One-Liner Wednesday: What?!

“This is certainly nice publish, I’m going to shaire the idea for our frinds.”

–comment recently left for me very randomly on an old post of mine, caught by the WordPress spam filter. I appreciate the “compliment,” but WordPress is clearly right about this kind of comment!

Note: this post was created as part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday. The criteria is for the one-liner to be funny or motivational. In the past, I’ve usually gone with motivational, but this time I had to go with funny when I saw this as I did a long-overdue purge of pending comments…hope you enjoyed it. I figured many of my fellow bloggers would be able to relate to this kind of amusing“comment!” :)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Go Stop!

SoCS badge designed by Doobster of mindfuldigressions.com.

Badge designed by Doobster of mindfuldigressions.com.

I am such a games geek that the minute I read this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “go,” I thought of the Asian card game “Go Stop.”

The game comes from Korea, where it is called “hwatu,” and it’s played with Japanese hanafuda cards.

I love hanafuda cards, which I first learned about while playing a Nintendo game. As I became more and more obsessed with them, I started reading up on their history and the various games that are played with them throughout the world.

From my understanding — I’m still no expert — gameplay of “Go Stop” is similar to “Koi Koi,” the Japanese game I’m used to playing with hanafuda cards. However, I haven’t officially played that version myself. I want to, since some aspects of it are different than what I’m used to with Koi Koi.

My main obstacle is the fact that no one I know is interested in learning these games, or they’re not inclined to play games at all, or we simply never have time to try.

So it remains on my list of technically-unimportant-yet-important-to-me goals. Because playing electronic/online versions isn’t terrible, but after a certain point, I want the full experience!

Why?

First of all, I don’t want to be so reliant on a computer to handle scoring for me. I feel like I’m just clicking cards then and not fully playing. I also don’t feel a computer plays the same as a person would; I often see it make a move that no opponent in their right mind would do. Winning that way just isn’t satisfying!

Plus, like I said, I’m a games geek — in my early zeal, I bought a few versions of a hanafuda deck, to include the Japanese original, the Korean version, and a Hawaiian deck since each one varies slightly and is better for each region’s games.

But what have I done with them so far?

Nothing; they sit here, collecting dust…well, not really, since they’re in a drawer. But you get what I mean!

This has turned out to be a bittersweet SoCS post, huh? Well, I see it as a good reminder to pursue this unofficial goal of mine; perhaps I can investigate making a meetup group event for this, like the ones that exist for everything from Scrabble to chess. As they say, if you see a need for something that doesn’t exist, make it yourself!

Which is actually a very inspiring and motivating way to look at things, big or small.

In fact, I encourage you to think about something you’ve looked for and haven’t been able to find, and consider offering it yourself — and feel free to mention it here for thoughts and feedback!

What Can I Do For You, My Friend?

socs-badge Love is in the blog

As a child, I often visited my dad at the home improvement store he owned and operated. I liked being there, and I learned a lot from it too; in particular it taught me a lot about dealing with customers.

When customers would come in and approach my dad for help with anything from ordering custom-made blinds or scheduling installation for screens, doors and the like, my dad always greeted them with a comfortable smile, saying something along the lines of, “What can I do for you, my friend?”

The first time that happened, I remember asking him and my mother after if we knew that customer. I still remember being surprised when I was told no, that we didn’t.

“But how come he called him a friend?” I remember asking. It just didn’t make sense to me. Especially since the vibe between my dad and the customer seemed genuinely friendly, like you would be with someone you actually were friends with.

I can’t remember exactly what they said to explain this all to me, but whatever they said must have made sense, because from that time I understood—basically, my dad genuinely liked running his own business and dealing with customers, so he truly was happy to see these people and get to know them and build a working relationship with them, hopefully long-term.

The linear, young side of me found this approach amazing. Now, over the years, I’ve seen business owners and employees do something similar, but this first exposure to a dynamic like this will always stand out in my mind.

Plus I’ve also too often seen some who do the exact opposite and treat customers as people they’re doing a favor for, treating them rudely, or being abrupt and unyielding. Even if they were doing someone a favor, there’s no reason to act like that. (This is a pet peeve of mine, actually!) Besides, these customers are paying for whatever service or product they’re there for!

In those moments, I always think about how my dad treated his customers like friends, and try to do the same in my own line of work. While I have yet to actually call the people who come to me my “friend” — somehow it doesn’t come off as naturally as it did with my dad — I do my best to interact with them with a similarly open, friendly approach.

This isn’t to say that there will never be issues with customers or clients, but if you approach them in this way, I’ve personally found that things can be more easily worked out. Plus it makes whatever work you do more pleasant! I encourage you to try it too — and if you have it in you to actually use the word “friend” in this way, I’d love to hear about it!

Note: this post was created as part of Stream of Conciousness Saturday organized this week by LindaGHill, as well as the Bee as part of Love is in Da Blog; the prompt was “friend” and/or “acquaint.” I thought this was a great prompt; although I didn’t know what to write initially, once this memory popped into my head, the choice was made for me. :) 

Hello…and Be Right Back!

I have so many boxes around me that my place looks more like this Amazon warehouse than a home, only less orderly…ah, the fun of moving!

I have so many boxes around me that my place looks more like this Amazon warehouse, only less orderly…

I haven’t blogged in a while nor have I kept up with reading the blogs I follow and exploring ones that are new to me, all of which I feel bad about.

BUT! I have a good reason, which I thought I should take a moment to share here so that no one assumes I’ve stopped writing and reading:

I’m in the midst of preparing to move and to start a new job; either one of those would be a lot, but both at once means my time is quite limited. What with getting boxes, tossing old stuff, packing, making calls to arrange logistical details and also preparing for work, I have been swamped!

So, I apologize if:

  • I have stopped reading and/or commenting on your blogs (this delay will only be temporary, as I miss this so much!);
  • I don’t respond right away to any comments you make here (but I will eventually, I promise — I love comments from readers and fellow bloggers!);
  • I don’t post much over the next month or so (but I already have post ideas and drafts ready to work on once I get situated).

I just wanted to explain where I’ve been and that I will be back very soon! Thank you for your understanding, and I hope the new year is off to a great start for you. :)

Excuse Me, Jennifer Aniston?

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This weekend, I was reading an article on Huffington post that linked to another article and so on and so forth — you know how the Internet can be a time warp — and somehow I saw a link to the headline, “Jennifer Aniston Talks Motherhood And The Unfair Pressure To Have Kids.”

While I don’t closely follow Jennifer Aniston or most celebrity news, the headline intrigued me since I too feel strongly that people shouldn’t be made to feel weird if they haven’t had kids yet, or don’t even want any — yet this does happen way too often, particularly involving women.

So I clicked it. (The Internet wins again.)

The article referred to statements Jennifer Aniston makes in the January 2015 issue of Allure, and although her comments were brief, I was surprised at how candid she was on this topic and how much I found myself agreeing with her.

For instance, I completely understood what she meant when she said, “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women — that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair.”

As a woman with no children myself, I was nodding and thinking, Right on, sister!

Until she said that not having children “doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering — dogs, friends, friends’ children.”

Excuse me?

This is when she lost me.

Who said women have to mother anyone in the first place?

Would this quote have made any sense if a man was saying it?

Try to picture George Clooney saying him not having kids doesn’t mean he’s not fathering his pets, his friends and their kids.

You can’t? That’s because he would never say that. No guy would.

And no one should about women, either.

Women do not need to mother other beings to be valid as people in our society. That’s the point I thought she was making.

This part of her statement was, if anything, proof that she buys into the expectations on women. Trying to spin them in a new way doesn’t hide that.

Now look, I’m not usually one to split hairs and dissect every nuance of a person’s statement. But in this case, I think she completely ruined the point she was trying to make with the idea that women can still be motherly without having kids. And I was unexpectedly bothered by that, as well as comments people have made saying her statement was “brilliant.”

Brilliant for a Stepford wife wanna-be, maybe.

On a side note, another aspect I disliked about what she said is the concept of friends “mothering” friends. Who wants that?! There’s only one person I enjoy being mothered by, and that’s my mother!

In fact, one of my closest friends once had another friend take on a motherly dynamic with her, and let’s just say it was not a fun experience for her! (Although those stories do make us laugh now.) So Jennifer Aniston saying that women can mother their friends, oh and their children, is just plain weird. I mean, do your friends really want you trying to mother their kids? “Oh, I told Johnny he could have a few more cookies. Look how happy he is!” Yeah, your friend is really going to love your motherly “help” there!

To be fair, I think Jennifer Aniston used the word “mothering” to mean being “loving” or “giving,” to counteract the notion of childless people, especially women, being selfish.

However, there’s a big difference between mothering and being loving and giving; you can by all means be all three — which is a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong — but you can also be loving and giving without mothering in any form.  This is another reason why I found myself strangely disappointed when I read this. Her point had been making so much sense until then. I felt like she took so many steps back with her statement — all while she was trying to be so progressive.

But maybe I should calm down. Some would say that as a female, being easily annoyed like this isn’t the motherly way I should be acting towards others.

I apologize, my sweeties. Now please go have something to eat. You all look so thin…

Note: This post was written as part of LindaGHill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, which was skillfully organized this week by author Leigh Michaels while Linda is away. This week’s prompt was “excuse,” which we could use either as a noun or a verb. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write with it until I read this and wanted to comment on it, and the idea of using Leigh’s excellent prompt as a verb in a rhetorical question hit me. :)

Liebster Award!

liebster21

I have been nominated for the Liebster award by Sandi of the excellent What Oft Was Thought blog and am pleased to accept!

According to her post about the award, the rules to accept it are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated;
  2. Copy the Liebster logo and paste it onto your own blog;
  3. Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs;
  4. In your blog post about the Liebster Award:
    • link back to the blogger who nominated you
    • answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you
    • list 11 random facts about yourself
    • nominate, and link to, 3-11 other blogs which you enjoy and which have fewer than 3,000 followers
    • list 11 questions for your nominees

Here are my answers to Sandi’s 11 questions:

  1. What is your ideal vacation?

I’d love to travel internationally to a place I’ve never been before; my first choice would be Tokyo, Japan because I’ve been dying to go there for some time but haven’t had the ability to do so as of yet. One day…

  1. What was your first job?

I helped out during the summers at the school my mom worked for, doing whatever special projects they needed help with, like organizing their archives, helping with mass mailings, etc.

  1. What motivates you to post on your blog?

Great question. It’s hard to define, but I’d say it usually has to do with anything I find helpful or new. For instance, I like to share tips and ideas readers can hopefully use to make their own lives easier, whether they’re cleaning their houses or trying to think up gift ideas. I also like to talk about interesting ideas in books I’m reading that I think others might find interesting as well.

  1. Name a book that you recently finished reading.

The Hidden Tools of Comedy by Steven Kaplan. A good read. I especially liked his points on the differences between comedy and drama, like this statement.

  1. What is your opinion of reality T.V. shows?

At first, I was about to write that I dislike them, but then I realized “reality shows” are more than just Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I’d say they also include competition shows like Master Chef Junior or shows where struggling businesses are turned around, like Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares — all of which I enjoy watching. I’m also a fan of Shark Tank.

  1. How do you feel when a snowstorm hits your area and everything is cancelled for the day?

I usually love it! It’s a fun, unexpected little surprise, as long as it doesn’t shut down things for too many days in a row. Then, the novelty wears off and the challenge of doing what you have to do isn’t so much fun!

  1. Last night, my daughter was telling me about a friend who was applying for dual citizenship in another country. If you could obtain dual citizenship in another country, which country would you choose, and why?

Hmm, this is an interesting question. I’m not really sure without getting to see most of the countries that come to mind, but I lean towards Ireland. Haven’t been there, but I hear it’s beautiful and a friend who has traveled throughout Europe said she finds the people there to be very friendly. That’s a generalization but based on her stories, I can see what she means. I like the idea of having convenient access to traveling throughout Europe from there but also being in a location where many people speak English.

  1. What is your pet peeve with WordPress?

This is an easy one. While I love pretty much everything about WordPress, I’m not a fam of its new stats page. Luckily I can still access the old one, but it’s an extra step to get to now…

  1. Recently, I saw a study claiming that people who read fiction tend to be more empathetic. This study has generated controversy in my household. What is your opinion about this “finding”?

At first, I thought this sounded odd but the more I thought about it, I can see how this could be. People who can buy into a fictional story and relate to its characters could be more inclined to do so with people in “real life.” Once I read the article linked here, I see that is indeed a major part of the explanation for this. However, it should be noted that those who do not enjoy fiction can be just as empathetic — I know I read less fiction than I used to, preferring to learn more about true-life events; I’d say people who enjoy this kind of reading as well simply prefer to relate more to true stories versus made-up ones, but can be just as empathetic. Also, fiction lovers could also be the type who prefer a fantasy over real-world experiences and ironically may not relate so well to people they actually know. So, as with any study, there are nuances to be aware of.

  1. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?

Yes, until about age 7, I think. I started getting suspicious about a year before, when notes to me from Santa looked strangely like my mom’s handwriting. The final straw came when my mom said something the following year like, “Oh, did I leave the price tag on that gift? I was so tired when I was wrapping presents that I forgot to take it off!” yet she was referring to an item that was labeled as a gift to me from Santa…! We still laugh about that whenever it comes up!

  1. How do you prefer to learn about world news — through the Internet? Through the television? Through a newspaper or magazine?

My preferred choice is actually talk radio, which I find I can have on in the background without being distracted too much from whatever I’m doing while also keeping up with the news. I like how it’s acceptable to do so even in most workplaces, as long as it’s not too loud or on during an important meeting, of course!

And now for 11 facts about myself:

  1. I’m an only child. Well, I’m an adult now, but you get what I mean!
  2. I’m right-handed.
  3. I’m near-sighted. I sometimes wish I could just wake up seeing perfectly without a need for glasses, but I’m still too squeamish about eye surgery to take that step…
  4. I enjoy playing a wide range of video games when I can.
  5. I read a lot — everything from foreign-language books to profiles of companies as well as autobiographies.
  6. I hate the taste of citrus in pretty much any form, whether it involves eating the fruit or in the form of juice. Not sure why!
  7. One of my favorite movies is the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol. It must be that version; his portrayal is the best of the ones I’ve seen! Sadly, I don’t see this one aired as much as I used to…
  8. I have never lived in a house; only apartments.
  9. As a child, I used to confuse the words “globe” and “blimp” with one another. Do with that what you will.
  10. I was addicted to soda in college. Kind of embarrassing to admit! Luckily, I was able to quit when a friend said she’d buy me the CD of my choice if I stopped having any for 1 week. That was the motivation I needed, and was able to keep it going!
  11. I like spicy food. The hotter the better!

As for the 3-11 blogs I nominate, I will go with 3 — I like that number, plus many blogs I follow and would nominate are either no-awards blogs or have more than 3,000 followers. (By the way, it’s not always easy to find follower counts on every blog, so I say to my nominees: if I have underestimated your follower count and you do in fact have over 3,000, I apologize!)

What the Eff!?

Touched by the Page

Dear Diary

As for my questions to these nominees, they are (and feel free to swap one out for one of your own if you like!):

  1. What made you get into blogging?
  2. If you had to spend a year on a deserted island and could only bring one non-electronic item with you, what would it be?
  3. What skill or strength of yours are you most proud of?
  4. What is one goal you have for yourself in the coming year, big or small?
  5. Let’s say you were granted an opportunity to try out another career for a year without any risk to your current job/career and with all your financial needs adequately met, what would it be?
  6. Would you classify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
  7. What is one of your favorite movies or TV shows?
  8. What is your opinion of the Mars One program, which plans to send people on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024 — specifically, are the people who want to take part being selfish, as some have claimed?
  9. Do you speak any other languages besides English? If so, which ones, and how fluent are you?
  10. What part of the world would you choose to visit if you won a free trip and hotel stay to anyplace you wanted?
  11. Is there a fashion trend, past or present, that you can’t stand?

I know accepting this award does take a good amount of time, so I echo what Sandi said in that anyone nominated is under no pressure to accept, of course. But of those who do, I look forward to your responses! :)

Oh, and I just had to include 3 honorary mentions. These are blogs I follow and would have also nominated, but they already were nominated for the Liebster award very recently — but check them out because they’re interesting to read!

Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos 

Jeanne Owens, Author 

Creative Writing For Me 

You can find a list of other blogs I enjoy here — hope you find a few new favorites too!

Staying in the Present

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SoCS Badge by Doobster of MindfulDigressions.com

This week’s thought-provoking Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, planned and organized by Helen Espinosa of This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time while LindaGHill is traveling, is “present.”

I love this choice, as the word can be used in so many different ways. I’ve chosen to use it to refer to staying in the present moment.

I was inspired to interpret the prompt this way after recently seeing a quote about this concept online which immediately resonated with me. I couldn’t remember it exactly now, so I quickly looked it up so I could share it with you here:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
— Corrie Ten Boom  

Beautifully said, and so true. Yet how often don’t we all persist in ruminating on the past or obsessing over the future? We know this rarely produces any positive results, but we do it anyway. And all it does is ruin the present day.

I know I do this. I’ve obsessed over decisions I’ve made (could I have done something different, and better?) or concerns about what lies ahead (will there be layoffs at my job?)…the list goes on and on.

But what do these thoughts really accomplish, short of scaring and/or depressing me?

Nothing.

In fact, this all reminds me of something else I recently read, the book Choose Yourself! by James Altucher (which is an interesting read that I recommend, by the way). In it, he stresses that this way of thinking is pointless. I decided to briefly stop my stream-of-consciousness writing one more time to look up his point on my Kindle and share it with you word-for-word in order to do it the justice it deserves. Altucher writes:

“Most people obsess on regrets in their past or anxieties in their future. I call this ‘time traveling.’ The past and future don’t exist. They are memories and speculation, neither of which you have any control over. You don’t need to time travel anymore. You can live right now.”

I had never thought of it this way, in terms of it being worthless time traveling, and immediately found this perspective so brilliantly simple. That’s exactly what this is, and who wants to spend their days focused on “memories and speculation?”

Not me.

Anything not happening now is not the present, and therefore there’s nothing you can do about it. So stop trying! It’s an exercise in futility!

Of course, this isn’t to say you should just give up on planning for the future and working to achieve your life’s goals — that’s all well and good. But once your thinking gets to a point of lying awake at night in fear of events you can’t control, that’s when it has to end.

For example, what if there are layoffs at your job, as I mentioned worrying about before? Can you control that? Not likely — and certainly not by worrying about it.

What you can do is stay up-to-date with your marketable skills and keep performing to the best of your ability on your current job so that if there are layoffs that affect you, you’re in the best position possible to find new employment, prepared with good references and abilities. Or maybe your employer will see how hard you’ve been working and you’ll be spared. Either way is win-win.

Plus, many times our worst fears never end up happening anyway, as I found out firsthand years ago when faced with this worry about layoffs. I’d heard rumors of cutbacks at my job, but as it turned out, no layoffs ever occurred, luckily — so I went through weeks of self-imposed stress and anxiety for no reason at all.

And when it comes to questioning your past, particularly decisions you’ve made and now regret, someone I worked with once shared a good perspective on this. He told us that we’ve made the best possible decision every single time we’ve had to make one.

Every single time.

Sounds a bit simplistic and overly positive, doesn’t it? But it makes sense. See, while you may now see a way that might have been better, you made your choice based on what you knew at the time, so it was in fact the best decision you could make.

For instance, let’s say you were offered two comparable jobs at similar companies and went with job A, which offered a better salary and shorter commute. However, you’re no longer happy there because your company is struggling, resulting in a tense environment and severe budget restrictions. You may wish you had gone with job B, which is at a company that has since experienced lots of rapid expansion and success. Sure, it’s easy to feel some regret, but you have to brush that off and certainly not blame yourself — you need to recognize that you made the best possible decision you could have at the time, given the information available to you at that present moment. There’s no value in thinking, “That was so dumb of me, why did I do that?” There’s likely no way you could have known otherwise back then. In other words, everything only looks so clear in hindsight.

Or, as “they” say, it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback!

Plus, who’s to say with 100% certainty that job B would have worked out better for you personally anyway? Perhaps your colleagues wouldn’t be as easy to work with as your current ones, or your direct supervisor wouldn’t be as reasonable as the one you have now. All of these are just simple scenarios, but I’m trying to point out that you never truly know how another route would have worked out, so there’s no point in worrying about it now.

Besides, even when we have made a mistake, that’s part of life — and nothing is a lost cause. You’re in a less-than-fulfilling job? Start looking now for a new one. You moved to a bad apartment? You can always move again. I’m not saying it’s a snap to make these changes, but they’re always possible.

In moments like these, whether I’m questioning past decisions or getting stressed thinking about the future, it helps me to remember that doing so isn’t worth it. I should just stay in the present moment. I hope this is a helpful reminder for you too!