Every time I stop to think about what I need to do before the end of the month, the list seems overwhelming.
But then when I REALLY think about it, it's not. It's just a LONG list, of a lot of things, that actually don't take that much time or effort.
I tried to do some of those things this weekend and found that I was trying too early.
Hair appointment: a week too early for booking.
Car detailing appointment: at least a week too early too.
Covid rapid test for the day before I leave: FAR too early, I can only book that a few days in advance.
So I tried to take a step back and focus on what I can do NOW.
Like use up some of what's in the fridge and freezer.
I bought this weird "sourdough yeast" a while back and wanted to give it a try.
"No more finicky starters!" it claimed boldly. "Simply add to your favorite bread recipe!"
Well, ok. I chose an easy no-knead recipe and gave it a shot, following the recipe exactly and adding the yeast as instructed.
What I got was a wet blob of dough that was insanely unmanageable, followed shortly by a flat dense loaf of bread that was gummy inside and somehow completely flavorless (I am 100% certain that I added salt, sugar, and walnut oil). It was not even remotely close to sourdough in texture or flavor. And the yeast was still perfectly fresh, the dough rose just like it was supposed to. I have no idea why it turned out so badly, other than maybe it was just a bad recipe in general?
Eh, whatever. I was disappointed, but the nice thing about messing up bread is you've really only lost the time.
The ingredients usually amount to like $2 worth of stuff going in the trash.
After that I decided to finally attack my basil bush, poor thing.
The amount of basil on that plant was amazing. Bananas for scale.
Deconstructing that took probably 30 minutes, but I finally ended up with a big bowl of fresh leaves.
I didn't have enough pine nuts so subbed in some toasted sunflower seeds, and that was a really nice flavor.
Add to that some garlic and olive oil and lemon juice and parm, and I had a big giant jar of pesto which will live in the freezer until I can address it after this tour.
Next I spent 45 minutes completing anti-harrassment training for my new employer.
Then I allowed myself the luxury of looking up some of the hotels we'll be staying in on tour.
My goodness. Probably about 60% of them are what I would consider "higher-end" 3-star hotels: Marriott, Wyndham, Hilton and such. They're the hotels Jameson and I would choose once in an odd while when we wanted to "treat ourselves" while traveling with the circus. We did usually try for 2.5 or 3-star hotels, but more of the Holiday Inn, Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, or Country Inn and Suites variety.
The other 40% of the hotels on this tour are just GRAND.
I think I have stayed in a 4-star hotel once or twice in my life: in Vegas due to the generosity of a former clown turned concierge, and on a ski trip that my parents sent us on when we were teenagers (although maybe that was just a regular Marriott, but to me it was very luxurious.)
Looking at these hotels got me pretty hyped!
I've stayed in some really crummy hotels in my life, and a bad one can really ruin a stay in a city.
None of these look bad at all.
Anyway, by the time I finished that it was time to start cooking dinner.
There wasn't much involved. In my effort to clear out old food from the freezer I dug out the homemade gnocchi that I made months ago, and dropped it in the air fryer. While that was going I cooked two chicken breasts simply seasoned with garlic salt, pepper and lemon zest, then browned some salted butter with some oregano leaves. When the gnocchi was done I tossed it in the butter and served it with the chicken, grated parm, and peas.
There was too much gnocchi for the amount of butter sauce that I made, so I melted down a little chunk of my homemade herb garlic butter which had also been hiding in the freezer and mixed it in. Good stuff.
After that was steno class, then I had to clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher, and prep a tangzong flour roux because I wanted to try and make Japanese milk bread tomorrow. Ambitious, considering I couldn't handle a no-knead bread today. Whatever, you only live once and three weeks from now my baking days are over until 2022.
Then I took the trash out, got a shower, played through my Tootsie music, and typed this up, at which point Jameson texted to say he was on his way home.
Thursday I assembled my milk bread ingredients and got to work.
I got too involved in kneading and forgot to separate the dough into two parts and incorporate the matcha into one of them.
So by the time I did that the dough was not accepting the matcha very well.
I had another chance after the rise, because punching the air out and kneading a little is a good time to incorporate add-ins if you want.
Then I cut the dough in four pieces, rolled each piece out into a sheet, and layered them, white + green + white + green, rolling them together to form the swirled loaf.
Everything seemed to be going fine, but for whatever reason the proof was not finished after the usual amount of time.
Impatient to get on with my day and frustrated about all of the other things I had pending, I ended the proof too early.
Here's a TikTok of how the bread came together and turned out:
As you can see the loaf was split on one side because it wasn't proofed enough.
When that happens the moisture in the loaf had nowhere to escape to and explodes out the side.
Since it's mostly visual, I'm ok with it this time. The swirl pattern was still apparent and beautiful, and the bread tasted lovely, like a brioche but maybe more sugary...actually almost angel's food cake-like.
I don't think I care for using TikTok for baking segments.
Maybe that's just because I'm not used to it, but taking all of these clips, then editing them together, selecting music, matching the music to the frames, creating each little caption one by one, and listing all the hashtags, seems to take an awfully long time. I mean taking a bunch of photos and editing and posting those also takes time, but the end product also looks better.
And my video was taken down from at least one baking site today because it was considered "self-promotion", I guess my TikTok handle is visible in the video. So yeah, no TikTok for baking most likely.
When the bread was done and cooling I did my meal prep, then drove over to Celebration Arts Academy to reserve a practice room.
I am terrible at improv, and there's this one section of tour music that I really want to work on that involves improv.
It's only four measures, but it's going to bother me that those four measures won't be good until I hash them out.
So I drove all the way over there, walked in. Nice lobby.
No receptionist. Totally empty building.
All of the doors were open except for the office, which seemed to be locked.
I called them and heard a phone ringing in the office, but no one answered.
I left a message to say, hey, I'm standing in your lobby wanting to reserve a practice room. Every door in the building is open so I'm just going to give myself a really awkward tour. Hope that's ok.
So that's what I did. I didn't go EVERYWHERE because I'm not an asshole, but I did walk the main hallway to see what the rooms were like.
They're nice. Lots of expensive equipment. Where WAS everyone??
I left very disappointed and frustrated. Stopped at Target for dinner, then came home to slice the bread and put it away.
After the bread turned out "not perfect but still good", I should have been happy.
But I wasn't. I was angry with myself for rushing the bread and not giving it my full attention.
And I was angry because I JUST want to reserve a practice room, and the ONE time I try, no one is there to set it up.
I was angry because I'm ready to get a haircut, and a covid test, and schedule a car appointment, and so much else, but it's too early and no one is ready and no one seems available for any of these things but me.
I want these little nagging tasks to stop buzzing inside my head like itchy mosquitoes. I want them out of my face. And yet it's too soon and nothing is ready and no one is there and it can't be done NOW.
And I'm especially angry because I can't focus fully on either steno OR trombone, because my time is forever split between them.
I JUST want to pass these steno tests, but cannot for the life of me get consistent enough practice to make it happen.
I JUST want to play through the whole show one time! And get better at improv! Without a practice mute muffling me and warping my sound! But it seems that no one in Orlando will just TAKE MY MONEY and let me have a G-D room for two hours!!
I know that none of this is a big deal at all, and 90% of it is just me being impatient.
I do know that. And yet that's the kind of day today was: rushed, impatient, and half-assed.
To round it all out I spent a half hour scrubbing our shower with bleach because it needed that. And then I went outside and emptied my large planter, shoveling the dirt into a garbage bag and making trips to the swamp area behind the house, dumping the dirt at the lowest part of my pollinator garden to hopefully help slow the erosion there. The garden is completely overrun, I could barely even get to it. But that's ok, I've cleared that area before and I can do it again when I'm back.
Then I took the planter apart, rinsed it with the hose, and moved it to another location on the pool deck where it can dry without gathering rainwater. I swept the deck where it had been and weeded a little. I had planned to sweep the whole deck, but it drizzled while I was out there and it'll be easier to clean and sweep when things are not wet and sticking to the deck.
Jameson and I ate dinner, then he went to rehearsal while I typed this up and packed my lunch and got a shower, then practiced trombone for an hour and steno for another hour.
Here is a summary of what I did this weekend (two days, Wednesday and Thursday):
- Made no-knead bread (epic fail)
- Cut down my basil plant
- Made pesto
- Made dinner on Wednesday
- Went grocery shopping
- Ran the dishwasher
- Took the recycling out
- Took the trash out
- Completed anti-harassment training
- Went to steno class
- Practiced steno (x2, once each day)
- Practiced trombone (x2, once each day)
- Emailed show ticket information to family
- Researched hair appointments
- Researched car detaling locations and appointments
- Researched rapid covid test availability and appointments
- Researched tour hotels
- Made Japanese milk bread
- Meal prep for the week
- Tried to book practice rooms (epic fail)
- Emptied the large planter, washed and stored it
- Swept and weeded some of the pool patio
- Cleaned the shower
- Prepped lunch and work clothing
...I think that's it.
Gosh, I'm such a lazy entitled millennial! Spent the whole day staring at my phone making TikToks!