Sunday, January 28, 2024

The One About Potato Peelers


Vincent Van Gogh

Sometimes, I am dismayed by the way my Life is Awash In The Mundane. The smallest, most pedestrian things earn my laser focus. This happens most often during the winter months when I'm forced to be inside more, and I become a little...well, crazy. 

Anyway, this post is not about that, per se. This post is about Potato Peelers.

About a month or so ago, my Potato Peeler (aka Vegetable Peeler, or whatever) simply stopped working adequately. I was incredibly annoyed, for the obvious reason, but also because it was bright red, matched my kitchen, and hung conveniently (and cutely) on the wall within reach. Here is a photo of one just like it, because in a fit of pique, I threw mine in the trash with a lot of profanity.

Thank you, Ebay, for this photo.

That Peeler gave me many years of good service, but it let me down, so into my Journal Of Wrongs it went, right next to my can opener. That meant that I had to use Rick's Peeler until I could find a new one. Rick's Peeler was THE Peeler many years ago until it displeased me mightily, and then it was demoted to backup status when I got Big Red.

Rick's Peeler:  Barely Usable

His Peeler isn't sharp enough and doesn't peel away from me as well as it does toward me. I hate that. It also has separation there at the neck where the Peeler part fits into the handle. I hate that, too. And the whole handle is too big for my hand. 

So I was really on the hunt for a new Peeler, and I found one at Marshalls where I was also the Victim Of Rude Cellphone Usage. It looked okay, was a brand name, and was only $3.99. The handle looked small for my hand. I went ahead and took a chance.


I could not have been more wrong. This dumb thing didn't last even one potato. (And that potato was a Yukon Gold, not even hard to peel. Come on!) I berated this Peeler loudly and vociferously the entire time it struggled to get the peel off the potato. Did I use The Eff Word? Yes, I did, and as several parts of speech. It went immediately into the trash. Enter Rick's Peeler again.

On Thursday I went to my grocery store and lo! and behold, hanging on an end cap in the Closeouts Section, were THREE bright red Potato Peelers. They were arrestingly red, a little odd-looking, and even better, priced at $1.99. How could I not try one? I tossed one in my cart immediately and hoped for the best. (I also scored a Carter's brand set of babywear for Theo for only $7.99, but this is not about that. Still, a major deal for 3 shirts and 2 pants, right?) Here's that Peeler: 
The handle is made of bamboo! It's so red and shiny! And cheap!

I put my new Peeler to the test the next day, and it astounded and delighted me! It flew through carrots and potatoes. It made short work of apples for an apple crisp. It fit in my hand perfectly and sturdily. 


It has only one drawback--its hole is not big enough to fit over the hook where its predecessor hung. But that's okay! I've placed a pair of red and white kitchen scissors there, and it's proven to be a very handy place for them. (And you all know about me and Scissors.)

This week I'm going back to the grocery store to see if any of the Peelers are still there. If so, I'm buying whatever remain. I simply cannot go through this again.

Talk to me about your Potato Peelers in Comments. Or any other Kitchen Utensil Persnickety-nesses.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Is It Women? Is It Marshalls? Is It Cellphones? What's Ruining America?

ver the years here at the Dept.,  I've written many posts about the Casualization Of America. I've lamented Khaki Pants, men wearing baseball hats everywhere but baseball games, and the godforsaken crocs and jammies in public. I've sighed about people wearing flipflops to restaurants and flipflopping their detritus upward toward everyone's food. I've tried to be a Good Sport about all of this; truly I have. My eye-rolling has diminished by a good 70% or more as I've aged and learned to Let Go and understand that there are things far more worthy of my distress.

Like what I keep encountering when I shop for a shirt at Marshalls.

Every once in a while, I get sick of my clothes and pull stuff off of hangers and out of drawers to put in a donation bag. It's usually items that I realize I've stopped wearing or that I haven't seen in a long time. Once that's done, I see that I need a couple of things to fill a gap in the wardrobe. Marshalls is across from my grocery store, so it's a convenient trip.

Anyway, my point--and I do have one--is that I don't like what keeps happening when I shop at Marshalls, and it's women who are doing it.

The last time I was there, a woman was on her cellphone in the racks across from me. "So it was just so weird," she said. "I got him up, and he was perfectly fine at first. Then he started sort of spinning--literally--out of control. I got him settled down, gave him his meds, fed him, and he seemed okay. Then he started the spinning thing again. I didn't know what to do. I'm like, do I just go ahead and send him to school or what? So I put him in the car and take him, and I tell his teacher everything and she says she'll keep me informed."

At this point I started feeling a little uncomfortable. Clearly, she's talking about a special needs child. It felt like something I shouldn't be privy to, but here I was, in a store, looking for a sweater that wouldn't show a lot of cat hair. What was I supposed to do?

"Well, I'm just shopping right now," she continued. "I'm sort of waiting to hear. She didn't seem too concerned. I just wonder how much of it is diet, how much of it is environment, how much is you know..." I casually looked in her direction, just in case she wasn't aware that there was someone else so close. She barely looked at me and continued talking in the same volume, as if she were speaking to someone who was standing next to her and about something as mundane as the placement of buttons on the shirt she was looking at. 

I wasn't too surprised. The last time I was at Marshalls I heard a woman on her cell tell someone about her daughter's MS diagnosis and her entire consult with the specialist. This woman didn't think much of the doctor, by the way, and she felt that the way he was going about things was totally wrong. If it were up to her, she'd leave that practice entirely and go with Cleveland Clinic all the way. This guy had zero idea what he was doing. But her daughter was grown and engaged to be married, for heaven's sakes, so all she could do was be there for her, but if you ask her, she really needed to see someone better.

Anyway, the woman with the spinning child wandered off to look at makeup, and I decided to look in Shoes for a pair of winter boots. Suddenly, I heard a woman tell me, "You shut up! Shut. Up. Right. Now." She had to be talking to me--even though I had yet to say a single word--because I was the only person in Shoes besides her. My eyes widened and teared involuntarily. I was almost afraid to move for a moment. Then I saw her. She came around the corner and suddenly started laughing. "Oh god! You have got to be kidding me! Shut it! You're sick!" She barely glanced at me and pushed her cart down the next aisle. 

Who in the hell are these women who A) cannot modulate their voices if they must be on a phone; B) must be on a phone call whilst shopping; C) don't care if they blab their/their family's personal medical conditions in public; D) have so little concern/awareness for Common Human Courtesy and Basic Manners that they do this in the first place? We have become a nation of crass and selfish idiots.

People like this have already ruined Going To The Movies for me. I haven't seen a film at the theater since Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis. Even the Tuesday afternoon showings were full of people using their phones during the film, talking during the film, and being inconsiderate in general. It's a Sadness that so many people simply act as if they are in their own living rooms when they are out in public, and this cuts across all age groups. "If you have a problem with it, then stay home" seems to be their attitude. 

Kindness Is My Default has been my mantra for years and years, and it will remain so. I will continue to work on my Patience.  


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Happy New Year And I'm Back With A Recap Of My Getaway Weekend


Happy New Year! I took some necessary Time Off to battle a series of migraines and to travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a party and some relaxation. 

Migraines:  The changeable weather is killing me. We've had so many ups and downs with temperature and barometric pressure and rain, then snow, then high winds that I knew I was in for it. My fantastic neurologist Dr. B. told me long ago to watch the isobars:  When they start packing together, that's a bad sign. I had a 48-hour migraine already in process when we left for NotL on Saturday 1/6, and meds weren't touching it. Talk about miserable. We arrived at our favourite inn, and all I could do was hibernate in front of the fireplace in our suite. Resting helped quite a bit, and we briefly went out for a quick dinner, then spent the rest of the night in. The weather was cold and inhospitable anyway.

Winery Release Party: On Sunday afternoon our favourite winery was only open for the party, which was an intimate affair this time. It was Andrzej's birthday--a milestone one--so he was releasing a new family label of wines. I especially liked the sparkling, which spent 102 months sur lie. All of them were a tribute to his skills and lovely to drink. I was so happy that my migraine had resolved completely overnight, and I felt almost normal albeit a bit fragile. My wine intake was limited to a taste of each variety (minus chardonnay, which is a trigger for me), and I made sure I had food in my stomach. 

Perfect Getaway:  I have to say that what I enjoyed the most about the weekend was the fact that I could relax completely. There was literally Nothing That I Had To Do. No vacuuming, no dinner planning, no laundry, no errands, no little task was needling at me since I wasn't at home. I read; I watched Netflix; I browsed a bit on my iPad; Rick and I chatted with our friend the innkeeper. The weather never cleared up sufficiently to make walking pleasant, and I was so exhausted from fighting a headache for so long anyway. We talked and looked at photos of Theo. On our way home we stopped at the winery and picked up a mixed case of reds to plug a few holes in our cellar for the long winter ahead. Oh! And when we went to check out, our friend refused to charge us for our stay! He said he was technically closed anyway, and we didn't have Full Service (No breakfast--We were the only guests there.) We protested strenuously, but he wouldn't hear of it. We've stayed there exclusively for decades now, and we consider ourselves good friends. 

That's one of the things we love about returning again and again to NotL. We've made friends with so many people there and stay in touch year 'round. It's a home away from home.

I hope you have had a Gentle Entry into the New Year. Tell me about your Home Away From Home, or a Friend you look forward to seeing when you're Away From Home.


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