Monday, April 23, 2012

Busy day at work today, final adjudications over 130, mostly interviews. I think I’m really hitting my stride as an interviewer and am more comfortable making the quick adjudications required when we are under the pressure that we are. It’s a real challenge here though because there is so much fraud and disingenuous self-representation. The key is experience, and the more time you spend on the line, the more you refine the decision making needed. I think that my head cold on the first day back helped quite a bit too as I didn’t have enough energy to overthink the process and just focused on the essential points I needed to make a decision. I was able to store that perspective and have been working on maintaining stamina through the day now. It’s not so hard to run 20, 30, or even 40 interviews at a high pace, but after about 2 hours, it’s easy to take your foot off the gas and suddenly find yourself spending too much time on non-essentials. It’s a good mental workout and I truly am grateful to have worked the line in Nigeria. It’s a blast.

I got home and was happy to find the English Brown burbling happily away. The American Pale Ale in the second fermenter seemed happy too. Because it was a smaller batch, there is a lot of headspace in the carboy which only serves to cause paranoia and suspicion. I’ve read that too much headspace and exposure to oxygen and air can tarnish a beer. It’s important to keep it out of sunlight too, but my room isn’t pitch black, it just has heavy opaque curtains. Plenty to worry about, I guess, which is as good excuse to keep drinking the brew and opening up new bottles.

I made a quick pizza today and finally was able to cook the bread I made up last week. The dough was still fine but had settled and was a higher density; cooking immediately (as I intended) is much more fluffy and good. I’ll freeze one of the loaves and eat the other with butter and honey. The ground beef didn’t taste very good when I first fried it up, even after seasoning it and mixing in some bacon. The first pizza on Saturday wasn’t even that good because of it, but a couple days sitting in the fridge seemed to mellow it and today’s pizza was perfect: beef, bacon, green pepper, onion, mozz and cheddar cheeses.

I also made a crockpot chili and wanted to mix up a basic pasta tomato sauce and some chicken curry. I ran out of onions though, so the sauce and curry will wait until tomorrow. I’ll put two of the chicken breasts in the curry and then season and pan fry the other to mix in the pasta. I might even make just a basic penne with butter, chicken, and parmesan.

Once I get all this stuff made I’ll have probably 10 or more frozen meals ready to go. If I remember to take it out in the morning, everything is ready to go in the evening. I have cooked rice frozen up and pasta is a cinch to prepare. Even if its frozen, it’s just a matter of nuking it for a minute to pre-thaw, then low heat on the stove top. I’ll be good to go for 2 or 3 weeks with that much stuff.

My frozen food order arrives tomorrow. I know I ordered more bacon and brats and I think I got some cheese and pizzas too, maybe some steaks. Speaking of steaks, I think I’ll thaw out a couple and invite a friend or two over this weekend, maybe for another brew session followed by steaks and garlic rice.

We shall see…..

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