Category Archives: Made in . . .

Somewhat Successful Shopping

I did the local shopping for Christmas today.  I had to call my mom to confirm the color of foundation to get from Merle Norman, which led me on a hunt for a silly toy for my nieces, but also led to something good.

I started at Target to look for the Fijit.  It was sold out.  I bought some travel size baby care stuff for my littlest niece, who has a “Baby Alive.”  Don’t ask if you don’t know . . . all of it made in the U.S.A.  I also bought sheets made in Pakistan, and wrapping paper and ribbon made in the U.S.A.

I hit the Target on San Felipe next.  No Fijits there.

I went to the Williams-Sonoma store to look for some canisters made in the Netherlands.  They weren’t quite what I needed, but I did see some nice utensils made in Italy that I might ask for my birthday or go buy for myself.

I then went to Buffalo Hardware and found the Lodge (made in the U.S.A.) griddle I wanted.  They also had a six pack of two gallon Ball canning jars (made in the U.S.A.) which will work perfectly as canisters for me.  I just wanted something to hold the ingredients I use to make puppy cookies.

I made my way up Kirby to the Merle Norman on Rice Blvd.  There was parking and why was evident as there was a little post it on the door that the clerk wasn’t there.  Luckily, I had looked up other locations before I had left.

Next was Fly High Little Bunny.  I bought my sister-in-law some pretty silver and pearl earrings there.  I like that place.

Barnes & Nobel was next on the list.  I used to go to the one on Alabama, but now I have to go to River Oaks.  I found the CDs I was looking for.  I also found a beautiful day planner for next year made by GLC/Kudu — made in Maine.  All the rest (except for one other brand) were made in China.  While I was choosing a color, another customer picked up three of the ones I was looking at!  It’s a great planner and I will use it for everything from what I plant when and when to get pups their medicina.

I decided to get a bite to eat and call mom.  They still hadn’t found the Fijit, so I told mom I was going to a Merle Norman somewhere on Ella and that I would go out to the Target if needed.  At that point, they had had no success.

I stopped by Sonic (I love Sonic) and then moved on down to Ella, driving slowly and looking for a sign.  Things are kind of crappy out that way, compared to where I had been shopping, and I was worried I wouldn’t find it.

It was drizzling and I used that to excuse my cautionary driving.  Sooner than I thought, I saw the sign and pulled in right in front, just as another woman did.  We walked in one right after the other.

The clerk was a young cute girl with braids pulled back in a clip and a sweet face. She asked us both if we needed help.  I told her what I needed — jumping in first! — just as another woman came in and demanded samples because she had lost her job.  And I am sympathetic, but the woman wanted the samples NOW and certain ones.  (Thinking about it now, perhaps that is not such an unusual thing.)

The young woman had to go to the back to get the third thing I asked for and while back there, the demanding woman was muttering to herself and looking around the cramped store.  As she rang me up, I asked if she was ok.  She said yes, but I said I will look around for a bit, ok?  She said yes.

After she checked me out, I looked around and she got the woman some samples.  The woman wanted certain things, and as an after thought, said she would come pay when she got he paycheck etc.  I stayed until she left.

Once I was sure she was gone, I left too.  The clerk said thank you twice.  I’m not a fearful person.  I’ve always been aware of myself and my surroundings.  This young woman needed reassurance that someone was there for her.  It made my day.  I just left a really positive comment on their website about her.  Perhaps it will make a difference.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t find a store that had been in a place before and I couldn’t find the Fijit, but my mom did.

Now I just have to figure out when to thaw the turkey, how to get the smashed potatoes together, and then remember that we have a meet up with our buddies from Moscow day after tomorrow.



Buying American

I did my part this past weekend in buying a couple of cabinets and I will buy a couple of more things from Catskill.

I got my pastry mat, roaster and rack this week.  All made in the good ol’ U.S.A.

I also ordered some gifts for my family, only one of which was made in China — just because that’s the only place this particular item is made.  I will write to that company and complain.

With my renewed purchasing, I want to revive my other blog.  I’ll get it going this weekend and link to it.

I Think I’ll Pickle Tomorrow

I’ve got enough okra and enough jalapenos to make a couple of jars.  If I have some of the pickling mixture left over — I will save it.

I also hope to get up some pics of the beds along with some plans for their futures.  The cucumbers are coming up fine.  The sweet peas aren’t growing much — I may have waited to late to plant them.  The new squash is so far so good.

I also need to take some pics of the new little brood of kittens that have moved in.

And lastly a plea for Roberto’s help:  Remember your great idea for the name of the new blog I want to start about where things are made?  Could you help me with the correct French?   I’d like to get it started this weekend, if possible.

Oh, and I gave Bill White some money today.  I tried to contribute to Kendrick Meek, but couldn’t get his site to load.  I’ll try again now.  It worked!

Happy Halloween!

No trick or treaters again this year.  I live in an older neighborhood with a rather permanent ownership ratio, so there haven’t been trick or treaters for a few years now.  Up until this year, I had at least carved a couple or three pumpkins and lit them with candles.  It didn’t work.

My mom and sis went out to trick or treat with me nieces.  The oldest reportedly dressed as a bumble bee; the middle one as a cheerleader; and the littlest as Bell from Beauty and the Beast.  (When she was trying to tell me last weekend, I kept hearing “bear” which I thought was cool.  “l’s” and “r’s” and all that.)

The weather was beautiful today.  I worked in the yard.  a branch on my Chinese Orchid tree snapped earlier in the week (strong wind) and was hanging over the sidewalk.  Another branch was drooping down near the porch.  (I learned from This Old House that stoop comes from Dutch.  I didn’t know that.  I also got some very good tips about how to fix my gutter problem.)

It was cool and so poor Dora was not happy.  She found the one sunlit spot and planted herself there.  Frying her brains is what she does outside.  Tammy and Murphy are now barking at ‘neighbor’ — the crazy guy from down the street, who during the two weeks after Ike told me that my pups were talking to him.  The poor guy lost his ride and now routinely walks to the supermarket and rolls back a shopping cart with just two or three things in it.  He never returns the cart.

I went to the “in process” somewhat new Kroger on 11th street today.  I needed a plan for lunches for next week, but I didn’t have one when I went.  I found a couple of good cuts for not much money, so I figure I can do one in a baking bag tomorrow with potatoes, carrots and a tomato.  The other, I will slice up for sandwiches.

I found a low sodium mushroom sauce that will hopefully liven up the leftovers from a rather tasteless crock pot misadventure I had.

The new Kroger is very nice — it has a Whole Food feel to it.  It has bulk candy, nuts and GRAINS!  When I was cooking for the pups, I always looked for bulgher and such.  I don’t think I’m going to start cooking for them again, but I might.  Bulgher is also something I liked when I was in Latvia, so I might get some next time — just for me!

Lastly, it’s a little chilly out, and my air return register is still sealed up after Ike (so no central heat right now), but I finally found a room heater that was designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S.A.  It’s from Vornado.  I have a feeling that the parts perhaps were made in China, but all of the other heaters were completely made there, so I hope I got close enough.

Shopping on Christmas Eve

When  I was much younger, I thought it was fun to wait until Christmas Eve to do all of my shopping.  I’d go to Sears and get everything I needed.  Then I started working retail, and it was impossible.  Everyone had to work until closing.  There were a few years in there when I did all of my shopping out of catalogs.  I’d take my time choosing gifts, and then call in all of my orders in one afternoon.  I can’t even remember all of the crap I bought for my family and friends from those catalogs.  The Christmas after I got back from Latvia, I gave everyone Latvian crafts and jewelry — beautifully bound blank books, textiles, silver, and of course, amber.

In the past few years, I’ve shopped earlier — not as early as some (who cheerfully tell me two weeks before Christmas:  I finished my shopping!) — but before Christmas Eve.  I’ve done progressively more shopping online.  That worked out particularly well this year because I was able to get two gifts that weren’t available in any local stores.  Everything got here much earlier than I expected.

Even though I didn’t have any gift shopping to do, I did need to get some groceries, so I ventured out today.  I wanted some new tennis shoes, too, so I stopped on the way at the Payless.  Every single pair of shoes was made in China.  Since I only buy something made in China if I can’t find or don’t have time to find it made somewhere else, I left, deciding to stop at the Academy on the way to the Central Market.  Things looked bleak there, too, until I finally found a pair of Reeboks on sale — made in Vietnam!  YaY!  I also managed to find 2 shirts and some sweats made in El Salvador and India.  (India is about to switch over to the no-buy list for me.)  When I went to check out, as is my luck, the cashiers were changing.  The new cashier couldn’t get his till to fit into the cash register drawer.  No matter how hard he tried — pull the drawer out, shift the till, look at the drawer, then the till, then try again — it wouldn’t fit.  He turned and called to someone in the manager’s booth,  “The till won’t fit.”  A young woman came over and stood by the cashier as he continued his futile attempts to make the thing fit.  The cashier, with no help from the young woman, called to the manager’s booth again.  Another woman shouted from the booth, “What’s wrong?”  The cashier said, “It’s too big.”  She walked over, watched him still trying and pronounced, “Oh, it’s too wide.”  Genius.  The cashier tries, the two women stand watching him try, I stand at the counter (I want to see what’s going to happen next — I’m in no hurry), and nothing different happens for more than a minute.   The second woman finally says, “Ma’am, you should go to another line.  This could take a while.”  I smiled and said, “Clearly.”  In the next line the cashier was cheery and asked if I needed a gift receipt.  I said, “Nope.  It’s all for me!” That got me a little laugh. 

Next, I went to Central Market.  It’s supposed to be European — meaning very narrow aisles and stuff from other places.  I had wanted to get something unusual to dip into the super-duper chocolate fountain chocolate that I’m giving my mom tomorrow.  I found some raspberries.  I also needed to get some potatoes, but for some reason (European?) they don’t sell them in handy 5 lb. bags., and I’m not going to pay $2 something a pound for POTATOES (even if they are imported from Russia).  They did have those creepy fingerling potatoes.  After making that kind last year, I learned that they freak out my nieces.  The place was packed with all sorts of people from all sorts of different places.  I heard Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and English, of course.  I got some dried apricots and then some pretzels.  Moderately successful trip, I guess.  Out in the parking lot, there was a guy with a BMer letting a Central Market employee put little gift baskets in his car while the alarm was going off.  I’ll give BMer guy credit — he tipped the guy — but seriously, who doesn’t load their own groceries these days?  Middle-aged wealthy guys who can’t figure out the alarm systems on their BMers?

 I stopped off at Fiesta to get potatoes and sour cream (Central Market wanted a lot for the locally made brand).  Oh, and some vino — in a box.  Fiesta is patterned more on what you might call an American supermarket — as in the continent.  There were probably as many people as there had been in Central Market, but they were way more laid back.  I heard mostly English and Spanish — four guys were having an in-depth discussion about which beer to buy.  As I walked through the store, three different people in three different aisles were singing along with the Christmas music playing over the speakers — not just humming or singing to themselves but singing — it was cool.

Near the meat counter, a woman asked the butcher a question in Spanish.  The butcher listened to her and then said he didn’t understand.  Within a moment, a man who wasn’t with the woman stepped over and translated.  The butcher listened and answered the woman’s question happily.  I smiled and thought, this language thing may take a while, but it can work, not just on Christmas Eve, but every day between everyday regular people.