Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, July 29, 2011

Packing Light Seems So Wrong

I feel like summer is just screaming by.  I feel lucky - it's the first one in years that I've been able to take advantage of as if I were a student on summer vacation.  I've tried not to be too lazy.  I've tried to get out more, I've taken over cooking dinner every night, and getting chores and errands done during the day, instead of scurrying around after work or on precious weekend time.  But I can't deny I've had the time to bask in the sun, get a tan, read some good books, and - perhaps best of all - sleep until 7-7:30 every day.  What a luxury!  I feel good going back to work next week - although it's hardly work yet.  Three days at a resort on a lake can't be counted as true work, other than the stress of travel and meeting a whole team of new people, as well as getting up to speed on my new role.  And yes, even though I like to travel and meet new people, when I'm traveling alone it's a little stressful for me.  I worry that I'll miss a flight, get lost in the airport (Minneapolis is HUGE!), run out of cash, or worst of all, have an arthritis flareup and feel miserable.  Now bear in mind that none of these things are likely to happen, but I am inherently a worrier, despite my outward joie de vive.
So because I tend to be worried and sleepless before a trip, I'm spending today washing, making a packing list, and seeing if I can downsize any hair products, etc. into smaller containers.  I have a brother who is a world traveler for business, and he told me quite belligerently that no one who travels with him is allowed to check baggage.  For any reason.  *GULP*  I felt guilty.  I am the classic over-packer.  The thought of being stuck somewhere wishing I had brought this sweater or that pair of shoes wakes me up at night.  So I typically arrive at my destination with way too much stuff, but I'm confident that I have everything I could ever need.  And I can sleep.

I'm not really this bad...  but close...

But I am trying to change.  I don't want my new work team to eye my super huge suitcase and think I'm ridiculous.  I can't guarantee I'll be able to fit everything into a carry on (my carryon bag is pretty small so I'd need to shop for a suitable size) but at least I'm determined not to show up with a suitcase AND a carry on.  Simplify is the new mantra.  Which I've been practicing all summer.  Simpler hair, simple (or no) makeup.  Simple needs.  Simple life.  But in order to simplify I need to be organized, and that is the task of the day: to organize everything so I'm not throwing things into a suitcase in the usual last minute, over-tired panic.

The next thing I want to talk about is Blogger.  Is anyone else having the problem of posts disappearing from the Google Reader?  I all of a sudden lost some readers, and while it hurt my feelings a little bit, I thought that ya'll had grown weary of me.  One of my friends told me that my posts weren't showing up in the reader.  I had a very kind blogger show me how to fix that, but I'm still seeing my posts go back and forth from the Reader.  The fix doesn't seem to be permanent.  Just wondering if anyone else has had that problem and what you did about it.  That is all.

Although this isn't a cooking blog, I've been spending so much time trying new things this summer I like to share the highlights.  One of my favorite sites to find recipes is The Pioneer Woman.  The other day I was looking for something to do with chicken and came across a recipe for Herbed Chicken - you know, the kind you get already roasted in the market?  (I love market chicken!)  If you're afraid of roasting whole chickens (you shouldn't be - it's so easy!) I think you could do this just as well with the packages of chicken where it's already cut up for you.  If it's a whole chickeh, stuff the cavity (after you take out all of the disgusting guts and dispose of them...yuck... a good case for a pre-cut up chicken) with a quartered whole onion, a lemon cut in half, and 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed.  You're not going to eat this - it's just for flavoring, so no need to take a lot of time chopping it up small.
Make a rub of 2-3 T chopped fresh herbs (I used sage, rosemary, and thyme) and 1T salt and 1 tsp pepper.  I also added a little bit of brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne, because I like a little spicy sweet flavor.  But the herbs alone would be delicious as well.  Mix all of that thoroughly with 3 T olive oil and rub it all over the outside of the little chicken.  It will smell so good!  But don't eat it yet. Pop it in the oven at 450 (yes, 450 - I had my doubts too) for about an hour for a 3-5 pound chicken.  If you use a thermometer, it will register 160 when done.
The chicken will sizzle and pop like you're frying it (which you almost are with the oil and herb rub) but don't be scared.  It does make kind of a mess - I had to clean the oven afterwards, but it was worth it.  When it's done, it will smell heavenly, the skin will be brown and crispy, and it tastes like the best chicken you've ever had, juicy and savory.  Worth the little bit of messy cleanup (unless you have a self cleaning oven - yay for those!)  If anyone has an idea of how to solve the problem of spattering oil, I'm open to it.  But try this - it's really really good.

I've been checking the Minnesota weather.  On Monday when I arrive, there are supposed to be thunderstorms.  I remember the first time I ever went there, it rained like a mother.  Those folks have weather!  Anyway, as long as I can land safely, it would be fun to have a little lightning to look at, or hear some thunder.  Makes me feel like I've actually gone somewhere.  And then please let the sun come out so we can enjoy the next couple of days at our resort on the lake.  Amen.


  1. I can be very introverted so I think it is huge to be starting a new job and meeting new people for that job on a trip. I would be a nervous wreck. OK that did not sound very supportive but the thing is, I know you are going to be awesome - I can just tell that is the kind of person you are. I also think you should bring all the stuff you need, pack it if you need it!

    I love The Pioneer Woman - I often cook from her recipes but I have to hold back a bit because even though they are all soooo good - they are all very fattening. The chicken sounds yummy I haven't tried that one yet.

    I have not noticed any of your posts being gone. But I have heard that there are problems, but blogger seems to get them fixed. Crazy computer stuff I guess.

    Have a wonderful trip!!

  2. I always overpack too! And when I try to simplify I regret it, yet when I overpack I wish I had simplified, lol. Hope you have a fun time!

  3. I'm a true over packer...my Mom is the best packer ever. She never checks bags and she always has on something different every day. I did not inherit that from her...have a good trip. Minneapolis airport is huge, but I enjoyed a few lay overs there...I hate flying btw..not that you should care about that! Hahaha! I hope the weather turns out to be super!

  4. You showed up on my google reader with this one just fine! (I was just putting together Todd's apt. and then driving home until 2:30 AM yesterday.)

    What a day!

    And that chicken sounds perfect!!


  5. PS. Hope your business trip goes well. I know it will. You will knock 'em dead.

  6. I think you're very brave to attempt a trip with just a carry-on! I'm sure I could never manage that, myself! Good for you!

  7. I hope you have a great time! I have a hard time packing too in that I always pack too much. It's hard to know you will be away from your things and then, knowing that, pack less than you should!

    Have a great trip! :)


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