24 November 2009

Tuesday Before Thanksgiving

A list of random things in my head as I prepare for my journey north for Thanksgiving:

What kind of snacks should I bring on the 7-hour road trip? I usually don't like to eat an entire meal since that makes for sleepy driving.

The cats are going to on a "holiday" at the kennel. They've never been in a kennel. R jokingly said they're going to jail. Some of their behavior does almost warrant a light sentence. I found a brand new loaf of my favorite bread on the dining room floor this morning. Through the hole chewed through the little cellophane window you could see a sizable chunk of bread missing. Do these cats really think they're going to starve? Or do they just have a thing for bread. This is the second loaf. Note to self: keep bread in a cat-proof bunker.

When we're in Marquette, I want to look at the eyeglass place I got my glasses. They carry Jean La Font frames, which is what I have now. Technically, I'm due for new frames, but I'm kind of in love with my current frames. If I can find something spectacular, perhaps I'll go for something new. I'm going in for an eye exam next week. I hope my Rx hasn't changed that much if at all.

Another stop in Marquette is Getzs. They have the most North Face gear I've ever seen and the last two or three years we've been going to Marquette for Thanksgiving I've been able to score amazing deals. Here's hoping.

I'm supposed to be packing for the trip, but clearly this blog entry seemed more pressing! The blogosphere needs to know what's going on in my head!

I wish everyone in my family could be together this Thanksgiving. We're kind of all spread out and I will miss those who won't be with us!

Happy early Thanksgiving! I really need to go pack!

23 November 2009

What Gives?

Maybe it's the weather or the fact that it gets dark by 5:30 p.m. now, but I've been feeling kind of low. Technically there's nothing wrong with me. No drama. Nothing to feel melancholy about.

Late last week, I did something that if I did more often wouldn't need to be done at all, I cleaned out my office closet. It's a single door closet with a five foot tall metrowire shelf inside. It's been packed to the gills with all sorts of office type materials: photos (actual hard copy photos!), books, tons of paper & images for projects and notes, my sewing machine and all that entails and other stuff that I haven't found another suitable home for.

Doing anything orgizational like this is very theraputic for me. It's one of those projects that you can get lost in, focusing only on the details in front of you. I'm not really sure what's going on, other than neglecting said closet for too long, but I felt compelled to work on that closet Thursday night. I've read that, from a feng shui perspective, an overabundance of junk/clutter can cosmically weigh us down. Maybe that's what it was. Maybe it was something more. When I was basically done with the closet I started noticing other areas around the house that I could apply the same declutting energy to. I want to feel lighter. I want to have more energy. I'm going to declutter.

R says getting back out to run might be helpful. I've only run a couple times since the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on October 18. A running deficiency could have something to do with my mood. The thing is, I don't want to run. Yet. I know at some point soon, I'll feel compelled to get back on the road. I guess I'm just waiting for that moment when my head is too full of clutter and I HAVE to go. Just like the closet. It will happen. I'm thinking sooner rather than later.

15 November 2009

big moves, big eats

I'm in the process of making some pretty big moves with my grill. Just under two weeks ago I got upper and lower fixed expanders installed in my mouth as the first step toward getting braces. If you've had expanders, you know the exact level of frustration I've been going through learning how to eat anything other than soft foods and speak without sounding like I have a mouthful of marbles. Try saying "Peter Sarsgaard" with your best fake slur and you'll know what I'm up against.

The installation came just three days before I hopped a plane to visit my brother and sister in law in my favorite city for eating. After my first attempt at a meal at home, I was quite worried about my prospects for eating my way through the City. Food was getting caught where I didn't want it. Swallowing anything other than a smooth soup was quite difficult. I was feeling pretty sure I'd be eating/drinking all my meals for the next three months.

The trip to NYC proved to be exactly what I needed in order to overcome my eating with expander frustration. I was determined to try most everything I would normally eat on a visit, rather than just sticking to soup, oatmeal and yogurt.

Here are some highlights of how I did:

Mulligatawny Soup with flat bread from Cafe Medina
The bread was a little difficult to eat plain, but I got by with ripping off small chunks of bread and sprinkling them in the soup. Soup was delicious! I so wish we had a place like Cafe Medina in Grand Rapids!

Chocolate Chunk cookie and Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. This was late afternoon on my first day. Sister in Law and I had been shopping all afternoon and needed a snack and some caffeine. The cookie was a little hard around the edges and the chunks of chocolate in the cookie were a little difficult to manage without getting stuck in the upper expander.

Without even knowing about the extent of my challenge with hard foods, my sister in law made soup complete with a swirl of pesto that we ate my first night in town. After a long day out and about, it hit the spot! The perfect consistency and taste!

Breakfast on day two. English muffin with Earth Balance. I had to take small bites, but this went down rather easily.

Whole wheat bagel with sun dried tomato tofu cream cheese from David's Bagels. There's nothing like a New York bagel. I've heard it's because of the water in New York City. I believe it! Always a must when I visit the city. The bagel's chewy nature provided quite a challenge for me and my expanders, but I made it about 3/4 of the way through. Luckily my brother was more than happy to finish the remaining 1/4 piece.

Sister in law made two amazingly delicious salads for dinner Friday night. The one in front had red onion, new potatoes and peas. The other one had bulgar, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, garbanzo beans and greens. Both had the same balsamic, olive oil and mustard type homeade dressing and were so good I asked for the recipes. Because of the small chunks of food, both were a little difficult to eat with my expanders, but well worth the challenge!

Plantain Bajji from Saravanaas in Murray Hill (aka Curry Hill because there are so many Indian restaurants in the neighborhood). Quite flavorful with the different chutneys. Definitely not a challenge to eat! We were quite hungry, so this appetizer didn't last long.

Masala Dosa from Saravanaas. I've had dosa before, but it's been awhile. This was somewhat difficult to eat because of the crispy consistancy of the dosa. Loved all the chutneys though and did my best!

Ah, Burritoville. You used to be a NYC favorite, but it seems you've undergone a bit of a re-branding. I'm not so sure it was for the best. The burrito I had tasted more corporate cardboard than I would have liked. Nothing like it used to be! Not the easiest meal to eat either, with small bits of brown rice and tomato to get stuck!

Monday afternoon back in the City for my last day. We went back to Cafe Medina for another soup. This one was Tuscan Tomato Bread soup and it was a winner. Very flavorful, a little sweet. Not so chunky that I couldn't manage it with the expanders.

I talked for days about wanting to get a real NY slice of pie, but it didn't work out how I wanted it to. I ended up having this slice of cheese pizza at the Sbarro while waiting for my flight to leave LaGuardia. Yeah, not ideal, but it was a slice and much better than my alternatives. Had to avoid the super crunchy crust with the expanders, but that was the only trouble.

06 November 2009

Emergency Landing

If you've ever had the slightest feeling that something might not be right, you're probably right.

I had a 6:00 a.m. flight to New York's LaGuardia airport yesterday. We boarded on schedule. I was half asleep and wanted to be all the way asleep, so I tucked myself into my seat and closed my eyes waiting to pull away from the gate. Once away from the gate, it seemed like we were dinking around too long on the tarmack. They kept revving the engine and then letting it wind down, with no take off. I've been on enough flights to know what seems normal and this activity did not seem normal. We eventually took off though.

They gave the green light for electronic devices. The i-pod got clicked on and I was that much closer to dreamland. Until the announcement came...

"Ladies and gentleman, we're going to have make an emergency landing in Buffalo, due to a problem with one of our engines."

The announcement was so matter of fact, like they'd just announced they'd be bringing the beverage cart along. At first I didn't really think anything was seriously wrong.

"It's gotta be like when your check engine light comes on in the car. It doesn't mean you have to stop immediately, it means go get this situation checked out when you get a spare minute. I hope it's just something like that."

Then they started reviewing the safety procedures...AGAIN! Not good.

I started thinking that maybe this Emergency Landing was more than just a check engine light scenario. We made a pretty rapid altitude descent into Buffalo. The lights flickered. The guy next to me started talking about how we might have trouble landing if there's something wrong with one of the engines. That's when my palms started to sweat and I starting thinking about the fact that I got on a flight this morning not thinking it might be my last...EVER.

Safe and sound. Safe and sound. It was my mantra until wheels touched the ground in Buffalo. We were met by numerous fire trucks and police cars. They said that was just routine procedure, but I overheard one of the other passengers later on when were waiting to be rebooked say that something was actually on fire and the plane was being hosed off. I don't know if I believe that.

Regardless. I did get right back on another plane and finally made to NYC to visit my brother and sister in law. Safe and sound. Just another reminder to live each day to the fullest and with purpose and to cherish the people you love because you never know when you might have to make an emergency landing.