joys of the desert

Back in December and early January, the Phoenix area (and north of us) got a lot of rain. Granted, this is our wet season, so we should be getting rain. This, though, was much more than Phoenix apparently gets on a normal basis. It was enough that dams upriver from us had to increase their flows, which trickled down to us enough that the Salt River, which does not normally flow anymore, flowed.

This, normally, wouldn’t cause a lot of issues, but now Phoenix is apparently experiencing problems with our water treatment plants. There has been a high increase in the particulates in the water that have to be filtered out to meet federal regulation standards.

As of Monday night, apparently not all water was meeting these standards. Most of the cities quickly converted their water supply to underground storage that we also have, so we weren’t too effected, but there has still been a warning put out to boil our water for 5 minutes before drinking it. One of the many interesting days Sean and I get to have living in the desert. Juice anyone?

fashion note

You know that you work with a big bunch of geeks when you’re sitting in a meeting and notice that one of the guys sitting next to you is wearing a gray shirt, gray pants, blue socks and black shoes. Can someone please point out the part of this outfit that does not match with the rest?!

not much going on

There’s a reason neither Sean nor I have been posting much lately. There’s truly nothing much going on out here.

Work has been speeding up a lot since the new year, so after spending all day in front of two monitors, I really don’t want to spend any time in the evening in front of a third. It’s official that I will never get away from my past as an analyst/tester. This week, my boss informed me that I have been moved from being a lowly software engineer on our project to being software test lead. This means, I get to deal with all of the lovely documentation involved in organizing/planning/executing the test phase of our development so that nothing goes wrong once our software is up in the vacuum of space. I’m actually glad I got the job rather than someone else on my team because no one else really likes testing (actually, out right dislikes testing is more like it) and as a result I don’t think they would do as good of a job of it. It just means that this next week will likely be my last week of touching code for a while and I have to admit that I’ll miss it.

Sean is still watering plants. I would say more about this, but what else is there to say? He’s not killing them. There. That’s something to say. Oh yeah, he’s still enjoying his job. That’s something else to say. He’s also still playing City of Heroes, so evenings around the house are rather quiet, except for the chatter over his headphones.

Since the beginning of the year, Sean and I have started to go to the gym together. We figure if one of us is going, then it’s incentive for the other to go (especially since we carpool into work together). Three days a week. I’m actually really enjoying it, because I get a chance to swim. The best part is that our gym has a heated outdoor pool, so I’ve been swimming outdoors. As part of our routine of going to the gym, we’re also trying to do an outing on the weekends that keeps us active. This gives us the excuse to see more of Phoenix that we had started to slack off on.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t nothing. That’s something. So, there, I’m posting about it. You no longer have to feel left out in the dark about what we’re doing out here.

Oh yeah, and one of these days I will eventually get all of the photos I took over Christmas posted. I swear. My goal is to get them posted by the end of this month. We’ll see if that happens.

happiness is…

Happiness is having a marathon of one of your favorite tv shows (MI-5 in this instance) on a day that you have nothing else to do but sit in front of the tv and watch the marathon. It’s even better when there’s a sunbeam shining in the window right where you’re sitting. The sunbeam, it’s holding me here… can’t move…

Easiest Black Bean Soup……Ever

Kat and I make this recipe when we don’t want to hassle with doing any real cooking.

Easiest Black Bean Soup Ever
Makes about 4 servings

Two Cans of Black Beans- Drained
1 Cup of Chicken Broth
8 oz of your favorite Salsa (about half a jar)

Sour Cream to top
Chopped up ham or other meat

Put a medium pot over medium high heat, and add just the salsa.
Allow the salsa to warm for about 2 minutes, or until you really start to smell all the salsa components.
Add your black beans, and chicken broth.
Lower heat to medium.
Allow everything to cook for about 10 minutes.

Take about half the soup (just eyeball it), put it in a blender and puree it. We use a stick blender that goes in the pot, but a blender or food processer would work the same. This is just so the soup is not so chunky.

Add puree back to the rest of the soup.

That’s it, you are done. Serve into bowls, top with some sour cream and cheese if you want, but it tastes good even without it.

The flavor will change depending on what kind of salsa you use, we found a smoky one that is great, and we like a bit of heat to the soup so we usually use medium salsa, but I am sure just about anything will work.