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September 13, 2002
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Lunch at Work

I got rained on today. I loved it. Moreover, we had a cookout in the rain, just like in Seattle. It was so neat. Of course, my lungs aren't too happy with me, but that's okay by me. I'll just sleep more over the weekend, or something.

It started like most Fridays, with getting Jet to Joan's, working over my status of the week, having my one on one with Jayashree, and then John started his meeting. I went to get Jet. We got home, I nursed him, and when he fell asleep, I put him into his car seat. Today, however, I also strapped him in when I put him into our room. When John was done with his meeting, we loaded the car up with marinated short ribs, steamed rice, chips and my fresh salsa, and all of Jet's stuff along with John's laptop and my purse with my Visor and keyboard.

Okay, so not everything was the same in the morning. John had pulled short ribs from the freezer into the fridge. I marinated them by making sure they were thawed and sticking them into a Zip-loc with half a cup of teriyaki sauce and kneading them for a while. I also put 2 cups of washed short grain rice with 1 3/4 cups of water in the rice cooker and thirty minutes later John turned it on. Short grain rice surprises me, often, with how little water it really needs and how much better it is with a short soak.

Once loaded up we loaded the sleeping Jet, who promptly started complaining and just as promptly, once the car started moving, went back to sleep. We got to work half an hour later, as we were driving through the rain, a train had stopped across our usual route, and we had to double back. So it took a little longer, which was good for Jet's nap.

The moment we stopped, he woke up again and protested some more. So we pulled him out of his seat, John took him and the laptop and ran for the overhang. I got everything else and followed in a bit more leisurely style.

From there we headed to the cafeteria, where John's group was having a BBQ with pop, beer, and the company grills heated up and ready to go. Yeah, three gas grills are cheaper than paying for full-blown company functions for all the groups. So we have grills, and everyone brought their own meat, fish, or whatever, and they got grilled while we all potlucked on side items. Denise also brought two huge boxes of Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches. They were so good looking I had to have one before we even started making our lunch.

The ribs grilled up nicely, along with Jet's hot dog. Jet ate the whole thing, half of it off a plastic knife stuck through it the long way. Kind of like his usual chopstick. Someone stopped by to say that his eight-year-old son still ate hot dogs on a chopstick and liked it best that way. It was a fun little party, just talking with people, eating with them, and having a good time grilling with them in the rain. Halfway through, the rain died down, and we just stood around outside breathing the scent of rain and being comfortable. I enjoyed that so much.

Jet was cool, too. He spent about ten minutes attached to me, but then started walking around, smiling at people, and talking to a few of them. Then he started wandering further and further, just looking at things and exploring. I'm glad he got comfortable. Jet and I then went to see if we could talk with Karen about some manifest items, and she never really showed up. She was feeling badly, so I'm glad she took care of herself. Jet played with Marketing Jennifer and I until about two, and then Jennifer had to work some and he and I played for a while. Then Jet decided he wanted to go downstairs and stay there. He got really mad at me when I brought him back upstairs to check if Karen had gotten there. So finally, I took Jet with me back to my end of the building.

On the way over, he got to meet several people, and finally I figured out he had a nice, big poopy that had to be changed. Growf. When he's cranky and unhappy to start, changing him can be a real pain by myself, with the changing pad on the floor because he can just roll over to get away from me. So we went into a meeting room, and had a battle to get him cleaned up and changed. We both hate it, and it's just hard to do. I'll be glad when his verbal skills are a bit better and/or he figures out that it's going to get done, one way or another, and it's either going to be hard when he fights it or easy if he doesn't. We got through it and then I gave him white board markers to draw with on the wall that's all white board material. He loved that.

John came by when we were just finishing, and I got to clean up and then go try to see Karen one last time. Then Bob, John and I talked while Jet drew. Finally Jet started trying to draw on the furniture and the other walls, so I scooped him up and nursed him and he went right to sleep while we were talking. That was good. Jet slept so deeply that we were able to get home and tuck him into the bedroom while we unloaded and got everything together.

Yay!

He slept for a full hour and then I played with him for a while. John then played with him while I worked for a bit, and then I made pizzas from the dough I'd made on Tuesday.

It's Alton Brown's Pizza Pizza recipe, and it's weird, to me at least, in the there's only two cups of high protein flour to three-quarters cup water. The dough seemed completely unmanageable, but with all the kneading by the stand mixer, it came out nice and elastic, and today it was pretty easy to start stretching. I finally set it down on parchment paper and stretched it on that. John and I love how the parchment keeps the dough off all the counter surfaces, the pizza stone, and then peels right off the pizza, no problem, when it's cooked.

Unlike the bread machine recipe's dough, this stuff browned in just seven minutes, was crisp on the outside, tender-chewy on the inside and was just wonderful under a thin layer of toppings. Jet actually *ate* the crust, which is utterly unusual for him. He ate about half a piece, as he'd had such a huge lunch, and he was very happy with olives, pepperoni, and the crust.

When we were done with dinner, I looked at my Cooks Illustrated's cook book called The Best Recipe. They had a recipe in there for bagels that seemed just like the ones that the bagel shops on Food TV were doing, so I thought I'd at least try it, now that I had a real stand mixer. It recommended, clearly, that one shouldn't do this by hand. It was the exact opposite of the pizza dough, in that there were four cups of high protein bread flour with only one and a quarter cups of water. The mixer groaned by the end of the eight-minute kneading cycle. The dough out of the mixer was really tough. It was so tough that instead of pinching the dough into eight pieces, I finally just got out a knife and cut it. Wow. It was a complete contrast.

The pizza dough I couldn't have done by hand because it was so wet and tacky. This stuff I couldn't have done by hand because it was so stiff I wouldn't have been able to knead it from sheer lack of muscle. I also got to put some of my 'liquid' barley malt extract into it and John laughed as I tried to measure the stuff with a spoon. It's tacky and a near solid, kind of like molasses in the snow when it's right out of the fridge.

I rolled each of the eight into a ball and let it rest so that the proteins wouldn't fight me shaping them into a ring. When they'd rested, I rolled them out, wrapped them around my hand, and squished the ends together. I rolled it on the counter to seal the ends. Then I placed them on a parchment-covered sheet. When I was done shaping all of them, I pulled a new garbage bag over the sheet and sealed it. I put the whole thing into the refrigerator. A good thing we've been eating all the leftovers.

It's going to ferment in there overnight. It looks kind of funny, but we'll have to see how it turns out.

It's been fun making things that I couldn't have made without the Kitchen Aid.

Jet went to sleep, no problem. He's eaten so much today I don't know how good a night he'll have, but I can hope

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