Lockdown: You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish

Okay I think I’m going to make this a fast one.

I had the laundry entirely to myself Tuesday morning. First time since the lockdown began. It was terrific.

Breakfast was my weekly Big Mac combo. Delicious.

I hit the beach on my way home. It’s not exactly on the way; the trip from my house to the laundry to the beach back to the crib is roughly an equilateral triangle, I think. The point is that it’s convenient. And it was a lovely morning, and I had a nice swim. Surf must have calmed down a little on the south shore: there weren’t nearly as many dawn patrollers as usual, but I also didn’t see very many stand-up paddle-boarders. Maybe Tuesday was just leave me alone day. I’ll take it.

When I got back from the beach, I had a little snack of tortilla chips and fresh salsa. Needed something after the swim, which always makes me hungry.

Work was okay. One of my dormant proposals woke back up, prompting a phone conversation and a loose promise of “sometime Friday.” The cancer center outline’s still out there being reviewed. The engineering proposal’s waiting for some new info. A Maui proposal is bubbling up — the concept paper I worked on was approved, and now it’s time for an actual proposal. The Kauai proposal’s waiting on one response about one detail. The West Oahu proposal’s been delivered to the prospective donor. Things are moving and I’m one of the cogs.

My annual self-assessment and subsequent official evaluation are coming up. I’m supposed to turn in the self-assessment Friday but I’m trying to get it done Wednesday, while all those proposals are on other people’s desks. I hate this part of the job so much. This sentence right here is the last time I’ll say this, though, because I’m grateful to have a job and if this is part of it, I’m grateful for it, too.

Lunch was a tuna sandwich. One of those meals I never get tired of, ‘though it’s been quite a while since I’ve had one.

For dinner, I made a pot roast in the Instant Pot. The roast has been in my freezer since that last trip to the supermarket before the lockdown began. I knew it’d be in there a while, but thought it would be consumed sooner than now.

I oversalted it, but it was still the best pot roast I’ve ever made. It’s an easy, almost idiot-proof dish in the slow-cooker, which is where I’ve been making it for 20 years. For the Instant Pot, I looked up recipes to see what other people were doing, and I liked one idea a lot. And yeah, it would have been amazing if I hadn’t oversalted it when I browned it all over. Dang it.

I even made gravy, something I almost never do. Lumpy. I need to check my technique. I thought maybe something was weird about the tapioca starch I normally use, but I lumped up the gravy with cornstarch too. I’m pretty sure now I’m not moving the whisk enough.

I made potatoes and carrots with the roast, so those were the sides, although I also steamed some kale to have an actual real veggie on the plate.

I also fed my sourdough starter for the first time in more than two weeks. I was a little nervous I’d stretched it too far, but as soon as it got down to room temperature, it began to bubble happily like it was happy to see me again. I fed it whole wheat flour (I cleaned out part of my freezer this week and found a whole five-pound bag in the back, two years past the best-by date) and it looks very, very happy. I’ll probably do another feeding Wednesday and then make some sourdough bread early Thursday.

For a late snack (while the pot roast was cooking) I ate two chocolate peanut butter pie Oreos. Graham cracker flavored cookies, and the filling is a peanut butter and chocolate swirl. Pretty darn good.

I’m not feeling physically well. I ate a slice of cheese I’m sure was bad, when I was preparing my tuna sandwich. I can make a 24-ounce block of good cheddar last a month without any problems, usually. You just have to know how to take care of it. I haven’t been eating much cheese in this lockdown for some reason, so this block has been with me since sometime in April, and I’m sure it was moldy, even though you couldn’t see any mold on it. I know what my cheese tastes like (oh, and it’s extra-sharp white cheddar, so mold might simply have been camouflaged). Anyway I’m sure it was bad, although I can’t be sure that’s what’s causing my sudden lack of energy.

I didn’t walk Wednesday. I hoped to take at least a little walk down the hill and throw some things in the mail, but my not feeling well took care of that.

There was quite a bit of texting Wednesday. JB and I chatted a little about the gyoza. Crush Girl told me about some stuff she baked last weekend, and I shared with her the mug apple crisp recipe I used.

Ali in Boston asked me more questions about the Kindle Paperwhite. It led to some talk about iPhone cases and a few other things. It was nice to converse with her.

Sylvia and I IMed a small torrent in the office Skype, some pretty heavy conversation about recent events.

Gotta get to bed. Reach out some time if you’re looking for some connection.

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