The week’s been a bit hectic, so it’s shuffle-play to the rescue!
The mall was… actually kind of awesome. I’d forgotten that Fifties shopping centers could be bright, colorful destinations, not just dreary rows of nearly-identical shops. I think we were a little early for the sort that were fully enclosed, but it was a nice day, and the light breeze carried off the worst of the cigarette smoke. The place was pretty upscale, with covered walkways, landscaping and fountains, and plenty of kids off the leash inventing their own fun. All clean-cut and wholesome, but I suspected the teens had some quiet spots for stolen kisses and quick hand-jobs. If they didn’t, I’d be happy to point out a few.
Kit knew the place inside-out and pulled me along by the hand, which pulled Sally along by my hand. I found myself laughing with them, which was a new experience for me. We were quickly loaded down with brightly-colored shopping bags and excess calories; I feared Sally’s cooking had ruined my tastes forever.
Interdimensional sophisticate that I was, I hadn’t noticed that our happy laughing mall crowd was exclusively white until Kit practically ran over a well-turned-out black woman as she rounded a corner.
Or was it “colored”, still? Honestly, it wasn’t something I’d kept much track of; there were plenty of worlds where pale redheads were hated and feared, after all, which was not my fault, but I was spared further introspection by Kit’s sudden retreat behind me.
Apparently dealing with the unknown was my job. “I’m sorry, miss, we weren’t looking where we were going. Are you all right?”
“Oh, just fine, thank you, dear. I’m sure I was at least as much at fault.” She was young, with a strikingly pretty face, a warm smile, and well-polished manners that pretended Kit’s discomfort didn’t exist. She was also, it turned out, an acquaintance of Dear Aunt Sally’s.
Gevalia has updated the branding of the core ingredient in my daily liquid pie. Hopefully this means Amazon and others will start stocking it at non-scalper prices again soon. Fortunately I have time to find out, after a recent stop at Target increased my stash to 102 days worth.
I’ve also been tinkering with using the Barista Recipe Maker froth-as-a-service device to replicate the Gevalia froth packets, and tentatively, 17 grams of dry whole milk plus 4 grams of dutch-process cocoa provides a decent approximation, and mixed with half the coffee can be whipped into a nice hot lather using the FAAS’ “latte macchiato” or “hot chocolate” settings.
Speaking of chocolate flavor, I have to say that this 0-calorie syrup is surprisingly good, and mixes well in the FAAS.
The experience of being suddenly forced to shutdown Lightroom in the middle of an editing session because you decided that I wasn’t logged into your Clown service any more is sub-optimal. Also a pretty good way to encourage customers to stop paying you a monthly fee and look elsewhere for software.
This lack of theme brought to you by tripped breakers.
Katherine Elizabeth Margaret Pope, aka “Kit”, she of the ten zillion potential nicknames who’d ended up letting a stranger pick one by accident, was completely unlike anyone in my centuries of experience. Mostly because she wasn’t a Power to be obeyed, a man to be inspired, a rival to be crushed, a pest to be disposed of, a fellow Muse to be tormented, or Aunt Sally, to be figured out real soon now. I was starting to suspect that my understanding of mortals might be just a tad limited by my former lifestyle.
I made it through my first day of school by keeping my eyes on her and my big mouth shut. Which turned out to be a really good idea when one of the fifth-grade rebels said A Naughty Word during recess, and I discovered that getting your mouth washed out with soap was not just an expression. Fuck, that looked nasty. Um, gosh? Golly? Jeepers?
I added “acceptable language” to my long list of future discussion topics with Kit. I’d initially planned to interrogate her over lunch, until I discovered that Sally’s cooking was as good cold as it was hot. I didn’t share. That probably made me a terrible friend.
Sally was waiting for me after school, and she’d brought the car. Oh, right, shopping. Her already-bright smile brightened further when she saw that I wasn’t alone. Kit and I were holding hands; she seemed to like it, and it helped me keep track of her. First law of the jungle: stay with your native guide at all times.
“Oh, you’ve already made a friend! And who is this lovely young lady?” That would have sounded totally phony and condescending if I’d said it, but Aunt Sally was a different breed of cat, and Kit cheerfully introduced herself. This led naturally to an invitation to join our expedition, which suited me just fine; Kit was sure to know her way around children’s stores.
The two women in my life got along like a house on fire. Unfortunately, this meant mutual giggling over the tale of me setting the house on fire, or at least myself and part of the kitchen. I needed them both breathing, though, so I took it gracefully. I just thought about demonstrating the less-recreational uses of cotton rope and hot wax.
Our mutual torture session ended as we arrived at the mall, and we went forth into the land of wash-and-wear and off-the-rack.
When guaranteed-non-disruptive data-center power maintenance takes down your Confluence database server, application servers that survive and reconnect may end up speaking in tongues. Specifically, the “Other Macros” screen in edit mode ended up in a mix of English and Polish. A rolling restart fixed it.
First, I’d like to thank you for responding to my negative review of your JoyJolt borosilicate glass mugs that exploded in my hands, sent shards of glass flying around the kitchen, and cut my palm.
Now, as for your request:
Sally walked me to school, which turned out to be of the private just-for-girls variety, a brisk twenty-minute walk from the house. Naturally, she insisted we hold hands. By daylight, the neighborhood matched the house: late Fifties, solidly middle class. I was briefly surprised by the number and variety of men we ran into along the way, politely greeting Miss Sanders and her young ward, until I noticed one of them scrambling into his car and racing off to work as soon as Sally’s legs were out of sight.
Clearly this wasn’t the first time she’d gone for a morning stroll along this route. Perhaps I should assume the role of her duenna and begin evaluating suitors for suitability; I certainly had the age and experience for the job, as well as a vested interest in the outcome.
None of them seemed to attract her interest, which I thought boded well for her standards, and, distracted by my own evaluations, I was surprised when we soon reached the school’s surprisingly sturdy gates. The resemblance to a prison was hopefully only in my head.
I didn’t need to fake a cheery farewell, because I was honestly relieved that Sally’s mystery job hadn’t turned out to be at my school. More on that later, when I had some time alone with my new memories. I headed into the courtyard and started checking out my fellow inmates.
Priority one was Finding A Friend. The older girls were out, although I appreciated the way they’d subtly modified their uniforms to be less depressingly uniform. Apparently rebellion wasn’t taught until the fifth grade, though, unless I could take it as an elective. Unfortunately, this meant that my fellow first-graders were a pretty dull bunch, and I was having trouble spotting any that showed any potential.
“Your mom’s really pretty and sweet.”
“Huh? Yeah, Aunt Sally’s a peach. Excuse me.” Damn, I could barely tell them apart. What did women actually look for when making friends?
“My name’s Katherine, but I don’t like it and I wish I had a good nickname. What’s yours?”
So much for being able to focus. “Count your blessings, kid; you could do a lot worse than Katherine, trust me.”
“Kit? That’s a great nickname! Oh, we’re going to be such good friends!”
Seriously, Powers? Could you be a little less subtle, here? I turned to look at My New Friend, and realized that I’d have to (shudder) say my name out loud for the first time. “I’m Virginia. I guess it’s nice to meet you, Kit.”
I did not kill her for having the red hair and freckles I’d been cruelly denied in my reincarnation. At least the face bore no resemblance to my old one; I guess even the Old Man knew not to push me too far on my first day.