Friday, January 27, 2012

Kitchen Goddess

I've been spending a lot of time lately in the kitchen. I made a couple stabs at making bread. The first attempt was an Amish white bread recipe I found at It was actually edible, much to my surprise. I'd forgotten how dense most homemade bread is; anything we didn't each could have been used as a door stop. In the closeup, you can see I need to work on my mixing and kneading technique.

The scorch marks on the top were due to me trying to bake them in the toaster oven. The bread got too tall and touched the top heating element. Guess I have to use the big oven for bread. We've also been messing around with a pizza dough recipe as well. No photos of that, but it is quick and easy, and reminds me a lot of the pizza dough from one of my college jobs.

Today it was sourdough bread (I cheated and just grabbed a box mix at Walmart) and no-bake cookies from my mom's recipe. The cookies are for a care package that will get sent to Debbie's niece, who is away for her freshman year in college. The cookies turned out good, although they taste different than I remember, but I haven't had my mom's no-bakes in a long time. Maybe the pallet forgets? My bread mixing and kneading were a bit better this time around, but you could still use the stuff as a boat anchor.

But yea; I'm now a Kitchen Goddess. (Can you tell I've had three days off in a row?)

We went out exploring some a couple weeks ago. There is a park very close to us that featured a couple of the tallest trees in Florida. They weren't as impressive as they once were; both were sheared off by a hurricane in the 1920's. Then about a week after we were there, the tallest one named The Senator, caught fire and burned down to a five-foot stump. The forestry people still haven't determined the cause, but are fairly certain it was not arson. Anyway, here is what they looked like:

The Senator


There seem to be dozens of little state parks around here, hidden behind strip malls and hemmed in by subdivisions. They can be tough to find sometimes. This one seems to be used mostly as a place for people to dump their vehicle and take off on bikes down the local bike path that goes through the middle of the park. I understand there used to be a gift shop and all the usual tourist-trap stuff before The Mouse sucked all the tourists away from Seminole County. No way a couple trees and a small zoo could compete with Wally World.

I'm still more or less in a holding pattern waiting to hear from the IRS. I ordered up my software and some other materials, but The Tax Geek is still not full blown reality, although I've been trying to keep the blog alive. I moved the blog from GoDaddy to Blogger; GoDaddy was just too primitive and quirky. Maybe it's just that I'm used to Blogger, but I kept running into roadblocks on GoDaddy and finally decided that I'd rather have a tool I can use instead of one that I constantly fight with. Unfortunately, GoDaddy doesn't give refunds, so it was a rather costly experiment.

In the meantime, I'm still plugging away at the library. I can already see that this won't last long. I expected the normal sort of bureaucratic idiocy that defines any government operation, but Seminole County has bred some very special idiots indeed. Good thing I can just wander off into the stacks and be forgotten for hours at a time. I do know one thing; if you want to find waste and fraud in government, start with county government. As a percentage of their budget, I'm certain there is more to find at the local level than the federal or even the state, which are under constant scrutiny.

Debbie is in the middle of her busy season. She is never sure from one day to the next when she will be getting out of work. I've been riding both ways to and from the library when I get out at 5pm even though it's still a bit more dusk than I'd like by the time I get home. Now that we're past the winter solstice, I have a bit more light every day, it gives me a chance to have dinner at least mostly ready when Debbie makes it home, and Debbie doesn't have to worry about me being stuck at the library if she has to stay late. At least the payoff for all the crazy is some big checks. Woohoo!

If you have an account at Fidelity and you wonder what all those fees you pay go to, here is the answer:

A bit of background: this was a 401K left over from some previous job. So much of the money had been lost that the balance fell below what was allowed to be left in the account. Somehow in the process of closing the 401K, a penny was left in the account, which Fidelity spent accounting and auditing time, check stock, and postage to send to us. They didn't catch their mistake until after the first of the year, which makes me wonder if they will actually be dumb enough to send another 1099-R for a penny. They have already sent two statements, first showing the $.01 balance in the account, then showing the $.01 being disbursed from the account. In addition to sending us the $.01 check. Holy. Crap.

Flickr and Facebook are still on trial. Oddly, Flickr, which I've had much longer and have been a much more frequent user of, is currently in a more precarious position. I haven't logged onto Flickr in several months and I can't think for the life of me why I would. I'm not uploading new photos, I've stopped following any of my contacts, and I've canceled out of all the groups I was in. The only thing left to do is just close the dang account and be done with it already. Meanwhile, I've been on Facebook a number of times in the last week, keeping up with a tragedy involving some old friends up in northern Michigan, making FB far more valuable to us at the present moment. [Aside: This is one of those times when being a long way away really sucks.] No decisions yet on either, but I'll likely pull the plug on one of them before the end of the month.

That's probably enough for now. I have some work to do on the IRS site and I should make a post over at The Tax Geek. Later.

No comments: