Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to the adventure - #30 Go to my high school reunion

I got asked to work a couple of times during the weekend of my high school reunion. When I told one person what I was busy doing they said 'Oh, you're school does that? That's cool!'

'Well, actually no they don't but it's closing so they decided to give it a whirl' I explained.

The main attraction for me to go to the reunion (and really I'm not sure that I went to the reunion since we just went through the school to see some displays) was an old high school friend of mine, that I haven't seen in years, who couldn't make it to our party said he'd be there and to make sure to find him. Really that was all. I hoped that maybe we'd run into a few other old friends too.

When we arrived in the little town I grew up in and Wally and I used to live in, we parked our car at my parents place and decided, since it was a beautiful day, that we'd walk the old 'route' I used to go to get to school everyday. I'm glad we did.

The first thing I noticed was how much shorter the walked seemed. I was so incredibly high strung growing up and hated when my friends showed up on time (you know instead of coming ten minutes early). For some reason I was obsessed with NOT being late. Hmmmm, some things have changed a bit.

As we walked Wally and I chatted about our high school years and experiences. Neither of us really loved high school. It was better for me than public school, by far, but I was still really insecure and never felt good enough and still hadn't developed a whole heck of a lot of self esteem. I'm guessing for Wally it was much of the same.

As we turned the corner of what used to be the pizza shop a very vivid memory flashed before my eyes. It was the memory of the day of the tornado. I mentioned in my '100 things about me' post that a tornado hit my parents' home when I was in high school. It actually happened during my last 3 weeks of my final year.

I find it a little odd that I have such incredibly clear memories of the afternoon BEFORE the tornado hit. I will never forget the coat I was wearing, or the fact that I remember noticing my shadow while turning the corner of the pizza shop. I remember how strong the wind seemed to be that day, yet how sunny it was.

I would have been rounding the corner on my way home from school a little over an hour before the tornado would be hitting.

I remember going home and eating the last half of the panzerotti I ordered for supper the night before, then laying down on the couch for a nap (I was an insanely early riser - still am actually). I quickly fell asleep (as usual). After a while I remember the cable cutting out on the tv and hearing fuzz. In response I did what anyone would do ... I turned over to face into the couch.

A few minutes before doing the flip I remember my dad phoning and telling me to watch the weather because there was a supposed storm coming. This should have been my first clue that something was up, as my dad NEVER and I mean NEVER worries about anything like that. He would just as soon send me out to drive two hours in a blizzard because according to him 'It's not that bad out'.

Instead of heeding his call I grouchily responded back 'Whatever, I'm trying to have a nap!' I hung of the phone and continued my pursuit of sleep.

I'm not exactly sure what did jolt me awake as the next time I opened my eyes the only thing to be seen outside was dirt flying. Many people say God woke me up and after seeing the couch I was laying on after it was over, I'd have to agree with them.

I literally jolted myself up in one single movement and ran to the basement stairs which were off of the kitchen. I remember questioning myself 'Is it dumb that I'm going to the basement?' as I went into the basement. I had to really push the old door to get through it as the pressure surrounding the house was crazy, the tornado was right there.

As I made my way through the unwilling door all of the window in the basement got sucked in, along with the newly created flowerbeds my parents had just finished.

Once I got into the basement I went over to the washing machine and looked out the window and then remembered my dog was still upstairs!! HE was in his kennel as I was napping and he was a trouble maker. You really don't think clearly when you are in situations like that because I ran right back up the stairs and leashed him and brought him down.

By the time he got to the basement again the whole thing was over and the sun was peaking through the clouds. And destruction.

I went to leave the house to see what happened outside but there was an entire tree laying in/through/around the door. I couldn't go out the garage as there were more trees blocking the entrance. I decided to call my mom at work in a neighbouring town approx. ten minutes down the highway.

She answered the phone and was calm and matter of fact. Mostly because she hadn't heard a tornado it her house.

Here was our conversation:
Me: 'Mom? I can't get out of the house.'
Mom: 'What do you mean, go out the door'.
Me: 'I can't there's a tree in the way'.
Mom: 'What are you talking about?'
Me: ' I think maybe a tornado hit our house'.
Mom: 'WHAT?! Are you ok?'
Me: 'Yeah'.
Mom: silence ... she'd hung up. And was no doubt speeding down the highway to get home.

I'll never forget what happened next.

I decided to check out the rest of the house. You know, assess the damage.

Here's what I saw:

Large trees in our main entrance (where they weren't supposed to be).
Large trees near our front entrance (where they weren't supposed to be).
More trees at our side entrance (again, not ones that a few minutes earlier lived there).
The couch I was laying on was covered, absolutely covered in large and small pieces of glass from the window it faced. A window in which yet another unwelcomed tree decided to come through.
Every window in the sun porch was shattered. Every window in the living room also shattered.
I noticed that the kitchen appeared MUCH brighter than usual. That's because the car port that was off of the kitchen was gone.
I peaked in my room and decided that it definitely looked like a tornado hit it, then realized that it actually hadn't been touched.

Finally I decided to check out the top story of the house...
I tip toed up the steps and noticed lots of bunched of green leaves every where. Some on branches, some strays.
I turned the corner and headed to my parents bedroom down the hall. That's when I immediately wondered if there was anyway I could get in trouble for this...

Looking back that seems ridiculous as how could I have possibly caused such a predicament but truly that is what my first thought was when I noticed the ceiling and roof gone from the master bedroom.

I walked in further and looked up at the bright blue sky and the shining sun.

I stepped closer to view my mother's dresser to see if anything seem out of place. I looked and I looked.

I have to explain one thing. My parents house is a story and a half, so the ceiling in their bedroom is slanted, so my mom's dresser mirror was touching the ceiling that was now no longer there.

Not one thing on her highly jewelery decorated dresser appeared out of place. In fact the thing that struck me most was that sitting on top of her tall jewelery box was a tiny rhinestone mouse pin about the size of your thumbnail. My guess is that it hadn't moved one millimeter.

After I was done assessing the house I went outside look around. There was lots too see.

Lots of uprooted trees, downed power lines, peeled off siding, at least a dozen tin sheds balled up in neighbours' yards, or in trees. The Anglican church across the street from our house was destroyed. The huge historic steeple was down the street. The old piano tipped over like a neglected toy with keys looking like broken fingers.

So much gone in such a short time.

There so much more I could tell you but I think you 've got the gist. We were out of our home for 7 1/2 weeks (5 1/2 more than they told us). I lived with a couple from the church I attended, my parents stayed 3 nights with my mom's parents before realizing that was likely not the best game plan. Another couple from our church offered them their granny flat, it was perfect. And I believe my brother went to a friend of his.

It was actually during this period of time that Wally and I became 'more than friends', which for two people that didn't kiss eachother until they were married basically means we realized that we were the ones we'd eventually be kissing someday.

I recall Wally walking me home from school the day after the tornado us naturally holding hands for the first time. The funny thing was if you asked us then we would both deny that 'it meant anything'. And it's true we were doing it out of friendship and support. Of course within a few weeks we would realize it was much more.

.... wow, I think I got off track a little. There's not a whole lot of reunion talk is there?

Well it's easy to sum up. I didn't see the friend I hoped to see. Nor did I get to see any former teachers either. No friends. No 'wow you look awful now' people. Just an old bully or two whom we both pretty much ignored.

One cool thing was bumping into a friend I have on facebook and who at some point read my blog, yet someone whom I never really knew well going through school. That was really cool.

Yeah so that was my reunion experience. Pretty blah. However it did trigger a lot of old memories and reminded Wally and I how we came together.

That was worth to walk ...

'Clean' baking

Today I spent much of my time avoiding the phone (I got two calls from work within an hour of eachother, and since have ignore the phone ringing three times as we don't have call display).

When I wasn't avoiding the phone I was in the kitchen. Today I decided I would tackle re-organizing my new pantry supplies on a shoestring (actually non existent budget, as all of the shoe string got tied up in the supplies).

For those of you who don't know I am an avid collector of recipe books, only one of which is 'clean'. So I did some shuffling around of the stuff on our shelves in our dining area off of the kitchen and put many of my old faithfuls in an inconvenient spot. Not that it would matter, I don't remember the last time I cooked with a recipe ... or even cooked.

I then had a zillion bags of goodies from the local bulk store to find homes for. At first I thought I was going to have to go and buy containers but then I had a fantastic idea! When we moved from our house I (for some silly reason) kept two boxes of mason and jam jars that I used to use to can and jam with. I scurried through my closets and found the right amount of jars (with plenty left over might I add), washed them up and filled them with all of the different nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cereals (oat, wheat, natural, who knew there were so many?!). They actually looked very pretty on my shelves.

I also went through my cupboards and organized my new kinds of sugar (liquid and powder), other flakes and flours and ended up feeling like I had a new kitchen! Although I was tired out and I hadn't even started the cooking I'd planned on.

I took a little break, had my second meal of the day (around 10 am) and gave my first try at making 'clean' granola. It went pretty well. I over cooked some of it that was around the edges but over all it wasn't too difficult at all and it takes alright. Definitely not the sweet kind I remember as a kid but full of dried fruits, nuts and seeds. I'm eager to try it with yogurt.

Next I decided to give a protein bar recipe a try (my first of 3). It contained almond butter (along with seeds and nuts and such as well). As I reread the recipe several times and checked on it after the designated amount of time, I noticed that it didn't 'set'. No fear, I thought, I would just put it in the freezer. Sure enough, after an hour it was all firmed up. I cut it into the proper number of bars, cut one in half and had it as the first half of my fourth meal of the day. It was actually not bad. Almost kind of rich. Almost. I packaged up the other 8 bars that would be meal substitutes as they held around 400 calories a piece, but good calories remember.

My final try at baking today were Morning Glory Muffins. Again, they were about the same amount of work as any other muffin made from scratch. I think I ended up putting in too much carrot as the batter was not as present as all of the other ingredients, and once again my picture didn't exactly match. I'll have to try one tomorrow for a snack.

In the middle of all of my baking trials I baked up two batches of chicken breasts for lunches as we were getting low. We always buy chicken breasts on sale for half price then bake and slice them up and put them in pre-portioned little ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. That way you can grab and go. Add them to a wrap, a salad or just eat them as is.

I also decided to hard boil some eggs as it's been forever since Wally and I have eaten them and it's such a great portable option.

Now tonight I plan on making us our first meal out of the cook book I think it's called chicken pic-something. I believe it's Mexican and not too difficult. I used to have a garlic press around here but can I find it? Seems to be an essential item for cooking from scratch. I always cheated and put in garlic powder, not anymore.

The any other item I want to do tonight in cut up some pitas I had in the freezer and bake them (with some EVOO and garlic sea salt mmmmmm). Then I have then ready for hummus or salsa.

Wow my productivity is almost annoying.

I think someone asked about the name of the book ... it's called 'The Eat Clean Cookbook' by Tosca Reno. I also purchased the newly revised 'Eat Clean Diet - Recharged' by her as well. Though it has the word diet it is not pushed as a 'diet' per se. More of changing ones diet permanently. I would love to eventually get the original 'Eat Clean Diet' as it has many more recipes.

The book I just bought (the second one mentioned of the three) has a lot of interesting information in it teaching you about nutrition. Not on how to cheat the system to lose weight. I've also been doing a lot of reading just to learn more about how my body works. Why sugar is so bad, and what my body does with protein, or what happens when I eat a late night snack. I feel like by learning how my body actually works I understand more how to make it feel better and I want to make it feel better.

I've been thinking lately about starting a health and fitness blog (I know the world definitely needs another blog). I like the idea of having a place where I can share what I'm learning in this area of my life AND keep accountable and learn from others too. However I also don't want to get all willy nilly with my writing either. I just know that there are so many little things I've learned in the past few months, so many myths dispelled, so many truths revealed. From what goes into my body, to what goes on with my body, to what my mind and emotions are going through. I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with fitness and self image issues. I believe I am in the process of changing my life (very slowly, with many setbacks but I am) and if I can change my life, I know anyone can. Hmmmm ...something else to think about I guess.

If you have thoughts on this please share. Is this something I should try or do you hear enough about this stuff?

I also had a thought on maybe trying to get a group together of people who are interested in 'eating clean' and just hang out once a month and eat a meal together of all 'clean' food. Each person would cook a different course and share their recipe with others. I find that for me trying this is SOOOOOOOOO out of my element. I've tried things in the past that just seemed impossible, but then I see people with food in tolerances and I think 'If I HAD to change I would, so what's stopping me now?' I think it would be far easier to try new things along with others. I don't know, maybe it's another possibility.

Well I've been lovin' the time to think and try out my new venture.

Hope you do too!