Food Memories

No Reservations

There have been a few celebrity deaths that really touched me. I know a lot of people probably think it’s silly–I mean, we don’t know these people in real life. But celebrities give us something–movies we love, music we never forget, and it’s not easy when your favorites pass on.

The first was Michael Jackson. One of my first childhood memories was of him and his music. I was a fan! I was about 4 or 5 years old and my dad came home from a business trip with a gift: THE Michael Jackson record and my very own Fisher Price record player. I was so ecstatic and I played it until the record warped, I’m sure.

I grew up listening MJ and Prince and Whitney….and when they all passed suddenly it was a huge shock to the system. You think about all the times growing up you listened to their records (or cassette tapes) alone in your bedroom, or at sleepovers with your friends…And then suddenly you’re an adult and you realize they are just human beings who die.

Tom Petty was another one that hit me very, very hard. I’d always loved Tom Petty’s music. It’s the PERFECT summer/road trip music and I can’t tell you how many trips I took with him as the soundtrack. I grew up listening to him and when I was 18 I had the incredible pleasure to see him live at The Gorge.

To this day, it was still one of the very best concerts I’ve ever been to. It’s hard not being sad when I hear the music now. Favorite song? Learning to Fly. Second favorite: Wildflowers. (Gut punch hearing that song now.)

Last year Chris Cornell (I am listening to this song as I write this),committed suicide and I saw the news before most people–I was up at 1am breastfeeding Logan in his dark room, scrolling through Twitter when I saw the news and again, gut punch. Why? Why would someone so talented and so beautiful and successful and just so amazing…end it all?

That brings me to the latest:

10 years ago I met my now husband, Michael, who was a big foodie and a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown. I was NOT a foodie. I didn’t cook. I didn’t know. He introduced me to Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations, and it quickly became one of my all time favorites.

In the beginning what struck me about Bourdain was his breathe-taking beautiful prose and narration on his show. He was a poet. I was stunned at how beautiful and descriptive his writing was. So I had to read his books, of course. Kitchen Confidential was a pretty good book–it’s the one everyone is talking about now, but I enjoyed Medium Raw better. Read it!

One of my favorite episodes of his show was the Thailand one. (From Parts Unknown)

Waking up to the horrible news that he died in France, and was found by Eric Ripert (another one of my favorite chefs). Part of me was sad for Eric because he seems like such a sweet and gentle person; then the other part of me was glad it was one of Bourdain’s closest friends who was there. I cannot even imagine the pain the people closest to him are feeling.

I spent Friday in shock, like a lot of people. Michael was devastated. It’s hard to put into words how you feel about someone you’ve never met dying but I think a lot of people felt the loss immediately.

Suicide is such a hard thing, too. You are always left with questions. Why? Why? I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life and I know what that darkness feels like. It’s easy to get stuck, get settled in, and it’s hard to see a way out.

Bourdain was a very vocal and very loud supporter of the #MeToo movement. He had class and dignity, even when he was ripping someone a new one–which was really entertaining. He was smart and funny and interesting and he showed us all interesting places in the world. Some of my very favorite parts of the show were when he was in a far away country, eating a meal made by someone’s grandma–not the four star restaurant, just someone’s kitchen. He wasn’t stodgy or snobby about food and he came across as down to earth on the show–and that made it accessible to all of the viewers.

So in honor of Anthony Bourdain, our favorite chef and author, who loved tube-shaped meat and got it in almost every city he traveled, ;), we had some tube-shaped meat for dinner Friday night.

Cheers, Anthony, you will be missed by millions.

Birthday & Seattle

January has been a rough one for me so far! I got sick a few weeks before Christmas with a cold, that turned into a sinus infection over Christmas, then after New Year’s it came back and moved into my chest. I had an upper respiratory infection/bronchitis and viral sinus infection. Oy. I was on antibiotics (again) for the bronchitis this time, AND prednisone. Yuck! I hate prednisone and first I said no to the doctor, but I’m glad I decided to get it. As much as I hate the side effects, it works. When you have asthma, lung sicknesses are terrible. 🙁

So I started the new year with kind of a whimper. The weight I lost in December (3 pounds) probably came back and then some, thanks prednisone, but I haven’t weighed in yet. I’ll give it a little bit more time and check in. But my pants are tight, so I know I gained.

Because of being sick, I also took some time off from the gym. I made the mistake of swimming when I wasn’t quite over my illness and then my cough got WORSE! I know one of my goals for this year was to rest when I need to and listen to my body better…so I am trying to do that. Even though it’s disappointing.

I am sick of coughing and congestion and sucking on cough drops 24/7. SIGH. So far January has been a bit of a bummer!

This time last year, Michael and I got to spend a little time away for my birthday at Edgefield. It was great! But sadly, on my birthday last year I realized it was the beginning of the end for Yggdrasil. We got back from our getaway and he was sick. I spent my birthday crying, waiting for news from the vet about whether or not my kitty had cancer.

I got lucky, I guess, and it wasn’t cancer and we got 8 more months together, even though they were hard months. It’s definitely hard hitting these “anniversaries” in this first year of Yggdrasil being gone. I know it will get a little easier with time and once these “firsts” without him are done.

For my birthday this year, I had the day off from work. I got to sleep in a little bit and then discovered a nice card from Michael and a giftcard to a spa I like. I had breakfast and then we took Logan to OMSI. 

My parents got Logan an OMSI membership for Christmas and this was the first time he’s ever been there. He had a blast! I remember loving OMSI as a kid when we would come down to Portland from Seattle to visit my cousins.

OMSI has a room for 0-6 year olds and it’s all hands-on stuff they can play with and explore. There were way too many things to describe! Check out my Instagram for some videos. 🙂 Anyways, Logan had a blast running around, exploring, touching everything. He seemed a bit overwhelmed at first. I think the more we go, the more he’ll explore and have fun.

After OMSI, it was home for lunch and naps (me too!) and then I went swimming. It was a nice swim, after a few weeks off from being sick. There was a guy in the hot tub asking me about how to start swimming laps and where to buy goggles. He was complaining about not having any and having to swim with his head above water. So I gave him an extra pair of goggles I had with me that didn’t fit my eyes and he was super grateful! I was glad to pass them on. Hopefully that helps him.

Birthday dinner was pizza and beer. Yay!

Saturday I got up early with Logan and has some quality playtime, then I went to the gym and then drove to Seattle for a few days. Last week my mom fell and got hurt and was in the hospital for 5 days. She’s doing better and will be ok, but I wanted to go up and see for myself and help out.

(That was Logan in the window when I got home from the gym. LOL)

The drive up was nice. I put on some CDs from my childhood, there was no traffic, I saw a rainbow, and arrived home in good time. First order of business: my mom asked me to take some groceries and medicine to my Grandma.

I surprised my Grandma (who just turned 96!) by just showing up at her place with the groceries and some flowers. We spent some time together catching up and then it was time for her to go down to dinner. After our visit, I picked up dinner for my parents and me:

Yum! Dick’s Drive In burgers, fries and milkshakes. My favorite when in Seattle. 😀

On Sunday I made my mom breakfast, went to the gym for a quickie workout, then went grocery shopping for my parents, vacuumed the house, made lunch, did some other little stuff my mom needed. Then met up with my bff Rachel for an early dinner in Fremont.

We met at Nuna Ramen in Fremont and it was SO good! Mine was a bit spicy, she got the not-spicy garlic ramen. It was delicious and hit the spot on such a dark, gray, rainy night.

The food was great and arrived super fast. The price was right, too. After dinner we walked to Swel Restaurant down the street for a glass of wine, dessert and a few hours of conversation. 🙂

I got the deep fried donut holes that came with chocolate sauce drizzled on the plate and a spoonful of whipped cream. Delicious! Rachel got the giant chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was slightly jealous of her order. It looked really good (and she said it was freshly baked and gooey! Yum!).

The restaurant was super romantic and cute. Definitely a good place to go for a date night. We both laughed and said it would be nice to be there with our husbands, but being there together was a good second choice. 😉 We had a lot to catch up on! We’ve both been so freaking busy with life and the holidays and other stuff that we’ve barely had a chance to talk since we hung out in September. So it was a very nice visit.

Overall, the weekend was good. Lots of family time. I was glad I was able to help my parents out. I wish we didn’t live so far away from each other. Whenever I go back to Seattle, I miss it.