A Trip Back to Erie Would Not Be Complete Without a Snowstorm…

I left on Wednesday morning (4:30 am is when the alarm went off) to head back to Erie to see my family and to hear Michael Pollan speak at Allegheny College (my old stomping ground) on Thursday night. When I decided to make the trek to hear Michael Pollan, I didn’t realize it would come at such a busy point in the semester. I needed the break more than I even realized at the time, and I was glad to have a change of scene for a few days. An example of how exhaustion can make you stupid came out in full force when my mom called me Tuesday morning to confirm the details of my flight. The conversation went something like this:

Mom- “I’m going to have your dad pick you up on Wednesday because I have class in the morning. OK?”

Me- “Sure…Wait. It shouldn’t matter that you have class in the morning. I’m arriving at 6:40 PM.”

Mom- “No, you’re not. The flight information you sent me says 6:40 AM.”

Me- “Are you sure? Let me check…”

Mom-“I’m pretty sure. I wrote it down.”

Me- “Oh shit…”

As you can imagine this set me into a whirlwind of panic. I had to find people to cover my classes on Wed and it put preparations for my trip into overdrive. Regardless, I got it all figured out and boarded my flight promptly at 6:25 on Wednesday morning. I arrived in Erie before noon and all was well with the world.

Michael Pollan’s lecture was very good. My mom and I sat up in the balcony in Shafer Auditorium so we could see his power point presentation. He brought up a lot of points covered in Omnivore’s Dilemma, so I was able to relate and follow his lecture fairly easily. I enjoyed his sense of humor and the way he engaged the audience. He began the lecture pulling out a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds and asking how much energy it took to produce this one burger. He also noted that the first student to ask a question would get the burger. Of course after hearing Michael Pollan speak about food like substances, who wants to eat McDonalds?


It started snowing Thursday night when we went down to Meadville. By the time we left Allegheny at around 9:00, the roads had deteriorated significantly. I posted some pictures of my parents house after the snow that lasted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And I thought I’d dodged a bullet when it didn’t storm over Christmas.

My mother’s amaryllis were in bloom while I was at home. It’s good to have fresh flowers in the house when the view out of your bedroom window looks like the picture above.

Sunday Musings

This week was spent mostly between work and home trying to get organized on both ends. Tomorrow is the first day of the spring semester and I expect it will be hectic, but the first week of classes is always a gradual ease into routine. This is also helped by the fact that we have a three day weekend right after the first week of school.

Winter hit Indy in full force this week. We had snow all week and while it wasn’t nearly the blast that the north east received, it coated out backyard with a couple of inches. Time to break out the boots.
This week I began a journey that I suspect most people begin after the holidays are over. I started back to the workouts and the cooking at home. All this week we ate at home including all weekend (except for the salads we had for dinner last night). Saturday morning I made breakfast wraps and butternut squash “hashbrowns.” It was pretty darn good.

I’m about 150 pages into Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and it is fascinating. It’s a lot denser than Animal, Vegetable, Miracle but talks about some of the same basic issues. I like the more in depth look that Pollan takes at the food industry and how it impacts Americans. If you care about what you eat and where it comes from, you should read this book.

A favorite passage from today’s reading came when Pollan interviewed Joe Salatin who owns Polyface Farm in Virgina:

Me and the folks who buy my food are like the Indians –we just want to opt out. That’s all the Indians wanted–to keep their teepees, to give their kids herbs instead of patent medicines and leeches. They didn’t care if there was Washington, D.C., or a Custer or a USDA ; just leave us alone. But the Western mind can’t bear the opt-out option. We’re going to have to refight the Battle of Little Bighorn to preserve the right to opt out, or your grandchildren and mine will have no choice but to eat amalgamated, irradiated, genetically prostituted, barcoded, adulterated, fecal spam for the centralized processing conglomerate.