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My week - The Lyorn's Den

Tue Nov. 2nd, 2010

01:14 am - My week

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Pretty good, considering that I put in 10 hours of overtime. But there was DST end, a holiday, and a very nice dinner.

Monday I was feeling better. Not good, but not miserable and quite energetic. I went to the bank before work to tidy up some things that I should have tidied up years ago, went to work and was swamped from the minute I went in. We are three people at the project, and one of my co-workers does the routine "only click button"-work plus all of my "overflow", and he is in hospital for two weeks. Of course, first thing that happen was the only-click-button process failed. And it went on like this.

I cancelled about half of my evening schedule, or it got cancelled by someone else: No Werewolf on Monday (Ceridwen, who hosts the game, had friends over), no band practise on Tuesday (I was still coughing), no ensemble practise on Wednesday (had to work, but was in time for choir practise), no Capoeira on Thursday (I didn't feel fit enough for that amount of exertion).

When I came to work on Friday, I already had five hours of overtime for the week. Fortunately, one of the project leads had decided we needed a Halloween party, so at 3 p.m. we met in one of the meeting rooms for beer, pizza, my orange-coloured muffins and 80s music videos. It was fun.

I left at 4 p.m., shut down my computer and went straight for the bus stop to go into the city. I really, really wanted new black shoes by now.

It is strange. I used to be very, very invisible in stores. This has faded to merely kind-of invisible -- occasionally, salespeople notice me in less than ten minutes. I wonder if that is a function of size, or age, or if I look as if I want to steal something. Shoes, though -- I have been looking for black shoes for weeks now, and in no store has any salesperson as much as looked at me. Which is a major reason why I had not bought anything so far.

This time, however, in the third store a salesperson noticed me, and fifteen minutes later I walked out with my new shoes. A little more heel than I might have intended, but looking good.

I came home around half past nine and called Snow, who still owed me a telly. She had everything prepared, so I went over and we got it to my place in an extremely noisy handcart. Snow set all the channels for me while I made tea, and then we ate most of the rest of the orange-topped muffins.

Saturday, I spend hours shopping again -- only for groceries, but I seem unable lately to do that quickly, because I need or want so many things from exactly that store that it takes forever. I got about ten kilos of veggies on the market, a big bag full of everything else, and a small bag full of very nice cheese and chocolate. Later, I went into experimental baking, as described in the post-before-previous.

Then came my favourite night of the year: End of DST! One hour extra! More sleep! Can we do this more often?

I felt really good on Sunday, and the weather was warm. I went to the gym again -- took the car, because there was still some cough lurking, but I completed my strength training round with good success. No kids came trick-or-treating in the evening, so I could not foist the results of my experiments on them. Instead, I read A Study in Scarlet and made Brussels Sprouts stew again, this time with added savoy cabbage.

And today (Monday) was a holiday here. I managed to get all my tax paperwork together and while doing so, reduced the ever-growing heap of Papers To Sort by five centimetres. Yeah!

And, it being a holiday, I had invited for dinner before the evening's role playing game. Sometimes I feel like cooking something fancy, and that is so much more fun for six people than for one.

G___ came in to help at 4 p.m. We started with the salmon-and-squash casserole. Cut the skin off 1 and a half spaghetti squash, sliced them lengthwise, scraped out the seeds. The result was about 1.5 pounds of cleaned squash. Took the same amount of potatoes, peeled them and sliced them lengthwise into large, very thin slices. (Sliced my thumb, too. Ouch.) Looked doubtfully at all the casserole dishes I had -- 2 litres, 4 litres and 11 litres. Something missing in the middle here. I took the largest one.

We layered potatoes/squash/potatoes again, mixed three eggs with 200 ml of cream and 100 ml of sour cream (recipe called for non-sour cream only, but I didn't buy enough), plus salt, pepper, some ground chilis and a good amount of dill, poured it on the vegetables, put the lid on the dish and put it in the oven at 180°C for 50 minutes.

Then we had tea, and spend about half an hour on it, which turned out to be too long. We should have continued work right away, and had tea when everything was ready.

Anyway, I started preparing the mushroom soup. I had been late to the market on Saturday and had not got chanterelles or porcini (nor butternut squash), so I had bought oyster mushrooms. Anyway, the mushroom soup is as easy as it gets, I just cut them all up, took 2/3 of it, plus two shallots, put a good amount of butter into a pot and left the whole thing on medium heat for 10 minutes. In the meantime, G___ tried to get together a filling for the apples. The plan was to use no alcohol, because Snow does not like it, but I did not have fruit juice to substitute it with, and without anything liquid, the marzipan and the raisins just wouldn't connect. We tried ginger syrup, to no avail, and finally settled on whisky, hoping that 30 minutes of baking would get rid of the alcohol. This took a while, and then we remembered that the salmon was still frozen. Thawing it in the microwave took longer than expected, so by the time it was thawed and nicely covered with Dijon mustard, it was already time to put it on top of the vegetables, pour some creme fraîche on it and put it back in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.

G___ went back to the apples, and I realised that the mushrooms were in the pot I needed for the vanilla sauce. Couldn't be helped. I added water and instant vegetable broth to the mushrooms as well as parsley, pureed the whole, and then the casserole was done and I___ arrived. She set the table and we got the casserole over, hoping that the cast iron would hold the temperature in and the cats out. (It did.)

G___ got the soup ready with cream cheese and the rest of the mushrooms, and I heated a bowl in the oven for the soup, so that I could have the pot. I___ started on the tea and the dishes, and I on the vanilla sauce (powdered stuff from a bag, prepare with milk). Meanwhile, everyone else arrived and took their own sweet while before they let themselves be shoved into the dining room. The tea became done in the meantime, the soup cooled more than I would have liked, and finally the vanilla sauce boiled and could be taken off the heat and left to cool. I put the apples, now filled with the marzipan mix, into a buttered and sugared form, shoved the whole into the oven, set the clock and went to serve dinner before it all got cold.

The food was great, and really, with the exception of taking too long for tea and being to timid in thawing the salmon, so was our timing. It also, at three pounds of veggies, one of salmon, one of mushrooms, and one apple per person, was a reasonable amount of food. No one stayed hungry, but no one collapsed in their seat either.

Gaming was fun, too. With the end-of-DST still fresh, we cut at 10:30, just after the traitor had finally left evidence of his treason, so that the players now have until next time to decide what to do about it. After that, I tidied up the kitchen a little, so that I'll be able to make sandwiches tomorrow without getting a nervous breakdown about the state of the place.

And than I had some herbal tea, and now I'm going to bed. Tomorrow is a long day again.

ETA, Nov 2nd: Some editing. The usual late-night-writing issues...

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