John Leaves for France
I spent most of the morning following John around like a puppy. I even got up early, because both John and Fezzik were up early, as usual. I just couldn't sleep knowing that I had a limited time to spend with him until he was gone. He was working on the laptop when I got up, and asked for a few more minutes to finish he was doing. So I turned on cartoons, and happily watched DigiMon and Rugrats until he was finished.
It was another gorgeous day. I also managed to water all the plants while John was working on stuff, and all the herbs on the shelves he had put in front of the windows last week were turned towards the light. I turned all of them a quarter turn, and watered them thoroughly.
John knew exactly where he wanted to go for breakfast, and we got on I-25 going north. There is a cluster of gas stations, hotels, and fast food restaurants the next exit north of us. I remembered that there was a Waffle House amid the cluster, and sure enough, that's where we went. It turned out to be a chain store, with common menus, and okay food. The real entertainment, however, was the by play of the waitresses and the line cooks. There was plenty of friendly banter, amusing feats of cooking prowess, and friendly grumbling at waitresses who didn't clear their own tables and rinse their dishes. The food was okay, but bland.
Afterwards, we headed west, to the carpet store we'd visited last week. We dropped off the carpet samples, and then sat down with John, the salesman we'd talked to last week. We set up an appointment to get the baseman measured, and figured out an estimate. We paid down half of the money, and said we pay the other half when the job was finished. At first, I thought I should have them come on Wednesday morning, but then I realized that Monday morning I didn't have anything in particular at work. John was cool and changed the appointment without any fuss or trouble.
Today was hot, and brilliantly sunny, and when we went home, we opened many of the windows to let cooler air in the house. I wandered around aimlessly after John, as he made his lunch, packed his bags, and generally got ready. Fezzik wandered with me, most of his attention on John. I still don't know if Fezzik knows what's going on, or if it's just that he's paying attention to the person moving the most frantically; but Fezzik seems to follow the person who was leaving. I'm not sure if there was anything I could do to reassure Fezzik about the fact that I was coming back home, but he seemed to follow was outside without any qualms.
John drove to the airport, as I would be driving for most of the next week, and we got there uneventfully. I dropped him off in front of the United ticketing counters, and he went in.
The toll collector for parking at the airport cheerfully called me a cutie as I pulled up and wished me a cheerful day as I went away. I decided to go a completely new way home, as I needed to go by Boulder and the Peppercorn to get a set of salt and pepper shakers for one of Mom's friends. So I took, by blind faith, the 70 to the 270 which led to the 36, which was a complete surprise, but that was exactly the freeway I needed to get directly to Boulder. It brought me right onto 28th, which made it easy to get to the Pearl Street Mall. I parked wherever I could find parking, put coinage into the street meter, set the alarm on my celphone, and then walked out into the sunshine.
The Mall was crowded. Everyone comes out when there's sunshine, and the sidewalks were crowded with children, teenagers, the homeless, and the yuppies. There were clowns, musicians, hats vendors, artists, massage therapists with their chairs, and a band of tai chi practitioners working their slow moves across the town square. I managed to get to the Peppercorn fairly quickly, and while I didn't find the exact set of shakers Mom had seen during Thanksgiving, I did find a beautiful pair of fish-shaped shakers, so I bought those instead. I also found some Valhrona hazelnut and bittersweet chocolate, and two more of the four ounce ramkins. Now I have eight of the small ramkins, so I should be able to make dessert for an entire dinner party.
The crowds really started to bother me. Then I realized that I hadn't eaten for quite some time, so I went and found the pizza place that had the three different colors of pizza, red, green, and white, and I bought a piece of the green, or pesto, pizza. While I ate I watched the people watching the tai chi folks, and it was more entertaining watching the crowd then watching the practitioners. For the brief moments that I actually watched the movements, I winced, because whomever taught these folks had taught them motions that were both drastically simplified and without basis in the very martial art they were a basis for. There was no balance to what they did, nearly all of them overextended themselves with every motion, and if any of them did exactly the same motions for the next five years most of them would have damaged knees. It was nearly painful to watch.
So I left.
The problem with sharing a life with someone for 24 hours a day is that when they leave, half of ones life goes with them. I feel like I have half my brains, half my heart, and half my strength either of will, desire, or body. I mostly went home and crashed for a while, watching TV and reading some of the books the Horde sent home with me from DunDraCon.
Cera had given me two books that could be termed American Anime or Romantic Steampunk by Lea Hernandez called Cathedral's Child and Clockwork Angels. They are gorgeous books, and very much girl-targeted stories with cool plots and interesting violence and complex romances with multi-faceted characters with really painful problems. The first one was somewhat confusing, but the second one was dead solid and half depended on the event in the first book to make sense. Cera gave them to me because someone had given them to her and she loved them enough to pass them on. I guess I now have to buy someone else that set of books.
The other thing I needed to do I did, which was ride the exercise bicycle. I had been putting it off until John left, as I could do it anytime.
As the day got dark, Fezzik got restless, and started looking for his dinner. So I had some incentive to make dinner, and remembering my lunch from last week, I decided to make a coconut-based curry and some coconut rice. I had one can of coconut milk, and poured one cup of it and set it aside for the rice. The rest I put into a chicken curry, with potatoes, carrots, peas, big chunks of chicken, some chicken stock, and big pieces of Chinese curry mix. I let that simmer.
I then pulled out the rice cooker and debated whether I should use long grain or Thai sticky rice. I decided on the latter because I really wanted to sticky rice texture with the perfume of coconuts. I put the mixture of water, rice, and coconut milk into the rice cooker, and turned it on. Two minutes later, the rice cooker popped, i.e. the rice cooker thought the rice was already finished and turned itself off automatically. That was frightening. I opened the rice cooker and found that the Thai sticky rice had become a sticky mass on the very bottom of the pot. Bad. The temperature sensor for the rice cooker can't be fooled, which meant that if I tried to use the rice cooker I would only have a mass of burnt rice. So I poured everything into a pot, put it on the stove top, and stirred it as I brought back up to a boil. I then put it on a low heat and let it simmer. About 15 minutes later I checked it, and liquid level had lowered below the level of the rice. The rice on top was still hard, however, so I added more water, stirred everything together, brought it back up to a simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes, and then left the lid on the pot when I took the pot off the fire.
Even though I instinctively believed that the rice would be right, I didn't really know and I didn't want to take the lid off while it finished steaming. I had broken pretty much every rule of rice cooking, i.e. taking the lid off, stirring while it was cooking, and actually adjusting ingredients while it had been in the process of cooking. But between risotto and all that I'd done with long grain rice, I believed that the results would be good. It still, however, surprised the heck out of me when the rice turned out perfect. Aromatic with coconut, tender to the bite, and still sticky the way Thai rice should be, even though I hadn't steam it.
Dinner was surprisingly good.
Afterwards I watched more Iron Chef and the rest of the second tape of Utena. By the time I finished everything I wanted to do it was after midnight and Fezzik was snoring happily on his bed. Which meant that in the morning he was likely to wake me up far earlier than I wanted to be woke up. But I was fairly content with my time alone, which was a good thing.
Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.