“Homeward bound…I wish I was…”

I don’t know why I feel “off” lately…Well, I know why, and before anyone leaps to any conclusions, I will repeat my standard answer: NO. I am not pregnant. In fact, while I think a lot of my general slight stress and unhappiness is due to outside things that unfortunately I cannot discuss on the blog (those who know me in real life can probably guess as to what I’m alluding), I’m instead going to blame it on the new birth control my doctor put me on (sorry if that’s TMI). Right now, I’d be sticking my tongue out like a brat if you could see me, or if I chose to do stupid self-portraits (which I will not be posting until I drop a significant amount more of weight, and I either have cheekbones again or my chin reappears from my neck).

But what sparked this latest bout of wacky emotional-rollercoaster-riding was a silly article from Midwest Living online…That happened to be all about Spring in Cincinnati. I scrolled through the slideshow, getting more choked up and wishing with all my heart I could go home. Especially knowing that realistically, my dream of taking a full two weeks off from work in the late summer and making a road trip to Ohio isn’t going to happen this year…Not unless bags with dollar signs, stuffed full of $50 or $100 bills suddenly start raining down from the sky. Or we win the next Mega Millions or Power Ball drawing.

It’s weird…Up until I went away to college, I wanted to get out of Ohio. Go away to New York, Los Angeles, London…Just somewhere bigger, where I could disappear into anonymity/obscurity. I secretly dreamed about writing poetry, living in a small but super-awesome apartment somewhere, dressing all in black and chain smoking. And then I went to Columbus for college, and around my junior year, my mom and sister moved up there, so my mom could keep an eye on her parents. After I graduated, I stayed. Even though my dad was still in Cincinnati, I hadn’t really kept in touch with friends from high school, and my college friends had become more like family. But then I got restless, and felt a little like I was floundering, and once Jay and I finally met, I thought a change of scenery would do me good. So I wound up about an hour away from the real Little Town on the Prairie, and seven and a half years later, I’ve got actual ties to my little prairie community…Even though I still sometimes feel like a total outsider. And even though I consider home to be wherever my bambino is, I still feel the pull of my hometown. I miss the traffic, I miss driving to my dad’s and seeing the skyline pop up from I-75. I miss going to Mt. Echo park and watching barges travel down the river. I miss the hustle and bustle of going downtown, or to Reds games.

But since it’s likely going to be quite awhile before I can venture back east, I did what I now always do when I get homesick. I made chili.

Cincinnati-style chili
, of course.

I did decide to do something a little different with the chili this time around…I made chilitos.

And yes, I realize I’m linking to the Skyline menu, even though I used Gold Star’s seasoning packet. I’ll take whatever I can get out here, and since it’s too expensive for my dad to ship cans of Skyline, I make do with Gold Star packets. I did have to ask my dad for some help with the chilito assembly…I’m most familiar with them from my dad’s days of working for Zantigo’s, until Taco Bell bought them out when I was in high school. I really REALLY miss their Chips & Cheese. I used to love whenever we’d stay at my dad’s and he’d have to go into work on a Saturday…If the store wasn’t open yet, my sister and I would get some Chips & Cheese or our own cheese Tostadas to munch on while we waited.

But that’s all beside the point. I asked my dad about chilitos mainly because the last time I attempted one, I used WAY too much chili, and it spilled out everywhere. He suggested I use a lot less chili and a little more cheese. So I did. I also made some homemade fries, so I could get out the Sir Kensington’s again:

I’m still the only one who likes it, which is fine. I don’t know if it was due to the seasonings I used on the fries (which was just some onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt & pepper), or what, but it seemed a mite spicier this time around–Which isn’t a bad thing. I do look forward to trying the spicy variety one of these days! To round out my mostly Cincinnati-themed meal, I picked up some Graeter’s Ice Cream for dessert:

I don’t care if it’s up to almost $6/pint…It’s worth it for the taste of home to me. And I’m not quite as homesick anymore.