Good morning, everyone! Hope you're feeling good this morning. Today it's already drizzling a bit. The street is glistening with rain from last night, but it's somehow still so chilly it feels like it could snow at any second. In other words, it's prime hoodie weather. This morning, I'm wearing my unofficial/official winter work outfit comprised of my favorite black hoodie and my favorite black sweatpants. These pants are great because with a little bit of work, you can create an illusion with the rest of the outfit that they're anything but sweatpants. But I know the truth - that I just get away with wearing sweatpants all day. So coziness is at an all time high.
It feels nice to begin another week of work. We're entering into what will probably be the longest stint of continuous, regular work hours for me this holiday season. I have two weeks, and one of those weeks I'm on ticket duty. Ticket duty always puts me in a working mood, so I'm hoping that spills over into my personal life and gives me some much needed vigor in catching up on Christmas shopping. Who do I have to buy presents for? That's a good question. My wife handles all the actual presents, so I'm mainly talking about the secret santas in my life. But I take secret santa very seriously - whether it's a complete stranger on the Internet or a friend from college.
Yesterday was a pretty wonderful day. In the morning, Marissa added my journal entry about the gallery, and I got a pretty remarkable and exciting spike in traffic, so that was fun. I try to respect my wife's online identity and give her space with it, but needless to say, I appreciate and will gladly accept the ol' Astuary Art bump any time she's handing it out.
So all morning, taking breaks to glance at the analytics, I cooked breakfast and finished tidying up the house. Around lunch time, I took Rodney to the grocery store. Being away from our house for so long this weekend, are fridge was looking a little scarce, and that wouldn't do for the upcoming week. We picked up supplies to make dinner, along with some good ol' fashioned turkey sandwich ingredients.
After we got home, I got to making lunch. Rodney considered helping me in the kitchen, but then retracted his offer, deciding he was too tired an needed some time to recharge on the couch. I happily obliged - his apologetic and conscientious attitude was pretty cute. In his own words, he said "[gibberish] uh, Dada - Rodney uh watch Blippi I sorry."
"NoooO prawwwblim," I said, doing my best to translate the sentiment in his own words.
We ate turkey sandwiches and watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I'm embarrassed to say that was yet another childhood classic I missed out on, and seeing it yesterday was my absolute first time watching the movie. I had assumed it was all (spoiler alert) about how Rudolph bears the burden of a silly red glowing nose then finds out how useful it is when Santa has to navigate a snowstorm, but I also assumed that they don't go into more detail than what's provided in the song. The side plots of him joining Reindeer school, finding a reindeer school sweet heart, getting bullied - not to mention the elf that wants to be a dentist. That was all new and strange to me on the first watch.
Rodney went down for a nap, as did I. I had a beer with lunch, not to mention a sandwich full of tryptophan. So slithering into my side of the bed upstairs, it was no surprise that I passed out for two hours, taking one of those deep space, floating-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean naps. Peak relaxation.
Later in the afternoon, I emerged and waddled downstairs to start dinner. I got to slicing vegetables for our soup, and once I got the carrots, onions, leaks, pork, and just a whole heck done of sliced, blanched cabbage on the pot, I once again tidied the kitchen up. Soups are great because all the work happens at the beginning, then you basically have an extra hour to kill. After cleaning up, I used the rest of the time to experiment with my broiler. On cabbage and pork soup, I usually toast some sliced bread in the oven, with maybe a layer of gruyere and some cracked pepper. And thinking that might come out looking even better if I got the cheese to bubble and crust a bit, I went on an oven adventure. The broiler was easy to turn on - just a button that says "broil" right beside the one I usually press to bake things. A small blue flame bled from the top of the oven. I cautiously extended my hand below it - it felt hot, and perhaps even hot enough to bubble some cheese. I slipped the slices of bread in the oven and wandered into the living room to check on Rodney.
Rodney's sniffles were slowly developing into a cold (last night he actually got a bit of a fever), but he seemed content just zoning out in front of the TV. I cuddled with him for a few minutes, then smelling burnt cheese, I sprung up and checked on my broiler experiment.
Burnt. Damn. But only slightly burnt. Really, the piece of bread in the middle was the only one that didn't make it out alive, but the others looked pretty appetizing. So the take-away from this experiment was that I have a working broiler, and that could make things interesting in the future.
I finished seasoning the soup with salt, pepper, and cyan. I decied that being a watery, bland soup, I could get away with a lot of cyan pepper. The goal was to make the soup get your nose to run without tasting spicy, and it worked out pretty well. Cyan pepper is an unsung hero of the kitchen. I usually add a bit to everything ironically, like Chef John does, but in his live stream video he got to rambling about how he has a theory that a touch of cyan pepper can open up the taste buds on parts of your tongue that are normally close, and I think he's on to something. I think a bit of it in soup can activate just enough of the spicy food response to get the blood flowing around the mouth and nose and allow you to smell more.
After dinner, we put Rodney to bed. Marissa had some painting to do, and I started a load of dishes and crashed on the couch with Ziggy. I missed my dogs, and I'm so glad they're home. We watched some YouTube videos, then finally after about an hour I emerged to half-ass some evening chores. I put the kitchen away, took the garbage out, then checked on Marissa. She was wrapping up a time lapse, so I used the rest of the time to record some music for the video I'll probably be editing today. I used to use actual songs, but after taking the time to actually read Instagram's terms of conditions that are pertinent to using music in videos, I've concluded that - in the parlance of our time - they have no chill. Virtually, you can't and shouldn't use any actual music in your videos. Isn't that sad? Think about how much cooler Instagram would be if you could use music that people actually like, instead of that safe & poppy royalty free crap that you have to play instead. So in the interest of not trolling soundcloud for the afformentioned crap, we're going the acoustic guitar noodling route. It was fun recording music, and even in the half hour I spent fiddling with Audacity, I discovered several more features that I'm pretty excited about. What I was anticipating being kind of a rough recording actually came out sounding decent - just as decent as anything I've made in Garageband. And as we all know, every time you find a free software replacement for something made by Apple, an angel gets its wings.
That's what I got today. In three minutes, I'll be on a bus, and my on-call shift will start, so set phasers to kill and phone volume to max. Hope you all have a wonderful day today.