Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prairie Dogs and ABBA

Lubbock has been a pleasant surprise.  I've enjoyed my time here, which I must mention, is mostly because the food I've eaten here has been AMAZING.  2322 at the Overton is an AMAZING restaurant.  Thankfully this is where I've been "forced" to eat most of the time I've been here.  Can't complain!  I also had really good sushi at Hayashi, a new hibachi grill in Lubbock.  We had our own little room where we sat on the floor...and I was in a skirt...but thank goodness there was a drop down ledge for our legs.  It was super cute and really good! 

I've had 3 HBO channels while here.  Woah.  I know, I've been spoiled.  I've gotten a taste for True Blood and Hung, both promising shows.  Also, how wonderful to work out while watching a movie with no commercials!  The only drawback is that the movies play quite a bit.  For this reason I have seen Mama Mia 1 1/2 times.  All I have to say is that it might be the worst movie ever made.  If you're casting a musical, get people that can sing.  Ugh.  Although the two youngings, Amanda Seyfried and the guy from History Boys can actually sing pretty well, so well done them!  Ok my peace is said.  Because of this overload of crap, I always have ABBA songs stuck in my head!  So that it wasn't stuck in my head with Pierce Brosnan's sad excuse for an attempt at a melody, I downloaded the best of ABBA and have been listening non-stop.  Not a bad thing ;-)  
Yesterday was the only day that I've actually explored Lubbock.  The campus is really beautiful.  And I would have pictures if there was a place for visitors to park for free... fascists.  I went to Prairie Dog Town, which turned out to be the corner of a park off the highway with a 2 foot stone wall around a 100 yd enclosure.  There were prairie dogs EVERYWHERE.  Unfortunately they didn't want to cuddle....but it was quite entertaining making noises at them and watching them pop up and do their prairie dog thang.  I also went to the Buddy Holly Center and the art center here where they had a couple local artists' shows up.  I'm glad I went but nothing too amazing.  Texas has been pretty good to me.  Although I'm kind of over being called a "yankee" and getting made fun of.  C'mon guys, I don't call you hicks to your face... North, here I come!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lubbock, TX

If there's anywhere in the world I am absolutely not going to fit would be Texas. Lubbock is the home to Texas Tech University. Apparently this is the 2nd biggest university campus in our country (losing only to the Air Force which counts its runway as square footage - a fact any Lubbockian is very quick to point out). I'm here in the summer which means two things: (a) The town is empty, and (b) It's HOT. The great thing about this state, however, is that their air conditioners seem to be colder and more efficient than any other air conditioners in the world. The site I'm working at is brand spanking new. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be in a hotel and be the first person to ever sleep on that matress and those sheets. The downside is that they're still finalizing rooms, which means, at this point, I have no TV... (not a huge deal as long as I have it by Monday for the Bachelorette finale, know what I mean? lol) I'm only here for a week doing support, so there's no stress, and I'm able to kind of just relax and enjoy this place. . . .

While driving around Lubbock, it's not hard to find places that look very run-down, and, dare I label them, ghetto. One such place is where I ate tonight. Choochai Thai (god I love names that rhyme). The streets in Lubbock are numbered, the avenues are letters (so yes: Ave P, Ave Q, so on so forth) this little gem is hidden on 19th Street, overshadowed by a burrito place that looks shadier than a closed Denny's. And, I'm not going to lie, Choochai doesn't look much fancier... However. This place had fantastic service and really wonderfully authentic Thai food. Have I ever been to Thailand? No... So, fine, I'm no expert, but this place was REALLY good. I had pork wontons, yellow chicken, rice, beef & vegetables, and some sticky rice with custard for dessert. Am I turning into a heffer because I'm in Texas? Maybe. But the portions were relatively small, so don't judge me just yet. If ever in Lubbock, go to Choochai.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Occupational Thoughts....

I'm home for a little bit, but unlike other times I've been home, the office is keeping me busy.  Frown.  Well, at least I get to spend my nights with my loves.  Being home makes me want to stay here.  I miss having an apartment.  I miss having a life.  It's really got me thinking what I want to do when I'm done running around.  My two major thoughts right now are: Massage Therapist or Doula (or both I guess).  A doula, if you're wondering, is a birth aid.  Depending on the needs of the mother, the doula could be present for the pregnancy, delivery and beyond.  You don't need a medical degree, but there are a lot of classes and much reading working up to this position.  I just can't think of anything more rewarding than playing the role of a sister or caring female to the woman who is bringing new life into the world.  This career choice would be really taxing on my personal life, but so is the job I have now ... :-P.  Massage therapy has always been something I've been interested in.  I've been thinking more and more about it though.  I would really rock at it.  I would have good music playing.  I would be able to massage with pressure.  And I could even pull a Phoebe, and just buy a massage table and do it on the side.  If this took off, I could potentially do art more often and have massage be supplemental income.  I like both these ideas.  And although I want to go to grad school in a few years, and these programs would both be about a year (or more for the doula), I'm looking into going off to school again (can't get enough...) next summer or fall (or sooner if I get fed up with this job).  
Idiot story of the century.  I went to the eye doctor yesterday.  I had made this appointment on Monday, the 13th of July.  Upon my arrival, I was informed that my appointment was for Thursday the 9th of July.  Yes.  The receptionist made my appointment for a date in the past.  What did they do to rectify this situation?  Nothing.  Didn't even really apologize.  So don't go to Twin Lakes Eye Care in Roseville on County Road C.  Ok?  NEVER.  How's that for advertisement?  The sad part is is that I REALLY need new contacts and just got this funky insurance that doesn't work most places.  Ooofta. 

I get to babysit the munchkins tomorrow--so excited!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Snorkel Dorkel

I went snorkeling.  'But,' you might say, 'you can't swim!'  To which I would reply, 'this is why they have floaty belts...duh.'
Mom & I got to go on the Four Winds catamaran on an afternoon cruise to Molokini (little volcanic crescent of land off Maui with lots of fishies).  Except the wind was so high that we didn't get to Molokini (frown face) and ended up going to a little cove right off the highway.  Sounds super ghetto, right?  Well, it really wasn't.  I was disappointed in not going to Molokini cause on that trip you get to see sea turtles (frown face again) BUT we did get to swim with the fishes and see all the beautiful coral.  I LOVED the floaty belt and flippers.  I was really kind of scared to jump off the boat cause, well, it's the ocean on a windy day, I can't really swim, etc etc.  But once we got in, we didn't want to come back.  It was so much fun to just float on top of the water and watch the fish swim inches away from your hands and face!  There were some big colorful fish and some itsy bitsy ones.  I felt like I was in Finding Nemo.  The ocean is SO beautiful and huge from underneath the surface!  And I SWEAR I saw a fish with arms....

After snorkeling, I had the BEST ice cream ever near the docks at this little place, Hula Cookies.  It was a Hawaiian coconut pudding ice cream.  Holy moly.

I had to work up until my departure day, so things were a bit hectic in leaving, but I left.  Hawaii has been really fun but I don't think I've ever been this ready to get HOME.  It's a long flight and lots of time zones and I'm missing out on sleeping right now cause really, how can you sleep on a plane?  And the movies were Monsters vs Aliens and Dragonball??  Who chose those?  So I really TRIED to sleep...  I'm in Denver right now taking full advantage of free wi-fi (I love you Denver) and will be departing shortly for MSP.  Love it.  

PS Random thought of the day.  I was watching MJ's memorial, and when his daughter said what she did, I just started bawling.  It's hard to believe a man loved so much by those close to him did anything harmful to other kids.  I really think he just never grew up...and society can't handle a grown up being best friends with children.  What was deemed inappropriate might not have been illegal.  Know what I'm saying?  Alright that's all, see you all soon!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Best Food on Maui

My top food experiences on Maui are.................

- Sansei Seafood and Sushi Bar, Kapalua - This one gets #1 billing because it is the best sushi I have ever had. Hands down. I had their best seller: Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll which was...well amazing. Raw tuna wrapped up in spinach and flash fried, giving the roll a smooth yet tempura like texture on the outside. It was a warm sushi roll, which I had never had. The taste was just amazing. I also had the Ahi Carpaccio with peanut lime zest. This was very good, it had a nice kick to it. PLUS we went on Friday night, which meant everything was 1/2 off. Such a great deal and amazing food!

- The Pineapple Grill, Kapalua - The food here was very good. Highpoint of the meal was the Pineapple Grill Salad which featured local mixed greens and tomatoes topped with a pineapple vinaigrette. This dressing was fantastic! I ate a few items off the pupu menu, including the shrimp and beef sticks which were both good. Then. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Ammmmmmazing. They serve it with a specific butter based ice cream (sounds disgusting, I know, but it's actually very good) and well...I almost ordered another it was that good.

- Longhi's, Lahaina - The long wait for a table was worth it (note to self, make reservations next time). This little European bistro style restaurant does not look or feel pretentious at all. Their prices, however, are very high. I sat overlooking the boardwalk, watching the sunset and scarfing down the amazing (and complementary) pizza bread the fantastic waiter brought. I had their shrimp dish which was a little heavy on the sauce, but otherwise, fantastic. If you're looking for a one of a kind restaurant in the middle of all the bustle of Lahaina, this is it. The entrees start at $30, but it is very high quality food.

- Fresh MANGO! Find a tree, pick it, eat it, let the juice run down your chin and stain your clothes, it's worth it. Ripe fresh mangoes are unlike anything you can find at the store on the mainland.

- Burger King, Kahului - Ok, so Burger King isn't really local to Maui, nor is it exquisite food. However, I had the best whopper of my life here. (Don't go to the one in Lahaina. Run fast away. It smells like bad body odor and alcohol, not flame broiled goodness.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Living with Aloha in your Heart


I'm not a completely cynical person. I'm actually not even pessimistic. I'm quite optimistic about life in general. However, one thing I just don't buy are these 'lifestyles,' if you will, that make one talk like a brainwashed twit. What brings this on? I met a girl tonight who was originally from Seattle. When I expressed my love for Seattle, she continued to say how it was awful and that it 'ruined her spirit.' Her reason for moving to Hawaii is that she and her husband decided that life was passing them by there. They got in a routine and stopped appreciating the little things. This, I get, 100%. It's completely valid to choose a change of scenery for a jump start on your attention. But then she got all cheesy talking about the 'superior way of life' here in Maui. Meaning, everyone is so laid back that they rarely show up for work....those kinds of things. She actually did say (yes, this is a direct quote, and yes, it was hard for me not to laugh) "I've really learned to live with aloha in my heart here! And it's like...awesome!" Now. Aloha means hello, goodbye, and love. As if we didn't already have sufficient words that differentiate the sentiments, we need to create one superword that means them all? People in the hospitality business here are very friendly, and maybe that's what she was referring to...the people are friendlier here? But, in my experience, they're also flakes. No one has been responsible for ANYTHING here. And if that's the "aloha" way, it is not superior, just alternative. I don't know what's better, acting like nothing matters or overreacting. Taking our time or being prompt. Regardless, things are different from place to place all over the world, and this is usually why people live in these places : when the pace of life matches the desired pace of your own. What I have learned from my 5 weeks here, is that I am not an aloha person. I'm a hello person.

I really have loved a lot of things about this island. It's different than anywhere else I've experienced and it is absolutely beautiful. It is like paradise. A slogan for the luxury homes is "Paradise as it was intended : for the select few." How pretentious can we be?! Can we not share paradise in cheap lawn chairs and a Red Stripe? Do we HAVE to buy 3 million dollar 1 bedroom condos to enjoy it? The interesting thing about this place is that the locals, where all this 'aloha' culture lies, is hidden away. Luau's and other tourist trap type attractions call attention to history and certain aspects, but it's a SHOW. A show where you have to spend $100 to eat and see it. The actual culture is pretty hard to find. And when you do find it, it's not really accessible or friendly. This is true of most touristy places, I understand that either people don't want to be bothered or they want to profit off you. So basically, from the rich to the poor, they're all elitist in my experience so far.

If this post seems to ramble it's because I've been doing night audit for the past few nights...and it's currently 1:30 am and I've had 10 hours of sleep cumulative for 3 days. Work has been a mess and a half here. I think that the fact that the laid back attitude has negatively effected my job in a big way is why I have a negative view of it. I will be in Minnesota this time next week. That makes me happier than anything right now. Although the Pineapple Upside Down Cake that I had tonight did make me happy....but not happy enough to stay any longer than I have to!