May 31, 2009: Making Homemade Ice Cream

I had a pretty rough night last night because my tailbone was bothering me so much.  I was unable to find a comfortable way to sleep.  I did sleep but it was rather restless.

I got up, showered and got right to work.  It is Sunday so I am working all day but it is the light day.  I really have found that working full days on Sundays has been a real stress reliever for me just because I know exactly what my schedule is going to be and do not have to be surprised when suddenly there is a lot of work for me on the weekend.

I’ve been making great progress on the DVD conversions now that I have the new desktop.  It has more than doubled the overall speed by which the process is taking place.  I am looking forward to getting my new Mac Mini in August with Snow Leopard because that will add about 40% more processing power and really speed things up again.  It is pretty cool converting all of the movies and shows manually because it is giving me a chance to go through and remember everything that we own which is a rather extensive collection of classic cinema.  Because I have to verify each transfer to make sure that everything worked correctly I get reminded of what each movie is.  This is actually a pretty good experience on its own.  I am looking forward to being able to view my own movie collection again soon.

While I worked this morning Joe, Brit and Dominica went to the grocery store for supplies and then made two batches of ice cream.  One batch of chocolate soft-serve and one batch of hard vanilla.  The chocolate was done first so we ate that with an early lunch.  The soft-server came out really soft but overall tasted pretty good.

Art called from the Congo this afternoon on his new cell phone!  We were not expecting to hear from them anytime soon so that was quite a surprise.  We probably spoke for twenty minutes.  They seem to be adjusting although it is obviously very tough.  You can read about their adventures arriving in the Congo on Laborers for the Harvest.

Joe and Brit stayed long enough that we were able to get a very late lunch or very early dinner from Forno’s.  We ate together then they drugged Dexter so that he would be able to travel and then they were on their way rather late in the afternoon.  After dinner we had the “hard” vanilla ice cream that they made this morning.  It was not really very hard, though, and was really almost as soft as the chocolate.

What we believe that we have discovered is that all good ice cream must have eggs in it (cream base or custard base) and just using milk and cream really results in ice milk and not really what most people think of as ice cream.  Lesson learned.  Next time that we try to make anything with the ice cream maker it is going to be fully cooked egg-based custard base.  The expensive thing about doing the “premium” ice cream is that vanilla beans are like $7-$8 a piece around here and you use one for every pint or so of ice cream!

After they took off for their drive back to Frankfort I went back down and worked for several more hours this evening.  I put in about two to three hours of cleaning up paperwork that has been piling up in my office too.  What a mess it has become.  Just piles of papers everywhere.  It is so hard to keep up with all of the paperwork that inevitably comes through my office.  Most of it is pointless paperwork too.  Stuff that should all be electronic but is not.  The basement was a mess since I was not able to get it all cleaned up tonight but I am going to call it good progress nonetheless.  Slowly I am going to get this basement cleaned up and presentable.

When the Ralstons came down to prepare for their trip to the Congo they brought with them our InFocus X1 projector that Andy got Dominica and I as our wedding present five and a half years ago.  Amazingly the original bulb is still working even after all of these years, tons of use and extensive travel.  This projector has really worked out well first in our theatre in the basement in Geneseo and then as the Ralstons traveling projector for when they gave presentations for the last two or three years about going to the Congo.  Now the projector has returned home and it is our plan to mount it to the basement ceiling so that we can use the basement as a theatre room again.  We already have all or almost all of the equipment needed to have a theatre in there except that we need to mount the projector, run some wires and paint the wall.  Just the “not so expensive” stuff.

So part of my project to get the basement into order is to make it so that we can really start using the projector and the room in general.  Having this room as a working theatre will mean that I can spend a lot more time with Dominica and Liesl while watching their shows but still be able to sit at my desk and work.  It will make me a lot more productive and it will mean that things like setting up the DVD compressions tasks at night will be something that I can do while we watch other shows before going to bed rather than being something that I have to head down to the basement to do after Dominica has already gone to bed.  I will hopefully get another twenty minutes or more of sleep each night!

Tonight we watched some of The Gilmore Girls and did some cleaning around the living room.  Our new kitchen pantry is due very soon.  That is going to make a massive difference upstairs.  We are desperate for that.  We have decided to wall mount our Keurig coffee display unit as well which will give us at least half of a square foot more counter space.  Slowly we will reclaim the kitchen.  The big move will be when we finally get an over-the-range microwave to replace the junk countertop microwave that the previous residents left for us.  We really need the counter space that it takes up and it does not work very well at all anyway.

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