I don’t know the exact reason why we have reduced our town trips to average one a week. It’s partly because the ferry fare has gone up so much – it costs about $8 for the 2 of us and the car. It’s partly because we get tired in town and then have to take a nap when we get home. When we wake up it’s time for a glass of wine, then dinner. Nothing accomplished for the day. Partly it’s my policy. Since I live on an island, I should treat it like an island, not just an inconvenient appendage of the mainland.
Tuesday was this week’s trip to town. I had a doctor’s appointment, and we had a couple of prescriptions to pick up. Besides that I had some projects to shop for. Projects almost always involve shopping. And spending money.
First, I wanted plants for various pots that had been made orphans in last winter’s extremes of cold. Last week I had looked at Home Depot and found little to please me. This week I thought I would go to Lowes’s. Lowe’s was a disappointment too; not much to tempt and all very expensive. I did see a red delphinium, which interested me.
In a big pot by the front door I have an enormous (it extends above the roof gutters) electric blue-purple delphinium. It has to be tied up, but it astonishes visitors with its size and color. Red seemed almost unnatural in a delphinium. I thought about buying the red one, but it cost $15 and delphiniums are an investment in time. I bought some thyme and oregano and basil.
Next we went to Jo Ann Fabrics. That is, I went to Jo Ann Fabrics. Jerry sat in the truck. At Lowe’s he can shop for lawn mower batteries and stuff like that. But craft stores hold no enticements for him.
I was shopping for trinkets to stuff into a purse I bought at the Saturday Market here on the island last week. It is to be a birthday present for my 6 year old granddaughter. The purse is purple felt with yellow and red zigzags embroidered on it. To stuff it I bought packets of beads, feathers, bells, and stickers. I got some little packs of colored paper and some colored plastic string and some squares of felt sprinkled with glitter and a crocheted doily. I loved doilies when I was a kid.
Next stop was Kmart for more plants. Jerry looked for a hat there. He can’t go out without a hat, since he is bald-headed and fair skinned. He wants a baseball type hat with a soft visor, and he can never find one. They all have stiffening. No luck at Kmart. I bought some snapdragons and hollyhocks.
My next project stop was the Mexican grocery. I have a new Mexican cook book, called Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro, and I had a list of things I needed for making chicken tamales with tomatillo sauce. The Mexican grocery is a challenge, because there is only a tiny bit of English spoken there (I have no Spanish) and I needed direction.
The young men in the store were all good humored and helpful, and eventually I emerged with bags of masa harina, tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, corn husks and various spices. I will certainly go back for other exotic Mexican stuff, like banana leaves – there’s a tempting recipe for anchiote chicken roasted in banana leaves.
Jerry waited patiently in the car with the poodles. He was okay listening to an NPR news program, and his tall Scandinavian build would not have been comfortable in the cramped little store where short people spoke Spanish.
Next stop was Costco, to pick up prescriptions. I had hoped that there would be enough sample tables set up to avoid having to buy lunch, but all that was on offer was almond butter and ranch dressing; not really an adequate lunch.
To kill time before my doctor appointment we went to Barnes and Noble. Jerry had his usual double fudge chocolate cupcake and coffee, and I had my usual non-fat latte, supplemented with a pretzel stuffed with spinach and feta. (Sounds good, but was actually tasteless.) We read the New York Times and I did the easy Tuesday crossword.
By the time we got home it was time for a glass of wine while I made a simple dinner – lamb chops on the grill, baked potato, and salad. All in all, it was a pretty nice day, for a day in town.
I used to wonder why my mother did not like going shopping when she got older. Now that I’m about the age she was, I dislike shopping too, and understand her better, heh! You’ve done well, getting off the island and going to so many shops and even finding what you were looking for.
I’d never heard of delphs that tall!
I am a huge fan of Diana Kennedy’s cookbooks for Mexican food; you’ll have to tell me how you like the cookbook you purchased, and how the tamales come out.
We, too, have a small Mexican grocery nearby – it is roughly the size and shape of my walk-in closet, but I can find real Mexican chorizo and dried chilies that are hard to find up here. Have you ever made tamales from scratch? I have, twice, since moving to Ohio, and it makes me miss west Dallas, where I could hop over to the La Favorita Tortilla factory and buy 5 or 10 pounds of pre-prepared masa dough. Or better yet, just run over to my friend Angie’s house, when she and her sisters and nieces would get together and make tons and tons of them around Christmas.
Okay, now I am officially homesick and hungry.
I made the tamales. It took all day, I made the dough as well from the beginning. I think they are good — I only ate one, the rest I will reheat today. The only thing wrong is the masa dough seems to stick to the corn husks. Have you had that happen?
Oh, yes. Steaming them a little longer will help with that. In fact, when you reheat them, steam them, don’t microwave them, or they’ll get dried out and/or rubbery.
It sounds like a very comfortable day to me. How did the tamales come out? 🙂
We had the tamales last night, with friends. Everyone liked them. Jerry ate more than usual and had 3rd helpings. I was astonished at that, because he just doesn’t eat unfamiliar food happily. When reheated, steamed as Jan advised, they did not stick to the corn husks. I love the cookbook.
“Old Woman”, why the name? You are so young and interesting and direct and fun. Or is “Old Woman” as in having lots of wisdom? I just found your blog from an entry you left in another blog. I live in Spain, but they dont have good Mexican food or ingredients here. Surprising isn’t it? My husband and I love Mexican food and enjoy cooking very much. We use Bobby Flay’s cook book (bought at a Barns & Nobles during a trip to the States)”Bold American Cooking”, for Mexican/American/Indian delicious dishes. I just started a blog http://www.maiasintothemoonlight.blogspot.com. I am a painter so I talk about painting, cooking, growing old, living with CLL, travels. Life.
Celeste Maia, Old Woman is what my daughter has been calling me since I was in my 30’s. Then it was funny. But now?
I love your blog, it is so beautiful, and I mean to get some technical help so I can put more pictures on mine.
Is CLL a man or a disease?
I thought I was the only one who finds a ‘day in town’ a real challenge in regard to time and money spent!
At least I don’t have to get the ferry, it’s bad enough when I have to get off the island and take the overnight!
I wouldn’t have a hope of doing Mexican here, tho would love to, I had Mexican in Paris and it was dreadful. (I know I know my cravings were very strong!!)
Hallo there OW,
Thankyou for dropping by my place. I like the idea of living on an island, have your lived there long? As for Mexican food, have never tried it, but you have whetted my appetite now and I shall have to investigate.
You were well over forty before anyone shouted at you across a crowded room “Hey, Old Woman!”
My dear Duchess, have you forgotten the incident in the grocery store in Andover when you called out “Old Woman” and a passing man thought you were addressing a somewhat elderly store employee? He was really shocked.
I was only about 38 at the time.