Heya. Well, a slow…

Heya. Well, a slow start on this morning, I'm afraid, and it's all David's fault. He let me start re-reading Sayers's _Murder Must Advertise_ last night, *knowing* that I wouldn't be able to put it down. I read it for most of the evening and finished it, thoroughly satisfied (though wishing I knew more about cricket) this morning. Gods, I wish she'd written more of these! In any case, I spent several hours on it instead of working, and to be honest, I can't say that I regret it. I'm obviously becoming thoroughly dissipated, and it's entirely David's fault.

Yesterday afternoon we did go sailing, and it seems that I still remember a few things (though I admit to being a little disappointed that they rigged the boat for us -- I was sort of curious as to whether I'd remember all the knots and such myself...(bowline, figure-eight, cleat hitch, oh my...)). We took out a tiny boat, an El Toro, and it took us much too long to figure out how to manage two people in it. At first I was both manning the tiller and handling the mainsail which not only left David nothing to do but meant that he sort of had to sit in the bow, which made the boat nose-heavy, which meant that we took on some water (and we hadn't brought anything to bail with!) and he got rather wet.

Then we tried moving him to the stern, but he got in the way of the tiller there. *And* somehow in the process of moving him, we got too close to the shore (we had been calmly sailing across tiny Lake Merritt until then) and scraped up against it. That woudn't have been too bad -- we were using the daggerboard to push back off in the water, except that the tiller snagged and the upper linchpin, thoroughly rusted, broke off. And then the tiller came loose entirely, and there wasn't room at the stern to reinsert even the bottom linchpin properly and I was snapping at David to use the dang daggerboard to push off further and he kept using his arm which I didn't think could get us off far enough and I couldn't get the tiller back in, and then we switched off and I pushed us off with the daggerboard and he managed to reinsert the tiller (not easy, with the waves pushing against the flat of the wood), and we managed to catch some wind and get back out into the water properly. Oof.

The next twenty minutes or so were spent calmly trying to tack back to the boathouse -- the wind was coming from it, which meant lots of tacking at first, and then the wind changed at the end, and we were able to coast quite smoothly in. David managed the tiller throughout the latter half and did a reasonably good job, considering its battered status. Quite an adventure for a first sail in months for me (and possibly years for him)! But on the whole, quite pleasant, with the sun on our skin and the wind in our faces and the waves splashing. And for $6/hr, affordable enough that I might start going more regularly -- it was certainly calming (while actually sailing, anyway). But I think I'll either go alone in an El Toro or take David (or others) in a larger boat, probably a Capri, where they actually have room to sit comfortably.

Okay, I've probably bored all the non-sailors to tears at this point, and the sailors are snickering at our pathetic exploits (we were terrified that we'd have to call for rescue -- how embarrassing!), so it's probably time to change the subject. :-)

Other news -- well, made a really unusual chicken dish last night. El has a bunch of medieval cookbooks, including one called _Take a Thousand Eggs or More_ because there's a recipe in it for a feast dish that starts "Take a thousand eggs or more"...oof! Anyway, I made a dish called Hen in Broth, aka "Geylne in brothe". The original recipe is absolutely charming -- listen:

"Gelyne in brothe. Take rawe hennes, chop hem, caste hem into a potte; cast to fressh broth Wyne, parcelly, oynons, myced, powder of peper, clowes, Maces, saffroun, and salt; then stepe brede with vinegre and same broth, and draw hit thorgh a streynour, and cast it thereto, and lete boyle ynogh; And caste thereto pouder ginger, and sesone hit vp, & serue forth."

I will be forever grateful to the author, Cindy Renfrow, who took the above incomprehensibleness (however charming) and turned it into the following quite interesting and unusual dish:

Hen in Broth

2 chicken legs
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. white wine
1 T. dried parsley
1/2 small onion, minced
1 t. salt
dash pepper
pinch saffron
1/4 t. clove powder
1/2 t. mace powder
1 t. ginger powder

Put all in a large covered pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and set aside.
To thicken, take 1 slice dark bread. Soak it in 1 teaspoon wine vinegar and some of the broth from the pot. Grind the bread mixture to paste in a blender, or pass it through a strainer. Add to broth in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to desired thickness.
Serve hot with the chicken.

(optional -- add 1 cup raw rice and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot with the rest of the raw ingredients. Cook as above, but do not add bread to thicken. Makes an easy one-pot meal).

I took the second option (much easier), to make a yummy chicken and rice dish. I also doubled the recipe, which made enough for 3-4 people (just as much work, and more leftovers this way :-). Oh, and I was generous with the pepper. The result was really unusual.

Enough babbling. Got to go finish exercising and then down to work. I have to finish the damn Puritan novella -- it's so late that I'm not sure Jeff will still want it, but I'd be embarrassed to call him and ask at this point without having it done and ready for him if he does want it. Talk to y'all later...

4:30. Oh, I've been bad. Not sure where the time has gone, but the novella is not done, and I haven't critted the stories for tonight's ClarionX meeting yet -- well, that last shouldn't take more than an hour or so, and I'm damn well going to do it as soon as I finish this entry. I'm such a flake sometimes. At least the dentist appointment got made. Argh, sometimes I get so annoyed with myself. If I could change one thing about my personality, I'd probably give myself some more willpower. Lazy bum.

Stopped in mostly to note that I've added an interesting reader critique of "Chantelle" to the stories page. I think Everett's probably right on the mark, the more I think about it. But if I talk about it now, I'm just going to get down on myself, which will be equally unproductive, so I'm going to go work instead. Supposedly, at any rate.

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