Downy Infusions: Why?

Just saw a commercial for a Downy product – touch activated long lasting scent fabric conditioner (Ultra Downy Infusions). This sounds like such a terrible idea to me.

To begin with, I certainly don’t get why you would want MORE fragrance in your clothes than you already get with normal detergents and/or fabric softeners/dryer sheets. Sure, maybe you like the scents they offer or whatever. But to use a product that leaves so much residue on your clothes that touching the material releases the fragrance into the air? That just seems to be a terrible idea. Cloth that you wear next to your skin infused with chemicals, releasing those chemicals so you can breathe them all day long. I think it’s a little alarming.

I do not know anything about the toxicity of these products — apparently it’s difficult to get any kind of complete information about it because of trade secrets. But I don’t think I need to know the composition to be concerned about the addition of long-lasting chemicals onto your skin and into your lungs.

But also, just the fact that you’d want more fragrance in your laundry — what is that about? Is this for people who continually let their laundry sit in the washer and get smelly? Because there’s a solution for that that doesn’t cost money…

I was equally perplexed when they came out with “Unstopables”. The product doesn’t do anything but add more fragrance to your laundry as far as I can determine. Not to mention, why would you market a product with an inexplicable misspelling in the name? Usually brand name misspellings are to take advantage of a pun. I see no pun here, unless we are supposed to notice that there is less P in it. LOL

Maybe I’ll go back to foil balls in the dryer to prevent static cling and give up using dryer foil1sheets. I have tried it before and it does quite well. Better living through physics! The great thing is after they’ve been through a few cycles, they become shiny smooth little balls!

Adding a bit of white vinegar to the rinse water reportedly does a good job softening and eliminating soap residue. I have used vinegar to get rid of odors many times in the laundry rinse, so I know that works, but if you like some fragrance in your laundry, you can try a few drops of your favorite essential oil in with the vinegar.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with these products, pro or con.



Photo from

Cutting Veggies on the Bias

I was watching a cooking show on PBS today and the host was cutting celery and scallions for a salad. She wanted them cut on the bias, and the way she did it was so awkward looking and slow. It just made no sense to do it that way, so I thought I would try doing a video showing how I do it.

It was quite a trick to video using my little crummy phone, especially to get a view looking down on the cutting board. I ended up hanging it from the handle of a cupboard door. LOL So it’s not great, but you get the idea anyway…I think.


Thoughts on Shredding

I got to thinking about shredding today because I need to clean up a lot of paperwork and old mail and I wondered if I really need to shred anything with my name and address on it. I usually do this with everything that goes into the recycling or trash.

I shred any paperwork with identifiable information on it: medical, financial, school or employment related stuff with my name or address on it. But I also rip the address section off of catalogs, magazines, and junk mail and shred that. That’s an awful lot of fussing around with stuff you really just want to throw out, so I decided to look online to see what is recommended.

All of the security type sites encourage people to shred anything at all with their name and address on it. Other sites where people are just discussing it are more varied. A lot of people question the purpose of this caution, and what I gleaned from this is that it makes a difference what someone could learn from what you are throwing out. Knowing that you get an L.L.Bean catalog or subscribe to a news magazine probably isn’t of any use to anyone. However, knowing that you went (or go) to a particular high school or college actually does help to identify you. So does knowing where you work, and of course who your relatives and friends are.

My conclusion is that I will shred anything that really says something about me. If it is an affiliation like schools, employers or groups I’m a member of, I’ll still be removing my name and address and shredding that. For junk mail that everyone gets that says nothing identifiable about me, I think that can just go in the bin intact. And catalogs and magazines that don’t identify my school/work affiliations can also go without shredding. Of course I’ll still be shredding the obvious things like financial and medical documents, and cutting up old credit cards etc. Also any credit card offers in the mail. One thing I was reminded of when I researched this is to shred your signature on anything too.

What do you think? Am I being overly cautious or not cautious enough?

My ancient decrepit shredder

My very old, very simple shredder

My old strip shredder is probably sufficient for me because I bag up and deliver my shredded paper directly to the Zero-Sort recycling bin at my local transfer station. I think if it went in the garbage or a bin for pickup at your home, a cross-cut shredder would be more secure. To further confuse the issue, recycled shredded paper is less valuable the smaller the pieces. But that’s just another reason not to shred everything (and certainly an argument for composting shredded paper)

Cure for the Alcohol Hiccups!

So annoying, so embarrassing — when you’ve had a beer or two and suddenly start hiccuping, it really puts a damper on your night, right? Well, Eureka! I’Too much green beer?ve discovered a cure!

Take a slice of white bread — preferably something substantial such as French bread, or deli toasting bread. Slather it with butter. Then sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over the bread nice and evenly. Now sit down and relax and eat it. Have some water with it.

Seriously, cured my hiccups immediately. I hope it works for you. 🙂

I have to give credit to my childhood friend Carolyn A. — not that she ever had beer hiccups, but when I would go over to her house after school, we would always make these for a snack. I thought it was quite exotic because my mother would never have let me have such a thing.

Easy How-To: Insert a small calendar in an Excel spreadsheet (Windows) [UPDATE 10/8/2016]

I do a lot impromptu spreadsheets on my laptop when I’m trying to decide something — what’s the best price for different sizes at different online stores, whether it’s going to be cheaper to fly or drive somewhere, etc. Today I was looking at flights vs driving and I was getting tired of looking up dates, so I wanted a handy calendar right on the spreadsheet to refer to. I looked it up of course and sure, there are little programs you can get that will do that and long involved help processes to make a calendar in Excel, but really all I wanted was a static calendar right there to look at. Here’s what I did to make that happen:

For those familiar with these applications, in summary what I did was

  1. Open up Gadgets and get the simple Calendar – this will not work with the calendar on your Taskbar because it goes away when you try do a screenshot of it.
  2. Enlarge the Calendar Gadget and set it to the month you want in your spreadsheet.
  3. Start the Snipping Tool using Rectangular Snip setting, and grab a screenshot of the calendar.
  4. Paste it into your spreadsheet.

[Update for Windows 10: Gadgets have been discontinued, so the easiest way to get a small calendar screenshot would be to search online “calendar October 2016” or whatever month, click on Images or Image Search, choose the calendar you like and use the Snipping Tool to grab that image]

Here is a detailed tutorial:

Using Windows 7, or Vista (I don’t have Win8, so maybe works on there too), right click on the desktop and choose Gadgets.
Windows Gadgets
Calendar is one of the default options. Double click it.

Gadget Calendar
It looks like this.

Open calendar
Hover over the right side and hit the little arrow to open it up.

Change month
Click the arrows on the calendar to go to the month you want in your spreadsheet.

Now open up the Snipping Tool (Start Menu or All Programs/Accessories).
Snipping Tool
You may need to use the drop down arrow to choose Rectangular Snip, then hit New. Snip the calendar (if you have never used the Snipping Tool — you click and hold the mouse button, drag it over the area you want to select, let go of the button and the snip is ready to save or copy) and copy it. Then paste it in your spreadsheet by right-clicking where you want the calendar to be and choosing Paste. Done!

Tips That Will Amaze You…

Here’s an easy way to clean dust, lint and even dirt from suede shoes.

Forget the special brushes and sprays — get out a rough terrycloth towel or washcloth and buff away at the suede as if you were brushing. Definitely won’t scratch, but really does a good job of cleaning!

I got out a pair of suede clogs that had been stored for a couple of years and they looked like they might have a little mildew on them. The terrycloth took it right off.