned out that there was a specific area for recycled Christmas Trees in Boulder, so we went out there with the tree tied to the roof of Borax and Fezzik pacing the interior of the truck as he thought we were on our way to the Mesa direct. The dump site was mildly weird as there was an entire mountain of used Christmas trees, all still green and flexible and all piled there like some weirdly horizontal forest of trees. John tossed ours on the pile, and with some strange feeling of compassion for the poor, little, cut-off tree, I said thanks for the fact that it had fragranced our house, held our ornaments, lights, and decorations, and guarded our presents for the season and seen the beginning of the lengthening of days. I don't know how much difference it made for the tree, but I, at least, got some sense of closure from it. For all that I know that it was farmed for the express purpose of being a decoration for a time, it still felt mildly odd.
As we pulled up to the Marshall Mesa parking lot, I saw two Samoyeds on leashes coming towards us. I said, "That's them. They must have done their walk early." John shook his head, "That can't be them, they're too slow." But it was, actually, them. The reason the sams were so slow and so staid was that they had had the full walk already, into a biting wind. Debbie had an appointment in Denver early enough they had had to do the walk early, so we were meeting them when it was already over. They had gotten up at 7 a.m. to do the walk, and said that they hadn't really wanted to wake us up that early to do this. I am glad they didn't. That was nice. It also wasn't particularly a problem, other than Fezzik looked mildly lost as we started up the hill and he didn't have his little pack to do this with. Also, since we didn't have the other dogs, who were under better voice control of their masters, we didn't really have voice control of Fezzik, so we had to keep him on a leash.
The walk up the hill was actually really, truly cold as the wind picked up and the wind chill was terrible. To the point where, at the top of the hill, where we came up out of the protection of the side of the mesa, we were hit full-on by the wind, so we decided not to do the rest of the walk. Instead, we just turned around and came back down off the hill. Fezzik wanted to get well ahead of us along the whole way, but when we got him into the truck, he had worked off his edge. Instead of bouncing all over the back of the truck and trying to move forward to see things every time the truck changed direction, he circled the back once and lay down. We were a good thirty minutes up in that wind on that steep hill, so I think he got a fairly good work out.
A number of errands later, we then went home and John made an enormous batch of really gorgeous nachos with taco meat, avocado, and plenty of cheddar cheese. Yum. Hot and filling and savory and really, really good, we just dug through them and ate until I couldn't eat anymore. While still completely full, I opened the Penzey's spice catalog and got a few spices, less than twenty dollars' worth of nice, esoteric things that I can't get from the grocery store with the type of quality they were promising. I wanted to try a number of things just to see what the quality and tastes were like, and if I like it well enough, I'll likely buy more in the future.
The afternoon was, of course, taken up again by play-off football. I am really looking for mindless entertainment for the day and it offered the perfect opportunity. Between games, I played a bit of CTR as well to keep it working. The very last part of the Seahawks game I watched while riding the exercise bicycle. Thought I might as well do that while I didn't have anything else I wanted to do.
After that I made chocolate mousse. The real stuff, not like my chocolate thingies. Equal amounts of chocolate and whipping cream, and when I melted the chocolate I made a couple shots of decaf espresso and added some of that along with a tablespoon of Bailey's Irish cream to about three ounces of chocolate broken off of the champagne bottle that Gretchen gave me. The chocolate flaked off in neat layers easily, so breaking it up was easy to do. I melted that, whisked in the liquids and it took to them really well. Three ounce of whipping cream were whipped to soft peaks and then half of that was mixed in and then the other half folded in. The stuff was then spooned into two wine glasses and set in the fridge to set while I showered.
Spaghetti and meatballs later, we pulled out the mousse and it was perfect. Set up solidly enough to have a good texture to the mouth, airy and light and tender to the spoon, with whirls of bittersweet chocolate and richly smooth white cream it was as pretty as it tasted. Though I'll admit that I think I really should have used amaretto rather than Bailey's it was pretty good for a first try. It was pretty rich, however, and I really think that I like my chocolate thingies because they have less overt fat content and a more cake-like texture and while a little whipped cream is a great garnish, it's only a garnish, not the main attraction.
I spent the entire evening catching up on the previous week and am feeling a bit grim and odd about it. The one problem and possible positive about writing everything for the past week in one sitting is that it has both more coherence and only the single voice of the day where I sit and look back at the whole thing. I'm not sure this is good or bad, or simply a stylistic reality for this time period while I do write the whole thing at certain sittings because my days are too filled with work to allow even the short one-day writings that I was capable of before. I actually have the brain to think it all through, which is good, but sometimes I wonder if it's too late an entire week later...
Well, we'll see if I run into the kind of problems I've been running into this last week more frequently when I only write once a week, or if, perhaps, the daily time-outs for introspection and thought about the day may actually be one of the reasons I *haven't* done the blow up and fallout kinds of things for quite some time. Then again, I was doing that pretty frequently with Mark even while I was writing here everyday and they only bled into here as justifications rather than always being constructive ways of working through the problem. Admittedly, this time it really helped having another party that was really willing to go to the extra work of working through the problem. Heh.
Data is a wonderful thing to gather. Well, it's past midnight and those stupid cocks are crowing. I guess it's time for bed.