W0D3 Never shop when you are hungry.

It was a quiet day here in Fort Independence. I didn’t have any face to face meetings, so I could work from home. I spent a lot of time getting things into my online calendar and contacts so I can reference them wherever I am. I could be at any one of seven sites any day, or even on a field trip, so creating ready access to all my information is a good use of time (I think – I’ve never done this before. Didn’t someone once say something about the best laid plans?)

I took a break this morning to run some errands and walked down to Broadway by a different, slightly longer, route than usual, one that ends up near the 231st Street train station (the 238th street staion is about 10 minutes closer). I grabbed some lunch at a local deli, musing about the fact that I have only eaten at restaurants or take out so far, and that this is not a sustainable practice. First, it’s rather expensive. Second, I have to climb down those stairs and back up again.

I am going to indulge myself with a bit more grousing about the stairs. I am getting better at them, first off. Secondly, I can hear my mom say “Oh, Joseph (only about three people in the world call me that: my mom, my wife, and my sister), get over it.” I need to inform my dear readers that, according to Shah, who lives on the first floor of my building and whom I met yesterday (I’m pretty sure I got that who/whom right), there are 108 steps from the bottom of the hill to the sidewalk landing of our apartment. I have since verified his findings. Fortunately for him, he lives on the first floor, and needs to climb only the additional 5 steps to the building door, and two more to his apartment door. I, on the other hand, live on the 4th floor, and have an additional 4*18 steps to climb to get here, for a grand total 187 steps. If we assume a standard 7 inch riser (Everyone knows that right? No? Then thanks, Dad!), a little quick math reveals that is about 109.083333333 feet. If you grant me the extra foot for the rise in the road between the staircases, that’s 11 stories. Each way.(Down is slightly more difficult for me.) See where I’m coming from? If you need a point of reference, the tallest building in Middletown, CT is River’s Edge II at 13 stories.

That being that, I decided to lay in some food for the hard times, like, you know, if the temperature goes above 80, or it rains, or something weird like that. I was faced with a choice: on the right, we have good old Stop and Shop #0503, on the left, we have a sketchy looking store with lots of fruit outside at ridiculously low prices (compared to CT). Here’s a street view:

5663 U.S. 9   Google Maps.png

(Editor’s note: this picture was taken January four years ago.)

How to tell a sketchy store:

  1. The fruit is outside (who’s moving all that fruit around every day?)
  2. There is a lot of fruit, at very low prices
  3. It is hard to find the front door
  4. You can’t see inside the store
  5. The front door is very narrow
  6. The exit door is not visible, but is not the same as the front door
  7. The price signs are hand written and look like the’ve been around for a while
  8. When you look into the front door, the aisles are very crowded with stuff
  9. It looks like a bazaar

So, what to do? Obviously, grow up, go in the narrow door and look around. You can always leave without buying something. Truth be told, my real fear is a language barrier – it goes back to a travel incident right after college, maybe someday I’ll tell you about it, but it’s after 11pm now, and I think I might have a tricky day ahead of me tomorrow, based on an email I received moments ago. (That is foreshadowing of a story I may not be able to tell).

So, I went in. And I’m so glad I did! The place is called Garden Gourmet Market (OK, that could be a sketchy name). The aisles are kind of narrow, but there is a lot of stuff. This place makes Stop and Shop (and even the bougie Big Y in Northampton, Mass) look like off-brand gas station convenience stores. So much variety. It is like Whole Foods, but not as pretentious.

I bought a bag of lettuce, some cherries, salad dressing (Annie’s Sesame Ginger) and some chocolate bars (which are calling my name now, in spite of what happened before and I’ll tell you about later) and headed home, trying to see if I could spit cherry pits between the construction wall and the safety roof over head at our local massive, multiple, jackhammering, construction site. I can’t. I am pretty good (though not perfect) at avoiding the ricocheting pit, however. (An aside: magniloquent is a highfalutin word. It’s dark in there people. You never know what’s going to come out next. The inside of my brain is like a reality show with lots of unstable people (and maybe some unstable (and unstabled) animals) in it. )

OK, back to the story. I’ve been meaning to get to a yoga studio since I got here. I chose one (based mostly on proximity, but also on their website AND the fact that they provide mats, so I don’t have to buy (or lug – see W0D0) one. Also, they have many styles of yoga, which is my style of yoga.

It’s about a 20 minute walk away. Tonight they had Astanga yoga, which I hadn’t practiced in a while – maybe a year and a half. It is a strenuous type of practice, but I usually feel better afterwards. Usually. I gotta say, I enjoyed the class, but came out a bit sore – definitely feeling the hip openers. I don’t want to wake up in this body tomorrow, but I didn’t have room to bring my spare. Actually, the walk home helped equilibrate everything.

On the way, I stopped back into the Garden Gourmet. Hungry. See, you were wondering when I was going to get to the point. Here I am. I left with baked ziti with grilled chicken (very good – the grilled chicken tasted like it had been over fire), granola, milk, salad topper stuff, and this thing, which I was not sure what it was at the time, but seemed to have raspberries and the definite possibility of chocolate.


You see, I took a picture of it because I knew that Google Goggles would notice the bar code and send me a link to the right web page: https://webshop.ppkbjelovar.com/products/cokoladakakaokrem_namazi-205?Artikli_page=8

I’ll let you translate it out of Croatian. It is gone now. Plus some more.

You know the moral of the story.


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