workaday Wednesday

December 5th, 2018

Yesterday I learned that my boss has a 40 minute commute (or rather, I learned that my boss *says* they have a 40 minute commute, but in the absence of other information, I’ll go with it).

This was only surprising because — based on previous comments — I thought their commute was MUCH longer, like an hour-plus. MY commute is anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic. It’s not my favorite thing in the entire world, but it’s a choice I’ve made and it’s working okay.

Of course, I tend to round up when I’m estimating driving times, and if they are rounding down, or giving best-case scenario timing, it’s entirely possible their commute is indeed significantly longer than mine. But it was an eye-opening moment nonetheless.

twinkle light bingo update

December 4th, 2018

We are now officially just three weekends away from Christmas (weekends, I presume, being the most common time to put up lights). And it continues to be a slow start in the light game.

Right now there is just one apartment in each building with lights, although I am tempted to count a second because their lighted Christmas tree is right by the window and very pretty.

In some ways this is a bummer, because I do enjoy seeing what people do with their lights. On the other hand, the inflatable ‘Santa’s outhouse’ has not yet made a reappearance this year, so I’m willing to call it a net gain.

(You know what else I haven’t seen this year? The CHRISTMAS BEAR WREATH!)

Monday’s general Monday-ness

December 3rd, 2018

Here’s a neat thing: the weather forecast says today will be sunny (you know, after the dense fog advisory is over), and possibly as warm as 50F degrees. I am delighted by this news, especially after a very rainy Sunday. Maybe I can finagle an afternoon break outside?

crock pot caramelized onions

December 2nd, 2018

As easy as the internet promised! Also, delicious.

This was the recipe I made up based on reading suggestions online:
6 onions, sliced
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp camp mix
1 tsp brown sugar

*I used yellow onions (regular sized? IDK, the size they always are at the grocery store) and sliced them. They filled up my crock pot about 3/4 full.

*Then I added 3 tablespoons of butter (salted butter, because I like salt). Not melted, because it’s going to melt in the crock pot anyway, and I don’t like washing extra dishes.

*And also a teaspoon of camp mix (more salt, plus garlic & pepper), and a teaspoon of brown sugar. (Adding sugar seems to be somewhat of a cheat code for caramelizing, and I thought it would make the color a little darker.)

*Then I cooked it on low for 12 hours. After ten hours, I turned the cover sideways to let some of the moisture evaporate, and then took the cover off entirely for the last half hour or so. Also I stirred it occasionally (maybe three times?) because I am a stirrer.

*It made about 4 to 5 cups of caramelized onions, which I thought was a good amount for half an hour of prep work and 12 hours of smelling onions cooking.

*Apparently they freeze well. Good to know!

it’s December!

December 1st, 2018

Each year I come up with ideas to help the celebratory spirit of Christmas be more of a month-long thing. This year I made a (short) list of things I associate with Christmas (music, decorating, etc), so that I can work on doing some of them throughout December. (A lot of this is less about the doing, and more about recognizing the doing as a “special event.”)

One of the things on my list is cooking — which I definitely associate with Christmas, but I don’t actually love doing. I like the idea of cooking, but the reality is often less fantastic. (And then you have to wash all the dishes!)

Modern conveniences to the rescue! I bought some break and bake cookies at the grocery store, because they smell just as good cooking in the oven as homemade. And I’m trying out making caramelized onions in the crock pot (not to eat with the cookies). Other than a brief moment when I woke up last night, smelled them cooking, and panicked that I was going to burn the place down, that’s been going fine. Probably another few hours to go, though. Full report pending!

last day of November

November 30th, 2018

My cat typed this when he sat on the keyboard this morning:



(Yesterday he managed to type a pi symbol. I didn’t even know you could do that!)

So, from both me and the cat, wishing everyone who is NaNo-ing a fantastic final day. starandrea, you’ve so got this!

oh, technology

November 29th, 2018

*I got my current laptop in 2010, and I’ve been semi-planning to replace it pretty much since 2015, but it’s still working, and computers are expensive, so I’ve been putting it off.

*And a while back I had to switch all my tumblr-ing over to my phone, because if I try to access the site on my computer, the screen starts pixelating, which is Really Something.

*But I just got my online advent calendar, and of course I went right for the ornament smashing game, because that’s just the kind of person I am. And after one game, my computer was so hot I became genuinely concerned.

*The game is playable on my phone, but it’s “not optimized for mobile” (aka it’s very small).

*How important is it to me to 1) play the game; 2) have a more enjoyable visual experience? This is a dilemma.

*I use asterisks when I really just have a few vaguely connected sentences rather than a post that’s actually thought out, because it makes things look more organized.

wait, really?

November 28th, 2018

This morning I had one of those moments where a picture (in this case of a lake) suddenly sparks a memory of something and you think, ‘wait, was that real life?’

I saw the lake and I thought, ‘hey, that’s like that lake from the camp we went to in eighth grade!’ And then I thought, ‘wait, they really just dropped a bunch of eighth graders at a camp for a week and hoped nothing would go wrong???’

(I mean, if I’m remembering correctly, one person got injured pretty much immediately, and several people were sent home for undisclosed reasons.)

Also, I’m sure there were actual activities, not just a week-long free for all. But — and my now!brain is stuck on this part — NO MAP!

(Since I lack both navigational ability and environmental orientation, I am *constantly* surprised by arriving places. To me, this is how movement through space works: 1) begin at current, familiar location; 2) begin moving; nothing looks familiar; 3) I could be anywhere right now; have I ever been here before?; 4) mind is blown when I suddenly recognize surroundings at destination.)

I mean, the up side of this is that I can visit the same trails again and again without getting bored. Which is great!

But it also means that maps are Very Important. I can’t believe they didn’t give us a map!

twinkle light bingo

November 27th, 2018

It’s that time of year again — time for twinkle light bingo!

[I live in an apartment complex where there are two buildings basically at a right angle to each other, which means that when you pull into the parking lot, you have a perfect view of the front side of both buildings (and whatever lights and decorations the front apartments are displaying).]

The game is simple: first building to get three in a row — horizontal, vertical, or diagonal — wins a prize. (The prize is my appreciation.)

We’re off to a slow start this year, maybe because Thanksgiving was so early? Each building currently only has one apartment with any lights at all, but I’m hopeful that by next week there will be more to report.

workaday Monday

November 26th, 2018

Back to work! I have very little recollection of what I was working on last week, but hey, that’s what notes are for. (I’m counting on you, past self!)

Lots of people try to take the day off before or after a long weekend, which I totally get! But I think the day before a holiday weekend is one of the *best* times to be at work, because nobody else is; expectations are low, and there’s a sense of ‘all of us who showed up share a bond now.’ The day after a holiday weekend is when everyone spends all day “catching up” on their emails, which I am pretty sure is code for ‘figuring out what I was working on last week.’ If I took an extra day, I’d be doing that on Tuesday, when everybody else was already caught up, and I’d feel behind.

Plus, I’m totally planning to put up Christmas lights at my desk today, so that’s something to look forward to.