Sunday, September 15 2013
It was coffee Sunday, and Gretchen and I had separate french presses of coffee. Hers was decaf; she's convinced that any caffeine at all has the effect of keeping her up at night, something she doesn't want to have to combat with Ambien.
While all that was going on, I responded to a few issues Gretchen had with the painting I'd done for her next poetry collection. She mostly liked the painting, but had issues with an overly-thick black outline around a bean pod and she decided the sliced watermelon wasn't red enough. I could see her point on the first issue, but I thought she was being overly-literal about the watermelon (because the book is to be called Doris' Red Spaces. It's her book and she gets to make the call[REDACTED].
So I took the painting upstairs and reworked the background near the bean and then generally throughout using thin dapples of sage-colored paint. Laying as this did atop bluer and yellower areas of background, the whole painting now had a metallic shimmer. I thought it was beautiful. I did not, however, change the watermelon at all. Instead I used Adobe Photoshop to turn up the red balance on the photograph that I took of it, the photograph that will ultimately be used for the book cover design.
This evening the plan was to meet up with Ray, Nancy, and Sarah the Vegan at Ray and Nancy's house and then drive across the Hudson to try out a newish Indian restaurant south of Rhinebeck called Cinnamon. We'd all eaten at that restaurant in the past, but it had been under different management and we'd found the food kind of greasy and gross.
By this morning, Gretchen was feeling "poopy" (as we say), which is more tired, depressed, and anti-social than sick, so I ended up meeting up with the others by myself, giving her some much-needed alone time.
The four of us ended up having Cinnamon's buffet, which was fresher and tastier (and less hidden beneath an emergent skin) than most Indian buffets. And some of the food was surprisingly spicy given that it was intended for New Englanders (I consider the east bank of the Hudson to be part of New England at this latitude). There also seemed to be fairly good vegan options, though Gretchen had looked at the menu and seen that yogurt had been added to otherwise vegan dishes such as aloo gobi. Still, as I pointed out to Sarah, the thing about a buffet is that if the dishes don't contain obvious creams or meats they can be "plausibly vegan," which, for our style of veganism, is generally good enough.
Also somewhat surprising in the buffet was a container of mango pickle, which is sort of a hardcore thing that I didn't even know existed until Ray ordered some several years ago. It tastes, as I often say, like shoe polish, but in a good way. Tonight, though, Ray decided to swear it off forever, observing that it always seemed to make him sick. The problem, however, might just be the buffet itself and the tendency to eat until one can eat no more. Someone at our table passed a silent but deadly fart near the end of the meal and the fragrance had a strongly unpleasant sour metallic quality, precisely what I would imagine mango pickle might smell like after going through thirty feet of human alimentary canal, though it was too soon for that to have been possible.
One thing we didn't do after the meal was drive into Rhinebeck and slowly walk around and look into the windows of the various shops, closed though they might be. But we did talk about doing that, or, to be more precise, about the times I've endured Gretchen's parents doing that with Gretchen. If a sinkhole were to open and swallow Rhinebeck whole, I wouldn't shed a single tear. It remains my least-favorite village in the entire Hudson Valley.
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