Hocus Pocus Tuesday Focus: Five Useful Questions + Five Autumn Photos

And now for something different…

From what I can tell Seth Godin [marketing guru, author, lecturer] is a master at getting people to think about their projects, or their lives, in a new light.

He does this by asking generic questions that nudge you, the self-aware reader of said questions, to answer them in such a way as to frame your project/life differently and go forth with a renewed sense of purpose.

And isn’t that magical, by cracky!

Which brings me to today, a Tuesday, the day on which I plan on publishing a personal blog post, one that answers the most basic of basic question: What up, Buttercup?  

But alas & alack on this Tuesday I’ve nothing in particular to talk about, nor has anything interesting happened that is worthy of a blog post.

However, be that as it may, today instead of my usual flapdoodle and twaddle I shall charm you, my little hobgoblins, by answering the following questions that are perhaps meant for business projects, but equally useful when conjuring a personal blog post.

Seth’s Five Useful Questions 

🔶 What’s the hard part? 

I find that keeping the leaves out of your wine glass is the hardest part. You’d be amazed how many leaves try to jump into the glass.

🔶 How are you spending your time?

Autumn is my favorite season so I’m doing everything I can to enjoy it by going outside to walk, to rake, to sit, to muse upon the meaning of life.

🔶 What do you need to know?

I need to know where the rake is. And a broom, too. Maybe even the electric leaf blower if I can find the cord for it. There be leaves everywhere.

🔶 What is the scary part?

The scary part is climbing on a ladder to get the leaves out of gutters. We only clear the gutter you see in this photo, then in November the window washer guy will remove the rest of the leaves from all the gutters.

🔶 Is it worth it?

I believe it is. I like living among deciduous trees for many reasons, but mostly because I enjoy seeing the leaves change colors in the fall. Besides what’s a few hours of working in the yard, raking leaves, when there’s beauty all around?

~ 🔶 ~

WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU? WHAT’S MAGICAL IN YOUR LIFE TODAY? BEWITCH US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW

~ 🔶 ~

The Tale Of The Accidentally Purloined Bag Of Potato Chips

LIKE MISCREANTS EVERYWHERE I’M GOING to say this wasn’t my fault because, as I will explain below, it was an accident.

Nothing pre-meditated about this.

Just a minor tussle involving a fast-moving me and a fussy computer in the U-scan checkout lane in the grocery store that lead to an unanticipated situation.

You see…

It was late afternoon and I was using the U-scan checkout lane in Kroger.  I like the self-checkout lane because it’s usually faster than waiting in line for the traditional checkout.

Plus, and I’m bragging here, I am very good at finding the little UPC codes on what I’m buying, expertly swiping the code across the flat UPC barcode reading screen, then tossing my purchase into the reusable bags I swear by.

• • • 

HOWEVER ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY in my zeal for checking out of the store, while grabbing a bag of potato chips out of my shopping cart, I twisted around in such a way that my crossbody purse did a little flying leap away from my body and landed on the flat UPC barcode reading screen.

PLOP!

Then for reasons known only to the computer, it immediately jumped ahead to the part of the transaction that asks you how you’re going to pay for these items.

But I wasn’t finished inputing all my items.

So being tired and in a hurry, without thinking much about it, I laid the bag of potato chips, not properly swiped, on top of the stuff already packed in my reusable bag.

Then I focused my energies on coaxing the computer, Little Miss Touchy Screen, to allow me to continue shopping. I was victorious, because I know all about that ⬅️ key that lets you keep buying stuff.

I input a few more items, the rest of what I wanted to buy, then paid for my purchases using a credit card, grabbed my bags, and walked to my car where I placed the bags in the trunk.

I drove home.

• • •

BUT AS I DID SO I had a slow realization, the sort that sneaks up on you in the most unlikely places, like at a stoplight while you’re waiting for it to turn green, that it was possible I had accidentally stolen that bag of potato chips, a small bag I assure you, from Kroger.

And you know what?  When I got home I checked my register receipt and well… yep I stole a bag of potato chips… like a thief… a perp… which I am not… except maybe I was.

And here’s the thing because all perps have a thing, if interrogated by the Coppers I’m gonna squeal on my accomplice in this unfortunate situation. IT WAS THAT DARNED COMPUTER’S FAULT for getting flustered.

I mean what kind of wuss is that thing?  It wasn’t like I hit it with the heft of a heavy leather Hermès Birkin Bag, now was it?  It was only a lightweight nylon baggallini Uptown Bagg, a sleek crossbody.

Honestly, I didn’t mean to do this.

You believe me, right?

~ ~ 🛒 ~ ~

A few other *oops* stories about *situations* at Ye Olde K. Roger…

In Which Ms. Bean Is An Accessory After The Fact, Maybe [2018]

Carelessness, Coupons, And Cake– OH MY! [2017]

The One About The Friend, The Dog & The Suburban Grocery Store Salad Bar [2014]

~ ~ 🛒 ~ ~

Throw Us A Bone, We’re Trying To Name Our New Friend

PLEASE HELP US

As you will notice as you read along, scattered throughout this post are photos of our new friend, a life-size posable plastic skeleton.

I cannot lie about why I spent the money to buy him.  IT’S ALL KARI’S FAULT.  She showed us her skeleton friend, Roger, and I needed to have one of my very own to keep me company.

In other words I loved her idea, so I copied it.

However this fellow desperately needs a name and so far we’ve come to a dead end. [pun intended]

You see, and I’m sure you’ll understand that, when an English Lit major & a history buff attempt to name inanimate objects, things go sideways.

Oh sure, THERE ARE MEANINGFUL IDEAS APLENTY with sound theoretical underpinnings, but to actually pull the trigger on the naming, well– that has yet to happen.  [again pun intended]

Below I’ve listed the possibilities we’re pondering.  Do you, my gentle readers and Halloween aficionados, like any of these names?  OR do you have a better one to suggest?

Just like the air moving through the bones of this skeleton, we are open to ideas.

10 POSSIBLE NAMES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

WILD BILL [Hickok], as a tribute to he who was shot holding black aces and eights, aka the Dead Man’s Hand, which leads to the next name on the list…

CHARLIE, as in the man who dealt the Dead Man’s Hand, a fellow named Charlie Henry Rich whose grave I featured in a post years ago

McCOY, as in the character from StarTrek whose nickname was “Bones” but you probably know that

CAPTAIN JACK, either [Sparrow], Johnny Depp of movie fame, or [Harkness], Jon Barrrowman of Dr. Who fame, choose your franchise 

SHELLEY, because on Murdoch Mysteries Dr. Emily Grace named the morgue skeleton this name for reasons that I conjecture might be related to the next name on the list…

PERCY, as in Percy Bysshe Shelley who wrote the poem “Ozymandias” giving us the timeless message: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains.”  

YORICK, because when Willy Shakes writes a play like Hamlet, there has to be an applicable quote: “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy…”

EARL OF GRANTHAM, because this skeleton does have an aristocratic bearing like Robert Crawley and is without funds 

THE PREACHER, as in Ecclesiastes, a chapter in the Bible, & the famous spooky picture by Charles Allen Gilbert titled “All is Vanity” that is a reference to this Biblical quote: Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 

AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

About sharing photos of the mundane:

“Yep. I agree — reality is infinitely more interesting than the scrubbed and filtered, highly tweaked social media images…. Fantasy – just fantasy.”

~ Victoria

“… I’m totally obsessed with the idea of the Muse of The Mundane…. And suddenly I saw her – she’s actually two-sided like a coin. Her other side is the Muse of The Magical. Makes sense doesn’t it? Magic is always hidden in the mundane, we just don’t often use our eyes to see it.”

~ Deborah Weber

“My daughter and I had this discussion recently about photos…. The photos that get the most, often unexpected positive responses are the ones that have an ‘it’ quality. Goosebumps…a new perspective… and not perfection.”

~ Erica/Erika

Unexpected Good News Regarding Our Bathroom Remodeling Projects

➡️ If you read The Spectacled Bean because you like to see me get snarky, thank you but this post isn’t going to be one of those posts.

Instead today I’m going to share a slice-of-life story that has a positive spin to it.  One that’s left me feeling all warm and happy inside about, of all things, a home improvement company.

They’re not all scoundrels.

Also I’m going to talk briefly about money which I know is tacky but in this case, under these circumstances, I’m going to ignore that [outdated?] rule of decorum.

➡️ Here’s what happened.

You may remember that we had our bathrooms remodeled earlier this year.  We started planning the project last fall, but because of supply chain difficulties the actual destruction of the old bathrooms/installation of the new bathrooms began in May.

In the interim between fall 2021 and May 2022 we made MANY decisions about things that go into a bathroom.  Some decisions held firm, but others had to be re-decided along the way, sometime multiple times, because what we wanted was no longer available– or would be available at an unspecified time in the future.

To keep the project moving forward we changed our minds MANY times because honestly we/I couldn’t be bothered to worry about slight changes in bathroom decor.

[One transitional-style toilet paper holder in brushed nickel is about the same as another one, right?]

I also couldn’t be bothered to keep strict account of the addendums that reflected the MANY changes we made along the way.

I. just. couldn’t.

➡️ In August 2022 the projects were finished, we were pleased with our new bathrooms, and we made our final payment to the home improvement company, thinking no more about it.  HOWEVER, come to find out courtesy of their accounting department, we overpaid by $281.00.

Now this company could easily have never told us this and we’d never have figured it out, BUT they did tell us and sent along a check to reimburse us.

Below is the what was written on the post-it note affixed to the check.  It’s an indication of why we’ve used this particular remodeling company for MANY projects.

And so with that I’ll end this upbeat post about goodwill + honesty.  You gotta support the good ones.

Any good news, unexpected or expected, you’d like to share, my wordy cherubim? 😇

Please tell all in the comment section below.

No Grimness Allowed Here: 1 Wonderful Quote + 3 Wacky Quandaries

David Oglivy is a businessman who is known as the Father of Advertising. More about him here.

ONE

YOU’RE STANDING IN FRONT OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR getting some ice from the freezer compartment. An ice cube falls out and lands on the floor at your feet. Do you:

  1. pick it up and use it;
  2. pick it up and put it in the kitchen sink to melt; or
  3. kick it under the refrigerator to melt there?

TWO

SHOPPING IN MACY’S WOMEN’S LINGERIE DEPARTMENT I overheard a woman telling her friend that she had to buy bras and undies that match because her husband insists that she wear matching ones. This baffled me in MANY ways:

  1. why is this woman in a relationship with such a domineering man– OR is she making this up so she can rationalize spending more money on unmentionables? [my guess is the latter not the former]
  2. if she wears black pants and a white blouse, does she go with all dark undergarments knowing that you’ll see her bra through the white fabric OR does she wear all light undergarments hoping there’s no indication of light undies under her black pants? [a decision tree for this would be helpful]
  3. asking Z-D if he knew what color bra and undies I wore each day, his reply was that he didn’t know, adding that he preferred to see me out of them rather than in them [ain’t he a pip?]

THREE

YOU HAVE ALEXA IN YOUR HOUSE AND every morning you ask her for the day’s local weather forecast. For months she tells you the forecast, then adds “have a good day, Ally.” She is your friend, until one day after telling you the forecast she unexpectedly stops referring to you by name, not even bothering to wish you a good day. Do you:

  1. take it personally;
  2. research why she’s stopped being friendly; or
  3. chalk it up to making your first disembodied computer voice frenemy?

+ + • +

FEEL FREE TO WEIGH IN ON ANY OF THE ABOVE QUANDARIES

or

TELL ME YOUR CURRENT QUANDARY SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT

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