Rambling Thoughts That’ll Light No One’s Way, Yet Here They Are

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE LONG WEEKS when I’ve been doing things, but haven’t felt very good.  My stomach kind of hurts, no specific reason.  My ancient old knees hurt, no specific reason.

My head hurts, courtesy of seasonal allergies.  My eyes are an itchy mess because of those same allergies.  And I’ve been sneezing.

Sneezing so loudly, in fact, that while I was outside on the deck when I sneezed a neighbor, who I’ve never met, who lives on the other side of the forest primeval/ravine behind our house yelled “God bless you” towards me.  I shouted “thank you” back across the forest primeval/ravine, thus ending the longest conversation I’ve ever had with any neighbor on the other side of the forest primeval/ravine.

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AND THEY SAY THE SUBURBS ARE SOULLESS. Ha!  We’re not soulless here, we just live far enough apart to not know each other personally while being midwestern polite to a fault.  And aren’t good manners part and parcel of having a soul?

Me thinks so.

And on that note of profundity [?], I shall end this post.  You know I try to be here at least once a week because I made a commitment to myself and to you, my gentle readers, to do so, thus I am here.

It would be bad manners to not show up.

However some weeks it takes all I’ve got just to find a photo [enhanced by Waterlogue app], plop it on this virtual page, and then write the words.  In this case Muse is here with me, but my Energy Level isn’t up to snuff.

‘Ya know what I mean?

The One About Birdbaths, The Path You Choose, & A Survey About My Blog

Over the weekend we went to a garden decor center to look at birdbaths for my butterfly habitat.  There is no end to the exciting things we do here.  In fact I sometimes hesitate telling you, my gentle readers, what we’re up to because I don’t want to make anyone jealous.

We didn’t find a birdbath that’ll work for us because it’s early in the outdoor season here so the selection was minimal– and because the ones available required electricity which we don’t have where I want to put a birdbath.

But we had a nice time walking around the property in the sunshine.  YAY SPRING! 😎

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In the parking lot of this garden decor center is a sign that directs you one way or the other.  You can either meander down the Scenic Route that wraps around the front of the property where there are displays of ponds + fountains + birdbaths to give you an idea of what you might want to do in your yard.  This path is kind of artsy fartsy.

Or you can use the Main Entrance and go directly to the merchandise in the back of the property where it’s organized in large quadrants of similar items.  This is where the helpful sales people are ready to get you all squared away.  This path is fast and practical.

Scenic route or main entrance?  Those are your choices at the garden decor center.  And it seems to me, an English major who can find meaning in anything, those are often your choices in life.  Which begs the question:

WHICH WAY IS YOUR USUAL CHOSEN PATH: MEANDER OR DIRECT? Hmmm…? 🤔

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On a whim yesterday afternoon I created a free survey about this blog using SurveyMonkey.  Having never done anything like this before, I followed their suggestions about the questions to include.

There are seven questions that according to them will take you 1 minute to answer.  Trust me when I say that it took me longer than 1 minute to make this survey– learning curve, kind of steep.

I have my *fingers crossed* that this is going to work.  Also, you’ll be anonymous.  There are no demographic questions and I won’t know your IP address.

Click on HOW AM I DOING? to be magically transported to my survey, should you care to take a minute of your time and answer my questions.  Thank you in advance for your kind participation in my first online survey. 🤓

SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.

Blogger’s Block: Muse Is Missing And I Am Without Flapdoodle & Twaddle

Two Adirondack chairs in the park, a perfect resting spot for anyone who needs to take a short breather while looking for Muse.

Where is my Muse?

I’m ashamed to say that I am without a story to share here today.

Nor do I have any research projects in process so I don’t have any little tidbits of information to toss into the blog.

I’m not feeling sad or snarky or silly, so there’s no blog post to be plumbed from those emotions.

Instead, I have blogger’s block, a specific kind of writer’s block wherein a personal blogger, such a meself, has the photo and the time to write about it, but can’t find the inspiration, the catalyst, the spark one needs to create the blog post.

There is no flapdoodle. There is no twaddle.

And I am bereft.

I place the blame for this unusual blogging situation squarely on the shoulders of Muse who has scampered off, probably to play on the swings in the park.

I’m sure you, my gentle readers, understand this situation.  Muse is, after all, a flighty thing. 😉

Where I Was When I Wasn’t Here: San Antonio, TX

TO BEGIN

Colorful bat mosaic on wall at zoo.

“The world is a book. If you do not travel, you read only a page.”

The above quote, that I see every day when I’m at home, is on a framed piece of artwork that I have hanging on a wall in our home office.

I only mention this quote, attributed to St. Augustine, because I believe it to be true, a guiding principle.  Thus I said “hell to the yes” when I had the opportunity to spend a few days in pleasant and pretty San Antonio, TX.

You see, last week Zen-Den was in San Antonio for a conference.  Remembering how much fun we had there years ago, I joined him after the conference was over and we goofed off for a couple of days doing things in America’s 7th largest city that is celebrating its 300th birthday.

[Did not know either of those facts before visiting there. Feel that I’m a better person for having shared them here.]

THINGS WE DID

• The San Antonio River Walk which is a meandering multi-level path around an urban waterway surrounded by restaurants, shops, and hotels.

• The Briscoe Western Art Museum which was beautiful, and wherein I saw Roy Rogers’s saddle, a real Wells Fargo Wagon, and ate a complimentary cupcake.

• The Alamo Quarry Market which is an open-air shopping area filled with stores and restaurants, not necessarily unique to San Antonio but a nice place to wander around in the warm sunshine.

• The San Antonio Zoo which was lovely, with more animals from South America, Australia, and Africa than any other zoo I’ve been to.

• The Alamo City Comic Con which was our first adventure into the happy, trippy subculture that revolves around comic conventions.  Here are my observations: 1) people, often entire families, were costumed like comic book or TV or movie characters [we were not];  2) people were standing in line waiting to pay to have photos taken with and/or objects signed by celebrities [we did not];  & 3) people were buying memorabilia and posters and t-shirts from the displays set up by many vendors [we did not].

IN CONCLUSION

And with that I’ll end this post with a hat tip to St. Augustine and his travel advice, suggesting to you, my gentle readers, that San Antonio, TX, is a fun + friendly place to visit for those of you inclined to want to read more than one page of this book we call the world.

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? 

Just A Closer Walk: We Attended A Funeral Last Week

It’s been 2 weeks since my FIL passed away.

He was 89 years old, diabetic, and had Alzheimer’s, the long good-bye.

His funeral was a week ago Monday in the city where Zen-Den grew up, a 4 to 5 hour drive from here.  We drove there on Sunday and came back later in the week.

The funeral wasn’t a sad or maudlin affair because the person FIL had become was nothing like the person he’d been in his prime;  even then, in his better days he was a ‘hale fellow well met’ with some Archie Bunker thrown into the mix– stubbornly clinging to the past.

However, as is the way with people who suffer with Alzheimer’s, FIL deteriorated slowly, forgetting his resentments along the way.  He became physically weak, and seemingly ready to leave this world.

The best part of the funeral was FIL’s 3-year-old step-great-granddaughter who stole the show.  She was cheerful, of course.  Dressed in a sundress + straw hat.  Delightfully curious.  So much so that at one point during the memorial service she went up front, quietly, to join the pastor, sitting her little self down on a chair nearby him to watch.

Which was cute– and a visual reminder that life goes on.

And on that positive note I’ll end this post.  I’m not even sure why I’m telling you this, but some days, occasionally, I write here in a serious way as if this were my journal–  instead of a personal blog filled with flapdoodle and twaddle.

Today is one of those days.

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.