Of Hummingbirds & Humility

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-41-34-amI was dive-bombed by a hummingbird the other morning.

I was wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, sitting outside on our deck in the sunshine, drinking coffee from a red mug.

I was lost in serious thought pondering what I might write about next on this blog, when *flutter, flutter, flutter* a small energetic little bird started diving at me.

I knew that the bird was a hummingbird;  there are lots of them in the wooded ravine behind our house.

They flit around.  You cannot miss them.

I knew that to this little bird I must look like the biggest darned flower in the land, a doozy of a good find.

I tried to sit still hoping that the little bird would tire of attacking me, but you know what?  That little bugger just kept going.  The Energizer Bunny should be so determined.

Eventually I decided to *shoo* the hummingbird away from me because I needed to sip my coffee while it was hot to get my brain going.  I had important things to think about like the topic of my next blog post.

But of course my brain, that can be a tad self-absorbed and egotistical, was blinding me to the obvious.

That is, the topic of this post was making itself known, quietly, right in front of me.  A humble little idea showing me the way, while at the same time reminding me of the basic premise of The Spectacled Bean.

A premise I explain thusly:

  • be here now;
  • make sense of what you’re seeing | feeling | experiencing;  then
  • write about it.

In other words, PAY ATTENTION.  Life is in the details, and that’s where you’ll find the best stories.


A Nobody Shops For Jammies

A few doors down from Ulta, which I adore, is a Soma.  I was in Ulta and on a whim, being in a good mood, I walked over to Soma.

They sell bras + undies plus PJs. I thought that I might treat myself to some new pajamas.

I got the idea of indulging in new PJs after talking with some friends about how we adore cotton flannel jammies, the epitome of autumn/winter comfort and practicality.

Not to mention, flannel jammies are classic.

Timeless… or so you’d think.

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I walked into Soma, intent on buying some PJs, but when I noticed lots of gorgeous bras + undies I thought to myself: “I think I’ll get some of these, too, while I’m in here. I deserve to upgrade my unmentionables.”

My mind was in a happy place, giddy with possibility.

Eventually one of the employees came over to wait on me. I asked her if they had any 100% cotton or mostly cotton PJs, summer or winter, I didn’t care which season.

With a dismissive laugh she told me that: “No, we don’t carry things like that. NOBODY WANTS COTTON PAJAMAS!”

[Considering that I was SOMEBODY standing in front of her this statement was factually incorrect. But out of the largesse of my heart I chose to not mention this lapse in logic to her.]

Ignoring her attitude I told her that my friends and I liked cotton flannel jammies, and suggested that: “I’m sure there are lots of woman who want 100% cotton pajamas. I think that my friends and I are the norm.”

Could be wrong, but kinda think I’m not.

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She shrugged, indifferent to me, the NOBODY standing in front of her, and started to wander away from me. As she turned her back on me I told her: “Tell the corporate people that we want 100% cotton PJs. You got that?”

She just walked away from me, without a word.

No apology for not having what I, the customer nobody, wanted. No sympathy for what I was asking for. No suggestion of where I might go to buy what I wanted.

No indication that she cared in the least [because she didn’t].

Now you’d think I’d be mad about this, wouldn’t you, my gentle readers? But really, can you blame her for behaving this way?

After all, I was, quite obviously, a NOBODY.

Grateful For Smiles, Three Unexpected Things

THING ONE: Looking Up


Our local Kroger is undergoing a remodel that started in April.  Since about day 1 this upside down wheelbarrow has been on the roof, not moving, just sitting up there.  While the unexpected wheelbarrow placement is a charming bit of whimsy, every time I see it I chuckle to myself wondering if anyone doing the remodel remembers that it’s up there.

Care to place a bet as to when [if] it ever comes down?

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THING TWO: Looking Forward


Shopping in Half Price Books I noticed that the clever employees have quietly moved all the books by and about Hillary Clinton off the “First Ladies” shelves to the nearby “Presidents” shelves.  This might be presumptuous OR it might be prophetic, but it is, if nothing else, an unexpected bit of humor.

Good people in that store. I like how they think.

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THING THREE: Looking Around


Fuzzy the Squirrel, who hangs out around our house, has found a new, unexpected way to entertain [annoy?] me.  For the first time he’s leaving nut shells all over any concrete or stone surface in front of the house.  Meaning that when I want to get the mail I have dodge sharp nut shells as I walk to the mailbox OR use a broom to sweep the shells away as I walk along.

Sure, he’s cute, but oh. so. bothersome.

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{ This post, inspired by Nerd in the Brain‘s Three Things Thursday, is part of a weekly blogging event dedicated to the idea that gratitude is awesome and leads to smiles. You can join in too. Go here to learn more. }

How To Turn A Bully Into A Fool [Part 2 of 2]

[Part 1 of this childhood story is here.]

The next time Karl started hassling me was in class a few days later.

He sat a row in front of me and turned around to torment me, the quiet girl named Alice, by mocking my name in a sing-song fashion: “Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland.”

I was mad.

Following my father’s advice I turned to Karl and said loudly: “So who are you? The March Hare?”

As fate would have it, our teacher, Miss Thomas, a maiden lady [as they used to say to describe unmarried women over 50], was standing at the end of my row.

She was a known disciplinarian, seemingly devoid of whimsy.

However, my adult putdown of a kid who she knew was going to be trouble for years to come caught her off guard, and she burst out laughing.  At which point the rest of my class joined her in laughing at red-faced Karl, former bully turned class buffoon, thanks to a few well said words at the right time.

Thank you, Daddy.

From this experience I learned three valuable lessons that have stayed with me to this day:

  1. Words have power;
  2. If you can make people laugh, you can make a point;  and
  3. Bullies are weaklings who you can take down, one way or another, if you just apply yourself to making them look like fools in front of their peers.

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How To Turn A Bully Into A Fool [Part 1 of 2]

Watching The Donald make an ass of himself while attempting to intimidate Hillary reminded me of this story from my childhood.

My father, a genius, did not suffer fools easily.

He had zero patience for stupidity combined with malice.  It’s from him that I learned how to shut down anyone who gets out of hand by flaunting his or her willful ignorance &/or bad manners in my face.

Be forewarned.

However, as a kid I was not naturally inclined to defend myself.  You see, I was a shy, bookish child with poor coordination, no siblings, and thick eyeglasses.

Bullies used me for target practice, because I was physically weak and because I was a girl and because of my legal first name.

In the first few weeks of kindergarten one bully, Karl, an oversized-oaf with pale blond hair and a need to be noticed [sound like anyone in particular?], started bugging me on the playground and in the classroom.

I was upset and didn’t know what to do.

When I told my mother, an introvert, about what was going on she gave me her general advice about people: “just ignore ’em.”  This, as you can imagine, was of no help to me in this situation.

Kindergarten is not the time for taking the high road.

So I turned to my father.

He listened to my problem then told me exactly what to do.  I didn’t understand what he wanted me to do, but I knew, even at a young age, that this guy had a way of dealing with people, so I did exactly what he said.

[Tune in tomorrow for Part 2.]

Hobbling, But Happy: An Early October Walk In The Park

We’ve yet to see any fall color here, but on Sunday the sky was clear blue.


Zen-Den and I decided to go to a city park for a mosey.


It seemed like a sensible thing to do.


You see, Zen-Den, who sprained his ankle a few weekends ago, was just getting back to walking without a crutch.


And I had twisted my knee while mowing the yard on Saturday morning, meaning I was moving slowly, too.


So, not wanting to let a glorious day go to waste, we hit upon the idea of going to a nice flat park.


Where we hobbled ourselves around, park bench to park bench, taking photos and laughing about how we’ve somehow morphed into old people.

Unwanted: A Photo Study Of Stuff, With Commentary

• OUT FOR A STROLL AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD, I saw this little chest of drawers sitting out by the curb, waiting for trash pick-up.  I immediately thought of Downton Abbey’s Mr. Carson’s observation: “If you are tired of style, you are tired of life.”


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• WALKING THROUGH OUR LITTLE DOWNTOWN, I saw this sign on the window of a dilapidated building that I hope to heaven is torn down soon.  It’s the kind of private property that appears to be one sneeze away from collapse, and as such, is dangerous to walk by.


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• ORGANIZING THE JUNK DRAWER, in search of coins, I found this long-expired casino voucher for a whopping 15¢.  Never let it be said that I am not a frugal optimist, albeit a disorganized one, who believed that she’d get back to the casino to redeem this voucher.


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• SORTING THROUGH THE BASEMENT, I found these moving boxes that I saved from our last move 17 years ago.  Interestingly enough, I have no idea where they came from.  We are not the Sparks family, but apparently years ago we got their stoneware, plus bowls and glasses.


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