Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aruba Eats

Yup, that's me. Me on the beach in ARUBA!!!!!
A great way to spend a birthday.
I highly recommend it.

That being said, I'll bet you're wondering what the folks in Aruba eat. Actually, you're probably wondering what swimming in warm turquoise waters was like, and how it felt to snorkel with the tropical fishes. It felt GREAT!!! Aruba was much windier than I imagined though. Tradewinds will be windy tradewinds.

What I did not expect was that everything, and I mean everything, would be priced in US Dollars at US prices. In Aruba, the national currency is the Florin. Well, no one seems to use the Florin, at least not anywhere near the resorts. At the time of my trip, the exchange rate was 1 USD : 1.79 Florin. Based on this, you'd think that there'd be some deals to be had. Nope. Because everything was priced in USD, we paid the same as if we were in the US. Truth be told, I didn't ever see any paper Florins, just a few coins.
Believe me, I asked for Florins. Nobody seemed to have any. Not the hotels, not the stores, not even the casinos. This indicates to me that nobody wants Florins. If nobody wants Florins, I'm thinking that the currency is actually over-valued in comparison to the Dollar and that the exchange rate is either pegged to another currency or artificially set by the government. Well, according to one website, I was right. As it turns out, the exchange rate has been set as we see it today since 1986. Interestingly, 1986 is also the year that the first moves toward Aruban independence were made...yet, it is still not a fully independent country. Regardless, I enjoyed my mini vacation greatly, increased my foreign coin collection, and came home with one hell of a sunburn!


potatoes and omelet at the airport
 airplane snack and homework
Best Greek salad ever at the Westin
 chicken tenders
Real Dutch Chocolate Bar. YUM!!!!


breakfast buffet
 we went back for more of that Greek salad!
 OK, these puppies are kinda like nachos...fried plantains with beef, cheese and guacamole. You know I love nachos, and this treat was better!!!
 a little side salad
 wahoo fish with rice and veggies
free dessert because it was my birthday trip!!!!

waffle, sausage and fruit at the Westin

 lunch on the snorkeling boat...loads of veggies, potato salad and jerk chicken
 little caesar
 grouper with broccoli and rice
Birthday Flan!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!


Breakfast buffet...I have to admit, I've added papaya to my list of foods that I'm not fond of. I'll eat it, but I'd prefer not to.
 juevos con queso y ham.

Como se dice 'ham' en Espagnol??

OK, so when they tell you to be to the airport 3 hours early, they mean it. You should be 4 hours early if you think you might want to eat something more than a snack box on the plane...

Thank you to the people of Aruba who made me feel welcome, 
who took wonderful care of me,
and who make me want to visit them again!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Leaving the office in Boston

Ahhhhh, this is the life!! Blogging from the airport waiting to board a flight to Aruba!!!!! Traveling with a friend is always interesting and I'm curious to find out how well we do together for four days. So far, so good. We've booked a snorkeling package and plan to spend lots of time in the sun, on the sand. Yes, I am bring mucho homework with me, but I also plan to relax as much as possible. This trip is a great opportunity to tip my stress scales in the other direction for a couple of days. I'll jump back into the fray upon return to Boston. For this weekend, it's sun, sand, and seawater!

That being said, I don't always find it difficult to the leave the office behind, so to speak. I'm hopeful that the same is true for this trip since I'm bringing the 'office' with me! I need this trip though. I've looked over my last few posts and everything is about enormous amounts of stress and anxiety. In re-reading them, I'm somewhat embarrassed to be the person who feels that way. We all do an enormous amount of judging ourselves. And I am just like everyone else. Sometimes I judge harshly, sometimes favorably. When I'm in a really good place mentally and emotionally, there is no judging. Those are the best days. The days when there is only acceptance.

Oh! To live in a state of acceptance. I doubt that many achieve this, but I'll bet that whoever can is darned happy overall. And what a truly wonderful goal for the rest of us! For me, finding acceptance is about many things. Right now, I'm going to focus on knowing my limits and not owning crap that is not mine to own. Knowing my limits and owning only what is mine will take me far during times when I feel overwhelmed. That and a day or two on the beach!!


fruit and yogurt
 they called taco pizza...nothing like a taco, but good
mmmm, sushi! good for what ails you!

spicy salmon and cucumber and a white tiger roll

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back in the saddle

Here I am...back in the saddle. Work. School. Homework. Friends. Trying to do what needs to be done and maintain my sanity in the process. It may be time to lay off the caffeine...As I was sitting in class tonight, vibrating, there was this overwhelming sense of being overwhelmed that can only be described as 'What the FUCK did I get myself into!!??' You may call it anxiety, but I like the four letter words better. On the plus side, the caffeine doesn't seem to keep me awake. I wonder if there's a 12 step program to break the caffeine cycle? You know, the one where being upright = caffeinated and lying down = asleep.

As it so happens, I fully plan on catching up on some sleep this weekend. For those of you who don't know, I will be basking in the glorious warmth and sunshine on an Aruban beach. This is my vacation from vacation, my little bit of peace before full swing becomes full fucking swing.

So the real question that I'm sure is running through your mind is what am I doing about the palatable stress that has me feeling such anxiety?? Well, the short answer is that I'm running away to Aruba for 4 days. Beyond that, I've meditated one time and had some great sharing with friends. It has not been enough to counteract the working long hours, attending meeting after meeting and allowing the papers on my desk to accumulate. I guess I'm still searching for a solution. My positive message? I am focused on a solution. I'm not stagnating in anxiety.

What is surprising, is that I'm feeling this out of sorts two weeks into classes. I know it will normalize. I will find my groove. Of that, I am confident! Besides, only 232 days to go!!

Yup, chocolate cheesecake with frosting pumpkins for breakfast. Don't judge me.
 nachos for lunch...I'm guessing that I didn't have any food in the house?
Ah! Broccoli!!!!! Chicken tikka masala with peas and corn and daal makhani


Hmmm, I may have forgotten to eat, because this would be the salad that I took for lunch with some leftover pasta.


I'm done with plain Greek yogurt...I think I may officially put it on my dislike list. 
 salad in the sun with buffalo chicken pizza
nachos for dinner...with meat and beans and salsa!


breakfast on the go
 Pizza, I love you!
 pistachio muffin and coffee in class
leftover Indian food


Macrina bakery granola and a chocolate muffin...does breakfast get any closer to perfection?
 carnitas burrito
And there's the giant salad!

yogurt, granola and cinnamon bun
 Thai noodle bowl, a new choice in our cafeteria
Do you think I like pizza?


I think I like nachos too!
 Salad with berries and cashews and the best raspberry vinaigrette I've ever tasted! I need that recipe.
pasta with cream sauce, chicken and broccoli


Cheeseboy classic!
 sausage with peppers and onions...guess where I am!
popcorn...looks like a football field?

pork, rice & beans and plantains from Trader Joe's


the leftover pork and rice with broccoli and green beans
OMG!!! I had been craving General Tsao chicken for days!!


cinnamon twist and yogurt
 ham sammy and cookies in one of my marathon meetings.

At least there was catering.
Pizza!!!!!! and salad before class


berries and yogurt
 pizza and salad
nacho night cap