In the throes of relaxation

I escaped from work at 3:30 PM yesterday with big plans for unwinding this weekend. For some reason this past week at work really exhausted me, even though there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I couldn’t wait to go home each day so I could collapse onto my couch with a good book (I downloaded City of Fallen Angels and Red Glove when they came out on Tuesday) and some bad TV playing in the background (think Jersey Shore or Real Housewives). Besides the gyro meat I made on Monday night, dinners for Dan and me consisted of leftovers from the week before or frozen pizza. I just wasn’t motivated to make a meal from scratch (and with leftovers in the fridge there was no need to). While we ate Dan and I watched an episode and two of the nightly television offerings on our DVR. Top Chef All Stars ended this week just as the third season of Top Chef Masters started so we had a couple of those shows to entertain us. Add our new favorite program, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and our DVR was jam packed with plenty of quality food-related content to keep us occupied. I love it. Dan and I eagerly watch episodes of No Reservations that feature places we’ve been (like Hawaii and New Orleans) to see if we recognize anything, and also places we’re planning to go (like San Francisco, where we’ll hopefully visit again this summer) to get some dining tips. After spending far too little time relaxing, and far far too little time sleeping each night I had to get up and go back to work. That was a struggle last week. But when I came home yesterday afternoon I knew I was on the verge of two solid days of rest. I already mentioned that I made pumpkin blondies as part of “Baking Friday,” but I’ll save the details of that culinary adventure for another post. Dan and I had our usual ballroom dance lesson at Arthur Murray last night and we didn’t get home until after 10 PM. Dinner was whatever I could pull together at that time of night – some tasty frozen ravioli from Whole Foods topped with melted butter and olive oil with some sautéed garlic, Parmesan and Romano cheese, and fresh basil mixed in. Not too far from our favorite garlic and basil pasta so it turned out pretty well. We ended our day with a hilarious episode of James May’s Road Trip, which is a show I recommend to all Top Gear fans. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night. This morning Dan had to get up earlier than usual on a weekend for his haircut appointment, but I stayed in my pajamas long after he was gone. My morning consisted of reading City of Fallen Angels, watching snippets of several different movies on TV, washing three loads of laundry (that I’d been putting off way too long), cleaning up the kitchen, and thinking about making a batch of peanut butter blondies. Then I remembered that I was out of both flour and sugar so I had to go to the store first. After quite a bit of phone and email coordination I met Dan and Dave S. for a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Palos Verdes. The Red Onion was almost completely devoid of business in the early afternoon, but the food was really good. My usually Mexican restaurant fare of a beef taco and a cheese quesadilla was outstanding. After lunch the gentlemen retreated to Dave’s apartment for some golf watching and video game playing. I considered using this time to go see “Jane Eyre” at one of the few local theaters showing it, but the times just didn’t line up right. (I have big plans to go see it either tomorrow or Monday, though.) Instead I went to Target to pick up some flour, sugar, butter, and coconut to facilitate more blondie baking in the near future. When Dan got home from Dave’s we watched our most recent Netflix offering, “Die Hard with a Vengeance” while eating pumpkin blondies straight out of the pan. I loved the movie and the blondies were pretty good too. The best part of the evening came after the movie was over when I finally booked our airline tickets to Maui! Dan and I are going back to Hawaii for nine days in November and I’m already looking forward to it. Waiting seven months for this trip is going to be hard! One of the good things about business travel is earning enough frequent flyer miles to get those two round trip tickets for free. Also, on Friday I booked us a room at the Grand Wailea resort for two nights using Hilton Honors points so we are well on our way to planning our second trip to Hawaii and we haven’t spent a dime yet! It’s going to be fabulous. It’s almost time for me to go to bed now so I’m going to wrap up this post and go read some more City of Fallen Angels before I fall asleep. Good night!