My Reflections On The 2016 A To Z Challenge: The Outtakes 

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I finished the 2016 A To Z Challenge.  I know a few of you wondered about my ability to do this challenge, and I have to say bless your little pea-pickin’ hearts for being worried about me.

But you see, my gentle readers, this challenge did not, in the end, upset the apple cart for me.  I finished this challenge because I used my noodle to make sure that I didn’t end up in a pickle while doing it.

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Sure, some days the constraints of the challenge griped my grits;  but even though my writing process is slower than molasses, I did not allow that hard cheese to stop me from publishing each post.

I’ll admit that some of the things I wrote were about as sharp as a wet cornflake, which might have made me appear to be a few fries short of a happy meal.

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However, throughout the challenge, even though I didn’t consider it easy as pie, I remained cool as a cucumber and didn’t stumble ass over teakettle in the process.

While I’d never say that I was a huckleberry above a persimmon, I did finish the challenge, and came to the same conclusion that Snoopy, my spirit animal, observed years ago: “It’s amazing how many friends you have after your waffle iron gets fixed.”  

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Z Is For Zwieback, A Good Way To End

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.05.45 AMYou can’t dunk your zwieback in your Bosco.”

~ Radar O’Reilly, M*A*S*H

This quote, which is from an episode of M*A*S*H, refers to the uncomfortable feeling you have around someone who is more uptight + judgmental than you are.

Radar said it to Hawkeye in a literal way, referring to Colonel Potter, but over time this quote has come to be an idiom meaning that you’re not relaxed and confident around someone else because you’re afraid that you’ll do something wrong.

And get in trouble or be judged for it.

I’ve heard people in real life say this quote.  It’s clever, and it does show you how language + meaning evolve in the most unpredictable ways.

Which, now that I think about it, might the subtext of my FOOD: Talking The Talk theme.  That is, all the words I’ve picked here have morphed, for reasons varied, into meaning something more than their literal definitions, which for me, a wordsmith + foodie, is worthy of note.

And it is a perfect thought on which to end this 2016 A To Z Challenge.

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Thanks everyone for stopping by to read and comment.  I appreciate you taking the time to be here as I did something I wasn’t sure that I could do. I guess, after all my doubts, my challenge turned out to be better, rather than worse.


PLEASE NOTE: next week I’ll reflect upon this blogging adventure, using the sayings that didn’t make the cut.  You’re going to like it.  😉

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Y Is For Yolk, You Gotta Wonder

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.05.10 AMThe yolk’s on you

… is a saying that means the joke is on you, you’ve been taken advantage of, perhaps in a kind way, perhaps not.

It is a play on the similar pronunciation of the English words: “yolk” [the inside of an egg] and “joke” [a trick played on someone].

This is funny.  I guess.  In context, maybe.


eggThis saying sums up the way I feel about make-up. It’s all a yolk joke.

Allow me to explain.

I’m not a shopper so once I find a make-up product that works, and does not irritate my skin, I keep on buying it because it saves me the stress of shopping for, and experimenting with, something new.

Plus, genetics are amazing.  Meaning that through no fault of my own my complexion is what it is, and I need the make-up colors that I need, because I am who I am.

Obviously, right?

Getting to my point here, since the beginning of the year THREE of my favorite color-perfect make-up products have been discontinued.  They would be a Nars lipliner [Tonga], a Maybelline eyebrow pencil [Light Blonde], and a Revlon powder blush [Rose].

These colors? Natural. Basic. Pale.

Colors that flatter a middle-agedrosacea-challenged, graying-blonde woman.

Sure, the companies still exist, but they’ve replaced my perfect colors with something else.  And the new something else colors are too bold or too shiny for me.

The customer.

Who thought she had this whole make-up nonsense problem solved, but finds that the yolk is on her… which, it turns out, is not a good color for me!  😉

X Is For XXXX Sugar, Top This Sort Of Excellence

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.04.48 AM“Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch, you know that I love you.  I can’t help myself, ‘cuz I love you and nobody else.”

These are the lyrics of a classic Motown song by the Four Tops, who have sung this song for decades.  This song mentions sugar, but we do not know if that sugar is XXXX [powdered] or granulated.

Now do we?

This means that for purposes of this A To Z Challengewhich never seems to end, I believe that the sugar mentioned in the above quote is of a fancy XXXX powdered variety, and not merely your everyday granulated sugar.

It could be true.

 So please, my gentle readers, indulge me as I snap my finger and wink my eye, sharing, what I’m going to say is, a perfectly acceptable post regarding the letter “X.”

Top that, people!

W Is For Walnuts, Why Not?

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.04.11 AM“Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs.”

This proverb, which I suspect has been around as long as the English language as allowed “pears” and “heirs” to rhyme, is a wonderful nod to the wisdom of days gone by.

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It’s an insight into how our ancestors approached the land.  They used the land to grow food and planned ahead in a way that I admire, yet do not want to emulate.

Zen-Den and I, being the modern suburbanites that we are, have been attentive to the need to improve our land, in a 21st century way, since the first day we got here.

DSCN7180Except for The Big Dig Project when we purchased 110 tons of dirt to form a backyard, most of our gardening efforts have been modest, with visible results in a year or two.

We attempt to beautify.

Like today, for instance, when, with your permission my gentle readers, I’ll go busy myself outside with a bit of weeding.  In the pretty garden.  Where the only thing edible is dandelion greens!

V Is For Vinegar, Very Much So

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.03.06 AMFull of spit and vinegar

… is a slang term that implies someone is high-spirited, boisterous, full of vigor.

Noisy, even.

I have no idea when I first heard this innocent version of, shall we say, a classically crude saying, occasionally seen in literature, but rarely said in my world.

This is not because I’m offended by coarse language, but because this saying doesn’t float into my addled brain when I want to tell you that I’m feeling youthful and rowdy.

Too many words.  Too idiomatic.  Too easy to be misunderstood.

Instead, I’d rather tell you straight up and directly: I’m feeling energetic today. Watch out world.

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Here’s a website where you can create your own custom background noise.  You can make the noise to help you mellow out OR be productive.  It’s up to you.  Go try it now.

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U Is For Upside-Down Cake, You Know

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.02.33 AMPiece of [upside-down] cake

… is my modified version of a slang saying that means something is easy to do.  Not tricky at all.

I’ve added “upside-down” to this saying because I have nothing for the letter “U” within my theme of Food: Talking The Talk.

I guess you could say that finding something to post for the letter “U” … [wait for it]… has not been a piece of cake. 

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Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 7.56.44 AMIn fact, if I might, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you, my gentle readers, that this challenge has been, like I suspected, a great deal of work.

I’m not complaining, mind you, but I want to be clear that for me doing this challenge with a theme, as per the guideline suggestions, takes more effort than merely showing up to my blog each day– and writing something.

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Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 5.08.19 PMMy only regret is that I can’t visit + comment on more A To Z Challenge bloggers’ blogs.  Each day my stats page shows me that people from around the world have visited The Spectacled Bean, many of them leaving comments or liking what I wrote.

But instead of having the time to return all the visits, here I sit at my desk each morning writing, researching, writing, adding links, writing, editing, writing, adding images, writing.

Just saying.  No disrespect intended.