In Which Breakfast Disappoints Me & I Am Not Happy

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“A helpful Tribe Called Quest flow chart” via @MarionDowling

THE FIRST THING you need to know is that I dislike eating the end of anything.  Heel of the loaf of bread? Yuck.  Last of the peanut butter in the jar? No thanks.  Final serving of the mac and cheese in the casserole? Ugh.

[Character failing or intriguing personality quirk? You, my gentle readers, are free to decide which it is.]

So this morning, half-awake, as I prepared my breakfast, I went outside my comfort zone when I decided to voluntarily eat the end of the Orange Marmalade.  I like Orange Marmalade, and in the winter when it’s cold and dreary outside Orange Marmalade cheers my soul, which I believe is an admirable thing for a condiment to do.

[It makes me think of England where I went to college for a term.  In the spring, when it was pretty and green outside.  The opposite weather of this morning.]

# # #

SITTING DOWN TO breakfast at the kitchen counter, with my mug of coffee and my tasty toast smeared with Orange Marmalade, I bit into what I thought would be the perfect midwinter anti-gloom breakfast.

[Oh, but was I disappointed.]

It seems that in our refrigerator we also had a jar of almost used up Apricot Jam, which just happened to be sitting beside the aforementioned Orange Marmalade.  And as fate would have it, glancing casually at the orange color, I picked up the Apricot Jam, plopped the end of it onto my toast, and then took a big bite of the wrong thing.

[BLEECH! A thousand times bleech!]

And that’s how my morning started.  Reminding me that my comfort zones are there for good reasons.  To keep my safe, healthy– and HAPPY.  Which I am not, right now.

Holidays In The Suburbs: Of Discord & Delivery Trucks & Discernment

WELP, considering what a year this has been…

it’s no surprise, really, that as we approach the end of December there is discord amongst the ± 3,000 suburbanites here in Mom Trails.

Some residents are not happy with what the HOA has done. This time.

The story of this holiday discord is set in our multi-acre hilly subdivision where, from what I can tell, no one shops in stores, everyone shops online.  From mid-November through December, UPS & FedEx deliver here almost daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

“When I’m worried and cannot sleep, 

I count my blessings instead of sheep, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

TO KEEP things simple… 

UPS & FedEx have put large plain storage units in the four flat pool parking lots.  These storage units have all been discretely placed away from the street, close to the pool houses where you barely notice them as you go by.

Then multiple times throughout the day the large delivery trucks, that we usually see on our curvy streets, go to these units where the drivers drop-off copious amounts of stuff, while door-to-door delivery people drive around the subdivision in cute energy-efficient golf carts delivering the stuff to each house.

~ ~  ~ ~

“When my bankroll is getting small, 

I think of when I had none at all, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

I LOVE this idea because…

1) it keeps the large delivery trucks from blocking traffic on our streets during the day [safety];  and 2) these companies have paid the HOA for the right to put these storage units in the unused pool parking lots [cha-ching].

However, neighbors who do not know how to count their blessings are displeased to see the allegedly tacky storage units around the subdivision, and are trying to stop what the HOA has already contracted to do.

*shakes head at the stupid*

So it is with this little glimpse into my holiday suburban world, that I leave you, my gentle readers, with the following musical number that melodiously encapsulates my opinion on this latest HOA controversy.

 ~

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE

I’ll catch up with you in January. 

 ~

I Am Clumsy But With My Priorities In The Right Place

I fell on my face at Goodwill. Literally.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, I parked in front of the donation door at our local Goodwill.  I started pulling items out of the trunk of my car, and was carrying two folding chairs, one in each hand, when I tripped over a 3″ high little curb painted a jazzy shade of yellow.

And with that I face-planted myself on the cement sidewalk.

Save for a small scratch on the little finger side of my left hand & a scrape on the top of my right ankle, I didn’t hurt myself.  I went down too quickly to even tense up, plus I’m somewhat plump in my older years which helped keep me safe.

I kind of bounced more than I splatted.

I’ll admit that it was a fascinating experience to calmly realize that I was falling face down onto the sidewalk with no way to stop myself.  No one near me to catch me.

Just me on my own, falling down. Unceremoniously.

And what was going through my addled brain as this was happening?  Well, to be honest, and you wouldn’t want me to be anything but that, I was thinking: “Hmmm… well at least this will make for a good story.”

Yep, no need to worry about me, my gentle readers, I have my priorities in order.

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{ via Giphy}

 

Of Hummingbirds & Humility

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-41-34-amI was dive-bombed by a hummingbird the other morning.

I was wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, sitting outside on our deck in the sunshine, drinking coffee from a red mug.

I was lost in serious thought pondering what I might write about next on this blog, when *flutter, flutter, flutter* a small energetic little bird started diving at me.

I knew that the bird was a hummingbird;  there are lots of them in the wooded ravine behind our house.

They flit around.  You cannot miss them.

I knew that to this little bird I must look like the biggest darned flower in the land, a doozy of a good find.

I tried to sit still hoping that the little bird would tire of attacking me, but you know what?  That little bugger just kept going.  The Energizer Bunny should be so determined.

Eventually I decided to *shoo* the hummingbird away from me because I needed to sip my coffee while it was hot to get my brain going.  I had important things to think about like the topic of my next blog post.

But of course my brain, that can be a tad self-absorbed and egotistical, was blinding me to the obvious.

That is, the topic of this post was making itself known, quietly, right in front of me.  A humble little idea showing me the way, while at the same time reminding me of the basic premise of The Spectacled Bean.

A premise I explain thusly:

  • be here now;
  • make sense of what you’re seeing | feeling | experiencing;  then
  • write about it.

In other words, PAY ATTENTION.  Life is in the details, and that’s where you’ll find the best stories.

Always.

At The Home Show: Chatting With A Carpenter, Learning Too Much

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# # #

AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, I’m the sort of person who people love to talk with.  Well, talk to– more accurately.

I’m a good listener and do love a good story.  I admit that.

Since I was a teenager, strangers, in particular, have told me their stories.  I don’t ask, they just tell me.

Sometimes to their own detriment.

# # #

THUS IT CAME AS NO SURPRISE that when Zen-Den and I were at the Home Show this past weekend, Chatty Charlie the Carpenter deviated from his sales pitch to tell me a story about his nemesis, Danny Long-Greek-Last-Name, who is also a carpenter.

In a nutshell, Chatty Charlie feels that Danny Long-Greek-Last-Name has risen above his station in life. Is a snob now. Who charges too much for his work.

Which Chatty Charlie admits is excellent.

# # #

IN FACT, CHATTY CHARLIE TOLD ME that Danny Long-Greek-Last-Name is the man who finished our house years ago.  I’d forgotten the carpenter’s name, but recognized it instantly when I heard it.

Meaning that Danny Long-Greek-Last-Name crafted our beautiful fireplace mantel and surround.

Which I love.

And am looking to have a second level added onto, so that the whole fireplace/mantle/surround area reaches almost up to the apex of the cathedral ceiling.

# # #

NOW LET’S THINK ABOUT THIS conversation, shall we?

Chatty Charlie the Carpenter, who I’m meeting for the first time, in his need to be understood, has inadvertently told me who might do a better job than he could with my small carpentry project– which Chatty Charlie claims he wants to do.

And with that glimpse into how my life unfolds [and how a small business can fail], allow me to end this post with my summation of this conversation: he cut off his nose to spite his face.

Confessions Of A Bad Pansy Momma

Yikes!

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With plenty of water, a spot in the sunshine + a prayer to the gardening gods above, I’m thinking that these poor pansies might make it. Right?

~ • ~

ON WEDNESDAY AFTER PLANTING BUNCHES of pansies underneath the monkey grass beside the stone path in the backyard, I was tired of gardening.

I put the rest of the pansies, destined to be interspersed between rose bushes along the front walk, in the garage.

Then while fiddle-farting the rest of the week away, I forgot all about the pansies, until yesterday morning when I stumbled over them.

Clearly, I’m not going to win the Most Beautiful Autumn Yard Award, Amateur Suburban Gardener Division, am I?

[Well, there really never was a possibility that I’d win an award because: a) there is no such thing in this subdivision;  & b) I’m the poster child for B+ students everywhere who get close to the prize, but never get the prize.]

~ ~ • ~ ~

Bombdiggity!

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Monarch butterfly feasting on this little yellow milkweed plant that is almost thriving. Sort of. Fingers crossed.

~ • ~

WHILE MY PANSY MOMMA SKILLS might once again be in question, I’m happy to report that 3 of the 4 potted milkweed plants, purchased at a garden nursery last spring, have lived through the summer.

One plant, encouraged to stand using a bamboo pole stuck in the dirt + cotton twine, has even flowered a few times throughout the summer.  I think he’s an amicable little plant, even though he isn’t the strongest one out there, he keeps hanging on.

Literally and figuratively.

Now the question is: are these milkweed plants perennials? Or do I have to do something like save the seeds for next year?

I’m hoping that they take care of themselves, because as my pansy momma experiences have shown, I might not be the most reliable gardener.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Pretentious Much?

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~ • ~

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD yourself say something and think to yourself:

Did I really say that?  Honestly, who am I?

Zen-Den and I, with some friends, were at an art show in a park that is along a river.  We’ve been to this particular show many times together, and we each have our favorite artists who we want to checkout.  It makes for a predictable, leisurely afternoon.

~ • ~

Z-D AND I WENT into one particular artist’s tent to see what he had going on.  For Z-D this guy is the highlight of the show, so he stopped to talk with the man.  I looked around but didn’t see anything that I wanted so I went outside to stand with our friends who were waiting.

When Z-D caught up with us he hadn’t bought a thing.  He turned to me and said: “what did you think of his stuff this year?”  And then I said the most out-of-character statement that I may have ever said.  I replied:

“Oh, his work is so derivative now that it’s passé.”

~ • ~

THERE WAS A PAUSE while all of us looked at each other– and then we started laughing so hard that we had to stop looking at each other because of my absurd statement.

Accurate as it may be, I have no idea where that sentence came from.  I’m not exactly an art critic [or a critic of anything, for that matter].  All I can think is that I’ve read too many scholarly articles on Arts & Letters Daily.  Might be time for me to focus more on People magazine.

~ • ~

I’M GOING TO FILE this charming little story, ridiculous as it is, under:

Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously.  

Derivative? Passé?  Who says things like that?  Not me, usually. That’s for sure.