Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Ode To My Germaphobia

There once was a germaphobe named Pickle,
her thoughts towards germs never fickle.
She felt they were gross,
fears needing penicillin dose,
that ick would leave her with more than a tickle.

She packed all the stuff needed to clean,
fearing other travelers have bugs that lack a vaccine.
She hoped to avoid,
all those carrying Typhoid,
But at least leaves all surfaces fresh with a sheen.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Menacing Pickle, Wandering Somewhere Aimlessly Near You?

I’m shutting down the store from September 1 to October 10. Why? I’m hitting the road! Hopefully not in a literal splattering sense. Well, the skies actually. And as it now seems the trains, cars, buses and canyons of our great country. In 2009 Jetblue offered an All You Can Jet Pass, allowing holders to fly unlimited on Jetblue for a designated month. An unconfirmed number of lucky purchasers would be jetsetting during an otherwise slow flying time. I was not one of them. And I regretted it. For a year I discussed with friends what I would have done had I purchased one, the food, the visits, the fun. Well, they offered it again. I knew it would sell out in a matter of hours and had to make a choice. I pulled out the credit card, sucked up my fears and charged. At about 2am (it’s regular Pickle operating time) I became Menacing Pickle JetBlue AYCJ flyer. Holy crap. What have I done???

I have a lot of dreams, a big one being that I would get to see every state in The United States before I turn 35. For those playing at home, I will be missing that goal. I am getting closer though! To both seeing all the states and turning 35. One I’ll deny, the other I am really excited to talk about if you ask me. I hope to lead people in such misdirection about my age that at my death you’ll have to cut me in half and count the rings to disseminate the truth.

If you follow me on twitter or have met me in real life you know I love to read, it’s one of the things that has carried me through my battle with Lupus. I’ll read anything, fiction, non-fiction, horror, history. I don’t promise to like it, but I’ll read it and have an opinion. During times I have been bedridden or just trapped indoors I could always better who I was through someone else’s story, or at least distract myself. I could occupy my thoughts away from however unfortunate I found my own circumstances to be engrossed in other journeys. I’ve followed their heartbreak, their loves, their avoidance of strange creatures on stormy nights, page by page. I imagine their sights and foods, word by word. Some of these sights I had never seen outside google, and I have regrets over that. I want to understand the texts I read on a deeper level and see many of them for myself. When a character in a book drowns her sorrows in a serving of lasagna, I know what it tastes like. I can appreciate the oozing cheese, aromatic basil and carefully baked noodles. The care one takes not to have a bubbling morsel lick your chin when you inhale it before waiting for it to cool. But I don’t know what The Arches in Utah smell like, what the food cart in Portland tastes like, or if the people of Vancouver got to smell David Duchovney and Gillian Anderson. I’m going to know!

2:15AM…complete fear sets in. I have Lupus, and I will be exhausted. I thought “I have given up so much to this disease don’t give up this chance." I also thought “Stay home! Stay home! Stay home!” So many things that have crossed my path, not worth taking a risk on. "Don’t pass up one of the few things that could be worth that risk.” There are no written rules governing how I will travel, that I can’t nap instead of sight seeing. How I’ll choose to proceed from here, however slow or fast as I navigate my way. Yet, I’m scared. I know all too well how disappointing it is to be mid conversation, really hanging on the words of my companion and then distracted by how very tired I am. How much parts of me hurt, and that I have hit my limit for now. How I seem disinterested in them when I am really very interested but conflicted. This trip is both an exploration for me in miles and physically. My logic knows that my life will be stagnant where it is if I don’t push myself outside those boundaries, my body reminds me what happens when I push myself too hard. It’s not pretty. I keep telling myself I can return home, to bed at any time. It’s only a plane ride away, or a bed a hotel room away. I’m really hoping I make it through the whole month both to prove that I can learn to pace myself and because I really, really want this.

I want to meet so many of the people I have had only email and phone contact with regarding our battles of the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act. People I consider close friends who have launched letter campaigns and marched to save our businesses, mine and theirs. Many of us who lost our businesses and nervously began new ventures. I also have such a desire to meet people that are strangers as I write this but know they won’t be as I leave their state. All the people who are characters in their own stories, in books yet to be written.

It motivates and moves me to know the reason a bodega owner emigrated from another country to ours. Why the elderly couple next to me at a national monument made the trip. I look forward to hearing their stories, and yours if you are near somewhere I am landing. If you will be in a Jetblue city and would like to have a meal together or visit an attraction, I’d like to hear your story too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Where In The World is Pickle?

I'm going to be closing up shop for the month of September and part of October and hit the skies with JetBlue. Yup, I got an All You Can Jet Pass. I can hit as many cities Jet Blue flies to as often as I like for a month. This is going to help fulfill a dream of mine, to see every state in the country before I turn 35. I'll be closer, though no where near finished after this trip.

So far I have scheduled; Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Chicago, Wisconsin, San Jose, and of course a repeat trip to Vegas. I love food.

The toughies are going to be Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and either Austin or Houston where I have no contacts. I may have to leave Texas for another trip. I have a lot of folks in Dallas, so that would be easier.

If you live or have traveled in Phoenix or Salt Lake City, please let me know your experiences. Affordable places to stay, what to do and see. I would love to hit things the locals do and any spectacular nature sights like caves, trails, mountains. I would prefer not to rent a car, so public transportation or guided bus rides to them would be fantastic.
Stay tuned here for updates from the skies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A fan letter to seafood

Dear shrimp,

Thank you for being born. And your buddy the oyster. And your hard to peel cousin the crawfish. I love you all. I loved you for an entire week and now I feel the symptoms of withdrawal coming on. I visited you in what may be your finest living quarters, New Orleans. I’ve inhaled you in many of your other residences through the years but New Orleans has to be your best address. Or at least where I enjoyed you most.

I want you to know you did not die without a good fight. I suffered for you, but in the end I won. You see, I am rather accident prone. I frequently exhibit cuts and scrapes on my hands from sewing. The Cajun spices you were cooked in got in there. EACH. AND. EVERY. TIME. I. ATE. YOU. Tears streaming down my face, I enjoyed you.

I first partook in the great war of my fingers vs shellfish at a café at The French Market. The waitress sat with me and gleefully showed me how a local peels crawfish and sucks the spiced boil out of you. I should mention my non seafood eating travel mate looked on in horror during the display, while I could do nothing but clap my hands like a toddler at the sight of my first birthday cake. Then I sucked down a pound of you. I was told by the saxophone player nearby that this is a brief seasonal delicacy available for only a matter of weeks a year. Imagine my timing, I was there for it! Shellfish, you probably aren’t as excited about the scheduling coincidence as I. Your loss. Pounds of you. In my belly.

Then, I discovered happy hour at John Besh’s Luke. I’m not much for the magic liquid, I prefer to eat my calories. People in New Orleans seem to take their happy hour very seriously. 7 days a week. From 3-6. I agree with them once I learned they serve $.25 oysters at Luke. Luke and I became frequent lovers. They had the largest and best tasting oysters I have ever seen. I enjoyed their blend of horseradish for the oysters, though they were so good they didn’t need any help. I can’t walk away from an opportunity to catch my sinus on fire, and took in that challenge.

I also partook in an entree of spectacular called Shrimp Farci. Crabmeat stuffed shrimp, fried with a blood orange hollandaise sauce for it to go diving in. The angioplasty I will need was worth it for the sauce. Which I dipped veggies (what was that green looking cauliflower?) and fries in. When I ran out of those I got a straw out and drank it. (not really, dining buddy would have stabbed me with fork)

While out strolling I passed by Acme Oyster House, without a line. Every other time I went by had a line. So I wandered in and threw down some chargrilled oysters. They were very, very tasty. Would I wait hours in line to get them when tons of other seafood places had smaller lines, nah. I would wait hours in line to get any of these items where I live, but not in New Orleans.

The highlight of my food jaunt was discovering Barbecue Shrimp. The New Orleans way, jumbo head-on Shrimp sautéed in Cajun seasoned butter. I went to Deanies Seafood with the intent of having a crawfish boil and some crabs. When I saw the guy next to me get the BBQ shrimp I knew I needed it. I picked an unfortunate day to wear a bell sleeved blouse and my hair loose. This is why rubber bands and stain removal were invented. If I could eat this every day without having a heart attack, I would. The dish is served with a loaf of bread to dunk in the leftover sauce. Like Luke, I went to Deanies more than once. I had a fascinating conversation with a bartender there. He sympathized with my totally-disgusted-with-my-seafood-eating friend and stated he doesn’t eat seafood either. I wonder, that must be like a PETA member working in a slaughterhouse. He said the tips made the working environment worthwhile since most people put the Cajun fire out with beer. I put the fire out with more seafood. Not effective but so delicious.

I had many other good meals, Po Boys at a couple places and breakfast at Mother’s. The debris at Mother’s was great but the ham honestly wasn’t the best I ever had, it was an experience to be had. This trip it was the seafood and the people that blew me away. I had amazing conversations with locals about their history and the history of their proud home. I brought back a large bag of spices to attempt my own crawfish boil and bbq shrimp. If not, I’ll be planning another trip to New Orleans.


Sarah Seafood Slurper

Ps.If I ever find a way to get the gigantic masks from Le Garage on Decatur back to my home, I’ll clear the place out. If you wonder what I am talking about, just go visit. Yes, those are for sale. I stood like an idiot with 1 in my arms trying to figure out how to get it home. And a suit of armor. In case the seafood fight back. I need to have it.