Tag Archives: numbers

Orlando, in words, pictures, art, and numbers – Part III

And now, we return to Orlando. Welcome back, for Part III.


When I woke up that Friday morning, my fourth day in Orlando, I knew I had one main choice to make for the day: whether to go back to Wekiwa Springs State Park and go kayaking for most of the day (as I originally thought I would do – Part 1) or stay in the city and relax.

I wanted to do both, but thinking of all I’d done on Thursday (Part II) and what I most wanted out of Friday, I chose the latter.

The decision was actually easier than I thought, and my feeling that it was the right decision was confirmed during my morning run, an easy 35-minutes around town.


Yes, this is what I want to be doing, I thought as I jogged – taking it easy, not rushing, and letting come what may. What if I didn’t worry and just did that? Yes, let’s go.

About ten minutes into the run, I got to the Orlando Urban Trail, a paved running and biking trail similar to the Cady Way Trail that I’d been on two days earlier.


I couldn’t believe it, but there it was, in Orlando – the Dinky Line!

This was remarkable because in Princeton we have the Dinky too! Technically it’s the Princeton Shuttle, a 2.9-mile NJ Transit commuter rail line that connects Princeton and Princeton Junction (where you can then go north to New York, or south to Trenton and Philly). To anyone who’s local, it’s the Dinky. I promised myself I’d come back later and get a picture (which I did the next day).

With a Dinky-inspired smile, I continued on my run, passing through Lake Eola Park, Thornton Park, and then Mills 50 on my way back to my Airbnb. Along the way, I found myself smiling again when I happened upon another reminder of home.


Yes, in the Mills 50 neighborhood in Orlando, at the intersection of art and utility boxes, there’s an orange Einstein.


It’s good to get away and leave home for a fresh perspective. And it’s also good, when you’re away and relaxed, to be reminded of home. I was running at the pace of Dave, feeling a greater sense of self and doing what I wanted. And then, without trying, I found the Dinky and Einstein. I was away from home, yet I was at home at the same time. What if I brought some of this home back with me?

Part of my run also went down Shine Avenue. Yes, Orlando, full of great signs 🙂


One of my reasons for dedicating the day, Friday, to relaxing and local exploring was that I was doing the Best Damn Race Orlando Half Marathon the next day. I didn’t want to rush when picking up my race packet, and staying local meant I could also take advantage of the kitchen in the Airbnb to cook my favorite pre-long-race meal.


For a while, this pre-race meal (whenever possible) has been homemade tomato sauce and pasta. And that’s what I made. Crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions (the ones that I’d picked the day before at the farm!), olive oil, salt, and pepper. The leftovers were also good the next day after the race, and on the plane ride home on Sunday.


I also sauteed some spinach and cut some carrots, because that’s what I do

After dinner, I wrapped up my Friday by going to an improv show at SAK Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando. I’d heard about SAK from someone at Tasty Tuesdays, and having done improv myself recently with some friends at home and knowing how hard/easy/stressful/freeing/awesome it can be to do – you should try it! if you want to – I was looking forward to seeing a live show.


The show was great, and on top of that there was also the wall-art with the improv of life reminders.


I had initially stopped by SAK in the afternoon to buy a ticket. Seeing no one at front desk, I continued on in and headed up the stairs. While looking at the Improv is Life wisdom-inspiration murals, I ran into the person, Dale, who would be hosting the show that night. He gave me the details on the tickets (can reserve them online) and the art (one of the performers, who is also a visual artist, designed everything).


Sometimes at work in the morning, I’ll write daily intention reminders to myself on a yellow post-it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but taking these pictures at SAK was like doing the same thing, on a larger scale.


I invite you to click, expand, and pan through the murals and see what thoughts and ideas resonate with you. And to see an improv show, and to try it too.



The words in these pictures
And my words and pictures
Are for everyone,
Friends old and new and not yet known.
They’re there for me
And there for you,
Feelings felt and
Feelings shown


For my last day in Orlando, part one was doing the half marathon. When I had originally signed up for it, I thought it would be my weekly long run as part of training for a spring marathon. I never found the right marathon motivation though, so I never signed up for one. This is also to say that had there been any doubt, my goal for the Best Damn Race Orlando Half Marathon was at this point definitely to have it mirror my goal for the trip as a whole – to move myself in the direction I wanted to go in, relax and enjoy it, and welcome the outcome and whatever comes.


I found and welcomed the sunrise on my way to the start.


I also found my lucky numbers, 313.
No better a birthday, or combination of primes, has the world known. I may be biased though.


The route took us through some familiar neighborhoods and streets, including Shine Ave. There might have been delays for the cars that morning, but I wasn’t feeling any because, me, I wasn’t in a rush. I’ll race a race once in a while, but more often lately what I’ve been doing is appreciating the beauty of running at the pace that feels right for the day. I didn’t want to run as hard as possible and injure myself, so I didn’t. And I wanted to run at a more relaxed pace and enjoy it, so I did. It felt great, and I ran a few fun, faster miles towards the end. And I finished and lived to run another day.


Repping PRC in ORD


The wings, they spin


I only had one of these recovery drinks. You saw all the sweat in that picture of me running, right?

A few days later when I looked at the results again, I was like, Wait a second, wow!
My gun time was 1:36:36.9, which meant that If I had kept running and were able to keep the same pace for a full marathon (that is, if I kept training and were then able to keep running the same pace), my final time would be 3:13:13! I’d found my numbers again, and again without trying.

Back to my last day in Orlando, post-half marathon, I had one final decision to make: to DRIP or not to DRIP.


At the bar a few days earlier, I had heard about what sounded like an awesome performing-arts show, DRIP. Imagine dancers moving, choreographed paint and water and sand flying, colored lights moving, a live rock band playing music, everything happening in a dark and intimate warehouse bar setting, and the audience standing and watching on the edges of the performance space and becoming an increasingly painted and wet participant. And picture the audience coming early to get a drink and paint each other and hang out, and then doing more of the same afterwards.

It sounded great, and I thought, “I should go to that. I want to do that.” Adding to the awesomeness was that I only learned about the show because I happened to visit a particular bar (recommended by my hosts) and happen to sit in the one spot at the bar that I could have sat, at the right time, to happen to have a conversation with the woman, Mariko, who happened to be the creator of DRIP!

My plan was to check it out my last night in Orlando. Drip with sweat while running in the morning, and then drip with paint while seeing DRIP in the evening. That afternoon, though, I started dragging. Whether it was the good running-feeling subsiding, the growing thoughts of my pending return to regular life at home, or something else, I started feeling the stress and worry that I had been doing good at managing.


So I took a beat and let myself be.

After getting my Dinky picture, I crossed the street and found a warm spot on the grass near Lake Highland. And then I laid down on my back, resting, breathing, looking up, not looking at anything, now with eyes closed, and I let my thoughts come and go, and along the way came the understanding that I would do whatever felt right and that that would be alright. If a more low-key evening is what was moving me, then that’s what I would do. If DRIP became the stronger part of my compass, I’d move in that direction.


The first sign in favor of DRIP was the beet juice, which I’d gotten in my race goody bag. Beet Performer is 100% beet juice, and well, one sip confirmed for me that it’s not my cup of beet juice tea.


This also explains why I had an open, nearly full can of beet juice in my rental car’s cup-holder, which was fine until I unexpectedly backed into a curb while parking, leading to the beet juice spilling and leaving a large maroon mark on my arm. How about that, I thought, I just painted myself.

Then next came the thrift store, which is what I was parking for. If I went to DRIP, I wanted to get a pair of flip flops, as Mariko had mentioned how most people wear old clothes and sandals that they don’t mind getting paint on. And what would you know: the thrift store had my exact size.


I also got The Muppet Movie (a classic, for my nieces) and some reading for the plane.

The final push to DRIP was a therapy-like conversation I had with a bartender a short while later while eating dinner. The thoughts and talk on my end went something like this: Yes, I want to go, but I have a voice telling me I shouldn’t go because I would be going by myself and would feel like I’d have to talk to new people, and I don’t always feel like doing that, and then I would be self-conscious and not enjoy it, and so on. But I want to go. And, I’d already painted myself and found flip flips! And oh yeah, I met the person who created the show, and this is an opportunity to see it and see something awesome. Tonight. And, I can go and do whatever I want, talk to or not talk to people, and have a good time. I can just go and be.


So that’s what I did.

Once upon a time, I wrote about a Two T-Shirt Day. After entering the DRIP bar area and collecting my t-shirt before the show started, I was treated to a zombie-cutting and sleeves-ripping.

wp-1459561428930.jpg wp-1459561254284.jpg

And that, when combined with my half marathon attire and with the rest of my day, perspective seen and perspective shown, turned it into a Two Tank Top Day.


Afterwards, with a few of the performers in front, and with a blond Mariko photo-bomb in back

The show was amazing, and after it was over, I sat with myself for a few minutes in the bar area, continuing to be. Among the thoughts that came were, Yes, I’m okay, I’m doing okay, I’m me, I’m ready, Let’s go home, Let’s go.



And up next: Orlando, in song – for the special encore

Determining the cost of breakfast

It took me three months, but I’ve done it! I’ve determined the cost of breakfast.

I don’t remember when exactly it became my breakfast – two pieces of toast, one with jam and the other with peanut butter and honey – but I know it was at least three and a half years ago.


This is how breakfast looked in May 2014. It would have looked pretty similar in May 2011.

I can date it to at least then because I remember remarking to a few friends around that time how I’d stopped eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – but not my regular breakfast. I’d needed a (temporary) sandwich siesta, on account of a Latin American trip during which a relationship ended and during which, at the expense of more local food exploration and adventure, I’d acquiescingly eaten more PB&J than I’d wanted. I needed a PB&J break, but that didn’t mean I had to forgo my regular PB toast & jam toast breakfast. A sample friend exchange at the time went:

Him/her: But they’re practically the same thing.
Me: Nah, they’re not the same. They might get mixed around once they’re inside, but they start off separate.

Back then, honey also wasn’t involved everyday yet, but over time it has become a standard PB toast companion (jam meanwhile has continued to go solo). (Side note: if you want to increase the PB toast breakfast-decadence, try adding squares of butter to the toast first, then peanut butter, and then the honey on top of that.) (Second side note: if you want to experience the grounded sensation of anticipation, peace, hope, joy, and more, all at the same time while having a great PB&J sandwich, do a siesta as noted above and then eat a PB&J sandwich for the first time a few months later when you’re ready.)

But back to 2014, breakfast, and determining the average daily cost of it. Here’s how everything looked three months ago on Day 1:

      • Whole Wheat Bread, 18 slices (Whole Earth Center) – $3.50
      • Bonne Maman Peach Preserves, 13 oz (Whole Foods) – $3.99
      • 365 Peanut Butter, 16 oz (Whole Foods) – $1.69
      • Fruitwood Orchards Blueberry Honey, 16 oz (Whole Earth Center) – $5.89
      • Glass of water, 8 oz (the tap) – Priceless
        (free to me)

On the first day then, May 20, 2014, the cost of breakfast was $15.07. That’s a lot, but the plan of course wasn’t to determine the cost of breakfast in a single day. There was still food left to eat and average out. I was going to keep going, two pieces of toast at a time (breakfast everyday), until I’d used everything up. Whenever one ingredient would get finished, I’d buy another one, like for like. Only when I’d finished the last of the original ingredients (if you guessed it was the honey, you’re right!) would I be done. 

And now, the rest of the story.

This includes not only pictures and words (always helpful), but also numbers and words (spreadsheet!) and pictures and numbers (art!). You might say the last two are complementary, supplementary, and…. alimentary.

May 20


All assembled, Day 1

May 29


First replacement today! New bread.

June 21 – Here, getting ready for a new jam (and getting in front any questions about the ‘science’ involved (I am a religious rubber spatula user))







July 4

july 4

Homemade friend breakfast!

Okay, so there were a few days when I didn’t eat my regular breakfast. Sometimes, you know, you’re out visiting friends, on vacation, or doing a bike ride or something else. All such variations are noted and accounted for on the spreadsheet, however. On July 4, for the record too, I did eat my regular breakfast later on that day to keep pace.

July 28


The changing of the peanut butter. Here also – the spatula again, and a tomato photo bomb.

August 20


Honey almost gone… happy face, sad face

When I took this picture of the honey and peanut butter, at first I was like, Finally, I’m almost done! And then I was like, Wait, but then I’ll be done! It reminded me of a time in middle school when I was reading a book that I liked so much that I didn’t want it to end. I tried to remember what book it was – I was recalling kids, a secret garden, and an element of mystery and magic, and possibly it being a Battle of the Books book (EB reference) – but in this case my insufficient memory trumped my internet skills. Any thoughts? It wasn’t The Secret Garden, as I learned later after taking that one out of the library and reading it for the first time, but as a bonus, at least now I know another kids book that I like.

August 27

I said goodbye to the last of the original 16 oz of honey on this day, and with my limiting reagent now gone, it was time for step two: mathematics. The interesting thing is, math can be creative too. This is not to say I made up the numbers, but rather that I enjoyed creating the requisite spreadsheet. What’s not to like about figuring out formulas and making accurate and interesting notes??? I’ve got columns for weekday, date, bread, jam, peanut butter, day, effective day, the cost of breakfast, food notes, and extra notes.

Check it all out here. (Xls available too.)


Before I could finish the spreadsheet and determine the cost of breakfast, I realized there was one more thing to do: determine and subtract out the value of the food amounts remaining at the end. The honey was done, so I was set there. And bread is bread, so I could easily determine the remaining bread value. But to make the final adjustments for the remaining jam and peanut butter, I needed to know or at least factor in the tare weights of the jars.

Not owning a scale myself, I made a special trip to the Whole Earth Center, where they have several scales to weigh the bulk items. I took my jam and peanut butter measurements – ‘jar + the amount left’ for each one – and then since I hadn’t weighed them ahead of time at the beginning, I brought with me unopened jars of the same jam and peanut butter and weighed those jars too. Then you subtract the partially-used jar number from the full jar number, and the tare is gone and you’re on your way.

If this sounds like a lot of words and you think seeing it more graphically would help, with the actual numbers, I agree. In part with this in mind, and in part because, well, I like to draw and I hadn’t done much drawing in a while, I made some art math. If it helps to get a sense of the progression of style, I’ll note too that the pictures appear below in the order in which they were created.






And all together now

Between the spreadsheet and the art math, I feel like there’s a lot to work with here. Math teachers, number lovers, and food and life blog readers of the world, there you are – enjoy and feel free to use as you see fit, responsibly and with attribution.

As for the ultimate numbers for breakfast, here are the main ones:

  • The number of days it took to determine the cost of breakfast: 100
  • The number of effective days it took (aka the number of days it took to eat 1 lb of honey): 83
  • The total amount spent on bread, peanut butter, jam, and honey (after the final adjustments): $70.98
  • The average amounts consumed daily for breakfast:
    • 2 slices of bread
    • 0.86 oz of jam
    • 0.84 oz of peanut butter
    • 0.19 oz of honey

And of course, the final number – now trimmed a bit from where it started on day one:

  • The cost of breakfast, determined: $0.86