Archive for August, 2013

I woke up early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. The thought of fresh breakfast at Varallo’s was what got me out of bed, though.

Between my regular morning rituals and finally getting dressed, I was out of the door with 45 minutes to spare, enough time for the 6-mile, 10-minute drive and a quick trip to Varallo’s for a couple of scrambled eggs, extra crispy bacon and buttered toast. The perfect start to a Friday morning.

Less than a mile from home, a car carrier semi learned a lesson in geometry when he tried to back down into an office strip. His trailer full of late model cars and SUVs ground into the driveway, leaving his load teetering and his cab blocking the west-bound lanes. I lost 15 minutes getting around that mess.

A little more than 3 miles from home, another semi driver discovered that his turning skills need more work. Actually, we discovered it before he did. He blocked all 4 lanes and looked bewildered when the 3,000 cars that were stranded on the street didn’t back up in unison to give him another 10 acres to turn his rig.

Eventually, it dawned on him that he could back up and correct his angle of attack. Another 20 minutes lost.

Can I eat breakfast in 10 minutes? Sure, I said. Why not?

Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 is why not.

Groups I’ve never ever heard of in my life (which seem to be part of an ever-growing list these days) decided to have a concert on the Riverfront in Nashville tonight and, without asking me, they shut down the whole darn road for a half mile to set up for it. I quickly detoured from 1st to 2nd Avenue, congratulating myself on how smart I am. Then I drove a half block and found more gridlock.

Three cycles of a traffic light later and I discover the problem is there are two police officers at another intersection manipulating the traffic lights. They managed to back up traffic for a mile in every direction from that section of downtown.

Another 10 minutes and I’m moving again. Until I get back to 1st Avenue, where I can cross the blocked street to get to my parking garage. Except the traffic light doesn’t know the street is blocked. So I have to sit there at a red light for another 2 minutes while a traffic cop sits in the shade, making sure no one enters a public street that my tax dollars paid for, yet no one is using on this fine Friday morning.

Finally, I park my car and head to work. I’m 15 minutes late instead of 45 minutes early. No breakfast for you.

I ran into my buddy Leavett in the city’s absolute slowest elevator in the parking garage. As we walk to our office buildings, I start regaling him with my commuting adventures, expounding on how the city’s traffic cops don’t do a really good job of dealing with traffic when they shut down streets for no good reason other than “someone is having a party that I’m not even going to go to tonight.”

He laughed and peeled off at his building. But I was still fired up and started writing a letter to the mayor in my mind as I walked the last block and a half.

And just as I was nearing my office building, who do I see walking toward me? The mayor. Actually, he was walking to City Hall, but I was between him and there, so he had to walk by me to get to work.

I used to bug the heck out of the mayor when I was a reporter and he was the head of the city’s legal department, so bugging him about the city’s crappy traffic controls wouldn’t be out of the question for me.

As he approached, he seemed to recognize me, and smiled. I smiled back and said, ” ‘Morning, Mayor,” then stepped into my office building.

The rest of the day wasn’t all that bad.

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I thought I’d give it a whirl. Frozen yogurt costs twice as much as refrigerated yogurt, so I said what the heck and bought a tub of Yoplait strawberry and put it in the freezer.

There’s a lot of water in regular yogurt, so the finished product was more like ice milk than ice cream. It’s not bad, though. The texture is crystalline, like when I froze chocolate milk in an effort to make a chocolate popsicle. Not creamy like ice cream, but it still tastes like frozen yogurt. With a slight crunch.

I moved it to the refridgerator and it’s easier to get out of the tub now. It’s really good with my homemade chocolate syrup on it.

I’ll try Greek yogurt next time since it has less water in it.

I got the idea from Chef John Besh’s new cookbook. He cut up some fruit, put half of it in a blender with plain yogurt. Then he mixed the remaining fruit with the pureed yogurt-fruit mixture and put it in popsicle molds for freezing.

I don’t have popsicle molds, or fresh fruit for that matter, so I bought strawberry Yoplait in a tub. Next time, I’ll get vanilla Greek yogurt in a tub. One of these days I’ll get a blender and popsicle molds, maybe even some fresh fruit. But I hate fruit flies and that’s another blog post.


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