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January 17, 2003: Oooh

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So. Knitting with seven cats. Or rather, knitting with the specific seven cats that allow us to share their house.

I assumed (ha!) that the main lure of the knitting would be the yarn. After all, it's an entire roll of tempting string, moving around, no less, as I work. And yes, Sebastian and Tangerine did attempt to not only sit on the yarn roll, but also tried to 'help' me by holding the string tightly between their teeth (and thus getting it soggy. Always a pleasant feeling as it slides over my fingers later).

The one thing I did not count on, however, was the fact that the needles have their own attraction. Allegra sits beside me, tilting her head this way and that as the needles flick back and forth, utterly fascinated. And then, when she finally cannot stand it any longer, she pounces, wrapping her paws around whichever needle is closest and holding it with all the death grip a 10-pound gray fuzzball can muster. Knitting, I would like to point out here, requires the ability to move the needles during the process. With one cat holding the yarn and the other holding the needles, I tend to go through short stints of being unable to do anything productive but laugh.

At the very least, I haven't dropped any more stitches. Plus I think I've finally figured out how to keep the sides a bit more even. By golly, I might just get the hang of this yet.

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Because we've had all this additional time on the bench, and because we don't get to spend as much time with his family as I'd like, and because they've all been so darn good about sticking to the Weight Watchers program and so have we these past few weeks, I suggested to Richard that we see if his parents were interested in meeting for dinner sometime this month. Specifically, dinner at La Fondue.

The first I ever heard of this place was months and months ago when we did a girls' night out with my mom-in-law and aunt-in-law and sisters-in-law, and we went to a melodrama and gorged ourselves on fondue, and then I think we somehow ended up eating pie after all of that, even though we were so over-full still from the dinner that we could barely justify any more food. So I'm not sure if it was the sheer volume of the food, or the fact that I love fondue (especially if there is either cheese or chocolate involved), or if I just needed an excuse to go for a blowout meal, but we threw out the suggestion, Richard's family grabbed it, and tonight, off we went.

First of all, in preparation for a blow-out meal, none of us ate much of anything all day, so by the time we got there we were so hungry that some of us were doing some of our very best whining, just because it made our husbands laugh. But luckily they understand hungry people, and it wasn't too long before there was cheese fondue and plates of bread and apples and veggies to swirl in either a blend of Swiss cheese and more garlic than should be legally allowed on one table, or a Cajun cheddar blend with little teeny tiny shrimp lurking in the pot. Have I mentioned yet how much I love cheese fondue? My family has this recipe for pizza fondue, which we serve with toasted bread cubes and tastes just like the top of an extra-cheese pizza. It's one of the few foods I can eat and eat and eat and completely ignore the fact that I am so full my stomach is shortly about to burst. So a dinner that involves two varieties of cheese fondue, especially when one of them is loaded with garlic, and the other has a spicy kick to it, is high on my lists of perfect meals.

The cheese fondue was followed by the main course, which consisted mainly of half a dozen varieties of meat, dipping sauces, a pot of boiling broth, and a flat pan for grilling (with plenty of garlic butter). And then they brought out dessert - bittersweet chocolate, and milk chocolate fondue, with pound cake and apple chunks, banana slices, chunks of Snickers bars, marshmallows, strawberries, little balls of cheesecake, and crispy cookies. Oh, all that chocolate was sheer bliss. I think if there had been a way, Richard's mom and sister and I would have cheerfully licked the pots clean.

We drove back home through ever-thickening fog, slumped in our chairs so as to best rest our overworked stomachs. Tomorrow, weather and wind permitting, I think there's a rather lengthy bike ride in our future, and the next few days are likely to be heavy on the fruits and vegetables to make up for the indulgence. Ah, but it was worth it - the food, the company, the chance to talk and laugh. And the cheese. The chocolate. The food.

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