Friday, November 18, 2016

The Four Question Challenge

Recently I was nominated, along with three other bloggers, to participate in a Four Question Challenge in which the nominee must provide four answers for each question. I have seen many variants of this game circulate on Facebook, and I typically don't participate, but, like my friend Barb, who challenged me said, doing this in a blog is a new and different experience with more room to expand on the answers, so here goes. (Click pictures to enlarge)

The four questions are:

1. What is your favorite food?
2. What is your favorite drink?
3. What places have you visited?
4. What names are you known by?

1. What is your favorite food?  

I have always said "I have no favorite food." I love to eat, and like almost anything, if well prepared. Truthfully? I do have a few "weaknesses." 

I am the true "Cookie Monster." I love homemade cookies, preferably generous sized, and full of yummy things like nuts, raisins, or cranberries. In a pinch, I will accept a delicious, high end bakery cookie. Chocolate is just one of many flavors I like.

I also have a lifelong weakness for any good pie, preferably, but not limited to, berry pies. While growing up, my mother, at my request, would always make me a blueberry pie for my birthday. Cakes? Never eat cake if there is a good cookie or pie around! In the interest of full disclosure, let's not forget my obsession with fresh Italian and French croissants!

Revel, France

At home I love comfort food in the winter. Homemade stews, chili, fresh, warm bread, and slow cooked pot roast.  A juicy, rare, Porter House or Rib-eye steak ranks high on my list as well. In the summer, I love to grill chicken, ribs, steaks, and seafood. I love to cook, and truth told, I prefer to do so with a very good glass of wine in hand.

Duck - Saint Cirq Lapopie, France

Our foreign travel has only accentuated our "foodie status". Carolyn and I love a really nice restaurant, serving beautifully prepared food. Conversely, we also love small, local cafes, and rural, town markets. Sometimes it seems our travel centers around the wonderful food of the region.

Revel, France Saturday Market

Ducale Cafe, Paris, France

2. What is your favorite drink?

At home I drink coffee, tea, and water. I *LOVE* a great cup of rich, dark coffee! In Europe I have cultivated a taste for espresso. I am not much on adding anything to my coffee, preferring black. I have no interest in soft or flavored drinks whatsoever. Occasionally, I will have fresh juice, most often in a nice hotel.

My tastes in wine fall between a really good Cabernet Sauvignon, and a great Italian Super Tuscan. (Slight nod to the Tuscan Reds)  I can enjoy either and be very happy! We have toured many wineries across Italy and France, as well as here in the US, and I have enjoyed many different varietals! I have no taste for sweet wines.

In the past few years, I have joined the Craft Beer craze. I seem to favor an IPA with a fair amount of bitterness, although I do like a dark ale as well. I am only *so, so* when it comes to Porters and Stouts. While in Ireland, in fear of deportation, I dared not let the locals know I thought the renowned, much loved, Guinness was flat and tasteless. 

Schlafly's Tasmanian IPA

3. What places have you visited?

Well, let's see. Back in the mid-to-late 60's I was in the Navy Seabees, and was afforded all expense paid trips to schools in California and Rhode Island. The bulk of my service was in Adak, Alaska, Dong Ha, Viet Nam, and the, (then), three American bases in Antarctica.

I spent my entire professional life in sales. As most people know, work travel is rarely glamorous, that is, unless you enjoy airports, motels, and hotel meeting rooms.  However,
 I count myself extremely lucky to have been with a very good company during it's most prosperous years. We stayed in some of the best hotels, and it afforded me an opportunity to learn a great deal about the finer things in life.

Aside from our daughter, the one constant in our marriage has always been our shared passion for travel. Early on, my wife and I traveled as often as our meager budget would allow. That travel took us across the US and included California, and the west coast, Hawaii and much of the eastern half of the country. Later, we were able to include Canada, and many other states. Soon after my daughter graduated from college, she and I had an amazing opportunity through her work, to travel by riverboat down the Amazon River in parts of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.

Alaska, 2007

Long before I reached my planned retirement age of 60, my goal was to use my fervor for travel to help make the transition into retirement as easy as possible. I returned to motorcycles in my late 40's, and moved up the motorcycle weight classes until I was comfortable on a large touring bike, while developing all the skills necessary for solo travel. In addition to all the bike rides I did on weekends and vacations, my wife graciously allowed me to pursue some of my more lofty motorcycle goals for the two year period between our retirements. I have ridden to many Motorcycle Touring Forum (MTF) functions, Ride to Eats, and even a rally. The one rally I did was a lot of fun, and chocked full of great people, but not really my cup of tea. I guess, after 40 plus years of competition at work, I now prefer to limit my competition in retirement to personal challenges. 

The SCRA Four Corners Route

Madawaska, Maine - The Final Corner

Most of my motorcycle rides were chosen specifically to visit different places in our beautiful country. I was fortunate, early in my retirement, to have the opportunity to do a six week, 9,000 mile ride to Alaska and down the west coast. Probably the ride I enjoyed most was the solo, 12,000 plus mile, Southern California Motorcycle Association's  Four Corners Tour

Speaking of personal challenges, I also enjoyed several scenic forays into the world of solo endurance rides with The Ironbutt Association.

Ironbutt rides I completed include:

1. Saddle Sore 1,000 miles in 24 hrs.
2. Saddle Sore 1,000 miles inside KY in 24 hrs.
3. Bun Burner 1,500 in 30 hrs.
4. Bun Burner Gold - 1,500 miles in 24 hrs.
5. Saddle Sore 2,000 - 2,000 miles in 48 hrs.
6. The National Park Tour - Gold

I have had the good fortune to ride my bike in every state in the union, with the exception of Hawaii, as well as many other pleasure rides across the country with my wife and friends. I have no idea how many miles I have ridden, but would conservatively guess it is well above 200,000. 

The Colosseum, Rome 

As soon as my wife retired, we set about pursuing our shared life long dream to explore as much of the world as we could, doing so while we continued to have the desire, and the good health. Since retiring, we have had the good fortune to visit Italy, The Vatican, Monaco, Hungary, Austria, The Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, Andorra, Ireland, Thailand, and China.

The Great Wall of China

The Eiffel Tower, Paris

Immediate future travel plans include 5 weeks in Florida this winter, followed by a 6 week trip to New Zealand, and Australia, in March of 2017.

4. What names are you known by?

This one is very limited.

Like most children, my mother often used my full first name,  Michael. I knew there was trouble brewing when I heard all three of my names called! Now, my wife is the only one who uses Michael. 

Most call me Mike, including family, friends, and past business associates.  Early in my internet days, I did have two handles, Quickscribbles and Simply Mike.

So that is about four-part answers to the four questions put to me.

1 comment:

  1. Love your post! Our mom's must be related, because she was a great pie maker and I learned from her.