3 Things I Love About the Grocery Store

I've complained loudly about the grocery store, more than I ought to have. I don't hate it all. Just the picking out food part. What I do like:

1. Jamming out to aisle music.
Whoever is picking out the music at just about every grocery store I've ever been to is doing something right (How great would it be if it was just one guy who was beyond incredible at marketing himself to major chains. He'd maybe tweak them a tiny bit by geography, patron demographics, and grocery store banner- more pretentious/indie at Whole Foods, more folksy at Safeway. More beats at Wal-mart. The Alberton's by my house should have Hebrew rock opera by that process.) I heard about a guy once who basically called up the Seattle Center and told them he wanted to make their playlists for all their events. They had him intern for a few months but then they gave him a full time job just making music playlists. How cool a job would that be? Maybe it's him making all the grocery store playlists.

2. Watching other shoppers jam out to aisle music. And watching little kids beg/question/throw tantrums and otherwise feel about the grocery store the same way I do.
It's great people-watching. You're in such close proximity to really a very personal part of your neighbors lives. And by neighbors I mean strangers, because how many people do you really know at your neighborhood grocery store? Knowing them takes the fun out of it. There ought to be a Twitter hashtag #seenshopping or #produceaislepeoplewatching. Tonight it was one mom who left her tween kids in hysterics at one of those musical gift cards and another coaxing her daughter out of a variety of well-advertised and brightly packaged but nutritionally devoid snacks. Nothing crazy, but incredibly entertaining in a 'life is a reality show' kind of way.

3. Impulse buying candybars and/or donuts.
Is there any other reason to go?


What to Bring on a Long Flight: 3 Categories of Supplies for My Carry-on



Easy guess. It means I'm going somewhere. Likely somewhere cool. Because there aren't too many far away places I don't want to go (Maybe Germany? I'm sure it's great, but somehow Moldova is more appealing. [No, I'd gladly go to Germany. There's beauty, history, and fascination in far corners of the world!])

Long plane ride means I have to be ready, though, because an unprepared long plane ride puts a damper on the whole travel experience.

When I am on top of life enough to prepare (hopefully if I'm traveling, I'm at least sort of on top of life) I always bring:

1. Items for Comfort
  • Socks. Ones I don't care if I lose along the way. Not too thick or thin. I find trouser socks work well. Thick enough that they are warm, thin enough that they pack well.
  • Eye mask. Because it doesn't actually get dark. My current mask was part of a 'Lover's Blindfold' gift I got at my bridal shower, so it's bright red. There's no looking stylish in an eye mask, no matter how subdued the style, so why not red.
  • Earplugs. I prefer the kind that are connected by a little rubber strand because, inevitably, one plug falls out my ear while jostling my head side to side trying to find the right angle to lean against those nubs that stick out from the headrest. I've swiped a horde of packets from various food production tours so I'm set for a while, but when I'm out, it appears the only way to buy them is buy the hundreds.
  • Eyedrops and Chapstick. Because it's dry and miserable without them, and they make a world of difference.
  • Snacks. If you can. Peanuts are good. Fruit snacks are good.
2. Items for Hygiene
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste. I had an experience once where I spent the bulk of a 3 hour flight thinking my neighbor had rotten breath and only realized, upon landing, that the bad breath I had been smelling had been mine. GROSS.
  • Gum. Because sometimes you can't brush in time. And those Gardetto mixes I think are meant to terrorize good breath.
  • Deodorant. Sitting around has an odd way of making you stinky. Hot on the runway. Cold in the air. Hot when you're sleeping (thanks to the socks). Cold all over again. Makes you stinky. Deoder-it up.
  • Baby powder. Not always, but sometimes, to soak up greasy hair, if I have to be semi-presentable upon arrival.
3. Items for Entertainment
  • Books to read. Purchased or brought. I've got a Kindle now, fully loaded. I like a combo of light reading (chick-lit and quick reads) and the meatier kind that will certainly make me fall asleep.
  • Notebook. Long spurts of time with no internet or TV (I will NOT pay for a movie box at my seat) is great for brainstorming business ideas, life plans, writing letters or journals, or travel plans, or travel memories, or tic-tac-toe and squares.
  • Pen. Flight attendants are strangely stingy with them.
  • Games. Ipad, phone, tablet, whatev. 
  • Cards. I rarely make use of them, but good for the boring middle bits. 
 In 3 days and 20 hours in a plane, I'll be in THAILANDDDDDDDDDD!


Music Monday: 3 Music Trends I'm Over

1. Auto-tune
Seriously. What is the deal? I'm all for auto-tuning the news and for other JOKE viral videos. Just not in real music. There's plenty of coverage out there about auto-tune killing music. Forget about the purity of the human voice. It just sounds bad. Just 'cuz Cher does it, doesn't mean you should. It sounds bad when Fun does it, when Britney does it, and Sufjan Stevens, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING. YOU SOUND AWFUL.

2. Rap interludes
I get it. Rap feels cool. The beats are fun. The rappers are (usually) hard-core-looking. I'm not a hip-hop hater. A well-placed rap interlude (that's three links there to rap interlude genius) can give an only okay song a little oomph, something memorable. It's just that not many people can pull it off. And there is something unsettling about a mid-forties rapper making even an 30-second cameo in a 15-year-old's quick hit song. Beebs, Maroon 5, Robin Thicke. The songs are generally better on their own.

I'm not so opposed to rap songs with a musical interlude, so it's not like rap and non-rap don't belong together, it's just shouldn't be a fall-back when you can't come up with another bridge and you've got to extend the song another minute fifteen. [Quora has some thoughts, of course]

3. YouTube joke songs people think are real songs.
I'm looking at you, Fox (and Gangum)
It's like Weird Al 2.0. Sure, it's music, but only sort of.


3 Resolutions for 2014

Better late than never:

1. Get a handle on my work ethic.
I'm not a slacker. I'm not. But I believe I have an overly developed sense of, we'll call it perspective, on the the things that matter in this life. So some things that aren't really, in the scheme of things, all that important, I don't give too much attention or energy to (some mistakenly may see it as being a slacker). Problem is, there's I recognize the value of accumulated efforts towards things that don't, on their own, seem to have a lot of weight. A lifetime of putting off tasks and hobbies because they aren't really that important, makes for a person who doesn't know how to see something to the end, really put her nose to the grindstone, and relish in the ultimate success that comes from tumult and labor (more on that later).

2. Get a handle on food.
Seriously, how can my least favorite thing be deciding what to eat? I am so incredibly, above-and-beyond, over-the moon grateful that I (at my current age and metabolism) don't have to worry about weight. Most girls my age, no, most women at most ages stress about the weight aspect of food and spend thousands of dollars and hours of soul-crushing magazine and blog reading to figure out what to eat. My problem? Well, not that. But it's something. A lack of craving (most of the time). A lack of regular meal planning. I like food plenty (most of the time). I just don't like thinking about it. Planning for it. Buying it (unless I'm browsing, aimlessly for an hour in the grocery store. But not a regular grocery store, one that's got interesting things going on like Uwajimaya or Grocery Outlet).

3. Get a handle on being dissatisfied.
My life is amazing. Perfect almost. But there are these little things that get me all picky. Like I hate my jewelry, my all-purpose grey boots are falling apart, my car smells like fuel, or coolant, or perhaps some other burnt chemical, and that there's not enough color in my living room decor. So what are you gonna do about it, Kambam? Fix it, or forget about it. I've got the time and resources to fix most all of my pesky annoyances, so I should. Stock up my jewelry, replace those grey boots, take your damn car to the auto shop, and pick a color scheme and live with it. And if I don't want to, move on already.


Music Monday: 3 Songs that Calm Me Down

So it turns out I'm kind of a mess sometimes. Anxiety is my poison and as with many moods, music can be a cure. So when I'm all worked up, I frequently turn to one of the following:
1. Age of Worry by John Mayer 

This song tends to the anxieties particular to those who seek to find themselves: timing and missed opportunities, paving your own path, achieving dreams and botching them. Been there, felt that, happy for the refrain: "Alive in the age of worry. Smile in the age of worry. Go wild in the age of worry. And say worry, why should I care?"

2. Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

I have a tendency to think I'm not doing enough with my life, with my days, and my moments. It's an altruist overachiever's obsession with the idea that one person can make difference to the world. But I don't make a difference, sometimes. Sometimes I just want to sit in my bed and stare at the wall.

So I hear "I want to change the world, instead I sleep" and feel a pang of guilt. And the mantra, "all that I know is I'm breathing. All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing, " repeated and escalated is a good reminder that I can do what I can do, and what I can do is just fine.

Plus this scene from Grey's Anatomy is just heart-wrenching, ain't it?

3. How Firm a Foundation

This was my mission anthem. Riding bikes down the street at a million degrees, stressed and tired and emotionally invested in the hearts and lives of people whose decisions I had really no control over. The best is the third verse: "Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not afraid/ For I am thy God and will still give thee aid!!" It's almost shouted (hence, exclamation marks). It's especially memorable in Thai, where that last line has a strongly phrased (and rhyming) "Rao ben Pra Jao" (I am thy God) that just oomphs right out of your mouth. The declaration resurfaces in my mind and out my mouth from time to time, usually when I feel more frantic than melancholy (where the other two come to aid).