Thursday, December 6, 2018

24 Festive Tasks | Door 11: Russian Mother's Day

(Last Sunday in November | November 25, 2018)


12/06/2018:  Updated with completion of Task 3.  With lots of pictures!

12/01/2018:  I've been out of touch, because work has been so busy that I'm dead on my feet when I get home.  Really, I've just been skimming my dashboard when I get a chance, but never really getting much time to see everyone else's posts.  I was thinking that, fortunately, there haven't been too many door reveals, but apparently I've missed three door reveals already.

It looks like I might spend the weekend playing catch up.

At this point, I've completed Tasks 1 and 2 for this door!

Task 1

Tell us: What is the mother of all writerly sins in your book (tropes, grammar mistakes, telling instead of showing, etc.)?
-- COMPLETED 12/01/2018 --

I'm going to follow in Darth Pony's footsteps and also say that it irritates me when supposed authors don't respect the craft.  I'm stealing this particular sin because, it certainly is an umbrella that houses many other sins that I cannot stand.

For instance, I absolutely despise books that are poorly edited, unedited, or unfinished.  I'm paying to read your product, and if it's unfinished, I feel like I got cheated of my hard earned money.  Getting updates of later editions makes me even angrier--if you weren't finished, why is the book on sale?

And as I'd mentioned in one of my comments, following up with excuses for why the book was being sold unedited or unfinished doesn't really pique my sympathy.  Having the gall to demand credit for even writing a book in the first place just makes me roll my eyes, especially if your book is an unfinished product.

Having a poorly written book is a question of perspective, so I'm not even going to get into that.  But on a more technical level, at least have the decency to sell a finished, properly edited product.  Readers are not your beta readers.  Editing, outlining, and the actual writing of the book should have been completed before I saw it in the store (or even at the library).

Would you be happy eating a meal at a restaurant if your order was only half-cooked?  If your Spaghetti and Meatball order was missing meatballs?  Or if your dish was lacking taste altogether?  And then being expected to still pay full price for it?  And then being asked to be patient with the cook because he or she has had a hard week?  Come back next week and try again, our chef will be in a better mood... maybe.  And you'll get the more updated, best work!  Besides, cut the poor cook some slack, this is said cook's first time cooking this meal.

Look, maybe I'm just irrational, but I don't get a free pass for half-assing my job, because, you know what?  I work in a hospital.  If I half-ass my job just because I'm having a bad day or a bad week, that AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.  I could kill someone by half-assing my job.

On a side note, I'd even commented that I never understood authors who openly admit that they don't really read.  Say what?  Not everyone is a writing prodigy, so I find it hard to believe that someone is able to do their craft properly without studying other examples--i.e. reading other books.  I mean, even I'm constantly checking out other's blogs for ways I can better present my own posts.  And I'm doing this for free.

Task 2

Do you have a favorite Mothers’ Day memory that you are happy to share? Photos welcome but optional.
-- COMPLETED 12/01/2018 --

In the present, what we really do for Mothers' Day is simply take Mom out to eat and enjoy ourselves.  She certainly does.  As Mom is apt to say, anything she doesn't have to cook is the best meal ever.

But I'm recalling one Mothers' Day where I'd inadvertently made Mom's day without really thinking about it.

I used to work in hotel catering while I was going to college.  One Mothers' Day weekend, on Saturday night, we had a pretty big wedding with these beautiful elaborate floral centerpieces.  At the end of the night, the wedding party offered the staff some flowers to take home if we wanted, and almost everyone decided to grab a bunch, either for themselves, or for their mothers.

My parents are proponents of, "If it doesn't have a use, don't bring it home."  And they get annoyed if you buy anything unnecessary, thus spending money unnecessarily.  So I'd never bought my parents anything that wasn't pre-approved.  But since these flowers were freebies, my coworkers urged me to take a handful home for my mother.  Surprise her for Mothers' Day, they said.  And so I shrugged, grabbed some flowers, wrapped them up in plastic, and took them home thinking that Mom and Dad would just roll their eyes and throw them away.  I left them sitting on the dining room table since it was late and everyone was asleep.

But the next morning, after I came out of my room, my Dad had this huge smile on his face.

"Mom was really happy about the flowers you brought home last night," he said.  "She loves them."

It was a super surprise to me, to be honest.  And to prove it, he showed me the flower vase she had dug out just for those flowers.  I can't remember how I had felt at the time, nor what else went on, or if there was a subtle change to my parents' motto of "don't spend unnecessarily, and don't bring useless things home."  But after that day, I simply started trying to surprise my parents with little gifts here and there, or simply a pretty card from Hallmark.

Of course, now we just settle for going out to eat and hanging out.  Mainly because I'm starting to understand my parents' motto of "don't bring it home unless it's useful."  You just start collecting a lot of things and might one day become a potential guest on that Hoarder's televisions show that I've never actually watched...

But every so often, it's kind of nice to get something impractical just because you want to.  =D

Task 3

Perhaps the best-known scene in the James Bond novel and film From Russia With Love is 007 being poisoned by Russian agent Rosa Klebb with a venom-laced blade hidden in her shoe.  Tell us: Have you ever owned any particular / outrageous / funny / best-beloved or otherwise special pair of shoes?  Post a photo if you should still own them.
-- COMPLETED 12/06/2018 --

Oh my goodness, I love shoes!  If I had to list all the pairs I've ever owned that I love, this might take a while.  Shoes are probably my most fashionable indulgence, as I usually don't really care to shop for anything dressy or pretty.  I mean, I work in a career where my uniform are scrubs; fancy clothes (or even shoes) are not recommended, after all, as certain bio hazardous materials could end up on them.

So... I DO have a lot of shoes I especially love, including some pairs from my youth, and pairs from the present.  As for a favorite pair... I go through phases of favorites...  So rather than listing an special, favorite pair, I'll just list a bunch of pairs I really love.

At current, my favorite pairs include a pair of Bearpaw winter boots, and a pair of Teva flip-flops.  One pair of footwear for summer and one pair of footwear for winter!

In the past, I never really cared for flip-flops.  I'd tried buying plastic, flat, $3 flip-flops in the past, but didn't like them.  After a certain amount of time, your feet start hurting.  So I stuck to sneakers.  My friends never understood why I didn't want to buy flip-flops to let my feet breathe, and pestered me about it.  I just couldn't stand those flat bottom flip-flops that gave no cushion support at all.

It wasn't until my friends and I went on a cruise about five years ago that I finally found myself a pair of flip-flops that I could wear without my feet hurting.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to look for a pair to wear when we walked on the beach, not really wanting to get sand in my sneakers and all.

I browsed a couple retailers before I found them.  They were raised flip-flops with a cushioned heel, $12 at Target!  I loved them.  But they got discontinued--fortunately, I'd bought a second pair before that.  I still have them and still wear them.  But they still weren't my favorite pair of footwear.

Last year, I discovered the Teva flip-flops, with a slightly raised bottom that were memory foam cushioned!  I fell in love with them.  I bought a second pair.  They're pretty expensive compared to most flip-flops...  My brother gave me crap about spending so much money on a pair of flip-flops.  My response was pretty much along the lines of, "I wanted them, they're comfortable, and I'll wear them all the time.  So whatever."

As for the Bearpaw boots, they were on sale, I tried them on, they kept my feet warm, I fell in love.  When I wore them for the first time in a winter storm, I fell in love with them even more.  I had traction, I had warm feet, and I had feet that stayed dry.  These things are awesome!

Backtracking a little bit...  When I was younger, I fell into the trendy L.A. Lights phase where I saw a commercial and decided that I must have light up shoes.  Of course, I don't have a picture of them, since I was just an elementary school kid then, but with a simple Google search, I found the closest approximation to what I remember being what my pair looked like.  These were my very first pair of super expensive shoes, because back in the day, my mother used to stick to the buy one, get one half-price shoes, running about fifteen bucks each, typically.

If I remember clearly, it was one of the few indulgences my mom allowed me, a pair of sixty dollar L.A. Lights.

Nowadays, apparently I don't even really blink at a pair of fifty or sixty dollar Nikes, especially after learning that the cheaper shoes truly didn't last as long as the Nike shoes I wear now.  And I'm on my feet a lot more than I was as a kid.  For fifteen to twenty dollars a pair, with a buy one, get one half-price deal, those shoes usually rarely lasted me a year per pair.  But the Nikes I wear now, I can usually manage a good two to two and a half years, working on my feet on a regular basis.

Finally, for dressy shoes, I decided to just include a brief look at some of the ones I particularly love.

The second pair from the left with the thin buckle-ankle straps are actually a pair of almost platform-like dress shoes I bought when I was in high school.  They weren't all that comfortable, and were a pain to get the buckle off, but they were my first pair of dress shoes and I loved them.  In fact, they were my only pair of dress shoes for years.  I don't wear them anymore, because they don't really fit... and to be honest, I'm a little surprised I was able to find them.  I thought I'd thrown them out already.

The other three pairs of dress shoes are more recent purchases.

The two on the right were bought five years ago when I was shopping for a pair of dress shoes for my cruise.  I liked both of them and so decided to splurge for vacation.  I don't wear the one on the far right a lot--the crisscross design, the ribbon tie, and the weave design on the heel (see below picture) are super gorgeous... but the heels are four inches, and the last time I wore them my feet were cramped and bruised for days.  The brown pair are only three inches of heel and much more comfortable--if you can call dress shoes comfortable--and I DO wear them a lot when going out.

Finally, the first pair on the left were bought last year for my brother's wedding--I think I gushed about them in a previous post already.

Task 4

Make a traditional Russian dish like borscht, blintzes, pirogi or solyanka soup, and share a picture with us. Find recipe suggestions here:

I'm going to put this one on the back burner for now and browse some recipes to see what I might be able to put together.

Book Task

Read a book set in Russia, or involving a story within a story / play within a play (like the Russian matryoshka dolls stuck inside each other), or where a key character (not necessarily the protagonist) is a mother.

I'm sure I've got many books where a key character is a mother.  Otherwise, this will require some searching.

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