Presented For Your Consideration: 7 Writing Prompts + 1 Photo Challenge

Another busy week here so I’m going to do something fun & different. I’m using the following back-to-school writing prompts AND I’m snapping my first #bumblebeebookstack photo. Tell me what you think…

Teacher Turned Mommy is hosting a blog hop in which she has provided these 7 prompts. Click HERE to be magically taken to her blog where you can learn more about it.

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ONE

My memories of the first day of school involve two things: ANXIETY about what my new teachers would be like & CURIOSITY about who I’d be sitting by.  People, figuring them out & getting used to them– that’s what I remember from my first days of school.

TWO

My favorite school supply was paper.  Whether it was lined or with grids, plain white or a beautiful color, small size or large, loose or in a spiral notebook– I LIKED PAPER.  [Still do.]

THREE

The teacher who made a difference for me was my freshman high school English teacher, Mrs. L——-,  who believed everyone could be a writer if they followed one simple rule: BE SPECIFIC. [Years ago in response to a prompt I wrote about Mrs. L——- here: The One About My Favorite Public School Teacher.]

FOUR

Here’s the thing about apples, they are my favorite fruit.  I LOVE APPLES, all varieties.  Cooked, baked, raw. In salads. Turned into juice or cider. With peanut butter on each slice. With chunks of cheddar cheese to go with.  With popcorn, even.

FIVE 

Getting a new box of crayons was [and is] a treat.  My mother, who had strong opinions on this topic, felt that one child with 64 crayons was excessive and unnecessary, so I MADE DO WITH 48.  Periwinkle and Cornflower Blue were my favorite colors.  I did not like Raw Umber.

SIX

When I think about new friends I’m reminded that I went to three elementary schools in four years.  I walked into the first two schools only knowing a few kids from church, but the third school was different.

It was a new school with a new building that combined about half the kids from each of the first two schools I went to;  therefore, for the first time, I KNEW ALMOST EVERYONE.  And this made me happy.

SEVEN

Answering what’s in your lunchbox is difficult for me because my mother didn’t believe in packing lunches.  She was all about a HOT MEAL so she made me buy my lunch every stinking day until I got to high school when I was allowed to pack my own lunch, that I put in a brown paper bag.

Some of the cafeteria food wasn’t so bad.  I liked the fish sandwiches and the Spanish rice and the baked beans and the no-bake cookies– but the salmon loaf was beyond bleech.  Subjecting innocent children with their tender taste buds to it was cruel.

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I got this idea from Instagram. This is what is called a Bumblebee Book Stack. Finding the books was easy, but photographing them was more difficult than I thought it’d be. Go figure. 

High Hopes: Growing A Houseplant, Sharing A Mother’s Day Memory

“Just what makes that little old ant, Think he can move that rubber tree plant…”

Over the weekend Zen-Den informed me that the houseplant I think is a rubber tree plant is, in fact, a jade plant.

Apparently I do not know my houseplants, even if I can grow them.

“Anyone knows an ant, can’t, Move a rubber tree plant…”

Z-D became aware of my botanical ignorance when I was happily watering and singing to what I believed to be a rubber tree plant.

I’ve mothered and nurtured this NOT rubber tree plant for the last few years, channeling Shirley Feeney every time I am near it.

“But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes, He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes…”

My efforts have resulted in a healthy houseplant that I feel adds a certain joie de vivre to our family room.

It, the plant, being so healthy and all. Me, the plant mama, being so loving and all.

“So anytime you’re gettin’ low, ‘Stead of letting go, Just remember that ant…”

But there’s more to this story than my confusion about a houseplant.

Yes, this is a hat tip to my mother who adored Shirley Feeney’s spunk and who had me singing in the Cherub Choir at the First Presbyterian Church when I was but a little sprig.

“Oops there goes another rubber tree plant, Oops there goes another rubber tree plant, Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.”

It was there at a luncheon dedicated to mothers that we little cherubs, standing in three rows on risers, sang “High Hopes” to our mothers. Thus to this day whenever I sing this song, I think fondly of my mother.

Regardless of the kind of plant I’m watering while I am singing the song. 🙄

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Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is celebrating it this weekend

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Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls

I believe the children are our future… let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

With a hat tip to Whitney Houston, here’s a short conversation I overheard when the neighbor girls next door were playing outside with their cousins and friends.

In total there were seven girls, ages 6 to 12.  They are creative girls, boisterous, and oh. so. funny. when they get together.

Girl #1: I know. Let’s play theater up on the deck.

Many voices, shouting at the same time: Yes! *yay*

[Sound of small feet running all over wooden deck as they drag metal furniture around on it.]

Girl #1: I’ll play the sister!

Many voices, talking over each other: I’ll be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah* No me… I wanna be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah*

Girl #1: OK. Now we need someone to play the old person.  

[Complete silence. Nary a peep. Total quiet.]

Girl #2: I’ll be the old person.

Many voices, filled with concern: Are you sure? Really? You want to do that! 

Girl #2: Yes, I’ll do it.

Girl #1: How old will you be?

Girl #2: I’ll be… (dramatic pause)… seventeen.

Many voices, in unison: *gasp* That old? {indistinct jibber-jabber} Oh my!

And that, my gentle readers, is all I heard because the girls started talking quietly among themselves, presumably to prepare for their big performance.  Of an unnamed show that I can confirm has at least one sister– and an old person in it.

Break a leg, girls. Happy Friday, everyone. 😊

Unexpected Entertainment: A Tale Of Grocery Shopping, One Little Girl, & Live Music

A bit of humor just in time for your holiday grocery shopping…

Imagine you’re a little girl about 7 years old.

It’s Sunday noon after church so you have on your best clothes: dress, tights, Mary Janes.  Your hair is pulled into two pigtails, one of which is higher than the other, and there are bows on your pigtails because… PRETTY.

You and your dad are shopping in Kroger, the new one with the huge 2-story foyer that has dramatic lights and large windows– and amazing acoustics.

As you leave the store, going through the foyer to the parking lot, you’re standing on the back of the wheeled metal shopping cart, being pushed along by your dad.

You have energy.

In spades.

Thus when you and your dad set foot in the foyer on your way to the parking lot you ask him: Now?

With a sheepish look on his face, as he glances at all the other adults in the foyer, he says: Yes.

At which time you, a wiggly little human being, start singing LOUDLY with gusto and joy.  Which one of the following five  songs did you sing?

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Marching Forward With A Sense Of Serendipity & A Stack Of Books

A sense of serendipity:

I think the above is proof positive that I was destined to be a blogger.

Sure, some people might only see a short story + crayon drawing created by an 8 [?] year old kid. A homework assignment. On Manila paper. Written with a pencil. Demonstrating Zaner-Bloser penmanship.

But I see a future personal blogger.  Did I not tell you what we did?  Did I not share an image that supported what I wrote?  Did I not make the whole page look pretty?

Why “yes” Ally Bean, you did do those things at age 8.  Those things that today, getting to the crux of it here, might tempt one to ask:

ARE THOSE NOT THE THREE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PERSONAL BLOGGING?

Why “yes” they are, Ally Bean.  And to think you only had to wait about gazillion decades for your natural blogging talent to manifest and be appreciated by tens of people.

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A stack of books:

I went to the bookstore. A real one. Brick and mortar.

I bought books that I’d either heard about from other people, or looked interesting to me in the moment.  In the end, after putting some books back on the shelf, I bought the ones shown above, described below.

The books are from top to bottom: a memoir, a novel, another memoir, a theological/inspirational book, a mystery, and a how-to guide.

It was only after I got home and created this stack of TBR books that I realized two of the titles referred to dirt.  This seems appropriate considering that we’re heading into Spring when gardening season begins and bulbs bloom– as explained in my homework assignment seen at the top of this post.

And on that happy note, I’m going to enjoy my day as a full-fledged blogger [whatever that means] and as a bookworm who needs to get reading.

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~ QUESTION OF THE DAY ~

Please answer one of the two following questions. Individuals who answer both questions will receive a gold star. 

When did you realize that you were destined to be a blogger?

or

What books are loitering in your To Be Read stack?

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Parsing A Trending Word, Thinking About My Dad

IF I OFFEND YOU, my gentle readers, by mentioning this charmingly old-fashioned word, please forgive me.  But you see, “pissant” was one of my father’s favorite words.

Dad’s been a long time gone from my life, so I’d forgotten about his use of this word.  However when I saw  “pissant” listed as Trending Now on the Merriam-Webster website, I immediately remembered Dad using the word.

OF COURSE WHEN DADDY, a physician, used the word “pissant” it didn’t stand alone.  Oh, no, no, no.  He’d further explain that the “pissant” in question was EITHER “in need of a high colonic” OR “in need of a frontal lobotomy.”

The first phrase, with the enema reference, was for those people who didn’t tell the truth– full of sh!t, ‘ya know?

The second phrase, the brain surgery reference, was for those people who were speaking illogically, making no sense– perhaps crazy.

DAD HAD A WAY WITH WORDS, I’ll give him that.  And because he was never one to not opine about events, people, &/or ideas–  many of his words have stuck with me in one way or another.

Don’t quite know what more to tell you here, my gentle readers.  Just a passing thought, from a blogging wordsmith who came by her love of words + writing early in life.

Listening to her elders [one in particular] go on & on about things. 🙄

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you ever hear a word and immediately think of someone who uses, or used, that word because the person and the word are inextricably linked together in your mind?

If so, what’s the word and who’s the person? If not, what prompts you to recall someone? Photos? Music? Food? Scent? 

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#CBF17 | See What I Mean? This Is What I Cherish.

I’m joining the Cherished Blogfest here. Cherished Blogfest is open to all bloggers who want to write about something that or someone who they cherish.

I wrote this post last week meaning to join the blogfest over the weekend, but I failed to meet the deadline.

However, with a hat tip to Joanne for letting me know, TPTB* have extended the Cherished Blogfest deadline to Sunday October 22nd so I’m in.  Better late than never! Why not join in, too?

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Little Ally Bean

This is my first grade school photo.

First you’ll notice that the photographer didn’t manage to center me in the frame.  I was a wiggly little girl, so– you know.

Then you’ll notice that my white cotton blouse collar is going one direction while my itchy wool plaid jumper is going in a different direction.

Clothes horse, never been one.

If you’re still looking at the photo, and I do hope that you are, you’ll notice that I’m wearing spectacles.

Eyeglasses.

Granted, they were dorky, unfashionable ones made of the strongest plastic available and were the cheapest ones on the rack at the doctor’s office– but I cherished these glasses.

And here’s why: my vision was lousy and it wasn’t until I got my first pair of spectacles that I actually began to see the world around me.

In detail.

I mean, who knew that the green blob up on top of the tree trunk was actually lots of little green leaves?

Not me.

Or that billboards along the highway had words and faces on them, not just random and abstract colorful smudges?

Again, not me.

Now I realize that many, many kids [and adults] hate eyeglasses– for whatever reasons. But I’m not one of them. I think spectacles are one of the best things on earth, having the power to instantly, safely connect a person with their environment, whether it be natural or bookish.

And because of that power, to this day I cherish my eyeglasses for what they have, and I hope continue to do, for me.

In fact, I respect my spectacles so much I even named my blog after them.  You, my gentle readers, do realize that you’re reading The Spectacled Bean, right? 😎

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* TPTB for this blogfest are: Damyanti Biswas, Dan Antion, Cheryl Pennington, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Mary Giese, Kate Powell, and Paul Ruddock