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November 10, 2002: Taking it all in

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Before we left last week we went to the library and so this week I headed down with a small bag overflowing with books, intent on doing a lot of reading. Each night this week I've done my usual email-and-journal reads and then I climbed into bed and read one book a night. They're all a different type of book than my usual fare, since these are all what I've been referring to as Chick Lit; books about women and romance and sometimes even a little mystery. In the mornings, while sitting downstairs at the hotel sipping coffee and nibbling my complementary breakfast bagel, I've slowly been working my way through another Terry Pratchett book, if only because I cannot ever completely escape my addiction to good fantasy.

It started to rain just a little on Thursday, and so Friday the mollusk handlers of Santa Cruz insisted that we do the final training before lunch instead of after (since we'd finished all the other sessions early) because they wanted to make sure we wouldn't have to drive down 17 in the rain in the dark. In case I haven't mentioned it often enough, the mollusk handlers in Santa Cruz are marvelous. I called Richard and we met for lunch and then I got home and could ooh and aah over the latest acquisitions from Toscano.

Saturday night we were meeting some friends for dinner and since it was their turn to cook, that meant it was our turn to provide dessert. I was feeling singularly uninspired to bake anything so after wracking our brains most of the morning and coming up with nothing we finally just dragged the fondue pot out of the cupboard and showed up with a half dozen apples to make caramel fondue. After dinner the four of us sat around the table and dipped apple chunks into gooey caramel and tried to make each other sick from laughing so hard while playing Once Upon a Time. This game is a card game where you get cards with actions, persons, places, and events on them and the object is to make up a story that will somehow reach the ending you've been assigned. It requires people who are willing to be a little silly, and who also can use their imagination. We've played this game a few times before (Richard and I) and always love it, but this game took the prize for the best interpretations when one of the players tossed down the "Something Breaks" card while interjecting into the story that the princess lost her virginity. I think it's a miracle that none of the four of us managed to spear ourselves in the eyes with sharp fondue forks as we all collapsed in hysterical heaps after that one.

I also discovered, during dinner, that apparently I can no longer be in the same house with a guinea pig anymore, as the sneezing started and then rapidly progressed to that lovely feeling where my throat starts to close off and breathing starts getting difficult. I'll admit that I hadn't bothered to toss that new inhaler into my purse yet because I guess I just wasn't ready to admit that this stupid allergy has gotten this bad. Luckily Richard always has an inhaler with him (one of the 'perks' of being married to an asthmatic) so I got to use an inhaler for the very first time. Shudder. Oh, it works fast incredibly fast. But the medication coats the back of the throat and tastes nasty. I can't really complain too much though, considering that this will (hopefully) be only a once in a while thing for me (as opposed to most people who have inhalers). Still I can at least note that the fact that I actually had to *use* it scares me. And I now keep my own inhaler in my purse. Just in case the next time I'm by myself.

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