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Monday, Jan. 26, 2004 - 9:22 a.m.

I think this might be a bad sign: I was lying in bed this morning listening to the radio from my alarm, really not wanting to get up. And then the county weather closures were announced, and my county was included. I was so excited that I jumped up out of bed. So while work wonít get me out of bed, its cancellation will.

Now I feel great. I have a nice long empty day ahead of me with the ice thick on the trees outside my window. It doesnít look treacherous; it just looks wet. But then you stare at it for a little while and realize the dripping trees and powerlines are completely still, the drops caught in mid-fall. Ronnie has the right idea; she hasnít even woken up to notice.

Ah. I want to make scones today, to make buckets of clam chowder and coffee and hot chocolate, but there would be nobody to consume it all. Instead I have to throw away the ďbrowniesĒ I made yesterday. Seriously, this was my worst kitchen disaster ever. Brownies sound good, I thought. This recipe should do. Iíll just cut it in half. But wait; it calls for unsweetened baking chocolate, and I only have semisweet. Thatís okay; I can cut the sugar. I only have brown sugar, not white sugar. Well, whatever. The original called for a cup, so I need less than half a cupÖIíll just dump a little in, maybe one-sixth of a cup. Finish with flour and eggs. No nuts, but that shouldnít matter.

I should know better than to mess with baking recipes. The chemistry that occurs inside an oven is delicate; I know that. Failing to halve the number of eggs was bad enough, but as it turns out I also failed to add nearly enough sugar. I baked the pretty brown sludge, and 20 minutes later I pulled from the oven what tasted like a dirt omelette. The main taste was of rubbery eggs, with a faint chalky brown aftertaste. I have made really gross food on occasion, but Iím not sure Iíve made something completely inedible until now.

Itís raining again and is getting darker. Iím listening to Richard Thompson and plugging up the holes around my windows with towels, wanting to go for a walk but knowing itís a bad idea, that the drops will cling to me and Iíll be glazed in ice like a tree by the roadside. I hope all of you are warm.

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