Like An Owl On The Shelf, I’m Looking At You My Fellow Bloggers

I happened to see the sun shining on this owl pitcher sitting on the hutch shelf and snapped a photo of her for the heck of it.

Never have I been happier to report that nothing interesting is going on around here.

I haven’t been anywhere in a week.  Well, I’ve gone outside for walks in the neighborhood, but I haven’t been in a store or restaurant or medical office.

No haircut. No trip to the mall. No foray to the party store next state over. No shopping at the garden nursery.

Pretty much, NO to all the activities I’d planned for the end of March.

My calendar is empty.

Instead of fretting about the nothingness of now I’ve decided to focus on blogging.

To wit, I’ll be writing here in my usual way, trying to keep my posts short, snappy, sassy, stylish, smart.  And any other positive ‘S’ word you can think of.

But writing and maintaining your own personal blog is only 60% of blogging. The other 40% is reading other people’s blog posts and commenting on them. Therein is the secret of blogging, truth be known.

And with that little bit of wisdom gleaned after messing around in the blogosphere for 16 years [anniversary this week in fact], I’ll hit publish on this post.  No need to dither here when I’ve all of you to read and comment upon.  Must share the comment love.

Yep, I’m looking at you, my fellow bloggers. Ain’t you glad?

Ms. Bean Is Delightfully Ornery Whilst Conversing About A Cocktail Recipe

It’s probably not nice to torment a friend who happens to groove on numbers, but you know what? I’m not always nice. 

+ 😈 + • 

I WAS TALKING WITH a longtime friend about a cocktail called The Pink Drink.  Years ago I found the recipe in a magazine and over time we’ve modified the recipe to please us.

It’s one of those simple three-ingredient “trio” cocktails that when made ahead and stashed in the freezer for a few hours, can be slushy or just darned cold.  The viscosity of it varies depending on how much alcohol you put it in when you make the drink.

If you want it slushy [our preference] use less alcohol. If you want it just darned cold [original recipe] use lots of alcohol.

Both are good. The choice is yours.

It is that simple.

+ • + • 

HOWEVER MY FRIEND, a numbers freak who prefers all things quantified, is one to want precise measurements for any recipe.  She snorted derisively when I told her the recipe for The Pink Drink is more conceptual than measurable.

Friend wasn’t happy with that explanation.  She wanted specific details, demanding that I tell her how I make this drink.

So I did.  But being the creative ornery wordsmith that I am, my explanation about how I make the drink sounded more like my philosophy on how to live my life than an actual recipe.  I said:

“For me it’s all about the good taste, not the buzz.”

Friend was not amused, but I was.

+ • + • 

THE PINK DRINK

  • pink grapefruit juice
  • pomegranate juice
  • orange-flavored vodka

measure the above ingredients relying on any proportions that make sense to you.

[original recipe was 30-30-30 one-third each ingredient, but we go for 60-30-10 now]

introduce ingredients inside a pitcher. encourage them to mix it up. place pitcher in freezer for a few hours, allowing them to chill together.

serve drink up in a martini glass with a twist of orange, if’n that’s something you like to do. or serve in a highball glass over ice.

[remember this is a concept, think of it as improv, not a precisely-scripted Tennessee Williams play, ‘k?]

+ • + • 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you always nice? Or do you stray into ornery on occasion?

And how does this make you feel?

+ 😈 + • 

A Lunch Date Wherein I Am Happy But Told I Should Not Be So Happy

You’re too happy.

I met an acquaintance for lunch.  She’d texted me the afternoon before we had lunch to arrange where she suddenly wanted to go to lunch.

Nowhere convenient, I’ll tell ‘ya that.

However, I happily rearranged my schedule to accommodate her whim preference, but that fact seemed to escape her notice as we sat there eating and talking.

Nope, she was on a rant about all that is wrong in the world;  and she needed me to know that in her opinion I was too happy when discussing the wrongs in the world.

My equanimity seemed to bring out the demons in her.

She was perturbed with me because I wasn’t in the depths of despair over The Donald’s latest bull sh!t move of telling people to go to work when they’re sick.

[How stupid &/or senile is that man?]  

Nor was I despondent enough over Elizabeth Warren, the competent presidential candidate who the news outlets marginalized, dropping out of the race.

[How sad is it that our country is so backward when it comes to electing leaders?]

Nor was I gnashing my teeth over the gloomy grayness that has been the subtext of our winter weather here.

[How soon will spring get here?] 

Yep, she was peeved with me, but she’s what I’d call an Eeyore, a bit on the gloomy side.  Always.  Which means, of course, that my Pooh-like demeanor rankles her.

I do like her if only because she reminds me that someone else’s opinion of you need not define you.  And that by talking with a variety of personality types you can, if you are open to it, learn a few things.

Like for instance, you can learn that the word ‘happy’ can have a negative connotation. Who knew, huh?

Who Goes There? Chatting About The Names We Use When Blogging + A Poll Question

BACK WHEN I FIRST STARTED writing a blog I read a blog [whose name I do not remember] written by a woman named Karen [I think].

She was hilarious and outrageous, posting every stinking day about her small-town life.  Her writing was wordy and it was perfect.  No grammar or spelling mistakes, ever.

I was in awe of her.

She had a huge following.  They were as outrageous as she was which made reading the comments a hoot.  I was more reserved back then, so I didn’t jump into her comment section like I would today.

• • •

IN RETROSPECT THE MOST INTERESTING thing about her comment section was that the commenters created nicknames for themselves.  This was ostensibly to distinguish one from another, when more than one person had the same first name spelled the same way.

For instance [making up examples here] there’d be “Cathy from California” who wasn’t to be confused with “Cathy who hates gerbils” who most clearly was not “Cathy the Cookie.”

It was all inside jokes and seemed harmless.  Rather fun, crazy awesome, even.

• • •

HOW THE HECK DID I get thinking about a blog from 15 years ago?

The other day I sat down to answer my comments here.  I had three comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.  Then I had two comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.

Suddenly, thinking back to the blogger from years ago, I was curious about how many people with the same first name spelled the same way leave comments here on a regular basis.

I had no idea, so I did a little behind the scenes research.

I was surprised by what I learned and I’m betting that you, my gentle readers, won’t guess which first name spelled the same way is the most popular one among my commenters, but give it a go.  Here’s the poll question.

Also, out of curiosity, have you ever seen a blogger with commenters who have created specific nicknames to use only when commenting on that blog? Is/was this a thing? Or is this something as unique as I think it was? 

Who’s Zooming Who: When Being Polite Doesn’t Work In Your Favor

What is it with people lately?

You’re with a group of people and one woman, Queen Bee, starts to talk about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem.  She wants everyone in the group to tell her what to do, that’s how distraught she claims to be.

You remain politely reserved saying nothing, thinking to yourself this isn’t a problem you crowdsource for a solution, while everyone else [oh. my. to. the. goodness. gracious.] tells Queen Bee what is wrong with her. And what she should do. And how she should do it.

Eventually all eyes fall on you so you go all Glinda the Good Witch.  You say something like you don’t need any help because you’ve always had the power within you to solve this problem.  Just put on your magic slippers, click your heels together, Dorothy Queen Bee, and you’ll find your way home solution.

Well a short time later you run into Queen Bee who tells you that she has no intention of following any of the advice from the group.  In fact she says that she only talked about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem because she was testing everyone to see who was on her side.

Oh dear.

In a nanosecond you realize that Queen Bee now considers you a supportive friend.  You find yourself wondering how it is that being polite got you into this situation?  And how in the future you’ll be politely distancing yourself from Queen Bee?

Your new deceitful [I. don’t. think. so.] friend.

Home Sweet Home: A Simple Way To Explain Where You Live, Just Cuz

•  •  •

A rambling introduction then a simple question…

A friend and I were talking about where we each live now and how unexpected it’s been for us to find ourselves where we are.  In college we could never have imagined this.

She lives in an older home built in the ’40s in an affluent part of town in a community with a vibe that suggests social status.  It’s a desirable address, near a country club and fancy hospital and an upscale local grocery that’s all the rage.

Posh is the word for it.

I live in a 20 year old home in a quirky suburb with a bit of regional history that until a few years ago was considered to be the sticks by the people who live in affluent parts of town.  It’s an address that suggests good schools and unique local restaurants and outdoor activities.

Relaxed is the word for it.

To be clear, neither of us gives a flying fig through a donut hole about where the other one lives;  we’re not hung up on only befriending people who live exactly like we do.  Call us non-judgmental, I suppose.

Friendly, even.

No, the crux of our conversation was about how she’s ended up as an adult living close to where she grew up as a child while I’ve ended up as an adult living somewhere I knew nothing about as a child.

Without belaboring the point by getting pedantic with sociological terminology and geographic nuances, this is a simple | interesting | harmless way to divide people into two categories based on their subjective responses to the following question:

Do you consider where you live now to be your childhood hometown/region OR do you consider where you live now to be somewhere new you moved to along the way?

Discuss.

Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.