In a few, sure-to-fly-by weeks Nigel and I will be boarding Emirates Airlines for our holiday travels.
It all starts here:
And ends here:
It’s a trip of a lifetime, you might say. That which honeymoons and mid-life-crisises are made of. While we’ve been calling this the honeymoon before the wedding and scarily, I suppose, we are approaching ‘the middle’, it really is neither. Just our wanderlust doing what it does.
And in doing what I do, I have cooked up a number of spreadsheets to help ‘produce’ the trip (as seen here). One of them is documenting our activities including those we’ve booked in advance and the things we might want to schedule when we land. If all goes as planned we’ll be sailing the pirated seas, dune bashing and sand boarding in the Arabian desert and hiking in the Seychelles with a local guide named David who will prepare lunch with a machete, the nearest mango tree and a banana leaf.
Travel planning with Nigel is a breeze. For the most part we like and dislike the same things, for example, likes = fois gras and backgammon; dislikes = football and drinking ice-cold water. But this week presented us with our first trip-related debacle. The question is this:
Do we spend three of our fourteen hours in Abu Dhabi here?
What, you didn’t know about Ferrari World? You weren’t aware of the largest indoor theme park on PLANET EARTH? That it boasts the fastest roller coaster known to man? And who cares about Ferrari, you ask?
Bite. Your. Tongue.
Insert. Sarcasm. Here.
I love a good roller coaster as much as the next guy and Ferris Beuller and his hookey playing antics did tempt us all. But I really couldn’t be less interested in this this Ferrari business (no offense the good people of Ferrari). It’s just that we’re from the West. We LIVE in a themepark. If it’s adrenaline we’re after we can be strapped into a roller coaster at any one of three Six Flags within ninety minutes of home. We will be in the Middle East. There are mosques to visit, souks to descend upon, magic carpets and camels to ride. Really babe? Ferarri World?
After some negotiation we concluded that meeting half way and compromising is what partnership is all about. Sacrificing my inner brat for his pre-pubescent thrill-seeker is part of the drill. I get it. Ferrari World it is. Yaaay.
And in addition to the roller coasters, there’s all of this:
At the end of the day our inner children and outer grown ups are all excited.
Our first holiday together.
The best ride, ever.
I just love when we harness the power of technology for good.
Lots of talented folks were involved with eBay and Toys for Tots
in making charitable donations easy and entertaining.
If you’re not in San Francisco or NYC you can go here to donate to a child in need.
You must laugh
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY
What is it called when a thing that defines a thing actually is that thing? Put another way, if I were to say that The Sound of Music is one of my favorite things, what would you call that? I mean, besides incredibly predictable.
I’m also loving:
- Slipping back into bed after an early morning run.
- My makeshift fireplace: lighting the fire pit outside and opening the curtains.
- Date night with a man who doesn’t mind watching Love Actually and enjoys a box of Ghiradelli double chocolate brownies more than I do.
- Strategizing a vacation packing plan. Five weeks out.
- A Harry Potter marathon.
- The fact that we can’t find anywhere to volunteer on Thanksgiving because every organization in need has filled their open positions.
- A glass of syrah and a bowl of Sevillano olives.
- The nostalgia of holiday tradition.
- And the waft of warm butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Specifically, before noon. Specifically, during months November and December. And specifically, enjoyed while still in pajamas.
A tradition for your consideration:
CINNAMON, BLUEBERRY, BAKED FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
8 whole eggs
2 + 1/4 cups whole milk
¾ cups sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoons salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
fresh blueberries (apples would also be fantastic here)
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.
Mix together eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and combine with the dry mixture until it resembles fine pebbles. I use clean hands for this. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove from fridge and layer the blueberries and then the crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firm, more cake-like texture.
Top each warm portion with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.
Have a great week!