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

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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?

Revisiting The Intentional Sobriety Experience

Today will be 6 weeks since I stopped drinking alcohol.  And “NO,” I didn’t join AA.  But I did decide to stop drinking for three months to see what it’s like to be a sober adult in social situations.

So far I’m finding that it’s boring.

  • First of all, there’s nothing to look forward to on the weekends.  [Oh Barkeep, I’ll have a cranberry juice, please.]
  • Plus there are no more sparks of creative thinking while inebriated.  [What to write, what to write… why can’t I think of something??!]
  • And, not to put too fine a point on this, there’s no way to politely tune-out the dull peoples when you’re sober.  [Dear lord, is that boring man still talking to me?]

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My decision to be alcohol-free came about by accident.  On Labor Day afternoon as Zen-Den and I sat outside, drinking the last alcoholic beverages in the house, it occurred to me that I was *duh* sipping the last beer.

We were out of our staples, beer + bourbon + wine.

Z-D was leaving that week for his annual Canada camping trip with his friends, then he was traveling for work most of the rest of the month.

I realized that I’d be on my own most of the time in September, and in that moment it dawned on me this would be a great time to revisit the intentional sobriety experience, something I dabbled in for a few years, a decade ago.

Back then it was difficult for me.

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At this point I’d love to tell you that I’m a better person because of my decision to not drink.  That I feel healthier and more alive.  Filled with clear thoughts and a strong connection to those people around me.

But I’m too sincere to lie like that.

Despite taking in fewer alcohol calories, I weigh the same as before.  So there’s no news of that front.

And despite being an introvert, I haven’t felt any social pressure to drink this time around, confirming that I don’t need alcohol to feel comfortable among the peoples of this world.

No, the only concrete change that I can see is financial.  That is, reduced grocery bills and smaller restaurant checks.  Nothing to sneeze at, but nothing of much spiritual significance either.

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Obviously I have 6 more weeks to go with Project Intentional Sobriety.  I don’t know how I’ll hold up under the upcoming plethora of social activities we’ve planned, but I’m thinking, based on what has unfolded so far, that I’ll do okay.

It might be that not drinking is no big deal for me.

Coming from the WASP-y family that I do, and begging their forgiveness here, I admit that the words above are about as close to an anathema as one can get.

But I said them and I mean them.

People change all the time, right?  So maybe, for at least these few months, I am a new Ally Bean.  Bored. With a bit more coin in my pocket. But happy that I’ve trusted my instincts to explore this way of living again.

For a while.

New Year’s Resolution, Mid-Year Clarification Of Said

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS…

Yes, I know that I declared 2015 to be the Year of the Recluse.

I know that I said that I’d not be doing things social.  But sometimes, even an introvert such as myself, wants to do something with a friend or two.

So I’m a failure at following through with my New Year’s Resolution.  Like you’re so good at doing in July that which you said that you’d do in January?

Hmmm?  How are you doing with your resolutions?

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To clarify, when I said that I’d be a recluse this year what I meant was that I was going to avoid reunions, anniversary/holiday dinners, birthday bashes– and having a Christmas party here at the house.

[That last one in particular.]

So when it comes to those sorts of things, I’m a recluse.  But when it comes to other activities I’m kinda out there socializing all over the place this year.

Well, I’m always kinda out there, but you know what I mean!

…AND NOW BACK TO OUR SHOW