In Which I Wash My Mouth Out With Soap Because I Did Not Think Ahead

It’s not that I swear all the time.

I only do so when the situation calls for it, according to my own moral compass. Thus when I tell you that I let out a string of curse words you may be assured it was necessary.

Here’s what happened. It’s a one thing leads to another scenario.

Winter arrived. My skin got dry and itchy so I stopped using Dial bar soap in the shower, switching to a gentler bar of soap that isn’t so intense. But because I’m a frugal woman I put the partially used bar of soap in a drawer in the bathroom cabinet near the sink.

This drawer houses items I use to make myself presentable– including, for instance, a tub of moisturizing cream and a few bottles of leave-in hair conditioner and a razor or three.

Also in the drawer there’s a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda that I occasionally use instead of toothpaste. I use the baking soda every few days so the box is open (with the little cardboard lid thingie sort of closed) in the drawer. It’s a throwback to my childhood when people sometimes used baking soda for the cleaning of teeth. [Don’t judge.]

And this is where the trouble began.

As I’m sure you know baking soda is often used in refrigerators as a way of absorbing odors in them. Very effective, good stuff. BUT did you know that if you put an open box of it in a drawer with an unwrapped partially used bar of heavily scented soap, the baking soda will absorb the scent, the flavor, the essence of that soap?

Of course thinking on it now you do, but I was not so wise. I didn’t anticipate the consequences of storing Arm & Hammer baking soda and Dial bar soap, side-by-side, in a closed bathroom drawer.

Hence it came to be that one morning I reached for the now Dial-soap-scent-infused Arm & Hammer baking soda and used the baking soda to brush my teeth, not knowing what had happened to it in the drawer. From this experience I learned can confirm that Dial soap tastes awful, rating high on the yuck-o-meter, if there is such a thing.

Also I can confirm that while I don’t swear often, it’s a skill you never forget, like riding a bike. I know this to be true because between rinsing my mouth out with water multiple times, I used words of the sort not meant for a PG-13 family blog like this one. Thus I’ll paraphrase what I said using The Good Place’s Eleanor Shellstrop‘s sanitized curse words instead of my own.

Holy mother forking shirt balls! BLEECH!

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Happy Weekend, everyone. Try to keep it clean.

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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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