How Great is This? Jean Scanning.

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There is yet another new invention. This one is something I wish they had here in Hawaii: A body scanner to determine the exact jeans that will fit you.

Unfortunately there is only one in operation and it is in the Bloomingdale store in the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto, California.

What a great idea! My daughter lives near this mall and next time I go to visit her, this will definitely be on my list of things to do. I usually go for Halloween so that would be perfect.

This works in a similar way to the airport scanner, but it is not an x ray. Evidently you strip down to your underwear and enter a plexiglass booth. The scan only takes ten seconds.

Then someone with an iPad, who is monitoring this device can see which jeans will fit your particular body. Instead of having to try on eleven pair of jeans (the average number to find the perfect fit), this can be narrowed down to two pair.

Of course these have to be in stock and of course in your size. You get your choice of color and style.

I know that jean shopping is a real pain in the neck. (Or ass). I dread it almost as much as bathing suit shopping. There are so many brands and styles. Costco even carries jeans, but I don’t think I have the guts to buy a pair without trying them on.

The machine scans your body down to the centimeter. This is designed by Microsoft. No more dragging eight different pair in two sizes to the dressing room. (That is if your store will even let you take eight items into the dressing room)

There are some drawbacks to having this in more retail stores. First it takes up some space. Second, someone has to monitor it, and third it is very expensive.

On the other hand someone has to refold or rehang all the rejected try ons. This has to cost the store plenty in man hours. This way, there would only be one or two rejections at the most.

I’m sure in the future, it will be the norm. Sort of like the scanner that now tells you the price of an item simply by putting the bar code under the viewer.

Macy’s has these throughout the store and when something is on sale, it automatically gives you the sale price, even if it isn’t on the tag. So when something is 50% off of the already 50% off, the machine knows.

Lucky for me, I can do calculations like that in my head. For twenty five years I worked as a commissioned saleswoman selling timeshare. I was constantly figuring out my income by multiplying 7% of the sales price and subtracting cancellations.

If volume of sales went up or down, the commission rate would fluctuate, so I actually can multiply any number from 5% to 15% commission in my head in about ten seconds. But choosing a pair of jeans that fit is another story.

The price range for jeans varies greatly. I saw some terrific Diane von Furstenberg jeans at Costco for $15.99. The nice thing about these is that they came in short, average and tall. Also stretch.

Then there are tons in the $80 to $100 range. At Macy’s there are so many brands, all on different racks in different departments. I think there should be a ‘jean’ department, instead of having them scattered in seven different places.

Not My Daughter’s Jeans are nice, but now there are so many styles, it has become very confusing. Plus they are so long, that unless you are nearly six feet tall, the purchase almost always involves shortening. As you are supposed to wash the jeans before doing that, there is another pain the neck.

If you want this done at the store, you have to buy them, take them home, wash and dry them and then return for a fitting. Then it takes about a week till they are ready.

If you want to do it yourself, you still have the take home, wash/dry part, but now to get them even and sew them in matching thread to the other thread on the garment. Scary.

If you just turn them under and do a blind stitch, they really don’t look or hang right. It is so nice if you can find them the right length to begin with. Of course if you plan to wear these with high heels sometimes and low heels some other times, you may have to buy two pair.

I wonder if the scanner takes this into consideration.

Levi jeans has many different styles and they range from $40-$70. Calvin Klein has a very good fitting jean around $100. Same with DKNY, and theirs is a stretch jean, which makes a lot of sense.

Not My Daughter’s Jeans used to cost around $80, now they are closer to $120. I did see some at Nordstrom’s Rack for $50 or less, but they were weird. Grey or tan and bell bottoms.

There is always the Gap. This used to be a simple purchase. Not any more.

The designer jeans can easily run $200 and up. Lucky for me these usually come in size six and under.

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Vogue/The September Issue

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Every year in September out comes the hugest Vogue magazine. Actually if you subscribe to Vogue, the issue arrives the last week of August.

There was even a TV special about this subject. (Or maybe it was a movie). “The September Issue”.

Evidently it is their biggest editorial event of the year. And this year is the 120th anniversary issue.

Nine hundred and sixteen pages. All the Fall Fashions. Of course here in Hawaii, most of it is not really wearable, but still fun to look at.

When it is 80 degrees here and we are all going barefoot or wearing thongs, it is hard to get behind the whoop la about the beautiful boots for fall. And forget about the leather skirts and pants.

And just think, those poor models had to pose for all these fashions plus the furs during the months of June and July, when the temperatures were over 100 degrees pretty much everywhere.

I will have to curl up with this tonight. I guess I should plan on about three hours at least to peruse this issue. I’m sure that half of it will be ads for cosmetics, jewelry and clothing.

I have been subscribing to Vogue magazine for fifty years. It’s not only about the clothes, the articles and photography are outstanding.

In the same mail came my September issue of W magazine. This one is also very thick and will require another evening to read all the way through. Not as big as Vogue, but pretty impressive.

When I am done reading the magazine I will have to figure out some sort of paper craft to make use of the beautiful pages. Maybe I can cut out some of the images and decoupage a tray.

I found a great tray on my recent trip to the Salvation Army. $2 and it has really good lines. I think this will be perfect to decoupage with cutouts from Vogue.

And here is the finished product. The center features the covers from 1892, 1949 and 2012. The edges are mostly models and designers of our time.

Go Directly, Digitally to Jail

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When I was a little girl I played with a box of paper dolls. I sat on our back porch with my best friend and for hours we played with our dolls. We dressed them and made up elaborate stories about their lives.

For dishes we used the cardboard circles that came on the top of glass milk bottles. These were delivered to our back door by the milkman, who came nearly every day with fresh milk and cream. (the cardboard circles from the cream bottles were a little smaller, so we had ‘salad plates’ too.)

Then when I had two little girls in the sixties, they played with Barbie dolls. The clothes were fantastic and I even sewed many of the outfits myself.

My most ambitious project was sewing a wedding dress and veil. This satin and lace wonder took me the better part of two weeks to make and cost nearly $20 in pattern, fabric and tiny little buttons. And this was back in 1965. (Velcro hadn’t been invented yet).

I also made Barbie a real mink coat, out of a piece of mink I had after having my own coat shortened. And since I sewed my children’s clothes, Barbie had matching outfits for most of my daughters dresses.

Today I read this in the Sunday paper. Wow! Now Barbie has a camera in her back. Just point and shoot using the button on her belt, and the photo appears on her tee shirt and can be downloaded to your computer. Read on, there is more.

NEW YORK » Generation after generation, Monopoly money stacked up in piles of pink, green and gold, Hot Wheels raced across floors and Barbie was, well, just a doll.

Not anymore.

Classic toys are becoming much less classic because of upgrades meant to entertain technology-obsessed children. Where they once tried, unsuccessfully, to compete with digital devices, toy makers are co-opting them.

Monopoly money can now be counted by a tablet computer. Hot Wheels cars can zoom across iPad screens. And Barbie? She’s become a digital camera.

The souped-up classics reflect the growing reality that children, like their parents, are loath to spend time without their devices. More than a third of children 8 years old and younger use mobile devices like iPads or smartphones, a recent study from Common Sense Media found, and about a quarter of children ages 5 to 8 multitask with their digital devices most or some of the time.

And the main item retailers could not seem to keep in stock last year was a tablet computer for children, the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer.

“Kids like to play with the gadgets that they see their parents using, so I think it makes sense for toy makers to find a way to freshen up,” said John Alteio, director of toys and games for Amazon, which will carry several of the tech-enhanced toys.

So Mattel’s new Barbie has a lens in her back; children point the doll at an image, and press a button on Barbie’s belt to take a photo. The image then appears on the front of Barbie’s T-shirt. The photos can also be downloaded to a computer.

Toys like spy glasses and laser tag sets have been transformed. Now, because of the addition of technology that records daytime and night vision video, the spy glasses made by Jakks Pacific, called Spy Net Multi Vision Goggles, could actually perform serious surveillance. And Hasbro’s Laser Tag of yore, when children ran around and pointed toy guns at one another, has been replaced by children pointing iPhones instead. Players place the iPhone in a gun, and the iPhone display — via an app — shows live video of whatever is ahead overlaid with graphics. When the trigger is pulled, lasers appear.

Mattel is introducing a line of games called Apptivity for classic brands, including Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and Barbie. Using free apps, children pull up a game on the iPad. But instead of using a virtual car or avatar, children move small plastic toys with sensors around the iPad.

The makeovers have extended to tech versions of board games, too. In Game of Life, the plastic spinner has been replaced by a tablet, which shows a picture of the spinner and makes the spinner’s sound. In Monopoly, a tablet or smartphone counts everyone’s money and, when a player lands on Chance or Community Chest, it starts a short digital game, replacing the cards that told people to go to jail, go directly to jail.

“While parents might want certain things, kids enjoy their mobile devices,” said Hasbro’s chief marketing officer, John Frascotti. “This allows parents not to have that confrontation with kids.”

However, given that the digitally linked games are more expensive (the Barbie with a camera, for instance, is $50, more than twice as much as a plain Barbie) and that many require expensive iPads or smartphones to work, analysts say their potential is limited.

One of my fondest childhood memories is the great fun we had playing with a stick of wood. This was a two inch by two inch piece of lumber that was about thirty inches long. It could be a horse or a sword.

We would go to our clubhouse, which we made out of old venetian blinds wedged in the corner of the fence in our back yard, and could play for hours inventing secret codes and burying coffee cans filled with messages in the flower beds.

Steven, my ten year old grandson, has an x Box that hooks up to the TV and it actually has the character of him playing in the action games. He also plays games on his computer with other children all over the world.

When I was ten we not only didn’t have a TV, we didn’t have aluminum foil or margarine. But we did have radio. And an alarm clock that you had to wind up every day.

This is Steven at Sunday brunch in a fine restaurant.

I guess nowadays, the kids just sit in their air conditioned bedrooms all by themselves and ‘play’ on their computers or iPads. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I see entire families each in their own worlds texting or playing games on their cell phones.

So hw ws yr da?

How to Swallow a Pill

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I have to take about ten pills a day. Some of them are quite large. I take the smaller ones four or five at a time.

Nothing is worse than having pills stuck in your throat or as a ‘lump’ at the top of your chest. Guess what? There is an easy way to avoid this.

Here you go.

Simply put the pill or pills in your mouth. Roll them around on your tongue coating them with saliva. Then take a drink of water and Voila.

They slide right down. No problemo. Too bad I didn’t find this out till I was 74 years old. There is a Pennsylvania Dutch saying, “Too soon old, too late schmart”.

Actually there are many clever sayings in various languages and dialects that don’t translate well into English.

One of my favorites is a Polish saying. I don’t know how to say it in Polish, but the translation is, “What is allowed for a pig, is not allowed for a piglet”. (This is what Polish parents say to their children when they are copying something an adult does or says).

If any of you readers know the Polish translation for this, please leave me a comment. Thank you.

My husband was Polish. He died without teaching me Polish, although he often made Polish remarks. I knew a few words, but most of them had to do with our cats. This was how we tried to communicate without the cats knowing what we were saying.

Guess what? I think the cats were fluent in Polish and knew the language better than I did.

Pizza Dough/Homemade

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Who knew this was soooo easy? All my life, I thought pizza dough was a big mystery and either went to Pizza Hut, bought a mix, or ate a frozen pizza.

No more. This is a cinch. You do need to own a Cuisinart food processor with a dough blade.

In a 2 cup measuring cup put 1 1/4 cups of warm water and one teaspoon of sugar. Add one package of active dry yeast. Let it sit for three to five minutes till it is foamy.

In the meantime put 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and half a tablespoon of Kosher salt in the bowl of the food processor, which has the dough blade in it.

With the machine running, add the liquid through the feed tube till it is absorbed by the flour. Dough will run around the bowl and sort of form a ball. Turn off machine. then turn on for thirty seconds to knead the dough.

It will be sticky. Pour some extra virgin olive oil in a bowl. Dump in dough. Turn to coat and put in a large zip lock bag. Seal top. Let rise in a warm place for forty five minutes.

Voila!

Now place dough on lightly floured work surface, punch down and let it rest for five to ten minutes. Knead dough for about five minutes or so till it isn’t sticky. Roll and stretch into desired crust sizes and place on pans sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.

This makes quite a large ball, so if you don’t use it all, just put in a baggie in fridge and make some more pizza tomorrow.

Then follow whatever pizza recipe you are making.

What I do is I chop up some onion, olives, cooked mushrooms and green pepper. Toss this in a little bowl with some basil/oregano, olive oil. Spread some Contadena pizza squeeze all over dough. Top with veggies, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake in a very hot oven (500) till bubbly. About twenty minutes.

Of course, you may prefer ham/pineapple or pepperoni. Wolfgang Puck makes a lox pizza. Yuck.

If you have a pizza stone all the better. Mine broke, boohoo.

Cost to make a pizza is probably about three dollars all together. Of course that is assuming that you have an onion, a green bell pepper, some mushrooms and olives. And also that you have a $150 food processor.

Andersen’s Split Pea Soup

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For years my mother made the greatest pea soup. Now I make it the very same way.

This recipe is from Andersen’s pea soup house. Yes, that’s the one with the windmill on top. And they also sell their soup in cans, White cans with green writing.

I love to make this for a cold winter’s day. (Here in Hawaii that means the temperature dropping below seventy degrees in February). But it’s good in August too. Even though it is over eighty.

OK. First you will need to buy a bag of dried green peas at the market. Any kind is fine. You will need three stalks of celery, one onion and two or three carrots. Now this is my addition: To make it extra good, a ham bone, ham shank or just some little pieces of cut up ham.

Sometimes it is hard to find a small amount of any of the above, so I have discovered frozen ham shanks. These usually come in a package of six and I just use two for each batch. Keep the rest in the freezer for later.

Just defrost the ones you plan to use in the refrigerator overnight. Then peel off all the skin and cut out as much of the fat as you can with a kitchen scissors.

If you are a strict vegetarian, you can leave out the ham or ham bone, but I think it adds a lot of flavor.

For spices, besides salt and pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper and lots (at least one or two teaspoons) of thyme (dried, fresh or both).

Heat a little oil in a big pot. Add coarsely chopped onion, celery and carrot and stir around a couple of minutes. Add ham bone, rinsed peas and seven or eight cups of water. Salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper, thyme come next. Stir together.

Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for about two hours, or until peas are tender and soup is all blended and the right thickness. You can add more water if necessary.

This makes quite a lot, so if you save some for later, you will have to add more water as you heat it up again. This turns into a big glob when you chill it. My mother used to strain hers through a strainer. Sometimes she would put it in the blender. Be careful if you do this when it is hot, as it can ‘explode’.

I don’t do this, as I like it a little chunky and the chunks of carrots look colorful. But if you prefer it smoother, then either puree in a blender of food processor. Just one more messy item to wash.

I like to serve this with homemade croutons. To make these, take what’s left of a loaf of sourdough or french bread and cut into cubes or tear into little chunks. Before you do this spread the bread with garlic/butter. Or use left over garlic bread.

Put a little oil in a frying pan and dump in the croutons. Stir till they are nice and toasty. Turn off heat and let them crisp. That’s it. Serve a few on top of each bowl of soup, or let guests serve themselves. Rye bread croutons are also delicious.

To make Bulls eye soup, heat a can of tomato soup in a separate pot. Make a little circle using a folded over waxed paper strip held together with a paper clip.

If you wrap the strip around two fingers, this should be about the right size. Set the open circle in the middle of the soup bowl.

Fill the circle with a spoonful of tomato soup. Add the pea soup around the outside edge of the waxed paper to the edge of the bowl. Remove the waxed paper circle and the two colors will not run together. Bulls eye!

So Simple/Why didn’t I think of that?

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Today I got an email from a girlfriend. Usually her emails are jokes, but this one is really useful. I’m just sorry I took the doors off my cabinets.Hey, it works.
THIS IS A NEAT WAY TO HOLD YOUR RECIPE SO IT IS NOT IN YOUR WAY…

I think I will just screw a cup hook into the wood border, so I can do this. All my recipes are splattered and splotched with ingredients from my cooking.

I have one of those white wire holders on the wall. I keep my coffee and such in it. The hanger fits right on the edge of this and it is perfect. Voila!

Now to figure out how to hang a cook book. I have a cook book stand and that helps. But it’s nice not to have anything on the counter. Especially in my small kitchen.

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