Hot Diggety!

It’s National Hot Dog Day.

I love hot dogs. Good hot dogs. Good hot dogs cooked right.

My favorite hot dogs are Hofmann. Yes, they are local, but the company is working to go national. (I do try to support local businesses, too. See my previous post about ice cream.)

But even Hofmann hot dogs need to be cooked correctly. The ball park mostly steams the ones they sell. That. Is. Disgusting. My mom used to boil hot dogs. Ugh! (Although sometimes she boiled them in tomato sauce, and that was good!) A perfectly cooked hot dog will have crisp, somewhat blackened skin. Grilling is the best way to achieve that. I use a grill pan on the stove when I have to.

Some people (TV Stevie) gunk up their dogs with sauerkraut and mustard. Or onions. Now, I’m not opposed to a Texas Hot once in a while, or a chili dog, but for everyday eating a great hot dog needs nothing but the roll.

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that I am extremely upset by the closing of a local dairy store in my neighborhood. It seems the company–a local one–has decided to focus on the commuters in the area instead of the neighborhoods that had sustained them since 1933.

When I was a child, everyone sang their TV/Radio jingle and changed the lyrics from “Chuck right full of vita-mine” to “makes you look like Frankenstein.” We were kids! It’s what kids did.

I am a fan of Byrne Dairy. Their milk still comes in refillable glass bottles. One of my uncles worked for a company that made the machines that seal cartons of milk. He didn’t live in Central New York, and I still remember the shock on his face when we told him Byrne still used glass bottles.

But the biggest plus about Byrne is that their ice cream still comes in full half-gallons. My supermarket has good ice cream, but the cartons are much smaller than half-gallons. And Byrne Ice Cream is phenomenal.

I miss them being around the corner. I remember one day, I was home sick from work. My son did not yet have his driver’s license.  He walked up to Byrne and got me ice cream.  I let him drive me to the doctor’s office.

I frequently stopped in to buy ice cream. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do. None of the supermarkets in my immediate area carry the brand (although there are some in other areas that do). There isn’t a Byrne Dairy store on my way to anywhere–except my parents’ house.  Which is not convenient because I don’t live there.

Simplicity

One of my primary goals in life is to be content. And being content, for me, is not being bogged down by…stuff. Things. Physical belongings. Chores.

But I have a lot of physical belongings. There’s a lot of stuff in this house. A lot of dust, too.

Now that the Chromos are grown and (mostly) gone (although their stuff adds to the disarray), many things have become simpler.  One of the biggest is meal planning.

My children each had their eating foibles. I had to cook nutritious food they would eat, meals that were quick and easy because there was dance, jazz ensemble, religious education, play rehearsal etc. Much of my time was spent planning and executing.

I like to cook, but as I get older I realize I’d rather spend my time on something like writing that will last longer than a great meal. When TV Stevie and I were planning our mutual lives, he told me straight out: “I do not expect dinner on the table every night.” He doesn’t really care about food. Doesn’t like to spend money on “temporary,” which is what he considers food. Dinner on the table every night was something I grew up with. But Mom was a full-time homemaker, so dinner on the table when my dad walked in the door was part of her job description. It was never part of mine.

So now I buy pre-made salads and keep them on hand for quick lunches and/or dinners. On the weekends I’ve gone back to doing what I did when I was single: I’ll make a batch of something, then graze on that throughout the week.  TV Stevie’s work schedule has always been erratic. I no longer wait for him (except on nights when he’s bringing home the pizza) if I need to work at my author life.

It’s simpler this way.

 

Shopping

I hate shopping. Loathe and despise it. Grocery shopping, clothes, shopping, recreational shopping. This dislike has become worse with the advent of super malls and the disappearance of local or stand-alone stores.

Online shopping was made for me. A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided we needed a new bathmat. Ours was disgusting. But stores at the Maul never carry a full array of colors I even consider colors. So I went to Amazon. Where I found exactly what I wanted in a color I liked. I clicked the buy button. Two days later, the bathmat was delivered.

I was not inconvenienced in any way.

Brick and mortar stores have only themselves to blame for losing customers to online shopping. They’ve made accessing their locations too difficult. I used to be able to run to a nearby strip mall on my lunch hour and pick up items I needed from a department store or a discount store (Ames, Hills, K-Mart). Now the only stores in the strip mall are the liquor store and 14 versions Everything-A-Dollar. Running to the Maul on my lunch hour isn’t feasible because it takes an hour just to find a place to park.

When I do go to the Maul, the clerks are frequently (not always) ill-trained and/or rude.

I’d rather be writing.

Commuting

I am not a commuter.

I’ve been very lucky in my day jobs. I had to commute ten months for my current Day Job, but I knew we were moving into a new building less than two miles from my house when I accepted the position.

I’ve recently had some issues with commuters.

One night, as I was driving to critique being held in a northern suburb, I was in the middle lane of the interstate, going 65 miles per hour. That’s the speed limit. Did I mention I was in the center lane? There was a line inching to get off at the next exit in the right lane. Traffic was backed up at least a quarter of a mile. The idiot in front of me came to a dead stop. In the center lane. He turned on his right turn signal hoping someone would let him merge at the exit. And he was on the phone. Being on a cell phone in my state is illegal unless it’s hands free. His was not hand free usage. I was lucky I didn’t rear end him.

The next night, I needed to drop off a dress at a seamstress’s house. She lives 3.4 miles from my Day Job, in a nearby suburb. O.M.G. If I had to deal with that traffic twice a day–to and from work–I would be a violent, unhappy woman.  Thirty minutes to travel 3 and a half miles. The tractor trailer drivers who decided to turn left on yellow lights then blocked intersections where traffic was already backed up  did not help.

I COULD HAVE BEEN WRITING!