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Death of the NoisyCricket.
The NoisyCricket was my laptop, so named because it was an itty bitty little netbook with more power and speed than the full-sized laptop that preceded it. It died and could not be revived, which has been a source of great consternation and fits of online absence for me for nearly two weeks now. I did have my office laptop and my cell phone, but there are many things I won’t look at or write on the former (perfect paranoia, and all that), and there is only so much I can write or comment to on the latter without my eyes crossing. Total first world problems, I realize, but quite annoying even so. Fortunately, with a little creative budgeting and waiting for sales, I now have the NoisyCricket 2.0, long may it chirp, fic, and knock unsuspecting agents on their ass with the recoil…or something like that.

Being an Adult: It’s a Trap!
It’s not been the best summer all around. His parents are elderly and verging slowly towards a point where we will inevitably need to step in and be more of an active part of their care, and they hate this, understandably. My parents are aging and only recently started considering retirement with anything resembling real preparation, which scares me to death every time we talk finances because I know I can’t step in even in an advisory capacity. They won’t allow it.

Anyway, the last few months have witnessed a litany of minor to moderate health woes on both sides stemming from their respective situations, each easily dealt with on its own, but in the aggregate it’s all a little daunting. Not truly overwhelming, just enough to lead to a few of those ‘being a grownup really sucks sometimes’ moments. I mean, when you think about it, the fine print disclosing all of the downsides to being a grownup is really poorly written. One might even say nonexistent. *nods* Then again, the alternative is clearly worse.

But it hasn’t been all bad, far from it.
The hill in front of our house is starting to get just a bit of foliage on it. With the drought in California, things have taken far longer to recover from the wildfire in January than usual. But, with the return of more cover and the food sources which dwell in it, the neighborhood owls are back, which is lovely. It's a silly thing to have missed, I suppose, but their usual haunt is the trees right across the street from our house and I love hearing their contented sounds outside our windows at night or watching them on the hunt from the patio in the evenings.

I enjoyed a couple of lazy days off from work at the end of July, I’m headed to Paso Robles this coming weekend, and my husband and I celebrated our anniversary last month – 15 years! Crazy. We treated ourselves to a new restaurant to celebrate, one I’ve been dying to try, but really needed an occasion to justify to myself. It was fantastic! Perfectly prepared mussels and then beef cheek in a rich wine sauce over homemade pappardelle pasta. Delicious! But the best dish, and certainly the prettiest, was also the most simple – burrata cheese, covered with peaches sliced so perfectly paper thin that they curled at the edges until they looked like a blanket of flower petals, and then drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil (possibly herb infused), fresh mint, sea salt and pepper. Dessert was a brilliant balance of flavors – a baked pistachio meringue, with rose flavored cream, macerated strawberries and a small scoop of crème fraiche ice cream. I’m a fiend for pistachio and rose, so I had to try it.

So, now I want to go play in the kitchen and try to recreate that peach recipe before peaches go out of season. I also want to experiment with pavlova recipes (because, in essence, the dessert was a fancy pavlova), though I suspect our oven won’t be able to hold the even, low temperature required for the meringue. Hmmm…or possibly even bust out the old ice cream maker and try to make crème fraiche ice cream, because that was amazing and seemed quite simple.

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January 2015

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