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July 6, 1998

Soggy Fourth

Okay, so it's like Monday, and what's the weather outside?


I tell ya, it's a CONSPIRACY. Otherwise known as tradition, otherwise known as coincidence, or maybe it's just odd luck. But every single Fourth of July in Seattle is rainy, soggy, goopy and just plan wet. Wet wet wet wet wet wet. Drippy, foggy, soggy, nasty, windy, cold, gray, drizzly, low cloud hanging, utterly ugly wet.

Every fricking year. Then the days before and the days after are just gorgeous. And summer really begins the Monday after the Fourth of July. Some of us were talking and decided that, in Seattle, the Fourth of July should be celebrated on the eighth of July. Just here, just now, just while it always, always, always rains on the fourth.


I never got to ride my bike this weekend, though there was one sunny bit at the end of Sunday, but by then I was so tired it wasn't even a possibility.

Saturday was a pretty busy day, all in all. Took Fezzik over to Marymoore, and since they were doing a huge Heritage Fair that involved paying for parking several hundreds of yards away from the Fair anyway, we just parked at the edge of the park and walked in with Fezzik. Decided that since it was wet it would be silly to take him to the Fourth of July party that the Bownses were going to throw, and knew that he needed exercise if we were going to leave him at home all night. So we walked him all the way into the park, around the Fair, and then took him to the off-leash area, let him run until his tongue was hanging out and then walked all the way back to the car.

The Fair has increased immensely since the day nearly twelve years ago when I first saw a lady spinning at the Fair and thought it was a pretty cool idea and started spinning myself. The crafts area and the old-fashioned elements were overwhelmed and overshadowed in many ways by the booths and booths and booths of vendors that were there to sell stuff. That was kinda sad and kinda interesting to see, as the booths had stuff that was more interesting to buy, better made, more interesting designs and modern make. We found this lovely hand-painted ceramic tile fan all of subtle shaded grays, with a full moon and black branches arranged in almost Asian style and sparseness. We had to get it and so we did and John carried it the whole way back. We picked it up after Fezzik did his run and it was pretty heavy but doable.

The food booths were fun, as usual, and I had a gyro with spicy, tender lamb and John had a huge soft taco with lots of stuff. Everything we dropped by accident was cleaned up thoroughly by Fezzik. As usual, in large gatherings, Fezzik got a lot of attention and a lot of petting. After swimming, though, people tended to avoid touching the very obviously wet, huge dog.

I spent the rest of the afternoon putting together the tiramisu. Not that there was much afternoon, just an hour and a half after we got home. Mixed mascarpone with sugar, egg yolks, espresso, and cognac, beat it smooth, then beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and folded the air into the cheese mixture. I didn't have quite enough lady fingers, but thought I could fake it. I dipped each into espresso and cognac, spread a third of 'em out, layered them with the cream, ending in a layer of cream. I then grated a bunch of bittersweet chocolate onto the top and refrigerated the whole mass.

The recipe said at least an hour. Experience now says that over night is even better, and yes, I didn't have nearly enough lady fingers. The cream was somewhat overwhelming, too, with cognac. So I'll have to figure out a better set of proportions than what was on the mascarpone container.

But it was done in plenty of time for the Bowns' dinner party and after dinner, the ten of us went to see fireworks in Bellevue. Dessert was served in the park and then the fireworks display. The fireworks are really well set up in that the park has lots and lots of parking all around it and lots of access to major arterials so that we were able to show up just fifteen minutes before the fireworks themselves, get good seating because we knew where they'd setup the shells and when it was all over, getting out was as easy as snap, and no lines for getting to the freeway or out of the area, at all.

It was one huge festival feeling in the park, there were literally thousands of people there as it is a huge grassy area with an enormous circle of fountains about the place. People were perched on all the concrete surfaces because the grass was wet. The wise ones had all brought plastic tarps, and it was closely packed in, closely enough it was hard to negotiate a path through the inside circle, even as huge as it was, simply from all the people packed in. It was all friendly and fun, though. The whole huge crowd of people should have made me feel kinda defensive and oddly jumpy, instead, it was relaxing, kinda like a nice party that just got Huge.

We managed to get home before midnight and got to sleep fairly soon after.

Sunday service was... uhm... interesting.

I had lots to do for communion. Baked communion bread on Saturday, too, unleavened bread, actually used a simple pie crust recipe, which is unleavened. Had to pour hundreds of the tiny communion cups and then found out that, just for me, they'd decided to put a Deacon's Sharing back into the service without telling me. Oops.

Luckily Lee had a Kids' Sermon and while I could have just said that I had nothing to say, she filled in with that, instead. So that worked out. While she did speak directly to the fact of the church member's death, and the death in the past week of a girl that had been baptized at the church, she didn't speak, at all of the fact that both deaths had been suicides. Which confused the heck out of me. How does a community deal with that kind of death? Certainly not in silence... but that was how it was being treated, that the loss through death had no other consequences or meaning or problems involved.

Can't regret the past as it can't be changed. I can only do stuff as time goes on, I think.

The afternoon was okay. Did a lot of shopping, to get specific stuff for the house and a few random things for cooking and spent most of the afternoon watching soccer games, all the semi-final games for the World Cup and a bunch of Pepin vids on how to handle meat and especially chicken. Watched raptly as he pulled apart a roast bird, and since I had just bought a fresh chicken, I stuffed it and roasted it.

We had no celery, so, instead, I used the onions with an apple and some almonds and since that wouldn't go too well with sage, I used curry and a touch of cinnamon instead. We'd used a round sourdough loaf for show for communion's bread breaking, so I used most of that for the bread part of the stuffing and it was wonderfully chewy. The roasting juices made a lovely clear gravy and the bird came apart by the numbers, beautifully, easily and perfectly. That was really cool. Carving was never so easy.

We finished off the last of the tiramisu for dessert and sleep was pretty content if dream filled. This time mostly with cooking contests with the urgency of the World Cup and the contents and ingredients of the Iron Chef contests. Amazing.

So today's gorgeous. John's got a dinner meeting with Lee, and he'll ask if the suicide dealings are going to be addressed at the memorials. We're addressing many things at work, which are fun and keen and likely work for months to come, and Raven wrote today. I miss the boy.

What's scary is sometimes I feel completely disconnected from people, you know? If some of my best friends died now, I wouldn't even know it for a while, and then I don't know how much I could worry about it or even mess with it. How I would deal? My daily life would be, presently changed very little but for a few letters a week. But folks that are closer to me than all the people I see everyday could disappear from the face of the earth and some part of me says that there would be very little for me to hang onto.

Just feeling incredibly detached at the moment. Perhaps having been alone for so long is why I want to just go hide in some hole and pull the hole after me. But I've just been with my family in San Diego, been with a bunch of people here, been extensively with a bunch of the church folks and they've all just made me feel even more an outsider, a watcher, someone different. Not through their actions, but through a more thorough realization of what I am.

Maybe it's well past time I booked a flight down to San Jose and immersed myself in the Horde. Past time I talked all night with Carl and Gretchen and Bryant and hugged Trip and Cera and thought about games and stories and dreams instead of being too damned studious about theology, coding standards, and just what constitutes a good-tasting unleavened bread.

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