I'm trying

>> 7.22.2008

I try to reduce the amount of stuff that comes into the house, partly for environmental reasons and partly for "I can't stand clutter" reasons. If you've ever seen my desk at work, you know the second reason is true.

I've been successful in my ongoing quest to keep excess bags out of the pantry, with one exception: Target. Back to that in a second.

I'm shopping more and more often at a small, local grocery store that gives me credit for reusing its bags or bringing my own, and I've been very good about keeping bags in the car. If I can't go there, I'll patronize a place with self-checkouts, so I can easily use my bags or keep the number used to the bare minimum (no, the milk doesn't need its very own sack, or any for that matter).

Which brings us back to Target, where each trip yields a minimum of five fresh plastic choking hazards. It's kind of stressing me out; I've even (don't tell) gone to Wal-Mart lately, because they have self-checkouts.

Here's a summary of my last three Target trips:

1. Told cashier to fill the bags up, that I didn't care if they were heavy, and the fewer the better. He understood and was doing great until he plopped the last single item into its own bag.

2. Gave cashier number 2 same instructions as cashier number 1. Looked down to deal with credit card machine. Looked up to discover that she double-bagged everything, because the bags would be too heavy and break otherwise. Hardly. Thanks for the concern, but it's not necessary.

3. Decided to try a new tactic: bring my own bags. I brought two canvas totes and handed them to the cashier. I figured, since they sell their own totes, no problem. Now, while I could have gotten my whole order into these bags, she packed them lightly, to say the least. Then, having "run out of room," she started using plastic sacks. The final blow came when she not only bagged my iced tea, which didn't need a bag at all, but double-bagged it. Argh!

I realize there are bigger problems in the world, but this is my current annoyance. Thanks for listening.


Of beaches and Hitchcock

>> 7.18.2008

Sometimes timing is everything.

How did I end up
walking along the lake, a stone's throw from a beach, during work hours Tuesday afternoon? It legitimately was part of a long-planned, oft-delayed tour of the city, camera in hand, to restock the photo library. For once, the timing was perfect: a sunny day, with wispy clouds in the sky. Readily available parking spots. All the buildings smiling for the camera. A co-worker who sprung for ice cream. And a chance to escape the office shortly after finding out the boss gave notice.

Who cares if it was 90 degrees? Sometimes fresh (even if laced with ozone) air by the beach is sorely needed.

Not being tired Thursday night (see one reason, above), I decided to catch up on recorded shows that were hogging space on the DVR. Hmmm, Rear Window; it's one of my favorite movies. I think I'll settle onto the couch and watch. Brilliant move: Hitchcock at 1 in the morning, with L. B. Jefferies staring into windows, no less. That lasted 26 minutes.

I'll conclude the viewing of that flick at a later (actually, earlier) time.


Close to home

>> 7.06.2008

Knee high by the Fourth of July? I don't know how tall the corn was this weekend, but it sure tasted good, especially paired with the barbecued ribs from the neighbors' grill today.

After working the first two days of this holiday weekend, I decided to skip a trip to the beach, thus avoiding throngs of friendly drivers slowly heading back to the state to our south.

Instead, I walked all the way next door, fighting through thousands of blades of grass, to get my water fix. Yes, floating in someone else's pool, listening to Buffett, while someone else does the cooking was a perfect way to spend my one day off in many, many days. Thank you neighbors!

Why would I ever want to move away from a place that appeared last week in the top 10 places to raise a family? Ask me again when I'm shoveling the 86th inch of snow next February. But given how hot it's been everywhere else of late (113 in Arizona? um, no), maybe I should look into wintering in the warmth and staying close to the neighbors' pool this time of year.

Happy Fourth!


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