No Broccoli

At the grocery store tonight there was a sign on the freezer doors in the vegetable sections saying that due to acts of nature and circumstances beyond their control, there will be shortage of frozen broccoli and possibly other vegetables this summer.

I’m not sure where the top broccoli producing states may be and what acts of nature were involved, but I suspect that with all the flooding in the Midwest these past couple weeks and the fires in California, there may well be shortages of other vegetables and fruit later this summer.

On a good note, there are plenty of cantalopes and they are wonderfully sweet and at a great price this week. I plan on eating fresh cantalope daily while this bounty is here in our local stores. And my tomato plants are producing 2-3 ripe tomatoes every day. Last night we dined on BLTs and they’ve never tasted better.

Taking Care of Dad

My sister called today and wanted to talk about Dad and his declining health. Now Dad is going on 70 and had a hard, blue collar life, so his body is about worn out. Thankfully the union is covering all his medical expenses and he has a decent retirement fund. He’s still living in his own home and still drives, so he’s pretty independent in many ways. With my sister being the main caregiver of the family, her calling me about him was a little alarming.

Turns out it’s not really an emergency or anything all that hairy. She is frustrated with his refusal to do certain things the doctors want him to do and she called me to ask for some support in persuading him to cooperate. On the other hand, the subject is a little touchy and it is hard to start parenting your own parent.

Shopping for Bargains

While at shopping today I was paying a lot of attention to the prices and stocking up on things that were either on sale or at a good discount for buying in bulk. We’ve gotten a little spoiled these past couple of years by making good money and spending rather freely. Now, the economy is going in the tank – pun intended with the cost of gasoline at $4.01 a gallon now – and we need to cut back on the spending.

One way to make the dollar go farther is to use coupons and plan your shopping around those kinds of bargains. The wife has an online coupon site that she always checks before buying big ticket items and now we check it before going out shopping for all our purchases.

For example, we used to go to one of the local discount eyeglasses stores with the $39 vision exams and the two for one price on eyeglasses. But the wife wanted to go back to contact lenses, so we decided to price shop on that before getting pressured into buying them from the optometrist. We found good prices on the internet and with the discounts on the coupon site we can save a lot of money. With the new prescription we can order Acuvue and Freshlook lenses at cheap prices online and have a 6 month supply delivered to our house.

We had to buy a wedding present for one of my employee’s getting married next month, so we found coupons for linens and housewares and spent about an hour browsing the store for a gift. To wrap up all our gift giving duties for the summer we also took advantage of discount online shopping for handbags, wallets, backpacks and luggage.

With summer here and mosquitos becoming a problem each evening, we decided to stock up on heartworm medicine for the dogs and found some great deals online for pet meds instead of buying them for full price from the veterinarian. Still have to get the rabies shot from the vet, but we don’t have to pay full price for the Heartguard anymore.

While at the mall I saw some cool NHL gear at the Reebok store. But instead of paying full retail price at the mall, I went online at the coupon site and found some great discount deals on Reebok for both online orders and a coupon if you want to go back to their retail store. But since I can order online and have it delivered with free shipping, it doesn’t make sense to spend the gas money to go to the mall and fight through all the crowds anymore. I would rather just order from home and have it delivered, then spend the extra time and money on other things.


I have some great stories about Brazil from people I know who used to live there or have gone there on vacation. I was even invited to tour the Brazalian embassy in Washington DC, as the legal administrator to Brazil’s Ambassador was married to a co-worker and we all became good friends while we lived in the DC area.

She would show us pictures of her very very very large family in Brazil and their house on a huge plantation. They were considered well off as they owned several hundred acres of prime farmland, yet they did not have indoor plumbing in the house and they did not have a telephone on the property – and this was a recent as 1990. If you wanted to make a phone call you had to travel to the nearest town – about 200 miles away – and stand in line to use the onepay  phone mounted on a pole in the center of town.

With the advent of cell phones and satellites, they do have both phones and TV in the house now, but they still have many primitive limitations and I find it amazing that with today’s technology so many people still live with the challenge of basics like getting clean water and protecting your children from attacks by wild animals like crocodiles and panthers.

Not Getting Any Younger

Interesting how you don’t see family members for a few months at a time and then when you are thrown together again you look at each other with a very critical eye. You notice how each other is handling weight, changes in eyesight, thinning or greying hair, etc. Mother has always been thin and vital, so we have good genes to start with. I had to break down and get bifocals last year – that was tough admitting I needed those.

Brother is going to have issues with his hairline and I noticed over the weekend how thin it has gotten. Obviously guys our age are going to need to pay attention to things like thinning hair that can be prevented. Some things you can’t do anything about, but if it was my hair giving way to bald spots I would be trying Procerin and fighting to keep my hair as long as possible. I’m going to send him the link to order Procerin online so he can order a bottle and keep his hairline from receding any further. He can thank me later.