September 12, 1997

In line with the comfort needs, I let myself cook all out last night. John had a meeting with Lee last night, as John's moderator of our church and Lee's our pastor. She's a lesbian and her partner, at the begining of the month, had just informed her that she was going to stay out East. There was just too much stress happening for her to pull up from all her roots, and there were other reasons I'm sure I don't know. But they had just ended their ten year partnership, which was tragedy enough, but now Lee was stuck with just a pastor's salary and trying to make ends meet.

So the Council is thinking of doing an emergency raise for the last part of the year for her. It's likely to be a first not only in the conference but likely in the whole demonimation. There are only some 40-odd homosexual pastors in the whole demonimation, how many of them are getting 'divorced' from their partners? Most don't even have partners as the more conservative members are far more accepting of an abstaining homosexual, which kinda boggles my brain, but that's what they are.

Anyway, with the amount of stress going on, I decided to cook. Started with a frying chicken, whole, and I took it apart the way a French chef once showed me. It's surprisingly effective, if not conventional, and gets pretty much all the meat off the carcass easily and in roughly graduating size, so that the cook can cook things in progression and they'll all get done together. Click here to skip the gory details. For the leg/thigh sections, cut the skin all around while pulling up on the leg, parting the membrane between muscles of the thigh and the upper body of the chicken as they become apparent, then pull the thigh bone back against the hip, and then you can just cut the thigh free (remember to cut out the scallops against the back). Feel up where the wings join and find the shoulder. Split the shoulder with your knife and then just peel back, taking part of the breast meat with the wing, in a strip that just pulls up. So each wing has a nice strip of breast meat with it. Pull up on the main section that both breasts rest on and cut through the ribs to just pull the breasts neatly from the rest of the carcass. Then you'll end up with two leg and thighs, two wings with extra meat on 'em, and a slightly smaller breast section, as well as the back, which is mostly bone.

I cracked the back in half, added the gibblets, peppercorns, bay, two old carrots cut into thirds, and old half an onion and celery leaves and put it all in a lot of water on the back of the stove and let it cook slowly for stock, skimming it when I remembered to. In my French roasting pot, I put eight smashed cloves of garlic in olive oil and on a medium high heat, I sauted 'em until they were fragrant, and then put the breast piece in, skin side down until it was brown, turned it over onto the bone side and put it to the side of the pot. I then added the two leg and thigh pieces. They browned nicely before being piled on top of the breast and the wings were tossed in and tossed around so that they'd actually brown all over. The garlic was stirred all around while that was happening. After the chicken was browned all over, I then added two branches of fresh rosemary, in small sprigs, and a cup of white wine, turned the fire down to lo and covered it and let it simmer on its own.

I then soaked a bunch of spinich, washed them twice and let them soak a bit more while I washed and cut up four shitaki mushrooms. After that I de-rooted the spinich, pulled out the wilted leaves, and put them in a collinder to dry.

The risotto went into a pot with a bit of olive oil, was browned for two minutes, and then I added the Trader Joe's flavor packet and about a cup of water. When it stirred down, I just kept it cooking and stirring now and again and adding up to 3 cups of water, and then I let it cook until it was thick, tasted it and it was still a bit raw, so I started adding a quarter cup of the still cooking stock at a time, stirring it in and letting it get absorbed before putting in another. Two of those were done in conjunction with stirfrying the shitaki in hot oil and then adding all the spinich and letting that cook only until all the spinich was brilliant green and just done. So they were done at the same time.

When the lid came off the garlic and rosemary chicken both Lee and John got up and asked if it was time to eat. Hee. So I served 'em each half the breast and a wing, I took a leg and thigh, spooned on the creamy white wine, roasted garlic and rosemary sauce that had magically appeared at the bottom of the pan after the long slow-roasting, piled on the risotto, carefully arrainged the spinich in even amounts on each plate with the shitaki providing a nice color contrast and we had dinner.

<happy sigh> The chicken was fork tender, falling off the bones, and the sauce had super soft chunks of slow-cooked garlic all mashed in it, and the risotto was rich with chicken flavor from the stock, but light enough to be able to absorb the sauce even so. The spinich was just cooked, flavorful from the shitaki and with body to the teeth.

I did a happy experiment with drinks and made Russian Caravan and added a splash of Trader Joe's Strawberry Guava to it and the fruit juice really brought out the tea's flavor well. Yum.

Yeah. I really have to watch myself when I'm under stress, because I do tend to eat more extravagently. But the way I figure it, if I cut out all my snacking and spend a lot of energy in the prep, then I'll have made up some of the calories I pick up. Hey... I wonder if some of this attention to food comes from reading many of Ceej's September journal entries about the fact that she's on nothing but a liquid diet?

Well, the interview's at one today. I'll try and get back in time to write more to this and how it turned out. Heh. I might buy myself the teapot if I do well.

Trip's also managed to hook me on the Mythos card game, especially in the deck building stages, and it's been really fun, but I'm missing cards and contemplating buying entire boxes of cards from J&B. Hee. I guess the one good thing about all this headhunting business and job looking is knowing that I'd be in demand, all over the area.

Well. It's very reassuring to have the first interviewer sit down and say,"I think you'll do the job just fine, all I have to do now is sell you on the job and the company." It can be, somehow, very reassuring. Especially since he'll be the only engineer I'll be working with and his boss is already sold on the idea of hiring someone that knows emulators.

But, you know, I really have to work on that coding in front of three or four other people, on white boards with an implied time limit and knowing that they're a bunch of hardware engineers that are more concerned with the byte order than with maintainability. Yes, I didn't do well at that, and you can probably tell from the reverse judgment that I wasn't really happy with the questions they were asking and what I could tell was important to them from it. WRQ did a cool phone interview that had a lot of questions that indicated that they really cared abut encapsulation of functionality at the file level of even the C 'C' code that they wrote. So I was really impressed.

I really like the Cypress organization, what their goals are and how they carry them out, from what I've seen of how responsibilities are assigned and measureed, it seems to be a very good place to work if you're compitent and more than compitent, aggressively willing to do what needs to be done. But it's echo'ed in the fact that the hardware engineers only want software that 'works', and don't really care how maintainable it is or how well designed, only that it does stuff. I'd be the only software person there, and only hired because I knew the hardware as well. While I'd probably learn a lot about hardware, it would only take me further from the software problems that I am really interested in tackling.

But it's a job. <wry grin>

Tom Gryn sent me an article by Darrell Sifford about perfectionists and the types of home environments that create perfectionists, where they're self-esteem is clearly tied with how well they do or don't do. The basic element in those environments was the lack of feedback as to when the child had done well. When a kid brings home a 90% mark, they could have done a 92%. If it's 92%, then they should have been able to get 100%. If they got 100%, thenwhat about extra credit? So whatever they do, there's not feedback from the parents that it was enough. That they had done well.

Eventhough I had fun, fascinated the VP of engineering and enjoyed talking to him a lot, had the guy I would be working with talking design problems with me, and basically was told by his boss that the only reason they wanted my application filled in was so that they could fulfill the need for one in order to make an offer to me, I feel like I failed. Mostly because of one software 'C' question that had to do more with mechanics than with design. I'm a designer, damnit, not a code cranker. Though I should be good at that, too, to do good designs.

Enough self-flaggilation. I did fine. I did the best I could do and that'll have to be enough. Now I'll just go home and take a black current bubblebath and try and unknot my stomach over what I still can't get out of my head as my 'failure'.

No wonder Trip has such a hard time believing he hasn't failed. If *I* can't believe I'm a success with my history of successes, then why should I be pushing him to believe he is?

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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