The One About Remembering A Muse, Sharing Some Mundane Moments

INTRODUCTION TO THE MUSE PART

Today I’m going to share photos, but first I’m going to tell you why I’m sharing these particular photos. I have a reason.

A muse, if you will.

People influence you in life. It’s all about where you place your power, but you know that [or at least you should].

Getting to my point…

Many, many years ago when I was newbie blogger [mid-2000s] there was a blogger, Rayleen*, who was a professional portrait photographer. She was into poetry and musings and, of course, photos. The ones on her blog were informal & not necessarily of people.

Her vibe was mellow, her thoughts were straightforward, and her use of light when snapping pics was awe-inspiringShe had a positive influence on me and how I went about learning to blog.

On your journey to be a better blogger ultimately it’s NOT the people who tell you how to blog with their well-intentioned lists and rules, it’s the people who show you how to blog with their own style, allowing you to learn and grow from their examples.

THE MUSE PART CONTINUED

One autumn day Rayleen mentioned that she had begun to notice, and thought it was a shame, that people on social media were only sharing photos of perfection. Nothing messy was going on because it was all staged.

She was prescient on this point.

Have you seen Instagram lately? 

On that day she encouraged personal bloggers to occasionally share photos without deeper meaning or treasured memories. Instead, take photos showing imperfection, mundane moments in time that record the normal messiness of ordinary life.

Focus at least briefly on things around you that you tend to push aside, or ignore, when snapping photos for social media.

In other words, allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be real, by showing the world your own special messiness for no reason other than you can.

So today as a tribute to Rayleen and as a way of saying thanks for her guidance, I’m sharing photos of nothing much in particular. We were ships that passed in the night and because we did I’m a more authentic and open-minded blogger.

THE PHOTOS OF MUNDANE MOMENTS PART

Dirty dishes in the sink & on the kitchen counter

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Assorted stuff heaped on the hutch

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Piles of pillows on the screened-in porch

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Old-fashioned time-wasters on the end table

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Boxes of stuff destined for Goodwill in the garage

THE QUESTIONS OF THE DAY PART

Can you think of someone who came into any aspect of your life who influenced you then disappeared leaving you better off for knowing this person? 

Have you posted photos on social media that show the daily, often overlooked, messiness of your life?

Which of the above photos is your favorite? And why? 

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* I think this is the proper spelling of her name, at least that’s how I remember it. Could have been Reyleen or Raylene– or Reylene, I guess. It’s been a loooong time. I shall not fret if I got her name wrong.

Alumni Directories & The Art Of Mischievousness

Apropos of a delightfully snarky conversation with a friend…

FRIEND HAS RECEIVED AN INVITATION to her college reunion this fall. She has no interest in attending, but has the opportunity to be included in the alumni directory.

She would like that.

To do this she has to fill out an online form telling ye olde university details about who she is now. The form will not be accepted unless it is filled in completely.

Friend, like me, graduated from a liberal arts university. Hers, Methodist. Mine, Lutheran.

Friend, like me, majored in something to do with words. Hers, Romance Languages. Mine, English Literature.

Friend, like me, graduated from college and never returned to her hometown, instead choosing to make her way in the big bad world on her own.

Friend, like me, received almost no career counseling while in college. Instead she’s had many jobs, but none that suggest a specific title showing the summation of her work accomplishments*.

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As always, Calvin asks the important questions

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THE PROBLEM, AS WE SEE IT, is that Friend is unsure about how to describe herself on this ridiculous form that will ONLY be accepted if she fills in ALL the blanks.

Does she take the dutiful route and tell this university, where she received a great classical education but had no help finding work, about ONE of the things she’s done? That is, does she say she’s an Interpreter, even though she did that briefly?

OR should she be more irreverent, feeling no need to divulge anything specific about her work history to this institution that provided no career guidance. That is, does she say she’s a Woman of International Mystery?

I relate to this problem.

I know that when I’ve been forced to fill in forms like the one Friend is dealing with, I waiver between saying I’m a Writer or a Kept Woman. Both are apt, more or less, and satisfy the nosy computer system.

So what say you?

IF you were in this situation wherein you only needed to fill in the blank as a means to an end AND you felt no loyalty to the university from which you graduated…

Would your answer be sincere or flippant? 
And why?
Do you consider yourself mischievous at times?
And if so, how does that make you feel?

* If you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or an accountant [or whatever], you’ve not had to deal with this situation. But for those who have wandered through life working at various jobs, contributing to the GNP in our own ways, this can be problematic.

Pondering: If You Tell Me You’re Independent, What Does That Mean?

Something pretty to enjoy while pondering…

Shortly before the pandemic began 2 years ago this month, I was at a social function with Z-D.  It was for his work.

I was seated next to a 70-something woman, a delightfully chatty child-free extrovert, who was [and I hope still is] the wife of a man who used to work with Z-D.

Thanks to many social business events we’d endured together I knew this pleasant woman as a casual acquaintance so this was good.  From previous conversations with her I knew she was a Joiner with a capital ‘J’.

To wit, over the years she’d told me that she was in a garden club, a book club or two, a dog breed club, a bicycling group, a music guild, a Bible study group, a travel club, and she was a member of a country club.

She went on a *sisters only* cruise every year and hosted parties for her nieces who were involved in multi-level marketing schemes.  She always had a family Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  Plus at one point she had worked full-time and socialized with her workmates, seemingly every weekend.

• • •

We had a lovely time chatting, which is to say I mostly listened and she mostly talked.

As we were getting ready to leave, perhaps sensing this would be the last time we’d see each other [and it was], she leaned over to me and said in a confidential tone: “I’m independent. I need for you to know that.”

INDEPENDENT?

NEED for me TO KNOW?

SAY WHAT?

I had zero idea what she was getting at and because of the circumstances I didn’t get the opportunity to ask her any, shall we say, clarifying follow-up questions.

Over these last two years I’ve thought about that comment often and have talked with friends in real life about what it could mean.  Without context it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Here is what we’ve come up with:

  • I’m independent because I have money of my own.
  • I’m independent because I am free to choose which groups I join.
  • I’m independent because I don’t have children.
  • I’m independent because I’m retired and so is my husband.
  • I’m independent because I grew up as a second-wave feminist.
  • I’m independent because I haven’t declared myself to be aligned with a particular political party.
  • I’m independent because the church I go to is outside the mainstream, not part of an established protestant denomination.

So what say you, my gentle readers?  

Do you consider yourself to be independent? And if you do, what does that mean to you? Also, do you need people to know you’re independent?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  This can be an interesting conversation.

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This Is What Happens When You Crowdsource A Blogroll

I had no clue about what I was in for with this idea.

I haven’t had a blogroll on The Spectacled Bean in years. Last month in honor of this weblog’s 11th birthday, I decided it’d be fun and unique to put together a crowdsourced blogroll.

So in this post I asked you, my fellow bloggers, to let me know if you’d like your weblog, one year or older, to be on the blogroll. I also asked you to tell me how old your weblog is.

This was a one-time offer, never to be repeated.

Well, much to my amazement many, many bloggers jumped in and left me information about their weblogs in the comments. This was wonderful, but also overwhelming.

Over the weekend I put together the blogroll. I did my best to make sure I got all 90+ weblogs on the blogroll, starting with the oldest, ending with the newest. I doublechecked that I spelled each weblog name properly and that each link works.

[To be clear, the blogroll isn’t on this blog post, it is on a tab. Keep reading & all will be revealed.]

Thus without further ado I shall direct you to the blogroll. I’ve closed the comments here hoping that instead of chatting on this blog post you will:

  1. Go review the DELIGHTFUL BLOGROLL by clicking on the capitalized purple words you just read.
  2. Pick one new-to-you weblog and go visit.
  3. Leave a comment there IF you feel so moved.
  4. Introduce yourself by saying: “Ally Bean sent me.”

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True Confessions In A Snap: Some Photos You Dislike, Some Photos You Like

This is a photo of a blooming amaryllis that first bloomed in late December and has now re-bloomed in mid-February. Let’s give it up for this likable go-getter.

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I FIND PEOPLE FASCINATING, although I’ll admit that what people do is much less interesting than why people do what they do.

Therein is the start of many a good conversation. N’est-ce pas? 

You can tell me every stinking detail about WHAT you do in your life, but if I have no idea WHY you do what you do, I’m much less inclined to be interested in you.

To be clear I’m not here to fix people. I figure my job is to observe [what’s up] and understand [as best I can] and help [when asked] and report [in this blog] on them.

This brings me to the point of this post.

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FRIENDS HAVE TOLD ME the following three reasons WHY they dislike some photos their friends + family post on social media, but these friends will not tell their friends + family that they dislike the photos.

[And I sure as heck am not going to tell them.]

I’m not saying these are the most rational ideas, but they are enlightening and have made me smile as I listen politely, nod my head encouragingly, and murmur nondescript soothing sounds of understanding.

 Friend A dislikes photos of food.

This would be any food, either plated, for sale, or in the process of being made. Friend A feels these photos are something that could potentially make her fat because they trigger her to want to eat, which she is always trying not to do.

Friend A is thin.

She doesn’t like food photos so much that she won’t join IG where she feels too many people share photos of food, but does admit that she likes seeing people sitting around a table on which there is food.

 Friend B dislikes selfies.

She thinks they’re are an egotistical show of shallowness that distracts from any relationship. She wants to see what a person is looking at, not what the person looks like while they are looking at something.

Friend B is artistic.

Because of her firm conviction about the wrongness of selfies, she ignores them as best she can which means she’s ignoring a lot of people. This reality, she admits, gives her pause.

 Friend C dislikes photos of paths in the woods.

She says that all paths look the same, all woods surrounding a path look the same, and therefore if you’ve seen one path you’ve seen them all. Why anyone would bother to take these photos is beyond her.

Friend C is studious.

She extends this principle to photos taken of city sidewalks with buildings on either side, but seems less harsh with her criticism allowing that sometimes those photos are interesting.

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THUS HAVING SHARED THESE three character studies based on the truthful mutterings of generally kindhearted people with a need to vent, I’m reminded of Eeyore’s wise words: “We can’t all and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

This, of course, leads to me to asking you, my gentle readers, a few questions as catalysts for discussion about photos you see on social media.

Or as I like to think of the comment section here, it’s true confessions time!

When it comes to the photos your friends + family share, do you have a strongly held opinion about any one type of photo you dislike seeing?

Do your friends + family know that you dislike seeing that type of photo and WHY?

Or to put a positive spin on this conversation, do your friends + family know which photos you prefer to see and WHY?

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