The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

#MAYkingItWork: If You’re Not Having Fun, Then Why Are You Doing It?

Pansy, from the French word Pensie, means Thought or Remembrance.

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Having fun? 

Thinking about my personal blog…

Wondering how it fits into my life. At this point.

Not daily, but at least weekly.

Ideas expressed. Information shared. Observations noted.

Adding value is fun.

Never mocking or mean.

Photos and images to add a cheerful vibe. Pretty.

Quirkiness a given.

Lest there be no fun. 

No ruts, please. Keep it varied. Can you say eclectic?

Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it. Do it or delete it.

[The academic ‘publish or perish’ concept adapted to the personal blogosphere.]

Kindred spirits are fun.

Looking for people who are curious and thought-filled. Creative. Sincere.

Well-developed sense of humor a plus.

No one self-absorbed &/or uptight need apply.

No fun there.

Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.

Welcome. Nice to meet you.

Comment when you got ’em. I’ll do the same thing for you.

And please, for the love of all that is good, remember to have fun.  

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H/T to #MAYkingItWork hosted by Isa-Lee Wolf  and David.  Read about it here.

#MAYkingItWork is a commitment to making something come to fruition in May by finishing a writing/blogging project/post that you’ve let slide/been thinking about.

And lately, my gentle readers, I’ve been thinking about the effort I put into keeping this blog and what makes it worthwhile for me.  In a nutshell, I blog because it’s fun.

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How about you? Why do you Keep a blog? Why do you read someone else’s blog?

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In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

A Beautiful Morning That Even Sailors & Shepherds Could Enjoy

Early yesterday morning our sky was a series of spectacular shades of red.

According to the old adage I should have taken warning, but I’m not a sailor or a shepherd so I went outside and photographed the sky.

Our skies here tend to be gray or blue. It’s rare for us to see anything this unique overhead, but I liked it.

It was something free to enjoy and remember– and you can’t get better than that.

~ • ~

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What color is the sky in your world? You may answer literally or figuratively– your preference.

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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. 

• • •

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.

• • •

• • • 

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?

• • • 

My Week: First There’s No, Then There’s Yes

From the title of this post… you might infer that I’m going to talk about how to be a better sales person.

I could do that.  I worked in sales for years and know a thing or five about how to manipulate encourage buyers to say “yes” to whatever it is you’re selling.

But that’d be boring for you, my gentle readers.

And honestly as an introvert, I try to forget about those years when I dragged greeting card sales samples around with me and drove all over everywhere and made cold calls.

*shudder*

So instead of babbling about… sales strategies, today I’m going to share some photos that explain, in a silly way, the lows and highs of my week.

Sometimes I feel like nuanced thinking does not exist and I live in a suburban morality play that centers around a simple dichotomy of No or Yes.

~ ~ ~ ~

NO: Seen by the side of the trail in the park, this box suggested that I’d find a Magical Gem inside it.  It was empty.

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YES: Found in the Kroger parking lot, these pennies were just laying on the ground.  I snatched them up anticipating 23 days of good luck for me.

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NO: Growing wild in the forest primeval behind our house, this daffodil had no interest in being photographed.

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YES: Sitting pretty in our foyer, this particular nosy tulip peeked around the corner into the hallway to watch me in the kitchen.

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NO: Seen on a parked car bumper, this sticker spoke to me, explaining why lately I feel like I’m stuck in a causality loop.

~ ~ ~ ~

YES: Changing each night in the sky above, the moon has been visible lately, reminding me that things move at their own pace… so be chill.

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In Which The Beans Discuss The TV Remote Control, Unnecessary Complexity Of Said

ZEN-DEN POLITELY EXPLAINED TO ME that I needed to re-frame my irritation.  That I had to let my mind embrace a new way of thinking about some of the little daily irritations that bug the snot out of me.

“Chickiedoodle,” he said, “it’s all just dust in the wind. Insignificant.”

[Yes, he sometimes call me Chickiedoodle.  Grow up people, we’re married & cutesy nicknames happen.]

“It’s not worth worrying about these small things.  I respect your feelings about them, and you’re right– but you gotta let it go.”

There’s a reason why he’s called ZEN-Den, you know.  He can get mellow, philosophical at the interconnectedness of life, almost without trying.  Little things in daily life don’t bug him so much.

But me?  I see the faults.  I remember the faults.  And then I tend to mutter.

Which is how this conversation started.

~ • 📺 • ~

Artist’s rendering of sensible TV remote control that has only what is needed on it, written in large letters and numbers.

~ • 📺 • ~

YOU SEE, I WANTED TO watch something on cable TV, but I was once again thwarted by the unnecessary complexity of our remote control.

Hence, I was muttering to Z-D about how ridiculous it is that to turn on the television one does not use the “TV” button on the remote control.  No, one uses something called “Input” while ignoring the button that you’d think logically turns on the television.

But it doesn’t.

And if by chance you forget and hit the logical “TV” button, then everything goes wonky on the screen, and you’re left not watching television because you, a woman who dislikes gadgety things on principle, can’t remember how to turn on the darned television.

So I end up not watching cable TV, while complaining loudly about the intentionally irritating nonsensical TV remote control.

Dust in the wind?  Not buying it.

It’s a conspiracy to drive me crazy crazier.