Darcy's Place

Yet another journal-type place for Darcy to rant, rave, and/or recuperate from the world.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Have you ever made anything by hand? What was it?

I am a great proponent of learning to make things by hand.  Often, things made by hand are better quality and last longer, because of the maker’s attention to detail and potential weaknesses.  I have made a couple of wooden storage boxes by hand, as well as knitted products such as sweaters, socks, gloves and hats.  I even knitted myself a dress once.  There have been various plastic canvas and cross stitch projects, and when I was younger, my grandma helped me to make a short-legged, short-sleeved jumpsuit.  When I write, I prefer to do a draft by hand, especially for fiction, before revising and typing up the story.  Maybe one day, I’ll be able to build an airplane or something from a kit.  I wonder if there’s such a thing as a motorcycle kit, or if I could just build one out of my imagination.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How do you feel about diets? Have you ever tried one? Did it work for you or did it backfire?

A “diet” is the combination of the types of foods someone eats and the amount they eat of each type.  Even eating junk food and ice cream is a diet.  It’s a bad one, but it’s still a diet.  Each different diet has a purpose.  There are diets to help someone lose weight—or to gain it—diets to help build muscle, diets that include or eliminate a certain type of food, and diets that only include one type of food.

That said, I have never tried a specific, named diet, like vegetarianism or the Atkins Diet, but I have tried to keep track of an adjust my own generic diet to try and lose some of the extra fat on my body.  It would probably work better if I actually used enough self-discipline to stick to that plan though.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Would you ever sign a prenuptial agreement? Would it upset you?

A lot of people think that prenuptial agreements are defeatist and show a lack of faith in one’s partner and the potential longevity of the relationship.  I am not one of those people.  When done properly, a prenuptial agreement is a safety net.  The signers do not expect divorce, nor do they anticipate wanting it.  Instead, they plan for the possibility that—despite all of their efforts to keep a marriage together—it may still fail.

The prenuptial agreement is there to help them avoid some of the heartache involved in the allocation and separation of assets during a divorce.  It is done before the marriage is solemnized so that the agreement on the necessary terms is made while the couple is still in love and wanting to provide for each other as well as themselves, whereas in most divorces in which a couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, either one or both parties tends to try and take everything from the other, or to stab them in the back to get revenge.

A prenuptial agreement can at least curtail the possibility of one partner actually getting more than their fair share of a marriage’s assets.  That is why I signed my prenup: to protect both my husband and myself from possible—if unlikely—future backstabbing.

Describe your perfect cup of coffee or tea.

Depending on my mood, I drink either tea or coffee.  The coffee, whether hot or iced, is almost always the same: no surgar and at least one ounce of half-and-half per cup of coffee.  My perfect cup of tea changes depending on what’s available, whether it’s a caffeinated or uncaffeinated tea, and the flavor of the tea itself.

The best hot tea I have ever had was the Oolong brew at Chong Yet Yin Chinese restaurant in Mount Airy, Maryland.  The lady who served it had made it nice and strong, as I like all teas, and the flavor was excellent; I would drink that tea with no additions all day long if I could.  A good, someone expensive substitute that I drink sparingly as a treat is Teavana’s Four Seasons Oolong, also without additions.

I usually drink English Breakfast with half-and-half, herbal teas containing either mint, chamomile or both with lemon juice and honey, and green tea with either lemon or nothing.  Depending on the blend, I may or may not add half-and-half, or I may try something else entirely.

I’m not a tea snob, but I do like good tea, preferably hot, though iced is good too.

Could you ever live at the beach, or do you just feel it's a place to visit?

I have only ever been to six beaches in my entire life, but that is more than enough for me to have learned that every beach is different.  Ocean City, for instance, I would not like to visit or live near, because it is too crowded and commercialized.  The two beaches I have visited in Michigan were either too cold or too full of trash to enjoy, despite their isolation.  The beach at a lake in Utah that I visited when I was seven doesn’t count as a “real” beach to me, because it was on a lake and not on the coast of an ocean or sea.  Even so, it was too crowded for my taste anyway.  Miami beach is a fine place to visit, but the large city so close by and the high price of living in that area would prevent me from wanting to live there.

Would I ever want to live at a beach?  If the circumstances—and the beach, of course—were just right, then I absolutely would love to live at a beach.  I even have the perfect beach in mind: Waihi Beach, on the eastern shore of the northern island in New Zealand.  If I could either make more than one trip back to the States to visit family and friends every five to ten years or find some way for all of them to be there with me, I would absolutely live at Waihi Beach, particularly at one of the more southern stretches, where there aren’t as many people who go there even in the summer months.  I would like to live a mile or two just south of the town of Waihi Beach itself, within a block or two of the water’s edge.

Why Waihi?  Well, the water is clear and a perfect temperature in the summertime, the people are very friendly, and it doesn’t get too cold in the winter.  Also, in the few places I have travelled outside Maryland, Waihi was the only place I have really been able to feel comfortable enough to talk to and make friends with perfect strangers.  On our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed at a small bed and breakfast in Waihi run by an older couple.  They were the nicest people I’ve ever met, and I would gladly move to Waihi Beach (as long as I could still be near family, of course) in order to be able to call Greg and Ali neighbors.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Do you think there is a secret to success? How would you describe success?

Most people describe success as making a lot of money, but I disagree.  Success is getting to the places you want to be in life, whether that means having a career, starting a family, or even just finishing a personal project or being a good parent.  Even if two people have the same goals, the steps they take and their definition of success when they accomplish those goals will most likely be different.

There is no real “secret” to achieving success either.  In other words, you can’t just do something specific, or take a shortcut that will result in success.

The real path to success has three steps.

The first step is knowing your goals.  You can’t be successful unless you know what constitutes success.

Second, you have to do your homework.  Find out what you know and what you still need to learn, or what organizations and people can help you accomplish those goals.

Finally, in order to be successful, you have to have the discipline to keep working toward your goals, learn the skills and knowledge you need, make the contacts you have to make, and—most importantly—do the work that has to be done in order to get where you want to be.

If you were to start a new business right this minute, what would it be? Describe it.

If I were to start a new business right now, it would be a home-based, online, knit goods shop.  I would need to create a business plan and figure out how much money I would need to start the shop, but the way I would do business initially would involve keeping as few supplies as possible in my house.

First, I would purchase a knitting machine and setup an online store, probably on a site like Etsy to start with.  Once business picked up, I could hire someone to design a separate website with a catalogue and shopping cart system for me, but I won’t need that to begin.  I would list off all of the products I am able to knit, and include an option for customers to get a quote on the cost for a custom item by email.

I would charge, for each item sold, an amount of money equal to the cost of the yarn and other items (buttons, zippers, etc.) used, plus a flat rate for my having to use my knitting tools and the federal minimum wage for one quarter of the number of hours it would have taken me to make the item with just my hands and knitting needles.

I would buy yarn and other supplies as needed for each new order.  When I could not fulfill orders in a reasonable amount of time anymore, I would buy a second knitting machine and hire a second person on commission to help me fulfill them.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Describe what common sense means to you.

Common sense is almost never based on fact, but is usually used to explain away "things that we've always done" as normal or more acceptable than the alternatives.  Rarely, common sense actually aligns with whatever research may or may not have been done on any given topic, and that is "good" common sense.

Often, and unfortunately usually, however, people don't bother to ask themselves why what they think is right, and will not listen to arguments against their own beliefs.  Or, they will listen to the arguments, but then respond with a completely illogical answer, such as, "My religion says it has to be this way, so you can't do it another way, even if you don't believe in the same things I believe in."

In other words, "common sense" is often neither common, nor sense.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What was that about the days of the week?

I went to Barnes and Noble last week and bought a book called 500 Writing Prompts. Every once in a while, I am going to write responses to random prompts from that book and post them on here. They won't be in any particular order except the order in which I respond to the prompts. You can find them grouped together by clicking the link at the right labeled "500 Writing Prompts."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Describe each day of the week as food.

Monday is the cold leftovers of an experimental meal that was only eaten when it was first made because there was no alternative.

Tuesday is a cold-cut sandwich, tasty but without much effort in its preparation.

Wednesday is the meal made by someone else to get you over the hump of the week.

Thursday is a hearty pasta, the comforting realization that work is nearly over for this week.

Friday is a dinner made just for you, in celebration of survival for another arbitrary span of time.

Saturday is a lazy, slow-cooked casserole, and Sunday is a four-course meal, laboriously prepared in hopes that the early effort will make the rest of the coming week less arduous.