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   Yum Yum in Woodstock
Thursday, June 16 2011

I finished building the wooden water tower for my second 55 water drum, which collects water at the northwest corner of the house (mostly from water falling on the western half of the roof above the laboratory, a horizontal rectangle measuring about 12 by 32 feet). I slathered this second tower with asphalt even more liberally than I had the first tower, partly because it's such a zen thing to do while listening to podcasts.

We're dog sitting Nancy and Ray's dog Suzy, which is pretty easy aside from her occasion spells of monotonous barking, which doesn't seem to be at or about anything in particular. It's extremely loud and can occur in the middle of the night, and sometimes once it starts it doesn't seem to end. Suzy can be told to shut up and she'll be quiet for awhile. But for her (and most other dogs), barking seems to be more like hiccups or laughter than something over which she has full conscious control. (Evidence for this can be seen in dogs who try to consciously suppress their own barking by holding their mouths shut while making muffled barks through their lips.)
Generally Suzy is more food-obsessed than Sally or Eleanor, so when we feed her, we try to slow her down so as to give our dogs a chance to eat their food before she can take it from them (though now that she's old, this is not much of a problem). The best way to slow Suzy down is to throw her kibble out randomly across the floor, causing her to make a separate whole-body movement for every piece.
This evening when Gretchen broadcasted Suzy's kibble across the kitchen floor, Sally (who has become more food-obsessed with age and who was upstairs at the time) became excited. Perhaps part of what excited Sally was that Suzy's food (unlike our dog food) isn't vegan. In any case, Sally decided to hurry her way downstairs. Her old creaky legs don't perform on the stairs as well as they used to, and lately she's the developed the habit of flinging herself into space when there are still four steps to go, and just letting gravity do the rest. This has produced some rough and seemingly-painful landings, though she never seemed injured. Today, though, when excited suddenly by Suzy being fed, Sally flung herself sideways off the stairway about halfway down, skipping six or seven steps and ending up in the bathroom with a crash. She made a horrible whimpering sound and Gretchen ran to see what was the matter. We expect boneheaded injuries from Eleanor, but this sort of thing almost never happens with Sally.
Sally didn't seem obviously injured. She wasn't in pain and there were no broken bones. But her left hind leg appeared to be paralyzed. It hung limply from her side and she had to hop about like a three-legged dog. I applied pressure to it in all directions and Sally offered no resistance whatsoever. Gretchen was horrified and seemed to be wondering if perhaps Sally was finally at the end of her now 16-year run. But I was more optimistic. If there was no pain and no obvious broken bones, I thought she had a good chance of recovering after a few minutes. Sure enough, within five minutes Sally's leg was working again. She'd definitely lost some dexterity, but she was eating, following us around, and excited to join us when we drove to Woodstock.

This evening, Gretchen felt the need to attend another Town of Woodstock special use permit hearing about our friend's farm animal sancturary (the one surrounded by fussy neighbors who love to mow their grass but cannot tolerate three occasions per year of quiet outdoor music performances). Somehow Gretchen convinced me to come along, mostly by dangling in front of me the carrot of a meal at a new Woodstock noodle restaurant.
As for the hearing itself, there weren't quite as many animal sanctuary supporters present as there had been at the last hearing, while the same fussy neighbors showed up to raise the same issues they'd raised the last time: that their grandkids couldn't get to sleep and didn't anyone worry about how the animals were faring from the assault of all that loud rock-and-roll style music. I noticed that the planning board was noticeably less congenial with our friend who runs the sanctuary. They're probably tired of this issue, which has been dragging on for months. As contentious as the hearing was, it was also incredibly boring. I closed my eyes for awhile and hoped to fall asleep. At some point Gretchen turned around to ask me if I wanted to leave. You bet I did!
The new noodle restaurant is called Yum Yum, which is either a bad translation from an Asian language or no translation at all. It's on Rock City Road only about a block from its intersection with Tinker Street. There is a large outdoor seating area adjacent to the sidewalk, the most public and European in all of Woodstock. Unlike at the Garden Café (which has a more intimate and — for lack of a better word — "gardenlike" outdoor seating area), we were permitted to bring our dogs with us to our table.
On top of all of these matters of ambience, the food was absolutely scrum-diddly-umptuous. In terms of the homeland of the cuisine, I'd say it was pan-far-east-and-far-southeast Asian (in other words, Indochinese, Japanese, and Indonesian). You could order pad thai or shiskabobbed seitan with a delicious brown sauce and then maybe order some Japanese steamed pumpkin. There were a number of dishes where sprouts might be substituted for noodles. It was all fresh and delicious in a way that's familiar in California but harder to track down on the East Coast. Gretchen probably feels the same way, but my opinion on Yum Yum in Woodstock is that it totally transforms it from a mildly-irritating village full of vendors in restaurants that don't quite appeal to me to one I will gladly go to any time. Yum Yum in Woodstock makes it adult-friendly and civilized in the way that Portland, Oregon is. That said, Yum Yum probably won't last, because good restaurants never do. But I sure hope it does.
That said, Yum Yum isn't perfect. There are no IPAs on tap (that's how you know you're not in Portland), and Gretchen was underwhelmed by the overpriced sake cocktail she ordered. The food, on the other hand, is surprisingly cheap, for the time being at least.
I see from Yum Yum's website that one of its founders got started in Charlottesville, Virginia, at Caffe Bocce, one of its better restaurants.

On the drive home, Gretchen and I stopped at Hurley Ridge Market to buy a few groceries just before the place closed. These included canned tomatoes and tomato paste, bananas, and pasta. On a whim, Gretchen got some grape leaves from the deli and was amazed by how good they ended up being.

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