Saturday, December 22, 2007


It was in this super-dork configuration of gear that I headed out into the muck for what I didn't know then would be five hours of running around. First stop Kinkos, where of course they screwed up my order. Just like old times. Once they got it right, I said I'd go next door and come back in ten minutes to pick it up. And of course it wasn't ready when I came back. You really do have to stand there and watch to get anything done. I didn't get mad, because I remember how it is to work there and I'm just glad to have escaped.

I killed the (apparently useless) waiting time at the Mountain Shop next door, looking at snowboarding jackets. I've been making noise about going snowboarding again, despite dubious results the previous two times. I know if I could go more than once a year, I could greatly improve my learning curve.

From there it was downtown to the central library to pick up Blue Screen by Robert Parker, so I could return the copy I bought at Powells. I It was supposed to be a gift for Traci but of course she's read every Parker novel that's been out more than five minutes. Not sure how she managed that in the middle of her first term of law school but I gave up and just got her a gift card because I don't care what Liz Pulliam Weston says. I'm certainly not anti-present, but I never look a gift card in the mouth and neither does Traci. Anything that equates to her spending someone else's money is fine with her. And she proceeded to find a stack of books I never would've thought to get her so all's well that ends well.

So I read the latest novel, Now and Then, picked up Blue Screen at the library and then returned both to the store today. Powells was a MADHOUSE, which wasn't really a surprise. There was literally a guy who's only job was to stand at the end of the line holding a sign that said, "End of the fastest line in town." And I have to admit, I waited less then five minutes to get to the counter, even through the line was just shy of bursting out of the Orange room entirely.

On my way to Powells, I suddenly remembered that I was back in Cacao territory and almost did a little dance of joy on my bike. So after Powells, I headed right over and indulged in a 4 oz cinnamon drinking chocolate, an earl grey truffle and a couple of salted caramels. That place will ruin you for other chocolate. Since I discovered the truffles, my average spend there has gone from $5 to $10 dollars. It's really good I don't live close to it, but it's really bad that I seem to be down there a lot lately. Even bad weather isn't keeping me away.

Next stop was Trader Joes for some frozen mangoes. I'm newly addicted to mango smoothies in the morning. A nice change from strawberry and blueberry. And finally, back over the bridge towards home. My last planned stop was New Seasons but at the last minute I turned up Mississippi to hit up Grand Central Bakery on Fremont. I've been craving some potato bread from that shop for a while and since I was planning to make soup for dinner, it seemed a good reward for going up the big hill. The problem with that Mississippi hill is that it doesn't seem so bad, but then just when you think it's over, it goes on for another two blocks and gets steeper. The thought literally went like this: Hey, that wasn't so ba--holy crap this is steep!

But I made it and rewarded myself with potato bread, and continued on to the madhouse that was New Seasons. I didn't care though because the first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this: An olive oil smorgasborg. I used extreme self control and limited myself to seven or eight samples, including the $30 bottle from Australia. Tasty, but way out of my budget. I did however, fall prey to the grapefruit sample lady. She was giving out the fresh squeezed juice and I can honestly say, I've never tasted anything grapefruit-related that was so naturally sweet. I bought two to put through the inherited juicer lounging in the garage.

Riding home from the store, the sky was amazing...inky black, and foreboding in one direction and clear and moonlit in the other. I was very glad I'd taken to the streets under my own power for the day so I could enjoy it.

The evening was spent making a rutabaga and leek chowder that was a smashing success. This was my first year experiencing the rutabaga and I've been quite pleased. The soup was easy to make, took under an hour, was creamy, yet dairy-free, with a good flavor and was quite filling to boot. I'll post the recipe if requested.

We're between Dexter DVDs from Netflix right now, so we finished up with some Playstation snowboarding. I really need to practice my tricks, Jess stomped all over me in freestyle.

I think I'm finally getting into this vacation thing.

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