May 9, 2020

Weekend Recap: Finding Balance for the Long Run of Solitary Weekends Ahead

My weekend started out big… but that unfortunately caused me to crash. On Friday morning, I woke up and went for a run with Sugar before First Friday, but then made myself a giant pot of coffee that turned out to be my downfall. When I had just stocked up on a three-pack of Crazy Cups Cinnamon French Toast coffee (mmm so delicious!), I had accidentally ordered regular instead of decaf. I didn’t notice my mistake until I started getting jittery in the afternoon. Suspecting caffeine, I went to double check the package, and was stunned to see that on a day when I had ten cups of coffee, I had accidentally drunk caffeinated! No bueno for a girl who normally only drinks decaf 🙁

I spent the work day pretty hyper, but around 7pm, I started crashing. I made myself a really quick dinner and headed to bed super early, hoping the crash would help me sleep, but no dice – when I got into bed, I was suddenly wide awake. I ended up staying awake until 2am, reading two whole books in the process! At least I was productive with the time, but it was not an auspicious start to the weekend.

I slept pretty late Saturday, getting up at 8am. That was actually probably the perfect time to wake up – it meant I wasn’t too far off my normal schedule, but I had also gotten six hours of sleep in spite of staying up till 2am. Meanwhile, Sugar was good as gold, patiently waiting in her crate for me to take her out. I rewarded her patience with an extra long run, adding the Yarrow Street hill to the end of our usual loop.

I had seen there was a Back on my Feet contest to take photos of chalk art on your running route, and I found a bunch of really cool stuff. This intricate design was really impressive!

Normally, Sugar and I run pretty early, and don’t see many (if any) other people on our runs. But since we didn’t get out until 8:30am, I knew we’d probably have more interactions, so I wore my mask while I ran. I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t difficult to breathe even wearing it! The only tricky part was that sometimes if things shifted in just the right way, my sunglasses would fog up (from hot air coming up / out the top of my mask), but I was able to mitigate that by keeping my sunglasses pushed down the bridge of my nose a bit. Based on this positive experience, I’m now planning to wear a mask every time I run outside, no matter the hour.

Sugar! Not only are you not social distancing, your kisses are also pulling my mask off!

In the last mile of our run, my phone dinged – a reminder about an Instagram Live ballet class I had wanted to take. I considered skipping it, but decided to give it a try, and was glad I did! Tiler Peck, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, is offering free one-hour ballet classes every day on her Instagram Live, and I kicked off my running shoes and did them in my capris and socks in my kitchen. I haven’t taken a ballet class in several years (since I first moved to Colorado and took a few classes before getting busy with other things), and it was so nostalgic to get to do this!

I loved it, even as I found myself pathetically jealous of the little nine-year-old girl who joined Tiler to demonstrate one combo with beautiful form 🙂

After class, I showered and took care of some chores around the house – including turning my sprinklers on for the season. I have one leaky drip line I still need to repair (though the leak is in the flower bed so I’m not going to worry about it too much), but otherwise, I’m set! I’m proud of myself to be able to figure out household repairs like this myself rather than needing to call a handyman. (And especially right now, when you can’t call a handyman to come over.) Hooray for self-sufficiency!

For lunch, I tried my hand at making barbecued jackfruit. I had bought a can from Trader Joe’s several months ago, but never gotten around to making it. While the recipe I followed was by no means complicated, it needed to simmer on the stove for 20 minutes, and still didn’t come out all that stringy / tender. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t nearly as much like barbecued pork as I’d been led to believe. (And also… no protein? I hadn’t realized that before; definitely a poor substitute for pork.)

I spent the afternoon taking care of a few more chores and getting some reading in, along with more chores. At the last minute, my weekly virtual game night had to get canceled, so I had a one-on-one call with my friend Heather R instead, which was lovely. Our original plan for Saturday’s game night had actually been to mix things up and watch a movie – we were going to watch East Side Sushi, a documentary about a single Latina mom who wants to become a sushi chef, and all eat Japanese food. I didn’t watch the movie on my own, but I did stick with my plan to cook Japanese food, trying out Budget Bytes’ Chicken Yakisoba. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t at all a bad recipe, I didn’t find it to be quite as much of a home run as usual; it just wasn’t quite as flavorful as I wanted it to be.

I think that’s the first recipe of hers I’ve tried that I haven’t loved (out of dozens); the win rate is still pretty high!

I closed the night out with a video date. I figure if I’m going to be in quarantine this long, I have to try some form of dating, right? I wouldn’t say that video dating is perfect, but I’ve been on a number of video dates where I quickly figured out the guy wasn’t a match, and was happy I had been able to discover that out in a quick hour on video rather than having to drive somewhere and discover it in person. I have to agree with the New York Times’ assertion that perhaps video dating in the time of coronavirus will change dating for the better. The problem is, when there is a match, when will it be safe to finally meet in person? Who knows :/

Sunday morning started out much more energetically than Saturday, thanks to a solid night’s sleep. Sugar and I headed out for a slightly-shorter 4 mile sidewalk run (mask was still all good!), and got back just in time for me to attend a virtual reunion of my Experience Camps counselors and campers while I sipped coffee and cooled down.

Experience Camps has unfortunately canceled all of their camps this summer, so this was a nice opportunity for everyone to reconnect from home!

When the reunion was over, I turned my attention to breakfast. I’ve long been intrigued by dutch baby recipes, but they always seemed somewhat difficult. The day before, though, my mom had made a savory version for dinner, which inspired me to give it a try. I turned to Budget Bytes for a recipe (this almond-flavored dutch baby), and from the comments, surmised that I could probably make do without the cast iron skillet that the recipe called for. I cut the proportions in have, baked it in a glass pie plate… and it came out perfect!

Topped it with strawberries, cottage cheese, and a drizzle of honey… yum.

I was so proud of myself for making this yummy recipe; it will definitely be one I repeat! Now I just need to figure out a smaller dish so I can make an individual portion rather than having to save half and reheat it later; this is much better fresh out of the oven.

Once again, I ended up spending most of the day reading (alternated with a bit of work). This time, though, I mixed things up by going out on my deck. I’m developing a decent-sized stack of magazines I haven’t been getting around to reading (normally I will read them on the plane between pushback and takeoff), and I’ve decided I want to try to knock out one a weekend to get rid of this pile. Perfect for reading out in the sun where it’s tough to read my Kindle Fire!

Although I’ve been thinking of having my deck torn down this summer and rebuilt to run the whole width of the house, it really is a nice size for a solo quarantine of one (plus Sugar).

I wrapped up the night with a French dish – green lentils and veggies, with rosemary roasted potatoes. So yummy and so filling! Although this is more of a winter meal (and it was in the high 70s, so definitely not cold weather), it really hit the spot.

Big benefit of living alone: no one else can weigh in on my meals, so I can whip up whatever I feel like at the last minute, even if it’s not seasonally appropriate 🙂

So… another isolated weekend in the books! I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have any lonely / bad days this weekend (whereas in the past, I’ve generally gotten bummed out once a week). I’m hoping that means I’ve hit my groove of planning activities with people and also taking time for myself, since I know this is likely to be the case for a while longer.

On that note, I’d like to end by sharing an article I just loved, from the Harvard Business Review: What Good Leadership Looks Like During the Pandemic. (Please go read the whole thing!) One of the key points is that leaders don’t avoid delivering bad news, but they set expectations properly. It concerns me that so many of our leaders (political, business, and otherwise) are trying to be optimistic and cheery, telling us it will all be over soon. But… it might not be over anytime soon, and I, for one, would much rather have the expectation so I can adjust my own plans accordingly.

As the article points out, “communication cannot be utterly devoid of hope or people will simply give in to despair. Somewhere in that communication must be a hopeful vision of the future toward which people can direct their energy, because without hope, resolve is impossible.” To me, the hope in this pandemic is not in the oft-promised vaccine (that is certainly still far away in the future). It’s in using this time as a reset, or sabbatical, to think about what’s working in your life and what you ought to change. As much as I miss seeing other people, I realize it’s a bit of a blessing for me to get to focus on myself and my home, shoring up things I’ve neglected for a long time.

This weekend, for me, was the perfect blend of getting things done and also taking lots of time for myself to relax. With the expectation that I will probably be spending many more weekends home alone, it’s easier for me to be kind to myself and realize I don’t need to get everything done in one weekend. I am someone who thrives on plans and productivity, but I like this balance that I’ve found between relaxing and getting things done. I’m hopeful that I can continue to find balance in my future solo weekends!


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