Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Much Needed "Day-t" Day (+ 'Bamburger' Burgers!)

Last night I felt light headed, headachey, and nauseous.
Tonight I feel still a little headachey and tired, I won't lie, but much more refreshed and happy.
I got home this morning after a quick stop at McDonalds (I was convinced my nausea was actually the result of a lack of food and too much caffeine) and then quickly threw on my Hugh Hefner-esque red silk PJs and hopped into bed with John.
It was our planned "day-t" day as John called it.
I fell asleep and he watched Pawn shop shows on TV.
I woke up around 1 and we found a channel that was showing every Harry Potter movie in order. We caught the end of the first and started watching.
I made the much-craved eggs benedict and for a first attempt it turned out pretty well!
I will definitely go back and fine tune it a bit though.
Then I fell asleep again for a solid 2-3 hours.
When I roused around 6:30 pm we got up and with some gentle insistence on John's behalf (I was in a lazy, lazy mood) we went for a 6.25 km run around the neighbourhood.
His pace is similar to mine so I see this running partnership working out!
We took a nice long shower then got dressed to go out for dinner.
One of my foodie goals in life is to make my way around the city and find the best hamburgers.
Every year a list is published declaring certain restaurants the best with regards to burgers and I want to try them all.
After originally deciding to try a sandwich place called Boar Sandwiches (which closed at 8 pm and there was no way we would make it there before it closed), we walked to Bamburger (at 2112 Yonge Street, just north of Davisville).
I thought long and hard about getting a burger just to compare it to the others that I've had but my recent healthy-ish kick added to my desire to try specific toppings led me to the turkey burger.
My turkey burger came stacked with the standard lettuce, tomato and red onion, and then my personal choices of tzatziki, black olives, hot banana peppers, sauteed onions, and pickles.
John got a bison burger with maple bacon, goat cheese, sauteed onions, and spicy chipotle mayo.
Both were very good. The bison was a lot more tender than either of us were expecting. It had a melt in your mouth texture and coupled with the soft creamy goat cheese... he practically inhaled the burger.
John also got fries which are handcut at the restaurant along with their homemade gravy. Also well worth trying.
My burger was $8.95 plus $1 for the sauteed onions (John's bison burger was $14.95 plus the bacon and the cheese were an additional $1.50 each). It can be a bit pricier than your average burger but they were delicious and our server was fantastic.
I would definitely go back to this spot to try some of the other burgers and even just to re-order the exact same thing I had for dinner last night.
If you're interested, the website and menu can be found here.
All in all, yesterday was much needed. For my tired body, my sanity, and for John and I to just enjoy each other's company for an entire day.
I'm also thankful for my mom, who can give the best advice and put things into a better perspective.
She and I have a date this afternoon to do some shopping, perhaps a few more episodes of GoT, then turkey!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Eggs Benedict

Things have been quiet here for a little while because I've been busy working and trying to sort out a bunch of things.
As always, I took on more shifts than I maybe should have.
I work tonight, then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night but then as of Monday morning I am on a mini-vacation until Friday the 5th.
I was supposed to be on a plane to San Francisco right now.
One of my good friends moved there earlier this year and since we don't get to see her too often, my best friend and I decided we would take off to visit her in sunny California.
We booked our trip in November, and then the holidays rolled around, then I was off in Tanzania for 2 weeks. When I got back I submitted my request for time off but it was denied, as the other nurse had already requested to be off for the long weekend.
I emailed, I phoned (sometimes a few times) and left messages, but no one was able (or willing in some cases) to work any of my shifts.
So here I am.
At least I'm making time and half to update my blog!
The story gets more depressing - after my disappointment at having to cancel my SF trip, I was invited to join a number of my girlfriends in the Bahamas! But one evening, after having spent the afternoon on the phone canceling one trip and rebooking another, I got the bad news that the Bahamas trip wasn't going to work out.
So I had a good cry in frustration then called Expedia back and canceled a second trip.
Small things to get upset about in the grand scheme of things but I've already been feeling pretty worn out and fed up with my nights-only work schedule here.
I feel like it's starting to take a toll on the quality of my marriage and on my friendships.
April will be a month of resolutions:
To spend more quality time with John and to make sure he knows how much I appreciate him.
To spend more time with friends and make time for the people I haven't seen in awhile.
To work less and take more time to be happy.
I'm really looking forward to being off next week.
I'm getting my hair done, I have a date with a good friend, and my sister and I are going to a baseball game. And that's only one day!
Tomorrow John and I are having a "day-t" as he calls it.
Once I've woken up we're going to have breakfast in bed with a movie, then go for a run together, then spend the rest of the evening being lazy and in love.
I'm really looking forward to it.
Also... this is all I've been craving for the past few hours.
I may stop and pick up some of the essentials on my way home in order to make this as some point this weekend.
I'm going to use Martha's recipe, found here (and here for the hollandaise sauce).
Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend!
Here's looking forward to a happy & healthy April!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Stew

Sorry I've been MIA again.
I have a bad habit of promising myself I won't work so much and then I accept shift after shift after shift.
Then I get too tired to do anything worth blogging about.
I was fortunate enough to have the whole day to myself (I'm at work now but I slept in til 11 and was lazy with a capital L) so after talking myself into NOT skipping the gym (I'm trying to go for runs more frequently again), I went for a walk to buy some vegetables.
I was craving a chicken stew.
This has got to be the easiest dinner I've ever made.
I also baked up some orange cranberry scones from a mix that I got in my stocking at Christmas.
They were so good that I essentially canceled out my run after the second giant slab I ate.
Since the weather is still winter-like and cold, this stew is perfect for warming you up.
  • Cut 3 potatoes into small wedges. Cut leeks, zucchini, and cauliflower into desired size chunks. Chop kale into bite sized pieces.
  • In a large pot, bring 1 can of cream of chicken soup to a boil and add in vegetables. Add in 1 packet of chicken broth (or a can if you have one) and 1/2 cup milk.
  • Slice and cook chicken until ready. I used a pre-cooked chicken which made for peices that had the same texture as pulled pork. To do this you just need to boil the chicken until it's cooked and then pull it with forks.
  • Serve over bean sprouts and dig in!
I promise to return with my safari pictures and stories! I would have done so this post but I didn't bring my travel diary with me and I want to share my exact words from the trip!
They're coming :)


Friday, March 1, 2013

Kilimanjaro: Day 6 - Mweka to the Finish

Sunday Feb. 10, 2013
Springlands Hotel, Moshi
Sleeping in until 7 am was a luxury. I slept literally until David knocked on our tent and brought us hot water. Breakfast was the standard except the ouji was a bit grainer and paler - but I still devoured it. We packed up our stuff and then the porters came together and sang 2 Kili songs for us. We got to shake hands with them but most of us went in for big hugs with lots of asante sanas.
Then we walked for about 3 hours to the end of the path where the buses were waiting. Along the way we saw black & white collubus monkeys (though hard to see very well because most of them were hiding in the trees) and blue monkeys. It made the trip feel complete.

We were very fortunate to have had good weather (a Swiss guy at dinner one night back at the hotel had told us he summited in a blizzard), to have all summited, and to have had such good people with us.

Back at the hotel we had time to shower (the most glorious shower I may have ever had), do a bit of laundry in the sink, and then to have lunch and some celebratory drinks. Haji, Nuru and Norbert came back to present us with out certificates and then a few of us cabbed into downtown Moshi to use the ATM. After tipping our guides and porters they left, and we continued to drink and reminisce until about 10 pm.
Now I'm in a king sized bed, very excited to fall asleep.
Things I would pass on to other Kili climbers:

1. Wear lots of layers. The temperature can change from wet snow to hot sun in about 30 mins.
2. Hiking poles saved our lives on slippery rocks many times - have them.
3. Get a perscription for diamox (acetazolamide). 3 of our 8 didn't take it and only one of those 3 didn't have horrible altitiude sickness. Everyone felt pretty awful at the top but I'm convinced the diamox is what kept me from feeling fine.
4. A lot of it is mind over matter. Yes, you will feel exhausted. Yes, sometimes you feel like you've reached your limit. But you haven't. When you stop and look around you and see the incredible views you're priveledged to, you realize the entire thing is worth it.
5. Be friendly. Your group are the people who get you to the top. Cheer them on and they will push for you to succeed too.
6. Respect and appreciate the porters. They will blow you away. They go twice your pace with no poles, often not really appropriate gear or clothing, and they carry 15-20 kg while they do it. They work hard for very little money. Say hello, learn their names.
7. Bring lots of meds. I almost single handedly supplied our group with ibuprofen. It is a must. You will likely get at least one headache. Bring imodium (I had the opposite problem but if you've got diarrhea you won't want to scramble up the Barranco wall), gravol, tylenol, tums (especially if you like to put hot sauce on everything like I do), etc.
8. Drink lots of water. The Swahili word for water is 'maji' and it is like magic.
9. Bring energy bars and snacks like trail mix. Our trail mix went over well with our guides. We also had candy and chocolate and people were always happy to see both of those things.
10. Bring good sunscreen and PROTECT YOUR LIPS. Half of us have very chapped lips from the sun or wind or both. It's painful. I've been rubbing everything on them to try and heal them faster.
And lastly - Enjoy every single moment. At times it felt like we'd never get to our destination (many, many times actually) but summiting is a blur and before you know it you're getting on a bus to come back to the hotel. Enjoy the views, the stars, the uncomfortable sleeps, the weird malaria pill dreams (I only had one), the amount of oxygen you realize you can take in at the lower altitudes, everything.
P.S. Bring things you can trade at the finish gate. I traded a flashlight for the two bracelets. But the winner was one of our group members who traded her bracelet for a beer!