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June 13, 1999
a year ago

Random Walk

We started off about 9:30, after a quick breakfast of eggs and whatever happened to be available. We took Borax and at the last moment, we put Fezzik into the back with me. I wasn't sure, but it turned out to be true that Kathy is pretty allergic to Fezzik. So having it so that she didn't have him right on her legs was a good thing.

The ride up the mountains was much what I'd seen before, up the Boulder Canyon road, which was the way to many of the houses that we'd seen before, and then up and up to the town at the top of that road. We figured out, though, that the day, which was cloudy and grey, wasn't going to clear up when we were up there, so decided, after walking around town, looking into a few antique shops, that we probably should just go back down. The ride itself was making Kathy a bit more nauseous, and it was probably good to cut it shorter than not.

The antique stores had, maybe, a handful of pens that were in poor shape, sad condition and lots of broken bits here and there. It was mildly sad, but it was also pretty amazing to me that Kathy was able to run around and name just about everything on all the pens. She could tell year, make, mechanisms, and everything.

One of the things that was cool was that John picked up, very quickly, that Kathy was interested in antique shops and that she liked wandering through them to see fountain pens. So we saw three or four places up on the mountain, and then zoomed down the mountain torwards Lyons with just one stop to take a few pictures, but the weather was really cutting off the far views that were possible up in the mountains, but the mist on the peaks was really pretty.

Lyons is in the foothills, and we stopped there for lunch, a breather away from Fezzik in the car, and to look at all the antique shops in town. John even took Fezzik for a walk while we were waiting for our food at a little cafe that had really cool and yummy stuff. It also looked like the restaurant liked promoting good food and good ingrediants in town, so they had things like extra virgin olive oil, aged basalmic, various aged cheeses, Vermont maple syrup (sadly it was grade A), and other yummy things, including this one absolutely gigantic bottle of capers. Looks like they stocked things for the restaurant but sold them to patrons as well. Pretty yummy.

One of the antique stores in Lyons was much more useful for pen shopping. Turns out that someone with a complete collection was selling everything he had in order to make money, as he was running out, so we found some really gorgeous pens there. Lovely things that were in good shape, had nice color and there was one Waterman eyedropper with red mottled rubber that was in the case, and while Kathy was looking at a really nice Scheaffer Touchdown with a Triumph nib I picked up the Waterman and just boggled. The cap was badly cracked and damaged, but the pen looked like it was working just fine as there isn't all that much that can go wrong with an eyedropper.

I never, ever thought I'd be able to own a working Waterman eyedropper #12 for anything less than $100, they go for $150 on the Vintage fountain pen site, and this one, because of the damage to the cap, was going for just $35. Cheap at twice the cost. So I bought it. Kathy said that she was interested in it until she saw the damage to the cap because she knew she couldn't fix that; but I didn't really care about that damage that was done. So that worked out really well. I have to admit that I also really enjoy the simple mechanisms that are nearly elegant in their simplicity.

After Lyons we stopped by Steels and bought pork cutlets and some green onions for dinner.

John played Spyro when we got home and Kathy and I read for a while and then played with quills for a while. I had actually tempered some feathers the day before, and we got around to playing with them with my Benchmade knives, which Kathy was a little leery of, mostly because they don't have a safety that makes it impossible for them to open in a pocket. I haven't ever had that problem anyway, but she didn't much like them for that.

It's funny, but Kathy and I get along great but we usually seem to split the world into two, where one of us gets into one thing and the other gets into something else. The first thing we've both gotten into has been writing instruments; but gradually, as this visit has gone on, the split has been slowly made clear. I really enjoy the really simple setups: quill pens, eye droppers, and the like. Kathy enjoys the really cool mechanical things that are fun to fix, fascinating to learn about and complex, delicate equipment that really takes a knowledgable hand to work with. I kinda like it all really, rock-solid simple. Though that really isn't a hard and fast rule, as I now have a few complex pens, and she really thought the Waterman was a good buy.

The quills were kinda funny to figure out, but they did get to be good, and Kathy did some really gorgeous Copperplate with the really flexible nibs. I don't usually try that, but it looks like it works just fine. That was really cool to see.

After playing with quills and finding that Kathy was allergic to the feather bits, too, we stopped and then started to make dinner according to Kathy's favorite recipe.

Japanese Katsu has always been something that I've loved, deeply. It's really hard to get the crunch, though and after the Austin Power's movie the other night, Kathy found some of the Japanese breadcrumbs at the Biggs Hypermart, which was really surprising to me, but there they were. So I started the rice, the first instruction in any Chinese meal. Then I did the dashi, set up the seaweed in cold water to boil. I also got the cutlets out, trimmed off the fat, pounded them thin, and then set up a breading station. Dipped 'em in flour, egg, and then pressed them into the crumbs. Let them sit while I finished the dashi with all the shaved bonito, and let that sit until the bonito settled to the bottom.

The cutlets then went into hot canola oil, fried 'em until they were crisp on the outsides. Strained the hot dashi while the cutlets were cooking and added mirin and a bit of sugar, then brought it to a simmer. When the cutlets were out, drained and cut into pieces on mounds of rice, I poured beat-up eggs into the dashi mixture and then cooked it until it was a thick custard, and then poured all of that over the katsu. This is actually katsu-don, kinda like udon, but with katsu instead of chicken and caramelized onions.

It was really, really yummy.

Afterwards, though, Kathy wanted to get away from Fezzik for a while as she was sneezing and stuffed up pretty badly, so we had the good plan of going to see The Mummy again, so she could be completely away from the doggy house. That was really fun to see again, and we had a lot of fun just watching and going through it all again. And by the time it was through Kathy was breathing a bit better, but felt like she was coming down with a cold.

So it was another 1:30 am sleep time.

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