Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware #4: Label - retentive

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 05-01-2013 01:30 AM 1467 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Money and happiness Part 4 of Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware series Part 5: Fear and pride in the workshop »

First, the caveat:

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.

My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late. (If you’re reading this Monte – you caught me)

If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.

931pm A bit earlier than my usual ramblings. The kids are asleep, and my husband is watching sports with a large glass of beer. I should be good for 30 minutes.

I was on LJ today looking at shop photos. I went back and read some threads about tool organization and drooled over some pictures. I love things to be organized. I love lists, and knowing where things are, being punctual and I do have a fondness for labels. I guess that makes me label-retentive. That penchant isn’t obvious if you look at my shop photos, but life happens, and I do realize that not everyone shares my, ummm, passion? problem?

I’m stuck and I’m only 4 minutes in. Why was I writing about labels again?

Ah yes, the word label was on my mind today because it occurred to me that labels are both a blessing and a curse.
It used to be that you could label someone and it wouldn’t cause social outcry. “Do you know Bill, the tall black guy? Or Rose, the large lady.” Labels change over the years. Now we’re stuck in a society where we sometimes mumble and stutter our way through social situations. We’ve lost the comfort of our known labels. When someone introduces me to their ‘partner’, I no longer can delve into my mental filing cabinet and pull out an image or description. Maybe I need re-usable labels?

The media made labelling equivalent to evil-doing when it was used by police for ‘profiling’. Gee, if I got bit by a poodle 6 times in a row, I’d probably flinch when I saw a poodle. We all profile. It’s just not polite to talk about it. Show me three teenagers with their pants half way to their knees, huddled together on a street corner, and I’d probably choose to walk on the other side of the street. Yes, they could be exchanging prayer cards, or perhaps comparing SAT scores but my mental label maker prints out something altogether different.

When I used to travel a lot for work, I’d know how organized an office was or wasn’t as soon as I saw the labels, or lack thereof.
Need batteries? Those would be in the cupboard labelled ‘batteries and chargers’ Need pens? In the cupboard labelled ‘office supplies’. Far better than opening sixteen cupboards to find what you’re looking for. Where is Betty’s desk? Hers would be the one with the name plate that says Betty Lastname. See how great labels can be?

When talking to my 13 year old daughter one day, I told her that I still remembered which girls had certain labels when I was her age. (You know the ones I’m talking about, admit it.) The long lecture ended with something about her never dating until she’s 28.

Back to woodworking. I’m still a newby to the craft/skill/obsession/hobby so I really don’t know how much or little the labels have changed. I presume if someone is writing about a table saw, that the image I have is pretty accurate. Sandpaper is not open to much interpretation. Sure there are a plethora (nerd word)of types, but the function and the name are the same. There’s a comfort in labels that we all understand. Of course we could talk about name brands as labels, but I can never remember how to spell Lie Nielson. Or is it Neilson. Whichever, I don’t own any, so it’s a moot point. I’m pretty sure that sawdust in Korea is much like sawdust in Eastern Canada or Australia. If I mention that the shelves are made of wood, we seem to all agree here that it is material from a tree.

My dream shop someday will have drawers and cupboard with no labels on the outside. That’s because when you open each drawer or cupboard, there will be smaller bins or compartments with clearly legible labels. Andy, one of my LJ buddies, uses masking tape and a sharpie. It works for him, but I still think he needs a label maker for Christmas. (And he RIPS the tape too, gasp!)

10:13, and I may have officially stalled. Because writers don’t actually ‘write’ much any more, am I suffering from “typer’s block”? Or is it “keyboarding cramp”?

I have not been in my shop much at all in the past few weeks, and I’m itching to get back to building my workbench. Of course, there are some jigs in the queue for me to build, and you can be dang straight that they’ll be labelled in someway so that years from now, when I pick up the piece of MDF with graduated holes and a fence, I’ll know what the heck it was for.

When my kids each started taking the school bus, they took one bus in the morning and a different one in afternoon. I wondered how those poor kindergarden teacher could get them all to the right busses. My solution was to put a transparent luggage tag on their bookbags. One side was labelled with the morning bus info, the other side was a different colour and was labelled with the afternoon bus info and stop address. It worked like a charm.

Oh yeah, and for the record, it can be spelled ‘labeled’ or ‘labelled’. (Don’t mess with a label-makin’ mama on the edge.)

Phew. That was a hard fought 30 minutes.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

19 comments so far

View Moron's profile


5043 posts in 4460 days

#1 posted 05-01-2013 01:51 AM

the only demon we own, are that which fall from our own tongues where “delete” and “edit” have since expired.

a day will come where labels mean little unless it brings a smile to face, a breath of fresh air to a family, a feeling of success brought forth by tears from a previous failure.

: )

nice read kid

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2642 days

#2 posted 05-01-2013 02:05 AM

Thank you kindly. Someday I may learn to be concise. In the meantime I appreciate being humoured.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View boxcarmarty's profile (online now)


17240 posts in 2927 days

#3 posted 05-01-2013 02:06 AM

Sandra, What do all of these words have in common???
Lie Nielson or Neilson

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View DIYaholic's profile


19883 posts in 3242 days

#4 posted 05-01-2013 02:07 AM

I like labels….
They convey a collectively agreed upon uderstanding….
They help create/maintain order….
They make jokes funny….

As I said, I like labels….
Haven’t lost a pair of undies, since summer camp!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DocSavage45's profile


8874 posts in 3409 days

#5 posted 05-01-2013 02:09 AM


A label is both positive and negative. it’s a verbal perceptual tool for concept building. It is a means for communication as well as lack of communication.

IN MY DAY JOB I USE WORDS, BUT I HAVE LEARNED THAT ACTIONS AND VISION ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT, I learned this from a 7 year old. When I attempted to ask about how he was doing today, he would yell angrily ” No talk, just play!” It worked. I now play more and he asks questions. LOL!

May I suggest that we all play a little more. That we work with the non verbal side of the brain. It’s a great place.

Going to play and learn about my tools tomorrow. In preparation for making a seat/bench to sit with my animals when I feed them. I remember my little 7 year old(now nine) client advising me. I even told him I would be using his phrase

Good to see you rambling again. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30478 posts in 2905 days

#6 posted 05-01-2013 09:13 AM

I would say you are slightly more organized than I am. However I am trying to reorganize the shop to a significantly higher level.

As for people, we live in a world that forces us to distrust virtually any strange individual in front of us. Sad.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2642 days

#7 posted 05-01-2013 11:20 AM

Okay, Marty – you got me.
They’re not all compound words.
Some of them are not American spelling.
Some of them are labels.

I give up. Do they rhyme with a limerick or something??

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2642 days

#8 posted 05-01-2013 11:21 AM

Doc – yup, it’s usually a good sign when I can’t shut up.

Monte – the label goes INSIDE the undershorts…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3652 days

#9 posted 05-01-2013 01:32 PM

I think I have a similar problem, except that I do not navel gaze, I contemplate the essence of my navel, my
beautiful lady thinks I am verbose, I have an intellectual perception that she might be correct. I am going to
go play in my friends workshop now. We understand each others problems and his wife’s kitchen is now bare
sheetrock and needs to be finished. His outfeed table for one of his unisaws has all of the 24 good sized
drawers labelled-hammers, squares, knives, etc. All his light switches are labeled. I might be able to find one
or two labels in my shop. None of the 83 door and drawer panels that we finally finished for the custom
kitchen will have lablels. His wife is sure she will know where everything is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lablels.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2574 days

#10 posted 05-01-2013 01:42 PM

Labels? We dont neeed no steenking labels!

That’s why I dont CLEAN my shop, I just re-arrange the clutter. :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2642 days

#11 posted 05-01-2013 02:35 PM

Hey Gus,
I’m glad there’s no over the counter med for verbal diarrhea or my husband would be spiking my coffee. ‘Verbose’ is a more palatable term.

And Joe – you didn’t hear this from me, but I strongly suspect that many of the ‘messy’ shops are more productive. I can spend hours tidying and not cut one stick of wood…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View boxcarmarty's profile (online now)


17240 posts in 2927 days

#12 posted 05-01-2013 11:02 PM

They’re all misspelled…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2642 days

#13 posted 05-02-2013 01:32 AM

From the Grammarist website:

Labeled vs. labelled
In American English, label makes labeled and labeling, with one l. In Canada and in varieties of English from outside North America, the preferred forms are labelled and labelling.

In 21st-century English, buses is the preferred plural of the noun bus. Busses appears occasionally, and dictionaries list it as a secondary spelling,

Pronunciation: /əʊvərˈanəlʌɪz/

(US overanalyze)
Definition of overanalyse
[with object]
analyse (something) in too much detail:
his movies have been overanalysed
[no object]:
I do tend to overanalyse

I’ll concede to kindergarten, newly and bookbag being misspelled, but I’ll arm wrestle you about colour…..

And the caveat indicates that I can’t go back and edit unless I catch it immediately.

Is smart #ss one word or two?? ;)

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View boxcarmarty's profile (online now)


17240 posts in 2927 days

#14 posted 05-02-2013 01:38 AM

Isn’t this fun???

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View DocSavage45's profile


8874 posts in 3409 days

#15 posted 05-02-2013 01:40 AM


I’ve got a spell checker that works on this site so my words are correct even if I use them incorrectly….LOL! I was out in the shop playing with my router.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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