Handy Hints…

I’ve been wanting to share this one with you for weeks ’cause I love it. I’ve got a basic Mr. Coffee coffee maker – no bells and whistles at all, not even an auto shut-off. I do the vinegar and water cleaning thing on a regular basis and I try and clean the filter basket grooves with a cloth but I noticed when I took the basket out that there were coffee grounds in the section that holds the filter basket. I tried cleaning them out with a damp paper towel and was getting nowhere. I also noticed there seemed to be coffee residue in the water reservoir and tried cleaning that with a damp paper towel too. None of this was satisfactory.

I wracked my brain for some easy way to clean these parts and Eureka! I got my silicone pastry brush  out and it did the job like a champ. That soft brush gets into every nook and crevice. Because it is silicone it cleans up easily with no coffee stains or residue on the brush. I’m betting I can find other uses for that brush – nooks and crannies, watch out!

Now for some bathroom/beauty hints.

I haven’t been spending much time on myself lately – what with my husband’s care demanding 110% of my attention. Last night I noticed my face was looking dull and I thought “Oh way past time for a pore cleansing mask” Thing about face masks is that you need to leave them on for 10-15 minutes and I get bored waiting for them to dry. This morning I realized the shower needed to be cleaned – Voilà – apply the face mask and then while it’s drying, clean the shower. Two chores done at the same time.

What you’ll need for this is: Freeman’s Face Masks. They have a mask for just about every skin care  need you can think of. But here is the best part – $14.95 for 4 tubes of different face masks? Yes, please. I’ve been using Freeman products for decades and I like the results. Will someone try to sell you some fancy-schmancy skin care products that cost a mortgage payment or two? Of course. Are they any better than Freeman’s – NO. You can get Freeman’s just about everywhere – Amazon, Target, your local drug store or supermarket.

Once I applied the facemask I got started on the shower. First I sprayed Scrubbing Bubbles and then, if you have a tile shower you most definitely need an Oxo tile and tub scrubber – trust me , you do. Once the Scrubbing Bubbles did it’s job then came the Bon Ami to get that grout clean (I’ve been a little lax these past weeks). I’ve written about Bon Ami before it’s the best for cleaning everything (except glass). It’s not always easy find but Target has it.

Also – just because we are talking about beauty regimens – I’ve always taken particular care of my skin – my body as well as my face. At 76 I have barely a wrinkle and my skin – body and face, is as soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom. So much so that when I was in the hospital 2 years ago and blood was being taken every 4 hours one of the phlebotomists remarked “Your skin is so soft, I can feel how soft even through my gloves!” Why? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Even as a teenager with oily olive skin I moisturized. What do I use? For the past 20 years or so – Curél. I use the Ultra Healing formulation on my face and body (tho they do have a sensitive skin face care line). Again, available everywhere for a pittance of the fancy-schmancy.  Before Curél I used a product called Soft Sense – drugstore brand and price – beautiful skin.

And then there is that face lift. Need one, want one? Here’s a tip – get your eyebrows professionally shaped and then maintain the shape yourself with a good tweezer. I had my brows done for the first time when I was in my early 50’s and I was shocked and delighted to see the difference. My eyes, my whole face looked more open and bright and younger.

It just occurred to me that I have touted some these products before. I have no idea if any of you tried them. But I am living proof they work.

Here are links to the web sites for these products. Check them out and then shop for them at your favorite retailers.

Freeman Beauty Products
Oxo If you don’t know Oxo products, the link will take you to their web site and you can get all “gimme, gimme” over their nifty products for cleaning and organizing your life as well as kitchen and home gadgets of every kind. I LOVE Oxo products. You can buy from their web site, Amazon, Target – all the usual suspects. Prices vary.
Bon Ami

Miscellaneous Mishegoss

Caveat: I’m not criticizing. I’m not in it for an argument. This is about ME. But, if you choose to comment, I’d love to know what seemingly popular things in any of the categories I touch upon, YOU don’t like.  Or anything in any category of popular culture that irks you.

~ This morning’s shower mental meanderings centered on home decor items I really, really don’t like, or that I don’t understand.  What I don’t like? Stainless steel appliances; Shaker style cabinets especially in white. The kitchen has to be the messiest room in the house why oh why would you have white as the predominant color? And Shaker style cabinets – once the smutz gets in those corners good luck getting it out – even with a toothbrush. My days of cleaning anything with a toothbrush, aside from teeth, are over.  I had a bathroom vanity with Shaker style doors – there was always smutz in the corners.  I got rid of the vanity I hated it so much.

~ I should not even talk about throw pillows, that has been such a long standing joke between me and the rest of the world it’s not worth mentioning any more.

~ I am always amused, and bemused, by folks who decorate for holidays or seasons. Most of the time it is really pretty. I am in awe of the effort folks put into it, just collecting and coordinating the appropriate decor. Obviously it makes them happy but I don’t understand it.  Could be I just think of it as clutter, or that I am simply not creative (which I’m not).

~ I don’t understand open floor plans. I do not want my kitchen in my living room. Even when I lived in a studio apartment the kitchen was walled off. In my apartment I have an L-shaped living room/dining area. This is okay, I don’t mind. It has its pluses – that seemingly all important socializing aspect. I get that. But – I still do not want to sit on the sofa and be staring at pots and pans.

~ Speaking of pots and pans – I’ve always had small kitchens yet I have never been inclined to hang pots and pans from the ceiling. I don’t consider them decor!  Oh hell I don’t consider anything decor – such a prissy word.

~ Also about pots and pans – I hate to cook; I’m 76 years old and I am so wanting new pots and pans.  The ones I’m wanting are super expensive but they have me itchy and twitchy with gimme, gimme.

~ I’ve got the attention span of a 2-year old. The official name of this blog, for the moment, is “Subject to Change Without Notice” . I change the header frequently because, well, just because. There is always something that catches my fancy and either makes me bounce in my chair or tugs at my heartstrings (Awww…) I’ve changed blog names/urls so many times in the past 20 years it’s a wonder anyone even knows how to find me. Why they want to find me is also a good question.

The last big url change was because I had a stalker, someone I know and who I try to avoid at all costs. In retrospect I am kicking myself for allowing anyone to make me jump through hoops to avoid them. But I actually fear this person. Even so – I’m too damn old to let fear impact my actions about something as inconsequential as a blog. That nobody reads. Really disappointed in myself about that.

~ I edit and edit and edit. And correct. Yesterday David made a comment about something in the post that I was  correcting even as he was commenting. If anyone reads the comments they might be scratching their heads as to what that is about.  I don’t often go back and read old posts because I know I will go into edit mode. At the very least to correct typos because I am the world’s worst typist.

~ No, I don’t like “Ted Lasso”.  My husband and I watched about 10 minutes of the show, looked at each and said “What the hell???” and turned it off.  I was actually criticized for not liking the show and the person said “Really, you can tell after only 10 minutes you don’t like something?” Well, yes I can. And I do. Movies I’ll give 20 minutes, tv shows 10 or 15 minutes, max, and that depends on whether it’s an hour or a half hour show.

Take the The ‘Knives Out’ franchise for example.  I didn’t like the first one and I didn’t like the second one. Why the hell I even wasted 20 minutes on the second one is beyond me. But hope springs eternal.  Both movies were highly touted by the professional critics. I have learned that anything professional critics like, I won’t.

Oh hell, I started this late and I have chores awaiting me – gotta run.

Yes – please let me know what popular ‘thing’ irks you. Let’s have a little positive negativity here. Go for it!

I’m just lucky that way…

While I was scrub-a-dubbing in the shower the other morning  my mind was swirling and  tossing with  my reaction to something I had just read. Then it coalesced into – No everybody doesn’t.

Everybody doesn’t need “Nature’ – to interact with, to be out in it. Everybody doesn’t find it soothing, or rejuvenating.

Everybody doesn’t like or need Everything.

What I’m lucky with is a strong sense of self. My psychotherapist friend commented on that aspect of me. Given my childhood one would think I would be the last person on the planet to have that trait – and yet I do.

Not to the point of me reeking with self-confidence. Oh no, because if I did my life would have turned out very differently. But to the point that I know ME. And I’m really confident in who I am. And that who I am is exactly right.

You know my “About Me” page – “The first thing you should know about me is that I am not YOU. A lot more will make sense after that.”

So all that Nature stuff that philosophers thru the ages have touted, and all those annoying positivity people keep throwing in people’s faces, just makes me twitch and pisses me off. Guess what world – some of us enjoy Nature from the inside of the window.

I’m stressed and itchy and twitchy. No I don’t want to go for a walk – anywhere. I don’t want to go outside. I certainly DON’T WANT to go for a walk in the park or the woods or even around the block. As much as I like walking I’ve always looked at it as transportation – a way to get myself from one place to another. Is it enjoyable? Sometimes, and sometimes it is just expedient. It is in no way soothing, unstressful or anything more positive than getting where I need to go. Period.

I learned the hard way that looking out my window and seeing sky and trees is a total necessity to my mental health and well-being. The operative phrase here is ‘looking out the window’. 

While I am obsessed with light, sunrises and sunsets don’t really interest me. One more photograph of a red sunset, oooh’d and ahh’d over leaves me ho-humming. Unless there is some incredible play of light, which there usually isn’t. Seen one sunset/sunrise, seen ’em all. (Inside joke there.)

Years ago, when I lived in New York City, a friend asked why I never got out of the city for a country weekend. I asked “Why would I? What does the country have that NYC doesn’t” Central Park was always enough ‘country’ for me.

And quiet? I treasure quiet. Do you not know how quiet a city can be? Spookily quiet. Comfortingly quiet. Safe and cozily quiet. The most amazing moments of peace for me was an early Sunday morning, after a snowstorm, standing in the middle of Park Avenue, no cars, no people, twinkle lights on the scraggly trees along the median. The world seemed to have stopped and I was the only one in it – Heaven! So brilliant that I can conjure the scene and the feeling even now.

My point? So many people are not as lucky as I. They look outward for clues and cues to who they should be. And they rarely come up with anything that makes them feel good about who they are. Who they really are. It sucks their self-confidence from their souls.

When you write about ‘everybody’ you are contributing to this soul-sucking. Because they think you know better because “everybody’.  I need the word ‘everybody‘ (and that includes ‘everyone’) to be stricken from the language. It pisses me off!

You want to talk about what brings you pleasure and joy! By all means, I’d really like to know.  But to insinuate that those things should bring me pleasure and joy? You might want to re-think that. Please re-think that. I won’t rain on your parade, don’t rain on mine.

Please make it about YOU. Your likes,dislikes, pleasures and joy. Yours. Not mine or anyone elses. Not everyone’s. Or everybody’s. YOURS.

I can appreciate without wanting or needing. I love your enthusiasms, please respect mine. We can learn from one another without embracing the other’s point of view.

There is no ‘one size fits all’. There is no one answer. But there is the one YOU.

I hate the phrase “You do you” – it drips with sarcasm and dismissiveness, at least that’s the way I hear it. But there is some truth to it – said kindly and sincerely.

Appreciate yourself. Trust what makes you happy. Even if it seems like no one else shares your happy. Because there IS someone else who does.

Why do we have our best ideas in the shower? I know I do. My best writing gets done in the shower.

The unmeaningful incident that still makes me smile

Time: Mid- 1980s or so

Place: New York City – specifically Long Island City in Queens, at the foot of the 59th Street Bridge. The White Castle drive- thru at 1 in the morning. Long Island City at that time was a crime ridden, former industrial area. That particular White Castle was a drug and prostitution hotspot.

Background: I worked for a very successful international real estate company. One of the perks of my job was access to “Black Car” service. Cars were usually Lincoln Continentals, with uniformed drivers. Limos were also available.

A co-worker and I were invited out to dinner by one of the company’s Vice Presidents – one of those fancy popular restaurants of the time that served tiny portions of fancy food artfully arranged on the plate. When we were done the VP ordered a limo to take all of us to our respective homes. My co-worker and I lived in Queens, the VP in Manhattan.

After we had dropped the VP home it was still early and co-worker and I decided to go out clubbing. We kept the limo. We decided to wrap it up for the night, and on the way home, as we exited the 59th Street Bridge we spied the White Castle – we were starving having had little to eat for dinner. Now here’s the fun part.

Keep in mind the other business that was conducted at this White Castle,  we had the limo driver go through the drive thru. The driver was a teeny tiny bit apprehensive. Ok, he was scared out of his mind. All the pimps and dealers gathered around the limo, which had tinted windows, wondering who the new player was. Driver rolled down his window, put in our order. We rolled down our windows to look around – 2 40-ish good looking women, all dressed up. The pimps and dealers became even MORE interested in our car. Food was passed out and that limo drivers screeched out of that parking lot like a bat out of hell.

My co-worker and I laughed our asses off. We thought the whole thing was a hoot, the driver not so much.

End of story. And I’m laughing even now as I type this.

Things Old People Say…

Back in the day…Yeah, we say that a lot.

Back in the early days of the interwebz there were bulletin boards. That’s how we connected with each other.  Some boards that I perused were given over to nostalgia and my attitude towards that was – If i wasn’t there to share the experience with you why would I care?

How do you differentiate between telling a story about a time and place and experience that other people might be interested in and telling a story that is meaningful only to the people who were there at that time? What’s the difference between nostalgia and recounting a meaningful incident from your past.  What makes it meaningful and what is just something that happened that still makes you smile.

Yesterday as we were coming home from a doctor’s appointment in an Uber, it was long past lunchtime and my husband and I were hungry. Traveling along we passed many restaurants and I jokingly said “Maybe we can stop at a drive-thru and get some food”.  Which reminded me of a story I like to recount about an incident that makes always me laugh but is totally unrelatable except to those of us who were there or anyone who is familiar with Long Island City in the 1980’s.

Aside from the friend I was with and possibly my brother – no one reading this would understand why it was such a hoot to go through the Long Island City White Castle at 1 in the morning in a limo…

Yet that memory will always make me laugh. Just remembering my limo days makes me smile. What was a working class girl from Queens doing tootling around New York City in Lincoln Town cars and limousines?

Good times – but my good times. Why would anyone else care?


Mention chewing gum and it reminds of my father

and I smile. Rivergirl had a post about chewing gum  and while I’ve never been much of a gum chewer my mind immediately went back, happily, to my childhood and my father.

Back in time the New York City subway was chock-a-block with subway platform vending machines. You could buy most anything from a subway platform vending machine, from essentials like a comb to candy, tissues, plastic rain hats, juice, your weight and horoscope and even toys and…gum.

My father delivered beer for the Jacob Ruppert Knickerbocker Beer Company, as did his father before him. The facility was located on the upper East Side in an area called Yorkville. I don’t know how he commuted there when we lived in the Bronx but when we moved to Queens he took mass transit – a 5 block walk to the bus stop, a bus to the subway and probably at least one train change. It was a hike and he left home at 4 in the morning.

Ah, but when he came home. He had the newspapers with him – The Daily News, The Mirror and the Journal American. And best of all, hidden in his pockets somewhere was California Fruit Gum. Little squares of chewing gum, 1¢ from  a vending machine. It was a game we played. He handed over the papers (oooh, all the comics to read!) and then we waited.  Would there be gum? We waited expectantly, he patted his pockets, looking puzzled and then, and then – YES! California Fruit Gum!

The gum looked like this –

The vending machine looked like this –

Photo was taken from an auction site and shows it in someone’s home on display.

You put your penny in the slot under the kind of gum you wanted – we always and ever wanted California Fruit.

I’m telling you that was the highlight of our day – Daddy’s home! And California Fruit gum!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  

Interesting Links – (All links will open in a new tab/window. No need to use back buttons or go off-site)

History of Chewing Gum

Vintage Gum Brands

A Tour of the Jacob Ruppert Brewery – 1939

Remnants of Old Brewery

Jacob Ruppert

Just rattling on…

~ Roy had an interesting post today. That’s all I have to say about that, I commented on it.

~ Friday, in the New York Times, they have a section called “Love Letters” and in that section is “Tiny Love Stories”, reader submissions in 100 words or less. I sent one in today. If they publish it I will let you know (Hoo-boy will I let you know LOL)

While I was ‘filing’ that piece on my computer (Documents → Essays) I found some good stuff I had written. One piece is in my blog archives (‘The Ordinary is Extraordinary’) another is not and should I want to publish it I would have to amend it because I have changed my viewpoint a bit on the subject of photography. Nice to know I am capable of changing my views.

Also this one, which I really like. (Hey, if I don’t like my own stuff who will?)

~ I have in my head to write some poetry but it is not coalescing. I’m still brain dead from this past month and only just barely getting over being so physically tired that I am in more danger of falling over than my husband.

~ There are about 4 people who read this blog and I keep wondering if I should attempt to recruit more readers. If only in the hope they would comment and I could have some conversations – I like conversations. But then I think – why? I need more blogs to read myself – it’s a not too much of an investment of time and can be amusing and informative. Aside from my few regular reads I haven’t stumbled over anything interesting enough to follow or bookmark. I think that says more about me than the blogs available.

~ For lack of anything better I think I’ll go do some laundry..