Friday, June 25, 2010

After a long challenging week at the office, could I ask for a more beautiful welcome home than this, the view from my front door?

Just answered the default call from the Wizard on his way home, "I'm at the grocery store..."

"Milk and gin...and tonic."  After three weeks home from my China dream, having endured back-to-work,  I need a G&T.  Otherwise I will drink all the Wizard's Jameson's and that will disturb him.  When it comes to whisky, I'm actually a Speyside Scotch connoisseur, but I have learned to appreciate the chocolate notes that ride on top of the cat piss taste in this Irish.  It's great in coffee.

"Couldn't get the cheap stuff, the regular Bombay, had to get Sapphire."  Cheap stuff to me is Gordon's (I like the label) or in Hong Kong, the VERY cheap King Robert.  But Sapphire!

Martini time!  Fortunately, I have some Martini and Rossi vermouth on the shelf, and some olives in the fridge, which also features a terrific ice maker. And a nice cocktail shaker.  And a nice martini glass that has a blue tint in its stem that echoes the Sapphire bottle.  In this regard, I am a purist.

Six parts gin and one part vermouth.  Aloha Friday!

Monday, June 21, 2010

This morning, aware that today was the Summer Solstice, I tried to achieve a nice balanced state while doing my freeway commute.

Then I noticed a silvery late-model quasi-German luxury car (an Altima, whatever that is) with a large inscription across its rear window.  I'm used to the silly Olde English "In Memory of's" on SUVs and trucks, but what was someone thinking to plaster, in pretty wedding script, "Never Satisfied," for all to see? It was a pretty nice car, really. There was a small subscript I couldn't make out, maybe a dotcom, or a surf gear trademark, or a Bible Verse citation. As I was catching up to see what it was, the Altima moved to an exit lane.  Maybe not satisfied with the freeway.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last night, for the first time since my return to the Islands from the Mainland (the Chinese one) I presented my Costco card, like a passport, at the gate to the Temple of Compulsive Bargains and Excessive Quantity -- not nearly as enjoyable as The Temple of Timely Rains and Extensive Moisture at Beijing's Summer Palace, where I lingered just three weeks ago.
I don't recall actually praying for rain then, but after I explored the temple, I enjoyed a lovely light drizzly hour reading Chinese poetry on a stream bank under some willows.

But back to shopping. I visit the big warehouse mainly to stock up on cheap cat litter for the Yellow Emperor and Fifi, but invariably wind up with some large package of fruit of the week (Rainier cherries are in!), maybe some bargain DVDs.

I waited patiently in the checkout line, possibly channeling the weird energy of the Qing Empress Cixi (commissioner of a marble boat, one of the most bizarre misappropriations of defense funds ever). The customer ahead of me was ready to go with his giant bag of prepared frozen jiaozi and an extra huge sack of tortilla chips, for which he had paid cash. The checkout clerk was frustrated because she needed a new roll of pennies to finish off the last three cents of his change. Her bag boy support was going from checkout to checkout lane looking for pennies, and the line was backing up behind me.  She already had my Costco passport ready to process my load, so I handed her three pennies.  "Give these to him so he can leave, you can give three back to me."  This seemed to confuse would she indicate this on my checkout slip? "I'll just charge you three cents less for something." Huh?

When my load was scanned and paid for, I made an eager move to push my cart out. She was still waiting for a manager to bring her a bulk roll of pennies and said, "Don't you want to wait for your three cents?"  "No, I don't care about the pennies," I said, returning my debit card to my change purse. I think my three pennies caused her a bit of a headache...perhaps her register closing will be three cents off one way or the other...or it could be in her favor, if she just pockets the damn coppers.  Costco is too big and bureaucratic to do that thing small shops do, the little dishes of spare pennies at the register for the convenience of customers and clerks.

As I pushed my 84 pounds of clumping cat litter toward the exit, where I had to show my receipt like a customs declaration, it occurred to me that shopping at Costco has a lot in common with international travel--the really annoying bits.