Not Quite

So the other morning, as planned, I made a smoothie. Fresh orange & carrot juice combined with a banana and spinach. Not too bad. My energy wasn’t on par with my normal caffeine high, though I didn’t feel exhausted – just the normal blah that comes with a slow day at work.

The only downside about using the juicer is that it’s not as easy to clean as say… a blender. There are at least four parts to clean (thoroughly!), and you have a bin of pulp which needs to be stored – if you’re saving it for blending into food – or tossed. The filter needs to be scrubbed to get all the little bits out.

Of course it the only logical action to follow “making a smoothie ten minutes before needing to leave for work” is for the pipe under the sink to crack, meaning any water going down the drain was pouring onto the floor. Awesome!

EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO HAPPEN

I sighed, put towels down everywhere and went to work. When I got home, the dishes were still at emergency status and the towels were still there. What I thought was a pinhole actually was a quarter-inch-wide crack running about 2 inches down the pipe. Superb. Let’s just say the last two days have been filled with trying very hard not to think about the kitchen, not to even walk through it.

Anyway, kudos to our an amazing contractor-handyman friend Mike, because he managed to fix all that today when he came down to do some more work. We now have a textured bathroom ceiling, a non-leaking sink, and a myriad of other little things going on. High five to that guy, and tomorrow’s goal is at least one glass of juice.

I’m exhausted now from a very busy day at work (and trying to clean up the kitchen here), but overall feeling pretty good. Time to shoot someone in the face and then go to bed.

Tasteventures

My mom just bought me a juicer. Specifically: Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer Express.

Okay, this is the first ….real? infomercial? thing I’ve had since the Snuggie, but I’m not going to be trying to make juice and pulp out of that. I got all excited because A) my lovely friend Denice is juicing and looks AMAZING and B) ….omg! The store down the street sells FIVE POUNDS OF ORANGES FOR A DOLLAR.

I will drink the hell out of that much fresh orange juice, because they also have bananas and spinach and carrots for less than a dollar a pound. Some of the stuff is 2 pounds for a dollar. It’s crazy cheap. So… whatever gets me back to smoothies again because really? Jamba Juice is delicious but I just don’t want to pay close to $20/week for five smoothies that are mostly yogurt. And sugar.

So we shall see. It will be a tasty experiment. Tested it this evening and noted the following…

First note to self: read the instructions fully.
Second note to self: yes, you can just dump a whole orange in the juicer and five seconds later have a quarter glass of juice, but it will taste just like you bit right into a unpeeled orange. That doesn’t work for me, so take the extra time and peel the orange.

Tomorrow morning’s goal: orange+carrot+spinach in the juicer, blend with a banana. Cross fingers.

I Blame Bourdain

I also love Mondays.

That’s right, you read that correctly but I’ll say it again for confirmation.

I love Mondays.

The caveat of that is my schedule; 8:30am to 5:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday. If it were any other job I could probably despise the schedule but it works nicely with my location. Because my job is laid back, it’s sometimes boring, but it often feels like a three-day weekend (even on busy Saturdays). This means Monday – for me – is a chance to do errands, to recharge, to luxuriate in my quiet routine.

Two years ago this week marked the start of a crazy three months. We were in the process of buying our first house and encountering all the snags that go along with that. We gave our landlord notice July 1, 2009 and moved in August 1, 2009 – luckily we had just over four weeks prior to get the new place livable. I’ll save that post for a little later this year though, but it makes me reflect on how different things are.

My Mondays now are many things – specifically whatever I want them to be – but they all involve two things: tea, and Anthony Bourdain.

Apparently I am not alone in this sentiment, and just found another blog entry that sums it up nicely also.

Some people watch Man Vs Food, some people watch Bizarre Foods, some people watch (and read, and get inspired by) Anthony Bourdain. I count myself among the latter. My personal opinion is thumbs down on eating contests and Zimmern gives me a weird touristy, condescending vibe. Yes, I get that he’s traveling to other cultures and trying to fit in, and look at that, he just ate raw goat testicles, but it just has that …Hawaiian Shirt on Friday, “forced production” feel. It might be because the narrative reminds me of high school geography/economics books. I can’t put my thumb on what it is exactly (because I do watch the show), but I wouldn’t call myself a fan.

Something about Bourdain, however, just rings true with me. Maybe he has less crew? Maybe because he reminds me of myself? Maybe because I enjoyed his books and his writing? It most likely has something to do with the fact that he appears genuinely grateful for all his experiences, without that overly formatted thank you.

In any case, if I’m home on a Monday, the television is on all day and Anthony’s voice is a soothing mantra through my house. I’ll alternate between watching the show and leaving it on as background noise, but there’s just something comforting about what he’s saying. I’ll re-read his books, I’ll look at his blogs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rerun about transvestites in the French Polynesia, the drinking (and the beatings!) with his Russian friend, a tiny fishing village in Maine or street food in Mexico. It makes me want to go, to be there, to live.

Before his show, I didn’t really eat – or know how to do much more than heat up a chimichanga (from the blue bag) and dump some hot sauce on it. Growing up included dietary staples of standard Western Pennsylvania food: starchy, filling, fatty, greasy. Fried chicken, hamburgers, tuna casserole, meat loaf, soup, peanut butter and jelly, bread pudding, french fries. Not that my mom can’t make some great fried chicken (and I won’t pass up burgers or fries), but the only time I remember having “salad” at home was endive soaked in vinegar with onions gratuitously scattered throughout. We’d order KFC and have a little picnic on the back porch, homemade iced tea and all. The food was simple but not complex. If we went to the farm stand it was mostly for corn, though we had a few tomato plants in the backyard. The fresh corn and tomatoes were DELICIOUS. I should have known then, but it took me the better part of two decades to realize that food can be just wonderful. There’s nothing like picking a baseball-sized tomato from the vine you helped to grow, feeling how the fruit is warm from the sun. Sprinkle a little salt on it and take a bite right there in the yard, and you’ve found one of those true delights.

PLEASE EAT THIS

When I found out about Anthony, probably the most exotic thing I’d ever tasted was a bite of swordfish (tray-passed hors d’oeuvres during some event at the Warhol Museum) or a California Roll. I might have once even opted for some flavored cream cheese on a bagel… but I never, NEVER expected to get excited about food. The preparation, the display, the texture, the taste. No one ever explained to me that food can be art. Vegan, Thai, Persian, Indian food? No. Never. Going to 99Ranch and browsing jackfruit, rice noodles, sushi-grade fish? Absolutely unheard of. Now my domestic goals include learning how to perfect potato confit, make Alchemy-worthy dishes at home, eventually having more counter space, and getting a really fine set of knives.

Mondays for me are also about having the time to experiment with and enjoy food that my somewhat hectic workweek doesn’t afford me the time to do the way I want (today, a soyrizo scramble with sides of fruit, maybe later on a puff pastry filled with home-grown apples). To have a cup of tea and watch TV for two hours. It’s my weekly ritual, and while I don’t want to turn this into a food blog, I want to get back to recipe sampling. True, my ranks in the foodie world are still in the noob levels, but I can always dream.

So, Mr. Bourdain, I owe you a thank you. While my finances don’t let me do much more than live vicariously through you, I am ever in search of my own foodie delights. I’ve learned that what works for me is to experiment, enjoy, thrive. To at least take what my friend tells her four-year-old son is a “polite bite” (the equivalent of try it, you might like it). To eat, to live, to be hungry for more.

Thank you!

Good morning.

Good morning.

It is, you know.

There are people right now who will argue with me, people that hate their jobs, their family, their weight issues, their looks, their cars, their lives. However … if they can see this post, if they have the potential to type a response… things are not as bad as they think.

Really!

It’s something I try to remind myself of daily. It’s just not that bad, even when it is. I saw the following post and it reminded me of all the good things, so I wanted to share with you all.

One Cup At A Time

If it brightens even one person’s day, just for a bit, then it was worth it. 🙂

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One of the more thrilling portions of my job involves tracking insurance policies. They send the info, I enter it. If it doesn’t meet our minimum requirements, they have to contact their insurance company to adjust it, and then send me the revision. If busywork sounds more appealing to me than calling the tenant to let them know their premium is going up, I’ll often just contact the agent myself. It’s easier, it’s part of *their* job, and generally gets handled much quicker.

If we only had a handful of tenants this wouldn’t be such an ongoing chore, however we have over 600. Policies are constantly expiring, renewing, and generally giving me a headache, so I found a way to help myself with Excel by getting the specific cell that needs updating to turn red 30 days before it becomes “past due”. A single click generates a template email for the client, adjusted with their policy specifics, and off it goes to a hopefully working email address where they’ll see it and take action.

The point of all this is that I just saw a cell with a past due date of 6/4/11, and I’d like to submit an inquiry to some department as to how the FUCK we are basically in June of 2011 already?