April 13, 2018

Weekend Recap: A Full Weekend Off Work!

I did my best this weekend to take both Saturday and Sunday off work… and was pretty proud that I mostly succeeded! Of course, it took me working till 8pm Friday night to do so, but I’ll gladly take the baby steps to better work-life balance.

After work on Friday, one of my neighbors came over for a drink and to catch up, which was fantastic. Although my work takes me all over the place, I love being a part of my little community! (I also got to start out Friday at a coffee event with members of our Town Board of Trustees, which I always love. I’ve been trying to get more involved on that front recently, and am thinking of taking on a larger role there soon…)

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early to head down to my office at 5:30am. But the reason wasn’t really work; one of the other departments organizes an annual ski trip to Arapahoe Basin, and I decided this year to join the fun. With all the snow that had fallen Friday night, I thought it would be fantastic! Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, for a few reasons. And one of the bummers was that the visibility was incredibly poor on the mountain – my coworker Matt and I took two lifts to get to the top of the mountain, and then found ourselves so blinded by the low light that we quickly skied back down to the base in hopes of better visibility. When we found the lower part of the mountain wasn’t much better, we gave up and just hung out at “the beach”, an area of the parking lot that’s essentially one big tailgating party. Not really my scene at all, but since I hadn’t been to A-Basin in a few years, it was a good reminder of how much I love Beaver Creek and Breck 🙂

Another downside of A-Basin, for me, was the altitude – A-Basin’s lodge sits at nearly 11,000 feet, and the peak is all the way up at 13,000. As longtime readers may remember from my forays into 14er hiking, my body reacts really poorly to high altitude. (Yes, I know, it makes no sense that I moved to the mile-high city.) As soon as I got on the lift at A-Basin, I started having trouble catching my breath. And at the end of the day, while sitting in the parking lot waiting to leave, I got dizzy and nearly passed out! Fortunately, I’ve had fainting spells enough that I saw it coming, and was able to flag a resort worker down and lie down on the sidewalk before my vision went totally black. On the bright side, when he radioed for an EMT, he told them that he had a “female, about 22 years old”. Why, thank you, kind sir!

The best part of my weekend was soon to start, though. My brother Erik was coming to Colorado to visit and ski, and he picked me up at A-Basin mid-afternoon to head to Breckenridge. Yup, I was spending another night in the mountains! I am really spoiled on getaways these days (though I still have yet to take an actual weekday vacation since October, when I took one day off for my Madrid trip).

Selfie to kick off the night!

After checking into our hotel (the Doubletree, which was walking distance to the slopes), we met up with a few of Erik’s friends I had met on a previous visit. They were fantastic! They called it a night early, as their two year old son had an earlier bedtime, but another one of Erik’s friends joined us for dinner at the Gold Pan Breckenridge, a cute saloon on Main Street that recently added an upscale wine bar. The food was delicious, and my friends Cindy and Mike also came to join us for wine after they finished dinner elsewhere. We were all staying back at the Doubletree, and so took the shuttle back for a nightcap in the lobby as the snow continued to fall. Sunday was going to be fantastic skiing!

I woke up around 6am and tiptoed out of the room, then settled in to get some work done in the lobby before everyone else woke up. I got a lot done, and still was able to hit the slopes by 8:40am, only ten minutes after first chair. Not bad! After a few knee-deep powder runs on my own, I met up with the group on Peak 10 – a part of the mountain I had only skied once before.

I skied one run on 10 before the group got there, and it was tough. The powder was incredibly deep, and I ended up stopping every minute or two to rest my quads from the tough workout. I was breathing hard, and it probably took me 15 minutes to get down! Fortunately, since I was on my own, I wasn’t slowing anyone else down. In the time it took me to meet with the group (six of us!) and take the lift back up, a lot of the deep powder had been skied off. I was surprised it happened that quickly, but I wasn’t complaining! Now, the snow was still a reasonable workout, but I could get from top to bottom with only one break rather than a dozen. It was so much fun to get to ski with my brother and his friends, and I was also really proud of myself for being confident in skiing any (single) black diamond they wanted to do. I have really improved a lot this ski season!

By 1pm, though, it was time for me to call it a day and get back to town – and the rest of the group agreed. The traffic was a little bit heavier than usual, but I still made it home by 4pm. And good thing, because I was exhausted! Although I’m usually not a napper, I conked out for a 30 minute power nap before I had to get up and get ready for my night.

Back in January, I shared an article from Serious Eats touting the virtues of “cookbook clubs” – a potluck dinner where everyone cooks a recipe from the same cookbook. My friend Cathryn and I decided to organize this for our neighborhood, and we held our first iteration of the event in February, cooking whatever we pleased and then discussing over the meal which cookbook we’d choose for the next meeting. We agreed that we all cook from blogs a lot more than from actual cookbooks, so we’ve decided to turn it into more of a “cookblog club”. Whoever is hosting makes the main dish, and then the rest of us choose sides / apps / desserts that will go along with it and help complete the meal. Our chosen recipe source for April was Cookie + Kate, a vegetarian / whole foods blog I had never heard of before… but the food came out good!

Cathryn hosted the club this time, and she chose to make these spinach artichoke enchiladas. They were so good! I contributed this black bean soup, which came out good, but I don’t love it as much as my go-to Rachael Ray recipe for black bean soup, which I’ve been making fairly regularly for more than ten years.

Karlyn made Mexican rice, and Elizabeth made cauliflower rice, which was fun to compare the textures. I actually preferred the cauliflower rice, even though it was healthier!
Helene made these delicious skinny lime margaritas, which were just the right amount of tart. We’re looking forward to enjoying them again at Cathryn’s “guac off” in a few weeks!
Cameo made this chia pudding for dessert, which was tasty without being too terrible for us 🙂 And, her presentation of them looked beautiful.

I’ve always loved having Sunday night plans so there’s something to look forward to at the end of the weekend – makes it a lot less stressful to pack up and know that I’m leaving home for a few days on Monday morning. And this cookbook club is the perfect low key activity for me to have a fun plan / some good friends to share a meal with, without taking up the whole night and still giving me some downtime at home after. I can’t wait for the next one!

In all, while a lot about my weekend didn’t go exactly as planned, I was so glad I was able to disconnect from work almost entirely. I’ve been working nonstop lately, and it was amazing to know that I only had to deal with a little bit of email rather than blocking off most of my weekend to work. I’m really hopeful that things are starting to turn a corner at work and this will become the norm instead of the exception. Fingers crossed!


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