Posts Tagged ‘grousing is not writing’

I had to go into Target TWICE recently, and both times I was super annoyed. I think to the point that it is no longer fun to go there. I will continue to use the option where someone brings my purchases out to my car, because sometimes Target is the best place to procure certain items. But I no longer enjoy shopping IN Target. 

First, the shelves are so intermittently empty that I get that Early Pandemic panicky feeling in my chest. I went in well before Valentine’s Day – well, a week before, which seems like it should be fine – and the Valentine’s Day section appeared to have been looted by mauraders. It was a mixture of chaos and empty boxes. I found a giant Hershey’s kiss for Carla and a pink bath bomb and that was IT. 

Well. I also found a whole section of Easter candy, which makes zero sense. But they had a large stack of Reese’s peanut butter eggs – the best candy – so I bought myself two boxes. I was there for VALENTINE’S DAY loot though, so I remained unmollified. Plus, I now have to go to a separate candy store (barf), inside the mall (extra barf), to get something for my husband.

Second, the Valentine’s Day card selection made me grumpy. Perhaps this is less a Target-grouse than a card-designer/producer grouse, or maybe even an It’s-2020-Yet-Everything-Is-Still-So-Gengered grouse, but a) it happened AT Target and b) I do have more Target-centric grousing to do, so I don’t want to interrupt the flow of my Target-directed irritation.

Carla loves dinosaurs, and dinosaurs are a Very Common Kid Passion, so it seems reasonable to expect that there would be dinosaur-themed Valentine’s Day cards. And you would be right! But they were directed at boys. Because only boys like dinosaurs. 

Except for this one, which was gender-neutral. And also $8.99. I am not going to pay nearly TEN (10) U.S. dollars for a single-use card, no thank you. It is hard enough to choke down the normal $4.99 price tag, which I do only because I love cards so much. 

I know – I KNOW – that you can’t expect there to be something for everyone. You can’t. It’s not possible. But… maybe there could fewer gendered things? 

I bought a card. And altered it slightly, for Carla. 

Stickers to the rescue!

Back to the Target-specific grousing.

I know I have grumbled about this before. Target often – I am saying often, because it happens almost every single time I go to Target – has discrepancies between the price listed on the shelf and the price that rings up at the register. HOWEVER, it is nearly impossible to discover the discrepancies because it is impossible to read the register as the checker rings up your items. I am willing to give Target the benefit of the doubt. It is a big corporation, and errors happen. Plus, maybe there is a big price difference to the company between ordering computers that show the prices only to the checker and computers that show the prices to the customer as well. I don’t know. But the two issues added together make me feel like Target is trying to pull one over on me. 

What I have begun to do is take pictures of things on the shelf. If they are on sale, and I am buying them purely to get the sale price, I take a picture. If there is a discrepancy between the price on the shelf and the price in the app, I take a picture. And then I try very hard to squint at the computer screen during check out. 

The screen looks impossibly small in the photo and seems impossibly far away in real life. I can see the TOTAL without too much squinting, but that requires instantaneous math which is not one of my core competencies.

It is too far away and the font is too small to see, though! I got right up in there this last time, right up in there, and then backed away because I felt like I was intruding upon the checker’s plexiglass-enclosed space. So I had to ask the checker to doublecheck the price of the items I was concerned about. One of them was fine, but the other rang up for a dollar more than it was supposed to, so I showed the checker my photo, and they reduced the price. 

I realized that I sound more than slightly unhinged, here, hawk-watching over the computer just to prevent Target from getting even one dollar extra from my clenched fists. But it makes me really mad.

The last time I posted about this, I wrote a frustrated email to Target about my experience. I got a response, too, from someone at my local Target:

Hi Suzanne,

My name is NAME, and I’m the Service and Engagement ETL at the CITY Target store. Thank you for sharing your experience. I sincerely appreciate your feedback about the checkout process at Target stores. We never want guests to feel like they are being taken advantage of or that Target is hiding anything. Our checkout advocates are here to help so they can relay the prices as they ring up for you. If there is a discrepancy they can get a price check and change the price for you as well. Also, if there is ever a need we can retroactively make price adjustments at Guest Service for you as well. I will share your feedback with my immediate boss so that it can be directed to the appropriate channels. 

I want to make this right both for you and for all Target guests in the future. If you’re open to further discussing how we might do that, please reply to this email. You are also welcome to call me at NUMBER.

What a very nice and sincere-sounding email, right?! I mean, no way am I going to ask the poor checker to read every single price as it rings up, which seems to be what this nice person is suggesting. And also, I am overlooking the fact that this person does not seem to understand that it is next to impossible to identify a discrepancy in the moment. And you KNOW I am wary of price adjustments based on prior experience. But it was a good start, I think. 

I haven’t yet responded, because I didn’t know what to say. But now I know. I have a SOLUTION. My solution is that they should increase the font on their computer monitors. And maybe – although perhaps this is asking too much – they could angle the computer monitors toward the customer. 

I am not asking for their prices to be accurate. I am not asking for their prices to match, between shelf and app and register. I am not asking for them in install new monitors at the credit card machines, or replace the credit card machines with machines that list the prices as the checker rings up each item, or even to figure out some way to show the total you are about to pay ON the credit card machine! No. I am simply suggesting that they increase the font, so that a non-eagle can see it while standing near the checkout. 

What do you think? Is this a good plan?

Or perhaps I should simply… not set foot in Target. Probably that’s the best choice.

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Technology and I are not getting along.

My WordPress blog – which I have had since 2009 (am v. old) – is now suddenly not working correctly. The platform claims that I am trying to access WordPress via an unsupported browser, but when I click on the list of supported browsers, the link does not work. If I google which browsers support/are supported by WordPress, I am assured that Safari, which I use, is in fact fully supported. Do I have to update it or something? Maybe. But that opens a whole other can of worms wherein my computer claims it has no memory left and then I spent 80 hours trying to clear everything off of my hard drive even though the portion of the bar graph that is taking up the most memory is invisible stuff I cannot access or erase.

Yes, in fact, I DO feel very unsupported. (For this post, I have switched to Chrome, which I dislike for unknown but very strongly felt reasons.)

While we’re badmouthing WordPress – which I don’t WANT to do; I have been happy with it these long years – it is also doing a thing where I will create a post and then suddenly it says there has been an unexpected error and I cannot access the post nor edit it. There is no further information offered; none of the buttons next to this message go anywhere or do anything. Well. This finally justifies my long habit of writing posts in Word first, and then copy/paste-ing them into my blog – and I have not lost any content as of yet. But it is STILL ANNOYING.

That’s all I get: “unexpected.” And yet it keeps happening… so… at what point does it become expected?

On to the next grouse: There is too much spam. Many of my blog followers are spam accounts. I delete them and they sign right back up. Why? Why? What are you getting out of following my blog, moneybiz2020 and Buy CBD Oils UK?

I mean, Dickie B looks super nice but his email address, and, frankly, the fact that he is subscribed to my particular blog, leads me to believe he is NOT A REAL HUMAN.

Bots are constantly following my Instagram account, too. They are all the same: names like “the_agile_walrus893” and then there’s a profile image of a beautiful young woman who has a very American-Sitcom-Character-type name and lists her Totally Normal City and her astrological sign and something Totally Normal (umbrella lover! anorak collecter! beet sniffer!) about her. And then the account is filled with dozens of exotic travel photos – featuring zero people who look remotely similar to the woman pictured in the profile – and the photo captions are always emojis. And the bots follow lots of people! And lots of people follow the bot accounts! And I delete/block them every time I see them but ARRRRGGGGHHHH. Why? WHY? What in the name of Jeff Bezos are the bots getting out of these interactions?????????

This is not a real human. Right? RIGHT?
Why do these bots have SO MANY followers??? Are they all just following each other? And if so, WHY?

And I am getting TONS of spam emails lately, too. Not just the normal emails from Athleta and my local library and Barnes & Noble – the ones I signed up for, which nonetheless sometimes feel like spam. But emails from websites I definitely did not visit nor give my information to. Like GQ Magazine. Or some life insurance company I may have requested a quote from once, via telephone, a literal DECADE ago. Clicking unsubscribe, of course, does NOTHING. The emails keep coming.

I don’t have a photo of my inbox because I think you might faint if you see the number of unread emails I have.

Somehow I accidentally clicked the Apple TV app on my computer and now it refuses to leave. I have regular quit. I have force quit. I have turned my computer off and on again. It is always in the background, doing… whatever it is doing. (Something nefarious, I’m sure.)

Likewise with Adobe Flash Player. It constantly pops up on my desktop even though I SWEAR I have deleted it from my hard drive multiple times. It’s hiding somewhere deep in my computer, though, and I cannot root it out, and it keeps popping up and telling me to update.

Speaking of updates: My password manager asks me to update it weekly. At least. HOW does it require so many updates? HOW? And why? Just pick a version and stick with it! For a month, at least! (Edited to add: After I drafted this and tried to shut down my computer, the password manager asked me to update it again. It reads my blog, y’all. SIGH. I did it, but we’ll see how long it lasts.)

Last grouse (at least, for today): when I go to the Instagram website via my laptop, it quite frequently pretends as though I have asked it to display something mythical and non-existent. I am simply typing “Instagram.com” in the browser and hitting enter so please do not pretend like this a site that does not exist.

SOMETHING’S BROKEN, ALL RIGHT. Also, I love how it says “go back to instagram” as though I am not already there.

If I didn’t use technology every second of every day, I would say goodbye so fast

Actual grouse, whose incredulity mimics my feelings exactly. (image from Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources)

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Despite a) truly glorious, early spring weather, complete with sunshine and birdsong and blooming forsythia, and b) a brisk morning walk with a friend in said beautiful weather, I am cranky. For no substantial reason!

(I DO have to go to Target, and go inside no less, to procure some Easter candy. And I am dreading filling the plastic eggs with… whatever it is I normally fill them with. Candy? Maybe the Easter Bunny will upgrade to some dollar bills. The prospect of a Target trip is not super cheering.)

(Yesterday I had to make multiple phone calls, AND I deep cleaned the bathrooms, so perhaps I have some residual grouchiness from that?)

(We ARE supposed to go from low-seventies to low-thirties in the next day or two, so there’s that. Plus, it is QUITE WINDY and you know my feelings about THAT.) (Grump grump grump.)

Well, crabby mood or not, we must eat. I skipped my Dinners This Week post last week because I just couldn’t BEAR to think about food or plan any meals or cook. My husband is very agreeable in times like these, so he put up with leftovers, scrounging around, and takeout for several nights. And then HE planned this week’s meals (except for tonight’s tacos, which were a Carla Request). By “planned” I mean that he suggested things for me to cook, but that is indeed helpful because planning the meals – thinking of things that we haven’t eaten too recently, that don’t take a million years to cook, that will make at least some use of food we have in the house already, that two-thirds of us will eat and not hate – can be just awful.

Armed with my husband’s meal plan, I went to the grocery store after my lovely, not-de-grouchifying-in-the-least walk. (I am sure my friend found me RULL PLEASANT.) I did not want to go to the grocery store. Yet I really needed to go to the grocery store. We had run out of half and half, people. HALF AND HALF. I have been putting MILK in my tea like an Agatha Christie character.

Probably it was good that I was able to go to the grocery store on a cranky day. Grocery shopping puts me on edge as it is, so I’m putting the crankiness to good use, at least. And then I could really glower at the frozen foods case where the pancakes are once again MISSING and sigh dramatically over the dearth of regular-old large eggs (I do not need extra large eggs or jumbo eggs or super jumbo eggs, thank you very much) and stare in a pointedly Very Patient Way at the woman who was ambling – AMBLING – in a zig-zag fashion down the aisle, making it next to impossible to pass her on either side. 

I did buy myself some flowers, which helps. 

And I bought ingredients to make cinnamon rolls, which I DO NOT NEED to make, but which sounds like a very festive Easter morning breakfast. Because if there’s one thing a home visited by the Easter Bunny needs, it’s more sugar. Well. If my husband talks me down from the cinnamon rolls, at least bread flour and cream cheese keep for a good long while.

I stood in front of the beef selection for a Very Long Time because my recipe calls for chuck roast and my choices were chuck EYE roast or chuck SHOULDER roast or some other things that had the word CHUCK in them but not the word ROAST. I wanted to CHUCK a ROAST right at my husband for choosing the recipe, I’ll tell you that much. Google did not help. I did not have the recipe on me, because it is in a PHYSICAL BOOK, not on a website, like it’s 1953. I see I am getting a little shouty. At least I did not shout at the beef selection. I finally asked the meat monger – a young woman, which pleased me – and she very decisively told me that the chuck EYE roast would be best for my stew purposes, so I went on my way. (I was very glad she’d said chuck EYE roast, because the recipe called for 3 to 3.5 pounds of chuck roast and not a single roast in the entire case was 3.5 pounds. They were all 2.25 to 2.75. But! I did find ONE ROAST that was just a squeak under 3 pounds and it was the chuck EYE roast.)

Carla and I – after much deliberation – are planning to make macarons this weekend, as our Easter baking project. They will be filled with lemon curd and buttercream as per this recipe (although I bought the lemon curd in a jar), but will have speckles per this recipe. I am very, very exhausted by even the prospect of Holiday Baking Projects. But perhaps by the weekend I will feel more chipper about the idea. Anyway, I had to buy a huge giant container of cream of tartar, even though we only need a pinch, because I had failed to check on our cream of tartar situation at home. Let me tell you, my face fell when I saw a little container of cream of tartar in the spice cupboard. Fortunately for all involved (me and the cream of tartar), it had expired in 2014. 

For some reason, I have had a craving for cinnamon gummy bears. I don’t think I have had a cinnamon bear for… thirty years? And I am fairly sure that I would eat a total of three of them and then be satisfied for another three decades. But the craving is strong. So of course I cannot find cinnamon bears anywhere. Grouse grouse grouse.

This isn’t so much a grocery store report as it is a catalog of things that irritated me whilst at the grocery store. 

Grocery availability has gotten so reliable (aside from pancakes) that I didn’t even LOOK for some of the things that I normally bought in duplicate just in case – was there any pepperoni? Who knows! My preferred taco seasoning in my preferred little jar is still out of stock, but I can buy it in the envelopes so it’s not a BIG deal. And the taco shell shelves seemed a little patchy, but I still only purchased a single box of taco shells. What did that meme say last year? “The earth is healing”? (Is “the earth” in this scenario me or the grocery store supply chain?) Now we just sit and wait for Suez-Canal-blockage-related shortages to start. 

Dinners for the Week of March 30-April 5

  • Tacos
  • Mulligatawny Soup – This was my lone suggestion for the week, simply because we have mire poix pre-cut in the freezer AND because I picked up another loaf of sourdough bread at the grocery store. Sour toast will pair very nicely with some Mulligatawny.
  • Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Tenderloin – I got my husband some feta and he already has some sundried tomatoes. I will make rice and caramelize some onions to serve with the pork. Easy peasy.
  • Guinness Stew with Side Salad – I bought some Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day, because I had never tried it before. Turns out I do not care for it. But my husband pointed out we could use it for stew, and indeed we will. I found a recipe in The Best International Recipe cookbook, from the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated (which is different from America’s Test Kitchen in some way but I do not understand what it is). Why is it “recipe” instead of “recipes”? Just to tug my toehairs, I guess. Also, holy Slovenian sausage, this cookbook is PRICEY. I sure as sugar did not pay $66 for this cookbook and neither should you. 

What are you eating and/or baking this week? Or, if you feel like joining me in a Celebration of Crabbiness, what is getting all up in your grump today?

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We are somehow nearly halfway through January and I feel simultaneously as though the month has FLOWN by and also that it has lasted six million years. Much of it – at least the past week – has been extremely dreary and fretful, both for external reasons (what is HAPPENING with our democracy) and internal ones. But even though I am feeling down and worried and unsettled, I feel like my complaints are so small and insignificant that they aren’t worth sharing. There is SO MUCH going on in the world right now, my dumb complaints sound even more out-of-touch than normal. 

Like for instance how my return key does not work unless I press down on it with all my weight. Or how I am FINALLY getting to clean my oven (with the self-clean function) and so my house is filled with the acrid scent of imminent doom and also a soupçon of pizza essence. Or how I had to wait for more than an hour in the gynecologist’s crowded waiting room yesterday which a) I am SURE was the reason my blood pressure reading was much higher than normal and b) is making me Very Anxious about the likely unrelated fact that I have a scratchy throat today. Or how I have been working extra hard on revising my book and the whole thing is stupid and I am wasting my life. I really need to suck it up and stop wallowing.

I hope YOU and your loved ones are doing okay. And, honestly, if you had a small, insignificant gripe to share with me, it would make me feel better. Or not, that’s fine too. If you just want to scroll listlessly through my dinner options, trying valiantly to get up the motivation to think about making Yet Another Meal, that is a-okay with me.

Dinners for the Week of January 12-18

Over the weekend, I tried these Sheet Pan Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowls (which Ernie mentioned recently), and they were delicious and a 100% keeper. They got me in a mango mood, so I have a bowl of mangoes ripening on the counter which is one good thing to look forward to, I suppose.

  • Sweet and Fiery Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa: Speaking of mangoes, this is what we’re eating tonight. I have made it several times in the past and have always found the pork to be a little… weak in flavor. Today, I threw all the ingredients in the crockpot, added a bit of soy sauce and some minced ginger and garlic, and we’ll see if that does anything. 
  •  Fish Taco Bowls 
  • Fire Fry 
  • Chicken Shawarma with Steamed Broccoli
  • Tacos: The regular ground beef kind, per Carla’s request. I am going to have her make them, since she has been voicing some disappointment about the meals on offer lately. She seemed pretty pleased at the thought.

I also have some zucchini and asparagus in the crisper, for spur-of-the-moment stir fries or protein-and-a-veggie-side options.

What are you most looking forward to eating this week?

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This post is half grousing/fretting, half meal planning, or maybe a little quite a bit less meal planning than grousing. I am just preparing you, so you can scroll down past the cranky part or click over to some other more cheerful blog. And also if you have grouses/frets, I am in a very empathetic mood, so please do share. 

Anyway, I woke up this morning in a grump. There’s nothing WRONG, per se. It’s just, you know – everything. Yesterday, I had two mildly irritating experiences that aren’t worth describing and really come down to Pandemic Life Adjustments and Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can.  (Okay, I will briefly describe one: I had to wait for nearly an hour, as in 50+ minutes, for my curbside Target order; normally the wait is like 5 minutes tops.) (Here is the brief run-down of the other: Carla’s school required me to buy a last-minute hole punch – I got the request yesterday, and the hole punch was needed yesterday and will be needed again today – and I cannot locate one; I even WENT IN to WalMart to find one and still couldn’t; so Carla just has to do without, which is fine, it’s not a big deal.) There’s nothing I can DO about these irritating experiences, and I really do think everyone is trying their utmost best, but they are still irritating. 

Plus, I am still having self-conscious feelings about our holiday cards. I know I mentioned this before, but I stuffed all of them into their envelopes yesterday so I was looking at them for a long time and I just feel like they are BAD and DUMB. I mean, my husband thinks they are cute, and I trust him, so hopefully I am just being overly precious about them? There is the possibility that he is Not Hurting My Feelings, but really thinks they are dumb… although… that doesn’t really sound like him. But the borders just seem SO uneven and the pictures are blurrier than I originally thought and I am a little uncomfortable that we are wearing Santa hats in our photos; but OF COURSE THAT IS STUPID. No one cares! Our Jewish friends do not care if we are representing Christmas in our cards! And our card is kind of light-hearted – it’s the three of us on Zoom, and it references social distancing. What if it’s too light-hearted for some people? Or feels like we are making light of the pandemic, which has been much harder on so many people than it has for us? And then, on the back, there’s a message that is a little more serious in tone, about hoping everyone is safe and healthy. And I’m worried that the tone shift is too severe? What if people think I’m being super over-serious about everything? And then on some cards I’ve written little messages like “Merry Christmas!” or whatever and that feels like adding to the mixed message-ness of it all? Plus, I look old and my nose looks weird. And OMG NOBODY CARES. But what it comes down to is that I am having to force myself to send them out, rather than feeling happy about them. 

Plus, this morning the kids in Carla’s class did an opening discussion about things they are grateful for. It was very sweet, but the things they listed (my siblings, because I can play with them even if I can’t play with my friends; being safe from corona; the world) kind of broke my heart. 

Pluscheery frivolous post material aside, I am increasingly anxious about The State of Things. The emails my husband gets from his hospital system are increasingly… upsetting. I mean, aside from the graphs they send out regularly, illustrating the steep upward climb of Covid cases and ICU patients, there have been some bland, semi-vague missives that to me seem like “covering the bases” types of emails. NOT THIS EXPRESSLY, but like, along the lines of, “Hey, you may be in a specialty totally removed from emergency or respiratory medicine but just kind of gird your loins for the possibility of maybe jumping in if we need you? Kthanx.” or “By the way, at some point we may need to shift hospital stuff to your clinics because we are running out of room. Byeeeee.” Again, this is not exactly what they are saying, and again, I think this is more like the hospital system making sure their doctors are prepared for any eventuality. But it is not a confidence-builder, you know? 

Okay. Grumping and worrying do nothing. NOTHING. Let’s go for some Cheering Thoughts:

First, I have SO MANY great cookie ideas to follow up on. This does not mean I have TOO MANY or even ENOUGH, so please let me know if you have a Must Make Holiday Cookie I need to consider.

Second, Remote Learning is going… okay, so far. I’m not going to say it’s good, because it isn’t. But it’s so much better than it went last spring. Carla is doing great and, now that the teachers have had time to prepare and some experience with online teaching, the school days are so much better organized. It still feels impossible to complete all the necessary work during the day, and neither of us is getting any exercise (where to fit it in???) (do not say wake up earlier), and we are both in Carla’s room/office for pretty much the ENTIRE DAY EVERY DAY but still, it is Much Better. And supposedly she will be back in school, in person, in early January… but even if not, we will at least have a two-week break in there. 

Third, I finally finished not one but TWO books I have been reading for literal months. One of them was really good, but had a slow start; the other was interesting but the author’s voice wasn’t my style. Anyway, I finished them, which is a good feeling. AND now I can start the three books that are next up on my to-read list: Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick, which I received as a surprise from a friend; The Searcher by Tana French, which my husband ordered for me on a whim; and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which I bought for myself. I am really excited about all three, and this anticipatory which-one-should-I read-next stage is delicious and fun. 

Fourth, back to food, this week includes both (the beginning of) Hanukkah and my wedding anniversary, which means some special meals. Perhaps I will make the special meal for Hanukkah and order takeout for our anniversary. Also I have some repeats from last week because I am lazy Super Flexible.

Dinners for the Week of December 8-14

I also have some extra cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving, so I may make these cranberry crumble bars and send some to work with my husband. 

What are you eating for dinner this week?

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Well, we are somehow in the middle of a Call Week again. (They don’t normally happen so close together – it’s just the way the schedule worked out. Womp womp.)

I hate Call Weeks. Carla and I miss her dad/my husband (why did I never choose a Blog Name for my husband? It would really cut down on the awkward sentence constructions around here) and he is exhausted and stressed out when he IS home and everything – EVERYTHING – falls to me, which is FINE, but still tiring. I know, I know – there are so many people who Have It Worse: single parents and people whose spouses are deployed or are on out-of-town business trips, parents who have more than just the one child, parents who have more than just the one child AND are single parents/have MIA spouses. Yes, I know. I know. I am counting my blessings and I have many, truly. But Call Weeks are still stressful.

One of the very dumb things I dislike about them – which is very small in the Grand Scheme – is that my husband doesn’t unload the dishwasher on the weekends. (Because he is at the hospital.) We typically run the dishes every night, so I unload the dishwasher every weekday morning, and having my husband unload the dishwasher for me is seriously the only thing that differentiates my week from my weekends, and is seriously the only break I get from my day-to-day job of parenting Carla/running the household, and so I get very grim about doing this very small, very menial, literally takes FIVE MINUTES EACH DAY task all by myself for two extra days during Call Weeks. Very grim.

All this grousing about dishes does remind me of something cheering, which is that I have taught Carla – now seven – how to wash the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Previously, she would clear the dishes but just put them next to the sink. But NOW, now she is tall enough to reach the kitchen faucet and so I have slapped her with Dinner Dish Duty. Well, and she is also responsible for washing her own breakfast and lunch dishes. This helps immensely with the Cleaning Dishes portion of my Sisyphean housewifely duties. Sure, it is a work in progress – we have had to discuss, many times, that my preference is for a dish to be visibly clean before it goes into the dishwasher. (Yes, I know that dishwashers can technically perform this task for me.) We have had to discuss, many times, that when I say, “Please clear the table” that means, also, rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, a duty that does not change from day to day, despite my phrasing. (She is debilitatingly literal, a gift she gets from her father.) (Okay, maybe it’s not debilitating, per se.) And I think I need to have another chat with her about the garbage disposal, and how food can be scraped from plates into only one side of the sink. Overall, though, it’s pretty great. And she sings while she washes dishes, or pretends that the faucet is a princess or an evil queen and the bits of food are various other characters while she’s scrubbing the dishes, which is delightful. Having her wash the dishes is not FAST, by any means, and sometimes there is a perplexing and disturbing amount of water on the floor afterward, but it’s helpful. And it has the added benefit of me feeling smug about teaching her Life Skills when really I am just sitting on the couch.

Okay! For dinners this week, I am focusing on comfort foods. And also on using up the fresh veggies I got at the grocery store.

Dinners for the Week of August 17-23

I am also going to make the Lazy Genius Collective’s Chickpea Bowl for lunches this week. I am going to make a new batch of the ginger garlic sauce and freeze a bunch of it in icecube trays for easy recipe usage later.

Cocktail of the Week

  • Blackberry Champagne Mule (I got some beautiful blackberries on sale at the grocery store and may sample this recipe tonight because it sounds AWESOME. If I wait for the weekend, the blackberries will be bad, so making it tonight is really the RESPONSIBLE thing to do.)

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You know what really grills my cheese today, Internet? People who don’t follow the rules. Why? What is it about some people that makes them so confident they are ABOVE the rules? Or that the rules don’t apply to them? See ANY NEWS ITEM ANYMORE for plentiful, deeply disheartening examples.

Today, specifically, I am directing my rule follower rage at the woman who not only brought her cart out into the parking lot – which is strictly forbidden at my grocery store – but then LEFT IT THERE, on the tiny concrete divider between the parking spaces.

I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is some physical disability at play. But, honestly, that excuse ain’t gonna cut it, sistah, because our grocery store offers – purely because of the no-carts-in-the-parking-lot rule – courtesy bag loading into your car. It’s totally free! There are even signs everywhere that say NO TIPPING (although I still tip; people tip and I don’t want to be The Woman Who Doesn’t Tip, especially given that I go there every week), so she can’t even blame the lack of cash in her wallet.

Okay, okay. I KNOW there could be other perfectly valid reasons – like maybe she has an emergency that she learned about exactly at the moment she was done checking out and can’t fathom waiting in the bag loading zone for the two extra minutes it takes the cheery bag loader staff to load your bags into your car. Or maybe she just got some terrible news and, completely gobsmacked (why is gobsmacked not a word, Word?) by the terribleness of it, she is floating through the store forgetting her eggs and not really paying attention to her cart.

But my overall experience with people is that there often ISN’T a reason, besides an inexplicable certainty of being the center of the universe and therefore able to flout rules whenever the whim takes hold.

See also the people who go zooming down the shoulder of the freeway when everyone else is stopped, waiting for an accident to clear. Who ARE those people? And why do THEY get to decide THEIR needs take priority over everyone else’s needs and safety?

Well. I am in A Mood, apparently.

It’s the week before my family’s Thanksgiving, so I’m a wee bit anxious about that. Pre-exhausted, still, even though I was pre-exhausted two weeks ago.

And I am yet again faced with planning and making meals for myself and my family. Whatever shall we eat?

Dinners for the Week of November 12-November 18

Note: I went to three different grocery stores to find the haloumi, which is a firm cheese that this recipe recommends pan-frying and turning into croutons. I DID find the haloumi at the third store, but it was $9.99, so I did not buy it. I will do a lot for the sake of an interesting-sounding recipe, but it turns out I will not spend just shy of $10 on a block of cheese. Instead, I bought something called bread cheese, which sounds similar to haloumi, although I guess we’ll never know, and was a much more reasonable $6.35. Sigh. That is STILL too much to spend on cheese, but I did it. I will report back on whether it was worth it.

Note: We did not eat this last week, even though it was on the menu. So I am making sure we eat it THIS week. Also, I do not particularly like roasted carrots but I saw a bag of rainbow carrots at Trader Joe’s and I was powerless to resist it. 

Note: This is an old standby. Good when I have no inspiration.

  • Chicken with Zucchini

Note: Speaking of no inspiration — this is like… just the basics. I have chicken in the freezer, a plethora of marinade possibilities, and a pile of zucchini, so I’m ready for whatever day requires a super easy meal. 

  • Pork Chops with Broccoli

Note: Same as above, but with pork, obvs. And I even splurged and got pre-cut, bagged broccoli this week. Maybe this will help me stick to my menu plan and not make a last-minute decision to go eat Mexican food. 

Note: I made the MOST AMAZING impromptu pizza this weekend, and I am going to make it again for dinner on Friday.

  • Breakfast for Dinner

Note: Breakfast is one of the few foods that Carla eats reliably – and she will even eat scrambled eggs if I bribe her with pancakes. A few commenters suggested this last week, and I never do it, even though it is SO easy, and relatively healthful. Well, now I have bacon in my fridge and I’m stocked up on eggs and freezer pancakes and READY TO GO.



What are you eating this week, Internet?

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We had a few days of 50 degrees and sunshine, then a few days of 70 degrees and sunshine, and now it’s raining and in the 60s. My allergies are all amped up about the constant temperature flux. It’s super fun to have to make a beeline to the nearest box of Kleenex at any given moment and to have my eyes suddenly start streaming at very inopportune times – trying to check out at the grocery store, having a conversation with Carla’s principal in the school hallway – and to constantly feel as though a sneeze is about to burst out and say hello and by super fun I mean I literally want to cut off my nose to spite my face. I feel very spiteful toward whatever internal mechanism is directing everything in my face to method-act like a faucet.  Probably cutting off my nose would just provide it with more reason to produce tears so I’m going to resist the impulse.

Last night I took a much-needed Benadryl before bed – getting up every five minutes to blow my nose is not restful. It did its job, but I think I took it too late in the evening because I slept through my alarm and have been feeling bleary and underwater all morning. Maybe I am underwater. Maybe that’s why most of my face is damp.

Anyway! Dinners! I am trying to do the bare minimum but also… I think I am being over ambitious. Time will tell.

Dinners for the Week of October 22-30

Note: I got some miniature zucchinis at Trader Joe’s and some green beans and I will roast them up with some onion and throw them in the farro. I am unreasonably excited about this. However, I was excited about it YESTERDAY and then failed to make it and instead made my husband pick up takeout from California Pizza Kitchen so we’ll see if the excitement lasts today.

Note: Another zucchini recipe. Is that too much zucchini for one week? I suppose time will tell. Anyway, we haven’t had this one in a while and it sounds yummy.

Note: Yum.

Note: Is this too much flavor? Are we going to be overwhelmed by all the sauce/spice? Time will tell, which is apparently my motto this week.

Note: Wait a second. A THIRD recipe with zucchini in it? Am I over-zucchini-ing? Why does the word “zucchini” look so ridiculous to me? This is what I ordered from CPK yesterday, and it was fine, but my version is better. (And the CPK version somehow also had regular noodles in it? I thought it would be JUST zucchini noodles. But I was wrong.) My husband doesn’t love this as much as I do, so I’ll make it the night he has a board meeting to attend.

Note: We haven’t had this in ages and it sounds DELICIOUS. I will add bell peppers and NO ZUCCHINI and maybe some onion because I like my curries full of veggies.

  • Chili

Note: Is there any better meal to eat while watching football? I don’t think so.


What’s on your menu for this week?

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