Things that last, unfortunately
I just spent an hour or so trying to clean a couple of clear insulated mugs that had been rendered disgusting by repeated coffee experiences. Some lifehacker website suggested about five different remedies – and I tried them all, along with some of my own. I scrubbed, soaked, abrased and shook, all to no avail. I can be pretty persistent, but the brown zone was going nowhere.
Both mugs were sitting on the counter, destined for goodwill, so I picked them up and guess what was still on the rim of one? Lipstick! The very same lipstick that stays on my lips for about 10 minutes every morning had managed to cling to a plastic mug through several rounds of chemical and hand-to-hand combat.
Classic instance of what is beyond me = )
We Americans love our cars. In fact, we almost live in them.
There have been days when I've eaten all three meals in the car - and judging by the crap I see in my car and other peoples,' we keep a full wardrobe and a gym locker full of supplies in our back seats. With massive numbers of cup holders and connections to all types of electronic devices, we've made our cars not only comfortable but habitable. I actually go sit in my car when my back's bothering me - it's the best seat in the house.
But you know what cars don't have? Someplace to put my purse. I mean, I have about a million compartments of unknown purpose within reach of the driver's seat, but my purse - where I keep glasses, notes, lipstick etc - is either strewn all over the passenger seat or the floorboard. And that's just before the first near-miss of the day.Then the contents are everywhere.
I don't get it. I know the auto design industry is probably dominated by men, but don't they have wives? Haven't the salespeople noticed on test drives that women don't have anyplace to stow their belongings? Don't they get tired of holding strangers' things on their laps?
Of course they do. It's just another instance of how we accommodate the world instead of the world accommodating us.
Do we have to start a movement? Why can't some bright, alert, and brave person change our lives by acknowledging what we all know to be true - that we need someplace to stow our bags in the car?
Why not? It's beyond me.
Give the People What They Want
Okay, I like sports, and I like to watch sports on TV. Plus, I'm a HUGE fan of the Olympic games, summer more than winter, but a fan nonetheless. So I was really looking forward to watching the 2018 winter games in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, starting with the opening ceremonies.
So I watched and waited. Surely, NBC was going to give us some notice on how to watch these events on the other side of the world, right? A few days before the kick-off, I still had no clue – I thought the opening ceremonies were on Friday, but then I saw ads for some events on Thursday? So I started the search. Sigh.
And what did I find? Lots of unofficial news on the time difference, the events, the US athletes, but nothing really on what an unplugged (as in Old School antenna) viewer could count on in terms of coverage.
On the NBC website, it became clear that literally EVERYTHING could be streamed. So that curling match you've been anticipating? It's scheduled at 3:30 am next Tuesday- and you can watch all 2.5 hours of it live and uninterrupted.
For those of us with lives, that's what's known as overload. I just wanted to see the best and the brightest stars on the ice or the mountain – and actually, my preference is that it be taped and curated.
I had to find it, but it turns out that NBC is offering exactly what I want to see every weeknight on prime time and every weekend, too. So, yay! But why bury the lead? Why make it hard for half-interested viewers to get the picture, literally?
Forever and always, it's beyond me.
A Dish Towel to Call Her Own
Beyond Her is a true cottage industry, specializing in artisan textiles for home and body that we produce in a small studio in La Grange, Texas.
I draw the mostly nature-inspired images in pen and ink; then we screen print onto natural fabrics using eco-friendly, water-based inks.
From the beginning, our signature product was dish towels, generally dyed and printed with images with a modern, yet organic aesthetic.
From the start I looked high and low for 100% cotton towels, the kind that are absorbent and get softer with each use. The kind that gets a little wear-hole after years of use.
I found the towels that met all the criteria (nice size, loop on back, dyeable fabric), but they were made in India. Still, we kept the same supplier for six years and created and sold literally thousands of towels.
The towels became one of the few products between us and legit Made in America status – which was something we wanted..
(The whole sourcing issue is made more complicated by the way cotton is raised, harvested, and milled. Here's the whole story.
Even though we were satisfied with our product, every so often I would check online to see if any US textile mills were offering a suitable 100% cotton fabric. This year, 2017, something actually turned up on the search!
The source wasn’t actually a mill, but a manufacturer of home decor fabrics offering cotton bolts completely made in USA. After a few phone calls, sample orders, and a trip to the plant in Sherman, Mississippi, we determined we could in fact use this fabric for high quality tea towels – if we could find someone to do the sewing.
A search on etsy turned up several sewing studios / artisans, one of which made towels of her own. We bought a dozen, started the conversation, and two months laters, she started work on several bolts of multi-colored fabric, using a custom twill tape hook announcing “Life is Too Short for Ugly Dish Towels,” the Beyond Her manifesto.
Then Harvey happened. I had been thinking of incorporating words, or affirmations, into my designs anyway. But that storm rocked my world, and even though we were facing production in a compressed time frame and headed into an uncertain holiday season, I couldn’t fathom creating just another pretty dish towel. So I picked four words that mean a lot to me – hope, strength, courage, wisdom – and came up with complimentary images.
I’m so happy with the outcome. The towels themselves are so straight and even; they were a dream to print on. I also made the designs as large as our equipment could handle for a bolder effect.
So far sales have been brisk. I love watching people ponder the images and the text, trying to decide what means the most to them or the person they’re headed to.
The best news of all is that, even with the freight back and forth, the Made in America towels are cost competitive to the imported version.
The value of persistence – in fact, that’s our next towel!
Shop our new towels here!
Birds of a Feather
Exactly one million years ago, I was introduced to Becky Brooks of Take Two Visors, who makes what anyone who plays tennis or golf calls the "no headache, no hair muss" visor. And she makes them right here in the USA. I'm a big fan.
She just sent me a special order, custom made for my tiny head - and in return, I gifted her with some Beyond Her towels for her and her shop-mates. This is what I got in return.
Proud to be a new member of the Made in America movement. Happy to have made these ladies smile.
Long May Her Wave
For 10 years, we've searched for a US made cotton dish towel - to no avail. The cotton was either sourced overseas, or milled overseas, or both. In the end, we purchased a high quality tea towel blank manufactured in India. That was settled.
But now, something wonderful is happening: we've got a handle on All American kitchen towels, under our private label. Oh snap!
Stay tuned. But in the meantime we're getting nostalgic about all the generations of original, hand-birthed tea towels we've proudly made and sold to you, our loyal customers.
It will only get better.
It's beyond me . . .
. . . why Apple goes to legendary lengths to make our iPhones look so sleek and elegant when the first thing we do is buy dumb rubber cases to keep them from breaking? What makes it even more absurd is that the stupid clunky cases are EXPENSIVE, adding to the cost of an already outrageous phone. Plus, they get dirty, so you end up replacing them when you reach your personal level of gross.
The last time I removed the multiple layers of protective devices from my iPhone, I actually gasped at how beautiful and sensual it was. It glistened in the light; it slipped in lithely and out of my hand.
So yay that iPhones are now water-resistant (20 years late, if you ask me), but if they're so smart, why don't the Apple geniuses design a phone that is scratch-, dent-, and break-resistant – so we can appreciate these beautiful little pieces of jewelry in the raw?
As it is, my iPhone seems afraid of her own sex appeal!
It's beyond me . . .
. . . why we have allowed technology to make our lives both more complex and less efficient. I'm referring to the tendency of manufacturers of everything from washing machines to (from what I hear) vibrators to incorporate computer chips into their devices.
I don't think I need to know that my toothbrush is recharged at a 75% level, thank you. I don't need to watch my car compute gas mileage on a minute-by-minute basis. And I certainly don't need to be viewing the interior of my refrigerator unless I'm standing in front of it trying to make something appear out of nothing.
You know what all this technological gadgetry does? It makes us crazy. My question is why, when it seems possible to know and control everything, do I know so very little and feel so out of control?
And I know the answer: it's because technology is so unreliable and frustrating and counterintuitive and, well, robotic.
The final blow came when my machine machine was on the blink. My instructions were to call the hot line.
When a person finally answered, his idea was that I would read him the information on the screens, and we would diagnose the problem together. Of course it was fruitless - just a huge waste of everyone's time. The problem was solved in a method decidedly Old School: by a human repairman, who informed me that unlike washers and dryers of old, today's laundry equipment is designed to last a mere five years "mostly due to all the technology."
"I don't get it!" I cried. "That's because you don't sell washing machines," said he. This kind of logic makes smart homes look pretty darn dumb.
It's beyond me . . .
. . . why I must face the opportunity of taking a survey every time I land on a web page, attempt a drive-through deposit, or order something on-line. I mean, really, dear company, if you're so keen on making me happy, just get me through this tedious task (probably #10 of 25 on the list for today) without making a mistake, okay?
So many questions . . . .
Not so much any more, but people used to always ask me: why do you call this - looking at my booth - Beyond Her? Ha ha, I would laugh - it's because of an old friend who noticed that, once I reached a crescendo, I always concluded my rants with "Ugh! It's beyond me!" I guess you could say it's my manifesto, articulated here.
You'd think I'd understand a lot more now, at this ripe old age. But it seems like I spend more and more of my time shaking my head, pursing my lips and rolling my eyes.
Starting now, I'm going to chronicle my quandaries. And let me just say that this is going to be Her - raw & uncut. Why would I bother to be politically correct on my own blog? It's beyond me.
So here we go: Installment #1. The possibilities are, well, endless.
It's Beyond Her: Potty Talk
When I grew up, the old saying was that you had to eat a peck of dirt before you die. Look it up: that's a lot of dirt. This expectation, combined with spending a lot of time outside and covered in art supplies have left me pretty much immune to personal messiness and with very little fear of germs. Unlike everyone else, it seems.
So, why is it, that with all these manically clean, disinfected, Purel-ed people making a huge production of their personal hygiene, that every public toilet seat I sit on is wet? And we know what with, right?
These cleaner-than-thou germophobes have gone out of their way to whiz all over the public fixtures so that they can't catch anything from the seat (guess they missed health class that day). Meanwhile, the next person, AKA me, gets to sit in their waste.
Like I said, I'm pretty germ-insensitive, but even I find this disgusting. And a damp bottom makes it hard as hell to pull up my pants. SO rude, SO self-centered, SO entitled. Gives new meaning to the phrase pissed off.
Her Point of View
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