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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

Vacating Your Comfort Zone

July 2, 2007

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Last show of the season, and I was a bit sad about that so I listened Sunday, too. Can't get enough of that Inga Swearingen's singing, and I'm thinking they ought to sign up Mr. Keillor to do some of those relaxation tapes, put him somewhere in between the prairie rainstorm and the surf coming in. I've never listened to tapes like that, but I like the idea of them, and perhaps I'll add them to my birthday list.

There's something to be said for trying something new. A book or restaurant or city. A friendship. A recipe, or a new blender. New things make life a real triparooni. A trip itself is probably the best way to go. You can get it all that way. Maybe even the blender if you work it right. But I've done my share of traveling, and things can get out of hand if you're not careful. You really must prepare yourself. That's what I told Ginny, my girlfriend, who's going abroad this week and who called last night, a bit worried about things. She's never before left the country and wanted a bit of advice so I told her what I know.

When you leave your hometown, and sometimes even your home, you're pretty much vacating your comfort zone. That's fine. Acknowledge it, and keep moving. It'll be there when you return.

Don't set yourself up. Every adventure has its glitches. You've got to figure in weather, seating assignments, delays, communication issues, luggage problems, and other people's moods. And when you get where you're going, you very well may miss the sunset. Which ain't so bad. There's always another one, and in the meantime you can get yourself a drink with one of those little umbrellas in it and look for the moon.

Remember — you've landed in another culture. People are different. The food is different. The music and landscape and language and smells are different. That is a good thing. Get to know some people and you'll find you have things in common. Nothing served to you on a plate is inedible. At least try it, for God's sake. And you're not the only one who might be lost. That's why we have maps.

When I travel, I like to think of myself as an ambassador from my home town. I try to be positive, courteous, open-minded and patient, but sometimes I slip. Anxiety is a trip in itself, and when I'm feeling it, I just give myself a little time out. Nothing a bathroom stall that locks, a chocolate bar, and a verse or two of "Home on the Range" won't cure.

As for what to pack, well, that's up to you. I will tell you I always pack new underwear when I travel. And breath mints. And a good book. And if you forget the chocolate bars, well, not to worry. You're bound to run across one wherever it is you're going.

When I go away on vacation, I often make this dessert and freeze it so there's something healthy and good waiting when I return. It goes well with chicken on the grill or pasta, or, on a hot hot day, can be a meal in itself.

Frozen Fruit Dessert

6 oz can frozen oj
6 oz can frozen lemonade
2 10 oz packages frozen strawberries
1 small jar maraschino cherries and juice
1 small can crushed pineapple and juice

Cook 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water until sugar is dissolved.
Add strawberries while water is hot. Add remaining ingredients.
Finally, add 4 cut up bananas. Freeze in a 9 x 13 pan.

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