Friday, February 22, 2013

Like One of Those Victorian Fainting Women

There was nothing romantic about this February. Usually I enjoy writing V-Day posts, usually cataloging all the fun, single things I do in order to make the most out of the lace-and-chocolate holiday, but this year was different.

On February 14th, I was writhing in agony on the couch, suffering from food poisoning turned stomach virus. I had to call in sick, miss the conference panel I was supposed to be on, and ate nothing but saltines and toast. I couldn't even read!

Me, calling into work at 5:00 am: 

"Hey _______, it's me again. I'm still not better. In fact, I've somehow taken on a fever overnight and the stomach pains are getting worse. Clearly, I have no shame talking about this. But I'll make it quick. If I were to come into work today, I'd either slump into a pile of goo on the floor, like one of those Victorian fainting women, or excuse myself multiple times each hour. Don't worry, though. I'm going to the doctor today..." 

Through the haze of pain, I daydreamed about the travel writing panel I was missing and the stack of handouts that were now all but useless since no one could hear me speak about my experiences in England and my travel writing tips. Booooooo. I also wished for many things: a new stomach made of steel and stocked with an ancient Greek army, chocolate cake, a book that wouldn't make me woozy while trying to read, and a nap.

"No naps," my intestines said, contorting into the shape of a rubber band ball. "Sleep is for the healthy."

The awesome poster in question.
But it's been about a week since then and I'm almost recovered. It is so good to be back at school, to say hello, laugh, and look at a computer screen without feeling faint. I have great friends in the program too, including the incredibly talented and frilly Namie of the blog "Good Morning Lovely." (We're BFF office mates at school, haha). She gave me, like, the best get well soon present ever when I returned to school: a Doctor Who poster that has a very witty saying on it that makes me think - well heck, maybe time traveling would have been a better cure for me than antibiotics.

Grad school takes no prisoners and my thesis is no exception. I'll be working on my last set of revisions this weekend before starting another ream of paperwork and getting the poor thing formatted. In other story news, I've been starting to get chunks of free time that, thankfully, have allowed me to write more of the current Figment stories I have up. I want to continue posting chapters in a timely fashion and I feel as if my characters, long dormant under the wild Thesis Sea, are starting to rise again to the surface.

A tiny story of mine called "Her Body Was Map" has recently been published at Lightning Cake, a brand-new lit journal started by Figment's very own, Linna Lee. Linna even illustrates the stories that get published and I can't convey how ecstatic I am with the one Linna made for my story. It. Is. Brilliant.

So happy belated V-Day. As I sit here, sifting through the chocolate that had to wait, I guess I can't complain. It feels amazing to be well again - or, at least, to be able to dash up a staircase, eat a whole sandwich, and laugh until it hurts while watching crazy-fantastic Food Network shows.

How has your February been?

Saturday, February 9, 2013


My sudden and rather tiny goal in 2013 has been to try flavor-infused apples. Unfortunately, none of the supermarkets where I live carry any of these delightfully weird apples, so I've been pretty bummed out. Until today.

Passing through the fruits and veggies while grocery shopping, I discovered something new: a case of four grape-flavored apples.


Can you believe it?

I've only recently heard of flavored apples and, since I've always been a (probably unhealthy) fan of flavored things, I got really excited. A friend of mine, via Twitter, assured me that bubblegum-flavored apples are real - calling them "abomination apples." I see her point. In theory, it sounds like adding any foreign flavoring to fruits and veggies would be unhealthy.

I can't speak for the bubblegum ones, but these grape-flavored apples are apparently just as healthy as normal apples. On their highly information website, Grapple says this about the healthy quality of its apples:

"Our process does not add one bit of extra sugar, calories, carbs, etc. The apple still maintains its great natural supply of vitamins, minerals, nutrients & fiber. It's as healthy as if you just picked an apple off a tree."

Well, hey.

The packaging made me smile too; the little character on the front reminds me a bit of Grape Ape, from an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon in the late 1970's. You'll also notice that type of apple is Fuji - a pretty good type, though not my favorite. My blog tends to love apples, because I've done other posts on apples here and here.

P.S. Ironically enough, apples aren't my favorite fruit. Nowhere close. It's a tie between plums and mangoes. And strawberries come in third.

Even through the packaging, the grapples had a strong scent - it was delightful, like candy-sweet grapes. I hoped that my whole car would smell like grabbles by the time I made it home, but that didn't happen.

I felt it necessary to make a comparison between a grapple and another normal apple. So here they are, side by side:

The one on the left is the grapple and the one of the right is a Pink Lady (my favorite!). The grapple has a more rotund look. However, I was disappointed to learn that Grapples are only infused with grape flavor after arriving at the factory.... so that means that they are completely average Fuji apples. Nothing weird about them. I guess that's why they blend in so well with the other apples. 

The grapple was easy to cut through. I'm terrible with cutting things neatly, so it was a relief to almost effortlessly crack open the apple down the center. Doesn't that look neat? (I think so). As you can see, there's no alien markings or purple apple flesh in there. Boo. Well, I still have to taste it, right?
So, the taste. 

It's grape, man. But only a little bit. When I took the first bite, I got a splash of grape - kind of floral, actually - and then as I chewed, it tasted like a normal apple again. Rinse. Repeat. I'm surprised that the grape flavor isn't that strong, considering how grapey it smells through the packaging. Not that I'm disappointed. I feel like I really am eating something healthy that way - it's just got a grape kick to it at the very beginning, adding some spice to the apple-a-day regimen. 

I really really wanted to embed the clip from the Food Network show Unwrapped where Marc Summers explores the Grapple factory... but there's no "share" buttons. So if you'd like to know more about Grapples, demystifying them and all, please follow the link and watch the clip on the Grapple website HERE.