Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Big Shop

Sometimes, I find that my idea of fun would drive most people crazy.

We’re bargain hunters. I get excited about it. It’s easy here. Shopping in a town where everything is basically on one single street – everything on the way to everything else – you’re going to pass each store anyway. Doesn’t take going out of your way, just the will to get out of the car.

We have two hardware stores. Aubuchon and Ace. One is on the way to the other, so we never buy anything without stopping at both. I recently saved $40 on an item by just being willing to pull over and check the price in both stores. Usually it’s just a few bucks, but I have some fun in the bargain.

In the grocery arena, Saranac Lake has three supermarkets. Beginning downtown, we first have the “old” Grand Union on Church Street, with the pothole parking lot. It’s kind of a dump, but I like it. We don’t go there though. On your way out of town, you’ll find the “new” Grand Union, and Aldi across the street.

We do most of our shopping at Aldi. Warehouse-like, cash-only, no bags. Low overhead. Clean as a whistle. I mean, spotless. I was dubious, but then I discovered that Aldi has contracted with some excellent suppliers to provide their brands. The frozen vegetables are the best I have ever had. The  fancy crackers are better than the Elves’ brand, and are $1.39 rather than $3.99. The peanut butter is quite good. The spaghetti sauce is better than most. Much better. There are a few bombs – the soup is salty and I don’t like most of frozen meat – but we don’t buy that.

I like Aldi. I especially like cutting our grocery bill in half. However, they have what they have and that’s it. It’s a German company, and true to the legend – they are most concerned with efficiency. You ain’t gonna get any special attention here, Precious. Box your own. In short, you’re welcome to buy what’s there – cash only – and if you don’t like it, too bad. And as a bonus, you’ll get spotless, tidy restrooms.

We used to shop at the “new” Grand Union. It’s okay, I guess. It’s a little shabby, getting to the point where broken things don’t get fixed. It seems a little dirty to me, but maybe that’s because I know the restroom is disgusting. Really disgusting. Gas station disgusting. (I know I have a fixation, but I figure, if you can’t be bothered to keep the restroom decent, you’re probably cutting corners elsewhere.) We used to go to the new GU mostly to buy water, or some other non-Aldi item. But then in another “why don’t we check in here” jaunt, we discovered that a few steps away in the dollar store, they have gallons of water for a dollar.

We do the same when we go to Plattsburgh for clothing, coffee makers, or whatever. It’s fun for me – I like to investigate all options before actually buying something. The modern-day equivalent of The Hunt, perhaps. Take my new coffee maker, for instance. Four stores before I decided on one and found a price I liked that matched the features I wanted. $22 for a five-cup, programmable model with a metal pot. Exactly what I wanted. Small, features, metal pot. Out of stock.

So we went out of our way to pull off the highway while on a trip, and bought it buy it two-hundred miles downstate.

Sometimes, it’s about the hunt.



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Monday to Tuesday

It’s already on it’s way to melting. 70F by Saturday.

In indoors news, I felt worse Wednesday than when I fell on Tuesday. Muscles and all. A little queasy. Jammed finger. My super-sweet friend brought me a big container of homemade beef stew, biscuits, and drinks. Dinner in a box, so we would not have to cook. And another friend, when she heard I had a fall, made other after school arrangements for her son, rather than sending him to me for his piano lesson. I didn’t even need to call her. I was able to rest up all day. Sweet, sweet people.

And now, besides the fact that I need to get back to work, I need to apply sneaker to butt and buck up. So, let’s find our inspiration in the Small Pines Zen Quote of the Day.

“The Great Way is not difficult. Just cease to cherish opinions.”
-The Third Zen Patriarch


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Blood and Thunder

Well, that sucked.

Visited the Medical Center today, but luckily not the Emergency Room. I got off with a visit to my personal doctor.

I’m a mother hen. I like to take care of things, so that others do not have to think about them. Like this one – The car battery has not been holding a charge despite a new battery – damned jalopy – so I thought I would charge it up from the RV inverter. Move the car a bit, connect the jumpers. Good plan. It was seriously snowing. Yep – slippery mud. I pushed the car a bit, and slipped hard. I landed my forehead on the Jeep-nameplate thing. Bloody. Gross. Hole in my head. (We’ll let the description go at that.) Rather than stitches (which were a possibility), Doc decided on that goo that strengthens around the area of the wound, and those strips to hold it shut.

Helluva day. Helluva few weeks. Spent, I came home and noticed that the next book on deck was Chop Wood, Carry Water. Besides the Zen book, I’ve been listening to a lot of meditative music lately. I’ve been chatting with a new friend that has similar interests. Getting back into it really, from experiences years ago. Add to all this the fact that for a few months, I’ve seriously been contemplating recording an album. I think I have something to add to the piano/strings/nature sounds arena. (Stop laughing.)

So, you know. I gotta be me. I guess I have a few Zen-type books to finish and a record to start. Perhaps we have a new addition to the blog topics. I hope you don’t mind if I get a little Zen and the Art of Hillbilly Living now and then. Maybe I’ll put up a quote I like every so often. It’ll be good for me.

I figure that when your feet are repeatedly pointed in a particular direction, it’s good to just start walking.


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Un-Funky Springins

It’s Spring, and half of my work pressure is over. Can’t ask for much more than that. (Except complete peace and contentment, and what fun would that be?)

One music project complete, a performance finished up last weekend. Now I’m just responsible for a learning a ton of (really difficult) music for the weekend of May 8 (plenty of time), with a few quick interruptions for other musical responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the season approaches. I like to remain rather Zen when it comes to my declaring the season fully open. I prefer to notice it as a surprise, rather than searching for it. I totally noticed it this weekend. Check out these few snaps from Saturday to Sunday – the bright light in the morning outside the cabin by the perennial bed, and that telltale sunset down the Main Road. We may have a flurries warning Wednesday, but Spring is here folks. In know for certain – It totally whispered in me ear and told me.


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Anatomy of a Funk

I am no longer funky.

Being as we’re not talking about my musical career, that’s a good thing.

I am almost un-funked.  Do you get the funk, Friends? I really am curious. I mean, the nothing-will-cheer-you-nothing-goes-your-way funk. I think most people get this way for a few days or a week at a time. Maybe a combination of a misplaced moon and some impossibly human problems we’re intent on stewing over. I find it always passes. Me, I just lay low for a while.

You know what started to part the funky clouds for me? A lot of talking, and stumbling up something I hadn’t thought about – relative freedom. As a pair, we have no mortgage, no children, no life-long career jobs. Yeah, you’re getting the idea. If we ultimately decide that we’re not happy here, we honestly can go anywhere and do anything we want. Fairly easily. I’m certainly not saying that we’re unhappy, or that it’s even time to make a call on that, but options are nice. Freedom is good. The realization really did make me feel better. Started to clear the funk.

And anyway, I was starting to feel emotionally indulgent and spoiled. So, in the last few days, I drug myself outside. Really forced myself. I planted some lilies and irises. I put shovel in earth for the first time in over a week. I made an effort to chat with friends (even if I didn’t want to), as opposed to hiding. I listened to my favorite calming, beautiful new age music station. I lit a nice smelling candle. I remembered that eliminating ugliness is as simple as staying away from it. I got in front of the piano and reminded myself that learning new music is something I enjoy, as opposed to something I am afraid of. Opened up a big can of Funk-Be-Gone. And it went.

Wish I had a bit of real wisdom here. I don’t. But I do have some new lilies, irises, a butterfly bush, and a lilac. I figure that stuff is just as good as wisdom.


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Well, huh.

Not much in the mood to post. Not a bad mood per se, just busy and otherwise bewitched. Lots of music work going on, doing a reading of the show I’m writing next weekend. Planting and gardening. The blog is also in the middle of a usual early-Spring slump – always happens for some reason. Visits are way down, and comments are seriously down. And truth be told, I’m a little sick. And I really can’t afford to be sick. Regular barrel of laughs today, ain’t I?  So, I’m figuring that if I don’t feel up to it, and folks aren’t much looking anyway, maybe I’ll take a little break.

In the interim, for our collective edification – Did you know you can grow a garden in a straw bale? You totally can.


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A Severe Lack of Planning

Having come up through theatre, and then made the whole silly thing a profession, I’m quite good at taking what I’m given and making something nice out of it.

That is, I’m more of a “buy a bunch of stuff I like and then plan around it” person. I’m not somebody who draws a bunch of pictures and then goes out seeking specific items. I prefer to pick up things I like, and just work with them. My preferred method applies to my gardening and landscaping as well. For instance, the rock wall along the front of the property, and the rock border along the garden beds – not planned. I just had a bunch of nice rocks, so I figured a way to use them.

Knowing this much about my gardening habits, you could probably guess at my shopping habits. I don’t really plan. A few blueberry bushes from Ace Hardware, a couple of lilac and butterfly bushes I noticed in Aldi’s, some hosta I grabbed while passing through Lowe’s, some day lily bulbs I noticed while walking through K-Mart, onion starts also from Ace, seeds from here-there-and-everywhere.

I’m very much an, “Ooh! That looks pretty!” sort of person.

I saw a photo with a lilac bush next to some stone (at right), so I decided to continue the stone wall on the other side of the driveway and plant the lilac there. I like the idea of the bench too. I’ll put the butterfly bush down in front there somewhere too. Probably. The other day lilies will be planted alongside-and-inbetween my existing orange ones, in front of the rock wall, to make a nice lily bed along the road. The hosta will either go in the shade bed, or the bed alongside the cabin. I’m going to buy some semi-mature trees from a local non-profit nursery to enclose the joint a little more. Not sure just where they’ll go. I haven’t decided.

What I have decided is this – I have 400 pounds of top-soil and manure in the Jeep that I need to unload.

You have a great day too!


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