August Makes Me Itchy & Cranky, So I’m Doing This

Photo from an old greeting card. I’ve no source for it, but it’s how I feel right now, so here it is.

Unbelievably hot. Intermittently sunny.

Humid. Rainy. Windy. Moldy, with irritating tree + grass pollens in the air.

That’s our weather now.

Schizoid. 

I don’t like it, but that’s a given because August is my least favorite month of the year.  Some years I don’t try to keep this blog going during Hell Month, but this year I guess I’m feeling optimistic that I’ll have something to say here.

That I’ll do something, preferably fun, potentially interesting.

But you knowz what, my gentle readers?  The only thing I have going on this week that might even vaguely be called interesting is that I’m having BlephEx™️ done at the doc’s office.

BelphEx™️ is a medical procedure to combat blepharitis.  What is blepharitis you ask?  Allow me to quote from the BlephEx™️ brochure:  “Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria living along the lid and the base of the eyelashes.” 

Sorry you asked, aren’t ‘ya?

Getting to my point here, the BlephEx™️ procedure I am to have on Friday is to clean my eyelids and eyelashes in a way similar to the way a dental hygienist cleans your teeth.  This procedure will be a first for me, so I’m hoping that it’ll make my dry eyes itch less, as advertised.

To that I’d say HALLELUJAH.

So, my gentle readers, what have you got going on this week?

Something I hope that is a darned sight more interesting and less old-person-like than getting your eyelids professionally cleaned.

Lord love a duck, even typing that last sentence, I feel pathetic…

My Tribe Has A Motto. Do You Belong With Us?

“Everyone hates X.”

My friend said this to me.  I started to laugh out loud.

She was right, correct in her assessment of a mutual acquaintance, spot on to reality.

X is self-ish, judgmental, and politically extreme, with a mocking sense of humor.  Tedious, to a fault*.

Neither one of us has seen X in years, but my friend’s husband sees X once in a while.  It has to do with his work– and that he’s too nice.  Perhaps more of the latter, less of the former.

It’s through her husband that friend and I hear about what X is doing.  Not that we want to know, but her husband can’t help telling us.  It’s annoying because neither of us is a gossip, so we don’t care.

In fact I told my friend to tell her husband that he needed “to grow a pair of ovaries and woman up.”  Like we did, disengaging from a pointless relationship with X.

She burst out laughing, acknowledging that at this point in our lives, we’re wise woman who won’t put up with mean-spirited, negative people who bring nothing of value to the table.

Show up to the table with some insights &/or style &/or snark and you’re in, part of the tribe.  Welcome!  But try to dump any crap on us, and the offer of friendship is rescinded… until you get your act together and wise up… if you can.

My tribe, my vibe.

You in?

* While it might seem like I’m talking about The Donald here, I’m not.  Although if the unflattering description fits, then…

In Honor Of My 800th Blog Post, I Give You Daisies & Zinnias

Daisies for Quality, Zinnias for Endurance. Living in harmony in an ikebana vase on our kitchen counter. I like the symbolism.

~ ~ ~ ~

Would you believe this is my 800th post on The Spectacled Bean?

Never would I have thought I’d stick around here as long as I have. Yet something about blogging caught my fancy.

It put a little pep in my step.

A little bounce in my pounce.

The izzle in my fo’ shizzle.

Certainly I must have something profound to say about this, right?

Some wisdom to impart…

Some life-affirming conclusions to share…

Some fricking how-to advice to foist on you…

But you know what? I don’t.

All I can think to say is that I’ve learned oodles while writing this blog and that I’m delighted by how many people read and comment on it. I may not fit into any one niche, but I do have a sense of community here.

And that’s what personal blogging is about, I do believe.

Thank you. You’re the best.

~ ~ ~ ~

How many posts have you published on your blog?

Do you know? Do you care?

Just curious.

A Puzzle: Flying Pigs & Swizzle Sticks

Sorting through stack of magazines piled up ready to go into recycling bin.

Found half-finished crossword puzzle book.

Published in 2005, purchased around that time by me at B&N.

Rescued the book intending to puzzle through a puzzle.

[Crossword, that is.] 

Found an almost finished puzzle with “flying pigs & swizzle sticks” written on the page.

In my handwriting.

For some reason. 

No flying pigs in this puzzle, if there were swizzle sticks I didn’t see them.

Mind starts to wonder why I wrote these words on this page.

Delightful gibberish, slightly whimsical, with no actual meaning?

Could be, sounds like how I think.

Something I heard someone say so I wrote it down?

Not likely, but possible.

The name of a new blog I was contemplating?

I suppose. Maybe.

An encouraging phrase suggesting better things are to come?

Sure, why not? Let’s say that’s what this phrase means.

No need to belabor this obvious example of the inevitable decline of my memory.

We’re all older now.

We forget things.

But darn it, I sure wish I could remember what the heck I was talking about when I scribbled this clever phrase on the page.

Saving it for me to find 13 years later…

Anything like this happen to you? Do you remember? 

The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken

On Sunday, for the first time in months, Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve intending to wander around the flat easy path that connects the herb garden to the old farmhouse.

‘Tis a pretty path any time of year, and knowing what I was getting into, I wore shoes for that kind of leisurely walk.  A stroll.

However, somehow [let’s blame it on curiosity], we got [shall we say?] off course and ended up on a moderately difficult path that took us half a mile down a steep hillside to a creek, along the banks of the creek, then back up to the parking lot.

From this experience, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I will always in the future, regardless of what we say we’re going to do, wear hiking boots when going to the Nature Preserve;
  2. I will always in the future take one of the free maps, readily available in a display in the parking lot;  &
  3. When descending uneven, seemingly never-ending limestone steps down a hillside, my mind thinks about the worst that can happen.  In this case, it flashed to the scene in Grace and Frankie [Season 4] when we get a glimpse of Grace’s icky knee, complete with stitches and a long bloody-ish incision, after knee replacement surgery.  Oy vey.

And on that angst-filled note, here are some photos of the path we took at the Nature Preserve as we walked, trudged, and then climbed our way around it.

• • •

Oh so pretty in late winter! Must see more.

• • •

What a charming little path. I wonder where it goes?

• • •

My goodness, this path suddenly looks old and not tended.

• • •

Well, at least that little stone bridge up ahead looks sturdy.

• • •

Oh look! What a nice flat rustic wooden bridge over a little dry creek.

• • •

Oh dear, this uneven path just keeps going down, down, down to a large creek.

• • •

Finally! What a lovely, relatively flat, stoney path by a large creek.

• • •

Yes! Look at these civilized wooden stairs leading back up the hill to the parking lot. Hallelujah!

THE END

3 True Confessions Because You, My Gentle Readers, Need To Know

One  

It’s entirely possible that I’m not going to be an Instagram star. 

Since November I’ve tried to get into my Instagram groove by posting three photos a week, usually all at once (because I forget to post them when I take them).  Also, I’m following a few people there because social media is, after all, social.

HOWEVER, easy and sweet as I think Instagram is, it isn’t calling to me.  For some reason its charms have yet to woo me.  I like it, I enjoy glancing at the photos posted there, but I’m vague about why it’s a thing– and why/how someone becomes a star.

~ ~

~ ~

Two

I’m enjoying the Winter Olympics this year because they are Bob-Costas-free.

Sure, some people somewhere must have liked Bob Costas as the host of the Olympics, but I was not one of them.  To me he combined Alex Trebek’s know-it-all-ness with Tom Cruise’s smugness– and I did not like him because of it.

HOWEVER, NBC’s new Winter Olympics host, Mike Tirico, is delightful.  He reports on what is happening in a pleasant, informative way that does not make me want to yell at him.  And guess thee what?  Because of him I’m not changing the channel away from the Olympics when the host is on the screen.

~ ~

~ ~

Three

I’ve increased the size of my font on my computer.

There is no surer sign of impending decrepitude than the size of the font that one uses.  Tiny font, great eyes– young.  Medium font, okay eyes– middle age.  Large font, lousy eyes– one foot in the grave.

HOWEVER, on the flip side of this depressing thought, I have to admit that seeing the words clearly on the screen has encouraged me to sit up straighter, thereby improving my posture.  And that, Alas, poor Yorick, might be enough to keep my other foot out of the grave… for a while longer.

~ ~

~ ~

Gentle Readers, feel free to share your true confessions in the comment section below. How else are we going to get the party started in here?

Tell all. No matter what it is. You know I love it.