The Long Weekend

Greetings, everyone.

It’s been a while since I posted last and I do apologize for the lack of content.   Nothing has really grabbed me recently and demanded that I sit down and write about it, so I have decided to simply not post rather than babble on about stuff we already know about.

Food costs are rising.   My family went grocery shopping for the first time in a few weeks (we generally stock up a couple of times a month) and the bill seems to keep getting higher no matter what we do.    The two places I noticed this the most were in dairy and fresh produce prices.  We paid $4.50 for a gallon of whole milk, which cost us around $3.89 a few months back.  We also decided to make stuffed peppers for a meal and ended up dropping $16 on fresh bell peppers.   Considering we only picked up 8 of them, this seems pretty obscene to me, though it has steeled my resolve to grow peppers in my vegetable garden from now on.     On the other hand, a 25 pound sack of long grain rice could be had for around $25, which seems like a great deal… I may have to look at finding more rice dishes to take for lunch.

Another interesting thing I noted was that one local food mart was pretty much out of chicken breasts and bratwurst, whereas another one had a deal  on both.   I have no idea if that’s due to poor inventory management or something else but it seems that there are more and more temporary bare spots showing on on shelves.   It will be curious to see if this gets worse as the year goes on or not.

Gas prices have also seemed to settle into a rut at around $2.90 per gallon in my area after the high prices right before Memorial Day.   Most folks are content with prices at this level even though it’s a 30% jump from January of this year.   Unless mother nature plays a mean trick on us, we may very well skate through this summer with only slowly rising prices on this front which would be a blessing indeed.

Back when I was in college I wrote a book report on “The Long Weekend” which covered life in Great Britain in the last few years leading up to World War II.  As I recall, the book dealt with how many Britons had things pretty good, but saw storm clouds on the horizon with Germany making more and more aggressive geopolitical moves in Europe.   The attitude of many people was to enjoy what they had today for it may be gone tomorrow, which is what happened for the most part.  I think we’re seeing a similar mood striking the USA today.

All things being equal, life is pretty good for many of us here in the USA.   Yes,the housing market is cold, we’re stuck in Iraq, the economy is on thin ice in many segments and the dollar is being propped up for no apparent reason.  At the same time, nothing has gone totally in the tank yet.   Consumer debt is still expanding, and it seems to me like many people are still going for those feel-good purchases right now, whether it’s a nicer car, a bigger house, a vacation or some other luxury item.    Whether some people can see trouble on the horizon and are living for the moment now or not, I don’t know.   There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance floating around in the major media right now,  business is good, Iraq is either good or not good, popular TV shows like ‘Jericho,’  ‘Lost’ and ’24’ deal with terrorists, post-nuclear nightmares and the like.   More and more every day it seems like we are living on borrowed time, and the grains of sand are slowly slipping away.  I don’t know what awaits us in the future, but it will be different than the dream we’re living in today.

Personally, now that I’m getting mobile again I’m starting to do a few more things around the house again.  I salvaged some Bell Pepper, Basil and Cilantro seedlings and have them in pots.  My raspberries and hops plants are doing well even in this dry spell we’ve been dealing with for the past few weeks, though my wife ripped one of the hops vines out thinking it was a weed.   I had marked the plants, but my son took the markers to play with… the law of the jungle I suppose.    My bread baking continues, and I’ve added a nice Naan recipe to the mix, which is awesome since my wife and I both like Indian food and are trying to make more of it at home.

Once the doc clears me to walk again I plan on walking and biking as much as I can to build up strength in my leg.   I’m noticing a few more bike commuters here in suburbia but it’s still very few.   Perhaps if gas prices jump again next spring I’ll join them.

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