In Which The Beans Discuss The TV Remote Control, Unnecessary Complexity Of Said

ZEN-DEN POLITELY EXPLAINED TO ME that I needed to re-frame my irritation.  That I had to let my mind embrace a new way of thinking about some of the little daily irritations that bug the snot out of me.

“Chickiedoodle,” he said, “it’s all just dust in the wind. Insignificant.”

[Yes, he sometimes call me Chickiedoodle.  Grow up people, we’re married & cutesy nicknames happen.]

“It’s not worth worrying about these small things.  I respect your feelings about them, and you’re right– but you gotta let it go.”

There’s a reason why he’s called ZEN-Den, you know.  He can get mellow, philosophical at the interconnectedness of life, almost without trying.  Little things in daily life don’t bug him so much.

But me?  I see the faults.  I remember the faults.  And then I tend to mutter.

Which is how this conversation started.

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Artist’s rendering of sensible TV remote control that has only what is needed on it, written in large letters and numbers.

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YOU SEE, I WANTED TO watch something on cable TV, but I was once again thwarted by the unnecessary complexity of our remote control.

Hence, I was muttering to Z-D about how ridiculous it is that to turn on the television one does not use the “TV” button on the remote control.  No, one uses something called “Input” while ignoring the button that you’d think logically turns on the television.

But it doesn’t.

And if by chance you forget and hit the logical “TV” button, then everything goes wonky on the screen, and you’re left not watching television because you, a woman who dislikes gadgety things on principle, can’t remember how to turn on the darned television.

So I end up not watching cable TV, while complaining loudly about the intentionally irritating nonsensical TV remote control.

Dust in the wind?  Not buying it.

It’s a conspiracy to drive me crazy crazier.

Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken

On Sunday, for the first time in months, Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve intending to wander around the flat easy path that connects the herb garden to the old farmhouse.

‘Tis a pretty path any time of year, and knowing what I was getting into, I wore shoes for that kind of leisurely walk.  A stroll.

However, somehow [let’s blame it on curiosity], we got [shall we say?] off course and ended up on a moderately difficult path that took us half a mile down a steep hillside to a creek, along the banks of the creek, then back up to the parking lot.

From this experience, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I will always in the future, regardless of what we say we’re going to do, wear hiking boots when going to the Nature Preserve;
  2. I will always in the future take one of the free maps, readily available in a display in the parking lot;  &
  3. When descending uneven, seemingly never-ending limestone steps down a hillside, my mind thinks about the worst that can happen.  In this case, it flashed to the scene in Grace and Frankie [Season 4] when we get a glimpse of Grace’s icky knee, complete with stitches and a long bloody-ish incision, after knee replacement surgery.  Oy vey.

And on that angst-filled note, here are some photos of the path we took at the Nature Preserve as we walked, trudged, and then climbed our way around it.

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Oh so pretty in late winter! Must see more.

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What a charming little path. I wonder where it goes?

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My goodness, this path suddenly looks old and not tended.

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Well, at least that little stone bridge up ahead looks sturdy.

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Oh look! What a nice flat rustic wooden bridge over a little dry creek.

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Oh dear, this uneven path just keeps going down, down, down to a large creek.

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Finally! What a lovely, relatively flat, stoney path by a large creek.

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Yes! Look at these civilized wooden stairs leading back up the hill to the parking lot. Hallelujah!


What Ms. Bean The Blogger Said + A Simple Rules Of Life Poll

Welp, this is embarrassing, but I don’t have anything in particular to write about this week.  I post at least once a week, that’s the deal I made with myself when I started blogging.

I told myself that I’d show up here weekly because I know me, and I’m a slacker.  I could easily disappear for weeks on end, but because I set a specific goal and promised myself that I’d be here, I. Be. Here.

That’s what I said.

So today instead of starting a conversation about something that has happened OR sharing a bit of research OR posting a random list of links, I made the following poll– which fulfills my self-imposed blogging goal as stated above.

[Also if you, my gentle readers, look closely at the poll you’ll see that one of the ideas pertains to what I’m saying I said above.]

The ideas in this poll come from a framed piece of art that I bought at T.J. Maxx.  I’ve no official source for these 7 ideas, but I like them and have adopted them as my own sorta kinda rules of life.

As one does.

Comments, anyone?

Marching Forward With A Sense Of Serendipity & A Stack Of Books

A sense of serendipity:

I think the above is proof positive that I was destined to be a blogger.

Sure, some people might only see a short story + crayon drawing created by an 8 [?] year old kid. A homework assignment. On Manila paper. Written with a pencil. Demonstrating Zaner-Bloser penmanship.

But I see a future personal blogger.  Did I not tell you what we did?  Did I not share an image that supported what I wrote?  Did I not make the whole page look pretty?

Why “yes” Ally Bean, you did do those things at age 8.  Those things that today, getting to the crux of it here, might tempt one to ask:


Why “yes” they are, Ally Bean.  And to think you only had to wait about gazillion decades for your natural blogging talent to manifest and be appreciated by tens of people.


A stack of books:

I went to the bookstore. A real one. Brick and mortar.

I bought books that I’d either heard about from other people, or looked interesting to me in the moment.  In the end, after putting some books back on the shelf, I bought the ones shown above, described below.

The books are from top to bottom: a memoir, a novel, another memoir, a theological/inspirational book, a mystery, and a how-to guide.

It was only after I got home and created this stack of TBR books that I realized two of the titles referred to dirt.  This seems appropriate considering that we’re heading into Spring when gardening season begins and bulbs bloom– as explained in my homework assignment seen at the top of this post.

And on that happy note, I’m going to enjoy my day as a full-fledged blogger [whatever that means] and as a bookworm who needs to get reading.



Please answer one of the two following questions. Individuals who answer both questions will receive a gold star. 

When did you realize that you were destined to be a blogger?


What books are loitering in your To Be Read stack?


The Stuff Of Family & Ancestors: Thoughts While Sorting Through Boxes

Does this make me feel more alive?

[The question to ask. Always.]

I’ve been in a deciding frame of mind this month. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

A past that in many cases is not mine, but I reluctantly accepted and boxed up when elderly relatives passed on, storing their stuff in my closets, I did.

Now, I want empty closets, the feeling of lightness.

Been going through dusty boxes of old family photos and documents and letters. Pamphlets and newspaper articles.

Memorabilia, too.

Does this make me feel more alive?

I shred the photos and docs and letters that don’t call to me, and save those that might… might… might… someday find their way into…

a blog post?

an article or essay?

a memoir, perhaps, even?

But as for the family memorabilia, it’s a different kind of past. Remembered with objects, things of history.

Personal cookbooks;  and 1940s slides [with a projector];  and  handwritten family stories;  and a diary;  and a daguerreotype;  and [of all things] a Civil War soldier’s personal mirror with carved initials.

What shall I decide about these objects, I wonder.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Difficult for me, an adult orphan, to know what to do with these things that held memories for someone who is long gone. Someone who I may never have met.

I intend to make peace with these objects, sending them on their way…

to history museums or libraries?

to antique malls?

to the dump?

I’ve been a good relative, respectful, but now I’m ready to have more space, both literal and figurative, in my life. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Be The Light: Of Washing Machines & The Retirement Scene

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of February, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor who lives in Colorado, collects washing machines.  His washing machine collection, stored in two warehouses, consists of nearly 1,500 machines.

Maxwell, age 87, finds the machines all over the United States.  They’re usually in disrepair.  He gets the machines to his warehouses where he repairs them, and stores them.

He has what is believed to be one of the largest personal collections of anything in the U.S.A.  His hope is that someone, a benefactor, will build a museum dedicated to washing machines so that everyone can see for themselves how washing machines have changed over the years.

[Complete story with video: Washing machine collector takes a whirl back in time]

* * *

* * *


This story is a quirky happy news story that makes me appreciate people who follow their own muses.

What’s not to love?

A retiree finds a hobby, that turns into a passion, that ends up preserving pieces of history that are easy to overlook.  And suddenly there’s a collection worthy of note because someone, Maxwell, took the time to notice.

I give props to this man.  He didn’t start collecting washing machines to be a news story.  No, he just did it for something fun to do, and in the process saved an interesting part of American history.

I consider him an inspiration.  Think about it, when it’s time to retire we all should be so fortunate as to stumble upon a hobby that takes us down uncharted roads, while filling our hours with a quiet sense of accomplishment.

* * *

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting Fort Pulaski [Not Moultrie], An American Civil [Not Revolutionary] War Site

PLEASE NOTE: It’s been brought to my attention by my husband that these photos are from Fort Pulaski, south of Savannah, GA.  I had my forts wrong.  However, considering that Fort Pulaski is named for a Revolutionary War general my idea of posting these pics on George Washington’s birthday still makes sense.

• • •

Today, in honor of George Washington’s birthday, I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos + a little bit of American Revolutionary War history.

I took these photos last April when we visited Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, SC.  

The fort is named for a Revolutionary war general, who, on June 28, 1776, defended Charleston, SC, from the British.  Since then the fort has been rebuilt a few times and gone through a few more wars.  At the end of WWII the fort closed.  

The day we visited Fort Moultrie Pulaski the weather was sunny and mild, lending an unexpected peaceful vibe to the entire well-kept large complex.  

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Outer perimeter of Fort Moultrie Pulaski, surrounded by a moat, with visible cannon ball damage on the brick wall.

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DOOR leading into interior of fort.

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DOORS on one small part of the storage area that forms the perimeter of the inside of the fort.

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DOORS in a row leading to storage areas shown with people walking above the storage areas to give a sense of scale.

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DOOR into stairwell that goes up to the area where people were walking.

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DOOR into officers’ quarters.

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Photo of lighthouse in Charleston Harbor as seen from Fort Moultrie Pulaski.

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