The Daily EO: February 22nd, 2016

Tears gathered in my eyes and streamed down my face.

“What is wrong with me?”I thought as cast my mind back to the past week.  I’d had many emotional experiences in the last week.  I’d been offered a temporary position while I looked for something permanent, LinkedIn keeps sending me the job posting that essentially replaced me, I spoke to a recruiter who referred to me as “high caliber”, I attended a Yuology YuLounge seminar focused on me (quivering nose and flushed cheeks in front of strangers is not usually my thing, but I left feeling lighter)

But what was affecting me now?

I continued to reflect upon the journey I am on (without sounding like a Biggest Loser contestant – you know “This journey is such a gift, I’m getting my life back, I will never go back to how I was before. sob.”).  I know there are going to be up and downs, but never have I stood in my kitchen and had tears start unexpectedly except in the darkest moments of grief.

I don’t particularly feel sad today, in fact, I feel pretty good!  The sun is shining (every outside wall we have in our condo is a window), I spoke with a friend this morning (Hi Nancy!), I noticed on my run this morning that the cherry blossoms are starting (I love living in Vancouver), I had a pleasant lunch with a friend (we both could not read the posted menu because we neither of had our corrective lenses with us – ended up pointing at the display case), and then I spoke to a recruiter about future options (“high caliber”  Yep, that’s me.)

This is a good day, right?

So, why am I moved to tears while making baked beans?  Am I cracking up?

February 22, 2016 Extra-Ordinary:  Onions.

It costs me $.75/day to wear daily contact lenses.  Trying to be cost focused in my unemployment I’ve been only wearing them occasionally (using squinting and glasses).  I forgot that cutting onions while wearing contacts protects your eyes from making sulfuric acid from “onion gas” and tears.  So, when you don’t wear them, lots of tears.

So, I am fine, everyone!  I’m good, everything is okay!  Carry on!  Nothing happening over here!

God, gotta wear those contacts – I could’ve ended up with fish for lunch, and therapy. . . .

 

 

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The Daily EO: February 26th, 2013

I challenged my husband to make something from his Alton Brown cookbooks in the month of February.  So he invited his friend over for dinner on Wednesday night and selected Butternut Squash and Potato Dumplings as his recipe.  I do the grocery shopping and he does dinners, so he gave me the list of ingredients to pick up.  Tuesday night he was tackling it and this is an involved recipe.  Not only that, despite following it pretty closely, the recipe ending up needing 3 times as much flour as it calls for.  (ever try rolling muffin batter?)

Roasting, scooping, stirring, kneading, rolling, boiling, ice bathing, draining, drying, oil drenching.  Then the next night, frying.

I love white terry bar clothes for my kitchen clothes of choice.  They always absorb, never shrink in the wash, easily replaceable.  making dumplings is a messy event and for once we used up almost every cloth we had for the draining and drying.   By the time we were finished, we had a pile of wet clothes and a mess of a kitchen.  We tackled clean-up and I threw a load of laundry to clean up all my bar mops.

Our washing machine in our condo is some fancy european apartment sized ones.  Ones that have no patience for North American foolishness of adding something mid cycle.  So, once it is started, there is no going back.  Sure you can turn off the machine, then turn it to spin & drain, and eventually, it might let you inside.  I threw a little extra soap in to tackle all the oil and flour on the bar mops, but nothing unusual.

I noticed about 15 minutes in that the soap level was quite foamy, but figured that was due to my increased soap usage – afterall, I generally have the door closed to the laundry while I do it, so I really had no idea how foamy it gets during the cycle.

I was in the other room – and let’s face it, that’s not too far away when you live in a downtown Vancouver condo – when my husband called for me to grab towels for the washing machine.  It’s leaking!  Alas!

Wha?!

Okay – quick.  Towels.  Mop it up.  Hmmmm.  Not too much of a mess.  Just a small leak from the very front of the machine.  Weird.

But as stated – I can’t open the damn machine.  So we mop up the water, turn it to spin & drain and keep a towel under there to pick up the water.  And wait.

Long Night.  And we haven’t even eaten them yet.

February 26th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Apparently, if you wash Butternut Squash Dumplings in a washing machine, they wedge in the door and break the seal.  Who knew?

The Daily EO: September 10th, 2012

The Poka Yoke  concept was developed at Toyota in Japan.  It essentially means to mistake proof or error proof something.  It is primarily a manufacturing term, but Poka Yokes show up all over the place in every day life.  Like how you can’t put a diesel pump into your gas car.  Or jigs used when cutting wood to block a miscut.  Many things that make life safer are often mistakenly caused Poka Yokes.   It is not truly a poka Yoke unless it stops you from doing it.  For example, if you are driving your standard car and you notice that you are red lining it and adjust your gear or speed accordingly – this is not a poka yoke because it didn’t stop you from make the mistake in the first place.

Most hand mixers have a poka yoke when it comes to inserting the beaters.  There is a physical difference between the holes or beaters that does not allow you to insert the wrong beater in the wrong hole.

I was keen to make a peach/blueberry buckle for the family here because first of all it is darn delicious and secondly there is an excess of canned peaches here.  Apparently there was a “buy 5 cans for $5” and both my mom and brother bought some.   To make a buckle, you need a hand mixer for the cake part.  It’s not my kitchen and not my hand mixer.  Knowing as I do about Poka Yokes, I didn’t pay too much attention to making sure I put the right beater in to the right hole.  Well, either the poka yoke was broken or it was ineffective.  Because I quickly realized that I put the “octagon” marked beater into the round hole.  Easily.  Well, if it went in easily then it going to come out easily.

No.  That is not correct.

So, I pulled on it.  I pulled again.  It wasn’t coming out.  I was alone thankfully – I’d never hear the end of my brother complaining that I wreck everything – black sheep of the family you know.  Hmm.  Maybe if I take the whole thing apart there is an emergency release mechanism.  I found the screw under a plastic piece and cracked off all the individual pieces holding it together.  I finally got inside and found to my chagrin, no emergency release mechanism.  So I put is all back together.  A single beater hand mixer.  What to do?  I think I will take the brute force approach and just pull as hard as I can.  And you know what?  It actually worked.  The beater popped out.

Frankly at this point, I was exhausted and I didn’t feel like making this buckle any longer, but I was half in, so inserted the beaters correctly this time and started off.

I turned on the mixer to Level 1.  Nothing.  Level 2.  Nothing.  Damn it.  Level 3?  Yep, we’ve got action.  Too much action.  Sugar and butter every where.  I persevere.  I get that cake mixed, fruit on top, crumble made and into the oven.  A 15 minute recipe has now taken 1 1/2 hours.

The mixer was eyeing me.  Out comes the screwdriver and I take it all apart again.  I determine the trouble to be that I didn’t properly secure the electronics attached to the switch properly.  But this time I am smart!  I plug it in to test it BEFORE I put it back together again.  While I hold the electronics in place, I turn it to Level 1.  It works!

And I electrocute myself.  Son of a…!  Ouch!  Damn it.

Shake it off.  Put it back together again.  Test again.  Level 1, 2, and 3 work.  Hooray.

Wrap up the mixer and put it away like nothing happened.  Sit calmly at the kitchen table awaiting my electrical currents to return to normal.

September 10th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  When my mother came home she finds something on the floor that looks like a dried cranberry.  When she picks it up it is a little black rubber piece that I recognize from the inside of the mixer.

Advocate for Poka Yokes, people.  They can save your life.  Or at least your afternoon.

The Daily EO: July 18th, 2012

My brother doesn’t like people to play around with things that are not broken or already good.  “Just leave it alone!”, he’ll growl at you.   When I prepare food, I am always screwing around with things.  He hates it.  He always tries it, and often will eat it, but happily watches me get back on a plane or in the car so he can just eat food how it should be.  No “hippie” food, no vegan crap, just left alone.

I made dinner tonight – a stir fry with marinated tempeh and chicken served on grated cauliflower.  Todd ate it.  Said he could have done without the tempeh, but ate it.  Dessert?  Well.

July 18th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The look on my brother’s face when he took his first bite of chocolate banana/avocado pudding sweetened with honey.   Mom and Emile shared an extra portion.

 

The Daily EO: June 5th, 2012

About 2 weeks ago, I purchased a package of peeled garlic.  I really couldn’t tell you why, other than it had one of those 50% off stickers on it because it was approaching it’s best before date.  I found it in the fridge drawer today and it was now past its due date.  You know what you do with food that is nearly bad – you make soup.  I vaguely remembered a recipe for garlic soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but instead of following that recipe, I found two on the internet and combined those.  I’d like to point out now that these were legitimate sources.  One was from Epicurious.com (with almost 300 reviews, 91% would make again) and one was from Christopher Ranch – a garlic farm in California. (whom grew the garlic I was looking at).

How can you go wrong with roasted garlic, roasted onions, heavy cream and fresh thyme?  And essentially that is what the two recipes called for.  One had some potatoes, one said to leave some of the garlic raw and then boil it in the soup.  Both had thyme, both had broth, both had onions.  Most of the reviews said the soup only got better with time, so I planned to serve it for dinner the next day.

I coated the garlic in olive oil and then roasted it in the oven  And the aroma!  The house smelled so delightfully good.  And it only got better when I started frying the onions.   I threw it all into a soup pot with vegetable broth, salt, pepper and let it simmer.  Then with an immersion blender and a little milk (instead of cream), the tasting time was upon us.   Yummy, Yummy.

Tasting went like this:  Garlic. . .  Creamy. . . ouch garlic. …. punch of bitter in the throat. . . . ugggh.

Add Lemon Juice?

Uggh.

Add Maple Syrup?

Uggh.

June 5th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  How could the best ingredients in the world, smelling so good, taste so… bleeck?  I’m going to have to keep trying this.  Soup anyone?