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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").



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   lordy lou, Gretchen turns forty two
Saturday, January 19 2013
Today was Gretchen's birthday, and before she walked the dogs, I presented her with the chandelier I'd made for her yesterday. Judging from her reaction, it seemed like the gift pleased her, but she wasn't really excited about it until after she'd come back from walking the dogs and I had it installed. And now you can see for yourself:


The white halo is the ghost of the ceiling fan that I removed to make way for this new lamp.

The plan for today was to have a "brunch party" in celebration of Gretchen's birthday. So I went on a small cleaning jihad and also parked the cars on the lawn so as to open up parkportunities in the driveway. Though it was her party, Gretchen had done most of the food preparation for it, starting yesterday. She also made her own birthday cake, a "trifle." Though the party started at 1:00pm, it was 1:15 before people began arriving. (I guess it makes more sense to be fashionably late for a party held so early in the day.)
Eventually sixteen or so people showed up. It was a carefully-curated group of just the people Gretchen wanted to be with (as well as their significant others). It was very important that there not be any people there likely to monopolize her time. Interestingly, given the fraction of the population they represent, everyone who showed up was childless except for our neighbor Andrea (who has an adult daughter), and not even all of our childless friends came. (For example, Ray and Nancy were entertaining non-childless friends and couldn't come.) Most of our guests brought champagne, though a few had been assigned cooking tasks. My favorite of all the food today were some scones made by Sarah the Vegan.
The main beverage for the party came in the form of mimosas made with either fresh-squeezed orange juice or grapefuit juice. I'd never actually made a mimosa before but somehow ended up being the person responsible for mixing them. It's harder than I initially thought; champagne tends to release all its bubbles the moment orange juice is introduced, causing the glass to overflow like a science fair volcano.

At some point I took some people (and dogs, of which there were a total of seven) on a tour of the new greenhouse upstairs. Paul and Ingrid (the couple with the big church on the Rondout) were the most delighted by the small solar-heated space. I have a feeling Ingrid, being from Columbia, finds temperate-zone winters a source of dreariness and depression, a mental condition the greenhouse upstairs was specifically designed to cure. The temperature was 82 degrees Fahrenheit in there, and so five or six of us humans, two or three dogs, and Clarence the Cat ended up hanging out in that tiny space for a surprisingly long time. At some point I heard a commotion out on the road, so I looked out the greenhouse's east window and saw a cyclist being confronted by our motley pack of dogs. He'd been forced to dismount his bike, and was understandably pissed off. One doesn't see many cyclists in January. I called the dogs off and the cyclist hurried on up the hill as I shouted a half-hearted apology.
The last person to leave the party was our friend Tara, who had come late. By then it was 6:30pm.


The spread of food today. Note the trifle on the right.


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