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July 26, 2003: Out and about

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Thursday night I drove home from work and stayed just long enough to check my email and pill the cat, and then I continued on down to Fairfield, where I met a few of my old Benthic Creatures coworkers for dinner. We went to Mimi’s Café because I am nothing if not a pushover for the buttermilk spice muffins they make. They’ve been passing out shell-polishing kits to all the lovely mollusks in Napa county and had been there all week, but had nicely avoided going to Mimi’s for dinner because they knew I’d want to go there for the muffins when we got together. Are they the coolest possible ex-coworkers or what?

I managed to get there early enough to hit the bookstore beforehand and purchase a book by Anne McCaffery that it turns out I had already read. But since this book was at least a return to her days of writing decent fiction (as opposed to the pure slop that describes some of the later Pern novels she produced) I didn’t mind too terribly much and sat inside the restaurant and read all about tsunamis and dragons until they arrived. And then we crammed ourselves into a booth and I had my muffin and salad and soup and they had other things that mainly involved pasta, and there was much talking and loud, raucous laughter, and it was almost like old times except that I did mention once or twice how glad I was I wasn’t actually *in* that job anymore. And they all very politely refrained from either smacking me or flinging their pasta on me, plus we all went to the bookstore after dinner (where I somehow managed to avoid buying any more books, even though there is a new Terry Pratchett Discworld novel out that I really wanted) and there was more talking and raucous laughter and hugging and congratulations on recent promotions and it was a lovely evening.

Friday night I picked up Richard at the airport where he presented me with a small stuffed hippo and we stopped at an Italian restaurant in Woodland on the way home (whose name has changed recently except that we cannot ever remember the new name so we always refer to it as ‘the restaurant that used to be Pietro’s’) because I was craving their garlic and broccoli pasta. I talked all about this database I am building and he talked all about his week at class learning all about how to store and index information (there was something in there about how they built a database around how to tell if food in the refrigerator is kosher or not but that part is a little fuzzy).

This morning we met my mom and dad and my older sister’s family and all headed off to Lambtown before it got too hot (because it has been consistently over 100 every stinking day lately and just in case it wasn’t obvious, we are all getting really tired of this heat). Lambtown seems to consist pretty much of what any other small town festival consists of – lots of craft booths displaying products that range in quality from really nifty to downright dubious, the requisite face painting booth and the temporary tattoo booth for the kids, and a small collection of booths selling the usual Fair fare – high in grease and calories and low in anything of remotely nutritional value. Because this is Lambtown, there were also sheep shearing demonstrations and sheep dog trials and clusters of people sitting around old-fashioned spinning wheels carding wool and then spinning it into thread. Also there was a little train which my nephews got to ride on, and a runaway sheep. I think the runaway sheep was the most amusing thing of the whole trip, since the entire time the sheep was running, a woman did a play-by-play, interspersed with warnings, over the loudspeaker. “Please do not approach the lost sheep. The lost sheep is now behind the cooking tents. Please do not pet the lost sheep. The lost sheep is now in the parking lot.”

After lunch Richard and I headed home for the exciting chore of sorting the recycling so we could take it to the recycling center. It’s a chore we both hate and we put it off as long as we possibly can but when the recycling bins are overflowing and spilling random sheets of cardboard and plastic bottles and bags and tin cans all over the floor of the garage, eventually something inside me snaps and I insist that we do it Right Now. And then we rewarded ourselves by going through every movie we have out from Netflix until we were in such a media-induced stupor that rational thought was really no longer even possible, and naturally this meant that despite having to wrestle with the recycling, it was a marvelous day.

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