I find myself inspired by this interesting New York Times article about procrastinating pleasure. What an odd thing we humans do, putting off our pleasure until tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Don’t we all know that life is short? And that when pleasure lands like a butterfly on your arm, you shouldn’t shoo it away until a more convenient time? You should stop whatever you are doing and give pleasure your undivided attention. Because if you blink, if you wait too long, it will flutter away and you’ll be left feeling vaguely melancholic that you just missed something magical.
I didn’t realize how starved for time I’ve been until this long weekend landed on me like a butterfly. Even though I was recovering from being sick, I still had a marvelous, relaxing weekend. I took every opportunity to indulge myself, and tonight I am feeling much restored. Here were the high points of my recovery plan:
* I lavished attention on my apartment, which has suffered the brunt of my time-starved condition. I organized and bagged the recycling, did two loads of laundry, vacuumed, and washed lots of dishes. Perhaps housework doesn’t sound like a pleasure, but when it’s finally done, after weeks of feeling guilty for not doing enough, the relief is incredible. Also, relaxing in a clean, organized space feels luxurious.
* My pretty new bag and I hopped on my purple bike and rode around town. This messenger bag is a birthday gift from my little brother and sister, who very wisely consulted my wish list for ideas. The bag is great for running errands by bike. On Saturday, I tucked two big books in there, along with my purse and some cloth grocery bags, and I made the rounds, returning the books to the library and buying groceries on the way back. It’s so much easier to cycle with a big messenger bag to hold all my stuff!
* I ate quiche leftovers and did not feel guilty over one single bite of butter-loaded crust. I did eat lots of vegetables alongside my quiche, but I loved eating decadently for a few days—for Thanksgiving, for my birthday, and just because I could.
* I drank mint mochas while sitting on the couch, crunching data. Okay, yes, I was working, but being able to work from home was great. In my defense, I didn’t spend too much time working, but over the course of three days, I did make a good dent in my mountain of data, for which I am grateful now.
* I took long walks—one on a chilly afternoon wearing scarf and gloves and chatting with a friend, another on a warmer afternoon, by myself around the neighborhood. Both were lovely.
* I ate rum raisin ice cream while watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The combination made for a lovely evening.
* I dusted off an old recipe and roasted a butternut squash. I love the recipe in concept: hack a squash into big pieces, clean out the seeds and gunk, then gussy it up with butter, tamari, sweetener, paprika, and some black pepper. The whole thing gets covered in foil and baked, then at the end, the heat is raised and everything gets browned and a little toasty. The problem is twofold: one is that the squash tasted a little watery to me—perhaps a result of the foil trapping moisture and steaming the squash? The other problem, which is far more tragic, is that all the goodies—the butter and whatnot, drip off the squash and burn in the pan! So sad. Now, I turn to you for help, dear readers: do you have a good baked or roasted squash recipe, one that you love and trust? Is it possible to add butter and such before the oven treatment, or should they be added afterward? I love the rustic and easy preparation of my original recipe, but I’d like the final result to be more flavorful—and full of all the good stuff I’ve drizzled on top.
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I won’t lie: I was sad when the long Thanksgiving weekend ended. I knew it couldn’t last forever, and reentry is always hard after vacation. But I’m happy to have indulged in so much pleasure—domestic, gastronomic, athletic—and I feel hopeful that I”ll make it to Christmas break with my peace of mind intact.