Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Cooking and Passion

Today I returned home from a fantastic vacation in Kansas City. There are two things I'm going to talk about here (and neither one is baseball, the purpose of the vacation). One: it's f-ing HOT in Kansas City in late July. Hot and HUMID. Next year we're going in the spring.

Also, I had one of the greatest dishes I've ever tasted. I've always liked lamb, and I have a soft spot for ribs for quite some time. Lamb ribs? Never had them before. But I had them for lunch yesterday and it was the most amazing culinary experiences of my life. At Jack Stack's BBQ, I tasted heaven in my mouth. If you're ever in Kansas City, they have a few locations. Get the lamb ribs (they have a lunch portion, too). You'll thank me later.

When I came home from the vacation, I had to catch up on my TV shows. They included: "The Next Food Network Star," "Hell's Kitchen," and the first episode of "Master Chef." As I'm watching these shows - especially the last one, I realized something: I truly do have a passion for food. I felt it there in Kansas City in the form of mouth-watering, savory lamb ribs. I want to learn how to make those lamb ribs so I can cook them every day. I love cooking. I'm good at it. At least, I think I'm good at it.

I still think I need more practice. I need more tools (a good set of knives, to start). I need to learn some more techniques. But I can get there. I can get really good.

I'm thinking that maybe I should watch the auditions for Master Chef. If they come to the Twin Cities, I could try out for it. I could win. Or at least I could have an experience I'd never forget.

Or, I won't get anywhere. Maybe I'm not good at all. Maybe everyone who tells me my food is good doesn't know any better. Or maybe they're just saying it's good so that I feel better.

I'd rather go into this thinking I'm good. I'm good, and I'm going to get better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I joined another online dating website today. I wrote the stupid "about me" section and described the qualities I like in men. I listed movies and books and music that I like. I hate all this crap, but I did it. Again.

I feel like my life has become stagnant. It's been a long time since I've been on a date. It's been even longer since I felt a real connection with someone. This is the part that freaks me out the most about turning 30. I thought maybe finding a fresh batch of guys to choose from would help me, maybe get me excited about finding someone again. But it looks like the type of person on this new site isn't my type of guy. Haven't found a single geek/nerd yet.

I do the same thing every day. I go to work. I come home from work. I watch some TV, I make dinner, I watch some more TV. Maybe I make a necklace or two or some earrings. I go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. But the thing is, I like my life. Do I really want to find someone to interrupt a routine that's become such a comfort to me?

Well, unless I want to spend the rest of my life crying, I should probably do something about this lonely thing I've been feeling. Hence the new dating website.

I've heard through the grapevine that my roommate is thinking about moving in with her new boyfriend. That's all I'm going to say about that.

In other news, next week I'll be in Kansas City. I'm finally going on a road trip with my baseball buddy to watch the Twins play the Royals. It should be really fun. We're also going to an amusement park. That better be fun, because it's called "Worlds of Fun." I hope it lives up to its name.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

JoCo Cruise Crazy

I live a decent life, I make a decent living, and I even have disposable income. I can take vacations and see people I want to see and visit places I want to visit.

But I can't go on the JoCo Cruise Crazy. I'm far more depressed about this than I should be.

If you remember my post from about a month ago about the amazing concert experience known as w00tstock, you will know how much I loved the night. The JoCo Cruise is pretty much the same thing (minus Adam Savage, plus Jonathan Coulton - most of the other acts are the same), only it's a 6-day Caribbean cruise. Basically, it sounds like the greatest thing on land or sea.

But in order to go, I'd need at least $1300. Probably more. And a friend to go with me so I don't have to stay in a cabin with a stranger (theoretically they wouldn't be a stranger by the time the cruise set sail because we'd set it up before booking, but it will still be someone I've never met) - they have some big charges for single-occupancy. So not only would I need $1300, but a friend of mine would need $1300 as well. Oh, and most of that needs to be paid by October 1. The cruise is in January.

I can't go.

There's no way, not with my upcoming trips to Kansas City and Las Vegas, that I could save that kind of money in time. And I'm sad about that. Probably more than I should be.

Frowny face.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Opposite of Shy

Just a quick post here before I go to bed. I fully meant to write this earlier this evening, but I was distracted my a Netflix DVD that came in the mail.

Back when I was in high school, especially in its earlier years, I was extremely shy. Being involved in music and drama really helped me break out of my shell, but I've always been on the shy side. Even now, when I often describe myself as an extrovert, I'm really just shy little me putting on a face of boldness, pretending I can be an outgoing person.

This all changes in an online setting. As many of you know, I'm active on a lot of the online dating websites. My favorite is OK Cupid mainly because it's free, and has a lot of fun features like personality tests and questions to answer.

On the internet, especially on dating sites, I'm very outgoing. I'll send messages to anyone. On OK Cupid, I'm the opposite of shy.

Today I fear I was a little too bold. I think I made a mistake and came on way too strong. I read a guy's profile that seemed to be written directly to me, and of course, the anti-shy that I am there, I said exactly that in a message to this guy who I've never even had contact with. He's just some words and pictures on a screen. For all I know, none of those pictures are real, and all the words are fiction.

Or, worse, it's all real and I scared off the perfect guy because I'm not shy when I should be. I've been compulsively checking my account all day. No reply, but he's logged on to his account since I sent the message. He had to have seen it.

I'm such an idiot. Apparently when I let my fingers do the talking I forget to let my brain do the thinking.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Downtown Minneapolis and Skyway Guilt

I love this city. I really do. But sometimes it's hard to love Minneapolis.

Working downtown, for example, has its ups and downs. It's a friendly city, with respectable public transportation and a farmer's market in the heart of downtown on Thursdays during the summer. In the cold, harsh winters, there's a maze of skyways connecting the buildings so you never have to step outside until it's time to catch your bus home.

The drawback to this wonderful, "Minne"-Utopia (forgive the pun) is that it's far too easy to find unhealthy food when the mood strikes you.

I've been trying this week to be mindful of the foods I'm eating. At Subway for lunch yesterday, I went for the chicken breast with honey mustard sauce rather than the tuna drowning in mayo or the greasy meatball sub. It was quite tasty, in fact (really: lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and spinach make great sandwich-toppers, especially when combined with that honey mustard sauce). For dinner, I had a leafy green salad with my mini pizza so that I could at least pretend to be eating from more than one food group.

I've been very good, in general lately, about eating a banana and a granola bar every morning for breakfast. Usually this satisfies me. Today, though, was a little odd. I wanted to keep eating after the banana and granola bar were gone. I wanted something savory and delicious.

I knew exactly what I wanted - a sausage, egg and cheese bagel from the Bruegger's in the next building.

I thought for a moment. Do I really need this? Do I really want this? Will anyone notice if I dash out for a moment? Yes, yes, and no were the answers to those questions.

I got my bagel sandwich. And it was delicious.

And then came the guilt. I have decided to call it "Skyway Guilt." If I had to go outside (even on a nice day) to get this bagel, I know I wouldn't have gone. But because the skyway was there, it was easy to get to the building across the street. No traffic worries or weather woes. Just a hop, skip, and a jump away and I was back before my screensaver kicked on.

The challenge now is to hold off on these urges for the rest of the week, and hopefully continuing after that. If I'm going to have any success with making myself healthier, I can't be eating bagel sandwiches every morning. Especially if it takes no effort whatsoever to get them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

She's All Grown Up

Today I had a moment. A type of moment that doesn't happen very often.

Yes, it's true: I had a moment where I felt like an actual ADULT. A grown-up.

I spent my day cleaning house and getting some shopping done because I've got a little BBQ shindig coming up for the 4th of July. I went to the Home Depot for some home-repair items and some gardening things. Little stuff, not really a big deal. But this is the first time in a long time that I've been to a Home Depot.

I loved it.

The people working at the store are great. They were friendly and helpful and were very good as not treating me as if I were an idiot who knew nothing about home improvement. I found what I needed quickly (some long wood dowels for my morning glory plants to climb, some wood glue to repair a chair, and a tomato cage for the plant in my garden).

As I was leaving the store, an employee stopped me and asked if I was interested on getting a free estimate for some kind of home cooling system. I politely told him that I don't own my home, and went on my way.

I realize the guy was doing his job, and he probably asks everyone as they left if they wanted the free estimate on whatever it was. But still, it made me feel like a grown up. It's not outside the realm of possibility for a person who looks like me to be a homeowner. I like to believe that the guy asked me because he thought I might be interested in adding this system to my house.

I'm a grown-up!