I’ve Had Worse

Is there more faint praise than I’ve Had Worse?

It’s only Tuesday at 6:56 am, and that’s this week’s assessment– I’ve had worse. (Way, way, way worse.)  Nothing bad’s happening, just an accumulation of adulting that sucks the joy from the marrow of life.

Passport, oil change, grocery shopping, trash day, laundry, more grocery shopping, farmers’ market shopping. Got a blender, but forgot a coffee pot.  GAH! I need a personal assistant.

The tipping point was this:

PSA: There is no such thing as “Polenta Grits,” I don’t care what Bob says. Pay attention Whole Foods: This! Is! Not! Grits!

Immediately upon scraping this mess into the garbage at 6:30am, I went to the Adluh online store to order some grits and PayPal wouldn’t work. So, I updated the expired credit card & address… and it still wouldn’t work.

So, I went to my best frenemy Amazon and ordered some Palmetto grits and when I clicked, “buy now,” it defaulted to overnight shipping (thanks Prime) and I just spent $20 mailing myself $4.00 worth of grits.

Not to mention my whole day’s eating macros that I planned and shopped for are shot.

GAH!

And like mosquitoes, these small inconveniences buzz around me, insignificant individually, aggravating in swarms. But the more dangerous problem is mosquito-born diseases, which can be life threatening.

I’ve got to be careful. I can’t allow myself to be infected with ungratefulness by these petty 1st World problems. Things could be so much worse.

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Contempt of Convertible

65 and sunny. My car was made for days like this.

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Stardate: 17 July, 2019, 16:57 PDT. Del Monte Beach. Monterey, CA.

I drop the top every chance I get, but am amazed by the number of convertibles I see with the lid on.

Maybe they spent a lot of time fixing their hair. Personally, I use my convertible as an excuse for being unkempt.

convertible hair

I like to think of my Thunderbird as a large, expensive hairdryer. (This is not my hair. Or my car. Or any road that I am familiar with.)

However, I’m coming to understand those folks who aren’t maximizing the open air capacity of their vehicles. The weather outside my house can look like straight up England. It can be all fogged in at the top of the hill and sunny California at the bottom.

Fog-in-Monterey

Skyline Forest Drive. This is what my neighborhood looks like every morning and many days. Mostly because it’s my neighborhood. And because Monterey’s foggy. I didn’t take this picture because I’m writing this blog. But I’m gonna go down this road in a minute to the grocery store.

I can literally drive 4 miles from my office on Del Monte to my house and go from the sunny beach to foggy hilltop. Just did. It’s surreal.

Namaste, y’all.

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No Grits, No Andouille, No Problem

TGFA (Thank God For Amazon). You can buy just about everything online.

I’m ambivalent about it, though.

ambivalent

Or a Libra.

I think Amazon is a great example of not only what is great about America (innovation, individualization, free market) but also what concerns me about our country.

When my 2lbs of grits from coastal South Carolina arrive here in the Central Coast of California, I won’t keep the shipping box or packaging materials. Individual orders create a lot of waste.

map sc to ca

It looks like the grits will never cross the Mason-Dixon line, which may be a coincidence and not mandatory.

But when I think about all the logistics involved with getting grits delivered to my doorstep, it’s truly amazing. So many people involved — from the online marketplace sellers to the air traffic controllers to the shipping companies– so many jobs created. It is amazing.

And a little sad. It’s hard for our local stores to compete with businesses who don’t have to store inventory, who can negotiate lower prices with vendors than smaller buyers. What happens when our only 2 choices are Amazon or Walmart? Then it’s like school lunches: you get what you get and don’t throw a fit.

dilbert inventory

Maybe this is just the pendulum swinging. Lots of shops consolidate into a bigger one, only to break up into smaller shops later. We will see. In the meantime, let them eat grits!

spicy shrim

http://www.emeril.com Emeril has several shrimp & grits recipes, but I prefer the spicy shrimp and andouille.

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First Call

It’s like “last call,” but earlier. Or later if you’re out ’till 2 am (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

First Call sounds every morning at 7:55 and that means there’s 5 minutes until the national anthem begins to play.

You don’t want to be outside the gate at 8. When classes are in session, I see students rushing between buildings to get to class on time.

The Defense Language Institute is also in Monterey and the campus is adjacent to Huckleberry Hill in Veteran’s Memorial Park where I like to hike. Sometimes I hear Retreat playing, turn the corner, and see the flag coming down.

It’s nice to have these audible reminders of the passage of time. They give structure to the day and add to the common experience for all that can hear it.

It’s these linkages that can help us to relate to each other, bind us together in our humanity, remind us that we are more alike than different.

Namaste, y’all.

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A Patch of Earth

This house I’m renting comes with a yard. I hacked the rosemary growing over the stairs and it nearly filled the recycle bin. Don’t worry. There’s plenty left.

I decided that all I needed was a weedeater to deal with this patch of grass in the back:

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This is maybe 10 feet across at the widest spot.

So I got the smallest battery operated one they had (not everything will fit in a T-bird, FYI).

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This looks like a bunch of junk in a garage, but it’s really several objects artfully grouped together to provide perspective.

It’s the Easy-Bake Oven of lawn-care implements. But better. It only came with 4 screws and I didn’t need to supply my own lightbulb. Plus it cut the grass. 

Next on my list is put on a HazMat suit to deal with the raised boxes full of some kind of stinging plant that bit Lyle when he was here.

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Whatever this is, it made Lyle break out in a rash immediately upon touching it. It’s about 6 inches higher now than it was when this photo was taken.

My hammock came in this week. I’ve got to put that together tomorrow, and then I’m gonna put it on the ‘sunny’ brick patio so I can listen to the wind chimes.

It’s nice to have a little plot of earth to fiddle around with and I’m sure I’ll figure out what kinds of plants grow here. So far it looks like rosemary, lavender and garlic are the top products.

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21st Day in Monterey

3 weeks it’s been since Lyle and I drove up, up, up the hill to my rental in Monterey.

This is what Monterey Bay (aka Big Ben) looks like from Skyline Forest Drive, which is very near my house.

I can get to and from the office, Big Sur, and Safeway without any help from Sacagawea, which is what Lyle named the Apple maps guide.

The warer really does have different colors right next to each other. Lyle said he thought it was something about the ocygen.

Sacagawea’s pretty smart, but she doesn’t update for things like the Tuesday afternoon Old Monterey farmers’ market on Alvarado street (there’s not a Pioneer chicken stand– I’ve checked), which is relevant.

So far, I’m enjoying all of the new things that cooler temperatures combined with abundant hiking trails offer for as long as the Advil lasts.

My Christmas Wishlist includes a new pair of certified, organic knees at the market, a six-pack of Tony Chachere’s, and some andoille sausage.

2/3 ain’t bad, I guess.

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King Mountain

King Mountain. That’s what Monte Rey means in Spanish. What moving to Monterey means is that even though I’ve moved from one end of the El Camino Real to another, I’m still on the same damn road.

While the weather and terrain are different, much is familiar. The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the proto-Cathedral, and located on Church Street in Natchitoches, LA.  The San Carlos Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church in California, and is located on Church Street in Monterey, CA.

san carlos cathedral

San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, CA

st john baptist

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Many, LA

Both the San Carlos Cathedral and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Many, LA are of the Spanish Mission Style, which isn’t surprising since they were established by Spanish missionaries.

There’s nothing quite like moving across the country to verify that plus ca change, plus c’est meme chose.

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