Peaches Prattlings

{December 15, 2017}   Hmmm…interesting or humorous

Not sure what to call it. Nothing major. I picked up my rental car in Chicago, NY plates. I happen to be a New Yorker so that works for me. Next, I am doing from Will County, Joliet, Illinois to Kankakee, Illinois through Manhattan. Manhattan, Illinois that is. By the way, Manhattan, Illinois holds no candle to its namesake, just in case you were curious. So… New Yorker driving through Manhattan, Illinois in a NY registered car. andnow, I am in NYC driving a car registered in Virgina. Go figure! Doesn’t get much more creative that that, sorry! Oh…a few miles on the treadmill and day 2 of a new workout, someone please come and lift my shoulders for me!

{December 15, 2017}   I tried it, it worked!

So…tonight, I tried a new dish that I patched together and it worked. Go figure!

Last night I got to my new hotel out in the middle of no-where, but 8 miles from the client site and that works for me! I was hungry, so I found this Mexican restaurant in the shopping center next to the hotel, aptly named El Mexicano. I was in the mood for huevos rancheros, which is not something Mexican restaurants make after breakfast time, so I was in luck.

For those of you who don’t know what huevos rancheros is…it’s a dish with rice, eggs, beans, salsa and served with tortillas. One thing is the eggs are normally over medium and the plate they serve it on is very hot, so I can usually break the eggs and cook them, as we know, I do not like runny eggs at all! This time, I asked them to cook the eggs over hard, and they did! I added guacamole and then at the hotel, I built my tortillas, it was quite tasty.

Tonight, I went to the gym after I got to the hotel and didn’t get to the restaurant until about 8:50, they closed at 9pm. Noooo! What to do?! If I had only left the hotel directly from the gym I would have made it. Oh well. Think…

Ding Ding Ding! Taco Bell, which I know people poo-poo, but I happen to like it. I also know exactly what their rice and beans are cooked in, vegan all the way baby! So…Seven Layer Burrito, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes. Is that seven? I ordered it without cheese or sour cream and apparently, this is called al fresco! So, ya loin somethin’ new every day!

I really wanted huevos rancheros and, ding ding, ding…Dunkin’ Donuts! What? Add a donut you’re asking! No! I’ll tell you! I got an egg sandwich and brought everything back to the hotel. I then opened up the burrito without the dairy, put a piece of fake cheese and sliced up the egg, then roll it back up into burrito form and enjoy.

Let me tell you, it was yummy! It covered everything I wanted, huevos rancheros: eggs, lettuce, tomato, beans, rice, cheese, what more could you want? I was happy and that’s what matters. Y U M!!!

When you know something and don’t really need it thrown back in your face, huh?

I am travelling next week and one of my flights is home to Hawaii, going to spend the the rest of the year at home and we have special visitors coming to stay with us, more about that later!

Now, I booked this flight a few weeks ago, I waited too long to begin with since I wasn’t sure about my schedule, and that made it expensive enough. Now, something has come up next week that I need to re-arrange my flights for this weekend and going to Hawaii. Not a problem, get on the phone with the travel company we use for work and take care of it.

I do 99% of my travel arranging myself, we have a great travel port that I can select flights, cars, hotels, the whole lot. When it gets complicated or I need to change, rearrange, whatever, I call them, and let them do the searching, they can look at more things at the same time, they are incredibly helpful.

What I didn’t appreciate, after I told this person why I was rearranging my travel at least three times, he says “most people book flights to Hawaii in March”. Gee, ya think? All my flights from February to October of this year were booked in January to avoid the high prices. This flight was not and obviously, if I am booking tonight for next week, it ain’t gonna be cheap.

So…it might behoove, isn’t that a great word! you to listen to what I am telling you and why I am doing this right now and not throw it in my face that because I am rearranging travel it is that much more expensive. Wow, thank you Kreskin.

Anyway…after all of that, I am finally booked going where I need to and I am going to be home to celebrate New Years Eve with friends and family, that sounds good to me and all that matters.

On a side note…I walked a total of 6.85 miles yesterday. I could not get myself out of bed in the morning, my alarms were being funny, so…in the evening, I got on the treadmill and did 3.49 miles. I’m comin’ for ya’ 15k!

{December 13, 2017}   Happy Chanukah 2017

Tonight at sundown, we begin to celebrate the Festival of Light, also known as Chanukah.

You might also know it as Hanukkah, however you say it or spell it, the meaning is the same. This is the festival of lights, a great miracle happened here. Let’s talk about the miracle.

When Antiochus IV was in power, he took to less than pleasant activities towards the Jews and the desecration of the temple. When the Jews went in to the temple for the rededication, they found enough oil to light the lamps for one night and a great miracle happened there and the oil burned for eight nights!

And that, my friends, is why we celebrate Chanukah for eight nights, why we call it the Festival of Light and why treats that are traditional are fried in oil. There is a theme here!

Oh, the treats! Potato latkes, you might know them as potato pancakes. There are different ways they can be made, regular potato, sweet potato, with scallions, served with apple sauce or sour cream. The Sufganiyah, the fried jelly donut covered in powdered sugar. Anything fried, it’s the frying in the oil that’s important.

We play games, like dreidel, it’s a square top with Hebrew letters. We play for matchsticks, candy, gelt, which are chocolate coins. The traditional explanation of this game is that during the time of Antiochus’ oppression, those who wanted to study Torah (an illegal activity) would conceal their activity by playing gambling games with a top (a common and legal activity) whenever an official or inspector was within sight. Each letter tells you how much you’re going to get out of the pot or have to add to the pot.

The magical part of Chanukah? The tradition of lighting the candles in the menorah. Now, all menorahs are different, some are more traditional, some even use oil to keep very much with tradition. The important thing are the prayers, lighting the candles from right to left, one candle added for each night. There are nine candles, one for each night and the shammus, this candle lights all the others and it is set either slightly away from the others, higher from the others, you just know this is the candle to light the others.

And yes, there are gifts, but that is not what’s important about the holiday. Gift giving is at each person’s discretion. As kids, our big family gift was tickets to see The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center in New York City. Then we would get little things each night, just something to open, but it is a nice sight to see the menorahs lit, the gifts lined or piled up and family playing together and really just spending the time together, that is what is most important, knowing what the holiday is about and enjoying in each other’s company.

My family has a few menorahs, my favorite family menorah, one that was made by a family friend, HT, it’s hand made and it looks like his arms are stretched out with the holes for the candles in each arm. I have my own collection of menorahs, I can’t wait to get them out of storage one day! Oh, when I have them all lit up, what a glow and feeling of love and warmth.

Oh, one more tradition, my mom would read us one story each night from The Power of Light, stories by Issac Bashevis Singer. As adults, GES and I realized some of these stories are not that happy, but they are important and my favorite, The Parakeet Named Dreidel.

When young David and Mama and Papa are celebrating Hanukkah one frosty winter evening in Brooklyn, Papa sees a parakeet sitting on the window ledge. He lets the parakeet in and everyone is delighted to find that it speaks Yiddish. They name it Dreidel and it becomes part of their family. Many years later, when David is in college, he is at a party one night and tells Dreidel’s story―only to discover that Zelda, a young woman at the party, owned the bird herself as a child. Papa and Mama are worried that they will have to give their beloved pet back, but then David and Zelda decide to get married after college, and everyone agrees that they should take Dreidel with them as they start their own family. Isn’t that wonderful?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my wonderful holiday of Chanukah, maybe one day you’ll celebrate and light the lights with me!

Chag Sameach!

{December 11, 2017}   Step…Ouch…Step…Ouch…Repeat

So…did I mention that I knew I would be in pain today?

The day after I did the Honolulu Marathon 10k? Then sitting on one flight for 7+ hours, in a 2nd seat with minimal movement? Then a one hour flight stretched out, but not moving?

What do you think happened when I stood up and walked off that plane? Oh yeah, then driving an hour plus to get to the client site? Then at the client site, walking a little, but a lot more sitting? Oh my!

Let’s just say my legs were saying ” you are an awful individual, why do you hate us so? And because you hate us, we will make you miserable!” Done! What I will say to my legs and any other part that is cursing the vessel? Get ready! This was the kick off!

The kick off? Yup! I am about to start training for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Atlanta in February! What? Yup! This will be my third Hot Chocolate 15k. I truly want to run it, or at least run the majority of it and I know if I just set my mind to it and train, I can do it. If you think about it, it’s really just 3 5k races! It’s 9.3 miles, just 3 5ks combined into one race.

And…if I can run a 15k, a half marathon is not that far off, that’s 13.1 miles. This is a goal I am setting for myself. Send good feelings and swift feet vibes into the universe for me, I’ll run around and hopefully they will fall on my head and be absorbed into my feet!

And what I’m going to do…be accountable. I’m going to tell you what I do each week, it may be a full post or just a blip at the end of my daily posts, but I want to share my journey with you, just like everything else I do!


Well, if you were me this morning, you would have been at the starting line of the 45th Honolulu Marathon/10k!

This was my first race in Hawaii since I moved here, crazy, right? I’ve been wanting to do a race here and here I am! PSM had registered for the race, I wasn’t scheduled to be home this weekend so I didn’t sign up. Since he’s still recovering, I said I would run in his place! Yesterday, we went to the Expo, picked up his packet and I was able to get a t-shirt in my size, go figure, bling! We couldn’t transfer his bibb number, so when I got the results, they were under his name. I just want to know what my time is.

It was VERY early when I started out. It doesn’t help, as you know, that I don’t sleep very much! I fell asleep about 12am, go figure and that alarm went off at 3am, what? This is Sunday, what have I done to myself? Of course, I also haven’t trained for this one, duh! I snoozed and finally got up at 3:10am, got dressed and out of the house at 3:34am, yup, I even brushed mt teeth!

Hit the road and made it to the Honolulu Zoo at 3:57am, drove around and finally found a place to part at the Marriott and rushed to the Zoo about two blocks away. I really need to start carrying cash so I can park in the lots! I completely forgot! And I have done so many races, you’d think I would remember! I re-read the email and it said that the last shuttle was leaving at 4am! What?! Go figure…on island time, the last shuttle was right there and I made it! 4:22am! We were dropped off near the start and all walked over, then with my fellow racers, stood in line for the port-o-potties!

As we waited for the start, the fireworks started, what a show! Then, somewhere around 5:15am we were off! It was still very dark, but lots of lights and good vibes in the air. We walked/ran down the streets that are usually packed with people, cars, tourists and locals alike. We ran past the mall, where PSM had his shoulder surgery. Ala Moana Boulevard, which means “Path by the Ocean” in Hawaiian, we saw King Street, Queen Street, Prince Street I felt like royalty!

We passed by the Honolulu City Lights Display, can’t wait to go back and actually walk around! There were people in costumes, some of them a lot of fun. There were Minions, Pokeman, Rainbow Brights, Santa and Mrs Clauses, even a honeymooning couple! A lot of the businesses have giant displays set up for Christmas.

So many people cheering each other on, there were some clever signs, most I didn’t take pictures of, since they were in Japanese! Most of the runners were from Japan, as JAL, Japan Air Lines was a major sponsor, Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS and SportsBeauty, just to name a few! Someone told me a joke “What do you call 30,000 Japanese running after 3 Kenyans?” “The Honolulu Marathon!”

I crossed the finish approximately 1:45 after I started and the sun had just started to come up about 20/25 minutes earlier, it was nice to run past the beach as the sun was rising to greet us. I got my medal, banana and malasada. A malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. They were first made by inhabitants of the Madeira islands and when the Portuguese immigrated to Hawaii, they brought them along! Now, they have become a Hawaiian delicacy and staple. You won’t find them anywhere else in the United States, unless the owner is from Hawaii! Our favorite breakfast place makes malasada pancakes, O M G!!!

After the race, got a few photos taken and as I was standing in line struck up a conversation with a nice Japanese woman named Jackie who said she was going to start studying English right now!

Then it was time to get back to my car and since I wasn’t sure where I was and there was no shuttle, since we crossed the finish line near the zoo. I asked someone directions and they sent me in the wrong direction! This went from a .3 mile walk to 1.5 mile walk, what?! No thank you! I called for an Uber! Yes I did! Best money I spent all weekend!

Back home I sat on the couch and…zzzzzzzz. I had planned to finish packing and then take a nap, nope, sleep took over, apparently Mollie and I were both dead to the world! It was He kupaianaha [Hawaiian], 素晴らしい [Subarashī] [Japanese], vunderlekh [Yiddish] that would be Marvelous in English!!!

Then it was up, pack, head to the airport and dread what my body is going to feel like after I am on a plane for eight hours barely moving…think I’m going to be a bit sore?! You would be correct! I saw a few people with their marathon and 10k shirts on at the airport, wonder how many are on my flights!

I am so hoping all that exercise will wear me out and get me to sleep on the flights, fingers crossed!

Holo, JJ, holo! [Hawaiian for run]

{December 8, 2017}   Paper, I recommend paper!!!

I am tired of doing dishes! Only paper!!

I say that every time I am washing dishes! Argh! And the reason I am washing so many dishes is that the dishwasher is broken and it turns out we are waiting is our landlord. When PSM reported that the dishwasher was broken, the owner wanted to know what we did to break it, “I barely used the dishwasher, what did they do?” Seriously?

PSM and I are both landlords and know when something breaks at our respective houses, we talk to the management company about what happened and who to send out to fix it. We don’t ask what the tenant did, unless it’s something that sounds absolutely crazy, not general wear and tear on a house.

So, that being said, every time we cook, we have to wash the dishes. Now, when PSM is here by himself, he doesn’t use a lot of dishes, it’s just cooking for one and I’m the same way when I’m on my own, probably use the same dish, spoon and cup, so to speak.

With me being home and cooking every day, I’m cooking for two, some of the dishes have been quite simple, but others have required multiple pots, pans, spoons, measuring utensils and then of course, we have to serve the food on something!

I have enjoyed every minute, getting to create new things, come up with something creative or just the simple and cooking for PSM and sharing meals with him. It really has been great and makes me want to be in the kitchen more often, so I think that tells you why cooking when I’m on the road is a treat.

But…no more dirty dishes! Paper plates please! Of course I don’t think of the paper plates until I am washing dishes again! Drat!

Is that the water running? Nooooooo!

{December 7, 2017}   Just like mom used to make…

Tonight, I made something and when I tasted it, it was like my mom was right there with me.

I’ve made this dish once since I was a kid, I was inspired the other day when I was looking in the pantry I saw one main ingredient and when I went to the grocery store picked up the other main ingredient and tonight I made it. I have such fond memories of my mom making this when I was younger.

It’s kasha varnishkas, a dish descendants of Ashkenazi and Yiddish-speaking Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia and look at that, I am! It is made with kasha, an earthy and fiber-filled grain, is one of the oldest known food staples in Eastern European cuisine and bowtie pasta.

This was such a comfort food from my childhood. I made this once before, but I didn’t follow these directions, at least I don’t remember doing so. Tonight, I followed the recipe from the link I posted and it turned out fabulous! I baked the kasha in the oven with an egg and salt, that made it nice and toasted. Then I cooked the kasha on the stove top in boiling water, got it nice and fluffy, the way rice cooks, almost. At the same time, I so should have taken photos of my progress, I had three pots and pans going on at once! I didn’t have any onions as the recipe called for, but I did have minced onion flakes, so I browned those in vegan schmaltz. The last pot had the farfella pasta, or better known as bow tie pasta, fun to eat and say bow tie pasta!

Schmaltz, for those not in the know, is chicken fat, which, as you know, I am definitely not using! I used a vegan butter, which actually has quite a lot of flavor and a good texture. I will let you in on a little secret about me. I don’t care of ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ is vegan, I don’t think it tastes like butter, I’m not a fan of margarine, it’s ok for cooking with, sometimes, and country crock….um, no thanks. So, Earth Balance is a nice vegan spread that has a nice flavor, no, it does not taste like butter, but it makes you warm inside, so there!

The pasta was cooking, the kasha was cooking and since this is a very simple dish, I needed protein. I’m pretty sure my mom cooked this as a side dish, but what I made was ginormous, so…it was the main dish and I added some seitan, this was made by Uptons, it’s pretty good. Now, we all know it’s not real chicken or steak or whatever it’s portraying, but it’s got nice texture, something to really chew and adds protein, job done!

The vegan schmaltz, kasha, bow tie pasta, onions, seitan, all combined was a good dish and made me think of my mom, almost as if she was in the kitchen cooking and me asking whats for dinner and her answer ‘poison’, that was a family joke I’ll tell you about some time. But the first smell of the kasha, the first taste. Yup, all mom. And yum!

There’s plenty left, want to come for leftovers?

{December 3, 2017}   I’ve made what?

This week, I’ve been home and cooking! It’s been brilliant! And, just using what’s in the house and the pantry is getting bare!

So…I’ve been home about a week and helping PSM through his recovery, he’s fine, promise, but we’ve been a little house bound and I’ve been cooking. It’s been great fun, since it’s not something I do or have to do every day, I get to create. I’ve been going through the cupboards and getting creative.

There have been egg sandwiches, pb&j, eggs and rice, turns out we have a rice cooker and a ginormous bag of rice, doesn’t everyone have that in the pantry. Eggs and rice was good, I remember eating that when I had a procedure coming up and I had to do very bland, and then I got on an egg and rice kick, so I started added different seasonings, this time I added rice seasoning, which I got at an Asian market, it’s the kind you find in some Asian restaurants, it has sea salt, seaweed and sesame seeds, and some other spices, love it! Adds salt and some additional flavors, gives it a little something extra.

One day PSM said I really want some ice cream, we don’t have any in the house, but…I happen to have a frozen fruit ice cream maker! And four frozen bananas, add some vanilla and voila! Ice cream!

I said I wanted rice pudding, so…looked up a recipe for vegan rice pudding and we had all the ingredients except the imitation almond extract, quite tasty when you add maple syrup, raisins and almonds, it was a great breakfast treat and enough for two breakfasts, yum! I am going to experiment with some different flavors, look at me go!

I even cooked turkey burgers, no not for me! For PSM! First time, he said they were good, have to go with his opinion on that! Brussel sprouts rice and hot dogs, well, veggie dogs, needed a little protein in there. Lentil soup with chicken and rice, ooh that one was tasty! I definitely liked it better than the brussel sprouts and rice, but ya gotta start somewhere!

Part of the problem…we keep watching cooking shows or more baking shows, so we are hungry more often than not! Not good! Now I want to make a sponge cake! It’s mostly British Baking Championships and they do love their sponge!

I don’t mind cooking, I enjoy it even and figuring out what to make with what you have but…I think it might be time to go to the grocery store! What should I make for lunch?!

The day started way early, but we had an adventure to get to! SDL, Miss A and I were going to Kauai! Miss A had this strong desire to see lots of roosters and chickens, how could we deny her!? 430am wake up on vacation seems excessive, but the traffic on Oahu can be horrible, especially at 5am, which is rush hour. But we made it in plenty of time to get a snack and watch the sunrise. Then it was time to board our 40 minute flight and have an adventure! We got to the car rental desk and upgraded for a jeep. So, here is where my opinion comes in… I’ll stick with a convertible! We had a few circumstsnces that made me think this. It’s a two door jeep, which makes it tougher getting a child in and out of the back seat, I’m sure with a four door it would be different. And the window and back flaps were not that cooperative, especially when it started raining! I really enjoyed driving it and it was esay getting up the canyon drive. I did miss having the top down, but after the trouble with the flaps, we weren’t taking a chance with the top, especially since rain was in our future! SDL had a jeep in the past, she said it was much easier. I’ll take my 13 second up/ down beetle convertible top any day! We got in the jeep, headed to the hotel to drop our bags and started out for the Waimea Canyon Drive. They say that The Waimea Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Hawaii and when you see it, you get it! You can really see it as you go up and up and up, amazing!it We stopped along the way at some of the scenic overlooks, and they were true to their name, scenic and overlooking the canyon. We saw rock faces and formations, waterfalls, foliage and so much more! Spectacular! Even the second time! A few times, the three of us got out, walked around and took pictures, other times, just SDL, Miss A and I admired from the jeep. We drove up the canyon, it’s close to 30 miles up into the mountains to the top. We got out at a few of the state parks to walk around and get up to the overlooks there. It truly is spectacular. And Miss A walked them all, like a champ! We didn’t take the stroller out once today, awesome! After we viewed the canyon, we drove back down the Waimea Canyon Drive into Waimea, had some lunch at a local Thai stand with all the chickens and roosters. We were going to go to Ke’e beach, but it was getting late and the sun would be going down in about two hours, when we got to the beach. We took a chance and got on the road. Guess what happened…the sky opened up! So…rain makes for a different experience! We stopped at Kauai Harley Davidson,, for a gift for Miss A’s bus driver and a photo with the Hawaiian hog! Then a stop at the famous Hilo Hattie’s, a Hawaiian staple, unfortunately had gone under a few years ago and then a few shops have popped up and here was one! SDL had great memories of shopping at Hilo Hattie’s years ago, as did I when I first visited Hawaii. Each time we walked into or out of a store, we were running through the raindrops, ok, let’s be real, we were dashing through the deluge! A quick stop at Walmart for some rain ponchos was just the thing! Luckily, the rain stopped when we went in and when we came out! Imagine us getting Miss A into the jeep in the rain! At Hilo Hattie’s we decided to put the windows back on, um… that was fun! But we would be dry! All that matters! So, raining hard, we went back to the hotel, dinner for Miss A, SDL and I ordered Italian and ate on the sofa while Miss A crashed out. What a day! What’s in store for tomorrow?!

et cetera