Interesting Care Instructions

King Richard’s Faire is in about a month and lately I’ve been thinking about including information and care instruction cards with my purchases. I wanted to see what other people did, so I looked around on the internet. This opened a huge can of worms as I’ve been reading all kinds of crazy things.

I know. Crazy things written by people on the internet!? Get out. That never happens.

I was hoping that I’d get some easy direction on what to include based on what others do, but instead, I still haven’t decided on whether or not to actually include care instructions. I am leaning towards yes, but I actually noticed that these are completely missing from the online stores and websites of some of my favorite potters. My guess is that they’re relying on common sense and answering questions on a ‘one on one’ basis when they’re asked.

Then there is are a lot of claims that I’ve never heard before, even in the most misinformed and superstitious circles. I plan to blog about it at some point… but I’m not sure I can handle that kind of angry and ranty post right now.

Instead, I want to share some of the other mind boggling things I found: the obvious.

Here are some examples of care instructions that I think would make even the most ignorant of layman face palm. I’ve started off with the worst and tapered off to some that you might see as being necessary when thinking of some people you know.

Maybe you have an Uncle Fred that put laundry detergent in the dishwasher or a friend named Sam who sets the stove on fire a couple times a month.

Avoid Dropping

Let that one sink in.

Hey there! I know you were planning on dropping your pottery ON PURPOSE, because why try to avoid it, right? You bought this specifically for dropping, and you expect it to hold up when you use it for this purpose. So, I’m here to make sure you realize that you’re actually NOT supposed to be trying to drop your pottery. I won’t tell you what happens if you do drop it, but I will tell you: Avoid Dropping.

Furthermore, if I include that, does that mean I need to also say things like, “Not recommended for juggling”? Wow. I’m going to need more space for all of these care instructions!

After I told someone about this, they also helpfully recommended the following: “Avoid throwing, hitting, punching, chewing, attempting to eat, dropping into vats of acid or lava, throwing at people, throwing at pets, throwing at dragons, using to stop cars, using to stop rampaging wild life. Not a substitute for modern medicine, clothing, transportation or travel. Please consult your local pottery expert before use.”

Wash before first use.

…because I would directly eat out of something people at a fair have been picking up all day.

Actually, this is really pushy. Technically you don’t NEED to wash it before your first use.

Maybe you’re one of those people who like to live on the edge. You are the type of person who won’t wash your hands before leaving the restroom. It only says ’employees must wash hands’, and you’re a customer, so that obviously doesn’t apply to you.

So are you going to waste perfectly good room in your sink or dishwasher!? Heck no. It’s a bowl whether or not you wash it before using it. It will hold your cereal just as well either way.

Ew.

Dry thoroughly before storing.

Wait. There are people who put away their dishes when they are wet!? Dishwashers have ‘dry’ settings. People who wash by hand use ‘drying racks’ or ‘drying towels’ (aka dish towels, as in, for using to dry your dishes).

Who are these people who need to be told both to wash their dishes AND make sure they’re dry before putting them away?

One friend of mine put it to me this way, “Babe. Common sense isn’t common.”

May become hot when used in microwave

Did you know that things become hot when you put them in the microwave?

But wait, ceramic bowls get hotter than a plastic bowl! Maybe we need to let people know that heating up soup in the microwave with their new handmade pottery bowl may result in a really hot bowl.

It is true that some ceramic dishes get hotter than others… but this is not a factor of handmade pottery by any means. For instance, a friend of mine mentioned some dishes she got at Ikea that get hotter than her other dishes. She was okay without the warning. Her first instinct wasn’t to cuddle her dishes full of hot food that just came out of the microwave and is careful when she takes them out.

Sad part is, this is one I’m actually giving some consideration and thought to. Thanks, internet. I think you broke me.

Do not use directly on stovetop.

Apparently some people are confusing pottery with pots. I can see that. These two words use a lot of the same letters.

Yes, I know there are special pots out there that claim they can be safely used directly on the stove top, but this is a special feature. There are also glass pots and pans that can go on the stove, but we know not to put any other glass on the stovetop. In general, if it’s not metal, why would you assume it goes on your stove top?

How are there not more fires and dead people in general?

Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended…

…and it goes on to say how it’s safer to hand wash things.

Look, I don’t know how things work in your house, but I break more things hand washing. I honestly don’t feel comfortable judging if you’re someone like me, or someone like the people writing this care instruction. That’s right. I found this in multiple places.

Dishwasher means I pick it up and put it in the dishwasher. It stays in there safely washing and drying until I open the dishwasher, lift it, and put it away. I guess I could drop it putting it in the dishwasher or taking it out, but I don’t usually prewash stuff, so it’s not very slippery when I put it in. It’s dry when I take it out.

Hand wash means it soaks and clinks around with whatever else is in my sink being washed (don’t clink too much!). It gets picked up, soapy, and handled while slippery until it’s clean (don’t drop it). Then I rinse it (don’t drop it), inspect it to make sure it’s clean (don’t drop it), and put it on a towel or in a dish rack (don’t knock it off the counter).

It’s not just me either. I’ve had roommates break their share of pottery (and other stuff) handwashing. I haven’t had a single dishwasher casualty yet, and all of the pottery goes in there.

Someone even talked about things ‘clinking around’ in their dishwasher while it was running. Maybe it’s time you got a new dishwasher, or maybe you don’t load things right? If I put a cup in X spot in my dishwasher, it is in X spot when I open it. It’s not a clothes washer… If your dishwasher has a spin cycle, yes, I recommend hand washing.

Now, I do know some pottery is not suitable for the dishwasher and needs to be carefully hand washed, but then your care instructions should say “hand wash only”, and that’s it. If you think your pottery is going to ‘loose life and luster’ over time being washed in the dishwasher (whatever that means), maybe you should say ‘hand wash only’. More importantly though, let’s talk about how your pottery is alive. Personally, if I had sentient pottery, it’d be allowed in the bathtub and shower.

Note to self… Only use literal language when writing care instructions in case someone like me is reading them.

Forward Momentum

Yes, I think about them: the caveats, pitfalls, and fears I’ve followed down the hole before. Hindsight is so much better. With it I can see the course that will lead me away from falling, but if I fail to do anything now then I miss the chance to move forward. Hindsight is only so useful.

Would I know that I was moving backwards until it was too late? I don’t know that I have a sense of my momentum, but I think that I’m moving forward. I feel wind passing by me, the air crisp, and my head clear.

Being with someone again has been great, but I am a little bit leery of this limbo that I stop and see myself in sometimes. Freeze frame, I worry and wonder if I am making the same mistakes, falling into old patterns. I have no evidence, by I am constantly, acutely aware of the past.

I’m also not used to ‘seeing’ people. The way it has always been for me: either I’m in a relationship or I’m not. I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable here, but I also know that the self-improvement thing is about taking risks, going outside of your comfort zone, and goddamn trying. Everything tells me this is a healthy thing, to force me to learn not to rush into things.

I don’t ever want to get stuck and hung up on a person to the point of potentially losing myself. I’ve done it before. It’s been a long time since I’ve even approached a relationship, it’s been a long time since this has happened, but I’m always aware it has. As much as I’ve grown, that person who made those mistakes in the past was me, and I have to work not to make any repeat performances.

But this is already so different, will I really repeat myself that considered? What happens if I get hung up anyways in spite of myself?

At first he scared me, and now I scare me. That’s a pattern I know and I’m scrubbing it with steel wool, but who knows if the stain will come out. Why am I scared- because I like him. I like him a lot.

I’m not saying I want to be with someone I don’t like, but I’m very scared of liking someone too much. I’m afraid that one day I’m going to be used to being with him, and he suddenly will have moved on to someone else. Irrationally, I think that labeling our relationship differently (going from seeing each other to full blown relationship) will allay these fears and make them an impossibility. I know that is stupid.

So if I call this something different, is that supposed to make my hold on him tighter?

And why would I want it to be tighter? It would be tighter around me too. I like not feeling too relied on, or relying too much. It’s so much more healthy than what I’m used to. My sense of self is strong and I am on my two feet relying on just that. He is also strong, not leaning on me in any way, threatening to take me down wherever he may go.

Is this simple jealousy maybe? I don’t like the idea of him potentially seeing other people, but I constantly remind myself of the idea… not to torture myself, but to stay used to the idea. I might still want him around and he might be gone (or with someone else). That will hurt regardless, but it will hurt more if I believe it can’t happen.

Is it the idea of him being with someone else, or is it him not being with me? The fact that I’m okay with the situation tells me it’s the latter. I don’t want another girl he’s seeing to take him away from me. I don’t want to lose what I have gained.

What I need to realize that what I have gained are experiences of being with him in a positive way. People go away. I hate those facts, fickle natures and the that things end. But, they do end. People move on, including me.

I keep telling myself so I stay used to the idea of him not being around. Maybe that’s pessimistic, but pinching myself is allowing me not to get lost in a romantic dream.

I am likely making an illusion of control. He makes me happy, and to have a degree of happiness taken away, one needs to find new happiness all over again or get used to it being gone. It’s not always easy to find again. Absence can be felt strongly regardless if you were told it would come.

I hate relying on others. People suck. I hate trusting.

And that’s what it boils down to- I trust him and I don’t want to trust anyone but me. I know I’m trustworthy. I always pull through in the end.

Maybe the answer is to see even more guys, but I’m not exactly interested. Oh, sure, there are guys I flirt with, impossible people who would never put forward a foot to walk along side me. I honestly wasn’t looking to see him when it happened; he fell out of the sky.

Maybe I’m a misanthrope, because when I seriously consider the idea all I can think about is how disgusting men are (women too in all fairness, people in general, but I’m not romantically involved with women, so I say men). I could pick up guys, but I don’t actually want them. Would most men respect me for me or just want to get me in bed? I like sex as much as the next person, but I am the type of person that doesn’t need it from other people. The things I seek: actual care and respect, these things are much harder to find.

So, where the hell did he come from and how did I let him in? I’m still just asking that basic question. I wasn’t looking, but there he was. I want to hold on tight, and I want to run away. This is scary stuff.

So here I am, trying to take slow the speeding train that time and time again is how my head handles things. Slow down. Smell the flowers. Keep your base so you don’t get swept off your feet.

I am learning, even if it is at my own pace. And even with those worries below the surface, I can still make out my face staring resolutely towards my goals. I am more than okay, and this is way more that okay. It’s just my nature to worry, analyze, question, and try to anticipate any chance of a wrong foot forward. I should try not to focus on it. If I do, I might accidentally allow it to stifle the steps I take towards something new and wonderful.

Here’s to something new and wonderful- and stop worrying about it already! Life happens, and will continue regardless. Change is scary. Have the courage to face forward!

Blue is for Boys

…and a man asked, “Why are girl geeks so rare?”

…and all the women in IT and other geek fields raised their heads just far enough to roll their eyes, give the ‘for real?’ look, blink, sigh, giggle, give the evil eye, laugh, rant about feminism, turn it into a ‘your mom’ joke (“…because we were all too busy with your mom for her to have a daughter after giving birth to you”), etc.

A similar question could be asked about a LOT of things if you just missed the fact that all kinds of sexism is still out there.

Some of the hottest topics in the U.S. right now are womens’ rights over their own bodies and whether people who don’t want to have and guy-girl marriage have a right to do so. Some of the hottest topics in the world are whether or not women have the right to even make their own decisions and live if they try to.

It is always surprising, yet not surprising, that people miss what gender identities other than strait male, go through. They want to know why they don’t see it, and my easiest answer is that it isn’t happening to you or you’re so conditioned to accept it, that it is no longer an issue.

Women accept that they are no good with technology, or cars, or sports, or other ‘guy things’ from a young age. And then there are people like me that you wonder if we’re into it just because it was implied that we weren’t supposed to be.

Not all sexism really bothers me. It’s not worth my life, my energy, being negative to get worked up about even little thing. Some people do that, and in doing so miss the real stuff. They are too busy concentrating on the small symptoms rather than the real disease. I’m not talking about a ‘your mom’ joke or ‘that’s what she said’, though those sorts of things exist instead of ‘your dad’ or ‘that’s what he said’ and one wonders why even if just a little.

Just like homosexuals are more concerned with having equal rights, getting and keeping jobs, and feeling safe than whether or not they say ‘gay’ in a certain way at purepwnge.com, I am not going to care if you hold the door for me or not.

I’m talking about the sorts of things that allow the initial question to be asked. How does it happen that women have an extreme less of a chance to have certain careers, that are well within their abilities, in their future?

I could fill this post with stories of my own experiences. Explain I’ve seen sexism and sexism be enabled by guys and gals alike. Yes, many women help sexism along plenty. But I think really what I am trying to say is…

Really? You don’t know that sexism is alive and well?

If that’s the case, open your eyes a bit wider, read a little, listen a little harder. Even if it is not happening to you, you should be able to see it and empathize and even help stop it in some small way.

Since you’ve asked the question, I guess you’ve decided for some reason to care. Asking this question has likely lead you to see it (or marked your really seeing it for the first time). You don’t need to look far to get some whys.

However, there is no real satisfactory answer to why are world is filled with prejudice. Why don’t people don’t treat people as just people? I don’t know.

Why do we have to arbitrarily label, categorize, and judge each other as being inferior?

I don’t know. I wish we’d stop, or at least try. I think that’s where I get mad and pick my battles is when people don’t even care enough to give a sincere effort to be more sensitive to what fills someones shoes. Take a moment to think about what it takes to walk their mile, especially since we have the power to make that easier for everyone with so little effort.

And with that, I will vacate my soapbox for the time being.

To change gears into something more silly while maybe getting a glimpse of walking even a tiny bit in a woman’s shoes, check out this Smartest Man in the World podcast. It’s one of my favorites. That Rory is one funny guy. :)

Ring Around the Relationship

Some people I know recently got engaged. Seriously, I’m happy for them. I like them both separately, and I like them together, which is rare enough.

Last weekend I learned all the details: the purchasing of the ring, the hiding of the ring, the nightmares and yearning for the ring, and yes, even the hunt for the ring. Apparently, waiting for such a thing is tortuous for women who care about that sort of thing. The gals gathered round looking at the ring and sympathizing with the torture of waiting, knowing the ring was somewhere in the house. I had a hard time pretending I ‘got it’. Having nightmares, wondering if he really cared or if it would ever happen seemed silly, even to a sometimes emotionally fragile woman like myself.

The guy stood by, trying not to be too unsympathetic, but you could tell was inwardly sighing. It gave me cause to be forthcoming.

“Look, maybe this is because I’m not very girly, but I don’t get why it was such torture. You know he bought it- you picked it out. You guys have been living with each other for how long? I mean, you know he cares. It’s just a material possession, it’s about what it symbolizes and what you already have.”

I got a “thank you” from the guy and a “you don’t get it” vibe from the gals. And maybe I don’t. It’s not to say I get men much either.

I had nightmares of my own that night, and not about rings. The whole subject threw something nasty into my subconcious maybe, or it’s just time for me to have nightmares again. I stopped giving serious cerdence to any theories concerning why I dream the way I do long ago. But, yes, some of the nightmares have been about my own past relationships.

The work week progressed and I found myself talking with someone who hadn’t heard of the engagement. It brought up the subject of people we know who are in or out of relationships. Some of the most awesome guys I know right are single, after all, and that’s sort of weird to me. We’re both single and I explained my own recent history and he his, though he gave no explanation circumstances of the last breakup- awhile ago. I didn’t want to press him either. At our age, it seems many of us have our own scars and reasons to be wary of letting people that close. I have my share, and though I’m not shy to share, you never know how fresh it might actually still be for some people.

I also know some of us don’t bear the same scars. This guy of this recently engaged couple admits this has been his first long term relationship ever.

Most people I know are well beyond that. I spoke to a long time friend on the subject of how we’d become so jaded. It used to be easy belief and naivety, and now it’s a blunt, “What’s this guy’s motivation?”. She is standing at a crossroads right now wondering whether to go down the path of possibly pursuing a perhaps impossible relationship with a guy in another country. She is having a hard time dealing with the logical worries that accompany that, and yet how jaded can we be if she is finding herself meandering down that path despite the odds?

I guess we have to try. We live to live.

I wondered why the guy in the engaged couple wasn’t so forthcoming with announcing his engagement. It seemed word had finally finished spreading today, and suddenly I understand with the barrage of shit he was given by guys he knows. All the guy questions on top of the shit given were as silly as the women’s discussion. A lot of guys at our age apparently don’t know how the modern U.S. Judeo-Christian tradition of engagement and marriage works. It was pretty amusing listening to said engaged friend try to field these questions and comments.

“So, where’s your ring?”
“What? The woman eventually gets two rings!?”
“Do you get two rings too?”
“Do they wear both rings? Or do they stop wearing the engagement one after marrying. That seems a waste if they do.”
“Which is more expensive, the wedding one or the engagement one?”
“So, wait, there’s two rings?”
“Do they wear them both on the same hand?”
“So, how long do you have until you have to get married now?”
“How can you get engaged without knowing when you’re getting married? Aren’t you supposed to know that beforehand?”
“Well, I guess ring buying is better than dowry.”
“Wait, doesn’t the woman’s dad give dowry to the man’s dad?”
“I think it’s different in different cultures?”
“How do you know which ring to get?”
“If she helped pick it out, what’s the point of proposing and giving the ring?”
“Yeah, why did she want it so bad?”
“So… wait, there are two rings?”
“Dude, where’s your ring? Why don’t you wear one yet?”
“Isn’t that something, a woman gets two rings? And they want equal rights too, but keep the perks.”
“So, who gets to keep the ring if you- I mean some other couple, not you- were to split up?”
“Dude, it better be the guy. That’s not fair.”

So, meanwhile, both the women and the men obsess about the ring. I am left to wonder about relationships, people, circumstances, trust, and chance. I have nightmares about past attempts and try not to obsess too much about the strength and fragility of our connections to those around us. Even so, it’s a subject I think about a lot, and I’m afraid it guides me too often when think of those around me, the chances, and the circumstances.

I guess we’re here to try. We’re here to live.

Quantity VS Quality

This is somewhat in response to the Twitter spam ‘discussion’ between Scoble and Badera.

There’s a lot of cliches that begin with the phrase ‘there are two types of people’. Though the world is not simple enough to classify everything as one or the other, there are dichotomies in this world and people especially.

When I look back on why certain relationships with people have failed, I think it has to do with a fundamental difference in values. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about people who are about more about quality and people who care about quantity.

A quality person is someone who values the intangible essence of something over the actual amount. They would rather have one moment of true revelation that a million okays. They actually believe that the thought is what counts. They are someone who’d rather hang out with a few people and have in depth discussions. Quantity people can deal with being wrong, losing a game, or considering other viewpoints, because they aren’t keeping score.

Quantity people are all about keeping score. They are worried about numbers of instances over the content of the instances themselves. They’d think the better gift is money rather than a well thought event planned by the giver.They’d go to a party at someone’s house advertised on a flier and try to say hi to as many people there as possible without really getting to know anyone. People like this are about life as a competition and being right.

There’s nothing wrong with that type of person, it’s just not me, not how I view the world and go about things. I think the unquantifiable things are what make life worth living. One real connection means so much more than a hundred passing hellos.

That’s as much true on the internet as it is anywhere else. I’m prefer my little online community any day of the week than a bunch of faceless, passing, generic comments.