My family was in town recently, for what turned out to be a really wonderful weekend. We headed down to Anaheim and did the whole Disney thing. It was my second time in each of the Disney parks, and it was a really fun and busy time. And even though the family has long since returned home, I can’t stop thinking about my four-year-old niece, Allison.
First, a picture of Allison, along with me, my sister Sarah, and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” I’m still wet from Grizzly River Run, the Disney California Adventure water ride we were on immediately preceding our meet and greet with Ariel:
Like a lot of four year old girls, Allison is completely cuckoo crazy about Disney princesses. When I texted my sister the picture of me and Cinderella from my first visit to Disneyland (see the picture in this post), Allison stared at it, mesmerized, for 10 minutes straight. A few months later, she was invited to a princess-themed birthday party, but she got there late and missed a visit by an actual princess. Her response? “That’s OK. I’m going to go to California, which is really far away, and my Uncle David is going to introduce me to all the princesses because he knows them.” That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Uncle David has only met Cinderella, but I’ll play along. I don’t mind being the Uncle with the princess connections.
While it makes for a cute story, that’s not why I’ve been thinking about Allison. This is why I’ve been thinking about Allison:
Everyone arrived at my place for that weekend late on Thursday night, well after 9pm. Allison had been in my place all of 10 seconds before she zeroed in on something that caught her eye: my fruit bowl. It was well stocked: apples, bananas, peaches, pears, and a whole pineapple. The fruit bowl excited Allison, because Allison loves fruit. All kinds of fruit. I’ve never met a kid who loves fruit as much as she does. It put a smile on my face to watch her walk up to that fruit bowl and get excited, her eyes all wide like saucers. “Mommy, look!” she said, pointing at the fruit, although I’m not sure her mommy was anywhere nearby at that moment. A minute later, she came over to me carrying my pineapple. It wasn’t much bigger than her head. “Uncle David, can you cut this open?” “Not tonight, Allison. But I promise we’ll have pineapple for breakfast.” My nephew Sam, six, joined in: “Can we smash it on the floor? That’ll break it open!” Such a six-year-old boy thing to say.
Allison settled on a banana and some raspberries that evening, and I held true to my promise and chopped up the pineapple the next morning. She ate a lot of it.
Allison’s fruit fanaticism is still on my mind because it highlights exactly what’s missing from my life right now: any sense of excitement about what I’m eating. Historically speaking, I’ve been pretty good at finding things to keep my diet fresh and making meals that I look forward to. I have a whole page on this blog dedicated to my discovery of produce items I’d never tried before, but it’s been ages since I’ve added to it. The long hours at my job wear me out, so I devote less time to cooking, even on weekends. I bring my lunch to work every day, but I’ve fallen into a boring rut where I’ve been packing and eating the same times week in and week out. Once a week I hard-boil a dozen eggs and every day I toss a couple in my lunch bag. I also throw in some sort of pre-washed, pre-bagged vegetable, like carrots or broccoli or cauliflower or snow peas, and a little Tupperware filled with some kind of light dipping sauce. My cupboard always has fat-free, pre-made tuna salad and cracker kits, and my fridge always has nonfat Greek yogurt, and both of those things also regularly end up being part of my lunch.
Long story short (or is it too late for that?): I can’t think of the last time I got excited by a meal I made for myself. I’ve been eating well and making healthy choices, but I want to feel like Allison when she sees a fruit bowl.
So that means I have to make some changes. First up, I have to revert back into explorer mode when I go to the supermarket. Lately, I’ve been stocking up on all the usual suspects, and I gotta start looking for new options. Secondly, I gotta start actually cooking again. Thankfully, I have a little something that I think will really come in handy, and it’s in this box:
I CANNOT WAIT TO SHOW YOU WHAT’S IN THAT BOX, so stay tuned!
If you have any ideas or want to share what gets your eyeballs all sauced-sized, pipe up in the comments section!
A couple quick things before I wrap this post up:
A big shout-out to my friend Joanne, who gave me an awesome little gift the other day. Check it out: it’s a fossilized shark tooth!
And there’s a baby tooth growing on the side, too!
This came from a prehistoric beast that lived 50 million years ago and grew to be over 15 feet long and 2,000 pounds. I hadn’t seen Joanne for a while, and she had been meaning to give this to me for weeks now, in honor of the open water swim race I completed in August, after which I successfully emerged from the Pacific Ocean with all my limbs. I joked extensively, both before and after, about not letting any sharks scare me from participating in the race, but Joanne gave me this tooth just days after a surfer was killed by a great white a few hours north of where I was swimming. Yikes! Shark attacks do happen, folks. And it’s scary stuff.
Lastly, I’m in the home stretch of preparing for my next fitness event, the weSPARK Universal Studios 10k. There’s a great story about my involvement in this event, which you can read here, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be ready for the race this Sunday. I’m not expecting to beat my personal record (59 minutes, 6.5 seconds), but I am expecting to have a good time racing through all the backlots at Universal. I went for an excellent (and hilly) run after work today, and I’ll run a couple more times before this weekend. If you’d like to support me in this race, then head over to my fundraising page – all the money goes to a fantastic cancer organization.
Keep it up, David!