Hello, my name is Colette and I’m a Tomato Hoarder.
Hello, my name is Colette and I’m a Tomato Hoarder.
There’s a mall about two miles from me, one that’s been there a long time. It’s kind of run down and “mish mash” so far as its offerings. I go there from time to time mainly for specific things at specific stores. There is crime at this mall and I don’t feel particularly safe there. The vibe is just “wrong” in general. Every fourth or fifth person I see looks kind of sketchy. I’ve always noticed that too many people don’t appear to be there to shop.
Not too long ago an animated discussion about this mall occurred on the local community Facebook page. Some people felt the mall was unsafe but many took umbrage at that characterization and defended it. I just read the comments and stayed out of it. It did give me pause, though, was I judging the mall too harshly? Were my opinions about it in need of updating?
With that in mind I spend several hours shopping at the mall today. It was strange and exhausting. I did buy a few things, primarily food so it wasn’t a bust. My mind didn’t change though and I kind of felt the sign in the window of the multiplex theater said it all:
Roz Chast is a writer/cartoonist. I first discovered her over 20 years ago. These were the comics, “Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations”, that I saw. I about lost it. Chast is a cartoonist for The New Yorker but I don’t read that publication; I think I saw these particular ones reprinted in a City paper. I clipped them out and still have the yellowing newspaper in my “Humor” file, a thick collection of various odds & ends I’ve found funny. It serves no purpose other than to amuse me. I don’t know if this is unusual but my humor has been fairly consistent; the things I found funny in decades past are still likely to make me laugh.
Roz Chast recently published Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York, described as a “graphic memoir.” As soon as I heard about it I reserved it at the library. It’s a great, quick-read book. I’ll grant you my reading material as of late hasn’t been all that funny but I laughed more resding this book than any I can recall in a long time.
I don’t think you’d need any particular familiarity with New York to enjoy this book. I spent a little time in New York long ago but that is the extent of my firsthand knowledge. To be honest, I never truly understood the layout of the burroughs exactly or Manhattan’s streets before seeing Chast’s illustratios. Her New York is quirky and fun – this isn’t a book about subway murders or gang violence. She’s a middle class – probably upper middle – white lady; she’s writing about what she knows, not Harlem. I think that I need to make that clear but for me it takes nothing from the book or its point.
After reading the book in one sitting (about an hour) I went looking in my Humor file for that old comic. I would have posted it here instead of just adding a link but I expect that would be a copyright violation. While looking through the file I found a “one panel” comic I drew. The weird thing is, that while I KNOW I drew this – and feel it wasn’t that terribly long ago – I don’t definitively know why I drew it. This isn’t like me; I can remember things I drew in grade school so this memory blank is odd. I can certainly imagine what I must have been thinking/feeling, that’s not too hard! It made me laugh now so I thought I’d share it with you.
I’ve recently noticed a TV commercial geared to seniors that talks about planning their futures, including funerals. They want older viewers to get their booklet, “nine things” seniors should know. I don’t typically pay any attention to these kinds of ads as I’m not a senior and I know they just want to sell stuff but the announcer says something odd:
“…Discover the difference between having a respectable funeral or something less than you deserve.”
How kind of them to want to explain the “difference” to us, in case we’re unsure. I have often stopped and wondered just what IS the difference between the two. And how can I discover it??
The phrase “respectable funeral” is a head-scratcher. Aren’t funerals generally supposed to be respectable by definition? I mean what might an unrespectable or disrespectable funeral look like? Would there be a cardboard box for you (maybe a big Amazon one) instead of a casket? Would people mock you and comment on what a loser you were? Maybe people would wear cut-offs and flip-flops. Or there’d be loud, burly biker dudes, and beer cans tossed about, and strangers making out in the back row. A not-respectable funeral is open to so many possibilities!
“…something less than you deserve.”
What you deserve? What dead you deserves? This makes me think of Steve Martin’s King Tut song which I’ll quote from memory: “When I die, now don’t think I’m a nut, don’t want no fancy funeral, just one like old King Tut.” What we deserve… I expect most of us are going to get more or less what we deserve, which isn’t to say we’d like it!
So I went into Dollar Tree yesterday. Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near a store like that the week before Christmas but in this case, I stopped in because I didn’t have to and knew I could leave immediately if the atmosphere irritated the hell out of me. Surprisingly, while the shelves, particularly in the Christmas section, were a bit picked over, the store wasn’t bad. They had several registers open (this store almost NEVER does that), shoppers seemed to be in decent spirits, and even the employees didn’t look as if they wanted to throttle anybody. Not right then anyway.
I assure you I was NOT there to buy Christmas presents (ahem) although I did look at the decorations. I wanted a big red bow but the ones they had looked a bit shabby so I passed. I got a pack of twenty little red bows from there not long ago and have used them to decorate, including myself (I tuck one into a hat band for instance).
While in the Christmas section I saw something I felt I must share. The sight of the hard candies brought back old memories from childhood, nice ones. These candies however, were not quite the same. Yes, the canister is festive, although that “artificially flavored” business doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart.
For whatever reason I flipped the can over and saw something I’ve never seen printed on a food item before. I knew I must share these words with you.
After returning the scrumptious, partially genetically engineered treats to the shelf I ccontinued on to my favorite section, the FOOD aisle. If you’ve never been to a Dollar Tree or checked out the dry foods available, you might want to if you have any interest in cutting food costs. There are excellent deals to be had. Some of the stock stays the same but a number of items come and go so you never know what you might find. (If you don’t have a Dollar Tree, there’s a website and I noticed they occasionally do special discounts on shipping costs which might otherwise eat too far into any potential savings.) Here are the few things I bought yesterday.
The “Made in Mexico” taco shells, which I’ve purchased several times before contain only yellow corn flour, yellow precooked corn flour and corn oil, no weird additives or extraneous junk. I like ’em a lot.
I used the lasagna noodles to make a favorite dish last night, Spanish Lasagne, a meatless entree which features artichokes and black olives. It is TO DIE FOR if you are a rabid fan of pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, artichoke hearts and black olives as I am. In a nod to health, I use part skim ricotta and part skim mozzarella, and not as much of the latter as the recipe says. I freeze several slices on a pie plate and then wrap them in foil so I don’t just eat it all up in a few days. (At the time I made this dish last night I wasn’t thinking about including photos in the blog so they aren’t as blog-ready, aesthetically, as I might prefer. But I can’t cheat you out of photos so I fished these slices out of the fridge & freezer for photos.)
Awhile ago I thought I’d do a post on the variety of foods I’ve found at Dollar Tree. I never wrote that post so I’m going to just throw in the picture now. Again, you can’t just walk into a Dollar Tree and find all of these; some I never saw again. Not only are the prices good, some of the foods are sold in larger packages, for instance spaghetti usually is sold in 1.5 lb boxes. Brown rice is sold in a two pound bag and so are pinto beans. All for a dollar apiece. The way I figure certain costs in life are nonnegotiable – rents, mortgages, car payments, electric bills, etc – but expenses like food are variable, so why not save where you can?
Last week I posted a sign I saw in the small, local grocery store I patronize. I’m back with a new one from the same place, of a slightly different ilk. I have to preface this by saying that while I do very much appreciate this particular store, largely for its convenience and good price/sales, the produce section is often dismal. For example, I might find Romaine lettuce that’s not old-n-rotty® on every third visit. Two weeks ago I reached into the zucchini bin and my finger went right through one of them. Ewww. (I used to joke privately, and not too charitably, that the store’s motto must be “We will sell no produce before its time.”)
They also have a discounted produce bin. Honestly, it’s usually pretty scary. A large, chain grocery store would put this stuff in the garbage, but not this store! Despite myself, I usually glance at the discounted offerings because once in a very great while I find something worth buying. (Although now that I think about it I’m not quite sure when that last would have been…)
On the weekend I walked through produce and noticed a new, handwritten sign on the discounted bin, the one in the center.
Gee, that doesn’t sound too friendly. But what it really says to me is that customers have been trying to return this sad produce. Um, I don’t get that at all because it’s not like the store hides the shape these discounted vegetables and fruits are in (unlike some of the “regular” produce, which sometimes gets turned over by staff to hide icky spots, ahem). I mean, hell I took two quick photos of reduced items just to show you.
I’m with the store on this one. I figure if you buy something out of this bin you can’t claim you didn’t KNOW what you were getting. It’s hardly fair to bring it back saying it was bad; you bought it bad.
I was looking at the notices in the pharmacy window at the small, non-chain grocery store near me. I’m one of those people that reads everything. (If I’m in a dental chair, for instance, I’ll read all the stuff on the walls PLUS the manufacturer name and address on the equipment. I’ll cross the street to read a handwritten sign tacked to a utlity pole. I LOVE bulletin boards. You understand.)
The sign on the left I never noticed before:
Admittedly I laughed out loud. Very sardonic. Then again I’m not a customer (I take no prescription meds and generally avoid pharmaceuticals) so maybe if I was a paying customer, I wouldn’t be chuckling. I mean when you’re sick things aren’t all so very funny. Or when you’re paying hundreds of dollars for meds. Better, just a few feet away is this sign:
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