Say What? Botox & The Fine Art Of Conversation

HERE’S A NEW-TO-ME PROBLEM…

I’m Botox-free, but have a micropeel at the skin care department of a doctor’s office every couple of months.  I started doing these peels about 15 years ago, on the advice of a doctor who told me they’d reduce my acne.

And they did.

Now I continue to have them because they keep my skin looking clear and healthy. Plus the peels kind of reduce wrinkles. Sort of.

I admit to being vain, to a point, so I’m not going to stop using them any time soon.

BUT HERE’S THE THING…

I’m beginning to interact with people in my real life who have availed themselves of the other services that this type of doctor’s practice provides.  That is to say lately various people who I know have wrinkle-free frozen faces that seem to be the result of using Botox.

I’m talking about people as young as their late 20s and as old as their late 60s whose faces suggest to me [or sometimes they tell me*] that Botox is part of their regular skin care routine.

To be clear here, I’m not writing this post to pass judgment on whether anyone who does this medically approved procedure is more, or less, beautiful because of it.

Do what you want, that’s cool by me.  Be pretty in your own way.

No, what I’m getting on about here is the fact that these people suddenly appear to be devoid of emotions.

AND IT’S THE DARNEDEST THING.

I’m an above average communicator with the ability to read people… if they give me something to read.  Yet I cannot, for certain, tell you if when speaking with these Botox-ed people if they understand what I’m saying, or asking.

There’s no emotion.  There’s no feedback.

And to be honest, as an introvert interacting with seemingly non-empathetic people who lack expressions, I feel more alone than usual.

And a little bit scared.

Because without some visual clue from a person about what’s going on within their mind, I’m left to parse their words to determine if what I said was, at least, heard– and then, possibly, understood.

I mean, suddenly I’m conversing with people who are most likely distracted, complicated, perhaps even not the clearest communicators to begin with– and now I have to guess what they’re feeling, too?

Groovy.  Just groovy.

* So are they confiding in me?  Or are they telling me I need Botox, but they don’t want to come out and say so?

Share Your World | Bright Green & Dark Blue

Bright Green: river birch tree leaves and catkins in the spring.

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

 When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

A pen. No doubt this is because I was taught to write with a Zaner-Bloser pen.  This pen had what you’d expect a pen to have: that is, a teacher-approved inky writing tip, guaranteed to help make your cursive writing legible.

But on the other end of the pen was a pointy pokey plastic tip that was good for jabbing annoying boys.  As a 4th grade girl might want to do.  Should she be fed up with their silliness.

In retrospect this was the first multitasking tool to which I had access– and it taught me that if you make do with what you have at hand, you can solve your own interpersonal problems.  Isn’t that right, Danny & Tony?

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

While I like the idea of being amazing I don’t want to be on stage, therefore being an amazing dancer or an amazing singer ain’t gonna happen, kids.

Now should you want to refer to me as an amazing blogger, then we’re getting somewhere.  😉

Dark Blue: full moon in the early evening perfectly clear spring sky.

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

Ok, again, I’m not one for being on stage so a debate team wouldn’t want me.  Regardless of the subject I’d freeze up while on stage trying to declare or contradict or refute– or whatever it is that one does when one is on a debate team.

All those people looking at me… *shudder*

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I’m pretty good at snarking.  Rolling my eyes.  Seeing the absurdity in the moment– and calling it out.

Also I can throw ingredients together, sans recipe, and usually make something edible.  And I merchandise/decorate spaces by second nature, fussing around with things until they are visually pleasing and inviting.

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 the fun little video below that summarizes my pre-Easter week shopping experiences.  Just like the red bear in the queue, no matter where I went I made some less than prudent decisions about which line to stand in. Gotta laugh, ‘ya know?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to a local garden nursery, only open a few months a year, that’s known for its unique plants.  I’ve a list of some small garden tomatoes | peppers | cucumbers that I’m hoping to find at the nursery, so that I can have a manageable veggie garden in pots on our deck this summer.

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

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The Iceberg Illusion: Reflections Upon The Occasion Of My Return To The Blogosphere

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{ source }

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WELL… I’m back.

August turned out to be every bit as hot and humid and hateful as I anticipated it would be.  Just a miserable excuse of a month during which I did not do much of anything except think about what I will be doing in the future.

Planning?  Or procrastinating?  You decide.

Whatevs.

Bottom line?  I’m here now with a renewed sense of purpose.

To wit, I’ve decided that blogging gives my weeks a bit of much-needed structure, provides me with a way to process the details of my life, and overall it’s fun.

Plus I’ve concluded that I’m doing something right and helpful here, considering how many people follow me and make the effort to comment.  Thank you.

So I’m going to keep on keeping a blog.

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BUT… I’ve also realized that writing a quirky personal blog, such as The Spectacled Bean, has morphed from a hobby into an unpaid part-time job that has a certain work-y-ness to it that you, my gentle readers, don’t see.

Rather like an iceberg.  Much going on below the water line to make this blog engrossing and twaddle-y, so to speak.

I’m not complaining, mind you.  Just explaining that if I disappear from the blogosphere from time-to-time, it’s not that I don’t love you all to pieces.  I do.

It’s just that I’m an introvert who occasionally doesn’t know what to say.  About anything.  Here.

Or in real life.

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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?

We’re Both Polite, But There’s Some Nuttiness Going On

I’m the first to admit that I can be slightly nutty.  So when I realized a pleasant casual acquaintance behaved in way that struck me as nutty, I started wondering: who’s the nutty one here?  Naturally I turned to a friend for her take on this.

Here’s what Acquaintance does that Friend and I think is odd.

Whenever Acquaintance sees you she starts the conversation by stating what you’re wearing.  She’ll say things like: you have on a red t-shirt… you’re carrying a brown purse… your jeans are faded.

Then she’ll just stare at you, saying nothing more.  There’s no comment, pro or con, about your clothes, your accessories.

Only her looking at you.

This makes Friend and I feel awkward, like we’ve done something wrong, but we’re not sure what it is.

I’ve taken to parroting back what Acquaintance says to me. 

That is, I’ll repeat exactly what she has said back to her in a declarative sentence: yes, I have on a red t-shirt… am carrying a brown purse… my jeans are faded.

Friend thinks my approach to Acquaintance is brilliant because it allows me to seem to be chatting.  Of course, in reality I’m feeling unnerved about how this peculiar conversation is starting.

Again.

Friend and I have our theories about why Acquaintance behaves like she does, but we are curious to know what you, gentle readers, think is going on with Acquaintance.

Is Acquaintance’s behavior normal or nutty? Do you know anyone who starts conversations like this?  Are Friend and I being overly weirded out by this?  And if so, why?  

How I Plan To Have A Happy Holiday Season This December

#1 – Decorate outside early. Decorate everywhere simply.

Slowly our neighborhood is transforming into a holiday wonderland.

Those of us who don’t do Black Friday spent last Friday, a warmish, dry day, putting out holiday decorations.  Everyone who I saw outside seemed happy, although a few people were mowing their lawns for reasons unclear to me.

But whatevs.

We never do more exterior decorating than a couple of lighted wreaths on two windows and a few nets of multi-colored lights on some bushes by the front door.

As for the inside of the house, we’ve gone with one skinny decorated Christmas tree in the TV room, a small jingle bell wreath on the hutch in the kitchen, an antique nativity scene in the dining room, a growing Amaryllis in the living room + a stack of cutesy decorative boxes in the foyer in place of fresh flowers.

EZPZ.  And it’s festive enough.

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#2 – Do not have a big holiday office party at The house.

For the first time in five years we aren’t having a holiday party on the first Friday in December.

This means that we haven’t needed to move half of our furniture into the basement or garage so that our 50+ guests have somewhere to stand.  We don’t have cases of wine and beer and other libations piled in the garage.

We aren’t running to the grocery to buy all the ingredients to make dips and create cheese plates.  And we have not ordered even one plate of sandwiches or cookies that need to be picked up after 4:00 pm the day of the party.

To say I feel carefree and giddy this week is an understatement.

Not being a hostess rocks. 

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#3 – Disengage from the holiday crazy whenever possible.

Considering I decided that 2015 would be the year of the recluse, my holiday social calendar is delightfully almost empty.

To wit, I’m doing one special event each week in December.  This way I hope to not be overwhelmed with travel and holiday attire and food + booze and Christmas-obsessed extraverted people who inexplicably enjoy this time of year.

Nope, this year I’m putting myself in the holiday mood by avoiding as much of the holiday hoopla as I can.

Paradoxical, perhaps.  But that’s my happy plan.

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AND YOU, MY GENTLE READERS, WHAT’S UP WITH YOU THIS MONTH OF FORCED FRIVOLITY DECEMBER?  TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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Hello Red Heart Emoji, Bye-Bye Mary Jane

YESTERDAY PEOPLE IN MY WORLD talked about two diverse topics: 1) Twitter icon, acceptance of new “like” paradigm and subsequent “heart” emoji;  & 2) marijuana, legalization for all uses of said within our state.

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Screenshot from my Twitter feed.

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ALL DAY WHEREVER I WENT, online or in real life, I read or heard a variety of points of view about the above two issues.  Everybody had a strong opinion, sometimes logic-based, often loudly stated, but freely given.

Thus in the spirit of being a transparent blogger, and a pleasant real life human being, I’ll tell you what I think about these two topics.  That followed me like a lost puppy everywhere I went yesterday.

I don’t really care.

I have no strong opinion about either of these issues.

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WHICH IS NOT TO SAY that I’m ignorant nor waffling under the strain of deciding what I think.  No, it’s just saying that because something happens in my world, does not mean that I have a strong opinion about it.

I have preferences, but being an introvert I often keep them to myself.  Or only share them with people close to me.  Like you, my gentle readers.

To wit, here are my preferences about yesterday’s topics: 1) I’m not thrilled to be an adult using a cutesy emoji to communicate that I like something a fellow adult has said on Twitter;  & 2) I’m not for the carte blanche legalization of marijuana sold through ten monopolies.

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Story here.

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I GET THAT PEOPLE ARE frustrated by intractable problems in this world, so they overreact to smaller issues believing they have control over them.  But yesterday, y’all outdid yourself dithering and worrying about icons and pot.

Kind of gave me a headache, if you want to know the truth of it all. 

And I have to wonder, once again, why I bothered to pay attention to the people spouting off about these issues.  Will I never learn to ignore the babble?