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…?

~ 🎄 🎄 🎄 ~

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. 

~ 🎄 🎄 🎄 ~

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?

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!

A Klutz Rakes Leaves: The Battle Of The Mantras

Out raking the leaves.

Half an acre lot sloping down into a ravine with a creek.

Maybe about 28 trees on it.

[Never doubt that trees beget leaves.] 

Getting tired. Getting bored.

Mind starts to offer mantras.

“I think I can… I think I can…”

Childhood wisdom gleaned from reading.

“When in doubt, don’t.”

Adult wisdom imparted by yoga teacher.

“Yes we can.”

Political slogan, uplifting.

“Be careful.”

Mom, always.

Then the deciding factor.

While raking on the hillside, giving it my all, I slipped and fell on my backside.

Just. Like. That.

Nothing hurt. Not even my ego.

I’m a klutz* after all.

But suddenly the angels sang and I knew which mantra to follow.

DID I KEEP GOING INSPIRED TO OVERCOME or DID I MAKE A STRATEGIC RETREAT?

Discuss.

* Previously documented examples of my klutziness: 1) fell on face while carrying donation into Goodwill;  2) thrown off Segway while moving through cemetery;  and 3) during house party dropped ottoman on toe breaking toenail.

#CBF17 | See What I Mean? This Is What I Cherish.

I’m joining the Cherished Blogfest here. Cherished Blogfest is open to all bloggers who want to write about something that or someone who they cherish.

I wrote this post last week meaning to join the blogfest over the weekend, but I failed to meet the deadline.

However, with a hat tip to Joanne for letting me know, TPTB* have extended the Cherished Blogfest deadline to Sunday October 22nd so I’m in.  Better late than never! Why not join in, too?

~ ~ ~ ~

Little Ally Bean

This is my first grade school photo.

First you’ll notice that the photographer didn’t manage to center me in the frame.  I was a wiggly little girl, so– you know.

Then you’ll notice that my white cotton blouse collar is going one direction while my itchy wool plaid jumper is going in a different direction.

Clothes horse, never been one.

If you’re still looking at the photo, and I do hope that you are, you’ll notice that I’m wearing spectacles.

Eyeglasses.

Granted, they were dorky, unfashionable ones made of the strongest plastic available and were the cheapest ones on the rack at the doctor’s office– but I cherished these glasses.

And here’s why: my vision was lousy and it wasn’t until I got my first pair of spectacles that I actually began to see the world around me.

In detail.

I mean, who knew that the green blob up on top of the tree trunk was actually lots of little green leaves?

Not me.

Or that billboards along the highway had words and faces on them, not just random and abstract colorful smudges?

Again, not me.

Now I realize that many, many kids [and adults] hate eyeglasses– for whatever reasons. But I’m not one of them. I think spectacles are one of the best things on earth, having the power to instantly, safely connect a person with their environment, whether it be natural or bookish.

And because of that power, to this day I cherish my eyeglasses for what they have, and I hope continue to do, for me.

In fact, I respect my spectacles so much I even named my blog after them.  You, my gentle readers, do realize that you’re reading The Spectacled Bean, right? 😎

~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~

* TPTB for this blogfest are: Damyanti Biswas, Dan Antion, Cheryl Pennington, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Mary Giese, Kate Powell, and Paul Ruddock

Confessions Of A Formerly Super Conscientious Woman + 3 New Projects

Once upon a time I was a super conscientious woman.

I lived and died by Checking Things Off My To Do List. My self-worth was contingent upon these checks because the results were more important to me than the process. Woe be it to anyone who got in my way: I was not always the nicest person.

Sad to say, apologizes offered.

~ ~ ~ ~

CURRENTLY: I want the walls in our home office to be griege, the trendy color of the moment. All I have to do is figure out which shade of griege goes best with the furniture and artwork that we already have.

~ ~ ~ ~

Then my goals and desires began to change.

That is, I got older and more self-aware. I evolved into a wiser + wearier woman who no longer felt obliged to Do A Lot Every Day Or Else. I still accomplish things, quite a few things– but at a slower pace, focusing on the process that I now allow to be organic rather than forced.

Mellowness is good for me.

~ ~ ~ ~

CURRENTLY: I want to continue upgrading our terrace using odds-n-ends of slate and limestone to create a patio with a level surface that is unique– and less pebble-y than what is there now.

 ~ ~ ~ ~

This new me is easier to be around.

Despite these unsettling difficult Trumpian times we’re living through, I’m a more relaxed version of my previous self. This iteration, Ally Bean 2.0 The Best Yet, evolved quietly during the last decade of my life when I didn’t feel well and couldn’t decide a thing without overthinking it.

However, no longer stuck am I.

~ ~ ~ ~

CURRENTLY: I want to organize all the inherited stuff that has accumulated around here, in our basement, for decades. Then I want this stuff sold | auctioned | donated | given away | tossed out. Enough already with the past, I say.

~ ~ ~ ~

I don’t know why I’m telling you this today, my gentle readers.  

All I can say is that this morning as I was planning my day I realized How Differently I Handle Any Decision Or Activity now, compared to how I used to do things when society had me convinced that my self-worth hinged on my super conscientiousness.

But you know what? It doesn’t.

Here Are My 3 “Sorry / Not Sorry” Opinions 

INTRODUCTION

One of my favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome.

It’s a weekly talk show in which at least two of the four co-hosts, who live in different parts of the USA, talk politely + intelligently about awesome things that they like.  Things like: books, TV, family, relationships, travel, health, beauty, self-awareness, personalities, social media, blogs.

The episode that hooked me in this time was Episode #110 in which all four women shared their 3 “sorry / not sorry” [potentially unpopular] opinions.  This was a conversation [with a digression into raw chicken that was priceless] that at times had me laughing so hard I feared that I’d pee my pants.

But I didn’t. 

Grateful for what didn’t happen, and upon reflection, I decided that this Sorta Awesome “sorry / not sorry” topic would make for an interesting blog post.  So without further ado, I give you the following…

MY 3 “SORRY / NOT SORRY” OPINIONS

#1

I question the smarts of people who place flags in such a way as to have the flag pointing back toward the house, instead of having the flag point forward.  It’s all about history and common sense, kids.

Flags are the colors + symbol that you follow as you’re going into battle: they show you the way.  Therefore, you don’t point the flag back at yourself, because you might impale yourself on it as you move forward.  That would make no sense.

So for the love of all that is good, fly the flag properly. Please.

#2

I do not believe that curly/frizzy hair is a sign of improper grooming.  Here’s a news flash: God gave some people curly/frizzy hair and it’s okay to let it be curly/frizzy.

Not everyone has stick straight hair [natural or forced] like the Kardashians or Melania Trump.  No, some people, like me, have curly/frizzy hair that we keep clean, professionally cut– and wear in a style that is *gasp* natural.

Yep, that’s the truth. Deal with it.

#3

I refuse to pretend that mochi balls are a tasty treat.  I don’t care how deliciously on trend you think they are, how calorically perfect you think they are, how cleverly Japanese you think they are… I don’t like ’em.

They taste awful to me and have a miserable texture.  But that is, of course, because I don’t like to eat blobs of fruity-tea-flavored melting ice cream wrapped in color-coordinated Play-Doh.

In a word, I’d describe mochi balls as: bleech.

CONCLUSION

You may or may not agree with what I’ve written above.  It matters not to me, which is the whole point of this exercise in honesty.

I figure that by sharing, what I’d describe as rather benign, opinions on a variety of topics, I’ve opened up the blog comments to all of you, my gentle readers, to do the same.

Blogger see. Blogger do.

So… tell me a few of your “sorry / not sorry” opinions.  I’d love to know.

When A Bee Gets Buzzed, What Does It Mean?

~ ~ 🐝 ~ ~

MY WEEK THUS FAR HAS BEEN A DOOZY, filled with broken things, unreliable people, and inconveniently rainy weather.  Nothing, despite my best efforts, has gone smoothly.

Exhausted after a trying day, I was sitting on our deck last night.  I had a glass of pinot noir on the table beside me, and was minding me own beeswax, so to speak.

A bee, like the one in the photo above, came out of nowhere and flew directly, seemingly intentionally, into my glass of wine, then proceeded to do the backstroke in the wine in the glass.

As much as this sounds like I’m making up this story, I’m being literal: a large, healthy bee, managed to ruin my glass of red wine, while having himself the best swim ever.

~ ~ 🍷 ~ ~

IT WAS HILARIOUS TO WATCH HIM going around in circles inside the glass, of course.  However, at the same time, it was damned annoying because the wine wasn’t a cheap bottle of plonk– and I had to toss the contents of the glass, bee and all, over the side of the deck onto the grass below.

Zen-Den, gracious human being that he is, brought me another glass of wine from the bottle in the kitchen… and he handed me a paper cocktail napkin to use to cover the top of the glass while I continued to sit on the deck.

But me being me, an English major educated and encouraged to find the meaning in all things, I got lost in my head trying to figure out what it meant that a bee got buzzed, in a most dramatic way, right when I was trying to mellow out.

~ ~ 🤔 ~ ~

THE BEST EXPLANATION I COULD COME UP WITH, based on Occam’s Razor‘s idea of simplicity + obviousness, was that the bee represented me this week, busy doing things, but not in ways that make me happy.

And that following the bee’s lead, I needed to speed up my wine consumption if I was to have as much fun and relaxation as this uninvited bee was having in my wine glass.

So, not being one to argue with Scientific Logic, or the Serendipitous Nature of the Universe, I drank my first glass of wine. Then sipped another one. And suddenly, as if it was all meant to be, everything seemed right within my world.