Regarding The Holiday Season: Cluttering, Muttering, & Buttering

CLUTTERING:  Here’s a true confession.  While I’m too frugal to ever overdo Christmas decorations around Chez Bean, I do, deep down, consider all of them, ours and yours, to be a sophisticated form of clutter.

I mean, we just get a room decorated in a pleasing and soothing way, then *WHAM* there I am putting red and green stuff, willy-nilly, around a beautifully color-coordinated room that is not visually enhanced by said stuff.

Is that not the very definition of clutter? Hmmm…?

~ 🎄 🎄 🎄 ~

MUTTERING:  I realize that sending holiday cards is no longer the done thing.  Most of the cards that we get are from companies we do business with.  Only a few friends and family still exchange cards with us.

I like cards, I like newsletters, and I appreciate receiving them.  But… [and this is the muttering part]… if you send a Christmas | Hanukkah | New Years card that is a photo of your family, then please include the names of the people on the card.

Kids grow.  Kids marry.  Kids have kids.  And I’ll be doggone if I can figure out who is who on these multi-generational family photo cards.  I need a cheat sheet to identify your progeny.

Please include one. For me. 

~ 🎄 🎄 🎄 ~

BUTTERING:  I’m not all that enamored of butter.  It has nothing to do with how healthy it is.  No, it’s a taste issue.  I eat it, but not often and always in small dabs.

So you can imagine how oddly difficult it is for me to become excited about Christmas cookies, that are everywhere this time of year.  Cookies that seem to me to be 98% butter– with some flour and sugar thrown in for the fun of it.

My point here is that if I don’t eat any of your homemade cookies made from Great Aunt Maude Winifred’s heirloom recipe that’s been in your family since Great Uncle Jeremiah “Pappy” Alexander decided that the family should move to the New World, I’m not dissing you or Great Aunt Maude Winifred– or Great Uncle Jeremiah “Pappy” Alexander’s decision to emigrate here.

No, I just don’t like butter. Ok?

No, No, No. Your House Did Not “Got Bought!”

I’m not a fussbudget about your word choice.  I prefer that your words be nuanced and precise, but if they aren’t most of the time I let it go.  ‘Cuz I’m a kindhearted English major, you know?

I didn’t used to be like this, but I’ve mellowed over the years because, ironically, people have disappointed me so many times that I’ve become charmingly cynical, with incredibly low expectations about what people do or how they do it.

And it’s from this jaded point of view that I’m going to tell you, my gentle readers, about a local realtor who upon selling a house, puts a sign out in front of it that says:

GOT BOUGHT!

Apparently the time-honored SOLD will not work.  Nope, this realtor goes with what I can only assume is a play on the “Got Milk?” marketing campaign, combined with a good old-fashioned rhyme.

I get that this is a clever + seemingly harmless use of the English language.

And I also admit, openly and freely, that what I’m going to write in the next paragraph contradicts one of my favorite sayings: “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

But in this particular case I’m going to declare that I. Want. To. Be. Right.  I want to see SOLD signs.  Now tell me, my gentle readers, is that asking too much?

Because All The Cool Kids Are Doing This: Opining About The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards

I didn’t watch the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards the other night.

I never watch award shows anymore because they get me all riled up.  I either disagree with who/what gets the awards, or I disagree with the lengthy opinions expressed by some recipients.

I want my favorite shows to win because I know what is best.  And I want the award recipients to say “thank you” then mosey off the stage directly.

We get it, you’re great.  Now move on.

Also, I despise the red carpet “reporters” with their judgemental chatter/stupid interviews as the stars walk the red carpet.  Didn’t your mothers teach you that if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all?

Be polite or shut up. That’s the deal in my world view of how the Primetime Emmy Awards, or any award show, should be.

~ ~ 🏆 ~ ~

However, even though I didn’t watch the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, I got opinions– and I know how to use ’em. 

First of all, the best comedy show is The Good Place with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.  It’s smart, quirky, and hilarious.  With cheerful sets and a snappy pace.  And it’s funny, in a non-mocking way.

You’ll notice it wasn’t part of the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards which just goes to show you how wrong the whole Emmy thing was.

Second of all, This is Us is a wonderful, genuine drama that kept me engaged [difficult to do] and made me, an introvert with a low opinion of people, want to know more about these people [extremely difficult to do].

The show moves seamlessly between past and present while never losing sight of the relationships that form the core of the storyline.  I like the actors. I like the writing. I like the sets. I like the costumes.

So where are the plethora of awards that it deserved?

Thirdly, The Crown is brilliant. No other word for that TV show.  I read that John Lithgow received an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill and that’s good because he was spectacular in that role.  But again, how about everyone else in the show?  Where are their awards?

[And don’t try to downplay this show as only a costume drama, because that just makes you look ignorant about how necessary it is for us to understand history– and it gripes my grits when people say that.  So don’t do it.]  

~ ~ 🏆 ~ ~

And on that note I’ll end this post with a short summation of what I’ve written here about the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.

I’ve given you, my gentle readers, a fast review of three decent, returning this season, TV shows* that you may want to watch in the upcoming months.  You may thank me in the comments below.

And I’ve vented about how stupid I think award shows are– a sentiment that many other people agree with, if Sunday’s low ratings are to be believed.

* I didn’t realize that Veep was a comedy until I read the list of the winners. I might like it and will consider watching it.  Also, Big Little Lies looks promising, but we don’t get HBO, so until these shows hit Netflix or Hulu I won’t be seeing them. 

I Believe Sheldon Was Right, The ATMs Are Starting To Rise Up

“I don’t trust banks. I believe that when the robots rise up, ATMs will lead the charge.”
~ Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

• • •

HEY! DID YOU KNOW… that an ATM can take your card away from you? A legitimate card that you’ve had for a while? A card that attaches to an account that has your money in it?

Well, it can. And one did.

Here’s what happened: I drove to our local bank branch, got into the stay-in-your-car ATM lane, got to the machine, put my bright red ATM card into the machine– and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM the machine ate my card.

Just. Like. That.

The message on the ATM screen said that my card had been confiscated for security reasons and that I needed to contact my financial institution for further assistance.

Considering that I was at my financial institution I found this message ludicrous.

Annoying.

Off-putting, even.

• • •

• • •

SO I SWORE AT… the ATM, as one does, then I drove around to the front of the bank, found a parking spot, got out of my car, wandered into the bank branch, waited in line– and finally got to a teller.

This teller, a pleasant woman, told me that the bank doesn’t want its customers to use our old bright red ATM cards, so the bank is confiscating them when you try to use one. Thereafter, I was quickly issued a new light blue ATM card that the bank wants me to use.

Uh huh.

And it worked when I used it so… *yay* I guess.

• • •

• • •

BUT HERE’S THE THING… what if I’d been on vacation when this happened?  Or at the airport stuck waiting for a flight? Or I needed the cash immediately for some reason*?

What would have happened then?

The reality is that I would have been in dire straits through no doing of my own– all because the bank, who has my money, doesn’t like the ATM card it issued to me.

So instead of just sending me a new card, the bank decided that it’d be better to risk my safety and experience my ire, than waste the money on an envelope and postage to send me a new light blue ATM card.

That gets me to my money.

All of which has me thinking that Sheldon might be onto something, ‘ya know?

• • •

* Actual real-life examples of when I needed cash now:

  1. in the hospital emergency waiting room late at night by myself, hungry, in need of cash to use in the vending machine
  2. in a foreign country too tired to use public transit back to hotel, in need of cash to use to take a taxi
  3. at a local art show, having found a beautiful piece of art, in need of cash to buy it from the person who made it

Images courtesy of Library of Congress: |1| |2|

Thus Far My August Has Not Been The Best

Here we go…

GOBSMACKED.  My car, parked legally on our street, was in an accident.  I found out about this when a neighbor, then a police officer, came to our front door to tell me that someone had rear-ended my vehicle.  Was it another car? A truck? A van or SUV? A person on a motorcycle?

No it was not.

It was a man on a bicycle who was going so fast that when he lost control he propelled himself through my back windshield, shattering it to bits.  And hurting himself so much that he had to be airlifted to a hospital across town.

[I have no further information on his condition at this time and my car is in the process of being repaired.]

DISAPPOINTED.  When Google Reader shut down a few years ago, I started using Feedly as my RSS reader.  I was thrilled with their straightforward, fresh and easy-to-use format.

In fact, as one of the early community members I told everyone I knew about this service because there was no fuss when reorganizing your feeds, no distractions when reading your chosen content.

Earlier this spring, I graciously consented to take a few in-house Feedly surveys, each of which had about a gazillion questions.  In my responses I praised what the company was doing, telling them that I appreciated how they were staying true to the idea that simplicity is best.

Well, Feedly didn’t listen to me.  And last week they changed their simple box-oriented organizational format to a cluttered mess of feeds, shown in lists overburdened with distracting data.  When I asked Feedly what the heck was going on, they told that the community wanted this.

Really? Hmmm. Not everyone.

[Therein I will leave this story, wiser to the truth in the old saying: if you aren’t paying for it, you’re the product.]

EXHAUSTED.  Our 3 to 4 week remodeling project, that started on June 5th, is now into week 10.  We’re still waiting for the rest of the decorative tile to arrive– and now we’re waiting for the second custom frame for the shower doors to arrive.

Why?  The first custom frame, measured correctly, was then created in the factory incorrectly.  This first frame, when installed in our bathroom, was too short for the doors.

So until a new frame arrives, sometime before Christmas one hopes, we have shower doors leaning against the wall in the bedroom, rather than serving, what I would believe to be, their intended purpose in the bathroom.

[This project has had more unanticipated screw-ups than even I could envision– and I’m pretty damned creative & fretful when planning anything.]

SADDENED.  It is with sorrow that I share with you, my gentle readers, that Fuzzy the Squirrel has passed away.  I’d been seeing less of him around the deck this summer, and when I did see him he was moving slowly, not even bothering to swipe a few tomatoes from my pot.

Last week while watering flower beds out back of the house, I found his almost lifeless body, under a bush near our lower level patio.  He glanced at me, then rolled his eyes upward, as he twitched his right front paw in the air.

Shortly thereafter he was gone from this world.  However, Fuzzy will be remembered forever in the pages of this blog.  May he RIP.

[All stories about Fuzzy the Squirrel are here.]

A Remodeling Update: The Mess Continues & Ms. Bean Is Almost Beyond Caring

The mess continues, but there is progress.  

√  The bathroom is close to being finished.  We’re waiting on the rest of the decorative tile that the tile guy, when he’s available, will use to make a backsplash behind the sinks.

The tile, shipped from California, is apparently coming via pony express, whose riders like to spend a few nights vacation in Las Vegas before heading east with it.

Or maybe it arrives via passenger pigeon.  At this point I’ve lost track of how it gets here, and only know that I want it here because until that decorative tile makes me happy this project won’t be over.  So I wait.

√  The family room is in process.  We had a small set-back when the painters fessed up to painting it the wrong color.  They had used the bathroom wall color in the family room.  While the colors are similar, they aren’t interchangeable… so the painters graciously made things right and re-painted the family room.   

I’ll show you a pic of the finished room, with proper color on its walls when I do my final post about this remodeling wild ride.  Sometime this month? This year? During my lifetime? Who knows?

  The laundry room is in good shape.  The washer and dryer are here, the counter and tile have been installed, and the walls have been painted the proper color. 🙄

The only difficulty with the laundry room now is that it’s on the way to the garage– that’s still a warehouse for things to come.  I look forward to parking my car where the bathtub is now, and walking from the garage into the laundry room unimpeded.  I dream big, don’t I? 

  The kitchen remains in a holding pattern.  There’s no sign of the microwave.  It’s MIA.  And conversations about replacing the old caulk that’s between the granite countertop and the tile backsplash have taken a turn for the absurd.

Seems that our grout and our caulk don’t match– and they’re [were] supposed to.  While I’m the first to say the combo looked good to me [for the last 9 years], these particular colors, that I’ve dubbed Dragon Snot and Cat Barf, are no longer available.  Hence, there’s been much discussion about what currently available caulk color to use now;  Antique Dog Tooth seems to be in the lead.  Because, why not?    

• • •

August is a slow month in the blogosphere, and I don’t feel like writing & posting my usual 2 or 3 times per week.
So for this month I’ll be here once a week sharing my flapdoodle and twaddle with those who are around to read it.  See you next week, kids. 

• • •

Apparently You Cannot Motivate Me With One Written Word

To thine own self be true…

LATE LAST WINTER I STUMBLED on an article that was about how to be more productive.  I wasn’t looking for an article on that topic, but for some reason when I saw this particular article I stopped to read what it had to say.

The gist of this article, that I did not save the link to, told me that if anyone [who reads English, I’m assuming] sees the word ACHIEVE while working at any task, then that anyone will be more productive.

So being a curious open-minded person who happened to be bored on a winter afternoon, I wrote “Achieve” on a post-it note and put the post-it note where I’d see it when I sit at my desktop computer every day.

The premise of this idea seemed a little woo-woo to me, but I thought: Why not? I’ll keep the note where it is for spring and then when summer arrives I’ll evaluate what has happened.

 + +

SUMMER IS HERE NOW SO it’s time for me to weigh in on the efficacy of this visual aid: that is, have I been inspired to new heights of productivity because I see the word ACHIEVE every day?

As much as I want to say “yes, this ezpz solution has helped me be more productive,” I’m going to be honest and tell you, my gentle readers, that I don’t think I’ve been any more or less productive since I put this post-it note in my line of sight.

I, of course, have no way of verifying my finding because I have no baseline level of productivity from which to start my study, so my conclusion is entirely subjective… rather like the idea in the article that prompted me to try this experiment.

But what I have learned about myself from this little foray into the land of inspirational signage is that for me the desire to do things has to come from within, and cannot be supplanted by one random word… no matter how clearly or often I see that word.

++

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you find yourself motivated when you see an inspirational sign with one word on it?

OR

Do you find yourself to be motivation-resistant to one word signs like I am?

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