Do vacations motivate you?

When we moved in the closet was perfect.

Vacation motivated me to clean out my closet. Seriously, every time I come home from a trip I want to throw things out. It’s because I manage to live with very few things on vacation. I love the lack of clutter and stuff. I manage to pack just what I need and live quite well without anything extra.

I decided to make a promise to myself this week. One shelf or drawer per day. That’s it. It’s doable. Like my husband says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

What happened on day one was I did two shelves — one shelf led to another. On day two I did the entire dresser. Today I am doing the hanging clothes. It will be done before the week is over. I’m surprised at some of the clothes I moved. I wonder why I didn’t throw more out at that point? I think it was because I got exhausted with all the decision making of moving from a house of 28 years.

I feel better. I feel more organized, lighter. However my husband said he can’t tell any difference. Thanks a lot.

What motivates you to clean closets? How do vacations motivate you?

One of my favorite things to do…

…in Berkeley

Grocery shop.

That’s because of Berkeley Bowl, which opened in 1977 in a building that previously was home to Berkeley’s bowling alley. Berkely Bowl West, which is a short walk from my son’s house, is on Heinz Street in a building that housed a ketchup factory.

My first trip to Berkeley, our son and his girlfriend took us to see their favorite grocery store and to have lunch in the cafe. Now when I visit, I have to go to Berkeley Bowl. How often is a grocery store an attraction where you take your guests? At the airbnb I’m staying in, the owners list Berkeley Bowl as a must in “things to do.”

I’m hit with a wave of anxiety each time I enter, due to the abundance. There are so many varieties of everything that it can be overwhelming. Then, I settle down and enjoy the experience. Wandering through produce, seafood, meats, snacks, sushi and hot foods — with so many ethnic cuisines — there’s too much and I want to try everything. It’s an experience you should not miss, if you’re in Berkeley.

Outside Berkeley Bowl West with watermelons and fruit on display.
Outside the entrance to Berkeley Bowl West, one of two Berkeley Bowls.
Fruits at Berkeley Bowl.
A photo of a tiny bit of produce.
Wide variety of mushrooms at Berkeley Bowl.
Mushrooms. Have you ever seen so many types in one store?
I never knew there were so many varieties of chanterelle mushrooms — which are my favorite. I used to go chanterelle hunting with my mom in Washington state.
potatoes on display at Berkeley Bowl
Potatoes. My cousins have a potato farm. I wonder what they’d think of the varieties.

sushi grade fish at Berkeley Bowl
Sushi grade fish display. Also, I counted more than 10 types of salmon in the regular seafood section.
Deli sandwiches and caviar at Berkeley Bowl.
Deli sandwiches and caviar anyone?
Produce at Berkeley Bowl
Non organic produce as opposed to their organic produce section.

I miss the cafe which is closed due to COVID. I think there is take out, but I loved sitting inside with my kids having a bowl of chowder or something else amazing. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the area — and there are lots of amazing places to eat. I told my kids I could have breakfast or lunch there every day.

What’s your favorite place to shop and why? Do you have a place like Berkeley Bowl that you take guests to see? Are you seeing empty shelves? I haven’t seen any in Berkeley.

The shelves are bare

empty produce shelves at big name grocery store
Empty shelves at the chain grocery store.

The shelves were bare in our pantry and fridge because I packed up a ton of stuff and hauled it to California for Christmas week. I made a trip this morning to the Farmer’s Market and a grocery store only to be disappointed.

At the Farmer’s Market there were only two stands. One for prickly pear jellies and the other for power greens. I wanted my chips and dips plus the veggie guy who also sells homemade tortillas. I’m sure it was because it’s New Year’s Eve, plus it’s supposed to rain.

On to a locally-owned grocery store where they were out of lots of stuff on my list. I backed out without a purchase and drove down the street to a major chain-owned store. I thought to myself, this store is huge and always has everything in stock.

Nope. Not today. I managed to grab the last spinach. Then I found myself not quite in a panic, but feeling this need to buy more than what I had intended. I think this is what is causing the shelves to be bare.

When you see empty shelves, you think you better buy NOW or you’ll be out of some much needed TP. allergy meds, or milk. Also, with inflation raging, I told myself I had better buy now because it will be more expensive next week.

Happy New Year! That’s my tale for New Year’s Eve. Now I’m ready to watch the Rose Bowl.

GO UTES!!!

What are your New Year’s plans? Have you made resolutions? What are they?

Empty grape case at grocery store
Grapes anyone?

It’s happening — again!

empty shelves at grocery stores
I took this picture in March 2020 during the TP shortage. Our grocery store was almost completely out of TP today. The only difference from this photo to what the store looked today was this year’s much higher price tags.

It was a weird feeling today going to a large grocery store and discovering empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle. There wasn’t any name brand TP. The few packages left were brands I’d never heard of.

Do you remember hunting for TP in 2020? I do. I resorted to ordering it from Amazon and it was some very bizarre stuff with Chinese writing that took a month to arrive. At the time, I was shopping for my dad’s groceries and delivering them to him each week since he was 88 years old. He was asking if we could spare a few rolls, since there wasn’t any at the stores.

Bizarre to see that again today. What is up?

The other weird thing I noticed was almost everyone was wearing masks. In Arizona, we have a high vaccination rate, but you don’t have to wear masks anywhere. Well, mostly not anywhere. The exceptions are doctor’s offices and government buildings. I normally see a few elderly people wearing masks and that is all. Today there were only a handful of people NOT wearing masks.

I asked the checker what was up with the toilet paper. She said she’d heard a few things, but wasn’t sure what was true. First, they couldn’t get people to work to make the toilet paper. The other excuse was supply chain issues. How many times have I heard that since 2020? The checker said we’d all be fine if people don’t buy nine packages of toilet paper and just buy what they need. I honestly don’t think I have patience for this again. Do you?

I’m wondering if I’m missing something going on in the news? Is there something happening in Arizona? Are you seeing TP shortages, too? Do your stores have other items out of stock? Does everyone wear masks inside? How do your grocery prices compare to a year ago?

empty shelves at Target March 2020
We were looking for bleach at Target March of 2020.