Tuesday, December 03 2019

garlic, christmas lights, and dinner at the bar



Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Are you feeling good this morning? I’m feeling good this morning. Over the weekend, both Marissa and I had a scratchy throat that was threatening to turn into a soar throat. But it either could have been just the exhaustion of traveling, eating fast food on the road, or maybe we really were about to get sick and we just caught it in time. I heard somewhere that garlic can help boost the immune system, so last night I made sure to sneak in at least three fresh cloves into our dinner, and then just to make sure I made a small batch of garlic confit. That’s basically just garlic simmered gently in olive oil, and it’s a great way to use up the rest of what you buy for dinner. So this morning, there’s lots of garlic in my stomach, and I’m feeling good. And even if that is just a placebo, how many other placebos enable you to eat as much garlic as you want? That’s not so bad, is it?

I’m kind of amazed that we’ve made it this far into the winter season without getting sick. Normally we pick up at least one case of the sniffles heading into the holidays, but then again maybe it’s all the garlic we’re eating.

Yesterday was a pretty great day. I started the day off with a team meeting, then trotted up stairs to the Ki Gong session. We spent the first ten minutes of class just swinging our arms, bouncing on our knees, and chit chatting about the holidays. Often I’ve described Ki Gong to people as “that thing you see old people doing in the park,” but having attending plenty of classes this year, that’s now hitting me as an unfair summary. Ki Gong feels like a little bit of yoga, meditation, and self-guided physical therapy. And yes, sometimes we do the kind of moves you see old people doing in the park, but in an undeniably cool way.

After Ki Gong finished, I wandered into the work day. I got a good jump on my tasks for this week and ended up finishing a lot more than I had planned for the day, so I teed up some more experimental work for the next day, and decided to catch up on some reading I had missed last week. After the work day, I jumped on a bus and headed home.

As I walked up our driveway, Marissa was sitting on the front porch with the dogs tied up with their leashes. She was holding a cup of coffee and smiling. Without even making the mental connection that she had worked all day on the Christmas lights and could probably use some encouragement, I instead growled at her about a small extension cord routed across the side walk. “That’s gonna trip somebody,” I snapped like a grumpy old man. “Marissa meekly nodded, then after we walked inside, she confronted me about not noticing the brilliant Christmas lights in the front yard. I felt horrible, so before leaving for the grocery store we wandered back out to the front yard for a gander.

We picked up dinner at Jenny Street then returned home. As I cooked in the kitchen, Marissa tidied up the living room. All evening, we couldn’t help but remark at how much extra time we had with Rodney staying at my parents’ place. “Earlier today, I thought I would have to take a break because I wouldn’t get through it all, but I looked at the clock and it was only three o’clock!” Marissa recounted. I felt the same kind of relief - dinner came together pretty quickly, and within about an hour I had a casserole dish packed with two warm bowls of stammpot, gravy, sausages, a dish of applesauce, and a warm sourdough loaf. We walked out dinner over to the malthouse and found a table in the back. Becky the bartender walked over and lit the candle on the table. “This should complete your candle light dinner,” she laughed. Peeling back the foil on our stammpot, the smell started to leech into the rest of the bar. “I feel like kind of an asshole, but I don’t mind,” I laughed. “Yeah people order pizza in here all the time, I don’t see how that’s any different,” Marissa added.

As we ate, we emptied our backlog of snapchats we got from my mom and dad. We watched Rodney eat dinner, go shopping, and kick around a soccer ball in his pajamas. As we were finishing, a local band started to set up in the corner. We were almost done with our drinks, so we decided to only stay for two songs. “Our neighborhood has a lot of good folk bands,” I said as we left the bar. “But do you ever get the feeling that all these bands are made up of the same four or five dudes?”

When we got home, Marissa and I spent most of the evening cleaning up the house. Later in the evening, Marissa beckoned me upstairs to Rodney’s room, which she had just finished vacuuming. It looked so cozy.

I finished the night on the couch watching YouTube videos while Marissa decorated the tree. I had lots of Bears news to catch up on. Yesterday, the Bears announced that Akiem Hicks was at practice, which bodes well for our game against the Cowboys. Even though our playoff chances are slim, at least I’ll get to see Hicks and Mack play together at the game on Thursday, which will be a treat in itself.

Today should be a good day too - more of the same. Getting lots of work done, vicariously enjoying Rodney’s week through snapchat, and later we’re going to go out to eat with some friends. Marissa decided that on Wednesday, we’re going to sit down and plan out the whole weekend. “I kind of just want to stare at a map and study all the places we’ll be this weekend,” I said. Marissa nodded.

So that’s what I got today. Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday today. Eat garlic, swing your arms, and bring a home cooked meal to the bar.