Thursday, May 14, 2015

Urban Hiking Champion

Tom and I decided to go hiking in Scotland this summer. The Island of Skye. The Highlands. It’s all very romantic and mystical. 
photo credit:

But we were seriously busy flexing our lip synching muscles in preparation for the biggest most contentious lip synching championship ever.

So we phoned in the travel planning and just booked a trip with a sort of glamping outfit. Except it’s more like gled & breakfasting. As I understand it, we roll up to some kind of bucolic country inn, roll our suitcases up to our lovely duvet covered bed and hike out the next morning with tiny little daypacks to investigate castles and the moors while someone hauls our luggage to the next stop.

A place where I could eat some eggs.
photo credit: faerie magazine
Deposit. Plane Tickets. Done. Back to trying to figure out how to construct a portable 60 square foot screen for our audio-visual lip synching dust up.

Except I kept getting emails in increasing amounts of bold face telling me to get my shit together and get on the travel company website and complete my goddamn profile already. So finally I did. 

Question #1: How are you preparing for your trip?
(A huge blank text box).

Question #2: Describe the last 3 Multi-Day Hiking Trips you were on, including distance traveled each day, total elevation and elevation change.

Holy shit.

“Uh, Tom? What did you write in the 'How are you preparing for your trip' box?"

“I just wrote that I ran the New York marathon last fall and then did the Gran Fondo 109 mile bike race, plus the open water swimming and training for the New York Tri. Nobody wrote me back so I figure I’m all good."

Okay then.

After much procrastination, I only filled out one “Describe your last 3 Multi-Day Hiking Trips” box. They can just deal with it.

2015: I urban hiked in Hudson River Park from West 17th Street to North Harlem in brown leather oxfords. 

Total Elevation: 64'
Total Change in Elevation 18'
Total distance traveled: 10 miles.

Actually, Alex and I hiked from West 72nd Street to North Harlem. BUT. I had wheeled a grocery cart over to Union Square earlier in the day. And after I met Alex, we walked up and down 72nd street looking for a lunch place that did not exist. Furthermore, I totally could have walked the whole way from 17th Street.

In my write-up, I did not mention the delicious Turkish Kebobs that happened along the way. I felt this would diminish the hard-ass character of my non Multi-Day Hiking Trip. Despite its truncated duration, the endeavor was serious and required forbearance in the face of adversity.

For example, there were no bathrooms. Not a one. It was drizzling. Then Alex’s phone started to run out of batteries. Lastly and most traumatically, we couldn’t find a place to get coffee until we hit Dykeman Street. The caffeine situation had become acute. 

Hopefully my scrappy nature will be duly recognized and maybe even applauded. It would also be nice if I actually survive.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

It's always a Surprise.

I don’t cook often, but when I do, I make sure to start from a recipe. Which I use for general inspiration. Following directions has never been one of my core skills. I like to do things in bolder strokes. Follow my lead, renegades:

1) Get the lentils and dump them in a pot. Turn on the stove and let the pot boil over 5-7 times. 

2) Throw some oil in a pan and fry up this onion they mention in the recipe. But since you found it on top of the fridge and it was kind of old, add some scallions. Also add a stalk of celery just because it seems like a good idea. Then notice the garlic in the recipe, so toss in a little of that.

3) Locate that bag of My Mother's Lentil Spice you bought on 29th street, even though you only went into the store to escape the pouring rain last time you were in midtown with nice hair and no umbrella. You think the My Mother's is in the cabinet somewhere. Hunt around. Remember it’s in the other room. Don’t worry about the things smouldering on the stove. You can’t be everywhere at once, so stressing is pointless.

4) Attempt to add up how many tablespoons of spice are actually in this recipe. Realize this will take a lot of unnecessary effort and just unload a healthy pour of My Mother's Lentil Spice.

5) Misread the recipe and add a small can of tomato paste instead of a large can of tomato puree. 

6) Realize the tomato paste enables you to craft a sticky little ball. Roll the little ball around in the frying pan until it is coated with fried things and resembles an undesirable christmas ornament.

6) Fling your decorative ball into a dish along with the lentils. Mush it around.

7) Add some turmeric because it prevents Alzheimer's.

8) Congratulate Yourself! Lentil Surprise is not half bad!