Saturday, February 26, 2011

Things I Will Miss

I will state upfront, that yes, family and friends top the list of "things I will miss". But as they are people and not things, they are not included.

It's a bit like getting ready for Christmas this preparation for climbing Kilimanjaro. There are lists to be made, they must be checked twice. Then, similar to wrapping, you have the packing and you need to make sure your kitchen is in order. You wouldn't want to come home to things growing in your refrigerator. It's kind of the reverse order though as your fridge is Grinch bare as opposed to so full you use the coldest part of your garage for overflow.
Over the last couple of days, I have removed a few select items from my luggage and decided there is no point in even attempting to pack others. Thought about it, yes, but they are too impractical. I suppose I will enjoy them all the more when I get home.
  • My sonicare toothbrush and my tongue scraper. This may seem somewhat shallow on the surface, but since using this one-two combo, my days of bleeding gums are a thing of the past.

  • My new California King duvet. The old one was fine, but I always found the cover too large for the stuffing so it was always sliding around. This new one though, I LOVE! It fits perfectly and is like sleeping under a layer of sponge cake. Not that I have ever actually been under a layer of sponge cake, but it is 5 inches thick and toasty as can be. I am sure my camping pad and sleeping bag will be just as nice.

  • Yoga - I will TRY to do some while away. That didn't work out so well in France and was only two weeks. I did go yesterday for a good pre-climb stretch. And yes, I know you can't 'pack' yoga, but I did take out my folding mat that was supposed to inspire me. Maybe the mountain will do that.

  • My lemon press. Every morning my kidneys get a flush of lemon water. If lemons are on hand I will still attempt ~ and it might help mask the taste of those awful purification tablets.

  • Work. Ha! So kidding.

Apparently you can get Internet on Kilimanjaro, so I might do a quick photo post from the top. If not, see you in three weeks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Panic Packing

The accompanying photo is a sample of what one needs to pack for climbing Kilimanjaro. Among the items that I would not normally take on vacation, unless it was a camping one, include a winter temperature grade sleeping bag, hiking poles & boots, 3 nalgene bottles, a poncho, sock and glove liners, a headlamp with extra batteries and a duffel bag “for porters to carry your equipment”.

While I love the idea of having staff (they’re mine for 7 days!) I usually travel somewhat lighter. And, having a flare for organization, I started to get together the more unique items months ago and placing things in the appropriate jumbo Ziploc bags to keep them dry and separate. Tops in one, bottoms in another, equipment, imperative for the plane, day pack etc.

The duffel bag I have was full but not stuffed UNTIL today, when I read at the very bottom of the page that “this gear list of required items is needed for your climb” – uh-oh. I thought that was for the trip!

Panic mode, I didn’t pack for a four day safari and a week stop-over in Poland en route home. That last part I had somewhat thought of but then realized I wouldn’t likely want to re-wear things I had been in for four days climbing a mountain. Luckily I had space and time to apply my ‘one item out of the luggage each day for a week before travel’ rule. I will have to up my game to 3 items as day, but am confident I can.

Not on the ‘essential for the climb’ list, but deemed indispensible by moi, and now in the duffel, are the following items:
• My badger shaving brush from France and a block of shaving soap.
• Clinique’s 3-Step beauty regime (if I can follow it next to an elephant dung invested river in Thailand, I can do it on a mountain)
• A tin of loose leaf tea.
• Faux fur lined crocs (recommended by a friend for night trips to the lieu)
• One tube of HBC ginger cookies (to go with the tea)
• A bottle of Hendricks Gin to celebrate with when we get back down.

Items that even I think are too extraneous (but am sorely tempted to take):
• My personal trimmer – no manscaping for 3 entire weeks! I will be a rough, hairy beast by the time I get back.
• ………….

Not much a list, but that’s about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I hate myself.

I blame my nephew for my addiction to this foolishness. For the life of me, I can't figure out why I can't get enough of this song! And the one guy looks, whether by design or not I don't know, like Robert Pattinson. I hope they let me back into camp Jacob when the next Twilight movie comes out.

Some of the comments that follow the video on youtube are quite disturbing. For example, "Michael Jackson rose from the grave to dance when he heard this and can now rest in peace". Hmmmm. Really?

I think if he rose from the grave he would be heading to the nearest Toys 'R Us or Chucky Cheese. Oh, did I say that out loud?

Monday, February 21, 2011

So that's what it is supposed to taste like....

Kitkat puts me to shame on a daily basis. Without fail, he manages to post to his blog, sometimes, more than once. As I will soon be climbing up the side of Kilimanjaro, I will be taking an even longer than usual break from blogging. So this is ‘Countdown to Kilimanjaro’ week ~ and I will post something every day.

9:56 PM on the Monday is not a very auspicious start to be sure, and this has nothing to do with climbing or mountains. Rather, it is about food, something I hear I will be challenged in finding much that is truly appetizing.

Recently, I tried two new recipes. One, polenta, as it was called for in a recipe and the other, Yorkshire pudding, just for the heck of it.

My first attempt at polenta was less than successful. Kitkat and Fauntleroy have played guinea pig for me more than once, with about a 99% success rate. There were some unfortunate grilled plantains, an undercooked pork loin and now polenta that looked liked mashed potatoes and didn’t taste near as good.

I followed The Joy of Cooking recipe to the letter and I guess it turned out as it was supposed to. Surely it must taste better than that as I have seen it in stores and on menus. If it tasted like that, who would eat it? I was determined to try it again, and at the suggestion of epicurious, substituted half of the water with chicken stock and added ¼ c. of grated parmesan cheese.

And rather than serve it right out of the pan, I made a loaf with it and then sliced it before serving. Under boeuf bourguignon it was tasty indeed.

As for the Yorkshire pudding, I am kicking myself for not making this sooner. So easy, so much butter and so good!

Rather than a loaf pan though, I opted for a large muffin pan. It makes all the difference in the world to heat the pan in the oven first, place your drippings (or butter) in the bottom and then pour in the batter.

If you happen to have any leftover next morning, a quick reheat, more butter a dollop of jam and you have a pseudo popover to be proud of.

I don’t expect to find afternoon tea waiting for me at the summit, well, actually I do, but I’m not holding my breath. I will be taking a couple comforts from home though ~ loose leaf tea, a pot of clotted cream and some nice chocolate. Just in case, I want to have something tasty for a last meal.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

That is one red rocket I won't ride.

Toronto’s big storm yesterday forced me off my bike and onto public transit. Cabernet commented on the weekend that I am high maintenance, a statement I disagree with, it all depends on your definition of high maintenance, but alas, I am not made for public transport. To quote Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles “I loath the bus”. Or in my case, the streetcar.

I am sure there are weather delays, cars blocking the tracks, red lights and the like, but how is it that EIGHT trams go west, the last six near empty, before one heads east? Surely there is a better planning system. Ideally, I would have my own private railway car like the railroad barons of yesteryear, but even I concede that is not feasible. Where would I park it?

As there was ample time, I was privy to some conversations going on around me. Two young boys, who only go a couple blocks to school I presume, were chatting and one leaned out into the street (why people do that I will never know, it won’t make it come any faster. If that worked, I would lean over the lotto terminal a lot more) to look for the streetcar.

Stepping back onto the curb, he said to his friend “the TTC is just not what it used to be”. Uh, hello? You are maybe in the 5th grade? How long have you been using transit exactly? Made me smile to hear such an adult comment from such a wee young lad.

That was to be the last smile of the trip. Etobicoke is far flung enough that even with delays, you can usually get a seat. I managed to score a single so as not have to worry about an unsavoury mate. Next to me or not, the trip turned out to be less than pleasant.

Just after the Humber loop, a male person boarded the street car and moving from front to back, without really pausing, asked everyone for $2. I assume he was unsuccessful as the forward motion sent him to the back quite quickly. There, he found what I can only assume, was an unwilling partner in conversation.

“Man! A dude needs to get laid more. You know? I mean really get laid. Been too long man. Too long. For real.” Granted, he did not descend to the use of lewd language. Every minute or so though, his emphatic plea for companionship was interrupted by his spitting on the floor.

And not just a ‘usual’ sort of spit, but the throat clearing, nose sucking kind. My coddled eggs and toast almost came up in my lap.

“Yup. Going to get laid. That’s what I am going to do” he said as he pulled to cord and made a hasty exit. I don’t know exactly where he was going, but that is one lucky lady.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Monkey Boy Wants a New Monkey

Especially the "Theft Retrieval System"