Becoming Jill: Adventures in Adulthood

Heading home for a bit…
August 5, 2010, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Updates

Just a quick post to say I probably won’t be around for a bit. I’m heading back down to Missouri to help out my family for a week or two. The last time I was home, my papa had hip replacement surgery, and has been slowly recovering ever since. He’s still not getting around very well, and we’re afraid that he might have some nerve damage from the surgery. Anyway, he’s fallen quite a few times since getting out of the hospital. Also, we’re afraid he may have had a minor stroke sometime in the last week or two. I’ll be staying on the farm with Grandma and Papa, driving them anywhere they need to go, and giving Grandma a break from being a full-time caretaker. I probably won’t have internet or cell access while I am there, but I am sure there will be plenty of things to keep me out of trouble! One of my favorite jobs on the farm is chasing cows out of the yard 😉

Papa Coats, Christmas 2009

The kitties will be “going on vacation,” which means that they will get to stay with Mom and Larry! Pip loves having the run of the big house,  but Kitten mostly hides in terror. He’s a brave, brave soul… Pip’s not been doing very well since he switched to a new brand of insulin a week or two ago, so I am hoping that spending some time at home will help get him on the right track again.

I’m off to finish packing!


Chapter 12: In Which I Support the Local Immigrant Community. Massive Amounts of Produce are Procured.
August 3, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Food, frugality, money | Tags: ,

One of my favorite things about living in a real city is the abundance of food shopping options! Here in the Twin Cities, there are more ways to get food than I can even list. We have super-fancy high-end markets like Byerly’s and Lunds, middle of the road options like Cub, Rainbow, and Super Target, and of course, my new favorite budget-grocer, Aldi’s. However, in the summer, we also have innumerable farmer’s markets, hooray! The big markets in the two downtowns are a really fun shopping experience, but the prices aren’t much (if any) cheaper than you would find at the store.

Since this is a real city, however, I don’t have to settle for the big, overpriced markets! Minnesota is home to a large immigrant community, mostly from Southeast Asia and Africa. The twin cities are dotted with ethnic markets catering to these populations, but nothing stops me from shopping there, too! In the summer, many of the stores also have weekend farmer’s markets, and this is where you can find some of the best (and cheapest!) produce around.

There’s a good-sized Hmong farmer’s market about a half-mile from my apartment every weekend during the summer. I absolutely love going there! I take my own bags in my ongoing efforts to be environmentally friendly, and I come home loaded with more produce than I can easily fit in my little refrigerator. I am usually the only white person there, and most of the vendors don’t speak English. If they have their kids along, they usually speak English, but most of my transactions are accomplished with pointing and smiles. I don’t even recognize a lot of the traditional Asian vegetables, but they also sell all the boring things I want, like lettuce and potatoes and cucumbers.

I usually spend about 10-12 bucks per trip, and I get so much stuff that I couldn’t possibly eat it all in a week! Once tomatoes are in season here, I’ll be going every weekend, though. Mmm, tomatoes! The place is always packed, and negotiating the parking lot can be hazardous! Lots of people bring their whole families, and things can get a little crazy. I just go with the flow, and wander around smiling and pointing when I find 20 cucumbers for a buck. You heard me! One dollar.

Here’s my latest haul: Lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, yellow onions, red onions, and green peppers.

Price: $12. Not bad, huh? Who wants to come to my house for a giant salad?