Thursday, August 30, 2012

If You Don’t Want to Know, Then Don’t Ask

Giving advice is often an unwanted gift. You may give it, but the receiver may have no interest in taking it. Some people love to give advice (whether solicited or not) because they wish to be helpful or just love to be in the thick of it all. However, I’ve never really reveled in giving advice because everyone’s so different; people have different priorities and perspectives so it’s hard for me to want to tell them what they should do in a given situation. But if they really want to know my opinion, I’ll give it…although sometimes it’s not what they want to hear.

When someone asks me, “What do you think I should do?” and I give my thoughts on the matter, and the response is, “Well, don’t you think…” Then I know my advice has fallen on deaf ears. They’re then trying to convince me to agree to whatever their foregone conclusion was, and they didn’t actually want my opinion at all. They just wanted reassurances that they were making the right decision (and I just ruined it for them). [Sigh.]

So common sense tells me: don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to. If you’ve already made up your mind, then you don’t need me to tell you anything. Because it’s one thing if you actually want my opinion, but if you’re just looking for a “yes man” to make you feel better about your own conclusions, then by all means don’t ask me. That’s the sort of verbal validation that means next to nothing—you may as well be talking to a stuffed bear…and I am not a stuffed bear.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It Won’t Kill You

I’m not going to say that I love all foods because I don’t. I love some foods while I like, tolerate and hate others, but almost always I’ll at least try whatever’s in front of me.

In Japan I tried all sorts of foods that I’d never eaten before and some that I’d never had the desire to ever try, but I tried it. Some I loved (like beef tongue, ox tail and jellyfish), others I tolerated (like grilled pig intestines) while others I disliked (like grilled chicken cartilage and fermented fish guts). But even if it didn’t look appetizing I’d force myself to just try a little bit of it. Sometimes I was pleasantly surprised, while other times I quickly downed my drink in order to wash the taste away, but I never regretted any of it because you don’t know if it’s any good unless you try it.

I understand an inability to eat certain foods because of allergies or having a delicate stomach or being vegetarian, but I find it disappointing when people (who could eat anything) constantly refuse to even try food (whether it’s an entire ethnic cuisine, a certain dish or a specific ingredient). What harm is there in just taking a tiny bite? What’s the worse that could happen? Just some momentary distaste…it won’t kill you.

It’s sad to see people box themselves into very specific “acceptable” foods while avoiding large segments of foods out of shear stubbornness, because they’re missing out on some tasty treats. [Pause.] But I guess it’s their loss.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blue Summer Dress

I watched a lot of old movies growing up and loved much of the clothing from those eras: the slinky gowns of the 1930s, the cute suits of the 1940s, the flowing A-line dresses of the 1950s and the form-fitting pencil skirts of the 1960s. So I like clothing that has a nod to the past and wanted to make a light summer dress from a retro-style pattern that I had.

The bodice of the dress is self-lined, which basically means I had to make the bodice twice; I’ve made a couple of garments thus far that are self-lined and I actually kind of like it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don’t Drive Me Up a Wall

Everyone has pet peeves. Sometimes they’re large and sometimes they’re small, but for whatever reason, they just irritate us. It could be the way someone constantly smacks their gum, or says “Um” all the time, or takes credit for things they didn’t do, or constantly tells the same jokes over and over again. Each of us is special and different when it comes to things that piss us off. One of my pet peeves happens while driving, and it’s the people who don’t signal when they’re changing lanes.

If someone wants to change into my lane and traffic is heavy, then it’s especially necessary to signal so I have enough time to slow down. I’m not a mind reader; I’d like to know that you veering into my lane is intentional and not because you’re drunk or having a medical problem or just don’t see me in the lane. It’s just so inconsiderate. Using a blinker is not hard. They place the knob right next to the steering wheel; you barely have to move your hand. It’s not difficult. And yet for some people, it must be exceedingly hard to do this very simple task. Perhaps they think that the world just revolves around them and that they’re above the driving etiquette that everyone else follows.

There’s a reason blinkers were invented. Once upon a time when the horseless carriage was new, they didn’t have blinkers, which I’m sure caused some accidents. Improvements were made so that communication could be made more easily to those around them, and thus blinkers were born. They’re useful so use them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No Coffee. No Fun.

A few days ago, my morning started normal enough but then horror struck: I was making coffee when I hit the coffee pot against the sink and the glass broke. Of course, I couldn’t have broken the coffee pot after I’d had my morning cup of coffee. [Sigh.] So instead I had tea. And while I love tea, it doesn’t pack the same caffeine punch that coffee does…and I need that punch. Through the years my body has been trained to perk up at the bubbling sound of coffee brewing, and the rich smell of coffee wafting in the air brings much anticipation for that for that sweetly bitter concoction. Mmmm. So delicious. And so caffeine-filled.

So my morning did not start right, and in my not-quite-awake state I knew that first and foremost I needed to fix my coffee maker situation. I looked online, and while I considered getting a generic coffee pot to replace my old one, I thought that this was a good opportunity to just get a new coffee maker. I’d had my old coffee maker for years and thought it was time for a newer (and cuter) coffee maker.

But my new chosen coffee maker would still take some time to ship to me, and I knew I wanted, no needed coffee. There was no way that I was going to go days without coffee, and tea just wasn’t going to cut it. And I wasn’t going to go to a coffee shop for a $3 latte every morning until I could once again make my own coffee. So I had to go to the grocery store to get some instant coffee. It’s been a good long while since I had instant coffee, but I figured with my coffee maker out of commission, it was better than nothing.

I was excited when my new coffee maker arrived. It’s a bit of an adjustment getting used to it (since it works differently than my old coffee maker), but so far so good. And I’m just glad to be back on real coffee rather than the instant stuff.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just Accept it with Grace

Compliments generally come out of the blue. You’re in a conversation with someone when suddenly a few kind words are directed at you. There’s quite a range of compliments that can be given and some definitely mean more than others. A compliment on a new jacket doesn’t quite have the same impact as a compliment about the awesomeness of your personality or praise for your work. And it’s not only the depth of the compliment but also who says it that makes a difference (as some people dole out compliments on a regular basis, while with others it’s a rare treat). Yet no matter the situation, it’s generally best to accept whatever compliment given, because it’s always awkward when someone tries to fight a compliment.

People don’t want to give their kind words only to be shut down by the recipient. No one wants to be in the conversation of:
“You did a really great job.”
“No, anyone could have done it.”
“No, really. You went above and beyond.”
“I just did what I was suppose to do.”
“Well, I think you did a good job.”
I think I could have done better.”
[Sigh.] “Okay then." [Pause.] "Moving on…”

Giving a compliment shouldn’t be that much work; it shouldn’t have to be shoved down someone’s throat. And having to convince someone that the compliment is true just lessens the initial sincerity of the compliment. So even if compliments in general make you feel uncomfortable or you don’t 100% agree with the given compliment itself, the best way to move the conversation along is just to accept it. Just say a simple thank you. That’s all you need. Just accept it with grace and move on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting Color

Color creates an instant impression. Sometimes it’s subtle and subdued while other times it smacks us across the face with its audacity. Colors by themselves create a feeling (e.g. soft yellow is happy, red is bold, lime green is fresh and blue is tranquil), and depending on how those colors are used, they can feel youthful or modern or retro or sophisticated. While we’re often naturally drawn towards certain colors, our preferences can change over time, in part because of current trends and in part because our tastes can shift as we get older.

When I was a kid there were some colors I innately loved and others I unconditionally hated. I went through a pastel loving phase and later a jewel colored loving phase, but I always despised autumn colors like mustard yellow, burnt orange and pea green. It didn’t matter what it was used in, clothing, pillows or dishware, even a hint of these colors made me despise the object in its entirety. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get why anyone would want these terribly drab colors (especially since there were so many other pretty colors to choose from).

Yet, as time has passed I’ve grown to appreciate all colors. Granted some colors are more palatable and more frequently used than others, but there’s a time and a place for any and all colors. While I wouldn’t wear autumn colors (because it would likely make me look sickly), I now appreciate them when used elsewhere. I no longer automatically disregard a color just because I’m not naturally attracted to it because each color has its own purpose. Each color has its own personality that can help to establish a mood and a style for any object or place, and when used correctly, any color can become perfect for its purpose.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Evil Twin Notebook

How do you distinguish the “good” twin from the “evil” twin? Beards, moustaches and goatees all denote evil. It’s all about facial hair. Facial hair covers the face so it can mask the person themselves and their true maniacal intentions. When I think “evil twin”, I think about the parallel universe in Star Trek where evil Spock has a goatee. It’s been a long time since I saw that episode, but the “facial hair is evil” moral has stayed with me over the years.