Sunday, May 2, 2010

Haagen Dazs For Cheap, and Other Adventures in the West

Spring is alive on Cougar Mountain!

So, I was supposed to run the Eugene marathon this morning. Sadly, that darn foot injury sidelining me all last month prevented the marathon-running, and instead, I spent today tutoring, grocery shopping, and attending a department meeting at work.

But no complaints, as my blessings still exist as such: I'm employed, able to afford my own groceries, and all healed up and able to run again! I went for a delightful trail run out on Cougar Mountain a few mornings ago...managed to drag myself out of bed at 5:15 a.m. to go squeeze a lovely jaunt in the woods in before a single other soul was on the trail.

I tried out a new trail - less trafficked than many of the trails along the I-90 corridor - and had only one minor disaster: didn't screw the lid on my water bottle quite tightly enough, so half of it leaked out inside my backpack in the first few minutes of my run...miraculously, my camera and phone survived the deluge...but my trail-running guide to Western Washington? Totally destroyed :( It's now four inches thick with wavy pages that still haven't fully dried out. Oops.

I also got to spend a fun evening with my (non-REI!) friend Elodie, helping her move into her new place, then going out for killer Mexican food in Kirkland (on the other side of Lake Washington from Seattle.) On a sidenote...I don't know how I manage to always make friends with crazy names, too, but it is a pattern in my life. Zanna and I went out to listen to some live music at the Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill last week, and in making quick friends with the guy running the hot dog cart outside the tavern (which we had access to from our booth via a sliding window), we got the familiar, amused, "Wait, your names are...whaaat?"

In my final moment of celebration for the week...I have discovered the joys of the west coast's Grocery Outlet. After almost a full year now living in a city whose cost of living is 32% higher than the US average, I am downright thrilled to discover a place where I can seriously slash my grocery bill. It's a store that carries overstock and surpluses, and though it was initially presented to me as a sketchy last resort for food (not-so-affectionately earning its nickname "Gross Out"), I've found that stereotype to be totally inaccurate. It *does* carry a bit of the haphazard vibe of Gibson's in Oberlin, and there's more of a need to be diligent about checking expirations - but there are also FANTASTIC deals, and on quality foods including organic produce, soy milk, teas, spices, fancy cheeses, microbrews, ice cream, Trader Joe's overstock, beef jerky (for 80% cheaper than anywhere else!), etc.

My haul for this week included:

- Baba Ghanoush! Haven't had this yummy stuff since Amsterdam!
- Trader Joe's goat cheese, half price, expiration still months away
- Smoked gouda cheese!
- Amy's (organic/vegetarian) frozen entrees, half price

I am speechless - and fully planning to post regularly here about my weekly G.O. finds :) As well as my continued love for the trails...

Life is feeling good again.

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