Anyway, I started off my day hanging out with Shannon, then when he left to get lunch on his own I headed out to a post-lunch Sweet Adeline's date with a couple of very dear friends. I was hesitant to go to Sweet Adeline's, because they have lovely and delicious baked goods of various kinds and I didn't want to present myself with a variety of desirable treats I couldn't eat because they were made with egg. But I got a vegan chocolate cupcake, topped with a blackberry, and it was tolerably tasty. Not the same as a *proper* cupcake, but still a treat. And the company was pleasant enough that the food mattered very little.
Walked around for a bit afterward, then headed home. All in all, it was maybe around 4 miles roundtrip. But my knee felt fine. I was listening to a new book on audio while I walked: Lowboy, by John Wray. It's about a paranoid schizophrenic teenager who goes off his medication and heads out into the wilds of New York City. Some chapters are told from the perspective of the schizophrenic kid, and some are told from the perspective of the detective who is trying to find him. The first shift away from the kid's POV was a big jolt, because the schizophrenic perspective is portrayed vividly, so shifting to a "normal" perspective was strange. Perhaps this was meant to put the reader in the mind of the mentally ill, but making the "normal" perspective into the "strange" one? At any rate, the book is interesting thus far. It reminds me a little bit (for obvious reasons) of Ken Kesey's phenomenal One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which is very different from -- and arguably better than -- the movie).
I got home, napped a bit (I mean, really, what else could you expect?), then headed out with Shannon on a bit of an adventure. Shannon recently got a map that shows all the hidden stairways and paths through the Berkeley hills (there are *tons* of them, mostly built in the very early 20th century), so he's been wanting to get out there and have a look around and today we decided to finally do it. Of course, going for a walk in the hills means that the entire first half is drastically steep uphill. But the houses are beautiful, and the paths are lined with trees and flowers, and we actually saw a deer, just standing next to the path, munching on one of the human resident's hedges. It may be the first deer I've ever seen actually within the city of Berkeley, and it was certainly the closest I've ever come to a wild deer. A stag, actually, with sizable antlers. The deer sighting, alone, made the whole walk worthwhile.
I had a bit of difficulty with the uphill, huffing and puffing and pausing to sit on benches (which are, mercifully, plentiful along these steep paths), but Shannon was very patient. And I made sure to go at a pace that allowed me to actually enjoy the walk, rather than allowing it to become a death march (as I have sometimes done in the past, feeling that I *should* be able to keep up a faster pace). I definitely need to get in better shape! I can walk or bike forever on level ground, but hills just kill me.
After our walk, Shannon and I had our dinner al fresco on the Berkeley campus, in our usual secluded spot by Strawberry Creek. I had brought myself a spinach salad with bleu cheese, glazed pecans, dried cranberries, and an apricot vinaigrette. It was very tasty. Shannon had a sandwich from Subway. Since I eat more slowly than he does (probably more slowly than the majority of people on the planet), Shannon read some Gene Wolfe to me after he had finished his food.
This evening, post-stairway, my left knee is very sore. I suppose I should have expected that. But it'll probably feel fine by morning.
I had planned to have a very relaxed, lazy day today, but it didn't turn out that way, so I may take it easy tomorrow, though I do have to BART out to Orinda again in the afternoon for a post-LEEP follow-up. Fun fun fun.