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January 7, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Gaming and Boiling Pots

I slept really badly last night. It might have been all the rich food or not getting quite enough exercise or something, but I slept really, really badly. Partially the discomfort of my body and partially the discomfort of my splints. There's Velcro on the splints that rubs against my skin, and I'd tried putting my Hand-eze fingerless gloves on under it and it helped a little, but the gloves were thick enough to compress my hands a bit more and that really messed up my circulation. So I finally found a pair of nylon socks that were mildly messed up and I cut the toes off and cut a hole for my thumb in each and put those on under the splint.

After I did that, the Velcro only ate into the nylon and not my skin. That helped some. But it's hard to think creatively at night and still sleep. So John got up around 8 or so, and let me sleep until about 10. I got up then because I had to go to the bathroom and I heard him starting up the fire and the fan over the stove, as he was making breakfast, but I crawled back into bed. He came in, blinked, apologized and then sat down by me to find out if I really was going back to sleep or not. He didn't mind if I did, but wanted to know if I wanted waffles or pancakes when I really did wake up.

My stomach growled at me. Hun-gry.

Sleepy and hungry. Can't win. I can always take a nap later if I need to. So I got up and showered while he cooked. The shower made me feel half alive again. The breakfast finished the job. Bacon and pancakes and grapefruit. Yum.

Feeling far better, I settled down to play Final Fantasy VII. John went out to get the tires filled on the Passat and then to wash the cars, as he wanted to do that. I'd discovered, yesterday, that even though I hadn't touched a keyboard, my hands had swollen massively. So it's not just keyboarding that'll do it. It's probably just that I'm pregnant and it's just not going to go away until I'm done. So I might as well do some of the things I like doing.

Like playing FF VII. So I played. I actually was pretty good on my hands, as I actually turned the sound off, and was listening to Prairie Home Companion and then the jazz segment while playing instead of the battle music and stuff. I found that my pulse didn't jump nearly as hard as when I'd been trained by the music. So I was actually much easier on my hands than normal. I'll have to try that more often. I did pretty good, all in all, and got Yuffie through all her adventures and then did a tour around all the continents to see what was what again.

At 2 John had finished the Baby Buggie and Borax and wanted lunch. So he came in and made grilled cheese sandwiches and we ate those and Fritos. Yum. Simple, filling, and when he was done, he ate a banana and I ate the very last pear, which had been hiding behind some of the yogurt in the fridge. Yum. I felt like I hadn't really done anything but play all morning, which wasn't a bad thing. I just wanted to actually do something.

So I got my Yixing pots out. Singer is right, in order to make many teas the gung-fu method, one has to have many pots. I have a white, egg-shell colored one for my white teas, a green genie lamp style one for my greens and puchongs and some of the greener Taiwanese oolongs, a brown one for my pu-erhs, and three red ones. One of the red ones I've used for Iron Goddess of Mercy oolongs, including the Monkey Picked variety, the other two were brand new and hadn't been broken in, yet, but given what I mostly brewed, opening them up with a 'normal' oolong would likely be just fine. The original instructions I'd read off Singer's page and the ones on the Starbucks pamphlet had all said to simmer the pots in the tea they were being prepared for and then simmered in clear water. Each simmering would be for 15 minutes.

I had plenty of Silver Monkey to simmer the white pot in, and I happily set it up and let it go. Fifteen minutes later, I put rubber bands on a pair of tongs, so as to not scratch the clay, and pulled the pot and its lid out of the simmering sweet white tea. I dumped the tea and got clear clean water, boiled it in my electric kettle and then put the pot and lid under water again and simmered it for another fifteen minutes.

I then did the green one in a Taiwanese jade oolong. Turns out the green pot seems to have some of the wax on it that Singer warned about, and actually simmering it in the tea got a lot of the wax into the water and completely out of the pot. I'm not sure how steaming the pot would have actually removed the wax, this way I could actually see a shimmer of the melted wax go down the drain. The hot water simmer was good and clear. The brown one I simmered in aged pu-erh, and the tea filled the kitchen with its distinctive scent and the water grew so dark I had to fish around for the lid. The clean simmer was pale tan in response.

The three red pots went into a single bath of Monkey Picked Iron Goddess of Mercy. Might as well go with the best, and the tea was a little old, but still redolent with the sweetness of really great oolong. While they simmered, I rode the exercise bike downstairs. Most of this time I'd been happily watching playoff football while I waited for the various buzzers and timers to go off. So I watched that while riding, and came back up to pull the pots and lids out and do their clean baths as well. One of the red ones had the extra wax, so I dumped that bath as soon as it was done, and made it clean. So in the end I was pretty glad that I'd actually processed all the pots, though it had taken a full afternoon. I got three ten minute rides in, which was very nice and my hands felt really weird when I did that, all tingly and they swelled up a bit after but then went down thoroughly. So they felt better for the exercise.

I happily used the white pot, then, with a very generous amount of White Peony tea, and with only 30 second steeps and barely simmering water made a lot of non-caffeinated, sweet, nutty, pale blonde tea. I dumped the first steep after just smelling it thoroughly, as old experience has always said that the first steep is the best smelling, but the second is the best tasting.

Since John had cooked all day, I made dinner. We had leftover chicken, a sad onion half, half a cup of ultra-pasteurized cream from a few weeks back, and lots of good, fresh parmesan. So I made spaghetti Alfredo with roasted chicken by starting with the spaghetti water, then gently sauteeing chopped onion in a bit of butter, adding the cream and letting it reduce a bit. When the spaghetti was done, it went into the pan along with an egg and nearly half a cup of grated parmesan and just a small grating of nutmeg. I stirred it until it was smooth and creamy and added a little spaghetti cooking water to thin it until it would cover everything. It turned out really, really nice. John added spinach salad to round it all out, and it was a really nice meal.

Afterwards, I had to have a grapefruit for dessert, just to cut the richness. I also ate a couple Tums as I remembered that they'd helped make it easier to sleep a few days back. While I was cooking and we were eating Jim Carey's The Mask was playing. The Suavecito guy had said that since The Mask had been playing again, they'd sold a whole lot of the yellow Zoot suits, since that was the suit worn by the Mask in the movie. I found that amusing. Especially since the suit in the movie itself is more a tuxedo than a Zoot, though it would likely have looked better as a Zoot suit. It surprised me, though, that when the movie was over, it was only 8. So we watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and then John broke out Crash Bash.

It turns out that there's actually a two player adventure mode! So we could actually play as a team through the adventure. That was really, really cool. I didn't have to just sit and watch him play. We jumped in and cleared the first five gates very happily. Even got a couple of gems with a lot of other tries, but they are definitely harder than the initial play indicates. Fun for both of us, though my hands were feeling pretty sore by the time we quit for the night. New things make me more tense, so I think I grab the controls harder.

I was mildly worried about sleeping, but when I actually got my splints on with their new stocking covers and put myself to bed, I fell asleep just fine. While I did wake up about every two hours, I did drink plenty of water each time and got to sleep just fine with only a little snoring on John's part and he rolled over and went back to sleep just fine, too. That was nice. I think that the combination of Tums and actual exercise might have helped. I might have to ask the doctor, tomorrow, about some of this in the next Fish Check.

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