Who Doesn’t Have A Few

I believe it was my mother who once told me I should live life so that I had no major regrets.  I have tried to follow that advice.  And I have a quite a few minor ones, such as not applying to the University of Illinois, and not getting my degree sooner, so I could get a decent job overseas.  There are a few girls I wish I had asked to the dances back in my high school days, or asked for a date in my college days.  I regret things didn’t work out between Cheri and I.  But all of these are minor happenings and they don’t haunt me.

The ones that haunt me are soul crushing.  Luckily I only have two.  Leaving my son and giving him up for adoption left me hating myself for years.  Eventually I worked to live a life that would make me happy to share with him, if I ever got the chance.  And the other regret is not returning to China to be with Fanbin.  I miss her everyday.  The way she smiles, or pretends to be made at me and the fierce determination she lives life, I miss that and more.  I wish I was a brave as her.

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I Hate Flying

I didn’t always hate flying.  I use to enjoy the plunges through the sky and flying through storms, lighting flashing and the plane swerving through the screaming winds.  I would often sit with my face pressed to the window, watching the Earth bend at the horizon.  I loved the ground moving slowly beneath, city giving way to farm land before I was so high I couldn’t make out much of anything.  Except for the mountains and the rivers, those always stood out.

Perhaps it is part of growing old, knowing that time on Earth is short, that made me fear flying.  I know for sure that after my first flight to China I have avoided flying as much as possible.  The plane took off from San Fran for a direct flight to Shanghai.  Some where past the international date line the flight hit the worst air turbulence,

I had just gotten my food when the first bounces began.  They were good size but they were intermittent.  Then the sky began to fall away quite regularly.  I have to hang onto the tray so it wouldn’t fly through the cabin.  The stewardess stopped serving.  Occasionally one or two of them would dart by and pick up the trays that had been served.  It seemed I waited for ever for my tray to be taken.  It was the only time I experienced air sickness.

The only good thing about the flight was I didn’t have a window seat.  I don’t think I could have bared the horrors outside.  And there was the stop over in Korea.

The plane had exhausted most of its fuel battling the winds that the plane was diverted to an island off the coast of South Korea to refuel.  I was never so happy to reach terra firma.

If I have to fly I try to get a seat on the aisle so that I can stretch out my left leg.  A few hours of sitting my knee begins to ache.  Stretching it out between stewardess’ ambling by answering passenger requests, helps.  Of course when the cart runs into my foot I wake with a start.

I am a huge fan of train travel, especially in these days of traveling.  Train travel may be slower, but it is so much more civilized.  I love going up to the dining car and watching the world roll by.  On the train I don’t really care if I get a window or aisle seat.  Both are some what comfortable.

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Preliminary Menu For Saturday Market

I have been working on this for a few days now.  And while the menu has at times ballooned up on me I have pretty manageable now.  That was due to my constant refrain “keep it tight, keep it easy’.

In theory this plan will work out, but in practice well . . . .  Hopefully it won’t go completely pear shaped-as the Brits say.

For breakfast I plan to do mostly burritos-similar to the ones El Burrito Loco in Gresham, OR serves.  They are massive affairs-I would be stuffed after eating half.  I continued to until nothing was left because-it was the awesome.  I miss those burritos.  In addition I am thinking of biscuits and gravy.  At least come October they will be added.  There will also be a secret menu-ala In & Out Burger-of biscuit sandwiches.

Come lunch time will be the usual suspects of burgers and brats.  And there will be chicken wraps and a salad of two.  But the secret here will be the rubs and BBQ sauces I make.

There might be some problems transitioning from breakfast to lunch but happens in stand alone restaurants.

I went to the Health Dept today and they told me what was required and they said they would work with me to on what was possible.  The guy told me he visited farmers markets around the midwest and wondered how long until Quincy got food stands in its market.  Well here is hoping to this year.

I can’t wait.

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Big City Visits

I have been to a few big cities in my travels.  Among the ones I have been lucky enough to visit include: D.C., New York City-and I didn’t have any salsa, Chicago, and I did try the dogs, pizza and of course sliders, L.A., it was hot, San Diego, it was expensive.  Up the coast to San Fran and Oakland, and San Jose.  Wish I could have taken in a ball game at Giants Stadium.  Further north Portland, and Seattle and Vancouver, B.C..  I also made it to Calgary one summer.  I was reminded of Texas, what with all the oil derricks and cattle.  I moved on before the great winter storms could pound Calgary.

In Europe I have been lucky to visit Dublin, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Rome, Vatican City,  Venice, Florence, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Budapest, Munich, Milan and Naples.

While in Asia I got to see Saigon, aka Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and of course Hanoi and its famous Hilton.  Then there is Bangkok, Chang Mai where I had to stop and show respect for the royal motorcade.  In Burma I go to explore the capitol of Rangoon or Yangon.  It seemed more like a sleepy provincial town than a capitol city.  It was very lovely and yes I did see the Sweedagon.  If you ever get there you will know what I mean.  I touched down in Taipei for a few hours.  And they let me board the plane with a whole jade handled dining and service set-which contained knives,  They waived me on board and sent me back to the states.  In China I flew in Beijing and set a nite out in a suburb.  I trained into Shanghai and sent a weekend taking in the sites and avoiding a couple of bar girls, who ran up a tab they expected me to pay.  Thankfully I only had a hundo on my and got out the place before the muscle showed me the way to an ATM machine.  But my favorite city in China is Xiamen.  It is not the provincial capitol but is the economic capitol of Fujian Province.  It was one of the original Economic Development Zones, opened up under Deng Zhou Ping in the 70’s and 80’s.  Xiamen and the other lucky cities where to be where the great capitalistic experiment would be tried first.

I thankful for all the places I have visited.  Big city, or back road village, I have enjoyed most if not all.  Perhaps I should draw up a list of smaller cities I have visited.  Then again that would require a week or more of remembering and way too many blog pages.

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New Food Stand Coming Soon

For the last two days I have been working on a business plan to open a food cart and a food stand.  I even played hooky from work.  I feel a little guilty about that, but not enough to go to confession.

The plan calls for a food cart to be set up semi-permanent through the week and then have a stand at the Farmers Market on Saturday.  Apparently this will be the 30th season.  Way to go Quincy Farmer’s Market.

I have been working on a menu for the last three or four hours.  It has not been easy balancing taste with what is possible to do in outdoor conditions.  Then there is considering how to much to pack into the park and how to get it out of there.

My mantra has been ‘keep the menu tight’.  I have a tendency to cook up all kinds of wild dishes with exotic tastes.  But I am in small town Midwest and so I have to tone it done.  I can’t be Spinal Tap and turn it up to 11-though that would be so awesome.

For the lunch menu there are burgers and brats and chicken salad wraps.  But I still want to jazz them up.  The menu isn’t too broad and I am considering salads.

The breakfast menu is small, only breakfast burritos and biscuits and gravy.  I am not sure how the biscuits and gravy will sell.  On cold days I am sure they will fly out of the stand, but warm days . . . .  I guess I could use them for skeet shooting once they get really hard.   I think the burritos will sell no matter the weather.  But we shall soon see.  Maybe I could do breakfast biscuits.  That could work.

All I know is that I finally feel alive again.  Since leaving the cafe I have felt sad and numb.  And working in the pizza place hasn’t been the most rewarding experience.  The only reason I have stayed this long is because of my father.  The only plus to the place is I get to spend time with my dad.  I work mostly nights so I can see him in the morning and have a cup of coffee and talk about the world, or books, or movies, or nothing.  But as for any satisfaction beyond that, there is none.  I have felt it was time to leave and do something else almost from the moment I walked back into the place.  I feel so old some days working with people so young.   And they seem so disconnected from the reality in front of them.  Not all of them, of course, but a great many.

So I am looking forward to telling the boss that I have a new venture.  I can’t wait to explore the possibilities.  Besides the kitchen at the pizza place reaches 120 degrees plus.  I won’t miss that.

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I am thinking I should have read through the prompts more closely.  Or at least amended this undertaking to allow substitutions.

If I think of fabrics at all I would put cotton, wool, and linen at the top of the list.  When I am traveling I love the quick dry nylon material.  I discovered its usefulness after getting caught in a April shower in the Loire Vally on the way to Chateau Chenonceau.  At the time I was in jeans since it was a little brisk.  Despite my attempts to hide under a tree, I became drenched.  It is no fun walking in wet jeans, all that chaffing, and the itchiness which arises.  I didn’t wear the jeans again until I visited the Vatican.  Thankfully.

One item I miss these days is leather.  I prefer leather for my shoes.  When it comes to dress shoes this isn’t really a problem.  Sport shoes is another matter.  More and more it seems as if tennis shoes are man made materials.  I understand they can be lighter, but pleather makes my feet stink.  I don’t mean a normal smell, either.  It is almost toxic in its obnoxiousness.  If I am offended by the smell these shoes produce, and transfer to my feet, what must others think?  And the smell is like bacteria; it doubles in smell strength every 12 hours, whether I wear the shoes or not.  I  put the shoes outside, just so the house doesn’t become a hazardous site.

One would think with all the hamburgers we eat here in America that there would be plenty of cowhide.  There should be piles of the stuff lying around waiting to be turned into a nice, new, pair of kicks.  I say we should stop using this precious and wondrous material for belts, wallets, purses, and fancy, Italian, dress shoes.  Maybe someday…..

Photo from: renaissance.mrugala.net

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