Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vacation Diary Part 4 A~~thoughts as a child and now~~~

Hello Darklings,

I’ve had several people ask me on my trip how did I transport my wines, since keeping them in a car that can get very hot can destroy the flavor of the wine and turn it into vinegar.

It’s easy really; I don’t keep it all the time in the car, only when I’m transporting it.

I’ve purchased several canvas bags that are partitioned to carry up to 4 bottles of wine, these bags I padded with extra padding used for quilting, this helps prevents the bottles from cracking. Since I was going to several wineries in one day I also had a very large cooler packed with blue ice, the blue ice I put into heavy duty freezer bags to prevent the labels on the bottles from becoming wet or damp. I’d put the bottles still in the canvas bags into the cooler as I went to the next winery.

Although not perfect I have done this before and it has prevented any spoilage.

Now most of my hotel rooms have a refrigerator, so when I return to the hotel I move the wine out of the cooler in the car and put it into the hotel room and turn the air conditioner on to keep the room cool, and then I go back to the cooler to get the blue ice and put it into the refrigerator over night.

So all perishables go with me into my hotel room and any non-perishables I keep in a collapsible crate (it looks like a milk crate) in the trunk of my car, with the exception of the perfumes and jewelry.

When I travel I travel with at least two collapsible crates and one large cooler in my car trunk, I put my luggage into the trunk as well, what doesn’t fit I put on the floor of my back seat and cover with a very dark colored blanket that matches the color of my car floor so that way it’s not easy to see.

If I am going to stay more than over night then everything is put into my hotel room, otherwise it’s just the perishables and what I’ll need for the next day.

When I go grocery shopping either at the store or farmers market I do the same thing, it’s very good for frozen or refrigerated items and the crates prevent smaller items from rolling around or becoming squeezed or damaged, especially bakery goods. It’s amazing how well things can be preserved without too much worry. Of course with cakes you have to be carefully with the type of frosting, some types will melt and side off but I can’t remember if its butter cream or another kind of frosting, I’ll have to look it up.

If I have a lot of shopping I determine what sort of day its going to be, if its the farmer’s market, then I combine it with the grocery store and everything comes home and gets put away, then I go out again to finish my shopping. This is because most farmer markets open early in the morning and close early.  There is one that is open from May through September in the evenings, and I do enjoy that one espeically if the days have been hot.

But if I’m only purchasing at the grocery store then I do my other errands first and then finish at the grocery store.

This is where planning your trips maximizes your time and fuel usage. This is something I remember from how my Mother did her shopping. But we did have an advantage one of our major grocery stores was only half a block away so we walked to it, as a matter of fact our home was only a half a block away from the business district so it was easy to walk to everything.

My father took the bus to work, if Mother wanted to go shopping at one of the major stores to get clothing for me and my siblings she’d take the bus to go “Down Town”, because that is where the major stores were like Capwells, Sears, Montgomery Wards, J.C. Penney’s, Rhodes, Goldman’s, Brunner’s, I. Magnin, Macy’s, and San Francisco’s magnificent City of Paris store. If we went to San Francisco to shop we were not going Down Town, we were going to “The City”.

How I remember how we did that. My brother thought shopping was boring, so Mother would have a neighbor baby-sit him, usually someone that my brother was friends with their child to play with, and Mother would reciprocate later on. She’d take me and my sister because we loved to shop and we were always on our best behavior, because if we misbehaved we would not be able to go next time she went Down Town or especially to “The City” so we were always good.

We dress up in our Sunday best for that type of shopping, how I remembered being so awed at the stain glass ceiling of a ship plowing through the waters at the City of Paris store, it was a rarity to go there but once in a while we did. One time we went there to get a Samsonite traveling suit case for my Grandmother and a good traveling suit, she was flying back east to visit relatives she had not seen in ages, and she wanted to look her best.

I still have my grandmother’s suitcase, as a matter of fact I used it during this trip of mine, but Grandma was buried in her good traveling suit, I remember how lovely she looked in it when she went back east, and how lovely she looked in it when we buried her wearing it. As a matter of fact, Mother went to a florist shop and bought an orchid corsage and pinned it to Grandma’s suit before the casket was closed.

One of my aunts’ remarked that ‘Grandma looked like she was going on a trip’. I felt that was a beautiful thought. When my Mother died I did the same thing and just whispered to her, “Mom, I know you are on a trip with Dad, enjoy it, I’ll met up with you eventually. Don’t worry I have the map, I’ll find you.” And some day I will.

But all those wonderful stores that were Down Town are gone, now it looks like a bunch of Ghetto stores, nothing wonderful anymore. Of course San Francisco’s Union Square has their stores, but the feeling is not quite the same. And I find Shopping Malls very distasteful, seeing people dressed with clothing that hang off the hips, showing butt cracks, muffin tops, bellies hanging over a waistband, not shaved, or with bed-head hair, flip-flops and no style. I’ve found when I walk into a better store such as Macy’s the sales staff seem a bit in awe of me, I guess wearing a hat, gloves, that have a retro feel to it is a bit startling. But I’ve noticed that the staff stand up straighter, are more helpful and generous with their time.

When I go to the grocery store I always have a bagger wheel my cart for me and help me load it into my car, and many of them know that I tip them for that service. They always refuse the tip but I always make sure they get their tip, especially now when times are tough.

I have always said that it pays to be classy and observe the niceties; you’d be amaze at what excellent service you get. You don’t have to be a millionaire, just classy---Steve Jobs’ jeans and black t-shirt? Forget it, that’s only if you’re working on your car, in the garden, cleaning the house or oven, or dumpster diving.

And now I’ve confirmed all my plans for the next leg of my vacation, poor Belladonna is not going to be happy, frankly I'm not happy leaving her behind but she’ll survive, she'll be safe with her sitter,  but I have to confess it does feel good to have her snuggle up to me, especially on these cool fall nights.

I will post, hopefully from my location in Lodi or when I return I am not sure.  The good thing is I will not be leaving until Sunday, which gives me and a friend of mine a chance to attend a vintage fashion show Friday evening,  I know I'm going to have fun with that.
Later Darklings

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