Reflections in a Mirror While Waving . . . But First, Thank You!

Confession: The second half of this column is an an unabashed rip-off of Doug Mudford’s “Reflections in a Mirror While Shaving”.

But before I share my reflections, I want to share my gratitude.

You may remember my Valentine’s Day column in which I disclosed that aNewsCafe.com was struggling. I told how our team met, and everyone, to a person, rejected a paywall. So we swallowed our pride and asked for help. We said that although we wouldn’t charge you to log onto aNewsCafe.com, we would implement a new system that charged a small fee for those who wanted to continue to receive email notifications of our stories. We’d call this group paid subscribers.

We weren’t sure how you’d take the news, but we hoped that our nearly 900 readers who received email notifications would see enough value in that formerly free service to pay for it, for as low as $5 a month.

Writing that column, asking for help and admitting we were having a rough time, was one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever written here on aNewsCafe.com, second only to my divorce column.

Guess what? Many of you heard our plea, and stepped up to show us the love after that Valentine’s Day plea. Prior to that column, 11 loyal readers had committed to making recurring payments to aNewsCafe.com. Most were in the $5 and $10 range, but two people contributed $25 a month, which they still do.

Thank you!

Since Feb. 14, 67 more people committed to making monthly contributions as recurring subscribers. As before, most are in the $5-to-$10 range, but there are a few who contribute $15 to $20 each month.

Thank you!

Finally, 19 of you gave one-time contributions in various amounts, with the greatest number being $60 for annual subscriptions.

Thank you!

Words – other than ‘thank you’ – fail to express the depths and sincerity of our gratitude for those of you who are not just readers, but who demonstrate that you cherish aNewsCafe.com enough to help sustain this site that’s served you for nearly 11 years now.

Thank you!

Yes, we have our incredible, tech-savvy, beloved advertisers, north-state businesses who partner with us and allow us to exist. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.

Thank you!

But in these times of online trolls, we are at increased risk of peril when, as one long-time anonymous reader did last month, contacted our advertisers, described aNewsCafe.com as religiously intolerant because of our Bethel series, and requested advertisers withdraw support from our site. Luckily, the advertisers saw through this person, and we did not lose one advertiser.

Thank you!

But back to those small recurring donations: There is literally no such thing as a contribution that’s too small. We appreciate every single dollar, because we know that if every regular reader of aNewsCafe.com contributed even $5 a month, we would be well on our way to having the kind of site that could make all our online wishes come true, from a dedicated news reporter and a sports section, to videos and in-depth investigative pieces, and, most important, decent compensation for our talented, award-winning paid contributors and journalists.

That’s why I say that if you are a regular reader,if you look forward to coming here for news and features and entertainment and information and opinions, and if you think that $5 a month is not enough, that it won’t make a difference to us at aNewsCafe.com, I respectfully say that you’re mistaken. It’s no exaggeration to say that collectively, if the majority of aNewsCafe.com readers contributed, even a little, it would make all the difference in the world for us.

No segue to this shameless plug: You can click here to see how easy it is to be part of our family of awesome supporters. 

Either way, I’m hopeful. Even with participation by a minority of aNewsCafe.com readers, we’re still moving in the right direction. We will continue to bring you yet more engaging and captivating content, ideas and features. We’ll keep you — our online family of readers — posted.

Until then, thank you!

And now, onto lighter writing; my reflections, ala Mudford, sans Mudford.

 • Observation:  A minor pissing contest ensues whenever two or more men are at my house doing separate home repairs.

• I love Acorn TV, but I use the English subtitles feature – for English – because I can’t understand some of the English accents.

• The best part about intermittent fasting is intermittent eating.

• Some enterprising strong guys with a truck and flat trailer could have steady, guaranteed income by parking outside Costco with a sign that offers delivery and unloading services.

• Here’s a nice scary image that I’m surprised I’ve not seen in a movie yet: It’s a dark and stormy night and someone’s driving alone in their car. Suddenly, the dashboard light indicates the backseat passenger isn’t wearing a seat belt. The first time this occurred to me I was driving alone at night and the dashboard light said my front-seat passenger wasn’t wearing a seat belt. A heavy enough purse will give that false reading. It will also make your heart beat a little faster.

• A fat, gray, greasy rat skulking through the ivy that grows along the side of your neighbor’s house sounds exactly like a cute little bird making a nest.

• If I were a clothing designer, I’d create a line of simple, chic and comfortable women’s clothing that featured sleeves never higher than the elbow, hems never higher than the knee and necklines never lower than the collarbone.

• Speaking of women’s clothing,  on what planet did store names like Dress Barn and Sag Harbor seem like a good idea?

• It’s silly to cut out size labels from clothing, because there are only two plausible reasons: If clothing were hastily removed in an ER setting, or to disrobe for a new love interest. In the first case, the situation would be so dire that, who cares? In the second scenario, it would hard for the lover to read any label with all the lights turned out.

• Our maker created our near vision to fail as we grow older so that our aging partners still look OK. That’s just one reason why a younger woman with an old man is a waste, because he can’t really see her anyway without his glasses.

•  The reason for the steeply discounted price of a trio of crepe myrtles was apparent before I’d even left the store parking lot: Whiteflies. Thousands of them. I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman as I drove, swatting the air at what must have looked like nothing.

•  Whitefly trivia: They are actually not flies at all. Rather, they’re closely related to sap-sucking aphids.  They live about three weeks.  Apple cores left in Noni’s car by her grandchildren make a great food source for whiteflies, which means more whiteflies.

• I wonder if Geico covers vehicle whitefly-infestation.

• Am I the only one who, when my house is totally clean and presentable, has a tiny thread of reasoning that says that if the police had to come to my home to respond to a crime, or an ambulance had to remove someone from my house for a trip to the hospital, this would be a good day for it?

• Just the operational sounds of a dishwasher, my Roomba, the city street sweeper, garbage trucks, or my washing machine and dryer give me a feeling of satisfaction that all is well, and work is being done.  It’s how I justify a nap.

• I’m still searching for that cute summertime shoe that conceals ugly heels and chipped toenail polish.

• Which reminds me … if it’s been a while since that last pedicure, so bad that the technicians reach for a Dremel and start conversing between themselves in rapid-fire Vietnamese that, loosely translated, means, “This woman’s feet look like old goat hooves and I didn’t sign on for this shit when I took this job,” just say that you’ve been on a remote vacation, camping in the dirt and walking on shale. Then, tip well and never darken the doorway of that salon again. Move on to a different place. Eventually, depending upon how often you get a pedicure, you may have to visit neighboring counties. I hear the Czech Republic has nice nail salons.

• Few sights are more shocking than turning on your phone’s camera and it’s still in selfie mode, and you get a horrifying, unwelcome view of under-chin skin and eye bags.

• Related, if you want to know what the view is like from the bottom, put a mirror on the floor and hover your face over it. Gravity is a bitch.

• Hide-a-keys are great. Only if you remember the hiding place. And only if that hiding place is not in a far corner of the yard in a spot you chose in broad daylight, because by night, that hiding place is dark and it’s no place you’d want to rummage around looking for a rock that’s not really a rock.

• Ladies, a show of hands, please. Who’s ever used scissors to escape a sports bra, Spanx or bathing suit? Me neither.

• I have a solution for married people who claim they don’t wear wedding bands because they’re afraid they pose potential safety hazards if they get caught in heavy equipment: Tattooed wedding rings. You’re welcome.

• PVC pipes and tree roots are pretty much identical twins.

• PVC pipes are far easier to break with a shovel than tree roots.

• If you find a pair of handcuffs in an old room in your 80-year-old home’s garage, try to maintain your sense of humor.


•  And don’t make a big deal out of it if you find those handcuffs in the same room that contains a suspicious spot on the floor near the boarded-up, perfectly intact window.

• Nor should you become fixated upon that section of sheet rock overhead – no apparent water damage – that looks as if it was ripped from the ceiling.

•  Still in that same garage, wonder of wonders, if you find an angry-looking, dirty little action figure, don’t read anything weird into the find. Tell yourself there are a few plausible, even positive explanations for everything in that garage, starting with the rats’ nest uncovered by the electricians last summer.

• Remember that when all else fails, no matter what happens, it’s all material, and there’s a good story in there somewhere.

• Fact: There is only one Reflections master, and that’s Doug Mudford. Thank you, Doug, for letting me borrow your mirror. This was more difficult than I’d expected. I’m returning the mirror to you for safekeeping. Careful. It’s fragile.

• For many years I’ve signed off on written correspondence with an affectionate xod – meaning, hugs and kisses from Doni.  A young hipster friend recently ruined everything when she sent a link to another meaning of xod: hugs, kisses and dick.  That’s more affection than I could promise. Sincerely,  xo doni

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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