30 March 2010


Isn't amazing what our senses can recall? With our hearing, the first few notes of a song can throw you right back into high school. And that can be good or bad. The sense of taste evokes mountains of memories for me. For instance, in 1998, I had dinner in the cellar of a winery in Napa Valley and to this day, I can still taste the cream of fennel soup I had that night. Every time I have fennel, I drift back to that dinner and that amazing soup. I obsess more of the sense of taste than anything else. It can be paralyzing. It's happening right now. To me. You see, I happen to really like these:

The Flapjack. The English Flapjack.

I first got hold of these devils on a British Airways flight a few years ago and pretty much cleaned out the entire "larder." I love them. They could not be easier to make. Unfortunately, I need this to make them:

Golden Syrup. Doesn't need to be Lyles. But I need me some Golden Syrup.

I have looked high and low here and can't find it. I came thisclose to jumping a flight to London a few weekends ago to get the stuff. That's how gripping this current obsession is. So, foodies, if you know where to get this stuff, let me know. HELP ME!

Filthy rumor has it that one of the Whole Foods in the city might carry it. My mother-in-law is in town and we are going to take her into the city, so here's hoping I can swing by one of those stores and they'll have it. That would make me extremely happy.

24 March 2010

Meet n'Greet with a State Trooper

So I had myself a little meet n'greet with a State Trooper earlier this afternoon. Turns out that this:
texting while driving

is, in fact, against the law. Turns out they weren't kidding when the law went into effect earlier this year. I was minding my own business, hurtling down the I88, getting more and more annoyed by texts coming in from the Help Desk at work. They were pestering about an issue that wasn't mine. I was texting the dope back, telling him to leave me be as I was in my car, when I looked to my right to see the State Trooper right alongside me. On went the flashing red lights and within seconds, I was pulled over, getting this:

Ah, good times. First words out of the officer's mouth: "Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?" Seriously, what was I going to say. In the seat next to me, in open view, were two devices, my Blackberry and my iPhone. I would do myself absolutely no favors in saying that I had no idea. So I copped to it, saying, "Yep, I know. Does it help that I was telling the guy to stop texting me because I was driving?" Based on the Trooper's stony facade, no, no it did not help. So off he went back to his car to write me up. He took his sa-weet time to write up the ticket. While he was doing that, I have to tell you my mind drifted to the scene from "The Blues Brothers" wherein Jake and Elwood evade the State Troopers in my fine state in an epic chase through a mall. For just one second, or maybe two, I wondered what it would be like if I suddenly pealed off. Ridiculous is what it would be. Simply ridiculous. I mean I just don't think the Avalon could take on a mall the way the Troopers did in the movie.

No mall chase for me. I'll just pay my fine and hope it doesn't hit my insurance. So listen up, kids, no texting while you drive!

21 March 2010

There are no words

It's been said that a picture says a thousand words. Sometimes there are pictures that are worth something like ten thousand words that leave you speechless. For example:

Really. There.Are.No.Words. Except to thank Awkward Family Photos for running an 80's photo contest and for landing this one in the Top Five. The site is pure genius.

What to say about the picture? Leaning against a Dodge K Car. Wow. Is the Olivia Newton-John "Physical" wanna-be the girl from "The Love Boat"? And where to start with the he-she on the end? That's where there really are no words. Thoughts?

17 March 2010

Wearing of the green

Since I work from home most days, I don't get ensnared in many office traditions, like the insistence that one wears green on St. Patrick's Day, regardless of one's heritage. Today is St. Patrick's Day and I did wear green. A green t-shirt from my first 5K - the one that was a fundraiser for Crohn's Disease. The one sponsored by a doctor specializing in gastrointestinal drama, including constipation and diarrhea. I love this shirt because those things are listed on the back of it. It could not be more awesome. So that was my nod to St. Patrick's Day.

I had lunch with an airline industry consultant buddy and there was no going to the local Irish joint. Instead, it seemed appropriate that we go to the local Jewish deli, Schmaltz's, where he dove into corned beef (fine nod to our Irish friends) and I mowed down a beef brisket bathing in horseradish. It was awesome.

It's been an amazing day here - sun, not a cloud in the sky and mid-60s for temps. Nigh unto perfect. So a few hours after my fatty lunch, I decided to get a five mile run in. This was a mistake. Not only had I eaten too much, compared to the 20s and 30s that I've been running in, today was hot. As a result, my pace was about a minute off my average and I felt like this dope:

So not much an Irish day. To give it a bit more of a St. Patty's Day feel, I give you the greatest Irish band ever, U2:

And speaking of music, so far the race for Shameful Music for iPod needs more share. There are two in the running for the most shameful, but I could use some more suggestions. C'mon, people, lose your pride and pony up.

14 March 2010

Shame on my iPod

"Shame on you, iPod. Shame on you." Why am I reprimanding my iPod? Well, I'm not. I'm reprimanding some of what I have on it.

This all came about Saturday after a six-mile run with my CARA running group. It was a cool morning with a little bit of misty rain falling but was comfortable enough to run in short sleeves. I had one ear phone in to hear my pacing - I didn't want both in so as to not hear my running partners. During the run, one song came on and I thought to myself, 'I sure hope no one can hear this. I'd be drummed out of the group for a song like this.' So after my run and as I was driving home, I started thinking about my running playlist, how I want to change it up, and what's on my iPod that would shame me were I to be hit by a truck and some schmo grabbed it in the ensuing chaos.

If you've read the blog before, you pretty much know I'm not concerned about embarrassing myself, so here it goes. The shame of my iPod:
Yep, it's Hutch. From that completely boss and ridiculous 1970's cop show, "Starsky and Hutch." Now before you think I'm completely mental, I don't have the whole album shown above on my iPod. Just one song. Probably the second worst song of the 70's. "Don't Give Up On Us" That's the one on my iPod. That is my shame of shames. But at least I don't have the single WORST song of the 70's, "You Light Up My Life" in my playlist. I promise.

So what's your song of shame on your iPod? What's the one song you tell your friends totally blows but in fact is one of you top played songs? Something like "We Built This City on Rock and Roll"? You know what I'm talking about. I want to hear your most shameful. It could make for a really fun playlist. Let me know what your shame song is...if I get enough responses, I'll post the playlist without naming names. You know, to protect "the innocent."

13 March 2010

This has got to stop

I've never been one to sleep in. Ever. I was not like my teenage children, who are able to easily sleep in until noon, given the chance. 7AM was the latest for me in most cases. On weekdays, I am up by 5AM. No problem. Same with Sundays since my church administration meetings start at 6AM. Fine with that too. So that leaves me Saturday. One day to try and sleep in til 7AM. That gives me time to get up and meet my 730AM running group. Dare to dream...instead I'm wide awake by 430AM or as in this morning's case, 415AM. I cannot begin to tell you how over this I am...it has got to stop. I'd really prefer NOT to turn to solutions like Ambien or Tylenol PM. I worry that will leave me sluggish for my runs. All I want is one day to sleep in. Just one. How hard is that? Am I asking too much?

10 March 2010

Mother Nature, didn't you once say...

Mother Nature, didn't you once say that it's not nice to fool you. I distinctly remember this. You got plenty worked up about it when you got fooled into thinking margarine was butter. This led to a some loud thunderous rage on your part. I fear that the raccoon never got over it. See for yourself, Ma Nature, it's all here:

See, not so happy when the joke's on you, are you, Mother Nature?

So I implore you to not turn the tables on us here in Chicagoland. Please. Because if you are fooling us, then today was an exercise in severe cruelty. It was more than 60 degrees this afternoon here today. Sun shining and absolutely amazing. Gorgeous. I left the house at 4:30PM for a five mile run in a pair of shorts and a long-sleeve technical shirt and I totally wished I was in short sleeves. But why do I get the sense that you, Mother Nature, are playing us for fools? I worry that you've got at least one more winter wallop waiting for us. Why? Because you've done it before. Nothing like an April snowstorm to tax your will to live. So please don't be fooling, lady, please.

06 March 2010

My Saturday

4:40AM - wake up inexplicably. Not able to go back to sleep. Come downstairs to balance the checkbook. That was regrettable.
7:30AM - meet my running group in Wheaton for our weekly run. Good group of people. Good run. Weather borderline awesome. Well, awesome for Chicagoland in March. In the low 30s when we started and tons of sunshine. We hadn't seen the sun for months.
10:30AM - the Boy and I go get breakfast at Tangerine. The blueberry multi-grain pancakes were fantastic. Run some errands, including going to see the new digs of the best running store, bar none, in America - the Naperville Running Company. They moved a couple of doors down into a much larger location. It remains completely awesome.
12:30PM - go to the local soulless haircut factory for a haircut. I didn't have to wait very long and for that I am grateful.
1:00PM - Costco. On a Saturday. Wow. I noticed that most of the shoppers were as wide as they were tall. It was borderline disturbing. I did have to laugh at one really, really big lady who was using her scooter throughout the store as a bully pulpit get positively incensed when she couldn't get around a mob of carts to get to one of the sample stations quickly enough. She wanted her piece of lamb something fierce.
3:00PM - Home. I like being home.

And that's where I've been the rest of the day. CAL is at work and the Boy wants to watch a movie. I'm not going out again so here's to hoping he can find something in our DVD collection. Good luck, Boy, good luck.

04 March 2010

The horror that is "American Idol"

Last night I watched the first twenty minutes of "American Idol." These are twenty minutes that I will never, ever get back. I should have known better. I will never get those twenty minutes back. It was perhaps the worst twenty minutes of my life. In that time, I saw the most horrific parade of untalented singers I've ever witnessed. And these are supposed to be the finalists? When your lone hope and most "talented" person is a girl missing several discolored teeth, sporting dredlocks, and looking like she needs a shower in the worst way, you're no longer on a trumped up karaoke contest, you're on "America's Most Wanted." And not wanted in a good way. For me, the horror is over. I just need to figure out how to get those twenty minutes back. Maybe I can sue Simon Cowell...