Happy Pi Day

Happy 3.14 Pi Day, or Steak and Blowjob Day, if you rather (I must admit to being highly amused by the manly response to Valentine’s Day).

For the past few days the internet has been acting up and my computer has been breaking down. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Friday was another long, long day, biking back and forth, checking in on Bambi who was still sick at home, having a delicious but vaguely uncomfortable dinner with my student, his father and his uncle, and then my last, sleepy class where both my student and I struggle to stay awake and pay attention.

I made pancakes on Saturday, without baking powder or buttermilk, so they came out sort of flat and crepe-like, but still tasty. The boys were happy. Ginny and I made our way to practice, the team hired a bus to take us out to a field about an hour away. A grass field, it was like running around on straw and dust, and despite the balmy temperature, pollution was approaching hazardous levels. The field was next to a park, and we garnered quite the audience of locals. First the little kids came running over to stare at us, and then the elderly, and then young and middle aged alike congregated on the other side of the fence, just watching us run our drills. I was relegated to the “reject” corner with the other girls who had never played before, and we spent most of the time just tossing a disc back and forth instead of joining in with the people who knew what they were doing. It meant we were exempt from running suicides, so I didn’t mind too much. Afterward, we joined most everyone for a meal at a Shanxi restaurant in Dongzhimen.

The whole family has been feeling a little under the weather this week, so we’ve been taking it easy. Ginny and I almost motivated to go out with some people, but then I put pajama pants on and sat on the couch with Bambi, and realized I was just a squid with noodly appendages and wasn’t about to go anywhere. We made a night of watching movies (Tangled, Star Wars) and eating chewy fruit candies until I dragged my sleepy body to bed. This is when the boys decided to inform me that I had two days to be prepared for Steak and Blowjob Day. When I tartly replied that they had not done anything for me for Valentine’s Day, so clearly I had no obligations to either of them, Bambi promptly took the box of candy from in front of me, put a little bow on it, and placed it on my lap. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” he said, grinning like a little kid. I had to laugh at that.

Ginny and I embarked on another shopping expedition. I needed cleats and he was on the lookout for a pair of shoes that might actually fit (unfortunately, not a single store carried his size). I found a pair of ugly but cheap rip off Adidas in a little store on Tiyuguan Xilu, or the Sports Market. We then went off to Zhongguancun, to the computer store city to find a new power cord for my laptop, the soldered and electrical tape repair from the Bainaohui having finally failed. We walked around for a long time looking for an ATM, then ventured into one of the large complexes. The first Lenovo store only had power cords for use in China, with the strange plug, and advocated that I just buy a converter plug (that they conveniently had) for American sockets. Bleh. I insisted we continue elsewhere. As we wandered around, stall keepers aggressively shouted out their wares and services, but two of the places we went two didn’t have the right parts. A rather aggressive guy followed us down two aisles, and we finally went to his little corner, where they managed to find the right power cord, with an American plug. Success! Some guy with rather passable English approached us to try and change US money for RMB, but I’m one of those paranoid people who never trust overly friendly strangers, so I kind of ignored him. We couldn’t resist getting a Blizzard at the DQ in the food court, before returning home.

Almost late, I biked quite quickly to the kitchen and immediately set about putting everything in order for a party of 19, before a short dinner break for an incredibly comforting hot soup with pork and lotus root over rice. They were a big group of grad students and professors from a New England university, some of whom had been stuck on a plane for 31 hours while on their stopover in Japan. My prayers go out to the chaos and mess that’s happening there…it’s so sad to think about. Our guests drank quite a bit of wine and spent some time talking about how they had literally been 18 minutes away from sheer disaster. They were a lovely bunch overall, very friendly, and quite impressed by everything. I did my best to translate between a few of the guests and the Chairman, and ended up selling three of the owner’s books. Afterward, Dice and I watched an episode of Top Chef and snacked on leftovers before I made the long and windy ride home. Although it had been windy and warm during the day, last night I didn’t think I was going to make it home, the wind was so strong.

After classes, I found myself at Jenny Lou’s today picking up a few odds and ends, and checking the meat counter, I discovered not-too-terribly-expensive steak tips for sale. I considered for a moment. The boys may be trolls and drive me crazy (in a loving, well meaning way, I hope), but I like making people happy and happy surprises and cooking, and hell, I love a good steak. No one could say I’m a bad roommate.

I trimmed all the excess fat off the tips once I got home, then put them in a bowl. I did the Chinese thing with meat, which is beat in a little water and salt and cornstarch to tenderize it. Then I liberally poured in cooking wine, soy sauce, sugar, ginger powder, black pepper, white pepper, and some Magi seasoning, and let that marinate for four hours.

I took an afternoon nap, nodding off on our most uncomfortable couch while planning out my next lessons. For dinner I made a pasta salad: tri-color rotini, tossed in olive oil, set in the fridge to chill. Broccoli, sugar peas, peppers and carrots, lightly tossed in a pan (broccoli first, to soften it some, then everything else) with olive oil and a bit of salt. Mixed that in with the pasta, adding a few more pinches of salt, freshly grated parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the zest of a whole lemon. I pan seared the steak tips, 3-4 minutes per side for a medium rare, and served all this with crusty French bread that I was weak enough to purchase at Jenny Lou’s.

“You boys will have to find someone else to celebrate the second part of your holiday, maybe help each other out or something, but I did make you steak for dinner!” I announced as I brought plates to our table. I did a pretty good job-they devoured everything, and were delighted and rather effusive with praise.

Making people happy, good food. I like that these simple things make me happy.

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