We had clear skies in Chicago when a dark, cloudy layer started to creep over the moon. As I drove to a restaurant, I saw lots of people on the streets craning their necks to get a look. It was a rare event that won't happen again until 2010.
The eclipse occurred the night after I returned from a long weekend ski trip with some of my closest girlfriends. When we first started going on the trip 7 years ago, we all lived in Chicago. Slowly through the years, almost everyone has left except one friend, who is moving overseas this summer. The weekend definitely took on a new meaning this year since we don't get to see each other very often.
But this was our fifth trip together, and we have established certain traditions over the years - many that involve food.
We are pretty healthy eaters, but we always go crazy on the junk food. It might have something to do with the altitude or the fact that we burn through so much energy on the mountain (or most likely that we give ourselves permission to live it up during this trip), but we typically stop at a gas station near the airport and load up on bags of chips and other crap for the two-hour drive. After a day on the slopes, it's all about beer and cheesy nachos (this year, we added a car bomb shot and two slices of pizza with a beer for $5 to the mix, but that's another story).
Every morning we eat a huge breakfast to fuel up for a day on the mountain. This is one of my favorite parts of the trip. We mix up to three cereals with fruit, toast bagels, hard boil eggs, and drink oj and coffee. This year one of my friends made a tofu scramble with some veggie sausage. While I love breakfast and know how important it is not to miss, I typically don't eat more than a banana and have a cup of coffee, so I savor these meals.
We also started a non-politically correct tradition that we like to call White Trash Dinner. It involves a crusty mac and cheese casserole made with Velveeta and our own version of pigs in a blanket (tofu pups wrapped in crescent rolls). My friend closely guards the casserole recipe, but the tofu pups are easy to make and served with bbq sauce and mustard dips.
The best part about these big meals is sitting around the table and catching up with each other. Since we don't all live in the same city anymore, its during these moments that we truly reconnect.
It's sad that this trip has become that rare event for us to see each other, but I feel confident that we will reunite before the next lunar eclipse!