Pray be seated, Mr. Holmes

Caddy's pawprints

Caddy's pawprints

So yesterday was a pretty interesting day, all things considered.  We’d discussed going down to Hammond, IN to a salvage and resale store that Jim knew of, but by the time we got started, it was already past 11 and none of us were really in the mood for a long trek, especially as there were errands we needed to run.  So we started out with a bank run and a good Mexican breakfast at Sabor Ixtapa, and then all the way back east to Jewell Animal Hospital because Dawn had to pick up some food for her boys and I had to pick up Caddy’s remains.  I was kind of blindsided by the fact that they’d made a medallion of his pawprints as a kind of keepsake before they sent him for cremation, and when they handed it to me I lost my rag.  Poor Dawn stood there hugging me and Dr. Jewell was kind of petting my arm while I stood there, tears pouring down my face, saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”  I’m such a big dork sometimes.  I have to say that I’ve never had a vet who treated me or my pet better than we were treated by Dr. Jewell and his staff.

So I pulled myself together, we left, me clutching the box filled with Caddy’s ashes, and Jim suggested we go to Nadeau, where we hadn’t been in ages.  While they didn’t really have much in the way of dining room tables (Apparently they fly out of the warehouse almost as soon as they come in, so I’m going to have to be fast if I want to get one.) I did fall in love with these chairs, and these, and continue to be enchanted by their hand painted items like this corner cabinet.  We saw a wonderful chest right at the front door with a big sold sign on it, and honestly I loved it so much I think I’d have bought it outright if someone hadn’t beaten me to the punch.  It was about five feet tall, bright yellow, and shaped  like a big oval with a flat top and legs.  It was incredibly whimsical and needed just a bit of amusing decorating to make it utterly hilarious.  Or as I said to Jim and Dawn, it wanted something whimsical but not figurative, just before I said “I’m being a big wanker, aren’t I?”  To which they agreed wholeheartedly.

"... and would you care for a cup of tea?"

Jim wanted to go to Golden Triangle, but Dawn wasn’t sanguine about getting parking there in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.  I’d never been, and I do want to go, but I wasn’t certain I was ready for the sticker shock, especially after the very reasonable prices at Nadeau, so we opted to head back west to Time Treasures Antiques an antique dealer and furniture restorer with whom I’ve done business in the past.  Anna does wonderful work, and I wish I had the space for more of it in my home — she refinished two hope chests, my mother’s and my grandmother’s, which had been damaged in a flood — but space is kind of tight.  She also took some dining room furniture from my old place, and we’ve been whittling down the selling price on that to the point where she really doesn’t owe me a whole lot more.   I saw this chair in the window, and when she gave me a price I couldn’t refuse, I jumped on it.  We nearly failed to get it into Jim’s car, but persevered, and now it’s sitting in my dining room, ready to join the other chairs I’ve got in various states of disrepair, all of which will eventually sit around a dining room table I don’t yet have in a dining room that’s still filled with boxes.  But I has a chair!  (And one I don’t have to do anything to.)

Back out to Half-Price Books where I found a copy of Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography, which looks like a terrific resource for the novel I’m working on and a copy of Time and Again which Dawn recommended highly.  I love time travel stories anyway, and if she liked it, the chances are good that I will too.  On the way back here we stopped for pie and coffee at Baker’s Square.

We laid around here for a couple of hours, talking and watching HGTV, making fun of people who behave like morons while house hunting.  Karen and Gene came by about eight and we all went to McNamara’s for supper.  I love that place.  It’s homey, warm and cozy, and the food is always good.  We drank beer and ate comfort food, and laughed a lot, and enjoyed the live entertainment.  I love it when I can wholeheartedly recommend a neighborhood business.

Karen and Gene stayed for about an hour after we got back, and we talked a lot about fandom and my beloved Kindle and their business the ultimate fate of which is still pretty much up in the air.  Sales have been slow because of the recession, and though their internet biz is doing well, the future of their brick-and-mortar store is by no means sure.  And that would be a shame because there are so few places like Alien in this city.

I love days like that.  We get things done, we make some plans but nothing really etched in stone, we do some stuff that’s spontaneous and we laugh a lot.  Those are the best days.

Supper

The last time I talked about a meal I’d made I got told I should write out the recipe.  The thing you have to understand about me is this:  I consider recipes a nice suggestion, and I never write down what I cook, I just try to remember the… gestalt of the dish if I make it again.  With that in mind, I should tell you that I made the most heavenly meal tonight, in keeping with Meatless Monday.  I started out with a kind of veggie hash, which I’d fixed a few days ago.  Sliced fingerling potatoes sauteed in a little olive oil and just enough butter for flavor.  Toss a generous amount of mirepoix (diced onions, celery and carrots) on top and cook until one side of the potatoes are nicely browned.  Then stir it all up, flipping the potato slices if you can, and making sure the mirepoix gets sauteed a bit, too.  Salt lightly and add a generous sprinkle of a favorite herb.  I used savory, but I’m guessing thyme or oregano would have been as good.  Or tarragon… just try whatever.  Add a handful of sliced, stuffed green olives, cook for a bit longer and then add a can of stewed tomatoes.  Let it all cook down for about 10 minutes.  I used the time to wash a sink full of dishes, and bake up two dinner rolls (the brown and serve type.)  Use the bread to sop up the juices which are just wonderful.

That’s how I cook.  I have friends who look at paragraphs like the one above and sigh because they know that this is about as precise as I ever get.  Like I said, I try to remember the gestalt of the recipe, why it worked, how the flavors came together, what might not have worked.  I’d salt it less next time I used olives, and I’d add garlic, which I didn’t have this evening.  Always use a kind of waxy potato or they’ll fall apart on you.  Next time I’d try another root vegetable, or add some roasted veggies.  The point is to make something which, for one moment in time, makes you happy to be alive.