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Posts tagged as “We Call It Living”

[eighty-eight] minus one-oh-six: in my quest for the perfect tomato sandwich, i have inadvertently recreated the BLT

centaur 0

OK, full disclosure: this is more like "the perfect sandwich using tomatoes, if you know you're going to be eating out for a few days and want to empty out your refrigerator so don't buy anything too fancy" than the actual perfect tomato sandwich. I go through phases where I eat in most of the time and where I eat out most of the time, and near the end I try to make sure that I use up everything that I have.

Tomato sandwiches are perfect for this: I almost always have bread or or buns or croissants at the house, but will often be left with a few extra tomatoes and some lettuce if I have previously made tabbouleh. But, by themselves, tomato sandwiches can be a little boring. So I started looking up recipes, and found one which involved sautéing a bunch of herbs as a garnish - but which I can simulate pretty effectively with a bit of veganaise, dill, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Leftover tomato can be turned into a mini-salad (upper right, above) with a little salt and pepper and any remaining veggies or lettuce you have. Personally, I like toasting the thick "Nature's Own Perfectly Crafted Multigrain" bread better than the hamburger buns you see above, as you can spread the lettuce and tomatoes out to create a wider sandwich that's easy to eat. It also seems to go better with a nice peaty Scotch like Ardbeg than it does with a margarita, but on all of that, your mileage may vary.

Regardless, I was again cleaning out the freezer of frozen stuff, mostly breakfast items, and found some vegan bacon, which I thought, "hey, that will add savory, I am a genius"! Only when I was done with it did I realize I had simply re-invented the good old bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich that my finicky tastebuds had steered me away from as a youth. Well, they're not steering me away from it now.

Oh, the recipe. Makes two sandwiches:

  • 4 slices Nature's Own Perfectly Crafted Thick-Sliced Multigrain, or bread of your choice
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, or tomato of your choice
  • 4 leaves of Bibb or Butter lettuce, or lettuce of your choice
  • Veganaise, or spread of your choice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dill Weed
  • Onion Powder
  • Optionally, 4 slices of vegan bacon, or, just bacon

Wash and clean the lettuce leaves. Slice the tomato to create four thick slices from the middle. Chop up the ends, salt and pepper them, and add to a small bowl as a mini salad with any other veggies you have, such as leftover lettuce. Toast the bottom slices of bread and spread on the veganaise, then season the veganaise with salt, pepper, dill weed and onion powder. Layer on the tomatoes, two slices per bread, and salt and pepper them as well. Then add the lettuce. (Note: if using wide bread, line the tomato slices up, then add the lettuce, but if using hamburger buns, you can stack tomato-lettuce-tomato-lettuce). Optionally add tomatoes and close off the sandwich. Serve with your beverage of choice.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a lot of tomato sandwiches.

[eighty-seven] minus one-oh-six: be kind to yourself, but prioritize

centaur 0

Last week, frankly speaking, I was feeling kind of low. I had launched a major paper to arXiv (an event which I tweeted et al, but somehow haven't blogged yet) and had a big opportunity to get caught up on stuff. But I couldn't seem to get rolling, not even on my Camp Nano project, Dakota Frost #7, SPIRAL NEEDLE.

I met with my buddy Jim Davies and came up with the idea of restructuring my day, which worked well and I blogged about last week. But when Monday rolled around, and a lot of stuff wasn't done, I decided that I needed to throw away that script and make sure that the important "hanging tasks" got done.

And I did. Maybe not a third of the ones I wanted to get done, but I chewed through a lot of them. And I realized that, after spending a year and a quarter on that big arXiv paper and the Embodied AI Workshop, that I probably needed more recharge time than I had given myself.

But I had felt I didn't have time, as I had to roll into Camp Nano on July 1st and there were other tasks, like managing the repair of our air conditioning system and disbursing awards to the winners of Embodied AI Workshop challenges, that also couldn't wait. Things often just start when they are scheduled to start.

But whether I had that time to take off, I needed that time, as you can maybe see above. The first week of Camp Nano, I was running below full power. After a week's worth of the motor sputtering on 50%, giving me a forced recharge, you can see my writing rate start to climb up again, as it should be.

But the lesson isn't just that it's important to be kind to yourself - the modern phrase is "self-care" - because, as I said, things often start when they wanna start. And this includes planned things, like Camp Nano, and unplanned things, like lightning taking out your A/C. And even emergencies, like a sick cat.

So, I had put blogging aside a bit until Camp Nano was rolling again and my business were taken care of, and was getting ahead on both this morning, just prior to going to lunch with my 90-year-old uncle, when our cat Loki started yowling, puking, and trying to go to the bathroom without success.

The little guy has a history of urinary tract infections, which can kill a cat in hours and almost killed him three times, and had gotten the zoomies after trying to use the litterbox last night. His condition didn't seem bad then, but it was markedly worse today, and reluctantly I called Uncle Paul to cancel, then called the vet.

It often seems that I'm called to do the most just when I've "run out of spoons" dealing with some other problem, but, somehow, God provides enough spoons in the clinch when I need them. Less than an hour after canceling with Uncle Paul, I was pulling into the vet's office, who worked us in to their lunch hour.

Blessedly, the surgery Loki had after his previous urinary tract blockages prevented any buildup this time; in fact, the doctor suspected this was possibly a simpler case of a gastrointestinal infection - kitty food poisoning - and gave him antibiotics / anti-inflammatories to help Loki's system calm down.

Within hours of getting home, he was eating and drinking again, and soon returning to his alternately lovable/needy, grumpy/jerky self. And I got yet another lesson that the resources you need to solve your problems are often there, even if you don't always feel like they are.

Be good to yourself. But put first things first when you have to, and often, it will all work out.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Loki, after recovery (but looking like he looked when he was sick), Camp Nano progress, Loki at the vet, and Loki definitely in recovery mode with his medicine in him. And may I complain again about the Gutenberg editor making simple operations like selecting text an exercise in frustration?

[eighty-two] minus ninety-two: an air-conditioner shattering KABOOM

centaur 0

No good picture for this one yet, but today I found out that the lightning strike that took out our internet may also have taken out the air conditioning for the upstairs (where, ya know, our bed and sleeping is). I seem to recall it having trouble before the lightning strike, but that may have been a completely different problem with the filters, which also need replacing.

Apparently this repair is going to be pricey, and it may be cheaper to replace the entire unit. This will take another week or so. In the meantime, we've run the fan so much the wallpaper has started to peel in the bedroom due to the humidity, and it's still to hot to sleep most nights. As Dr. McCoy would say, "Oh, joy."

My wife has wondered whether we should get lightning rods installed on the house. After several years here, this is our first strike, and I wonder whether it will happen again. There's the old saw that you prepare for the last disaster, and that seems to be true: we first had sewage problems, then a burst supply line on a toilet, then a separate problem with the AC, then tree removals due to ivy, then a freeze, now this. Not much of a pattern there except for the trees and ivy, which we're working on as a long-term project.

Hopefully next up we will not have tornadoes or flooding, because we really can't do that much about tornadoes, and since our house is high on a ridge, if we get flooded out, you can kiss Greenville goodbye.

More news as it develops.

-the Centaur

Pictured: the back porch at night, since I do not seem to have any good pictures of the recent torrential rains and the associated lightning strike, even though I distinctly recalled having taken some. :-/

[eighty-one] minus ninety-one: the clouds were ON yesterday, man

centaur 0

I wished I had a drone or something to fly up, or more hours in the day to drive around and find some place to take pictures not blocked by buildings and power lines. Even so, look at those beauties:

No filters, no AI, no nothing, just a Samsung phone (and Android's computational photography libraries).

-the Centaur

[eighty] minus ninety-one: a modem-shattering KABOOM

centaur 0

Sorry for the no posts for several days. I'd say it's because I've been busy prepping for the Embodied AI Workshop - and I was - but when I brought up the Library of Dresan interface, I saw a half-finished post on my cut hand, and realized, oh yeah, lightning struck the computer while I was working on this. And it did, or more properly, struck the broadband gateway and fried all the Ethernet-connected devices attached to it. Fortunately, the laptop was not one of those things, but it did put a crimp into things for a while. Back to it.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Well, I didn't capture a picture of the lightning, or the aftermath, as I was too busy dealing with the loud SNAP simultaneous with the lightning flash at 2am last week, but I did capture this picture of the torrential rains overwhelming our house's drainage system later that week.

[seventy-six] minus eighty-two: sunset on trees

centaur 0

Sunlight, shining through the trees behind me, striking just some of the forest ahead. I took a few pictures (and even played with the contrast and vibrance of this one in Photoshop) but none of them quite captured the glow that the unseen sunset was leaving on these leaves.

-the Centaur

[seventy-five] minus eighty-two: i don’t believe in gravity

centaur 0

To the tune of 'Magic' by Olivia Netwon-John:

I don't believe in gravity
Nothing can stop me today
No matter how high I have to climb
Nothing can get in my way!

-the backyard snek

Seriously, this snake is a badass.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a snake that lives in our backyard, displaying a healthy contempt for gravity.

[seventy-three] minus seventy-four: sunset and margaritas

taidoka 0

Have been prioritizing the Social Navigation Principles & Guidelines paper (and helping my wife get ready for her business trip) so no detailed posts for you. Enjoy a sunset and a margarita.

-the Centaur

[seventy] minus fifty-nine: what a beautiful evening

centaur 0

After truly terrific hailstorms, we were treated to a truly awesome sunset.

And, got some work done on editing SPECTRAL IRON: Dakota Frost #4. FINALLY, getting the rewrite of the slow section rolling with some good Dakota Frost action segueing right into an ambulance ride.

That's more like it.

-the Centaur