Sad farewells

Back when the kids were tiny we visited the shop at Woodend, at the National Audubon Society. I found a teal sweatshirt on sale that I thought was fun. It was too big for me, but sweatshirts can be, right?

What I liked about it was that it had animal paw prints on the front and a legend on the back. Whenever I wore it I got fun comments. When Andrew was young he once tried to figure out real animal prints using the shirt and guide.

Another time, I think Andrew was trying to see if a pair of scissors worked and he cut a hole in the front of the sweatshirt. After that I only wore it in the house. In the several few years, as it began fraying at the neckline and getting holes in the cuffs of the sleeves, I only wore it to keep warm when I got up in the morning.

Dean’s made some disparaging remarks about that sweatshirt and a couple of other tops lately, so when I found a couple of Amazon Basics sweatshirts that looked cozy on Amazon during Prime Days I decided to buy those and planned on tossing two sweatshirts, including the teal animal paw print one.

The morning after my new sweatshirts arrived, I donned one of them, then held a goodbye ceremony for the old sweatshirt.

I also threw my hand-me-down-from-Dean Carnegie Tech sweatshirt and my old Moosewood tee-shirt away. Dean bought me the Moosewood tee-shirt for my birthday when we visited the restaurant when the kids were very young. It had seen its day and was probably 30 years old.

Breakfast Picnics

One of the unique things that my family did when I was growing up was to have breakfast picnics at a local forest preserve. We never did this with just the four of us, but as a planned event with extended family or friends. I remember having a breakfast picnic with my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Jack — perhaps that was the last one. I think it was when Jeremy was visiting us one year.

Anyway, we’d load up the car with bacon, eggs, coffee, cast iron pans, an aluminum stovetop percolator, flatware, dishes, tumblers and cups. We’d drive the 10 minutes or so to the forest preserve and unpack it all. Since the breakfast was being cooked over an open flame, the men did all the cooking. The kids ran around and played on nearby swings, the women set the tables.

Dad always made “egg coffee”, claiming the egg helped keep the grounds out of people’s cups. I don’t remember ever tasting it. My Aunt Ginny would not drink it — I don’t exactly blame her.

A quick Google search suggests my dad had a point about the egg keeping the grounds out of people’s cups.

Adding the egg helps clarify the coffee, allowing the grounds to separate from the water easily. The egg white extracts the bitterness from the grounds and enhances the caffeine. The result is a light, clear brew with absolutely no bitterness or acidity and a velvety texture that’s easy to drink.

The Spruce Eats: Traditional Swedish Egg Coffee

I think my dad learned this from his mother who was Danish — so maybe the Danes also made egg coffee.

These occasions were so special — a lot of work, but also a lot of fun and the food tasted better eating at a picnic table outside. (Now that I think about this — lots of people had this experience, but it was usually during a camping trip. My family was not a camping kind of family, so this was special to me.

The impetus for this blog post are the dishes that we ate off. I have them in a box and should get rid of them, but just can’t bring myself to toss them. I won’t eat off the dishes or drink out of the cups or tumblers because they are probably packed with carcinogens. Below are a few plates and drinkware.

I even have the picnic basket that once held these plates and drinkware, but it’s full of other things somewhere in the kneewall.

A tale of a few clothing stores

There are a few stores in my town where I have recently bought clothes. Three are in the same shopping center and one is closer to the downtown area. I’ve written about one of the stores at the shopping center before — that one is my favorite. I like all three though, and like the parking situation.

Those stores have people who work in them that are kind, honest, empathetic and non-critical. They help me find exactly what I am looking for and tell me if something is not exactly right for me. They also at least recognize that I shop there often.

The store nearer downtown is a different story, and I’ve spent my last dollar there. I’d noticed it years ago, but since it seemed to only sell underwear, I never went it. Finally, though, when I saw a sign outside mentioning Cut Loose, one of my favorite brands of clothing, I stopped in. The front of the store holds tops and the back of the store has a rack of jeans — one brand I like is featured there (NYDJ). The rest of the store has underwear and pajamas.

I have found a couple of items that I really liked and wear there — a pair of jeans and a top. I prefer it when no one helps me, when I can look through the store on my own and decide if I like something or not. However, usually either the owner helps me or her associate does. Once I had both helping me when I was trying on bras. They also grabbed a bunch of tops for me to try on and exclaimed how wonderful they all looked on me. I ended up buying a number of tops, plus the bra that day. At one point during my fitting, one of the woman suggested I exercise. I’d never had anyone tell me that (except doctors and my kids and husband). I was offended, but still purchased the items.

Of the items I bought that day, the only thing I’ve worn much is the bra. I keep trying on one item, but it just is not me. The others, well, I have worn them once or twice, but they are not me either.

I’ve continued to go to the store, sometimes buying items, usually not. The most recent visit was my last though. I’d been to lunch with a friend, and parked in the parking lot where this store is located. I figured I had some time left on my parking stub, so went to check out what was on sale. The owner was there and asked if I’d shopped there before — I was masked, so I understand that she didn’t recognize me, but when I dropped my mask, she still didn’t. That’s okay. She asked my size, and pointed me to what she called cute tops in the front. I found nothing cute, in fact everything was pretty tacky.

I mentioned that the jeans I were wearing (same brand as they carry) were size 4. She told me they were too long. I countered that I liked my pants long and she argued if they were shorter they could be rolled up to become capris.

Anyway, I’ll stick to the nicer and easier (and free) parking shopping center stores and forget this one exists.