Death by 1000 Quills

I had this pillow. It was squooshy. It was soft. It was filled with feathers. They were evil feathers, feathers with sharp little quills that would poke me in the middle of the night. I would pull them out on occasion. But it came to the point where I was constantly picking out feathers, where they would crown my shirt and hair, be adrift in the air, litter the ground in the pillow’s wake. Todd was changing the covers on the pillows yesterday, and the entire pillow under the case was covered in half-protruding quills … ready to attack.

So, new pillow. No feathers. It is squooshy. It is soft. Sleep is much more pleasent now.

It’s also abnormally cold. It’s August for &%$@#-sakes! I am not supposed to be nuzzled under a sheet and a duvet at night. I am not supposed to be thinking of grabbing a throw to sit on the couch. It’s totally bizarre. But still better than sweating to death at night, I suppose.

Backtracking somewhat, I was pretty damn sick. That Friday I went in for seven of the ten hours, with Tammy picking up the last three hours for me when she came in to deliver John’s belated birthday cake. I went home, tried to sleep, and coughed and hacked all night. I woke up Saturday feeling like absolute, exhausted shite, and hoped to call in again. After going to the pharmacy and getting a new medicine (after the pharmacist there said that if my thyroid levels were normal, I should be able to take a decongestant, horray!), went to talk to John. He said no, I need you, you have to come in.

I was so pissed. And tired, and ill, and dreading it all. But I went in (after much calming down), and started at 2 pm. By 5:30 pm, standing at the broiler, getting brushetta cooked for the hors d’ourves that were late, I thought I was going to pass out. Went back to my other job to finish off the plate garnish, and then my hands, then arms, face and front of my chest started to tingle – as if they were going numb or recovering from being asleep – and I started to freak out, hyperventilating and sweating buckets at the same time. At that point, I tell John I’m going home, call Todd and go into the back room. Do you know that they made me handle all the cold food, for the salads for the wedding? Heh. And it turns out the wedding went off fine anyways. Dinner went out aokay. So did desert. My guilt lessened. Anyway, we figure it was a reaction to that medicine with the decongestant. Went home. Slept. Woke up for a couple of hours. Went to bed. Slept. Coughed. Coughed. Got maybe six hours (my most sleep in days) before heading in for a 6 am to 2 pm inventory shift … which I made it through. I had passed the turning point. I was tired, but I was getting my appetite back and my sense of humor.

I now have my regular deep smoker’s cough, and a gravely edge to my voice. I’m still coughing, and getting some sinus pain (though I’ve been weirdly breathing easily through the whole thing). Functioning well enough, thank god. Of course, Raymond decided he was too sick to return for his shift last night, so I ended up covering for him for a few hours .. karmically, I can’t say no, but no one in the kitchen thought he was sick (he seemed no different than any other day), and his declaration came after John had talked to him about the numerous smoke breaks. Oh well. It brings me a few overtime hours.

My current love, in other news, is The New Joy of Cooking. I ordered it from my Good Cook book club, as they were offering it on a special. I have fond though conflicted memories of my mother’s copy, a greenish-grey book with odd, fiftish-styled drawings of elegent, impossibly long fingered feminine hands making confections. I remember consulting it for the annual cooking of pumpkin seeds. And for cakes and muffins. I don’t really remember Mom using it for much else (non-cook that she is), though I think she broke the spine open for things like roasts and turkeys. By the time I was starting to have even a glimmer of interest in cooking, I was looking to different books. Joy is touted as a classic, but I had this impression that it was just too ancient to be relevant. Mom’s copy was printed in the 60s, I believe, having been Grandma’s before that. But after reading all the reviews about it, and after helping Brent buy it for Marcia for her birthday, and seeing the sale price, I figured what the hell.

And now I am in love with it. I love the more formal writing style it carries over other books. I love the fact that it takes itself seriously. I love the fact that it’s accurate (I was reading the stock making section and it’s dead on!). It’s updated, of course. But I loooooooooove it. It’s going to go live with the main-use books in the kitchen, that are kept separate from the library/reference area.

A new addition to that is Small Batch Preserving, something I came across at Costco last night for $12. It’s a reprinting of the Put a Lid on It! and More Put a Lid on It!, books written by the hosts of a long defunct Life Network television show of the same name. I had picked up the sequel on a whim when visiting a Chapters down south (it must have been after being in the Pastry shop, when we were doing the jams), and was trying to chase down the first book. Now I don’t have to! (I might even donate the sequel to the library, as I won’t need the second copy – just have to make sure I’m not losing any recipes.)

Hee … and Operation Cancel Cable has succeeded! Todd and I went to bed last night around 10:30, and stayed up another 45 minutes reading in bed together. Me with Joy, him with his new Stephen King novel (a Christmas gift from my folks). I love it. We’re both reading more.

Although I do miss the Food Network. Sigh.


4 thoughts on “Death by 1000 Quills

  1. Hey, I have a question! What is the difference between a regular oven and a convection oven. I mean, I know it circulates the air and is supposed to be better than radiant heat ovens, but being an expert, do you think one is better than the other?


    1. Well, the basic thing is that a convection oven has a fan in the back that does exactly what you think it does – it circulates the air, creating more even heat.

      It’s not better, per say, as I understand it. It just runs hotter and I believe cooks more evenly. If you have a convection oven at home, you need to adjust the temperatures – as most cook books are written with regular ovens in mind. Drop the temp 25 degrees or so (maybe more). Heck, it’s really good to get an oven-safe thermometer that you can hang inside your oven, convection or otherwise, to monitor the temperature. The gages are rarely accurate at the best of times.

      Also, you don’t really want to do confection cooking, like cakes and such, in a convection oven. The fans do move around a lot of air and light objects can be disturbed and cakes and other batters will bake having irregular surfaces due to the air currents. But they are great for roasting!

      1. Awesome, thanks! It’s an electric oven and it has options for regular oven, convection oven, and convection conversion (it automatically reduces temp). So I guess it’s pretty cool. I’m just still learning how to use it though.

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