A Thursday In February: Seeing The Sunshine Whilst Not Doing Something I Should Be Doing

The snow isn’t deep here, the sunshine is warm & lovely, but the temperature is frigid outside.

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WOULD YOU BELIEVE ME IF I told you that by writing this blog post I’m avoiding going to class and doing my homework?

Well, it’s the truth.

You see, in January I signed up for a pass/fail college course that is from the history department at Harvard University offered through edX. The course is entirely online and you do it at your own pace following an official syllabus to keep you moving along in a timely manner.

[Currently I’m failing, btw. I have 63% and need 65% to pass, but whatevs.]

I should be doing the right thing this morning: that would be watching the lectures and reading the articles and answering the questions, but I don’t want to. And therein might be the most dramatic difference between younger me and older me. Younger me was the good Do Bee” student [Romper Room, anyone?] while older me is a wise “Your Ken can kiss my Barbie” woman [The Big Bang Theory].

Case in point, I’m not doing my schoolwork today and you can’t make me. Ha!

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HOWEVER I WILL SHARE WITH YOU something I learned in the process of doing research for my final project that is due in a few weeks. Interestingly enough I came across a word that can be used to describe the feeling you’d have if you were standing outside in the sunshine, like the birch trees are in the photo at the top of this post.

The word is Apricity [Merriam-Webster] and it means the warmth of the sun in the winter.

Yes this is another word to add to your personal lexicon because who doesn’t like the joy of knowing an obscure word and using it in a sentence? I mean, why else would you be here today if not for another unique learning experience– and the opportunity to answer a timeless question on a cold winter’s day.

Thus I leave you, my gentle readers, to answer and comment below: do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

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A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

February 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Relations,

Not much happening around here, but I’ll write to you anyhow because it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week. Huzzah!

Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.

We continue to wait until we are eligible for our first Covid-19 vaccine shot. Then, of course, there’ll be a wait for the second one, which seems to be in short supply around here, so maybe not getting the first one yet is a good thing?

I dunno. We’ve been home together in our own little bubble for about 11 months now, so what are a few more weeks or months? We’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re doing low-key things.

Here is where we updated the cookbook.

We’ve finished updating our Family Favorites Cookbooks, 3rd edition. Yep, this is a re-do of a re-do of my first home computer project that I completed in February 1994, then updated for a second edition in April 2005. The bottom line is that we now have all our favorite recipes saved in the computer as well as printed, put in binders, and ready to go in the kitchen.

Move over Martha, you ain’t the only kid on the block who has it going on with her recipes. Ha!

The epicenter of clutter where the paint fan now resides.

We’re also in the process of deciding on a new exterior paint color for the trim and siding of Chez Bean. A new roof a few years ago + a new limestone retaining wall last December + a new deck sometime in 2021 [fingers crossed] = time to repaint exterior of the house bringing the color scheme into this decade.

Deciding on a new color is fraught with design peril. Oh yes it is. We have four seasons with natural light shining in different ways on four sides of the house, and there’s a need to coordinate with the brick and new retaining wall. Thus there are many variables, many possibilities– and one dithering me.

Our “communication center” where I await your replies.

And with that I’ll end this missive about our humdrum daily life, hoping it finds you well. What’s new with you?

Very truly yours,

Ally Bean, the bored

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Food For Thought: When’s the last time you wrote a letter home? It seems quaint now to think about doing that, let alone write one that includes snapshots. Remember doing that, too?

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The One About Making No More Dough

I WANT YOU TO REALIZE, my gentle readers, that I understand what I’m going to say here is considered controversial in some circles.

I get it.

I’ve been told I’m wrong by many well-meaning people, but I don’t believe them.

Nope, I hang with Einstein on this one. Remember him? He is the genius who said: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” 

Well, it’s with that quote in mind that I share with you my belief that IT IS OKAY TO GIVE UP.

Yes kids, I feel there are times and situations wherein sane, well-adjusted people just. give. up.

One needs to know why she is giving up AND how her life will change because of it. That’s important, of course. But in the end, some times the act of giving up is the best way to get on with your happy life.

• • •

To wit, one must accept the fact that to move forward one has to let go of behaviors and ideas that no longer serve one.

• • •

WHICH IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE would be the idea that I’ll ever be able to make homemade pizza crust that doesn’t taste like stale saltines AND doesn’t give me heartburn.

[I don’t know what it is about using those little packets of yeast, but I always end up chomping on some Tums after I eat anything bread-y I make with those little packets.]

Thus with the foregoing insight into my rational thinking abilities and my admission of pizza-making failures, I shall end this post by sharing a gussied up photo of perfectly wonderful commercially-purchased frozen pizza dough resting on a floured cutting board sitting on our kitchen counter.

This would be pizza dough that I have NOT made, vowing here and now before God and the blogosphere to never again attempt to make pizza dough from scratch.

I. Give. Up.

The One About The Deck Stairs Betraying Us [No One Was Hurt]

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS… hopefully sometime in the next year, but who knows?

• • •

Our deck is 21 years old and we need to replace it.  To wit the top section of the wooden stairs have fallen apart.

Dramatically, in fact.

You see, the top section of the wooden stairs gave out as Zen-Den started to walk down the stairs to join me on the terrace below.

I saw it happen.

Fortunately Z-D is fast on his feet which is kind of amazing for a chubby older fellow, but there you have it.  He didn’t get hurt.  He used to be athletically-inclined, played team sports, so maybe those experiences helped him in the moment.

Still, unnerving.

  • Did I mention that the deck is 8-9 feet above the ground below?
  • That Mr. Man jumped about 6 feet down to the ground as the stairs gave way underneath him?
  • And that the look of amazement on his face was one for the ages?

Like I said no one was hurt, but now the long tedious process of finding someone reliable to replace the steps, and the deck, has begun.  Spring 2021 seems to be the earliest anyone can get to us.

Of course it is.

Nothing more to say here except stay safe, kids.  When things fall apart may you land securely on your own two feet.

• • •

Questions of the Day: Does anyone have any experience with OR advice about having a deck replaced?  Did you go with wood OR composite?  Did you go with a dark stain/color OR a lighter one?  Did you pick metal posts OR wood or composite?  How did you decide who would build the deck?   

In Which Ms. Bean Hurts Herself While Doing Good, Of Course

This is going to be a rambling blog post. ‘Tis time to tell a story, one that answers why I briefly stopped commenting on blogs, in case you were wondering. And even if you weren’t wondering, here’s the story.

• ❤️ •

FACT #1 – About 10 years ago I was in a car accident.  A 17 y.o. neighbor girl child rear ended me as I turned into our driveway.  She was texting instead of paying attention to driving.

As a result of the accident I suffered a rotator cuff injury that, after drugs and a few months of physical therapy, healed with no lasting damage, until two weeks ago.

FACT #2 – Over the years because I didn’t know how to say “NO” I’ve inherited more stuff than you can imagine.  Among said stuff is furniture that is old, usable, but not really worthy of an auction.  More like vintage, slightly distressed furniture that you’d find at a flea market.

FACT #3 –  In August Zen-Den and I decided to contact St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store to see if they still offered free furniture pickup for donations.

The answer was a qualified “YES” in that they’ll pick up furniture that you’ve managed to wrestle to the garage, but they’ll no longer come into your house to carry the furniture out.

FACT #4 – We live in a house on a wooded ravine lot with a walkout basement.  This means that to get furniture from the basement, where it is stored, to the garage, where St. V de P will pick it up, is literally an uphill challenge.

• ❤️ •

In a moment of middle-aged bravado…

Z-D and I said to ourselves WE CAN MOVE THE FURNITURE from the basement, up the side of the hill, to the garage.  And thus we convinced ourselves that we, and by we I mean me, weren’t weak and pathetic and pre-old.

While many pieces of furniture were easily managed because they were small, think end tables or mirrors, other pieces of furniture were awkward to carry.  For instance, there was a large old oak rocking chair, but most notably THERE WAS AN OLD 5’x2’x1.5′ CEDAR CHEST that had been my mother’s hope chest as a girl.

Amazingly we got the rocker up the hill without incident, but THE CEDAR CHEST WAS ALMOST NIGH-ON IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BALANCE as we trudged up the hill.  It is while carrying this cedar chest and not dropping it that I slipped on the grass on the hill and wrenched my previously injured shoulder.

I instantly knew what had happened, but continued to carry my end of the cedar chest into the garage BECAUSE DAGNABBIT I WAS GOING TO HELP.

• ❤️ •

Well, the rest of this story…

is exactly what you’d expect.  MY SHOULDER HURT LIKE HELL for a few days;  I started alternating ice and heat on it while taking Advil.  I stopped using my arm as much as possible, including reaching out to type on a keyboard.

And now, after about 10 days of TLC, I’m almost back to normal.  There are twinges, but no shooting pain.

As for our donation to the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, it went smoothly.  The men arrived as scheduled, were pleasant, took all that we offered them, and ultimately OUR BASEMENT IS MUCH EMPTIER/BETTER because of it.

I’ll heal, but being charmingly cynical by nature I cannot help but think of the old saying: no act of kindness goes unpunished.  I’m glad we donated the furniture, but did I have to get hurt in the process?

Apparently the answer is YES.

• ❤️ •

FYI: Yesterday morning I found this informative + fun article on NPR: Lift Your Head and Lower Your Arms– You Might Just Feel Better

I’ve done what it suggests and today I’m grooving on proper posture, finding it less painful/easier to type. When the student is ready the teacher arrives, eh?