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October 31, 1998
a year ago

Halloween

Didn't make it down to San Jose this year, though last year's celebration really did pull at my memories. I really wanted to go, but had a few things I had to do at home and I was completely burnt out.

In fact, John and I were talking about what we wanted to do, and we both agreed that we really didn't want to do anything, so we both knew the best answer to that, which is to simply go out and do stuff, even if we didn't really feel like doing anything. It worked.

The first thing was the sourdough batter, which turned out really well. Instead of doing pancakes yet again, I put the stuff into a waffle iron and it behaved beautifully. Big, fluffy waffles with crisp crusts and, unlike the pancakes, they didn't collapse after they were baked, so weren't as dense or thin as the pancakes of the previous week. The sourdough scent was all pervasive, though, and the taste had the distinctive sourness. That was kinda cool.

It's almost a magic thing. To be able to take just a little bit of starter, mix in common flour and water, give it some time and then it magically grows and spreads and changes the flour and water into something magical, alive. Then I get to put the same little bit of starter back into the jar in the refridgerator and I have a whole bowlful of cool, alive, growing stuff that will make great tasting waffles or pancakes or bread for me. It's all a bit like magic.

We finished breakfast just in time to get to the soccer game that John was coaching, and the traffic in the parking lot was just atrocious, so I let John out to run out to the field while I crawled along in the Rover in the drizzling mist, to a parking place just across from the field they were playing at.

It was grey and drizzly and misty and mildly wet, not pouring rain, but incessant light drizzle. Not a bad thing. It just made everything damp, though not wet, and the kids were running around hard enough that they didn't get cold. They were playing the number one team in their division, and were pumped up by the possibilities. It was a good game to watch and cheer in as the kids kept it really close, and did really well on defense, on the most part. They also played a really intense team game, and in the first half tied things up pretty solidly.

Second half showed that they could keep up most of the intensity, but a few slips and a few one-man athletic insanities on the other teams part and they were ahead at the end. Ah well. The kids played really well, though, and were pretty excited about scoring against a team that had only two other goals scored against them the whole season. That was really cool.

It was good to walk around in the rain, to watch the game, to kick a few balls, to help out. That was fun. Made me really, really want to make my appointment to get my brace.

The fresh air was good. Especially as we spent most of the evening watching TV. I think it's traditional that all NorthWet Halloweens be wet, windy and have lots and love of leaves blowing everywhere in pure Hollywood Ickibod Crane style. It was one of those nights. Windy, wet, raining and dark and dark could be, out. So it was an excellent day for staying in.

I also cooked, a chicken stew that could do as the pot part of a chicken pot pie. I also baked a single, small loaf of sourdough bread, using a cup of the common sourdough with just a cup of flour and pretty much no effort. Just mixed in a cup of flour, a pinch of salt and kneaded until smooth (if a bit sticky) and stuck it in an oiled bowl in the incubator. The dough grew quickly, and a bare hour later, it was tripled in bulk. So I pressed it down gently and formed a baguette loaf, left it in the oven to rise for about 30 minutes, and then started heating the oven, 30 minutes later I had bread.

There is so little effort involved, just time. I finally started to understand how someone could make bread everyday, as a staple food. It was so simple, compared to the complexity of a bread machine, or how many ingredients it seems people want you to put into bread. It was just starter, flour, and a pinch of salt, mixed together into a dough that was then just left to rise a bit. Then shaped, left alone for a bit and then baked. Simple as bread, should be the saying.

It turned out chewy, crisp crusted and hot and was very good with the chicken stew. Good for sopping up gravy and good for just eating with a bit of basalmic vinegar and olive oil. Yum.

As predicted by John, no trick-or-treaters came to the door, and we didn't go out for our walk, as there have been too many crazy things going on Halloween nights for us to just wander about. Fezzik was tired enough from the morning walk and didn't bother us about walking in the evening, so that was okay by him. The Yukon sourdough did worrying things throughout the day, sometimes looking like it was really happy, at others, it was dying a flat death, or so it looked, but I think it just requires an odd feeding schedule so that it's not overwhelmed.

Odd to think that something that's simply a leavening for bread could take on a personality.

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