In re: Bric-a-brac / speaking American

Brick-A-Brac

Spent a few hours yesterday running some errands, including a few stops at thrift shops looking for a typewriter (long story for another time).  In the course of entering/exiting and walking through  a selection of Columbus’ thrift shops encountered a variety of individuals from cross sections of Columbus I don’t always see.  For the most part nothing too interesting to report on and in general the shops were pretty nice and clean and had pretty decent stuff for sell (not just bric-a-brac despite the sign above from the Salvation Army store on South High St.). Two things that kind ofstuck in my head was how much crap (and I don’t mean crap to mean its junk – plenty of good pots, pans, glasses, clothes, electronics or whatever) our country must go through that we can donate this stuff in such volumes.  Some of the stuff is clearly headed to new homes where it will have a good 2nd, 3rd or 4th life.  Some of the electronics though are destined for doom (no chance in being sold) – one example: old Ameritch DSL modems that originally come free when you sign up for service.  I don’t know maybe somebody breaks theirs and needs one but these things don’t seem like anyone will be coming to buy one.  But actually some of the stuff really sells – VHS tapes?  Actually yes – there sure seemed to be a lot of folks combing through the pretty expansive offerings that are out there – so if your looking to get into a nice collection it seems like just the time.

My over analytical view of the world after visiting all these shops:  Partly sad to see all the extra junk we have put out there and how the exciting new electronic which once was the latest and greatest and was the center of our universe is sitting on a  shelf with a grease pencil $1.99 on it, but partly happy seeing how affordable living in America is if you go pick up a electric hand mixer for $1.99 and another buck for the metal beaters and how we do reuse a lot of the stuff and second homes are found (there were even dumpster divers going through the rejected donations).

The other constant on the trip around thrift shops was seeing Columbus’ immigrant population out in force and then running into someone thinking I wanted to chat w/ them about the need for these people to ‘speak American’ (as a side note the person he was upset about was speaking English and the guy had just been nice about holding the door for the non-American speaking man, so not the worst person ever to be fair), but still the comment sickened me and I wish I had retorted with some witty comment about this ‘American’ language he was talking about or something about his ancestors – presumably non-English speaking bringing a copy of Rosetta Stone w/ them on the boat ride over to be so well prepared.  But I didn’t sadly, and I say sadly as I am not sure these people get the fact that our country has never been such a purely English speaking nation as they think and that to thrive Columbus needs to be reaching out to immigrants and growing these populations.

In re: Winter miracles

January 7th in Ohio doesn’t usually bring with it 50 degree weather – but this year it did and that meant the bike path was full of bikers and walkers, the tennis courts even had people in shorts.  We took advantage of it and headed off on a nice long walk with the dogs in the peak of the amazing weather.  On the way back the urge for a coffee came upon as we neared the Caribou, but alas no wallets were to be found.  Would there be two miracles today?  Yes – just like the miraculous weather we were able to scrounge up $1.67, just 2 cents short of a small cup of coffee and with the kind aid of the staff I was coached into the right answer to the trivia (Caribou Coffee in pig latin, which is Ariboucay offeecay) which brought it down to $1.59 – enough to leave a tip even!  So with a second cup to split up the cup and a dash of half and half we were out on their patio enjoying the amazing day with our coffees and dogs – a winter miracle I’d say.

In re: Conquering the New Year

So it’s a new year and a lot of folks are trying to live up to their resolutions. I’ve never been that into them, maybe its the cliche nature of the whole thing, but this year I’ve come up with a few basic ideas of things I’d like to try and do and hopefully cliche or not I can stick to some of them. One of course is going to the gym. Having quit my last gym when I moved a year ago its been quite a while since going and its hard to get back into the routine (when you get into the routine its great – it’s amazing how hard it can be to break the cycle and get going again, seems like the new year is my chance). Found a place near where we live that seems like a good value and not too crowded. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

The Wall Street Journal had a funny list of 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym – which while often unsaid are pretty spot on.

15. If you’re motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a “wooden coat rack.” It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.
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19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.
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27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

One of the other things I’ve been aiming to stick to in the new year is following some of Mark Bittman’s advice about reducing meat intake and going to a more veggie diet. While I don’t intend to become a vegetarian (just yet at least) making vegetarian meals more often is part of the plan as well as making other meals more veggie focused. To aid in this effort grabbed the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian Edition iPhone app and flipped through it (also plan to buy the paper copy as despite sharing the material they aren’t exactly substitutes). I am surprised to learn from friends that they aren’t that familiar with the original How to Cook Everything cookbook and am always thrilled to point them to it as a reference. Its the first place I usually go for basic dishes and everyday simple things. I’ll probably posting more on some of the new dishes I try out so heads up on that.