On the Death of My Blender
From "Ina Hillebrandt, The Appliance Years"
Those of you who know me may recall the days, a bit ago, when I dedicated my life to selecting, and then purchasing new appliances for my kitchen. Those were rarified times. I’d get up in the morning, brew coffee on my brand new Gevalia brushed steel coffeemaker, waltz over to the computer, and start the day’s search for the very best blender and food processor I could find, in brushed steel to match the lovely coffeemaker, at the best prices of course.
It all started when I took my customary neighborhood two mile walk one Sunday morning. As I rounded the bend on the homeward stretch, I saw what can only be described as Stuff. Laid out handsomely at the mouth of the driveway of its large apartment complex, it was Stuff nonetheless. What caught my eye specifically was a small Pakistani rug with a bit of my favorite color, peacock blue, woven into its pattern. Perfect, I thought, for an elegant doormat I’d been thinking I needed. As I approached the rug, I also saw other items spread out along the sides of the driveway that piqued my interest. But before even considering these, I asked a young woman who seemed to be one of the sale’s hosts, “How much for this rug?” “One dollar,” she told me. Thrilled, I immediately said, “Sold!” Occasionally I am quite decisive.
With this super purchase under my belt, I began to roam, eagle-eyed, about the various items on display. There was a set of 7 foot tall pine bookcases, another Item I’d been thinking I needed to house the overflow of books at my place, a waffle iron/grill for my daughter, several attractive wooden planters, and some lovely baskets. Total cost: about $45! But the prize was something I’d never seen before. A sleek, sophisticated brushed steel blender and food processor, all in one unit! With about a zillion tantalizing attachments fit into the curved base. The design was by Italian masters, wonderful, a kind of swooping S curve with the blender on one end and food processor on the other. “Does this work?” I asked the lady who was the seller of this unique cooking instrument. “Of course!” she assured me. The price? Are you sitting down? $10.00. I could hardly believe my luck. I had a blender, but it was vintage ‘80s and a gold color, as was my food processor, which I kept in a cabinet and never used. But here everything would be in one place, taking up little counter space vs. that required by two separate pieces, beautiful to look at in the bargain, and the requisite brushed steel. “I’ll take it!” I said happily. Given I had a lot of little things to cart back to my place, the blender/food processor/planter/bookcase seller offered to loan me her wheelbarrow, which was perfect. I was to bring it back when I returned for the bookcases. One of the fellows on hand would walk them the block and a half to my place using a hand cart when he was free later, with me guiding him.
As soon as I got home with the smaller goodies, I couldn’t resist. The blender/processor were a bit bespotted by food particles, and I couldn’t wait to get the whole thing cleaned up so I could try it out. A half hour and a few cuts later (those blades were indeed sharp), everything sparkled. I plugged the unit in, and pushed the on button for the blender. Silence. Same for the food processor. I rearranged both units, thinking I’d perhaps not got them on snugly enough or in quite the right spot. Pushed the buttons, one at a time again. Nothing.
Well, I thought, maybe there’s a trick to it. Thinking logistically, I hurriedly emptied a beat up bookcase I planned to toss now that I had the new one, packed up the fancy appliance, put it into the wheelbarrow and back to the sale I went. Coming up to the previous owner, I said, “Not to worry! You gave me such good prices on everything I wouldn’t dream of returning this, but I can’t seem to get the blender thingie to turn on. Can you show me how you put it together? Maybe I’m doing something wrong.” The lady smiled and showed me how to do it, which looked to be the same procedure I had followed. “Well,” I said, “I’ll take it back home and try again. Thanks so much!” Ever hopeful, I escorted the shelf-pusher back to my place, we put the bookcases where I wanted them, took the unit I’d emptied earlier to the curb to be picked up by anyone who wanted it. Then, bidding adieu to the nice man, I hastily went back inside. And back to the Italian. Which, once reassembled, again failed to work. Frustrated, I went online to see if I could find out anything further about getting this one to work, or maybe purchase a new one if the price were right. It was then I found that 9 out of 10 people who had bought one of these hated it and would never recommend it. Turns out there was a trick to making it work, but it wasn’t foolproof, and even if the reviewers got it to go on, the motors would burn out within a year and you could not get them fixed.
Rats! I thought. A few other words came to mind. However, not one to remain defeated, I began my search for the perfect all-in-one. It became clear pretty fast that there was no such thing. At one store, the Cuisinart people told me there was a reason no one else makes a blender and food processor together in one unit, with two separate stands aboard – they don’t work! Yes, there were compromise units, with smaller pitchers that tried to accommodate both types of cooking needs on one stand. But if you got one of these, you sacrificed capacity, flexibility or power. After two full weeks of daily checking, I finally found a great buy on a huge Kitchen Aid food processor. Not brushed steel, it had a shiny stainless base, but it would look good with the coffeemaker, and was top of the line in terms of performance. The real splurge would be the blender. A gorgeous Breville. European design, most powerful motor, it was just simply the most beautiful appliance I’d ever seen. So, I shopped and shopped for the best price. Finally, when it went on sale for almost $100 less than its usual price I raced to the store to grab one.
And ever since purchasing the beauty, I never tired of looking at it. The lid has a loop for a handle, giving it a distinctive appearance, and the base is a beautiful tall pedestal of brushed steel. It zoomed into action when called upon to perform, quickly whipping up guacamole, morning smoothies and other sauces and mixes. A few weeks ago I started to experiment with blender ice cream. Using crushed ice, frozen fruit chunks and skim milk, plus vanilla and Stevia, I could create delicious yet low fat and calorie-trimmed treats for myself, and then a group of friends at a dinner. However, the blender was not happy. She began to argue with me until one night when I was whomping up a chocolate cake batter to pour over pears in a fluted baking dish, she started smoking. I turned her off of course, and took out the batter, blending it with a spatula as best I could. The cake? Perfect. The Breville? Dead. Even after resting, she would not start again. I felt totally bereft, and betrayed.
So, I got a new baby -- the Ninja. With three blades at different levels on the removable stem, it promised to be an even better performer than the Breville, which though I loved her dearly, was a bit of a pain to work with -- heavy (glass vs. plastic pitcher on the Ninja), and you always had to take off the bottom, which screws and unscrews in directions opposite those in the U.S., a thing I always had to think about. And whatever was under the blade at the bottom would be hard to scrape out. The Ninja’s bottom is easy to get to so there should be less waste, I figured.
At the counter when trading in the European work-of-art-cum-blender, I told the sales rep how sad I was at its passing. He asked if I’d thought of just trying a different Breville. Maybe you got a bad one, he suggested. After all, isn’t the Breville the very best on the market? He said I should try the Ninja if I really wanted to, then feel free to bring it back if not satisfied, and try another Breville. After a few days, I find the Ninja’s a snap to use. It fits on its base easily, is light to pick up and take apart for cleaning. That’s very neat. And while it isn’t as elegant, it’s OK to look at. But ya know what? There are tiny ice particles that don’t quite get exploded by the Ninja…
On Being a Jewish Mother
Seniors in Jail?
A friend sent me this e-mail today. I thought, you know, it does kinda make sense. And it got me thinking about how difficult things are getting for our seniors. Social Security just went down, as the deduction for insurance just went up. And no rise in basic amount paid back to seniors for two years now, as it was determined that cost of living did not rise. Hah! Please tell me, other than for those who wanted to buy a house, exactly which numbers really declined? Cost of all foods is up, cost of medical, skyrocketed. Cost of meds on the horribly negotiated drug plan, crazy. More and more meds are not even covered for the pittance they were previously (no more enormous $15 off a $125 med, for example.)
So, even though this is exaggerated, and prisoners' lives are not in the least rosy, there is something to think about here.
This almost makes sense.....
Jails and Nursing Homes
Here's the way it should be:
Let's put the seniors in jail and the criminals in nursing homes.
This would correct two things in one motion:
Seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.
They would receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and
medical treatment, wheel chairs, etc.
They would receive money instead of having to pay it out.
They would have constant video monitoring, so they would be
helped instantly if they fell or needed assistance.
Bedding would be washed twice a week and all clothing would be
ironed and returned to them.
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes.
All meals and snacks would be brought to them.
They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight/fitness room,
spiritual counseling, a pool and education...and free admission
to in-house concerts by nationally recognized entertainment artists.
Simple clothing - ie., shoes, slippers, pj's - and legal aid would be
free, upon request.
There would be private, secure rooms provided for all with an
outdoor exercise yard complete with gardens.
Each senior would have a P.C., T.V., phone and radio in their
room at no cost.
They would receive daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear any complaints and
the ACLU would fight for their rights and protection.
The guards would have a code of conduct to be strictly adhered
to, with attorneys available, at no charge to protect the seniors
and their families from abuse or neglect.
As for the criminals:
They would receive cold food.
They would be left alone and unsupervised.
They would receive showers once a week.
They would live in tiny rooms, for which they would have to pay
$5,000 per month.
They would have no hope of ever getting out.
Sounds like justice to me!
Many thanks for this to my friend, Nikki Federico. Incidentally, if you need a caterer who really knows how to set a mighty tasty table, with panache, do check her services.
I decided it was time to pull out the material I've been sharing in workshops and in private sessions all in one place, to make it easier for those of you who want to write your own memoirs -- if only so the family will quit giving you a hard time already. So, there's a new kid on the block: InaTheMemoirCoach.com.
What's the site for? To help kick-start people who have a story to tell, but have been stumped about where to begin, how to organize, or get published. Both new writers and those new to the memoir form will find tools and tips. Or if you're one of those who really wish their parents and grandparents would tell their stories, this is a place to get some ideas of how to help them dig in, for you, but also for themselves. Writing the story of your life does not have to be hard, and it is a way to help others learn from your experience. And a way to clear cobwebs and feel better about life!
The new site features a bunch of Ina's Weird Prompts (TM) to help you recall your adventures vividly, and writing tips to help you get them down in a way others will savor. In coming months I'll be featuring the memoir writing experiences of others who have taken the leap. Give it a try -- you could become a featured talent with advice from your journey that will enlighten readers.
There is also a page dedicated to giving visitors a chance to ask me questions about writing memoirs, getting them published or printed for personal use, and performing your stories.
One last thought -- you don't have to be an old bat like me to write an effective memoir. Remember, everyone has a story to tell.
The Blue Beamer's Adventure
My friend Chrystine and I were jazzed Sunday. It was a clear sky, perfect temperature, and we were heading for a unique concert, in a private home facing the sea in Ventura. Armed with fresh strawberries and cherries to share, and a few peaches I'd bought for my home, which weren't quite ripe. For a change I wasn't even focused on how we are killing the Pacific as we hit PCH.
A few seconds later, BLAM! "What was that?" I asked.
"Tire," Chrystine answered.
I'd felt no drag on the car at all, but immediately pulled onto the (thank heaven it was there) shoulder. Naturally I'd forgotten my cell phone, and neither of us was up for doing the deed of changing what turned out to be an exceedingly flat tire indeed.
Chrystine to the rescue, not only with her cell, but her AAA account. I of course have roadside assistance but for some reason the card was missing from my wallet, like a few other vital cards I'd inadvertently not switched when making the recent move to a new wallet. Sigh. I did have the insurance info and could make a call to get the right number, but we were sure this would be faster.
"Where are you?" the AAA dispatcher apparently asked Chrystine. "On Rte.1, south of Malibu. Facing north, on the shoulder, with a blue Beamer...license plate # ...No, I don't know exactly how far from Malibu...OK."
Turning to me, Chrystine reported they would be about a half hour. OK, since I have a donut spare, we'll need to run back to my place and switch to her vehicle, a van. Not as neat as loping along in a convertible, but we'd make it to the event. We were cool. Chrystine grabbed the black and white beach ball that was still rolling when we got out of the car, and tossed it into the back of the car. She figured it would be one good thing that came out of this mess.
In just 15 minutes, a Malibu Tow truck zoomed toward us from the south. And swished on by. Apparently we weren't the only fools on the road.
Chrystine's phone rang about 15 minutes later. "No. I never said we were on Rt. 10. We're on Rte. 1, or PCH...Yes, south of Malibu, probably still in Santa Monica...No, we're north of Rte. 10...No, we're NOT on Rte. 10...We're on the shoulder of PCH, pointing north...on the northbound side of the road...It's a blue BMW convertible."
When another half hour passed, now one hour from our first call for help, the phone rang again. Apparently, the driver couldn't find us. The dispatcher had him on the phone and was set to relay more points of information from us to him.
This time I motioned for the phone. Chrystine is from Redlands, this is closer to my territory. Maybe I can give slightly better landmarks. "No, no, we're NOT on Rte. 10. No, I don't know exactly how far from Malibu we are...Blue Beamer...Yes...North of Wilshire, north of West Channel Road. OK? Great."
A concerned citizen on a bicycle pulls up as I am telling Chrystine, "15 minutes."
"Can I do anything to help?" he asks.
"Well, we're waiting for a tow truck but they can't seem to find us," Chrystine tells him.
"I've changed lots of tires in my time. Mind if I try?"
This made lots of sense of course, since he really wanted to help, and we were amazed and relieved when this generous soul started to ferret the equipment out of my trunk.
I was glad I'd thought ahead and strewn the side of the highway with the stuff in my trunk. Embarrassing, but it made getting at the spare much easier for our hero. As he was freeing up the jack, I noticed the Beamer people had included a spare wheel emblem in with the spare tire. They leave nothing unmarked. I like the logo, so I was a little sad that the rim wasn't set up to be decorated -- the plate had no slot to fit. But great news! This was not a donut, but a full size tire! We wouldn't have to run back to my place after all. We were still in good time for our event. Swell!
So our new found BF went at the task. He jacked up the car, then loosened each lug nut, laying all out for later replacement. He also knew that Beamers have a little plug in the flap under the doors, which leads to the place to insert the jack without wrecking the looks. I'd not known that, and felt grateful to be learning this important bit of info. I did remember seeing this in a Beamer sans the rubber trim, but had forgotten.
Anyway, once our bud got the tire ready to be pulled off, he tried to do just that. No such luck. It was jammed in place. "Get in the car," he directed me, "and take off the brake -- it seems to be locking the wheel."
I complied, not realizing he meant pump the brake, and released the hand brake. The car slid forward, causing the jack to tilt and almost crushing this poor man.
Once we all drew a breath, Chrystine suggested I drive the car forward a little and move it farther from the highway, more onto the dirt by the side of the road. This would help insure no one would edge over the white line and hit the car or one of us in passing, and give the jack a firmer foothold.
Heart in mouth, I again climbed in and managed to drive forward as planned. I am usually a fearless driver, but this episode was unnerving me.
Anyway, as our hero was again jacking up the car, our tow truck appeared.
"Why didn't you tell us where you are?" the driver asked in a heavily accented voice. "You said you were between Wilshire and the Channel."
Chrystine, ready to kill him, told him we had it covered and he could go. I wasn't so sure to tell the truth, but both our cyclist and she felt the driver was superfluous. He certainly was obnoxious, so I agreed.
Well, the tire was really locked on tight, and our guy couldn't dislodge it. He even called a friend who told him to kick it from both directions. But with cleats he was reluctant.
So we went back to the cell. This time I took it, called the general number for my insurance company and after only five full minutes and lots of "If you know you party's extension, press 2's," was able to connect with my own road service assistance.
This time we were in better shape. I now knew we were about 1.5 miles south of Malibu, courtesy of our biking friend, and south of Temescal Canyon, which I'd not even thought of. We were told "30 minutes." I wanted to believe. As did our biker, who, bless him, insisted on staying until the next tow truck arrived.
Thirty minutes later, we decided I should call for an ETA. "Where are you?" I was asked. "How far from Malibu?...OK, your driver will arrive within 30 minutes."
15 minutes later. Call from my roadside folks. "Can you give us better information? Our driver can't seem to find you. Where exactly are you on Rte. 1?"
"How many blue BMW convertibles are stuck on the shoulder of the road about 1.5 miles south of Malibu????????" Chrystine asked.
At this point, our cyclist gave up. We could hardly blame him. Someone leaned out of a passing car stuck in a jam and handed Chrystine a big bottle of water. A few others asked if we needed help, and a guy who had been taking a walk hung out with us while we were waiting.
They were very kind. When I can stand it, I'll write the next chapter in this tale. It involves a sum of money and barbecue sauce.
For now, I am as up the wall as any of you who lasted until this point.
This morning I hopped into my little car and zoomed to a memoir class I teach Thursday mornings. As always, I had the radio on, and tuned to 1150, which at this hour still broadcasts progressive shows. The host was talking with a caller about the first grey whale found dead in the Gulf. I became increasingly sickened as I listened -- the greys feed at the bottom of the sea, on squid. The squids have been contaminated with the dispersant being used on the oil. They in turn have become poisonous.
This is only the beginning of course. A friend active in the green movement, Carolyn Allen, http://californiagreensolutions.com, ventured a guesstimate about the large number of sea animals bound to die in the Gulf, and we discussed the fact that the spill is moving around the tip of Florida and will hit the Caribbean and Atlantic, claiming even more aquatic life. Carolyn informed me that there is already a dead zone in the Gulf from all the effluent coming from the Mississippi, etc. A fact that did not surprise me; I had just not come across it before.
More than 30 years ago Jacques Cousteau said that 50% of the Pacific was dead, and of course there's the huge garbage island floating around in that body of water. Then the Navy got its sonar going, which has been demonstrated to kill whales. I went to a meeting where people were arguing against this unconscionable practice. The Navy reps said, among other things, "the whales can swim underneath the sonar." Sure...perhaps they'll read the billboards. This stuff travels throughout an entire ocean once released, its waves disorienting whales who then can't find feeding grounds, and if they are too close to the source of the sonar, it bursts their air sacs and they die an agonizing death.
But the Navy insists the program is critical. Why? To track submarines, which no one is using anymore. Once upon a time there were subs stalking the U.S. and some way to track them made sense. But now, this is a program that has cost billions. To stop it would be to admit the perpetrators have been wasting money. So they continue to dump more in, and fight every time reason tries to prevail.
It's not just the whales we are killing with all the shocking behavior. It's other sea dwellers. And what those backing all this insane stuff say is people count more, as do their sources of income.
Don't these simpletons see that as we kill off the animals that live in the sea, we kill ourselves?
After hearing about the first whale death this morning, I was on email and found a note about a Republican in Congress, Barton, who said to the CEO of BP, whom everyone expected to apologize, "[The 20 billion dollar reparations set forth by Obama] is a tragedy in the first proportion." Further, the note went on, "The Republican Study Committee, with its 114 members in the House, called it a 'shakedown.'" This tragedy should not be a political football. BP has done irreparable harm to living beings, not to mention to the livelihoods of many, many people, whom their CEO keeps referring to as "the little people." How damned condescending can you get?
One ray of hope, Jean-Michel Cousteau has gathered resources and established programs to preserve a "clean area" in the Pacific, and he is also working with island peoples to create living styles that will preserve, not destroy the environment. You can find out more at this link:
The link below is to the blog of Larry Ray, retired journalist who has lived much of his life on the Gulf, and who writes compellingly of what is going on there. Also with a note of hope.
Last night I attended a show at Universal City with friend Michael Goldberg. Not having been to Universal's City Walk in years, I was somewhat taken aback by the blazing neon and high decibel music, but it was certainly an L.A. experience just walking up to the box office. We arrived a few minutes into the film "Robin Hood," chosen by accident. We'd aimed at a flick that was listed in the paper but not playing when we got there. Of course who knew what paper it was. I haven't been reading them daily for a while now, the way I used to, as the violence to our environment, animals and each other ruins my day. I do my part with online reading and petition signing and donations, and my Pawprints program. So, while I plucked the Times from the top of the pile by the door, it could have been a week or two old. Anyway, I really love Russell Crowe so it was OK by me to see "Robin Hood," and Michael felt the same way. I am really glad to have seen it. A fun film well shot and directed, with a good cast, including William Hurt, Cate Blanchette and her wonderful bone structure.
I do think it should have been titled, "Robin Hood, The Prequel," as the story establishes the life of the man in tights before he became an outlaw, showing what led up to that fabled time. Blood and guts? Yes, of course. Mainly caused by things like arrows well aimed through people's throats. Plus, fires burning folks up, the occasional spear or sword reaming a soldier or civilian.
None of this bothered me, though. Ridley Scott did a superb job at making all the fighting whiz by almost in a blur, and we didn't have to view limbs being severed, testicles being electrocuted or eyes being gouged out. So, as violence goes, I'd give this film a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. These days. When I was growing up a few millennia ago, it might have rated a 10.
The only violence that did bother me in the movie was when a horse got downed. Looked very real and I couldn't imagine that being staged without injury to the horse. However, people in film know how to do lots of action shots without causing actual harm to the performer, and for all I know it was done by CGI.
Now we move to the most violent part of the evening. Not having made a pit stop before the film, I thought it would be a good idea to tinkle, as my former husband used to say, before heading home. So I innocently went into the ladies. First thing that greeted me were blazing red walls, and a sinister looking grey floor. Not to mention a few ladies with shockingly high hair and platform stilettos. I found a stall that didn't have too much pee on the seat to wipe up, another thing I find very different from years ago when ladies seemed more often to be ladies. I was not initially surprised when I stood back up to hear the toilet begin an auto flush. But in about one second I was scared to death – felt I was going to be sucked right in. Loudest flush I've ever heard! More like a jet plane's engine.
A little shaken, I moved to the sink to wash my hands. All quiet on the water front at least. Then it was, where do I dry my hands? Ah, a new (to me) vertical electric hand dryer. You put your hands into the gadget, I see. OK. Roar!!!!!
If you ask me, it's entirely true. There's too much violence in the movies.
When I was growing up, the "Made in America" labels and commercials always struck me as corny. In those days, a thousand years ago, I believed that items from outside the country were more unusual and appealing.
However, a funny thing happened to me two summers ago. I had students from China staying with me. They understandably wanted to take home souvenirs ,,,
products made in America. We scoured every kind of store we could think of, but kept finding labels saying even foodstuffs were from elsewhere, most often, China.
Then I talked to one of the other hosts in this program, who happened to be Chinese. He told me the only store where his visitors were finding products made in America were from….a store in L.A.'s Chinatown.
Since that time, I have found that I cannot any longer buy nozzles for my garden hose that were made in America, if I shop at my usual haunt, Orchard Supply. The only ones they stock now are either from mainland China or Taiwan, and each and every one of them carries a "Cancer Warning" on the label. Alarming, to say the least. Then, get this. Sears, my old and lovable client, yet, now produces at least some of their famous Craftsman tools outside the U.S. And, while consumers still rate them high – second, according to a Wikipedia article -- it looks as if the lifetime warranty has been lifted on some of these tools for a few years now.
Then today this piece below came through my e-mail inbox from a friend. It not only talks about finding items that actually are made in America, it shows that they might even cost substantially less than products made outside the U.S.
I was thrilled to read this. Now, not that I am against foreign nations' successes, with the awful decline in our economy, I feel it's important to support as many people with jobs as possible in the United States. Not only that, we have been on course to make almost no actual product in the U.S. for some time now. OK, so evolution moved us to an information society. Not a bad thing – the ability to be ahead of the curve was a U.S. strength for years, and technology is exploding. But now, we're followers in this field often. With investment in R&D difficult to obtain, and science in the toilet, along with education, throughout the Bush years, we have a true crisis on our hands. Uneducated young people, who have been trained not to think, but to take tests. Who will find going to college not only a challenge mentally, but also financially. And costs go up as states' budgets are not helped by the Fed, so badly strapped as well. The move to become a country that makes its money by shifting money has been at least as alarming as these trends, and destructive.
Can we the people do anything? This article points to small steps that can help us become more self-reliant. Of course there's much more to do. But it's overwhelming. This seems to be a doable beginning. Me? I'm going over to Ace Hardware later today.
Here's the article....by Renee' Dezember
A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by an American ..
Good idea .. . . one light bulb at a time . . . .
Check this out. I can verify this because I was in Lowe's the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China . The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA . Start looking .. In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job. So, after reading this email, let's do it!
My friends like Hershey's candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.
Toothpaste- Colgate is made in Mexico ... Crest, USA. You have to read the labels on everything ..
This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, "Everyday Value." I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price.. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio.
So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here.. So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets....yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada. The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!
My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!
If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!
We should have awakened a decade ago) Let's get with the program.....help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the USA
I passed this on ........ what are you going to do???????
One Light Bulb at a Time
In the first article in this series, we visited tools to help you get started, and move out of a block. There are many more coming in my next book, "How to Write Your Memoirs...The Toolbox Edition." In this article, we'll focus on ideas to kick your writing style up a notch.
TIPS ON GOOD WRITING
1. Start with a bang, but don’t worry if the gong doesn’t ring right away
The first line of any form you choose to write — novel, short story, memoir, poem — has an important role to play: it’s got to hook your reader. But don’t let this hang you up. Sometimes a great first line just comes to us, and in fact gets us going. But sometimes a good one comes later, after the writing has gone a short or even longer way. Suddenly just the right phrase or line will pop up, emerging from the story. You’ll know it when it surfaces.
Way to go: Holding onto the strap over her head, Hilda fell right out of the funicular car.
What, you ask? How could that happen? Well, perhaps the strap was on its last legs and ripped. Or….you think of another possibility.
Less Interesting: Hilda went on a trip.
2. Don’t repeat the same special word or descriptor in a sentence or paragraph.
Certainly words such as “the” may demand to be used more than once. That’s not boring unless they show up as every other word; they’re not eye-catchers. But if you have used a descriptive, colorful or unique term, for example you’ve described someone as “fascinating,” be sure you don’t use the word, in any of its versions, later in the same sentence or paragraph. You will soon disengage your reader.
Less Interesting: Old Weird Harold was the most fascinating kid on the block. For one thing, what kid would have a name that fascinated people like that?
Way to go: Old Weird Harold was the most fascinating kid on the block. For one thing, what kid would have a name that captures attention so immediately? (adapted, with gratitude, from a phrase by Footprints author, Kay Roberts)
Less interesting: Old Weird Harold always wore a brown hat on his head. Every time he took his brown hat off, the young man bowed.
Way to go: Old Weird Harold always wore a brown hat on his head. Every time he removed his signature head gear, the young man bowed.
3. Keep your tenses straight.
This is one of the hardest concepts for many, even experienced writers. Well, I include myself as experienced here. Maybe other experienced writers never have this problem. Anyway, the issue is sticking to either past or present tense, or using the conditional if warranted. To be specific:
Wrong-o: Jason went into the forest. He hears a whooshing sound.
Right: Jason went into the forest. He heard a whooshing sound.
I know, it’s tempting to want to jump into the present tense to make the story more tense. Examine what you mean to say. Maybe you should be writing the whole section in the present tense:
Jason enters the forest. He hears a whooshing sound.
Just be sure your story hangs together in a timeline. You can certainly move in and out of the past and present, and propel characters into the future in one project. But keep the story line logical by making sure that whichever episode you are describing is clearly in whatever time zone you mean it to be.
Next article: Make your story come alive!
*The above is excerpted from the upcoming book by Hillebrandt, "How to Write Your Memoirs...The Toolbox Edition" (c) 2012 Ina S. Hillebrandt. All rights reserved. Except for review purposes, not to be reprinted in part or in whole, in any media, without permission from Pawpress. For inquiries Contact Ina
I just noticed how long it's been since I've written in here. And I blame it all on the new arrivals, Samantha and Fiona Cat, now about 8 months old, here since they were about 4 months of age. Well, there has been a lot to do on our video project (more soon about that), and an upcoming book. But the cats have also taken their toll.
Every day since they arrived it's been like this:
7:00 am: Wake up, have coffee. I don't care what else is going on, without 17 cups, well, OK, 4, my eyes won't focus.
7:05: Clean the litter box(es).
7:10: Sip coffee while feeding the furred ones. This means keeping Samantha, a born vulture, at her own plate so Grazer Pix won't get hers cleaned prematurely by the Little Interloper, or her sister Fiona. See, once they finish their own food, Sam and Fiona crouch nearby and stare at Pix, menacingly. Pix is cowed by this behavior, and abandons her food.
Unless I intervene, Sam especially gets fat and Pix is left to nibble dry food.
So I have got wily. I now put Pix's plate in my office, lure her in with me and then leave her to munch while I go back to tidy up the kitchen, and yes, clean the litter box in the bathroom, again. Once Pix is done in the office, I go back to let her out, and to clean that litter box. For little creatures they sure poop a lot. And yes, I now have a litter box in my office.
You cat owners out there, did you ever notice that as soon as you clean the litter box one or another of your little furred friends has to make his or her mark in the sand?
8:00 You know the drill. Sigh.
The rest of the day is interwoven with cleanouts, referring fights and playing fetch with Samantha. Used to be Pix's game. Now, to get Pix to resume her role, I have to close us both up in the office for playtime, too. Otherwise, Sam takes over the toys.
In Facebook, I mentioned that I brought Fiona home to keep Pix company.
Next time remind me to tell you about the trauma we faced when I brought Sam home to keep Fiona company.
Back to Writing Tips!
And even to jot down some more memoir writing tips. Here are some of Ina's Weird Prompts (TM) to get ya started. These are more for flexing and lubricating writing muscles than specifically for memoir-writing. But I have found often that people in my classes find links in their minds to treasured memories from these little lines. Have fun with them!
Hi, and glad to see you! My blog features memoir and fiction writing tips for you out there aiming to create enchanting memoirs and flights of fancy of your own; new "Pawprints," those close encounters of the furry kind, by moi; and topical comments as they bang on my head to be written. Plus: videos featuring talented authors I'm privileged to work with, reading live, Coming...your life stories, here. Got one you want to share? Use our form to be considered.