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Closet Purge
By Bernadette Ulsamer

Now that the clocks have been set ahead and there’s a hint of spring in the air, it’s time to for my semi-annual closet purge.  In March (and November), I go through my entire wardrobe and figure out which garments need to be swapped out, which can stay where they are, and which ones need to be repaired/dry-cleaned.  I also consider pieces for possible consignment, donation, and stuff that has seen better days and is ready to be adios-ed.  I have a pretty solid system down. So solid, in fact, that some people actually pay me to do this for them.  But you’re in luck, because I’m breaking down my closet cleaning strategy exclusively for Webb Weekly readers right here!
  Step 1: Block off enough time. This is not something that can be effectively done in an hour. You’ll need several hours to get through everything.  But, if you are pressed for time, you can break up your purge by only going through a drawer, or one closet section at a time. If you go that route, you may want to make some quick notes after each “section” of what pieces you’re keeping to remember for the next round. You don’t want to decide to keep that distressed demin skirt and a day later get rid of the striped tee that goes great with it.
  Step 2: Dig in. Look at EVERY garment. Check for holes, rips, stains, smells.
  Step 3: Try things on. Make sure pieces still fit. Can you sit down and move comfortably?   
  Step 4: Ask yourself the hard questions: When was the last time I wore this?  Will I have occasion to wear this again? Do I need to lose 10lbs+ for this to properly fit? Do I need to have it taken in? Do I love this garment? Is this still representative of my personal style?
  Step 5: Piles. Based off the answers to the above questions, you can sort your clothing into categories, aka piles:
A – Keeper Pile
B – Transitional Garments for Storage Pile
C – Needs Attention Pile
D – Consignment/Resale Pile
E – Donate Pile
F – Recycle/Discard Pile
  A is self-explanatory, this is the stuff you are keeping close at hand and will probably need a re-fold before going back in the drawer.
  B is your heavy duty winter items that can be stored elsewhere. These things may also need to be cleaned before they “summer” in a Rubbermaid bin.
  For C make a plan to get these garments the care they need. Pick a day to drop off at the dry cleaners and email your local tailor or seamstress to set up an appointment for items that need to be repaired or altered. If you’re handy enough to do your own sewing then schedule an afternoon in front of your sewing machine.
  D is for pieces that are still wearable, just not by you. This is a very subjective category, where things might still fit, but you’re just not feeling them anymore, or maybe they were from a part of your life that’s no longer relevant. Regardless of why they ended up in the D pile, try not to feel bad for these clothes. Instead, give them a new home at sites like Threadflip, Tradesy, Twice, or Poshmark. These are user-driven online resale outlets. Most charge a fee once an item has been sold, so be sure to check out the terms and conditions. Keep in mind that to be successful, your garments need to be in a sellable condition. That means they are clean, stain free, and well presented in pictures. You’ll also need to load pictures and write up descriptions with fit info for potential buyers.  If you’re not down with that, then you can always physically haul your clothes to the places like Merry Go Round on E. Third St, or consign with From Me To You on Broadway in Milton. Remember they are not obligated to take your clothes and they probably won’t take everything, but hopefully you can get a little extra cash and then decide if you want to try to sell the rest online or donate the lot.
  E is for pieces headed to the Salvation Army or American Rescue Workers. These clothes you can just bag up and drop off—easy peasey.
  The F pile is the lowest of the low, even lower than reality star celebrities.  F is for items that are just beyond reproach.  Either, they are stained, ripped, lacking a sleeve, or are old tights that are just very, very sad.  Check out Earth911.com to find out places to drop off to recycle your F-listers. (Or you could just throw them away, I won’t tell…)
  Step 6 Make a “needs” list. After you’ve sifted and sorted, now you can have some fun and make a list for shopping! This list is for items you need to either replace or upgrade.  This list should also include fill-in-the-gaps garments for clothes you don’t have but feel you’ll need for the upcoming season.  Sure, you could skip this step. You know, I GUESS you could NOT shop for new clothes, but that seems kind of ridiculous.  
  Step 7: Repeat 1-6. Yeah, I just did that, sorry. This step is for the clothes you’re transitioning BACK into your wardrobe for the season. I know it sounds exhausting, but items that have been in storage for six months+ may need some care and attention. Again, fit can also be an issue after a period of non-wear. 
Happy Closet Purge Season!

Snow White Version 2015

By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz

And they lived happily ever after.
  At least until the enchanted kingdoms became politically correct.
  Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Humpty Dumpty and Cinderella all came from a place far, far away and long, long ago.
  How long ago?
  For Snow White and her fairy tale friends, it was a time so far in the past; the term politically correct was foreign to everyone and all. In those magical lands there were no laws, fair labor practices, equality or housing coeds. If these fables were penned today, 2015, they would need corrected and edited for today's standards and insurance reasons. If these tales were written in the here and now, how would they differ? Here are a few thoughts.

Snow White and the vertically challenged
  In today's world, would the code officers of the Enchanted Forest allow a pale young lady to live with seven vertically challenged men in a low, cramped cottage with no running water and a roof made of straw? It sure wouldn't fly with the codes officers in Williamsport. For the vertically challenged men, formally known as the seven dwarfs, they would have a completely different life thanks to the creation of Obamacare Grumpy would be put on medication to boost his mood while Sneezy would be prescribed a strong nasal spray to open up those clogged nasal passages. Dopey would be sent to the Three Little Pigs and try to clean up his act, while Sleepy would undergo a sleep-study for his sleepiness because of his excellent Obamacare covering.

Little Red Riding Hood
  If Red in her snazzy hood (made in China and sold at Wal-Mart for an everyday low price of $4.29) would be written today, the young and naïve lass would be placed in child protective services if she was found all alone in a dense forest occupied by wolves that were both big and bad. Besides, Granny probably had a top-notch security system (also made in China and sold at Wal-Mart) or the latest Phone (you got it, made in China and sold at Wal-Mart) handy to call the cops.
  And that Big Bad Wolf? Turns out his cholesterol and BMI were extremely high, so he became a vegan and only shopped at GNC. However, since he'd been eating nothing but nuts, leaves and berries, Bambi and said Wolf would need to go see Judge Judy and figure the leafy problem out.

Humpty Dumpty
  If this egghead story was set in 2015, Dumpty would be an organic, free-range egg sold in egg cartons made of recycled cardboard, however, Dumpty would still be a show-off and continue to squat on-top of the wall. Some would call his stunt daring, others would call it dumb. And when Dumpty took his tumble and all the King's horses and all the King's men tried to put Humpty together again but failed. Some folks say the wall was wet, others said the wall was too old and one person, Little Bo-Peep, wondered if Dumpty fell or was pushed.

  To adapt this classic to today's world, Cinderella would contact an employment attorney about her long working conditions, lack of safety goggles, no coffee breaks and being forced to work around a scalding hot cauldron placed over a roaring fire to wash socks. The ball at the Prince's castle would also undergo a modern transformation, the ball would be more liken to a pig roast, instead of waltzes, the music would be line dancing and instead of a glass slipper, Cinderella would wear foam flip-flops. Instead of living happily ever after with the Prince, Cinderella would end up with a guy from the band named Eugene, a part-time turkey-calling champ from Iowa.

Hansel and Gretel
  The nasty witch who used to live in a candy encrusted gingerbread house, would be required to rebuild since zoning laws became healthy and candy was considered an unstable building material. Instead, her dwelling was ordered to be crafted from low-salt, fat free white crackers covered with low-sodium, organic humus accented with peppercorns. Hansel and Gretel were not interested in the cottage's new design and would bypass the healthy house and take up residency at the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. To keep up with the times, the Old Woman traded in the shoe for a rubber galosh to better cope with the impact of global warming.

Little Miss Muffet
Her tuffet would now become a futon made from salvaged materials, made in Thailand and sold on the Internet. Since curds and whey gave her digestive problems, Miss Tuffet (now known as Miss Futon) started eating organic granola with goat's milk from Canton PA. And the spider...a can of insecticides from the Dollar Store did away with him.

Music Across the Sea
By Bill Stanford

If you have visited the local restaurant 33 East over the past few months, and enjoyed a piano player dancing over the ivories with grace and ease, chances are you were listening to Christopher Hauser. He plays in the establishment from time-to-time, but his music has been heard across the waters of the world. Literally.
   A native of Jersey Shore and now residing in Williamsport, Christopher was a Cocktail Pianist aboard Carnival and Holland Cruise Lines from 2005 until 2011. His gift of music has taken him to The Caribbean Islands, Grand Cayman Islands, Key West, St. Lucia, Cozumel, and The Bahamas’ among many other exotic places. Christopher is very proud of the fact that while aboard the Holland America Cruise lines, he made a 31 day “Tour of the Vikings” from Boston to Liverpool England, with stops in Ireland, France and Iceland.
  He’s been to exotic destinations that many of us only dream about, while getting paid to do something he loves to do. Playing piano comes natural to Christopher. During his younger years though, music may have been what helped him survive.
  You see, Christopher was born with birth defects that resulted in learning disabilities. Growing up wasn’t exactly easy for him, scholastically or socially. Classmates can sometimes be cruel, and his was no exception. Because of his ridicule, Christopher became an introvert and never really left the house much.
  There was an old piano in his family home that had been idle for years. One Sunday afternoon, young Christopher sat down at that old piano and began playing the hymn he had heard earlier that day in church. His mother immediately recognized the song. Rushing into the room, she asked him how he knew how to play that tune? He simply shrugged answering, “I just knew”.
  After that, he began playing that old piano regularly. Eventually Christopher could play any music that was set in front of him, and he had never taken a lesson. It was discovered that he wasn’t just another piano player, but a musical prodigy.
  Then, one summer afternoon, members of a traveling gospel group named “Something Special” stayed with Christopher’s family during a stop over in Jersey Shore. During that stay, they heard him play his piano, and immediately contacted the college where the group hailed about enrolling him. The next month he traveled to Oklahoma City to try college for a couple of weeks, and ended up staying the entire semester.
  After college, Christopher recorded his piano playing and sent a demo off to an agency that represents Carnival Cruise Line. The demo served as his audition, and in 2005 was hired as a Cocktail Pianist. He played Easy Listening, Classical, and the Standards for six, sometimes seven nights a week as background music in the cocktail lounge.
  A musician is treated the same as a crew member aboard a ship, he says. He would hang out with the crew and attend their parties, go to the gym or go for a beach excursion at some exotic port. And working on a cruise ship has other perks, too! Aside from getting a paycheck, the cruise line pays for air fair, motels, and room and board are included.
  Over six years, Christopher has played his music on eleven different ships and traveled to countless ports and harbors. Figuring there are an average of 2,500 people on board a cruise, it’s probably safe to say he has emerged from his shell.
  The cruise line industry has begun to phase out the Cocktail Pianist, but that isn’t getting Christopher down! He’s looking to start his own band and get back onto the open seas. They say once you smell that salt air it gets in your blood – and it surely has his! If you ever get an opportunity to go on a cruise to some exotic port, be sure to check out the band on board. There’s a chance, it could be Christophers.  Bon Voyage!

Handprint Rainbow Craft

This is a great St. Patrick’s Day craft, or even a Wizard of Oz craft project!
  This is a nice easy craft that works well for all ages. 
  Educational ideas to go with the craft:
  For young children, practice naming their colors. Say, "Can you glue the red handprint, can you glue the orange handprint, etc.?"
  For older children, practice the order of the rainbow colors. Ask them to glue the handprints together in the same order as the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).
  For an alphabet/phonics challenge, write on a white sheet where you want them to glue the handprints. Use the first letter of each color on the sheet (R O Y G B I V) and see if they can match the colors with the letters.
  When you're done, ask the child what colors mix together to make orange (red and yellow).  Point out that orange is in between red and yellow on the rainbow.  Repeat with green (in between yellow and blue).
  I bet you didn't know rainbows could be so educational!
• Rainbow colors of tempra paint, OR
• Rainbow colors of paper, OR
• Rainbow colors of craft foam.
• Have child make tempra paint handprints in rainbow colors
• Trace child's hand on rainbow colors of paper or craft foam, or
• Mix it up a bit (a few paint hands, a few traced hands)
• Let dry as necessary.
• Cut out the handprints, this step may require adult assistance.
• Glue to form a rainbow
• If you have lots of patience or lots of kids, you can glue 5 prints in each color to make a "real" looking rainbow, OR
• Just make 5 to 7 prints in different colors and glue into a rainbow shape... it isn't quite as rainbow looking, but it's quite a bit faster and still gets the point across.

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