Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Word of the week: consistency...or maybe not

The word for the day is “consistency.” I never realized, until I was pouring cereal this morning, how often consistency—or lack thereof—shows up.

I’m cheap. Oh, not that way—I’m way too old to even go there—but cheap in that I’d rather pay two bucks for a generic item than three for a name brand. Except for sometimes. Like when cheap cereal has a different consistency than the name brand. I may feel a little silly paying more to have something feel right on my tongue, but I still pay it.

I don’t consider myself a picky eater (though my mother always did), but I won’t eat mashed potatoes with lumps, large curd cottage cheese, or tapioca pudding made from the bigger size of ball bearings. And yes, I know they’re not real ball bearings; they’re pearls, but I always thought ball bearings sounded like more fun. Whichever term you use, it’s all in the consistency.

When I was raising kids, everything I read, heard, and figured out for myself had to do with consistency. Whatever you said the first time, you needed to stick to it. If the curfew was midnight, that’s what it meant every time; it didn’t mean eleven minutes after. No allowances were to be made for being caught by a train, running out of gas, or having too much fun and losing track of the time.

I’m learning to make quilts, which is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The first lesson in making quilts is to sew with a consistent and precise quarter-inch seam allowance. I’m not there yet, by any means. My blocks tend to be a little crooked even though I’ve just about worn out my seam ripper.

Most of us want consistency in the work place. Preferential treatment leaves dissent and ill will in its wake; so does making a scapegoat out of someone.

Consistency in weather is something Hoosiers laugh at. Like promises in politics, legitimate gas prices, and no-calorie chocolate cake, it would be nice, but I’m just about positive it’s not going to happen.

Which leads me to think maybe consistency is overrated.

As in refusing to eat food because its lumps bother me is something that I would probably think was goofy if someone else said it. Aren’t you glad you didn’t?

As in, though I should have been a lot more consistent when the kids were growing up, that particular ship has already sailed. If I had it to do over again, I might do a better job. Then again, I might not. I really like the end product that was achieved without consistency.

I’ve made three queen-size quilts and lots of child-size ones. To date, no one has complained because my seams are crooked.

Even in the workplace, where we would all hope for equality, compassion has its place. Sometimes rules need to be bent or downright broken; sometimes one employee is more important than another; sometimes you just need to damn the torpedoes and do the right thing.

Which leads me to—my goodness, I’m doing way too much thinking for one short column—the truth of the matter. In all but the question of weather and possibly food, if we usually do the right thing, or try to, consistency will take care of itself.

Till next time.

Comments: So true, Liz! We live for consistency around our house - have to with a 2-year-old underfoot! But some days are definitely more consistent than others.

Have a quilting tip -- they sell feet for your machine that have a little guide on the side - that is exactly a 1/4 inch...so no more crooked seams!
# posted by Blogger Kristina Knight : March 1, 2011 at 9:14 AM   I USE a scant-quarter-inch foot, Kristi--I still get crooked! However, many of my quilts go to the children's hospital or to nursing homes, so I go for speed, too, so I can do more.

Thanks for coming by.
# posted by Blogger Liz Flaherty : March 1, 2011 at 9:21 AM   Post a Comment

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