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July 31, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Fully Happy Saturday

I woke up to the sound of rain.

That doesn't happen often here, they say. The mornings are usually completely clear and then there's the daily thunderstorm around 3:30, and then it might be cloudy until evening, and then it clears up at night and then is hot and sunny again in the morning. It was also the steady, light rain that was very Seattle-like, not at all like the thunderstorms that normally happen here where it's a huge fall of water and then nothing. But it was nice and light and steady drizzle.

John and I first went to the Post Office to drop off a package for one of his brothers. We then wandered through the drizzled to the little eating place in Erie, surprised ourselves by finding out that it was open on Sunday mornings as well. We ordered nice breakfasts, and just as we ordered the sky broke open and it just poured. The rain was so thick we couldn't even see across the street. Folks ran in from the street and were just soaked to the skin. We watched in wonder as the dirt roads in town all turned into mud trails.

Instead of going out into it, we just sat and ate our breakfasts. When it was done, the rain had slowed again, to the slow drizzle, and we took the paved ways out of town back home.

We had a dinner tonight with Dan, our boss' boss and his wife Bonnie. They were from Redmond as well, so were just good friends, we don't usually think about the command structure at work. Just some of the few friends we brought with us from Washington, one might say. And they'd asked that we bring an appetizer. John wanted to do the artichoke heart dip, and we had some of the stuff, but not all of it. So he went into the recipe box and found the recipe and then gathered the stuff and made a list of what we still needed. He then took the list and went out east to fill it.

In the meantime, I went out in to the still-damp yard and started feeding all the trees. With all the raining going on, I thought it'd be a good time to feed everything, when there was a dry spell between rainstorms. The trees were supposed to be watered in addition to any feeding that was going on, so I thought it'd be the perfect time, so that I didn't have to water them more after feeding them.

So I got out the little plastic wheelbarrow, filled it with ten gallons of water and put ten tablespoons of the MiriAcid for the evergreens and MiracleGro for the regular trees and then trundled about dumping the solution over the plants that wanted it. Took me a few hours to do that, and then I started weeding a bit in the lawn, as some of the native growth was trying to take over pieces of the lawn. So I went around and did a lot of that as well. Pulling buckets of weeds and dumping them into the trash can. Fezzik wandered around with me for a while, then got bored and went his own way.

John got home in the meantime, and he did his own thing, cleaning up and rearranging the study upstairs. He put all the stuff away that had been sitting around since we moved in. That was very nice, and I really enjoyed having the space up there when I really wanted to write.

When I got back in, all the things for the dip were sitting on the counter, so I washed up and then put the dip together in a little pyrex with a nice rubber top. We stuck that in an ice chest and then took off north to Loveland. On the way there we stopped for diesel for the Passat and there was a little fresh fruit stand that had fresh, local peaches and fresh tomatoes and so we bought some of each of those; and it was really nice having the ice chest to put them in so that they wouldn't roll around the trunk of the car. The guy selling them had a mild Australian accent and he added a few more peaches to the pile after he'd sold them to me. I was pleased.

We then hit the Loveland Outlet Mall, for a number of things that we really wanted, and a few that we actually needed. I really wanted a small saucepan that didn't have any non-stick finish to get rubbed off if I were going to do risotto or any of the pan custards I've done in the last few months. I like using a whisk for the custards and I didn't like using metal on my non-sticks, and the glass pans that I had held the heat too long for the fairly delicate custards that curdle when I accidentally boil them. I also have to admit that I don't like the thought of aluminum oxides in my food, so I really wanted stainless steel. The first shop we got to was the Farberware store, that had exactly what I wanted in an extra-heavy gauge steel that really was going to do what I wanted it to do. John, in the meantime, was looking for another 20 quart stock pot, so that he could brew two batches of beer at the same time, as he had all the other equipment to do so. Amusingly enough, the Farberware outlet didn't stock that large a pot.

Harry and David's next for just yummy unnecessities like chocolate covered macadamia nuts, licorice whips, hazelnut scone mix, and smoked salmon. By the time we got out of there, the rain was just pelting down again, and we had to make a mad dash through the water into other kitchen stores. We ended up in a Corningware outlet and I found a perfect, little squared-off casserole dish that would hold casserole for two. Since I'd just learned a beautiful fresh tuna fish casserole (okay, you might be able to call it a tuna gratin with fresh green beans and potato slices) that would be perfect for such a small casserole, I thought I should get it. It would also have been the perfect dish to bring the artichoke heart dip somewhere and made it far more presentable. It took yet another store for John to find his stock pot and they had four or five different ones that were of various makes, and he finally settled on a nice one that looked like it was light enough to haul around full but heavy enough it wouldn't fall apart while he was hauling it around, either.

The rain was just torrential, and there were huge puddles in all the parking lots and by ways. When John and I were running from covered area to covered area, I was splashing up huge sprays of water with my Birkenstocks. I finally got so wet that I just started jumping into a few puddles and I caught one little girl watching me wide-eyed and wonderous. John caught on, pretty quick, that I could get really grumpy in this situation, really fast, so he told me, "Don't giggle!" every time we started on one of the runs through the rain. That, of course, made sure that I'd giggle the whole way across. I got so wet that eventhough it wasn't that cold out, I was starting to get pretty cold. But with a little time in the car, with the ac cranked and the heat on, the ac dried out all the humidity and the heat warmed us up and I was happy.

With all our loot stuffed into the car, we ended up at Dan and Bonnie's and we had a real blast. It started with appetizers, including potato chips and a vegetable platter they'd made up. They and their three kids all ate up the appetizer with John and I and then, a little full from all that, we went to see their property that was a bit west. That was really beautiful, even in the rain. We got pictures with the digital camera and Bonnie loved how they could instantly see the pictures. That was fun.

Dinner itself was just glorious. A well marinate flank steak, both sweet and regular potatoes, a gorgeously summer fruit salad with more fruits than I'd ever seen in one place at one time in Seattle, and fresh corn on the cob. Finally, Dan finished it off with something he'd wanted to make for years, a real creme brulee, with a broiled hard top. I'd never seen it done with a broiler, I'd only ever seen it done with the mini-blowtorches, but the broiler seemed to work just fine and the custard was just perfect underneath it. Really nice work and it was really fun to just see that it was possible. Given that it's made with whipping cream and five egg yolks, I don't think I'll be doing it often; but it was a most excellent special occasion kind of thing.

The best part was just all the conversations. We'd shared the whole experience of house-selling in Seattle area, with really unique houses with much personality and house-buying in this area, and the whole feeling of being lost and getting oriented, figuring out where everything is, and just finding out what the social dynamics are of this new place. All the things that we were having to figure out new again. That was really nice to just know that we weren't alone. They also have an old Spaniel dog named Molly, who is about the same age as Fezzik, and the whole sharing of stories about the dog, what they'd gotten into, what they were like, personality wise. That was really neat to share as well.

A very busy, very involved evening, which was really nice, as I did and did and didn't think; and by the time we were done with all the conversations, it was past midnight. So we drove the thirty minute drive home, unpacked the car, put most things away and went to bed and sleep.

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