best ever brownies

best ever brownies | the merry gourmet

I am off work today, on a scheduled day off that I planned for as a reward for working the last 18 days straight. I’ve already checked my work email three times, and I’ve spent 15 minutes logged in to the hospital’s electronic medical record to check on some of my patients. Have I mentioned that I’m terrible at days off?

I also woke up sick, of course. My throat is filled with shards of glass, and coughing makes me wince. My joints ache and my brain feels foggy. When I sneeze, the cats startle and dash out of the room.

I’m medicated now, with Sudafed and ibuprofen, and I’ve had a cup of coffee and a bowl of steel cut oats. I think I’ll be able to face the day, once the full effect of the medications kick in.

the morning chaos

overnight steel cut oatmeal in jars | the merry gourmet

I wake suddenly from another bad dream, my heart racing. The bedroom is dark, and other than the sound of my husband’s rhythmic breathing beside me, there is silence. I turn my head to look at the clock. It’s 4:47 a.m. In three minutes, the alarm will go off, insisting that I start my day. I close my eyes again, exasperated. Those three extra minutes of sleep would have been nice.

I switch the alarm off and climb out of bed, disturbing the cat that had been sleeping on my feet. Another cat is already waiting for me in the bathroom. Maggie either has a keen sense of when I’ll be waking each morning, or she sleeps in the bathroom, ready and waiting for me to turn on the faucet so she can drink from it. I haven’t yet figured out which it is.

This morning is a gym morning. I change into my workout clothes, wash my face, and brush my teeth. I pull my hair back into a pink and purple headband I’ve stolen from my daughter. My eyes feel puffy with sleep. My cheek is embossed with sheet marks and the imprint of a hand. One of the best things about going to the gym at 5 in the morning is that everyone looks like crap. It’s expected.

our last days in yellowstone and grand teton

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

This is the fourth and last post in which I’m sharing our itinerary for our recent trip out to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. The first three posts are here, here, and here – in case you missed them. 

Warning: Photo-heavy post ahead.

* * * * *

It’s been over a month since my last post about our summer trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and anxious this past week – which probably has something to do that tomorrow starts a 15 day stretch of work and 24/7 call. Today seemed like a good day to visit my photos from our trip and to share with you the last couple of days of that vacation. There were lots of powerful moments during those last two days, including spreading my father’s ashes at Lupine Meadows. I felt so connected to him in that place, and I can still feel the tug on my heart when I look back at these photos.

Days 7: Yellowstone National Park to Jackson, WY

We left our cabin and checked out of the Lake Lodge Hotel in Yellowstone on that Thursday morning. We had experienced such beautiful weather during the first days of the vacation, but these last two days would prove to be overcast and rainy.

After one more quick drive through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – but no hikes due to the rain – we headed to the Mud Volcano area to explore the geothermal features there. The area was filled with gurgling mud pits and steaming ground. And the stench of rotten eggs.

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet

yellowstone national park | the merry gourmet