At the Grocery Store

No matter what grocery store I meander into, I am always fond of samples. Walking down the produce aisle, I sniff the air to see if any might be had in the vicinity. Success: my nose leads me down aisle three, where I make a sharp u-turn, and voilà – encounter some meatball samples at a stand set up near the bacon and sausage section. Three different kinds of meatballs! I sample each different kind of meatball, politely listening to the woman at her stand who informs me what ingredients each is made of in her studied dialogue. Please don’t think me greedy dear reader for sampling all three, I was just hungry.

The stomach appeased by the meatballs, I purchase just a few items from my grocery list and get in line. Surveying the store waiting for the cashier to ring up the person in front of me, I see four enormous teddy bears sitting on some canned goods right next to the store front. They have price tags to match their size too: $129 each. Valentine leftover bears I suppose. I have always loved bears, so after I pay for my groceries, I walk by them and playfully pat the tummy of one. Did I hear a sigh of contentment?

May your week be bearable, and full of delicious free samples.


Kayaks and pigeons

The days end so soon now, but some of the early sunsets with clouds of all shapes augmenting the evening have been remarkable. During the firestorm that swept across Sonoma/Napa the sun was an eery blood-red for weeks with a smokey tangerine sky engulfing it, the air smelling like a gone out but still smoldering campfire. Thank God, things have normalized a bit now, and that some rebuilding has begun.

I was patiently waiting in the 15 item or less check-out line at the supermarket, having dutifully lined up with merely a few apples and some milk. Inserting my ATM card into the checkout machine I inquired of the cashier what I need to do in order to get a little cash back. Still looking down at the screen the reply I heard was: “you need to go to a bank”. I burst out laughing and looked up into the totally straight face of the cashier. “Just kidding, the cashier smirked at me”. It is ordinary moments like this, that make life fun.

Feeling cooped up in the apartment, I decided to go for a ride down to the water as the afternoon was a surprisingly warm one, especially for December. I was rewarded by a beautiful sight: the water was almost flat with only small ripples here and there. In the distance I saw two kayaks, several feet apart gliding across the water, as the kayakers dipped their paddles into the bay sporadically in order to achieve a slight forward motion. I could tell that they wanted to proceed as slowly as possible, in order to savor the still waters and warm afternoon. Just two little kayaks, close together like a pair of mourning doves on a telephone wire. As I watched them, mesmerized, a huge flock of pigeons suddenly flew up just above me at a sharp right angle, having been startled by something, and thus disrupting the tranquility of the scene. The riff-raff of birds, I chuckled.

Have a blessed and peaceful Advent season.

Erntedanktag 2017

My miniature potted agapanthus dropped its last cerulean blue blossoms just a few weeks ago. I cut the stalks, which are now hanging on my apartment door, bound together by a red rubber band procured from a bunch of broccoli after cooking it. A simple decoration, and a reminder of summer gone by.

The silk tree in the half wine barrel bloomed very late this summer, beautiful to behold, the delicate pink blossoms are a bit reminiscent of the flowers of a bottle brush tree.

When I water all my potted plants in the evening, bees migrate towards the drops of water, happy to drink I’m sure after a day’s work of gathering honey. We get along just fine. I hear meowing upstairs in a very distinctive tone as I water: I have learned to recognize this sound – if means that my cat Calvin is transporting his stuffed mice and/or hedgehogs around and distributing them in the apartment. I am amused. He just doesn’t seem to understand that I cannot see that from downstairs. He is praised later on though  for his thoughtfully distributed presents.

On a culinary note: having picked up some grapes from the farmer’s market, I discovered a recipe for fish with grapes, which turned out quite well. Some of the wineries up in the wine country had their workers pick grapes at night during the hot spell we got here in California several weeks ago, a humanitarian gesture on the part of the growers. During the extreme heat some of those grapes turned to raisins on the vine, a fact not gone unnoticed by the birds I’m sure.

Have a blessed Sunday

Pay attention!

A quiet and hot California Sunday.  I have to force myself to get up this morning and make the long drive, but I’m glad I do. After all – man does not live by bread alone. Before I enter church, I stop in at the pre-school building, whose front door is open. The pastor’s wife and one of her daughters are pasting jellyfish made out of paper plates and tissue paper up on the ceiling. Lobsters and crabs made from kids handprints and footprints decorate the walls. A maritime theme! We briefly chat about the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the jellyfish providing the cue. It’s been so long since I have been there I  think and sigh.

The doors of the church have been kept shut for the past few days, so the sanctuary is pleasantly cool inside. It is a sparsely attended service. No surprise, it’s vacation time. The sermon today is about the parable of the sower. I have always liked it, and it is always a good reminder for me.

Half a BBQ chicken, a loaf of bread, and some cheese acquired from the supermarket afterwards, I then drive home and walk up to the apartment, where a sharp rebuke is issued to me by a hummingbird hovering near the feeder, which hangs close to the door.

I believe the context of the distinctly one-sided conversation may be interpreted as follows: “So, Sunday is the day of rest, huh? What about my feeder? Ten percent full! See! I might add the nectar is a bit stale too, and I do notice all the goodies you bought for yourself. So, if you don’t mind, kindly clean, and then refill my feeder, thank you very much”.

Right away, Ms. or Mr. hummingbird, and please do accept my sincere apologies for the oversight!