Hello again! Perhaps I lied to you last week when I said I’d be on a break from this blog until next Sunday, but at the time, it wasn’t a lie. I was feeling overwhelmed and undercooked, and the idea of writing hasty posts for this blog made me sad. So I thought that cutting myself some slack was the best thing to do.
This morning, however, I’m feeling much better about everything. It’s amazing what a day off can do to restore one’s sense of well-being! Yesterday my friend Amutha and I spent the afternoon together on a massive errand run, and I daresay that we were successful in our missions to catch up with each other, buy me a new bike(!), hit the dollar store for a few odds and ends, and buy amazing groceries at places I’d never shopped before. Afterward, I made Tomato Lentil Soup and steamed fresh green beans, the latter of which is becoming a minor obsession of mine right now. It seems so plain, I know, but there’s something nice about its simplicity. Plus I recently discovered that I can set up a makeshift steamer with my strainer and a medium-sized pot, which is exciting because the steamer I have is too big for anything but my Dutch oven, and I don’t think putting a metal object inside enameled cast iron is a good idea. It’s a good recipe for scratches.
And now I find myself sitting at home on a quiet Sunday morning, coffee mug next to me, belly filled with oatmeal. Outside, the morning is cool, but the sun is shining, and I’m planning to go for a long run within the next hour or two, the first time I’ve been able to run in the morning in a long time. The fridge is stuffed with food, including two batches of soup leftovers, so there isn’t much need to cook today, which is nice in its way. I’m planning to do a little cleaning to get ready for next weekend’s visitor, but even that isn’t strictly necessary (thank goodness). Of the two of us, Matt is definitely more laid-back when it comes to dust and dirt. I keep reminding myself of this—that he’s coming to visit me, not to measure how much dust has accumulated on my coffee table. Still, it’s hard to let go of my perfectionism, even when I know it’s for the best.
The week was filled with lovely things, some of which I thought I would share with you. I find that during times of stress, the lovely things become even lovelier, a reminder that the world is always filled with beauty even if you zip past it without noticing it. For me, sometimes it’s necessary to put the blinders on so that I can focus, but it’s nice to know that when I take off the blinders for a few minutes, there will be plenty to savor.
* The smell of freshly cooked rice
* The pale golden glow of an autumn sunset
* Pink flowers on campus
* Belly laughs
* Chocolate chip cookies from a bake sale, crunchy at the edges and chewy in the middle
* A hundred birds perched on an electrical wire. It’s a goal of mine this fall to get a photo of this, but for now, I just admire it when I see it.
* New blog finds, such as the style blogs Caffeinerd (the lovely Elena, blogging in Milwaukee) and Between Laundry Days (the kind and funny Clare, blogging in my favorite city, Chicago). I have fallen so hard for style blogs this year, which is a great subject for a future post. Style bloggers, you inspire me!
* Old favorite soups that remind me of people I love
* Cozy autumn nights on which to eat old favorite soups
* New soups to try, such as a’s Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (and her post is such a sweet tribute to our Tandem Posting Project!)
* Snuggling with something soft in bed. Now, I know that most people would prefer to snuggle with another person, but I’ve found that a folded-up fleece blanket is pretty nice too. It’s much squishier than a person, and it doesn’t radiate heat like the sun (unlike some people I know, whose name rhymes with splat). The blanket has been really comforting and makes me feel like I’m about five years old with my blankie in bed, which is even more comforting. It helps me sleep more soundly, and that’s the best thing of all.
* * *
My blogging plans remain uncertain right now. I’m on the schedule to give lab meeting a week from tomorrow, so that means I’ve got to pull together four months’ worth of data and polish it until it shines. For me, it’s always important to do the best job I can during lab meeting. I hope to resume a more regular writing schedule in November, with some emphasis on local food adventures, namely my best picks for eating out and grocery shopping in College Station and Bryan.
In the meantime, thanks for being patient with me and indulging my sporadic posts. I’m still reading a lot of good stuff from other bloggers, which is inspiring me to think about where I want to go with this blog. It is good to take stock every once in a while, to think about the past and the imagined future. I can’t really imagine not writing this blog.
Have a great week, everyone!