A Mid-Winter Walk In The Nature Preserve

On Saturday the sun was finally shining, so Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve for a walk. We enjoyed the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air on a brisk winter afternoon when there was no snow around. Here are a few photos I took along the way.

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We decided to take the flat, relatively mud-free trail. It was less than a mile, and interesting to wander along. Having never been on it before, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw.

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Near the beginning of the trail we noticed this little cutie pie squirrel munching on a seed. I immediately named her Rowena.

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A little farther along the trail we saw this bench that had an inscribed plaque on it. The plaque said: “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have Fun.”

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We walked beside this partially frozen pond that was reflecting light into the darker forest just beyond it. The scene looked like something out of an animated Disney movie.

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Soon thereafter we walked across a field and came upon this relocated 200-year-old cabin. Much of the cabin’s wood is original.

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Entering the cabin through this door, we discovered a table and two benches + a fireplace. Nothing else in there. Very rustic.

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Then, near the end of the trail we walked beside this small pond surrounded by tall grasses under the blue winter sky, making for a picture perfect photo at the end of our walk.

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Links I Love For Clever Beans, Badass Turtles + Other Goofs

… because information is FUN dammit.

 Sometimes you need to remember How To Begin Again.

 Inspiration like the 5 Tips to Trim Down for Trump is why I love the blogosphere.

  Reminding you again How Being Bored Out Of Your Mind Makes You More Creative.

 Taking the What’s Your Closet Personality quiz, learning that I’m a Clothing Economist.

  What say we all try to be a Warrior Not Worrier.

 Knowing How to Enjoy Tea Throughout the Day seems like a good idea.

  Wondering about being a “54” after taking the Do You Live In A Bubble? quiz.

  So The Secret Is Not To Care, huh?

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New goal: Be as badass as this turtle.

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A Sweet Story Of Canine Rebellion On A Sunny Afternoon

And this is how you meet your new neighbors…

Not our new dog friend, but a cousin, perhaps? { source }

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON ZEN-DEN AND I ARE PUTTING AWAY the outdoor furniture in the basement for the winter.

We have a walkout basement so I have the sliding door open, making it easier for me to carry the tables + chairs inside to Z-D who is placing said items just so in the storage area of the basement.

I’m walking into the basement carrying a glass-topped wicker table when a dog, with a stylish collar on, runs right by me into our basement and up the stairs into the kitchen.

Z-D with his back turned toward the door doesn’t see this happen, and I can’t move fast enough to grab the dog because I’m holding the table with a glass top that will shatter if I drop it and run after the dog.

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I SHOUT LOUDLY FOR Z-D TO DO SOMETHING, and once he realizes what’s up [pun intended] he starts calling for the dog to come to him down in the basement.

In the meantime, I put down the table, run toward the stairs to go up to the kitchen, but our new dog friend, a labrador retriever-ish fellow with a positive attitude, is coming back downstairs into the basement to say “hello.”

Naturally we both tell the dog, who is an older chap, that he is a “GOOD BOY, oh. yes. you. are” because we need him to chill out and sit still so we can read what’s etched on the tag attached to his beautiful collar.

Being a cooperative fellow, the minute he hears “sit” he does so and we learn that his name is Riley, which he seems to enjoy hearing us say to him.  *tail thump, tail thump, tail thump*

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SO WHILE I CONTINUE TO WHISPER SWEET NOTHINGS to Riley, Z-D calls the phone number on the collar.  He speaks with a new neighbor, a couple of streets over, who is surprised to discover that: 1) Riley is gone from her yard, & 2) he had enough spunk to go off on an adventure.

Z-D assures her that Riley, who is laying patiently on our basement floor waiting to be driven home, is fine.  And definitely here with us.

Soon thereafter our new neighbor with her son drive over to our house to pick-up Riley, who I’ve grown to love in the ten minutes we’ve spent together, and take him home.

Therein allowing us to continue to put the furniture into the basement and me to have another friendly dog to look for when I go out for my healthy walks.

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Of Hummingbirds & Humility

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-41-34-amI was dive-bombed by a hummingbird the other morning.

I was wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, sitting outside on our deck in the sunshine, drinking coffee from a red mug.

I was lost in serious thought pondering what I might write about next on this blog, when *flutter, flutter, flutter* a small energetic little bird started diving at me.

I knew that the bird was a hummingbird;  there are lots of them in the wooded ravine behind our house.

They flit around.  You cannot miss them.

I knew that to this little bird I must look like the biggest darned flower in the land, a doozy of a good find.

I tried to sit still hoping that the little bird would tire of attacking me, but you know what?  That little bugger just kept going.  The Energizer Bunny should be so determined.

Eventually I decided to *shoo* the hummingbird away from me because I needed to sip my coffee while it was hot to get my brain going.  I had important things to think about like the topic of my next blog post.

But of course my brain, that can be a tad self-absorbed and egotistical, was blinding me to the obvious.

That is, the topic of this post was making itself known, quietly, right in front of me.  A humble little idea showing me the way, while at the same time reminding me of the basic premise of The Spectacled Bean.

A premise I explain thusly:

  • be here now;
  • make sense of what you’re seeing | feeling | experiencing;  then
  • write about it.

In other words, PAY ATTENTION.  Life is in the details, and that’s where you’ll find the best stories.


If We Were Having Coffee On This May Morning…



We’d be sitting in my living room, watching a rabbit watch us through the window.

We’d be drinking espressos that I made with my Nepresso Pixie machine, an indulgent acquisition that I’m really enjoying more than I thought I would.  

We’d be listening to SiriusXM 40s Junction because I’ve been in a weird mood lately and have taken a fancy to this old music. It’s fun.


√  We’d be chatting… about the grocery bag, filled with canned goods, that you saw by our mailbox post when you drove into the driveway.  The bag is for our postwoman to pick-up today as part of the 24th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.  I’d be snarking about the half-assed neighbors who don’t give to this cause.  I notice, I remember.

√  We’d be sharing… our latest TV obsessions, which in my case is watching The Gilmore Girls from beginning to end, anticipating the revival.  I only saw the show occasionally when it ran on TV, so I decided that as a treat throughout Spring and Summer, I’d watch all the episodes in order.  So far, so delighted.

√  We’d be talking… about my question: if you have a blog, do you have a page for it on FB?  And if so, is it worth the bother?  Some friends in real life have suggested I should put The Spectacled Bean on FB to get more traffic.  While I like this idea in theory, because more people in real life NEED to be following me, I dunno if I believe it would work.  What say ye?

√  We’d be laughing… about how I know who I’m going to vote for in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.  I’m voting for myself because I’m the perfect candidate who can make both sides happy.  For Republicans, I have no experience in politics.  For Democrats, I’m a woman who knows a thing or two.  See what I mean?  Presidential.



We’d linger today because neither one of us has much to do today. Go figure. And it’s a Saturday, even.   

However, eventually we’d need to go our separate ways so we’d hug and promise to get together sometime next month, if summer vacations don’t interfere.

And we’d thank each other for listening to & commenting on our joys and woes. Like friends do. Everywhere. Over an espresso.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.24.47 AM

Idea for this post came from Diana at Part-Time Monster.

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S Is For Succotash, So Sayeth I

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.01.38 AMSufferin’ Succotash

… is what Sylvester the Cat says when confronted with yet another dilemma.  Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., is a Looney Tunes star who almost always fails at what he’s trying to achieve.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.11.43 AM
{ Image Source }

But did you know that his famous saying, “sufferin’ succotash,” is an example of a minced oath?

A minced oath is a term that refers to a word or phrase modified from rude, crude &/or blasphemous to a more benign saying that does not offend, but still imparts the same message.

For instance, when you say darn it to heck, that is a minced oath of damn it to hell.  When you say egads [and you do say egads, right?], that is a minced oath of oh god.

And when you say sufferin’ succotash, that is a minced oath of suffering savior, which at one time was vile thing to say.

[… and you doubted the value of a liberal arts education!  How else would I know something this obscure, yet arguably, interesting?  Hmmm?]

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N Is For Nuts, Please Note

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.55.52 AMNuttier than a squirrel’s pantry

… is a way to say someone is crazy, while not saying directly that someone is crazy.  It’s a cute turn of phrase, correct in the right context.  ‘Ya know?

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THE OTHER MORNING I was looking out into the forest behind our house, admiring the color green, when I noticed that Fuzzy the Squirrel was on the ground, up to something.

He rarely allows his little paws to touch the ground, preferring to stay above it all in the trees… or in our gutters… or on our deck.  I was intrigued.


I’D BEEN THINKING ABOUT the origins of the saying, nuttier than a squirrel’s pantry, all morning.  So when I saw Fuzzy, in a flash of inspiration, I decided to ask him if he could explain the meaning of this saying, from his point of view.

Straight from the squirrel’s mouth, so to speak.


WELL, MY GENTLE READERS, I was not prepared for what our favorite squirrel had to say.  But I give him credit, he told it like it is.  He didn’t mince words, nor did he spare my feelings.


YOU SEE, COME TO FIND OUT, from a squirrel’s perspective, this seemingly innocent and silly human saying, is offensive and disparaging.

Squirrels take it personally, looking down upon us humans who say it.  To them, this saying is animalist.  Decidedly not PC.


And inaccurate, as Fuzzy was quick to point out before he scampered away.  “Lady, we got more than nuts in our pantries. We got seeds and leaves– and sometimes a good old-fashioned purloined tomato from your very own pots of veggies.” 

Thus he confirmed that: 1) he did steal those tomatoes years ago;  and 2) that squirrels might not be as nutty as we humans think they are.

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