Thursday, December 2, 2010

Greetings from Blanding

I am currently in Blanding, Utah.  What does that have to do with recovery, you might ask?  Well, it puts me in a totally alien culture which I have never experienced before and raises some interesting food dilemmas. 

Background info:  Lindsay told me how to get to her new house, which is approximately 5 hours from Provo.  After taking a little highway through a 7,600 ft. pass in the Uinta Mountains, you get on I-70 going east toward Denver.   Before you get to Colorado you take the exit for highway 191 toward Moab.  Once you get off the interstate, you drive to the first stop sign and turn right, which takes you right to her house.  The catch was, of course, that you have to drive another 110 miles on highway 191 before you get to the first stop sign. 

That should have been a clue that I was in for a culture shock.  I don’t want to be deceptive…we did go through Moab and then Monticello on the way.  Monticello actually has one stop light, which happens to be the ONLY stop light in the whole county. 

We got to Lindsay’s new abode at about 6:40 in the evening.  Miraculously, people started showing up to help unload the rental moving truck and the two cars we had driven down.  45 minutes later, everything was in the house.  Amazing.  We met lots of nice new neighbors.  One actually offered to drive me down to the grocery store and give me a little tour of the town on the way.  That was pretty exciting.

Clark’s grocery store is about the size of a big Walgreen’s and is surprisingly well stocked.  On one side of Clark’s is Family Dollar, which is (don’t act surprised) a dollar store.  On the other side is ALCO, which is a “Big Lots” type of department store.   I could easily navigate every isle of all three stores in 20-30 minutes.  I decided that Blanding is not a good place for a shopaholic to live.  We were, however, thrilled to find out a few days later that there actually is another little dollar store AND a “True Value” hardware store in town.  Wow…talk about Heaven!  The hardware store has a small isle with some fabric and sewing supplies as well as some yarn.  Lindsay will be okay here.

Since I arrived I have been asking everyone I meet three questions:  1) are you a native of Blanding or a transplant?  2)  What do you do for a living? and 3)  where do you go when you really need to go shopping?  The answers to the third question are very insightful.  One person goes to Cortez, Colorado, which is only an hour and a half way.  They don’t have a mall, but do have a Walmart and few other stores like that.  Many people suggested going to Farmington, New Mexico or Grand Junction, Colorado.  Both are about 3 hours away.  That makes for a 6 hours round trip, but you do have clothing stores, mall, etc.  Many just plain drive the 5 hours to Provo occasionally where they can find what ever they need.  I never appreciated shopping in Provo enough before.

Lindsay and I were certain that there had to actually be some place you could buy clothing that we hadn’t yet discovered so we searched the Blanding yellow pages.  We looked under “Clothing” and “Women’s Apparel”.  Both headings had listing for three or four clothing stores….all of which were in Moab, 75 miles north!  The most promising was “Anasazi Outfitters”.  None of the stores were part of a chain or any department-type of size.  Fashion isn’t nearly the big thing here that it is in other parts of the country.

Just as an interesting side note, Marty got sent on a “business trip” Tuesday.  He had to drive to Grand Junction, Co.  That is 3 ½ hours each way.  Purpose of the trip?  To pick up rental tables, chairs, decorations, etc etc etc for his company’s Christmas party tomorrow night.  I wondered how people handle festive occasions like that here in this neck of the woods.

For statistical purposes, Blanding is about 6,000 feet in elevation (higher than Denver) which explains why it is so cold even though it looks kind of like desert.  It has between 3,000 and 4,000 people—half Caucasian and about half Navajo Indian.  It is within visual sight of Colorado, right near the four corners area of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.  It’s claim to fame is that it is the “gateway” to adventure—close to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Verde, Lake Powell and lots of other cool places.  The flip side of that it is about 6 hours away from the nearest airport!  You don’t get here in a hurry.

So back to the issue of food:  fast food places include one A&W inside the local gas station/mini-mart, one Subway sandwich and a mom-and-pop hamburger place that is supposed to be really good, but doesn’t serve anything I can eat on program.  There are two sit-down mom-and-pop restaurants, but it didn’t take long to figure out that the “eating out” dilemma was NOT going to be a problem for me here.  I have eaten every meal at home, with my scale, except for the first night we arrived when we did go out to “The Old-Timer’s” Restaurant since our kitchen was not unpacked. 

As far as how I am doing on program: 

Plus side:  eating out not a temptation; grocery store has the basics I need

Down-side:  Since I don’t have a few of the basic staples I am used to, I am eating a pretty boring menu each day:  1 banana, 2 corn tortillas, 2 oz. cheese for breakfast.  12 oz. salad, ½ oz. olive oil, 1 apple, 2 oz. of cheese for lunch, and I really spice it up for dinner by eating variations on breakfast or lunch with occasional beef instead of cheese and sour cream instead of olive oil.  Hey, it sustains life!

I am happy to report that Thanksgiving went well.  I cooked my own food items, measured them out and took them to our Thanksgiving feast.  I have stayed abstinent.  I haven’t even had any artificial sweeteners.  (NO sugar-free chocolate, however tempting that was yesterday.)

I am now two on day 30 of being completely abstinent and proud of it.  So, for today, I think I will keep it up and enjoy the opportunity to see a different view of the world.  It is nice that life doesn’t have to be all about the food.