A Year Later

I came to Portland a year ago.  I like it here, even more than I hoped I would.  A friend of mine described it as "the most Crafty town I know of" - and he was right.

It's really nice to be on the west coast again.  It's nice to live in a town where I have friends.  Truly, the only thing I miss about Durham is that I made some friends there and now they are far away.   I like living in a city, and I like walking across the river to come home, and going to the weird-hippie-cool places and all of it.  It turns out, I even like seasons a little bit.  

So yeah.  Ask me again in a year, but at the end of year one, I think I'm gonna stay here a while.  

Springtime in Stumptown

Man this joint is pretty.

That's all, really.  It's been clear and warm for a few days and I'm enjoying it.

Today: Roasted Root Veg

OK in all honesty this is winter food.  It's hearty, warm, and filling.  But I am still finding turnips and parsnips at the market, so I got a bunch of root vegetables together and roasted them up.  

Here's what I generally do.

You'll need

  • some combination of parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potato.  I tend to do a couple parsnips, a rutabaga, and a turnip; of course, use what you have, what looks good, and/or what's at the market.
  • salt and pepper
  • fat of your choice - I like bacon fat, because I always have a mug of it in the refrigerator, but olive oil or butter will also work just fine.
  • sheet pan (baking sheet, cookie sheet, whatever you call it)
  • oven
  1. Heat the oven to 425F
  2. Cut the vegetables into half-inch cube-type shapes.  I don't get persnickety about it, but it's good to get them all around the same size. 
  3. Toss the vegetables in your fat. If you're using a solid fat (bacon or butter) then you'll need to melt it enough to toss the veg in.
  4. Salt and pepper the vegetables generously.  
  5. Roast the vegetables for about 10 minutes; check and stir/turn them over so they roast evenly
  6. Roast the vegetables another 10-15 minutes, or until they're brown around the edges and still soft in the middle.

If you want to add some more zing, you can make a little vinaigrette and toss them with it while they're still warm.  Sometimes I'll cut the veg more like coins or slices, and let them get a bit firmer and eat them like chips once they've cooled.  Another option is to use your favorite spice mix in place of the salt and pepper.  Curried roasted root veg sounds delightful, no?

Groove on this

Do you listen to music while you work?

My last few jobs have been in open-concept offices, which are both very popular and very conducive to distraction.  I'm not a fan. but I do realize that ship has long since sailed.  Since I tend to work in Corporate America. and Corporate America is convinced open workspaces are positive, I tend to listen to music while I work.  

My favorite working music is Groove Salad, which is a streaming channel on Soma FM.  ( http://somafm.com/groovesalad/ )  I like it because the music has enough of a beat to be energizing, but it's not too driving or fast.  Groove salad tends almost exclusively toward instrumental track with no lyric.  I find lyrics distract me from the words of whatever I may be working on, and sometimes I sing along without realizing I'm doing so.  

My other solid option is baroque music.  I like Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi mostly, and for the same reasons as Groove Salad.  The main difference is that I don't stream the baroque, I bring a playlist with me.  If I need to establish a new routine for work, I'll set that up with the playlist because I can tie the routine and the songs together and tread that path a little more heavily in my neural network.  If I'm somewhere that streaming is disallowed or discouraged, I can shuffle the playlist to stay out of the routine option, or use the playlist to help move through the morning tasks.  

I know people who have to work in silence, and people who can't work in silence.  I'm curious to hear what other people do and how you choose your work playlist, or if you have one at all.



Two weeks ago I received some surprising news at the office:  my position was eliminated.  

I've been laid off before, which is a bit of a blessing in this case.  When something unthinkable happens and you live through it, it makes other unthinkable things less unthinkable.  I've bounced back before and I will bounce this time, too.

I have been looking into moving back to the west coast.  The timing is somewhat dramatic, but the option appeals greatly.  I am working hard to leverage all my resources, and I have a little time to make a decision.

And who knows - maybe there's a cute green bungalow tucked up in the PNW with my name on it.  <3