Hi everyone! Happy new year!
I know it’s been a while. Well, for you, anyway. As for me, I’ve composed dozens of very insightful, thought-provoking blog posts over the past few months. Unfortunately, they’ve only existed in my head, and somehow vanish into thin air any time I attempt to sit in front of a computer. But hey, I’ve been thinking about you, and this blog, and maybe that counts for something. (Maybe.)
Last year was a hell of a year, and while I know that nothing has really changed with the turn of the calendar, I’m hoping that as I settle back into the post-holiday routine I’ll do a better job of managing my time.
Just to let you know a little about what’s going on…
The house is still not completely finished after the fire, but we see a light at the end of the tunnel. This is really good news, because if I’d written this post a month ago, it would have been all tunnel. I was in a serious funk about everything, and it seemed like there was no way out. Maybe on some level, things will never be the same, but we’re finally getting to a point where they look normal on the surface. I think that’s a huge psychological improvement, and will only get better.
I’m back to cooking every night, though I haven’t done much in the way of new or experimental meals. Most weekends I’ve made chicken or beef stock to apply to the week’s meals — beans, soups, etc. — and on our holiday road trip I picked up some great heirloom beans to cook. My favorite so far is this recipe for Jacob’s cattle beans with bacon and sage.* These were amazing. They’re surprisingly smoky and delicious, and taste meaty in spite of only using five thin strips of bacon.
For the holidays, we went on an impromptu road trip to hike and visit the national parks of the southwest. This year, the National Park Foundation has run the Every Kid in a Park program, open to fourth graders around the country. It’s a free one-year pass, giving the kid and family free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more! It’s really awesome and I hope that lots of kids are taking advantage of it. The best part is that at every park, the rangers were SO EXCITED to see The Assistant, engage him and really make him feel welcome. With it, we hit Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas (gorgeous and under-appreciated), the Grand Canyon, Montezuma’s Castle and Joshua Tree. We also hiked in county and regional parks throughout Nevada, California and Arizona. It was great, and a necessary break from work and house stuff.
Now we’re back to “normal” and I’m finding my new routine. I’ve been going to the gym twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) since September, taking the 5:30 AM cycle class. I don’t love it, but the benefit is that I show up, clip in and don’t have to think for an hour. I’ve also started going 15 minutes earlier, getting up at 4:45 to do some arm and shoulder work. There’s nothing quite like working above your head on house projects to show you how weak your arms are.
What have you been up to? What’s new in 2016? Let me know in the comments.
* On a side note, I’m no longer going to be reinventing the wheel with most of the recipes that I post. If someone else has already done it, so much the better. I’ll only post a full recipe if I’ve deviated dramatically from the posted structure.