Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Moral Dilemma

Loyal Readers, I have a bit of an unexpected moral dilemma on my hands. As you might be able to tell from the graphic at left, I am not a fan of WalMart. I think that WalMart is bad for any community. They don't bank locally so the money they take does not get funnelled back into the community they are in. They undercut small locally owned businesses and force them under. After that, they are the only game in town and they are free to do with they will with you.

But, perhaps most importantly, WalMart attracts a certain kind of shopper with a decidedly unappealing sense of decorum and style. And, you can guess how that offends the sensibilities of your BloomingtonGirl.

Normally, I avoid shopping at any WalMart in order to avoid going against my personal belief that they are bad BAD BAD and of course, to avoid having to be rub elbows with the dreadful WalMart shoppers.

But, the other day, I am ashamed to say, I shopped at a WalMart. Not only did I break my moral and aesthetic codes. I opened up a whole new can of moral dilemma worms. How did this happen?

On Sunday, I had to pick up the dog from the kennel and I arrived about a half-hour earlier than they open for pick-up. The kennel is on the other side of town, so I didn't want to go home and come back. I had some grocery shopping to do for my mega-baking projects this week and decided to use my half-hour wait to do that. I started to drive toward an area nearby where I thought there would be a supermarket and I immediately came upon the new SUPER WalMart. There it was, at the ready and so very close to the kennel. I wasn't exactly sure where the nearest Kroger or Marsh (our regional chain stores) were and I didn't want to spend very much time looking for either one. So, discarding my convictions and distaste, I decided to pick up a few baking staples at the evil WalMart. Just a few dry goods and I would do the rest of my shopping at BloomingFoods. What could it hurt, right? I am a drop in the salty sea to the likes of WalMart.

Let me just say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and that my good intentions were to spend very little money and to spend very little time in the Devil's Den of WalMart.

Let me further say that I failed at these intentions and opened the door to a Siren call of selling my soul for savings

Five minutes into my shopping, I completely understood why people flock to WalMart. Quite simply, their prices are incredibly low. I was stunned at how much less they were charging for my baking staples - high end chocolate, great butter, good flour, my favorite kind of brown sugar that you can't even get at other stores around here - you get the picture. And Quaker Oats were materially less costly than at other supermarkets. No small thing when one considers what a high volume item it is in this kitchen where many, many deservedly famous Oatmeal Jacksons are turned out regularly.

As I placed item after item (okay, several of each item after several of each item) I started to get a little giddy. Could my favorite ingredients really and truly be purchased at such a discount? I sped up and down the aisles, experiencing the pleasant surprise of one low price after another. I kept my purchases to baking supplies only, but I gotta admit that it wasn't easy. It took a whole lot of discipline to not stock up on a whole lot of other things. I figured that I really needed to remove myself from the tempting situation to objectively think about the whole shopping at WalMart concept before I committed to buying things like breakfast cereals (the prices!!) and the like.

And think about it I have. Sadly, I have to admit that I want to go back and do all my staple shopping there on a regular basis. The savings are just too good to resist.

On the other hand, how can I live with myself for shopping at WalMart? Or even worse, how will I manage to save face while I get down from my high horse?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back Again so Soon?

Yes. It is back. The PMS that almost had me down for the count last month is back again, having its way with your poor BloomingtonGirl. I realized I was at its mercy when I went a little berserk today at the poor young woman behind the counter at my favorite outdoor pool in town (I won't mention its name so I don't say anything bad about IU). The topic was their new policy of not letting any child over five years old go into the locker room of the opposite sex parent. JeSUS! I think that the policy is ridiculous - five is just too young for the cut off...seven or eight is much more appropriate. But, I have to admit that I voiced my discontent in a less than constructive manner to what ended up being a trio of clerks (two more were brought in for reinforcements against the mean crazy lady.) Instead of doing the right and effective thing of first asking why the new policy had been set , I just started BLAHBLAHBLAHING about why it was ridiculous. After the three clerks and I finished discussing the policy (and I use the term loosely, Loyal Ones, because I was not facilitating a discussion, but rather a bombast by yours truly), I went off to swim my laps. This gave me time to think and I realized how abrasive I had been. Chlorinated Shame washed over me and a life-saving billboard flashed to me from inside my head.

RED ALERT...RED ALERT

YOU HAVE PMS! QUICK...DO SOMETHING TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU FROM YOUR OUTBURSTS OVER WHICH YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE LITTLE CONTROL!
KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR THE REST OF THE DAY AND, FOR THAT MATTER, THE ENTIRE WEEK. AVOID DISCUSSIONS WITH ANYONE AND EVERYONE IF POSSIBLE. DON'T GIVE OTHER MOTORISTS THE FINGER NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY DESERVE IT AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, DRINK NO ALCOHOL UNTIL THIS DEMON HAS BEEN EXORCISED.

(I just read that part out loud to my husband. Lucky for him, he laughed and told me it was funny.)

Well, I am relieved to say that for the most part, I was able to lay low for the remainder of the day and avoid talking to anyone about anything of consequence. I did yell at my poor kid and made him cry (he deserved it, but still...) and I did have some sort of meltdown at my soon to be long-suffering husband, who wisely just let the storm pass without saying much. But overall, I think that I avoided complete disaster today. Tomorrow is another story, but I don't anything heavy planned. In fact, I'll be mostly at home, preparing cookie/brownies gifts that I owe a friend from an auction last spring. (She bid on my stuff and on the option to send a package to a friend in the future. I guess the future is now...) I will post pictures of the resulting packages on tomorrow's blog. If I may say so, they are pretty nice looking, considering the twisted hormonal mind that created them...

Be glad, Loyal Readers, be very glad that you can avoid being in my company this week.

Hormonally yours,
BloomingtonGirl

Friday, June 22, 2007

Phew!

Loyal Readers, I am writing with a fatter font today to reflect what I look like after almost a week of travel, though I don't know if it will translate onto the actual blog. After six days of travel, I feel as if I am on a rock tour, though I am not performing rock music, or any music for that matter, whatsoever. This has been a wonderful trip in that we are seeing many old friends but it has been very tiring and has caused all manner of pesky water weight gain.

I am writing to you from our final destination. We are in upstate NY, Springfield Center to be exact, staying with our good friends Cindy and David Staley. It is a quiet, slow paced place where I could happily spend lots more time.

As exciting and as good as it was to be in Manhattan and the surrounding area, I have to admit that was equally good to get out of that frenzied pace. I really do think that I have slowed down since I have lived in the Mid West and I wasn't entirely aware of the extent to which my mind and my pace has changed until this trip. It brings to mind a song. Put your hands together, Loyal Readers!

We head back to the heartland tomorrow, where I plan to shed my travel pounds and get back into shape again. More later.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Four Pounds Later

Loyal Readers, this will be hard to believe but your BloomingtonGirl has gained four, yes 4, count 'em FOUR whole pounds since Friday. I am not exaggerating. I weighed myself when I got here and again this morning, not even 48 whole hours later. The scale told the sorry tale of a four pound weight gain. And all of a sudden, I feel absolutely huge.

It is ironic, I suppose, that four pounds of (mostly water) weight gain can change my whole self-image, considering that I was just beginning to embrace the new corn-fed Midwestern style me. That would be the but slightly softer, plumper BloomingtonGirl with some sturdy hips. I was starting to feel for the first time in my life (what I assume to be) sane about my body image. Still very fit, but not a slave to diet. Well, not at ALL a slave to diet, if the truth be told. I wouldn't even put the phrase "slave-to-diet" in the same paragraph with my name. It felt weird and a little scary to not be beating myself up for not fitting into my "skinny" clothes anymore. But, it also felt really great to be able to just realize that it isn't comfortable or sustainable for me to be two sizes smaller all the time.

But, since I am technically on vacation, I am going to try not to worry about it.

I did go for a brisk walk in Central Park this morning, so that is at least something. There was a running race that passed by me and even though I didn't know anyone in it, I was almost overcome by a desire to start shouting "GO JIMMY!" at the pack of runners. I have no idea why Jimmy was the name that came to mind. I just really felt like doing it.

You might wonder what I am doing blogging on a beautiful day in the city. Jack couldn't take the heat so I brought him home from an ill fated excursion to the Central Park Zoo. I thought I would use the time to catch up.

More later.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

More From the Big Apple

Isn't that so queer? The Big Apple? It makes your BloomingtonGirl sound so folksy.

Today, we are heading over to our daughter Kate's apartment to witness the amazing tricks she claims her cat, Skidoo, can do. After a brief stay there (both Chris and Jack are allergic to our little feline friends), Chris and I are going to see Inherit the Wind with Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy. We lucked out and got some great seats. I am so excited.

Tonight, we are staying in and having a family night/father's day celebration and playing games. All this with that spectacular view of this fine city. What a wonderful weekend this is.

More later from your happy BloomingtonGirl.

Friday, June 15, 2007

There's No Place Like It on Earth

New York, that is. Each time I visit (since we moved to Bloomington), I am surprised again at how much I have missed the energy of this city. The minute I get off the plane at LaGuardia, I feel as if I am home again. It is so bustling and so familiar. I used to be in that airport a couple of times a week when I travelled for work. Who knew an airport could make me feel nostalgia.

We are so lucky this weekend to be staying at a wonderful apartment with a spectacular view of Central Park. Kate's boyfriend's grandparents are lending us their place, as they have generously done before, while they are away. It is such luxury to not have to stay in a hotel.

Kate, Chris and Jack are out getting pizza for Jack and his babysitter, who will be arriving any minute now. This babysitter has been our favorite sitter in Bloomington for the past three years and she has recently moved to Manhattan to join her wonderful boyfriend, who is also one of our favorite sitters. How cool is that?

Well, I am off for wine and cheese at the Metropolitan Museum. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hello

Loyal Readers, my days this summer (so far) have felt quite chopped up with Jack's schedule and as a result, I am not getting done what I would like to get done. This is apropos of nothing, really, but there it is.

The photo has nothing to do with anything, either. I took it a couple days back on my "I-Sight" camera on my computer. I guess this is what I might look like wearing a Burka to someone on drugs.

I should be cleaning up my office instead of blogging, or doing some laundry instead of blogging, or worrying about how wide my hips are getting instead of blogging or perhaps applying copious amounts of some anti-aging cream to my face instead of blogging. But, here I am, blogging. I just don't have the energy to do anything else but ramble on right here on this very site. And, somehow, this rambling is very relaxing.

Well, I couldn't do it. I couldn't just sit still and write. It has been a good fifteen minutes since I ended the last paragraph and in that time, I hung up some shirts (out of the dryer), transferred a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer and started a new load. I also washed my face and slathered on eye cream, and some kind of fountain of youth serum followed by an overlay of night cream. And, so I am back, laundry in progress and skin rejuvenating as we speak.

Where was I? Yes, relaxing. Well, scratch that idea. And, now it is getting late and I really should be getting into bed to read and obsess about what I am going to pack to wear in NY this weekend.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In God We Trust

Those local Loyal Readers know that this is the controversial new specialty license plate issued by the US Lovin', God Fearin' state of Indiana. The reason this plate is controversial is NOT because GOD and the US Flag are featured. The reason this plate is controversial is that it is the only one of 75 (yes count em, 75) specialty plates that does not cost a premium over the standard Indiana plate. This specialty plate is offered free of charge to the Patriotic Faithful at the expense of tax-payers like myself who have to pay a premium for their non God & Country specialty license plates.

First of all, I think that any specialty plate is rather silly and confusing. I say let's go back to the simple days when you could recognize what state a car was from because each state had ONE SIMPLE PLATE. If someone wants to Save the Bay or put Children First or practice Breast Cancer Awareness, they can do it by wearing a T-shirt and writing a check or, if they MUST proclaim their beliefs on their vehicle, by by putting a bumper sticker on their car.

But, I digress from the specific (FREE!) plate that prompted this post in the first place.

Those who know me - and I guess that includes all of my Loyal Readers - will not be surprised that this new Church and State Plate makes me crazy. I would like to say that I am grown up enough not to get a little pissed off every time I see one of these. But, because it's just us, Loyal Readers, I feel that I can admit that I DO get irritated every single time I see one of these plates. It just plain rubs me the wrong way to see tax payer dollars used to proclaim one groups' faith in their deity. It's the whole separation of Church and State thing. Or more accurately, the whole mingling of Church (mostly the Christian one) and State thing. I know, you will say that "In God We Trust" is on all of our money. Yes, it is. And, I can let that be. I just don't see why we need to invent new opportunities to mingle God and government.

But what really gets me the most, is when I see one of these plates on a giant, gas-guzzling SUV. The first thought that comes to mind is that these people should put a finishing phrase on a bumper sticker right next to the plate. The whole sentiment would read:

In God We Trust to Keep the Oil Coming to the Good Old US of A.

A Tale of Two Necklaces

I recently obtained two necklaces. One, I purchased for myself this very morning at the Farmer's Market Art Show. The other, I caused my husband to purchase for me by dropping shameless hints over and over again last Saturday about a certain (very reasonably priced) necklace made of tiny autumn colored faceted sapphire beads.

It is probably obvious which necklace I purchased for myself and which my husband got at a jewelry store. But, in case it is not, the first picture shows me in my fine jewelry finery and the second shows me in my silly new piece of costume jewelry.

Sadly, the first picture does not do justice to the beautiful sparkling colors in the delicate neclace. My Loyal Readers will have to be content to imagine the play of light on the petite garland about my shapely neck and shoulders.
The second picture requires very little imagination. This necklace is right out there. What you can't tell is that it is made out of RUBBER. The beads are made by using actual Sycamore Tree round thing-a-ma-bobbies). The artist who does this jewelry has some really wild stuff. It is worth a visit to her web page just to see what she does.


I want to go on and on about my new necklaces, but alas, time does not allow. I am off to a birthday party. One of Jack's friends, that is. I never imagined I would be having such wild Saturday nights in the Midwest.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

All that cleaning...

Chris called our realtor today and took the house off the market. To her credit, our realtor was gracious and kind and understanding. She is a professional and a lady.

I have been in a daze most of the day, reeling from this huge change in our plans. I knew it was coming but now that it is official, it feels a bit like running very fast and then stopping very fast and suddenly.

All the energy I was putting into looking for a new place, presenting this place, getting my mind around moving now has to be put somewhere else.

Decorating seems the likely place and my Loyal Readers will have the delightful experience of following my progress.

I am off to bed now. It's been a long day of readjusting.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gold Fingers & Wishy-Washy People

Loyal Readers, if only I could show you the true beauty of my new gold nails! I applied OPI shade "Golden Rules" tonight to my lovely nails and at left is a reasonable facsimile of the results. The beauty salon lady assured me that "Gold is the new neutral!", so I felt quite confident putting it on to wear around town. After all, a neutral is good anytime, right?

Painting my nails while sipping a delicious glass of wine was the most relaxing thing I did all day long. It was either this activity or a mindless chick-flick. I didn't really want to waste two hours on a bad movie, so I decided to do my nails, sip wine and write a post to you.

I spent most of the day cleaning the house for a showing and worrying that the showees might actually want to BUY our house. Most normal couples selling their house would be excited to have someone get serious about buying. And, at one point, we probably would have been excited about it. But, lately, we are having BIG second thoughts about selling, so an offer is just the thing that we don't want to get.

Chris and I talked and talked earlier this evening and made a decision (or at least it seemed like a decision) about what to do about selling the house or staying in it.

As with all things, it is always wise to sleep on it and announce it in the morning.

Stay tuned if you can stand it. I am not sure that I can.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Cute is This?




Loyal Readers! Behold what might just become my new favorite swimsuit. I ordered this fun little lap swimming suit and expect it to be delivered within a week. Sadly, they only had two sizes left and one was FAR too small and the other was one size up from what I usually wear. But, here's hoping.

I know it is a silly suit, but I am a silly girl. And I just couldn't resist the hilarious peanuts on the derriere. C'mon, Loyal Readers. You can't resist their humorous charm either, can you?

To ease the worries of my less sartorially liberal readers, I ordered a couple of more conservative suits as well. Heck, let's post them, too! Lest you think that I am a complete shopaholic, I want to inform you that I plan on keeping two suits MAX.



I think that I actually ordered the paisley number in a different color but for some reason, I cannot find the one I ordered on the site. What likely happened is that my order started a stampede of orders from other girls wanting to look like your BloomingtonGirl. What can I say?

In other other news, the couple who asked for our architectural plans is coming back with their architect tomorrow for another look. It suddenly occurs to us that we might actually sell this house and I have to say that it fills us with trepidation. Where will we go? There is no house out there that we want very much. And, I am not keen on leaving this general neighborhood. We had one possibility that looked like something we might have wanted but it fell through completely about tweny minutes ago. As Tony Soprano would say...Whattaya Gonna Do?

Well, I'll tell ya whattimgonnado. I am going to set up appointments to look at a few more houses this week and if nothing looks remotely promising, maybe we will just take the house off the market.
Or not.

Oh, yeah! Almost forgot. Two years ago, on the morning of Meg's wedding, Chris and I went to the Bloomington Farmer's Market to purchase flowers for the ceremony. On that day, a photographer was taking pictures for a book on Farmer's Markets and asked us to pose with our flowers. Today, I saw a poster advertising the book at BloomingFoods. Loyal Readers, there we were...on the poster! Sadly, we didn't make it in the book. But, it is fun to be on the poster.

Well, I am off to bed to fire up my laptop and look for houses.