Super Tart!

Don’t judge a juice by its label. Maybe choose to drink it, though.

Is it wrong that I first bought Vermont Cranberry Company‘s “Super Tart!” 100% cranberry juice over my usual brand because of the model on the bottle?

Glass bottle of Super Tart! Pure Cranberry Juice by VT Cranberry Co with Rosie the Riveter inspired artwork

Rhetorical question. Of course not! Why shouldn’t we be as delighted by our favorite product’s packaging as by its features?

Isn’t that basically what made Apple ubiquitous? Ahem.

It’s worth noting here, however, that the unique square glass bottle in which I’m privileged to receive my Super Tart! is my absolute favorite for household re-use. If you store bulk food for emergencies or preparedness, you’re going to need something to decant the contents of those #10 cans into to keep it all fresh. Super Tart! labels peel off cleanly, and the glass bottle’s rectilinear shape stores neatly in the pantry once refilled with rice or beans.

Super Tart! Cranberry Juice next to re-filled similar bottles with rice, quinoa, freeze dried dried squashThe image on Vermont Cranberry Company’s bottle is obviously an homage to the We Can Do It! poster used so widely in a feminist context within my own lifetime. Yup, I had that refrigerator magnet, and maybe a t-shirt, too. It’s a mistake to believe this depicts Rosie the Riveter, but a common one. My research for this post has also turned me on to Wendy the Welder. Truly, I’m swooning over kick-ass early 20th Century working women today.

Like all 100% cranberry juice, Super Tart! will make you pucker up. There’s a reason mass market brands mix in plenty of sweeter, cheaper fruit juice with their cranberry cocktails. Wait, what kind of tart did you think my Super Tart! represented? Tsk tsk.

My family can tell you that I’m convinced there’s only one way to pronounce the title of this juice. S-s-s-super Tart!, strong emphasis on the s-s-s-sibilance, and with a gradually increasing volume and right to left swing of the head as if the sound is being carried along on the air zooming by your face as you say it. Think: race car in a cartoon.

Super Tart! is a name to be declared with jubilance, I opine.

“Perk up,” that bottle model seems to say to me, “because just look how good we’ve got it!”

And I do so, every. single. time. I pour a glass of the stuff. I take Super Tart! over ice diluted with sparkling water; feel free to add a slice of lime or a shot of vodka if you’re feeling festive. I believe the Super Tart! welcomes all kinds.

What I wore in New Zealand: summer capsule wardrobe for 10 days out of Christchurch

Nothing, not even living through the experience, will reconcile my mind to a summer capsule wardrobe for a February trip. That’s the reality of visiting the antipodes, however, and it was quite a treat to leave the wretched winter weather of New England for a respite in New Zealand, however brief.

Even 10 days is brief when you’ve flown 9,300 miles to get there!

NZ capsule wardrobe pictorial accessories - 1I planned a wardrobe for this trip,* and then, after some reflection, cut it back further to roughly what’s shown in the first image. As I traveled with it, I realized that it was, in fact, a tiny bit larger than it needed to be. I wore all but one miniscule garment that I carried, though, and we weren’t burdened with an unmanageable amount of stuff.

NZ Hagley Park me walkingMost important of all, I had what I needed to be comfortably dressed throughout the ten day trip. I’m a traveler with joint pain and an autoimmune condition who remains bound and determined to make it to more corners of the globe. Smart packing isn’t a hobby for me, it’s a necessity.

NZ capsule wardrobe - model tunic hatThe week before we arrived, our primary destination, Christchurch, baked in 90º+ F temperatures, but we had a cooler trend and the remnants of a cyclone to deal with. What I packed would have worked for either week’s weather, so it was a solid wardrobe plan.

Whether or not you choose to carry enough to cover last week’s weather as well as the forecast temperatures is a personal choice. I’m more comfortable being over- than underprepared, especially when setting a modest pace with no special events that demand tight connections or a particularly quick turnaround between destinations. Continue reading

Letting reality be good enough: enjoying travel in spite of chronic pain

Sometimes, reality intervenes between our ideal experience and one we can achieve.

Since being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, I’ve found myself having to adjust my expectations for many facets of life. That includes my hobbies, which can be hard enough to prioritize for a stay at home mother of two.

One of my favorite things is travel. I’m not a full on globetrotter like some, but my trips—planning them as well as taking them—are great highlights of my life.

In the past year, I’ve had to cancel much-loved annual jaunts due to flaring symptoms. I’ve had to “waste” money already spent on non-refundable tickets, and I’ve regretted going on excursions for which I was in no condition to participate.

I’ve found myself asking:

Should I even try to travel for pleasure anymore now that I’ve been diagnosed with autoimmune disease?”

My answer to that question—when the flare passes, and when the pain and exhaustion have subsided—is that I should. In fact, I must carry on.

If I don’t persevere, the disease wins. If I give up what I love, I’m choosing misery over joy. I never want to live that way.

I got dealt a bad hand this time around, but it’s the only one I’ve got to play. I can make the best of it, or I can quit the game. I could just watch the other players, but what fun would that be? That’s not the life for me. Nor would I wish such circumstances on anyone else.

With that said, here are a few tips for putting some of the pleasure back in travel for a traveler with a chronic condition. Continue reading