Last week, STA and I bought some bok choy at United Noodle (along with a whole bunch of other cool stuff, including Pocky Sticks for Men–for men because they are dark chocolate). We used my iPad to find a recipe (thank you epicurious app!) and then followed the recipe directly from the iPad (perched on my nifty stand that I got for my birthday). Apparently, Martha Stewart uses her iPad in the same way–at least, that’s what @KJCFalcon told me that she read from Martha Stewart’s twitter feed.
Right now I am attempting to juggle three different blogs. I really like how these blogs highlight different aspects of my writing/thinking/feeling self. On trouble, I focus on giving critical (and serious, extended) attention to trouble in feminist and queer contexts. Frequently I write about Judith Butler and the ethical implications of her work. I also devote a lot of time to working through my own (hopefully) book project on trouble as a virtue. On Unchained, I experiment with developing/practicing virtue ethics (in relation to breaking, reworking, transforming consumption habits) through and in connection with blogging. I co-write this blog with my partner, STA, as we try to figure out ways to reduce consumption, make better (whatever that means) choices, and model “good” behavior for two crazy, yet wonderful kids, FWA and RJP. Finally on It’s Diablogical!, I diablogue with my writing partner and good friend, KCF, about blogging and feminist pedagogy. Our blog is part of a larger writing project on teaching with blogs and blogging while teaching.
Sound like too much? While it can feel overwhelming at times, all three of these writing projects inspire and invigorate me (at least, so far. I just started Unchained and It’s Diablogical! this summer. It is possible that my brain will melt once I start prepping for my classes later this month). The specific content of each blog is different, yet all three connect, sometimes in unexpected ways. Like right now. As I was preparing to write more on Unchained about failing, I realized that I have A LOT to write about the issue of failing and FAIL, and that what I want to write is relevant to each of the blogs I write on. With that in mind, I have decided to try an experiment in this entry. I want to write about failure in the context of each of the three blogs. If I like how this works, I anticipate experimenting with it more in future entries. I plan to post this entry in each of my blogs. So, here goes nothing…
First, my overarching statement: Failure is valuable.
Failure is very important part of the process of breaking old habits and creating new ones. So much so that I have included a category on that blog entitled, Failure. While there is much that could be said about how failure (that is, doing things in un-virtuous or out-of-balance ways) is an important part of our moral and practical education, I simply don’t have the energy to write much more about that right now. At some point soon, I would like to carefully read and maybe comment on Putting on Virtue in relation to this question. But, I digress.
From my perspective (STA has a different perspective), I am interested in exploring my/our various habits of consumption and how to break and/or rework them. Perhaps one of my central approaches to this breaking/reworking process is to give some serious attention to the moments when I fail. I like to analyze why it didn’t work and ask lots of questions–what happened? how could it happen differently? what are some of the deeper issues that prevent me from breaking habits that I know are bad, harmful, unjust? Why do I have so many half-finished bags of tortilla chips? Why did I panic and buy the processed ham? And why did I order the large beer sampler?
Some people might imagine such a focus on failure to be depressing or discouraging; I find that not focusing on how/when I fail to be unproductive, uncritical and (almost) a guarantee that I will fail again.
Making, being in and staying in trouble is all about valuing failure: closely and critically examining it, learning from it, developing questions around how/why it happened, being devoted to claiming/exposing it, never concealing it. Throughout her work, particularly in Gender Trouble and Undoing Gender, Judith Butler discusses the potential value (and danger) of our various failures to fully embody/live up to gender norms and our proper gender roles/rules. Check out what she says about her parents’ gender failures in Judith Butler: Philosophical Encounters of the Close Kind. In the first 2 minutes of this youtube clip, Butler describes how her various family members were unable to fully live up to the gender/race/class norms as embodied by famous Hollywood actors. Then, at 2 minutes and 19 seconds in, Butler says:
My conclusion was that anyone who strives to embody them [gender norms–being a “proper” man or woman], perhaps also fails in some ways that are more interesting than their successes.
For Butler, failure is not just more interesting than success; failure is a crack in the system. When we fail we can begin to see the limits of the system and how/when it doesn’t work. Maybe, especially if we gravitate towards trouble, we might wonder about what these limits say about the system and why the system has to be the way it is or why it couldn’t function in a different way (perhaps in a way that enable our norms to be guided by our actions instead of our actions dictated by our norms). When we succeed at living up to gender expectations (what Butler might describe as achieving a proper gender performance), we aren’t prompted to ask questions about the system and how it might work differently or better. And we aren’t inspired to think about the gender binary system or its rigid rules about what it means to be a man or a woman. In fact, sometimes success is more of a failure; to succeed can contribute to a failure to think, to question, to wonder, or to resist. I could say more about failure in relation to Michel Foucault’s limit attitude, but I want to stay focused so that I don’t lose my various readers here (especially the ones who might read Unchained, but not trouble. Yes, STA, I’m talking to you…)
To embrace failure, or to at least recognize that it is not something to avoid or conceal, can open us up to other possibilities and other ways of knowing and being. When we begin to understand that failure is inevitable and necessary, we can shift our focus away from always being right or having the right answer or even believing that there is one right answer. Instead, we can focus more of our attention on all the different ways that others could be right (or, at least not wrong). When we don’t worry so much about failing (and then being seen as a Failure), we aren’t as invested in proving that we aren’t ever wrong. This enables us to make room for exciting and inspiring conversations with others that involve much more than concluding who got it right and who didn’t. Failure also encourages us to experiment and be creative with how we approach ideas, problems and people. This is especially true when we don’t imagine failure as something that threatens to undermine us and our authority and when we embrace it as a necessary and invigorating part of the process (of thinking, writing, learning, engaging).
While there are many ways to practice and promote this vision of failure (as contributing to openness, as encouraging experimentation), I am particularly interested in how blogs (my personal ones and the ones I use in my class) can serve as powerful spaces for valuing failure (and valuing vulnerability, openness and experimentation). Here, let me briefly explain how I used my blog for my spring 2010 Contemporary Feminist Debates course to explore and practice the idea of valuing failure.
Instead of using the language of failure (which is negative and can immediately induce fear and suspicion amongst the students), I described the process of not being right or failing to be right in terms of uncertainty, contestability and curiosity. I reworked one traditional notion of debate by shifting our focus away from the contesting of competing claims to the critical and creative exploration of negotiating between (and living with) multiple visions of what is or should be right. In this way, I transformed the idea of failure from being wrong to not being the only one right.
The course blog played a central role in this process of imagining and practicing a new vision of feminist debate-as-curiosity. Because this blog entry is getting way too long (surprise, surprise), I want to highlight one particular blog exercise that I used to reinforce the idea of failing (that is, failing to know) as valuable. I developed a category on the blog titled, “This is a feminist issue because…”. Students were required to post one example of something that they believed to be a feminist issue and then respond to at least two other students’ examples. Here is my explanation:
So, this category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to feminism. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a feminist analysis. And it could include topics, issues, or events that you feel are connected to feminism or deserve a feminist response, but you are not sure how or why. Entries filed under this category should invite us to apply our growing knowledge of feminism/feminist movement/s to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas, topics, or images that are important for feminism. When posting an entry/example, you could pose a question to the reader or provide a brief summary on the example and/or why you posted it.
While the purpose of this blog category was to document a wide range of feminist issues and approaches, the unanticipated (and somewhat anticipated) effect of this category was to demonstrate to students that feminist movement is not any one thing and that we can’t ever fully know what feminism is or how it should proceed. While this made some students angry (“if feminism is too broad, it becomes meaningless!”) and many uncomfortable, it made other students curious and inspired them to rethink debate and feminism outside of its rigid borders. In the context of this blog, the failure to come up with any definitive or comprehensive conclusions as to what feminism or a feminist issue is resulted in a larger success–it opened them to new ways of thinking about feminism and enabled (at least some of) them to embrace not knowing (check out what I write about this idea in my final thoughts entry).
This experiment was time-consuming and I don’t think the result is completely successful. Is it a failure? Yes, but in a potentially productive way.
Posted inFailure|Comments Off on The Value of Failure: Versions 3, 1 and 2
I was worried about what our vacation might do to this blog, its mission (or whatever you’d call it), or at least to my own motivation to participate in it, and not without reason.
It wasn’t just that we broke down and shopped at Super Target for some “necessities” prior to leaving. It wasn’t just that, despite our “unchained” successes during most of the trip, the circumstances of three days in suburban Chicago at the end of the trip all but dragged us to both McDonald’s and (again) Target. It was that I was already weakening on the overall objectives (perhaps because they were never clearly defined), and ten days’ disruption of the “new way” would make it easier than ever to slip back into the old.
Fortunately, our return home was not accompanied with a return to the chain stores, but it was accompanied by the return of one unwanted behavior: kitchen laziness, i.e. a frequent willingness to resort to takeout for dinner. In just a few days’ time, we got takeout from Crystal Garden (Chinese), Dominguez (Mexican), Gandhi Mahal (Indian), along with numerous lunchtime visits to 3 Tiers and Nokomis Beach. We stayed local and non-chain, but we were falling back into old habits where excessive consumption of both money and calories were concerned.
Yesterday marked a return to the Linden Hills area, for a dual mission of entertaining the kids and purchasing dinner ingredients. This is always a mixed bag: the kids were adequately appeased (for a while) with the Lynnhurst wading pool and a stroll through the Lyndale Rose Garden and Peace Garden. They were placated with Sebastian Joe’s ice cream and a brief stop at Creative Kidstuff. They got to complain in colorful ways about the strong aromas at Coffee and Tea, Ltd. But on the downside, we didn’t get to leave with another loaf of delicious Great Harvest bread (they close at 1 PM on Sundays), we paid way too much (again) at the Linden Hills Co-op (why is it so much more expensive, even than the Seward Co-op?), and we didn’t escape without at least a few tantrums (some by the kids). And of course there’s the nagging feeling that we’re not really doing ourselves or the world any favors by shopping in the elite environs of southwest Minneapolis.
We did, however, succeed in making one of our old favorites that we haven’t had in years: Grilled Pizza with Spicy Italian Sausage, from a 1997 issue of Bon Appetit. Back in the early 2000s we made this several times every summer, but it’s been ages, and we both missed it.
We took a shortcut on the crust, which in retrospect was a “fail”: while the premade crust we purchased at the co-op was quite tasty, it was ridiculously expensive. This pizza is pretty labor-intensive as it is, though, especially after all we had done in the afternoon (and considering it was already nearly 6 PM when we got home), and making the crust from scratch just didn’t seem prudent at the time.
This was the first time I’d made pizzas with our gas grill, and the kids’ cheese pizza, made first, was charred past their point of tolerance; then I erred too far in the other direction with our own pizza. But ultimately it was still a delicious and satisfying conclusion to a busy, and mostly non-fail, day. (Bonus non-fail: we picked up the hot Italian sausage at Clancey’s and it was excellent.)
STA, RJP, FWA and I just got back from our big summer trip. First we went up north–Duluth, the Porcupine Mountains, Copper Harbor, Houghton (where I was born), Crystal Falls/Amasa. Then, down through Wisconsin (Appleton). And finally ended up in suburban Chicago (Elgin). As the title of this entry indicates, we had some success in breaking old habits (the good), we reverted to bad habits (the bad), and we ate some food that no longer (or maybe never) tasted good (the bad tasting).
Because I am still trying to recover from the intensity of spending 24 hours a day with the kids for 10 days and of being in the car for 10 days straight and because I am trying to catch up on other work, I won’t write too much now. Instead, I will offer a few highlights, organized around my title. Tonight I will focus on some of the good:
The Good: For most of the trip we avoided fast food restaurants (that is, until we hit suburban USA). On our way out of Duluth, we shopped at a great food co-op called Whole Foods (no relation to that other chain, super-store of the same name). We bought some meat + cheese + pita + apples for our lunch for the week. Oh, and some awesome Maple-Almond butter. Surprisingly, we did eat most of the food for our many lunches.
Another good experience was revisiting all of the local restaurants that I have eaten at for over 30 years: the Hilltop for breakfast, the Hut Inn for lunch (the coolest decor EVER!), and the Library for dinner. Each of these places conjures up potent memories of childhood, my mom, and my UP (yooper) heritage. At a certain point on the trip I had one of those very obvious, yet still seemingly “deep,” revelations: You don’t make memories at a chain restaurant. Seriously, does anyone want to take a nostalgia trip back to the Applebees that they used to eat at when they were 5 (did Applebees even exist when I was 5?)? Okay, I just looked up the history of Applebees and no, it didn’t exist when I was 5. The first restaurant opened in the good ol’ ATL when I was 6 in 1980. Yes, I’m that old (or that young, I suppose).
As I will testify to in future entries, this trip was not completely successful; we failed more than a few times. But, I was impressed with the big shifts we made in our consuming habits on this trip–no McDonalds until we hit Elgin. No Pizza Hut. Picnic lunches almost every day. We must be doing something right on this blog.
Here’s a teaser for some possible future entries about our trip: 1. The bad…or that time when STA convinced me to get my own 10 beer sampler at the Library because he didn’t want to share his 10 (4 each) beer sampler with me, 2. the bad tasting…or witnessing the cinnamon roll frosting lake at the Hilltop, and 3. the French Dip Tour: Summer 2010 (because I like french dip that much).
Posted inGeneral, Reflections|Comments Off on Our trip: the good, the bad and the bad tasting
As I’ve been struggling to keep myself engaged with writing this blog (even though I’ve been doing a fair enough job adhering to its principles, last night’s take-out Thai food notwithstanding), I’ve been thinking about what it really is that motivates us to make our choices, and what we’re hoping to get out of the experience.
SLP has talked a bit here (and more with me in person) about motivations. This blog is not necessarily about making any grandiose statement, doing something profound to make the world a better place, or even embracing the social and environmental responsibilities we know we should take on. As I’ve said before, it’s really just about making smarter choices, even though the criteria that inform those choices may at times be contradictory.
Let’s move away from the primary subject of this blog — food — to another of life’s necessities: clothing. I’m a t-shirt-and-jeans kind of guy. Back when I was a cubicle dweller, I regularly broke my companies’ “business casual” dress codes and wore jeans to work. When you’re just sitting in a box staring at a computer screen all day, what difference does it make what you’re wearing? I understand a dress code might be necessary if you’re meeting regularly with clients, but otherwise, it’s silly.
Now that I’m a freelancer, most days I’m wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops (at least, in the summer). I still have a special dress code for when I’m meeting with clients: I upgrade to jeans and a polo shirt.
The point is: t-shirts are a big part of my wardrobe. I may go weeks at a time without wearing any other kind of shirt. And I’ve gotten to know t-shirts well. There are plenty of issues with clothing, especially cheap clothing like t-shirts: they’re typically produced under sweatshop conditions, often by children, in economically-depressed parts of the world. But then there’s American Apparel. Made in the USA. But they’ve had their own string of controversies, from their borderline-pornographic advertising to accusations of sweatshop conditions in their downtown Los Angeles factory.
I’ve never set foot in an American Apparel store; I dislike their ads; and I’m suspicious of their integrity as an employer. But I love their t-shirts. More than half of the t-shirts I own, and almost all of the ones I wear on a regular basis (including the one I have on right now) are made by American Apparel. Sure, the “Made in the USA” label probably has some impact on me, but the main reason I prefer their t-shirts is the quality: they’re softer and more durable, with better construction and a better fit, by far, than any other brand I’ve owned. They’re more comfortable, they don’t stretch out of shape after multiple washings, their hems don’t unravel, and they fit me well: with most brands, medium is too small (specifically, too short) and large is too big. But American Apparel’s sizes are skewed slightly smaller, so a large AA t-shirt fits me just right.
American Apparel is in the news again today for a completely different reason: financial woes. Apparently their ill-advised decision to go public has proven difficult because they can’t keep up with their accounting reporting obligations. Or something. The bottom line is, their stock is tanking, they’re deep in the red (and getting deeper), and the company may soon collapse. Which makes me want to start stocking up on t-shirts. Not because I love the company or what they represent, but because they make the best of a particular product that I’ve been able to find, and I doubt anyone else is going to come along soon and take their place.
This kind of reasoning is, of course, in conflict with the reasoning I’ve been giving here for other purchasing decisions (specifically as regards Jimmy John’s), but that kind of conflict is an inherent part of any of the myriad decisions we make on a daily basis in life. The important thing, I think, is to be able to reflect on your decisions and be satisfied with the choices you’ve made and why you made them, despite the inevitable conflict.
Since I was almost out of coffee yesterday, I decided it was time to go back to the coffee and tea place in Linden Hills (which I already wrote about here). I am pleased to announce that I had lattes at home all last week (except for one iced latte at Nokomis Beach on Father’s Day). I must have saved about $18 (or $10 after you factor in the price of the coffee). Anyway, FWA and RJP joined me on the “adventure” (when FWA was much younger, I used to try to convince him to come shopping with me by calling it an “adventure,” as in, “Hey FWA, time to go on an adventure!” It didn’t take him long to realize my bulls**t. He would yell, “Mom, adventure means going on a boring shopping trip and I DON’T LIKE BORING SHOPPING TRIPS!”). Even before entering the tiny store, which is filled with jars and jars of coffees and teas from around the world, RJP yelled excitedly, “Hey, it’s the stinky coffee place!” And when FWA and RJP entered they immediately plugged their noses. This gesture prompted the guy behind the counter and me to talk about our own pre-coffee innocence, back when we couldn’t believe that anyone could possibly want to drink this stuff. Sigh–it makes me wonder about what things I will enjoy in 20 years that I really dislike now–hmm….I hope Jay Leno isn’t still on…
After dropping the coffee (and FWA) off at the car to sit with STA, RJP and I made a quick trip to Wild Rumpus and then the Great Harvest Bread Company, where we picked up some shortbread and a wonderful loaf of spinach and feta bread. Very tasty. I used the shortbread for dessert, along with some strawberries (from Oxendales) and whipped cream.
So, here’s my (not so deep) reflection for the day: I really don’t like shopping at mega-stores. I always feel overwhelmed by choices and then angered by the fact that I really don’t have much choice at all (the aisles are filled with the same brands, but just in different colors or sizes). And I feel disconnected from the food I am getting, partly because so much of it is processed, packaged (even the vegetables are individually wrapped) and shipped from somewhere (where?) else. For me it isn’t just that the food isn’t local or organic (because some of it can claim, at least legally, to be organic); it is that these mega stores make deliberate efforts to limit my options. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I can or even should have limitless options (at least, limitless options without consequences or without consideration of at what or whose expense those choices are made available to me). But, I get really annoyed with how stores (Target, I’m talking to you), try to dictate when I buy bathing suits for the kids (in March, before they are all gone!) or snow boots (September or October at the latest).
Now, I am not saying anything new here; many people have written much more eloquently about the politics of food, or the evils of big corporations, or the limits of choice (who has access to choices and/or whether the liberal notion of choice should even be a key value). I write this today because the experience of shopping at small, “local”–does Great Harvest Bread Company count as local?–stores instead of the mega store both reminds me of that which I am already aware, that I really, really dislike shopping at mega stores, and provides me with even more reasons why I shouldn’t shop at them.
One final thought: Not everyone has access (the time, the money, the proximity) to the stores that we (RJP, FWA and I) shopped at last night. I am reminded of this study that I read about last year: The High Cost of Poverty. Here’s what they say about being poor and buying groceries:
Poverty 101: We’ll start with the basics.
Like food: You don’t have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or Trader Joe’s, where the middle class goes to save money. You don’t have three hours to take the bus. So you buy groceries at the corner store, where a gallon of milk costs an extra dollar.
A loaf of bread there costs you $2.99 for white. For wheat, it’s $3.79. The clerk behind the counter tells you the gallon of leaking milk in the bottom of the back cooler is $4.99. She holds up four fingers to clarify. The milk is beneath the shelf that holds beef bologna for $3.79. A pound of butter sells for $4.49. In the back of the store are fruits and vegetables. The green peppers are shriveled, the bananas are more brown than yellow, the oranges are picked over.
(At a Safeway on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, the wheat bread costs $1.19, and white bread is on sale for $1. A gallon of milk costs $3.49 — $2.99 if you buy two gallons. A pound of butter is $2.49. Beef bologna is on sale, two packages for $5.)
Prices in urban corner stores are almost always higher, economists say. And sometimes, prices in supermarkets in poorer neighborhoods are higher. Many of these stores charge more because the cost of doing business in some neighborhoods is higher. “First, they are probably paying more on goods because they don’t get the low wholesale price that bigger stores get,” says Bradley R. Schiller, a professor emeritus at American University and the author of “The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination.”
Breaking bad habits and crafting and practicing new ones that are more responsible and just is not just a project for individuals (like me or STA) who reflect on the direct impact of those individual choices on their particular lives. Breaking bad habits requires a deeper analysis and awareness of the impact of those choices on others and of the disproportionately harmful impact of certain collective choices (such as, where stores are located or how items are priced) on certain communities. Breaking bad habits and crafting new ones is not just about being healthy or organic or less-wasteful; it is about becoming and staying aware of the various structures/ideologies (shaped by race, class, nation, ability, sexuality, and more) that subtly and not so subtly determine how and why we act in the ways that we do.
Really, respect the food? I think I must write more about this later (but, after STA’s Father’s Day Celebration)….
Addendum as of 6.21.10: When I first saw this advertisement, I was blinded by the ginormous phallus; the text, “respect the food” seemed superfluous. (Before I forget to mention it, this is an advertisement for Subzero refrigerators in the latest Bon Appetit). Having had some time to think about it (and discuss with STA who smugly said, “You didn’t get the text and its relation to the image? I saw it right away!”), I am almost more disturbed and bothered by the text than I am the image. Okay, I am disturbed by what they seem to suggest in relation to each other. Is it merely an accident (ha!) that right above the command to “respect the food” is a big penis? Seriously, what is your reading of this image + text?
I originally posted this advertisement here because I thought that the food porn phenomenon (which I first read about here), has some troubling consequences for how we think about and consume our food. And, I thought that thinking about food as porn (and only as an object of lust–maybe porn isn’t the right word here?) might be one of the habits that should be broken if many of us (especially viewers of Food Network) were to cultivate better and more ethical relationships with/to food. Did that make sense? Anyway, now that I reflect more on the ad copy, I wonder what other habits (particularly ones that involve the primary signifier) need to be collectively (as opposed to individually) broken?
So, FWA and RJP are at camp at a local city park all summer. Camp starts at 10 for RJP and 11 for FWA. Since this schedule just started this week, FWA and I are still trying to figure out what to do with that time. Yesterday I decided to take him to one of the more popular local bakeries on our side of South Minneapolis. Check out what he ordered:
Of course FWA went for the mother lode–the giant cinnamon roll. The cinnamon rolls always look good to him (and to me too). Look good. But, they never seem to taste good. Which brings me to my sad (or not so sad) admission: I don’t really like this popular bakery. And I feel okay about saying this. There are enough people who like this bakery; they don’t need me to like them. In fact so many people like the place that it seems almost un-South Minneapolitan to not like them. As STA, who also doesn’t like it, jokingly said, “EVERYONE likes this bakery. Not liking it is like not liking little kittens. It just doesn’t happen, unless there’s something wrong with you. Is there something wrong with you?” Yes, I suppose there is.
For a long time, I really wanted to like the place. In theory, it’s great. A local bakery that is very un-chain-like and unique, offering high quality baked goods without being pretentious. Not too expensive. Within relatively easy biking distance and close to the park where FWA and RJP go to summer camp and to play. Yet, every time I go there, I can’t seem to like it. Maybe it is because it is always too hot in there or because they don’t take credit cards (at least I think that they still don’t take credit cards?). Or maybe it’s because it’s always too crowded. Or maybe it’s because I really dislike the frosting on the cinnamon rolls. Who knows? The point is, I don’t like going to the place. There, I said it.
So, why am I admitting this? Certainly not to disparage this bakey. I don’t think it is bad and I am very happy that so many people like going there and supporting it. I think I want to admit that I don’t like it because being honest with myself and not just doing things (or liking things) because it is expected (or demanded) seem to be key parts of my process of breaking old habits and not only learning new ones, but maintaining a critical relationship to those new habits. Hmmm…there’s a lot more I want (and need) to say about what I mean here.
To (hopefully) be continued…
Addendum: After reviewing this post, I decided to take out the actual name of the bakery. In terms of my larger point, it really doesn’t matter what bakery I am talking about here (although I imagine that some of you can guess). Or does it?
Today I biked to Oxendale’s after picking up RJP from camp. I’m realizing that every choice that goes into this blog has trade-offs.
When I shop at a co-op, I can be more selective about the origins of the items I’m purchasing, but I (almost) have to drive. I say almost because I could bike to Seward Co-op, at least, but it’s a hell of a long way for someone who’s not used to biking, and I rarely allow enough time to fit an excursion like that into the day’s schedule.
When I shop at Oxendale’s, I can walk or bike easily (except on days like today when I am contending with gale-force winds), but the organic/local options are a lot more limited… and a lot more expensive.
So, trade-offs. Today I chose Oxendale’s, partly out of necessity (SLP had the car), and partly… well, OK, it was entirely out of necessity. When I shop at Oxendale’s now, I’m a bit more selective. Whereas price used to be pretty much my only consideration, now I think organic and local as well.
I bought a new bottle of mustard, since the three old bottles we had were disgustingly crusted over and at least six months past their “best before” dates. If there’s one thing Oxendale’s does offer a wide selection of, it’s mustard — a necessity in this sausage-loving part of town. I examined several varieties, before settling on one that was organic and local and fairly inexpensive. Amazing!
The rest of the meal for tonight is guacamole (with organic avocados, because they were the ripest) and steak fajitas on the grill (with non-organic green peppers, because the organic ones were $7!) along with some plain ol’ Oscar Meyer beef hot dogs for the kids (because they hate the uncured Thousand Hills kind, and I don’t blame them), and corn on the cob (origin unknown… by the time I remembered SLP wanted it, RJP was too rambunctious for me to pay attention).
This kind of spur-of-the-moment shopping isn’t without its risks. I considered making burgers, but worried that we didn’t have enough buns, or that they were stale, and then I was reluctant to buy more, because we usually have leftover buns we don’t use. (As it happens, we still have four buns from last week and they’re still fresh.) In other words, a little preparation would’ve helped me make smarter choices. But again, there are trade-offs. What’s a smarter choice? The fajitas are almost certainly healthier (if only a little) than the burgers would’ve been. On the other hand, the meat cost twice as much, and now we still have the unused buns.
Noted for future reference. Or not.
As for the receipt itself, I won’t be scanning it today. Besides the tedium of coaxing our crappy HP all-in-one into actually operating properly, the receipt didn’t print right… literally. The right half of it is blank.