Archive for January, 2014

Iceland, Poland or Vietnam: Seeking an Escape in 2014

January 4, 2014

So, I know I’ll need an escape mid-fall (read, after Labor Day when the airfares return to mere highway robbery pricing). I prefer to travel off season: I’m not that wild about packs of tourists (blame that on living in 3 (count them 3) tourist towns) stampeding and acting like idiots.

I posted the query to my Facebook page and Iceland seemed to be the runaway winner (also the closest given my New England location). I know I couldn’t pick three more different locations. Each one holds a certain allure for different reasons.

Iceland is more remote, rugged and geared to the outside (which might make it a better early May destination in ’15). I also might starve to death in Iceland given the 2 most popular sources of food being fish/shellfish and lamb (Kidding. Almonds travel well). The thought of being almost completely unplugged for a week is refreshing. Looking at volcanos, an iceberg and even an approved side trip to Greenland? Tempting.

Poland. Seriously the history of Poland is amazing. Growing up in the Chicago area (when Chicago had the second largest city of native Poles? In the world?), I can’t remember how old I was when I figured out Gdansk wasn’t on Lake Michigan. So much history, so much fascinating architecture.

Vietnam. I seriously haven’t explored Asia enough. I’ve always been fascinated by Vietnam. Part of me wants to go see the places I’ve studied. The country my dad where my father was deployed. I’ve wanted to wander the streets in part to see what we fought about (ok, don’t tell me it was that creeping communism idea). Again, I run into the deathly-allergic-to-sea-creatures aspect (again, almonds travel well). While I wouldn’t be unplugged in Vietnam, the time change will make it hard to find me! Of course, the oppressive humidity might leave me beat red without of control curly hair in under 20 seconds (but can it be worse than Hong Kong in May?).

I haven’t been out of the country in five years. I need to go somewhere new. Somewhere where I can just wander without anybody knowing me. Where I can explore a quirky side street or sit and watch people. Where there isn’t pressure to see something (aka, if you go to Paris you MUST go to the Eiffel Tower!).

So many choices. . . so many blank passport pages.

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Food waste? Thoughts for the New Year

January 1, 2014
It's what's for dinner

It’s what’s for dinner

 

I read somewhere along the way that Americans waste approximately 40% the food they bring into their homes (I’m not sure if the statistic is true but it brought home a point).  How much to we ‘over buy’ at the grocery if we have the luxury? One of my lame-ass New Year’s Day traditions is to clean out my refrigerator.  I was shocked to see what I tossed:  odds and ends of cheeses, a few science experiments, long ago expired milk (in defense, I did buy the smallest container available for one item and I just don’t drink the stuff).  I made a quasi-resolution.  I’m going to eat what is in my freezer, pantry, fridge before heading to the farmers market.  Yes, there will be some things that I need to buy but I was stunned what I had versus what I thought I needed to go buy.  Dinner/lunch for the reset of the week is above:  a pork roast done in the crock pot with balsamic vinegar, onions and honey.  Mashed potatoes.  I do need to pick up salad stuff (but trust me when I say that will wait until the snow has past!).  Also cooked for the week ahead? A chard/corn/cheese frittata for breakfast.  And with the exception of the cheese and balsamic vinegar? All locally sourced.

 

I have no idea how long this experiment will last: fresh vegetables are hard to find in New England this time of year.  It will be an interesting, creative experiment.  If anything, it might help me learn what I actually eat versus buy because “it was a great price”.  But right now I’m mourning the mac and cheese I could have made had I only been paying attention!

Ringing in 2014 with a Different Philosophy

January 1, 2014

From the onset 2014 looks to be shaping up as a challenging year.  Some is personal, some is professional some is just the fact that adulthood has more valleys than childhood (hey, let’s face it, even playing with Soviet Russian sharp edged cubes beats trying remember you are allowed to take 10 minutes for yourself).  A college friend of mine over at Mockingbird’s Nest did something in December that I thought was slightly insane: something new each day (including  the couch to 5K plan).  While I think the idea is GREAT, doing it in December is slightly insane.  But she is slightly insane plus her kids are 4-legged so she didn’t have to worry about the damn elf on the shelf drama but had the normal host of holiday insanity.

I’m not throwing down the gauntlet of insane challenges for 2014 (plus after the 5K turned into a half-marathon issue of 2013, I distinctly lack common sense).  My plans for 2014: work less, experiment more from the kitchen to pampering activities, write more, read more, pay down some of the damn student loan debt and walk a few road ‘races’, and figure out what is important and let everything else just go.  But the number one goal? Working less.  I’d be happy with a 45 hours week!  Oh, and Iceland.  I want to go to Iceland this year.