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June 6, 1999
a year ago

Land Rover Weekend

I managed to hurt my right hand yesterday. I think I did it while trying to get the high-pressure bike pump off of the valve without letting out too much air when I was pumping up the tires on my bike in the morning. I went to sleep fairly early Friday night, and John didn't go to bed until late. This is why I was actually up early in the morning, early enough to pump both tires up to about 90 psi, when they really should be at 105, but I couldn't get quite enough arm strength to get the pressure far enough up. I was still able to ride, and took the bike out for a quick spin along County Road 5. The County Road is completely flat, but there isn't much shoulder. So the cars that did come by me came by really fast, but they all did me the courtesy of staying very wide of me. The reason they were able to do that was because there was no traffic along that road.

Riding the 15-speed was quite the experience. A bike is so light that it is very easy to get up to a very high speed very quickly, but it is also so light that the wind nearly blew me off the road. It wasn't that high a wind either. I was also more wobbly on it than I really liked, but some of that is simply lack of experience in riding it.

Between the pumping and the riding I managed to get exercise for both my arms and my legs. I think I bruised the middle of the right hand by banging the pump off the valve. So, it's not tendon damage but it is kind of painful to write or type. Luckily, I can dictate. It is nice to have the alternative.

When I got back home John still wasn't up yet, so I pulled out the scone mix, which I'd gotten from Whole Foods, added milk and plopped out a good dozen scones onto a cookie sheet. When John did make it out, the oven was hot, so I slid in the cookie sheet into the oven and told John to take it out when the timer went off. He mumbled something that sounded vaguely like agreement, so I toddled off to the shower. The shower felt really good.

When I got out, the scones were done and John greeted me with the news that there was a Land Rover part swap and barbecue at 11 a.m.. It was already twenty after 10. We also had to bring a side dish. Oops. As we ate scones, we figured out what to do. For our side dish, we brought the rest of John's keg of stout and half a dozen of my bottles of root beer. I figured that it was probably done by now, as it was nearly a week and the yeast collection at the bottom of the bottles was fairly extensive. Usually this means that the yeast was alive and working to create carbon dioxide.

While I ran around doing things like re-filling the bird feeder, gathering up a usability manual for me to read while John did part stuff, and getting dressed; John filled the Green Monster with our side dish and with all the parts he wanted to get rid of or trade. At the last moment, John put Fezzik into the middle seats as well. It was kinda funny to watch Fezzik on the ride over, as he was quite comfortable leaning against the back of the seats. The window right next to him was wide-open so he was getting a blast of fresh air. The interior of the Green Monster had quite a lot of gasoline vapor. It turned out that the fuel feed to the carburetor was loose, so it was spilling gasoline. That was something John tightened up once we got there.

The ride itself was pretty much what I expected after years of riding in Land Rovers, i.e. slow, filled with vapors, and somewhat noisy. The Green Monster was, however, very smooth, there was none of the bumping about that I'm used to with the very stiff shocks most Land Rovers have. The very large vehicle was actually very smooth and handled very nicely for its size.

The barbecue itself was pretty fun, lots of Land Rover owners all gathered in one space, talking about trucks, techniques for fixing the trucks, and telling stories about where they have gone or got stuck at with their trucks. The usual eclectic mix of folks that didn't mind a little work to go where they wanted to go. Most of the barbecue was pretty sunny, and then some thunderheads drifted by and dropped buckets of rain on everything. What was most amusing was having it rain really hard on us while the sky above was clear blue.

Fezzik had a great time. Two little girls decided then they wanted to hang onto his leash, so they dragged him everywhere around the yard. Since they were in constant motion, he was able to be in constant motion and got to discover every inch of the yard. This made him quite content, and by the second half of the barbecue he was willing to just lie down wherever the girls decided to stop. He did mooch a few lunches, unfortunately, but then got a few scraps from the owner of the house.

By the time it started to get dark and cloudy, I was in the Green Monster with a bottle of root beer and my book. The passenger seat in the Green Monster is on the left, yes, it is a right-hand drive, so as we were getting to the barbecue people were just staring at me. I was in the place where a steering wheel should be, but wasn't. The passenger seat was in a fairly small compartment, that was very cozy. I could put my feet up on the dashboard, and there was a flat area to my right that had the stick shifts on it. My root beer went just fine on the flat surface. The root beer itself was quite fizzy, but the yeast had eaten most of the sugar, so it was almost bitter.

It really reminded me of the British friend who took one swallow of root beer and made this awful face. Actually, the balance was almost exactly right. It just needed a little bit more sweetness to be perfect. The bubbles, however, were the perfect champagne pinpoint bubbles. Crisp and clearly evident. So looks like a week is about the right amount of time. I'm afraid, however, that the root beer got quite a bit more yeast then the ginger beer did. The ginger beer didn't show yeast residue until Friday, while the root beer had quite a bit of residue on Wednesday.

We didn't leave until about 4 p.m., there are just too many things to talk about and do. At a time we got home I was exhausted, but fairly hungry after the cold and wet of the rain shower. So I made the ravioli from Whole Foods that we had frozen. They were big fat pillows stuffed with mushrooms, spinach, and red peppers, and were really good with a simple tomato sauce. After dinner, John watched basketball, and I cuddled up with him on the couch and promptly fell asleep. I woke up around 7:30 p.m., and thought about going to bed; but it was fairly early and there were a few things I wanted to do this weekend.

My right hand was starting to hurt, but I really wanted to make some bath bombs. I promised some to Cera, and I was about out myself. I also had just acquired some honeysuckle and Forest Rain essential oils which I really enjoyed the scent of and I wanted to use them. So I got out all the ingredients, mixed up a batch of base material, and then made some of each plus a few more jasmine bath bombs. I really enjoyed the jasmine ones, simply because I really enjoy the scent. As I was packing the material into the half-egg shell I realized that I really probably had hurt my right hand, as it didn't like the action at all. I did get through all of them.

Afterwards I took a nice hot bath with one of my old jasmine bath bombs, and the hot water really relaxed a bunch of very tight muscles in my right arm. That was both a pain and a relief. After the bath, however, I slept a very dreamless sleep.

This morning, John got up early in order to meet a number of Land Rover folks on a trail. They're going to go and roam around somewhere. So I was left to the house by myself, and I've made the best of it. I had fun making breakfast with some of the fresh chives from the little herb box out on the porch, frying a little Canadian bacon, and eating all that with one of the scones from yesterday. I broke out more of the root beer, and I've been drinking that while I dictate. It's very important to have something to drink while I talk for long periods to this machine.

I also found out why a number of my herbs were getting kind of yellow in the leaf. I'd been feeding all the trees in the yard the two tablespoons to two gallons of water mix of MiracleGro, and, for a while, I was feeding that mix directly to the herbs everyday. This is actually the concentration needed once every three or four weeks. Oops. So they're getting fed too much, and after a week of just water they seem to be doing better. I changed it over to the single teaspoon per two gallons of water, and we'll see if it does better this week.

I also wrapped all the bath bombs in little sheets of plastic. I put mine in a glass jar as well, but the ones I want to ship should be coherent on their own.

Lunch time was leftover mac and cheese and a Balance Bar on the porch. Fezzik hovered around me while I ate, occassionally pushing at the chair to see what I'd do or if I'd pet him. That was pretty fun. I read a bunch of the Usability Handbook Victoria lent me while I was out there. The light was good. One thing that I'd left at work, somwhere, was my sunglasses, which wasn't a very good thing to forget anywhere. But so it was, and I found a pair of sunglasses that I used to wear in San Diego that worked, mostly. The high altitude really does change the characteristics of the sunshine.

Around 3, I went back inside and started playing Parasite Eve. The next thing I know, John's calling from wherever he is to say that he's coming home and it's 7:30, so he thought I ought to know. I play more until he gets home with a chicken (a chicken for every pot!) and I take the time to put it into a pot, then run Aya to a save point and save the game so that John can watch TV.

Borax is now covered in mud. Wow. John's also burnt to a crispy critter and happy as a clam. It's pretty funny. They had a great adventure and no more bumps or bruises. That is good.

I broke out a bottle of wine for the chicken and it was just the rosemary and garlic chicken on brown rice with French cut string beans. Yummy. I wrote for a little while after dinner, because my hand had warmed up from the vid-game, which was kinda funny. Turns out that it really is just bruising and muscle fatigue from the pumping that I did yesterday, the wrist is just fine, it's the rest of the arm that's sore.

Both John and Fezzik were snoring by the time I was through, so I went to sleep.

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