first sushi, first lighter
Wednesday, November 27 2013
Gretchen was so busy in the kitchen and on the telephone that I decided to take the dogs on a walk up the farm road. We only got a little past the farm house (not far from the southwest end of the Stick Trail) when the dogs found some traces of blood and flesh on the ground, which they quickly followed to their source, vanishing into the forest. At that point the walk was basically over, though I stood around hoping at least one of the dogs would rematerialize. Eventually Ramona came out of the woods carrying something in her mouth that resembled a pancreas. It was small enough that she could have just gobbled it up, but instead she just carried it, occasionally trying to find places to hide it along the farm road on the way home. Eleanor returned about fifteen minutes later, and I have to imagine she must have found something similarly exciting.
Down in the greenhouse, I found the basement excavation had completely flooded as high as the drainage system. Yesterday and last night there had been a lot of rain, more from a single storm than we'd had in months, and this was the first time the basement had flooded as high as the drainage system since I began the new phase of excavation. It will take days or perhaps even weeks for the water table to drop low enough for excavation to resume (which is probably a good thing given all the time this forces me to direct to something else). In the meantime, I took the opportunity to dump buckets of water on the deck that comprise the east half of the floor so as to wash away the accumulated dirt and flakes of bluestone from all buckets of broken bedrock I've carried across it.
At lunchtime, my contribution was the making of vegan BLTs, which Gretchen's parents like but which Gretchen does not (she finds the fake bacon to be too "smokey").
After yet another day of food preparation (and all the talk that goes with it), there was a need for some last-minute items (particularly chestnuts). So the four of us drove out to 9W[REDACTED]. We did some shopping at Mother Earth's Storehouse (aka "Mother Fucking Storehouse"), though there were no chestnuts, so Gretchen and her father went to nearby ShopRite (the most white-trash of Kingston's supermarkets, where, fortuitously, there was an ongoing sale of organic shelled chestnuts). Meanwhile Gretchen's mother and I took a seat at a new Japanese/Pan-Asian restaurant called Kodomo next door to the Storehouse. Upon entering, we were asked if we wanted to be seated in the hibachi section, and we said no (well, actually Gretchen's mother asked if vegan hibachi food was possible, but I intutively knew the hibachi section was wrong for us, and sure enough, later in the meal, we could occasionally hear rioutously unpleasant expressions of awe wafting from the hibachi section). The decor was clever and good: drop-ceilings painted black with white details added, as well as a large stone wall wall dividing up the space. And though very nice, the staff were only moderately proficient with English. Me expectations for the food were low, partly because it was hard to track down what I wanted in the menu (which did not segegate non-meat dishes into their own section). But once Gretchen and her father returned, Gretchen managed to negotiate a promising set of dishes, including her first-ever attempt a sushi (something that was possible because Kodomo offers soy paper as an alternative to nori, the dehydrated seaweed that Gretchen hates). The food ended up being very good, which was very good news for Gretchen and me; our area doesn't have enough good restaurants (though it does have a Chipotle somewhere, which we recently discovered to be an acceptable dining experience). The sushi, by the way, was asparagus tempura, and I don't think there is any limit to how much of that I could eat.
Back at the house, we celebrated the surprisingly rare near-convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah (unlike Thanksgiving, though, Hanukkah always begins with a sundown). In the course of lighting our menorah (the first one I'd ever made from copper pipe), Gretchen's mother seemed puzzled by the cigarette lighter provided as the ignition tool. Though 69 years old, she had never operated one before. So we had to tell her how to spin the little friction wheel and then hold down the red plastic gas pedal. (I knew that she had never smoked any tobacco or marijuana products, but I would have imagined she would have used a lighter at some point to ignite a candle or start a camp fire, though that latter one always ends up being done by a man if one is present.)
What followed was an exchange of gifts, though I was left a little flat-footed by the early arrival of Hanukkah. Gretchen's gifts were all books from the Golden Notebook (where she has an employee discount), and that was how I got both Jared Diamond's latest (The World Until Yesterday) and a Bob Mould memoir. Most of the gifts from Gretchen's parents were for use in the kitchen (even the ones to me), though they also gave me some sort of dice game collection. [REDACTED]
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