Dog Days

If you’ve been reading along recently, you know that about a month and a half ago, my family and I lost a beloved member of our clan.

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Her name was Tippy. She was eleven and half years old, and as you can see, enjoyed the remainder of cottage cheese cartons until the last day. She had been with us from the age of 3 1/2 months, and we enjoyed every single minute of her companionship and unconditional, unforgetting, always forgiving love.

 

When I was 8 or 9, the four of us were standing in the waiting section of a busy Legal Seafoods restaurant, chatting as a table was set up for us. While my little brother grumbled about how bad fish smelled and how cruel it was to subject him to something he so abhorred, I was pitching my latest (and best) idea to the parents: we needed a dog.

Yes, needed. They were fun and cute and loveable and I wanted one. We had cats when I was a baby, but after I developed asthma and watched the symptoms all but disappear when the last feline left, it didn’t make sense to continue that trend. Besides, the last cat we had scratched the crap out of my arm, and we pretty much settled with glaring at each other whenever we were in the other’s line of sight after that. Which was not often.

So, just before the waitress came back to guide us to our seats, my father said the words all parents should be wary of:

Ok, when you turn 10, we can get a dog.

Yep, that shut me up. I contented my self with a big bowl of lobster bisque and the knowledge that I only needed to wait a short 2 years before a cuddly bundle of love was all mine.

 

And those years were indeed short. I turned 10 in December of 1999. We made the drive to the kennel in western Mass. in March of 2000. In between then, we found a kennel that had a new litter of soft-coated wheaten terrier puppies. Our 2 requirements were met: they didn’t shed (hair, not fur), and they were available. It was done.

I sincerely doubt I will every be able to forget choosing what was to become a constant presence in our family’s daily life. We walked into a room with a linoleum-tiled floor where a brood of llahsa aspso puppies were skittering around in a blur of long hair. Then the wheaten puppies were brought out. Like all normal puppies, they were thrilled to meet new people and escape from their confinement. Well, all of them – except one.

While my brother and I were overwhelmed at the rush of hair and paws that came at us like a black-tipped tidal wave, a single little girl darted straight for the table and cowered under it. If there was a bubble over her head, I’m pretty sure it would have been an image of her melting into the wall. It only took one look exchanged between my mother and I to know: this was our dog.

As we tried to coax her out from under the table, my dad and brother delighted themselves with the other, well-adjusted puppies. They found one too – calm in your arms, full of energy when on the floor, sweet and friendly. But as you can imagine, the conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Oh Mom, we can’t leave her here, all the other puppies will just keep beating on her!

Mom: We have to save her. I can’t leave her behind.

*parental glances exchanged*

Dad: But did you see this one? She’s so friendly, and…normal.

Mom: Well, we either leave with this one, or both of them. How much did you intend to spend on dogs today?

And that was the end of that. A few excited squeals and one very heavy check later, we were coaxing the most frightened, cowed little thing you ever saw into the backseat of the Subaru between my brother and me. The name discussion began.

Wheaten puppies are born with black “tips” on their hair that they eventually grow out:

[Photo credit] [^^Not Tippy – all her baby pictures were taken on *gasp* film cameras. Remember those? Yeah, me neither.]

My mother’s first thought was Paintbrush. I didn’t even try to hide my disgust at that brainstorm – and Tippy was the next word out of my mouth. It was done.

 cutest.ever.

Tippy was, to put it gently, a neurotic mess. But she was our neurotic mess. After the first initial weeks of trying to find the best chair to hide under (our dining rooms chairs, much to her dismay, had bars crossed between the legs), she discovered the limitless joy of eating entire plates of brownies or chicken while we weren’t looking and tearing every last bit of stuffing from the living room couch. She was undeniably my mother’s dog and literally followed her around the house until the last day, but we were her family, and she knew it. Even when I would return after months of college, she would still run to the car to greet me. And it took about eleven years, but eventually she learned to completely relax when Dad put her on his lap.

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After her eleventh birthday, she started to age – and fast. For six months, she wasn’t be able to keep down anything she ate for entire weeks. I even flew home for spring break when I was afraid I’d never see her again. I remember looking at her tired face and feeling every bone in her skinny body, realizing that this was what mothers mean when they talk about the pain and frustration of not being able to “fix” a sick child. She rallied several times over the next three months, but never for as long as the last time. On that day in the middle of July when we watched her change positions every thirty seconds because she was so bony she could no longer get comfortable, and then throw up the entire contents of her stomach – including water – on the back patio, we looked at each other and had to ask what the hell we were doing. We made what felt to me like a very fast decision, but it was the right one. I made every effort in my body to keep it together, but once we were all in that room, watching her hobble from one person to the next, I completely lost it. And all I could think of was to try to hide it from her, because every time I ever cried with Tippy, she would lick my tears away, and I just couldn’t have handled that.

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I cried for three days straight. It felt like a huge hole had been gauged out of me without thought or care. We even went to a couple humane societies, but had no luck. For a family that can only have non-shedding dogs, adoption is an incredibly difficult and often impossible search.

 

I wouldn’t tell you a long story (that has no apparent connection to food)on a long weekend  if it didn’t have a happy ending. This is ours.

 

Two weeks passed, and it became increasingly clear to me that we needed another dog. It may have looked too fast to others, but my gut instinct was that in order to start moving on, we had to fill the void that was the absence of a dog. I just didn’t see how we could fully heal when there was still such a huge, gaping hole in our daily lives. And I knew that we were not the type of family that would psychologically “replace” Tippy – we just needed that presence again.

We found a breeder that specialized in non-shedding mixed breeds about an hour away where a friend had adopted her wonderful cockapoo, Gus. My mom, brother and I decided to go up and ask to see their female Cavachons because I had all but fallen in love with the pictures on her website. And one day later, we were the proud owners of a creature who I’m sure must be what Webster had in mind when he included ‘adorable’ in his dictionary:

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My brother chose her, but my mom and I have both confessed that she was our instinctive first choice. Because when she was brought out with her sister, the other sat on her head. Some things really never change.

 

Izzy is truly a horse of a different color. Though she sleeps with Mom & Dad and definitely has grand designs in her head of tearing up a couch (it would help if she were bigger than one of the pillows on it), that seems to be where the similarities end. Where Tippy usually had to be introduced with : “This is Tippy. She doesn’t really like other people. Just don’t make eye contact and she’ll be fine.”, Izzy needs no introduction, usually because she is already jumping up on your leg and hoping to introduce herself. She actually asks to sit on your lap, and would only hide under a chair in order to better chew on the legs. Or your shoes.

 

I knew we had made the right decision when all of a sudden I would think of Tippy and smile instead of bursting into inconsolable tears. And I miss her every single day. I miss her constant forlorn expression, her little “conversations” when we had something she would’ve liked a bite of too, and the way she’d roll onto her back into “Snoopy position” when she was really asleep.

easy livin

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(There’s a face in there somewhere!)

 

I also love Izzy more every day. I love how she runs around the lawn like a whirling dervish on acid, insists on attaching herself to my shoe laces while they’re still on my feet, and wag her tail relentlessly when one of us reenters the room. And I love that she had sat on my lap snoozing during the entire time I’ve been writing this post. I really don’t think words can adequately express the joy that this itty bitty dog has brought back to our house.

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I felt like this was a story that needed telling because I can’t tell you how many other families I have heard about that have recently lost a beloved dog, and I just know that this story sounds similar to that of so many other families.

And the moral of this story? The love and happiness a dog gives are worth every single ripped cushion, eaten shoe, Clorox wipe and carpet stain. And I’m still saying that after going through a bottle of Resolve and most of a container of those very useful wipes in the past 4 weeks.

 

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Summer might be rolling to a close, but the dog days – they aren’t going anywhere.

 

Tippy’s Favorite Table Scraps: Lemon-BBQ Marinade

This is a pretty old go-to recipe in our house. One of my friends in elementary school would specifically ask if to stay for dinner if we were having Lemon BBQ Chicken. It is, of course, fantastic with grilled chicken, but a light fish holds it very well too.

Makes enough marinade for about 8 pieces of chicken

  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 t dried basil
  • 2 t onion powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t dried thyme

Whisk it all together or shake it all together in a large jar. Put in a ziploc bag with the meat and let it marinate for a good two hours (or more) before cooking.

And don’t even bother trying to ward off hungry canines.

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What I Learned Last Week

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1. Sometimes, it is okay to quit (if not, perhaps, necessary).

2. Exercise is fun. And gross. Endorphins are funner.

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3. It is possible to experience the whole of the emotional spectrum in a very short period of time. A week, even.

4. On that note, I was so jittery with nerves that I’m pretty sure I now know what crack must be like. I don’t recommend it.

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5. You really can’t go back in time. I knew that before, but if I couldn’t do it this week after all the wishing/hoping/thinking/praying I did…then it really must be impossible.

6. It is also possible to be homesick at the age of 21 when you really have no reason to be.

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7. A handful of chocolate chips can solve a lot of problems.

8. The cliché can come true: you can want something so bad, it actually hurts.

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A Backwards Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday ever. I even like it better than my birthday – and don’t worry, I will get to that too. 

But first – can we just talk about the blizzard that is currently covering every inch of Massachusetts?

 

 

The dog loves it…

 

…even though she comes in every time shivering.

She loves when I wrap her up in a towel almost as much as when I take her picture.
*coughNOTcoughwoofwoof*

Our perty tree. (The bottom half of the lights just fizzled out…but you don’t notice that at all. Not at all.)

 

 

 

Christmas morning was filled with presents, hiding from my dad’s video camera, and monkey bread made with extra dough my mom used to make her grandmother’s yeast rolls the night before.

 

Cinnamon-sugary, doughy goodness! The phrase “melt in your mouth” came to mind.
After presents and general Christmas lazing, my parents, brother and I set out in our three-year-old Christmas day tradition: we go to a movie and have an early dinner at Legal Seafoods.
This year, we saw The King’s Speech. MAN, it was good. It was wonderfully well acted and I fell in love with Colin Firth for the 12387654th time. Oh Mr. Dahcy!

We like going to the Park Plaza Legal’s in downtown Boston for the ambience. I pretty much just go for the rolls. They have wonderful fish, of course, and the restaurant’s been a favorite of mine for….um, pretty much as long as remember. I was the six-year-old who drooled over lobster and shrimp cocktail – clearly, I’ve always had impeccable taste 😉 Unfortunately, the menu seemed more boring than usual – they must have changed chefs recently. It really wasn’t a problem for me; I barely slept the night before and was still suffering from a food hangover, so I just got an appetizer and stole bites from my generous fam.
Continuing the holiday journey backwards, Christmas Eve is probably my favorite day of the year. Good moods are in abundance, and I get to bake my happy little hands off! My mom has always hosted a party on Christmas Eve and we have a Honey-Baked Ham, her sweet potatoes (the droolworthiness of which was previously discussed here), and the party-goers bring their favorites. This year the spread involved baked beans, hot chicken salad, scalloped potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts (one of my faves!), and green beans. Unfortunately, no pictures are to be had…because I was a little distracted.
By this:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle.

 

And Sticky Toffee Pudding (so good, it has to be capitalized).

 

Yes, I made both. From scratch. I baked for two days. And I was happy as could be.

The trifle was something I had years ago at a friend’s Thanksgiving and became obsessed. It is one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I usually make the pumpkin mousse part with sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix and cool whip, and the gingerbread out of a box mix. But this year, I made it my mission to make my dessert as real-food-full as possible. It tastes better, costs less, and really is better for you.
For the pumpkin mousse layer, I used Kath’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe, just making the filling. It was perfectly spicy and thickened up beautifully overnight in the fridge. 2 things to keep in mind – 1) it is a good idea to make this well-beforehand, and 2) the mix will seem soupy before you add in the beaten egg whites, but don’t fear! It will set!
For the gingerbread, I used a recipe out of a (gasp!) Weight Watchers cookbook! [This one.] They actually have some really good recipes, regardless of whether you are on the WW plan or not. Their turkey chili is to live for. And, the gingerbread recipe called for 6 tablespoons of real butter and all real food ingredients, so I wasn’t worried. It was delicious!
I did not, however, use real whipping cream. I really didn’t want to use Cool Whip, because it does seem like a bunch of crap I really don’t want in my body, but I still wanted to make the dish a little on the lighter side (sticky toffee pudding is, um, NOT), so I used truwhip. It actually worked really well and tasted delicious and  quite frankly, I really like how those whipped toppings taste – and I know I’m not alone!

As for the Sticky Toffee Pudding, you may remember my first encounter with this dish that redefines delectable? It was the restaurant that I am going to work at this summer just 3 minutes from my aunt & uncles’ house in Georgia. It was a gooey, caramelly, thick plate of goodness, the likes of which my tastebuds had never before experienced. I decided right then and there that it would be the perfect birthday present for my brother. His birthday is in October and I am 1) never at home for it and 2) never sure what to get him, so I always bake him something, and this was definitely a good belated birthday present. The sauce, however, calls for 2 cups of heavy cream, and that was a bit much to keep just for the 4 of us alone, so the Christmas Eve dinner was the perfect occasion. It took most of a day to prepare, but damned if it wasn’t worth it. And, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy spending most of my day toiling over a cake to be enjoyed by others. It’s kind of my favorite thing to do. Ever.
It’s basically a super-moist cake made with dates and heavy on the molasses, which is then drenched in a bath of rich toffee and served very warm.

Good as it sounds? Nope. Better.

On with the rewinding!

Wednesday night, the fam and I ventured into Boston to see an improv show – anyone familiar with Sassy Gay Friend? If you’re not, you really should be. He is absolutely hilarious and I desperately want Saturday Night Live to create a sketch just for him. His YouTube videos are addicting – you just never get sick of watching them! I have them memorized and I still crack up when I watch them. Anyway, the actor is a Boston native and was doing a live show at a small improv company where he got his start (he’s actually from my hometown – one of Dedham’s finest!) The show made me cry with laughter multiple times, and I really wish he was my Sassy Gay Friend.

The theatre is right in Boston’s North End, which is our Little Italy. Italian restaurants (authentic ones – Olive Garden is a swear down there) line the streets from all sides, and you only have to choose one. That’s actually more difficult than it sounds – eenie meenie miney moe would serve you well. We chose Ristorante Fiore, mostly because we were getting cold and hungry and it was on the same side of the street as the theatre. We didn’t regret our choice.

A really tasty bottle of wine was ordered (because I can drink in public now – amen!), although the olive oil didn’t taste as “fresh off the boat” as I would have liked. I think Italy ruined olive oil here for me. Damn.

 

I ordered the bombolotti al forno, which was housemade pasta (an absolute must – any Italian restaurant that doesn’t make their own pasta should be embarassed, in my very snobby opinion) with a simple marinara sauce and housemade sausage topped with regiano and goat cheeses. Oh dear pasta gods.

 

The goat cheese just put this over the edge of delirious deliciousness. I actually asked if I could have it without the sausage, mostly because I just can’t eat much meat anymore and it doesn’t appeal to me much – but the waiter was mildly horrified and convinced me. I was happy he did; it added a ton of flavor and had the perfect sausage texture – tender and juuust crumbly enough with a slight kick of spice. I was so distracted by the wonderful homemade pasta that I didn’t think to take a picture of it, which I regretted sorely after I realized it, because it was beautiful! Bombolotti is very, very wide and thick tubes of pasta but this restaurant made several little tubes inside each piece – it kind of looks like the wheel-shaped pasta before it’s cut into individual wheels. A wheel log, if you will.
That probably makes no sense, so obviously you must go as soon as possible and try it for yourself. Hanover Street, on the left side. Trust me.
What is it about homemade pasta? I hate to say it, but I think it’s just something you have to experience. It has a different density, a different mouthfeel…it’s just so much more satisfying.
Anyway, where was I? Pasta gets me so very sidetracked. Oh yes, the Christmas break rewind. Well, I flew from Atlanta to home on Saturday, cutting my Christmas vacation at home to a mere 2 weeks instead of a blissful 3. But there is a method to my madness.
That restaurant that I mentioned I will be working at this summer? Well, it’s more of an internship than work. To attend the CIA, I have to have 6 months of hands-on food prep experience – read:I have to chop vegetables for 12-15 hours a week. Which I am totally fine with – the trick was finding a place that would have me! I found my “in” at this restaurant that is a couple miles down the road from my aunt & uncle’s house in Lilburn, Georgia called Three Blind Mice. It’s a really cool restaurant and the chef is super nice and was very accommodating for my situation – and every one on the kitchen is very supportive of my goal o be a food writer! I’m always a little apprehensive to tell chefs that I want to be a food writer; I expect the “oh, so you want to tell me what’s bad about my food for a living?” response. Thankfully, food writing is really becoming an established literary genre and the immediate thought was that I would write a book – that’s more than a career goal, that’s kind of a life dream of mine. But they made it sound a lot more possible than I believe[d] it to be, so yay!
So, last week I worked a 9-hour and 7-hour shift, two days in a row, followed by a 4-hour shift (Thursday was totally dead for the dinner hour and I was pretty much useless). I peeled and deveined shrimp for 2 hours straight. I took over the salad station. I made enough hummus to fill the biggest stainless steel bowl I have ever laid eyes on. Oh, and I learned how to use the torch that caramelizes the sugar on creme brulees. That was pretty cool. And I learned all that after just 3 days – get excited for this summer, when I will impart all my new knowledge to y’all!
[And I do expect to have enough material for a book after this summer. I’ve started taking notes. Definitely have a good cast of characters.]
Before that was finals and the presentation of my senior thesis. You know, the 20-page paper that determined whether or not I would graduate with the degree I’ve spent the past 3 years of my life working for? Yeah, that one. It owned my soul for the past 3 months. It felt like I gave birth to a child when the last copy was printed. But, it also kicked ass and I am now the proud owner of an intense amount of knowledge surrounding food writing and food in World War II America. If I ever got to write a longer thesis or a research book, I would totally devote it to examining how food in the 1940s helped shape American cuisine & food attitudes as they are today. It’s completely fascinating.
In fact, I actually enjoyed the research involved. Even though at one point I had over 30 post-it notes covering my desk and over 30 (yes, 30) library books on food covering my floor, printer top and window sill. It was so interesting, and it let me learn all there is to know about M.F.K. Fisher, the woman who basically founded American food writing as a genre. But she is more than a food writer – and you don’t have to subscribe to Bon Appetit or have an entire bookcase of cookbooks or even watch Paula Deen to fall in love with her writing. Her books apply to everyone. If you are in need of a New Year’s resolution, let me help you: read The Art of Eating. At the very least, The Gastronomical Me. If she doesn’t capture your heart, she will at least arouse your tastebuds.
And the week before that…I turned 21! I would say that all the responsibility and freedom that comes with being able to drink makes me feel different, but….um, I kind of spent the first half on my 20th year in Italy, going to wine tastings and aperitivo. But, I do not drink to get drunk, because I think that’s stupid and disrespectful to the drink – especially with wine, it’s someone’s career to craft every ounce that goes into that bottle. It’s not made to be chugged, thankyouverymuch.
Ok, off my soapbox.
Well, that’s my recap for the month. Miss me?
I know I was a bad, bad blogger during this semester. But please understand, I took 5 classes – 3 literature classes, 1 senior thesis, and chemistry – and balanced [barely] 4 jobs on the side (I blog for my school, I do some study abroad work for my awesome study abroad company, API, I work at the Writing Center on campus, and I’m the Italian tutor). It might sound like I’m blowing my own horn…and, well, I kind of am. I’m actually a little proud that I made it through in one piece, with all limbs and GPA in tact. But, I am definitely not proud of the neglect this blog felt, and hope to remedy that immediately and into the new year. I will be moving into the senior apartments for the Spring semester which means that I will actually HAVE A KITCHEN! It is very difficult to put my excitement about that into words – but I promise to try. I also don’t have classes on Monday or Friday, which is a first (and last!) for me. I really feel like I’ve lost my blogging mojo, and have every intention of getting it back.
That said, I will return tomorrow with a super easy and tasty one-pot, quick and warming dinner for all of my fellow blizzard shit-ins!
~Namaste~

Blog’s First Thanksgiving

*knockknockknock*
Did you hear that?
*KNOCKknockKNOCK*
What is that????

Why, it’s Lulu, begging me to use the photos of Thanksgiving she still has in a blog post!
Sheesh. Even my camera gives me grief.
My blog’s 1st Thanksgiving – this calls for celebration!
And hors d’ouvres, of course.
We had a very small gathering, which was really really nice – made for a very fun and relaxed holiday.
They brought crostini (in my honor :), which is just good toasted bread with a topping.
They made an herbed ricotta to go with!
 It had scallions, dill, and other herby goodness. I had to remind myself not to eat to much before the main event – but it was hard!
 They also brought these amazing spiced nuts – recipe to come! I know there was orange juice and maple syrup involved. They totally had that sweet-salty-crunchy thing going on. I was very happy to see these leftover the next day.
While the master carver was at his station…
with the ever-faithful turkey lurker never far from the action…
*must. get. turkey.*
…we brought out the side dishes.
 Some holiday greenery, simply steamed.
 Mom’s spoonbread.
It’s basically a cornbread souffle, and tasted like….um, cornbread! I really liked it, and Mom hadn’t made it for Thanksgiving before. A welcome addition!
You know that dish that is so darn good that you wait all year long for, but know better than to request it earlier in the year because then it would lose some specialness? That is my mother’s sweet potatoes for me. I don’t remember a single year I haven’t had them and loved every buttery, brown-sugary bite. She always makes one section without nuts for my brother and I – but in the last few years, I’ve come around to the bourbon-praline-pecan topping too. 
It’s even better than it sounds.
[There were also mashed potatoes that apparently went unphotographed. The sweet potatoes usually distract me. You understand.]
  
And finally, the bird was ready.
And so was my stomach! 
 The evening was capped off with a classic:
Pumpkin pie, made from scratch. Oh yes, I was one happy foodie.
I’m all for going all out and making crazy experimental dishes, but there is something to be said for sticking to tradition. And sweet potatoes. Man, those things are good.
I will return soon to celebrate vacation, sleep, the end of my ridiculous semester…and food, of course.
 In the spirit of this post, I wish you all happy holidays…and good digestion!
~Namaste!

ColorFULL

I just love salads. Fun textures, yummy fresh flavors – and such pretty colors!
My mom stopped at a little cafe called Baker’s Best in Newton (Mass) that is a cafe as well as a kind of take-away place – lots of prepared foods like salads and hot pressed paninis. She grabbed three different salads, and I threw a little of each on a bed of spinach. I love eating this way – light, fresh, and a little bit of everything.
There was an orzo salad with feta cheese, asparagus and roasted peppers in an oil-and-vinegar dressing – probably my fave! Another was a noodle salad, a little spicy with chili, shrimp, cilantro and asian veggies like bell peppers and snap peas. Probably my least favorite – too oily and the noodles were a little mushy, plus I’m not big on spicy foods. The last was a red quinoa salad with veggie strips and mandarin oranges – this I loved as well. The fun thing about salads like these are they’re super easy to duplicate – and even play with and improve upon! Pick a grain, pick some veggies, maybe a little cheese, and spices and BAM! super yummy, quick, homemade salad ready for chowin’.
As much as I have been thoroughly enjoying my time on the elliptical jamming to my newly-downloaded Glee tunes, today was not a gym day (let’s just say, sometimes it sucks to be a girl). The weather was beautiful, and it was the perfect day for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog – and LuLu!
Love that natural light 🙂
A baby!
I think she was feeling a little shy 🙂
I love this tree. Every time I walk by it, I say that to myself. Doesn’t it look like a woman stretching her arms up and out? Very free. Beautiful.
Dogs will be dogs!
Lean on me…
I love walks. They’re like free therapy.
Tippy likes them too 😉
~Namaste~

Being Back

WHOA! I’m home…how did that happen???
The flight(s) were actually pretty smooth. Being the [lovable] OCD control freak that I am, I got to the airport at 9…and couldn’t check my bags until 2 hours before my noon flight left. So, I dragged my heavy – but not so heavy that I had to pay extra fees! – luggage to the cafe and had a goodbye cappuccino. Well, maybe more of an until-next-time cappuccino.
I hate traveling. Ironic, considering how often I do it, but I always love being in the place I’m heading to – it’s the getting there that causes my blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels. You walk up to the attendant at the desk to check your baggage and hold your breath as she weighs them, praying that they are under the limit. Then you have to get in line for security. Ah, security. My favorite part.
You hand over your passport and ticket to that security agent. More breath-holding ensues as he looks from your passport photo to your face – “I swear that’s me, I was just having a bad hair day!” One time they must have been doubtful and asked me what my name was. Now, for a 13-year-old, my immediate reaction was “are you blind? did you not just look at my ticket? who hires these people????” And this is just the beginning.
Now you have to carefully place all your belongings in specific places and hope that you didn’t forget to throw that tube of lip gloss in your Ziploc baggie. If you’re lucky, you step up, calmly place your laptop in one of those plastic bins, shrug off your jacket and step through to the other side. If you’re me, you get out your 2 cell phones in preparation of putting the with your computer, one falls to the floor and the battery and flimsy piece of plastic that holds it in scatter on the floor, your jacket is still hanging off one arm, you’re frantically looking for that Ziploc baggie that you thought you had put in the most accessible part of your purse, and you’re struggling to get your laptop out of its velcro case and into that stupid bin before the security agent ushering everyone through ups his voice one decibel louder. Forget gyms – airport security is the ultimate workout.
Once I got to the gate, breakfast was thoroughly burned off and I reached for my treat. My last Casa del Vino panino.
Prosciutto, pecorino, love.
I think I am going to start a ‘Restaurant Reviews’ page as well and include Florence – just because Sergios & CdV are not to be missed!
An earlier flight to Frankfurt was canceled, which made me nervous, but my flight to Munich left on time with no problems, thankfully. Once I got through customs there, I deemed it snack time and found…
Fresh fruit juice!!! I have no idea what this was, but I’m thinking strawberry-raspberry-citrus something. Yes, specific, but give me a break – I had already been up and going for 6 hours. I was not exactly a pretty sight 😉
My layover wasn’t long at all, a comfortable hour-and-a-half or so – thanks to my very good travel agent, a.k.a dad. The flight itself was alright, the food was blah but I got to watch “It’s Complicated”, “Did You Hear About the Morgans”, and the pilot episode of Glee which, of course, I loved. I am a huge Broadway geek, so this show was made for peeps like me, but I didn’t want to get attached to a TV show and then go off to school so I waited. And then I discovered the magic of watching TV on the computer…and, well, let’s just say  I’m planning some major catch-up sessions this summer 😉
I apologize for being MIA – I woke up Sunday with the worst case of flu I can remember. Every inch of me was in pain, running fever…oy. Welcome home?
All worth it though, just to see this:
It’s good to be back.
~Namaste~

Born in the U.S.A.

I know it sounds like I am loving it here so much that I don’t want to come home. And that may be more or less true. BUT that is not to say I don’t miss certain things, like…


The BABY!!!

Luna/Kashi bars. The only processed food I miss…they’re just so yummy!
Yes, this dork. Who DESPERATELY needs a haircut, btw.
Most amazing peanut butter ever. If I actually did live here…I’d have it imported.

Mamma mia!
Papa G!
Yoga…but that is soon to be righted!
Makes the best oatmeal/homemade lattes ever. MMMM.
My Bill Gangstahs!
Yes, I can walk around and go to the mercato and speak my 3rd semester Italian, but at the end of the day…I’m still just an American in Firenze.
Now WHERE is my Gene Kelly????