Jottings About The Opposite Of Purple Prose + A Question About Endings

THE JOTTINGS PART

Purple prose is writing that is too elaborate or ornate. It detracts from the narrative instead of moving the story forward. [More here]

My way of describing purple prose is that it is fussy, unfocused, and old-fashioned. I don’t write like that.

I’m a straightforward writer. I tend to have a point, get to it, and make it snappy in the process. Photos and images help me make my point. I like pretty.

I edit mercilessly because while I can be chatty I shall not dither, possibly wasting someone’s time. That’d never do.

And when possible, depending on the topic I’m discussing, I prefer to come to a conclusion, whether it be my reasoned opinion and/or a specific question.

Thus I give you, my gentle readers, the following. It’s something I’ve been thinking about of late, for a reason you’ll understand.

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THE QUESTION PART

The longer I write this blog the more I wonder how much longer I’ll be writing this blog.

As many of you know I had blogs before this one, starter blogs as I think of them, but when I created this blog in 2011 I told myself that if I hit 1,000 posts I’d call it quits.

Welp, after hitting publish on this post I’m 15 posts away from 1,000. Meaning that if I’m true to my original plan, I’ll soon be faced with a decision about what to do with this blog.

Which brings me to my question to you:

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO END YOUR BLOG?

A Photo Story: The Tale We Have Here Is Something Quite Dear

After writing in my previous post about the ridiculous absurd time-wasting hassle of buying bags of stones, I thought I’d take a few photos of our backyard showing you, my gentle readers and curious lurkers, where the aforementioned hard-won stone is. I took the photos while standing on the deck above the yard and they show the stones + something unexpected.

This photo shows how the stones edge the planting bed creating a clear dividing line between mulch and grass. Not too exciting perhaps, but there is more, and unless you’re a Hard-hearted Hannah [the vamp of Savanah], you’re going to like it.

This photo gives you a better idea of the length and width of the stone edge dividing line. It also shows you something unexpected. Look closely in the middle of the photo, kids.

Do you see who’s lounging under a bush?

Yes, it’s a sweet little fawn whose mother has left it there, knowing it’d be safe and hidden from view from most predators. I could only see it because I was above on the deck looking down onto it [and Zen-Den pointed it out to me]. Now isn’t that dear?

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. May something dear, or deer, happen to you today!

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Shopping At Lowe’s On A Saturday Morning, The Struggle Was Absurdly Real

As we drove away I turned to Z-D and said, “some blog posts just write themselves.”

HE NODDED IN AGREEMENT.

Granted we could have refused to buy what we came for, but after hauling about 500 lbs of stepping stones + bagged mulch + bagged pebbles onto a flatbed cart then pushing it from the back of the Garden Center to the checkout register by the gated entry at the front of the Garden Center, we were committed to the project.

Plus we’d intentionally parked our car near the Garden Center gate so that we’d make it easier on ourselves when it came time to load our items into our car, but the joke was on us about that, too.

Here’s what happened.

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On a sunny spring Saturday morning around 9:00 a.m. Zen-Den and I went to Lowe’s to buy gardening materials and some plants. Like many other shoppers we wanted to get going on our gardening projects while the weather was with us.

The Garden Center was busy with about 20 people shopping, everyone grabbing items, putting them in a basket cart or on a flatbed cart. Then going to stand in line by the registers, waiting for an employee to ring us out. But there were no cashiers to be seen by the registers.

After waiting about 5 minutes, pleasantly chatting with other shoppers, I decided to walk through the large store to go tell Customer Service that… stick with me here… there were customers who required some service. That is, a cashier to ring us out.

Instead of being received in a positive way*, the woman in charge of Customer Service told me I was wrong, stating that at there were no customers waiting to be checked out in the Garden Center.

YES, SHE SAID I, THE PERSON STATING A VERIFIABLE FACT, WAS WRONG.

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I said “yes” there were customers in the Garden Center with basket carts and flatbed carts filled with items to purchase. At least 10 when I left the area to come and politely tell her we needed some… stick with me here… customer service.

But she said “no” that can’t be. She knew she was right because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It opened at 10:00 a.m. and it was only 9:20 a.m.

Repeating myself I told her “no” it was open, that the gates were unlocked, and that about 10 people were waiting to buy stuff.

THEN SHE ASKED ME IF I’D BROKEN THE LOCK TO GET INTO THE GARDEN CENTER.

I assured her that I hadn’t broken in and that it was open when we drove up. And most importantly… stick with me here… we needed someone to ring us out. Like one of the three cashiers I could see standing at three customer-free registers in the main part of the store.

Again this woman told me I was wrong because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It was kind of a theme with her to not believe me, the teller of truth.

At which point I walked away from her heading back to the Garden Center, shouting over my shoulder, “IT’S OPEN.”

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Welp, what happened next is absurd, a case study in poor retail store management. By the time I walked back to the Garden Center the customer service woman had sent an employee to… stick with me here… lock the gates. Yep, she didn’t send one of the three cashiers who was doing nothing to ring us out.

INSTEAD OF ACCOMMODATING THE CUSTOMERS SHE MADE HER VERSION OF REALITY COME TRUE BY CLOSING THE GARDEN CENTER.

But of course the story doesn’t end here. That’d be too easy.

Nope, then we the customers were directed to traipse through the store pushing are loaded carts to where the three cashiers were standing by registers ready to ring us out.

Except they weren’t really ready to ring us out.

This is because many of the garden supplies and plants didn’t have UPC codes on them so without the official Garden Center information notebook the inside cashiers had no way to know what to charge us for the items that are sold exclusively in the Garden Center.

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So we waited… stick with me here… while someone from Customer Service went back into the closed Garden Center to get the information notebooks about the UPC codes for the items we wanted to buy.

Eventually our pleasant, but frazzled, cashier got the information she needed and was able to ring up our purchases. We paid. Then we pushed the flatbed cart across the large parking lot to where we’d parked our car conveniently adjacent to the Garden Center gates.

That’d be the Garden Center that was open when we arrived, but now was locked up tight on a beautiful spring Saturday morning in the suburbs.

BECAUSE CUSTOMER SERVICE MADE IT SO.

The end.

*Good Customer Service would have said something to the effect of: “Thank you for telling me what’s going on in the Garden Center. It’s not meant to be open until 10:00 a.m. I don’t have any cashiers to run those registers now BUT I’LL SEND SOME EMPLOYEES TO HELP YOU PUSH YOUR CARTS TO THIS PART OF THE STORE where we have registers open. I apologize for the inconvenience.” And that would have been the end of it. No story to tell.

As June Begins, I’m Doing Not Much Of Anything Enthralling

WHAT DAY IS THIS?

I’m scattered this week. I tell ‘ya, begin a week with a Monday holiday and I’m confused, more than normal, for days after. But then what kind of weirdo who isn’t? Hmmm…?

Anyhow, the title says it all. Well, everything except the deets about the Not Much Of Anything Enthralling. That’d be things I’ve done, or tried to do, or hope to do.

I read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero and it’s wonderful. Originally published in 1984 I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. Oddly enough I thought of each short succinct chapter as a blog post; the style of this book is prescient vis-à-vis today’s blogosphere. This book was part of my own unique 2021 reading challenge.

We’ve been enjoying Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs [thanks Katie] and Corn and Black Bean Salad [thanks Dorothy]. If there’s one good thing about the pandemic, it is that we’ve tried many new recipes and that’s fun in my worldview.

We’re on Season 20 of Midsomer Murders. Almost every night this spring we’ve sat down to watch one episode. They’re charming and light and often have an unexpected twist that’s plausible. Also, if we can’t travel to England, then we can look at it and listen to posh accents.

I skimmed through The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. It’s a deep academic book about trauma; there are many extensive case studies. While I found some of the chapters interesting, like the ones about how yoga and meditation help you release the negativity/emotional hurt in your body, the rest of the book was too deep for me.

I revised my About Ally Bean page and added a Blogging Hints page. I’m contemplating having an old-fashioned blogroll page again, but don’t know if there’s a need. I’d base it on the results of the Bean Personality Quiz that I shared in my previous post. Where do you stand on blog rolls? Yay or nay?

I’m hoping to go to the Le Creuset outlet store to look at, and maybe buy, new coffee mugs. I broke my favorite orange coffee mug this week and had a sadz. But then I decided I wanted to buy four new mugs that all match and are the same color. [Can you imagine?] There’s no better place than to see all the colors available than at the outlet store.

We’re hoping to to go to Summerfair at Coney Island, an outdoor art show. It’s this weekend and is an annual event that we missed last year because of… oh you know why. I like going to this particular art show because I enjoy walking around outside by the river; seeing, perhaps buying, some art; and indulging in some kettle corn freshly made in front of me.

LET SUMMER BEGIN!

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING LATELY? ANYTHING ENTHRALLING?

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Darn Straight Skippy: I Have Things To Do, Links To Share, & A Fact To Tell

PLEASE NOTE: No story or article this week because we’re on staycation mostly doing projects around the house and in the garden. Instead of writing my usual flapdoodle & twaddle I’ll share a few interesting links I’ve saved for no reason in particular. Enjoy!

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About your style… As you may know ‘cheugy’ is a slang term adopted by Gen Z as a put down for Millennials. From what I can tell cheugy has two different, but maybe overlapping, meanings: 1) anything that is out-of-date, not trendy; or 2) someone who is trying too hard. Go HERE to read more or HERE to see a diagram [scroll down] that lets you decide if your style is cheugy.

About your spectacles… Naturally the topic of eyeglasses is one of great interest to me. Remember the name of this blog, my little seraphim. Go HERE, watch a short TED talk about the history of spectacles and be informed.

About your pee… I’m at a loss as to how to introduce this link other than to say I never would have thought to use Pantone colors in this way, but that’s just me. Go HERE to see a color chart plus some information about staying hydrated [including drinking beer!] for good health.

About your personality… I give you a way to determine your bean personality because who the heck doesn’t want to know that? Go HERE, answer a few simple questions, and then through the magic of a delightfully accurate algorithm discover your true bean personality.

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FUN FACT: When I started blogging this is the kind of post I planned on writing, lists of links with a bit of commentary. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to read about my daily life and random musings. That stuff I saved for friends and family.

However eventually it dawned on me that I could write about more personal things here and people would appreciate it. Thus it came to be that The Spectacled Bean was born.