austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Strawberry fields forever

Apart from the trip to buy pie and wood, we had some other chores. One would be picking up what things were needed for Thanksgiving which we didn't yet have. Another would be going out to eat, because there's this Ethiopian restaurant nearby which bunny_hugger loves but hadn't got to in an inexplicably long time. One of the blessings of having or being company is how it makes for a good reason to get around to doing something you'd forgotten was so very liked.

I haven't eaten often in Ethiopian places so I haven't got much room for comparison. And the restaurant itself was maybe not quite at its best because they were in the midst of renovations --- expansion, it looked like to me, but it did mean it faced the evening with a considerable swath of dark and drywall-covered windows which left us temporarily worrying whether they might have closed early what with it being Thanksgiving Eve. They hadn't, and we ordered sampler-style meals which gave us abundant spongey bread with which to eat up thick, stew-like combinations of ...well, of the sauces and of key components like lentils or white beans. (I was a little surprised there were menu options for getting just a single flavor rather than a variety; it seems to me, however tasty one particular filling might be, the same volume of food that we got in four pieces would be too much of that filling.) With a bit of luck I finished my bread at the same time as finishing the stewed ingredients.

We shared, in total, a wonderful meal, one of those precious bits of uncommon time.

There were other things needing doing, though: bunny_hugger was, despite the pressures of the California Plague, required to get back to her alma mater (assuming the term can properly be applied to a grad school; it doesn't quite feel right) to return something to the library. It was a DVD, you see, and not subject to online renewals, but nevertheless subject to impossibly steep fines if it were returned late, and nobody wants trouble with university library fee systems, which are some of the most relentless entities not actually credited with destroying star systems as warnings. But on the bright side this gave me the chance to see her (grad school) campus again, and to pick up a copy of that student newspaper --- another broadsheet, so it's not just where she works that has better student newspapers in physical form than my undergraduate school did --- and to peer into an office where she'd worked a while entering search information about turfgrass articles. This had a peculiar resonance since my alma mater (undergraduate)'s agricultural college specializes in turfgrass research and she got to know its name very well from enormously many references in the literature.

Also while browsing the New Books section I came across a book I really want to read (available from my local university library, happily), and some others which were maybe-reads, showing the dangers of letting me near a New Books section when my Strategic Reading Reserve is getting back to being taller than I am again.

Besides the library there was the need to get supplies for Thanksgiving. This particularly took us on a trip to Meijer's and the confusing question about whether it was one we'd visited when I was out back in June (I believe we concluded it was not, based on the Meijer's propaganda signs dotting the parking lot). The trip also lead to the discovery that we had no idea where the cranberry sauce was. One leading theory would be that it should be with canned fruits and vegetables, since cranberries are probably some kind of fruit or vegetable. I suppose they exist in the wild but it's easiest for me to think of cranberries as forming in cans with those neat indentation lines already in place. Another leading theory would be that they'd be on the endcaps in prominent display for people making their Thanksgiving-preparatory purchases.

In fact, the cranberry sauce was along an aisle just underneath the sign labelled ``Cranberry Sauce'', but we can't be blamed for not finding it without aid. The employee we asked had his ideas about where they should be found, and he couldn't find it either, and he had to pass the request off to another employee, who finally found the stocks. They didn't have so much cranberry sauce, just a few cans on one shelf, at the bottom of the stacks. They were hiding from everyone, but there was, in fact, a sign hanging out promising cranberry sauce. There was still less cranberry sauce than I'd have expected. But the finding of cranberry sauce would become a mildly oppressive joke I could wield the rest of the trip so there was that bonus.

I also took a moment for a personal side shopping expedition. In normal life I wear short-sleeved T-shirts, the lingering effects of more than half a decade spent living in a place where the coldest temperature ever recorded is 67 degrees Fahrenheit. With at most two weeks a year spent back home where it gets below freezing, it's silly to keep a well-stocked winter wardrobe. I started covering the difference between T-shirt temperatures and December with hoodie sweatshirts. I'm very fond of them; they layer nicely, they add two pockets to my life, they fit that period in fall and early spring that's too warm for real jackets but too cold not to have anything, and I didn't bring any with me this trip. I wanted to keep myself to carry-on baggage only and the hoodie seemed maybe too much a demand on volume for just a little warmth. Besides, it's not like Chicago or Lansing are unfamiliar with the technologies of buildings and the heating thereof.

And yet it was a little bit chilly, not horribly so --- just something to get used to --- but it struck me that if I was going to get the California Plague in the next couple days, I'd be feeling a lot chillier. Blankets would be fine for bundling up, but every little layer helps a bit more, and hoodies are better if you need to walk around such as for Thanksgiving-connected activities. So I dove towards the sweatshirts and affiliated technologies and found something white and fitting my no-longer-obese body. (My hoodies back home were bought when I was a lot wider.)

So we got back to her home very well-stocked: comfortably fed, prepared for Thanksgiving with her parents, and a little bit warmer all around and, for me at least, braced against the California Plague through a minor clothing purchase. bunny_hugger went to bed early, hoping to sleep off the Plague, and that worked nicely as that gave me the chance to prepare a little surprise.

Trivia: The first academic position held by Georg Riemann, who would prove the mathematical self-consistency of non-Eucliedean spaces, was a lectureship at the University of Göttingen which he gained in 1853 and which paid no salary. Source: Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry From Parallel Lines To Hyperspace, Leonard M Mlodinow.

Currently Reading: 3 To The Highest Power, Editor William F Nolan. Novellas by Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, and Chad Oliver. And yet it's a Chad Oliver story I've already read. (Grand story, though, still, despite the non-technology natives are better than humans motif.) And I didn't know Ray Bradbury was a fan of then not-quite-so-old-time radio series Vic and Sade; he's got great taste, though.


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