Those Were The Days. Not.

“Boy, the way Glenn Miller played…”

I’ve had the theme song from All In The Family trapped in my head for the last few days.  Most unpleasant.  I’m not entirely sure how the song got there.  I haven’t been watching much TV besides reruns of The Big Bang Theory— which are on a hip channel that is the antithesis of a nostalgic channel that’d be showing Archie & Edith.

So I don’t think that I’ve seen any commercials that would have put that song into my head.  Wonder where it came from?

“Guys like us, we had it made…”

I never really liked All In The Family when I first saw it on TV.  I understood that Archie was a reactionary, selfish male.  I got that Edith was a doormat who never stood up for herself due to some misguided sense of duty toward Archie.  And I realized that Gloria, in her attempts to help her mother, was locked in an never-ending battle with her father.

“Didn’t need no welfare state…”

But the satire of the show was lost on me.  In fact it wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that some people weren’t laughing at Archie.  That instead, some people were laughing with Archie.  I have my FIL to thank for that revelation.

“Gee, our old LaSalle ran great…”

I couldn’t tell you when I last saw an episode of All In The Family.  I imagine that if I saw it now, I’d probably get the two-sided humor and enjoy it.  I’m older, wiser, and much more open to different points of view– as happens when you mature and are comfortable with who you are.  So the satire might appeal to me now.

“And you knew who you were then…”

But, quite frankly, with all the political nonsense that is going on in the USA now, I don’t think that I’m up to watching yet another old white male pontificate on things that he knows nothing about.  My patience for such rhetoric, humorous as it can sometimes be, is all used up.

“Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again…”

Which, now that I think about it, might explain why this theme song has infiltrated my brain.  Discourse during these last few weeks, to put it politely, has involved way too much looking backward and not enough going forward.  Reminding me, and any woman who can think for herself, that trapped in the past is no way to live.

Don’t fool yourself, those weren’t the days.

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“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse

Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don’t know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.

[source]

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Planning Ahead

… following Belle of the Carnival’s lead, I’m writing and posting my blogging obituary.  Read more about this exercise in “what-if-ness” here

My Pretend Obituary As A Real Blogger

Ally Bean, guiding light of the blogosphere and quiet voice of sanity in the real world, has passed away peacefully at her home while reading blogs in her Google Reader.

Ms. Bean first came to the world of blogging in 2004 when she decided to keep a personal blog of her own.  Said blog was filled with much flapdoodle and twaddle.  This was a tradition she continued in all her subsequent blogs– taking care to not take herself too seriously.

In the real world Ms. Bean was a tireless advocate of all things bloggy.  In her early days of blogging, she spent lots of time explaining yet again to the uninformed masses what a blog was– and where it was– and why everyone should read hers.  Which is to say that Ms. Bean talked to concrete walls quite frequently back then.

Later as blogging became more mainstream, Ms. Bean helped many people start their first blogs.  She was always willing to talk of cabbages and kings of html and links.  She was more than happy to explain the details of her experiences in various blogging platforms as well as to commiserate about the suckiness of comment trolls and content thieves.

In later life when asked about her contributions to the blogosphere Ms. Bean demurely suggested that as a warm, down-to-earth, quirky blogger she had reached tens of tens who considered her posts to be amusing, insightful & informative.  She wryly noted that she did not reach a single, solitary person who had any interest in paying her for her work.

In lieu of flowers Ms. Bean asked that comments be placed on her blog, The Spectacled Bean.  She also suggested that everyone who keeps a blog and reads this post should do this same thing i.e. write your own blogging obituary.  And then link back to me [no, wait… I meant to say] this post [wait…] obituary.  That’s it: link back to this pretend obituary.  Please.

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After I posted the above, Mike, who is Notoriously Nice, tweeted me the link to Tombstone Generator.  Here’s what I made for my pretend blogging grave.  😉

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‘Tis A Gift To Be Mellow

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Last night our midwestern sunset was unique.

Purple and pink and fuchsia filled the sky.  Those bold colors made a perfect backdrop behind the dark brown tree trunks and leafless branches.  Looking out my kitchen window the jumble of trees and color seemed like one unified whole.

The view was more like a watercolor painting than a glimpse into my mundane backyard.

February has been comfortable this year.  The temperatures have been in the 50’s instead of the 20’s.  The sun has shone more days than not.  Snowfall has been negligible.

As a result of this unusual weather, I find myself much more light-hearted than I usually am at this time of year.  More hopeful.  More focused on dreams and plans and doing.

It’s a gift, this winter of mellowness.  A gift that is difficult to ignore.

Pieces Of Winter

~  We awakened to snow this morning.  Just a dusting.  Falling softly, no malicious intent.  Unlike last year when we had 30″ of snow by February, today’s snowfall brings our yearly total to just under three inches.  I can live happily– angst-free during a winter like the one we’re having this year.  Hallelujah!

~  I read Leo Babauta’s book, The Power of LESS, while on vacation.  It’s a fast read that I recommend to anyone who is trying to figure out how to live a simpler, more meaningful life.  After reading the book I made a few notes and began contemplating my life.  Consequently, this week I’ve decided what I value, what I love, what my goals are.  I can live happily– focused on what means the most to me.  Yes!

~  We finished the puzzle.  Even though it had 1000 pieces it went together quickly.  With that many pieces I thought that we’d be fussing with it until March.  But it turned out to be easy-peasy mac & cheesy.  I can live happily– satisfied with something going better than planned.  Yeah!

~  I sent away for some business cards for this blog!  I’ve always wanted to share my blog with people in real life– not depending on them to scribble down this blog’s name & address on a scrap of paper.  This will allow me to easily and smoothly introduce people to The Spectacled Bean.  I can live happily– contented with the knowledge that I’m doing my best to promote this sweet little bloggy.  Ever onward!

My 5 Suggestions For Writing Better Blog Posts

Even though I’ve blogged off and on since 2004 [read more here], I’m not sure that I’ve ever written about how to write a blog post. When I first stumbled upon blogging years ago nothing like this list existed.  Back then blogging was all trial & error, but eventually I figured out how to write a post that was understandable & interesting.  Now, of course, advice on how to blog is EVERYWHERE.  Which got me thinking that maybe what I’ve learned might be of value to someone.  So, without further ado, I give you…

My 5 Suggestions For Writing Better Blog Posts

[from www.thespectacledbean.com]

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1.  Have a thesis statement for your blog.

this is vital.  you need it to help keep you grounded as you write each post.  without it, you’ll flounder and your blog will go nowhere.

2.  Be specific.

details, baby!  tell us exactly what interests you and why.  show us how you did something.  explain your point of view.  i’m not talking about being wordy, here.  i’m talking about presenting your life in a clearly defined way that tells us about you.

3.  Write each post with one or two people in mind. 

pretend like you are writing– or talking– to one or two people who you know care about what you have to say.  tell them your story, and don’t worry about what anyone else will think of it.  you can’t please everyone, so you might as well focus on the few people who will appreciate what you have to say.

4.  Give your readers something to say “YES” to.

can’t emphasize this concept enough.  readers engage with you because you are sharing ideas & experiences that ring true with them.  they want to talk about things, and it is so much easier to comment when there is a way to say “yes.”

5.  Make it stylish.

each individual post must look inviting and polished on its own.  you need to become familiar with all those little buttons in your text editor that allow you to do jazzy things like bold, italic, font sizes, font styles, font colors, text placement, image sizing.  effective communication is much more than a string of words on a page.

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How To Charm Me

My late aunt kept a scrapbook throughout her teen years.  In it she put mementos from her social life.  After she died a few years ago, I inherited the scrapbook.  Below is an invitation to a girlfriend’s party that I found in the scrapbook.  I love how it reflects the style of the times.  Hello, Art Deco!

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As if the beauty of this old invitation isn’t enough to charm me, if you look closely you’ll see that the girl giving the party has signed her name quite clearly. And who is this girl, you wonder?  Well, I know the answer to that.

She is Marilyn Meseke, who later became Miss America 1938.  And as such, thanks to news reel footage shown in movie theaters around the country, Marilyn was the first Miss America ever seen on-screen receiving her crown.

Pretty cool, huh?