I hope everyone else also has the day off! I must say, three day weekends should be standard, don't you think? I for one feel very relaxed! Though that might have more to do with my girl's day in on Saturday. Two of Mark's friends from Portland drove up for the weekend and had a guy's day out while I spent a much needed day inside resting. I came down with a slight cold last week so I knew I didn't want to be out and about in the elements on Saturday.

So I slept in until 10:30 and then caught up on six episodes of my favorite show at the moment, Gossip Girl. My sister-in-law got me into it and I'm so glad she did. I never knew I could care so much about catty rich girls in New York City. :) Watching it is a great escape for me and I'm over halfway done with the series thanks to my binge-watching. I also gave myself a manicure and a pedicure on Saturday, and felt completely guiltless about ignoring any and all housework. Basically... it was amazing. Then the guys came back and we watched a documentary on a sushi chef in Japan, went to dinner at Cactus in South Lake Union, and then watched the first half of a miniseries called "Treasure Island," which I'd totally recommend though I fell asleep through most of it (how is that possible... I did nothing on Saturday!) Mark and I actually finished the miniseries last night (there's only two episodes) and I thought it was very well done.

The added benefit to a day of complete relaxation? After Mark's friends left on Sunday, I totally powered through a bunch of housework and had energy to spare. Give yourself the time off you need and you'll come back full throttle! I had been planning on making ribs for Sunday dinner but the recipe I was planning on using called for stewing them in the crockpot for 11-12 hours and I completely forgot to prepare. I guess my day off cleared my mind so much I forgot I had a plan for Sunday. So I found a new ribs recipe -- Ina Garten's beef short ribs -- and set off to the store for a leek and a fennel bulb. I'd never bought fennel before so I didn't really know what it looked like, but I'd heard of it so I thought it would be easy enough to find. Two passes down the produce line later, I was convinced that maybe Safeway didn't have fennel. I'd seen something called anise that I thought could have been fennel (it came in a bulb, like fennel), but wouldn't they have just called it fennel? So I asked for help but the worker didn't know what fennel looked like either. She went to the produce manager who came out to tell me that they in fact didn't have fennel. Argh. So I drove down the road to Haggen's, a different grocery store, because I still needed this darn fennel. There I found the same vegetable that had been labeled just as anise at Safeway, only at Haggen's it was labeled "anise fennel bulb." I asked the produce guy if that was indeed fennel (I'm sure he thought I couldn't read) and he answered affirmatively. Well, if I'd have KNOWN that's what fennel was also called, I would've just gotten it at Safeway!

I guess the moral of the story is to not trust the Safeway produce manager? Anyway, bulb of fennel finally in hand, I went home and prepared what turned out to be some truly delicious ribs (I called it Mark's Valentine's Day dinner). That Ina Garten knows what she's talking about. I also learned that when the recipe tells you to tie up the fresh herbs with kitchen twine, you should probably use kitchen twine. I didn't have any so I used a long sprig of thyme to tie them up (and yes, I thought I was a genius) but it didn't keep the herbs together in the end. So I had to fish most of them out by hand. Lesson learned.

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