Self Check-Out

Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Ma...

Interior Grocery Store Design | Check Stand Markers | Waikoloa Village Market | KTA Store (Photo credit: I-5 Design & Manufacture)

The first thing I thought years ago when I encountered the very first ‘self check-outs’ at our local grocery store was, “Great. Now not only do I have to pack my own groceries, I have to check them out too.”

You see, as a youth, I worked for five years at the local grocery store. I was a shelf-stocker, check-out girl, grocery packer, carry-out girl, and even worked on occasion wrapping and weighing produce and meat (we didn’t have scales at the checkout, or a conveyor on the counter).

I wouldn’t even think of someone pack their own groceries or carry more than one bag to the car alone. But that was long, long ago darling, and far, far away.

Now, as the mother of a teenager, I seem to be the floor-show on a regular basis, and there’s nothing he likes to see more than his wise, sophisticated mother lose her cool. Tonight when I asked if he wanted to go get some groceries with me, he tagged along, secretly plotting our trip to the self check-out.

There’s nothing that can consistently make me lose my cool more than when I use the self check-out.

Basically, I’m faster than the machine that weighs measures, and makes sure I’m not shop lifting a bazillion extra pounds of food.  This inadvertently causes alarms and multiple calls to the self check-out police. Usually these folks are women putting in part-time retirement hours, or  teenaged boys who don’t need to shave more than twice a month and could give a crap less about who you are, what you came for, or where you’re going next.

The check-out is a measure of our quality of civilization, a short stop in your day to say hello to another human being, perhaps exchange opinions about the quality of whatever you’re purchasing and discussing what might be the topic of the day.

Not any more.

Our interactions are increasingly becoming automated and mind-numbing. Remember going to a bank to transfer funds, cash a cheque, or withdraw cash? Yah, I hardly remember it either.

We no longer discuss or question our purchases, we load the cart and scan ourselves out of the store.

Although the self check out has cost me the human interaction with the cashier and the ‘bag-boy’, it has helped create a bond between my kiddo and I. I’m always goaded into checking out my own groceries, and we usually giggle through the entire process.

It took me two trips over to the-kid-who-could-care-less in order to scan my baguette. One visit from the kid-who-could-care-less because I took the eggs out of my bag to make room for the peaches, and six attempts before the darn thing accepted my new, plastic twenty-dollar bill.

Ah yes. Self check-out, another illusion of freedom.

Self check-out, another opportunity to practice patience, have a giggle and bond with my teenager.

It’s all about perspective.

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Savoury Sunday; Breakfast in Bed

Ever thought of planning an impromptu sleepover with that long-time love interest sans jammies?

Romantic Bed & Breakfast

Romantic Bed & Breakfast (Photo credit: visit~fingerlakes)

If you’ve dreamed of a waking up next to your delicious lover AND a sumptuous breakfast to stoke the fires of sunrise amore, I hope this recipe helps.

You think your true-love may not be of the same mind? Have you ever thought about forwarding this little post to your lover to remind them that you are a precious gem worthy of great care?

Surprise your sweetie with breakfast in bed, complete with a mimosa based on Les Etoiles bubbly from one of my favourite home-grown Canadian wineries. It’s a bit pricey compared to my usual Segura Viudus, but doesn’t your first sleepover demand a little pomp and ceremony my sweet, dreamy, darling? Add a little orange juice and voila – good lovin’ in the morning guaranteed.

Almost.

You may also need to prepare your love a pot of joe, just in case they need some internal motivation.

My suggested breakfast in bed also gives you baking time to freshen up while it’s baking.

I present to you ladies and gentlemen – Abbracciando le Uova Pomodori (or, as we say in English, eggs in a tomato).

 

Ingredients

4 large beefsteak tomatoes (fresh from the garden is always best)

4 eggs

2 tbsp. fresh basil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

4 thickly sliced pieces of fresh bread (sourdough and pumpernickel are both  yummy)

1 halved clove of garlic

2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2) Cut the top off of tomatoes and scoop out seeds and  pulp.

3) Place the tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish.

4) Break an egg into each tomato. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Add basil and sprinkle with the cheese.

5) Bake for about 20 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolk is still runny (or longer if your true love prefers the yolks solid).

6) Rub the garlic clove over the bread and drizzle each piece with oil. Bake under broiler watching closely until the bread is golden.

7) Place each tomato on a slice of bread .

***You get luscious lover points for brining breakfast in bed.

You get triple points for arranging it on a tray with the mimosa, coffee/tea, the daily news and a beautiful flower.***

***

May I suggest an appropriate song for my delicate morning doves?

 

 

 

Powerful Beyond Measure

Prosperity. Abundance. Hope. Joy.

joy

joy (Photo credit: Ganesh K S)

This has been a daily mantra of mine for quite some time.

Without feeling very prosperous, with a lack of abundance, hope and joy, these four simple words became part of my everyday waking, meditation and my nighttime routine as I threw off the garment of 2012 and headed exposed and vulnerable into 2013.

At midnight, as I toasted my friends, I also silently toasted the success I was sure to find as 2013 rolled on. I vowed that I would look back on 2013 as a year of positive change and transition.

So, we’re just beyond half-way into 2013.  Last night, as I settled in to a bench along the lakeside trail to watch the sunset, I thought of a quote from Marianne Williamson’s, A Return to Love; Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles;

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

You see, as I walked the lake trail, my wondering at the beauty of nature was interrupted by a pesky anxious thought, “Holy bourbon Batman, next weekend I’m flying solo.” At work that is.  My mind began to race about all the things that I felt less than confident about, and I panicked a bit. I went over a checklist of things ‘to-do’ on Monday morning and then I went over it again about five more times.

Five kilometers later, as I settled in on a bench, the sunset glowed a soft orange-pink over the lake.

Ten years ago, if you would have asked my capped and gowned graduating self which company I dreamed of working for, and what job I wanted to have, this would have been it.  In fact, I remember telling myself that in ten years, this is where I would be. After a bit of a detour, here I am.

Wondering at the beauty of the sunset and getting back to the simple mindfulness meditation of breathing, I realized that I was not afraid of failure. Failure is not, and has never been an option for me.

I realized darlings, that I was somewhat afraid of success.  I was thinking, ” Who am I to be successful?”. When really, the question is, “Who am I not to be?”.

My work is and always has been a call to service.  When most folks are complaining about the tedium of the mundane, I feel energized.  How can I not be successful when I work with love and the belief way down  deep in my fabulous little heart, that what I’m doing for others is ‘good’ work?

Always remember my sweet, tender little plums, you were born to thrive. You were born to be successful, and you are naturally fabulous just the way you are.

Breathe deeply, and hold your head up high as you step out into the light my lovelies. Make every day a great one, and for those days that are a little less than terrific….God gave us champagne!!!

 

 

 

 

PMS & The Full Moon

English: Moon

English: Moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, that’s right darling, they go together like crackers and cheese, like peanut butter and chocolate, like bullets and guns.

It was a long week of colliding energy, which, my tender gooseberries, has inspired me to write a list of top annoyances, complete with accompanying rant.

Oh, don’t go all pseudo-spiritual on my bloated self. I do a damn fine job of being kind, polite and thoughtful every day. An accumulation of rudeness can tip even the most gracious lady over the edge. This week I had the pleasure of witnessing an abundance of bullshit doled out by folks that seem completely ignorant of sharing space and time with others.

With that in mind, I give you my list of PMS & Full Moon week annoyances;

1) The dude who cracked every single knuckle in all ten fingers during meditation. Followed by his neck, back, and tapping his fingers on the floor. Clearly he needs to relax, but next to me? In meditation? No. Go home and relax. Come back when you’re ready to respect the space.

2) That people think I’m a freaking charity. My week was filled with, “Will you’s, can you’s  and please do’s”. I don’t mind helping, but I got out of the business of martyrdom years ago. It’s an ugly way to go about life. How about get off your ass and help yourself? You’ll be shocked at how much you can accomplish when you stop playing the victim.

3) Cancelling dates…coffee dates, movie dates, times that you’ve asked me to set aside to help you, and you not being on time. Helloooo darling. Can you say annoying????

4) Public displays of  personal grievances. Really, you want me to be sympathetic to the same problem you’ve had with the same person for the past two decades? See #2. Take control of your own life and quit playing the victim.

5) Men who clearly don’t know the difference between their ass and a hole in the ground. This includes, friends, colleagues and potential love interests. My darling men (except my pal C.G.), don’t bother us if you’re all talk and no action, don’t say stupid things, and just be nice.

6) People who take things that don’t belong to them. Do I even need to go into how inappropriate this is? Yes, this includes pens, mugs, and food.

7) People who expect you to care about their days, emotions and concerns who do not extend the same courtesy back. Life is hard for all of us darling, and I have an address just like you.  After listening to a pal’s rant,  I began to talk about my day, her response was, ” I don’t have time to listen to this.” In other words, ” Thanks for being my emotional dumping ground. I’m not really your friend, I just need to feed off your energy”.  This is not reciprocal friendship, it’s free therapy. See #2.

I think that  finishes the PMS & Full Moon rant. I’m going to relax now, and hopefully feel more playful as the intensity of the week wanes to a sliver of memory.

Stay polite darlings, and be sure not to tolerate any of the above rudeness. You deserve better.

Savoury Sunday; Veal & Marsala

Time to get back to the kitchen my love. Yes, that’s right. This week take advantage of any rainy nights by preparing this simply delicious treat.

A Special Occasion: 14 of 365

A Special Occasion: 14 of 365 (Photo credit: Close to Home)

What’s that you say? Wine? Of course. Try Villa Pozzi Merlot, a wine that loves food and won’t break the bank. It will charm you with it’s voluptuous flavor to make you forget all the reasons you stayed single for so very long.

You could serve this with mashed potatoes or a fresh green salad.

Don’t forget some fresh bread and cheeses to follow the meal.

Below the recipe you will find a tune to help inspire a fun ambiance and second or third bottle of vino!

Ingredients

4 veal cutlets (1/8″ thick)

2 tbsp. all purpose flour

3 tbsp. olive/grapeseed oil

salt and pepper to taste

Parsley (chopped)  to garnish

Method

1) Season the veal with salt and pepper and coat with flour.

2) Heat oil in large pan, adding veal cutlets and cook on high heat for one minute per side.

3) Add wine to the pan with the veal and let it cook for a minute.

4) Serve warm with pan juices spooned over the veal.

***

The Tall, Dark & Handsome Conundrum

John Quinlan

John Quinlan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bless me readers, for I have committed a grave, grave, single-gal sin.

I think I’ve allowed myself to fall head over three-inch-heels in-like with a fella. Not just any fella, a good one. A keeper. The kind you bring home to mama and let kiss you in the rain.

Please, please, yes. Bring that tall pitcher of juleps over here darling and pour me another.

Best get settled in my sweet little peach. Best get yourself snugged into that chair nice and comfy with your very own cold glass of refreshing bourbon and mint. That’s right darling, this is going to make everything perky stand straight at attention.

I need your advice.

No, I’m not pulling your leg. Quit looking at me like that.  I really need your advice.

As a strong, independent lady, I don’t generally have any trouble wrangling the more macho and deliciously-man-lovely sex into some sort of sweaty submission. Unless….

Unless they truly make my wee little heart go pitter-patter.

That’s right my juicy  little plum, I think I’ve met one of those rare gentlemen that deserve to be called, “gentleman”.  Instead of flirting and teasing and making my way to the boudoir with this fellow, I’ve become tongue-tied.

Perhaps that’s for the best, no? It would be downright shameful to slip up with what my thoroughbred of an imagination comes up with every time I see him.  It’s like I get caught in time, picturing his body under his white linen shirt,  imagining his fingertips at my back, and his soft, thick lips on my neck…oh my! It’s makes me shiver with delight, and I haven’t even touched him (yet).

Well, it’s enough to make a girl blush!

Yes, top me up darling.  It’s getting awfully hot out here, and I’m nearly faint from the heat. I’m dripping wet from all of this here humidity and girl talk.

No one can ever be sure of what a man is thinking my lovely. That is, if they ever do think at all.  Some older, wiser, gentlemen friends have advised that I make my interest known, but I don’t know how to do that. Not with a gentleman, at least.

Something tells me that standing on my tippy-toes and pressing my bosom against him while I check his adam’s apple delicately with my tongue isn’t the right approach.

Well, don’t just sit there looking like the cat got your tongue honey! I’m asking for your help here!!!

 

Gatsby Socializing

Louise Brooks

Louise Brooks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Copied from previous blogging life…

 

I used to be fabulous. I used to be ballsy, and fun and outgoing, and well, just plain fabulous. Anything I wore I made look even more stunning. Anyone I met was intrigued by me. All of the lounges and pubs and clubs and bars I went to were the best.

Gatsby socializing is what I called it. Everyone dressed to be looked at. Everyone was fabulous, fascinating and desirable.  EVERYONE was perfect.

I drank martinis, had bottles of wine or the best tequila ordered for me. We all smiled, feigned interest in each other’s pretentious lives just long enough so we could tell them how fascinating and fabulous we were. Life was great. There was no threat of carrying anything meaningful in that backpack of a soul we were blessed with. It was empty, save for a tube of fabulous lipstick, the number of a cab company, and our real lives crumpled up somewhere in a side pocket like the homework the dog ate last week.

Gatsby socializing is exactly what I needed in my 20’s, and I was good at it. Like, really good. I read the paper, watched the news, travelled solo, knew the best places to dance, eat and play. Men actually dated me. I had fabulous meals, surprises, flowers, love letters. You name it. It was all fabulous. After all, when you’re that good, who needs a meaningful relationship?

I wore my resume like a badge.  In all of those Gatsby moments, I was fabulous. I was not a single mother.  I was not lonely, or insecure, or tired.  And then it all ended. Kind of like a car crash that only dings the car a bit, but rattles the driver to the point they just can’t drive any more. It didn’t kill me like the Gatsby crash, but it definitely sent me into shock darlings.

During the Gatsby socializing stage of life, I was looking for Mr. Right.  Mr. Right Hair Colour. Mr. Right Amount of Hair. Mr. Right Education. Mr. Right Height. Mr. Right Resume. Mr. Right Romantic. Mr. Right Traveller. Mr. Sweep Me Off My Feet In Every Possible Way. Times have changed.  Mr. Right’s packaging looks a lot different these days.  Back then I had forgotten about Mr. Right Morals, Mr. Right Values, Mr. Right Kindness, Mr. Right Gentleness, Mr. Right Sense of Humour and Mr. Right My Intellectual Match.

 My friend says she’s had a bit of a lull in her love life , and is ready for, “another string of losers“.  Nothing like a positive attitude going forward.

My other friend, on the rocks, and up and down with her man says he’s loving, attentive, good with a foot and back massage, but a bit of bum and too protective.  She admits to just not wanting to be alone any more, and knows that she’s going to take this guy back, that they’ll work things out and carry on.

I’m jealous frankly.  I’m in a manlimbo-batical.  I just don’t feel like cranking it up and cranking it out on a million and one dates any more my sweet little dumplings.  As I said to my friend the other night, “It’s a complete waste of make-up.”  My friends, especially the married ones ironically think I should just go for the night out and meal.  Honestly, I think I’d rather just stay in, heat up my vanilla cognac and pass out bra-less with the cat.

Dating is a lot like a job interview.  You always leave wondering whether you had something in your teeth, and either praying they do call, or pleading with the merciless-dating-gods that he loses your number faster than you can pull your car out of the parking lot.

Unless there’s some very handsome man who randomly knocks on my door after dinner, and has a penchant for intelligent, middle-aged, strong and fabulously independent women, I’m leaving it to the Gods.

My friends and I are as likely to go to a club or bar now as a form of recreation as we are to stay up all night  drinking pop, eating potato chips, chocolate and doing one another’s hair. We just don’t do that any more.

We get together a few times a year for a yummy lunch, or quiet dinner. We go to the art gallery, or to a cute bakery, or quaint jazz bar.  Don’t get me wrong, we still have our outrageous moments, we just weigh the pro’s and con’s a little bit more wisely.

We know what it’s like to wake up the following morning and want to pull the covers WAY up over our heads when we remember the night before, or just vaguely remember the night before.

We also remember what it’s like to be fabulous and wanted.

Do you remember my Gatsby days darlings?  When I’d come into work with the most outrageous stories and then go out that night and do it all over again? Remember the remote control, the pants pockets, the staying out all night?

Some might say I’m becoming more “reclusive”. But I say “selective”. That makes me more mysterious and therefore more fabulous – right darling?

Men & Meat; Chicks Shouldn’t BBQ

English: Fresh cut meat for Korean BBQ Categor...

English: Fresh cut meat for Korean BBQ Category:Korean cuisine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women love looking after their man.

You can tell how great a man is to his partner by how well he’s taken care of.

When my friends and I are in relationship bliss with our significant others, we cook for them, buy them little gifties, let them have all the man-cave time they want and think it’s cute, sexy even.

When a man looks after his woman, she gives it back in multiples. Pun absolutely intended.

Cooking becomes more than making sure he eats, it’s a pleasure watching him enjoy his food. His nodding off while lounging at home in the evening is so sweet.  When a man is gentle with his woman, everything is bliss.

…and then there’s reality… 

I think that’s why we have raw meat and flames.   When a man’s manliness gets in the way of relating – he doesn’t listen, he’s insensitive or his head is generally hidden up his butt, there’s always the BBQ; A man’s reliable weapon during the battle of the sexes.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. You perhaps need a refresher regarding the definition of  Man-Dumb. You know what I’m talking about when I say “man-dumb” don’t you ladies? I mean MAN DUMB. As in, you could tell him eight bazillion ways about how you feel and he still wouldn’t get it and doesn’t seem to care to get it- that’s MAN DUMB.

Pointing out how you could have done everything better – cut your hair, baked cookies, spoken to your boss – and then get defensive saying he’s just trying to help – that’s MAN DUMB.

We don’t want you to fix things boys, we want you to wrap your big strapping arms around us and say it’s ok. We want you, as well-groomed and smelling pretty as you very well may be, to be our Manosaurusrex. Anything else at the pinnacle of girl-crisis is MAN-DUMB.  We have our girlfriends for strategy. That’s who we commune with in the war-room of life. We need you for moral support and unconditional adoration.

You, my strapping piece of man-sausage are our rock and knight in shining armor.

So, back to the barbecue. Meat and flames….what gives?

Well, I think when the battle of the sexes has reached a long, cool, stalemate, the last bastion of hope is the grill. There’s something very sexy, primitive even, about a man feeding a woman. It’s like he went out and slayed the big scary  beast and is protecting his woman.  Sorta.

Maybe that’s just the gin and tonic talking sweetheart.  A man at the barbecue  when we’re delusional post-period, can melt our cold little hearts.  The barbecue can turn a man who apparently either can’t hear, read non-verbal cues, or appreciate that he’s in a relationship with a woman, (not his mother) into a sex god.

It doesn’t matter how MAN DUMB your man has been.  If you see him out there, grilling, over a red-hot flame – you can’t help but be turned on a little bit. I mean, can you?  Just think of it, Mr. Sexy-I’ve-worked-hard-all-day-but-I’m-still-takin’-care-of-my-baby…..give him a break ladies.

So, Chicks Shouldn’t BBQ. We should meditate on the meat, er, I mean testosterone standing out there on the deck, and smile knowing what we get for dessert. After all ladies, we all know that summer is the best time for shakin’ up the bacon that the Manosaurusrex brought home.

Have BBQ – auditioning for guest chefs…

Kindness

Lotus Flowers in Ritan Park

Lotus Flowers in Ritan Park (Photo credit: gadgetdan)

Sometimes, it seems like the world has gone mad. Like the love of kindness has dried off and fallen off like an old wart.

Drivers crowd the cars in the merging lane as if to allow someone to enter the flow of traffic is to be defeated and weak.

Shoppers guard their spots in too-long grocery store line-ups and eyeball anyone who steps out of formation.

Neighbours keep one another up at night without consideration for the precious healing power of silence and slumber.

Coworkers go about their to-do lists as if they are lone soldiers in the battle of poor-me-working-for-a-living without taking time to care about the well-being of their colleagues.

Life can be void of kindness for long periods of time.

That’s what makes kindness such wonderful treat. I recently had a great kindness extended to me by someone I have met only in passing.  Their friendly, kind, generous  message seemed suspect at first.

I caught myself thinking;

1) What does he want?

2) Is he going to try and poison me against so-and-so?

3) Is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

4) Id’ better be careful  and not tell him too much.

And then I thought, maybe, just maybe it’s a genuine outreach of support. Maybe, like me, this person just wants to connect and form a positive relationship.

Yep, that’s what I’m going to go with. Kindness like love surrounds all of us. We just have to appreciate it for what it is, not what we wish it to be.

Although I wish loved looked a little more like a hot-passionate-love-note-bouquet-of-peonies-poetry-worthy-romance, I do have an abundance of love in my life.

Today I wish all of you kindness.

What Makes a Man Sexy

Black and White Model

Black and White Model (Photo credit: Jason Pier in DC)

Regularly, I am asked by my shyly smiling male contemporaries, quite often after they’ve had a few too many swigs of their tipple of choice, what I find sexy about a man.

“A particular man?”, I ask in return, aware that the man drinking beside me has sex on the brain. “No. Just men in general.”

Hmm? Men in general. Well, let’s just say that I love all of you delicious little hors d’oeurves equally until one of you performs one of the je ne sais quois maneuvers that tip me over the edge of mere curiosity to flat-out want-you-need-you-gotta-have you.

Pour me an ultra dry martini please bartender. No ice. I have some serious business to write about.

Here’s my list of head-turning quirks that make a man irresistible;

1) Initial timidity. That looking out from under your brow a la Princess Di  style can be kinda hot. But not forever, then it’s just creepy.

2) Peeing without pulling your pants down all the way. No you idiot, not the urination part, the masculine stance part that women just don’t do.

3) Watching a man tie a tie.

4) How a man’s hands look when they’re holding their beer, scotch, rum, or water-glass. Grip reveals a lot about a fella.

5) Watching a man shave when he doesn’t know you’re looking.

6) Tightie Whities.  No, I’m not kidding. You all look smashing in them.

7) Hair where there should be a little bit. Perhaps this is a nod to evolutionary theory, but hair on a man’s legs, chest and knuckles (ok, just a moderate amount)is sexy. Manscaping is highly, highly over-rated. Trimming is not.

8) A freshly shaven hairline at the nape of a man’s neck. Don’t ask me why, just stay silent darling.

9) I know it’s politically incorrect, but watching a man take a drag from a cigarette drives me wild.

10) Watching a man tease the tender bits from an artichoke leaf with his teeth just about sends me over the titillating edge as well.

There you have it gentlemen. A snapshot into the mind of the fairer sex. Good luck to you all. Remember, if all else fails, you can come over here fresh from the barber shop, have a shave in your undies and begin to tie your tie…but you won’t get much further than that.

Via con Dios gentlemen. I wish you luck with your ladies.