All posts by Ally Bean

Quirky. Funny. Curious. With a twist of attitude. And the ability to write about it.

In Which We Learn Whether Or Not I Can Upload A Photo & Then Write About It


Let’s pretend that my last post didn’t happen.  Okay?

Which is to say that if you’ve arrived here expecting to see a post about me having lunch, I deleted it.  The post, not lunch.

I didn’t delete the post because I said anything bad, but because the photos, which made the post interesting, looked hazy.  Not pretty.

In fact, when I uploaded them yesterday the WP system wouldn’t let me upload them in the normal way.  I had to revert to an older way of uploading photos to get them here.

And once here, not so clear.

So now, today, this very morning, I decided to upload a test photo to see how the WP system is working today and to see how my photo looked.

And wouldn’t you know it, today’s photo, of two of my mother’s old recipe booklets that I keep in one of my desk drawers, is the epitome of clarity.  And coconut.

Thus proving that I’m tenacious, I can upload photos, I can write a post of the fly, and that I’ve kept some rather unique items that belonged to my mother.

For no discernible reason. Which seems to be the theme of this post.

Then The Rain Gutter Fell Off The Back Of The House


And Zen-Den* said: “It’s all good.”

And K the House Painter** said: “It’s all good.”

And I*** said: “NOOOOOOO!!!”

• • •

* He’s nuts, of course.  But he did manage to get the sales guy from the gutter company to come over to the house;  talk with the sales guy as he evaluated the damage caused by the heavy rain & high winds that ripped the gutter off of the house;  and sign a contract to have this company replace the fallen gutter.

Good job, Z-D.

**  He’s wise, of course.  First of all he’s already been to the house to cover the damaged gutter with tarps and received cash for his efforts.  Secondly, he’ll be the first person I call after the new gutter is in place because the new gutter & new wood will need to be painted the color of the house.

Once more.

***  I’m ticked, of course.  Because for the first time in years the exterior of our house is all the same color.  Plus, do you realize how much moolah this will cost us?  Hint: a 3-day roundtrip luxury resort getaway to Montego Bay, Jamaica, costs less than this will.  Hint: a new Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with the latest operating system, Yosemite, costs less than this will.  So what am I telling you here?


Reviewing The News, Reaching For The Wine

“I am satisfied.  Give me a bowl of wine:

I have not that alacrity of spirit,

Nor cheer of mind, that I was wont to have–

So, set it down.– Is ink and paper ready?”

~ William Shakespeare, King Richard III

• • •

USUALLY I’M GOOD AT knowing what I’m thinking and feeling about things.  Clarity of thought.  Sense of purpose.  Focus on what matters now.

Me.  Most of the time.

But the news of these last few weeks has worn me down.  Made me wonder about humanity.  Made me want to stay in my jammies all day, hiding in the back of the closet, playing Candy Crush.

• • •

First we talked about:

Ebola, and the CDCTexas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas‘s half-assed handling of said at a time when everyone in the USA needed them to do things properly.

Then we were inundated with: 

Mitch McConnell [or Old Turkey Neck as he's known in this house], and his daily TV political attack ads against his opponent, a woman with a gun who seems to scare the bejesus out of him.

Followed by:

Gamergate, and the blatant misogynistic attacks on woman associated with it under the guise of fair journalistic practices.

Then all of this took center stage:

Renee Zellweger, and the incessant opining about the reasons why she did what she did + about the results of what she did.

Culminating in:

The Parliament of Canada, and the unforeseen attack on it leading to the world’s newest isn’t-he-amazing hero who saved lives by calmly doing what needed to be done.

• • •

SO MY POINT HERE?  After hearing and reading about all the above, I’m tired, emotionally.  I’m tired, physically.

I’m just plain tired.

I have to wonder if keeping up with the news is what I need to be doing with my time.  While the well-educated rational side of me says “stay informed,” the sensitive empathetic side of me says “ignore.”  The cognitive dissonance is beginning to get to me.

Leading me to contemplate how I can do both when the agenda-setting function of the media gives me bad news everywhere that I turn.  Except in my closet, of course.  Where you may just find me, with my bowl of wine.

Waiting for my alacrity of spirit to return.

In Which Sergeant Major Pouncey McMouserton Climbs A Tree

The other morning I happened to notice that something unusual was going on in the woods behind our house.


I saw that the neighbor’s cat, who I call Sergeant Major Pouncey McMouserton, had climbed up a tree where he seemed to be stuck about 15 feet above ground.  [He's the tiny white dot that you can see in the middle of the photo above.  Look closely.]


He was sitting on a branch up in the tree like he was the Cheshire Cat, except that he wasn’t smiling.  At all.


Knowing that this was a wonderful blog post in the making, I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos to document McMouserton’s process of getting unstuck.


He wasn’t panicky.  He wasn’t howling.  He wasn’t graceful.


But McMouserton was entertaining to watch as he slipped/tumbled/grabbed/backed down the tree and eventually plopped onto the leafy ground below.

DSCN4223 - Version 2

Then with a scowl directed at me, he walked away from his adventure and vanished into the woods behind our house.  [He's that slight white smudge behind the leafy green forest undergrowth that you can see to the left of the almost leafless brown bush.  Really, he was there.  I swear.]

Of Cemeteries, Segways & Common Sense

A friend convinced me that it would be a great idea for us to rent Segways and then move through a large cemetery known for its unique tombstones and mausoleums.  

We’d be doing this at sunset on an evening when the cemetery closed all the roads to car traffic and encouraged visitors to walk, run, bike, move through the roads.

I hesitated because I’d never ridden on a Segway, but I loved the idea of seeing this cemetery, known for its history, on a more personal level.  So I said “yes.”  

At first I doubted whether I’d be able to master a Segway, but I did.  Sort of.  Or at least I did enough to be allowed by the rental company to go move around a cemetery without car traffic.  

• • •

If you’ve not been on a Segway, there are 3 things I learned:

1)  You have to stand completely still on the device, with your feet locked into a perfectly aligned specific place, or you’ll cause the gyroscopes to reposition you.  This means that if you do shift your feet at all, the Segway wiggles underneath you.  Uncontrollably.


2)  Going up hills on a Segway is easy to do because all you do is lean forward.  [MSNBC would approve.]  Going down hills is more difficult because you have to lean back while never moving your feet, yet while softening your knees, so that the impact of any hole in the road doesn’t cause you trouble.


3)  Turning a Segway is an unnatural skill that is nothing like driving a car or maneuvering a bicycle.  While I was able to easily do it in large movements, such as turning right or left at a 4-way intersection, it was difficult to do on a smaller scale, such as wandering over to look a specific object.  In fact, at one point the machine stopped responding to me altogether and took over steering so that I was thrown from it.


• • •

So did I have a good time on our adventure through the cemetery?  Well, to be honest, not really.  

I mean I enjoyed spending time with my friend and we did cover a lot of ground in the cemetery, but we weren’t able to see any tombstones or mausoleums up-close because once on a Segway you’re stuck there. 

And because it doesn’t go onto grassy areas many of the monuments we wanted to explore were way too far away to get to, let alone photograph.  So the whole adventure seemed pointless to us.

Common sense suggests to me that I wouldn’t rent one again unless (maybe) it was part of a guided tour on paved paths (perhaps in a well manicured city park?) that were far away from car traffic.  And even then, I might just pass on the whole Segway thing and go for a walk by myself.

It really wasn’t much fun at all.  Not recommended. 

Pondering A Neighbor’s Nutty Behavior

You know how sometimes when you’re walking along a downtown city street and a person, who is nuttier than a fruitcake soaked in rum, starts shouting nonsensical things at you from the other side of the street?

Well, here’s my suburban equivalent of that city experience.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 3.28.24 PM

Woman on other side of street pointing at passersby as she shouts for no discernible reason. 

{ Source: Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection 

# # #

I was sitting outside on our deck, mid-afternoon, reading a catalogue, enjoying the mild October weather.

When BAM-BAM-BAM the neighbor woman who lives behind us on the other side of the wooded ravine started clanking metal objects together.  This went on for about a minute.

I was startled, of course, so I looked up from my reading to see what was going on that required this much noise.  I saw nothing out of the ordinary.

So I went back to reading my catalogue.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.31.23 AM

Me outside my house heading toward the deck to enjoy a bit of fresh air.

{ Source: Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection 

# # #

But that was not the end it.  About a minute after she stopped clanking metal objects together she yelled to no one in particular: “Don’t. Feed. The. Birds.”

Then I heard her stomp into her house and slam shut the sliding patio door, leaving me to ponder what the heck she was talking about and who she thought would hear her.

It also made me realize that I needed to thank my lucky stars that the nuttier-than-a-fruitcake suburban neighbor lives way over there on the other side of the ravine.

Far away from me.  Forsooth.

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Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.28.19 AM

My nutty neighbor decreeing from afar that which we are to do henceforth.

{ Source: Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection 

# # #

A Sunday Morning Walk In What Amounts To The Wilderness For Us Suburban Folk, Part 2 Of 2


~ ~• ~ ~

Having first walked through acres of cheerful wild flowers in a native grassland enhancement area, Zen-Den & I took a different path in the nature preserve that lead us deep into a dark forest under gray skies.  Here is some of what we saw…


the spooky remains of a rotted out tree…


dainty purplish wild flowers growing in the shade…


a rustic wooden yes-I-can-see-between-the-planks-to-the-stream-below bridge…


lichen-covered logs in groovy colors and patterns…


and lots of bright green moss.

[Part 1 was yesterday.]