Friday, June 12, 2009


My lovely case manager, Erin, and I both love the overcast, cloudy weather we've been experiencing here in Los Angeles for the last couple of weeks. We're very strange.
"What's the matter with us?" she once asked me.
"I don't know. I just don't like it when it's sun shiny all of the time. And hot. I find that a bit oppressive."
"So do I," Erin replied.
"You're weird," my lovely psychologist, Dr. Kimberly putting it more bluntly, and an odd thing for a psychologist to say. This was in response to my telling her I liked overcast weather rather than bright, cheery, sunshiny weather, when all the others in our Depression Group felt the opposite.
As I write this the temperature outside my box is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year at this time it was somewhere in the 80s and 90s. Another reason I don't care for the sun all that much is that the building where my box is located was built in 1901 out of brick and retains heat. All too often during the long summer when it gets in the 90s outside, my box will inevitably be 10 to 15 degrees higher, and I'll be in there sweating like a little idiot, and it will stay that way well into the night, until four in the morning or so, just about when the sun rises again to make my box hotter.
We are not allowed to have air conditioners in our boxes here. Something about the electricity. But I do have three fans running continuously (one just for my computer), and a swamp cooler. Theoretically, I can dump icy water into my swamp cooler to make the air coming out of it cooler, but its been my experience that this doesn't work very well. Besides, I'd have to keep putting ice into it all of the time, and I have no way of storing ice in my tiny freezer, so it acts just like another fan.
Erin and Paul, on the other hand, get to have a nice big air conditioner in their office. It even has a remote control, which Erin flaunts as much as possible. Apparently the electrical wiring in their office is superior to the rest of the building.
Anyway, Erin and I like the weather we've been having lately. I was reveling in it yesterday as I walked to the Hippie Kitchen to get some nice hippie food for my breakfast. The parakeets sang to me as I entered, going: "Poo-te-weet! Poo-te-weet!"
I got in the fast moving line and received some chicken and noodles, salad, pre-buttered bread, and doritos. The nice hippie lady at the end of the line handing out plastic sporks asked me, "How is your daughter doing?"
Now as far as I know I've never fathered any children, which was most probably the best possible outcome for those potential kids. So I think the hippie lady was referring to Erin, who she has seen me with on Tuesdays recently.
So I told her, "Oh she's not my daughter. She's just one of my bitches."
The above was a joke, and I apologize for it profusely, to all woman kind, and to Erin.
What I actually said was, "Oh she's not my daughter, she's a friend." And what I should have added, but didn't think of at the time, was that I would be proud to have Erin as a daughter.
After I finished my meal, I disposed of my plate and got back in line to get a plate for Erin, as we would be making cookies at Cooking Club, rather than a main course such as the enchiladas of last week, and I thought she would like a little lunch before the cookies.
I was right.
"Wow, Rick," she said when I presented the plate to her, "I was just thinking that I would like some lunch rather than cookies."
Again, I feel a certain responsibility to keep my case manager well nourished. She operates much better that way.
She ate what she wanted of her hippie food, Paul arrived, and we began making our cookies. I asked what I could do, and was given the responsibility of the chocolate chip variety. A big job, I must say.
But I tackled it with gusto. With the help of Patricia, a very nice, yes lovely lady, and Cooking Club regular, in her sixties, we began mixing our ingredients. 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a cup of butter, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I thoroughly mixed this by gloved hand until it was a sticky brown goo. Then I asked Patricia to throw in two and 1/4 cups of flour, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and baking soda, and two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. This turned into our dough after a good slogging, and we were the first to the oven, beating the lackadaisical Erin and Paul.
Erin and Jasmine were making the peanut butter cookies, and Paul was in charge of the oatmeal. For some reason Paul wound up making about twice as much dough as the rest of us, and it took until one thirty to bake all of his damn cookies.
But they were good. All of them (all though I retain a certain fondness for the chocolate chips). After twelve minutes in a 375 degree oven, they all turned out very well. We had about a bizzillion cookies, much too much for me to eat. Erin had provided one percent milk, and Jena bought some vanilla ice cream cups from a nearby ice cream cup store, which was very nice of the often reticent Jena.
I got cookied out, basically, and it will be a long time before I can look another one in the face before greedily consuming it.
Such is life.

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