When Taste Meets Bud

My sister hates avocados. I think I’d curl up and die without avocado in my life. I make the best freakin’ guacamole this side of Mexico, even if I do say so myself. And I’m so grateful to the millennials for turning me on to avocado toast!

I’m really stunned at how picky some people can be about food. I have another friend who will not try a plant- or fish-based burger just on general principle. Given how incredible meat analogs are today, he’s really missing out. (No, I’m not a vegetarian, but I am relying on meat less and less with each passing year.)

I know another person who will not drink plain water. I mean… it’s water! Our bodies are 60 percent water. How can you have a problem with water? (She says it’s disgusting.)

But who am I to judge? There are foods I don’t like. I feel no shame in that as long as I can say I’ve at least tried them. But it’s a big old world out there, and there are some strange things that some people consider food. A lot has to do with location and culture. I’m sorry, but I can’t bring myself to eat something that is still alive. Nope. Won’t even try it. So I suppose I can’t pick on my friend for not trying veggie burgers. To each his own.

You never know what will happen when taste meets bud. The introduction can go well, or it can be a disaster. In that way, it’s kind of like internet dating. It’s about your history, your home place, and how open your mind is, for good measure.

Fried Spiders
Fried Spiders

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I firmly believe in self-expression. I think every adult human should have a right to dress however he or she pleases. I just wish more people would put some thought into exactly how they express themselves.

I’m not referring to that annoying habit that some men have of wearing sandals with knee socks. (I think that looks absurd, but your fashion rights should extend to bad taste as well.) I don’t mean wearing colors that obviously clash or make you look like bozo the clown. (Again, your option.)

I’m talking about when your clothes send an ugly message about what you think about yourself and the wider world.

For example, in this day and age, you can order a t-shirt that says absolutely anything. There are customized print on demand companies that can take your self-expression to the next level. But just because you can wear something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

For example, the t-shirts above definitely send a strong message, but it might not be the one the wearer intends.

  • I don’t care about other people’s feelings.

  • I’m an idiot.

  • I enjoy upsetting people.

  • I have a really warped worldview.

I don’t see how wearing a shirt like this benefits anyone, including the wearer. It makes no sense.

And then there are these jeans, which apparently are quite popular at the moment.


Here’s the thing. Most women like to put their best foot forward. At least that has been my experience. So if you want to wear jeans like these, I assume that you think your most redeeming quality is your body. And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your body. I vaguely remember what that’s like. But these jeans (or the lack thereof) say to the wider world that your sexuality is your primary selling point. It would be much classier, in my opinion, to walk down the street naked.

Hyper-sexual clothing makes me very sad. I know a lot of amazing women, and what makes them amazing is not their physical form. It’s who they are. It’s their intelligence. It’s their kindness. It’s their abilities. I bet the model above is a very nice person, but I’m quite sure most people who look at that photo aren’t having that thought.

If you are wanting to draw people to you with your self-expression, you might want to ask yourself what kind of people you will draw to you if you’re wearing these jeans or those t-shirts. First of all, you’re going to intimidate a lot of really amazing individuals. You’ll disgust and repel others. And the ones you attract with those jeans, especially, will not be interested in who you are inside. None of these garments say, “Take me seriously.”

I’m not suggesting that women should cover themselves from head to toe, revealing only their eyes. (Unless, of course, they wish to do so, in which case more power to them.) I’m not saying that no one should voice their opinions. And I’m definitely not telling you to be ashamed of your own body.

I’m merely saying that showing the world that you have dignity and respect, especially self-respect, and inviting them to learn more about you through civil conversation will be, in the long run, a great deal more appealing to those who will be most likely to treat you decently.

And when all is said and done in this insane world of ours, decency is what we all deserve.


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That Moment When You Realize You Have Horrible Taste

Hi, my name is Barb, and my curtains don’t match. My pillowcases don’t match my sheets, either. And some of the pants I wear to work are patched because I refuse to spend money on something that’s just going to get greasy. I’ve had pretty much the same hairdo since high school, and no one else seems to dress the way I do. I can’t be bothered to be trendy. I’d rather spend my money on travel.

I don’t wear makeup, I’ve never had a manicure, and I watch a lot of reality TV and true crime crap off of Youtube. I collect rocks. I also collect misfits.

I really ought to vacuum my car, but since I don’t even bother to wash it, what are the odds of that? And I’m sure my neighbors would say that my yard is in desperate need of attention.

The reason I appreciate my friends and loved ones so much is that they are willing to look beyond that surface stuff and see who I am. Underneath all that tacky sloppy stuff is a warm heart, a loyal friend, an intelligent woman with a killer sense of humor. I’m kind and compassionate and creative. And my dog loves me.

I admit I probably don’t make the best first impression. But I’ve always appreciated those people who are willing to delve deeper. Thank you all for that.

bad taste

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Nature Doesn’t Clash

I have a friend who is an artist, and when choosing his color palette for any given creation, he looks to nature for inspiration. He’ll take a leaf or a flower petal, for example, and put it under a microscope, and then use the colors he sees there. I think that’s a brilliant idea.

If you want the ultimate arbiter of good taste, nature is it. First of all, it’s been around a heck of a lot longer than we have. It knows how to play the game. It doesn’t like short-term trends. I can’t think of even one example of a natural thing that irritates my sensibilities. I definitely can’t say that about humans on an average day. (Nature wouldn’t be caught dead in sandals with knee socks.)

Nature also doesn’t wage war, shut down the government for selfish reasons, or pollute itself in the name of greed. It sees no need for firearms. If anyone were to support health care for all, it would be nature.

While nature can seem arbitrarily cruel, it definitely looks at the big picture and the long term. These are qualities that modern man seems to lack, to our everlasting peril. The more we ignore nature’s warnings, the more we will suffer. Nature is patient. Nature will win. The question is, will we be around to see it?

Painted Hills Oregon
Painted Hills, Oregon

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Making a House a Home

In my search for a house to buy, I’ve toured many possibilities, and it has really made me realize that no two people live the same way. Making a house a home is truly an exercise in creativity and imagination. It’s kind of exciting when you think about it. Most of us will never have a larger venue in which to express ourselves than the place in which we live.

There is no telling what will say “home” to someone. I once saw a bedroom with a black ceiling and pumpkin orange walls. What were they thinking? Thoughts of their very own, no doubt.

When I bought my first house, the bathroom had very interesting wallpaper. It was hot pink, with a pattern of silver bamboo and maroon butterflies. The first thing I did when I moved in was peel that paper off the walls. I knew I’d never be able to use that bathroom successfully until I did.

But that’s the beauty of home ownership, isn’t it? I can have the tackiest taste in the world, and it’s nobody’s business but my own. It’s my castle. If I want my bedroom ceiling to have a glow in the dark milky way design (Oh, and I do. I really do.) then why not?

If you feel you do have questionable taste and that bothers you, you can find a lot of decorating advice on line. A Google search of “How to make rooms look bigger”, for example, will yield quite a few results.

I recently lost a bid on a house that I loved absolutely everything about. Heartbreaking. But I did save all the photos of the interior, and I fully intend to take a lot of the ideas and use them in whatever house I wind up with. It’s as if that house has become my style guru.

As a renter, I’ve had to respect my landlord’s choices. All the walls have remained white. I would never have chosen any of the curtains that hang in the windows. And if given a chance, I’d have gutted the entire bathroom and started from scratch. Because of this, even though I do love the place, it has never felt truly like it’s mine. I can’t wait to get my hands on a home of my own!

Home Decor
Your imagination (and your bank balance) is the only limit.

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The Bumblebee Shirt

I am convinced that some people should not be allowed to dress themselves. You know the ones. You pass them on the street and the first thing that crosses your mind is, “What the hell were you thinking this morning?”

I must admit I’m not exactly a fashion plate myself. Comfort matters much more to me than brand names or the latest trend. But I try not to clash. I try to avoid spandex. I try to be age appropriate. And as a general rule I try not to look ridiculous.

I used to date a guy who liked to wear a golf shirt that consisted of wide alternating stripes of olive drab and mustard yellow, which was horrible, but tolerable, until you added in the fact that it had a large powder blue coat of arms stitched on the upper left side. I used to call it the bumblebee shirt. The thing was awful. And it didn’t help that he was a redhead. People would stare at him with a look of pity when he wore it.

I have to admit that I teased him about this shirt. This was before I realized that he hadn’t matured past the age of 12 and that teasing actually emotionally lacerated this guy. You couldn’t even get into water fights while washing the car with him, because he’d take it personally and actually get tears in his eyes. This made it awfully hard to have fun with him.

When we broke up, I discovered that what I intended as good-natured teasing and maybe a little bit of advice came off as bullying to him. He never had the backbone to speak up at the time, and eventually he got rid of the shirt. But now I feel kind of bad about it. Maybe it would have been better to let him be laughed at by the whole world. I was genuinely trying to protect him from that. But he was notorious for not picking up on blatantly obvious social cues, and ignorance is, after all, bliss.

bumblebee shirt

He actually wore all of this stuff except the tank top.