Share Your World | Power To The Purple Pansy

Last week while answering Cee’s questions I told you, my gentle readers, that I was looking forward to planting some pansies in a pot. Here is a photo of said pansies in said pot. Aren’t they pretty?

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• Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

This is a tricky question for me to answer because I write this blog under a nom de plume.  Yes, Ally Bean is my nickname.  It evolved from the old saying: “Know what I mean, Jelly Bean?”  Back when I started blogging in 2004 no one used his or her real name when writing online, so I went with Ally Bean.  As for this name’s significance, all I can suggest is that it might mean, FRIEND LEGUME.  I guess.

• Music or silence while working?

Almost always silence when working.  Quiet focuses me.  And a focused me is a productive me.

• If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

Not sure if this question is asking me what are my three most special possessions OR what is my special place for them?  No matter.  I’ll answer the latter question by saying my most special possessions, of which there are many more than three, are in our house.  Ergo our house must be a special place, right?

• The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?

I will never do cardiac surgery, ride on a Segway again, write a textbook on quantum physics, collect dolls, imbibe any rum-based drink again, travel by submarine, buy a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps, teach a class about car repair, OR needlepoint a pillow cover.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Season 3 of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.  I’m grateful for anything that makes me laugh and this TV series does that.  Over the weekend I watched half of Season 3, released on Friday, and I’m still smiling about the characters, the plot, the settings, the humor.  So funny + smart.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to an Ikea chest of drawers, now in three large heavy flat boxes leaning against the wall in the upstairs hallway.  Next weekend Zen-Den and I hope to remain married while we build this chest of drawers that, when assembled, will give me one place to put all of my foldable clothes.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Make No Assumptions. It’s Greenery For The Win.

AS A WAY OF adding some color into our lives during this mid-winter gray time of year, I went to Lowes this week where I bought some little houseplants in little plastic pots.

I’m not a full on hippy dippy plant lady yet, so fear not. But I could be headed that way.  [And really, would that be such a terrible thing?]

While transplanting each plant into a proper terra-cotta pot, it drifted into my addled mind that Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017 is Greenery.

I also remembered that when I first saw this color in early December I wasn’t taken with it, thinking that this particular shade of yellowish-green was almost garish.  A color I’d never want to see in my house. 

Was. not. a. fan. and. said. so.

But you know what?  I was wrong in my snap judgement.

“Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.” via Pantone

I HAD TO ADMIT this to myself as I placed the new houseplants around the house– and realized that they were exactly Greenery green.  And as such, they blended beautifully with our neutral color scheme of khaki golds + creamy whites + warm grays.

In fact, the new houseplants added much-needed splashes of spring-y color everywhere, proving to be an amazingly easy, cost-effective way of lifting my winter spirits.

So the moral of this little story is that when it comes to unfamiliar colors reserve your judgment until you’ve given the new color a chance to dazzle you.

For all you know the new color might be the perfect thing ever to grace your life… on a gray winter day.

In Which We Get New Outdoor Furniture & Ally Embraces Social Media, Part 2 of 2

{Sub-titled: Nothing Is Ever Easy, But Darn This Furniture Is Pretty}

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We left the Beans longing for Carton 2 of 6, unable to determine where it was, or when it might appear at the house.

What will happen next?

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THURSDAY, Day 12 – After posting the above tweet the night before, Ally receives helpful early morning tweet from reputable catalog company asking her to phone them.  This pleases Ally, but being an introvert she passes message on to husband to deal with.

Around 11:00 a.m. Ally, sitting in her home office, hears thunk of carton as someone drops off Carton 2 of 6 by the garage door.

No one appears at front door, so no one signs for anything.

FRIDAY, Day 13 – Ally, who had the audacity to leave her house, returns home to find a message on the answering machine from Important Office Guy at reputable catalog company.  He is apologizing for the delay and explaining how on the following Monday she’ll receive the cushions lost in transit.

Except the cushions are no longer lost.

Again, Ally the introvert, forces Zen-Den, Esq., to deal with this.  And he does, calling Important Office Guy to tell him that all is well here.

We. Are. Happy.

This would be the end of it all, or so you would hope…

WEDNESDAY, Day 18 – Around 8:00 a.m. Ally receives phone call from Worried Manager Guy of the third-party delivery service.  He needs her to sign for Carton 2 of 6.  Without her signature, reputable catalog company will not pay third-party delivery service.

This situation does not make Worried Manager Guy happy.  He asks if one of his drivers could come by the house at 11:00 a.m. for her to sign for Carton 2 of 6.

Ally, who can’t think of a reason why not, figures that’d be ok.

At 8:50 a.m. the doorbell rings and Ally finds Truck Guy from third-party delivery service standing on her stoop, proving that when it behooves them, third-party delivery service can find her home lickety-split.

Truck Guy has packing slip [sans clipboard] + pen for Ally to use to sign piece of paper that confirms Ally did, in the end, after 18 days of messing around with reputable catalog company, and their chosen third-party delivery service, get all of her pretty wicker furniture with cushions.

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Unless, of course, someone realizes that no one signed for the ottoman and cushion, in which case, there will be a sequel to this story.

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In Which We Get New Outdoor Furniture & Ally Embraces Social Media, Part 1 of 2

{Sub-titled: Nothing Is Ever Easy, But Darn This Furniture Is Pretty}

SUNDAY, Day 1 – The Beans place an online order with a reputable catalog company for a wicker furniture set, consisting of 1 loveseat with cushions + 2 lounge chairs with cushions.  They also order an ottoman with cushion.

TUESDAY, Day 3 – The happy duo receives a phone call from reputable catalog company, and agree that Ally will be home on Friday morning to take delivery of wicker furniture with cushions because someone must sign for these items.

WEDNESDAY, Day 4 – Ottoman with cushion is dumped on stoop by front door of home in late afternoon.

No one signs for anything.

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FRIDAY, Day 6 – Ally waits at home for wicker furniture with cushions to be delivered by third-party delivery service.

Truck Man shows up on time, but is confused by all the gibberish on the cartons:

  1. factory-printed name of product different from reputable catalog company name for furniture;
  2. arbitrary hand-written markings scribbled hither and yon;  +
  3. multiple official shipping labels.

Ally is also confused by this mess.

Together, over the course of an hour, Ally and Truck Man determine that 5 of her 6 cartons of wicker furniture with cushions are here.

Truck Man talks with Guy On Dock who admits that Carton 2 of 6, which contains cushions for one lounge chair, is sitting in front of him, and that it’ll be delivered to house that afternoon.

Ally must wait to sign for it.

SATURDAY, Day 7 – Ally, who waited but did not receive Carton 2 of 6, tells husband, Zen-Den, Esq., to call reputable catalog company.  He does so and is told to expect Monday delivery of Carton 2 of 6.

MONDAY, Day 9 – Carton 2 of 6 does not arrive at house, although Ally is at home all day ready to sign for it.

TUESDAY, Day 10 – Z-D again calls reputable catalog company, and speaks with someone who says that on Wednesday Guy On Dock will call him back with a Carton 2 of 6 location update.

WEDNESDAY, Day 11 – Z-D doesn’t get a phone call, Carton 2 of 6 does not arrive at house, so Ally, tired of waiting around the house, takes matters into her own hands.  Which is to say she uses social media to get some attention from reputable catalog company.

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What will happen next?  Will Ally and Zen-Den get their last two cushions from reputable catalog company?

And if so, how will it happen?

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Shopping For Tile: A Tale Of Snobbery & Comeuppance

In and of itself what happened when I went shopping at the fancy tile store, where we bought all of our tile for this house when we had it built years ago, was no big deal.

I’m not unfamiliar with snobby sales clerks in the big city.

But this particular indifferent, snobby sales clerk, who I shall call Gumdrop, was sixty years old, if a day, and she went out of her way to ignore me.  She said “hello” when I walked into the store, then before I could reply she went back to looking at her smart phone.

I did not exist.

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I started walking around the lovely, well-organized, upscale tile store, hoping that when Gumdrop finished not helping me, she’d help me.

I dream.  What can I say?

Eventually, after I’d explored the drawers, shelves, and wall displays of tiles on my own, I went over to Gumdrop and forced her to listen to me.  I told her we were going to replace the tile around our fireplace in the family room, a room that is open into the kitchen.

Did she have some suggestions?

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Without a single word, and this is where it gets interesting, Gumdrop took me to one small display of khaki/tan ceramic tiles, and said “this.”

She didn’t ask about our color scheme, the size of the room, the scale of the fireplace.  She didn’t ask about our style preferences.

She just told me to buy what she was pointing at.

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In what I can only describe as a delightful irony of ironies, the inexpensive ho-hum tile that Gumdrop pointed to is what we have on the floor in the laundry room.


I mentioned that I was familiar with the tile she was pointing at because I walk on it every day.  Then I asked her to show me something else.

She did this while grumbling that I could easily pull out any of the tile displays from the wall.  And I agreed that I could, but I wasn’t going to.  That was her job.

So do it, Gumdrop.

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I believe it is at this point that it began to dawn on Gumdrop, who works on commission, that she might have screwed the pooch with me.  Suddenly she was inquiring about the details of our project, but I was no longer interested in dealing with her.

So, mentioning that money was no object but obviously there was nothing in this store for me, I politely left the store, discouraged that I’d bothered to drive to a fancy tile store in the middle of an industrial district on a snowy afternoon, to be snubbed.


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But ultimately the joke is on Gumdrop and the fancy tile store because my small little fireplace project was just the beginning.  Yep, we’re going to be redoing our 14′ x 12′ master bathroom sometime in the next few years and there’ll be lots of tile involved.

Oodles of it, which up until this incident I would have purchased at the fancy tile store.  But now?  Not going to happen.

Big mistake, Gumdrop.  Big mistake.

“Useful” Was The Word Of The Weekend

:: I USED TO write about the various home redecorating projects we had going on around the house.  Chez Bean was almost a character in and of itself in this blog.

But over the years, as every ding dang one of those projects dragged on, I stopped writing about them because who wants to read the ramblings of a whiner talking about first world problems?

:: HOWEVER, I’M THINKING that because this particular project seems to be going well, I’ll tell you, my gentle readers and fellow interior design aficionados, that we’re painting the walls in one of the guest bedrooms.

This is the bedroom in which we have a couple of upholstered chairs & a small little desktop computer area & a TV & some books shelves.  Years ago Zen-Den the Literal began to refer to this space as the Un-Bedroom, and the name stuck.

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:: SO WHAT COLOR are we painting the Un-Bedroom this time?

The walls are now in the process of becoming Sherwin-Williams 7050 Useful Gray, which is a color I chose after reading about it here on THE COLLECTED Interior.

It’s a neutral, calm, warm gray color that Zen-Den, the person actually painting the walls, has announced is the best. color. ever.

I like it because it’s a color that both He Who Paints The Walls and She Who Makes Important Decorating Decisions can agree on.

Making it, I believe, most useful.  😉

Sharing My World, As One Does When One Keeps A Blog

Thanks to joey of Joeyfully Stated I’ve become aware of Cee’s Photography’s Weekly Share Your World Questions.

I’ve decided to answer them this week because I like to keep things fresh and vibrant around here. No same old, same old for me.

Variety rocks.

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Q1: Have you done something you truly want to do today?

A1: Yes, I have.  I started sorting through my clothes, accessories, shoes, focusing on getting rid of things I don’t like and/or things that don’t fit properly.

I’m not a clothes horse and would enjoy having less stuff to deal with every time I need to get dressed.  Which is to say, every day.  So this is a step in the right direction for me.

Q2: What can you help the world with?

A2: I’m better than the average bear at figuring out solutions to problems involving, but not limited to: understanding family dynamics;  planning for any event;  and decorating your home in a way that reflects your personality.

Yep, that’s what I can do for the world.  Facilitate understanding about what makes people tick;  get things done in an organized way;  and support you as you make things pretty.

Q3: If life was “just a bowl of cherries”… which fruit other than a cherry would you be…?

A3:  Difficult question.  I’m torn between being a blueberry which would snuggle up smoothly against the cherries, OR a slice of kiwi which would contrast in color, shape and texture with the cherries.

Probably going with kiwi, but here’s an idea: we could kick the fruit salad up a notch by putting it in a carafe and pouring white wine sangria on top of it.  Then it wouldn’t matter what kind of fruit any of us were.

Happy fruit is the best fruit, you know.

Q4: Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

A4: Thinking about funny movies I like…


“The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.”  ~ Annie [Susan Sarandon], Bull Durham


“Laugh while you can monkey boy.”  ~ Dr. Emilio Lizardo [John Lithgow], The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension


“I just find it amusing that you came from somewhere.”  ~ Marcella [Joan Cusack], Grosse Pointe Blank

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Bonus Q: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Bonus A: Last week we finished taking unwanted household items, formerly stashed in our basement, to Habitat for Humanity.

This coming week I’ve arranged for St. Vincent de Paul to come to the house to pick up used furniture, also formerly in our basement.

Those two events combined translate into a tidier basement, and a sense of relief about getting the right things to the right place.


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