Maybe you are naturally efficient when you do your everyday chores. Maybe your everyday chores are more exciting than mine. If so, I’d love to walk a mile in your shoes without stumbling and falling on my face. When I have a fruitful day, I celebrate! Teasing Tiger even!
Tuesday, during an unusually productive day, I read a great post by Dianne Gray, one of my favorite authors. She played around with titles for some of her daily adventures and everyday chores called My Week In Titles. As I flew through my week-in-a-day Tuesday, Dianne inspired me and I began giving my activities titles.
“Clever, cute, funny titles. You’d laugh.”
“Uh huh, what?”
“Umm, uh, I don’t remember. That was yesterday. It’s 1:35 am.”
“You call that an excuse? Come on cough them up. Make Dianne proud.”
“I’m grasping at loose straws fluttering across my synapses but here goes.”
Fully amped with vitamins for women 50+ Rhea Ripe raced to town with at least five chores to complete in twenty-five minutes. Rhea nearly succeeded but had to return to town to retrieve the credit card she left at stop number three. While her chicken marinated and her rice cooker steamed, she wisely chose the battery-assisted Prius for the second trip. Fortunately, she also forgot milk and broccoli and thus turned her mistake into an efficient use of two hours.
In the days before workouts, Bertha Butts might have asked for help carrying in a case of plastic water bottles, fresh-baked cookies, and a heavy purse. With one successful trip under her belt and some of the bottles missing after the meeting, she put her hand in the hole of the plastic wrap and hoisted the remaining bottles which defied gravity in their open plastic sling. Single-handedly Bertie slung her purse over her shoulder, balanced the cookies in her other hand. Whisking past a group of fifth-grade students watching the older woman with unbelieving eyes, she gleamed at them while flexing her biceps as she efficiently pushed open the heavy office door.
“I am amazing,” B thought just before the plastic wrap holding the bottles together broke and scattered bouncing water bottles over the parking lot.
Put in a Plug for Me
Ms. Darla Dew mulled over business names to impress friends and fellow volunteers with her repertoire of marketable skills. PowerPoint Presentations R Me. That would work. Dew knew her design, carefully copied from a renown local graphic artist, would impress her Kiwanis group. What she failed to consider was that she did not have a cable to connect her computer to the screen at the meeting place. Would anyone see her plucky PowerPoint presentation, or would it loop continuously through cyberspace unseen by appreciative human eyes?
Are you good at making up names or titles? Or are you like me and just like to try for the fun of it when you can’t sleep at night? Take Dianne’s challenge, (which was not actually a “challenge”) and see what you can create. Describe your week or day in titles. Check out Dianne’s cute post for great ideas. Put a link to your post in my comment box, if you tinker with a thought-thwarting title, you would like to share.
Do you love history? Most humans want to know what life was like for those who lived in the past. We are also curious about the rich and famous.
In this post, you get both, the rich and famous of the past.
Brief History of the Pierce Home in Longwood Gardens
William Penn sold George Pierce the land in 1700. Pierce built his home there in 1730. To save Pierce’s Park or Pierce’s Woods, scheduled for eradication at the local lumber mill, Du Pont purchased the Pierce home and surrounding acreage. Longwood Gardens became the weekend home of Pierre Samuel du Pont in 1906.
The Du Pont Family
Pierre Samuel Du Pont, one of 11 children, helped raise his siblings when his father died, and he married late in life.
Pierre du Pont stood tall after his father passed away, leaving him as head of household. How many people do you know would take that responsibility seriously, and finish their education? He graduated from MIT at the age of twenty.
He devoted his life to running the family business, but also managed General Motors in the mid 20th century.
Under his management, GM enjoyed some of its most prosperous years. However, he did not consider real estate a good investment. He was not married when he purchased the nearly 200-year-old home in 1906. It became his pet project after he decided that he could do a better job of designing gardens than his designer.
A Simple Home
When he married, he and his wife enjoyed expanding the many features of the home where they could entertain many people. John Phillip Sousa was one of the many that came to the du Pont home in Kennett Square, PA.
Hal did not think this simple home seemed like the home of a multi-millionaire. It was a weekend home that reflected the simplicity of life in 1730. Du Pont felt at the time that he probably made an investment mistake. His motives were philanthropic and environmental. The video you can watch on the du Pont side of the reflecting home connects the pieces of the story.
I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the George Pierce and Pierre du Pont home. You won’t want to miss a trip to Longwood Gardens when you visit Pensylvania or Delaware.
When I started blogging, I met Dianne Gray from Australia and fell in love with her writing, both her blog and her books. I read every book she wrote. Links to other reviews are at the end.
Soul’s Child, the 2012 YWO award-winning spell-binder by Dianne Gray, unearthed and explored a love/hate relationship between co-dependent father and daughter. After the accident in which Aurora Jones’ mother and younger sister died, Aurora stayed in a coma for three weeks.
The accident gave Aurora an urge and ability to draw unnaturally realistic scenes she had never experienced. Although she hid her drawings, her father discovered them and realized their meaning. He began to capitalize on them. Mervin legally changed his name to Clive Soul, and created a Hollywood TV show, Soul Search, to “prove the reality of precognition, ghosts, and demons.” When she realized what he did, Aurora lost trust in her father. She learned he would do anything to take possession of her drawings.
Throughout the book, Aurora sought true friendship. She struggled to find someone she could really trust in an increasingly hostile environment. As her father became more and more dependent on them, she feared for both hers and her father’s life. The webs between the pictures and real life became dangerously entangled.
Since this book is recommended for young adults, I usually connect book reviews to the Common Core and sometimes the History-Social Science Standards for California. For example, asking seventh-grade students to work with standard RL 6. Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text. Grappling with this story will help students deeply understand the intricacies of complex relationships.
I highly recommend this book for mature young readers who are well past the age of nightmares.
Thursday’s 80-degree temperature in Woodlake could not have been more beautiful. My mood matched the weather as I drove downtown to General Food Store to meet with Gene Gong, one of the two directors.
Mr. Gene Gong works twelve-hour days, so it’s been hard to schedule a time to interview him. On this perfect day in Woodlake, he was waiting and ready to answer my questions about General Food Store and the grocery business.
What do you want us to know about General Food Store?
“We are a local store,” Gene Gong replied immediately
Next to Woodlake Hardware, General Food Store has been active in Woodlake in the same location longer than any other store. Congratulations to Woodlake Chamber members, directors Gene and Ray Gong, on celebrating the 55th year anniversary of their family-owned and operated General Food Store!
We met in their front office, which is actually open to the public at the front of the store. I work best in private quarters away from distractions. Not these two! They are right out front, nodding to merchants as they come and go, speaking to customers, answering questions – always accessible.
As a small town, Woodlake is fortunate to have two well-stocked grocery stores. Gene likened their store to a corner mom and pop operation. Yes, they know most of their customers, but I remember most corner markets as being dim, dusty, and cramped. General Food Store is none of these.
Shoppers today have lots of options when it comes to shopping, especially for groceries. It seems that everyone is in the grocery business – national grocery chain stores, gas stations, outdoor fruit stands, discount stores, trendy, and bulk stores. There might be an occasional corner market in a large city like the one my first husband’s parents owned in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA.
What does the small-town main street market sell most?
General Food sells time.And time is money! How many people in Woodlake have too much of either of those commodities? I don’t. But I act like I do.
It takes me 20-25 minutes at the most to drive into Woodlake and pick up grocery items and get back home. It takes me 25 minutes to drive to the nearest Save Mart in Visalia, and five minutes to find a parking place and walk into the store. I love Costco, but it takes about 30 minutes to drive there and 25 minutes to find a parking place and a vacant grocery cart, not to mention going through a line to get into and out of the store. Then I have to shop and get back home – 90 minutes at least!
Additional Amenities of Shopping at General Food Store
Wal-Mart sells cheap merchandise but has long lines, a dirty store, filthy parking lot, and crowded rows. Who knows, we might end up being featured on the People of Wal-Mart website, or be standing next to someone who is. Yikes!
Look how spotless everything is at General Food Store in Woodlake. Do you see the reflection of the meat department in the floor? There is plenty of room to push a full-sized cart around without having to pick it up and squeeze past another customer. Yet, there was a steady stream of customers while I was in the store.
It is so simple to shop here. Park right next to the door. Customers walk in, get a friendly greeting, pick up their cart and find things they need. There is no long check-out line. General Food Store customers are back home after shopping and visiting with neighbors in less time than it would take them to drive to Visalia and park their car.
So what if I save $2.00 on a bag of chips at the $300 store?
Items are easy to find.
I’m not a huge drinker, but I enjoy a glass of sweet wine with my husband once in a while. My favorite brand is Barefoot. It’s inexpensive and tastes delicious to me. When I pick up a bottle in Visalia, I have to walk up and down two aisles to find my brand. There it is in the red wines, and again in the white and pink wine areas.
Time elapsed? Five minutes!
All my favorites are together, and they are on special for the same price as I can get them in Visalia. How much time did I just save? About 60 minutes, on one item.
I love to shop for fresh vegetables. There are only two of us at home. Neither of us eats huge amounts of anything. You would not think that to look at my shopping habits.
In Visalia, I go to Costco, walk into that freezing cold room, practically run my cart around the perimeter, and grab a big plastic container of lettuce, one bag of broccoli and one of carrots. The lettuce sits in my refrigerator until half or more of it rots. Ewwwww!
When three-quarters of the bag of broccoli turns yellow, I throw it out. The peeled baby carrots get slimy before we can eat them all. I wash them off, but feel guilty because I don’t want to serve slimy carrots, so I throw them out. Then if I’m fixing dinner for company, I don’t have any carrots to serve. I either have to grab a can of something or send Vince to Woodlake to pick up some fresh vegetables at the last minute.
Vince hates the way I shop. I think I am saving so much money. What do you think?
Mr. Gong said that he stocks things people in Woodlake buy. Customers might not find the newest craze here. Yet, he keeps up on the newest nutrition and food buying trends.
“About six years ago people started using plain yogurt to make fruit smoothies. Woodlake people did not pick up on it right away.”
“Do you stock plain yogurt now? I started eating it about six years ago because a doctor recommended it to help me with weight loss.”
“Yes, now customers are buying enough of it to pay stocking it. But kale is in now, and you might not find that here.”
I bought a huge bag of cut kale from Save Mart in my refrigerator. After talking to Mr. Gong, guilt overwhelmed me and I ate a bowl of kale for breakfast this morning. I fixed it three days ago and stuck the leftovers in the refrigerator because I don’t like to be wasteful. I still have a half bag of uncooked kale in the refrigerator. It is about 2 weeks old. I think I need to rethink my shopping habits.
My husband drinks Lactaid. We go through a lot of it, most of the time. Then we don’t. I won’t tell you what happens to some of our milk. More often we just run out – just before Vince has breakfast at 4:30 am. We did not want to run into Visalia to get a half-gallon of Lactaid. After what Mr. Gong said about trends, I did not think they would have Lactaid, but I was WRONG!
I admit that we eat like gringos. I fix burritos and other Mexican dishes, but I do it the gringa way. However, 80 percent of our town is Hispanic. True Mexicans cook with spices that I have never heard of. My Mexican friends would be ashamed to eat my monster quesadillas. Vince goes to Super Taco if he wants authentic Mexican food. But the Gongs stock for their customers. I could buy eucalyptus leaves if I wanted them. Does anyone have a recipe for them?
Speaking of tacos, unless you are vegetarian, meat is the most expensive item on the grocery list. I eat chicken, chicken and, oh yes, chicken with an occasional filet of salmon and hamburger thrown in. I fix Italian meatballs for my Italian husband, and I do it the Italian way. I forgot to check out the sausage situation at General Food Store. There aren’t many Italians in Woodlake.
There are lots of fresh meat choices. Packages do not come in $30.00 sizes, which reminds me, I need to put my hamburger I bought at Costco in the freezer today or I’ll have to throw it out.
Apparently many customers like baby-back ribs. My husband does.
I believe in supporting Woodlake Chamber members. Mr. Gong has not been a member for several years and he renewed his membership during our visit. He is the first Woodlake grocery store to do so. You all know what this means, don’t you?
Flower portraiture – capturing the beauty of a single bloom
Yesterday Woodlake and Hockessin temperatures both registered 84 degrees. Don’t be confused. In Woodlake that temperature is perfect. Delaware sun and humidity mixed to make salt water spring like a national park geyser from my forehead and nose.
After meandering through Pierce’s Woods and visiting his 1730s home, stifling in the tropical section of the Longwood Gardens Conservatory in Kennett Square, PA, we came full circle in the huge conservatory and found this perfect chenille plant. Better known as Acalypha hispida, conservatory designers saved the best of the 1,100 varieties on the 2,000 acres for last.
OK, that may just be my opinion. By the time I found Princess Hispida, I had already taken 177 pictures, was dripping wet, ready to get out of the Conservatory, and stop somewhere for ice cream. I apologised to the princess for my abruptness, bowed low and snapped pictures for the Streaming Thoughts News.
Accustomed to thousands of daily admirers, she took my blubbering in stride. Her red dreadlocks stood out among the competitors and I circled around to capture the exquisite luxurious locks of her highness in numerous shots.
With so many competitors, you often forget their names, or where they sat, as I did with Princes Hispida. If you know the name of the plant, you can find where it is on the Longwood Garden’s website. I did not remember her name. Lucky for me, Google located a long red fuzzy plant in about .5 seconds. In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Princess H’s beauty is exotic. In Papua, New Guinea, she and her hardy zone 10 sisters are one in a million.
I wonder if I would look exotic if I moved to Papua, New Guinea. I’ll see if hubby wants to relocate.