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July 19, 1999

Bad Day Good Night

Bad day today. Just in all the little things that could be bad and were. I was exhausted from the day before, and even after a night's sleep was still grumpy, floaty and out of sorts. Didn't really get good caffeine until nearly noon and it was QuickFix, so it was an espresso and sugar shock that blasted through. One good thing about knowing that I can't be pregnant for a while is just knowing that I can do that to myself and no have any consequences on anyone else.

The other big problem was that my legs, where all the little cuts and nicks and dings were, was becoming completely rash covered. I itched everywhere. John itched too, but he didn't have the reaction I was having, and I was grumpy at him for that.

First I was completely unmotivated for the three tons of work that I have to do this week. Second, at lunch time John did get free enough to go and get lunch, and I did manage to catch the QuickFix guy so things seemed to be better. Lunch was great, we went to Good Times, got bacon cheeseburgers to eat at our desks and that was yummy and good and simple and fast. We talked over the fact that my legs were trashed and I might as well finish off the backyard while they were trashed and just finish it all up and then suffer for the next few days instead of adding to that suffering by waiting and extending the itching for as long as I had to wait.

Problem was that at 4 p.m. it just started to pour. Totally, completely and thoroughly pour until the windows were just streaming with water and the sky was being lit up from behind by the lightning and the building shuddered under my feet when the thunder struck.

Yeesh.

No mowing for me.

Turns out that for the rest of the week the weather forecast looks the same. Morning clearing, afternoon thunderstorms. It's going to be a while before I can get the rest of the back acre done. Hopefully most of the itching on my legs is just 'cause of walking through the stuff in shorts, not because of the mowing. I might just wear jeans anyway, when I get around to doing the rest. Probably wiser than this moping about with itching everywhere.

After work we took off into Boulder and John turned entirely the wrong way, but we made the best of it and went to King Soooopers instead of Whole Foods and they have more bulk stuff anyway like Doritos Nacho Cheese chips and things like that. Less organic to say the least, but also pretty much cheaper. I got a salmon steak, a closed grater, a thermometer as our drink thermometer had broken somehow, little graham cracker crusted tart pans, a package of Lu tea biscuits, a dozen eggs, and some courage and thought. Sometimes I think cooking really is just a kind of scavenger hunt, and the trick is taking all the disparate parts and making something really yummy and cool from them. We got out pretty quick as it was pretty crowded.

Got home and found two packages in my mailbox. The first was from friend Paul in the mid-West, not brother Paul and not Texas Paul, I should probably call him Tights Paul as he always gets me these gorgeous velvet things to wear. In this case, it was a pair of just gorgeous cobalt liquid velvet tights that were just a joy to touch and were exactly the same color as my newly dyed hair. That really helped my day get better.

The second package was from Pendemonium and contained all the things that I'd only ordered on Friday. I can't believe Sam was so quick and everything arrived in beautiful condition as ever. The glass pen was really fun to write with and the 10x jewelers loupe with the steel casing was absolutely perfect for cutting quills with as I could actually see what was wrong with the tips and what to do to cut them right. Every tip that's passed visual inspection with that has written really, really well. That was quite a change from before. I'd get a 50% working rate without anything I could actually see being wrong with the tips. Now I can see exactly how they don't line up and when they do and what I can do to make them line up. That was very, very nice indeed as a long term investment.

My quills still seem to last longer, writing, than most of my dip pens. I can dip a quill, write a paragraph at a time and most of my dip pens only last a sentence or two. Mark once commented that he was surprised how small the quill could write. It's very cool to have complete control over how it writes.

After I had everything opened and identified, I started cooking. First the rice, then salting the salmon and while all that got ready I made custard pie. The recipe is at the Food Network site, and it's under Calling all Cooks and is the sambuca pie; but I only had amaretto and I don't much like anise anyway. So I had John open the low-altitude closed bottled and then I made the custard at half-recipe volumes as I only had the tart shells to fill. It cooked about twice as fast at the TV program said it would, but that might just be the volume thing and I was brave and stirred a lot. It really did thicken up quick, though and it really made me think more thoughts about the tiramisu. This would be a yummier custard to beat up with the mascarpone. Much tastier. I then spooned hot custard into the tart shells, dipped a tea biscuit in amaretto, put it on the lower layer of custard and then piled more custard on top. The actual recipe has two layers of cookies, but in a full pie tin. Then I put it all in the fridge to cool.

By this time, the rice was perfectly done, and I did the things I had to do to make onogiri and it was yummy with all the seaweed bits and all that yummy salty bits. I drank water for dinner and then, afterwards, pulled out a special green tea that Singer sent me from the Imperial Tea Court in Kent, WA, and made gung-fu style tea. A couple tablespoons of dried leaf in a tiny pot and a few twenty-second steeps later the unfurling leaves had filled the little pot. The tea was fragrant, delicious, and after a few steeps it was nearly enough just to pour hot water on it and nearly immediately pour off the lovely tea. Turns out that in old traditions, the very first steep is offered to the gods as tribute. Turns out, also, that nearly 80% of the caffeine is in the first thirty second steep. Which was very cool by me. I made my little offering and then enjoyed the soothing cups with John. We got a good dozen steeps from the one pot, easily and fragrantly. That was very, very nice.

I then got the tarts out and the tea biscuit had half melted into the custard, and all the lovely, sweet amaretto flavor and scent had mingled in the simple custard and it was a real dream to eat. The custard had firmed up beautifully and was silky smooth in texture and perfectly cool. The crispness of the crust contrasted nicely, and both John and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

John went to sleep soon after, and I sat around, sipping tea and breathing steam and the evening was cool enough to really enjoy the warmth of the tea. That was great. What was even better was that there are now no moths in the house. I hadn't really realized their slow exit from the area, but they're all gone now. Just the small bugs of the night that can and do get stopped by the screen doors, which is a real blessing. I still have no clue why the moths even got in the house at all. So I wrote, played with my quills, thought a lot, and eventually made my way into the bathroom and drew a bath and dumped a quarter of a box of baking soda into the water.

It's one of the simpler remedies for rashes. Take a cool, not warm, bath with lots of baking soda, soak a bit, then pat dry without rubbing and then just let the solution dry on the skin. The basic nature of the soda draws out the acid of most prickly things and the solution seems to sooth most rashes. Don't use hot or even warm water because the rash will inflame from the warmth. I finally, for the first time today, stopped itching. It was quite the blessing and I got to sleep soon after and slept deeply.

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