Pearls Of Wisdom From Ms. Bean’s Weekend On Her Own

Want to know why June Cleaver wore pearls? Watch this.

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Don’t let anyone tell you that my life is not exciting, that I was not a dynamo of whoop-de-do fun while my husband was away over the weekend attending a convention in warmer climes.

I mean, would a boring person spend her Saturday morning sorting through her sweaters, winter clothes, jewelry + scarves, reorganizing her part of the bedroom closet?

Hmmm…?

And then, as a reward for doing such a good job, would a dull person go to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy drawer dividers and a scarf hanger on which to put her newly organized accessories?

Me thinks not.

And lest the foregoing revelation of suburban debauchery doesn’t convince you that I’m a wild child, I’ll tell you, my gentle readers, how I spent my Saturday night.

[Try not to clutch your pearls too hard.]

I watched reruns of Frasier.

Yep, if that doesn’t confirm how exciting I am, then nothing will.

I’ll admit that at one time in my life I’d have been ashamed to let anyone know how low-key and practical I am when left to my own devices & vices on a Saturday.

But now, as a wise woman with a penchant for getting things done, for bringing order to chaos, for buying things with a coupon, I’m happy to tell you this.

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So what did y’all do over the weekend? Did you wear pearls a la June Cleaver while you did it?    

Blogging: When Nagging Doubts Take Over Your Mind

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Would you like to know a secret? Something about me, as a blogger, that I’ve never told anyone before?

Well lean in closer, my gentle readers, here goes…

I’m spending way too much time worrying about what to write here.

I mean, if I learned one thing from my blogging break it is that when I’m not blogging I wake up in the morning with a mind filled with mellow thoughts.

And I start my day with a sense of clarity and purpose that’d make Covey [and his Seven Habits] happy.

But when I’m actively doing the bloggy thing I wake up in the morning uncertain, with confused ideas about what to write here and low-level anxiety about whether or not what I published earlier in the week was a good idea.

Doubts fill me in a way that only the Devil [and his Seven Mortal Sins] could take joy in.

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So you know what I did? How I handled these nagging doubts that worry me?

I conducted a study on my bloggy self and my writing behavior wherein: 1) I tracked the time I spent blogging during October;  2) I reviewed my following/commenting process looking for a better way to do it; and 3) I evaluated my categories with an eye to revision.

Here are my findings + changes:

1) I put in about 3 hours per day on all things blogging, such as researching, writing, editing, publishing, reading other blogs, and commenting;

2) I follow a variety of bloggers and to do this more easily I’ve ditched WP Reader entirely, choosing to upgrade my Feedly account wherein I can have everyone filed away, all orderly like;  and

3) I need to have fewer categories, well-defined in my head, so that when I sit down to write I’m focused and unworried, thus I’ve re-envisioned my blog with 7 categories.

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So has my little foray into personal blogging self-awareness helped me feel more in control of what I’m doing here?

In a word, YES.  Most definitely.

And maybe the message of this blog post is that once a year I need to revisit what I’m doing on this blog and how I want to keep on doing it, so that writing my personal blog doesn’t cause me to worry.

Seems obvious as I say it here, but sometimes the obvious doesn’t come so easily to me.

No secret about that, now is there?

Trashapalooza: Living Large With Two Paper Shredders

Stop calling, we have a winner for the most boring Project ever.

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Welp, I’m back.

And living in a house that has not one, but two, electric paper shredders in it.

Try not to be jealous.

You see, last week when the ungodly hot and humid heat wave hit our region, I was in need of a project to keep me entertained + cool.  Zen-Den had the week off so he was wandering around the house, in need of something to do.

Hence it came to be that we decided to go into our unfinished, but cold, basement and start doing something we should have done years decades ago. Yes, we bravely opened the drawers in the many filing cabinets down there and sorted through the documents contained therein.

Meaning that we found: bills and checks and insurance documents and warranty information and furniture sales receipts dating back to the early ’90s and… in what was the biggest surprise to me… all of my late mother’s federal and state income tax filings going back to 1984.

[She’s been gone 22 years.  I was executrix of her estate.  I thought I’d destroyed all of her documents before we moved here in ’99, but obviously I had not.]

Anyhoo, in the process of going through all of these documents we decided to invest in a second shredder so that Zen-Den could sort through files while I shredded the paper, feeding both shredders simultaneously like a champ, to keep things moving along at a fast pace.

And to keep life interesting.

Or as interesting as it can be, under the circumstances, while sitting in a dusty basement being responsible adults, shredding our past, for hours on end.

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Question of the Day

What’s your most boring project ever? Did you put it off for decades? Were you compelled to do it because of lousy weather?

No Stories Here, Only The Remains Of My Inspiration File

It’s spring and you are on a tear to clean out your inspiration file. You have a vague idea about writing something about four cute images but you can’t get your head together to write anything.   

WHAT’S A BLOGGER TO DO?

Well, kids, may I suggest that you put together a post about the stories that you couldn’t figure out how to write, add the cute images– and call it a Tuesday. 

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One

I took this quiz and got 11 out of 12.  

NO STORY HERE… just something fun that you, too, might want to do if you’re curious about how much you remember about baseball in the TV shows you watched as a kid.

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Two

This is the color that Zen-Den painted our home office walls– and ceiling.

NO STORY HERE… other than to say that this a lovely warm gray color that when natural light reflects off the golden oak floor the walls look gray with a slight aqua cast to them.  Me likey.

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Three

I did a screen save of the emojis that I use the most.

NO STORY HERE… except that it seems like there should be a story here in which my inner-most self is revealed through my use of emojis.  But, alas and alack, my inner-most self remains a mystery.

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Four

This is a tweet in which I shared how to kill a scorpion.

NO STORY HERE… because I’ve only seen a scorpion in the zoo– and even though the zoo sells alcoholic beverages, those zoo people are fussy about visitors not murdering the zoo residents.  Go figure.

A Glimpse Into A Blogger’s Idea Generation Process, Such As It Is

I’m a writer who writes a personal blog in which I talk about a variety of topics.

Make no mistake about that.

As such, I have a drawer in my desk where I toss pieces of paper on which I’ve written thoughts + scribblings + quotes that come to me when I’m not in a place to write about these thoughts + scribblings + quotes.

I do this randomly, both the thinking and the tossing.

This drawer, you see, is my idea generation process system based on one piece of wisdom in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  He tells you to capture ideas.

Well, I’m capturing them.

In my own way.

Then a few times a year I sort through the pieces of paper with the aforementioned thoughts + scribblings + quotes on them, to see what I might write about here on these hallowed virtual pages.

 Yesterday I reacquainted myself with what I’ve carefully saved in this drawer.  

In reality, about 60% of what I saved I tossed out because I have no idea what I was thinking about when I saved the thought + scribbling + quote.

The brain, she be addled.

Another 30% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes were good blog post fodder, but I wasn’t in the mood to do what it takes [research, personal reflection, finding an image] to write a coherent blog post about the topic.

So those thoughts + scribblings + quotes went back into the drawer, safely nestled among their own kind, until I’m ready to write about them sometime in the future.

Trust me, there are advantages of being a blogger whose blog leans more toward lifestyle newspaper column than daily diary. Plus, not to put too fine of a point on it, variety fights inertia, random is what keeps this blog going.

That left me with 10% of my thoughts + scribblings + quotes that I’ll turn them into exciting world-class blog posts such as this one.

All of which [finally] brings me to my actual reason for writing this post.

In my more anxious moments I wonder if there might be a better way for me to capture and generate ideas.  A way that doesn’t rely on my current idiosyncratic, neatniks-need-not-apply idea generation process, as seen in the photo below.

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So tell me, gentle readers, how do you keep track of the ideas that you use to write your blog posts?

‘Tis possible that I could use some guidance.

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Musings On Inherited Stuff And The Right Details

My new mantra.

One that I’ve chanted as I sort through the basement. Where there is so much stuff, household stuff, just sitting there.

Stuff that I didn’t have the emotional strength and/or design perspective to deal with until now.

Stuff inherited.

Stuff saved.

Just. In. Case.

But *news flash* there is no case. There is no reason for me to keep this stuff anymore.

The details are wrong. Not my details.

Grateful that relatives loved me enough to trust me with these details.

Aware of how it came to be that I felt the need keep the wrong details for so long.

But now, slowly, I’m letting go of the stuff.

My head and my heart agree that this stuff, these details that are wrong for me, need to move on to happy homes where they’ll be the right details for someone else.

A decision that’s been a long time in the coming.

Date in fine print at bottom of newspaper advertisement that I used as packing material years ago when I first boxed up this stuff. 😣

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.