too much Mexican food
Saturday, December 10 2022
As we hadn't gone to the Adirondacks this weekend, Gretchen and I had the kind of Saturday winter morning we used have back before we had a cabin on a lake. I built up a raging fire in the woodstove and wrote out the letters for today's New York Times Spelling Bee on a piece of cardboard. Playing that, we managed to get to the status of queen bee before 11:00am. I also read a number of interesting articles, including one in the Atlantic bemoaning "the End of High School" due to the arrival of ChatGPT, yet another milestone in the rise of intelligent machines. Unlike all the articles about ChatGPT I've read so far, it didn't try to pass off a ChatGPT-generated paragraph as though it had been written by the author, only to immediately admit as much.
At noon, I began salvaging firewood, starting with two backpack loads from the vicinity of where the Stick Trail crosses the Chamomile that I split and put into the woodshed. Later I went and gathered a backpack load of even drier wood from the bottom of the mountain goat path behind the woodshed, though I put all of that into the wood rack in the living room. Before doing that, though, I had to do a bit of a re-organization of the wood rack, since half of it had been filled with old milk and orange juice cartons and pieces of cardboard (which we use for kindling). I removed all of that crap and put it aside so I could build a solid base of firewood along the bottom of the wood rack. Eventually the wood stacked in that rack could reach six feet high or higher, so I had to make sure the base of the pile was good and solid. Meanwhile, out in the woodshed we have more than one and a half tranches of firewood accumulated. That's up from a little over one tranche at the beginning of the heating season. I will probably continue to gather firewood and stack it in the woodshed so long as there isn't enough snow on the ground to make firewood salvaging difficult. But even if three feet of snow should arrive tomorrow, we likely have enough firewood already to last us through the snowy part of winter.
This evening Gretchen and I met our friends Erica and Justin (who have places in both Brooklyn and Palenville) at the Bear Cantina in Bearsville. When we arrived, the waitress recognized Gretchen from earlier meals, remembering that Gretchen likes to speak Spanish. Gretchen asked in Spanish if we could have a table in the back room near the fireplace, where an impressive fire had been kindled. There was one table left near the fireplace, and our waitress made it work. Further enhancing our experience, the corn chips immediately delivered to our table were unusually fresh and crispy.
Erica and Justin had left their two-year-old baby with Erica's parents for the evening, and they seemed to be enjoying their temporary freedom (especially Justin, who gets much more obviously jubilant than Erica does). We all ordered alcoholic drinks, even Gretchen. She wanted to see if a recent change in her antidepressant medication would mean that alcoholic beverages are longer be unpleasant to drink. Unfortunately, she found the drink she ordered (hibiscus-ginger hard cider) almost undrinkably terrible. I had a sip and it had a weird earthy aftertaste similar to beet juice. But ultimately I was able to tune into its weird flavor palette and actually enjoy it after I'd exhausted my margarita. As for food, I ordered the vegan tacos. It turned out to be more food than I'd expected, but nevertheless I ate it all, along with Gretchen's guacamole (which she'd had the cook put on the side), and it was so much food that it made me physically uncomfortable. Normally Gretchen would've warned me about eating too much, but after last night's kerfuffle at Ollie's, she was completely silent as I engorged myself. Most of the conversation wasn't all that interesting; at times Justin tried to talk about eating hallucinogenic mushrooms and watching movies that wouldn't much interest me (Everything Everywhere All at Once). And then he spent a long time detailing to the others all the unpaid leave he takes from his veterinary job. Long after I started feeling miserable from all the food pressing out against my lower ribs, we lingered there at our table talking about things of diminishing interest to me. Fortunately, though, when we finally did decide to get up and leave the restaurant, we didn't spend too long standing around in the parking lot in the cold (temperatures were in the upper 20s) awkwardly trying to make the evening last.
Ramona and Neville on the couch this morning. You can see Gretchen hiding behind her book and Lester the Cat. Click to enlarge.
Diane playing with the strap of my camera.
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