Grocery store story #2

Remember grocery store story #1 from a couple of weeks ago? Well, here’s my second installment!

In an effort to improve my diet this year I’ve been doing my best to avoid buying unhealthy foods when I’m at the store. And despite my ridiculously overdeveloped sweet tooth, it’s actually been working! After a few weeks of healthy purchases it’s become a game of sorts to see if I can walk out of the grocery store or Target or drug store without any sort of junk food. Sometimes this is easy, namely when I’m shopping right after a meal (like my trip to Trader Joe’s tonight after dinner), but often it is extremely difficult. If I’m hungry or tired or stressed my willpower is put to the test. I don’t know why my brain tells me that bingeing on M&Ms or Swiss Cake Rolls or Cadbury Crème Eggs will make me feel better when I’m upset, but it does. Not giving in to my fairly constant craving for snacks loaded with sugar is hard, but now that I’m in the habit it’s getting easier. Like this morning when I went to the grocery store to stock up on some items. I really, really wanted some sort of Little Debbie product. The urge to buy some Oatmeal Cream Pies was very strong, and a box of them even found its way into my basket at one point, but they didn’t make it home with me. I didn’t want to throw all of my recent progress out the window. Instead I got oranges, apples, bananas, frozen raspberries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and oatmeal. All good things, especially if you ignore the 5 lb bag of sugar and 1 lb of bacon I bought for some baking projects later this week. I felt great taking that bag of groceries home! It was like a “no junk food” high. I just have to remember that feeling every time I buy groceries. Healthy = happy!

Food apathy

Have you ever been really hungry but you can’t decide what you want to eat? Apparently this phenomenon doesn’t happen to everyone (according to the person I mentioned it to), but I find myself in this situation a lot. My stomach is growling, but nothing really sounds good. This is especially annoying on the weekends when I have the freedom to go anywhere for lunch or dinner, but despite the endless possibilities I can’t seem to pick anything. I was talking to one of my co-workers about it a while back and he gave a name to this affliction – food apathy. Hearing that phrase was like getting a diagnosis of a chronic disease. It finally made sense! Labeling it doesn’t make me any more decisive about my meals (curses!), but at least I know what to call it when it happens. The story that follows is actually the opposite of food apathy, but without the previous explanation there’d be no context for sharing it.

Yesterday I had a craving for tomato soup. No food apathy for a change! Rejoice! I should have driven to Panera or Corner Bakery after work, gotten myself a nice steaming bowl of tomato soup, and called it a night. But of course I didn’t do that. That would make too much sense! You see, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating healthy and staying away from junk food so you’d think I’d happily indulge a craving for something sensible like tomato soup. But I was lazy and had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner instead. Why didn’t I get tomato soup when I was craving it? How silly. Luckily it’s almost the weekend so I will have plenty of chances to get some tomato soup soon. Assuming I still want it.

Grocery store story #1

Who is Angela Forrester? Back in 2009 and 2010 when I was working in DC about one week every month I shopped at the Safeway grocery store near my hotel a lot. (I was living on Clif Bars and Slimfast shakes those days.) I even bought a Safeway reusable bag because I was tired of dealing with so many plastic bags in my hotel room after I bought groceries. I didn’t have a Safeway rewards program membership, but I must have forgotten that one day in a weary haze because I punched my home phone number into the keypad at the checkout and it was accepted! I was a little confused, but I certainly didn’t object to the savings. And of course I used it again the next time I was there. I figured I must have had an account all along. Some grocery stores share rewards programs, after all. I certainly wasn’t asking any questions. However I was puzzled when the cashier called me “Mrs. Forrester” one day after I paid for my food. Maybe I heard her wrong or she read my name wrong? I let it slide…until it happened again. That’s when I looked at my receipt and saw the name “Angela Forrester” printed near the bottom. I was using someone else’s account! But it was someone who had registered with my home phone number, presumably before it was mine. At this point the logical thing to do would have been to sign up for my own Safeway rewards account, but I didn’t think that made much sense since there are no Safeways grocery stores in LA. So I used Angela Forrester’s Safeway account every time I bought groceries in DC. But that’s not where the story ends. It turns out that Safeway and Vons/Pavilions have the same rewards program, and since I’ve been living in Seal Beach I regularly shop at the local Pavilions. But instead of getting my own Vons Club card I kept using Angela Forrester’s account. I feel a little guilty, but the good news is that I haven’t seen any evidence that anyone else is using it so I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes. One of these days I will use my cell phone number to get my very own Vons/Safeway rewards membership. Maybe.

Blowing up the sun

Engineers are funny. I laugh at work every day, usually about really random, crazy stuff. I’ve gathered some great quotes from my co-workers over the years, but unfortunately I can’t share most of them here if I want to keep my job. One I heard yesterday from the guy who sits in the cubicle across from me was really great, though. He was talking to someone about a piece of hardware that currently doesn’t work the way we want it to, and trying to convince them that the replacement is worth the cost. He said something like, “Look, we can either blow up the sun or we can use this new part!” Technically, both are valid options, but only an engineer would actually think to include both in his argument. Have I mentioned how much I love my co-workers?

Happiest Place on Earth

Disneyland is supposed to be the “Happiest Place on Earth,” right? Well I have a story that says otherwise. Up until April 14th the Disneyland and California Adventure parks opened one hour early on the weekends for annual pass holders. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect time to visit? Well, I put off taking advantage of this perk until the last possible weekend. Silly me. But on Saturday, April 13th I was one of the first people in line for the early opening of California Adventure. My plan was to go directly to Cars Land as soon as they opened the gates and get in line for Radiator Springs Racers – by far the most popular ride in the park these days (since Cars Land only opened about a year ago). Usually the line is way too long for me to even consider waiting, but first thing in the morning I figured I could get through the single rider line and onto the ride very quickly. Easy, right? Or so I thought. Obviously everyone else who was there before California Adventure opened had the same idea about heading immediately to Radiator Springs Racers when they got into the park. Needless to say, it was a mad dash to Cars Land at 8 AM. And then everyone was funneled into a smaller much area to queue up for the ride itself. It was like a cattle drive walking down that little street. Very close quarters. There were so many people that you had to watch where you were putting your feet to avoid trampling a small child who wasn’t paying attention. Folks were much more interested in getting to the rides than observing social graces. So as I was walking towards Radiator Springs Racers with dozens, if not hundreds, of other Disneyland guests the guy to the right of me suddenly turns and shouts at me, “Will you please stop bumping into me while I’m trying to walk here?” I was surprised and initially thought he was joking because everyone was bumping into everyone else. There was no way to avoid it. So I didn’t say anything to this guy at first, but gave him some kind of quizzical look instead. That made him shout even louder. He said something like, “You keep bumping into me and now you’re looking at me like I’m an idiot!” I was so shocked that I don’t remember exactly what happened next. From what I can recall, the progression went something like this:

Me: “I apologize, but we’re all bumping into each other here.”
Mr. Angry: “Act like you’re educated and stop bumping into me!”
Me: “There are people everywhere and we’re all bumping into each other!”
Mr. Angry: Starts insulting me even louder
Me: “Happiest Place on Earth everyone!”
Mr. Angry: Continues screaming. Something about how rude I was.
Me: *Laughs* The situation was just too crazy not to.
Mr. Angry: More screaming. I had stopped paying attention to his actual words at this point.
Me: “Thank you sir, you made my day.”
Mr. Angry: “You’re welcome.” Obviously the sarcasm didn’t register.

I looked around at the people surrounding us during this altercation and they all had their mouths hanging open. I heard several people under their breath mutter, “Wow.” I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only one who was completely shocked by this guy’s behaviour. It was the most bizarre and unbelievable thing that’s ever happened to me. After I slowed down and let Mr. Angry get ahead of me in the crowd a lady fell into step next to me and said, “You mean you don’t come to Disneyland in a bubble?” That made me laugh. I think I handed the situation pretty well, actually. I didn’t return his insults, I didn’t swear, and I didn’t let this guy make me angry. He rattled me, that’s for sure, but in the moment I laughed at him rather than getting mad. It’s not the way I’d choose to start my day at Disneyland, but at least I have a good story to tell!

Wilson Phillips

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry?
Don’t you know? Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day, things’ll go your way. Hold on for one more day

Wilson Phillips, “Hold On”

I heard this song on the radio on the way to work this morning and it really took me back. When I was about twelve my cousin gave me a Wilson Philips tape for Christmas. At the time I didn’t appreciate it because all of my favorite music came from Disney movies, but I wish I had given it a try. I got that tape the same Christmas my parents bought my brother and me our “boom boxes.” We thought they were really cool, and I actually used it all through college! If only I had used that “boom box” to listen to the Wilson Phillips tape way back when. I have a feeling I would have been a fan a lot earlier. I’d like to offer an apology about twenty years late to my cousin Hank for not appreciating the gift!

Backup pants

When I was packing my gym bag last night I faced a dilemma. I wanted to branch out from the usual few pairs of jeans I wear to work all the time, but which ones should I choose? Over the last two years I’ve been collecting jeans that range from my skinniest to my heaviest which means that I always have pants that fits, but sometimes the pickings are slim. I used to hate jeans with spandex in the denim, but now that I’m older they are my new best friends. Unfortunately the pair of jeans I had my eye on last night are not too stretchy. Plus, they are pretty small so I wasn’t sure they were going to fit at all. So I threw a larger and stretchier pair of jeans in my gym bag along with the smaller ones just in case. Everyone brings backup pants with them to the gym, right? Luckily this story has a happy ending. I was worried, but the smaller jeans fit me just fine when I got dressed after my spin class this morning! Hooray! I didn’t need the backup pair after all, but I’m glad I packed them anyway. It’s always good to be prepared!

Borrowed dance shoes

Dan and I go to our ballroom dance class just about every Friday night. It’s definitely become part of our routine. So you’d think I wouldn’t even have to think about what I need to bring with me when we go, right? Well, last night we were halfway to Arthur Murray when I realized I had forgotten my dance shoes. And there wasn’t enough time to go back and get them. I felt so stupid. The last time this happened was years ago and I happened to be wearing flats which I could still sort of dance in, not flip-flops like last night. I thought it was a disaster. My only hope was to ask whether I could borrow a pair of shoes from one of the instructors for the evening. As luck would have it one of the ladies dug up an old, discarded pair of shoes that would work. They were a half size too small, the heels were at least half an inch higher than on my usual shoes which made me a bit unsteady, AND they were completely covered with glitter, but I figured I could wear anything for an hour and a half of dancing. Turns out I was right about that, but I got a very unexpected reaction from the other folks at Arthur Murray when I stepped onto the dance floot. They were a big hit. I blame the glitter. One girl even grabbed my arm to tell me how much she loved my new shoes! Sadly I had to inform her they were borrowed. Apparently my innate fashion sense is so boring that the shoes I actually own aren’t even worth noticing. They are plain, granted, but I like them. Don’t get me wrong, none of this really bothers me because I don’t put much stock is what other people think, but I still thought it was pretty funny. Next week I’m going to double, no, triple check that I have my shoes before we leave for dance class!

Little White Dress

Back in 2007 when Dan and I were planning our wedding, our reception was scheduled to end at 10 PM because of the ballroom we initially booked was close to some of the Hotel Del Coronado guest rooms. Because of the curfew we were planning to have a little get together afterwards to spend some more time with our guests. This after party never came to fruition because our reception was moved into the exquisite Grand Ballroom which was in a different building about a month beforehand. But prior to that change I was shopping for a white sundress to wear to the after party so I wouldn’t be tripping over my wedding gown, but I’d still be wearing the traditional color for a bride. I was unsuccessful. I tried on a bunch of dresses and even ordered one from J.Crew, but nothing was quite right. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the pickiest shopper on the planet, but I just never found the white sundress I was looking for. Fast forward almost five years. When I finally returned that Tommy Bahama hoodie Dan bought me for Christmas I exchanged it for a white sundress. I first wrote about about this in a post last month, but I didn’t realize the significance of it at the time. The dress is just about perfect. If I had run across it back in 2007 I most definitely would have bought it – probably in a smaller size than the one I have now, but let’s not dwell on that. I wore my new white sundress to Arthur Murray last Tuesday night when Dan and I had a dance lesson. I really liked it. The only problem I had was that it settled a little low on my chest after I moved around for a while and the top of my strapless bra peeked out. Luckily it’s flesh colored so I might have been the only one that noticed, but I guess I need to get a bra that’s cut a little lower. I can shorten the straps on the dress too to see if that solves the problem. I’m really excited to have another dress I can wear to Arthur Murray so I’m not alternating between the same two outfits anymore. It’s not that I can’t afford new clothes – I just hate shopping for them!

5 Guys

Here’s another attempt to clean out some of the draft posts in my WordPress queue. I like sharing these funny stories because I think these fun moments are what life is all about. And what is the purpose of this webpage except to share me life?

One of the big deals about traveling to DC used to be 5 Guys Burgers. It was like the In-N-Out of the East Coast and it was supposed to have the best burgers in town. So many of my co-workers raved about eating there when we were on business trips that it achieved legendary status amongst us Californians. Back then 5 Guys was limited to the East Coast, but now they’re all over Los Angeles, making them less of a big deal. The first time I had 5 Guys was a couple of years ago as part of a large order at work. One of my co-workers created a huge spreadsheet with rows of all of the possible burger toppings on it and printed it out to create our order. Everyone was supposed to put their name on a row, black out the toppings they DIDN’T want on that row, and pass it to the next person. So when we were done the spreadsheet had a list of personalized burgers with just the desired toppings for each one. Brilliant, right? I don’t want to think about how long it took to put that thing together. Probably not time well spent, but it made sense at the time. I also don’t know how well it translated into our actual burgers either. All I remember is that my burger was cold and soggy by the time I got it. Not very appealing. I’ve only had 5 Guys one other time and I wasn’t impressed then either. I didn’t like the burgers or the fries, which are supposed to be really good. Needless to say, I avoid 5 Guys whenever I’m in DC (which actually hasn’t been in almost a year). And I definitely don’t eat there here in LA where we have the far superior In-N-Out!