Gadzooks! The Spectacled Bean Is 11 Years Old Today

[Image source found here]

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THE SPECTACLED BEAN, this weblog you’re reading right now, is a Capricorn born on this day in 2011.  The inaugural post is here.

While this isn’t my first weblog, this one has been the most fun and emotionally rewarding.  Below are 11 points explaining why this is so.

My purpose has been to inform or entertain, rather than to persuade.  Free spirit I am, Influencer I am not.

I follow a simple process for deciding what to write about.  The simple process, which is far from profound and academic, is to answer three questions.

The three questions are: 1) Does this matter? 2) Where is the story? 3) Why didn’t I know this?

It took me longer to write the previous point than it takes to answer the questions.

I also attribute my blogging longevity to the myriad of fabulous bloggers I’ve met along the way.

I am grateful.

You, my bloggy friends, keep me thinking new thoughts and questioning my assumptions and laughing at the absurdity of life.

This is good.

You also encourage me to write more openly + creatively and to comment more freely, which for an introvert is saying something.

Thus I try to spread the comment love whenever I have the time because leaving a comment on a blog post is a random act of kindness in a mean world.

And I am kind, dagnabbit.  Read my about page here.

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IF YOU LET ME KNOW HOW OLD YOUR BLOG IS, IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS I’LL PUT TOGETHER A BLOGROLL. I’LL START WITH THE OLDEST AND END WITH THE YOUNGEST. COULD BE FUN, YES?

[Blog must be one year old or older to qualify. Personal blogs only. Limited time offer. Offer has no cash value. Cannot be used with any other offers, promotions, or discounts. Some restrictions may apply.]   

My 1,000th Post: With Grit, Grins, & Gratitude

Image of Snoopy, originally drawn by Charles Schultz, courtesy of pngimg.com. Click HERE for a wonderful biography about Snoopy.

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It was a dark and stormy night. 

Literally.

I was sitting in our home office in front of my desktop computer, writing a blog post when there was a dramatic crack of thunder and a flash of lightning outside.

It startled me.

I jumped about 17 gazillion feet into the air and in the process my hand on the mouse moved erratically in such a way as to inadvertently hit DELETE, meaning that faster than you can say “waiter, waiter, percolator” I lost my blog post.

Then the electricity went out in the house.

For hours.

Because of course it did.

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This morning the electricity is back on, but I’ve lost my train of thought about how I was going to say what I wanted to say.

So instead of my nonexistent elegant heartfelt essay about how much blogging has meant to me, showing me a kinder way to live my life, allowing me a glimpse into the lives of other people, I’ll be straightforward and say the following with gratitude.

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THIS IS MY 1,000TH POST ON THIS BLOG.

THANKS TO ALL THE COOL KIDS WHO READ, COMMENT, AND LIKE MY POSTS. I’D NEVER HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR WITHOUT YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT.

YOU’RE THE BEST AND I LOVE YOU ALL.

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[Here is my first blog post, Hello World! I wrote it 10 years + 10 months to this very day. It makes reference to a guiding principle that I believed then and still do. Case in point, how this post came to be.]

Applying A Business Framework To This Personal Blog To Tell A Tale

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Above is the Rudolph Framework. It’s from marketing guru + author Ann Handley’s newsletter called Total Annarchy. The framework is a lighthearted take on the Christmas song and children’s book, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The Rudolph Framework “helps you understand the actual problem you and your business solve for your customers– not the one you *think* you solve.” Click HERE to be taken to her fun explanation of this framework.

While the Rudolph Framework is meant to help a business clarify its purpose, it’s applicable to personal blogs. It’s easy to conceptualize a personal blog as a business. As such the blog provides customers [that’d be you] with a product [my blog posts] that solve a problem for you.

I know that I’m getting abstract here, but I have a tale to tell and I feel the need to explain how I came by it, lest you think I’m nuts. Which I probably am, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Just go with it.

Thus using the Rudolph Framework I give you the following story created by moi by filling in the blanks, occasionally adjusting a few words so that it makes more sense. See what you think.

In fact, should you like to fly your freak flag, you could get jiggy and try applying the Rudolph Framework to your own blog, even. I’d love to see what you come up with. ‘Cuz, you know, I’m nosy curious.

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THE TALE OF THE SPECTACLED BEAN AND THE COMMUNITY IT HAS CREATED

Once upon a time, there was a delightful personal blog called The Spectacled Bean.

It had the capacity to be a catalyst for conversation based on the tales, thoughts, and tribulations of a free spirit in suburbia.

Some people doubted it because it was not all about the benjamins.

But one day, the woman who writes the blog realized she was perfectly happy doing what she was doing in the way she was doing it.

Which meant that the blog could be as varied and wonderfully idiosyncratic as the cool kids who read and comment on it.

To help them have sense of belonging online where they are understood and accepted, as long they’re polite and not spammers and not stealing my content.

And that matters because the cool kids are the heroes of this blog and what make The Spectacled Bean fun and engaging.

Thus in the process, this blog has helped coalesce a community of articulate + good-natured lurkers, readers, and cool kids who have the savvy to know a good thing when they read it.

Everyone gets a kiss. And a big ‘ole thank you.

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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?

Talking About Gratitude: Micheal Miller Has Good Manners

Micheal Miller works for the dry cleaner/laundry service that we use.  He drives the van to pick up then return Z-D’s dress shirts once they are clean and pressed with light starch.  Nice guy, very reliable.

It’s my habit at the holidays to give a monetary tip to our laundry driver guy, who this year happens to be Micheal Miller.  Thus I did that two weeks ago.

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Growing up I was the child of older conservative parents and was taught that one must always send a written thank you note to the gift giver upon receipt of a gift.  This concept of proper behavior was ingrained in me to such a degree that for a few decades I judged people harshly who didn’t send a written thank you note.

It seemed like a slap in the face to me. Disrespectful, even.

Of course over the years society has morphed away from Emily Post expectations plus I’ve grown more forgiving.  I don’t hold myself or other people to the high standards of my childhood.  In fact, I’ve come to reevaluate what matters to me when I give a gift to anyone for whatever reason.

I’ve decided that I like the giving part more than the being thanked part.  I do what I do because I think it’s important to do so, not so I will receive a written thank you note.

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Still, when I found a written thank you note pinned to an empty laundry bag hanging from the hook by the door on our front stoop, I was pleased to see it and said out loud to myself: “Micheal Miller has good manners.”

It was a sincere spontaneous remark. A blessing even.

One that put me in a happy place for the rest of the day as I mused on what seemed to me to be a random act of kindness, a throwback to a different era when a written thank you note was the done thing.

Such as this handwritten message of gratitude scribbled on a piece of paper by an almost stranger.

Who I appreciate very much.