Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Clarifying a Mistake

I read something interesting the other day in a Facebook thread about Ryan Lochte, bless his little pea-pickin' heart.

Some people were chatting about his shenanigans and particularly what passed for an apology after the conclusion of the shenanigans.

One person said "he was clarifying a mistake." Another person said "no, he made a bad choice."

The difference between a mistake and a choice is like the difference between heaven and hell. It's a pretty clear distinction.

Here are some examples of mistakes:

  • Calling one of your children another child's name
  • Calling one of your pets another pet's name
  • Wearing one brown and one black sock
  • Using conditioner instead of shampoo
  • Ordering snails instead of steak because you left your reading glasses at home
  • Driving the wrong way down Hotel Street in Honolulu (I didn't mean to)
Here are some examples of choices:
  • Making an arse of yourself and then making up a story about getting robbed in a foreign land to cover it up. 

 (I didn't really feel like you needed more than just that one example. )

You see this a lot in politicians. Politicians are constantly telling us that they made a mistake when they posted a picture of their nether regions on Twitter or had 25 drinks and then drove into a lake, or when they accidentally spent half a million dollars on hookers and Scotch.

As a lover of words, I think that the words we use matter. We shouldn't use the word "mistake" when we mean "choice," any more than we should use the word "bacon" when we are discussing something which is made out of tofu or turkey. It would be far more respectable of the poor choice crowd (or the people claiming something which is not bacon is bacon) to just make up a whole new word, like snarglblarf or shammytoed or retrosnapple. I would respect that quite a bit actually, because it's been a while since I've seen a good new word brought into the world. And we could all come together around a person who experienced a terrible snarglblarf that they are embarrassed about, couldn't we?

I think so.

I have two fun things for you today. My mom got me the most WONDERFUL watercolors that I'd been lusting after since I saw them in Santa Fe. They are Schmincke and they are spectacular. My Mijello's are crying in the corner now.

I had to do a quick project with them to try them out and they are just a joy to paint with. Beautiful, saturated colors that blend perfectly. So here's a little no-line watercolor for you on some Fabriano Extra White watercolor paper - good stuff.

Gorjuss Hush Little Bunny with Schmincke watercolor by Understand Blue

I filmed the process of making this for you - it's sped up. Watercoloring the image took 55 minutes, and I figured you probably would prefer the 8 minute version here, unless you're imprisoned somewhere and have a ton of time to kill. Perhaps you're in a maximum security facility for those who snargleblarfed and didn't get away with it. If so, I'd be happy to bake the longer version into a cake for you.

Now in addition to the watercolors, I got an AWESOME present from my friend Brian King. This is seriously genius, and it's so cute. We both love pistachios, and somehow he found this ADORABLE, clever bowl and sent me one. It's two nested bowls, so that you can drop your shells down into the bottom bowl, thereby solving the greatest snacking problem confronting humanity.

OMG I love it so much. I'm a pistachio fiend - a FIEND - and I'm in heaven. Perfect for those Breaking Bad marathons.

So while we're on the subject of presents, I have one to give away! I'm giving away the Concord & 9th gift card from my birthday post. Drum roll please!

Congratulations Lee! Email me for instructions on claiming your prize.

And because you were all so nice as to give me your awesome book recommendations, I turned that into a list for all of you to enjoy. Where I could find links to the books, I added them. Where someone recommended everything by an author, I linked to a search result for that author with a list of all their books. I appreciate this list so much - and I look forward to reading all these - especially the ones where several of you mentioned the same ones - they must be great! There was only one I couldn't find - I believe the commenter said the River Book series but that didn't turn up anything for me so if you have an author or more info let me know!

So I hope you enjoy that list - that was nice of y'all to share with me! I will have fun working my way through it! I love having book-y friends.

Now go forth and use words that mean something!



  1. Wowzers! Where to begin? I love your card. You do such a fantastic job explaining your color choices & you make it look so effortless. Those watercolors look amazing. Can't wait see what else create with them. Now for that bowl - that is GENIUS!
    And thank for compiling that book list. So many books to listen to.

  2. you make learning about new things seem fun and unintimidating. i'll be standing by to hear what oxgall is.

    what a GIFT you gave US by sharing the list of books!!! thanks!

  3. Beautiful paint job. Thanks for the video.

  4. Love the shiny hair, the bowl, and Schminke is the gold standard, lucky you and happy birthday!

    Your choice/mistake point reminds me of people who call spelling errors or word misuse typos. A typo has to do with your fingers hitting the wrong keys. Not knowing how to spell a word or using a word incorrectly is not a typo. .

  5. I agree wholeheartedly. And by the way I love your card, no mistake.

  6. Such a great card! You are pure talent, my friend. How fun to see my bowl showcased here - I really put a lot of effort into creating it. :)

  7. Just awesome Lydia. My goal this year was to learn to water colour and I FINALLY bought myself a small pallet of colours and I can't wait to try something like this. Thanks for sharing your talent and being such a great teacher...
    Congratulations to your winner as well.

  8. I so enjoyed your comments about words....I, too, hope for some new words in the English language! (most notably, something to replace "stunning" when describing one's cards....where can you go from "stunning?") BTW, I heard that Ryan is repeating his "mistake" until some changes are made to suit him.
    I am not good at watercoloring, but you are such an inspiration I'll keep trying. Love your cards!

  9. Your watercoloring is SO good! And thank you for the list of books. There are so many of my favorites on their. I haven't recommended a book to you in a while because I suspect our tastes might be very different. I know you love non-fiction and I'm mildly allergic to it. You might like the book I'm currently reading - Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. Takes place in Africa - at the same time as one of my favorite movies Out of Africa. Many intersecting characters with that movie as well.

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  11. I just love visiting here, Lydia! Your card is lovely. Can't wait to watch the video and learn more about your new favorite watercolors! Love and completely agree with your thoughts today. Huge hugs for compiling the book list (with links)! You are just amazing!! ♡Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes

  12. Love the reading list - so many on there that I've already read! I can't believe no one mentioned Robyn Carr and her series!! I've read all of the Virgin River series and loved them all. Maybe add her to your list too?

    Also love all your watercoloring. You're such an enabler! Now I WANT those watercolors and I don't NEED them! LOL

    1. Interesting that you mentioned Robyn Carr - she popped up on my radar recently when I bought the first in her Grace Valley Trilogy series for my Kindle. It's on sale today for only $1.99. I'll borrow the others from my library on Kindle. :-)

  13. Lydia, great discussion about "mistake" and "choice". I would say "bad choice". Your poor Mijello Mission old watercolors - are they crying amidst your Kuretake and Inktense and Koi watercolor sketch box? I think I'll skip the Schminckes until I master the Mission Golds! :-) LOVE your book list. I also would refer others to Modern Mrs Darcy, who is a veritable fount of book-lovers goodness!

  14. I always learn something new about coloring, blending and magic magenta for shading! Thankyou!!!!

  15. Stunning to look at while LMAO. So love your use of words!


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