Regarding The Holiday Season: Cluttering, Muttering, & Buttering

CLUTTERING:  Here’s a true confession.  While I’m too frugal to ever overdo Christmas decorations around Chez Bean, I do, deep down, consider all of them, ours and yours, to be a sophisticated form of clutter.

I mean, we just get a room decorated in a pleasing and soothing way, then *WHAM* there I am putting red and green stuff, willy-nilly, around a beautifully color-coordinated room that is not visually enhanced by said stuff.

Is that not the very definition of clutter? Hmmm…?

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MUTTERING:  I realize that sending holiday cards is no longer the done thing.  Most of the cards that we get are from companies we do business with.  Only a few friends and family still exchange cards with us.

I like cards, I like newsletters, and I appreciate receiving them.  But… [and this is the muttering part]… if you send a Christmas | Hanukkah | New Years card that is a photo of your family, then please include the names of the people on the card.

Kids grow.  Kids marry.  Kids have kids.  And I’ll be doggone if I can figure out who is who on these multi-generational family photo cards.  I need a cheat sheet to identify your progeny.

Please include one. For me. 

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BUTTERING:  I’m not all that enamored of butter.  It has nothing to do with how healthy it is.  No, it’s a taste issue.  I eat it, but not often and always in small dabs.

So you can imagine how oddly difficult it is for me to become excited about Christmas cookies, that are everywhere this time of year.  Cookies that seem to me to be 98% butter– with some flour and sugar thrown in for the fun of it.

My point here is that if I don’t eat any of your homemade cookies made from Great Aunt Maude Winifred’s heirloom recipe that’s been in your family since Great Uncle Jeremiah “Pappy” Alexander decided that the family should move to the New World, I’m not dissing you or Great Aunt Maude Winifred– or Great Uncle Jeremiah “Pappy” Alexander’s decision to emigrate here.

No, I just don’t like butter. Ok?

#ThursdayDoors | Visiting Heritage Village Museum To See Buildings From The 1800s

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door photos.

I took these photos on Sunday at Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods Park, located in Sharonville, OH, a northern suburb of Cincinnati.

The village features 13 historic buildings, originally in other locations, preserved here to re-create what it was like to live in Ohio in the 1800s.   

Zen-Den and I wandered around the village on our own, opting for the self-guided tour of the outside of the buildings.  

Because of this, I don’t know much about the history of each building, but can say that we enjoyed the quiet village setting by a creek– and seeing how things used to be.

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Church with clear glass arched window above small double doors.

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Two-story yellow painted-brick home with dark green door.

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Outhouse in the backyard.

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Small home with fancy arches on its front porch.

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Canal boat with long tree branch as its oar.

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Creek with waterfall on a clear December morning.

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Canal boat door.

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Home with gingerbread trim on it.

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Storm cellar door in the ground by the side of the house.

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Small home with entrance door on the side + lace curtain at the window.

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1891 schoolhouse with bell.

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In Which Ms. Bean Finds A Recipe & Makes It Her Way

Saw the recipe. Thought it sounded good.

Made the recipe using ingredients I had on hand.  Ingredients that were close enough to those listed in the recipe.

Similar.

Didn’t have apple cider, so used pomegranate juice instead.  Most of a small bottle.

Didn’t have the specific aromatic spices required so substituted Penzey’s mulling spices.  Put about a teaspoon of them in a tea ball, so I wouldn’t have to strain the mess through cheesecloth later.

Lazy, but thinking ahead.

Didn’t have a clementine in the house.  Contemplated using a grapefruit, that was in the house, but decided that the tanginess of the pomegranate juice would not be improved with grapefruit zest in this recipe.

Also, I’m a messy zester, thus it came to be that no citrus was added.

Didn’t have any fresh ginger, so used crystallized ginger.  Two pieces.

Didn’t have the requisite amount of castor sugar, so used the end of the cane sugar in the bottom of the sugar bowl.  About three tablespoons.

Probably.

Put tea ball with spices into juice in a saucepan.  Brought the mess to a boil, allowing it to simmer on the stove top for a while.  Took out tea ball, added sugar.  Mixed mess around until sugar dissolved, then let sweetened mess simmer on very low heat until it thickened into a syrup.

The result?

Delicious, drizzled on fresh fruit salad. Or added, a splash at time, to a glass of red wine.

The recipe?

Vaguely adhered to.

The friend’s response?

Shock + dismay that I didn’t follow the recipe as written, but a request for the recipe exactly as I made it.

As if I have any idea… 🙄

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you follow recipes precisely as written OR do you wing it as you go along?

And how does that work out for you?

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No, No, No. Your House Did Not “Got Bought!”

I’m not a fussbudget about your word choice.  I prefer that your words be nuanced and precise, but if they aren’t most of the time I let it go.  ‘Cuz I’m a kindhearted English major, you know?

I didn’t used to be like this, but I’ve mellowed over the years because, ironically, people have disappointed me so many times that I’ve become charmingly cynical, with incredibly low expectations about what people do or how they do it.

And it’s from this jaded point of view that I’m going to tell you, my gentle readers, about a local realtor who upon selling a house, puts a sign out in front of it that says:

GOT BOUGHT!

Apparently the time-honored SOLD will not work.  Nope, this realtor goes with what I can only assume is a play on the “Got Milk?” marketing campaign, combined with a good old-fashioned rhyme.

I get that this is a clever + seemingly harmless use of the English language.

And I also admit, openly and freely, that what I’m going to write in the next paragraph contradicts one of my favorite sayings: “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

But in this particular case I’m going to declare that I. Want. To. Be. Right.  I want to see SOLD signs.  Now tell me, my gentle readers, is that asking too much?

Be The Light: Of Queenly Diets & Quiet Delights

INTRODUCTION

As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

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

This being the last Friday of November, I’ve a story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

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THE NEWS STORY

Emily DiNuzzo, a reporter for Business Insider, decided to follow Queen Elizabeth II’s diet that was first reported by Today last August.

DiNuzzo’s experiences, documented in I ate like Queen Elizabeth II for a day — and learned how to appreciate the simple things in life, show that the Queen eats a balanced, basic diet but doesn’t forego a few treats throughout her day, like pre-breakfast biscuits or a post-dinner glass of champagne.

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MY COMMENTARY

Overlooking that what Emily did might not be a news story that dramatically changes the world, I found her joy while “researching” this story to be quietly delightful.

[And funny.  I’m with Emily on no gin + Dubonnet aperitif before lunch.  Even with Emily’s addition of simple syrup in it.]

Plus, dare I say that I found this story encouraging?

I know that not everyone thinks the monarchy is great, but considering that this past Monday Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, you have to admit that in a world where moral and mental health questions surround many leaders, the Queen is doing a number of things right.

Healthy body.

Sound mind.

Solid relationships.

Sure, Emily didn’t uncover the latest scandal or find the drama in Elizabeth II’s daily life, but she did give us an insight into what helps make someone in power, the longest-reigning English monarch ever, stay balanced.

And there’s positivity in that.

• • 👑 • •

The Making Of A Turkey Day Outlier

I’m not a big fan of the traditional turkey Thanksgiving dinner.

It might be that because as a child we usually had steaks for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My father hated poultry.

My mother happily agreed to this break from tradition, knowing that roasting a turkey + making all the trimmings was WORK– while grilling steaks, making a salad, and mashing potatoes was about as EZPZ as a holiday meal could get.

Also, we never, ever had pumpkin pie.

My mother despised it so she usually made a lemon meringue pie.

That was her favorite pie.

And me, little Ally Bean?  I liked whatever the grown-ups decided to give me, so whatever Thanksgiving meal showed up was [and is] cool by me.

In fact, if you’re all about a traditional turkey-centric, carbohydrate-ful  Thanksgiving dinner every year, then enjoy.

But if you’re a little more loosey-goosey [so to speak] about what you have for Thanksgiving dinner, then you might be, like me, a Turkey Day Outlier.

Care to ‘fess up about your preferred Thanksgiving Day dinner in the comments below?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

5 Unique Words Presented For Your Edification + 1 Nice Quote

I don’t have much to talk about today, but I believe that one of my strengths as a personal blogger is the fact that I show up to my blog consistently regardless of what is, or isn’t, going on in my life.

Therefore, adhering to my own self-imposed blogging principle, I shall share with you, my gentle readers, 5 unique words that I’ve stumbled across in my research and reading.

I had to look them up in the dictionary because I hadn’t a clue about what they meant.

So far I haven’t found a way to slip any of these words into everyday conversation, but I’m working on it.  Because a wordy girl has to use the words, you know?

  1. WEBQOOF –  someone who believes everything they read and see on social media
  2. SOCKEROO – a notable success
  3. OPSIMATH –  someone who begins to learn or study late in life
  4. ZEMBLANITY – predictable unpleasantries [the opposite of serendipity]
  5. PLUVIOPHILE –  someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

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A gold star for any commenter who can weave these words into one coherent sentence… that’s not a list of these words. The use of semicolons is encouraged.  

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