the number crunch

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

For the past three hours, it’s been me versus Microsoft Excel at a less-than-thrilling battleship game. C:4; A:17; D:3, we challenge each other and the clock. I admit, unblushing, I’m addicted to this last-minute rush; to being on the verge of yesterday’s unattainable brass ring. However, Excel is picky when it comes to throwing me a rope. I’m forced to count the large majority of my data by hand. To ensure accuracy, or perhaps sanity, I count out-loud, like Paul Simon harmonizing with himself. It’s a painstakingly meticulous process, with every intent to scare me away, like looking down a dark alley you hoped to never stumble upon, not even in a group of people. The kind that even the high-noon sun avoids and that always has some cat’s box-rattling racket close enough to hear but not close enough to have a good sense of direction. But it’s a curious fear because you know you have no choice but to walk through it.  I’ll let you know when I’ve reached the other end.

Yesterday’s appreciation feast went well. Breakfast was cinnamon-sprinkled Moroccan crepes and scooped out melon bowls filled with a yogurt/date/almond/lemon juice/mint concoction. For lunch, I set them off with Orange-Cardamom Chutney, a baguette, a wedge of Brie, and an apple.  Dinner was by far the best. While they were both surfing, I rushed to make an appetite-bridling Almonds toasted with spices and garlic (the left-overs are my brain food today).  We set the table on the terrace with a salad of cinnamon oranges, chopped dates, and almonds and a lemon juice/mint/argan oil/sugar dressing. Followed by a main course of Ratatouille (eggplant, basil, zucchini, etc, etc) topped with a Moroccan ricotta-type cheese blended with basil, chili pepper, green olives, and toasted almonds. Gus provided the usual French beverage of choice, Lisa set up some mood lights and mood music, and I read them a silly thank-you poem. For dessert, apples stuffed with cherries/dates/oj/cardamom/cinnamin/almonds and baked until golden. All in all, a gourmet day for two people I am extremely appreciative of.

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