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Archive for November 15th, 2008

Dinner at Altu’s?

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Tonight, Saturday November 15, Brian and I will be singing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine in East Lansing, MI (map on website). This is a high-quality casual restaurant, the best Ethiopian food I’ve ever had (and I spent over 3 weeks in Ethiopia, eating in good restaurants and friends’ homes). It is a family-friendly place, kids can dance a bit if they like.

If you have never been here before, there is a good variety of food. You can eat mild or spicy, vegetarian or meat. The standard is to eat family style, and use the spongy flat bread (it’s a bit like a sourdough taste) to pick up the thick stew-like main dishes rather than a fork. However, if you do not want sourdough or just prefer an alternative, you can get the stews on a bed of rice, on your own plate with silverware.

My friend Altu, the owner/founder, loves food and she loves her customers. This love and attention to quality are quite apparent in her food. The servings are generous, as well. I often choose to eat half for a lighter meal, and take home half for another meal at home. I love it when Altu cooks for me!

Now, this is not an unbiased review… Altu is one of my very best friends. She is the one who took me to Ethiopia. But we met because I was a loyal customer. Her food was so good I kept coming back. I happened to come in at slow times because of my unusual schedule, and we could talk for a while.

We decidedaltuandlynninalexandria10.jpg to travel to Chicago together at first, and then in 2004-05 we spent 38 days as sisters/roommates while we toured Eastern Africa. We came back closer friends than when we left.

I maintain Altu’s website and I book her musical acts. I’m very much a part of the restaurant. But it all started because I loved the food and kept coming back. Perhaps you’d like to check it out tonight, if you are in the Lansing area.

Out of town? I’ll enjoy the food on your behalf. You can go listen to our music on our website, at least!

Photos: 1) Brian and I as The Fabulous Heftones singing at Altu’s in a previous summer, wearing African clothes I got when Altu and I traveled there. 2) Altu and I in Alexandria, Egypt, on the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt is fascinating… it is African, it is Mideastern, and it is Mediterranean. It is like nowhere else.

Sometimes a Grrrl Must Rest.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Wow. I had a day where I had only one appointment, teaching kids from 9:15 to 10am. Then I had nobody waiting for me. I had big plans, was sure I would cross many things off my to-do list.


What did I do? I came home and found myself unable to get warm even with a sweater and the furnace set for 72F. I sat on the couch with three blankets and a heavy wool sweater on top of me, and I slept. Like a baby. Like there was no tomorrow.

When I woke up, I did actually finish one thing on the to-do list, which was to finish a pair of legwarmers so that I can have a photo shoot next Wednesday for my upcoming pattern.

I did a load of laundry and a dishwasher load. I put away a few things, but nothing like the wholesale house-cleaning job I had imagined. The desk is still piled high, but it needs to wait another day or two.

A Hot Date at the Grocery Store

Then Brian and I went to the grocery store, bought food, cooked together in the kitchen, ate dinner. I cleaned up a few more random things, again not the major cleaning I thought I’d do.

Actually, I figured out that the thick allergy-free frosting/glaze I’d made for my birthday cake, might be really good heated up as hot fudge over ice cream. So I made some allergy-free cake and we had a dessert I could not eat for the last 5 years.

I’m so happy to have dairy back in my life, and that there is an ice cream devoid of other ingredients that cause me trouble. Stonyfield Farms Organic ice cream is my best friend when I want a real treat! (No eggs, no xanthan gum. It does have guar gum and carob bean gum, but I tolerate those just fine. All their products are certified Kosher, and many are certified gluten-free. What a quality company!)

After Dinner, More Rest

I picked up the house a little more. Then I crashed again, on the couch. I am not a couch potato, we don’t have a TV that is viewable or a VCR or cable. I tend to work even when I’m on the couch with a laptop. But this grrl was wiped out.

I have a very public life. I’m at the front of a classroom or on a stage most days. I love my life, but sometimes one must get off stage and just rest. I wore a brown/black sweater (wool and alpaca and 2% yak, of all things) which is warm but not at all ColorJoy, wrapped up in as much wool as I could, and stayed home for the most part. I even skipped a very fine concert so that I could just let myself rest. Downtime, what a thought!

But Nothing Lasts, and this is Good as Well

Tomorrow is a big day. I teach a group of folks Polymer Clay Gifts at Threadbear for 4 hours, and then I sing at Altu’s. I’m having no regrets about the rest. I guess I regret that the house still needs attention, but there is always Sunday. I only work 2 hours on Sunday.

Oh… the photos? The second one is “Polymer Clay Gifts” class projects.

The first one has a story… about 3 blocks from Rae’s shop, between my house and my work there, I often drive past a house with these wonderful rainbow flower pots. The other day I stopped, rolled down my window and took a photo out the passenger side.

A couple came out to figure out why I was stopping in front of their house. I just called out through my open window “I just love your flower pots, I’m taking a picture.” She was pleased, and invited me to come back again in the summer when she has white flowers in the pots. I made someone smile, after she had made me smile. Cool!