Brain dump

Sorry, this one is more about emptying my head than providing entertainment value, but… well, we’ll see.

Since getting back from Thanksgiving, various concerns getting dealt with.

At work, I’ve taken over the testing role on my team as well as keeping my current analysis role. Part of what this involves is doing regression testing before a deployment, and then doing smoke testing on the night of deployment. This is not difficult, I just hadn’t done it in a long time, so had to remind myself of the tests and how they work (and some are different now, and I need to ask for certain rights and permissions to be reinstated, too). It all basically went fine. Being on deployments is the teeniest of annoyances – you have to be available on a Friday night, every few weeks – but the test itself is simple, and even though you’re obligated to hang around in the slack channel until the whole thing is done, it usually doesn’t take that long unless there’s some sort of issue. So that all happened this week and this Friday and went just fine. Now I need to go back and rewrite some of the instructions and clean them up.

On Thursday, I went to an organ recital, given as a memorial concert for a Blue Hill Trouper’s husband who passed away this year. Lots of BHT friends there, lovely to see them, and chat at the reception afterward. Not only did I get to finally hug the friend whose husband passed, got to do the same for another friend there who lost her husband this year. The gathering of the widows, I guess, me included. Went home and took myself out to dinner at Romeo’s, which was surprisingly hopping. They had a singer, but luckily I was tucked in the corner by the bar, so it wasn’t too loud, not like the Elvis impersonator there the last time. Two ladies at the bar ended up chatting with me for a bit – I told them about the Elvis impersonator and that led to a discussion about Elvis (not very long, I don’t know much about him other than what everyone knows). There was another solitary gentleman at the table in front of me – in a romance novel, we would have met cute, but he clearly was interested in the ladies at the bar, so oh well. I did wonder what his story was. (*scribbles in writing journal*) I had veal piccata and spinach (a lot of spinach, took half of it home, where it will end up in today’s frittata) and panna cotta. (I just blanked on the name of that, had to google “Italian gelatin dessert”. Christ, I’m losing it.) Nice time.

Ruddigore: Saturday was the deadline for audition video submissions, which means of course a whole bunch of emails asking for extensions – which is fine. But we have a lot of auditioners, for specific roles particularly, and it’s going to be a tough call. I’ve already started reviewing them – my hope is to get that done in the next couple of weeks, then consult with the stage director, who’s doing the same thing.

Estate stuff: last I heard, the will had successfully gone through probate and I am waiting for the law firm to receive the letters testamentary and then get them to me. Then I can finally move forward on a lot of stuff. Problem is – and this isn’t much of a problem, but still – I’d really like to do the money distributions before the end of the year, and that may not happen if I can’t get access to the personal checking accounts in the next week or so. I also want to do (final) donations from the estate to his charities, and if I can’t line up an ‘Estate of’ checking account before the end of the year, I guess I can write the checks from one of the joint accounts and then reimburse the account later. That’s actually more of a ‘really need to do this by the end of the year’ issue than the money distribution one.

Otherwise, there’s no rush, no panic. The beneficiaries who are not me are not antsy about the distribution, and the ‘me’ stuff can be done at my leisure. Clearly, the estate won’t get wrapped up this year, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be closed by the end of next year.

Speaking of estate stuff, my friend Susan is finally selling her parent’s house, after three years of misery dealing with their estates and getting the house emptied and ready to go. One week of house showing, she got a bunch of offers. She’s now busily finishing emptying the house before the closing mid-month. I’m definitely going to host a celebration for her once this is all done, she deserves it.

December is Christmas prep, of course, and also my dad and brother’s birthdays – all one big blob. I sent each of those two some festival Xmas greenery for their home, and the birthdays are dealt with already (except for the cards, I need to go get those). They’ll be up for Xmas, which means I need to get some tangible gifts for them for the stocking and under the tree. Not a big deal, but must be done.

I ported all the Xmas music to my phone from Itunes, but discovered that a lot of the albums were incomplete. Earlier in the year, I’d gotten a new home computer and moved the Itunes library over, but clearly some of it didn’t take. So ended up telling Itunes to do a huge sweep of the music library and add what wasn’t there. (I see it is now clever enough not to add duplicates – that wasn’t true last time I looked.) Now I have to figure out why it decided that some random audiobooks were “Holiday” genre as well. That’s OK, cleaning up my Itunes metadata is one of my guilty pleasures.

I’ve been mildly stressed about decorating for the holidays. C was in charge of that, pretty much. I’ve already told everyone I will not be doing the full 100% Charles Xmas explosion. For instance, we’ve had two trees for years: Tree Major in the living room and Tree Minor in the dining room. (Tree Minor had all the Swarovski ornaments on it, and just blue lights. Beautiful). I will probably only do Tree Major, and put the Swarovskis on that, plus other ornaments I like. (I suspect there will be Ornament Culling this year.) If I put up Tree Minor, maybe I’ll save the music ornaments for that one. (Except Tree Major is by the piano. Aaaaaugh, stop overthinking this.)

So I brought the boxes up, but the first thing I wanted to do was empty, clean, and re-organize the entertainment center. I’d ordered a state-of-the-art TV which I thought would get here today (Monday), but it showed up before the weekend. So did the emptying (a coffee table covered with a dropcloth then got covered with now-dusted components, and I dumped all the wires in a laundry basket). Dusting and cleaning with a little Murphy’s Oil Soap. Then installed the TV with the cable box, a minimal setup that worked fine.

Goal was, the next day, to reinstall the stereo amp, hook the TV to it, and also a bluetooth connector I bought, so I could:

  • crank fun loud movies through the stereo, like Star Wars
  • play CDs through the TV using the DVD player (oh yeah, had to reinstall that too)
  • play music from my phone through the stereo

So I got the DVD player installed right away, no fear, but then spent the rest of the morning battling with the stereo and never did get a satisfactory setup. Part of the problem was that I haven’t actually used the stereo in a long time, and most of the stereo-ish components are themselves obsolete. So, for instance, when I wasn’t getting sound from the TV, I wanted to test the inputs using some other device. How about this CD player? Oh, no batteries, let’s get some. Oh, it’s still not working. Why? How about this radio? Also, the amp was effing heavy and bulky and trying to move it around in the cabinet without scratching the cabinet and get access to both the ports in the back (and see them) and the front (and see it) was just a nightmare. Bottom line, stereo is not hooked up yet, but not important. During the cold cold winter, I’ll pull all those components out and do some testing on the dining room table, where there’s plenty of light and room. I may also get a new amp – I certainly don’t need half the functions on this old one.

I’d also wanted to do a minor version of all this in the bedroom – currently there’s an old CRT TV with a cable box, Roku, a blu-ray player, and an old DVD/VCR combo. Take all that down, replace it with the old living room TV, and reattach the cable box, blu-ray and maybe a Roku if I need it. None of that happened this weekend, but no rush. The living room TV is huddled against the far wall of the bedroom, out of the way, and that will be a nice project in the next couple of weeks.

Cooking! Did a batch of oatmeal, and got the makings for chili. I’d hoped I could get the cuisinart working to chop the onions and pepper, but no dice pun intended (even though I looked for the manual online and it’s clear you have to lock both the bowl and the lid, I could not get it to turn on). Used the hand blender instead, just pulsing so I didn’t get mush this time. Made the chili last night, just on the stove (usually I crockpot it), and it was fine.

I am getting more excited about spending more time in the kitchen and learning new recipes and trying out all the tools. The issue is time, of course. But I also just need training and if I can’t get my ass to a knife skills course soon, I may just have to resort to videos (or helpful friends).

Clearly, keeping myself fed has not been a problem, but I’d like to be better at it.

Some sad stuff – this by default should have been a Sunday where I went to the cemetery, but I didn’t, too busy. I might go today at lunchtime if work isn’t busy. I don’t like to rush it, of course, and even just the trip, if I walk it, is an hour roundtrip. We’ll see.

And prepping for next weekend. One reason I wanted to get a bunch done is next weekend, I’ll be upstate for Vikki’s funeral. It looks like I might be involved in some of the music stuff for that, so will have to prep. And figure out what to pack and wear.

I feel like I worry so much about getting my own act together I’m not spending enough time thinking about them. I know that’s nonsense, just part and parcel of my general anxiety and guilt. Aaaaugh.

OK, brain dumped. Have a wonderful week!

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