Presidents and Potato Chips

Presidents’ Day – and I can never remember if that word needs an apostrophe or not, and if it does where it actually goes – is one of those weird holidays where you’re not even sure if it’s a holiday or not. You’re probably working, the stores are open, and there are no gifts involved. Unless you bring a date to see Lincoln and buy her the extra-large box of Raisinets.

I went grocery shopping at 7:30 this morning, and I found out what goes on at the supermarket that early. I parked the car and as I was walking to the door I noticed that all of the cart corrals were empty. There were many carts directly in front of the store but there were still dozens and dozens missing. I didn’t think about it again until I hit the next-to-last aisle (paper goods, water, pens, and for some reason dog and cat food too) and saw that there was an entire row of carts in the aisle. I actually had to push them out of the way to get to the paper cups. In the frozen section, the same thing, only there were so many carts lined up against the doors with the frozen vegetables that I couldn’t move them. So I didn’t buy any vegetables. I will sue the store if I develop a niacin deficiency.

Honestly, people who work in supermarkets, if you need to put the carts inside the store for some weather-related reason, line them up out back. If you need to use an aisle, use a wide aisle and put them down the middle. Sure, we might have to maneuver around them but at least we’ll be able to reach the Birds Eye.

I did buy the new Lay’s (apostrophe?) chips though. They’re having a contest where fans came up with new flavors (winner gets a $1 million or 1% of sales for the rest of the year). I bought the Cheesy Garlic Bread and the Chicken and Waffles (yes). Verdict? Both were actually pretty good. I wouldn’t eat them with a sandwich, but they were good for snacking. The CGB had the garlic and cheese and butter flavor you want but were a little overwhelming after a while. The CAW I expected to hate but they were actually not bad. Maple syrup hits you at first then a slight waffle-ish/chicken taste. I would never buy these in place of, well, normal potato chips but they’re a good once-in-a-while diversion.

I didn’t buy the Sirachia Serachia Sriracha flavor because I believe that potato chips shouldn’t be that hard to spell.


Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to The Letter so far. First issue is coming later this week!

Storm of the Century (TM) plans

We’re supposed to get a gigantic, historic, don’t-you-dare-leave-your-home blizzard Friday night and Saturday morning, anywhere from 6 inches to 30 inches, depending on what Doppler you believe and which way the wind blows, so I’m going to take the opportunity to actually print up the first issue of The Letter. I’ll mail it out next week. (First issue will now officially be February – thanks for your patience!)

Oh, there’s a new printer in the house. It can print, scan, copy, fax, and from the looks of it I think it might also make cappuccino.

Buy Two, Get One Free!

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a bad cold and haven’t been eating too much or maybe I’m pregnant and don’t realize it, but I’ve had an incredible craving for Doritos the past day or so. They were on sale at the supermarket – buy two, get one free! (Must have been a post-Super Bowl special.) I bought two bags but didn’t get the third.

Why? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Because if you buy the third bag of Doritos, you will eat the third bag of Doritos. (As if buying only two bags makes me Jack LaLanne. Two bags? Fine. Three bags? Don’t be ridiculous!)

I’m tired, like you read about (in Tired Monthly: The Magazine For People Too Tired To Read It). I think the worst of the cold is gone, though I’ve been fooled before. The last two days I’ve woken up and felt pretty good – a hit of Coricidin and several hours of sleep will do that – but then I feel worse as the day progresses and the sky gets darker. I need energy. You’d think I’d be getting it from the many cups of tea I’ve been drinking, but no. So I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch, writing and working on the computer and watching television and reading (also called “every other day of the year”).

One thing I’ve noticed while writing the first Letter is that I miss my handwriting. I’m someone who loves handwritten notes and thank you cards and letters and all that, but even I don’t write in script as much as I used to. Sure, there’s my signature, but every other note I take isn’t really in script, in cursive. It’s more of a combo of printing and a quick, messy script. I think that’s how a lot of people takes notes these days (if they’re using a pen and paper at all and not some device). I know people who take notes IN ALL CAPS. I got a Christmas card like that once. It was practically screaming at me. HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS BOB. I know people whose signature is just call caps. I could never do that. Too weird. (I also find it odd when someone sends me a long e-mail in all lowercase letters, but that’s a different rant.)

My capital “Ss” and “Js” are different. When I was in school (or even after school, pre-computers) and doing everything by hand all the time those letters were more elaborate, with more curves and swoops and flourishes. More traditional. Now I seem to do more sharp, streamlined letters when I write a J or an S, fancy printing but still printing. I’m trying to get back into doing it the traditional way. I’m actually forcing myself and my hand to remember how to do each letter. Should the capital “A” have a pointy top or should I just make a larger curved lower case “a” and use that as the capital? Should I connect the capital “W” to the rest of the word or make it separate? Is that a small “m” or a small “n?”  I want readers of The Letter to actually be able to read what I sent them. Though I guess that’s half the fun of getting handwritten letters from people, right? There’s personality in the messiness.

If people can’t read it, maybe I’ll create an online translation for each Letter. Just so you know I wrote “Doritos” instead of “Dobermans.” Those are completely different things. Yet equally delicious.



When you’re sick, your world gets smaller. You usually don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to, so your world is your couch and your bed, and maybe a stop in between at your computer (and even then you can probably bring your device to your bed or couch). You seem to do the same things over and over as the tissues begin to accumulate. You become a master of channel surfing and you don’t quite care if your kitchen counter stays messy for the day. Your food world gets smaller too. You usually don’t want anything heavy or anything spicy or anything cheesy. Right now I’m on a rotation of hot tea, soup (chicken noodle), and a package of Hall’s Throat/Cough drops. If it was summer I’d be eating a lot of Popsicles.

You have to be careful with the flavored teas though. The cinnamon ones too often taste like someone just took a bunch of Big Red gum sticks and boiled them. The lemon ones too often taste like Pledge. Earl Grey is good, until your third cup and you suddenly realize that you don’t even know if you’re drinking something that’s citrus-y or medicinal. So I try to stick with the usual suspects – your English Breakfast, your other regular black teas – preferably loose or a good tea bag like Twinings (don’t get me started yet again on why some companies still use staples in their tea bags – in 2013, for God’s sake). Or go with a good vanilla chai. I recommend either Big Train Vanilla Chai (which tastes a lot like my much-missed Border’s Books chai, more sweet than spicy) or Oregon Chai, something I first had at The Atomic Cafe many years ago.

I really didn’t mean to do a guide to tea. Sometimes these things just happen.

I have a theory that sickness is your body’s way of telling you to slow down. Nobody “likes” being sick – I certainly don’t – but it does sort of put your life into a sort of slow motion in a way, and you get to relax and think about things and you have a built-in excuse to stay on the couch and read and watch TV, because, hey…sick! Of course, all of that is a lot easier if you work from home (I do) and you don’t have kids to take care of (I don’t). For one hour today – between 2 and 3pm – I felt pretty good, and I thought I was getting better, on the path to feeling normal, the haze beginning to lift. But then later in the afternoon…not so much. It was like the sickness gremlins said PSYCH and got into my body again. Every time I swallow it’s like someone is in my head popping bubble wrap.

So why am I still up at midnight when I’m not feeling well? Have a great weekend!

(Post title refers to Liz Lemon’s 30 Rock catchphrase but also fits the way I feel this week.)