Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gift Anxiety

I was at a birthday party today. Nice party, good people, tasty cake. There were two points of possible anxiety attacks during the course of the afternoon.

First, I clearly did not get the memo that black and white were the requested clothing colors for the day. I was wearing a khaki skirt and pink striped top. One person was wearing green, but I chalked that up to his possible color-blindness. To be sure, there were a few other people who also hadn't gotten the memo, but the vast majority of attendees were most definitely wearing black and white.

Second, at one point, the celebrant said she was going to begin opening presents. The gift I'd brought was nicely wrapped, and I thought it was fine - modest, nothing too extravagant. But then the first gift was opened. It was a heat/massage attachment for an office chair. It looked fancy. Then, there was a lot of jewely. It was passed around, and it all looked pretty nice. And there were gift certificates. And more jewelry.

Of course, at this point I'm thinking, "maybe by the time she gets to my bag, everyone will be up getting more cake." No such luck. Thankfully, it gift that was a bit humorous and everyone laughed. I'm not sure if they were thinking, "Damn, I could have been funny, too!" or "Wow, I can't believe she didn't bring something nicer."

Did I mention that there was really good cake?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yellow Split PeaSoup and other things

I had half a jar of yellow split pea soup that I'd made a few weeks ago and taken out of the freezer a few days ago. But I didn't really feel like eating soup and I figured it didn't have too many more days of life in it. So I decided that Yellow Split Pea Soup Fritters would be worth a try.

What is that? No clue, but I dumped the soup into a bowl (it was pretty thick), added about 4 tablespoons of flour, a little oat bran because it never hurt anyone, mixed it up and put spoonfuls into the frying pan in a little olive oil. Basically like making latkes.

I gotta say - not bad. It would probably be good with a mango chutney since it tasted vaguely Indian, but it was also pretty good with a wasabi sauce and honey mustard (not at the same time).

I was at Einstein's this morning, about an hour later than I usually go. There are a few major differences between arriving at 6:30am and arriving at 7:30am. Usually when I go, it's rare that I see moving cars, even when I'm crossing the main street. It's just a quiet time. The regulars are always there, sitting in the same places, the only variables being whether they ordered a muffin instead of a cookie, or whether one decided to splurge and get regular cream cheese instead of low-fat.

But this morning, I arrived around 7:45am. First - I had to wait several seconds before I could cross the street. Who knew there are so many cars out at that hour! And once I got there, one man asked me if everything was okay since I was there so late. I should mention, that until two weeks ago, I barely got a nod hello. Now, at least this one guy says hello every morning. Most of the regulars were on their way out as I walked in. About 20 minutes later, I looked up from my paper and saw a totally different population. Young moms and kids with huge strollers, and senior citizens. It was as if they were released from their curfew at 8am and all decided to go to Einstein's.

It was a nice day and not raining for a change. So why all of the moms with kids and huge strollers had to actually bring the huge strollers into the shop I'm not really sure. They leave their dogs outside, I'm not sure why the strollers can't be left there as well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recycling Day

Every other Tuesday, it's our neighborhood's turn to recycle. You can tell a lot about people by what and how they recycle.

Almost everyone has small, blue open bins for their recycling, so you can see what they're putting out. Every so often there's an over-achiever with a huge, green, covered container. The only thing I know about those people is that they are consuming too much if they still have that much to recycle in just two weeks time. But for everyone else:
  • You can tell who reads the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, and who splurges on the Wall Street Journal.
  • You can tell who drinks a lot of beer, and whether they're drinking the cheap stuff from cans or the pricier European micro-brews from bottles. And you can definitely tell the wine drinkers.
  • You can tell who orders pizza, from where, and how often (per two weeks).
  • You can tell who shops where by the paper bags they've got the rest of their recyclables in. What's most interesting to me about this, is that the prevelance of paper bags from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and the Outpost (our local co-op) in particular, mean that people aren't using their own cloth bags there.
  • You can tell who has kids and how old they are by the diaper boxes and baby food jars.
  • You can tell who has cats and what they like to eat. And lastly,
  • You can tell who ran to Costco over the weekend by the big boxes of stuff that no one really needs that much of (diced tomatoes, granola bars, copy paper....