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August 10, 2002: Poof

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There is something shameful I must admit to everyone. I cannot make piecrusts. Oh, I can mix the ingredients together and carefully add the water and then attempt to smash it into a pan and mostly cover the bottom and the sides. But the crust turns out lumpy and crumbly and with odd holes in spots and raggedy edges. My piecrusts are odd, misshapen creations. The dough either ends up too sticky or too tough. There is some mystical combination of moisture and kneading and planet configuration that must be all brought together at one instant of time, and I am simply incapable of finding that perfect moment.

They make refrigerated piecrusts for people like me. I don't know why it is that I keep thinking that I should give the 'from scratch' variety try after try. You think I would learn eventually, wouldn't you?

The good thing is that while it may be baked within one of the ugliest piecrusts in all the history of pie making, the pie itself always turns out delicious. Because after all, how hard is it to chop up some fruit, stir in a little sugar and cinnamon, and dump it in a crust? And ugly pie crust or not, white peach pie is becoming my favorite thing to make any time I am called upon to provide dessert. Trust me. When you close your eyes, it's absolutely marvelous.

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A few weeks ago, we had returned from somewhere or other, and I turned on my computer, only to have a lovely burning smell slowly permeate throughout the computer room. Once we finally figured out that it seemed to be coming from my computer (combined with the fact that the computer itself was awfully hot), we hastily shut everything down, opened up the case, saw a teensy wisp of what appeared to be smoke, and bundled up everything to dash off to the nearest computer repair store. Once there, however, the computer worked perfectly. No funny smells, no odd noises, no wisps of smoke at all. The consensus was that it must have just been a bit of dust burning in the power supply. This seemed fairly feasible, considering that the computer cohabitates with seven shedding felines, and a little dust (and cat hair) is bound to work its way into even the most airtight of mechanical devices. We took it home, hooked everything back up, and things continued as they had been, with the fan making the occasional loud rattle, and my screen occasionally freezing up, always at the most annoying and inopportune moments.

This evening I was seated at my computer poking listlessly at all the lovely spam in my inbox when suddenly there was a short series of sparking noises, followed by Richard leaping from his chair and telling me to turn it off NOW. Because what I couldn't see but he could (since he sits across from it and has the perfect vantage point to the rear of the computer) were the flames leaping from the top of the tower, where the power supply had finally died, completely and without any hope of revival, leaving a ring of scorch marks on the back of the tower in its wake.

The computer repair guy recognized the desperate looks of the computer addicted in both our faces and offered to install the new power supply immediately, for a small additional charge. We had just enough time to order frappuchinos at Starbucks when my cell phone rang to let me know it was ready, and that while the power supply was toasted, the rest of the hardware seemed to have escaped unscathed. So we collected my poor little computer and then headed off to meet friends for dinner, bearing computer and pie. The computer stayed in the car. The friends (including Richard) thoroughly trounced me at Scrabble. We got to meet their pet chicken. And the pie, despite the dismal appearance and condition of the crust, was enjoyed by all.

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