One Foot

One Foot

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Life Happens At The Grocery Store

I had to laugh many times over the holidays at the arguments of couples in the grocery stores.  The gender perspective continues to amuse me.
I ran into an older couple in the dairy department.  She reached for the butter and as she placed it into the cart her husband said, “What are you gonna do with THAT much butter, Martha?” She signed with clear exasperation and responded, “I’m baking.  I use a lot of butter when I’m baking.  I need butter.”  He then gives his own heaving sign of exasperation. 
Too much money?  The refrigerator at home is full of butter?  He has a butter phobia?
Another couple in the produce isle was the classic example of people who should never shop together.  Although just beginning their venture, evidenced by an empty cart, he asked her what she needed NEXT. (Sigh of fatigue followed). She says “tomatoes” and reaches for a bunch of vine grown fruit.  “Not THOSE,” he says and picked up the Romas that were cheaper and placed them into the cart.  “THESE are a LOT cheaper,” he says.  She takes them out of the cart and puts them back on the shelf.  “THESE are the ones we need for the salad, “ she states and puts those into the cart.  They argue as they walk through the aisles.
They can’t afford an additional .25 cents?  He doesn’t like tomatoes anyway?  They argue over every item purchased?  (Whew, that would make shopping an adventure, wouldn’t it?)

I really liked the tactic taken by a young fellow at the Sam’s store, our local big box store.  As I pass through the cheese isle, I see the guy with one of those really nice phones taking pictures of the parmesan cheese in large pound containers – then the shredded mixed Italian, etc.  The process went on several minutes and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing.  
Was he a hired comparison shopper?  Why take photos?  So I peeked around the corner and was just ready to ask why he was taking photos when I saw him dial and speak into the phone.  “So WHICH one do you want, Dear?” (Sigh)  
Oh, gosh, aren’t phones convenient.  I can’t help but sympathize with the guy as I remember too many trips to the hardware store to exchange plumbing parts that weren’t the right fit.

My own vision of a happy couple is one where the couple shares the kitchen.  I imagine the roomy, modern space with plenty of area for his chopping (wine glass nearby) and her companionable salad flipping (with wine sips).  They chat about the issues of the day and cheerfully put the ideal healthy meal on the table.
That probably isn’t going to happen, is it?  Well, heck, happy holiday shopping to all my friends.  May your carrots not be wilted.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Do We Go Consumer Blind at Christmas?

          I don’t need as much outdoor wear as I once did when I enjoyed winter sports, but one item I can’t do without are my Polartec 180 earmuffs.  I have a bad right ear and unless covered, I have pain that will send me inside in minutes.  This week the temperature dropped to under 20 degrees and I couldn’t find them.  Emergency declared.
         Spent two days in the stores looking for similar product while an internet order came in.  Of course I shopped the Penny’s, Targets, and various sports stores and found many alternate models.  After trying them all on, it became clear that these products are not only inferior, the design of such is so bad it would be impossible to warm the ear.  They were not any cheaper even though they were not made in the USA. 
          I asked myself, “doesn’t anyone care if a product works or fits anymore?” Are we so blind at Christmas that we just buy an item without any regard for quality of design and manufacture?
           I looked around at the racks to see much poor quality in sweaters, coats, etc.  At another store I saw household items that would top the impractical list as well as quality of design and the big store that claims to be our community’s friend couldn’t have produced a product of quality if it tried. 
              I sure hope we have reached the "tipping point" of tolerance for bad merchandise.  I went home empty handed and vowed not to buy the stuff.  I am tired of sweaters with arms four inches too long and clothing made of a substance that must surely be recycled soda bottles.  My oldest garment is far better. 

     Come to think of it, I saw some really nice things at the thrift shop this week.  Its sad when used is superior to the products in stores, but at least someone actually had arms the same length as mine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Basket Reveals Affair With Books

It seems in my part of the country, silent auctions of theme baskets are popular as a fundraiser.  My church has held these for years, so each December; the lobby is filled with baskets stuffed with goodies and members drift along the line placing bids, the idea being that high bid wins the basket.
Books for Christmas
I’m not good at thinking up clever ideas, but when my guild lady-friends gave me the responsibility for our basket this year, I vowed to make a good try.  I spent days in anxious thought and a basketful of “reading” was my solution.
My immediate problem was not knowing the reader’s choice of literature, but then I remembered my childhood experiences with books.  My parents were not readers, but thank God for an older sister who told me stories.  At five we entered school and I was reading in a few months.  The one-room schoolhouse I attended (common in rural communities) had no library, so I raced through the graded readers as fast as possible.  I do remember Dick and Jane but they were present only fleetingly. 
To provide supplemental reading for students, the library in a nearby city developed a “book trunk” program, whereby the school would receive a full trunk of 75-100 books a month and students were given certificates for each five or ten books read.  Perhaps that is where I learned to love books of all kinds and levels of difficulty, for I read all the books in the trunk and pridefully indicated to the teacher when it was time to get a new trunk.  It was just such an occasion that led to the only sarcastic response I ever received from that teacher, a mild but memorable event.
I loved reading.  I hid under the bed covers with a flashlight to read late at night.  Books helped me through a long and serious illness during my teen years.  They relieved anxiety and invariably I tore into a thick novel two days before finals every semester.  I read self-help books through my troubled times, poetry books through my romance stages, historical fiction to spice up the boredom of factual accounts, and religious books to satisfy spiritual hunger.  I was a literature major and did post-graduate degrees in reading.  Odd that until I began to think of all this, I didn’t even know I was addicted to books!
Filling the “reading” basket was much more fun than I expected.  Although I don’t have a reading chair in the corner for myself, I think that is a great idea, so I began with a nice warm throw to throw over the lap or shoulders and some fuzzy socks to keep the feet warm.  I found a wonderful book of devotions, a lovely blank book with scriptures, and a book light. 
Since the basket was quickly favoring the female gender, I added the book Chocolat by Joanne Harris and a mug with hot chocolate and tea. A pretty package of chocolates included a gift certificate at the excellent used book store nearby.  At the last minute I threw in a CD of quiet music for relaxation and a sign that said “Shhh – I’m reading” on one side and “I’m reading, please join me” on the other.
The basket being complete, I sat down to admire it and suddenly remembered an article that appeared in the newspaper recently.  To avoid the pressure of consumerism this Christmas the author suggested that one limit giving to four items:
An item you want
An item you need
Something to wear
And something to read…………………

Maybe this is going to be a good gift giving season after all!  This was fun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

There's Never A Lost Cause

          If you are a quilter or crafter, you probably have a box or drawer as I do of “lost causes” – projects that didn’t fit quite right, had poor colors, or perhaps wobbled a bit out of square.  Woodworkers have a box of scraps that didn’t make it, and even cooks occasionally throw away a “lost cause” because it couldn’t or didn’t get eaten. 
Some time ago my quilting group received a donation of scraps from a family that included a lost-cause project.   Wadded into a corner of the box was a very wobbly lone star block about twenty inches square.  It was pieced by hand from very old fabrics in a hot yellow, pink and black color combination.  With some teasing from my fellow quilters, I lovingly took this homely project home.
I stretched the star block onto my quilting machine and squared it.  While working on the quilting, I happened to glance through the window at my small wildflower garden and laughed to see the same yellow and pink color combination in my garden.  So “no one” would use those colors together as my friends suggested?  God did.  And it is stunning. 
I wonder how many times we have given up on a person or thing because we thought saving it was hopeless.  I have to admit that I have often struggled with people that just seemed to be a “lost cause.”  I have also abandoned many opportunities I thought to be a lost cause  – I thank God for repeat offers on some of them.
When faced with what I believe to be a lost cause, I recall a sign that says, “Please have patience with me.  God isn’t quite finished with me yet.”   People may not be molded as I wish and tasks don’t always come out perfectly, but I have faith that God continues to work on the situation.
Helen Keller, a woman who faced many challenges due to blindness, deafness and muteness, overcame her limitations and influenced the future of disability education.  She once said, “When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”
God has worked miracles in each of us and one just never knows how we can affect others with our efforts.  Like the combination of yellow and pink flowers, the result can be surprisingly pleasing.  Thanks be to God.