Help me readers – I’m sick.
I’ve got this very rare “illness.” Usually get it about 3 – 4 times per year. It’s characterized with extensive periods of feeling sorry for myself, longing for country music and “wide open spaces,” dreaming of large grocery stores with diverse baking aisles and produce sections, wanting to turn the corner and run into someone that tells you to “have a good day” because they actually care and needing the comforting sight of chain restaurants and never-ending cornfields.
I call this illness “There is no place like Nebraska” syndrome. Time and draft beer are the only cure…but it never completely goes away.
Every time I come back from Nebraska, no matter how long or short the trip, I usually find myself in a bit of a “funk.” If you read this blog, then you know that I truly do love New York City. As my wise friend Anjelica once advised, I always remember to “look up when I go outside” to remind myself how lucky I am to live here. I dreamed of moving here for years before I finally took the plunge, and I’ll never become complacent or forget to be grateful for this opportunity.
But, to quote a very well-known phrase, “there is no place like home.”
And when your “home” is the polar opposite of the place you actually live, this little homesick feeling tends to be a bit stronger. I guess the grass is always greener…or in my case, the corn is always huskier?
This “syndrome” is why I didn’t bake cupcakes for Cupcake Monday or post anything yesterday for that matter. I just can’t write in my authentic chipper Sometimes Healthy “voice” when I’m not feeling quite so chipper. I’ve heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it” more times than you can imagine since arriving here in NYC. Unfortunately, that’s just not my style…but that’s why you like me.
But good news, it’s only been a day, and the symptoms have already subsided. Phew.
I’ve got some delicious healthified donuts recipes from the tailgate to share with you in my next post, but first, here’s a quick recap of the actual day.
I’m a Fair Weather Fan...but at Least I Admit It
As I mentioned Saturday morning, I was feeling very conflicted about who to cheer for during Saturday’s epic battle: the Alma Mater or the Hometown Heroes.
In the end, I went with my good ol’ Huskers.
The outfit was set, and my friends and I hopped in a giant 6-seater truck at 11:00 am to head down to the game, which was in Lincoln about 45 minutes away. Yes, we listened to country music the whole way down. Yes, we enjoyed the beautiful sight of rolling cornfields most of the way there. It’s okay to play into stereotypes every now and then
I tried to get everyone to pose in front of the truck, but they thought that sounded cheesy. Thanks for playing, Emily (Sidenote: Congrats to my dear friend Emily who is expecting her first child this May! Em, I can’t wait to meet him/her and impart my Sometimes Healthy Wisdom).
Next, we walked a bit to the tailgate spot. My friends from Northwestern drove from Chicago in a gigantic RV – that’s commitment.
The inside of the RV was like a luxury hotel room. I wanted to take picture, but I felt awkward.
There was also lots of yummy food at the tailgate, but I didn’t really eat that much. Nor did I photograph it.
I was too busy drinking beer out of a red cup with a purple straw. I felt so conflicted – it was the only thing I could do to show support for both teams.
This is normal right? Nonetheless, my friends are used to this kind of stuff by now, so they were still having a great time.
Next, I set up my donuts, which Becca and I had baked on Friday night. Next to the traditional tailgate food (wings, nachos, chips, etc.) , they certainly stuck out. I was sure they’d be a hit.
I received a few comments here and there. In fact, someone actually told me, “Jamie, you should open up a HEALTHY donut shop in NYC.” I think he may have been drunk and therefore, anything tasted good to him, but whatever, I’ll take it.
Some people liked them SO much that they generously posed for a picture with the donuts.
Can you see how much this guy liked his donut? He happens to be a writer for the Omaha World Herald and writes about, what else? Healthy Living! Thanks for posing with my donuts. Us “writers” gotta stick together .
Before we knew it, it was 2:00 and time for the main event: the big NU v. NU showdown.
Little-known fact: On Nebraska game-days, this sea of red also known as the sold-out Memorial Stadium is the “Third-Largest City” in Nebraska.
#1 = Omaha, where I am from. #2 = Lincoln, where University in Nebraska is located. What does this tell you? If you’ve got one of those “50 States Bucket Lists” and you’d like to visit Nebraska you should either go to Omaha (perhaps for the College World Series) or go to Lincoln for a Nebraska game. The next best thing is the Kool-Aid museum in Hastings Nebraska…
Finally, after some traditional pre-game rituals, the game started.
From the onset, it was clear this was going to be a nail-biter and not the blow-out that many predicted.
My Nebraska friends and I were so nervous that we had to eat some more food to calm our nerves.
I went with the hometown favorite: The Runza. A Runza sandwich is”homemade dough made from scratch everyday — stuffed full of ground beef, onions, cabbage, and secret spices—and then baked fresh and served hot.” Oh, and you pretty much can’t find it outside of Nebraska.
Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it. If you think Omaha Steaks is a revelation, then wait until you try a Runza. I’m going to post a healthified recipe of this one of these days…when I find the time.
We also enjoyed some popcorn.
Oh, and no game would be complete without the ever-popular “Big Red” hot dog.
Unfortunately, while the food was great for these Nebraska girls, the game was not so good for Husker fans. Apparently, they played like garbage.
I was very thankful that my good friend and fellow Northwestern-Nebraskan, Molly, sat with us for the later portion of the second half, so that I could switch my allegiances to the winning team without feeling guilty.
Yep, I’m a fair-weather fan…and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Why pass up the opportunity to celebrate the win with fellow former Northwestern Wildcats that made the trek (the most boring drive in all of America) to Nebraska?
And celebrate we did. First, with Grape Bomb Shots (purple for Northwestern – our Nebraska waitress was so nice).
Then, with a whole lot of buckets of beer and a late-night stop at the best Mexican drive-thru joint I’ve ever visited in my life. Again, this went undocumented. I was hungry. Sorry for partying. But, the burrito was delicious – take my word for that.
So, my friends, if you ever ARE in Nebraska and you’re by chance having a late night (although you can go during the day), please stop by D’leon’s. You’ll thank me later.
Sometimes UNhealthy Decisions Make Me Feel Bad
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. I was able to reconnect with friends from both home and college in a very short period of time, and rather than worry about having a plan or what I would eat and how much I would drink, I just enjoyed myself.
And I couldn’t have asked for a better day/night.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel just a little guilty for all of my UNhealthy indulgences. Let’s just say, the donuts were probably the healthiest part of my football day.
Luckily, I had a workout buddy to get me rolling early in the morning before my flight.
Oh, and this little guy was waiting for us in the gym daycare center, which made the workout fly by.
I’m glad I got in the workout before a long day of flying. I may joke about how it’s fun to have some slip-ups along the road to healthy, but, when push comes to shove, I’m at my happiest when I balance the indulgence with the healthy. There’s nothing wrong with having a little beer and some great food on a football Saturday, but it’s following that up with a nice little morning workout that makes me feel back on track and Sometimes Healthy.
And now, I’m back on track in New York City. Even though it’s looking like a couple of possible late nights here and there, I’m okay with it.
I’ve got these ladies to keep me sane.
Oh, and one of my new clients is a luxury coffee maker. This means I need to test out the machines to make sure I can explain how they work to reporters. This means I’ll be good and caffeinated all week long.
All good things.
Sure, the little “There is No Place Like Nebraska” feelings linger every now and then. But they’ll lessen as I get back in the groove. In case you’re wondering where I get that phrase from, it’s from the Nebraska fight song. Please enjoy.
Tune in later this week for the elusive donut recipes. Until then, please read this message that someone sent me post tailgate: “Jamie! Great seeing you this weekend. Also, wanted to let you know that I am completely addicted to those doughnuts. I am seriously like Cookie Monster around them.”
So, rest assured there’s a delicious recipe coming your way!
Fill in the blank: Home is where the _____ is.