My Inaugural Three Thoughts Thursday | Listening. Doing. Watching.

I’ve decided that once in a while I need to have a bona fide feature on this blog wherein I allow myself to just tell you, my gentle readers, a few thoughts.  

To share with you what I’m focusing on without fiddle-farting my morning away writing a whole long involved story about it.  

So with this groovy introduction and with the snazzy image you see above [created by me on Canva], I give you the following.  

• • •

ONE

I think that the By The Book podcast is delightful.

It’s hosted by comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer.  These women pick a self-help book, read it, then live by it for two weeks.  Their subsequent conversations about how living by the book went for them, and sometimes how it went for their husbands, are funny, insightful + mature.  I’m enjoying this podcast, listening to one episode every few weeks.

TWO

I think that the Happyfeed app for your smart phone is useful.

I admit that initially I thought this app seemed flaky, geared more toward teenage girls than grown-ups, but I’m enjoying doing what it wants me to do each day.  That is, I’m creating a small gratitude journal by writing three good things that have happened to me on each day.  The app then shows me my days, in a list, with my good things on the list.  It’s easy.  It’s up-lifting.  What’s not to love?

THREE

I think that Santa Clarita Diet is hilarious.

I binge-watched this Netflix TV show a week ago and haven’t stopped smiling about it yet.  WARNING: it is bloody & gory.  However, once you get past the fact that Drew Barrymore’s character, Sheila, a suburban realtor, turns into a hangry accidental zombie who devours people, the humor in this show is over the top yet *somehow* spot on to reality.

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Question of the Day

What have you been thinking about lately? It’s Thursday, no better day than today to share your thoughts on any topic! Add them to the comments below– and we’ll talk.  

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#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Carillon, Learning About Said

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you the following door + gate photos– and a bit of information about carillons.

I took these photos at Dogwood Park in Mariemont, OH. It is a village east of Cincinnati, OH, and is one of the nation’s first planned suburban communities. The park is charming and within it is the Mariemont Bell Tower, a carillon with 49 bells.    

Carillons are musical instruments that contain at least 23 cup-shaped tuned bells. Often, as is in the case of this particular carillon, the bells are hung in a belfry and are connected to a keyboard. When a musician hits the keyboard, using his or her fists, each bell rings, creating a pleasing loud sound.

There are only 166 traditional carillons in the United States, and many of them are on university campuses or in city parks, like this one.

Here’s what I saw in Dogwood Park on a sunny summer afternoon. The whole place looked like it belonged on a Hollywood movie set– that’s how perfectly maintained it was.

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GATED DOORWAY into Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Looking up at Mariemont Bell Tower while standing in front of it.

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DOOR to restroom within Mariemont Bell Tower.

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Side of Mariemont Bell Tower as seen through trees.

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GATE [open] to the park that surrounds Mariemont Bell Tower.

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As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

A Beautiful Morning That Even Sailors & Shepherds Could Enjoy

Early yesterday morning our sky was a series of spectacular shades of red.

According to the old adage I should have taken warning, but I’m not a sailor or a shepherd so I went outside and photographed the sky.

Our skies here tend to be gray or blue. It’s rare for us to see anything this unique overhead, but I liked it.

It was something free to enjoy and remember– and you can’t get better than that.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

What color is the sky in your world? You may answer literally or figuratively– your preference.

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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.

~~

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.

~~

~ 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?

~~

Of Black Coffee, Morning Clouds, and Self-Expression

EARLY THE OTHER MORNING about 6:00 a.m. the clouds floating over our house were so pretty that I decided to sit on the deck, drink my mug of black coffee, and photograph the clouds as they drifted overhead.

AS I WATCHED CLOUDS morph into one shape after another, I remembered a recent interview I’d heard with Carly Simon.  She was on Here’s The Thing podcast with Alec Baldwin.  [Interview here.]

WHENEVER I THINK OF Carly Simon I think of the lyrics to You’re So Vain, specifically: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, Clouds in my coffee.”  It seemed like the perfect thought for where I was sitting, what I was drinking while musing on clouds.

I HAD ENJOYED LISTENING to the podcast as Carly explained her life, her music, her memoir. Her conclusions.  My impression was that she sees her past clearly, with a wit and wisdom that made me appreciate her struggles. And her triumphs.

AS I WATCHED THE CLOUDS, reflecting on what Carly Simon had said, I began to wonder about my own abilities to understand and describe myself to others.  Would I ever be able to explain my past, either in verbal or written form, as eloquently and truthfully as she had explained hers?

NOT THAT I HAVE an overwhelming desire to tell all to everyone, but should I feel the need to do so for some reason, would I be able to do it?  Would you?