Three weeks in a row on the road. In short: Big city good, Small city bad, Small city good. I'll exapnd on this later.
I'm in the office this week and next, which of course means that everyone has dibs on my time. And all that stuff I should be working on when I'm in the office? Yeah, that's on hold until everyone and their lawnboy has a conference call with me first. Why oh why do I need to be on these conference calls that actually have nothing to do with me? I think it's because when someone sets up a conference call, they try to add as many people to it as possible so that they feel like it's a really important call. Because everything they do must be really important to everyone else, right?
Hey, Cat's been out of the office for 3 weeks. She's here this week- let's get her in on a conference call!
Yeah! Good idea! She'll be glad to be kept in the loop!
One of the best things about being home is that I can eat home-cooked food. I am so tired of beef and black olives (long story). I spend the first few days after I got home bloated like a salted slug from all the beef and black olives and MSG-saturated restaurant food. No kidding, my weight dropped 3 pounds in 4 days after I got home.
I'll tell you about the trips...
First, I spent a week in Manhattan. Which was terrific. I was traveling with a colleague who happens to be a dear friend, so I had someone to go and do stuff with every evening. We went shopping in all those little la-de-da boutiques that I'd never venture into alone. I played with Pucci shoes and scarves, we laughed at a $3000 pair of Gucci granny-panties, we saw just how ugly Stella McCartney's animal-friendly fashions can be (pictures don't fully convey the fug-factor here), we got dirty looks from security guards hovering around the J-Lo collection at Saks (which were deserved, since we were kind of talking trash about the ugly clothes...).
We saw The Gates. Orange. Shower curtains. A lot of them. The same color as construction cones. Enough said.
We went to some really good restaurants for dinner, including a thai-fusion place called Vong, a brasilian hole in the wall called Ipanema (get whatever the waiter recommends, but skip the paella), and L'Ecole, the restaurant associated with the French Culinary Institute, one of Jaques Pepin's little projects. Basically, you eat the homework. Four courses, all outstanding. That dinner, we were joined by my cousin Cosmopolitan and got to catch up on things in her life. My favorite place to visit is wherever I have family. I have a lot of family, but too few of them live in places where my job sends me. Hey, can someone move to Minneapolis, or maybe Denver, please?
But all good things must end. It is Lent, time to sacrifice and atone for sins. So I went to Erie, PA. Have I not suffered enough? Please oh please don't ever make me go to Erie again, Dreary Erie, Land of Great Sadness, Frozen Core of Hell's Misery. All the local restaurants specialized in local cuisine-- Frozen Vegetables. All the people specialize in the local pasttime-- Cold Stares.
If I get assigned to Erie again, I will start updating my resume.
I can't talk about it anymore, it's too painful.
After Erie, I flew to Lubbock. Lubbock, where there's something interesting behind every tree. I was there the better part of 5 days and kind of dreading it, since Lubbock has a pretty lame repuation among Texans-- it's out in the West where there's nothing but dust, tumbleweed, cattle, and Cadillacs. It's so flat that you actually can fall off the edge. It's so desolate that wind doesn't even slow down as it passes through. This is the birthplace of the Tornado Cannon, which is used to shoot 2x4's through brick walls to simulate tornado debris. I'm not joking.
Believe it or not, I had a terrific time. The restaurants were good, the students in my class were fun to go out with, and I had 2 friends who came to town to attend the class. I guess the worst thing about it was that I ate alot of the local cuisine-- beef. You can't get much to eat other than beef in Lubbock. Their veggies are very good. Their seafood is older than my shoes. Chicken? They don't go in for that sort of PETA-vegetarian-pinko food. So I had Steak. Steak Steak and Brisket. And Ribs. And some more Steak. And ranchero sauce. With black olives on top. Of everything.
Hence the salted slug.
After this brief hiatus at home, I'll be going to Milwaukee for a week. Never been there. Not really excited about it, but I'm keeping an open mind. Hey, why don't any of my family live in Milwaukee?
What kind of food do they eat in Milwaukee?