Friday, March 16, 2012

Good News, Bad News

or... My Wallet May Never Be the Same
As a dedicated Foodie and fairly serious recreational cook, I was pretty pleased when I heard last year that the empty supermarket space less a mile from my house was going to be turned into a Whole Foods Market. Delay after delay kept pushing back the opening date, but after months of waiting, it finally opened a couple days ago.

I knew what to expect, having shopped at them when visiting in-laws who used to live in Providence, but this is the first one anywhere close enough to home to be a threat. And I mean threat in a good way. I am a huge fan of Whole Foods. I love their selection of fresh food and healthy prepared foods. They have a cheese section unlike any other around (my motto is "cheese makes everything better"). Fresh veggie selection is fantastic. I am not a hard core organic guy by any means, but I do respect what they have built themselves to be. But practically speaking this all comes with a price. Hence the threat. My wallet may never be the same.

I went into the store today for the first time to get things for dinner. I wanted to buy everything. I never wanted to have to leave. I exercised what I would consider to be remarkable restraint. But still...

If Pennsylvania weren't so screwed up with the "state store" liquor monopoly and they were allowed to carry wines, it would be heaven. Or more heaven than it already is.

So... Good news. We have a Whole Foods. Bad news.... Keep Eric out of the Whole Foods. At least some of the time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cold Wars 2012

Due to a cheerleading competition in Hershey PA tomorrow and Sunday that will be an overnight trip for the family, the extent of my involvement in the Cold Wars convention in Lancaster this year was limited to a day of shopping and visiting with friends today. This was disappointing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that with the move of Historicon from the Philadelphia area to Fredericksburg Virginia this year, this will be my last show until Fall In in November.

On the way out to the show I made the obligatory slight detour to get a couple of geocaches, and arrived at the venue by about 11:00am. I had no particular plans for the day other than to buy a few things and to wander around. There are enough people I have met at these shows over the years that there are always familiar faces to run into, and I knew Leo would be there. In a way it's kind of a strange thing, but I think I enjoy just wandering around and soaking it all it rather than to actually play in a game, although I do that on occasion as well. I like just browsing and finding things that inspire me to get back to painting, or terrain making, or whatever area of interest is rekindled (or kindled) by something I see.

I did go into this show with a few specific things that I wanted to pick up, and for the most part I stuck to that plan. Things that I wanted (and bought) were:
  • A couple of European village building from Miniature Building Authority, and a ruined wall section to expand on the wall set that I have been accumulating over the past few years. These guys are really nice, and make the most beautiful buildings, which are pre-painted and ready to go right out of the box. I still have visions of running a game someday in the not-too-distant future of a medieval siege assault on a town. [See attached pictures of the MBA buildings I purchased]
  • A few more bags of Old Glory 25mm figures - Ottoman foot spearmen and archers, Ottoman akincji light cavalry, Seven Years War Prussian heavy artillery, and one bag of medieval french crossbowmen.
  • The new edition of Chris Parker's Day of Battle rules, which have been published by On Military Matters. I have become detached from what Chris was doing with this edition of his rules, so I am anxious to read through it and give it a go.
  • The pleasant surprise of the show was three units of French 15mm Napoleonic dragoons, professionally painted and reasonably priced. My pickiness generally prevents me from finding anything I like at a reasonable enough price at the flea market, but today I got lucky. And you can never have too many dragoons...
As usual, I have come home inspired to paint, and have cleared everything but a few units of partially painted Ottoman medievals off the painting table. I will sneak some time in with them, and will post pictures soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Special Olympics Basketball - University of Delaware

It never ceases to amaze me how busy the girls are these days. And us along with them. Today's main activity, other than Grace's ubiquitous cheer practice in the morning, was Julia's Special Olympics Delaware basketball event at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.

Julia (#65) wants the ball...
Due to the early start of the basketball event, and the overlap with Grace's practice, we had to split up. Amp took Julia, and I did cheer. By the time Julia's first game was done (a loss in which Julia played well and had a great time), Grace was finished. To avoid being stuck in two separate cars, Amp drove back from Newark and picked the two of us up. We grabbed a quick lunch and got back to Newark in plenty of time for Julia's second game.

The team Julia plays on has fun, but generally isn't too competitive. Much to my surprise and delight, a pair of late baskets and a couple of successful free throws had her team pull out a last minute win, 10-8. In this grouping, points are a very precious commodity, and piling up 6 points in the last few minutes of the game was a scoring binge the likes of which I had never seen out of them. Julia was thrilled with the win, and the parents had a good chuckle at the first basketball win some of us had ever seen. Going 1-1 in two games was good for a silver medal, and Julia couldn't have been more proud (or me either).

Many thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers who spend so many hours making these events a success, and to the University of Delaware which is such a terrific host.