Thursday, January 31, 2013

It’s on My List

Like many people, I like making lists; it helps to organize my thoughts and prioritize what should get done first. Some things are important and some things are minor, but it always feels good to cross something off my list. It’s nice to have that sense of accomplishment when something is done (and you don’t have to think about it any more).

However, sometimes it just seems like the list of things to do just grows longer and longer and it feels like nothing is really getting done. Something unexpected comes up that takes priority or a small something turns into a big something (and becomes a time suckage), and then suddenly the whole timeline you had in mind is off and you feel like you have to play catch up.

When you feel behind, then you have to be even more organized, like setting time limits for each item on the list or multi-tasking or simplifying certain tasks or postponing the less important items until later. But hopefully, if you manage your time well enough, you can get back onto your previous course without too much of an unwanted detour.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vintage Books – Set 3

I picked up more vintage books at Goodwill; I always manage to find something cute whenever I go and rummage through their book bins (so it’s a good thing that I don’t go too often). I found four books that I just couldn’t seem to resist.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Milk Toast?

Sometimes you hear a word or phrase and it just passes by you because you aren’t familiar with it; you understand the gist of the word and that’s enough. So you don’t question what it means and quickly forget about its existence. But every so often a strange word or phrase will catch you off guard and you can’t let it go. Your curiosity wants to know what it all means.

Idioms, phrases and vocabulary are often a reflection of a certain region or specific time period, so if you’re not of that particular sphere, you may feel like people are speaking another language. I had that moment not long ago when my mom suddenly used the word “milquetoast” and I thought she was saying “milk toast” and I was quite confused (why was she bringing up food all of a sudden?).

She explained that it referred to a timid person. And I asked since when? Because I wasn’t familiar with it. So of course we then we googled it, and it’s an old term from the 1920’s that’s based upon a comic strip called a Timid Soul; the character, Caspar Milquetoast was bland—just like milk toast. So I learned something new (although I don’t know how useful that bit of knowledge will ever be…). But I’m sure I’ll notice this particular word now. If I’m watching an old black and white movie and someone describes another person as “milquetoast” I’ll know exactly what an insult that truly is.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why is This Not Popular?

It’s hard to find a TV show to love. A lot of TV shows on the air just seem to be like all the other TV shows that are already airing—all just variations of the same theme. So when something different and intelligent and surprising suddenly appears, it feels like you just got lucky (because there’s a lot of crap to sift through to find those TV show gems).

Sometimes everyone seems to realize that a show good so the show has strong ratings and stays on the air for many years. Yet other times a fantastic show (for whatever reason) doesn’t have a large audience and either continually struggles to stay on the air year after year or it may just quickly get the axe. It always depresses me when a show I love doesn’t get the recognition it deserves because good ought to be rewarded, yet so often it seems as though stupid shows are rewarded (which just seems so wrong).

Over the years quite a few of my beloved TV show have been unceremoniously cancelled and are generally replaced by TV shows that are vastly lower in quality (and this irritates me greatly). If my awesome TV show with its interesting storylines and amusing characters is given the axe, then at the very least it should be replaced by something good. Yet usually it’s replaced by something crappy—just more stupid people being stupid. [Sigh.] It’s a bitter pill to swallow when a “successful” TV show is based upon high ratings rather than its content.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fun With Decorative Tape

Buying crafty items on a whim that I might use “someday” is not uncommon for me. I try to resist, but sometimes I think something is interesting and just want it. That’s how I happened to buy a set of decorative tape with different number designs on it; I bought it over a year ago and it just sat in a drawer unused until I finally got around to using it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stay Away From Me

That first tickle in your throat is an ominous precursor of misery to come. Sore throat. Coughing. Runny nose. Fever. Congestion. Fatigue. [Pause.] Inconvenience. [Sigh.] No one wants to be sick, but this is the time of year that germs go flying and there always seems to be someone around you that catches something unwanted.

It’s usually not hard to tell who has caught a bug with their sniffling and coughing and nasally voice. Granted, there’s only a certain number of hours that people are actually contagious for, but these symptoms are all indicators of those to stay away from—a warning of things to come if you’re not careful. So if you’re truly sick, it’s probably best to just stay at home and rest and regain your strength (not to mention not contaminating the rest of us with your cold or flu).

You can always do your best to avoid getting sick: washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching and being breathed upon by those sick. But you can’t avoid getting sick all the time—eventually a persistent bug will find its way to you and make you miserable. (And I only hope that I can prolong that inevitability for another year…)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Go-To Food

Sometimes I find the most ordinary things fascinating, like supermarkets. Supermarkets contain a range of items from fresh produce to dry ingredients to prepared foods, and they reflect the preferences of their customers. Going into a supermarket in a foreign country (or even a foreign food supermarket in the U.S.) is an experience for me because while there are often many similarities to an average American supermarket, some differences are quite vast.

A quintessential food I think of for Americans is breakfast cereal. There’s an entire aisle dedicated to boxes of the stuff in flake, puff and loop form. There’s the ultra sweet cereals, chock full of chocolate, “fruit flavors” and marshmallows; there’s the “healthier” cereals with dried fruit and nuts. There’s pretty much every type of cereal imaginable (and some you didn’t think ought to have been imagined)—basically, there’s a cereal for everyone.

In Japan, there was no breakfast cereal aisle. I found cereal on a lower shelf —there were about six different cereal options (and half of them were essentially corn flakes). But they did have a very extensive instant noodle aisle; there was ramen, udon, soba, yakisoba and perhaps some “low fat” noodle options as well. Everyone seemed to eat instant noodles and have their favorite brands and flavors.

Both breakfast cereal and instant noodles have one thing in common: they’re fast and easy to make. When you’re hungry, you just want to eat something immediately, and with cereal you just add milk; with instant noodles you just add hot water. Anyone can do either of these things successfully, so it becomes that go-to meal when you’re just too lazy to make anything else (and there are times I get pretty lazy…).