A Sign of a Healthy Valentine’s Day

This is a public service announcement. If you’ve been caught up in the post-holiday clean-up or the crazy cold weather that has invaded the country, then allow me to put you on notice that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. To be exact, 22 days as of this posting.

As I ponder the sign at the corner Walgreens, I realize it is more important than ever to plan ahead for this day of unleashed romance. This is a night when restaurants set up extra tables and there are long lines at the grocery store as men pick up handfuls of flowers as they head home from work. The card aisles in the stores get picked over so badly that if you are pale like our family, you may have to show the DNA results from Ancestry.com to explain the Mahogany brand being chosen as the best of the remaining three cards.

Sidebar: Yes, I have received the Mahogany brand before, and while the verse was very nice it was unusual to have white-as-white Bob and I being portrayed by a couple of a different race – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Our kids called their dad out on being a last-minute shopper, while Bob said he didn’t know what they were talking about. For the record, I’m sure both sides were telling the truth.

But I’m not hear to warn you about card choices, though I will say it was long overdue for the card industry to recognize that it’s a colorful world out there. I’m here to join with Walgreens and encourage you to get a flu shot or do something equally special for Valentine’s Day like Lysol down the house. Do you know how many germ-infested people have used their disgustingly dirty hands to look through those cards? Some have probably flipped through them while awaiting their prescription for strep, flu, or bubonic plague, while sneezing. And the close quarters at restaurants are a veritable petri dish of influenza. That’s not the kind of culture you’re looking for on Valentine’s Day, that’s for sure.

Thanks, Walgreens! You truly are a caring organization.

In case you’ve been under a rock somewhere, let me inform you that the flu shot takes two weeks to gain efficacy in your body, so you still have a few days to ensure a very special Valentine’s Day. If you’re not an immunizer, you may want to stay under that rock for a few more weeks until flu season passes. Or you could do what Walgreens is really promoting, plan on getting those shots together for Valentine’s Day. Now that’s love!

My Latest Obsession

I think I’m getting closer to truly joining the twenty-first century – not too bad considering we’re only about 15 years into it.  Why, as recently as Saturday while I was shopping in Home Goods a needy shopper asked me about bed skirts and did I think they could be found there.  Or, she wondered, perhaps she should try Target or JC Penney.  My reply came so quickly and spontaneously that it took me by surprise – Amazon.

IMG_0140Amazon is now my go-to place for all my shopping obsessions, which are usually weird, come inexplicably and consume too much of my much-needed brain power.  Obviously I will continue to frequent brick and mortar establishments, but you can’t beat the convenience of sitting at your computer, drinking a cup of coffee, and ordering a case of lip balm.

It was lip balm that taught me the value of this gas-saving, frustration avoiding method of shopping, which all of my kids swear by.  I had purchased Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Ultra Moisturizing Lip Balm many times at Target.  I love the way it dispenses soothing moisture as it glides across dry lips and love the oval shape of the tube.  Plus, it’s inexpensive (if you don’t count the gasoline cost involved in covering the tri-county area in search of it).

Every time I’d go in a Target, CVS, Walgreens, or even out of desperation Walmart, I would look for it to no avail.  So I broke down and went on Amazon and there it was!  Nothing compares to the joy of looking in my linen closet and seeing a case all lined up.  Even thinking about it makes me utter a happy little sigh.

The last time I had a weird obsession that involved ordering online, I think Amazon was mainly a place to get books.  I had to go straight to the source to get my Heinz India Relish, which by the way, I can now find on Amazon.  Now that we are empty-nesters, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for me to buy this by the case.  Unless someone out there wants to go in on it with me.  Any takers?

 

Creepy and Weird in the Grocery Store

I understand from my extensive watching of movies and TV, that sometimes men try to pick up women in the grocery store.  We make it easy because it’s second nature for a woman to give an opinion to some poor floundering man while he’s choosing produce (or fish or just about any topic, for that matter).  It’s amusing watching them maneuver through the aisles with that deer-in-the-headlights look while they attempt to figure out the huge questions of life, like – how do we know if fruit is ripe or not.

I have often given unsolicited counsel to the noticeably naïve, and rarely have I been met with anything but gratitude.  Never has even one person thrown a tomato at me (would that be a vegetable or a fruit?).  Before I tell you my story of how I think I might possibly have been the victim of someone trying to pick me up in the grocery store, let me relate a few tips that might help the new shopper.  I like to make this blog both fun and educational.

How to buy a cantaloupe:  Method #1:  Choose one.  Purchase it.  Take it home and cut it open.  Taste and see if it’s any good.  Method #2:  This method eliminates some of the mystery that we’re all looking for when we buy cantaloupe.  Scratch and sniff.  Scratch the stem end and give it a sniff.  If it smells like cantaloupe then you likely have not picked up a watermelon, which is much more difficult to pick up and smell anyway.

On a side note, when choosing a watermelon I apply the thump method.  If it sounds hollow when I pluck it with my finger, it’s probably good – especially if it’s in the summertime when watermelon is pretty much always good.

But I digress.  Now that you are prepared for buying summertime melons (you might want to bookmark this and save it for review again in June), we’ll visit the ketchup and mustard aisle.  This is where things get really spicy.  I was choosing a yellow mustard.  Because my husband and I are empty-nesters, we don’t use that much mustard; so I look for the store brand that isn’t too big allowing it to form that ugly, hard, yellow crust around the edge, and not too small either so I don’t pay the same price per ounce as you would caviar.  This must have been a come-on for an old guy lurking in the lane there because he commented about it.  “Picking out mustard.  Do you use it on hotdogs?”

First off, the comedic use of observation is only truly effective if you’re Seinfeld.  Secondly, my mustard preferences are private, mister.  I was polite and informed him I don’t put mustard on hotdogs.  I’m not sure why I divulged this very personal preference, but there you go.  I quickened my step and moved on, not really giving the exchange much thought.  That is until the frozen foods aisle, where I was forced to give this man the cold shoulder while picking out mixed vegetables.  He was a little too obvious there.  Are people really that friendly?  Do others care that I prefer Birds Eye over store brands?  I think not.  I should have said, “Back off, mister, I’ve already been walked down the aisle – at my wedding!”  (Boo-yeah! would have been an optional add-on for effect.)

boo yeahI was able to give him the slip and leave without being followed (my definition of a successful shopping trip).  I remembered that when I was young I would feel flattered if someone inquired about my mustard choices.  Now that I’m not-quite-as-young – not so much.  Perhaps it was because the man who asked the questions was an old guy.  That made it creepy.  Or perhaps it was because I suddenly realized that he was about my age.  That made it weird.