Archive for August 2012

Oh No, I Forgot …..!   11 comments

For me, it’s earrings and I rarely make this discovery until I’m too far along in my commute to turn back and correct my error.  Bracelets, necklaces, rings – I can go without, but earrings no! A friend of mine solves this problem by keeping an extra pair in her glove compartment. Time after time I resolve to adopt her pro-active approach, but time after time I forget all about it  – until the next time I discover my ears are naked.

Through the years, women have had this same relationship with make-up.

The Greatest Generation

For our mothers (I’m speaking as a baby boomer) it was lipstick –red lipstick. How shiny and perfect a brand new tube looked as I sat on the covered  toilet seat and watched my mother purse her lips and smooth it on; good enough to eat. But after a few uses the perfect point

rounded out, lost its smooth texture, and after a few weeks it was a flat ledge of red barely rising above the tube, even when the bottom had been swiveled as counterclockwise as it could go.

Moms spent almost as much time blotting the color as they did applying it; Kiss-kiss press-press on a precisely folded tissue, then one last glance in the mirror.  Evidently some moms were less adept at this last step, and their kids came to school with a good-bye kiss

stamped on their cheeks.

No doubt women of the 50’s were influenced by the glamorous movies stars of the forties with their blood-red lips shaped into a bow.

Baby Boomers

Boomers are known for revolt so maybe that’s why I eschewed red lip stick and slathered my lips in white – milk of magnesia white. Some of my friends were less radical, going for Pepto Bismol pink. But, if I may talk for my gen-gen-gen-eration, we could do forego lip color in a pinch, but eye liner – I shudder to think of a day without eyeliner. And notice the present tense of shudder, even to this day, if I  haven’t applied eyeliner I feel like a ghost.

A couple of years ago I got together with four of my high school girlfriends and we were reminiscing how back in the day you walked a  fine line  when applying eyeliner –  too thick and the nuns would send you to the bathroom to wash it off. Too thin and who knew you were wearing it? T, who had her share of trips to the bathroom commented that even now on her 6:30 AM grocery runs to Shop-rite, when there are perhaps five  other shoppers in the store, she has apply mascara before leaving the house.

Who made us this way?


Now when it comes to twenty-somethings, my observation, limited as it may be, is that we may have a throwback to our moms, but their obsession of choice pales in comparison. Take my niece. A few years ago, she was traveling to Mexico at a time when airport security levels had risen to orange.  She was concerned that TSA agents might confiscate her lip gloss.

 Lip gloss,I thought, sheesh. I was  going to say, losing a tube of lip gloss is hardly worth getting worked up about,

but then I substituted eyeliner for lip gloss and decided to keep my mouth shut.

Speaking of planes, lip gloss, and millennials, last week the New York Times travel section included an article filled with packing tips from Silicon Valley twenty-somethings who spend a disproportionate part of their time traveling the world for their tech companies. Every strategy was aimed at avoiding checked luggage andstow one soft sided duffel or wheelie bag overhead, instead.

One young woman recommended saving precious space in the plastic quart bag by leaving all your makeup home save for a jar of all in one lip and cheek stain which, and I quote “gives a rosy pop to cheeks and lips.

Rosy cheeks, what a fresh-faced, wholesome look I thought. I tried to think of who might influence this generation. Maybe….

What about you? Do you have a must-have or I can’t leave the house without beauty embellishment? Leave a   word in the comments section, literally one word, that’s all it takes. You can remain anonymous.


And you male   readers – Sorry but I guess you’re going to have to sit this one out. Umm, maybe not.

Farewell, My Weekly Reader   13 comments

Okay let’s start off with a pop quiz. What do the following have in common?


Palisades Park

Nabisco Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies

Horn & Hardart ‘s Automat

The Winky Dink TV Show

Super Coola


And the correct answer is:  They don’t exist any more.  But once upon a time they were (as Julie Andrews would sing) some of my favorite things.

I was saddened to hear another piece of my childhood is about to vanish, and it’s probably part of yours too. Remember My Weekly Reader?   If you’re of “a certain age” you do. If not, you still remember it, but you knew it as Weekly Reader. The My was dropped from the title sometime in the 70’s.

Anyone out there over 100? You knew it as Current News, the original title when it was first published in 1902 for high school students. In 1928, an elementary school version was added and that’s when  My Weekly Reader came into being

At its peak, the newspaper was read by two thirds of all elementary school students and reached 13 million readers across its pre-school to twelfth grade readership. But with current budgets being cut, fewer schools are subscribing. Subscriptions, which had been up around one million in 1990  dropped to below 650,000 last year. And so, Reader’s Digest who owned the publication and had been undergoing serious problems as it was, accepted the price offered them by Scholastic, the publishers of Scholastic Magazine and the Harry Potter books.

As for Scholastic, they plan to continue publication  but My Weekly Reader will only be a subtitle  appear under the banner Scholastic News. In addition to a paper edition, they are promising a digital version.

A digital version!? Now doesn’t that make you want to cry?

  • Digital!? How can  the teacher distribute the newspapers to the first child in each row with the instructions to  “take one and pass the rest back”?
  •  Digital!? How can you smooth the paper down on your desk and lean over to sniff it – just for the hell of it.
  • Digital!” After you’ve read the front page with its “hard news” stories how can you turn the page and carefully fold it back, pressing the center crease before  reading page two.

This is  how I read my news:

News that made me feel like a big girl

News that taught me Civics

News that Kept Me Abreast of Current Events

Unfortunately, not all the news was good.

Do you have any Weekly Reader memories? If you do, I’d love to hear them. That’ what the comments section is for.

Name That Tune   4 comments

Last Friday night, I went with friends to a new wine bar that opened up in the neighborhood. As a very effective means of introduction, they are offering free live music every Friday in August. And you know me. Free? I’m there!

We didn’t know that we should make reservations but fortunately there was one table left –right in front of the stage. I was happy about this. My friends weren’t. They thought the big speaker towering over us might be too loud. I looked up at the stage. I had to admit it was one big honking speaker. But hey, I survived two Who concerts and came away with my hearing intact and who’s louder than The Who? Not even The Stones and after a couple of their concerts my voice took a while to recover from all the screaming but I could hear.

When the warm-up band came on, playing a mix of 60’s through 80’s songs, my friend dragged the table back and out of the speaker’s aim. I stayed put. What wimps this younger generation is,I thought. Well we’re all the same generation, all ,but as much as I hate to admit it, I have over ten years seniority on all three of them.

“I’m fine,” I bragged. “I’m used to this kind of loud music,” adding as a half-humorous afterthought – “or maybe I’ve already lost a lot of my hearing.”

It turned out my original thought was accurate. The second, and arguably, featured  band started up, (a nineties grunge band with a tall statuesque but definitely grungy female lead singer), it was not what I was used to. My ears could take but two songs of the strident guitar strumming guitar and the undecipherable, screamed lyrics. I got up and stood to the side. We left soon after.

Nirvana fans, forgive me but there’s nothing like classic rock, especially the songs that paint a picture, and draw you right into the scene. You see it, feel it, smell it. Know what I mean. No? Sure you do.

Let’s play a game. I’ll tell the story, as I see it and you tell me the name of the song; my version of Name that Tune.


Song#1 (In fact the warm up band played this one)

A young man pines for a particular summer of his youth,  spent on his back porch with his buddies, playing his first guitar, one that he bought for practically nothing. But soon the old gang broke up. Some moved away, others got married. No other summer before or after ever matched that one.

Story #2

A young country boy, probably blond, impossibly good-looking and naïve, decides he’s tired of living with the older rich woman in her penthouse. Tells her he’s leaving the city to go back home to the farm where he grew up.

Story #3

Another young man, this one, a talented musician in the city plays music at a working man’s  border-line seedy bar, and succeeds in bringing some joy to the aging, lonely clientele who drink there every night

Too easy, you say? OK try this one.


Yet another young man (hey what is this with the young men) comes home with a girl he just met. She lives in what we, in America, call a studio apartment, in England, they call it a bed-sitter. He sits patiently talking all night, and when she hints she has to get up for work in the morning, he goes into the bathroom to sleep in her tub. When she leaves for work in the morning he wakes to find himself alone and so proceeds to….. This song has two interpretations, the G-rated one – light a fire, or the X-rated one (send the children out of the room) he masturbates,

Story #5

A man (young?) just can’t bring himself to end a beach town vacation. He spends his time wandering around, watching the tourists, and then limps home to make his favorite cocktail. Where is he? Puerto Vallarta? San Diego? I personally picture St Thomas, Virgin Islands but then the rum punch doesn’t go with the song.

Okay! Time for the answers

Drum roll please…….



Summer of ’69,  from the album………..


Song #3

Song#4, Norwegian Wood

Song #5

Now I’m off on a mission – to find  “story” songs about young (or not so young) women. And when I find them, we’ll have another round of Name That Tune.

Why Do you Drive a Clutch?   2 comments

Friends have been asking that question since 1969.

My answer? Pick one

  • I don’t feel like I’m driving if I’m not shifting
  • It gives me better control in the snow
  • It’s all I’ve ever driven

And recently, I’ve added a new one:

  • The Freebies

Car buyers today,for the most part aren’t even thinking about a standard shift car. Most have no experience with them. So when one of us rare birds walks in, the car salesman may be cringing inside but his smile is just as bright and reassuring as it would be if he were dealing with a normal person. You’re given your preference in color, accessories, trim but you never get to drive the car off the lot right away, or even the next week. That’s because once they have your signed sales order, by hook or by crook, they have to come up with a car.

My frugal ways make it a bit easier. My requirements are always the same – nothing extra – just the basics: wheels , engine, standard transmission, seats,  and anything else that’s free. Computers have made the search a bit easier.  A few clicks of the house and my salesperson was able to find that there were still 41 standard shift Hyundai Touring wagons in inventory – in the country. I narrowed her search somewhat – find one a gray one. It took her five days but she found a dealership in NJ that was willing to swap.  The search back when I purchased Truckito took much longer  –  nearly a month.

And here’s the sweet part – in my case the cars always have more accessories than I ordered. But since  meeting  sales quota are of the utmost importance, the dealer is willing to eat the  cost and I get a  car loaded with bonus surprises.

Truckito had   fancy wheels, a sliding back window and an upgraded stereo system,

but Mighty Mouse came loaded up with more, and fun ones at that.

Bonus #1

Remember my woes with Sirius radio?Initially I thought all cars came with a Sirius receiver, but a co-worker of mine who just bought a fancy schmantzy Nissan 380 Z (or whatever number they’re up to) left work a few hours early the other day. Why? To go get satellite radio installed – after market.  Woohoo! Mighty Mouse, you rock.

Bonus # 2

Free pinstriping. Nice touch huh? One of the salesmen told me it was a $700 plus add-on.

And how about Bonus #3?

No idea what it is. I’ll give you a hint – that’s my glove compartment.

Another hint? – see AC.  No? still no idea?

Okay I’ll tell you. Mighty came with a heated/ cooled glove compartment. Now I can keep a slice of piazza warm until I get home, or a bottle of iced tea cold. Will I? Probably not – but you never can tell

And the surprises keep piling on. Not all of them pleasant.

Bonus #4

Last week I was parking in the gym parking lot, trying to back into one of the few shady spots since I don’t use air conditioning, despite the heat and humidity of our NY summers. I managed to stall the car.  The shifting pattern is my only beef with Mighty. Reverse is one of those anti-theft secrets –  under first  , not always easy to find the right spot and since first and third gears are very close together, it’e too easy to put it in third when you take it out of reverse.

(Ask the parking valet who had to put it in neutral and push it out of its space at a restaurant last month.)

But that’s his story, back to mine.

I stalled, started , stalled , started and finally decided to just chuck it all go forward into a sunny space. Satisfactorily situated, I took the key out of the ignition, gathered up my stuff and opened the door – starting off a staccato honking of the horn and syncopated flashing of amber lights.

What the heck, I thought, it’s as if I had an alarm.

I shut the door to fig, trying figure out what to do; maybe if I started it up and moved it. But it  wouldn’t –  start up, that is. And the brakes, they felt like they were frozen stiff. The car was dying before my very eyes – either that or having a temper tantrum. Finally all the hub bub stopped cold.  I opened the door and oh, no, it started all over again.

A  good Samaritan tapped on the window and asked “Do you need help?”

Does a tiger have stripes?

A leopard, spots?

He asked for my keyless entry, which I handed over promptly. So what if he was a car thief – or a kidnapper, if he could shut the car up, he was my hero.

He instructed me to put the car in neutral than pushed a few buttons and ah, isn’t silence golden?

this sticker is for real!

PS  Sirius and I are still an item. As of today we’re on day 100 of our 90 day trial marriage, er, subscription.

Did they forget about me? Sh-sh-sh.

A Verbal Rant   2 comments

Have you noticed how nouns are sneaking round behind our backs, playing musical chairs, with the verbs? When the music stops, there they are sitting in  the verbs’ chairs.  Let me be more precise – not all nouns, just some, and it’s not really happening behind our backs, it’s going on right in front of our eyes.  The reason we can’t see the move is because we can’t see into the TV. The big switcheroo takes place inside the TV – on the other side of the glass.

(Come on, don’t tell me you never thought there was actually a world going on inside your TV. Think back when you were three or four?)

Take the word, medal. Out here on my side of the screne, it’s a noun as in “Once I ran a race and I won a gold medal.”

But Sunday I was watching a wrap-up of the Olympics and the sports talking head said “Michael Phelps failed to medal in the 400mm race so he won’t be on the podium.” See the talking head inside the glass knows about medal’s switcheroo.

And how about plate? Plate’s taken the plunge, too. I was watching the sports report on the nightly news and another sports talking head was giving a breakdown of the Yankee game. He said that Derek Jeter hit a double that plated Alex Rodriguez. I watched the replay and I think it means since Rodriguez was on third base he was able to run to home plate and score before the outfielder caught Jeter’s ball. I say I think, because out here in my world on the couch when I say plate it’s in a sentence like

My oh my, I could go for a plate of spaghetti around about now.

Ah, speaking of spaghetti, the foodie chefs  inside the TV got the word about plate making the move. But their version is not the same as the sports version. I  saw Bobby Flay or Emeril Lagasse,or someone like that, take a piece of pistachio-encrusted salmon and slide it from the pan onto a plate. Only he didn’t say slide. He said “now I’ll plate the fish.” Martha Stewart said it once too, on The Today Show, only she was plating a few spoonfuls of scalloped potatoes that had to go just so, next to the french green almondine, without any straying onto the herb-marinated chicken.

And, missing, what’s the deal with missing? I know missing is an adjective, but missing seems afraid to appear on TV without his verb-bodyguard, went. Maybe he’s afraid he’ll get lost if he goes by himself and then missing will be missing. Only the talking heads will announce that missing went missing. Nobody on the news is just plain missing anymore.

They all went missing. That one really gets me riled up.

Went missing, in my world that’s not even correct grammar.

Doesn’t went need a preposition like to as in the child went to his friend’s house

Or with, as in the child went with his friend?

Uh oh, now I’m shouting. I feel like John Belushi on the old Saturday Night Live skit where he plays a news commentator who gets so riled up he falls off his stool.

Maybe times have changed and nouns are verbs and went and missing are an item. So I’ll just be like Gilda Radner’s character in the same SNL skit and bow out with an  apologetic . “Oh, never mind.”

Uh-oh, mind. Is that a noun or a verb?