Photo by di_the_huntress
I ask because the winter angst is hitting me hard. Shane picked me up from work and I immediately burrowed under a blanket and refused to come out. I wouldn’t come out to exercise. I wouldn’t even come out for Taco Tuesday, not even when Shane offered to brave the cold for Sabor Latino takeout. I regretted it later when he was enjoying his tacos, but still couldn’t be convinced to come out from under my blanket until Shane consented to turn the heat up a few degrees.
I just can’t handle the cold. I can’t do it. I like all the things you do to avoid the cold, though. I like knee socks and hot chocolate. I like sweaters. I like cuddling under blankets in front of a fireplace. I like coffee, coffee with whiskey, coffee with Bailey’s, coffee with Kahlua, coffee with whipped cream. I like soup and oatmeal, though not at the same time. Most of all – perhaps more than any of these other things – I like taking baths.
So that’s what I did tonight. I took a long, very hot bath. I read the August issue of Bon Appetit cover to cover in an attempt to pretend that it was still grilling weather. I thought warm thoughts, and then I bundled up in my pajamas and read in front of the space heater.
What do you do to cope with the winter?
Photo by avlxyz
It was a small one, though, and it was loaded up with veggies and less cheese than usual. And I ate it after running home from work, and skipped the beer that I’d planned on having. With a healthy breakfast (sandwich) and a healthy lunch (sandwich), I think I’ve come out OK for the day.
Tonight I had an intense craving for – something. I didn’t know what, though, except that it didn’t exist in my kitchen. It wasn’t a frozen pizza or a sweet potato or something bad for me. I maybe wanted a burger? but I didn’t want to spend $10 on one, nor did I want a greasy-gross fast food burger.
This waffling continued for upwards of an hour as I looked through my Yelp bookmarks and chatted with Jackie about how we were both hungry but didn’t want to make or order something for our lonesomes. If I’d been in Alexandria, we would’ve ordered a pizza from Monterey and then hung out with Harper all evening.
Photo by JackiePants
Instead, I ordered Chipotle: a burrito “bowl” with rice, sauteed veggies, green salsa, shredded cheese, and oh so good carnitas. Chipotle prides itself on the freshness and quality of their ingredients – especially the pork – so while I know it isn’t the best or most local choice, it does still feel like a responsible and delicious one. And I was super happy with my meal, which is half the battle these days.
Today was about 50% great, 50% totally frustrating. I’ve chronicled the majority of the events already, so I won’t bore you with them again – it was just a day full of foot-stamping frustration. Nothing serious, nothing life threatening, and nothing that a good meal and a good vent couldn’t mostly fix, though. A good hug would’ve helped a lot as well, but alas, Shane was en route to Philadelphia, dealing with his own travel and conference-related frustrations. I took a break from stomping my feet and getting covered in bicycle grease to run up to Plum Market for takeout – a few crisp and flavorful baked chicken tenders, a scoop of macaroni and cheese, and two onion rings fused together with batter. Not the most nutritious of meals, but what I needed tonight.
Remember what I said about Thursdays? It might be Friday, but tonight was very much like a Thursday night for us.
Shane has a very busy weekend ahead of him: tonight’s the first session in the Beer Judge Certification Program, and then tomorrow he’s off to Springfield, Ohio, for the day to watch his brother O R I N in his first power-lifting competition. Between work and BJCP, he had to run around getting the oil changed and filling up the gas tank, so there were few options other than a fast food dinner.
My evening and weekend plans are much more low-key, so I’d planned on making dinner but took little convincing when Shane offered to pick up a sandwich for me on his way home. While I waited for him to return from his errands, I raked up a giant leaf pile:
That’s about half the front yard, plus all the leaves that have accumulated in our quarter of the driveway so far this fall. I’m tempted to email this photo to my landlord to see if it’ll help expedite the leaf removal, which is not our responsibility. I am, however, pretty proud of the pile and of the raking blister that did not get in the way of my plan to knit the rest of the evening.
I consider myself an enthusiastic omnivore and yet I haven’t been in a meat-eating mood for most of the last two months. And if I haven’t been in a meat-eating mood, I emphatically haven’t been in a meat-preparing mood. I’m not sure why this is, exactly. It’s not that I’m turned off to meat – or any meat in particular. I just don’t feel like it.
There are, of course, exceptions. Last night’s stew, for example, or the tacos al pastor on Taco Tuesday. I almost always have meat when we go out – mostly because I feel like I need to have protein, and non-meat options are often heavy pastas, which I enjoy but know I shouldn’t eat.
Long story short, we were going to have pork chops and roasted parsnips tonight, but I had zero interest in either. Shane had a late lunch, and so wasn’t particularly hungry until later, when I did. not. want. anything. in. the. house. but was getting increasingly hungry. He suggested Subway, so we split a $5 footlong, which absolutely hit the spot. Sometimes it’s nice to just not have to make a choice, you know?
Whoever decided that Thursday night was a good night for a solid TV lineup was on to something.
Thursdays are kind of the no man’s land of the week – moreso even than Wednesday, in my opinion. On Wednesday, you’re solidly in the work week mode. You’ve had two days of getting up early and coming home tired to shake you out of your weekend relaxation. By Thursday, though, the weekend is within reach – but you’re eating leftovers because you’re not quite to payday or Friday’s happy hour or Saturday’s trip to the farmer’s market. You’re running out of clean socks, and the detritus of the week is cluttering up the table.
I feel overwhelmed when I have plans or responsibilities on Thursday nights. It’s one reason I stopped volunteering as often at SELMA. If we’re having weekend guests or going out of town, we need to make sure that the house is clean, the bags are packed, the garden has been weeded, and the gas tank is full. If one of us is leaving for the weekend while the other stays home, we like to go on dates. And even if we’re staying put and not entertaining, by the time Thursday rolls around I am usually wiped and want nothing more than to sit on the couch.
My mom is coming up from Rockford this weekend, so tonight we needed to get the house ready for her visit. The 80 degree days of early October have finally abated, so I needed to dig out the sweaters and put away the sundresses. Our friends are chefing at SELMA this week, so Shane wanted to help them prep. And we were both tired, so we ordered a pizza. And that’s just fine.
I think I’ve finally figured out the necessary components of a successful run home from work. I have a tiny running vest that holds my wallet, phone, keys, and (sometimes) coffee mug. I have a couple of route options that work out to 2-2.5 miles. If I run til I hit Dexter Ave, I can cool down for the last .25 mile, arriving home pink in the face but not totally out of breath. It’s taken me a few months of trial and error, but I think this is going to work.
Shane has recently started running with me, so tonight was our first joint run home from work. I’m really proud of him – and a little jealous – for how easily he’s gotten back into it. I hope that he’ll keep it up and keep me motivated to run further and faster, as I’ve been content to just run after a spring full of injuries and a very hot summer. Tonight we ran up Madison, down Seventh, up Liberty, down Crest, and when I stopped for my cool down after 2.5 miles, Shane kept running all the way up to our house.
Apparently we used up all of our motivation for healthy living on that run, though, as neither of us felt like cooking. Instead, we ordered a pizza, which Shane picked up while out shopping for new minimalist running shoes. No guilt, right?
We’re home. We’re tired. San Francisco has spoiled coffee, sandwiches, and cheap ice cream for us – possibly forever. While we didn’t eat everything on our map, we made a decent effort, and once I wrap my head and body around the right time zone, I’ll tell you all about it.
Dinner tonight was Plum Market take-out: nothing fancy, but real food that didn’t require coming home and preparing the groceries we bought on the same trip. I had a slice with a whole bunch of veggies, and Shane had mac & cheese and some sort of roasted sausage and veg dish. Tomorrow we’ll be back to cooking, but after a half day and an overnight of travel, eating something that didn’t come in a fast food bag was triumph enough. And I’m so tired that I just typed “fast foot bag”.
OK, nothing particularly bad about it. I was just under a cloud all day for no particular reason. I got home at 4 and went straight to bed, woke up to say hi to Shane, then flopped back into my pillow. I had intended to cook before knitting group and Knight’s of the West Side (punctuation is correct, don’t hate), but I woke up to a pleasant surprise – while out running errands, Shane had picked up dinner. Roasted beets , my favorite wheatberry salad, and Izze for me, Founders Centennial IPA and macaroni for him. Also a copy of the 2010 America Test Kitchen Cooking for Two special issue. Thank you to Plum Market and my husband for making the evening dramatically better.