Saturday, September 7 2019

coffee, reunion, ramen, and pastries

Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone! I got an early start today. It's the day of our high school reunion, and before we drive down to Arlington Heights, I'm making breakfast, then pre-cooking two dozen brats. Aside from the food, the car is pretty much all packed.

This morning, I had to bust out the old french press to make coffee. Our trusty Hamilton Beach carafe emerged from the dishwasher with a crack in it. Don't worry, everyone. Starbucks trained me for emergencies like these. One liter of hot water, 56 grams of coarsely ground beans, four and a half minutes, then gently plunge and immediately remove the coffee. I used to make coffee like this every morning in college, and it worked well, but the second you need to support one other person's morning coffee habits, suddenly the once charming, tiny two cup form factor of the french press loses its appeal.

Last night I looked on amazon for a replacement carafe. The machine still worked great, in fact I just ran cleaning solution through it the other day. But I couldn't find a replacement for the cracked carafe, and as silly as it sounds I just bought a whole new machine for twenty dollars. Just replace the whole damn thing - that's how we Americans fix things I suppose.

So what else is going on… today is pretty much all about the high school reunion. It's the culmination of a few months of part time planning. I'm a little nervous - not because I'm seeing people from high school, but mostly because Lexi and I planned it all over email and that's a tricky way to plan a party. I think all things considered, we did a good job, and if we missed anything, we'll just have to improvise.

The whole thing was very reminiscent of planning events in high school student council. It's funny how those feelings come rushing back, only this time instead of handwritten posters and morning announcements, it's email, facebook, and google sheets.

Last night, to prevent myself from driving Marissa crazy with party planning nerves, I baked another batch of palmiers. I'm proud to say that we're well past asking "did they turn out?" Now, it's all about systematizing the recipe, fine tuning the hardware choices, making more cookies with less of a mess. I figured out that if you use a pair of chopsticks, you can turn the cookies on the pan more quickly. I also switched to parchment paper so I wouldn't need to re use the same silpat (which after three batches would accumulate burnt sugar, but no such problem with disposable parchment paper). Lastly, I discovered that if you give the raw cookies a firm squeeze before setting them on a tray, the hearts form better.

On the work front, Friday was a pretty good day. Josh, Fong, Jane and I went out to lunch at Morris Ramen. As it was chilly and cloudy all day, we were proud of our choice to eat hot soup, it was a nice boost of calm energy in the middle of the day. Afterwards, my team met to discuss goals for the upcoming months. We always have interesting discussions when we undertake sorting long term priorities. You gain a lot of insight just listening to people's take on things.

After work, Rod and I made a pizza. We ate it outside on the back porch. The nights are cool, and I think just about all the nasty summer bugs are gone for the winter.

I had better get going with these brats. Hope you all have a wonderful day, and to the class of 2009, I'll see all you fine people at the reunion.