The Friday Buzz: Marie Kondo, Relative Insanity, and Finding Fred
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Here's our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this fine week: Marie Kondo, Relative Insanity, Finding Fred, and so much more!
Welcome to The Friday Buzz, our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this fine week: Marie Kondo, Relative Insanity, Finding Fred, and so much more!
Hey-oh! 2020 is here and in full swing! I have all my holiday decor down (which is quite the feat) and have Marie Kondo‘d the crap out of my house. Have you watched that show? It’s so inspiring and really changed the way I look at things. I’ve always been really good at purging what I don’t need anymore… sometimes a little too overzealous at it. I’ve been known to go wild and crazy and throw away some really important stuff. Oops!
I adore the idea of only keeping things that SPARK JOY. So many times we hold onto things just for the sake of holding onto them, but Marie suggests that when you decide that something doesn’t spark joy for you anymore, to tell that item thank you, and to discard it with a deep spirit of gratitude. *I absolutely LOVE that!* Here’s to holding onto whatever sparks joy for you!
What sparks joy for our Our Site team? Well let’s see!
OUR FAVORITES FROM THE WEEK
- Andong is our BFF – My Name is Andong is Summer’s new fave food-loving YouTuber. Andy likes him too!
- Finding Fred – Emma just started listening to this podcast, and it’s so good! Such a nice way to bring Mr. Rogers into today’s world!
- Relative Insanity – I played this game over and over during the holiday break. Let’s just say I definitely got a major ab work out from laughing so hard!
- Butter Sculptures – Andy informed us that butter sculptures used to be one of America’s favorite pastimes. I think perhaps the Simply Team should try it sometime. Thoughts?
- AirFort Mania – My friends told me about this really amazing fort for kids and I’m totally buying one in every single color! I’ll be using it as much as my kids will be, guaranteed.
OVER ON THE GOOD OLE INSTAGRAM
Y’all fell HARD CORE for our Chicken Noodle Casserole! It seems that we all still love our comfort food, especially in winter!
READER COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Rachel had a really fun idea that she’s doing for her kids and told us about it in a comment left on our Black Bean Soup. Here’s her idea in her own words:
Awesome! Definitely writing this one in my daughters’ recipe books for when they are on their own!
She’s collecting recipes and putting them in books for her daughters. How cool is that?!
Cheers to a beautiful weekend, friends!
Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. We closed the sale of my parents’ home, the home they custom-built in 2004 with an in-law apartment for my Grandma, Helen Zielinski, so she could live with them after Grandpa died. There were a lot of memories in that home, although (mercifully) not so many as there would have been had they lived there all their married lives. Nonetheless, cleaning it out prior to the sale was an enormous task, and one that fell entirely to my husband and me, since my mother passed away last October, my Dad was unable to participate due to his own health concerns, and my only sibling was unable to travel due to the pandemic. Since Mom and Dad’s home was located in Western New York, it was a solid 440 miles away from where I live in Massachusetts, necessitating a dedicated trip and a week of vacation days to go back and deal with the clean-out. Fortunately, my husband still has family in that area as well, so my sisters-in-love, Kristi and Kerri, generously made time to help with the sorting, shredding, donating, unpacking, and repacking that go with the job.
If you’ve ever cleaned out a house before, you know how overwhelming the task can seem. Mom and Dad had a very large basement that was packed with furniture, antiques, holiday decorations, unused home furnishings, and family treasures, all carefully organized in plastic storage bins and cardboard boxes. Mom had all of the boxes neatly labelled regarding their contents, but she and Dad saved everything. Pretty much every greeting card ever received, every report card, college notebook, every drawing made by a grandchild—it was all down in that basement, in rows of boxes stacked along the walls around the perimeter of the basement. It reminded me of that final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And it wasn’t just Mom and Dad’s stuff. There were things in that basement from my grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides of the family, as well as my Mom’s maternal uncle, Joseph “J” Zazycki, whom she cared for in his final years. Grandma and Grandpa Zielinski’s entire bedroom set was there, with bed, mattress and both dressers, along with Grandma’s sewing machine, which I have vivid memories of watching her use when I was a child. There were the paintings that used to hang in their living room, the glider that once stood in front of their garage, the photo album that Grandma made with all the photos from her honeymoon, and the lamps that I remembered from the spare bedroom where my sister and I shared a bed during sleepovers at Grammy and Grandpa’s house. There was the old greeting card box that Grandma repurposed for storing crayons so my sister and I could color pictures when we came to visit. Grandma was from the generation that wasted nothing, so the box included some of the free crayons given out by restaurants so small diners could color their paper menus—crayons that were not discarded after the meal, but carefully and lovingly preserved by Grandma. The smell from that box of crayons immediately took me back to Grandma’s kitchen table circa 1973. Love, care, and memories were packed into every box and every corner.
It wasn’t just the basement that needed going through. Although I’d moved some of their furniture and belongings out of the house when I moved Mom and Dad into an assisted living apartment near me, there were living areas that remained untouched, including Dad’s office. My mother was a first-rate bibliophile, and she had at least a thousand books, many of which were beautifully bound, gilt-edged, hardcover editions of literary classics that were precious to her, still filling the shelves on either side of the fireplace. I wish I could have kept all of it, but where? My own attic and basement are already full from the accumulation of treasures that accompanies years of raising children, and we don’t have as much storage space as my parents did. What does one do with all this stuff? As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” I had to get in touch with my inner Marie Kondo and make some hard choices.
Some things ended up being easier to let go of than others, like the school desks. My mother had gone to elementary school at Our Lady of Częstochowa in North Tonawanda, New York, and at some point in the 1970s when the school was modernizing, they sold off the old-fashioned student desks. My parents decided to purchase two pairs of the desks, and Dad painstakingly refinished the wood, painted the metal legs, and mounted them on wood runners, after which my parents displayed them in the family room of our home in Cincinnati when I was growing up. My sister and I used to sit at them and play “school” when we were little, but I can’t see where they’d fit into my home today. Similarly, my Great-Grandpa John Boehringer’s fishing tackle box didn’t even make the “donate” pile, as it was all full of rusted fishing hooks and lures that seemed like a bad case of tetanus waiting to happen.
As a family historian, I hoped to balance the need for getting the job done quickly and efficiently, with the need for careful preservation of the family history. I’m not sure I was entirely successful in that regard, and I may live to regret some of the things that were donated, discarded, or sold at the estate sale. I prioritized saving photographs and any documents with historical value, although I decided to let go some of the newspapers they saved over the years, such as the last issue of Buffalo’s newspaper, the Courier-Express that was printed in 1982. (Probably half the population of Buffalo has a copy in their basement.) I saved the oak porch swing that Dad made that used to hang in front of the rose trellis at their house on Patton Place, but I said goodbye to the old Cardinal phonograph that my parents bought when we lived in Cincinnati.Mom and Dad’s Cardinal phonograph, circa 1920.
Our old Fisher-Price toys had to go, as did the cedar chest, but I saved the afghans made by my Mom and by Nana Boehringer, my mother’s journals, and my Dad’s flight log books from when he obtained his commercial pilot’s license in 1971. Many of the documents from my Dad’s youth, such as his old report cards, were charred by the house fire that largely destroyed my paternal grandparents’ home in 1978 while they were vacationing in Florida, and I discovered all the documentation—insurance records, building receipts—related to rebuilding that house after the fire, which had been carefully saved by my grandfather.
As I sifted through the ephemera of half a dozen lifetimes, I was struck not only by what people chose to save, but also by how these things were saved. The heart-shaped wreath of roses that adorned her father’s casket was preserved by my mother with such care that not a petal was lost. All of her school report cards were organized into neat little packets. Uncle J’s wallet, address book, check registers, and vital records were all boxed together with his collection of family photos. My Dad, on the other hand, had a whole pile of letters and postcards from family, stashed in the bottom of his duffel bag from Vietnam, buried underneath his boots and flight suit. His Air Force dress uniform, on the other hand, was hung neatly in a wardrobe box, with all of his medals and ribbons still attached to the coat. My paternal grandfather’s wallet was intact, with all his credit cards, driver’s license, and precisely $37 in cash, exactly as he left it when he passed away in 1996. The money is worth less now than it was then, thanks to inflation, and one wonders why it was never removed. The wallet was tucked safely within a steel lockbox that previously belonged to his father-in-law (Grandpa John Boehringer), which also contained stock certificates from the 1930s from companies which no longer exist, and property tax receipts dating back to the 1950s for my grandparents’ home on Grand Island.
Such careful preservation serves as a silent testimony to each person’s values and circumstances. We come to know and understand our loved ones better through the cherished things they left behind.
Here are a few additional photos of some of my favorite finds:
Small change purse containing pocket watches and rings belonging to my great-grandfather, John Boehringer. I checked with my Aunt Carol, who’s pretty sure that the rings are costume jewelry, since Nana Boehringer’s real engagement and wedding bands were stolen in a burglary in the 1950s.
It’s going to take me quite a while to sort through all the boxes of photos, papers and sentimental artifacts which I brought home from New York. Nothing is promised, but I hope to live long enough to organize the photos and documents in such a way that my kids will have a cohesive family history collection to preserve and pass on, or to dispose of as they see fit. Although family history is my passion, I don’t know if any of my kids will eventually take up the torch, and I know first-hand how material goods can quickly become burdensome if they were precious only to someone else. In the end, our greatest legacy is the love we show to our families, and the memories we make with them. The “stuff” is secondary yet within those collections, there are stories waiting to be told.
© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, 2021
New Discoveries for John Dodds
Discoveries on my Dodds line are coming thick and fast these days, thanks to hints found in my paternal aunt’s DNA match list. This past week, I discovered the fate of one John H. Dodds, the fifth child of my great-great-great-grandparents, Robert and Catherine (Grant or Irving?) Dodds. I’ve written about my Dodds family recently, and the question of Catherine’s parentage is one of the brick walls in my research, which was summarized here.
What Happens When You’re Addicted to the Jane App
You feel good. Why? Because between the Instagram and Facebook apps on your phone screen, there’s that little white box with the eight pink circles. The Jane app . It’s practically begging you to open it. How could you possibly deny it? Just one quick look can’t hurt… right?
It’s so worth it when those pretty packages show up at your front door and you open them to reveal your new outfit This must be what heaven feels like.
Now, it’s time to showcase your outfit at the lunch you’re having with all your girlfriends this week. Talk about perfect timing! You glide into that cute café feeling amazing and your friends don’t let you down. They keep complimenting you on your new shirt , your pants , those gorgeous gold earrings you found at such a good deal. And as they fawn over you and your new look all you can say with a smile is:
“I got it on jane.com.” Immediately, the questions start coming and pretty soon your entire girl gang has the Jane app on their phones. It starts off innocent, just a group message of daily deals and the best finds. The new shoes Jennifer bought, the gorgeous pillow set Ashley found. But then the packages start piling up. Way more than you expected. Soon you’ve memorized exactly when the postman arrives and you’ve mastered the art of smuggling those delightful Jane packages into your closet.
You have an alarm set for 11:55 pm, so that every night you can silently slip into the kitchen and break out that bag of chocolate to accompany you as you work at record speed on the Jane app for those daily deals.
Sometimes you tell your family that you need to run an errand, only to sit in your car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot scrolling through the app for far longer than you intended.
You should’ve seen the signs the first day after you opened that app . Who would’ve known it would get this bad?
You know you should really listen to Marie Kondo’s advice and not keep adding and adding to your stuff. But guess what, Marie?! It does bring me joy! What am I supposed to do now?
As months pass, you realize that you simply cannot keep living this secret life. Someone is going to find out. So you look at that little app and finally say to yourself,
“We had some good times together: Black Friday shopping spree, Valentine’s Day deals, President’s Day finds, but I think I need some space. It’s not you. It’s me.” You hold back the tears and delete that perfect app from your phone.
Shouldn’t you feel better? Shouldn’t you feel complete? Probably, but there’s an empty space where Jane used to be.
No longer do those darling Jane packages *magically* show up at your front door. You open up your closet with dismay and think, “Oh, but it’s all the same now.” That joy, that special ping of happiness, it’s gone. It’s hard to sleep,hard to eat, thinking about all the deals you could be finding. What about all those boutiques? What are they going to do now?
You were helping them, right? You were actually contributing to the greater good. Didn’t you have a goal to help someone this month? So using the Jane app is more for the benefit of these boutiques, right? Who are we kidding?! You were practically a saint when you had the Jane app !
Sounds like a good enough reason. It pays to be a loving individual. Your thought process leads you to the app store, and before you know it, there it is again. Those eight little dots. A piece of your heart has returned. Back where it should be. Nestled in-between Instagram and Facebook.
We’ve Got Serious Bebe-Buzz With This Bebe Rexha News!
Wow, there is so much Bebe Rexha news right now, as the Brooklyn-born artist is keeping us fed! Stick with us, we adore Bebe and these are our inner simp ramblings. New re-mixed single? Check! New single incoming? Check! New album incoming? Check! Doing it all with humor, sass, body positivity, and…. a trumpet? Check! We’re unpacking all the latest Bebe news, with this new layer of The Honey POP excitement -Bebe-Buzz!
‘Sacrifice’ Gorgon-City Remix!
Bebe had teamed up with English electronic-duo Gorgon City, for a remix release of her March-released single ‘Sacrifice.’ Originally already heavily club music influenced this new remix slaps so hard that our walls were moving! We miss nightlife so much, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of rave-anthems released lately, so this remix is scratching an itch for us that we didn’t realize we had! With some parts of the world looking forward to the post-Covid future, and some not quite ready yet we’ll have to settle for a bedroom rave, so go and apologize to your neighbors, crank your music up and turn on those LED’s, for a taste of clubland with Bebe Rexha and Gorgon City!
We’d ‘Sabotage’ It All For Bebe!
New single inbound! On Wednesday, we got even more Bebe Rexha news, as Bebe announced via Twitter, her latest single ‘Sabotage’ is coming, and there’s not long to wait, with the single due to drop on Friday, April 16th! We have no idea what to expect, or what vibes Bebe has gone with for her latest track, but if the single artwork is anything to go by, we’re anticipating a dark sensual mood (with Explicit Content warnings, which, let’s not lie, excites us!).
You can pre-order ‘Sabotage’ right now!
Since it doesn’t seem like you all can wait any longer for this… #SABOTAGE out Friday!
We Expect No Mistakes On Better Mistakes!
Yep, you guessed it, more Bebe Rexha news, because obviously, two new singles aren’t enough! Bebe has announced her brand new album Better Mistakes, as the cherry on top of this beautiful Bebe cake! Dropping on May 7th, this will be Bebe’s fourth album, following 2017’s All Your Fault Parts 1 & 2 EP’s, and 2015’s I Don’t Wanna Grow Up. We are expecting incredible things from Better Mistakes, and we’re already calling this one to watch for award nominations over the next year. Bebe Rexha is already GRAMMY-nominated, with two nominations in 2019 but could this be Bebe’s year? We’re not gambling people, but if we were, we may be sticking a few bucks on queen Bebe! We’re hoping for fun yet dark pop-rock and electronic tracks, with many an important message underpinning the album. We are sure Bebe will serve that to us by the bucket load!
You can pre-save Better Mistakes right here, right now! Bebe has even hinted at releasing some exclusive signed vinyls! Never fear, your friends here at The Honey POP will keep you in the loop (or rather, the hive!).
Positive Messages and… Trumpets?
Whether it’s supporting body positivity, or normalizing conversations about mental health, Bebe’s messages of love, laughter, and care for her fans have created a special bond, with many of us thinking of Bebe as not just a singer or celebrity, but as a friend who makes music! Bebe brings unique relatable energy across her social media channels, but it’s got to be her TikTok that takes the prize for us! Whether it’s ruining her makeup from crying over her album announcement, celebrating her thick thighs, or her regular mental health check-ins and pep talks with her fans Bebe Rexha’s TikTok has a daily positive influence, and we absolutely love her for that. We stan celebs and creators who use their platforms to do good in the world!
But the highlight of all Bebe Tiktok’s lately has to be her beautiful trumpet playing! We’ve just had a quick flashback to Bebe playing trumpet for Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1, which her ‘Back To You’ collaborator Louis Tomlinson later described as “maybe even indie!” before having a go himself! Well, it seems Bebe’s skills have grown during lockdown as she took to TikTok to serenade her fans with her trumpet… Who knows, maybe there’ll be a trumpet solo on Bebe’s new album Better Mistakes! Check out Bebe’s musical TikTok interlude below!
We’d like to give a big thanks to Bebe for her ability to bring a touch of sunshine, to what has been, a pretty grey world of late! The new remix of ‘Sacrifice’ is absolute fire, and we here at The Honey POP, absolutely cannot wait for the release of ‘Sabotage’ this week, followed by Bebe’s new album Better Mistakes on May 7th. We think she’s absolutely killing it right now, and she deserves every ounce of success!
We want your reactions to all of this Bebe Rexha news! Hit us up the second ‘Sabotage’ drops, so we can simp with you! Comment and let us know your thoughts, or you can catch up with us on Twitter @thehoneypop or visiting us on Facebook.
Write just to write
This is easier said than done, right? At first yes. Try writing just to dump all of your thoughts, feelings, items you were supposed to remember, lists and anything else taking up creative space in your mind. This is called brain-dumping and it can work wonders for writers who get stuck in their heads or are easily distracted. Try writing morning pages—Invented by Julia Cameron—where you mindlessly write for several pages, first thing in the morning to clear your mind for the important work you will do later.
Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron here.
Dollar Stocking Stuffers for Anyone:
The gifts below could be given to pretty much anyone. Depending on their interests and lifestyles. I grabbed some candy – what’s a stocking without candy? – and a few odds and ends to round out the stockings I’m stuffing this year. Would anything on this list be useful for you?
- Playing Cards
- More Candy
- Lip Balm
- Dog Poop Bags (for the avid dog lover of course!)
- Sudoku or Crossword Puzzle Books
- Hot Chocolate Mix
Celebrate your small and big wins
Don’t forget to celebrate your small and big wins, no matter whether or not you’re a reader, writer, both, or neither. If you knock out a book, make sure to update your Goodreads Reading Challenge, and treat yourself to a coffee. If you manage to write through a particularly difficult chapter of your novel reward yourself with a break and 30 minutes of your favorite TV show. Celebrate in whatever way makes sense for you and your life, but make sure you don’t forget to set aside time to recognize when you’ve hit major and minor milestones and completed your goals.
End of the line for cafeterias
It’s getting harder to find that plate of green jello.
There was a time when the cafeteria was the undisputed king of Southern California dining. Before World War II, the cheap food and sprawling dining halls brought together strangers new to the region and created lasting bonds.
12:00 AM, Nov. 06, 2006 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday November 06, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Disappearing cafeterias: An article in Friday’s California section about the dwindling number of cafeterias in the Southland said that Gorky’s Cafeteria was in Hollywood. It was in downtown Los Angeles.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 08, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches 69 words Type of Material: Correction
Disappearing cafeterias: An article in Friday’s California section about the dwindling number of cafeterias in the Southland said Gorky’s Cafeteria opened in Hollywood in 1983 and closed in the early ‘90s. A correction to that article that appeared on Monday’s A2 said Gorky’s was located downtown. The restaurant’s first location, in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1983. Both it and the cafeteria’s Hollywood location closed in the early ‘90s.
The meals were inexpensive, and there was something altogether modern in the dining experience, which did without menus, waiters and tablecloths. Restaurant-goers could load their trays with cold foods and then hot, delicacies like ambrosia salad and coleslaw, liver and onions and mac and cheese, and then sidle up to the cash register to pay -- all without waiting.
Dozens of cafeterias once peppered the Southland, so many, in fact, that city directories listed them separately from restaurants.
But today, the cafeteria is a dying breed, a victim of changing tastes, an aging population and urban sprawl.
On Wednesday, one of the last of the grande dames shut its doors after 50 years: Beadle’s in Pasadena.
“I want to pinch myself and hope it suddenly opens. It really hurts,” said longtime diner Bob Malsman, 57, who already misses the grilled salmon he always got. “It’s real food. Real comfort food. Everything now is fast food. It’s all garbage. It’s cheap. You just go in and out.”
A few cafeterias survive -- Clifton’s in downtown and Arnold’s in Long Beach -- but even there, patrons say they worry about the future.
“The average person would rather see their food fixed for them,” said Benjamin Alsop, a Clifton’s regular, who was quietly eating fried rice and an egg roll at a table on the mezzanine level of the woodsy themed restaurant, a few steps away from the indoor waterfall.
Beadle’s was a relative latecomer to the area’s cafeteria scene when it opened on Colorado Boulevard in 1956 -- a time when many cafeterias were already being shuttered, in part because their faithful customers were moving to the suburbs and being wooed by fast-food franchises. The cafeteria’s longtime owner, Gordon Hammond, had spent years working for the famed Boos Brothers cafeteria, and then the Clinton family, which ran a chain of cafeterias from Laguna Hills to Century City.
Along with its sister restaurant, the Pasadena Cafeteria, Beadle’s fed a generation of Pasadenans comfort food: green jello -- which almost defied gravity -- chicken pot pie and Thanksgiving-style turkey with stuffing on almost any day of the year. Gourmet chefs would complain that they could not get a high-end restaurant off the ground in Pasadena because residents’ tastes were tempered by years of Beadle’s food.
But the cafeteria fell victim to changing tastes and a series of missteps. Long-loyal clientele had begun to die off, and were not being replaced by enough younger patrons.
Beadle’s began to falter after moving from Colorado Boulevard to an out-of-the way location in the early 1990s. The Hammond family sold the restaurant, and subsequent owners were not able to resurrect the cafeteria. They tried a salad bar and then Chinese and Japanese food. But it made little difference.
Malsman, who ate lunch at Beadle’s almost every weekday for the last two years, said the room was always half-empty. The old-time employees who retired were not being replaced either, he noticed.
It remained unclear Thursday what will become of the eatery. A sign on the door said it was closed for renovations. But regulars said business appeared to be going downhill recently, and the buzz in the office building near Beadle’s was that the cafeteria was gone for good. The owners could not be reached for comment.
Jim Oaks came out of the parking garage elevator, turned the corner and flushed with disappointment when he saw the front entrance to Beadle’s shuttered.
Oaks, 83, had been coming to the restaurant for more than 30 years.
“The food was actually good,” the downtown L.A. resident said. “It was only recently that business slowed. Sometimes, I bet there weren’t more than 10 people at lunch. So I’m not at all surprised it closed.”
Oaks said he was a loyal fan of the grilled salmon and the carrot cake. He turned around and said he would probably settle for Marie Callender’s.
Robert Clinton, one of the family members who still run Clifton’s downtown, said that too many changes can be a death knell for a cafeteria. He said that because cafeterias typically don’t sell alcohol, they have a very narrow profit margin. “Volume is important,” he said. “That’s what Beadle’s had a problem with.
“Our menu stays pretty fixed,” Clinton said. “I think that’s probably helped us.”
Indeed, at lunch Thursday, Clifton’s diners could choose from 24 kinds of cake and pie, including such standards as Boston cream, lemon meringue and pumpkin. The specials of the day were fried pollock or chicken, served with mashed potatoes and one vegetable -- for $5.49.
Streams of people poured into the restaurant -- a mix of races and ages that seemed to mirror the L.A. population.
Some lunchtime customers said they were regulars, and had been for 40, even 50 years. Others were like Simi Valley attorney Jeff Williams, whose visit was tinged with nostalgia.
“They used to have a treasure chest, and kids could choose from it,” said Williams, 56. His parents, he said, would take the whole family from Santa Monica to downtown for the cafeteria. “We would come to Clifton’s, eat here, and pull out a treasure. And it’s still going strong.”
Williams attributed the site’s longevity to good food and reasonable prices -- coupled with a healthy respect for tradition. “People like that,” he said. “And they need it in their lives.”
Beadle’s patron Malsman, who was without that tradition Thursday, was reluctantly forced to look elsewhere for lunch. He couldn’t drive because he feared he would lose his parking space, so he headed down Lake Avenue.
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