Homeward Bound

 

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It’s finally here!! I’m making my first journey home from St. Joe. I booked my flight awhile back. You know I’m not going to Baton Rouge after it gets too hot, and with this warm winter, that’s next week. So I found a cheap flight from O’Hare to New Orleans, and the day has finally arrived.

I could pay about $300 more and fly out of South Bend which is much closer, but that’s a flight that always stops in Atlanta. Every single time I’ve flown from South Bend to Louisiana, it’s been a 12-hour travel day. Delays, weather, the big flood in Louisiana and even a detour through Charlotte have plagued all of those flights. It’s worth it to take more time on the ground and travel to Chicago for a nonstop trip. Besides, they have better snacks here!

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So, I left the other side of the lake this afternoon and boarded a bus in Indiana headed for O’Hare. The driver was so nice, and the bus wasn’t crowded at all. While she fought Chicago Friday afternoon traffic, I texted my sister, ate some nuts from Starbucks and read the New York Times. It was a stellar way to get to the airport, and the parking was free at the bus stop. By the time I would have paid $20 a day to park at O’Hare, the bus ticket was a wash.

It’s been awhile since I’ve flown, and I’ve flown out of small airports the last few years. I checked in for my flight on my phone on the bus and purchased my pass to check a bag. When I got off the bus, I just walked over to a kiosk where I printed my own bag tag, slapped it on my bag and handed it to the counter guy. It all took about 2 minutes. They gave me a pass on the TSA check, and I sauntered right through security without stopping. It was so easy!

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I arrived at the gate and immediately got an email that my flight was delayed but, at this point, I’ll only arrive 30 minutes late. As easy as this trip has been, I’ll not complain. I’m sitting at a Starbucks now trying to decide if I want to grab a healthy snack. I didn’t eat dinner, so I’ve been snacking on fruit and nuts. And I get to spend the night at Michael’s house. Yay!

As far as my sugar journey, I messed up today. It was an accident, but I ate some sugar at lunch. I didn’t realize sloppy joe meat had sugar in the sauce. Of course, I don’t know how much, but I looked up a generic sloppy joe nutrition guide, and it said 32 g. That’s about 2 teaspoons of sugar. I could tell immediately after I ate it. I got a little light-headed, and I did not feel good. After a week of feeling grounded and stable, I was disappointed that I was feeling this way. I learned a lesson. I’ll be more careful next time. It happens, right?

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I’ll give you a breakdown on the last few days:

Energy: My energy has been great and very steady. I haven’t gotten much sleep the last few nights, and, even with that, I have felt good. After 5 hours of sleep night before last, I still had enough energy to workout yesterday.

Sleep: I haven’t gotten good sleep the last couple nights but it’s not because of sugar. I drove to a hiking club meeting an hour and a half away Wednesday, and I was too wired to sleep as I got home at 10:30 PM. Last night I was up packing and running around the house and was again too wired to sleep. I imagine tonight will be a re-run, but tomorrow night I can catch up!

Brain Fogginess: My brain was really messed up after eating sugar at lunch today. Before that, I’ve had good mental days and got a lot done at work.

Mood: I have been a bit on edge, but I think it’s the lack of sleep that’s doing that. We’ll see.

Bodily functions: I’ll add this tonight and won’t mention it again. When I don’t eat sugar, I don’t wake up to pee in the middle of the night. And, on top of everything else, I become much more regular (if you know what I mean). I won’t post any pics on this!

Hunger: Yesterday, I didn’t get hungry at all. I remember the last time I got off sugar, I realized that my hungriness is part of the sugar cycle. Hunger – when my body is clean of sugar – feels different, and it’s not so insistent. I can just say “Hmmmm …. I’m hungry,” and I don’t even feel compelled to eat right away.

At any rate, I’m back on track with no sugar. I may even start my 30-day clock over. I’ve got a busy weekend. I’ll be in touch.

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Ashok even found a boyfriend at the petsitter!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Moving Day!!

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After all of the preparations, and the interviewing and the job offer and the house hunting, it’s finally moving day! There’s no solid place to land yet in Michigan, but it’s in progress. I just got the inspection report yesterday, and there are a few items of concern, but I’ve been told it’ll work out. So, we’ll see how that turns out.

Leo and Ed, the local folks who are helping with the move got here first this morning, and we chatted about the flood and their relatives who were impacted. We were all very lucky, but each of us had numerous friends and family members in dire straits. Doug and Jeff arrived shortly after in the big Atlas moving van, and we took a tour of my house and belongings. Once they were all set, I offered to go get them some coffee and donuts, and they set about their task.

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“No Starbucks,” one of them said. “I hate that stuff.” I laughed and decided to go down to Dunkin Donuts on Florida. I forget the world has change in the last week, and DD was shut down due to flooding. I had to drive clear across town to get them donuts and coffee of the quality they deserved. My friend Laura recommended Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Donuts at Lee and Highland, and I’m glad I only discovered it the day before my departure. Otherwise, I’d be fat as my cat Bella. (Don’t tell her I said that.)

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The gal said the blueberry was to die for, and she wasn’t lying.

If you’ve never been moved by one of these big van lines, they are efficient. My stuff is allotted a section in one of those big trucks, and I’m surrounded by other people’s belongings from all over the country. Once they get it loaded, they usually give you a 10-11 day window of time for delivery. You don’t know when you will be seeing your stuff again exactly. So, yesterday, I packed up my Rav4 with perishables, necessities for the cats and Ashok and everything I would need for a month – or more if things don’t progress as planned. They will store my stuff until I get my house, and then we’ll reverse this process.

Doug and Jeff, the folks from West Virginia can’t wait to get out of here. They slept in the truck last night because every available room was booked due to the current flooding disaster. They had been told by the estimator that they would not be able to get the big 18-wheeler down my road, so they tried to rent a truck for a shuttle. They had 1000 people ahead of them in line at Enterprise and didn’t even attempt to call any of the other vendors. They are tired and there is no place to rest. For me, it’s lucky because that means they’ll get done if at all possible today, and I can hit the road tomorrow!

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My little spot on the truck.

By the time I got back with the donuts, most of my kitchen was packed, and in the time it’s taken me to write this, my living room is 85% packed. They are fast, and we have four people packing. They are all screaming about the mosquitoes because they are being eaten alive INSIDE. I tried to find some insect repellant but it’s packed already. They’ll just have to cope. After hauling the rest of my stuff through my muddy yard, I think they are going to be ready to hit the road …. and don’t come back no more .. no more … no more …no more….

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I don’t even know how to describe this area. My little island in Baton Rouge looks no different than it did a week ago. I’ve been hanging at Magpie, eating po-boys, visiting with friends and otherwise taking care of moving business. Things have been slowed significantly because every available person who offered to help is now tied up with more important business and communication sucks. Even if you get through, everybody is short-staffed. Many businesses are canceling their regular business and sending their employees out to help people clean up their houses.

At any rate, I will be leaving Baton Rouge tomorrow morning. While normally I would probably be having lunches and coffees and enjoying a send-off gathering, I will just be heading out unheralded. Everybody is busy, and I suppose it’s just as well. I walked in my house this morning and burst into tears. As I was pulling pictures off the wall, I thought of the day that I hung them. I had such high hopes for my life here. Instead, it has been very difficult and challenging which is not without its benefits. I will hang them again in a few weeks in a new place with the same kind of hope for a great future. At the end of the day today, I will have an empty house just like the first day I walked in. I have come full circle, Louisiana.

What a ride it has been!

Sunday Night Check-In: Home Stretch

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I’m feeling a bit sad tonight. The good-byes have started. I’m looking forward to this week but a part of me is dreading it. I have lunches, dinners and breakfasts scheduled all week with friends…. friends who will be saying good-bye.

We’ll see each other two hours later on Facebook so it’s not like it’ll really be goodbye. But it will mean that seeing each other face-to-face, hugging each other’s necks and sitting down to coffee or a meal will not happen again for a really long while. I’m telling myself that it’s not goodbye. I’m just moving to another neighborhood 13.5 hours away. I’m telling myself that it’s not really goodbye…. it’s not really goodbye …. it’s not REALLY goodbye. 

And for my friends in Michigan, we just have to get this week over in order to start our coffee dates and yoga classes and meals in Michigan restaurants. They’ve been in another neighborhood for almost 13 years. We will all probably be a little heavier, a little more wrinkled and a lot more gray than the last time we hugged each other’s necks. Apparently I gave my friend Kathy my snowshoes when I left, and she’ll be returning them to me in a couple of weeks. Life will resume in Michigan after a very long break. It won’t be long until I will just be a normal part of their world and they of mine.

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Ashok is uneasy. She can tell something’s going on. I’m not sleeping as well as usual. I’ve got a list a mile long of services to cancel. The movers are booked, and my days as a Louisiana gal are numbered. Right now I have about two weeks and three days but who’s counting?

I was 23 years old the last time I said goodbye to Louisiana. I had a small carload of belongings. I drove away from my house in Watson in my sort of new Mercury Lynx hatchback that leaked when it rained. I set off to be a reporter at a small newspaper in Harlingen TX called The Valley Morning Star. My reporter stint didn’t last long, but it was my very first adventure, and I had been waiting on it for all of my teenage years. My sister says I drove away, and she ran inside and cried unconsolably the rest of the day. I was the first one to launch. As for me, I doubt I even looked in the rear view mirror. This was my new grown-up life, and I was ready to begin it. No regrets.

My move three years ago…

Lately I’ve felt like a star in Back to the Future. Three years ago this week I moved here, and Facebook keeps populating these pictures of my Rav 4 piled up with all of my belongings. I’m doing the same things I’m doing now but in reverse. I also bought my house in Memphis in late July, and I moved into my apartment before that in early August. Thankfully, I don’t have pics on Facebook of all of those moves, or I’d feel like I was in sequel four of Back to the Future, Sharon-style. It could get very confusing.

I am thrilled about my new job, and I’m already looking at house listings. I want to buy when I get there. I’ve spent three long years in limbo, and I’m ready to settle down for a little while. I know me. It won’t be forever. My friend Ann is already telling me that she wants to come see me in Michigan before I move. My average is about 3 years with a few outliers that were longer or shorter. If you want to come visit, I’d say plan it in the next couple of years. I could be there forever, but my track record says probably not.

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My first look at my house here.

There will be tears this week. There will be laughter. There will be frustration in tying up loose ends. My temper might be short. I may even melt down. One week from today, I will be in a hotel in St. Joseph getting ready for my first day in my new job. My feelings are all jumbled up, and I feel tender. Louisiana School is almost over. I have learned much, cried much, laughed much and, most of all, grown much. In a couple of months, maybe I’ll take some time to process it all. If nothing else, it has most certainly been interesting.

Y’all have a good week. In just a moment, I’ll be gone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Night Check-In: Pray

I went to my Sacred Circle gathering at The Red Shoes tonight, and I was so glad I went. My insides were raw, and when I rounded the corner into the space where we meet, I saw about 10 other people with their rawness scrawled all over their faces. I knew that I was in the right place.

We sat together and listened to a song from Pocahontas about our inability to look at our own prejudices and priviledge.

And then we sat in silence for less than eternity but long enough to settle in. I had an awful nightmare last night, and this dream ran through my mind as I sat in contemplation. I was at work and about to start a project meeting, but my dog was with me. She was chewing on something, and I knew it was not good for her, but I was paralyzed to take it from her. Right before I got on the call, I noticed that her hair was falling out and huge raw welts were forming on her skin. It was as if she was being eaten alive by something. I was horrified and wanted to do something but I couldn’t leave my responsibilities. I woke up in the middle of my angst over what to do.

I have felt like that all week, and today’s horrific tragedy in Baton Rouge only made it worse. I’ve wondered how people live in countries that are war zones. How do you go about your daily life knowing that almost every day something horrible is going to happen? Who will it be next? WHAT will it be next? This week was like that. I scrolled down a friend’s Facebook timeline today and the tragedies paraded down her page – Pray for Orlando, Pray for France, Pray for Peace and Pray for Baton Rouge – Pray for Our City. Like my dog’s neck, the ugly raw carnage had me paralyzed.

After our meditation, I felt calmer. I felt connected. We chatted and talked about the good we had heard today, and there is plenty of that, too. In fact, people are reaching out to each other in a way I haven’t seen in awhile. A policeman friend of mine went out for ice cream last night with some colleagues, and a group of people paid for $20 gift cards for each of them. The cops in turn gave them to the employees of the store and told them to treat people to ice cream until it was all gone. Another woman stopped to ask an officer parked on the side of the road if he was okay, and he was just cleaning the windshield of his car. She commented that he had the good window cleaner, and he offered to clean hers. Then another car stopped, and he cleaned theirs, too. Then they all held hands on the side of the road and prayed.

Here in Baton Rouge on the mighty Mississippi, we are praying. We are praying for peace in our communities, our country and our world. We are praying for the families of the officers who lost their lives today. I’m praying that those who feel unheard will find more productive outlets. I’m praying that God will “show us the way.” Please pray for our city.

 

Looking for Comfort Food: Serop’s Express

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The Original Mr. Serop … Thank you for a great idea!

I was looking forward to the Summer Solstice Gong Bath at The Red Shoes tonight. I finished work and did a short TRX workout so I could relax and ease my way into the weekend in a beautifully refreshing way. But when I drove up in the parking lot, there was only one vehicle. I knew something was up, and when I checked the website, the event had been postponed. I was so disappointed. I needed that today.

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So, what to do on a Friday night when your plans fall through? It’s too hot to go for a long walk anywhere with Ashok. We are both sweating and panting our way through even our short walks these days. I decided to go by my favorite dinner place in Mid-City and grab some takeout. When the day calls for comfort food, Serop’s Express is where I head.

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Serop’s Express was one of the first places I ate in Baton Rouge. It’s only about 4 blocks from my house and just about the same distance from my office. My friend Jean Ann took me there, and I remember we had a really great conversation where we caught up on the 30-odd years since we’d seen each other. It became a staple for me after that. They serve lots of well-prepared vegetables, it’s reasonably priced, and I can easily take it to-go if I’m in a hurry. It’s one of the few places in Baton Rouge where my vegetarian options are truly amazing.

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Last November, Serop – the grandson of the original Serop – told me that they were closing at the end of the year. I panicked! Not only did I eat there for lunch quite a bit, it is also my favorite dinner spot. He reassured me that they were just rebuilding in a newer, nicer facility. They ended up staying open longer than the end of the year, but early this year they did indeed close. I watched the new building go up and anxiously anticipated their opening which finally occurred on June 1. I was there on Day 1. And, to my delight, they now stay open until 8 PM.

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Serop’s Express is a fast-food style restaurant with a buffet of freshly-made salads, spreads, meats and cooked vegetables. Truly everybody can find something they like, and they claim to be the originator of the wildly popular Chicken Schawarma. The original Serop (which is a first name not a last) died in 2009. But, before that, he could always be seen sitting in the restaurant that bore his name. His son ran the business portion of the restaurant, and he was the food expert. He was new to this country, but took on the challenge of opening the first restaurant in 1979 – the year I graduated high school and moved away. After awhile, he decided to try his hand at fast food, and my favorite Serop’s Express was born.

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The young Serop, his father and a family friend were working there tonight as I quizzed them with questions for this blog. There are still a couple of full-service restaurants and five Serop’s Express locations (at least that’s what I can tell from Facebook!). The fact that they just rebuilt their location on Jefferson tells me they are still going strong. That makes me happy because I will continue to need my fix. While they were gone, I longed for my favorite mujadara with grecian sauce, creamed spinach, sauteed eggplant and green beans and tomatoes. Yum Yum!! I had half a meal tonight, and I’ll have the rest tomorrow.

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A Primer in Outdoor Cooking: ShoppersChoice.com

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My friend Alisa got a new job a  few months ago, and I have been very curious to check out what she’s doing. For one thing, she’s super excited about the place, and it’s not all that often that people really love where they work. She’s been briefing me on all of the fun things she’s been doing in her new role, and I have to say I’m a bit jealous. I finally snagged an invitation to see the place for real. I felt like I was in a fantasy land of toys for boys (or girls) that are serious about grilling.

I’ll admit I don’t know how to grill. I’ve tried it a few times, and I could never get it right. It’s finally become one of those things where I wait for invite and then enjoy the juicy, crusty meats and fish that others masterfully char over an open flame. Alisa works at ShoppersChoice.com, a high end distributor of outdoor kitchen appliances and furniture. They also have their own brand of grills and cooking appliances branded Blaze. They have a huge online offering, but they also have an unbelievable outdoor showroom in Baton Rouge on Coursey Blvd.

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An outdoor air conditioner!

I expected a Home Depot sort of offering with maybe a little more glitz, but I was floored by what I saw. They have over 20 fully operational outdoor kitchens set up on the grounds. Graveled pathways with lovely tropical landscaping led us from one kitchen to another – each with its own style and cooking system. I personally don’t know much about grills since I don’t know anything about grilling, but they looked beautiful. Louisiana is a place where people love their outdoor kitchens, so I was imagining how much the locals would love walking around this place and imagining themselves entertaining in these gorgeous kitchens. They even had outdoor air conditioners!! That’s a product I couldn’t turn down. If they make them portable, I’m sold.

The kitchens were beautiful, but we stumbled upon the real gem at the back of the showroom. Chef Tony was cooking cinnamon rolls on a grill with applewood chips. We asked him if we could come back by and try a sample when he was done, and he graciously said yes. Tony has been working for ShoppersChoice.com for awhile, but he’s not just a demonstration chef. He’s very entertaining and has an infectious personality. But the real advantage to the company – and to customers – is that he knows grilling, and he knows the products in his showroom. You see, his role is to help customers understand which grill is the best one for their cooking needs. He doesn’t sell, so he doesn’t care about that. He cooks, and he’s cooked on all of these grills. He asks customers about themselves and what they like to cook or what they aspire to cook. Then he gives them three options that will meet their requirements in varying price ranges with a variety of features. The salespeople can take it from there.

Cinnamon Rolls on a grill!

Tony says that’s the advantage of doing business with them. There is no showroom on this side of the Mississippi with the type of display they have. And he said he tries out every grill they have on display before they decide to sell it. He’s been know to cut them in half to see if they are well-made inside. He’s not just a chef. He’s a grill expert. Customers as far away as Kansas have traveled to see their showroom. And, if he happens to overhear what you want to do while in a kitchen, he has been known to fire up the grill and show you how to do it. Or, better yet, help you try it out yourself. His aim is to make sure that you are happy with the grill that you choose from a cook’s perspective.

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Me and Alisa

The cinnamon rolls are one of the many unusual dishes he’s tried on the grills. With this cooking equipment, you should be able to cook almost anything you want if you get the right equipment. BBQguys.com is Chef Tony’s YouTube teaching channel, and you can follow him to get more information on recipes, how-tos and grill shopping. I browsed a few of the recipes and found this Shrimp Fried Rice that looks amazing.

The cinnamon rolls were delicious, and the day was perfect for strolling around and pretending I had an outdoor kitchen. I thought I would share this info with you just in case you might be in the market or you are just looking for some inspiration. You might just catch Tony in action and get a bite of some of his delicious experimentation.

You can also follow Tony on Instagram @bbqguys and on Facebook at BBQGuys.com. ShoppersChoice.com also has a YouTube Channel with recipes and tips. Try them both … even if you are not in the market for a grill. Please invite me over to try your culinary experiments, and stop by ShoppersChoice.com to say hi. Tell them Sharon at Midlife Moments Blog sent you! It’s a local business, Baton Rouge…. show them some love.

Project Love Baton Rouge: Project Aborted

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Okay, so my ENFPness got distracted at day 34 of my Project Love Baton Rouge series. Can’t help it… that’s just me. When I decide I’ve lost interest, I’ve lost interest. But I think 34 days was pretty good! I had lots to think about and made myself be open-minded about the city where I live.

If truth be told, one day last week, I took a pic of the Camellia blooms outside my office. I intended to write about them but just got busy and never did. I love the fact that there are flowers in bloom pretty much year ’round here.

So, I’m moving on to my next project which is Project Write Whatever the Hell I Want. It’s fairly obvious what will happen there, and, if not, stay tuned. You’ll figure it out. I did enjoy having a focus for awhile. But focus is not my strong suit. I’ll admit it. So sue me.

A company here in Baton Rouge contacted me at one point to suggest I write a post about a product that they happened to sell. I replied to tell her that I wasn’t advertising for people. This was my personal blog and experience. It was weird. But I guess that’s the way of the world these days. They are not familiar with my tendency to Write Whatever the Hell I Want. 

P.S.: Midlife Moments had its best day ever last week with over 12,000 reads in one day. I finally went viral – but it was with a blog that I wrote 3 years ago. It was pretty funny. I’m still getting hundreds of reads a day from that post, but it is tapering off. I definitely think I need to be the Grand Marshall of the Lakeland Christmas Parade next year… or at the very least get a free eggnog latte. 

 

Project Love Baton Rouge: Day 32 – Fresh Citrus

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Momma took my niece to pick oranges and grapefruits today at a local orchard. I went to Sammy’s (my brother) house and picked up my sack of just-picked packages of juicy, orangey, vitamin C. As soon as I got home I cut open and peeled an orange and ate it. Citrus is the one thing Ashok doesn’t like to eat, so it was all my own.

I can walk down the street and pick citrus – lemons, oranges, satsumas and grapefruits – off the trees in neighborhood yards. I don’t because it’s their fruit, but it’s kind of cool that I could if I really wanted some. Michael snatched some off his neighbor’s tree the other day. They looked like gigantic lemons, and we couldn’t figure out what type of citrus he’d snagged. It’s hard to resist, whatever it is. Beautiful orangey and yellow jewels hang heavy on the trees just begging for you to appreciate them.

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It was 80 degrees today, and I took a 3-hour nap after I turned the AC down to about 50. I bundled up in my quilt and snoozed like a baby. I woke up chilled and was a bit shocked when I opened the door and it was so warm outside. I even trick myself into believing it’s cold. But, I guess without the 80-degree weather Thanksgiving weekend, we wouldn’t have fresh citrus by the bushel.

So, today what I love about Baton Rouge is the availability of fresh citrus. Now, I just have to get busy eating it!

Project Love Baton Rouge: Day 29 – Independent Supermarkets

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When I lived in Memphis there was one choice in supermarkets – Kroger. To be fair, there were many different sizes and flavors of Kroger, but the mega-chain came in and bought all of the other grocery stores after I’d been there about 5 years. Wild Oats was there and eventually became Whole Foods, but it was never as nice as most of the Whole Foods I’ve come to know and love. I hear it’s better now, but I’m not there, so I have no idea.

In Indiana, I could never find a grocery that I loved. I grew up here in Baton Rouge, and food is where it’s at in this town. My friend Jan calls Baton Rouge “the land of good food”. So, I really suffered in the rural Midwest with the limited selection of great groceries. At times I got so desperate that I drove an hour and a half to Chicago to shop at Trader Joe’s.

My first grocery choice when I moved here was Calandro’s Supermarkets. It’s a local independent grocery that is a cross between a gourmet specialty store and a neighborhood grocery. I still shop there with about the same frequency as I shop at Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is cheaper on my greek yogurt, but Calandro’s has such great chicken salad and local produce that it’s hard to pass up.

My friend Keri in Memphis is originally from New Orleans. When I told her that I was heading to Memphis over Thanksgiving (that’s been sand-bagged now), she asked if I could find a local grocery that sells oyster dressing. Her Dad had a hankering for it, and, apparently, some of the old New Orleans’ local grocers used to sell cartons of it at Thanksgiving. I couldn’t find it at Calandro’s, and she recommended I call LeBlanc’s. I had never heard of LeBlanc’s, so I called to check on the dressing. They didn’t have it, but the place sounded interesting enough for a visit, so I thought I’d check it out.

I got on a new local virtual garage sale app today called VarageSale. It’s sort of a local eBay except you don’t bid on items. Much to my surprise one of the first items I saw was a pair of Keen’s sandals which would be perfect for camp shoes when I’m backpacking. I needed some comfortable sandals which with room for me to wear socks. I contacted the seller Kelli, and we agreed to meet at LeBlanc’s. I had time to go in and look around, and I was so excited about this new store.

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My VarageSale steal… brand-new for $40. I saw them at The Backpacker today for $90.

My Uncle Bump said it is new, and it was a Hi-Nabor before it’s remodel. It’s clean and modern and has a huge deli-bakery. My favorite cake of all time is a lemon and chocolate Dobasch cake, and they make them there! They have muffulettas, cartons of gumbo, red beans and rice and packages of spaghetti and meatballs. The hot bar tonight featured fresh veggies and Chinese food. Of course, they had a complete liquor store, and they had a bulk food section. It was sort of a cross between Whole Foods and an old-time independent grocer. They even carried healthy items such as Kombucha and Quinoa drinks. My favorite cold brew coffee was $2.00 cheaper than at Whole Foods, and they had my Greek yogurt on sale for $5.39 for a 32 oz. container. I was impressed.

I bought a box of my favorite Stash Chai tea and made a note to myself to go back when I have more time. It’s just going to be hard to decide where to grocery shop here. I have so many options. Trader Joe’s is my Seattle favorite and has the best selection of nuts and dried fruits. Calandro’s has my favorite chicken salad. Whole Foods has the largest selection of organic dairy and health food items. The farmer’s market is hands-down the best place for produce. And, now I’ve got this new place. I wonder what great things it will offer. At any rate, I wish I ate more than I do because I’ll never need enough food to shop at all of these places regularly.

So what I love today about Baton Rouge is the variety of independent grocers here. I’m glad to see that they can still make a profit and survive among the big chains. It shows that people here support local businesses especially when it comes to their food.

Project Love Baton Rouge: Day 4 – Veggie Accessibility

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My haul from the Farmer’s Market last Tuesday brought me all kinds of yummy veggies.

This morning I arrived at my office and was telling my cube mates that I had walked to work for the past two days. They were kidding around that they wanted me to be the health police over there and start letting me control their food intake. I guess I do eat pretty healthy. The weird thing is that I’ve never eaten healthier than I have in Baton Rouge.

When I moved here, I was worried that I would get fat and start eating all of this unhealthy fried food down here. About 3 months in, I started to realize I just don’t like fried food. I also don’t like meat very much. I never have. When I was a girl, Momma would make meat sauce for spaghetti, and I’d opt for butter on my pasta. Now, I’m all over sweets and carbs, but meat is just not my thing. I don’t think I’ve ever craved meat except for maybe the occasional burger.

So, I’ve loved the availability of fresh veggies in this town. We have fresh local organic vegetables all year round. In fact, the harvest in January rivals any summer harvest I’ve seen anywhere. I love it…. because I love vegetables.

My lunch today at Serop's.

My lunch today at Serop’s.

Today I had lunch at Serop’s down the street from my office and my home. I eat there a lot. I can get 3-4 huge servings of delicious cooked vegetables for less than $10. I usually have leftovers for the next day. I can’t cook it for that much. Today I had my favorite creamed spinach, mujadra (lentils and wheat) and sautéed garlic eggplant.

What I love today about Baton Rouge is veggie accessibility. It’s unbelievable here, and it’s sort of made me into a really healthy eater and apparently somewhat of an office enigma.