In Which A Good Friend Suggests I Am A Bad Influence, As If

Catching up with a friend. Talking about what’s new with her…

FRIEND: I got thrown out of Bible Study.

ME: Wait what? YOU were in a Bible Study group? You? WHY?!!

FRIEND: I know, it’s hard to believe. It’s not really my thing, but my older sister’s high school best friend made me join.

ME: Wait what? HOW did she make you do this?

FRIEND: Oh, she asked me to join so I did. She got credit for bringing in new members. She got thrown out of Bible Study, too. Because of me… AND YOU, really.

ME: Wait, hold the horses. How did I get you two thrown out of Bible Study? I didn’t even know you were doing it, let alone in the group.

FRIEND: You told me about Cosmopolitans.

ME: Huh? Like back when Sex and the City was on TV? Those drinks?

FRIEND: Yep… and I think you were to one who suggested seeing the movie Sideways. The one about drinking wine.

ME: How does any of this have anything to do with you getting thrown out of Bible Study?

FRIEND: My older sister’s high school best friend and I were to arrange a Saturday night Bible Study get together. It was at her house. She provided the location and I provided refreshments and a movie. It was so we all could bond, or something.

ME: Uh huh.

FRIEND: So we’d just been talking in Bible Study class about Jesus turning water into wine and I remembered the movie about the vineyards. It seemed relevant to me. Then I remembered how Carrie and her girlfriends loved their Cosmopolitans so I made those the drink of the night.

ME: Ok.

FRIEND: But the thing is that I didn’t know this get together was supposed to be alcohol-free so almost no one wanted my drinks. It was Saturday night for goodness sake. Who doesn’t drink then?

ME: This group of women apparently.

FRIEND: I think they would’ve overlooked the booze except for the movie. Well, one part of the movie. I’d forgotten there was nudity in it.

ME: There is?

FRIEND: Yep a full frontal shot of a naked man running down a street. You can see his junk and this shocked most of the girls. They left immediately.

ME: No kidding? They just left?!!

FRIEND: Yep, but those who stayed drank the Cosmopolitans and we had a good time watching the movie. They understood how it was about wine, something Jesus made. It was fine with them.

ME: So how did you find out you’d been thrown out of Bible Study?

FRIEND: An email on Monday morning told us. My older sister’s high school best friend isn’t upset. She says she’s relieved to be free from it… and them.

ME: And you? How do you feel about this?

FRIEND: Oh I’m fine with it. It was something to do for a while, but now it isn’t something to do.

ME: There’s that.

FRIEND: So tried any new drinks lately? Seen any good movies? You always know the most fun things!

ME: Uh huh.

~ The End ~

As June Begins, I’m Doing Not Much Of Anything Enthralling

WHAT DAY IS THIS?

I’m scattered this week. I tell ‘ya, begin a week with a Monday holiday and I’m confused, more than normal, for days after. But then what kind of weirdo who isn’t? Hmmm…?

Anyhow, the title says it all. Well, everything except the deets about the Not Much Of Anything Enthralling. That’d be things I’ve done, or tried to do, or hope to do.

I read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero and it’s wonderful. Originally published in 1984 I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. Oddly enough I thought of each short succinct chapter as a blog post; the style of this book is prescient vis-à-vis today’s blogosphere. This book was part of my own unique 2021 reading challenge.

We’ve been enjoying Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs [thanks Katie] and Corn and Black Bean Salad [thanks Dorothy]. If there’s one good thing about the pandemic, it is that we’ve tried many new recipes and that’s fun in my worldview.

We’re on Season 20 of Midsomer Murders. Almost every night this spring we’ve sat down to watch one episode. They’re charming and light and often have an unexpected twist that’s plausible. Also, if we can’t travel to England, then we can look at it and listen to posh accents.

I skimmed through The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. It’s a deep academic book about trauma; there are many extensive case studies. While I found some of the chapters interesting, like the ones about how yoga and meditation help you release the negativity/emotional hurt in your body, the rest of the book was too deep for me.

I revised my About Ally Bean page and added a Blogging Hints page. I’m contemplating having an old-fashioned blogroll page again, but don’t know if there’s a need. I’d base it on the results of the Bean Personality Quiz that I shared in my previous post. Where do you stand on blog rolls? Yay or nay?

I’m hoping to go to the Le Creuset outlet store to look at, and maybe buy, new coffee mugs. I broke my favorite orange coffee mug this week and had a sadz. But then I decided I wanted to buy four new mugs that all match and are the same color. [Can you imagine?] There’s no better place than to see all the colors available than at the outlet store.

We’re hoping to to go to Summerfair at Coney Island, an outdoor art show. It’s this weekend and is an annual event that we missed last year because of… oh you know why. I like going to this particular art show because I enjoy walking around outside by the river; seeing, perhaps buying, some art; and indulging in some kettle corn freshly made in front of me.

LET SUMMER BEGIN!

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING LATELY? ANYTHING ENTHRALLING?

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In Which I Explain How I Created My Own Unique 2021 Reading Challenge

I’ve been meaning to write about how I arrived at my personalized 2021 reading challenge, but somehow got off track. I was probably reading a book…

For those of you who enjoy numbers: this is a 12″ high stack of 12 books with a total of 4,248 pages that I plan on reading in 2021. 🤓

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I barely read any books in 2020. My focus was too scattered, my anxiety was high, and I couldn’t stick with it.

I forgive myself for slip sliding away from reading for pleasure last year because I am still here in one piece, healthy, relatively sane– and with a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to reading.

Allow me to explain.

As some of you know I’m a fan of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and get her newsletter. When I saw that she had created a questionnaire that I could use to make my own CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE reading challenge I downloaded the worksheets.

By answering her simple questions, I set my 2021 intention, evaluated my reading needs, and then made a list of twelve prompts that resonated with me based on the concepts of variety and escapism. As Modern Mrs. Darcy says: “Remember, your goal isn’t just to get through this challenge. This challenge is a tool to develop the reading life you want.”

Hallelujah!

But then after further contemplating the reading life I wanted, I had a brainstorm, one in which I devised a way to make this reading challenge more personal– and a bit less costly. Please keep in mind that just because I didn’t read much in 2020 doesn’t mean that I didn’t buy books in 2020.

Thus I found myself thinking back to a decade ago when I read a wonderful memoir, Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.

In this book Hill writes about her decision that for one year she would only re-read books already in the house. That is, she read what she had on hand, then mused upon what her life was like the first time she read the book. This practical approach to deciding what to read next made an impression on me.

Obviously, I guess.

Anyhow, to be clear, I won’t be re-reading anything this coming year, but I will be reading what is here in the house, pre-purchased in good faith you might say– and meant to be read by me, dammit.

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MY 2021 CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE-STYLE READ-WHAT-YOU-HAVE-IN-THE-HOUSE-ALREADY READING CHALLENGE

a thriller

a memoir

a fantasy novel

a cozy mystery

a book of short stories

a recent NYT bestseller

a novel previously abandoned

a NYT bestseller from a while ago

a novel based on something literary

a non-fiction book set where I live now

a non-fiction book set somewhere I’ve never visited

a book I’d never heard of yet is on many required reading lists

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Do you do any reading challenges? Have you ever made your own? Inquiring minds wanna know.

In Which I Read A Book, Then Hit The Wall

A Cautionary Tale from my Daily Life

YOU SEE, I WAS IN BED READING A BOOK. I had a LED clip-on light attached to the book and I was involved in the story, eyes wide open. However my eyes got tired and started to blur so I stopped reading and put my spectacles aside.

I got up from bed, walked over to the light switch on the bedroom wall to turn off the overhead light [yes this one], then walked into the dark bathroom to avail myself of the facilities therein.

As one does.

I thought I could safely walk to where I needed to be in the bathroom, but I was temporarily blinded after turning off the lights in the bright bedroom and then walking into a pitch black bathroom. Thus it came to be that I walked smack dab OH MY GOODNESS TO THE GRACIOUS into the bathroom wall.

Yes, I hit the wall, literally.

Naturally being the mature woman I am I started yelling for Z-D to come help me because I KNEW THE END WAS NIGH. I was convinced I’d broken my nose and would be shuffling off to a hospital where I’d not be able to wear a mask because of my broken nose– and I’d catch Covid-19.

It was perhaps an overreaction, but during these dreary days of the endless pandemic one cannot be sure about what is going to happen to oneself after a bathroom wall willfully gets in your way.

To his credit Z-D did not immediately start laughing when he found me holding my nose and jumping up & down like a crazy person. In fact he turned on a light, politely examined my unbloodied, undamaged nose that never even got black and blue, THEN he started laughing like I was the lead character in the funniest Marx Brothers movie he’d ever seen.

And he would. not. stop. laughing.

Asking me over and over again why I didn’t turn on the light in the bathroom before I walked in.

Then laughing. some. more.

Finding this whole ridiculous slapstick incident much too entertaining, IF YOU ASK ME.

Happy Weekend, everyone. Try not to hit the wall.

Words Do Not Fail Me: A Study Of Wordiness In My Blog Posts & Your Comments, Forsooth

I got curious.

I got to a’wondering about two things about this blog’s word counts. I realize that what follows is a somewhat meta post, but it’s winter and I have time to think about word counts.

My two questions are:

  1. How many words have I written in the 962 posts I’ve published here; and
  2. How many words are in the average comment here.

• Answering the first question was easy.

WordPress provides information on word count by post and by year. Looking at the chart featured at the bottom of this post you can see that I’ve written & published a total of 962 posts with a total word count of 282,612 words.

This averages overall to 294 words per post, although last year I got wordier averaging 360 words per post.

A digression… according to this article, A Word Count Guide for 18 Book Genres, Including Novels and Non-Fiction, 80,000 words is the ideal length for a novel. “If you’re working on a novel-length book, aim for 50,000 words at the very least — but it’s better to aim for 90,000. Editorial trimming is inevitable.”

Ergo, keeping the above rule of thumb in mind while applying it to my blog word count [282,612 divided by 90,000] you can see that in essence

I’VE WRITTEN THREE BOOKS.

• Answering the second question took more effort and required a few assumptions.

Because there’s no stinking way I’m going through all the comments on this blog to find the total comment word count, I made a few, shall we say, educated guesses.

Thus I decided that I’d only look at the comment word count on my 2021 blog posts AND that I’d only look at the comments made by the top recent commenters [according to WordPress] because I figure those people are a good representation of all commenters.

The top recent commenters are: Linda, LA, Dan, Nancy, Tara, and Kari. Go visit them and say “hi!”

To wit, there are 38 comments from these individuals with a total of 1616 words. This means that the average comment word count is 43 words.

Do what you will with this statistic; I was unable to find any articles written on the topic of comment word counts, so I don’t know how to interpret this number. Other than to say

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTS HERE.

Curiosity satisfied. The end.

Questions Of The Day

When you write do you keep track of your word count as you go along? Are you aiming for a specific number?

Did you know that the word *forsooth* is an archaic or humorous word meaning “indeed”?

Do you have any idea how I made the pretty text box featured near the top of this post? I hit some buttons and it happened, but I’ve no idea what I did.

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