• Tag Archives grocery store
  • The Normal Extraordinary

    Lughnasa                                       Waning Harvest Moon

    Just back from the grocery store.  Kate went along, a nice treat.

    On so many levels the grocery store speaks to privilege.  We have food, fresh food, all year round.  Kate and I can buy food all year round.  The U.S. has fields of grain, feeder lots with cattle and pigs, chickens and turkeys, fruit grows in many places, nuts, too.  Vegetables grow within miles of every major metro area and within them, too.

    As citizens of a powerful country, albeit one in economic struggles, we have so many things available to us, things we consider normal, that are extraordinary in most of the world.

    It’s not to early to start thanks giving.

  • A Gray Monday

    Beltane                                Waning Flower Moon

    Business meeting.  Over to a flooring store to schedule the replacement of carpet in the small bedroom that will become Kate’s long-arm quilting room.  Lunch at Chili’s where the music was so loud I could barely hear myself think, literally.  When my one ear gets crammed full of noise, I find processing  thought difficult. Would be a good hell for me.  Lots of interesting conversation happening next to a loud waterfall.

    Grocery store, too.  I’ve done regular, that is weekly, grocery shopping since seminary days when I used to cook for the whole floor of students.  Most of the time I’ve enjoyed it, something about being able to make choices and the diversity of a supermarket.  These days though I’ve begun to find it a nuisance, a repetitive task with little to commend it.  Maybe that will change, or perhaps I’ll be able to reframe it.

    How bout that world out there, eh?  Oil pumping into the Gulf where it has begun to tar birds, clog up the wetlands and ruin shrimping and oyster farming.  Volcanoes in Iceland wrecking havoc with airplanes.  Snow in Minnesota in May.  A frost, too.  Gov. Pawlenty’s cruel cuts in the state’s budget overturned by our Supreme Court–with two weeks left in the legislative session.  Big fun at the capitol.  Enough snow on the East Coast over the last winter to confuse the debate in the Senate over a climate bill.   Not to mention the usual run of human misery and suffering.

    I’m impressed right now with a political approach that takes into account particulars, that is individual suffering, the Gulf shrimp, the passengers and airlines troubled by the Icelandic ash plumes while acknowledging the need for universal abstractions like equality, justice, human rights.  I’m impressed with this approach because it doesn’t exist.   More on this at another point.

  • Shopping

    Imbolc                                            Waning Wild Moon

    Watched The Hurt Locker.  It comes to mind this morning because Saturday is grocery shopping here at chez Ellis/Olson.  After spending a full rotation in Iraq as a fearless and emotionally committed bomb tech, the lead character rotates back to the mainland. The scene that takes us back to the states with him opens with him pushing a grocery cart down a frozen foods aisle.

    The shift from the sandy, hot precincts of Iraq to a modern US grocery store jars on several levels.   The first is visual.  The glass is clean, the chrome gleaming, the banks of freezers stretching out quite a distance.  The second is aural, no bombs going off, no screaming civilians, no rumbling trucks, no blare of heavy metal music.  The third is the juxtaposition of this  bomb-suit wearing, in danger of dying, hard-drinking, rock and roll blasting, Staff Sergeant William James with the ordered gleam of American food retailing.

    His wife comes by with his son, “Get some cereal and I’ll meet you at the checkout.”

    He leaves frozen foods and goes into the cereal aisle.  Told to get some cereal he confronts another well-ordered aisle, this one with boxes upon boxes of varied types of grains made into breakfast food.  His confusion and inability to make a decision contrast sharply with his demeanor in the war zone where life becomes stripped down and, though often life or death, the decisions are more straight forward and apparently easier to make.

    I have a very mild sense of this every time I go to a grocery store.  It comes from traveling in 3rd world countries and seeing the chaotic, but often much more interesting mercados and street merchandising there mixed in with the desperate poverty that makes the range of choice available to us enough to cause the kind of confusion and lack of decisiveness expressed by Staff Sergeant William James in the Hurt Locker.

  • Clarifying. Stimulating. Oh, All Right–Damn Cold.

    Winter                             Waning Moon of Long Nights

    As Bilbo said, I have been there and back again.  Up here in the land of the midnight hobbit it remains cold, -7 now at noon.  On days when the high is below zero you know for sure you live in a cold part of the world.

    I can look out the window of this room though and see beds where daffodils and tulips, iris and dicentra, liguria and lilies lie, apparently dead, but actually taking  a long winter’s sabbatical from photosynthesis.  Their presence, more than anything else, convinces me that the blooms of yesteryear are not figments of a hypothermic crisis, but rather the wonder they are.

    The deep cold does not stop life here.  There were many folks at at the grocery store, a normal crowd for a Saturday.  An active snow storm, a severe one, can cause folks to stock up and sit tight, but the cold is part of the territory.  You deal with it, much as I assume the Bedouin do the heat.