Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How people suck at directions

Today I was in conversation with a co-worker and I mentioned a newly opened business owned by the spouse of a mutual friend.  I told my co-worker where it was using both street names and points of reference I know she knows (popular restaurant).  She insisted that she thought this particular business was located "next to the dunkin donuts."  I said, um, no . . . no where near." And she assured me, yes, it was right next to the dunkin donuts.

Now, if someone tells you that a business is "right next to the dunkin donuts" what distance would you consider still "right next to" ?  Next door? With in the same block?  In the same town?

She further explained that you leave dd and go down to the pizza place and turn and go out past the discount grocery store.  The pizza place is at least a quarter mile on a street that has no foot traffic or sidewalk and is a 5 lane major thoroughfare in our town.  The discount grocery is oh, 4 more blocks on a 5 lane street with no sidewalk.  Total, we're talking 1/2 to a full mile away from the dunkin donuts.

Now I wonder how she makes it to work in the mornings.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Favorite conversation

When I was a young monkey, the Old Woman and I had a regular game/conversation that kept us occupied when standing in line or sitting in a waiting room . . . well two . . . the first was creating elaborate plans for if we won millions and millions of dollars in the lotto or publisher's clearing house.  The other is probably better left to another post.

The Phenom and I also have a favorite conversation. . . planning where and when we'll eat and drink in NOLA.  We started this conversation tonight (we'll be there in a week).  Of course, on the day we made the reservations to travel, we decided on the day we'd eat at our all time favorite restaurant, Herbsaint.

There is a new place we plan to try, Latitude 29.  The Phenom first read about it, and sold me when he said "tiki drinks."  But, since first deciding this would be our "new place" we've seen that it is actually very well known for being quite good.  And, the food looks just as well put together and thoughtful.

I must say, NOLA has ruined me for poorly made cocktails. Which isn't exactly a bad thing.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Southern "ratatouille"

Give it a fancy sounding name and no one will notice that you pretty much didn't actually cook.

This is what we, more or less, live on during the summer when I can get wonderfully fresh, local veggies for a song.  This week was particularly good.  Keep in mind I don't really measure and I use what I have at hand, so feel free to throw in what you like.

* Double handful of okra, sliced 1/2 inchish rounds
* 1 med/large yellow squash, the fatter end quartered and sliced, the skinnier end, halved and sliced
* several peppers sliced.  I had jalapenos, banana peppers, and cayenne
* tomatoes, chopped up.  I had plum tomatoes and used about 4, didn't peel them
* 1/2 an onion, diced
* several cloves garlic, chopped

Heat up olive oil in a pan and start with the peppers, onion, and garlic.  Salt and pepper them.  Then, when the onions are starting to go translucent, add in all the other veggies.  Sprinkle with Tony Chachere's seasoning.  I also put in a squirt of ketchup for a little sweet and vinegar.  Drop the temp to med, cover, stir every so often until everything is soft.  Check to make sure the seasoning is what you like and adjust accordingly and serve over rice.

Make sure you make enough for your lunch the next day.

I've also use cold, cooked potatoes and egg plant and zucchini in past versions. Pretty much what you like will work.  I've also changed up the seasoning . . . using various herbs instead of the cajun flavor.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New lows

This tale starts on Tuesday evening.  I and a co-worker were leaving the office, together and last of the staff to leave.  She had put a mostly but not quite empty cup of starbucks in her trash.  (It had milk in it and had been sitting on her desk all day, thus not likely to still be safe to drink.)  As she was walking her trash bag up the hallway, she realized the cup had tipped over AND there was a hole in the bag and she was dribbling up the hallway.  She darted into the main bathroom in our office and tossed it into the bathroom trash, which has a more substantial bag.

We got paper towels and a mop and cleaned up.  As she was about to declare the bathroom clean, she saw a single, small drop of coffee on the toilet.  She took a single square of tp and wiped it up and tossed the tp in the toilet.  Because it's an old office, with old toilets, she saved 5 gallons of water and didn't flush a clean toilet with a single sheet of tp in it.

Wednesday morning, I notice the interns are forgoing using the main bathroom and are trekking to mine.  I hear one mutter something about "that toilet. . . I don't know what's wrong with it."

I check it out and see the single square of tp is still there.  I flush, and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES THE TOILET IS FIXED.

This morning, the co-worker of the leaky trash bag notices that the interns had left a partially full pot of coffee on the coffee maker over night.  She took the pot to the main bathroom, poured it out and rinsed it and returned it to the work room.  She didn't turn on the light.  If she had, she would have noticed that the stopper to the sink was down and the coffee/water didn't drain.

I notice that once again, interns are trekking to my bathroom.  I ask co-worker if she is aware of anything wrong in the other bathroom, and she says she didn't see anything earlier, when pouring out coffee.  She goes to investigate, sees the coffee/water in the sink.  Notices the stopper, pushes the thingie to make it go up and VOILA! sink drains.  She takes paper towels and wipes out the sink, gets a clorox sheet and cleans the sink, and it's MIRACULOUSLY FIXED.


I told them it was coffee from them not cleaning out the previous day's coffee pot and the stopper was down.  But, it's fixed now.


I do believe they out-stupid the intern who didn't understand the concept of door keys.

I am tempted, next week when they are back, to put coffee water in both sinks and see what they do.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I'm in a rut

A writing rut.  Which can be a good thing . . . meaning that nothing of much importance or exciting is happening around me right now. And, gees, that's a nice break.

I started this blog 10 years ago because I needed a place to vent.  Well, as with most of life, the cause of my need for venting has disappeared. (YAY) And, then other dramas, mostly of various humans' making cropped up into my idyllic little monkey life.

I nearly allowed someone to take this blog away from me.  Fortunately, I came to my senses.

But, now that I'm in this rut, I find myself wondering what to do about the blog.  Shift focus?  Drum up drama?  Wait for the election cycle to get me all revved up over injustices?

Or, post all cat photos, all the time?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Never Poke a Sleeping Bear

Because it will wake up and eat you.

In this story, the Phenom is the bear and his supervisor is holding the stick.

Part of it is bad timing. Admittedly, the stick holder wouldn't know that . . . but some basic human consideration would have gone a long way in keeping that bear asleep.

Part of it is a "customer" who is being unreasonable.  But, the supervisor seemed to question the integrity of the Phenom.  And, there is no faster way to find yourself without a leg than to even hint that the Phenom is anything but forthright.

The bad timing . . . the death of a family member, days of travel, the emotional roller coaster of seeing long lost relatives but under such circumstances.  Made the bear particularly ready to eat the first moron to come along with a stick and grandiose ideas.

I once hear one of the Phenom's co-workers say that in witnessing the Phenom "have enough" his only logical response was involuntary urination.  This is gonna be so much more intense.

The down side.

One of the down sides of social media is being exposed to the stupidity that is floating around in the world.  If not for social media, I could acknowledge that such existed, but not actually have to see it.

The shooting in Charleston has brought out some truly stupid crap in my facebook feed. One person had been dropped a couple of years ago because he decided he need to pick a fight with me over guns.  Tonight, he popped up on my company's facebook just to be a jerk.  I know him well enough to know that he just wanted to incite a fight.  He'd posted several "pro gun" bits/responses to the Charleston shooting, and then turned his sights on our page.  His desire to pick a fight just resulted in his irrelevant comment being deleted.  Sadly, our policies prevent us from blocking him from our feed . . . yet.

Then, on my personal page, someone's totally ignorant screed about the confederate flag got her unfriended.  If EVEN Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney have realized that there are no points to be scored by continuing to cling to the "stars and bars" . . . then shouldn't the morons of the planet follow?


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the fence

Full disclosure, I was hesitant to buy a food processor because I couldn't think of how often I would actually use it and I feared that my salsa might lose some of that "made with love" flavor that comes from hand chopping.  Totally unfounded and I love my processor.

So, I bought one of these:  Slicer 

A friend recently tried to slice off her whole finger with one.  Another friend did permanent nerve damage to a finger with one.  So, sure, accident-prone-will-spill-soup-on-me-taking-it-out-of-the-microwave me needs one, right?

I used it for the first time last night . . . first, VERY CAREFULLY, without the guard and then once I was down to 2 inches of squash left, with the guard.

I'm not sure how much use it will see.  Yes, it did beautiful, precise, exactly even slices.  But, the guard was somewhat awkward to use.  And, I'm asking myself, the morning after, is having perfectly precise slices really worth it?  I generally take an imprecise approach to cooking, so why stress over squash slices?  Plus, I've got pretty decent knife skills.

Then again, I have a crock pot and there is only one thing I can successfully make in it.  Maybe I'll find ONE thing I can slice up with this thing and figure it was worth it.  Maybe.

Monday, June 01, 2015

It makes a monkey's eye twitch

The Phenom told me, again, this weekend that I am a food snob.  Of course, I always deny it.  But, yeah, he might be right.

His admonishment came after I screamed and ranted over a friend's facebook post.  My friend just moved from Seattle to NYC.  Seattle is world famous for their fish markets and seafood and NYC is one of the best food cultures in the world . . . also a place where you can get fresh, local seafood.

My friend is from one of the SE Atlantic states and was visiting family over the weekend.  His family lives in a coastal community.  He posted a picture of having seafood with the family . . . king crab legs.  KING CRAB LEGS . . . from like the other side of the planet . . .not one of the SE Atlantic states.  

AND SE coastal blue crabs have their soft shell season in May for several weeks, and crabs are harvested until fall.  Why wouldn't you eat the local seafood when you're at the coast?  Why have stuff that was flown in, frozen, when you could have something super fresh . . . and SOFT SHELL?

I live just far enough inland that I'm picky about my seafood.  And, when I travel to places on various coastlines, I eat the local fare . . . a lot of it . . . really, every meal.  But the local stuff  . . . not stuff flown in from else where.  You people are killin' me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where I show my own Sheldon Cooper side.

I was a speaker at a local association of some group of professionals tonight. I arrived early to set up my presentation materials and chat with the event organizers.  As we made small talk, I found that I made mention of various research articles I'd read .  I quipped that I read a lot of research on a variety of subjects.  It's the monkey-nerd in me.

Well, here's what I read tonight.  Dating research. I find it interesting because the Old Woman taught me rules for dating.  It was very important that I present myself as respectful of my companion's wallet.  Of course, now I realize that there is also some bizarro link between men spending money on dates and the expectation of sexual returns on the investment.  She never explained it to me in those terms, but I get it now.  (And, it is wrong and we need to fix this notion in our culture.)   Primarily, I was taught that I should inquire as to what my companion was planning on ordering, and then order something less expensive on the menu.  I was also taught to by pass the extras like apps or dessert.  (There is always homemade cake at the house, why don't you invite your young man in for a bite?)

In college, I had a bad beau who convinced me that being a feminist meant I should pay for our dates.  (Somehow, there was still an expectation of sexual favors.)  Then, I started offering to make dinner for our date and let my companion contribute by paying the cover at a club or for a movie.  (Even with this actually equal arrangement, I still ended up some dude sitting at my kitchen table and declaring that he could have sex with me.  He explained that once he bedded a person, he granted them the nickname of their first initial and he'd never slept with a M (M for monkey) before.  Seems his logic did not factor in the possibility that he would be shown the door before dinner hit the table . . . which is what happened.  I'm not a prude, but I do not hold with such foolishness.)

When I started dating the Phenom, I was pretty burned out on dating and cynical about the whole arrangement. (The dude above contributed his share.)  We really were dating more as placeholders and a social arrangement rather than some monkey/human mating game.  This meant that I made the decision to stop playing games.  I started ordering what I actually wanted to eat (of course, still being respectful of the cost . . . no massive steaks or lobsters . . . but no more side salads with a shared plate of fries either.)   Dates would be negotiated for shared interest as well as expense.

And that was 26 years ago.  We still negotiate dates.  We still work to make sure that neither is taken for granted.  And, we still have great fun on dates.  In fact, just last year, a cabbie in NOLA asked if we were in town on our honeymoon, because we clearly were having fun being together.  We said yes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Never say never

My cooking style evolved based on what I am curious about, and what I can get locally.  I have always liked foods that are particular to one culture or another.  I make a lot of Asian inspired foods as well as cajun/creole dishes.  We don't eat a lot of meat in our house hold, and the Old Woman generally reserved meat for company.

Oddly, I don't make the foods I ate at the Old Woman's table.  For the life of me, I cannot make a good pot roast.  I blame the lean meat that just isn't as good as what she got.

I have never tried to compete with the Phenom's mother's cooking.  She did teach me how she made biscuits.  And, although I more or less do exactly what she taught me, the Phenom insists that my biscuits are nothing like hers.  I do regret that I didn't claim her cookbooks after she died.  (I let the Phenom's aunt take them.  I didn't find a treasure trove of hand written recipes or a notebook with her favorites collected. . . I would have claimed those.)

Lately, the Phenom has been bringing up how much he misses fatback on the table.  It was, apparently, a staple in his childhood home.  Fatback was not only NEVER served at the Old Woman's table, but she would have screamed at the suggestion of it. (Much too unhealthy.)

Today, at the grocery store, the fatback was in a location that I noticed it.  Honestly, I have no idea if I've ever seen it in the store before.  I'm sure I have, and ignored it.  But, I bought a packet of the stuff.  I put about half of the packet in a cast iron pan over fairly low heat and turned it a few times.  I had the Phenom look at it and tell me when he thought it was "done."

Tonight, dinner was turnips with their greens, new potatoes, and for the Phenom, fatback.  (I had sliced radishes from the garden.)

The Phenom said the fatback was as good as his mother's; the highest possible compliment.  I understand that memory will taint taste.  I'm glad he liked it.  I hope he eats what is left in the fridge.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Coming back

I had to be out of town this week on business.  I have long since outgrown being excited over business trips. And, it didn't help that ESK left me, and back in the day, trips with her were always a blast.  We'd make time to do something fun and bonding.  We'd eat adventurous food. It is tremendously difficult to find good traveling companions.

But, apparently, the one who really suffered was The Pirate Jean Lafitte.  Phenom tells me that he would run into the bedroom and look for me, that he'd look for me around the house and cry when he couldn't find me.

When I got home, there was much cooing and cuddling and not letting me too far out of his reach. Plus, there was this:

I suspect he will not be pleased to learn there are three (at least) more excursions, on which he isn't invited, planned this summer.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I tend to have foods I make seasonally.  I only make heavy things like beef bourguignon chili in the winter and summer means all variety of fresh veggies.  

Given the wackiness of the past winter, my own garden is fairly sad and pathetic.  Bunnies ate all the cucumber and squash plants.  The basil never came up.  And something is nibbling on the radishes.  (The peas are pretty, but I wonder if they are too far behind and will be fried by high temps before they bloom.)  My one surviving blueberry bush seems to be thriving  and is laden with berries.  I suspect the same critters that ate my squash will beat me to the blueberries, again, this year.

Fortunately, I have very good relationships with local farmers.  And, they have much better production than I do. 

My favorite farm stand is doing their own CSA this year.  I'm hoping other folks will buy into it too . . . since it was pretty expensive but they do have the most wonderful fruits and veggies.  They have several different types of peaches . . . and I can eat my weight in peaches.

Today, I headed out to their stand (CSA hasn't started yet).  I bought new potatoes, so fresh you can "peel" them by rubbing your hands over them.  Beautiful purple onions, kale, broccoli and kohlrabi.  Tonight, I pulled a couple radishes, and threw them in with some kohlrabi and kale and soba noodles.  I used a few things in the fridge to make an asianish dressing.  YUM!  Tomorrow, I'm going to boil the potatoes and DROWN them in butter from another local farm.  I'll steam the broccoli and figure out something that looks like meat to serve with it all. 

We had "hash" two nights the last two weeks. I always feel like I'm cheating on cooking when I make ratatouille or hash because it's a chop everything and dump it in a pan and a few minutes later the Phenom thinks I'm a genius kind of meal.  Maybe I'm over thinking it . . . maybe I am just a genius.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Raining Money

Maybe my "good deed" bought me some peace in my office.

Today, I stopped by a local charity to drop off a donation.  When I got out of my car, there was a dollar bill in front of their door.  I picked it up, and handed it, along with my donation, to their employee. She thought perhaps someone might come back by their office to claim it. I said "maybe it's raining money and that's the first drop."

Then, as I went back to my car, there were TWO more dollars in the parking lot.  I walked around a bit to see if there were more, and took the two more dollars into the charity.  I was the only person in the parking lot at that time . . . and the office next door to them was closed.

It really was raining money.

The employee, as I left a second time, quipped that she was impressed that I immediately thought to give them the money rather than keep it . . . after all, it was in the parking lot, not in their building.

It never occurred to me to keep it.

Later, there seemed to be calm in my office. I'm hoping the lull in drama was bought with that automatic instinct to give found money away.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Juvenile delinquents

The Old Woman had particular ideas about how one ought to act.  She believed that one went out of their way to insure that company was comfortable and felt welcomed.  Alternately, she believed that if you were a guest in someone's home, you acted as if every detail of your stay was wonderful.  If the bed was lumpy, or the food terrible, you plastered a smile on your face and with all sincerity exclaimed your night to be restful and the host a skilled cook. (And, you never show up as a guest empty handed.)

She was also concerned that her children, and I, grow up to be contributing members of society.We were expected to devote our talents to the betterment of the planet.  She would not have tolerated any of us becoming petty criminals, felons, or politicians.

To this end, she had some pretty specific rules designed to insure that no child (or monkey) raised in her home should be a juvenile delinquent.

One rule was that the plastic containers certain foods came in were not to be on the dinner table.  Milk was generally poured into glasses and placed at the place of the person (monkey) drinking it.  If there were need for milk to be put on the table for second servings, it was always poured into a pottery pitcher or earthenware jug.  There was always a pitcher of ice water on the table as well.

And, the plastic container that margarine or butter was purchased in could not be put on the table.  Slinging the plastic tub onto the table demonstrated a lack of care and attention to detail that could ONLY end in switch blades, underage drinking, and running for public office.  She had a pottery dish that the tub fit into so that you could not see the tub.

She would probably be disappointed in the slovenly way I tend to my own table.  I do put a water pitcher on the table, but I also put the butter tub on the table.  BUT! When I do put the butter tub on the table (even the fancy butter from the local dairy), I always, and I mean ALWAYS, admonish the people (monkeys) around my table to not grow up to be juvenile delinquents.  There is a standard, after all.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


7:30 - 8:00am and 4:00pm are my favorite times of the day.  That's when I get to be alone in the office.  Amazing how my foul mood instantly lifts.

Today, I had an employee argue with me over the concept of "a time sheet needs to be an accurate reflection of the hours you work."  Sadly, not the first time this issue has been, um, discussed in this office.  Thing is, employee left hours off their time sheet, and I was making sure they got due credit for their hours worked.  HOW EFFED UP IS THAT?

Beyond that any sort of navel gazing one might do over the concept of time sheets . . . if your boss says "record the hours you worked, turn it in to me in order to receive your paycheck" why would you argue?  Why wouldn't you just slap those hours down and be done with it?

I suspect that the generation of helicopter parents who have mistakenly taught their young ones that their opinion matters in all things are to blame.  Or, maths is hard.  One of the two.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's in a name?

Earlier this week, Phenom was trying to remember the name of a character in a movie.  He remembered the actor's name, but not the character.  We finally got it after I suggested "Tater."  It's "Spud."

And, as we often do when confronted with a fun name, Phenom said "I ought to start calling myself Spud."

Being the supportive spouse, I enthusiastically agreed.  There aren't many Spuds on the planet, and even fewer in The Phenom's chosen profession.  I promised to support his Spudness by referring to him in my social media as Spud.

It started yesterday.  Twice today.  And NO ONE has commented or asked.  Last night, we laughed and wondered by no one would even ask me privately about the sudden appearance of "Spud."

Then, it dawned on me.  What IF people have been thinking of Phenom as "Spud" all along and we are just now getting with the program?

I'm pretty sure MY Spud isn't gonna try to franchise me.  Probably better that way.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring is coming

It was a weird, long winter.  Even still, our weather hasn't yet given me enough confidence to do the wardrobe switch.  

But, just as you think that it will never turn warm, that the sun will always hide, that it will rain every freakin' day . . . this happens:

And they must be having a great year this year because I swear the bucket was several dollars cheaper than past years.  But, best of all . . . they are the most strawberryish of strawberries.  Sweet, tart, and almost artificial in the burst of strawberry flavor.  One tends to forget what a real strawberry tastes like after having too many store boughts.

Yeah.  The bucket is half empty already.  #noregrets

Monday, April 20, 2015

Y'all are harshing my buzz

Or, I miss the Evil Side Kick.

There are only human women working in my office.  They are all fairly young (under 30), so I don't know if this is an age thing, a gender thing, or just the weirdness of a collection of individuals who tend to act in similar ways totally by coincidence.

a) Why must they use SO MUCH TOILET PAPER?  Seriously.  I find the empty tubes in the trash, so I know they aren't taking it home with them.

b) Oh the attitudes.  The attitudes.  I'm so tired of having my greeting in the morning returned with a shrug or grunt or not at all.  I'm tired of the "look at me" games."  I'm tired of these humans acting like they are doing me a favor by doing their jobs and then pouting when I offer the most gently offered suggestions ever to be given.

c) I'm tired of being made to feel that if I'm not buying your lunch, you have no use for me.  Hell, even when I do buy lunch, I'm tired of being made to feel as if you have no use for me.

d) I understand that I am the "boss." And, to many employees, that makes me the enemy.  But, you should realize that if you show me even the tiniest amount of respect, I'll be unbelievably generous in return.

Lastly, it isn't my job to jolly you into doing your job and being pleasant.  If you refuse to be pleasant to your co-workers, don't be surprised when they stop trying too.

Okay, the Monday morning blues rant is over.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Learning Opportunity

So, anyone who has a social media presence at all knows all too well the big fail that was Gwyneth Paltrow's attempt to participate in the $29 food stamp challenge.  I've read several articles, critical, about the situation.  And, we talked about it in our office.

I had several initial thoughts from the photo she posted.  1) It was not enough food for a week of eating,  2) several of her purchases were flavorings and not really foods, 3) girl is gonna get tired of black beans and rice and 4) that's enough food, perhaps, for a weekend but not seven days.

Limes (why so many limes?), cilantro, garlic, a single onion and pepper are more flavorings than food.  I think she was thinking she'd cook up a big pot of beans and rice and create a couple different dishes out of it . . . like a black bean salsa.  Surely that would be why she'd buy one ear of corn, for a salsa?  Right?  And she wasn't planning on multiple meals out of that one sweet potato, right?

I did 5 minutes worth of research and this is how I'd spend my $29 dollars: (I went to a local food store chain and looked up prices.  I am not considering sales tax in my calculations but that is offset by the consideration that the store is considered one of the more expensive food stores in my area.  I'm pretty sure I could get the items cheaper at Wal-mart, thus affording sales tax.)

1 lb dry beans (black beans or pintos) - 1.45
1 lb brown rice (just because it is more nutritious and more filling) - 1.50
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (block, not pre shredded) -  4.49
1 loaf whole wheat bread - 1.99
Peanut butter - 2.50
2 lbs carrots - 1.89
12 oz apples - 1.50
1 head garlic - 0.59
1 packet taco seasoning - 0.69
36 oz grits - 1.99
3 lbs sweet potatoes - 2.67
8oz butter/canola oil blend - 2.79
bag mixed kale/spinach/greens - 3.00

Here are some of my meal ideas:

  • beans and rice bowl topped with some chopped greens and a little cheese
  • cook 1/2 sweet potato/handful kale/a couple of carrots together, serve with grits 
  • rice with spoonful of butter, diced apple 
  • peanut butter and apple sandwich
  • roll out a couple slices of bread to make "tortillas" and create a sweet potato and black bean burrito with taco seasoning/garlic
  • Salad of greens with slices of cold grits fried polenta style with carrots, apple, and cheese.
  • Cook an apple and sweet potato together to make a "butter" and have it with either toast or          PB/apple/sweet potato sandwich serve with carrot sticks and slice of cheese
  • Mash black beans with taco seasoning and spread it on toast with greens
  • saute greens with butter and garlic, serve with grits and cheese

Of course, there are straight up PB sandwiches and grits with butter and cheese.  For a treat, grate some of the cheese and make a grilled cheese sammy.

I will admit that there are more carbs in this menu/list than I would normally buy.  Doing this list immediately made me long for the farmer's market in town.  I would trade store bought apples/sweet potatoes/bagged greens for cukes/squash/eggplant/peppers and onion in a heart beat.

But, I could feed myself on this for a week.  I would have some food left over (3 lbs of grits?!)  But, I would have some variety, some protein, and learn to appreciate the sweetness of carrots, apples, and peanut butter.

I did originally have oatmeal on the list.  But, I felt that grits could be used as a breakfast as well as dinner carb, and I didn't want to buy milk for oatmeal.

The decision to purchase no canned foods (other than PB) and meat was intentional.  I feel that the nutritional value of fresh produce outweighs the increased volume from buying canned veggies.  Also, although I am not a vegetarian, I have no problem eating vegetarian for long periods of time and meat is so very expensive.

I wonder if I could increase the budget to $60 and feed myself and the Phenom on it just to see how it would work?  He's pretty tied to junk food.  Maybe I propose it to him and see if he's game rather than springing it on him.  The lack of twinkies (apparently the chocolate covered ones are the best thing ever) or coke products or chips might create some form of adverse reaction.  $60 would allow for coffee.  We could not do this if the phenom could not have coffee.  And, I'd want to do it when I could shop at the farmer's market.  Our farmer's market takes WIC and SNAP recipients can get vouchers for the market upon request.

HOWEVER, even as I write this, I'm totally aware that I will have the luxury of a car to get from market to store, I have adequate storage and cooking facilities, and the time to plan for this to be a ONE time event in our lives.  Which kinda makes me as bad as Gwyneth, doesn't it?