The plane was a little late getting in, and Kage and Sophrani had been early getting to the airport, so they'd been waiting a while by the time I finally showed up, but they were in good spirits. Sophrani looks great, even better than the last time I saw her. She's lost weight, and Kage finally persuaded her to let her hair grow out a bit: it's shoulder length now. She has really nice hair, reddish brown and very thick. Her hair has so much volume that, even with bangs and the front part of her hair pulled back, she still has lots of hair left over to fall around her face. Kage's hair has grown out further: it's longer than mine now. /envy. Mine looks longer proportionally, though, because I'm so much shorter than he is. I wish my hair were that healthy.
As one might guess from my obsession with discussing hair, I spent a chunk of time this weekend playing with it. Friday night I showed Sophrani how to do a twist braid, which I did on her a couple of times, and how to do a herringbone, which I did on Kage to start with. We spent a lot of time talking about all kinds of things, especially writing, Mirari, Silver Scales, Sabine (one of Sophrani's fictional creations) and other stuff.
On Saturday we went out to the Asian Big Bowl for lunch. Kage and I had meant to go out to get something for breakfast, but Sophrani pinned us down, preventing us from leaving the house until it was basically lunch time. The Asian Big Bowl was pretty good. They're a Mongolian barbecue place, but they have a lot of menu items to choose from, and encourage first-timers to do that. I haven't like Mongolian barbecue places in the past -- too meat heavy -- but they had several noodle-based vegetarian dishes on the menu. So I was happy. Maybe I should try another of the Mongolian barbecue places from around here again.
After lunch, we went to "A Southern Season", an ultra-Yuppie grocery with tons of overpriced specialty foods and weird knickknacks. ("Look! A ball of toad! Just what I've been missing my whole life.") Then we went home and watched "Without a Clue", a Sherlock Holmes parody film that's one of Sophrani's all-time favorites. It was a lot of fun. Then I braided hair while we talked for another couple of hours before going out to eat at the Melting Pot. I did everyone's hair in elf braids this time. "Elf braids" is what we call the style the elves in LotR wear. One little corn row over each ear and the remaining hair from around the face pulled back into a herringbone braid down the back. The side braids came out best on Sophrani, but the style overall suited Kage better than either of us. He was wearing his sunglasses and leather duster to the restaurant. I described his look as "The Matrix meets Lord of the Rings." Or "Elrond" for short.
We listened to Tori Amos's album "Scarlet's Walk" in the car on the way there and back again. It's great driving music. I could see why Sophrani liked it.
The Melting Pot was fun. The waitress put down the menus and Kage sat down on the side with only one menu, so Sophrani sat down next to me. Periodically, throughout the meal, I would bounce up and down and sing, "I get to sit with Sophrani! I get to sit with Sophrani!" Kage pouted and complained about being all alone.
I'd had cheese fondue once before in a restaurant, but that was over a decade ago and I didn't really remember it. This was better than I recalled. The salad was astonishingly tasty, with a raspberry vinaigrette so good I even ate the walnuts from it. We ordered one of the broths for our main course, and dipped all kinds of food into it, including lobster tails and teriyaki steak. There were also all these little dishes of dipping sauces. The waitress was rattling off cooking times for all the items, plus the names of the sauces and what they were best with. When she was done, I asked if there was going to be a quiz afterwards. She said yes, but there wasn't. Good thing -- I would have failed. It was awfully complicated, but we managed. :)
After we finished our the main course, I got out my credit card so I have it ready when the check came. I'd been much too slow at the Asian Big Bowl and wanted to be quicker this time. But Kage saw me and got his ready, too. When Kage asked for the check, I beat him by handing over my credit card then, before the waitress even got the check to us. But then -- she looked at my card and said: "We don't take Discover."
Arg! And of course, before I had time to dig into my wallet for my Visa, Kage had his to her and was gloating triumphantly. Arg!
On the way out, Sophrani noticed that they took Diner's Club. Diner's Club. But not Discover! Darn you, Melting Pot! What kind of nationwide chain doesn't take Discover? *Sigh*
But, hey, I got to sit next to Sophrani.
Kage gloated all the next day over getting the check. Sophrani and I tickled him in retaliation.
Sunday, we were all sort of dragging around for no good reason. We collapsed on the couch, watching "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" in the early afternoon, then ran out to the store for supplies for my trip home. Getting outside and some fresh Diet Coke perked me up, and we chatted all through making an early dinner (or a late lunch). I had them listen to Peter Gabriel's "Secret World" so they'd know why it reminded me so much of Mirari and John Harcourt.
Then it was time to go back to the airport and go home. *sigh* It was wonderful to see both of them again, and it was good to have a break from the same old routine at home.
And at least I didn't have to work today. Lut and I are going out to eat soon -- it's his birthday. I think we'll go to a local steakhouse. I don't like meat much and the poor guy hasn't had a steak in years. Well, he says he has, but I can't remember when.