Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Freezer and Trader Joes...a Love/Hate Story

I haven't blogged in AGES. I blame Facebook. Rarely do I have something to say that requires more than a status update. I'm pithy. It's how I do. Today I'm in the midst of a rare spell of inspiration so here we go.

I happened upon a Trader Joe's today with some time to kill and decided to run in and grab a few things. $113 dollars later I walked out all pie-eyed and loaded the 3 full paper bags and one wine tote into the car.


What just happened?


Here's a few tips about Trader Joe's:
  • Be careful if you're watching your girlish figure. Their frozen entrees are laden with fatty deliciousness. The atmosphere in that place says healthy but their food is actually screaming "run away unless you want to be a giant cow."
  • They have gone the Whole Foods route and only use paper bags now. I appreciate that. This recent reversion back to paper bags makes me want to cut one up and cover a text book...you know just to see if I can. Actually, that's not a bad idea for my cook books is it? Protects them from yuckies. I think I have a rainy day project ahead of me!
  • Trader Joe's caries wine. Good cheap wine.


Trader Joe's is known for their awesome frozen foods. They have high quality fish frozen, some seasoned some not. I went a little crazy in the frozen foods isle. Veggie burgers and frozen chimichurri salmon...in the cart. Frozen spinach and artichoke hearts...in the cart. I looked down at all the frozen food and said to myself "Hey lady, you're going to have to clean out your freezer, 'cause there ain't room for all these goodies in there, no siree.


Back at home I opened up my freezer and winced. Oh my. What is going on in there?


I know lots of people that utilize their freezer space so well. They shop sales and wrap up chicken and freeze it for another day. I tried to do that once when we bought the house. I'm a homeowner now, I thought, I have to freeze things and save them for another day. That's what homeowners do. The freezer I was looking into had some issues. Long ago purchased food issues. Let me give you a sampling of what I found in my freezer today:
  • A gallon ziplock of Jamaican beef patties left over from the party for no reason...which we held in April.
  • 2 bags of frozen spinach with about a half serving in them
  • A full bag of frozen spinach (clearly I didn't need the one I threw in the cart. Dinner anyone? Frozen spinach is on the menu)
  • A Haddock filet that we'd gotten in Alaska. I hope that's still good. It's sealed up pretty well. Fingers crossed.
  • A plastic container of cranberry bread batter that I thought I'd surely bust out and bake at some point.
  • A half eaten Charlston Chew. I didn't even know they made Charlston Chews anymore. Where did that come from?

I could go on and on, suffice to say, there are many ways I'm like my mother and freezer utilization is not one of them. My mom's freezer is like tetris; she knows exactly what's in there and she uses every morsel. I have seen that woman plunge her hand into her freezer (she has 2 by the way...freezers and hands...one freezer on the fridge and a full sized one in the laundry room) and pull out an anonymous looking foil package out of a hundred other anonymous looking packages and have it be the exact thing she's looking for. It is a talent I did not inherit. My freezer is a black hole.





Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ok one more for real this is the last one

and this is the best one I'm not sure how I overlooked this.

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Ice falling from the Hubbard Glacier.

And the light at night

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Ok One More

This is the moose video. Now I'm done.

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"It's looking right at you. We have to go."

Alaska Out-Takes

Ok not so much out-takes as much as stuff on the little camera that is cool that I couldn't download while on vacation. There is only one out-take, and it goes a little something like this...

While in Alaska Michael was in charge of the little camera and I was in charge of the big camera. There were lots of times that were not terribly opportune to be changing lenses, like kayaking, so he handled the wide angle stuff and I handled the zoom. He was also in charge of video. I will stress before you view this video this was not Michael's fault.



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Picture this. You're in a glacial lake and the salmon are jumping and spawning so you go to shoot some video of it. Just as you start filming a bald eagle flies about 20 feet in front of you. Oh my god it's the video of a lifetime! It's youtube gold!

Memory card full.

You can see the eagle there on the left getting ready to fly across our video. Turns out neither of us had emptied the memory card. Sigh.

Here are a few pics from the little camera that I think are good. All pics will be uploaded soon to picasa or facebook or whichever site is behaving the best the day I try to upload. Enjoy.


No, I'm not saluting. I'd made a Murphy's Law deal with Alaska that day. If I don't bring my sunglasses the sun will come out. I was blind.


And last but not least the pice de resistance...

The full on double rainbow all the way across the sky:


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You can hear Michael laughing at the end there. No one on the bus even mentioned the double rainbow guy. And this is a double rainbow but you can't really make it out. Filming conditions weren't great.

We had a great time and if anyone needs AK advice please feel free to drop me a line.

Vancouver

Sigh. I have a crush on Vancouver. I'm sorry Boston, I'm still married to you but my one night stand with Vancouver was very satisfying.

I lied when I said Ketchikan was our final port. Vancouver is where we disembarked and we spent the day and night there on Saturday. We rented bikes and rode around the perimeter of Stanley Park. What an amazing park indeed. Now before you play the next video please note the following:

1) My husband tends to be reckless and does things he probably shouldn't do.

2) His bicycling skills are piss poor. I mean when I was riding behind him it was unsettling. For some reason he pulls on the handlebars when he pushes the pedals and the result is, well, he's kinda all over the road.

So when I saw he was videoing while riding My reaction was this:


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Now take note of the joggers he could have run down and that "line" in the middle there is actually a curb oh and the wall we could have crashed into on the left. Yeah, no need to worry there.

The park is really full of cool stuff like this crazy island that is just off the shore

And this artist that stacks the ocean rocks precariously:


http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/19/sports/la-sp-olympics-rock19-2010feb19

Oddly enough that's all I could find on the guy. There are some Youtube videos too




After a bit of lunch we headed to the Public Market on our bikes. This place is what Fanieuil Hall should be. Veggies and seafood and meats and cheeses and spices. No Banana Republic, real fricking bananas, thank you very much. I loved it.

We went back to the hotel with some olives and cheese had a snack and then off to Yaletown. Our first stop here was a place called The Keg. Now, when I say The Keg what do you think? A beer bar..maybe a little grungy. Nope. This place was like a trendy NYC roof deck bar. It was really nice but served three kinds of beer. At The Keg. Three kinds of beer. Huh.

We moved on after a couple of drinks to what is hands down the coolest bar I have ever been to. It's called Raw Canvas and the sign in the window said "Eat, Drink and Make Art." Color me intrigued. We went in and looked around. They weren't kidding. You can eat. You can drink. and you can make art. The front is a bar. Mismatched chairs and beat up wood tables but a very clean and trendy atmosphere. Go down the ramp into the back and there is a bunch of easels set up and you can buy a canvas and paint to your hearts content. Cool, cool, COOL! JP is screaming for a bar like this!!

Now what I really need to stress here is the people of Vancouver. If we had walked into a bar in NYC or Boston that had the trendy vibe that these bars did we would have been treated like crap. We were clearly tourists and Michael was wearing a sweatshirt. We were wrung out from our vacation and showed the signs. Neither of us was up for a night of gussied up shenanigans.The bartenders in both places could not have been nicer and more welcoming. In fact everyone we encountered right down to the cab drivers were so genuinely friendly.

And PS the people in Vancouver all seem to be really fit and beautiful. The only fat people we saw were carrying maps and looked lost.

I will absolutely go back to Vancouver.

Ketchikan

Or should I say Kitsch-ikan. No that's just mean. It was absolutely the shopping port and we knew that so we saved most of our souvenir buying for this stop. Cheaper and a bigger selection. It was pretty honky tonk but it was an actual functional city much like Juneau. Tourism is big but it is really a fishing town. I was wise to choose the Alaskan Chef's Table as my activity for the day. Oh my. Deliciousness.

This was the final port and we had already been on vacation for a week together. Most of you faithful readers know that Michael and I don't get a lot of time together (understatement!) so we aren't used to being together every night and every day for such a stretch. We hadn't fought at all, but I'm a pretty firm believer that if you don't do something apart once in a while you run out of stuff to talk about. So in Ketchikan we went our separate ways. He went ziplining (shocker) and I went for a fish feast in town and did a little shopping.

The Alaskan chef's table was divine. Much of what you would expect form Alaskan cuisine, it was all fish. Crab legs (from the Wizard!) King white salmon which is absolutely delicious. I never
knew such a thing existed and the chef said he wasn't surprised. It is really difficult to get and extremely expensive. The chef was most impressive. He was ridiculously cute and his name was Ryan Hendricks. 24 years old and is just now starting formal chef's training. He has great talent and can make a sauce that would make my keyboard palatable. Seriously, remember this kid's name he'll be a reality star one day. He has the looks, charm and talent.

Michael's zipline tour was a bit disappointing but I'll leave him to tell you about that.
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When we both returned we went up up and away in a sea plane to the Misty Fjords. Well at least we tried to. The plane tour was running late due to mechanical problems (yikes) and then once we finally did make it onto the plane the starter didn't work. Part of this tour is to water-land in the fjords and let us walk out onto the pontoons of the plane, like this:
That's me hanging on for dear life.


That's Michael not hanging on at all.

Now if the plane would have initially started then failed when we stopped in the middle of nowhere...well we would have missed our boat for sure. That would have SUCKED. well when the first plane didn't start we switched to another and took off. The following pictures are through the glass windows of a 6 passenger plane that was built in the 1950s (we found that out AFTER the flight)


When you say you're in the middle of nowhere and you're really just a couple of miles away from somewhere...I mean anything, you really are exaggerating. I have never felt so isolated as I have in the Misty Fjords and at the Hubbard Glacier. Even on a ship full of 5,000 people you felt small and insignificant. The same is true at the fjords. You were truly just out in no man's land. The expanse if Alaska is one of its marvels. It goes on and on and on.

Then we got back and saw this:

Aw yeah.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Alaska to be continued

I have lots more to say about the trip and more awesome pictures. Hopefully I'll have time to get them up tonight. Stay Tuned!