Good morning, dear readers! It’s already been a good morning for me, between a good night’s sleep, a big bowl of banana oatmeal, and that Saturday feeling. It’s a working weekend for me because I’ve got a presentation to prepare for lab meeting on Monday and flies to water in the lab later today, but I don’t mind. It’s still Saturday!
I’m rediscovering all sorts of old things that I once loved and then forgot. I think it’s nice, a little like meeting up with an old friend after a long absence. Last night, after a reluctant 20-minute run in the cold and the dark, I put on a Norah Jones CD and made myself an almond crust pizza and a spinach salad. Everything hit the spot, especially the music. This CD was her feels like home album. Two of my favorite songs are “Creepin’ In” and “Toes.” I’m also partial to “Sunrise” because I consider sleeping late to be a weekend requirement.
I’ve discovered a new dessert tea that I want to share with you: Stash Decaf Chocolate Hazelnut Tea. Really: chocolate hazelnut! If you doctor it up with a splash of milk and a teaspoon of sugar, it’s like hot chocolate but lighter on the palate and with an almost fruity finish. I’m a huge fan of drinking herbal teas with dessert, but I think this Stash tea is going to work its way into my rotation.
This weekend I think I’m going to trot out some old favorite recipes for the big Saturday dinner. I haven’t made Matt’s Chickpea and Artichoke Heart Stew in a long time, and since it is Valentine’s Day weekend, it somehow seems appropriate to make recipes that remind me of Matt. I miss him in a sweet, happy way—with fondness and love. I’m glad our friendship blossomed into so much more.
With Matt’s stew I’m going to have his Spinach and Orange Salad and maybe a hunk of chewy bakery bread. The broth in the stew is so good and perfect for bread-dunking. Dessert will probably be a lazy affair of pantry-pawing to find something sweet to eat alongside a mug of my new Stash tea.
I know I tend toward the sappy and sentimental in my posts, but I can’t help but remember how scared and sad I felt a year ago at Valentine’s Day. I was crushed by the darkness of winter and the looming unknown questions about finishing my PhD and what would happen after that. I had no idea that I would be living in Texas by the end of the year or enjoying a research position in a new lab, one that would allow me to put all my hard-earned knowledge to work on new projects. Research is still hard—it’s never easy—but I’m so much happier with it than I imagined possible. I don’t feel crushed under the weight of my worry any more, and for that I will never stop feeling grateful. That’s why my PhD matters so much to me: it set me free.