All posts by Ally Bean

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

In Which Ms. Bean Does Not Give In To Curmudgeonliness

“Everybody makes their own fun. If you don’t make it yourself, it isn’t fun. It’s entertainment.”

~ David Mamet, State and Main

• • •

I WAS DRIVING BY A HIGH SCHOOL when I noticed that the kid in the car that had just pulled out in front of me, while obeying all appropriate rules of the road, had something written on his back window.  So when we got to a stoplight, I made sure that I was behind the car to see what it said.

It said: “Honk. I’m a Senior.”

I didn’t honk.  My first thought was that it seemed a tad premature to ask for external validation before you actually accomplish something like– oh, I don’t know– graduate from high school.  Earn a college degree or two.  Get a job.  Buy a house.  Fund your 401K.

• • •

BUT THEN AS I DROVE ALONG I had an unexpected change of heart when I realized what an old fogey I’d become.  I’m sure that when I was a kid in high school I would have thought that a message like the one on the car was clever + fun.

And it was harmless.

Of course by the time that I came to this conclusion, the kid in the car had turned onto a different road, so my opportunity to honk at him was gone.  But I have to thank him for reminding me that everybody needs a bit of moral support from time-to-time, and that asking for it is a good way to make your own fun.

Again With The Five Senses Friday

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• • •

FEELING:  organized.  centered.  jovial.  ready to have a productive and fun weekend.  nice weather predicted.  a neglected garden to weed.  a new vegetarian recipe to try.

HEARING:  with the windows open, traffic from the interstate.  going fast.  no sirens.  just a nice lull in the background.

TASTING:  water.  cold.  fresh.  keeping me hydrated as I seat here typing.  adding vitality to my life.

SEEING:  trees with red leaves on a few of the branches.  green grass tinged with a bit of gold.  blue skies with white clouds.  a relaxing natural color palette indicative of change.

SMELLING:  a new parfum called fresh life.  its scent has lingered in the air after I applied a dab of it from a sample card onto my wrist.  light floral.  citrus-ish.  clean.    

[This meme, which I think is a wonderful idea, originated a long time ago on a blog that is now defunct.  If you wish, you may play along in the comment section below or on your own blog.]

Someone Likes My Laura Ingalls Wilder Blouse & It Isn’t Me

{Sub-titled: Never Underestimate The Youthful Appeal Of Calico}

Personal style is such a fickle thing.

I was in the grocery store about 10:00 a.m. standing near the deli counter, but not at it.  I was looking for a particular brand of taco chips, not sliced meat.

A woman behind me started talking to me.  She said: “Oh, it’s you!  I always know when you’re shopping in the store because of that blouse you’re wearing.”

I turned around to see who it might be that was aware of my grocery shopping ensemble, which I apparently wear quite often.

• • •

Standing there, in her Kroger uniform, was a women who works full-time behind the deli counter.  She is, as you can imagine from her unexpected chatty hello, a happy person who always gets my order right.

I like her.

I thanked her, and then not knowing what to say next I shared with her that this blouse, which I think of as my Laura Ingalls Wilder blouse, came from the Lands End at Sears sale rack years ago.

I didn’t explain to her that I bought this blouse, not because I thought that it was pretty, but because it fit perfectly, the price was right and the blue/periwinkle colors of the fussy pattern flatter my skin tone.

• • •

The woman went on to tell me that she liked my blouse because: “I had one just like it in junior high when I was 14 years old.  And now when I see you in yours, I  feel young again.”

Now isn’t that sweet?

The only problem here is that this faded summer blouse, which I do not like, is living on borrowed time.  Come cold weather it’s leaving my closet permanently and going into the Goodwill pile.

I hate to disappoint the best deli meat slicer in the store, but honest to goodness, I’ve seen enough calico print on me to last a lifetime.  I only hope that my decision to part with this blouse does not adversely affect my future deli counter service.

Only time, and a half pound of turkey sliced thin, will tell.

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Simply Wonderful: Fall Is Here

I tend to overthink things.  I don’t know if that comes to me naturally or if it was instilled in me as a child through well-meaning adults.  Doesn’t matter.  What is, is.

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 { source }

I’d been pondering my tendency to overthink when I happened to see this Cary Grant quote.  It seemed like the perfect mantra to adopt during my favorite season of the year.  Why not think less?  Keep life simple.  Occupy myself more with doing.

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{ source }

Later while surfing the net, I stumbled upon this Paulo Coelho quote, which reinforced my newfound desire to live simply.  I mean, who doesn’t want to find the extraordinary things?  I can do that.  I’ll be wise             

So it is with the foregoing in mind that I’ve decided to groove on simplicity for the next few months.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but I figure if the Universe has gone out of its way to make sure that I get this “simplify” message, then the message is important.  Hallelujah, eh?  Make it so.

When The Writing Is Not Easy Because You Care Too Much

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

~ Erin Morgenstern, Night Circus

• • •

Bloggers often talk about burnout, being unable to think of something to write about.  But for me, this week, has been something different from that.

My brain has been in 5th gear all week, going way too fast.

I’ve thought of many things to say here– and even gone so far as to compose a few posts.  In fact, I’ve written three lengthy ones that when completed I decided didn’t have the right subject matter or tone for this blog.

So I deleted them.

This has left me feeling mildly panicked about who I am and what to post here today.  Odd isn’t it?  Too much thinking, too much caring and I end up here today with nothing to say– as if I was burned out.

THE LESSON: Some weeks all roads lead to nothing.  And that’s okay.   

• • •

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{ Source: Dilbert by Scott Adams }

Of Sibling Rivalry & Raffle Tickets

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# # #

I’m an only child so for me sibling rivalry is a spectator sport.  Filled with unique characters.  Often entertaining.

So late one afternoon the doorbell rang.  When I looked out our front door side lights I saw two sisters in Catholic school uniforms: a 6 y.o. and a 9 y.o. with their mother standing far behind them down the sidewalk.

The sisters were punching/pushing each other off our front stoop trying to be the one who stood directly in front of our door when I opened it.

The 9 y.o. won.

# # #

But before she could tell me why she was here and what it was I would be buying, the 6 y.o. took one last stab at getting my attention.  And I have to say it was clever.

We have lots of rose bushes along our front walk and with roses, come bees– especially in September when bees get crazy as the summer ends.  They buzz everywhere.

So the 6 y.o., batting her hands wildly, jumped in front of her sister to save me from a bee getting into the house.  The 9 y.o. and I never saw the bee in question, but the brave 6 y.o. assured us that it was right there.

And, as we all know, 6 y.o. girls of all religions, races & nationalities, always tell the truth.

# # #

At this point the 9 y.o. looked like she was going to strangle her little sister.  But her mother noticed this too, so she came up closer to the house and threatened said:

<loud voice> <do this or else>

“Tell Her What You’re Selling.  And Where You Go To School.”

</do this or else> </loud voice>

# # #

There was a long pause, so quiet and still that you could hear the gears creaking inside each girl’s brain.

I waited.

A mere 3 minutes after I’d opened the door the two sisters had come to the realization that they needed to work together in this moment if they were to get a sale and keep Mom happy.

So with a more-grimace-than-smile look on their faces, they told me their sales pitch– and I found out that I’d be buying two $10.00 raffle tickets that would give me the chance, later this month, to win:

<loud voice> <in unison>

“Three. Thousand. Dollars.”

</in unison> </loud voice>

# # #

Not to dismiss the wonderfulness of winning that much money but I gotta tell ‘ya that from my point of view, I felt like I had already spent my $20.00 wisely.  I didn’t need to win $3000.00 later, when at this very moment a live one-act show, such as this one, had magically appeared at my front door.

Like I said, sibling rivalry.  So fun to watch.

One Deck, One Grill, One Squirrel. Of Course.

[Subtitled: Do Squirrels Eat Hamburgers?]

I happened to be walking through the back of our house when I glanced out the patio door onto the deck and noticed that our Weber grill had grown a tail overnight.

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Upon closer examination I noticed that there seemed to be a certain critter hiding behind the grill.  So I bided my time to see if, by chance, this critter was our good old friend, Fuzzy.  It didn’t take long for me to confirm that Fuzzy the Squirrel was back to his annoying tricks.

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From my vantage point inside the house I could see that our friend was using his backside to try to nudge the top off the grill, presumably to get to the hamburger grease + burnt nibbles that were left inside the grill from the night before.

DSCN3515Naturally when I inquired about his sneaky-looking behavior Fuzzy ignored me.  He is a master of indifference, so when he turned his back on me I wasn’t all that surprised.  Instead, I just waited to see what he’d do next, knowing that he can never stay still very long.

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And true to form, with one wistful sideways glance toward the grill, Fuzzy ran away from me along the top of the deck railing toward his home in Tree #3479 in the forest primeval.  It is there, I presume, he found something else to do with his time besides making himself a nuisance on our deck.

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But he also left me wondering if squirrels eat hamburgers.  So I did a quick Google search after which I realized that this question has no reliable answer, but does lead one to an unexpected link to an abstract of an academic paper.  Of course.