See-Through Sundial Dresses, Early-Morning First Dates, and Doni’s Other Random Thoughts

Note: This is the column I started a few days before the Carr Fire. I think it’s OK to bring it out now. 

• I had an interesting exchange at a store last night when I got to the counter and asked if the gentleman I’d spoken with back in the kitchen department had called in my rain check canning jar lids, as he said he would.

[s2If !current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]

Only paid subscribers have access to our site’s lead stories, as well as the Convo Cafe. When you become a recurring subscriber, you will have full access to all lead stories as well as the entire website. Plus, you’ll have the option to receive email notifications of everything we post on aNewsCafe.com.

We look forward to you being part of aNewsCafe.com’s online family of paid subscribers. Your support helps us not just survive, but thrive and bring even more quality content to you by top-notch contributors and journalists about topics crucial to you, our region and our world.

Read more about our decision here.

Click here to subscribe!

Already a subscriber? Log in here.


[s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]

Clerk 1: What’d he look like?
Me: Uh …
Clerk 2: Was he skinny … or was he, you know, overweight?
Me: Um …
Clerk 1, excitedly: Wait! Was he Mexican?
Me: Can’t you just call to that department?

That’s what she did, and all was squared away and I got my rain check just fine. But it made me wonder how the conversation went between the clerk and the kitchen department guy on the phone.

Clerk 2: There’s a customer up here who says she talked with you about a rain check for canning lids.

Kitchen guy: What’d she look like? …

So far away …

• First-World-Problem anxiety: a public restroom that has a door too far from the toilet. I locked the door. Or did I? Must hurry, before someone opens it.

• One of the worst inventions ever: scented garbage bags. (I will never forget the wedding reception where someone inadvertently stored soft, fresh-baked pretzels in scented plastic garbage bags.) If garbage stinks so bad that it needs its own perfume, it’s time to take out the trash.

• Is it true that people wearing thin white dresses or skirts at night as they cross the Sundial Bridge are giving an accidental peep show?  I haven’t tested it myself. This observation supposedly came from a security guard who’s noticed these things.

• My early-morning face and my late-afternoon face barely resemble one another. (The a.m. face is puffy and tired; the p.m. face is wide-eyed and perky.) I learned this the hard way after I saw the stunning results of a 7:30-a.m. photo shoot a few years ago, which confirmed for me yet another good reason to skip first-date breakfasts. Second thought, maybe it’s better to have your worst face forward for those first dates. Realistic expectations.

• More about early dating … For women, make-up, eyelash extensions and hair extensions can transform even the most plain Jane into a drop-dead gorgeous woman. And then there are push-up bras, and most recently maybe you’ve seen those incessant Facebook videos of women with flabby bellies triumphantly pulling up those magical undergarments that press everything into shape and make every fleshy detail disappear. Check!

Here’s one of those FB videos about those shape-shifting underwear. (Don’t be scared; some of the women were made up for Halloween.).:


For men of a certain age, there’s one little blue pill.  Check mate.

• Moving along … one of the best inventions ever: dry shampoo.

• Which reminds me … I wish all shampoo bottles were marked with a huge S and all conditioner bottles were marked with a huge C so that when I shower without my glasses I know which is which when I cannot read the small print no matter how hard I squint.

• Still in the bathroom … Am I the only one who feels like the bathroom sink water tastes inferior to the kitchen sink’s?

• If all my Dollar Store reading glasses were lined up end to end, I might be able to find my misplaced cell phone.

Can’t see to find the glasses or cell phone …

• Along those lines, I have a plethora of Dollar Store reading glasses in every room, except the room I’m occupying at the moment. Same with pens.

• What is it about feeling pleasure, pain or exertion that makes us close our eyes? Just wondering.

• Never a happy sight in the bottom of my purse: The empty lid that belongs to a cherry red lipstick.

• Music to this Noni’s ears as my grandchildren played with little people and plastic dinosaurs: “NOT the grandmother!”

Acceptable dino dinner.

• Nine times out of 10 when I’m putting a fitted sheet on a bed, I end up starting with the short end on the long side.

• Nine times out of 10 when I mindlessly plug something in an outlet, the fat prong is lined up wrong with the skinny slot.

• Two extremely satisfying sounds to this cook’s ears: 1. the ping of canning lids popping tight. 2. the thunk of an inverted, freshly baked cake falling from the pan onto a cooling rack – in one piece.

• I don’t really care if the toilet paper is displayed over or under, but to my eye, under just looks more natural, unless you’re into origami toilet-paper folding, in which case, over is best.

• A top-sheet debate: Does the pattern face up, toward the blanket, or down, toward the sleeper? I’ll withhold my preference until I hear yours.

• Still on bed-making: Raise your hand if you’ve broken an overhead glass light attached to a ceiling fan when you’ve snapped the bedspread to put it into place, which then hits the metal fan chain, which flips up and shatters the light? I’ve done this twice.

• I saw on FB one young woman’s intriguing gender experiment: When a man was walking toward her, she stayed the course and didn’t step aside. The result? She was run into by many men. The conclusion? Some men expect the woman to be the one to step aside and move out of the man’s way; not the other way around. It’s totally unscientific, but an interesting observation.

• First-World Problem: Rosie, my Roomba, goes missing somewhere in the house with a dead battery when I’ve left her alone to vacuum in my absence. Fact: The battery always dies when she’s far away, against a wall, way under a bed.

• Another FWP: lipliner splinters.

• Coffee cake must be an American thing, because the most common question I hear from people from other countries regarding my Sour Cream Coffee Cake is that they don’t detect a hint of coffee flavor in the cake. Nope. No coffee in my famous Sour Cream Coffee Cake. (Click here for the recipe. Of course, I share.)

In addition to being aNewsCafe.com’s publisher and owner, Doni Chamberlain is known for her delicious Sour Cream Coffee Cakes.

• Scary scene for a movie screenplay, based upon a true story (from husband No. 2’s cousin): Husband’s out of town. You’re sleeping alone. Your two little kids are down the hall sleeping in their respective rooms. Your little dog is dozing on the foot of your bed. You are suddenly awakened by a strange man’s whispering voice:  Nice doggie …

• Talking about the weather … I’m so glad fall is here, even if it does feel mostly like summer still. Where’s our T-shirt? I survived Shasta County’s summer of 2018, and I’ve no plans to leave (yet).

• Thank you, Doug Mudford, for allowing me to borrow your Reflections in a Mirror format. Click here to read Doug’s real deal.


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.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments