Saturday, June 14, 2014

Better than Nothing... I think!

Time slows down for no one. They always say that the older you get, the faster time goes. I find that to be true and wish I could slow it down... just a little...

I have had blogger's block lately. I can't tell you how many times I have come to the blank post board in the past few weeks. I stare at it, start to write a few paragraphs, and then close out the window, slightly exasperated and convinced I can no longer write.

So I'll make this a simple update, highlighting a few lighthearted topics, just to get back into the swing of things.

First up is Aldi. Yes, the grocery store. I just read an article about how there were two German brothers long ago that started grocery stores-- one is what we know today as Trader Joe's, a high-end, Americanized grocery store-- and the other is Aldi, an inexpensive alternative which incorporates the German way.

I've been to Aldi before, but the article inspired me to go back, so today, I did. I have determined that I should shop there from now on, that it is a "Taryn" store, for the following reasons:

1. Shopping at Aldi is like shopping in a different country, because it is so different than American grocery stores. I like that it's different; that there are boxes stacked up and lining the store instead of shelves, that you have to put down earnest money to get your cart and that you bag your own groceries.

2. Nothing is in order. This appeals to my personality. While this might cause heart palpitations for more organized, OCD types, the disorder puts me at ease. I don't like the predictable and it stresses me out less that I don't know what's coming next. It's like a surprise every time I turn a corner :)

3. Less options. This may be a drawback for some, but honestly, for me it's best. Again, grocery stores are usually a nightmare for me, because I can spend hours there. The more options, the more likely I am to get lost, wandering up and down aisles, studying the 50 different types of brownie mixes before I can make a decision. But at Aldi, you only have one option, two tops. This, for me, is like magic. I look at the product and only one decision needs to be made: do I need it, or not? If I do, I take it. If I don't, I move on. The process goes by much quicker and I find I am in and out in record time.

4. It's inexpensive. Aldi can keep their prices low because they don't have the overhead of lots of grocery staff including a bakery, flower shop, meat department, baggers, etc. Plus, they don't have to have "paper or plastic" in stock, and they're a quarter richer every time a careless shopper leaves their shopping cart in the parking lot without returning it. The drawback for me is that you have to have cash on hand and remember to bring in my own bags, but those two items are worth it if I can cut my grocery bill in half... which, in most cases, I can, for equal or greater value.

5. There is a feeling of accomplishment. Honestly, most of the time, shopping at the grocery store is something that takes longer than it needs, distracts me more than I ever plan on, costs more than I expect, and it all ends at the check-out line where inevitably, I impatiently tap my foot while waiting on the cashier and bagger to finish the process. Then, there are the nearly-dozen plastic bags I have to unload into my car, then back out of my car and into my house, where my cat Isabel promptly runs inside of one and goes tearing through the house with it hanging around her neck. But with Aldi, the checkout process takes way less time, thus minimizing the impatience. I am efficiently rung up, I wheel my cart to the nearest open spot on the loading dock, and I bag my own groceries. I like that, because I feel like I am doing something rather than just standing there letting everyone else wait on me. Furthermore, all of my groceries can fit into two large "green" bags as opposed to a dozen plastic ones. So loading into my car is easier and quicker.

Can you believe I just wrote all of that on Aldi? It's like I am campaigning for them. Maybe I am. Maybe they should pay me marketing money. But then they'd have to raise their prices, so never mind.

The next topic is exercised-induced urticaria. It sounds big, but really it's just a fancy way of saying exercise that causes hives. I first discovered this several years ago, when I was walking briskly outside one winter. It never bothered me much again until this past winter in Florida. I was walking on the beach, and suddenly my legs broke out into red blotchy hives, and it felt like one thousand bees had stung me. It is the most intense, uncomfortable feeling, and it always occurs in my thighs. I literally feel like crawling out of my skin and itching my legs simultaneously, all while contemplating getting sick. It will usually go away on its own within 5-10 minutes if I decrease or stop the exercising, but it's not fun while it lasts. It can also be avoided if I stay on an allergy pill, which I have been living on the past month or so. However, I ran out a few days ago and went on my usual sprint-walk-jog tonight, and was quickly reminded how much I hate this ailment. And I always feel slightly offended... like my body is trying to tell me I'm not in shape. I know that's not the case, that's it just an allergic condition that I have, but still. Can't I handle a little sprinting or brisk walking?

Oh, well. There are bigger problems in life.

I'll close with this... because embarrassingly, it's probably true of me.

I'll be back eventually, once I snap out of my writer's block :( T