Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring has sprung!

Happy Spring 2016!  My landlady has already had a visit from the lawn service who've also turned over her flower beds.  My garage landlady has had her vegetable beds turned over.  It isn't April!  Because we had several days of sustained icy-cold weather, I don't think the bug situation will be terrible this year.

I am going to be getting my winter coat cleaned soon, always an indicator that winter's over.  My lightweight winter jacket?  The last day for that is May 10, always.  After May 10, I'm generally not disappointed.

Next week: The Gorilla and the Spud

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Curling your lashes with cutlery

Mascara is a subjective thing.  There are a zillion brands and each brand has a million varieties.  Curling!  Curling and lengthening!  Lengthening and separating!  It could boggle the mind but as a woman, I find this to be far too important an issue to not concentrate upon, pay attention to, and think about in order to make a solid decision.  I am swayed by magazine ads and magazine articles, TV ads, store displays, and QVC.  (The last one is usually right before I go to bed and I've only done it once but it worked out very well and I totally love the mascara.)

Then there is the curling of the lash.  Do you curl before you coat or coat and then curl?  I am a coat and then curl girl but I sometimes do the former.  I coat and then curl because I forget to curl first and for some lunk-headed reason I keep the curler in a different part of the medicine cabinet from the mascara.  I've been meaning to rearrange the cabinet ... for 17 years.  Yeah, I'm in no particular rush.

With my new job, I have to take a bus to the subway and then continue the rest of the way on the El train.  I get whichever of two buses comes along, each going to a different subway station.  If the one bus comes on time, I can connect immediately to a particular train.  If the bus in front of my regular one runs early and my driver has to pick up more people, the bus gets to the subway later and the train is pulling out of the station, which is is what happened on Tuesday.  It would be seven minutes until the next one, there were a few seats, so I decided to take one.

I sat next to a young woman who was putting on her makeup as she waited.  What fascinated me was what she was doing.  She had a spoon in her hand and was using it to curl her eyelashes.  Yes, you read that right.  She was using a spoon to curl her eyelashes.

At this point I could have thought "Oh, huh, how 'bout that?  What do you know?" and pulled out my book and read it.  I am not that person.  I have to know. If it's reasonable and the person seems pleasant and open, I will ask.  And so I did.

She's a young Latina woman and said this was how she'd learned to curl lashes.  She said she also had a regular eyelash curler (which she produced) but she said the spoon worked better.  She said she had two spoons which she used and showed me both.  One was a baby spoon, the other a child spoon.  "This is my favorite," she said of the child spoon. "It's the right size and the right weight and does the best job."  I pointed out that the spoon would never wear out and she'd never have to get another one which made her smile.  She said, "But don't use a soup spoon.  That is just too big."  She showed me three times how to hold the spoon, how to bend the lashes onto it, how to move along the lash line.  I thanked her and got on the train and instantly forgot how to hold the spoon.

The internet saved my bacon.  I went home that night and found more than a few vids on You Tube.  Here are two I liked very much.  The first is long and is a very basic video (with zero special effects and the sound of a TV in the distance) but the meat of the instruction is in the first half; the second has two other tips in it -- how to depuff your face with two spoons and how to make your own colored lip gloss using a spoon and a lighter.  I include both videos and you decide which gives the best explanation.

And before you and I each go off to try to not put out our eyes with spoons, remember that you're beautiful just as you are.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

To each his own taste

I am a big fan of Costco.  I love the place.  The prices, the quality, the volume, the variety, how if you don't snatch something up one day, it could be gone forever, just like getting supplies in the Soviet Union was (as my pal, Mike, used to put it).  There are food and goods demonstrators and samples galore.  Less expensive hearing aids and glasses, great photo processing, ink cartridge refills, and a dazzling array of vitamins await your perusal.  Lower-priced gas awaits pumping.  It is bounty for the cost of membership.

For me the best show in town happens when the rotisserie chickens are ready to be put on the shelves.  You can tell because someone starts rushing around the ovens, back and forth, looking at timers, and touching keypads.  Then they go over to the big metal table in front, just to the left of the heated shelves, and they start laying out the bottom portion of the containers.  Black, oblongish containers.  Twenty-four are put on the table, laid down quickly and with purpose.  Giant, heat-resistant rubber gloves are donned.  The chickens are stopped from spinning and a giant meat thermometer is insert in six random birds.  Satisfied, the gloved-one removes one giant skewer of whole chickens at a time, each bearing four cooked birds.  The person turns and walks quickly to the table.  A bird is slid off the giant skewer and into a container; then another into the next and so on into the next and the next.  The giant skewer is loudly discarded to the side for washing.  The next skewer is removed and the birds quick served up.  Again and again the gloved-one puts bird in box, the heat of the birds clearly making the air hot.  And then the birds have all been put in boxes.  Gloves are removed and lids for the boxes are produced from a nearby shelf.  Quickly they're distributed, dealt onto each box loosely.  When all 24 are in place, the employee seals up each box.  Finally a sticker gun is produced, dials are twisted and a time-stamp sticker is placed on each box.  When that's over, the containers are put in the heated display for people to choose and take home to feast upon.  The show's over, ladies and gentlemen, nothing to see, move along.

More than once, I've applauded at the end of the show.  The person didn't know it was a show but was pleased by my obvious joy.  More than once, I've been given my choice of bird.  "Well you patiently waited so you can have your choice."  I usually point to one with a big breast that's pushing up on the container lid.  I take my bird and put it in a plastic meat-department bag and move on.

I mostly don't care what bird I get.  I am just one person and can only eat so much chicken a day.  I just like this particular members-only show.  There are shows like this everywhere -- the Starbucks lady who places a lid on your coffee in a particular way, the way the dairy guy at Jewel rips open the carton holding your favorite yogurt, your landlady's cat keeping her company while she rakes the leaves.  Think about these shows you love and what they mean to you.  Sometimes that one little private show makes an unbearable day better.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

So long, Crawleys

Perhaps you're a fan of "Downton Abbey" and perhaps you're not.  It's the world of the Crawley family, a world that no longer exists.  It was very good acting and costumes and hair and jewelry.  It was a time that's now gone that, thank goodness, will never come back but I enjoyed the show and tonight it all ends. 

I didn't watch the first season but I happened upon season 1 on Netflix right before season 2 started and, bang, I was hooked.  The days when people dressed for dinner in their finest and when the servants were completely subservient.  When the staff stood when the butler entered or left the room.  It started with the sinking of the Titanic and with it the heir to the Crawley title and estate, a cousin called Patrick who was going to marry the eldest Crawley daughter to keep the title close at hand as Robert and Cora Crawley had only girls.  They find a more distant cousin who practices law, lives with his mother who is a trained nurse, and who are both willing to move to live nearby so that he can learn what it means to run the estate.  Honestly, it didn't suck.

There will be other things to take its place -- do you remember "The Jewel and the Crown" and how riveting it could be? -- as they always do.  That was another world long gone.  "Downton Abbey" is another world.  Other worlds get us out of our own heads and sweep us into the past or a future.  When I worked as a proofreader, a bunch of us were devotees of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and one summer spent a lot of time discussing the "Locutus of Borg" situation.  "Lost" was an excellent topic of discussion for those of us who were fans.  "24." Nothing more can be said except what my friend, Mike, would say to me the next day at work which was, "What a pickle!"

I don't know what will capture my attention next even though less and less on network TV seems to grab me and hold me.  For now I will say that I will miss the Crawleys, Bates and Anna, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, and especially how really great the house that plays Downton Abbey looks from any angle.