Applying A Business Framework To This Personal Blog To Tell A Tale

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Above is the Rudolph Framework. It’s from marketing guru + author Ann Handley’s newsletter called Total Annarchy. The framework is a lighthearted take on the Christmas song and children’s book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

While the Rudolph Framework is meant to help a business clarify its purpose, it’s applicable to personal blogs. It’s easy to conceptualize a personal blog as a business. As such the blog provides customers [that’d be you] with a product [my blog posts] that solve a problem for you.

I know that I’m getting abstract here, but I have a tale to tell and I feel the need to explain how I came by it, lest you think I’m nuts. Which I probably am, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Just go with it.

Thus using the Rudolph Framework I give you the following story created by moi by filling in the blanks, occasionally adjusting a few words so that it makes more sense. See what you think.

In fact, should you like to fly your freak flag, you could get jiggy and try applying the Rudolph Framework to your own blog, even. I’d love to see what you come up with. ‘Cuz, you know, I’m nosy curious.

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THE TALE OF THE SPECTACLED BEAN AND THE COMMUNITY IT HAS CREATED

Once upon a time, there was a delightful personal blog called The Spectacled Bean.

It had the capacity to be a catalyst for conversation based on the tales, thoughts, and tribulations of a free spirit in suburbia.

Some people doubted it because it was not all about the benjamins.

But one day, the woman who writes the blog realized she was perfectly happy doing what she was doing in the way she was doing it.

Which meant that the blog could be as varied and wonderfully idiosyncratic as the cool kids who read and comment on it.

To help them have sense of belonging online where they are understood and accepted, as long they’re polite and not spammers and not stealing my content.

And that matters because the cool kids are the heroes of this blog and what make The Spectacled Bean fun and engaging.

Thus in the process, this blog has helped coalesce a community of articulate + good-natured lurkers, readers, and cool kids who have the savvy to know a good thing when they read it.

Everyone gets a kiss. And a big ‘ole thank you.

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A Thursday In February: Seeing The Sunshine Whilst Not Doing Something I Should Be Doing

The snow isn’t deep here, the sunshine is warm & lovely, but the temperature is frigid outside.

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WOULD YOU BELIEVE ME IF I told you that by writing this blog post I’m avoiding going to class and doing my homework?

Well, it’s the truth.

You see, in January I signed up for a pass/fail college course that is from the history department at Harvard University offered through edX. The course is entirely online and you do it at your own pace following an official syllabus to keep you moving along in a timely manner.

[Currently I’m failing, btw. I have 63% and need 65% to pass, but whatevs.]

I should be doing the right thing this morning: that would be watching the lectures and reading the articles and answering the questions, but I don’t want to. And therein might be the most dramatic difference between younger me and older me. Younger me was the good Do Bee” student [Romper Room, anyone?] while older me is a wise “Your Ken can kiss my Barbie” woman [The Big Bang Theory].

Case in point, I’m not doing my schoolwork today and you can’t make me. Ha!

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HOWEVER I WILL SHARE WITH YOU something I learned in the process of doing research for my final project that is due in a few weeks. Interestingly enough I came across a word that can be used to describe the feeling you’d have if you were standing outside in the sunshine, like the birch trees are in the photo at the top of this post.

The word is Apricity [Merriam-Webster] and it means the warmth of the sun in the winter.

Yes this is another word to add to your personal lexicon because who doesn’t like the joy of knowing an obscure word and using it in a sentence? I mean, why else would you be here today if not for another unique learning experience– and the opportunity to answer a timeless question on a cold winter’s day.

Thus I leave you, my gentle readers, to answer and comment below: do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

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Exit, Pursued By A Dragon: My Video Directorial Debut, Take One

Keeping in mind that I’m stuck at home now because of a Winter Storm Warning [or maybe it’s a Level One Snow Emergency at this point], I give you the following…

Some days you slay the dragon, other days you befriend it.

I’m nothing if not good at entertaining myself with goofy little projects. Blame it on my curiosity and a creative spirit and a lonely only childhood that taught me to make my own fun. Thus as an adult, who just happens to write a personal blog, I’ve no shame when it comes to trying new things here– and making obscure references*.

This is especially true when there’s a potential source of flapdoodle and twaddle sitting in our family room while waiting to be discovered.

Hence I give you the following 18 second silent video of our Christmas Dragon** who never got packed away at the end of the season this year. Instead he’s been lounging on an outdoor swivel dining chair that is, for reasons too complicated to go into, currently residing in the corner of the family room.

Clearly the dragon looks good sitting on the chair: you might say he’s a natural. In fact, in a moment of pure genius complete kookiness I realized I could make my first [and only?] action video, thereby showcasing my directorial skills and testing the waters to see whether Christmas Dragon could be a regular*** on this blog.

In other words, tell me if you think he has star potential.

* The title of this post is alluding to William Shakespeare’s famous stage direction in The Winter’s Tale.

** I’m sad to say that our Christmas Dragon has no official stage name. Polite suggestions welcome, but he is not magical so don’t even go there.

*** Years ago I occasionally featured a star critter named Fuzzy the Squirrel [here and here and here] who, may he RIP, annoyed & entertained in equal measure.

A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

February 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Relations,

Not much happening around here, but I’ll write to you anyhow because it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week. Huzzah!

Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.

We continue to wait until we are eligible for our first Covid-19 vaccine shot. Then, of course, there’ll be a wait for the second one, which seems to be in short supply around here, so maybe not getting the first one yet is a good thing?

I dunno. We’ve been home together in our own little bubble for about 11 months now, so what are a few more weeks or months? We’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re doing low-key things.

Here is where we updated the cookbook.

We’ve finished updating our Family Favorites Cookbooks, 3rd edition. Yep, this is a re-do of a re-do of my first home computer project that I completed in February 1994, then updated for a second edition in April 2005. The bottom line is that we now have all our favorite recipes saved in the computer as well as printed, put in binders, and ready to go in the kitchen.

Move over Martha, you ain’t the only kid on the block who has it going on with her recipes. Ha!

The epicenter of clutter where the paint fan now resides.

We’re also in the process of deciding on a new exterior paint color for the trim and siding of Chez Bean. A new roof a few years ago + a new limestone retaining wall last December + a new deck sometime in 2021 [fingers crossed] = time to repaint exterior of the house bringing the color scheme into this decade.

Deciding on a new color is fraught with design peril. Oh yes it is. We have four seasons with natural light shining in different ways on four sides of the house, and there’s a need to coordinate with the brick and new retaining wall. Thus there are many variables, many possibilities– and one dithering me.

Our “communication center” where I await your replies.

And with that I’ll end this missive about our humdrum daily life, hoping it finds you well. What’s new with you?

Very truly yours,

Ally Bean, the bored

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Food For Thought: When’s the last time you wrote a letter home? It seems quaint now to think about doing that, let alone write one that includes snapshots. Remember doing that, too?

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In Which I Explain How I Created My Own Unique 2021 Reading Challenge

I’ve been meaning to write about how I arrived at my personalized 2021 reading challenge, but somehow got off track. I was probably reading a book…

For those of you who enjoy numbers: this is a 12″ high stack of 12 books with a total of 4,248 pages that I plan on reading in 2021. 🤓

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I barely read any books in 2020. My focus was too scattered, my anxiety was high, and I couldn’t stick with it.

I forgive myself for slip sliding away from reading for pleasure last year because I am still here in one piece, healthy, relatively sane– and with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to reading.

Allow me to explain.

As some of you know I’m a fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and get her newsletter. When I saw that she had created a questionnaire that I could use to make my own CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE reading challenge I downloaded the worksheets.

By answering her simple questions, I set my 2021 intention, evaluated my reading needs, and then made a list of twelve prompts that resonated with me based on the concepts of variety and escapism. As Modern Mrs. Darcy says: “Remember, your goal isn’t just to get through this challenge. This challenge is a tool to develop the reading life you want.”

Hallelujah!

But then after further contemplating the reading life I wanted, I had a brainstorm, one in which I devised a way to make this reading challenge more personal– and a bit less costly. Please keep in mind that just because I didn’t read much in 2020 doesn’t mean that I didn’t buy books in 2020.

Thus I found myself thinking back to a decade ago when I read a wonderful memoir, Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.

In this book Hill writes about her decision that for one year she would only re-read books already in the house. That is, she read what she had on hand, then mused upon what her life was like the first time she read the book. This practical approach to deciding what to read next made an impression on me.

Obviously, I guess.

Anyhow, to be clear, I won’t be re-reading anything this coming year, but I will be reading what is here in the house, pre-purchased in good faith you might say– and meant to be read by me, dammit.

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MY 2021 CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE READ-WHAT-YOU-HAVE-IN-THE-HOUSE-ALREADY READING CHALLENGE

a thriller

a memoir

a fantasy novel

a cozy mystery

a book of short stories

a recent NYT bestseller

a novel previously abandoned

a NYT bestseller from a while ago

a novel based on something literary

a non-fiction book set where I live now

a non-fiction book set somewhere I’ve never visited

a book I’d never heard of yet is on many required reading lists

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Do you do any reading challenges? Have you ever made your own? Inquiring minds wanna know.