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Ahhhh....here I am once again sipping a soy latte at Panera Bread and finally, FINALLY getting in a much-needed blog after a lovely road trip to meet the wizard (Dr. D'Adamo).
I ate a nice sourdough breadbowl of vegetarian black bean soup before opening my laptop to see if there were any wireless networks in the bldg. Thinking that Panera had its own network (making assumptions is a BAD thing to do in the computer world), I clicked on my web broswer.
A message comes up, "None of your trusted wireless networks could be found. Would you like to join "c*ck-gobblers"?
Um, sure, I think to myself.
So here I am. Thanks to c*ck-gobblers.
I started my drive on Monday. I wanted to start earlier, but tornado weather prevented me from doing so. I listened to some wonderful audiobooks on the way, some old, some new. Anything by Carolyn Myss is a winner. Learning to be a healer and a spiritual alchemist. So much fun! Also worth noting: Garrison Keillor's "Home Grown Democrat." What else? Oh yes, a wonderful five CD audiobook on the history of Jerusalem. Very informative. And fascinating, especially after having visited Jerusalem in 1997.
I stopped in Madison for a quick caesar salad from Panera and then coffee from Atlanta bread company. Both places I was trying to get wireless but Panera did not have any and Atlanta bread's didn't work! Ugh! But I did something stupid with the coffee. I added half and half since they did not have soy milk. Then I added juice from a lemon wedge. You know that whole curdle thing that happens? Yeah, I drank curd coffee from that point on. Oh dear.
Got back on the road and stopped to get gas. At the gas station there was a "chinese" food deli. Nothing but the fried rice looked safe, as in Blood Type Diet safe. But it was food.
Got back on the road and went through about a bijillion toll booths in Illinois. Arrived in South Bend, IN, to stay with family friends of Grubster. I had a short but wonderful sleep followed by a nice oatmeal breakfast and coffee as well as great conversation. Back on the road by about 7:30 Tuesday am.
Drove through Indiana, Ohio, stopped for lunch at, oh no, MCDONALD'S! I had some of those new chicken strips they've been advertising. Well, what can I say? I could smell the fried devil food all the way from the gas station so I figured, hey, why not? It's just a couple of chicken strips.
Also, while driving, I ate that flax and soy cereal made by . Can't remember the name. Geez, for all these brands I DO advertise on this blog I should be getting paid!
Pennsylvania is a BEAUTIFUL state. I definitely enjoyed my drive through PA. Also appreciated the road construction signs that paired with a 45 mph speed limit. In large child-like font letters: "Slow down: My mommy works here." Just the thought of hitting some young child's mother on the interstate is enough to land you with an instant awareness of a fragile human life if not an instant guilt trip for speeding!
Tried to visit a friend in New Jersey, but due to time constraints I was unable to visit NJ. So I drove straight to Stamford. Can I tell you how sore my butt was from all that driving??
As I've become older, I've found one of the only ways to successfully deal with my control-freak tendencies is to quit planning. I didn't plan for much during this trip. I didn't even reserve a hotel room. This lack of planning came crashing down on me as I called the Sheraton in Stamford Tuesday evening only to learn that hotels are $239/night! Well, I figured, I'd wait to see if I could find something cheaper that's hopefully a bit cleaner than a Motel 6.
More toll booths. Listened to Paul Oakenfold throughout this east coast whirlwind of highway interchanges. It was so fitting and made every mile toward the final destination more exciting. Finally I got off the interstate and into Stamford. I didn't know where the hell I was going, but followed instinct. I came to the downtown area and then along a very college campus-friendly street full of cute little restaurants and shops. Stopped in a pharmacy to ask for hotel recommendations. The pharmacist wasn't that much more help and the pharmacy didn't sell local maps. My mapquest maps were not very good. I just didn't plan ahead. I had earlier seen a Stamford Suites but figured suites would probably cost more than the Sheraton. Nevertheless I went into the lobby to inquire about rates.
"We are running a Labor Day special. The rate is $125." OK, let me tell you, this suite was as big if not bigger than my apartment! I walked back to the street with the dining establishments to reward myself with a glass of merlot and a flatbread with goat cheese, tomatoes and.....ok, I don't remember now, that was too long ago. I also had a sinful piece of chocolate cake. I think I had less right for my blood type coming out to Connecticut than I have in the last few months! Ironic (don'tcha think?)
But the pipes in the building were very loud and despite my getting to bed by midight I was awakened by 5 am. Once again, I took out my laptop, figuring, JUST IN CASE there is some wireless connection...and there was a faint one, most likely coming from someone's nearby apartment. I was able to check the weather, mapquest directions to the D'Adamo clinic, and email. Very nice. The suites are less than a mile away from the clnic. Thank goodness for wireless.
I still don't know who owns "c*ck gobblers". Nor do I want to.....
Wednesday was a cold, rainy day in Stamford. I ate a mini-croissant and drank coffee in the lobby, telling the concierge who'd never heard of the BTD what brought me all the way from Minnesota to his little state. He seemed intrigued.
I arrived at the clinic just before 10 am. Like a good Minnesotan, I brought along some free-trade White Earth reservation wild rice as a "thank you" gift for allowing me to pick the brain of the great naturopathic physician for a day.
Up the elevator I went. Soon after, Nathan (office manager) and Peter D'Adamo pop up via elevator, too.
"Well, it's the famous Erika Klus!"
Me famous? OK, now, hearing that from someone with a best-selling diet book published in 50 different languages perplexed me, but hey, I humbly accepted this greeting from my personal hero. The office abruptly opened for business and after a quick chat, we saw the first patient of the day.
The clinic reminded me a lot of a VA outpatient clinic, but in a good way...you see, when I completed an ambulatory care rotation in Lincoln, NE, in 2001, I was very impressed by the teamwork and computer system in the VA system. Pharmacists are well-respected professionals in the VA system. While there were no other health care professionals working along-side, the format of these naturopathic visits was well-organized. The dispensary, an herbal pharmacy of sorts, satisfied my apothecary-like nerdiness! Speaking of apothecary, if you ever get a chance, visit the pharmacy museum in New Orleans. It's so cool!
After seeing the first patient, then another, and then a phone consult, Dr. D ordered us some soup at a nearby Italian joint. The soup was white beans, tomatoes, and escarole in a clear broth. This was the part of the visit I liked most because I pictured myself as some Vanity Fair journalist asking questions and carefully observing the famous interviewee. That's when I pictured the article in my head stating:
"And out of his bowl, he ate everything but the tomatoes, just like his diet prescribed...."
Strangely enough, meeting Dr. D wasn't all that mind-blowing. After reading his books, blogs, and hearing his voice on the conference CDs, and in turn, he reading my blogs for the past nine months, it was like meeting a kindred spirit.
Back at the clinic, the last patient of the day waited. He was a funny guy. Very East Coast. When I told him I drove all the way out to CT from MN just to meet Dr. D, he called me some yiddish word for crazy. If only he knew, haha....
Anyway, the Japanese film crew came in to do the interview. In the interim, I chatted with Dr. D's sister-in-law who handles PR for the clinic and NAP. Later, I had a chance to chat with John Harris as well. After listening to his lecture at the last conference in 2003 I was fascinated to meet the man behind the mic who helps people find the food to sucessfully follow the diet.
With the Japanese's peculiar interest in Dr. D's practice it reminded us both of a scene from the movie "Lost in Translation."
The whole day full of all these cool people was a BT Dieter's dream. A song by Tori Amos kept popping into my head. I draw a parallel. In this case, instead of knowing the truth about what happened with Jesus and the Bible in sort of a DaVinci code way (discarding/disregarding the sacred feminine), it's symbolic of the truth being kept from millions of people by the allopathic medical establishment/commercial lobbyists about the path to better health through nutrigenomics. That song was "Muhammed My Friend." I won't post the lyrics on this blog because I'm afraid people will take it too literally and not realize the true meaning behind the lyrics. Tori is a complex writer. Someday, it wouldn't surprise me if some college campus offered a course on her music and/or lyrics the way UC Berkeley offers a course on Tupac's lyrics.
All in all, the long drive was worth it for me! After Stamford, the evening drive to Buffalo, NY to see a friend that I have not seen in YEARS was brutal. Rain the whole way. Semi trucks splashing water all over the windshield as they sped by. Trucks should not be going that fast. And to think, it's all in the name of capitalistic commerce. My favorite truck that whizzed by me dangerously at 80 mph in the pouring rain: KRAFT FOODS. Oh, how fitting...
My cell phone ran out of battery power just as I entered Buffalo. Not good considering I didn't know where the heck I was going. Stopped at a convenience store in a questionable neighborhood at midnight to plug my cell phone into the wall and call my friend to have her find me! The people at the store were very cool though. I used my Minnesota dumb midwestern charm to get through that strange moment of confusion.
Spent Thursday in drizzly Buffalo checking email at Cafe Aroma. Apparently, Ani DiFranco stops into this place to grab a muffin every once in a while. Before hitting the PowerBook, I ate a wonderful lunch: frittata w/BTD-friendly ingredients and mixed greens topped with olive oil and lemon juice. Followed by a soy latte. Strolled along the adjacent book shop. Bought my friend the Eat Right book since Live Right was not in stock. She's very interested in trying the diet as an O positive. Her beau is also an O so she can cook for the both of them. I'm excited to hear how well it works for her!
I also picked up a book called, "How to Keep Kosher." I have this strange fascination with Jewish kashrut dietary laws as of late. Why? Not quite sure, but I think Jewish faith is onto something in light of their pork prohibition among other restrictions. How I would love to see pork less consumed in this country......if not for our health, for the health of the environment (which indirectly leads us back to our health anyway). If for no other reason, the Jewish are people who have persisted for centuries despite being a minority, disenfranchised, if not hated and slaughtered, among Gentiles. Diet, whether seen as a sacred or a secular practice, HAS to have something to do with this.
Later that night, stopped by a liquor store to pick up some wine before we had dinner at one of her friend's houses. Two wines struck my eye and I found myself buying them upon recommendation from the liquor store owner:
Cat Phee on a Gooseberry Bush
I'll let you know if these live up to their reputation when I get around to drinking them.
Within the last two weeks, I've had a lot of wheat and this night was no exception with pasta, bread and other wheat-filled cuisines. But the company was good. I found myself again professing my faith in the BTD, showing people the books and explaining why blood type is so crucial to health and the immune system.
Listened to a home poetry reading later that night. A friend of hers came over who lived in Japan for two years. He told me that they are nuts about blood type over there. First thing they ask is, "What's your sign?", followed by, "What's your blood type?"
Went to bed, got up, and visited the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with said friend. Very cool! I wanted to visit Mike in Toronto, but of course my lack of planning got in the way as impromptu visits to foreign countries don't always work well for people who have work commitments in the middle of the day, haha! No sweat, Mike, I'll catch ya another time....
Drove back toward the midwest. Stopped in a Waffle House outside of Cleveland. Now, I'm telling you, those Waffle House people have it all figured out. They only take cash. Oh, you don't have enough cash on you? That's OK! They had a "cash" machine! It costs a buck fifty plus whatever amount you'd like to deduct from your debit card. They don't allow you to deduct more than $20. I supposed that's good considering you woudn't want to be mugged coming out of a Waffle House, but still, a buck fifty fee for only twenty bucks cash withdrawal? The receipt goes to the register. You order and then you get your change back. Genius, pure genius, Watson!
Waffle House is slim pickin's for Blood Type living. I ate an egg, hash browns, toast with apple butter, and coffee with honey. Took some water with lemon squeezed into it to go. There was a waitress there who reminded me of Parker Posey in "Waiting for Guffman". I mean, this beautiful young woman stuck in a Waffle House, going to school and working two jobs. It made me want to cry. Well, maybe not cry. But something.
Stopped in Chicago to visit a dear architect friend of mine. Oh, we had SO much fun! I really miss him and wish we lived closer to one another. We stopped by a great steak house near the L. I made an L is for Losers joke knowing he rides the L. Hey, if I didn't pick on him, he wouldn't know I like him! Anyhoo, he had a steak risotto and I had an ahi tuna dish. We split a piece of key lime pie and drank decaf coffee before parting ways.
Back at work on Monday. Now that our summer intern went back to school and our whiz tech also went back to school we are left with a skeleton crew. The pharmacy is chaos. The manager is taking his vacation, too. I don't think I can take this much longer. Top it off with my car getting vandalized within the last couple of weeks. Who would do such a thing? A neighbor? A patient? A fellow employee? A random technology-gas-guzzler-driver hater? Who knows? I'm a blunt person and my lack of sensitivity regarding the hundreds of insurance plans I have to deal with everyday probably does not make me seem like a nice person. But I'm thinking that I either need to float again, work less, or even switch companies. Or switch careers. Summer was great, but here we are in the fall, unable to keep up with the volume, and the holidays are looking even more bleak. I'm not doing what I did last year. I'm not allowing my health to go to crap like it did with my heart. Since that spring, I have not had heart problems. I am convinced it was job stress that brought on my symptoms.
On a final note, Gov. Dean was in town to visit the Twin Cities. He had a stop in Edina to sign books. The rep at the front of Barnes & Noble explained that he would not be doing any personal signings and would only autograph two purchased books. When I came up to him to have my two books signed, I told him, "this one is for my friend stationed in Iraq."
His heart softened. "What's his name?"
"Paul. He's in the JAG corps. He really wanted you to be president."
Thanks for serving!
Needless to say, I thanked him. I walked away with a smile on my face and a warm feeling all over. I began reading his book during my dinner at Good Earth. Thinking back to this moment, it probably didn't hurt that his son's name was Paul, too. An auspicious coincidence for my friend in Iraq. Funny thing is, he sort of looks like Dean! I can't wait till he gets the book in the mail.
I about cried when he dropped out of the primaries early this year. Oh well, at least he's still out there promoting democracy.
OK, well, I'd write more but I think it's time to stop for today. Hope you enjoyed my east coast tour. Check this blog later as I might add on tidbit reflections of the journey!