May 2008

Overscheduled

Olga’s specialty. And no, the pic is not photoshopped:

best pain

A frantic week had actually begun the day before Michael’s banquet, when I got started with Olga on the physical therapy for my hand.

The day after the banquet, I went off to USCF hospital to try to get into a clinical study in hopes of improving my walking, and the nice young woman agreed that the previous night’s stupendous banquet might have contributed to the next morning’s higher-than-desirable blood pressure. Alas, turns out they didn’t want me for the usual reason: HIV+

The good news is that the young woman was kind enough to go ahead and do a physical test on me that pretty well diagnosed my problem and gave me a little hope that some improvement might be gotten.

Very tasty meal with my fine friend Stephen at Nirvana in the Castro on Friday night. Mixed fish and shellfish cooked in yellow curry and coconut milk with spinach noodles. Marinated and grilled upper joint chicken wing appetizer. And a martini. I hadn’t had a martini since well before any of the restaurant staff were born. It was frighteningly effective as a conversation stimulant, especially since neither of us needs a stimulant to conversation.

On Saturday I drove down to Redwood City and had a delightful afternoon at a backyard barbecue given for my friend Kobe who’s visiting from exile in Oklahoma. A dozen people: almost all in their late sixties. Delightful folks, fab food, lovely succulent garden from which I was given two specimens and two starts.

Today I had sworn I wasn’t leaving the house except that I’m desperate to make some jam since I have given away everything I made last year that didn’t have peppers in it, and I was gonna get the last of my kiwi vendor’s crop. See, Olga doesn’t care for peppers, and it is crucial that I stay on her good side.

So anyhow I got there and the damn kiwi vendor wasn’t present. But then I spotted some nice looking cherries for $3/lb. and since they were quite tasty grabbed about five pints from the cranky vendor. Well, hey, at that price, he doesn’t have to smile.

So I just made nine jars of cherry jam of them and then combined home hand therapy with cherry pit cleaning. Yep, throw ’em in a pot and simmer ’em a while, then pour in cool water to get the temp down to bearable and reach in there with the bad hand and rub ’em around until the water’s merely warm and much of the tenaciously clinging flesh has been removed. From the cherry pits. Olga will be pleased.

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Michael

Here’s an SF Tenderloin doorway:

Tenderloin doorway

I was nearly banqueted to death Thursday night.

My friend Michael, the one whose siblings browbeat him fifteen years ago into moving back to Taiwan to take care of their mother, was on a business trip to this country and took a couple of days of vacation to stop in SF and complete his extrication of himself from a real estate tangle.

To celebrate this, he took five of his friends to Great China in Berkeley, where he had reserved the best table and pre-ordered the Beijing duck.

I’ll be researching the proper names, etc on this, but as a preliminary report, here’s the dinner:

First course, hot and sour soup, as good as I’ve ever had.

Second course, a dish featuring a tasty, if wonderfully strange, gelatinous substance that looked like clear jello but was somehow extracted from green beans.

Third course, the Beijing duck, definitely the best preparation of this dish I ever ate.

Fourth course, a crab meat and egg dish that I’d never eaten but was very good.

Fifth course, snow pea shoots and leaves. Never had better.

Sixth course, an excellent lemon shrimp dish.

And finally, fresh cold orange wedges.

Not to mention great conversation and fine companionship.

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Shark

Gloria’s bottlebrush:

Callistimon viminalis
I feel that far too many people nowadays, starting with myself, are too quick to take offense; but still, yet another occasion for it has come to my attention.

There have been a couple of fatal shark attacks on the west coast in the past week. Both followed the usual pattern in which the victim is bitten and then bleeds to death before he can be got to the hospital.

Surely I’m not the only person who would be just horribly offended if some shark bit off half my leg and then, instead of finding it the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted, shuddered and spat it out. My abhorrence of the waste of food is even greater when the food is me.

More research completes the pattern. The shark attack victims we read about are all tough and stringy and just stinking of testosterone. On the other hand, have you ever heard of a shark attack on a prepubescent parochial schoolgirl?

I thought not.

That’s because there’s never a morsel left, and the rosary sinks to the bottom of the sea.

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