Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, September 25, 2020

Four Meta-Wins

Having fallen two and a half months (!) behind in reviewing my daily wins, I realized I could kill two birds with one stone by doing so during blogging time this morning. This caused me to see patterns in the "wins" and make a few connections. So I'll blog a few of the more interesting of these "meta-wins" below.


1. I started off the process of writing this post by making a list, naturally. But part of the idea of coming up with three wins each day is following through, and it quickly became apparent that I am not reliably doing that.

This realization is a win in itself, but the immediate byproduct is that I ended up starting a second list, a to-do list that I am very interested in tackling.

Then I saw that I'd created these two lists within the same document I was using to draft this post.

Wouldn't it be neat to be able to view and work on this document in org-mode and html-mode at the same time, without having to switch back and forth? I thought. I couple of quick searches showed me that it is not only possible, but is an easy-to-use, built-in capability of my text editor.

So I ended up with a permanent enhancement to my work flow, as well. I had several other similar enhancements over the past couple of months, but I won't geek out about that stuff any further here.

2. I have noticed on several occasions that a small silver lining of having just gone through the cautionary (I hope!) "lockdown" time is that I have gotten much better at scheduling, including around other people's schedules (or lack thereof). This post is an example of how the idea of multipurposing everything can help with this in unanticipated ways.

My review unearthed several examples of me improving how I schedule time, including: (1) scheduling my daughter's tutoring time during afternoons, to salvage evenings after a sudden change in plans; (2) making my cooking schedule more flexible to account for my wife's unpredictable evening arrival times; (3) developing a standing order to consider tweeting particularly good (and short!) quotes that I find for other purposes; and (4) coming up with the seeds of an idea to better plan/free up blogging time.

3. With the kids being older and having had more family time at home than we might have otherwise had, it has become apparent that many "pre-children" entertainment options are back on the table for Mrs. Van Horn and me. The extra time practically demanded experimentation on its own, but the key factor is that the kids are older. This makes time three ways: (1) They generally require less attention, (2) they often entertain themselves, and (3) they can participate in some of these activities (e.g., games and movies).

I think I have mentioned gas grilling and adult television time already, and it's getting easier to visit with other parents on play dates. (Yes. We finally got one of those in recently.)

Charcoal (aka, actual, hah!) grilling and home brewing beckon, too.

I'll close this by recommending The Expanse, a science fiction series whose "feel" reminds me a little of Firefly. We're caught up on the former, and, if I am not mistaken, neither of us has seen all of the latter.

Another to-do, if true.

Image by Clem Onojeghuo, via Unsplash, license.
I picked up quite a few new recipes over the time, including my father-in-law's stir-fry, which my wife had been wanting me to learn for some time.

I'll share one below, which is pretty much a direct rip-off of this, but heavily edited because I find the way practically everyone else writes recipes annoying and counterproductive for ease of execution.
Seven Layer Dip


refried beans, 16 oz can
sour cream, 16 oz tub
taco seasoning packet
shredded cheese, 8 oz.
guacamole, 8 oz
tomato, large
green onions, 6-8
sliced black olives, 4 oz can
tortilla chips


1. Chop tomato and set aside 1 cup's worth.

2. Chop green onion and set aside ½ cup's worth.

3. Mix sour cream and taco seasoning.

4. Spread refried beans in a shallow serving dish.

5. Spread seasoned sour cream over refried beans.

6. Add layer of cheese.

7. Add layer of guacamole.

8. Add layer of tomatoes.

9. Add layer of onions.

10. Add layer of olives.

11. Serve with tortilla chips.
This went over very well at an office party, and held up surprisingly well in the fridge for two nights. That likely depends heavily on the brand of guacamole you buy. Unfortunately, I do not remember which I used.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, GUs, you mention the adult-time activities, "I think I have mentioned gas grilling and adult television time already..." I first read that as "gas drilling" and thought, "Well, I guess beer-making really does give you major industrial skills." Which then reminded me of one of my high school friends telling one of my uncles that over the summer he was going to build a robot ant, and my uncle just stared at him for a second and said, "My hobby involves sticking three sticks of wood together."

Gus Van Horn said...


Perhaps I'll kick myself for asking -- perhaps even later, during the day when the answer dawns on me -- but: What hobby is it that your uncle came back with?

I was late getting to this because I was under the weather yesterday: That Shingrix vaccine is a real beast. I got it Friday and was feverish and lethargic all day yesterday. I'm all better now and will take the second dose ahead of a time I know I can "skip" a day.


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, "What hobby is it that your uncle came back with?" Fishing.

Gus Van Horn said...

I am missing something.

Snedcat said...

I am missing something.

Being somewhat old school in his angling endeavors, he had a three-piece fishing rod.

Gus Van Horn said...


I think I may have even seen or used these when I was a boy.

Your uncle would have probably enjoyed how that one sailed right over my head!