Presented For Your Consideration: 7 Writing Prompts + 1 Photo Challenge

Another busy week here so I’m going to do something fun & different. I’m using the following back-to-school writing prompts AND I’m snapping my first #bumblebeebookstack photo. Tell me what you think…

Teacher Turned Mommy is hosting a blog hop in which she has provided these 7 prompts. Click HERE to be magically taken to her blog where you can learn more about it.

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ONE

My memories of the first day of school involve two things: ANXIETY about what my new teachers would be like & CURIOSITY about who I’d be sitting by.  People, figuring them out & getting used to them– that’s what I remember from my first days of school.

TWO

My favorite school supply was paper.  Whether it was lined or with grids, plain white or a beautiful color, small size or large, loose or in a spiral notebook– I LIKED PAPER.  [Still do.]

THREE

The teacher who made a difference for me was my freshman high school English teacher, Mrs. L——-,  who believed everyone could be a writer if they followed one simple rule: BE SPECIFIC. [Years ago in response to a prompt I wrote about Mrs. L——- here: The One About My Favorite Public School Teacher.]

FOUR

Here’s the thing about apples, they are my favorite fruit.  I LOVE APPLES, all varieties.  Cooked, baked, raw. In salads. Turned into juice or cider. With peanut butter on each slice. With chunks of cheddar cheese to go with.  With popcorn, even.

FIVE 

Getting a new box of crayons was [and is] a treat.  My mother, who had strong opinions on this topic, felt that one child with 64 crayons was excessive and unnecessary, so I MADE DO WITH 48.  Periwinkle and Cornflower Blue were my favorite colors.  I did not like Raw Umber.

SIX

When I think about new friends I’m reminded that I went to three elementary schools in four years.  I walked into the first two schools only knowing a few kids from church, but the third school was different.

It was a new school with a new building that combined about half the kids from each of the first two schools I went to;  therefore, for the first time, I KNEW ALMOST EVERYONE.  And this made me happy.

SEVEN

Answering what’s in your lunchbox is difficult for me because my mother didn’t believe in packing lunches.  She was all about a HOT MEAL so she made me buy my lunch every stinking day until I got to high school when I was allowed to pack my own lunch, that I put in a brown paper bag.

Some of the cafeteria food wasn’t so bad.  I liked the fish sandwiches and the Spanish rice and the baked beans and the no-bake cookies– but the salmon loaf was beyond bleech.  Subjecting innocent children with their tender taste buds to it was cruel.

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I got this idea from Instagram. This is what is called a Bumblebee Book Stack. Finding the books was easy, but photographing them was more difficult than I thought it’d be. Go figure. 

In Which Ms. Bean Confirms She Is Who She Is: A Dreamer

I took the fast & fun interactive What’s Your COLOR ID Quiz on the Sherwin-Williams website.  Click HERE to go take it for yourself.

My quiz results told me I am a Dreamer.  A Dreamer is defined thusly:

I was further told that as a Dreamer I do the following:

Here is a screen shot of a few of the Sherwin-Williams colors that a Dreamer likes to see in her home.

Here is a photo of the wall in this particular Dreamer’s home office [or study if that’s what you want to call this room] where she is currently sitting.  This wall is painted SW 7666 Fleur de Sel, one of the colors shown in the image above.

It’s not often that I take an online quiz and end up with results that I agree with 100%.  In fact some of my previous posts [here & here] have been less than kind when discussing my quiz results, but for whatever reason, this time the quiz results made sense to me.

And with that I’ll end this pleasant post about knowing who I am by wishing you, my gentle readers, a Happy Weekend.  May it be colorful in a way that pleases you and filled with sweet dreams ’til sunbeams find you.

This Is How I Make 2 Types Of Images For My Blog

Have you ever heard someone say that their mantra is to always be recommending?  I love that idea.  Information is part of what makes the world go round.  

To wit, here’s what I use to make 2 types of unique images that I share on The Spectacled Bean. I’m often asked about where I get my images, so here you go.  

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WHEN I TURN PERSONAL PHOTOS INTO ART I use a free app called Waterlogue.  It’s on my phone, ezpz to use, and offers a variety of looks.  Here’s an example of a before and after image.

First I took a photo with my phone.  This is that photo.

Then I used the app choosing one of their filters, in this case the Illustrator, to make my photo look snazzy.  This is the after.

As you can see the app has taken a so-so photo and turned it into a bombdiggity blog-worthy picture.

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WHEN I CREATE IMAGES WITH TEXT I use Canva on my desktop computer [or here for your phone].  It’s a graphic design website [or an app for your phone] featuring a variety of free templates, many pre-sized for any social media you might use.

First I picked a template.  This is the before.

Then I did a fast little rewrite using the first movie quote that came to mind, thus creating something clever and unique.  This is the after.

In this example I did a color change & resized the font but there were many free and $$$ options I could have used to make this image even more amazeballs.

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I hope that this information is of some value to you.  

If you know of other ways to create blog post images [preferably free] please recommend them in the comments below.

And on that note, with nothing more to say here, I shall wish all of you Happy Blogging.

The Big Bang Theory: In Which I Share 2 Pieces Of Advice From Penny + Ask A Few Questions

I got 94/100 on The Big Bang Theory Quiz. Click HERE to take it.

I’M LOOKING FORWARD to watching the series finale of The Big Bang Theory.  It airs tonight and I want to know how the show ends.

I’ve enjoyed the show, having seen it in reruns and in prime time.  I’ve not watched every episode nor have I seen it in a linear way so some of the story lines are a jumble in my mind, but that doesn’t matter.

The Big Bang Theory is all about the characters and their relationships with each other.  I especially like Penny.  She’s my favorite.

• • •

THE FIRST PIECE of Penny advice is from an episode in which she’s sitting in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment with them– and of course Sheldon and Leonard start bickering about something academic. As they do.

Penny stops them from talking, then looks at Sheldon reminding him: what did we say about being nicer to your friends?  Then she looks at Leonard reminding him: what did we say about not being a gullible weenie? 

This scene could be from my real life.  I occasionally find myself in the middle of conversations wherein one person needs to remember how to be kind while the other person needs to engage in some critical thinking.

I have yet to say the above out loud directly to anyone, but I’m thinking it. Dagnabbit.

• • •

THE SECOND PIECE of Penny advice is from the end of an episode in which Penny has sat through a tedious Physics Bowl competition at the university.  In this competition Sheldon and Leonard try to prove who is smarter.

Later as a way of showing the guys how little they actually know she creates her own pop culture quiz.  They, of course, are clueless about what she is asking them.  Baffled, Leonard asks her how she knows this stuff.

She answers with a classic line that I find myself saying from time-to-time, a line perfectly suited for ending this post, in fact. She says: I go outside and I talk to people.

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• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Will you be watching [or did you watch] the series finale of The Big Bang Theory? And if so, which character is your favorite?

Do you like or dislike or are indifferent to The Big Bang Theory? It’s been on the air for 12 years so you’ve had ample time to form an opinion of it. ‘Fess up. 

If you took the quiz I linked to under the image of my score, what score did you get?

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1930s Slang: How Do You Say Very Good?

What’s your story, morning glory?

This is today’s silliness, it being the last day of April and all.  Wave good-bye to April.  Busy month for me.  Did different things for the heck of it.

Case in point, out of curiosity I did some genealogical research about ye olde family and in the process I, once again, stumbled over something entertaining.

In that wordy historical way I like.  Bumping gums and a ring-a-ding-ding I say.

What I found is Dirty 30s!, a fun website with a long list of slang terms from, you guessed it, the 1930s.

Reading through this list gave me an idea of how my ancestors spoke to each other.  You shred it, wheat.  Or I assume that they did.  I mean, they probably used slang, right?  No reason to believe that they spoke in scholarly language all the time.

[Well, one did write a book that landed on the NYT best seller list in the 1930s but he must have at least known these words and phrases.  Togged to the bricks, that one.]

Anyway, below I present for your entertainment a simple little poll about the word GOOD.  My theme for the day, it would seem.  I could do worse. Good is good.

Thus I ask of you to shake a leg and use your peepers because you’ve got a poll to take.

[Slang words and phrases defined in comment section below.]

Just The Facts: The Results Of My ‘How Am I Doing?’ Survey

Thanks to everyone who took my How Am I Doing? survey [now closed].

You’re the best and overwhelmed me with your kind answers.  I wasn’t fishing for compliments with this survey;  I was challenging myself to see if I could write one.  Then on a whim I decided to share it here for the fun of it.

At one point in my life I worked in marketing research so I’m familiar with the process of collecting data from respondents.  Below I’ve categorized it into three parts.

 I also know that once you collect the data, interpretation is a whole ‘nother thing.  Spin it the way you want. So with that in mind, and me being me, I’m spinning this funny, because honestly some of your answers were a hoot.

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PART 1

What I learned about you:

  • 90% of you write a blog
  • 50% of you like to goof off on social media in the blogosphere;  followed by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • 60% of you were very likely to recommend this blog to friends and family
  • 90% of you thought the survey was cool beans

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PART 2

How you answered two specific questions regarding this blog:

These responses were straightforward and clear to interpret.  No further explanation required.

This is where things got complicated because over half of you used “Other” when responding to the question.  Some of you said that there was nothing you disliked so you were using “Other” to tell me this.  Some of you who clicked on “Other” made suggestions about my writing style and graphic design.  And one respondent said that using “Other” was the only way to show that all the choices were applicable to this blog.

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PART 3

Here are some of your responses when asked what comes to mind when you think about this blog:

  • Ohio
  • A red kidney bean dressed like Elton John
  • Ooh, what will Ally Bean say today?
  • Engaging, enjoyable blog. Funny without trying too hard.
  • oh, shit, I haven’t read that spectacled blog in awhile. I better go catch up!
  • Beans 🙂
  • Lovely variety of slice of life topics.
  • A string bean wearing glasses. But also humorous posts and genuine connection with others.
  • My bloggy friend for years now
  • Flapdoodle

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The One About Birdbaths, The Path You Choose, & A Survey About My Blog

Over the weekend we went to a garden decor center to look at birdbaths for my butterfly habitat.  There is no end to the exciting things we do here.  In fact I sometimes hesitate telling you, my gentle readers, what we’re up to because I don’t want to make anyone jealous.

We didn’t find a birdbath that’ll work for us because it’s early in the outdoor season here so the selection was minimal– and because the ones available required electricity which we don’t have where I want to put a birdbath.

But we had a nice time walking around the property in the sunshine.  YAY SPRING! 😎

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In the parking lot of this garden decor center is a sign that directs you one way or the other.  You can either meander down the Scenic Route that wraps around the front of the property where there are displays of ponds + fountains + birdbaths to give you an idea of what you might want to do in your yard.  This path is kind of artsy fartsy.

Or you can use the Main Entrance and go directly to the merchandise in the back of the property where it’s organized in large quadrants of similar items.  This is where the helpful sales people are ready to get you all squared away.  This path is fast and practical.

Scenic route or main entrance?  Those are your choices at the garden decor center.  And it seems to me, an English major who can find meaning in anything, those are often your choices in life.  Which begs the question:

WHICH WAY IS YOUR USUAL CHOSEN PATH: MEANDER OR DIRECT? Hmmm…? 🤔

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On a whim yesterday afternoon I created a free survey about this blog using SurveyMonkey.  Having never done anything like this before, I followed their suggestions about the questions to include.

There are seven questions that according to them will take you 1 minute to answer.  Trust me when I say that it took me longer than 1 minute to make this survey– learning curve, kind of steep.

I have my *fingers crossed* that this is going to work.  Also, you’ll be anonymous.  There are no demographic questions and I won’t know your IP address.

Click on HOW AM I DOING? to be magically transported to my survey, should you care to take a minute of your time and answer my questions.  Thank you in advance for your kind participation in my first online survey. 🤓

SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.