Thursday, March 5, 2015


Shopping resulting in any accumulation of more than one bag leaves one with a dilemma. Witness the accumulation of bags on the recliner after last Saturday's trip.

We didn't go into a lot of stores. I tried, every time I purchased something, to see if they would add to a bag I had already accumulated. "No," was the universal answer.

Three years ago, that wouldn't have bothered me. The Dominicks grocery store across from the office had a large bin where a recycler would take your plastic bags. I never threw one into the garbage. But Dominicks closed and Mariano's is not stepping up, indeed no one is, to fill the void. I have 2 large bags filled with plastic bags accumulated over the past 2 years since Dominicks has been gone. I have myself so trained that I still stuff a large plastic bag with smaller bags out of habit, even though I know I have no place to take them. Mariano's does have a small, very small, bag recycling bin, but I could fill it just on my own.

According to the little bit available online, recycling bags is a headache. Black and colored bags differ in composition from white bags. Inks used to print logos have to be removed from the chemical soup which results when bags are ground and then melted to make more bags. It's expensive. The market for recycled paper products is huge and it's easy to turn used into new.

I understand the mindset of Lane Bryant, where I bought a pair of jeans. Your bag is somewhat free advertising. Seeing someone walking around with a Lane Bryant bag might make you consider going to that store to see what they have for sale. But companies need to also understand that consumers want to make greener choices. If I get a large bag because I bought a pair of jeans, I'm just going to stuff the other, smaller bags inside it. We've been doing that for centuries. Why lug around 15 bags when you can lug around 3? No one's going to see that I went to the Carter outlet because that bag is inside another. The mind set also can't be chalked up to loss prevention, either. I'm stuffing my purchase inside another bag. If I'm going to steal something, a bag from the Carter's outlet is NOT what I'm going to be using.

I don't shop much anymore. I try to remember, when I do go out, to grab a reuseable bag. I feel very bad about shoving my plastic bags into a garbage bag and setting it out with my garbage, yet I don't have an option. Maybe bag recycling needs to figure out a better way to be done. It's something very lacking in all the recycling we are able to do.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper



I'm just going to leave this right here, so to speak.

Pam went into the kitchen store at the mall and I followed. For two dollars and ninety-nine cents, you tell me how I was to resist. I washed it but I haven't used it, yet. I'm thinking this is a for pancakes. There's an apple oatmeal pancake I've had a hankering to make, but the oatmeal has to sit overnight. It's not a recipe one makes when one gets up with 45 minutes to be out the door and to the office.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


Chocolate Wars

At the outlet mall, there is a Rocky Mountain Chocolatier and  Lindt Chocolate Shop. We passed by Rocky Mountain and stopped at Lindt. Lindt had a sale where we were able to split a set amount of chocolate and sign up for a frequent buyer card.

Technically, I needed a bag of Lindt chocolate like I need a rash. There are a lot of bags of M&Ms on top of the fridge. But there is something immensely satisfying about popping a Lindt chocolate into your mouth. Unlike M&Ms, I don't have to suck on the shell before it splits, to get at the whipped chocolate center. I think I have a half dozen different flavors in this bag. I don't have a favorite. They are all good, but I avoided the coconut and mint offerings.

I listened to the manager talk about how he never eats Hershey anymore. I thought, "What a shame." As I have grown older, I see the value in consuming a wide variety of chocolate. American chocolate is sweeter than European chocolate. Even when you're eating a 70% dark chocolate bar, the taste is sweeter if the confectionaire is based in the US. Europeans have, up until the last 10 years or so, had a wider variety of flavors from which to choose. We're better but still, M&M/Mars is the #1 chocolate manufacturer in the US. In spite of dark, white or candycane M&Ms, the essential offering is Americanized chocolate.

But while I feel a bit of sadness for this gentleman deciding that he will only eat one kind of chocolate. I have ruled out one kind for a very different reason. Last month, the Hershey company won a lawsuit against an importer of British chocolate. In case you don't know about this, Hershey bought the rights to the US production of Cadbury's chocolates. Very gradually, as global trade has exposed people to more items, importers began to bring in Cadbury chocolates from England. English ex-patriots say the US chocolate is of an inferior mix. Having experienced both European and US chocolate, I wouldn't say "inferior". It's different owing to what the US deems should be the composition of chocolate manufactured here. Plus, it's very much a decision based upon what you've grown up with.

Anyway, Hershey's filed a lawsuit against some importers of British candies claiming their trademarks were being infringed upon by these bits of British chocolate. They claim there is "confusion" between these sweets and their US made counterparts. The net result of this is the loss in heavily British/Irish communities, particularly on the east coast, of the chocolates and other treats which were imported for the few shops which do that kind of business.

I understand the need to protect one's creations from trademark infringement. When the case was settled, we had a discussion in my World of Warcraft guild about how important it is to protect what you've worked hard to create. Knock-offs are a huge business. But here's the rub. Unless you know exactly where to go, finding British chocolate is not as simple as picking up a candy bar at the Casey's when you fill up your gas tank. I'm told Cost Plus World Market has some things, but British chocolate seems to be a niche market. It would never make a dent in the grand trade that is Hershey's. I fail to see that if a wrapper is orange, it's going to confuse a shopper looking for Reese's Pieces. It seems to me, there is plenty of room in this vast world for Flakes and Crunchies and Reese's and York Peppermint Patties.

The bottom line, for me, is that I have decided not to buy Hershey products. I really didn't need to eat Twizzlers, but this will put a dent in my s'mores consumption. How can you make s'mores without that flat Hershey's bar? I guess, if I want this treat, I'm going to have to find out. Maybe I can take some Lindt chocolates and stack on them a hot marshmallow.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Days 2 Through 5 of the First Project of 2015

I haven't been posting because I've been stitching. You're going to like what's happening.

Day 2.

I got a lot done on day 2. I had a huge computer issue which necessitated a reloading of my World of Warcraft game client. That meant that I took time off to spend with my cross-stitching, and the cats. Pilchard loves my lap but was not staying as long as she did in the summer. I would think winter would be better. She'd be in a warm lap instead of a cold box on the floor, but she lasts only for around an hour before jumping down.

Anyway, this might be a familiar shape to some people. Day 3 was just a bit of stitching.

It was more fill in of what I'd done before, rather than stitching into the empty space. On Day 4, I filled in the rest of what I had outlined before.

What you can't see with the camera and flash are the subtle color changes in the grays of the design. I tried a non-flash photo but since I'm stitching at night when I come home from work, flash is needed. I'm hoping to complete this design this weekend and then I'll see if natural light will better illuminate the color changes of the floss. To give you an idea of the power of the flash, the hoop is robin's egg blue.

I'm still struggling with stitching on black. I have difficulty finding the next hole for the needle. I'm grateful that I chose a design that doesn't have half or quarter or three-quarter stitches. I think I'd have to set this aside until summer when I could stitch outside in sunshine in order to see.

I worked more last night. Day 5 had the design fleshing out more.

Seeing how well and fast this is coming together makes me want to continue, setting aside things like the dishes in the sink and the wash in the basement. There is a border and lettering to be done, but I have high hopes I'll be finished within my target time.

Beverage:  Irish Breakfast Tea