Chocolate-covered Cherries


Bowl full of cherries…

When the full course-load for a graduate program is only nine units, that should be some kind of sign that the program might just be pretty hard, right? Not for my guy – he thought twelve units was a better course-load for his very first Masters in Urban Design semester. So when the guy isn’t in class or with his study group, he’s doing classwork…hours, and hours, and hours of classwork. And then in the middle of this marathon of studying, he will suddenly stand up and say (sometimes to an empty room…because that’s just how long he’s been studying), “I need something sweet.” And so that is how I usually find myself driving to Whole Foods Market right before they close to pick up some bulk, chocolate-covered cherries.

I really don’t know what they put in those little balls of goodness – maybe it’s the sweet cherries, maybe the dark chocolate – but those things are the absolutely perfect late-night treat. They bring the satisfaction of a glass of wine after a long day…  And maybe that’s why, on this most recent trip, I pulled down the handle with a little too much enthusiasm…and ended up walking away with over $20.00 in chocolate-covered cherries. Yikes!

The thing of it is, those cherries were a good reminder – slow down and enjoy the good things. It is difficult to do in a place like Austin – fun, yummy, outside, new, diverse opportunities are quite literally on every corner. We’ve been here for less than two months and we have enthusiastically gone out and tried to conquer our Austin bucket list in that short time – forgetting that we are going to be living here for at least two years. That’s right – years!

So here’s our new plan – Dinner out only once each week.  Why place such a restriction on ourselves?

  • Savoring every moment – If we only have dinner out once each week, both of us are more likely to let ourselves be in the moment, enjoying the time out of our house, away from work and school work, and spending time in our new city.  It’s like a weekly stay-cation in Austin.
  • Money, money, money – Taco carts aside, dining out isn’t always cheap.  And when we take the time to eat out, both JP and I like to try new things…without regard to the prices on the menu.
  • Easier on the (ahem) mid-section – Working at a desk for 8 (or more!) hours each day doesn’t really lend itself to getting in shape.  Restaurant food may taste A-MA-ZING and Austin-ites are known for going for locally grown and higher quality ingredients, but you just never know everything that is in your meal when you eat out.  Even with the best intentions…
  • Learning to cook at home – Attorneys are generally in their head most of the time, and I am no different.  So getting out of my head and into my body, creating meals with my own little hands, is a priority in my “200% of life” plan.  There is something very therapeutic about turning on a little Sinatra or, as we did last night, Lumineers while creating something tasty and nourishing.

Breaks from home life, work life, homework life are important – brain breaks, sofa breaks, inside-the-same-four-walls breaks. But for us, trying to do them all at once means we’re not enjoying the moment…and we are also potentially spending a little more cash than our one-income bank accounts can do right now. Life – truly a bowl full of cherries…chocolate-covered 😉


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