Marching Forward With A Sense Of Serendipity & A Stack Of Books

A sense of serendipity:

I think the above is proof positive that I was destined to be a blogger.

Sure, some people might only see a short story + crayon drawing created by an 8 [?] year old kid. A homework assignment. On Manila paper. Written with a pencil. Demonstrating Zaner-Bloser penmanship.

But I see a future personal blogger.  Did I not tell you what we did?  Did I not share an image that supported what I wrote?  Did I not make the whole page look pretty?

Why “yes” Ally Bean, you did do those things at age 8.  Those things that today, getting to the crux of it here, might tempt one to ask:


Why “yes” they are, Ally Bean.  And to think you only had to wait about gazillion decades for your natural blogging talent to manifest and be appreciated by tens of people.


A stack of books:

I went to the bookstore. A real one. Brick and mortar.

I bought books that I’d either heard about from other people, or looked interesting to me in the moment.  In the end, after putting some books back on the shelf, I bought the ones shown above, described below.

The books are from top to bottom: a memoir, a novel, another memoir, a theological/inspirational book, a mystery, and a how-to guide.

It was only after I got home and created this stack of TBR books that I realized two of the titles referred to dirt.  This seems appropriate considering that we’re heading into Spring when gardening season begins and bulbs bloom– as explained in my homework assignment seen at the top of this post.

And on that happy note, I’m going to enjoy my day as a full-fledged blogger [whatever that means] and as a bookworm who needs to get reading.



Please answer one of the two following questions. Individuals who answer both questions will receive a gold star. 

When did you realize that you were destined to be a blogger?


What books are loitering in your To Be Read stack?


The Stuff Of Family & Ancestors: Thoughts While Sorting Through Boxes

Does this make me feel more alive?

[The question to ask. Always.]

I’ve been in a deciding frame of mind this month. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

A past that in many cases is not mine, but I reluctantly accepted and boxed up when elderly relatives passed on, storing their stuff in my closets, I did.

Now, I want empty closets, the feeling of lightness.

Been going through dusty boxes of old family photos and documents and letters. Pamphlets and newspaper articles.

Memorabilia, too.

Does this make me feel more alive?

I shred the photos and docs and letters that don’t call to me, and save those that might… might… might… someday find their way into…

a blog post?

an article or essay?

a memoir, perhaps, even?

But as for the family memorabilia, it’s a different kind of past. Remembered with objects, things of history.

Personal cookbooks;  and 1940s slides [with a projector];  and  handwritten family stories;  and a diary;  and a daguerreotype;  and [of all things] a Civil War soldier’s personal mirror with carved initials.

What shall I decide about these objects, I wonder.

Does this make me feel more alive?

Difficult for me, an adult orphan, to know what to do with these things that held memories for someone who is long gone. Someone who I may never have met.

I intend to make peace with these objects, sending them on their way…

to history museums or libraries?

to antique malls?

to the dump?

I’ve been a good relative, respectful, but now I’m ready to have more space, both literal and figurative, in my life. Must get rid of a past that doesn’t serve me.

Does this make me feel more alive?

A Conversation: Blue Is My Color, But I’m Not Blue

🔹 🔹 🔹 🦋 🔹 🔹 🔹

Oh dear, I got myself into a confusing conversation about, of all things, my mental health.

🔹 🦋 🔹

Which is fine.  I’m a bit cynical + anxious, but considering Cadet Bone Spurs is our so-called president, who isn’t?

Anyhoo, I was at the doc’s office having my quarterly micropeel with an aesthetician I’ve seen once before.  She had with her a new-to-this-practice aesthetician-in-training.  Both women, in their 40s, had worked in medical practices for decades.

I was wearing a cornflower blue cardigan sweater because: 1) I’ve worn shades of blue since I can remember;  & 2) as a graying blonde this particular shade of blue is flattering on me, if I do say so myself.

I walked into the procedure room and the aesthetician-in-training mentioned that I look good in blue.  To which I said: “Thank you, blue is the color of my life.”

Because it is.  If I’m not wearing blue, I’m probably wearing teal.  Another color of my life.

But not part of this story.

🔹 🦋 🔹

Now as I’m standing there in the procedure room, there’s a pause while both women look at me, troubled, concerned– ready to help.

🔹 🦋 🔹

They start saying, alternately: “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  “I know this time of year can be difficult when you’re dealing with depression.”  “How are you doing today?”  “You can talk to us… we understand.”

They had tears in their eyes.

Yet there I was, about as emotionally balanced as I ever am, suddenly aware of what they thought I’d said, trying to explain to them that I meant BLUE the color– not blue, a reference to depression.

But do you have any idea how difficult it is to dissuade someone that you aren’t depressed when they’ve misinterpreted what you said, thinking that you’ve felt comfortable enough with them to share your pain?

Anything I said sounded like I was in denial, trying to back-pedal about a mental health problem.  While in fact I was trying to explain to them that as a rosacea-challenged fading summer blonde, blue is a pretty color for me to wear.

Blue with green undertones. Blue with purple undertones.

Just plain blue.

Light blue. Medium blue. Dark blue.


It took some doing on my part but I think that I convinced them in a polite way that my mental health was fine, and that while I appreciated their concern, I was being literal about the color blue.

That really, I’ve not been sad or depressed my whole life.

🔹 🦋 🔹

But honestly… talk about a weirdly awkward situation to be in.  One that only I could get myself into, I suspect.

🔹 🔹 🔹 🦋 🔹 🔹 🔹


In Which I Explain That I’m Not A Cornflake

I like Janet. She knows things. She is encouraging. She is her own style muse. And her name? So easy to remember. { image source }

~ ~ • ~ ~

Having reached Level 1000 in Candy Crush Soda Saga, I decided to give it up and download a new game onto my smart phone.  To play the new game I had to create a user name, a nickname as the game called it.

Anyone who knows me knows that wordsmith-ery and problem-solving are my strengths in life.  Thus, you’d think that I’d be a wiz at creating nicknames, wouldn’t you?

But in this case I became frustrated because I couldn’t find one that was not already in use.  I mean I tried basic ones, then I tried what I thought were unique names for moi and to a one, these names were all were taken.

Teal Flower? GONE.

BeeBeeBee? GONE.

One Fine Gamegirl? GONE.

So eventually, being a woman with a large vocabulary who prides herself on perseverance & perspicacity, I decided to turn this problem on its head and do the opposite of what I thought made sense. Hence, instead of describing myself as I am, I chose to describe myself as I am not.

And guess what?  Using this shrewd reverse-thinking approach I found a nickname that wasn’t taken.

Yes, my gentle readers, please share in my amazement that NOT A CORNFLAKE was an available nickname, that is now mine.

So on that rather absurd note, with joy in my heart about life’s funny moments, I’m back to blogging.

~ ~ • ~ ~

How ‘ya been? What’s new with you? Got a nickname that you care to share? 

Just say something in the comments below. Talk to me.

I missed all of you. 

~ ~ • ~ ~

As The Year Ends, Reflections As I Walk By A Creek

Went for a walk. Standing on a bridge over the creek I saw the waterfall down the way.

Noticed the beautiful bare tree branches reflected in the creek’s still water near the bridge on which I stood.

So calm. So pretty.

Continued walking.  Found the waterfall where the water was flowing over it.

Enjoyed watching as the clear water moved forward, not so gracefully tumbling over the falls.

Loudly. With enthusiasm and purpose.

Found myself reflecting on perspective and change. On always moving forward, appreciating peacefulness, but never allowing oneself to become stagnant.

Decided that the message was for me to let last year’s concerns float away, never forgotten or marginalized, but utilized as starting points so that next year’s plans can coalesce.

And on that bit of self-awareness, I shall wander off into the real world where busy people and half-finished projects are waiting for me.

To do that which I do.

And as for The Spectacled Bean, well– don’t expect me back here until mid-January when winter is in full swing.  I’ve decided to go on a brief blogging hiatus, if the fates allow.

Happy Christmas & Merry New Year, everyone.

See ‘ya in 2018.

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?