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November 6, 2002
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Panda II and Swimming

We had a great lunch today. We all went to the Panda II, which is the bigger, more English friendly version of La Panderia, which is closer to our house, but very much more Spanish speaking. The Panda II is mostly a restaurant and bar, instead of the Panda I, which is more of a bakery with a restaurant as a side business, and the quality of the service really showed that.

We actually got to sit down at a table. The menus had English translations for all the items. The tortas, burritos, tacos, and gordita stuffings all had multi-sentence explanations of what they were. We even got a waitress to come over to ask us for our order instead of ordering from a counter and then sitting down to have the food brought. And when the food came it was wonderful. Folks got all the usual Mexican things, and I got myself a torta de lengua and a single tamal smothered in green chile.

A torta is many different things in Mexico, evenything from a sandwich to a small cake. In the U.S., though, I've only seen it stand for a sandwich. Usually it's on a toasted soft hoagie-style roll with avocado, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and the stuffing. It can have nearly any kind of meat that can go into a taco or burrito, and here it was exactly the same meats to go into them. I got the lengua, which is the beef tongue, which I love. It's one of those meats that makes people go "Aggh!" when they see it in natural form, but when properly cooked, i.e. for a very, very long time. It's perfectly tender, tasty, and can be quite lean.

I really enjoyed my sandwich, as it had the texture contrasts of the meat, the buttery crisp toasted bread, the crunch of the fresh vegetables, and the rich melty cream of mayo and avocado. Yum.

That was very good.

Work was okay. I didn't really get much done, but I did get to talk to a lot of people that had to do with the things that I was trying to focus on and concentrate on. It was also just very good to talk with Bob for a good long time. He was saying, today, that I really should write a novel and I got to tell him about NaNoWriMo, and he was intrigued by the concept.

I like the concept. I don't think I'll ever do it. I'm too much of a perfectionist to be able to run over my sense of what's useful to write by just turning on the sheer volume. I'll admit that I wish I could, though.

I got overtaken by a mild depression in the afternoon, and still didn't get much done, though having meetings made it so that I could use some work time productively. I was so out of it that John took Jet downstairs and rode the bike and when they came back I still hadn't started anything for dinner. So they made dinner. Wings and French fries and broccoli. I ate, and when I was done, I had to run for the door in order to get to my deep water aerobics.

As it was I got there late. I got into the pool late and spent a good deal of time on the end of the line, eventhough Joan was near the middle of the pack. I didn't want to throw everyone else off by crowding in. And they really didn't look like they were going to make much way for me. So I just stayed on the end, worked hard, and got going. I took only three floats instead of the usual four, so I went faster on everything, as I really wanted to stay afloat, too. Luckily, I'd brought my tooth guard, as I found myself clenching my teeth a lot as I tried to keep going hard.

I'm now really tired. Jet, however, isn't going to sleep very well, so I'm writing while he plays. John's gone to sleep again, which is good, as he'll deal with Jet in the morning

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Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.