Looking for Quality Control

I love basil pesto. It is my go to for several pasta dishes, especially when I use shrimp or crab. Usually I purchase Classico Traditional Basil Pesto. The cost is in the middle range and the taste is good. That said, I bought some gourmet pesto on sale (you know I love a bargain). It had to be frozen because it didn’t contain any preservatives and had to be consumed within 2 weeks of purchase. After finally exhausting the frozen stash I moved on to my usual stuff. So while Sparky had a tomato based sauce (with green peppers and sausage), I opted for some Classico pesto. The first bite was good but by the time I had that second bite in my mouth I was starting to experience some distress. This was caused by having a hard woody object in my mouth. I managed to extract it – it was a piece of stem from some part of the plant material in the pesto sauce. It got to the point where I sat and picked out pieces of sticks and twigs from my portion. I gave up after awhile. After dinner I was so disappointed in the quality of the product I took a couple photos of the twigs and of the lot number/expiration date to append to my consumer complaint. Well, Classico doesn’t really want any complaints. I jumped through several flaming hoops only to have my email disappear from their portal. So I tried again with a similar result. Third time was the charm and the email sent. It appears that the quality assurance department is slacking. I guess I’m going to have to spend some extra money to get better pesto…

It is hard to tell but these bits are not that small. They measure about 5 to 10 mm long and were so hard that I couldn’t chew them up!!

Looking Serious

Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s passing. After 13 years the sting has eased a bit. I wasn’t crying and I didn’t seclude myself in a dark room. I did however pause for a moment and reflect. I have often said that I’ve lived a charmed life. My father was strict and had a temper. He was however fair, protective, encouraging, and supportive. He did his best to make sure that his daughters never wanted for food, shelter or clothing. He taught us the value of money and the power of saving. He required truth and honesty. He demanded we go to church and school. He provided music, art, and dance lessons. He was not perfect but he was loving and loved. He taught me to laugh freely. I cannot fault him in any way. So this is my tribute to my father:

Does not end
The soul’s affection
Or sever love’s attachment

Independent of love fails
Leaves no legacy
A dry leaf

This is an Oddquain and Reverse Oddquain. The oddquain is a unrhymed poem of 5 lines of 17 syllables arranged as 1-3-5-7-1 syllables the reverse is exactly opposite. I’ve stated before that math gives me a twitch. However I enjoy counting. I learned addition playing Blackjack and cribbage with my parents. The story goes that my parents played cribbage on their honeymoon. I was warned not to tell my teachers that I learned to add playing cards as that might have been viewed as a little scandalous!

Looking at Independent Thought

I have been accused of being an independent thinker and also a sheep following the herd. And I have to admit both statements have been true at various points in my life and in a variety of situations. It is impossible to live according to someone else’s rules. The key for independence is to be able to look, listen, research, and come to a conclusion. Whether that end goes along with others or finds you swimming against the current is not the definition of independence. To be independent is to have the freedom to develop your own opinion using whatever tools and materials are at your disposal. It means being able to search for alternative sources, evaluate them for accuracy and validity and utilize them in making a judgement.

The tricky point currently, is the step of evaluating a source. It is becoming much more difficult to suss the reporting from the spin, propaganda from the unbiased truth, the political from the factual. It used to be just like Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Now it is all about pushing an agenda that is aligned to one political point of view or another. The free press is getting harder to find.

Why this little rant? Well, tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July, the United States of America’s Independence Day and I’m not feeling very independent. I spent a little time on Facebook and it was hard to take. There was the usual flag waving and fireworks but underneath it was a current that was ugly. It was a “we are the land of the free and the home of the brave” BUT not for blacks, immigrants, foreigners, the poor, LGBTQ, and any that are different or have a different stance than those shouting with the loudest voice. And that made me so very sad and angry. There were a couple of people that I “hid” from my feed who had very unchristian things to say about a whole bunch of people I support. I support my gay relatives and friends, my friends and relatives who are not Christian (be they Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Atheist, or Wiccan), my friends and relatives who are Democrats, Republican, Libertarian, and Independent and of course all my friends and relatives who are not caucasians of European descent. We have become so divided that it is not the United States. It is scary.

Looking Prophetic

I’ve been pouring over poetry that I’ve written – all the way back to 2008. That is a lot of poetry. Some of it is funny. Others are painfully bad. Surprisingly some of it is really good. And then there is the weirdly prophetic stuff. The reason behind the retrospective is that I’m putting together a compilation for my mother. It is very difficult to select the poems that I like that I know she’ll like. Back in 2011-16 I wrote a couple poems that are a scary description of COVID-19 isolation. During a bad spot at work (2014) I wrote some things that are eerily pertinent today. In 2016 I wrote some politically inspired posts that are more true today than they were when I penned them. Funny how that works. Anyway I thought that for snicks and giggles I’d repost a poem (2016) that describes the atmosphere of pointing fingers instead of acting on the scientific evidence to mitigate the impending pandemic…

Happiness has gone missing
And we fear the worst
Gather the usual suspects
Interrogate them first

Check hands for bloody stains
Angels and devils alike
Confirm all friends and lovers
We need evidence to strike

Authority has red stained hands
From beet root it is claimed
Yet we believe it is a lie
When he swears he’s being framed

He tacks a list of alibis
To change the way we think
Happiness was found alive
But teetering on the brink

Authority escaped the noose
And believes we’ll soon forget
But happiness still bears the scars
And we remain upset