You may or may not have noticed that I only made it to day 8 of writing daily for National Blog Posting Month. I took on the challenge last November and succeeded, but this year I entered into it with a lot of trepidation. I must have known that trying to put an hour or so aside each day to tend to the blog would be feel like a chore, rather than fun.
I think that I’m experiencing the cumulative effects of not taking a vacation in a long time. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t gone away in over a year. I guess I forgot the importance of a change of scenery and routine. Regardless, it’s catching up with me. I tire easily. I long to do nothing. I want free time, with no plans. And solitude. Lots of solitude.
I took Friday off from work to help some Boston friends move. I drove an hour to get to them on Thursday night, with the intention of staying until Friday evening or Saturday morning. But as soon as I got there I realized the extent of my physical and mental exhaustion. All I could think about was how much I wanted a good night’s rest in my own bed, and a day of no obligations.
Once I was assured they had plenty of help for the move, and after a good meal with them at a local pub, I headed back to Newport. As I drove away, I thanked my stars for having friends who get me, and proceeded to do some serious car singing to stay awake.
After 9 (!) hours of sleep, I woke up on Friday morning thinking of oatmeal. This isn’t so odd, as I eat oatmeal nearly every morning. I usually keep it simple – just some plain oats in a cup, with a few walnuts and some local Aquidneck honey. I like it this way.
But on Friday I wanted my “fancy” version, if oatmeal could ever be so. I knew that I had pecans, brown sugar, and milk leftover from making pumpkin pie (post to follow). And I always have a container of thick cut oats* in my cupboard. I was hungry, and got right to it. I drip-brewed a cup of dark roast, then lingered over breakfast and The New York Times for an hour.
After finishing the whole bowl, I made a vow to myself to treat the next 3 days as a stay-cation. So I went for long walks, did some leisurely local shopping, and spent uninterrupted hours on the couch alternating between reading a book and watching my Hulu queue. I was in bed each night by 10, and got an amazing 27 hours of sleep in three nights. Guess I needed it.
And I kid you not, last night I dreamed of airplanes, and travelling. Shocking.
When I woke today, I made the oatmeal again, then hopped in the internet to plan a real break.
Fancy Oatmeal for One
Toasting the oats gives them more flavor, but also more texture. Not to mention the lovely smell. I like to warm the empty bowl with hot water ahead of time, so the oatmeal doesn’t cool too quickly. This is to be lingered over, with a strong cup of coffee.
1/2 cup thick cut oats
5-6 pecan or walnut halves
2 dried figs, or apricots, or tart cherries
1 cup water
tiny pinch of salt
1 T brown sugar
milk or cream
1. Put an 8″ fry pan over medium heat. Toast the nuts in it, then chop them when they’ve cooled enough.
2. Keep the heat on the pan and add the oats. Shake them about & toast them until you start to see a little brown on them. Turn the heat down, and add 1 cup of water, (careful, it will boil very quickly & splatter a bit), the pinch of salt, and the dried fruit. (The fruit will flavor the oatmeal)
3. Let the oatmeal simmer and cook for a minute or two. Don’t boil all the water out – leave it looking wetter than you’d like, as the oats will continue to absorb water for a while.
4. Once it’s done, put the oatmeal in bowl. Sprinkle with the nuts and some brown sugar to taste. Add a little milk or cream, for richness.
More Food, Less Pain,
*I prefer this brand’s Irish Style organic oats, which my local health food store carries.