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December 2, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Oatmeal and Other Fast Food

I have a new minor obsession, oatmeal. I admit, it seems a very plain thing to be obsessed about, but then I seem to pick odd things to be obsessed about anyway. Last night, I also used the rolled oats that I bought from Whole Foods to make a nice, big batch of oatmeal. The best thing about cooked oatmeal, is that you can refrigerate it and then just nuke it the next morning with whatever condiments one wishes.

Maybe it's really the condiments I really like. I have a small Tupperware that I had filled with brown sugar, chopped pecans, chopped macademia nuts, chopped dried bing cherries, and chopped pieces of the dried Italian prunes that George and Isabel brought this summer. They'll lend their own texture, sweetness, and flavor to the resulting mixture. So I nuke the whole mass with a sliver of butter until it is bubbling and then pour milk on top. It takes about two minutes, because I already have all the things mixed together in that small container. And then I can enjoy a very hearty breakfast, which seems to make me happier for most of the rest of the day.

Today, I also didn't forget my lunch. Yesterday I had to resort to a Balance bar for lunch. After exercising, I really couldn't bring myself to buy something from the vending machines. It would be just too ironic.

So was a very good day, all in all.

I did, however, late in the afternoon have a really bad depression session for no good reason. Cera managed to talk me through it, and we figured out some of the reasons, which probably included PMS, post-vacation blues, and may, in part, result from the fact that I have lifted some of the stress off my own shoulders. Sometimes I really am a stress puppy, and do better when I am stressing out at everything. I think, however, I really need to learn how to work and be happy in the times when everyone isn't pounding on me to get something done.

Sometimes, I think part of it is also a background mourning for all the time I used to spend at the keyboard on the Internet, writing letters, helping people, and writing stories that had nothing to do with work. Now, so much of my brain and time is taken up with work that it's really hard for me to even contemplate using my imaginative side on anything other than an engineering problem. That's been a hard thing to work my brain and heart around. For all that John really is supportive of my writing, the reality is that there just isn't the time or, especially, the mental energy to pursue things outside of the demands of my job. I guess this is the flip side of knowing my capabilities. That testing my capabilities in the technical sector has taken most of my energy and time. Not a bad thing, just another aspect of reality that I should be aware of.

I think some of it was triggered by writing to www.fool.com and having it so well received as well as getting slapped down by the co-worker and then going through the emotional roller coaster of talking with everyone that did have authority about the situation here. On one hand, it was a taste of the same kind of help I could give people, before; and on the other hand it was a very real realization that I am more bounded than I used to be. As the guy in legal said, "The Internet isn't what it used to be in 1984, there's a lot more people out there that can be terribly naive about what they read into what you say. So please be careful." I have to agree with him. I don't like the fact, but I really did have to agree with him.

Afterwards, both John and I decided that we had a craving for red meat, so we went to Whole Foods and bought ourselves some small, strip steaks and found some pasta with garlic and Parmesan in the deli. We also got some really good ciabatta bread to soak in olive oil and Basalmic vinegar. When I got home I put the cast iron skillet on the high fire, and then put the grocery away. I unwrapped the steaks, sprinkled pepper and salt, coarse kosher salt, on both sides and then rubbed them in canola oil. I then turned the oven to 350. The steaks then hit the sizzling pan for two minutes, while I washed my hands, and filled a bowl with frozen peas. I turned them over for another two minutes, and nuked the peas for the same two minutes. The steaks went into the oven, I stirred the peas and added the pasta, and nuked that whole mass for another two minutes, but pulled the steaks out of the oven after only a minute and a half. The steaks went onto a plate to rest for the time it took for me to put everything else on the plates, pour vinegar and oil for the bread, slice some of the bread, get out silverware and get John to the dinner table. In whole, the meal took about seven minutes to prepare, though I did have help from Whole Foods for the pasta and bread. The steaks turned out beautifully, tender, pink through most of it, just a bit on the medium side of medium rare, and it went well with everything else.

Maybe I should write a cookbook called Fast Food.

It was yummy, and afterwards John and I entertained ourselves greatly by having him play the Crash Bandicoot game while I helped him find stuff. In this way my hands didn't get trashed, and he had help getting further with his game. It was really fun, and I got to cheer a lot, be distracted by the game, and concentrate on something other than work. Hurrah!

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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