overly sweet broccoli and pockets of rot
Wednesday, July 1 2015
Torrential rains fell almost continually for several hours last night. It was the biggest downpour I can remember in this area aside from Tropical Storm Irene. Temporary rivers still raged through the forest this morning when Susan came over to walk dogs with Gretchen. Later the three of us shared a french press of coffee and talked about several things, particularly unexpected financial windfalls and the possibility of converting an old factory into a Korean-style spa McMenamins-stylee.
Later today, Gretchen and I would be going out with Ray and Nancy and others to celebrate Ray's 48th birthday. So, as I have been doing of late, today I whipped off a tiny (three inch by three inch) painting as a gift. It was of the head of Ray's dog Jack with a rainbow background to celebrate the recent Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage throughout the United States (suck it, Piyush Jindal!). I was pleased with the speed with which I managed to paint something that, with a little distance, tricked the eye into seeing a dog.
With that done, I went off to fetch a backpack load of firewood from not too far away. Within the past year, a largish Chestnut Oak rooted in the steep slope to the north had lost its footing and fallen across the Chamomile less than 100 feet upstream from where it is crossed by the Stick Trail. Giving up (for the time being) on my chainsaw blade sharpening skills, I'd taken delivery of a new chain blade for my GreenWorks saw (this was now my third). The difference between this new blade and my old one was qualitative as well as quantitative. It had no trouble quickly ripping through a six inch branch, which was long enough to buck into pieces that added up to 131.1 pounds (a surprisingly large load). Unfortunately, this wood was still fairly green, so a third of that weight could have been water.
Back at the house, I was trying to get some things in order before tonight when I realized that I had somehow overwritten the journal entry for June 27th, so I had to reproduce it from memory as best I could (since I could find no copies). So if you read that entry, remember that somewhere in data heaven is a second entry. This was, I believe, the first time in nearly 19 years of writing online journal entries that I was forced to rewrite an entire entry due to data loss.
At about 6:30pm, Gretchen and I drove down to Ray and Nancy's place and carpooled with them ultimately to and from China Rose in Rhinecliff, the restaurant where the birthday was to be celebrated. Ray was driving his sporty "Saabaru" and playing a collection of late baroque music on a CD he'd recently bought (he's been buying CDs lately because his Saabaru has a CD changer built in).
We stopped at the "Blowjob Spot" park and ride where Route 32 crosses under Route 199 and waited for Sarah the Vegan to drive from her place nearby.
At the China Rose, the five of us arranged to be seated outside, with a good view of the Hudson River and, when they came through, Amtrak trains. Soon we were joined by Mary S., one of Ray's long-time friends. She's currently doing an artist residency at Byrdcliffe, which, as she seemed to indicate, is a sort of ghetto residency (if you will).
The food tonight was surprisingly bad. Several times in several different dishes, I tasted pockets of the sort of flavor that food gets when it's been left out at room temperature for too long. Meanwhile, the noodle dish was pretty much flavorless, while an order of broccoli was so sickeningly sweet we had to send it back. Later, Gretchen and I would resolve to never go there again. I was sitting across from Mary, and she wanted to pick my brain about how to alter a cheap cuckoo clock to make it so it could play pre-recorded messages. I suggested interfacing it to an Arduino equipped with an MP3 board, though she's a sculptor and not an electronics tinkerer.
After dinner, we drove back to Sarah's place for dessert (Gretchen had made some sort of fruit tart). Unfortunately, Gretchen had left the tart on the ground near our table during the meal, and by the end of the meal it was swarming with ants. None of the rest of us much care about the taint that an ant can impart, but that sort of thing skeeves Nancy out. Fortunately, she was riding with Mary and not the rest of us. So we could work at picking off and blowing away the ants as best we could before getting to Sarah's place. By the time we got there, there were no more visible ants, but to be sure nothing would be moving, Gretchen toasted it in the oven before serving. We all kept the ant crisis a secret from Nancy, though there were a few jokes about protein, the tart being "completely vegan," and humming of the theme from The Pink Panther.
When Sarah listed the pathetic state of her alcohol options, I jokingly asked for a glass of Jack Daniels. She managed to find me a flask of Jim Beam that was two thirds full, the other third having gone into a cake of some sort.
Before serving the tart, Ray opened his presents. Mary had drawn him an abstract birdlike drawing, Gretchen had given him an anal sex toy and some art from Los Angeles or Portland, and then there was my painting, which was well received. Gretchen said it was my best painting yet, which seemed a bit hyperbolic given how small and rough it was. Ray later made it into this profile picture on Facebook.
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