In Honor Of My 800th Blog Post, I Give You Daisies & Zinnias

Daisies for Quality, Zinnias for Endurance. Living in harmony in an ikebana vase on our kitchen counter. I like the symbolism.

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Would you believe this is my 800th post on The Spectacled Bean?

Never would I have thought I’d stick around here as long as I have. Yet something about blogging caught my fancy.

It put a little pep in my step.

A little bounce in my pounce.

The izzle in my fo’ shizzle.

Certainly I must have something profound to say about this, right?

Some wisdom to impart…

Some life-affirming conclusions to share…

Some fricking how-to advice to foist on you…

But you know what? I don’t.

All I can think to say is that I’ve learned oodles while writing this blog and that I’m delighted by how many people read and comment on it. I may not fit into any one niche, but I do have a sense of community here.

And that’s what personal blogging is about, I do believe.

Thank you. You’re the best.

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How many posts have you published on your blog?

Do you know? Do you care?

Just curious.

My Inaugural Three Thoughts Thursday | Listening. Doing. Watching.

I’ve decided that once in a while I need to have a bona fide feature on this blog wherein I allow myself to just tell you, my gentle readers, a few thoughts.  

To share with you what I’m focusing on without fiddle-farting my morning away writing a whole long involved story about it.  

So with this groovy introduction and with the snazzy image you see above [created by me on Canva], I give you the following.  

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ONE

I think that the By The Book podcast is delightful.

It’s hosted by comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer.  These women pick a self-help book, read it, then live by it for two weeks.  Their subsequent conversations about how living by the book went for them, and sometimes how it went for their husbands, are funny, insightful + mature.  I’m enjoying this podcast, listening to one episode every few weeks.

TWO

I think that the Happyfeed app for your smart phone is useful.

I admit that initially I thought this app seemed flaky, geared more toward teenage girls than grown-ups, but I’m enjoying doing what it wants me to do each day.  That is, I’m creating a small gratitude journal by writing three good things that have happened to me on each day.  The app then shows me my days, in a list, with my good things on the list.  It’s easy.  It’s up-lifting.  What’s not to love?

THREE

I think that Santa Clarita Diet is hilarious.

I binge-watched this Netflix TV show a week ago and haven’t stopped smiling about it yet.  WARNING: it is bloody & gory.  However, once you get past the fact that Drew Barrymore’s character, Sheila, a suburban realtor, turns into a hangry accidental zombie who devours people, the humor in this show is over the top yet *somehow* spot on to reality.

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Question of the Day

What have you been thinking about lately? It’s Thursday, no better day than today to share your thoughts on any topic! Add them to the comments below– and we’ll talk.  

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As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

Revisiting The Strawberry Shortcake Controversy, Asking For Your Preferences

I READ AN ARTICLE that said one of the best approaches to writing a blog post is to write about something controversial. Readers will respond. Discussions will ensue.

Give attitude, get attention.

I believe there’s a truth to this approach.  I say that because years ago [like maybe 10-12?] I wrote a post about making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Welp, my small readership at the time went bonkers telling me how I was doing it wrong. That my preferred Strawberry Shortcake combination was not the amazeballs that I thought it was.

I got comments disagreeing with me on that post for over a year. No exaggeration.

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NOW THAT IT’S MAY, I’m thinking about making Strawberry Shortcake.  In fact I’m going to stop by a local farmers’ market today where I might find some delicious local strawberries to use in said dessert.

Thus, in an attempt to make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake ever, I have created the following three polls in which we will determine what you, my gentle readers, consider to be the perfect Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, I’m crowdsourcing this recipe.

To wit, considering your own preferences please complete the sentences that begin each poll.  Then if you, my gentle readers, care to chat about Strawberry Shortcake, or anything else, leave a comment below.

As usual, thanks in advance for your prompt attention regarding this matter.

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POLL # 1

POLL # 2

POLL # 3

Because You Asked: My 5 Basic Blogging Guidelines

When it comes to blogging, I know things.

I have, after all, written a personal blog [most years] since 2004 so I have experience + I have a couple of college degrees about words and ideas and communication and images and branding.

Yes, I know a thing or two about keeping a personal blog, while not losing your mind in the process.

But what I do not have is much of an ego, so over the years I’ve been disinclined to put together any “how to” blogs posts in which I tell everyone what to do.  

I fear being pedantic.

That would never do. 

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However, talking with an acquaintance got me thinking.

The acquaintance confided that she knew the practical aspects of writing and blogging platforms, but she was uncertain about how to envision, then maintain, a personal blog.  She wanted guidance.

From that conversation I got the idea to share my blogging guidelines in a pretty little informative image that sums up my experience on the topic. 

These are not blogging rules, if such a thing exists.  No, these are general guidelines that I’ve learned over the years, and adhered to as a way of centering myself and my thoughts when I sit down to do that bloggy thing that I love to do.

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Questions Of The Day

If someone were to ask you for guidance about how to keep a personal blog, what would you tell them?

How have you envisioned your blog? How have you maintained it?

If you were to start over, what would you do differently?

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Be The Light: Of Serious Fun & Sensible Fools

INTRODUCTION

As you probably remember I’ve joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  Today’s post will be my twelfth and last contribution to this event.

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This almost being the last Friday of March [a month when the last Friday is a Christian holiday] and with the “please post when you can” blessing of the WATWBPTB, I have a short news story to share with you, my gentle readers.

THE NEWS STORY  

Last year Dnald (Don) Levy decided that what New Orleans needed was another parade, one specifically dedicated to April 1st.

Following his muse he named this parade Krewe du Fool April Fool’s Day parade, and along with 25 other people he made the parade happen on April Fool’s Day.

This year the Krewe du Fool April Fool’s Day parade will be on this coming Sunday which also happens to be Easter Sunday.  The theme of the parade will be “Fool’s Gold” and the marchers will distribute golden eggs.

Follow the link above should you like to join in the parade or cheer them on from the curb.

MY COMMENTARY

What’s not to love here? 

New Orleans is known for its parades, so another one, dedicated specifically to a silly holiday, fits right into the vibe of the city.

And then to think that one man, for the heck of it, made this parade happen, tickles me to no end.

We’re living in serious times when seemingly insurmountable problems dominate the world news, so from my point of view anyone, or anything, that can add a bit of harmless joy to our lives is the epitome of positive.

And kids, we need more positive.

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3 True Confessions Because You, My Gentle Readers, Need To Know

One  

It’s entirely possible that I’m not going to be an Instagram star. 

Since November I’ve tried to get into my Instagram groove by posting three photos a week, usually all at once (because I forget to post them when I take them).  Also, I’m following a few people there because social media is, after all, social.

HOWEVER, easy and sweet as I think Instagram is, it isn’t calling to me.  For some reason its charms have yet to woo me.  I like it, I enjoy glancing at the photos posted there, but I’m vague about why it’s a thing– and why/how someone becomes a star.

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Two

I’m enjoying the Winter Olympics this year because they are Bob-Costas-free.

Sure, some people somewhere must have liked Bob Costas as the host of the Olympics, but I was not one of them.  To me he combined Alex Trebek’s know-it-all-ness with Tom Cruise’s smugness– and I did not like him because of it.

HOWEVER, NBC’s new Winter Olympics host, Mike Tirico, is delightful.  He reports on what is happening in a pleasant, informative way that does not make me want to yell at him.  And guess thee what?  Because of him I’m not changing the channel away from the Olympics when the host is on the screen.

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Three

I’ve increased the size of my font on my computer.

There is no surer sign of impending decrepitude than the size of the font that one uses.  Tiny font, great eyes– young.  Medium font, okay eyes– middle age.  Large font, lousy eyes– one foot in the grave.

HOWEVER, on the flip side of this depressing thought, I have to admit that seeing the words clearly on the screen has encouraged me to sit up straighter, thereby improving my posture.  And that, Alas, poor Yorick, might be enough to keep my other foot out of the grave… for a while longer.

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Gentle Readers, feel free to share your true confessions in the comment section below. How else are we going to get the party started in here?

Tell all. No matter what it is. You know I love it.