Monday, January 23, 2012

Food for Thought: Brimming with Ideas

I'm back in good old Miami. Well, I've been back for awhile. Sorry about the delay in posting. I had a very good holiday break in Milwaukee. It was nice to recharge my batteries in the real world. There are things I don't miss about living in Wisconsin, but all in all, I love being with basically decent people. While we may not see eye-to-eye on some things, me and those Wisconsinites, I can count on them to hold open the door for me. And they can count on me to extend the same, basic human courtesy. Because- after all, we all get boogies and have gas. We all laugh and we all cry. And we all know that cheese is supreme.

I was able to see a couple of my girlfriends. I missed you Violet, Tini, and Airbud! I know I'm sort of a solitary person, but I miss those friends that slugged through college with me. Most importantly, I was able to spend time with my family. I got to take a couple of trips to the Hobby Shop to stock up on my reading supplies (Stuffed, Art Doll Quarterly, Art Journaling, Sommerset Studios, etc...) and take a peek at the comic books. Yes, I'm a secret nerd. But I'm a broke secret nerd, so I don't buy them. I only own one issue of Batman and it was a righteous birthday gift from one of my aunties. (Ask J, I'm a sucker for almost all super-hero movies. I've even seen the bad ones. And he is an odd boy because he hates them. To torture my husband I don't make him watch chick-flicks, I make him take me to X-Men: First Class.) I got my time in at the Hobby Shop and then me and my mom went shopping for her upcoming cruise. We also made the ever-so-necessary stop to Archiver's in Madison. Do not ask me how much I spent. Do. Not. Ask. But- unlike my love for comics, I can turn those crafty purchases into gifts for people.

I also indulged in a lot of food. I gained weight. But I didn't care! No. No one will stop this gal from getting her cheese fix. As an end of the year "HUZZAH" in dining I had a lot of good eats. I went to the Comet Cafe. It's a favorite for me and J. He got his usual: the meatloaf sandwich. I got my usual: the B.E.L.T. We enjoyed Old Fashioneds (his sweet, mine sour) and I also had a screwdriver. I couldn't help myself! I haven't seen such an awesome and reasonably priced drinks menu in ages!! And they were DELICIOUS! (J was the D.D.) The New Glarus gods also smiled upon me with their Apple Ale. They only make this stuff once in a blue moon and I just so happened to be home when they had some. They say on the bottle: we may never make this again. So I got two cases. J's dad bought one for us to share and I bought one all for myself. Yum. I had cheese curds at Culver's a couple of times. And butter burgers. But those seriously pale in comparison to the glory that is Dotty Dumplings Dowry. I attempted to go once with J and Violet, but they were closing- the turds!! So we hung out at The Vintage where they were having $1 Wisconsin beer (Heeeelllo PBR!). We all split some yummy fried foods and J and I enjoyed our first Bloody Marys. HOW ON EARTH did I go through college at Madison and never have one of these?! They are delicious. I also got my favorite Ooey Gooey Pasta when J and I met up with Airbud. (Airbud isn't her real name, obviously. My friends all have super secret identities that I have to protect.) Ooey Gooey Pasta is to die for: chicken, peas, noodles, all smothered in an amazing sauce. I drool just thinking about it. And the portion is ridiculous. I also had my first deviled egg, and second, third, and forth on Christmas Eve. My grandma made her yummy strawberries, bananas, and cream dessert for Christmas Day. It is so simple, and yet so divine. Let's see, what else? Ooh, I had some really great hard goat cheese. Darn, I wish I knew the brand name. It was perfectly salty, yet not overpowering. I got Ann's pizza- my parents spoiled me. They are the best pizza in Milwaukee. Oh yes- I almost forgot: I HAD MY KOPP'S RED RASPBERRY FROZEN CUSTARD. Two scoops. I don't care if I look like a piggy when everyone else only orders one scoop. I can't get any of these things in Miami. (Well, I could make myself drinks and deviled eggs, but it wouldn't be the same.)

Now I am back to eating organic produce and sensible meals. My clothes are still a little mad at me, but it was worth it. :) The biggest change in my diet is my New Year's Resolution: no meat. I didn't really think I was going to go complete vegetarian, but I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer after getting back, and I am livid with the practices of factory farms and slaughterhouses across this country. Over 95% of our meat comes from them, and I- the ardent steak lover- have put down my fork and kept my dollar when it comes to supporting them. Now, I'm not going to say anything more, other than that if J and I could find a great farmer and a reliable butcher, we'd be eating meat. We both like it. The reason we first went to eating less meat was environmental, and because we have a little dog who, when added with all of the other doggies, can make a huge environmental impact. So, we started for that reason, but we're ending up doing it for another. I hope I haven't offended anyone. My choice is for me alone, but I wanted to explain myself because I've often said how much I love a good steak or burger on this blog, and for me to go vegetarian is almost a one-eighty. I never want to get preachy, and I won't criticize how others live. J and I have made a decision that is best for us that we hope will have a positive (albeit, slight) impact. Anything is something.

So, that mini-food tour of Wisconsin was also a little farewell tour. We've been back for a couple of weeks now and a lot has already happened. I got the sinus infection of a decade. I was miserable. I don't know how I made it to work. The only time I took off was to go to the doctor at the tail end of it and I wasn't going to take the full day, but after a three hour visit- time in Miami is measured by the hours you have to wait for things- my boss suggested I just stay home. I've been dealing with some hearing loss- no nerve damage thank goodness- and major pressure in my sinuses and ears. I have had that pressure in my ears for awhile, but it was so bad on Friday that I had to call my doctor and beg for something more helpful than nasal spray. So far, I seem to be getting better.

Right in the middle of that nasty sinus infection we had a visitor. I wish I could have been my usual self- and I'm sure I sent the impression that I loaf around on the couch watching television all of the time. I tried to keep up and spend time with J and his friend on South Beach (NOT partying, just sight-seeing), but I think I may have pushed myself a little too hard. Oh well, I've only had a sinus infection like that since middle school, so hopefully I'm not due for another one for a looooong time. I especially hope I'll feel 110% when Abe comes to visit me in the summer. I am dying to see her because we missed each other over Christmas. And I'm going to beg E to come back and bring her special someone too!

Even though I was super sicky and busy with getting back into the swing of things in the office, I managed to keep myself even busier with ideas. I've been brimming with them! I think those magazines I got at the Hobby Shop really help: I love admiring the artwork of other people, even if I do something that is nothing like that (Art Dolls, for instance). I've been toying with ideas and learning new things. Volunteering at the gardens ensures that I'm never bored. I just learned how to do some basic knitting last week and I'm currently working on a funky scarf made from some recycled t-shirts and interesting yarn. Tomorrow night I will learn how to make felt flowers. I've been mass producing some little projects (secret stuff: some people are getting them in my Pay-It-Forward craft project for 2012). I cannot wait to share my work with others and I hope they like it as much as I enjoyed making it. I would like my kitchen table back, though. I'm sure J would too. These projects take up a lot of space!

I'm slowly pulling elements of the life I want into the life I have. I'm working on character development for a story idea. I'm also reworking old stories in my head. I take time everyday to browse the internet for fun projects or to see what amazing things creative folks are up to now. Hopefully I can find a niche for myself in one of those communities. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my time with J (I missed him over the break- he stayed with his folks) and I'm loving my little Ruby. She's in Adult Training classes now, so hopefully that little chickadee will learn how to walk nicely. I may not be where I want to be right now, but I'm excited for the future and I'm trying to make the most of the present. .:Insert super mushy stuff about hubby here:.

Have a good week! Stay warm my Wisconsin friends! (I'm sweating.)