Unexpected Entertainment: A Tale Of Grocery Shopping, One Little Girl, & Live Music

A bit of humor just in time for your holiday grocery shopping…

Imagine you’re a little girl about 7 years old.

It’s Sunday noon after church so you have on your best clothes: dress, tights, Mary Janes.  Your hair is pulled into two pigtails, one of which is higher than the other, and there are bows on your pigtails because… PRETTY.

You and your dad are shopping in Kroger, the new one with the huge 2-story foyer that has dramatic lights and large windows– and amazing acoustics.

As you leave the store, going through the foyer to the parking lot, you’re standing on the back of the wheeled metal shopping cart, being pushed along by your dad.

You have energy.

In spades.

Thus when you and your dad set foot in the foyer on your way to the parking lot you ask him: Now?

With a sheepish look on his face, as he glances at all the other adults in the foyer, he says: Yes.

At which time you, a wiggly little human being, start singing LOUDLY with gusto and joy.  Which one of the following five  songs did you sing?

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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?    

Fashionable Or Not, Here Are My Answers To The Fashionista Questions

Over the weekend I saw that Carol had answered these questions. She got them from Melanie who got them from Rory who asked them originally. I thought this looked like fun so I did it too. Here are my answers.  

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Q1 How important is colour in your life?

It’s very important, so much so that I have a blog tag for it: Colors Of My Life.

Q2 What is your most favourite colour to wear?

Blue, all shades– but not at once.

Q3 Is there a colour that you wear that brings the best out in you and in others – in so far as compliments?

Teal or aqua.  I get compliments when I wear either of those.  They bring out the color in my blue, sometimes greenish, eyes.

Q4 Are you a person who likes to overdress for the day or are you a follower of the credo, less is more?

Less is more, my gentle readers.  Overdressing makes me feel silly and contrived.

Q5 What are five of your best items of clothing that you simply couldn’t be without? [and l don’t mean underwear/socks]

T-shirts, cotton sweaters, Birks, denim jacket, jeans.

Q6 Do you dress for the season, as in colour wise, or just throw on whatever is warm and practical?

Remember the book, Color Me Pretty by Carole Jackson?  With a hat tip to her seasonal color analysis [learn more about yours here], I dress for each season using colors I know flatter my skin tone;  I’m a summer.  Then I add a shade or two associated with whichever season it is, so that I “blend” with the world around me.

Q7 If you were going for an evening out and the dress code was ‘smart casual’ what is your ideal outfit and why?

Dark jeans, silk blouse, a spectacular necklace + simple hoop earrings, leather flats with a bit of attitude.  Why?  ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

Q8 If you were having to attend an important meeting or appointment and the dress code was smart – what would your outfit be then?

Dark pants or a pencil skirt in wool [maybe], a blazer or v-neck cardigan, white blouse or t-shirt, small necklace + stud earrings + watch, flats or pumps [depending], a stylish leather purse.

Q9 How many pairs of shoes do you own, and what is the breakdown [as in casual, smart, evening, leisure]

Flats [5], sandals [12], pumps [3], boots [5], athletic [5].  This means I have 30 pairs of shoes.  Is that a lot?  Seems like it to me.

Q10 Do you have classic clothing, or classic items in your wardrobe that you have had for years and never go out of fashion if so name three?

Of course I do!  I’m all about classics.  Three items are*: cotton cardigan sweater by Lands’ End, three-quarter-sleeve blouse by L.L.Bean, Court bag by Coach [from before they lost their mind].

Q11 Are you into plain colours, wild colours or outlandish designs or a mixture and which do you favour more?

Clear colors, simple textures, as little pattern as possible.  Nothing too match-y, match-y.  I want people to see me not some goofy overpowering pattern or unflattering trendy color.

Q12 Do you have a favourite quote with regards fashion or design – if so what is it?

Yes, it is bien dans sa peau, a French saying that means to be happy + comfortable in your own skin.  ‘Tis a goal and a mantra.  I read about it first in French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano and the idea has stayed with me.

Q13 Knee high socks, ankle socks, shin socks or no socks?

No knee socks ever.  Ankle socks sometimes in the winter when it’s cold everywhere I go.  Sans socks when possible.

Q14 Can you see the connection between colour and music and if so does it influence your dress code for the day in any way?

No, I don’t see a connection between color and music.

Q15 If you are going out somewhere special and want to listen to some music to put you in the mood whilst getting dressed up, what do you listen to? [Provide link please]

I play no music while I’m getting dressed.

Q16 How often do you buy new clothing for the season or the year?

I HATE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES, however I may buy one or two new items each season… if I have to… preferably while shopping online… so I don’t have to go near a store… with other people in it.

Q17 Remember tie-dye from the 70’s was it a thing you followed, bought into or worse, how do you feel about it now?

I have no strong opinions about tie-dye.  I’d wear it on a t-shirt or scarf, if I liked the colors in it.

Q18 What is the brightest coloured item of clothing you have in your wardrobes/drawers?

I have a bright pink [blue undertone] fleece jacket that I wear more often than you might think I would.  It goes with everything I own.

Q19 What is the most expensive item of clothing that you have in your wardrobe? How often do you actually wear it?

The most expensive item of clothing in my wardrobe is my lined wool winter coat that I wear when it’s below 30ºF outside.

PQ20 Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope, answered them all, thank you very much.

Q21 Is being ‘fashionable’ important to you, or is being comfortably attired more so?

Being stylishly attired is important to me, which means that occasionally I’m fashionable, but for the most part means I follow my own aesthetic that I’d describe as relaxed classic with a little boho chick thrown in for fun.

I have a casual vibe.  I like simple structured clothes in natural fabrics, with an occasional foray into animal print or ethnic print or lace or tiny shiny bling.

I want NO extra fabric draping all over me, NO sports team apparel, NO tacky jewelry or makeup.  Just me, pulled together without fuss, comfortable in my own skin**.

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*Hello FTC! As usual no company has paid me a cent to talk favorably about their products here. Fear not, my old friend, The Spectacled Bean remains an ad-free blog.

** In case you’re interested, three personal style blogs that I like are: GIRLS OF A CERTAIN AGEThe Vivienne Files, & une femme d’un certain âge.

A Summer State Of Mind: Seeing Clearly, Feeling Mellow

I finally got some new eyeglasses, as seen in the photo above.

I got the prescription in January, but held off getting new spectacles because I find the whole process of choosing them and paying for them and adjusting to them to be FRAUGHT WITH PERIL.

[Yes, I capitalized those words because I’m shouting them.]

However, now that I’ve had these spectacles for a few weeks, I can say IN ALL HONESTY that these are the best eyeglasses I’ve ever had.  And that’s saying something considering I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was 5 years old.

What I like about these spectacles, beyond the obvious fact that I am seeing details now, is that they are lightweight but sturdy.

This is new for me.

My last pair of eyeglasses were also rimless, but they were kind of weak and wonky.  Taking them off, say to read a magazine whilst drinking a glass of wine, WASN’T EASY TO DO.  The bows of those spectacles would bend and fight me as I removed them from my face.

Annoying little wobbly buggers, actually.

[Wordsmith Alert: please note that I just spontaneously wrote a phrase using five words that each contain double letters. Be in awe.]

However, this new pair of spectacles is cooperative, and stylish, and has a coating on the lenses so there’s less glare.  Meaning THERE’S MORE CLARITY.  And you know I like to see things clearly.

Especially when it comes to pouring myself another glass of wine.  Wouldn’t want to spill any of it, now would I?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY 

What is your summer state of mind? I’d love to know. Tell all in the comments below.

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A Conversation: Blue Is My Color, But I’m Not Blue

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Oh dear, I got myself into a confusing conversation about, of all things, my mental health.

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Which is fine.  I’m a bit cynical + anxious, but considering Cadet Bone Spurs is our so-called president, who isn’t?

Anyhoo, I was at the doc’s office having my quarterly micropeel with an aesthetician I’ve seen once before.  She had with her a new-to-this-practice aesthetician-in-training.  Both women, in their 40s, had worked in medical practices for decades.

I was wearing a cornflower blue cardigan sweater because: 1) I’ve worn shades of blue since I can remember;  & 2) as a graying blonde this particular shade of blue is flattering on me, if I do say so myself.

I walked into the procedure room and the aesthetician-in-training mentioned that I look good in blue.  To which I said: “Thank you, blue is the color of my life.”

Because it is.  If I’m not wearing blue, I’m probably wearing teal.  Another color of my life.

But not part of this story.

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Now as I’m standing there in the procedure room, there’s a pause while both women look at me, troubled, concerned– ready to help.

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They start saying, alternately: “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  “I know this time of year can be difficult when you’re dealing with depression.”  “How are you doing today?”  “You can talk to us… we understand.”

They had tears in their eyes.

Yet there I was, about as emotionally balanced as I ever am, suddenly aware of what they thought I’d said, trying to explain to them that I meant BLUE the color– not blue, a reference to depression.

But do you have any idea how difficult it is to dissuade someone that you aren’t depressed when they’ve misinterpreted what you said, thinking that you’ve felt comfortable enough with them to share your pain?

Anything I said sounded like I was in denial, trying to back-pedal about a mental health problem.  While in fact I was trying to explain to them that as a rosacea-challenged fading summer blonde, blue is a pretty color for me to wear.

Blue with green undertones. Blue with purple undertones.

Just plain blue.

Light blue. Medium blue. Dark blue.

BLUE. ME. WEAR. OFTEN.

It took some doing on my part but I think that I convinced them in a polite way that my mental health was fine, and that while I appreciated their concern, I was being literal about the color blue.

That really, I’ve not been sad or depressed my whole life.

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But honestly… talk about a weirdly awkward situation to be in.  One that only I could get myself into, I suspect.

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Here Are My 3 “Sorry / Not Sorry” Opinions 

INTRODUCTION

One of my favorite podcasts is Sorta Awesome.

It’s a weekly talk show in which at least two of the four co-hosts, who live in different parts of the USA, talk politely + intelligently about awesome things that they like.  Things like: books, TV, family, relationships, travel, health, beauty, self-awareness, personalities, social media, blogs.

The episode that hooked me in this time was Episode #110 in which all four women shared their 3 “sorry / not sorry” [potentially unpopular] opinions.  This was a conversation [with a digression into raw chicken that was priceless] that at times had me laughing so hard I feared that I’d pee my pants.

But I didn’t. 

Grateful for what didn’t happen, and upon reflection, I decided that this Sorta Awesome “sorry / not sorry” topic would make for an interesting blog post.  So without further ado, I give you the following…

MY 3 “SORRY / NOT SORRY” OPINIONS

#1

I question the smarts of people who place flags in such a way as to have the flag pointing back toward the house, instead of having the flag point forward.  It’s all about history and common sense, kids.

Flags are the colors + symbol that you follow as you’re going into battle: they show you the way.  Therefore, you don’t point the flag back at yourself, because you might impale yourself on it as you move forward.  That would make no sense.

So for the love of all that is good, fly the flag properly. Please.

#2

I do not believe that curly/frizzy hair is a sign of improper grooming.  Here’s a news flash: God gave some people curly/frizzy hair and it’s okay to let it be curly/frizzy.

Not everyone has stick straight hair [natural or forced] like the Kardashians or Melania Trump.  No, some people, like me, have curly/frizzy hair that we keep clean, professionally cut– and wear in a style that is *gasp* natural.

Yep, that’s the truth. Deal with it.

#3

I refuse to pretend that mochi balls are a tasty treat.  I don’t care how deliciously on trend you think they are, how calorically perfect you think they are, how cleverly Japanese you think they are… I don’t like ’em.

They taste awful to me and have a miserable texture.  But that is, of course, because I don’t like to eat blobs of fruity-tea-flavored melting ice cream wrapped in color-coordinated Play-Doh.

In a word, I’d describe mochi balls as: bleech.

CONCLUSION

You may or may not agree with what I’ve written above.  It matters not to me, which is the whole point of this exercise in honesty.

I figure that by sharing, what I’d describe as rather benign, opinions on a variety of topics, I’ve opened up the blog comments to all of you, my gentle readers, to do the same.

Blogger see. Blogger do.

So… tell me a few of your “sorry / not sorry” opinions.  I’d love to know.

In Which Ms. Bean Drives In Circles & Contemplates A Personal Slogan

About 100 years ago this car would have been my preferred set of wheels, especially if it came standard with a dog. Obviously. { photo via Library of Congress }

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OF LATE I’VE HAD MORE OPPORTUNITIES THAN USUAL TO drive to and from the airport.  Considering where we live in Ohio, our closest international airport is in Kentucky, meaning that I have to drive on an interstate highway to cross over the Ohio River to get there.

It’s all about geography.

I can do this by EITHER driving on the outer belt through Ohio, across a bridge into Kentucky.

OR, if there is an accident in my way or construction delays, I can drive in the other direction on the outer belt through Ohio, then through Indiana, across a bridge into Kentucky.

The excitement?  It never ends.

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IT IS WHILE SASHAYING AROUND THE AFOREMENTIONED INTERSTATE OUTER BELT SYSTEM THAT I’ve come to notice, on huge bridge signs, that Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana have new-to-me state slogans*.

  • Ohio, formerly “THE HEART OF IT ALL” is now “SO MUCH TO DISCOVER”
  • Kentucky, formerly “WHERE EDUCATION PAYS” is now “UNBRIDLED SPIRIT”
  • Indiana, formerly “CROSSROADS OF AMERICA” is now “HONEST-TO-GOODNESS INDIANA”

Seeing these state slogans, writ large [literally and figuratively], got me thinking about branding, albeit in a narcissistic way.  That is, what might I use as my personal slogan?

If I had to have one.  Which to my knowledge I do not.  Yet.

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THUS WANTING TO BE PREPARED FOR ANY CONTINGENCY and bored out of my gourd while driving, I compiled the following list** of potential Ally Bean slogans.

Should you be of a mind to help me decide what my personal slogan should be, please indulge me and do the following two things:

  1. Indicate your preferred slogan for moi, by answering the simple poll question below.
  2. If you have a personal slogan, I’d love to know what it is.  Yours might be better than mine and it’s not too late for me to steal it from you I could be inspired by it.

Thank you in advance for your immediate input on this totally irrelevant, but blogworthy, issue that has come to plague me as I drive hither and yon around the interstate outer belt system.

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* I’ve no idea how often these slogans change. All I know is what my addled brain remembers, a faulty system at best– and these state slogans seem different from what I remember them being before.

** Oddly enough, most of these potential slogans are ones that I’ve used in various places online over the years. Or, ideas I wrote down intending to use as topics for blog posts.