Mostly On Target

I’m cheating…  Well, OK, I’m not exactly cheating, but sort of…

I made no promises about daily blog posts, and I certainly didn’t make any resolutions of the sort.  But I did say I wanted to write more, and I have posted something new everyday this year… You hear that?  EVERY DAY THIS YEAR!!!  (Sounds like a really long time and major accomplishment, huh?)  😉

Anyway, I’m cheating because I’m writing this tonight, but it won’t post till tomorrow…  Except that by the time you’re reading this…

I’m cheating because I wrote this last night, but it didn’t post till today…  Yeah, I think that’s right. Tomorrow(today) I will be heading up to Cache Creek Casino and Resort for a day of nickel slot machines (probably) and an over night in the hotel, before coming back on Thursday, so I have to write this post in advance and schedule it if I want to keep up my EVERY DAY THIS YEAR!!! streak.

I had dinner to(last)night with a friend of mine named Shirley.  I met Shirley at work years ago and we developed a friendship.  She was blessed enough to be able to retire early from the company and has been living a very comfortable life since then.  We get together every so often to enjoy a meal and have a nice conversation and that’s what we did tonight.  We had dinner at a lovely restaurant called Hs. Lordships (most people pronounce it “His Lordships” – don’t know why), in Berkeley, CA, right on the water of the Bay.  Shirley asked to have an “early dinner”, which worked out nicely.  She lives about 30 miles away from me and she was coming to me since I came to her last time and she wanted to eat early so she could go home early… Or anyway that was the plan.  I made 5:00 reservations and it was nearly 8:00 when we left the restaurant and then we stood in the parking lot for another nearly 30 minutes talking.

The restaurant was deserted when we arrived, and they seated us at arguably the nicest table they have.  It’s right in the corner with windows on two sides, one of which was facing the Golden Gate Bridge.  I couldn’t not snap a shot with my iPhone and this was the view from my dinner table tonight!

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

I expected the restaurant to fill up but the entire time we were there, there were only two or three other parties at the restaurant so it was kind of nice.  We had a wonderful and enlightening conversation and I’m so glad we got together.  It can be so hard to maintain relationships with people you don’t see with regularity, but this is a relationship that is worth maintaining!  Next time we get together, Shirley told me, I’ll come to her house where she’ll cook and I’ll get to meet and play with her six to eight year old Black Lab, Jake, whom she rescued from a shelter two years ago.  I can’t wait for that!

After my dinner was over, I ran over to the nearby Target store.  I was going way out on a limb, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

You see, a while back I bought a printer.

Sometime after that, I bought an ink cartridge.

Sometime after that, I bought a new computer because the one I had spontaneously kicked the bucket.

Sometime after that, I attempted to install my old printer on my new computer, only to learn that they couldn’t play nicely together.

Recently, I bought a new printer (spoiling Michelle’s plans for her Christmas Gift to me, as I’ve previously mentioned.)

Even more recently, I was cleaning up and I happened across that printer cartridge, which had never been opened and had never been used.

I know I bought that cartridge at Target.  I do not know when I bought it, where the receipt is, or which credit card I used to buy it.  In general Target has a very liberal return policy.  From the perspective of a former retail manager, their return policy is TOO liberal, however, as a frequent shopper of Target stores, I’m grateful for this liberal policy.  (By the way, are the gays still supposed to be pissed off at Target and boycotting?  If so, shoot me.  I don’t care.)  In addition to not knowing which card I used to purchase the cartridge, my Debit card number was recently changed, as I mentioned in a previous post, due to credit card fraud activity at my local grocery stores.  I handed the unopened cartridge box to the customer service rep and told her, “I’m going out on a limb here.  I don’t know when I bought this or which card I used but I know I bought it at Target.  She worked her magic and determined that I had not bought it on either of the two cards I had given her.  I was fully prepared to be told that it had been too long and I couldn’t return it.  Instead she said, “I can give you store credit and you’ll get $XX.XX for it.  I was perfectly happy to accept that as I had some shopping to do anyway.

I have had a number of complaints about Target over the years.  They’re in desperate need of properly training their staff not to get in their customers’ way and to say “excuse me” when they must.  Pretty much every time I’ve gone to a Target since I moved to California I’ve had at least one, and usually more, employee step in front of me and stop to put something on a shelf right where I’m looking, without saying a word.  I’ve had a number of bad experiences in their snack bars, with them usually being understaffed by under-motivated, slow-moving workers.  But I must say that I was very impressed with the service tonight and how the young lady handled my return that I expected not to go so well.

Spending the store credit was no problem.  I’m down to my last case of Diet Pepsi here at home and that’s just a tragic event that can not be!  I must have a plentiful supply of Diet Pepsi at all times!  Otherwise I get itchy.  Heh.  I needed one or two other things as well, including a wart removal product.  You see, yesterday at some time I rather suddenly became aware of a painful bump on the little webbing between my ring and middle fingers on my right hand.  Don’t know where it came from but it just seemed to instantly appear.  At first I thought it was a pimple and I tried my damnedest to squeeze and pop it (isn’t that what one does with a pimple?) but I couldn’t get good leverage on it to give it a good squeeze.  And then I thought, “That doesn’t look much like a pimple.  I think that’s a wart.”  I don’t know how I would have gotten a wart in between two fingers and so suddenly but I didn’t know what else it could be.  So while I was at Target I looked for wart remover.  I found exactly ONE product, which I’m sure is not all that’s out there.  Dr. Sholl’s Freeze Away.  “Removes warts fast with as few as 1 treatment” the package says.  I’d like to get rid of this thing with as few as one treatment.  That might be just what I need.  Though I have to admit that “freeze away” scares me and it cost $14.00 for something I’ll likely only use once.  But they didn’t have any other product so I bought it and brought it home.

I decided to be a smart boy and read the instructions and warnings carefully.  The instructions are remarkably incomplete.  “Twist the applicator onto the can, stick the applicator in the activator, freeze off the wart.”  Um… Okay.  Not specific enough.  The warnings go on to say, “Do not use this product on anything other than a common wart or a plantar wart.”  “If you do not use Freeze Away exactly as these directions say to use it, or if you use it on any other condition that is not a common or plantar wart, it may cause serious burns, permanent scarring of the skin, or blindness.  If you are not sure whether the skin condition is a common wart or plantar wart, ask a doctor before using Freeze Away“.

Well, I thought I was sure…  But I’m not sure enough to risk permanent scaring or blindness.  How is this product even available over the counter?  For $14.00, I’m taking this back and I’ll go to CVS to find some salicylic acid to paste on it.  Sure wish Target had some of that; this sucker hurts and I’d like it to be gone already!


So!  Now that this commentary is out of the way, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and pack for this trip that I am already on while you’re reading this. 😉

Sock It To Me

I’ve had a fairly uneventful couple of days.  And yet, I don’t know where the time went.  I feel like I don’t have a handle on things right now.  Not in a depressive, woah is me, kind of way exactly.  Just, time seems to run out all the time.  I don’t know where the time went and why I didn’t get more done with it.

Friday night I stayed up way too late working on my socks.  I finished them, except for the “grafting” at the end.  I didn’t know what that meant, or how it is done.  I mentioned that to Juana the other day and she said something about alternating knitting and purling and she threw out the name of some technique the name of which I can’t seem to remember, but makes me think of Kussmaul, which isn’t right because that’s the name of a type of breathing that relates to Insulin shock (excess sugar in the system) and has absolutely nothing to do with knitting – Clearly.

I brought the socks in today and Juana showed me how to finish them off.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it again, but at least I know who to ask next time, too.

But I stayed up until after 2:00 in the morning working on them and then slept until after noon on Saturday.  That’s a good way to lose valuable time right there.

On Saturday, I got up with a plan which very quickly fell by the wayside.  I ate some breakfast and watched TV while I worked on my menu for the week.  Well, I guess really I worked on my menu for the week while I ate breakfast and watched TV.  It was supposed to be a quick process but I was easily distracted and it took a few hours to complete the menu and my grocery list and head out to shop.  By the time I made the three stops I needed to make and came home with my loot it was after 8:00 and I still needed to take a shower.  My lofty plans of eating a healthy dinner of Salmon and Brown Rice were shot and I ended up eating left over pizza instead.

One of my stops on Saturday was at Bed, Bath and Beyond where I bought a flour sifter.  I had to go there because much to my surprise, I could not find one at Target.  I needed the flour sifter because Sunday morning I made scones.  I have been craving scones like my mother used to make, for years.  Not that there’s anything particularly special about the way my mother makes them, just that they were always hot and fresh and she put about fifteen times more sugar in them than the recipe calls for (which is only about one and half teaspoons.)

It’s not even a special recipe; it comes from the Betty Crocker cookbook.  The problem is, my Betty Crocker cookbook doesn’t have the scone recipe in it and my mother packed up all her cookbooks when she bought her house several years ago and they’re all stored in her attic where she can’t get to them and therefore couldn’t obtain the recipe for me.  Surprisingly it’s much harder to find on-line than you might think and I’ve been without a good scone recipe for years… until now.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, I had some bananas that were on their last leg and needed to be used or go to waste, so I made banana bread.  The recipe I have for banana bread calls for buttermilk.  I love buttermilk food products, but I detest buttermilk, go figure.  The smallest container I could buy of buttermilk was a quart and the banana bread calls for 1/2 cup.  Having a significant amount of left over buttermilk I needed to find some more recipes to use it in.  So I made biscuits.  They were pretty good.  A little denser and less flakey than I like.  I believe I over kneaded them.  I’ll know for next time.

I still had half a quart of buttermilk left and I needed to find something else to make.  I found an app on my iPhone for a recipe finder where you type in an ingredient and it gives you recipe options.  I found several recipes for blueberry muffins and I love blueberry muffins.  I lost track of which recipe was which and soon I ended up with a cream cheese muffin recipe that sounded really good but wasn’t a “blueberry” recipe.  I decided to take my chances and make it blueberry anyway, only not really knowing what I was doing and not wanting to get too far overboard I only used a 1/2 cup of blueberries for the whole recipe.  They did turn out pretty well but I wasn’t sure if there were enough blueberries so when I brought some into work the next day I offered my coworkers some “Theoretically Blueberry, Absolutely Cream Cheese Muffins.”  Theoretically blueberry, because there was a very real chance of someone getting a muffin with no actual blueberries in it.

While searching for buttermilk recipes and finding blueberry muffins, I also found a recipe for scones.  So I had to make them.  And I did.  And they were deeelishus.  And too many of them.  And too fattening.  I ate them while watching Winter Wipeout (which is not something I can crochet or knit while watching if I want to get the full effect) and while gearing up for my afternoon with Lil’B.

I wasn’t really sure what to do with him and I’m running low on creativity these days.  I started thinking about movies and thought he might like to see Tron: Legacy, but I wasn’t sure.  I don’t know that much about it and I never saw Tron so I didn’t really know if it was appropriate for him.  I put it out to Twitter because anytime you need a question answered you turn to Twitter, right? No?  Hmmm…  I asked “Any reason for a 9 yo to not see Tron?”  I got one answer, hours later, which simply said that if he has a short attention span he won’t be able to get through it.  I think the GI Joe fiasco last year proved that’s not a problem.

I arrived at Lil’B’s house to find a herd of people.  His uncle and his family, from Bakersfield, was visiting.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to have been sent away without Lil’B under the circumstances, but that thought never seemed to cross anyone’s mind.  While Lil’B was finishing getting ready some of his little cousins asked me what we were going to do.  I told them I wasn’t really sure and it depended on if Lil’B had something he wanted to do, and then I said, we might just go to a movie.  They started asking what movie and one of them suggested Tron: Legacy.  Lil’B came out of his room, ready to go and I asked him if he had anything specific he wanted to do.  He said, “I don’t know.” (Naturally)  I asked him if he had any interest in seeing Tron and he said, “I don’t know.” (Naturally) And then another of his cousins spoke up, “Ooo. Go see Little Fockers,” he said enthusiastically.  I missed bits and pieces of their conversation but I heard something about “shot in his penis” and this was funny, apparently.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  Little Fockers is rated PG-13 and Lil’B is only 9.  But his mother doesn’t care about such things and he has seen more than a few movies that were rated above his age bracket.  The movie was actually pretty good, though there were things about it that were a bit above his maturity level and I was a little uneasy from time to time.  After the movie I asked him what his favorite part of the movie was and he said it was when Jack and Greg got into a fight at the kids’ birthday party that had them thrashing about in a ball pit.  I asked him if he had any thoughts about or questions about anything that he heard or saw in the movie and he said he did not.  I hope that means he didn’t think much of the sexual innuendo and questionable moments and not that he was embarrassed to ask.

When I dropped him off his cousins and uncle were still at the house and the young boys came rushing up to ask what we had done.  Angel told them we saw Little Fockers and then he went into the bathroom.  The boys turned to me and asked “How do you get a big brother?”

I told them I didn’t really know.  “I know how to become a big brother.  I don’t know how to get a big brother.”

“I want a big brother!” one of them said.

And then the other said, “I want you to be my big brother!”

I was surprised.  “You do?” I asked.  “Why?”

He answered with a big grin on his face, “Because!  You’re cool!”