2010 Is All About The Shed


It was on a bitter day in early December that I realized that much as I adore NYC, that most def. ain't the city for me.  Por que, you might ask?  Well, for starters - there is no Pacific Ocean rolling around in its back yard.  Yah, there's the Atlantic, but that's not quite the Pac, you know?

Then there's the up factor.  Everything just goes up, not out.  No space, no spread.  No out.  Just this constantly throbbing machine working at all hours in an attempt to unite masses of strangers.  Guess I love being in bed by 8pm.  Or at least in my pajamas.  Love being up by 5 am.  Love sunrise, love the moment just after sunset. 

On that same day I snapped the bridge leaving Brooklyn, I thought to myself.  Nah, MST girl, it's water, it's tropical, it's away from anything normal and plain.  Which oddly, big cities now seem that way to me.  Just hum-drum.

What isn't normal and plain is a sailboat. Neither is a little tow behind travel trailer rigged out with solar panels down in Mexico. I'm seriously contemplating a full upgrade to the new Airstream International - with the solar package and paprika interior.  That thing is fierce. 

2010 is about mobility for me.  Not as in homebase, but just mobility in the mind.  Total freedom to spread my thoughts out like a pile of coins and pick up the shiniest penny I can find and run with it.  Make it even shinier, with more sizzle.  All these ideas, all these plans.  Some stick.  Some morph.  Some roll away.  Some just marinate and blast out again when least expected. 

New decade.  Make it all about The Shed.  Ditching all that was and embracing all that can be.  What a wonderful world we live in, full of mad, mad opportunity around every corner.  The good life is literally in every Toothie email I get from random folks who are just looking for something a little different.  And, if I show you that in some small way here on BST, well...salut*

Clearly, The Time Is NOW Not 30 Years From Now!


Here is what I've noticed most about life on the make--be it via sailing vessel, trailer, backpacking, whatever--most of the folks that are out here actually "livin' the good life" are older and/or retired.  That does not make sense to me at all.  Why would I waste the prime of my youth/life working some baloney job just so I can be happy and finally feel alive when I retire at 65?  Are you kiddin' me?  Heck at the rate I'm going, by then--my body will most likely be shot to hell, my mind on the fringe of being erased, and my heart black as coal (almost there now, almost...).  I think the time to do all this stuff (sail off into the sunset, travel through remote backcountry, volunteer 'til I can give no more, learn a new language, cruise around Central America in a vintage travel trailer, produce Pilates/Volunteer retreats in awe-inspiring foreign countries, etc...) is RIGHT NOW> While I still have my mad energy, my wacky (though often brilliant) ideas, my pure intentions, and my happy-go-lucky roaming nature.  I can always to back to work whenever I want (and truth be told, I never stop working anyway).  I just don't do traditional work...instead I create all these little opportunities based on my current set of interests and make that exact scenario my so called "job."  Crazy as it seems, it all works out perfectly in my mind and slings me one step closer to complete and utter off-the-grid freedom.  Isn't that what life should be all about?  A collection of tiny, sometimes vague elements that make your mind/heart/soul soar?  You tell me.

Happy Days Abound~

Img_2892_4Just some perfect little things that are making me happy right now:

1.  A few gifts I just got today from a lovely woman who has met me just once--a rad toilet paper holder for my little vintage travel trailer I'm going to pick up next week in Colorado and a very handy, very sporty headlamp.  I mean, only a true explorer would know that those two gifts are straight GOLD to someone like me.

2.  Newleaf Grocery (in East Rogers Park)--I am hooked on their $15 farm share.  Seems like too little dough to pay for all kinds of local fruits and veggies every week.  I made a rockin' wild dandelion green with goat cheese bruschetta this past weekend that was a major hit.

3.  These crazy summer days--even though a tornado warning is on tap for tonight, this is some seriously great weather.  Makes me want sunshine hitting my face all the time.

4.  It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Thursday's on FX)--literally the most hysterical show to hit the airwaves since Arrested Development and the original of The Office.

5.  Money.com--it's my login page and keeps track of all the headline news for my stocks. So savvy and clever. 

6.  The very fact that I've still got tomatoes, green peppers and cukes still sprouting on my plants on the deck.  Just the miracle beyond miracles.

Trips, Trips, Trips

007_20aSo, I've been working on a list of my next big trips.  Sadly, but happily, there are so many new journeys I need to take, but some shine a little brighter than others.  You've probably read about how I'm going back to Indonesia in a few months, so that is one...and then, there is my Pilates retreat on Isla Mujeres, Mexico in February.  Well, then I have a pal getting married in Germany next summer, so that one is a for sure...and if I'm in Germany, I might as well hit up Italy--this time Sicily.  OK, getting past those already planned trips, I'm looking to go to Colombia and Panama soon for coffee trails and Spanish lessons; I'd love to jet over to Nosy Be, Madagascar for some scuba (once I learn in Indo, of course); Turkey and Montenegro are HIGH on the list...Turkey for sailing and Montenegro for vino; then there is Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam...that trip is all about herbal remedies and deeper spirituality; of course, I gotta trek the Great Wall of China sometime soon and ride horses in Mongolia--those have just been on the list forever.  Ahh, I'm deliriously exhausted now....just so much...so much...and man, I haven't even mentioned the food...
*The photo is from earlier this year in Zanzibar by the way---that escapade was all about snorkeling, spice farms and little fried goodies...

Whole Grain Pizza on the Back Porch...

Img_2054After a whirlwind day of eating and drinking yesterday, today was a make-a-pretty-pizza in my own home kind of day.  I was up at the crack of dawn to get my new cushions for the boat, and after meeting my sewing expert at the boat, Lis and I jammed down to Little Italy to partake in Sweet Maple Cafe's biscuits and gravy.  Gotta tell ya, that place has gone downhill.  Oh, it's still charming but the staff seems lost and the food came out cold.  Our sweet waitress remade the food, but still...it put a damper on the glory of the morning.  No worries, though...after hitting up the Evanston farmer's market (ah, the blackberries, blueberries and white nectarines are at their prime), I went straight home and  dolled up a whole grain pizza crust with olive oil, cheddar cheese, fresh basil and peppers from my little back porch garden and sweet tomatoes from the market.  What a simple and beautiful little creation.  So fresh, healthy and inspiring.  I then proceeded to dunk each slice into a vat of ranch dressing...shame on me, I guess, but I'm blaming it all on the rain...the never ending rain...

MST on the road is the way it shoud be...

Dscn2369I belong on the road, in the air, or on a boat.  It's just that simple. To be in any of those circumstances is the very core of my wanderlust soul and it's what makes me happiest and propels me directly into my perfect MST element.  Man, it's like I turn around and catch a glimpse of my life and wonder the the heck I am doing with myself.  Sure, accomplishments are made left and right (which is AWESOME), but them I hit a wall...or rather, I get caught up in something else and sort of abandon the original plan.  I have no examples for you...they're just there.  I know them intimately and I know what I'm capable of...and though I will admit, I do look damn good on paper, it's the feelings that are flowing around in my soul that tend to get ignored and shoved aside and at times, left behind.  No mas.  Tonight I start Spanish class...ok--I guess I'll toss out an example.  So, I'm taking 8 weeks worth of Spanish class here in the city--once per week at Spanish Horizons.  That is all great, but REALLY what I am fully obsessing about is straight-up leaving the USA and driving in my trusty SUV all the way down the the very tip of Panama so I can pick coffee beans, perfect the cortado and smoke a sweet cigarillo (though I don't smoke) whilst knocking off the Spanish lessons in a really dusty, really rural environment.  I mean, GOD!!!  MST, why not just be content with the 1:45 lesson that is happening tonight?  One more cuba libre and I just might be.  It's early, the day is young...PS--the photo is my ziplineing in Nicaragua.  Mucho gusto.


Img_0409All the things in the world that are making me happy right now.
1.  The knowledge that very soon I will be back on the tiny Mexican island of lovely Isla Mujeres.  I'm working on putting together a Pilates retreat there in Feb., so as all the little details are being tended to now, I'm literally fantasizing about cold marg's, colorful snorkeling and mad, sweaty pilates.  Love it all.
2.  Meerkat Manor.  I'm sorry, but this is the best show on telly right now.  They all look just like my mom's little pup and are so freaking cute.  I also LOVE Damages....and of course Rock of Love.
3.  The fact that I have a week off and am going nowhere but here (Chi).  I'm gonna go straight bananas and tackle every single outstanding item on my centuries old to do list.  Getting all that shizz done will make me one happy camper.
4.  Ahhh, remember all the plants I potted a few months back?  Well, my back porch is overrun with cukes, peppers and herbs galore.  Sadly, my mom gave me a deformed tomato plant that is 20 ft. tall yet has yielded one, yes ONE, tiny green tomato.  WTF?  Everything else though is coming up roses and makes me feel like king of the world that I have actually grown my own food!  Neat.
5.  Still the boat.  Always the boat.
6.  Starting my Spanish lessons next week.  I mean, how the hell can one expect to get by without knowing this language?  Yah, I do speak a tiny bit of combat Spanish, but man, to be able to actually rock a hard-core convo.  Powerful.
7.  The new 80 gig Ipod my mom got me.  I'm going a little berserk with new songs for it.  I've also discovered some interesting podcasts and boating videos that I've tossed on there.  There is just not enough time in the day for all there is to see and do in this lifetime.
That's all for now.  Back to Meerkat~~

Savoring Summertime {From The Raving Dish}

Img_1547Summer is in full effect, and I've barely cooked a lick of food at home. I blame all the pretty outdoor patios, the cool, air-conditioned restaurants and the refreshing, icy cold drinks that seem to be every which way I turn. I've been finding and rediscovering deliciousness across the board; bites and sips of food that literally make my face melt with pleasure the second they hit my lips. That level of satisfaction is pretty tough to come by, so get out there while the weather still smiles upon us and enjoy.

Uber Burger
This tiny hamburger haven has every element down exactly the way it should be: char-grilled burgers with just-right, half soft, half crispy bacon and oozing cheese; hand-cut fries with a side of creamy ranch and ketchup; crispy onion rings; thick, crazy-sweet milkshakes; and a side of reggae music pounding out of the sound system. Everything on the menu comes cheap, the waitstaff is incredibly helpful and courteous, and, as my pal Brad yelped after his first bite of burger on a recent visit, "This place blows Hamburger Mary's away!" Sad but true, Mary.

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Five Things I'm Lovin' Right Now {From The Raving Dish}

Img_1133Much as I love the thrill of discovering new goodies in the city, I am, in all honesty, a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I remain entirely loyal 'til the bitter end. I'll happily sing its praises to anyone and everyone, especially strangers on the hunt for a few new finds. In the vein of sharing, I offer a few timeless joys that I'm loving right this second.

Octopus salad from Gruppo Di Amici
Ever since my solo trip to the islands of Greece years ago, I've had an ongoing love affair with the quirky, eight-legged octopus. I'll take it any way I can get it, from tucked in a bowl of soup to charred and tossed on a spring salad. My favorite Italian hideaway does it best for summer: served chilled and folded with capers, slivers of celery, olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon. The wine drenched mussels will rock your world, too.

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