Friday, June 26, 2009

Picky, Picky, Picky!

When I was a child I was an extremely picky eater. My list of things I would consider eating was short. I liked Mac & Cheese, ham & mustard sandwiches (ick, I know), hot dogs with ketchup only (or the cheese filled kind, plain), rice with butter, and spinach. I liked salads, but smothered them in "Creamy Cucumber" salad dressing (btw: eleventy million internet points to anyone who can tell me what they changed the name to, I LOVED that stuff and I can't find it anymore). I'm sure there were other things on that list, like cheez puffs, but I gave Mama Bird fits when I was a kid. Now I am still a picky eater, but soooooo much better than then. I used to hate - hate - HATE guacamole! Now I love the stuff and would gladly work avocados into my daily diet if I could do it and not gain 300 pounds.
It's kinda funny, I have photographic proof that I was picky as an infant (orange goo, every where but my mouth. I think it was mushed carrots- cooked). It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I tried, under great pressure, sun dried tomatoes. Which of course are now a staple in my diet. In fact, very little of what I eat now is anything I would have even considered back then. Feta cheese? No way. Squid? Ha! Dream on! Green beans? Don't make me laugh. I love these things now. Not prepared any old way mind you, but hey, at least now I'll consider them.
The best part of being picky is now that I cook for myself, and for my folks too sometimes, is that meals have become enjoyable. Food isn't a debate anymore. If I make it, I know I'll like it. And if there are requests for things I won't eat, I will make my own stuff for me, and theirs for them - within reason. Take last night, we have a house guest currently. A friend of my folks, but staying in my place. We all had dinner at my folks place. And I cooked. We had chicken salad and this avocado-citrus-fennel salad. I personally hate fennel (and anise too) so I made a separate thing for myself substituting radishes for fennel and a slightly different dressing. Since I am the odd man out, it's really no biggie. If Mama Bird had been cooking she would have informed me that I needed to bring or make my own substitution.
The Salad:
Ok, this one is difficult to explain. For a more detailed recipe go look it up @ Whole Foods.

2 avocados, pitted and halved
1 bulb fennel halved and sliced thinnly
1 orange, the segments separated and the membranes removed
1 grapefruit, the segments separated and the membranes removed.
snow pea shoots
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 tablespoons orange juice (from that orange up there)
1/2 teaspoon (I think) fennel seeds, crushed
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped

In a bowl mix the fennel and the pea shoots and shallots, set aside
On a plate place the segments of citrus in a rough circle, and the avocado half in the center.

In a small bowl mix the vinegar, the fennel seeds, orange zest and juice together. Add the oil in slowly.
drizzle this on the avocado and citrus - not very much at all.
Toss the fennel and shoots with some more of the dressing, again, not too much.
Mound that into the avocados, spilling over the sides is fine.
Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the whole thing.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I think the next time I do this I'm going to use red bell pepper instead of fennel for myself. The radishes weren't one of my better choices. It was OK, but not great.
Were any of YOU picky eaters? (She asks all 4 of her readers)

--Little Bird has a hunger

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tchaikovsky in the Park

Tonight I went to Millennium Park for the season opening of the Music Festival. Tchaikovsky. Beautiful music. I went to Trader Joe's and got the fixings for a nice picnic. Tzatziki, hummus, pita chips, kalamata olives and wine. I packed my mini cooler and my roll-up table and my beach chair. Thankfully I also brought my picnic blanket which I used to keep my legs warm as it ended up being quite chilly. I went by myself, and was all set to enjoy a nice evening of good food and better music. Alas, no one told the tools who sat near me that some people go to these things to ENJOY THE FUCKING MUSIC. They were loud. They were obnoxious. They were REALLY obnoxious. Then when they were leaving (early, much to the delight of those around them- several people got up and moved away from them), one of them kicked a volley ball. Hard. Straight at my head. It was surreal. I saw him pick up the ball. I saw him kick the ball. I saw the ball hurtling towards me. I managed to get my hand up and block it. I was told by those around me that they were amazed I managed to do so. The wife of the kicker said, and I quote, "nice block." After nattering on about how they just like to enjoy themselves she did say something to the effect of "sorry about that". My response? "Well, thank you for that." In the most insincere voice I could possibly muster. What if I hadn't been looking in that direction? What if my back was turned?
And see? The part about this that truly pisses me off isn't that I narrowly avoided a volley ball to the head. No. It's that I spent 2+ hours at the park all set to enjoy the music in a wonderful outdoor setting and all I can think about is how wretched these people were! Did I mention they were old enough to be my parents? I almost cheered when they left.
I am hoping that this weekend, when I go back to the park for the NEXT concert in the season, it is less irksome.
The music WAS beautiful. What I heard of it anyway. The opening piece was Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op.23. I recognized it, and had never known the composer. I think I actually teared up a time or two, the music was that beautiful. I know, I'm a sap. I've come to terms with that.
Also, I saw something I wouldn't have expect to ever see. A woman walking down the street, BOTH of her feet in casts. The kind you can take on and off as you need to. It was... odd to say the least.

--- Little Bird can block, well, apparently

Monday, June 8, 2009

Of Trains and Crocs

It's official. I am a nerd. I just watched the first few minutes of "The Big Bang Theory" and one of the geeks (the head geek) is particularly excited about an upcoming train trip. And he knows to much about the route. Sigh. It sounds way too much like me. And seriously, the rest of the guys are like nearly every other guy I've met on the train. Well, OK, I've met a few guys that were very likely convicted felons too. That being said, I still prefer train travel to plane travel. I don't claim to really understand why.
My weekend house guest was lovely. We had stir-fry and much wine. Then it was mexican food with some of her other friends that live here. Friday, we spent pretty much the entirety of the afternoon at the beach. It was the best afternoon I think I've had in a very long time. Also, the best part of all of that? I DID NOT HAVE TO WEAR MY BRIGHT ORANGE CROCS!!! I did however have to wear my earth shoes. To the beach. It was slightly weird. All in all it was a good time. I did realize that I have issues with the beach. I will almost always be the one in long pants.
That's all that's new, except for the fact that I did pound the crap out of the new shoes with a hammer and they are nearly wearable now. The blisters are almost healed!

--Little Bird has accepted the truth

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blister Woes & Fungus Among Us

OK, first things first. The nail thing? Not cancer. Might, MIGHT be a tumor. A very very specialized type that has a name that is 18 syllables long and that I couldn't begin to say, let alone spell. This type of tumor is associated with Neurofibromatosis. Apparently. I was prescribed an anti-fungal/cortisone cream for now. And have to wear a cotton glove, the cream and Vaseline on that hand/finger for about ten days. Goody. If, in two months there is no change (or there is a bad change), we figure something else out. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
The doctor was very nice, and actually seemed to listen to what I told him. Something that isn't always known in a doctor. I happen to have a zit or two right now and he didn't comment once on them. Brownie points to him! He did ask me if I had any skin issues to report or ask him about. And when I said that I didn't, he didn't even blink. Everyone gets a zit now and then. Nothing new about that.
Now. The other portion of todays post. The blisters. Those shoes I bought? They came in the mail yesterday. Being me, I had to put them on and go for a walk. A two mile walk. Think about that a moment. New - BRAND NEW- shoes + two mile walk = MASSIVE BLISTERS. I cannot wear any shoes that have any sort of back on them. I had to cut up my crocs (the strap off the back) in order to make it to my doctors appointment. I do not like to wear those "shoes" outside of the house. For reasons you can understand, I hope. So. I had to go buy burn pads, these wonderful soothing pads designed for burns, scrapes and bites. You know, areas that are missing skin. These are made by 2nd Skin and I love them. I use one for both ankles (cut in half) and then slap a huge band-aid over that. I can hobble around with this set-up.
Of COURSE this would all be the day before my bestest friend comes into town! This would never happen when I have no plans. I will have to venture out into the streets and BARS of Chicago in my screaming bright orange crocs. Can I tell you how much I am not liking my footwear options for this week?
The shoes will not be worn until there is once again skin on the backs of my ankles/heels. I may ask the dry-cleaner in my building (who knows a shoe repair guy) to see what can be done. I think the ankle support area is just really stiff. I am considering taking a few whacks at them with a hammer. To sort of "distress" the "leather". Mama Bird may have issues with that idea. We'll see.

--Little Bird WISHES she could fly!