Monthly Archive: April 2004

Apr 30

Concert goodness

Last night Meghan, Jeff and I saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the (now smoke-free!!) Cat’s Cradle — WOW! Great show. The Old Crow Medicine Show opened — they’re probably the biggest pleasant surprise I’ve had with an opener since I saw Ron Sexsmith open for Tift Merritt in June 0f 2002. TOCMS was real “old-timey” “string-and-jugband” bluegrass-y, with 5 (6?) vocals, a *damn* good fiddler, stand-up bass, guitar and banjo (and maybe more)? They did one song, about a girl who lied, that I adored (and, of course, which I don’t know the name of…grrr).

Gillan and David were (as always) amazing. They love playing in this area, and it shows — they energy was wonderful. Best treat of the evening was when TOCMS joined them on stage for a slow, bluesy version of Clapton’s “Round Midnight” — gorgeous.

Still sleepy though. Big project launches today, Singing tomorrow night. Will attempt to update before next Thursday. ;-)

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/30/concert-goodness/

Apr 30

Oh heavens…

Must not laugh too loudly…people already think I’m nuts:

The funniest auction ever

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/30/oh-heavens/

Apr 29

Iron Chef!

The big thing this past weekend (gads, I’m slow.  big project launching this week, though, so I have a semi-excuse) was that Sunday Jeff & I had a few friends over to his house* for sushi-rolling goodness and Iron Chef!

Saturday morning, I crafted (more on this later) and that afternoon we went to the little Asian market in Chapel Hill for supplies …Silver Wok Gourmet, I believe it’s called — it’s right near where Mariakakis restaurant was (gads, I miss that place.. the huge cheesy white pizza with the “ziki-ziki” sauce. Yes, I know it’s tzatziki sauce, but I called it “ziki-ziki” sauce).  Anyway, the SWG is run by a little Japanese woman who reminded us of Jeff’s mom and who was very sweet in making recommendations to us about which sort of miso to buy, etc.  (Though she reminded me of Jeff’s mom immediately, I didn’t say anything to Jeff while we were in the store because I was afraid that it would come off as some sort of “all older Japanese ladies look alike” thing, and it wasn’t.  But then in the car on the way to Wellspring (sorry, Whole Foods) Jeff said she’s reminded him of his mom, so I fessed up too.).

Anyway, post-shopping we had dinner at Rockfish (I do <3 Rockfish), followed by more craftiness for me… I made a pocketbook:



and chopsticks for the party (more on those later). 

I took those cheap snap-apart chopsticks (I had to snap about 20 pairs of them to get 10 even-enough pairs to pass muster — good thing I’m a packrat!), sanded them with 00 and 000 grade sandpaper, wrapped masking tape about an inch down from the top and painted each one with two different colors of paint.  Finally, I sealed them with clear nail polish (which is almost like lacquer, right?) and set them to dry.

Sunday afternoon we did all the prep work for the sushi…made rice, made it sushi rice, slivered cukes and carrots, boiled shrimp, tried to slice the cream cheese but gave that up as hopeless, and considered slicing the tuna, but decided to wait until the last possible moment for that.  We also made the miso soup (ok, Jeff did), and cut up all the bits for the tempura (sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions, shrimp, and green beans) and cleaned up. 

Then I got a little obsessive-compulsive (me? no way!) and decided that I needed to add beads to one chopstick from each pair (the Japanese aesthetic values asymmetry, right?).  Here’s the result:


And a closeup of the pink-and-orange ones (my favorite):


I also made voting sheets for everyone so that they could rate each chef.  On the real program, each chef is judged on:

  1. originality,
  2. expression of the theme ingredient,
  3. presentation, and
  4. taste;

however, given that we couldn’t taste (sadly), we judged on:

  1. originality,
  2. chef’s “style”,
  3. appearance, and
  4. would I eat it?

We favored Morimoto over Flay (heck, we would’ve favored Bob Saget over Flay, I think!), and were quite disappointed when he was *robbed*!  It was a blast, and not nearly as stressful as I feared (I know I’ve mentioned my hostess-stress before — doesn’t that look like it should be hostessstress? — mostly because it was a very small group of people *and* people were kind enough to bring goodies (like sake! mmmmm).

* a double-whammy of a shocker!  As may have been mentioned before, Jeff’s (a) Introverted (notice capital “I”) and (b) doesn’t much care for parties (that was an understatement, actually, as he pretty much doesn’t like them except under some very specific circumstances), so it amazed me that he agreed to it and agreed to have it at his house.  I think the biggest thing that helped make this OK was the fact that he got to (for the first part of the party) be involved in cooking (which meant not a whole lot of having to interact with people) and then (for the second half of the party) be involved in the watching (ditto).  In addition, this was “comfortable” territory… he is at home with making tempura, etc.  Plus he had all the cool little bits like pretty soy sauce dishes and sake warmers!

Oh, while I’m thinking of it, don’t buy the little Japanese “jelly” candies that look like jello in those little creamer cups (only clear).  They are, I have determined, NOT food.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/29/iron-chef/

Apr 23

ROTFLOL

From today’s Triangle Free cycle newsletter:

Message: 22
  Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 18:27:43 -0000
  From:
  Subject: Offer: 2 teenage boys, fussy and argumentative. Will deliver.

Yes, that’s right, I’ve made good on my threat to post both of them
on triangle free cycle after last night’s fussing over who ate the
most chicken wings. They are free to whoever would like them, but
they will need some fixing up as they currently don’t work. Large
amounts of food required to run properly. Must be picked up by
tonight.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/23/rotflol/

Apr 22

Painting a frog…

I very nearly nearly did just now.

This one:

Was testing the color of the paint I picked up from hardware store at lunch.  Thought he was a blotch to be painted over.  He is not.  Is cute though.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/22/painting-a-frog/

Apr 20

Weekend in review

Friday morning I went with a crown (ok, a smallish crowd) of folks from work to raise walls on the Habitat for Humanity house that Nortel is sponsoring. This was, much to my great surprise, fun (tho it was a bit on the warm side and I “glowed” more than I’m accustomed to). I have pictures, which will get posted soon, I hope (don’t you love the way I phrased that “which will get posted soon,” as if *I* am not the one who needs to get off her rear and post them. I was more competent at the nailing thing than I’d thought I’d be, and was thwoping the big (that’d be $.16 to use the technical term) nails in seven thwacks or fewer. Yah me! That being said, Steve could do it in three, so I’m not sure I’ve got a lot to brag on.

Friday night, I met up with Heather and Liz for some shopping action (at Total Wine — who thought up that name?!), then dinner at the Angus Barn. Mmmmmmmmm….beef! I’d not eaten there since my birthday (September, for anyone keeping track) and had not had dinner with Liz and Heather in eons either (though Heather was co-host of the girl’s fondue thing, and Liz was there), so that was thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday, oh Saturday, Jeff and I took the bike to Winston and ordered my MINI!! More on that later (do I always say that?), but for now I need help with the critical decision of chrome mirrors (another view) or white mirrors.

I did end up opting for the chrome bumper inserts, much to my surprise.

What color mirror covers should Gina get on her MINI?
Chrome (adv.: shiny, bugs not as obvious, matches bumper inserts)
White (adv: cheaper, matches roof)

  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/20/weekend-in-review-3/

Apr 16

On family

darthsunshine posted a question that got me thinking about my relationship with my brother and how it has undergone a transformation.

Growing up, Drew, my younger brother, and I fought.  Not fought like the bickering that all siblings do, but real, not-very-nice arguing and disrespecting each other.  In my mind, I was the older (somewhat more “responsible”…note, I did say this was in my mind) sister, and he was the crybaby, gets-everything-he-wants baby brother (we’re only 4.5 years apart, actually).  More than anything, though, we just had very very little in common.  I was bookish/academically oriented (ok, geeky), extroverted (yeah, that made me popular alright.. a geek who wants to hang out with everyone 
else), and not at all interested in being outdoors or sports or cars. Drew, OTOH, was introverted, athletic, “outdoorsy”, not much interested in reading or books, and loved cars.

I am my daddy’s girl, and we’re frighteningly similar at times, while Drew is just like Mom, of course.  Mom and Dad split when we were 14 and 10, and given the disparity of their personalities, it wasn’t (in retrospect, at any rate) all that surprising.

As I got older, I “loosened up” a bit, and Drew grew up and got a job and had many of the same responsibilities as I did.  We still didn’t connect, though.  We’d see each other, exchange notes on who saw which parent last and what they’d done/said, and then sit, staring at one another, with nothing else much to say until we made some excuse to be somewhere else.  The acrimony of our childhood had been replaced by indifference.  I loved him (I will always love him, no matter what, ’cause he’s my brother), but we had no structure for our relationship other than the bonds of kinship.

What’s weird in our case is that there was one evening that was a turning point; a distinct fulcrum around which our relationship rotated.  It was 1998ish, and I was very close friends with a guy named Dave, who was, in many ways, between us on the spectrum.  He was a “car guy” and was a mechanic for a while, yet was also a computer geek.  He was a little obsessive 
and “stressy” like me about details; yet was “coooooooool” and laid back (like Drew) in conversations and one-on-one.

One of the few things that Drew and I had discovered we both liked was the Beatles, and when the Beatles Yellow Submarine was released to theaters again, I asked Dave and Meghan (another close friend) to get pizza and see it with me.  On a whim I called Drew and invited him too, not knowing if he’d consider hanging out with his “not-cool” sister or if he did, what we’d say to each other.

To make a long (sorry) story a lot shorter, that evening everything changed.  Drew showed up and we did our “So have you talked to Mom recently” thing and ….

well…

I told Dave that Drew was restoring an old car (a big American Boatmobile, I think I called it). Conversation!!!  Then Dave made a joke about about a movie that we’d all seen — more conversation!!!

And that night I saw my brother as someone other than “my baby brother.”  He became a real 3-D person, whom I could relate to outside of the family relationship, even if we still didn’t have a lot in common.  During the course of one evening of conversation, he figured out that I wasn’t nearly as “geeky” as he thought (hey! I have cool friends who restore cars too!), while and I realized that he wasn’t the little tattletale who always got his way (not, mind you, that he ever really was… it was 
just my perception).

We’ve talked about it since and I think we’re both more than a little amazed that somehow we got past 30 years of attitude/indifference.  I know my mom is perplexed by it.  Maybe it was the beer or maybe it was the “bridgers” (Dave and Meghan), but since that night, we’ve been friends.  He is a different person now (as am I), and it just took that one night for me to really “see” it.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/16/on-family/

Apr 14

Words you can’t say properly unless you’re from the South

I was listening to commercial radio this morning (I’m still mad about NPR’s Bob Edwards decision) when the DJ announced a “parking lot party” in Raleigh this weekend. He mentioned that one of my favorite local bands when I was growing up, The Connells, were playing. The only problem is that he didn’t say “Connells” correctly. He said something a little like connul (with the same emphasis that you’d use in saying Colin) when it should be con’-ells (not real phonetic symbols, obviously).

Then I thought about it some more, and realized it’s not even con’-ells, really, because that doesn’t take into account the little hesitation-drawly-thing that happens when a southerner says Connells. For some older Southerners, whose tongues are perhaps more “pure” in terms of accent than mine, you can even hear it on words like hotel“or motel (or Holiday Inn. no not really.). My grandmother, for instance, who is from Mayfield (little bit of tiny nowhere in western Kentucky), but who has lived in Charlotte most of her life, says mo’-tel and ho’-tel. (Now that I’ve typed it, it looks a little, erm, “ghetto” [can I say that? is that acceptable slang these days? Gads, listen to me, I’m an Old Woman], but when you hear it, that Southern “lilt” comes out.

In 1996 I went to France with my grandma (and 40 Queen’s College [Charlotte, not NYC] alumni). Upon returning to the states it took me three weeks to break myself of the habit of saying pho’-to, much to the amusement many of my work buddies, who hail from The North. ;-)

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/14/words-you-cant-say-properly-unless-youre-from-the-south/

Apr 12

Steps to repairing a leaky faucet

  1. Put off the repair as long as humanly possible.  It’s no big deal that you have to jiggle the handle a certain way. Five or six times. And it still drips for a couple of seconds.  All faucets do that, right?
  2. Take to rinsing your cereal bowls (only milky stuff left, as you are very careful to finish all the cereal) in the bathroom sink in order to avoid turning on the kitchen faucet.
  3. Talk to your boss about fixing the leak.  Almost believe him when he says you should just call a plumber.  Cringe as he recounts horror stories of water, water, everywhere.
  4. Remember that you’ve done this before, successfully even, years ago. 
  5. Research leaky faucet repairs on the web, becoming reassured that, yeah, you’re handygirl aplenty enough to handle this.
  6. In course of IM conversation with Dad WRT injured cats and recent trip to Charleston, confirm that “all washers are not the same” and you really do have to go home, take the blasted thing apart, and then take the bits to Home Despot to find replacements.
  7. Call Home Despot to determine that they do not carry the plant mounting bracket that you need, although Lowe’s does.  Resign yourself to going to Lowe’s, even though it’s further away and you have a $10 Home Despot card to use up.  Plant bracket has *nothing* to do with faucet, of course, but is vitally necessary to hang a lamp you bought in Charleston.
  8. Go home. 
  9. Turn off water supply under sink.  Very important.
  10. Disassemble sink.  Take bits out.  Wrap in paper towel and put in baggie.
  11. Gloat a little on the way to Lowe’s because that wasn’t so hard after all and your boss was nuts.  You’re HandyGirl, you can do this (you’re even Capitalizing HandyGirl ™ in your head).
  12. At Lowe’s go to plumbing department.  Look at plumbing bits.  Find bits that look a lot like the bits you’re holding, but not exactly alike. 
  13. Desire reassurance.
  14. Find plumbing department guy.  Show him baggie.
  15. When he asks you what brand of faucet it is, realize that perhaps you should’ve paid a little more attention during the disassembly process.
  16. Agree when he suggests Delta.  Everyone has Delta faucets, right?  Besides, he says it looks like a Delta handle (be glad you brought the handle instead of just the interior bits).
  17. Smile smugly when plumbing department guy says you’re going to save $75 plus the 30% markup on the bits you’re buying for $14.
  18. Think about MINI goodness and that $75 buying half an iPod mount for said MINI.
  19. Get plant bracket and light bulbs.  Gloat some more that you remembered all the pieces you came for. 
  20. Realize that once again, you really should’ve gotten a basket at the *beginning* of the trip, rather than holding onto the edges of all the little things with your pinky fingers.
  21. Go home, procuring KFC Twister sandwich for dinner en route.  Resolve not to eat it until faucet is fixed, as the cooling sandwich will provide motivation.
  22. Take bits out of packages.  Reassemble faucet, following *really vague* instructions on back of package. 
  23. Wonder which direction the little ball thingy with the stick on it should go.
  24. Think you’ve figured it out, based on the way the handle has to move when everything is said and done.
  25. Put all the bits in place.
  26. Tighten everything.
  27. Turn on water supply under sink.
  28. Watch faucet leak.
  29. Take everything apart and try again.
  30. While talking to Dad on phone (unrelated call topic, but it is determined that phone diagnosis of faucet problem is impossible), repeat steps 25-29 (inclusive) with every possible combination of new parts and old parts.  (Maybe the old ball-with-stick thingy was better than the new one?)
  31. Decide that maybe the O-rings are the problem (the O-rings are almost always the problem aren’t they?)
  32. Replace them.  Cut pinky finger trying to pry old O-rings off.  Apparently the old O-rings weren’t in such bad shape after all.
  33. Reassemble everything, tightening securely.
  34. Turn on water, and watch faucet leak.
  35. Panic.
  36. Succumb to hunger and let go of pride. 
  37. Eat Twister sandwich while watching a DVR’d Carol Duvall. You’re still CraftyGirl, even if you can’t fix the damn faucet.  Wonder where last week’s The Apprentice is, which you missed while getting your hair cut.  Hope it’s repeated on Wednesday night, per norm, as you are quite hooked. 
  38. Decide more research is needed. Go turn on home computer and wait for damn thing to boot.
  39. Slow, slow computer.
  40. Remember that you still have all your Charleston photos to organize/go through.  Consider doing that instead of fixing faucet.
  41. Google “repair leaky faucet” and find nothing useful. Revision: find lots of useful stuff, but nothing with pictures.  Pictures at this point seem critical.
  42. Wonder how all those sites do the thing where they appear no matter what you search on.
  43. Be really annoyed at Bob Vila, whose site has the following useful tidbit: 

    “Leaky Faucets:  Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period”

    but NOTHING about how to repair said faucet.  Thanks, Bob.  (“Let’s go over and see Fred, who is installing the countertops in this home we’re restoring.  Hey, Fred, what are you working on?”  “Um, I’m installing countertops, Bob…”  “Right, so how’s that going, Fred?”  “Um…great, Bob.”  “Okay, Fred, we’ll check back in with you later.”)

  44. Wonder if the “kitchen” bit is critical.  Try searching on “repair leaky ktichen faucet“. Be glad that Google spellchecks.
  45. Find this:  http://www.hometime.com/Howto/projects/plumbing/plum_8.htm#ball and this http://www.stemdoctor.com/single_control_faucet_repair.htm
  46. Realize that there’s a piece that turns that you didn’t know turned (the “adjusting ring,” if you care).
  47. Go back to ktichen (just seeing if you were paying attention).  Try one more time.  Okay try about six more times.  Be vaguely reassured that at least you’re causing the faucet to leak in new and different ways, as now the spout is OK, but it’s leaking from around the base.
  48. Squirt water across kitchen once, getting quite wet in the process.  Maybe tomorrow will be a “hair wash” day after all.
  49. Through some combination of dumb luck (and perhaps dumber) perseverance, hit on magic combination that STOPS THE LEAK.
  50. Wonder if, perhaps, the faucet really works as well now as it once did.
  51. Realize that you don’t really care, ’cause the damn thing isn’t leaking anymore and that’s all that matters.
  52. Put away tools.
  53. Gloat.
  54. Blog.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/12/steps-to-repairing-a-leaky-faucet/

Apr 12

Charleston

Jeff and I split town for the weekend, which was a Very Good Thing. We left Thursday night and got haircuts in Greensboro (yes, I drive to Greensboro for haircuts…have I mentioned that before?), then headed on to Charlotte to spend the night there. We added 2 hours to our drive time down, but were able to leave “early” (for me at any rate) from Charlotte (and get shorn en route), which put us in Charleston at 11:30 am and well rested (with “hot donuts now” for brekkies…mmmmmmmm!) .

We stayed at the Charleston Place, which was absolutely fabulous — definitely one of the nicer hotels I’ve stayed in. Jeff found a good deal (he’s the king of finding good deals) on the Executive Club level, so we splurged and stayed on the seventh floor. The nifty thing was that on the Executive Club level there was a nearly non-stop supply of food and drink — so much so, in fact, that we only ate out once (!!!) between arrival Friday morning and departure Sunday morning.

The “schedule” of treats was as follows:

  • continental breakfast — pastries, cereal, fresh-squeezed orange juice, sliced meats, cheese, fresh fruit, etc.
  • afternoon tea — this was the winner for me. A classic cream tea, with cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, Camembert, fresh fruit, cheesecake, truffles, pasties, tea (of course) and coffee
  • evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres — heavy hors d’oevres, including spring rolls and miniature spinach quiches, cheese, pita & hummus, grilled vegetables, wine, beer and “spirits”
  • after dinner cordials with desserts — including cheesecake, pistachio cake (odd, but quite good), truffles, cookies, fruit and cream tarts, and, of course, liquors. (I’ve decided my favorite after-dinner drink is Bailey’s, Kahluha and cream (which seems to be a mudslide minus the vodka)

A plethora of food choices — all delicious (these were not the typical continental breakfast stale danishes!).

After arriving and checking in Friday we headed to the historic part of town, where I took about a gazillion pictures (links to come as soon as I get them sorted out). We headed back in time for tea (of course), and arranged a carriage tour with the “club level” concierge. A wee respite from the heat in our room, then the driver picked us up at the hotel. There are apparently six different routes the carriages take and which one you get is determined by a lottery ball in the carriage-driver-routing-stand. (I kid you not). After boarding the carriage, we left the hotel and went to the routing station, where our driver had to give his license number and wait for the assignation. We were lucky and drew the “historic homes” tour, which is only available before 6pm (since the neighborhood deserves some peace & quiet at night). Our driver was full of content (most of which I admit I missed, as I was busily snapping photos and ogling at the houses), and the ride itself was lovely. (There are two types of carriages, BTW: the ones run by the tour groups, which are more like trams that are pulled by the horses, and which have 6-9 people on them; and the “proper” (IMHO) carriages, which are what you think of when you think of horse-drawn carriage, and which hold only two (or four, I suppose., given that the seat facing us was empty. We opted for the latter, and would definitely recommend it.).

One funny thing — as we were at the stand waiting for the route, we overheard one of the drivers telling his cart (it was the other type of tour) that if you see what looks like a ball floating in a puddle DON’T let your kids pick it up. Apparently the drivers carry markers that look like half a superball with a little flag on top, which they use to mark the piddle puddles so the sanitation crews can see which areas they should hose down!

We arrived back at the hotel in time for hors d’oevres (=dinner … I wasn’t joking about the food) and pre-sleep cordials.

Saturday morning we got up in time (for breakfast and) the Easter Hat Parade. This was a blast (and should definitely be seen, so I will post photos soon). The parade was comprised of about a hundred ladies (who lunch, I imagine) in fabulous hats and one tiny chihuahua in a tuxedo parading through downtown Charleston. Truly startling! I was a bit sad, as I’d wished I’d brought one of my “fancy hats”. As it was I only had my squashable black straw travel hat (which was, I guess, better than being hatless!).

Post-parade we hiked north and rented bikes. Charleston is, IMHO, the ideal biking location, as it is completely flat. Yah! We rode the bikes further north and visited the Charleston aquarium, which was nice (good exhibits, clean, etc.) though sort of small. Admittedly I’m biased, as aquariums are a “thing” for me (undergrad was in Zoology with many of my courses in Marine Sciences), so I’ve been to some really fantastic aquaria (Monterey Bay, Baltimore and Chicago Shedd top the list). I was curious about one of the exhibits: an “open” bog (plants and water and mud and turtles in a big, open container, with no lid, so you could lean over and see them). I’m not sure how long they’ve had this exhibit, but I noticed it contained several tadpoles (one of which had its rear legs), which made me wonder if there was someone whose duty it was to monitor the polywogs for “legginess,” as it seems that once they’ve gotten legs, they could just jump right out. Frog on the loose!

Oh! And on the way to the aquarium, we passed MINIland! This giant parking lot *full* of new little MINIs all waiting for their people (normal people would call it a “shipping depot,” I think). I am, I am 90% sure, buying a MINI very soon, so this was quite exciting.

Then south on the bikes to the “point” of Charleston — a long ride on an avenue with sea breeze a’blowing. Very nice on the way down. A wee bit tricky on the way back, as the lovely breeze was blowing the wrong way, impeding progress. We turned the bikes in and hobbled back to the hotel so as to (a) have tea and (b) recuperate a bit before our dinner out. (And shop, too, although I was quite restrained, in light of upcoming MINI goodness).

Dinner was at Tristan’s — wow! We did the chef’s tasting menu and were quite pleased at his willingness to deal with our peculiarities (I won’t eat spicy food and Jeff’s not all that fond of seafood and is experiencing a lack-of-tummy-happiness with raw tomatoes of late). Let’s see, dinner was:

  • corn chowder with sauteed shrimp (me) and black bean soup (Jeff)
  • amuse bouche of tiny quail leg with some sort of sauce
  • grouper cheek with some sort of savory/sweet sauce (mango?) (me) and duck confit with cherries on an arugula bed (Jeff)
  • skate wing with sausage butter (me) and sauteed duck breast with confit sauce (Jeff)
  • Halibut with shallot sauce, squash medley and garlic mashed potatoes (me) and and rotisserie leg of lamb with rosemary/garlic juice and vegetable medley (Jeff)
  • chocolate hazelnut mousse (yet, solid, somehow) with mint ice cream (me) and pear tart (Jeff)
  • cotton candy — yep! a big plate of cotton candy as the final treat!

Was I in heaven? Why yes, I was.
We stumbled home in a state of bliss.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/12/charleston/

Apr 02

Extraordinarily pleasant grocery experience

Last night, after having dinner with my mom, I headed to the local Harris Teeter (which is an UberTeeter, thankfully) to get milk and cream, the two perishable items I really need on a daily basis. (When I was growing up, Pine State, a local dairy, delivered our milk twice a week…now that was cool!). Given that I was out of other things as well, most notably mayonnaise, I decided it might be worth a quick cruise through the whole store (and, yes, this is how most of my shopping damage gets done).

I was tooling down the bread aisle when a white-haired gentleman asked me if I was finding everything all right. I said that I was, thank you, and motored on. We crossed paths again the the health & beauty aisle where he asked me how I was doing this evening. I admitted that I was, “honestly, a little tired.” I added that “I just need to get through the grocery then home to bed.”

He said ” To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,”

I boggled. We had an amusing interchange about the fact that probably only in RTP would you find a grocery store clerk quoting Shakespeare, then I headed off again (in pursuit of daiquiri mixes for the shower I’m throwing this weekend).

When it was time for me to checkout I made a beeline (what’s a “beeline” anyway… bees don’t seem to fly very straight; in fact, they sort of bumble around a bit…anyway) for his queue. What a hoot! There was a small, lonely piece of lettuce on the end of the checkout stand, and when I pointed its solitude out, Jim (by now I’d read his name tag, Oh Clever Me), commiserated, saying that it did look sad and that it looked like all its friends had “leafed” it. I am, I admit, a sucker for bad puns (at least the novel ones). so this cracked me up. I asked him if he’d read any Spider Robinson, one of my favorite authors who is quite punny, and, of course (nothing was surprising me anymore), he had. Turns out he’s finishing his second masters degree at Duke, this one in clinical research management (his first was in English, hence Shakespeare quote).

Wow. Amazing how someone like that can turn a (somewhat dreaded and definitely grudging) grocery store run into a real pleasure!

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2004/04/02/extraordinarily-pleasant-grocery-experience/