You Decide: Behaving Hypocritically Or Showing Sound Judgment

~ • ~

I CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENED FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES 

On the one hand I believe people can change and that’s a defining characteristic of humanity.  As we gain experience and knowledge we are able to change, preferably for the better, as we go along.

But on the other hand I like to keep my distance from people who have demonstrated they’re irony-impaired and don’t have the sense God gave a goose, regardless of whether they may have changed or not.

Judge me as you will.

~ • ~

I WAS ON INSTAGRAM WHEN IT MADE A SUGGESTION ABOUT WHO I SHOULD FOLLOW  

When I saw the name I recognized it immediately and shouted “HELL NO.”

Literally.

Shouted those words out loud.

Then I started laughing because I hadn’t thought about this woman, Zelda, in years.

I met Zelda, an author wannabe, through a mutual acquaintance who knew that Zelda was creating her author’s platform which was to include a personal blog.

Our mutual acquaintance thought that I might be able to answer some of Zelda’s questions about writing a personal blog. And I did.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

~ • ~

YOU SEE, ZELDA WAS GOING TO WRITE HER MEMOIR

It was to be about what she’d learned about how to get along with people while living on four continents.

She had stories to tell about her experiences while overcoming language barriers and adapting to the idiosyncrasies of the cultures around her.

There was a charming Kum Ba Yah hippy vibe to her thinking and Zelda was a wordy girl, of that I have no doubt.  She could talk up a storm about the book she had yet to write.

The thesis statement for her proposed memoir was something to the effect of: by taking time to listen and understand people you can connect on a deeper level regardless of your background. It just takes effort.

Being proactive, she’d started a blog for her author’s platform.

Oh yes she had.

~ • ~

BUT THERE WAS A PROBLEM

She couldn’t figure out how to attract readers.  She knew that as an author-to-be she’d need to be able prove to a literary agent that she had a loyal online following.

This was something that had not happened despite the time she was pouring into her blog;  she was clueless as to why this was so.

In an attempt to get to gain perspective on her problem I asked her which blogs she followed and commented on. She seemed baffled, genuinely confused.

She replied, you mean I’m supposed to pay attention to other blogs?  

I said, yes, that’s the deal. That’s how you connect in the blogosphere. You pay attention to other bloggers, leave thoughtful comments, then those people become your readers. 

To which she said, why would I do that? I don’t care about those people. All I want is for them to pay attention to me so I can sell my book.

And therein was the crux of the problem for this author wannabe/newbie blogger who wanted to tell YOU what to do, but had no intention of making any effort to do so herself.

Go figure, huh?

~ • ~

NOW I GRANT YOU ZELDA COULD HAVE CHANGED

It’s been years since I met her, but looking at her IG account I saw no evidence that she’d written her memoir or that she had a public personal blog.

Instead I saw an Instagram feed with selfies– and not much else.

Knowing what you do now, would you want to follow her on social media? Hmmm? 

Am I being hypocritical by not allowing her the opportunity to show me that she has changed OR am I protecting my personal boundaries/sanity by not following her?

Discuss.

Parsing The Meaning Of A Sign + Completing My Photo Project

THE SIGN PART

I was on Instagram looking at photos of bathroom renovations.   Our bathrooms are still on schedule for renovations to begin in May.

As I was scrolling along, IG started showing me other photos, in this case ones of home offices.  [The algorithmic ways of Instagram are mysterious, I’ll say that for it.]

I stopped to look at one particular office because it was a good use of space and natural light.  In the office on the shelf above the desk was a sign that I believe was meant to be inspirational.  The sign said:

DO WHAT THEY THINK YOU CANNOT DO

I started laughing because this seemed like absurd advice to me.  For one thing, how do your know what THEY are thinking?  Are you a mind reader?  Or did THEY text/email/tell you that you cannot do something?

If so, why?

But beyond figuring out what THEY think, I was entertained by the idea that someone felt vengefulness would be an appropriate touchstone to use as a way of giving your spirit a boost.

What are you, a Klingon?

To cheerful little me the message on the sign seemed like an odd, somewhat spiteful, point of reference on which to focus your energy whilst pursuing a goal that may or may not be in your best interest, according to THEY.

But then maybe an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude is more motivating than I understand.  And perhaps, it is possible that THEY need someone to give them their comeuppance.  So who am I to say that this sign was bad advice?

Thoughts, anyone?

THE PHOTO PROJECT PART

Last April I started a one-year monthly photo project in which I stood in the same place on our deck and snapped a photo of the tree line.  The first installment is here.  The second installment is here.

These are the last two photo in this project.  I give myself props for following through on this project, but it’s over now.  I may do something like this project again, just not looking at these trees.

Suggestions, anyone?

FEBRUARY

MARCH

~ ~ 💚 ~ ~

Pondering: If You Tell Me You’re Independent, What Does That Mean?

Something pretty to enjoy while pondering…

Shortly before the pandemic began 2 years ago this month, I was at a social function with Z-D.  It was for his work.

I was seated next to a 70-something woman, a delightfully chatty child-free extrovert, who was [and I hope still is] the wife of a man who used to work with Z-D.

Thanks to many social business events we’d endured together I knew this pleasant woman as a casual acquaintance so this was good.  From previous conversations with her I knew she was a Joiner with a capital ‘J’.

To wit, over the years she’d told me that she was in a garden club, a book club or two, a dog breed club, a bicycling group, a music guild, a Bible study group, a travel club, and she was a member of a country club.

She went on a *sisters only* cruise every year and hosted parties for her nieces who were involved in multi-level marketing schemes.  She always had a family Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  Plus at one point she had worked full-time and socialized with her workmates, seemingly every weekend.

• • •

We had a lovely time chatting, which is to say I mostly listened and she mostly talked.

As we were getting ready to leave, perhaps sensing this would be the last time we’d see each other [and it was], she leaned over to me and said in a confidential tone: “I’m independent. I need for you to know that.”

INDEPENDENT?

NEED for me TO KNOW?

SAY WHAT?

I had zero idea what she was getting at and because of the circumstances I didn’t get the opportunity to ask her any, shall we say, clarifying follow-up questions.

Over these last two years I’ve thought about that comment often and have talked with friends in real life about what it could mean.  Without context it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Here is what we’ve come up with:

  • I’m independent because I have money of my own.
  • I’m independent because I am free to choose which groups I join.
  • I’m independent because I don’t have children.
  • I’m independent because I’m retired and so is my husband.
  • I’m independent because I grew up as a second-wave feminist.
  • I’m independent because I haven’t declared myself to be aligned with a particular political party.
  • I’m independent because the church I go to is outside the mainstream, not part of an established protestant denomination.

So what say you, my gentle readers?  

Do you consider yourself to be independent? And if you do, what does that mean to you? Also, do you need people to know you’re independent?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  This can be an interesting conversation.

• 🌺 •

In The Mood For Fig Newtons And Scotch, Maybe

Image from @thepresentpsychologist on Instagram

So it’s still January. I feel like this has been the longest January* on record. Somehow a few extra days got tossed into this one, I am beyond bored.

Do you feel it too, my little ice cubes?

In fact, referring to The Mood Meter image above, not that I want it that way but I’d say I’m currently in the lower lefthand quadrant at DRAINED on a fast train to DESOLATE, hoping to not end up at DESPAIR.

I started this year in the upper righthand quadrant at OPTIMISTIC and ENERGIZED. But blah cold weather combined with incessant anti-vax gibberish**, plus a realization that many  longtime bloggy friends have stopped posting altogether, well– this has left me feeling oddly RESTLESS.

~ ~ 🎵 ~ ~

Image from @thefabstory on Instagram

I usually like January, look forward to it even. But somehow this year, maybe because of the endless anxiety associated with the pandemic, I’m feeling a different vibe within myself and about the world around me.

When it comes to self-care, referring to the Routines To Try image above, I don’t know if I need to be more PRODUCTIVE or focus on being CALMER.

And ain’t that a pip!

Anyhoo that’s where I find myself this wintry morning, wondering if there might be some restorative power in Colonel Sherman T. Potter’s remedy for feeling low.  The clip below explains what to do with your Fig Newtons and Scotch*** and why.  Cheers!

~ ~ 🥃 ~ ~

* Okay I’m wrong about this being the longest January on record: In the Roman calendar only 10 months had formal names. Winter (January and February) was simply known as the “dead period” [Source here]

** We’re both fully vaccinated and wear our masks when out in public, where we rarely go because of the people who are not fully vaccinated and do not wear their masks out in public.

*** In the spirit of transparency I feel obliged to tell you that should I follow through on Colonel Potter’s advice, the Fig Newton will be a Chocolate Chip cookie and the Scotch will be Bourbon.

• • •

SO TELL ME, HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? WHAT’S YOUR MOOD?

• • •

Gadzooks! The Spectacled Bean Is 11 Years Old Today

[Image source found here]

~ ~ ~ ~

THE SPECTACLED BEAN, this weblog you’re reading right now, is a Capricorn born on this day in 2011.  The inaugural post is here.

While this isn’t my first weblog, this one has been the most fun and emotionally rewarding.  Below are 11 points explaining why this is so.

My purpose has been to inform or entertain, rather than to persuade.  Free spirit I am, Influencer I am not.

I follow a simple process for deciding what to write about.  The simple process, which is far from profound and academic, is to answer three questions.

The three questions are: 1) Does this matter? 2) Where is the story? 3) Why didn’t I know this?

It took me longer to write the previous point than it takes to answer the questions.

I also attribute my blogging longevity to the myriad of fabulous bloggers I’ve met along the way.

I am grateful.

You, my bloggy friends, keep me thinking new thoughts and questioning my assumptions and laughing at the absurdity of life.

This is good.

You also encourage me to write more openly + creatively and to comment more freely, which for an introvert is saying something.

Thus I try to spread the comment love whenever I have the time because leaving a comment on a blog post is a random act of kindness in a mean world.

And I am kind, dagnabbit.  Read my about page here.

~ ~ ~ ~

IF YOU LET ME KNOW HOW OLD YOUR BLOG IS, IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS I’LL PUT TOGETHER A BLOGROLL. I’LL START WITH THE OLDEST AND END WITH THE YOUNGEST. COULD BE FUN, YES?

[Blog must be one year old or older to qualify. Personal blogs only. Limited time offer. Offer has no cash value. Cannot be used with any other offers, promotions, or discounts. Some restrictions may apply.]