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Unaccountably, we are having a big party on Monday (for my half-birthday, oh, and America). There will be 1776 and Paint Your Wagon, there will be foods and alcohols and friends and fun of all kinds. All of them.

Inevitably, therefore, we had a rotten night - twice woken by false smoke alarms (*shakes tiny fist at Nest, which was supposed to be our friend*), not counting singing cats and other disturbances - and I am sick as a dog today. Actually, I am sick most unlike a dog; I never knew a dog with manflu. 'Tis only a cold, of course (read lurgi, plague, contagion, as you will) and if history is reliable I'll be better by tomorrow; California gives me weird little mini-colds, twenty-four hours and done.

Today, though, I am mostly spending on the sofa. Happily, I have two books that I am loving: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, a biography of Meriwether Lewis and the whole Lewis/Clark expedition; and, for light relief, Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, the history of a romance with recipes. Between them, they make my tenure of the sofa almost comfortable, and certainly comforting.

This morning, Karen drove me to the farmers' market for party essentials: three hummuses (hummii?) and two packs of pita chips (lemon and garlic) from the Hummus Guy; berries and rhubarb (is rhubarb technically a fruit, I wonder, in my feverish state?) in case I'm better enough to make a pie, now that I'm all cocky about my pie-making which I did not tell you about because bad Chaz, neglectful of his journalling, but yes, I made a pie this week which did not suck. I'm hoping to bake some bread and do something with a huge hunk o' pork, but that's all dependent.

I am totally not telling you the kinds of medicine Lewis forces on his men, their companion squaw, and himself - this is no country for kind men - but if you've read Patrick O'Brian you're more or less in the right area, barring only his willingness to experiment copiously with plants he's never seen before. Will he survive? Will any of them survive? I have no idea; I'm only halfway through. The tension is electric, I tell you. Electric.

Also, Paris. An American girl, a French boy, a shared willingness to eat anything. It's a joy. (Oh, and speaking of food - new Netflix series, Chef's Table. We saw the first last night, and I loved it with a love universal. I want more foodie programmes like this, dammit, not the endless competitive last-cook-standing reality-TV stuff.)

This has been a brief hiatus in my ongoingly bewildering absence from these pages; I must now return myself to my regularly-scheduled sofa.
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