A Spring + Summer Fling: The One About Simplifying My Blog Posting Schedule

BUT FIRST I AM ELSEWHERE…

On Saturday Yvette at priorhouse blog posted an in-depth interview with me for her ongoing monthly series.  I was thrilled to be asked to participate.  Go HERE to read the interview.

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Image via @positivelytherapy on IG

If you’ve been around The Spectacled Bean for a while you may remember that last year about this time I decided to change how often I’d post to this blog.

At the time I had nothing written ahead and I was staring at a blank screen.  [History is repeating itself today, btw.]  It seemed like an opportunity to ditch my weekly posting schedule and try something new.

Because why not?

Thus I decided to change my modus operandi and post once every two weeks, usually on Tuesday, during spring and summer.  To become a fortnightly blog— and isn’t that a grandiose way to describe something so simple!

To my amazement this relaxed schedule was an excellent idea during the warmer days of the year.  Muse was onto something good.  All my happiness chemicals kicked in to make me, well– happy.

I wrote my usual posts, just less frequently;  I continued to share the comment love elsewhere;  and then I goofed off.  I was productive enough, connected as usual, but more carefree than during the colder months when I’m stuck inside.

So I’m going to do the same thing this year.  If something works, stick with it.

Right?

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment here because y’all make blogging fun.  I wouldn’t have lasted this long in blogland if it weren’t for all my gentle readers + kind lurkers + wordy commenters.  You’re the best of all the rest.

Thank you.

And with that sincere compliment I shall go forth, doing less while pursuing my Word of the Year: ENJOY!

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AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

About being the weird one in the neighborhood:

“If I’m being totally honest I am pretty sure that I would fit the description of the wackiest neighbor. I say that because I’m the one that my neighbors laugh and wave at while I’m running down the road chasing my donkey, or taking a walk and have my son, three cats (of the 6) cats strolling behind me, my two dogs wiggling around my legs, and possibly a stray duck, chicken, or even a goose following as well.”

~ LaShelle

“There was a time, long ago, when I kept rotten uncooked eggs and threw them from my balcony onto the car when the driver hooted … if there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s hooting. He was a hooter of note.”

~ Susan

“When I got to the door, my neighbor, a very kind woman said ‘I don’t know if you’re okay with this, but your kids are playing on the roof.’ My kids were 5 and 3. They had popped the screen out of a bedroom window and as I could hear them just fine, I thought they were in the room. But nope. They had climbed onto the front porch roof, used that to climb onto the garage roof, and then onto the roof of our second story home. When I got them back in the house and asked them what they were doing I was told they were playing flood.”

~ Katie

A Neighborhood Update: I’m Not Nosy, They Are Noisy

NOW that we’re beginning to have a few warmer spring days, I’ve been opening the windows in some rooms.  The sounds of nature drift into the house.  Often it’s birds.  In fact we have a loud hoot owl that does his thing late evening, early morning.

Totally expected.

AND we’re hearing our young neighbors again.  Kids playing on a jungle gym, for instance.  Kids bouncing basketballs.  Kids riding bikes up and down the street while talking or singing.

Again totally expected.

PLUS there are two new February babies on either side of our house.  A boy on one side, a girl on the other, both with well-developed lungs and a tendency to be unhappy in the afternoon. I know this to be a fact– and I’m sure their parents know this as well.

So there’s that.

BUT the biggest news vis-à-vis noise around here is that Crazy Bird Lady, a fifty-something woman who lives across the forested ravine from us, is no longer standing on her deck yelling “f*ck you” at the birds.  And she’s stopped hitting a metal soup pot with a metal spoon while cursing at them.

I don’t want to sound judgy but I believe this might be a good thing.

Instead of the loud cursing she has taken to dancing what I’d describe as the Flamenco on her deck.  This involves her stamping her feet in a rhythmic way while clapping her hands over her head.  She swirls around, kind of hums a tune, then yells ¡Olé! every so often.

I’m mesmerized by this woman’s eccentric behavior, I admit it.  Which brings me to what I want to ask you, my little cherry blossoms:

Who’s the wackiest person in your neighborhood?

Now that spring [Northern Hemisphere] or fall [Southern Hemisphere] is here what’s going on outside your windows?

Any fun plans for the weekend?

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On The Nose: Contemplating My Goals & Word Of The Year For 2022

Tigger under the Christmas tree. He has nothing specifically to do with this post but cute pink nose, eh?

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Bill at A Silly Place wrote a post, a challenge really, that got me thinking about what I’ll be doing next year. Thank you, Bill. You can read his post here and join his challenge if you so choose.

Consider yourself tagged.

Bill’s challenge is to forget about traditional formal New Year Resolutions, which I’ll admit have always seemed a bit overblown and idealistic to me.

Instead you commit to a few specific Goals that you monitor as the year goes along. It’s not as highbrow as declaring New Year Resolutions, but probably more doable because more pragmatic.

At least in my estimation.

While I usually shy away from anything that involves numbers, preferring to go with the wordy flow rather than mess with any dodgy numbers, I’m going to try this challenge because I am open-minded & curious.

My modest Goals are:

  • go for a walk five days a week;
  • cook four vegetarian meals each month;
  • donate three boxes of unwanted stuff to charity each month;
  • go on two vacations somewhere that is not here; and
  • read one book that is currently on our bookshelves each month.

But wait there’s more.  

In keeping with my longstanding habit of deciding on a Word of the Year, while I pursue these numerically-based Goals I’ll implement my 2022 Word of the Year. It is how I shall do these things.

My word is ENJOY.

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Do you make New Year Resolutions?

Do you think that setting Goals, as opposed to making New Year Resolutions, is an intriguing way to state your intentions?

Do you pick a Word of the Year?

Keeping my 2022 Word of the Year in mind, what do you think of the *Christmas* music video below?

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This will be my last post of 2021. Happy Holidays everyone. See you next year.

Of Genealogy & Graveyards: Talking About The First Person I *Met* Online

Every fall I think of this story. It happened 20+ years ago, and while it seems quaint and only slightly spooky now, I’ll admit that in the moment it gave me pause. 

LONG BEFORE THERE WERE BLOGS, the first person I *met* online was Darlie Ann.

I was doing genealogical research in the time before Ancestry.com.  Back then to find someone with knowledge about your ancestors you needed to leave inquiries on message boards that were on cemetery websites or historical society websites or county genealogical websites.

It was hit or miss.

On one of those boards I left an inquiry about my great uncle, trying to see if anyone knew anything about his early days as a lawyer in a small Ohio town that is north of where I lived then.

Darlie Ann, who lived in Texas, saw my inquiry and contacted me via email to say that her father had been my great uncle’s law partner– and that she had a few sheets of stationery from their law practice.

We communicated back and forth via email, and she offered to send me a sheet of the stationery to add to my file.  I reciprocated by sending her a copy of a group family reunion photo that showed my uncle as an older man.

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DARLIE ANN AND I STAYED IN TOUCH FOR YEARS, like penpals, writing about our lives, exchanging Christmas cards, updating each other about any genealogical research we did.

In fact, in one email Darlie Ann mentioned that recently she’d been to Ohio visiting our small town and had gone to the cemetery where my parents are buried.  She’d taken the opportunity to find their graves, snapped 2 photos of their tombstones, and sent them to me.

So that I’d have the photos for my records.

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CHRISTMAS ROLLED AROUND THAT YEAR, but I didn’t get a card from Darlie Ann.  It seemed odd, but she was older, born around the time my mother was, so perhaps she forgot me?

In the following months I emailed her a few times but got no reply.  I wasn’t entirely surprised because I knew she was selling her house and moving into an apartment.  I figured she was busy.

Welp, one beautiful fall day I opened my desk drawer and saw Darlie Ann’s photos of my parents’ tombstones.  I hadn’t been to the cemetery in years, and it kind of tugged at me that I should go visit.  So I decided that the next day I’d take a mental health day and drive 3 hours each way to go visit them.

And I did.

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I GOT TO THE CEMETERY and parked my car by the oak tree that I use as a guidepost for getting to my parents’ graves in this older part of the cemetery.  But when I walked across the grass to where I thought they were buried I realized I’d parked about an acre north of where they were.

Wrong oak tree.

So I started to walk south casually glancing at the tombstones as I went.  Almost immediately I found myself looking at a new grave with a shiny new tombstone.

This was unusual in this older part of the cemetery.  These lots had been owned, and filled, by families from generations back.  But what was most fascinating about this discovery, and slightly unnerving, was the name I saw on the new tombstone.

Whose grave was I visiting on this glorious autumn day?  It was Darlie Ann, my first internet friend, who’d died a few weeks before and had come back home to be buried in this cemetery in the small town of her birth.

Now how trippy is that?

A Photo Story: The Tale We Have Here Is Something Quite Dear

After writing in my previous post about the ridiculous absurd time-wasting hassle of buying bags of stones, I thought I’d take a few photos of our backyard showing you, my gentle readers and curious lurkers, where the aforementioned hard-won stone is. I took the photos while standing on the deck above the yard and they show the stones + something unexpected.

This photo shows how the stones edge the planting bed creating a clear dividing line between mulch and grass. Not too exciting perhaps, but there is more, and unless you’re a Hard-hearted Hannah [the vamp of Savanah], you’re going to like it.

This photo gives you a better idea of the length and width of the stone edge dividing line. It also shows you something unexpected. Look closely in the middle of the photo, kids.

Do you see who’s lounging under a bush?

Yes, it’s a sweet little fawn whose mother has left it there, knowing it’d be safe and hidden from view from most predators. I could only see it because I was above on the deck looking down onto it [and Zen-Den pointed it out to me]. Now isn’t that dear?

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. May something dear, or deer, happen to you today!

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