Voting Day 2017 And Last Year’s Election Day Sadness Lingers

An old downtown building in the process of being improved: out with what no longer serves, in with what will make it safe.

  Later this morning I’ll make my way to our current voting precinct in its current polling place. 

It’s in an old Greek Church now.  The decor in this church is gold and overstated, think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but the church members who welcome you to their church/polling place are as sweet as can be.

They stand in sharp contrast to the election board people who, it seems, would prefer to not be doing what they’re doing, as shown by the snarls on their faces.

Same grouches, every year.

  When we first moved here over 20 years ago we voted at the VFW Hall. 

Situated back a long creepy lane, to get to this polling place you followed the signs for the “Sunday Turkey Shoot” that lead to a grass parking lot.  Then you stood outside in the weather until the election board people allowed 2 voters at a time inside the building.

We’d moved here to this big city suburb from an upscale small town and were shocked that the polling place, reeking of cigarette smoke, still used paper ballots– and consistently ran short on pencils.

We learned to take a Benadryl before we went to vote and to take a pencil with us.

  Our next polling place was at a fancy golf course. 

It was easy to get to this place that had a real parking lot, lighted even.  At first it seemed ideal, however this is the polling place where Zen-Den, Esq., got mad and made a point.

He was not pleased about how the partisan people who lurk around the outside entrance into the polling place were positioning themselves;  they were too close to the building, thus breaking the law.

Inside the building he told the election board people this was wrong–and they shrugged. So Z-D called the sheriff’s office and filed a complaint. The pushy lurker people got in trouble, and the election board people have never forgotten about it.

Or Zen-Den. Or his wife. Who they consider to be has much of a troublemaker as he was.

Guilt by association, you know?

  All of which brings me to today’s foray into the American voting process.

I’ve paid no attention to any of the people who are running for office this election cycle.  In what will a first for me, an Independent voter, I’ll be voting a straight Democratic ticket.

If the GOP won’t do the right thing and depose our so-called president, a sexual predator, business fraud, Russian-backed, draft-dodging old man, then I’ll start the ball rolling by getting rid of the GOP.

Are you with me here, kids?  If last year’s presidential election confirmed one thing for me, it’s that you can do everything right and still fail;  BUT it’s important that you do that right thing anyhow.

Words to live by.

Confessions Of A Formerly Super Conscientious Woman + 3 New Projects

Once upon a time I was a super conscientious woman.

I lived and died by Checking Things Off My To Do List. My self-worth was contingent upon these checks because the results were more important to me than the process. Woe be it to anyone who got in my way: I was not always the nicest person.

Sad to say, apologizes offered.

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CURRENTLY: I want the walls in our home office to be griege, the trendy color of the moment. All I have to do is figure out which shade of griege goes best with the furniture and artwork that we already have.

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Then my goals and desires began to change.

That is, I got older and more self-aware. I evolved into a wiser + wearier woman who no longer felt obliged to Do A Lot Every Day Or Else. I still accomplish things, quite a few things– but at a slower pace, focusing on the process that I now allow to be organic rather than forced.

Mellowness is good for me.

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CURRENTLY: I want to continue upgrading our terrace using odds-n-ends of slate and limestone to create a patio with a level surface that is unique– and less pebble-y than what is there now.

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This new me is easier to be around.

Despite these unsettling difficult Trumpian times we’re living through, I’m a more relaxed version of my previous self. This iteration, Ally Bean 2.0 The Best Yet, evolved quietly during the last decade of my life when I didn’t feel well and couldn’t decide a thing without overthinking it.

However, no longer stuck am I.

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CURRENTLY: I want to organize all the inherited stuff that has accumulated around here, in our basement, for decades. Then I want this stuff sold | auctioned | donated | given away | tossed out. Enough already with the past, I say.

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I don’t know why I’m telling you this today, my gentle readers.  

All I can say is that this morning as I was planning my day I realized How Differently I Handle Any Decision Or Activity now, compared to how I used to do things when society had me convinced that my self-worth hinged on my super conscientiousness.

But you know what? It doesn’t.

Share Your World | Buzzing Along Like A Bee

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.

What goal are you working on now? Your goal can be something fun or extremely serious.  Have fun with this question.

When have I not been working on a goal? However, here’s the thing: I have plenty of goals, but rarely share them because I’ve found that the minute I say that I’m going to do something the Universe laughs in my face. *bwha-ha-ha* So, if it’s all the same to you, my gentle readers, I think I’ll not answer this question with specifics.

What is one thing you’re glad you tried but would never do again?

I will never sponge paint a wall again. I tried to do it, made a complete mess of the pattern, smudged the colors together– and ended up with an ugly muddle that needed to be painted over with a proper paint roller using one sensible color. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But really, what was I thinking?

Did you choose your profession or did it choose you?

I’ll let you know when my profession and I are formally introduced.

• Have you ever gotten lost?

Yes, I have– in just about every possible way: physical, emotional, spiritual. Often, in fact, without any idea of how to get un-lost. But I guess that I must have found my way, because here I am now writing a blog post.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to cold brew coffee. I finally determined the proper proportion of coffee grounds to water to brew time to filtering system so that we both like what I made. And considering how hot it’s been around here, having some coffee concentrate in the refrigerator has led to some delicious iced coffee in the afternoon.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to the upcoming four-day 4th of July weekend. Pretty 🌻, pretty 🇺🇸, pretty 🎆. My kind of holiday. Not much to do but sit back and enjoy.

This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

6 Small Thoughts Upon The 6th Anniversary Of This Blog

A glimpse into my personal blogging evolution…

1)  I like my writing better now than when I started The Spectacled Bean.  I’ve learned how to write in a smooth flowing chatty style that is genuine, not dry & academic.  I express myself with more attitude, more gratitude, less awkwardness, and a propensity to use goofy big words that I love.

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2)  I write more in-depth now on one event or topic or person, instead of glossing over and combining many things into one post like I used to do.  I’m more focused, definitely less ditzy.

3)  I think of my blog as a newspaper lifestyle column now in which I share my observations, experiences + research, making sense of these things, so that I can start conversations which, I hope, add a bit of love +  learning + laughter into the world.  I no longer think of this blog as a diary or a variety show or a scrapbook.

4)  My posts look prettier now thanks to the instant availability of font sizes, styles, and colors.  Plus it’s so much easier to add images and videos now.  I sometimes wonder why any of us read any blog considering how text-based and bland they all looked.

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5)  I find myself more engaged with my followers now than ever before.  Lots of  fascinating articulate people have found The Spectacled Bean, and I have found their blogs.  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, and thank you for making me part of your lives as well.

6)  I’m much mellower now about this whole blogging thing.  No more angst over what to write about, little worry about how to write it, still some concern that I’ll make a spelling or grammatical error.  But overall, I’m chill– and comfortable in my role as a suburban blogger.

Image sources: |1| |2|

Of Sloth And Grit: A Slacker Laments

Sloth is my favorite cardinal sin.

I’m a natural-born slacker, so maybe it’s unfair of me to choose sloth as my #1 deadly sin because it comes so easily to me, but it is the one I like the best.  It’s not that I dislike all the other cardinal sins, it’s just that I have a preference.

So imagine my disappointment when…

I’m reading one of my favorite websites, Smithsonian.com.  I see an article geared toward self-improvement, a subject that intrigues a lazybones such as myself.  The article is: If Grit Breeds Success, How Can I Get Grittier?

Reading this article I come upon a link to Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale.  Following the link, I find and take a 10 question quiz.  My score, baffling and disheartening as it is, you can see in the image below.

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 This number does not please me.

Grit suggests spunk, courage, resolve.  It shows perseverance and a strength of character that a sloth-y person such as myself believes she does not have.

Then to find out that I’m grittier than 80% of American adults– well… I. am. bummed.

And it is on that point that I’m going to leave this topic today, my gentle readers.  Clearly I need to re-assess all that I think I know about myself, examine in-depth my heretofore hidden strength of grittiness, and set about figuring out what is my new favorite deadly sin.

Perhaps gluttony? Maybe envy? Suggestions anyone?!

In Which I Lie, But Cannot Decide If It Matters

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A conundrum.

You know how conventional wisdom says that what you do says more about who you are than what you say?

So here’s the story.  An acquaintance who I’ve known for well over a decade says to me something like:

“You always wear eyeglasses with plastic frames, don’t you?”

This is while I’m standing in front of her wearing my rimless eyeglasses that I’ve worn forever.

Like before Sarah Palin made them popular.

Like all the time. Every day. On my face.

And I say back to her:

“Yes.”

She continues talking while I wonder which one of just revealed the most about ourselves.

That is, she is obviously clueless about what I look like if she hasn’t noticed that my eyewear has been the same in all the time I’ve known her.

But what does it say about me that I lied when I didn’t correct her?  And that I went right along with her pretend attentiveness, intended to make me think she cares about me?

I don’t have an answer to the questions raised during this less-than-delightful little social interaction, but the conversation caused me to wonder: who’s scamming who here?

A Look At Archetypes: Who Are Your Friends?

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Laverne & Shirley: Back in the day one friend was all you needed! { Source }

This is something fun to think about.

I was listening to Sorta Awesome, a podcast I enjoy.  The conversation topic of Episode 54 was how every woman needs a variety of friends in her life because each friend serves a different, but necessary, role in your life.

They were talking about archetypes, not specific names of people. This wasn’t gossip.

As the show went on I started thinking about who I need in my life. The women on the program believed they needed 10 friends, but I decided that at this point in my life I need 5 friends.

Call me a minimalist.  Or an introvert.

Below you’ll find my list of the five friends who I need to keep me grateful, connected, grounded, hopeful, and happy.

[A digression.  Yesterday in The Guardian I read an article: “Why don’t I have any friends?”

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The Biographer is the friend who knows all the nuances + details of your life, meaning that any problem you take to her needs no background story because she knows it, she knows you, and she knows what you need to do.

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The Oprah Fan is the friend who knows what’s on-trend, whether it be spiritual or sartorial, funny or frowned-upon, healthy or home-y, and she is willing to share her knowledge so you’ll be on-trend, too.

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The Loyal Opposition is the friend who, like you, pays attention to the events in the world, but often comes to a different conclusion about what’s going on and why it is happening.

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The Cheerleader is the friend who is on your side, without any need for you to explain or justify, in-depth, what you are up to;  she’s your own personal pep squad.

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The Snarkologist is the friend who makes me laugh out loud because she is unfiltered, truthful, and willing to skewer, in a most wonderful way, anything or anyone who deserves to be taken down a peg.

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How about you, my gentle readers?  Who are your friends?