When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

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I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

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II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

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III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Aging Gracefully: A Query, A Quandary, A Questionable Answer

“Explain the phenomenon of aging gracefully.”

  • You just never know, do you?

Looking at recent search queries that brought readers to this blog, the one written above caught my eye.  It amazed me.

Usually people find The Spectacled Bean when they’re looking for answers to garden problems [deer eating pansies], self-awareness [Quaker questions], or vanity [V-beam procedure].

I know it’s odd, but it’s true;  those are the three most popular posts on this blog.  Not exactly what I’d consider to be my focus or my best-written stuff, but Google’s algorithm does what Google’s algorithm does.

All Hail Google!

  • My first thought upon seeing this query was to feel a little insulted.  

Aging? Moi?! Pish posh, I say!

But then I remembered that one of my blog tags is Aging Gracefully so I had to lighten up on being insulted, and I shifted my thinking to “isn’t this wonderful?”

I was being asked to impart the wisdom of my many years so that others could learn from my depth of experience, keen observations about human nature, and buoyant spirit. 

So I sat down at my computer ready to compose a post in which I’d answer that query in such a way as to goose Google’s algorithm.  I’d write something so profound and pithy that anyone who asked a similar query, for years to come, would be directed here.

The dream, so close.

  • But here’s the thing, and it’s significant, I have no real answer to this query.

I mean, I dunno.  Maybe the answer is to never stop exercising?  Or maybe it’s to commit to being a lifelong learner?  Or to attempt to let go of any person, idea, or thing that no longer serves you?

None of these? Some of these? All of these?

Or maybe, just maybe, the real essence of the phenomenon of aging gracefully can be summarized in one crotchety remark: “DON’T BOTHER YOUR ELDERS WITH SILLY QUESTIONS!”

You got that, you nosy little whippersnapper?

New Windows & Doors In The Time Of Political Angst

Photo of old leaky window with bad attitude leaning against garage on the way out of my life. Buh bye.

Why not add some more stress to election week, I said to myself.

Then, looking up from my date book, I said “yes” to the sales representative sitting across our kitchen table from me.

Therein I agreed to be here at the house this week so that we could have new windows and doors installed.

Windows on second floor, doors on first floor.

Naturally when I told Zen-Den, Esq, about when all this was going to happen, he mentioned that he’d be out of town on work this week.

On the other side of the country.  In southern California.

Photo in which I cannot get the lighting right, but I promise it shows a new window. Gaze through the window upon the forest instead; it’s pretty out there.


This, however, did not stop me, intrepid homeowner and [nasty] woman with a purpose.

Nope, I went forward with the project, knowing as I do that winter is [global warming notwithstanding] around the corner.

And that I want leakless windows and airtight doors put on this house before it gets cold outside.

Thus I’ve been here this week, all by my ownsome, counterbalancing loud screechy construction noises [similar to those created by the cat in the video below] with political angst + existential outrage courtesy of the results of this presidential election.

Ain’t life a pip?

Reflections On That Which Baffles Some Ohioans

save-the-matchesAll I can think to say is one of my favorite sayings: SPIT FIRE AND SAVE THE MATCHES.

This is an exclamation of surprise that means: Well, I’ll be darned! What do you know? Huh.

I’ve also heard this saying in a slightly more vulgar form wherein the “p” in spit is changed to an “h” thereby creating a different word that imparts a similar meaning.  This ruder saying then sometimes becomes a phrase in a NSFW longer saying.

But this is a polite blog so we’re going with the sweet shorter version of the saying.  Plus I like mine better.  It’s cuter, rather dragonesque in its imagery.

• • •

I only share this saying with you, my gentle readers, because it has come to my attention that some of my fellow Ohioans have asked one particular question of ye olde Google.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-52-35-pm It is a question that I find to be an odd one, but then my fellow Ohioans often baffle me.

I’ve lived in this state most of my life, been educated here, but cannot explain how some of us are, shall we say, enlightened, while others are in the dark.

Dim.  Lacking any spark whatsoever.

• • •

This, I believe, explains how it is that the most popular question on Google that comes from the Buckeye state is: HOW TO MAKE FIRE?

I kid you not, as the following image shows.

It’s a question that suggests overall we Ohioans aren’t the brightest bunch of people, looking as we are for the answer to a question that researchers suggest our ancestors in the second part of the Middle Pleistocene knew the answer to.

But in Ohio today, not so much.  😉

{ Find out more about your state’s questions HERE. }

Not Everything Lasts Forever: Chatting About Luggage

Zen-Den travels for work, flying all over the place, using luggage that he’s had for over a decade.

Said luggage, an example of which you see in the photo below, is now held together, much to my amazement, with some lovely medium green patterned duct tape that coordinates with the darker green luggage fabric.

I’ll give it to him, the boy has style.  He did this himself.

Lovely, huh?


I’ve mentioned to him, as has his assistant, that it’s time to get some new luggage, with snazzy little twirly wheels and lots of outside pockets, but he’ll have nothing to do with that crazy idea.

He prefers, instead, to ignore the fact that time has marched on.

I can’t figure if this is an example of him being practical.  Or of him being ornery.  It could be either.

Or both, I suppose.


I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but last week 3,000 bags were stranded in the Phoenix Airport after there was a TSA computer glitch.  [Story here.]

Now as fate would have it Zen-Den was in Phoenix, where the piece of luggage featured in the above photos was going through the system.  But did the TSA and/or United Airlines manage to lose his ratty old bag?


Zen-Den’s bag made it through the system without a problem.

Which only adds credence to his stubborn belief that there’s nothing wrong with his dilapidated, scuffed-up luggage– that according to him, clearly has good travel karma.

As evidenced by the fact that his bag, when the opportunity presented itself, didn’t get lost in the system.


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}

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 7.07.38 AM

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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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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 7.10.05 AM

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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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