Here comes the heat!

I love the warm weather and sunshine in Central Texas…. but 100 degrees Fahrenheit is more than a little warm, it’s downright HOT!!!

I don’t mind sweating either. What I have trouble with is the shocking adjustment from heat outside to frigid air conditioning inside everywhere I go.  Dress accordingly to avoid overheating bring a sweater for going to stores and restaurants and drink lots of water.

WELCOME TO SUMMER!!!

Going Home Part II

In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside.  What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball! 

The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit feelings. I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of Chicago and of Illinois, it was tough to see all of the places I missed. Walking around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of enemies. It was also great to see a dear friend, chatting with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.

I live in Central Texas for many reasons, though not for the food. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own.  Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas for shopping, movies, and other activities, not because it is a growing city, but rather this is the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief, that too many people in the  Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago.  We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold.

Anyhow, I look forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years.  It’ll be good!

Reminiscing… and feeling a bit abandoned (revised)

In response to the Daily Prompt, “Abandoned“:

One year ago, Boyfriend and I were hanging out with my mother and my aunt. They came to visit us in Central Texas over a four-day weekend. There were a few interesting moments, but there were also great opportunities to talk with them and to share our corner of the world with them. I had not spent an extensive amount of time with my aunt in a very long time, perhaps since I spent overnights as an adolescent, and I had not seen my mother since I moved from the Chicago area two years prior.

Wow, time does go by. There were moments I could have handled differently, and I hope for another chance for my mom and aunt to visit. I actually hope that my father and my brother and his fiancée all visit because I not only want to show them the beautiful landscape and the places we like in Central Texas, but also because a phone call only does so much. We are all very different people with different interests, ideas, and viewpoints,  and it can be hard to really relate in a meaningful way on the phone.

I feel lucky that I was able to visit my brother and his fiancée’ this past November. I got to see their new apartment and neighborhood, as well as experience a little of their daily existence in NYC. I visited my parents while I was in Chicago last summer, and I think we need a change of venue.  I know that life can be busy, and travelling can be challenging… I think its time for another family visit in Texas!

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

Red Pill, Blue Pill… and choosing food for mind and body

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 08/21/15: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.” If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Buddha's Brew TangerineThe short answer is no,  because I would hate to give up my favorite foods and drinks, including coffee, Boyfriend’s chocolate chip and double chocolate peanut butter cookies, and the wonderful dinners that he prepares us out of simple but healthy ingredients, pizza, hamburgers from Mighty Fine, fresh squeezed orange juice, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and many other tasty items.

courtesy of infowars.com

My next answer is that this reminds me of Alex Jones, the well-known alternative media man from Infowars.com and Infowars radio, who talks about taking the red pill or the blue pill to know the truth or to stay in the dark about the reality of our world. He often plays a clip from the movie The Matrix, with Morpheus offering Neo a way to learn the truth for himself.  Before you leave my page due to mention of a “conspiracy theorist”, I urge you to check out Infowars.com because it is a great place to find out what is really going on in the world and the articles usually offer supporting links so you can do more research. Ok, now back to food.

I am skeptical of quick-fix solutions in general, and I am assuming that this nutritional solution would be produced in a lab, likely making it chemical based and/or genetically modified. Not that I am a perfect, healthy eater, but I try to avoid regular consumption of fast food, modified, GMO, HFCS, artificial dyes/colors/etc. whenever possible.  I don’t eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Whataburger, KFC, or any of the other similar restaurants because of the quality and content of the food. The place I fall down on this the most is at work when the department is celebrating a birthday or holiday, and I decide to have the piece of cake, despite its foot-long list of ingredients.

Boyfriend's cookies going into the oven
Boyfriend’s cookies going into the oven

Boyfriend and I have done our research and have learned what we can and should eat based on how our bodies react to food. We do not react well to the fake, “pancake syrup” given for your waffles or pancakes at many restaurants, often feeling sluggish and tired after dousing our food with high fructose corn syrup. Both of us were really excited to find out that Kerbey Lane, a Central Texas restaurant that serves breakfast 24 hours a day, has both “pancake syrup” and the real maple syrup, which they will give you if you ask. We are willing to pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup, and we are both happy that this restaurant sources a lot of its ingredient from local farmers.

Food is really important for nourishing your mind, body, and soul. I realize that food serves a purpose and is necessary for each of us to survive, whether it is tasty or not, and whether it is affordable or not, but being able to choose your food is satisfying. I have taken people to get food at a food pantry as a function my job, and I have delighted in seeing people be able to choose between chicken noodle soup and sirloin vegetable soup, or between wheat bread and French bread. Food takes us to another part of ourselves through our senses and our memories, good and bad.

rutamaya-mediumroast-I remember cutting vegetables with my grandmother and eating cucumbers while I helped her cook, and that crosses my mind when I am making myself a salad. Tasting one of Boyfriend’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies makes me feel loved and reminds me of making cookies to share with others while I was growing up. Each and everyone of us has a story about a meal, a place he/she used to go for family celebrations or a smell that would permeate their home at a special time. Why would we completely give that up for convenience in pill-form, when eating at McDonald’s is bad enough? The conspiracy theorist in me is sure that the powers that be already have the idea for us to consume our nutrients and whatever else they feel is good for us in the form of pills, capsules and other devices with no other choice sometime in the future.

Until then, I will eat my salads, my golden scrambled eggs, grass-fed beef or bison, seasoned organic chicken with Brussels sprouts, home-made cookies, Ruta Maya coffee with Mill-King organic whole milk and other tasty items made with real ingredients that make me happy, if nothing else.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell