Lots Of Fun, Slightly Different

Last night Z-D and I went to dinner, and then to the zoo, with some people who Z-D knows through business.  Technically it was a business event but these people aren’t in the least bit uptight, so it really was quite fun.

[Not all business events are, you know?  Trust me.]

We went to a small, old-fashioned Italian restaurant for dinner.  I’d heard of the place, but had never been there so I was psyched to try it.  The restaurant was charming in that hodge-podge way of older establishments– rooms added every which way over the years and decorated in a mix of 1970s tables & chairs + fake plastic flowers + framed b&w photos + updated 2011 light fixtures.  Unique, but very practical.  Clean and friendly.

The menu was only Italian fare, and the food was good and plentiful.  But what caught us all by surprise was that along with the usual Chianti and beer selections on the menu, this Italian restaurant offered flights of Bourbon.  Apparently, they are known for having one of the best Bourbon tasting menus in the area.  So, naturally we ordered one flight, lots of glasses and started tasting Bourbon.

[Bottom line: I like Bourbon and appreciate the differences in flavor of the various distilleries.  But I feel that lasagna + bourbon are not a tasty combo.  Either one separately is delish.  Together– not so much.]

After dinner we went to the zoo to see all the holiday lights– 2+ million LED lights to be exact.  The weather was dry (finally) and the temps were in the 40s so we were comfortable while walking around.  Programmed music coordinated with the lights to create a fun series of colorful displays.  And, of course, the little kids were fun to watch watching the lights.  They were really into it.

Most of the animals looked tired and were trying to ignore the lights– and us crazy human beings wandering around after hours.  That would be all the animals except those animals in the petting zoo who were very interested in the human visitors to their area.  Especially the large herd of goats that live beside the 25¢ Goat Chow Dispenser.

Goats are born hungry, pushy, noisy– so I’m accustomed to seeing goats stand by their fence with their front legs on the horizontal supports and their skinny faces staring alternately at the dispenser and passing human beings.  *bleat, bleat*  Ever hopeful.

But what caught our attention and kept us laughing all night was one large fluffy sheep who had infiltrated the goat-herd.  This sheep had adopted the exact stance of the goats, sticking its wide dopey head above the fence rail hoping to get a handful of Goat Chow.  And then, oddly enough, eating the Goat Chow from the hand of a human being.

This I’d never seen before and it entertained me to no end.  Not enough to squander 25¢ on a handful of Goat Chow, but enough to tip my hat to the one uppity sheep in the zoo.

Here’s to the crazy ones…

Obligatory Proof Of Holiday Decoration, Christmas 2011

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Herewith please find PROOF OF HOLIDAY DECORATION in accordance with unwritten blogging rule #1225/jff.  To wit, all bloggers are required to show the world proof of holiday decorating.  No wordy little story about decorating will be accepted in place of mandatory photos.
Further, let it be known that the undersigned, Zen-Den and Ally Bean, jointly and severally hereinafter referred to as “The Beans,” do certify that they decorated their home of their own freewill and with relatively few arguments about how to do said project.
Further still, let it be known that The Beans would very much like to take a couple more photos of the outside of their abode, but the incessant rain has kept them from doing this.  Hence, they humbly submit only one photo of the outside taken while standing inside but leaning out the front door with camera in hand.
Duly submitted and signed this day, December 7, 2011, in the presence of absolutely no one.

Zen-Den & Ally Bean

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Cross Examined At Breakfast

I walked into the kitchen the other morning wearing five pocket straight leg jeans and a t-shirt.  I was carrying my sweater to put on after I ate breakfast, but before I went out the door.  The following conversation ensued.

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Him:  You have sparkles on your butt.

Me:  [shaking my tail feathers]  You like?

Him:  There’s shiny stuff on your back pockets.

Me:  [reaching for the carafe and pouring myself a cup of coffee]  Pretty, huh?

Him:  What are those sparkles doing on your butt?

Me:  [pushing him aside to get into the pantry]  They’re fashionable.  They’re just there.

Him:  Does your sweater cover your butt?

Me:  [ripping open a breakfast bar and biting into it]  I dunno.

Him:  Well, if it’s long enough your sweater will cover the sparkles on your butt.

Me:  [taking another bite of breakfast bar]  Yes, and if it’s short enough you’ll see all the shiny on the pockets.

Him:  Is that what you want?

Me:  [eating my last bite of breakfast bar]  I don’t care.

Him:  Here, put on your sweater.

Me:  [putting on my sweater]  Okay.  How’s it look?  Sparkles or not?

Him:  Your sweater covers part of your pockets.  You’re only half shiny.

Me:  [slurping my last slug of coffee]  Okie dokie then.  I’m a sparkly half-ass.  It’s confirmed.

Him:  Why’d you buy those jeans?

Me:  [grabbing my purse from the floor where I’d put it beside my canvas tote]  I bought them because they were on sale.  I don’t care what happens on the backside.  I don’t see it.  And they fit really well.

Him:  Hmmm.  Yes, they do.

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And this my friends is what it’s like being married to a lawyer.  He can’t just say “pretty.”  Oh no.  He has to get all the details first.  Establish a fact pattern.  And then he’ll comment.  If he’s in the mood.

I’m Dreaming Of A Gray Christmas

random thoughts on a very dreary December morning… 

~ We decorated the outside of our house this year.  We don’t always do that, but this year we decided to put some lights on the bushes out front, a few wreaths on a few windows, and one long strand of lights wrapped around the deck railing out back.  So far the decorations are surviving our record-breaking rainy weather without any prob.  They’re all on pre-set timers, so they know what to do and when to do it.  Wetness be damned.

~ After we decorated the outside of the house, we decided to put up a Christmas tree in our TV room.  We don’t always do this every year either.  Naturally the old lights that we had weren’t working, so Z-D drove over to Lowe’s and then Home Depot to buy a total of four boxes of the same GE multicolored lights to put on the tree.  All of our ornaments from past years were in good shape, so we used them without buying anything new.  The tree is pretty and colorful– the perfect antithesis to the bleak weather outside.

~ Most people who know me know that I’m not a fan of the holiday season.  I tolerate it with gritted teeth and a quiet grace.  I dislike the phoniness of it all.  Too many people telling me too many ways in which they’re overwhelmed– by decisions that they freely made.  Commitments they accepted for reasons they can’t explain, but will whine endlessly about fulfilling.  To me, it seems like a time of faux friendship and forced frivolity.  Not centering and joyful at all.

~ Zen-Den may be taking some vacation days at the end of the month.  This will depend upon whether problems develop at work.  We’ve made no formal plans to go anywhere, so if he does take the days off I think that we’ll be taking a staycation.  Lunches out at some upscale restaurants that we like;  a visit to the zoo to see the lights;  a few rounds at our fav English pub.  Nothing elaborate, just doing some fun things– because we want to.

[Hello FTC!  As you may recall, I do not accept money or any other sort of graft for writing about any product.  So you need not worry yourself about anything nefarious happening here on my sweet little bloggy.   I like what I like– and I write about it because I want to write about it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just my opinion.] 

Five Senses Friday

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Feeling:

rather calm considering that:

there are half-finished drapes hanging on the kitchen windows… the house is three-fourths decorated for Christmas… I haven’t begun to figure out what to serve at a party we’re having in two weeks… the handyman guy for the leaky bathroom window is dragging his feet while tightly clutching our money and not doing the repairs… we have a huge muddy mess in our basement where there is a crack in the chimney foundation or a leak in the chimney cap [or both I suppose]… and we have now hired some company to fix our foundation/chimney/cap mess before winter sets in.

Hearing:

the sound of the [new] furnace blower as it keeps our house warm

Tasting:

freshly brewed black coffee

Seeing:

strewn in front of my computer on my desk:

clipboards – white paper printed with info – small yellow legal paper scribbled with ideas – one blue pen – one book – many pink & blue 3×5″ index cards – dust

Smelling: 

not much of anything because allergies have my nose stuffed up

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{This wonderful idea is from abby try again.   If you wish, you may play along in the comments below or on your own blog.}

Know Thyself– And Continue On Anyway

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I remember taking an online quiz about narcissism.  It was a serious one, not one of those silly quizzes with results that tell you nothing about yourself.

The quiz that I took involved lots of question, none of which I remember– and then a nifty summation about your personality at the end.  The scale of the results of the quiz went from 1 to 30.  One was someone like a cloistered nun, and thirty was someone like a movie star or national politician.  Most people in the USA scored around 20.

I got a 6.  That was about as low as a person who was not part of a conservative religious community could get.

At the time I was concerned that I scored so low, but had to admit that I’m just kind of who I am— which would not be the mind-set of a person who is suffering from extreme narcissism.

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I’d forgotten all about that quiz until last night when I was thinking about what I’ve learned from this NaBloPoMo project.  I agree that I am a bit more disciplined in my writing now.  But I’ve earned a B.A. in English Lit & a M.A. in Communication so I’ve already proved to myself and to the world that I can do that when need be.  And I agree that I’ve found new ways to discover other bloggers.  But searching for other people online is not really a calling for me.

In reality, I think what I’ve learned is that for me the stress of this project has been trying to convince myself that I want to focus on me every day.  And considering my innate personality type, this is no surprise.

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I’ve continued through to the end of the month and I’ve done my best.  It’s good to challenge yourself once in a while.  But I can say that I now completely understand why Deb on the Rocks referred to this as “glorious madness.”  Because it is.

Thanks for keeping up with me, gentle readers.  I appreciate your attention & your comments & your suggestions about what I should write about next.  It has helped me more than you can imagine.

But as of today I shall return to being the casual blogger who posts when I have something to say— whenever I feel like it– when I’m in the mood.

You know, like the free spirit that I am.

Later, kids!

It Takes All Kinds To Make The Holidays Go Round

Every so often I cross paths with a certain woman who I respect professionally but wonder about personally. Frequently I find that her thoughts on various matters challenge my preconceived ideas.  I like talking with her because she always gets me thinking.  Which I like to do.

So, when I saw her this last time she was opining about Christmas.  Specifically she was talking about presents (give gift cards only) and alcoholic drinks (a must for all festive meals) and holiday greeting cards.  It was this last point that caught me by surprise.

This woman hates holiday cards.  Thinks that they’re a complete waste of time, money and resources.  In fact, she shared with me, that when a friend sends her one, she doesn’t even open it and just throws it away.

That’s how much she dislikes holiday cards.

I’m fascinated and appalled by this woman’s cavalier approach to holiday cards– and by extension, I believe, to friendship.  I like receiving cards of all sorts, so it has never occurred to me to not at least open a card addressed to me.

Yet here was someone I’ve known for years telling me quite casually that a card from a friend is of no consequence to her.  That the effort involved in sending it means nothing to her.  And that her friends should really know better and not bother her with holiday cards.

I don’t know that her point of view is going to change my card sending behavior;  I’ll continue doing what I do.  But she did remind me to not make any assumptions about anything.  No matter how innocuous it may seem to me, I now realize that there is a possibility that someone somewhere is tossing aside my gift of friendship holiday card… unopened.

Duly noted.