Dec 102022

Early Morning Quiet Time

To properly convey what a nut I have become, or maybe what an old lady I’ve become, it’s important to mention that it is currently just after 5 AM.

Before moving to the almost country, my life and schedule had a totally different vibe. I rarely cooked. I stayed up really late and woke up as late as possible while still being able to get to work by 8AM. This changed somewhat in the last year before we moved when I began to spend time at the gym, but it was certainly true for most of the time between 2007 and 2017. Who knows why drastic changes in lifestyle occur? Different interests? Different schedules? As your children get older and begin to branch out on their own, maybe you find new things to fill that time? I don’t know. I just know that looking back I was different people during those stages of my life. I enjoyed all of them, but I think I enjoy this version of me the best so far. And not to be too introspective and cheesy, but that’s how it should be. Right? When you’re an empty nester, isn’t that the time that you figure out who you are and what you want without your kids? Your no longer provider, lunch-packer, homework-checker, chauffer, soccer mom (or swim mom in my case). Anyway, enough of that. My point was really that this me gets up at 5 AM a lot. It’s one of my favorite times of the day, but especially in the summer. I love when the sun rises at six. I feel like I get to take advantage of the WHOLE day. Now, in December, it’s dark and cold. But, I still love being able to just have this peaceful time to read, write, clean, meal-prep, play on my laptop, update my playlist or whatever.

When I wake up, I WAKE UP. By that I mean that I rarely experience some type of slow ascent into wakefulness. I am just suddenly awake and in a state where there is no going back to sleep. If I have not mentioned it before, I am a staunch believer in making your bed every day. It might sound silly, but making your bed is an easy way to feel a subconscious sense of accomplishment at the beginning of every day. It starts your day on the right track. A neat bed also helps you have a more restful night’s sleep. — ‘End lecture’

The most vital component of my morning ritual is, of course, coffee. I don’t need the coffee to feel awake, mind you. It’s not about caffeine. I think it’s more about the taste. It’s a treat. While enjoying my coffee I am usually assessing what I want to accomplish that day. As today is Saturday, it is almost guaranteed that this involves some sort of meal planning because the weekends are the times when I would most likely plan for something that takes more time. For example, it’s very difficult to grill on weeknights this time of year. It’s nothing to do with the weather, but more to do with the light. So today and tomorrow will absolutely be grill days and because work sucks, tomorrow will be a day that I make a pot of beef stew so that I don’t have to cook after work on Monday or Tuesday. Saturday morning is also plant-watering day among other things.

Back to grilling. Tomorrow is cheeseburger day. This tradition started about 7 or 8 weeks ago and is all about our Bengal football mojo. Last year our mojo Sunday meal for many consecutive Sundays was breakfast bowls. I know. We are crazy. Anyway, S believes I have perfected the cheeseburger and claims that the current burger is competition worthy! (Haha) This burger is a half pound patty of 80/20 with salt, a good amount of black pepper, and blue cheese crumbles. It is grilled to medium and then topped with a tablespoon of sugar-free bbq sauce and cheddar cheese slices. I then leave it on the grill will the flame off and the lid closed until the cheese is melty. This takes the meat closer to a medium-well status, which is our preference for ground beef. The burgers are topped with pickle and onion. Perfection!

Weekend mornings in November and December are also about getting ready for the holidays so there have been many an early morning spent online shopping, gift wrapping and decorating. Next weekend I am hosting Christmas for the first time so there will be a lot of cooking, cleaning and baking happening!

For today, it’s time to get to work so I will leave you with this. I am currently binge reading a bunch of Regency romance books. (Think Bridgerton) I know. I know. This is so NOT what I usually read. Who knows why? Musically I have been listening to a lot of Morgan Whalen and Hardy lately. The Bengals just beat Mahomes and the Chiefs last week in another classic. They are 8-4 and control their own destiny as it relates to the playoffs. So – just where you want to be in December. The Word Cup is happening right now. The US men had a solid showing by qualifying and then making it out of group play. England and France play today in a quarterfinal match. Other teams still alive include Argentina, Portugal, Croatia and Morocco. S & I watched Top Gun – Maverick last weekend. The original Top Gun was a wildly popular film that came out when I was in high school. The sequel was also excellent. Definitely one of the best moves I saw this year.