Monthly Archives: February 2014

More On the People Watching Stuff

During our excursions, we enjoy some shopping.  There’s two kinds of shopping in Lancaster: Amish and commercial.  (It’s not an official County Designation or anything, it’s just what we refer to.  Didn’t want anyone looking something up and calling shenanigans on me.)  There are no Sunday sales among the Amish vendors, so we save our outlet shopping for that time.  And when we go to the outlets, I spend more of my time people watching.

Like the woman who was shopping in the “lingerie” section of a large clothing retailer.  It’s one of those densely packed and hard-to-maneuver sections of the store, so at best you’re trying to see it all in a very compressed fashion, but add thick winter coats and flying scarves plus clomping boots and it’s not pretty.  Bending over to check out the sizes in the bottom rack of four tiers of bras is challenging enough so I don’t need more problems.  (And I don’t even have 99 of them.)  I will call this problem “Determined Lady,” or “DL” because I’m lazy.  

DL is wandering about the store and talking on her bluetooth headset.  Right away I do my best to avoid her because a) she’s wandering aimlessly which means she has no purpose and no discernible traffic patterns to avoid collisions, and b) she’s wrapped up in this important phone call which clearly means her hearing is impaired.  I’m assuming it was an important phone call because I would imagine that you would only need a bluetooth headset because you have urgent business that requires you to be available 24/7, like Jack Bauer.  Imagine my surprise when she was overheard (and I wasn’t eavesdropping because man, could DL boom out the details) talking about what she might bring for brunch tomorrow.  In great detail.  Down to whether or not her heavy yellow platter would be too contrasting with her red tablecloth and the green parsley on the deviled eggs.  Really?  Who cares about this stuff?  Now you’re discussing other platter options?  Are you seriously coordinating your plates with your food choices over your bluetooth headset while you’re wandering aimlessly around the matching bra and panty sets?  You’re not even shopping.  Why are you here?  Can’t this wait?  You’re harshing my bra-shopping mellow, dude.

My next victim encounter was with an older gentlemen, henceforth known as OG, in the pots and pan section of another store.  Do you know about the bubble?  There is an implied safe space around each human being that we respect and keep out of.  If someone hovers too close, they are said to be entering your bubble.  Man, OG was in my bubble so many freakin’ times I started putting my hand over my purse like I did back in the days I worked in Manhattan.  He was a loud breather, too, which assaulted my senses and made me wonder if he was a plague spreader.  (And don’t think I didn’t ponder whether OG should have been named LB or PS; I pondered.)  It wasn’t just in the pots and pans, either.  It seemed his significant other was shopping in sections he wasn’t interested in, so he was looking for things to look at, scrutinize, examine, tsk over, and replace on the shelves.  No matter which aisle I went to, there was OG lurking like a guy in Atlantic City waiting for me to leave my slot machine so he could sneak in for the win.  Down one aisle, I was blessed to find myself alone among the bamboo and maple cutting boards.  Just as I turned one over to admire its smoothness, OG burst into the aisle with a scowl on his face and he reached for the same cutting board.  Dude, get out of my bubble, you’re becoming a creeper.  

The prize-taker, though, was two brothers I’ll call Tweedle Dum and Dee (TDD) who were patrons at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch.  Many of the places to eat in Amish country are buffets, where we eat like we never would at home.  Most of the places have seating on one side, and the buffet on the other, so you need to walk by many of the patrons on your way to get your food.  We walked by the TDD table just as TD sneezed loudly.  Into his hand.  Which he wiped onto his shirt.  I quickly glanced at his plate to see what he had been eating so I would avoid those same things, knowing his germy hands had been all over the serving spoons.  I made a bee-line for the salad bar, reasonably sure he didn’t even know it existed, and loaded my plate.  I love a good salad bar, and this was a very good one, indeed.  After we enjoyed salads, we ventured forth for more substantial fare, and arrived at the hot buffet at the same time as TDD.  Oh, dear.  Having tipped off my friends to the level of cleanliness of some of our companions, we watched very carefully as the sneezy one made his way around, trying to anticipate where he’d want to go so we could get there first and be assured of a somewhat clean spoon.  We lost sight of him around the ham loaf, and looked up just in time to see him place his sneeze-encrusted hand onto the spoon reserved for the — no, not those! — the brown buttered noodles.  We froze, unable to comprehend.  This, next to the bacon, was one of our Amishland must-haves: brown buttered noodles.  Frantic, we looked around to see if there was, perhaps, another container with those little beauties that we could safely approach, but we were out of luck.  Sadly, we watched as he scooped up hefty portions of noodley goodness onto his already overloaded plate, then recoiled in horror as he turned his head to the side and let loose with a very phegmy cough followed by another ginormous sneeze.  Defeated, we went back to our table sans the delectable noodles of buttery heaven, then immediately brightened as a Mennonite woman brought out another heaping container of noodles.  TDD both were deep into their dishes as my friend sprinted back up, promising a plate for all three of us, only to be stopped as the non-sneezy part of TDD slid out of his booth directly blocking her path.  He was on his cell phone and used this opportunity to stand up, in the aisle, AND ADJUST HIS BELT AND PANTS.  WHILE HE WAS ON THE PHONE.  

My friend came back, shaking her head.  “I’m all for taking a bullet for the team,” she said, “but some battles are not worth winning.”

 

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Now put a sneeze coming out of him and you’ll see what I mean.

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Observations on People Watching

I had a glorious weekend away with my friends visiting our favorite B&B owners and harassing the Amish folk in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  (We don’t really harass them.  We just say that.  It’s funnier that way.  Trust me.)  We arrived on Friday, hoping to take advantage of the Green Dragon Farmer’s Market in Ephrata (as outlined earlier on this blog) but for this first time I’ve ever known, it was closed.  Their advertising claims they are open every Friday unless Christmas falls on that day; the cray-cray snow shut down the stalwart of shopping.  What to do?  I had 20 pounds of bacon to buy.

 

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Mmmmmm…..

What?  You’re surprised at the amounts?  Let me assure you, anyone who tastes this bacon wants to know who my connection is.  It’s that good.  It’s applewood smoked bacon, from happy pigs in Amish country.  (I assume they’re happy pigs because my mouth and my belly are very happy as a result.  Vegans, please don’t be hating.)

 

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Friends beg me to get them some, Younger Daughter has been dealing selling it to friends on campus, and Older Daughter has threatened physical violence to anyone getting between her and her drug of choice.  This 20 pounds gets packaged into one-pound packages, frozen, and lovingly tucked into our freezer for the course of the year.

Lucky for us, we have known this Amish couple for over 10 years, and they’ve encouraged us to come to the house to order and pick up bacon, so that’s what we did.  Mrs. Amish Lady is warm and loving, and always greets us with a big hug and asks how our trip was.  Mr. Amish Man is quiet and keeps to himself, but every once in a while he’ll feel gregarious and talk about the weather.  I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  They have an old farmhouse which is accessed by a long driveway that passes another house (a son, perhaps?  He likes dogs.) and an open-sided barn of cows before winding up at their front yard which features a gazebo and an arbor.  Like many of the Amish homes, this one features white clapboard siding and has the obligatory green shades, and inside the side door is where some of their other items are sold.  Both my friend and I requested 20 pounds each, and that Made Mr. Amish Man very happy while Mrs. Amish Lady wanted to know what sort of recipes we used with all that bacon.  (Recipes?  We don’t need no sinkin’ recipes!)

We made arrangements to come back Monday to pick it up, and said goodbye.  Mrs. Amish Lady clucked happily as we left, while Mr. Amish Man went back to his lunch.  Then it was on to our regular B&B which is unique and wonderful and the owners are a hoot and a holler but I’m not saying what it is because it is my little secret place and they are always booked solid so I don’t want any competition.  There is no television and they only recently got wi-fi, but it makes me so happy.  My favorite part about this place is coming up to the main house for breakfast, because we sit in a glassed-in porch which looks out over the meadows and we can see the little creek and the cows in the next field over.  Plus Mr. and Mrs. B&B are delightful hosts with hundreds of stories to tell and never cease to make people laugh.  It’s like a comedy routine every morning, complete with props and pictures.  If we’re fortunate, two of the Amish neighbors stop by for coffee and hello, and they are not what you’d call pious folk, exactly.  In fact, they are downright randy.  They will tease us “English” and gently make fun of us with our smart phones making us less smart and our cars that park themselves, saying their horses already do that.  There is genuine affection between Mr. and Mrs. B&B and these Amish men, and they have helped each other through several tragedies and celebrated through several joys.  And we get to witness a small part of it.

Invariably, I see the relationships between these folks and invariably think of my own.  Do I show enough affection for Hubby?  Do I appreciate Older and Younger Daughter verbally?  Would I trade my life for any of theirs?

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For the Win.

 

 

 

 

 

i went away this weekend.  Today I bring you a shot of something I bought:

 

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Dudes, I think I win the internet.

 

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French Toast, I am Sick of You

We’re getting another storm tomorrow.  I have milk, bread, and eggs, and out of spite I don’t think I’m going to touch any of them.  Except, of course, I have to have milk in my tea.  I have standards.

I think the snow might be giving me strength, like I’ve visited my Fortress of Solitude and emerged stronger.  (You can call shenanigans now because I know very little about Superman and I get it confused with Sherlock’s Mind Palace.  Whatevs.)  We had intense snow shoveling where I was strong, like moose.  (Read that in a stereotypical Russian accent.  Not like Sochi/Putin grim Russian accent, but more like Boris/Natasha cool Russian accent.)  The snow was heavy and slushy and icy, and we dug for three days and I helped the neighbor shovel hers, too.  (Okay, Older Daughter totally was shoveling with me, and Hubby was there one of the days, but since I used to be the one in the house getting the towels and the hot chocolate ready, this is a big improvement for me!)  

Since then, I’ve been Superwoman.  Getting the laundry done and the dishwasher emptied and grocery shopping done all before 11:45 in the morning?  Unheard of!  Yet I did it.  Today?  Laundry, meatballs and sauce simmering on the stove, and dinner delivered to a neighbor recuperating from surgery.  Yep.  Even met friends for dinner and….. wait for it…. I WALKED.  

 

I should not be bragging, it’s so not nice.  I’m sure I’m making somebody very depressed right now with comparisons, so I’ll tip the scales the other way.

In the grocery shopping adventure, I didn’t put any of the groceries away, I didn’t schlep the freezer items downstairs, I didn’t pack things neatly in the pantry, and I didn’t fold up the canvas bags.  I did, however, manage to eat 2/3 of a bag of Popcorners and watch back-to-back episodes of Friends.  I’m not proud.  

Tomorrow, to combat this weird bout of productivity, I plan on watching the snow, watching the Netflix, and watching my knitting grow.  That should make you feel superior to me, a service I’m happy to provide.

 

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And now you do!

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I Like my Diamonds Cold

Today was amazingly brilliant, with white snow, blue skies, and absolute diamonds covering all the trees.  

I tried to take some pictures for you.  First, I cleverly shot through the window screen, so you have a lovely closeup of the tight weave and fine form of my screens.  Second, I took some out the back door which has no screen, but also in direct path of the sun.  So you might have to squint to get the full effect.  Better yet, lower the temperature in your house to 62 and freeze your fingers for awhile and you’ll truly be part of my experience.

I’m also knitting a brand new project for the Ravelry knitting games: Fair Isle.  I’ve already screwed up, so go me!

 

 

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R. A. T. (Random Access Thursday)

1.  I am hard-pressed to identify my favorite color.  It’s green, but almost everything I wear is burgundy/dark red/maroon.  So is my car.  So was my last car.  My eyes are always drawn to blue, even though my eyes are green.  Full circle!

2.  Same with food.  I am in a monogamous relationship with potatoes.  Until pasta comes along, then I totally cheat on potatoes.  But when popcorn comes a-knockin’ I’m a slut.  Apparently “p” is my favorite letter in the food alphabet.  Yes, that means you, too, pretzels.

3.  I love knitting, but lately I’m reading more about knitting than doing the actual knitting.  Must ponder this.  Need snacks to ponder.  Any suggestions?  Anyone else notice ponder starts with “p”?

4.  The Bloggess is the funniest site I’ve ever read.  I went all the way back to the beginning and I’m up to December of 2008.  I was actually crying with laughter this morning at the thought of dead hobo fingers in her bra.

5.  Which doesn’t start with “p”.

6.  Why do so many people say the Winter Olympics are boring?  I find the summer Olympics akin to watching golf coverage with the quiet whispers and the finger applause.  Dive, dive, dive, splash, splash, splash.  Run, run, run, chest heave, chest heave, chest heave.  Winter has ice skating!  Ski jumping!  And most importantly it has ICE HOCKEY.  To gear up, we’re going to watch “Miracle” tonight.  Maybe one of us will lose a tooth.

7.  After the long slog of snow shoveling yesterday I made oatmeal with butter and brown sugar and it was sublime.  Today I didn’t have to shovel any snow (let us pause for a silent prayer of thankfulness) and I made oatmeal with butter and brown sugar and it was yukky.  Do I have to do manual labor for food to taste good?

8.  I just re-read number 2 and clearly the answer to number 7 is “of course not, dodo.”

9.  The whole world likes Tex-Mex or Mexican or Southwestern food and I hate it beyond all passion.  I realize that may offend some people.  It’s okay, go ahead and hate on my p-words, I understand.  (That totally doesn’t sound right.  At all.)

10.  Why is Candy Crush on my iPad on a different level than the Candy Crush on my laptop?  Don’t these guys talk to each other?

11.  Picture time:

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P-food!

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C’mere, Groundhog, I Want to Hug You Around the Neck Real Tight – Updated!

I am DEAD.

Two hours spent shoveling (yes, again) only this time it was ice on top of snow which made it five times heavier than it normally is.  Hubby says two times.  See yesterday’s post on why I know I’m right to say five times.  Everything in me is protesting and wondering what happened to those cozy days by the fireplace with knitting and books and tea and blanket forts.  Add to that I stood on line last night for three hours to get autographs of NJ Devils players and my whole body is like “psht, we’re done.”

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My face when the snow plows put it all back again.

 

Found another picture that says it all:

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Complete with stooped demeanor.

 

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French Toast, Part Deux

We had another wallop with snow yesterday, where I maintained it was at least a foot and Hubby says no more than eight inches.  He’s mathematical and statistical by nature, with a good sense of distance and estimating, so of course I’m maintaining that I’m correct.  After all, Older Daughter and I were out shoveling while he was at work, so we know better.  

It was a very wet snow, so shoveling was slower than normal.  And when I say “normal” I mean I didn’t give up after half an hour.  I stuck it out like a pro, going a full hour and fifteen.  (Okay, so twenty of those minutes were spent chatting with my neighbor who was shoveling, too…but we helped her with her driveway after we finished ours, so you know what?  I win.)  It didn’t even seem all that cold outside, so when it was finally over we had worked up a nice sweat.  (Now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d type, “Nice” appearing with “sweat.”  Maybe the weather is finally getting to me.)  After stripping off all the wet outerwear I was in no mood for French toast or hot chocolate or even a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream.  And now this makes me wonder: why did I spend all those years being the concerned mom/wife who wanted to make sure my family had the requisite French toast/hot chocolate meal after playing/shoveling/etc. in the snow?  Was it all for naught?  Were they lying to me all these years?  Or am I just a freak for not wanting the true snowtime experience?  Another sleepless night ahead of me, I can see it coming.  And how about that grouping of slashes in my sentence?  Nicely balanced with three sets, and I didn’t even try.

 

In other news, I am delighted with the machinations going on in my home state and its governor, and I think fondly of the words my mother used to say to me when I would rhetorically ask why bad people would get away with doing bad things: “Remember, time wounds all heels.”  ‘Nuff said.

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Sing it, sister.

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ALL the Feels (American Television Version)

Bad idea to watch the SuperBowl, Downton Abbey, and Sherlock in the same evening.  I can’t even process.

 

Peyton Manning, I feel for the dude.  He had an amazing year considering he had NECK SURGERY, started with a brand new team, and played like a transformer.  Well, how a transformer might play if a transformer didn’t automatically crush a football or use it as an appetizer.  Do transformers eat things?  I’m not even sure because I’ve never seen one of the movies (although apparently they now turn into dinosaurs as if suspending reality before as they transformed into machines wasn’t enough) but I’m going with that vague mental picture of wow-machines-smash-win.  No machine.  The cog first slipped on the very first snap and the machine was all broken after that.  All the hype beforehand of “Peyton vs. Seattle defense” was really not fair to the guy, because he clearly is a team player.  

I will confess, as a Giants fan AND as a younger sibling, it’s nice to think that little brother Eli has two SuperBowl rings to Peyton’s one, but I still feel for the guy.  And to my cousin who lives outside of Seattle, well, cheer on with your bad self.

 

Downton Abbey didn’t go overboard with the feels this time, but there was a sublime moment between Lady Mary, Thomas, and Lady Isobel that warmed my heart.  (Originally I typed “the cockles of my heart” but I remembered I was always irritated with that phrase because have you ever seen a cockle diagramed in a science/anatomy text book?  No, neither have I, so let’s just stop that nonsense, shall we?  It’s the same irritation I have with cohort.  How can you have a cohort when there’s no such thing as a hort?  These are the thoughts that keep me gazing off in the distance.)  They were all victims of lost spouses, and while it could have been absolutely gruesome and maudlin, it was actually sweet and lovely and honest and sincere.  

I think it’s fashionable among the vast Web of Inter to diss Downton Abbey and project that it’s got nowhere to go, but I love a good costume escapist drama.  My preferred Netflix watching is anything British television, so Downton is a good fit for me.  Plus, I loved Julian Fellowes on Monarch of the Glen which is an added bonus.

 

Sherlock, on the other hand, is superb and frustrating and exciting and mesmerizing and (shakes fist a la David Tennant): MOFFAT!!!! This show is so gripping I can’t even knit during it, because I know I’ll miss something that will be referenced later as in “didn’t you see that newspaper headline that gave the clue to figure the whole thing out?”  And I’ll be all “you mean that part where I selfishly decided to BLINK???  That part???”  Older Daughter literally threw things at the end of the episode and I hugged a pillow and started to rock, knowing I’d have to wait Another. Two. Years.

 

My nerves can’t take this.

 

Time to shovel snow.  Again.

 

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Moffat AND the snow.

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