Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Night Nesting

On Friday nights I often suffer from what I call the Friday night blues.  It’s a strange syndrome.  I love the weekends and I try to do all my favorite things each weekend, but it’s almost inevitable that the transition from work week to weekend leaves me feeling a little deflated.  I find it hard to switch from the move-move-move pace of a work day to the sloooooooow-doooooown pace that a really good weekend requires.  What I need, I think, is a good set of strategies for how to make that switch easily and without too much fuss.  Friends, how do YOU swap your working self for your relaxing self?

This particular Friday was rather unusual because I spent most of it being professionally social and very little of it reading papers, which is what I do most of the time right now.  On any given day, though, one must fuel up before leaving the house.  Today’s breakfast, if I may be completely honest, was not very good.  I had a package of frozen blueberries in the freezer that I planned to use for muffins (and still do!), and I thought they would be a nice change of pace from all the mango this week.  I made a blueberry-pecan yogurt parfait, which I thought sounded awesome.  I was wrong.

For the parfait, I toasted a handful of pecans in the oven.  While the nuts bronzed themselves, I mixed together about half a cup of whole milk yogurt with the juice of one Texas orange.  The yogurt was layered into a juice glass and topped with a drizzle of Texas honey, a handful of frozen blueberries, and a scattering of toasted pecans.  The orange juice made the yogurt too watery and, strangely, not sweet enough.  The pecans were totally delicious, and the blueberries were spunky, tart, and flavorful, but the parfait just didn’t do it for me.

Apparently the parfait didn’t do it for my belly, either, because I felt vaguely ill after breakfast and fought waves of nausea on and off all day today.  It wasn’t bad enough to warrant going home, but I worried that I might feel worse as the day wore on.

Perhaps greasy Chinese food was not the best choice for lunch, but that’s what I had.  For this meal, I have to take another free pass on my SCD.  Unexpectedly, I went to lunch with two Asian postdocs from the Duke branch of my new lab, and when I suggested, more ironically than not, Ping Buffett (and no, that’s not a typo, “Buffett” really has two t’s, at least according to multiple on-line listings), they agreed to it!  I was hoping for Souper Salad, which even has a gluten-free menu(!), but I learned my lesson the hard way: never joke about Chinese buffets. 

I didn’t even try to find an SCD-friendly meal at the Chinese buffet.  I resorted to my usual eating habits, and I was reminded yet again that it is not easy being a vegetarian while eating out.  My meal was delicious, but I strongly suspect the egg rolls may have had some meat in them.  In these instances, I adopt a don’t ask, don’t tell policy.  I just don’t want to know.

So I ate my deep-fried egg rolls, green beans seasoned with bean curd (quite tasty!), lo mein, and some sort of spicy carrot and potato thing.  For dessert, I ate a few chunks of canned pineapple, and tiny squares of chocolate cake and strawberry cake.  Grand total with tip: $8.05.  Nutritional value?  I plead the 5th.

In hindsight, I suppose I could have backpedaled.  We were having such trouble agreeing on a place for lunch that I didn’t want to rock the boat when they both agreed easily to the same place.  It is hard enough being a bona fide vegetarian in social situations; I cannot imagine what a hassle it is to be on a diet as restrictive as the SCD.  Amanda, bless her heart, just packs big lunches and snacks for Lydia and herself, and off they go on their adventures.  It seems like a lot of work to me, but I’ve never heard Amanda complain about it.  Her attitude is inspiring.

The rest of my afternoon was pleasingly productive.  Two spice cookies fueled me to the end of the work day, but I still wish I’d bought more apples for this week.  Apples and spice cookies belong together.

I arrived home, and my Friday night blues dragged me down.  I was feeling tired, so I lay on the floor for a while, reading EatingWell and contemplating what I could eat as a pre-run snack.  When the idea struck me, I was jolted out of my lethargy: ants on a log!  I LOVE ants on a log, and with a glass of water they are perfect work-out fuel.  I dug my celery and peanut butter out of the fridge and felt utterly delighted that I’d remembered the celery, lonely and unused in the crisper drawer.

I had a great run, discovering an almost full loop of sidewalk that runs from Spring Loop to Tarrow Street to University Drive back to Spring Loop.  There’s even this great downhill section where I can just let go and feel like I’m flying.  I live for downhills.  After my run, I did some yoga stretches and caught up on Ammie’s blog.  Finally, I was hungry enough for dinner, so I unpacked what was intended to be my lunch earlier today until my plans changed: the last of the Tomato Vegetable Soup and a spinach salad with Organic Valley cheese and toasted pecans.  Dinner surprised me: it tasted great, even though it was neither particularly fresh nor something new and exciting.  It was really nice, though, not having to cook tonight.  I’ve done a lot of cooking this week, trying to keep up with my ambitious SCD plans.  I love to cook, but I also love to not cook when dinner is just sitting there, waiting for me.

I don’t really know what the antidote to these Friday night blues is, but tonight I shoo-ed them away by making my home just a little neater and prettier.  After dinner, I put away all the clean dishes, tucked the dirty ones into the dishwasher, and washed the remaining dishes.  I wiped down the counter and admired the open space.  I slid the cooling rack back into its slot in a cabinet next to the stove, and with that, order was restored in my kitchen.  Now I feel like the weekend can begin.

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