In Which Ms. Bean Attempts To Buy Outdoor Holiday Lights During A Bleak Week

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A photo of the view out a bedroom window. Bleak.

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THIS WEEK I’VE BEEN TRYING to get it into gear to start putting up outside holiday decorations.

You’d think at this point in my life that’d be a simple task.

You would be wrong.

Last year, in a fit of tidy, I got rid of all our outside lights and wreaths.  The lights worked in sections and the decade-old wreaths were looking downright ratty.  They were more wire than fake pine needles and the dingy red bows on them added to the pathos.

So, knowing that we needed some new decorative stuff, I hauled myself up off the sofa and wandered meself through many a store looking at all the newfangled, complicated, high-priced lights– and wreaths.

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A photo of ground cover covered in snow. Bleaker.

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FROM MY FORAY INTO ACTUAL brick and mortar stores I learned that I haven’t a clue about how much to spend, what to buy [net or string? LED or incandescent? solid color or multi?] and where we might put that which I buy once I get it home.

I also looked at some pretty sparkly wreaths– that all seemed to be covered in glitter.  Me not happy. Me not want glitter traipsed into house.

Me fussy like that.

And so on that note of shopping defeat, underscored by one of the bleakest weeks I’ve ever seen in November, I’ll end this post.  Figuring that there’s a weekend a’coming and a husband to be cajoled into helping me find the perfect outdoor lights and wreaths.

To add much-needed color to our world. Hallelujah!

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A photo of trees in backyard. Bleakest.

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The One About The Neighbors: What Will Be, What Isn’t Anymore, And What Is

Neighbor’s dead tree with turkey vultures [or turkey buzzards, pick your nomenclature]: I don’t like this.
WHAT WILL BE:

“Come and listen to my story bout a man named Jed, Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed…”  

Remember The Beverly Hillbillies? And remember their theme song?

Of course you do.

Well, that’s the song that’s been stuck in brain this past weekend.

Why?

I know not for sure other than Thanksgiving is about hospitality– and somehow seeing turkey vultures lounging above our property on the neighbor’s dead tree, that leans precariously in the direction of our screened-in porch, put the tune in my mind.

I don’t know that Jed Clampett shot turkey vultures, but it seems like something he’d have done.  I do know that the dead tree will eventually fall.  Fingers crossed, not on our roof.

So there’s that.

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Neighbor’s empty backyard: I like this.

WHAT ISN’T ANYMORE:

“Well the first thing you know Jed’s a millionaire, Kinfolk said Jed move away from there…”

And speaking of neighbors I’ve taken the liberty of sharing with you, my gentle readers, a photograph of their empty backyard.  A backyard that is free from a huge, formerly well-used, swing set that is no longer there.

While I admit that the kids playing on the swing set were hilarious and the squirrels frolicking on the swing set were total goofballs, I’m happy that it’s gone from my view.

The neighbor kids are old enough to drive now and the swing set has disappeared, presumably to some other backyard where it’ll be loved as much as it was here.

Change happens, eh?

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Neighbor’s wistful cat: I like him.

WHAT IS:

“You’re all invited back again to this locality, To have a heaping helping of their hospitality…”  

And finally while I’m on the topic of neighbors, here is a photo of their black and white kitty cat as seen on a foggy morning.

I don’t know his name, but he occasionally likes to sit under one of our trees.  He’s a natural, knowing how to pose for the camera– and takes a darned good picture.

He’s not destructive, just inquisitive, and not afraid to hang out in our yard when so moved by his need for a little peace and quiet away from kids and dogs.

I can understand.

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Questions of the Day

{ answer whichever question OR questions strike your fancy }

  1. So what’s up with your neighbors?  Any of their trees poised to fall on your house? Anything missing from their yards? Any of their pets enjoying a respite in your yard?
  2. Can you sing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song from memory like I can?  How about Gilligan’s Island theme song?  Or The Flintstone’s theme song? 
  3. Do you believe I could get any more rambling and random than I have in this post?  And how does that make you feel?

Unexpected Entertainment: A Tale Of Grocery Shopping, One Little Girl, & Live Music

A bit of humor just in time for your holiday grocery shopping…

Imagine you’re a little girl about 7 years old.

It’s Sunday noon after church so you have on your best clothes: dress, tights, Mary Janes.  Your hair is pulled into two pigtails, one of which is higher than the other, and there are bows on your pigtails because… PRETTY.

You and your dad are shopping in Kroger, the new one with the huge 2-story foyer that has dramatic lights and large windows– and amazing acoustics.

As you leave the store, going through the foyer to the parking lot, you’re standing on the back of the wheeled metal shopping cart, being pushed along by your dad.

You have energy.

In spades.

Thus when you and your dad set foot in the foyer on your way to the parking lot you ask him: Now?

With a sheepish look on his face, as he glances at all the other adults in the foyer, he says: Yes.

At which time you, a wiggly little human being, start singing LOUDLY with gusto and joy.  Which one of the following five  songs did you sing?

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#ThursdayDoors | Finding History In Front Of Us, Hello Texas Saltbox Houses

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you photos of the following doors.

Using my cell phone camera that is not so great, I took these photos last month when we were visiting San Antonio.

Come to find our hotel, Plaza San Antonio, had a past.  Situated on 6 acres located in a historic district originally settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, this hotel was built around old homes.

[Also, but not pertinent to doors, this hotel allegedly has a ghost running around in it.  I didn’t know that when we were there, but hat tip to Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge for letting me know what I missed.] 

On this hotel property, owned by Marriott, were well-kept old houses built in the New England saltbox style.  These various buildings, one of which I feature here, charmed the socks off me with their small scale and sturdy vibe.

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DOOR, very narrow, on side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOOR, seen up-close, showing hardware painted the same color as the door.

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Gate on property surrounding Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOORS, maybe still used as such, opening onto long porch on what I guess was the front of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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Brick sidewalk between long porch and hotel rooms.

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DOOR, rarely used it would seem, leading into small shed attached to side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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Pearls Of Wisdom From Ms. Bean’s Weekend On Her Own

Want to know why June Cleaver wore pearls? Watch this.

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Don’t let anyone tell you that my life is not exciting, that I was not a dynamo of whoop-de-do fun while my husband was away over the weekend attending a convention in warmer climes.

I mean, would a boring person spend her Saturday morning sorting through her sweaters, winter clothes, jewelry + scarves, reorganizing her part of the bedroom closet?

Hmmm…?

And then, as a reward for doing such a good job, would a dull person go to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy drawer dividers and a scarf hanger on which to put her newly organized accessories?

Me thinks not.

And lest the foregoing revelation of suburban debauchery doesn’t convince you that I’m a wild child, I’ll tell you, my gentle readers, how I spent my Saturday night.

[Try not to clutch your pearls too hard.]

I watched reruns of Frasier.

Yep, if that doesn’t confirm how exciting I am, then nothing will.

I’ll admit that at one time in my life I’d have been ashamed to let anyone know how low-key and practical I am when left to my own devices & vices on a Saturday.

But now, as a wise woman with a penchant for getting things done, for bringing order to chaos, for buying things with a coupon, I’m happy to tell you this.

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So what did y’all do over the weekend? Did you wear pearls a la June Cleaver while you did it?    

Blogging: When Nagging Doubts Take Over Your Mind

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Would you like to know a secret? Something about me, as a blogger, that I’ve never told anyone before?

Well lean in closer, my gentle readers, here goes…

I’m spending way too much time worrying about what to write here.

I mean, if I learned one thing from my blogging break it is that when I’m not blogging I wake up in the morning with a mind filled with mellow thoughts.

And I start my day with a sense of clarity and purpose that’d make Covey [and his Seven Habits] happy.

But when I’m actively doing the bloggy thing I wake up in the morning uncertain, with confused ideas about what to write here and low-level anxiety about whether or not what I published earlier in the week was a good idea.

Doubts fill me in a way that only the Devil [and his Seven Mortal Sins] could take joy in.

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So you know what I did? How I handled these nagging doubts that worry me?

I conducted a study on my bloggy self and my writing behavior wherein: 1) I tracked the time I spent blogging during October;  2) I reviewed my following/commenting process looking for a better way to do it; and 3) I evaluated my categories with an eye to revision.

Here are my findings + changes:

1) I put in about 3 hours per day on all things blogging, such as researching, writing, editing, publishing, reading other blogs, and commenting;

2) I follow a variety of bloggers and to do this more easily I’ve ditched WP Reader entirely, choosing to upgrade my Feedly account wherein I can have everyone filed away, all orderly like;  and

3) I need to have fewer categories, well-defined in my head, so that when I sit down to write I’m focused and unworried, thus I’ve re-envisioned my blog with 7 categories.

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So has my little foray into personal blogging self-awareness helped me feel more in control of what I’m doing here?

In a word, YES.  Most definitely.

And maybe the message of this blog post is that once a year I need to revisit what I’m doing on this blog and how I want to keep on doing it, so that writing my personal blog doesn’t cause me to worry.

Seems obvious as I say it here, but sometimes the obvious doesn’t come so easily to me.

No secret about that, now is there?

On Election Day: 7 Issues On Which Americans Can Agree

Perhaps you’ve noticed lately that the news media in all its permutations is obsessing on the idea that we Americans are divided… on all issues… with no unity on anything to be found?

WELL, I CALL HOGWASH.

Thus I, a free spirit and seemingly only sane person left in the middle of this country, give you the following list wherein I’ve taken it upon myself to point out issues on which Americans agree.

YES, I USED THE A-WORD.

So what do you think, my gentle readers, are you comfortable focusing on unity instead of divisiveness?  And of equal importance, what have I forgotten to add to this list? 🤔

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7 ISSUES ON WHICH AMERICANS CAN AGREE

  1. Commercial airplane travel is a tedious experience, even if they don’t lose your luggage.
  2. Daylight Savings Time is a bad idea in and of itself may or may not be a bad idea, but changing your clock in response to it, or any time change, is difficult. [Thanks to commenters, revised upon reconsideration.]
  3. Paying attention to any Kardashian is a waste of your time.
  4. Sports announcers, hired because they claim to be experts, are as clueless as the rest of us about who’ll win the game.
  5. Christmas merchandise for sale in retail stores in August is ridiculous.
  6. The price of a movie ticket is too high.
  7. Meteorologists who report the weather on TV news are bluffing about what’s going to happen.

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