Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Bear-ly Summer

I awoke to a dark, damp, dismal-looking morning, and it didn't get much better throughout the day. Work was a pain. It wasn't quite as busy, but we're still getting some annoying people. One woman came in with at least 100 items, counted each and every one and put them in perfect order before I could move them from the belt, then counted each of her 100 coupons for those 100 items...and then got upset because she couldn't use her coupons for her meat. The coupons were from Winn-Dixie, which is a supermarket chain in the southern US. She said her daughter sends her coupons from Florida. We aren't in Florida. The irony is, most of the items, except for some small juice bottles and the meat, were junk food - chips, cake mix, dip mix, energy drinks, packaged cookies and bread.

Here's a few suggestions for saving without holding up the line, making a cashier angry, or damaging your health. First of all, lose the junk food, or buy one or two treats a week and save your coupons for those. Shop in the back aisles and avoid the center ones unless you can't live without something from them. Buy staples - fruit, vegetables, meat, flour, milk, eggs, grains - and make real food yourself. I learned last fall that canned and dried beans can be your best friend when you're on a budget.

Thank heavens that it slowed down considerably after I got back from break. It was on and off for the rest of the afternoon, but once again, never as bad as over the weekend. Many people are shopping for kids going to college (or even back-to-school next month, as that one woman was). It slowed down enough by 5 for me to leave without a break.

I combated the gray, wet, unseasonably cold day with episodes of Care Bears Family and baking Peach-Apple Muffins. There's three formulas to the mid-80s incarnations of the lovable care-protecting critters. The first is the most basic - the bears and their critter Cousins come to Earth to help a kid who's having problems. The second has kindly Gram Bear telling a story to toddlers Hugs and Tugs that is usually a spoof fairy tale or folk story featuring the regular cast.The third is a full-on spoof set in space or the time of the cavemen (uh, bears), Gram story optional. Shrill Shreeky and dimwitted Beastly may or may not interfere in any of these.

As cute as the "helping kids" stories and the Star Trek and Clan of the Cavemen (bear) spoofs were, I liked Gram's fairy tales the best. My favorite was one of the few stories that dropped the villains to make the Bears themselves the problem. In "The Lost Gift," Gram tells the squabbling cubs about an Alpine village with a magical apple tree that could regrow fruit and keep their weather beautiful year-round. The kids want to give the tree a present for being so helpful, but are dismayed to find that the towns-animals thought the apples were disappearing and took too many. Now they have to learn a lesson in sharing and teamwork to restore their crops and their town.

Other fun episodes include "A Day Without Tugs" (Hugs is on her own when Tugs gets sick, but makes a friend out of her shadow), "Perils of the Pyramid" (native kids Hugs and Tugs try to keep careless Brave Heart from causing trouble when he rushes through a pyramid to find a golden crown), "The Magic Lamp" (Champ Bear and Beastly find a dragon in a lamp in a cross between Aladdin and The Fisherman and His Wife), "Beautiful Dreamer" (Gram helps Treat Heart get over her stage fright and go on for tone-deaf Shreeky), and "Hearts at Sea" (a little girl named Rebecca teaches old-fashioned sea captain Brave Heart that girls can do anything boys can do - and then some!).

While I find some episodes to be more tolerable than others, I really wouldn't look up any of the Care Bears shows unless you're a major fan of the franchise or you have very young children who are. This is the definitive little girl 80s show - the characters are sometimes witty but more often than not too sweet, and the morals are driven home with a two-ton pile driver. Anyone else is better off cuddling their childhood Care Bear stuffed animal collections.

1 comment:

Linda said...

That's what drives me nuts about the extreme "couponers" show: most of what they buy is super-salty, super-sweet, or just plain useless junk like flavored water or Gatorade. You always see those Yakisoba noodle meals in there, for instance; they are loaded with sodium. We have a few in the closet for emergencies, but I wouldn't eat them on a regular basis.