September 17, 1997

Gradually losing track of the days. Last night, I was going, "Is it *Tuesday*?" Also had an amusing time when I went off at Cathie Elliot over Kit, thinking that her voice was Kit's. We straightened things out, with some laughter and some wonder on Cathie's side that I had actually gotten upset at something. I was cooking at the time, pulling apart the second chicken to just bake it in pieces with a corn flake crumb crust with 22 herbs and spices mixed in (Okay... Old Bay Seasoning and Calphalon's Herb Mix, in what became, essentially home-made Shake and BakeTM). Pulling the poor carcass apart helped as something of a vent.

I guess my usual cover is pretty darned tight. Problem is that I can feel myself fracturing, splitting slowly under the stress, wouldn't be surprised if, one day, y'all get to meet Rommalb here. Last night I could feel, for just a moment, the Black Lagoon rising to about mid-lung level, messing with my breathing, making it impossible to sleep, the fear rising like a flood.

John and I kinda stomped on it by going through realistic worst cases. You know, staying at home and writing is a pretty damned convincingly good worst case. It helps having a stock portfolio that constantly earns the equivalent of two-thirds of one of our salaries, and all we do is plow that money back into other stocks. I'd also save a lot of money cooking rather than going out to eat two or three times a week.

Also got unexpectedly helped by both Carl Rigney and a friend of Tom Gryn's. Carl was very keen and wrote me to tell me that anyone that couldn't figure out I was very bright just by talking with me was someone I probably wouldn't want to work with anyway. The lady friend of Tom's wrote me from out of the blue to tell me that my home page was fascinating, and when I wrote her back to ask her why she said that Gryn thought I was brilliant and she could see why.

My. I never knew Tom thought of me that way. So it was kinda a two-in-one. I like Tom a lot, and enjoy the various and sundry inputs he sends me, like the article he just sent me about how Southwest airlines is likely one of the most fun airlines to work for and how the CEO of that place had turned that factor into making that airline one of the most successful airlines in the U.S.. It was very keen to know that there was a place in the U.S., a corporation even that valued a sense of humor and fun.

Carl, whom I think of as being exceedingly intelligent and creative, is always someone that makes it just a bit easier for me to believe in myself. John asked me last night how many times it would take for him to say that I was brilliant for it to actually sink in. I said he might have to tell me that for the rest of my life, but it might be less frequent as I got older and wiser... people are supposed to do that, they say. <grin>

Kinda realized last night that I am very good at being cheerful to people when I meet them, wheither or not I really feel like being cheerful or not. I kinda feel safe expressing my real feelings around John, and here, and that the pressure is building up with all the times and places and people that I can't speak to and with as myself. Steve Barnes was right, it's eating into my energies and increasing my stress, and I haven't had a stress reliever for a while. I really need to pick that video tape up from Regis' and I really, really need the soccer game I'll be playing tonight.

Seattle weather is the fastest changing weather I've ever had an experience with. It's brilliantly sunny, right now, but the sky is streaming over us like a river in full run, blue, grey and white. The trees sway and bend in a rush of wind, leaves fluttering like snow falling, but all green and lush. Sometimes it feels like a spirit has passed through, invisible, but touching all that it slides by the softest cool caress of wind on the skin the only mark of its passage. The forecast calls for showers, thundershowers and then rain in the evening. We'll see if we get completely soaked tonight or if the promise of the brilliant morning will be carried through.


Took the time this morning to put myself together, mostly because John left in a seperate vehicle, as he had to get to a soccer practice tonight and then he'd come to the game. Patrick is flying to Japan just about now, and told me that we'd likely play six women if I showed up and John didn't until later as we might have fewer men than we might need.

One of the pleasures of having some time in the morning has been that I can make myself a travelling mug of any tea I like. I only have three varieties at work, but countless varieties at home. So I steeped a pu-er tao cha for five mintues in water that had come to a roiling boil and got a tea that was darker than some coffees. Pu-er comes from a particular part of China and the tea has a red cast to it, nearly super-ripe peach colored when you add milk. It's usually buried and aged for a few years, after being shaped into bricks for easy storage. It's a very earthy tea, musky, and very different from the clearer, sharper teas. It's recommended to rinse it with boiling water before the first steep, and milk and sugar seem to bring more subtlety to the taste. Tao cha is tea that has been shaped into a nest shape, these were swallow's nest shaped, tiny, petit, rock hard.

It's a lot of fun to drop the hard lump into my glass push pot and watch it slowly and quietly unfurl as it steeps, leaves floating away in small flurries.

Pu-er is also supposed to cut cholesterol absorption and help cut arterial fat, there's actually been studies that support the old Chinese claim. It's also a tea that's very popular, in Hong Kong, for service with dim sum, for it's grease cutting abilities. So I had one of the leftover little mooncakes for breakfast with a mug of pu-er and enjoyed every bit of my breakfast.

©1997 by Liralen Li

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