Wordless Wednesday: Treasure Hunting

photo by Kevin Tracy

 It’s a Wordless Wednesday linkup!  Please go check out my friend Desiree Eaglin’s WW:  Adventures in Self-Feeding  - Wordless Wednesday

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Google Drive to the Rescue

I go grocery shopping every Sunday.  It’s a chore that I dread, because I simply can’t just go grocery shopping.  First I must take stock of what we have in the house, throwing out leftovers and judging whether the moldy fruit is too moldy to keep, and musing on how much Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi Stewart and I consume each week.  Then I clip coupons and file them in my little coupon wallet.  Then I sit at the computer for a little while, checking up on the internets meal planning:  I make a schedule for the week that the whole family will see on the refrigerator, noting what evening activities we have in store for us and then deciding how ambitious of a meal to make that day.  THEN I consult my emeals.com schedule for the week, select a few meals that fit, and add their ingredients to my shopping list, which is organized by section of the store.

Typing it out like that makes me realize how odd my process might seem to the outside world.  Even Stewart doesn’t seem to understand, despite his witness to the Grocery Shopping once a week.  All of the above planning is necessary because I hate going back to the store mid-week to pick up things I might have forgotten.  I rely on my weekly meal plan to take the daily thinking out of dinner.  I simply glance at the schedule in the morning, take out frozen things to defrost or whip up a marinade during the kids’ after school snack time.  During weeks when we are not crazed with activity, this all works very very well.

But if our weekends are full or I go out of town, the deal is off.  If I don’t go grocery shopping on Sunday, I must go Monday.  Or…Monday night.  Or maybe we have some packets of instant oatmeal that can substitute for breakfast in the absence of enough milk for cereal, and I can delay the shopping until Tuesday.  Evening.  Because I loathe doing it with the children.  In fact, Sunday afternoons, once I leave the house, have turned grocery shopping into “me time.”  Demented and sad, but “me time.”  Throw in a podcast, a good audiobook, or Jim Gaffigan routines on Pandora and it’s a downright hootenanny.

So.  Armed with my knowledge of what’s in the house, my plan, and my very organized and hopefully thorough shopping list, I went to Ralph’s last night around 7:30.  There was some epic procrastination in play here.  I was available to go at 4:00, but I…delayed.  It was very important to surf Craig’s List looking for just the right side table for my new-old living room, you see.  But eventually I realized the task must be done before Downton Abbey came on at 9:00, so off I went while Stewart handled the boys’ bedtime.  Score one for Mom.

Until.  I got all the way to the grocery store, took my reusable shopping bags and my little coupon wallet and my grocery cart right up to the deli counter (always my first stop, gotta get that out of the way), set everything up just so, and took out my–

Oh shit.  I forgot my list.

I could picture it, nicely stacked in a pile of papers on my desk where I left it.  Normally I fold it in quarters and put it in my coupon wallet, which has Velcro loops to attach it to the cart on the back of where the baby would sit, if I had a baby.  But no, on this night I was distracted, excited about mid-century modern furniture and English period dramas.

I have done this before, many times.  Who hasn’t forgotten their shopping list?  In most cases, I would just wing it, doing my best to remember what I need, gathering the items I usually get:  bagels, bread, fruit, milk, wine, etc.  But now I have more complicated meals that require things like fresh thyme, polenta, bacon.  Things that are not normally on my lists.  It varies, there’s always something odd.

So for a moment, as the deli worker sliced my family’s honey ham for sandwiches, I panicked.  But just for a moment, because!  Because I always write my grocery list on a Google Doc!  And there must be an app for that, right?!

Of course I had my phone.  I fumbled hopefully with it, and lo and behold, before my ham and cheese were sliced and packaged up, I had downloaded the Google Drive app onto my iPhone and accessed my shopping list there.  Crisis averted.

I have been using Google Docs for years, and now Google Drive to compose almost any kind of file that I once used Microsoft Office to create.  Regular documents mostly, but also spreadsheets and the occasional presentation slideshow.  I can share documents with editors, and spreadsheets with contributors, and avoid all that email back-and-forth bother of yesteryear. Best of all, I can access my documents from any computer any time I can get online, and now, from my phone.  I can’t imagine editing the docs on my phone since the screen is so small, but hey, I couldn’t imagine retrieving my forgotten grocery list that way a year ago.

Nobody paid me a dime for this post.  I was just really excited to share this useful tool with you, in honor of my little sister’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Auntie Rola!

And because I realize I just shared my weirdo grocery list with all of you, I feel compelled to tell you that the support knee highs are for my mother, who for some reason cannot find that exact brand and style in her corner of Connecticut.  WTF, No Nonsense?  Also, I went for the dried beans.  They were delicious.

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The Return of Appointment Television

My parents know exactly what’s on TV every night of the week.  They know when re-runs will be on, when “there’s nothing on tonight,” and when to be excited that a new episode of [insert crime drama here] will be on.

For many years I have considered this to be an amusing throwback to pre-DVR days.  Hell, even pre-VCR days.  YES, I REMEMBER THOSE.  Certain shows aired on certain days and if you missed them, well, you were just screwed.  Not home on Friday night?  You can forget this week’s episode of Dukes of Hazzard.  Suck it, kiddo.

In my house, we are DVR-reliant.  I blithely ignored the original airdates of many of the shows I love for years.  And if I missed recording  the shows I caught up via Netflix or Amazon streaming video.

But now.

Now there is Downton Abbey.  True, I watched season 1 and most of season 2 during my one free month of Amazon Prime, and then I actually paid $1.99 per episode to catch up so I could be all set for Season 3.  But now I look forward to Sunday evenings with the same zeal that a crime drama fan anticipates a new CSI Columbus or Cold Case Revisited or White House Scandal or NCSI Detective or Murder of the Month or Law & Order:  Toddler Stories.

The truth is, since I’ve scaled back my globetrotting activities, there’s nothing more awesome to look forward to on some nights than a glass of wine and some good mindless TV-watching.  And so I have begun to notice what day it is in terms of TV schedules.  Around 3:00 PM on a Tuesday my suburban mom day will be momentarily brightened by the thought that The Mindy Project is on tonight – a new episode!

And dude, it’s Thursday.  The Big Bang Theory – the show that made me love television again – has already aired and is waiting happily for me, recorded on a storage computer thingy inside the little gray box on top of my old-school cathode ray television set in the bedroom.  I may have missed our appointment, but at least the DVR was looking out for me.  I might as well get a Camry and start quilting, because this is just another step in becoming my mother.

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Songs That Stab Me in the Heart: “Like a Friend” by Pulp

Like a FriendI have – or now I should say had, because I digitized and am selling them all – a shit ton of movie soundtracks on CD.  At first I would simply buy them after I saw a movie whose music moved me, and then when I started working in Hollywood I just seemed to acquire them from press mailings.  I listened to any and all compilations and movie soundtracks because for me it was a great way to discover new-to-me artists and songs by artists I already knew that otherwise would not have come across my ears.

I don’t know why, but I had the soundtrack for the 1998 film version of “Great Expectations” starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, and Robert DeNiro on tape.  Once I lost all means of playing tapes, I didn’t hear this soundtrack again for a long time.  But this song, this one stuck with me.

You are the last drink I never should have drunk
You are the body hidden in the trunk
You are the habit I can’t seem to kick
You are my secrets on the front page every week
You are the car I never should have bought
You are the train I never should have caught
You are the cut that makes me hide my face
You are the party that makes me feel my age
Like a car crash I can see but I just can’t avoid
Like a plane I’ve been told I never should board
Like a film that’s so bad, but I’ve got to stay ’til the end
Let me tell you that it’s lucky for you that we’re friends

Everyone has that person. Who is yours?

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