Monday, December 27, 2004

The Days Before Christmas

On the Tuesday before Christmas, I went to the Capital City Chop House after work, to eat dinner with JJ, JA and JB. I had been there almost five years ago, about a week or two after I started working at IBM. It's extremely close to the airport. In fact, it's the only thing between the exit off of I-40 and the airport itself. I missed the turn and had to loop around through the terminals. Dinner was very good, but it was very rich. The entree came with soup or a salad and I chose the she-crab soup. I'm afraid I didn't eat much at all, because it was so creamy. I have a low saturation point for thick creamy soups. It was also an entire vat of it. The salads that EB and JA ordered were gigantic, too. This was followed by crab cakes with a honey mustard nut sauce, which were quite good. The leftovers are still in my refrigerator. I need to do something about that. For dessert I had a single scoop of raspberry sorbet with chocolate sauce drizzled on top. I also observed that they served very good bread, too.

Wednesday, around lunch time, I went over to JJ and JA's and we went to Mad Hatter's Cafe and Bake Shop on Broad Street, in Durham. We all got salad trios, which are cool, because you can substitute soup for one of the salads. I chose three of their salads. The chicken salad was ok, but not the best I've ever had. The caesar was great. The best one was the grilled pineapple and apple salad, which had the fruit over greens and had a nice dressing on it. After lunch, we went back to their house and JJ showed me the awesome toy box that he built for his nephew.

A couple of the mornings before Christmas, I got a chance to talk to HCI on the radio as he was commuting to work. This was a nice treat, because usually I'm on my way there, too and I can't really talk on the radio while I'm driving.

I spent a lot of time looking on the web for ornaments made out of straw. My grandmother made the straw chains that we hang on our tree, but those are easy to break, especially when they tangle themselves while they are put away in boxes. I needed to repair them, but I wondered if anyone had any instructions or if anyone sold the straw chains. In fact, I couldn't find anything about straw chains at all. I did see a lot of sites for the straw stars, which we also have on our tree. I actually found a lot more sites when I started searching in German. For example, structuring produced a lot more hits for me.

I soaked the straw in very hot water and eventually I got the hang of tying the knots to form the chains. I repaired all of our chains such that we have many long strands now.


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