Alumni Directories & The Art Of Mischievousness

Apropos of a delightfully snarky conversation with a friend…

FRIEND HAS RECEIVED AN INVITATION to her college reunion this fall. She has no interest in attending, but has the opportunity to be included in the alumni directory.

She would like that.

To do this she has to fill out an online form telling ye olde university details about who she is now. The form will not be accepted unless it is filled in completely.

Friend, like me, graduated from a liberal arts university. Hers, Methodist. Mine, Lutheran.

Friend, like me, majored in something to do with words. Hers, Romance Languages. Mine, English Literature.

Friend, like me, graduated from college and never returned to her hometown, instead choosing to make her way in the big bad world on her own.

Friend, like me, received almost no career counseling while in college. Instead she’s had many jobs, but none that suggest a specific title showing the summation of her work accomplishments*.

• • •

As always, Calvin asks the important questions

• • •

THE PROBLEM, AS WE SEE IT, is that Friend is unsure about how to describe herself on this ridiculous form that will ONLY be accepted if she fills in ALL the blanks.

Does she take the dutiful route and tell this university, where she received a great classical education but had no help finding work, about ONE of the things she’s done? That is, does she say she’s an Interpreter, even though she did that briefly?

OR should she be more irreverent, feeling no need to divulge anything specific about her work history to this institution that provided no career guidance. That is, does she say she’s a Woman of International Mystery?

I relate to this problem.

I know that when I’ve been forced to fill in forms like the one Friend is dealing with, I waiver between saying I’m a Writer or a Kept Woman. Both are apt, more or less, and satisfy the nosy computer system.

So what say you?

IF you were in this situation wherein you only needed to fill in the blank as a means to an end AND you felt no loyalty to the university from which you graduated…

Would your answer be sincere or flippant? 
And why?
Do you consider yourself mischievous at times?
And if so, how does that make you feel?

* If you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or an accountant [or whatever], you’ve not had to deal with this situation. But for those who have wandered through life working at various jobs, contributing to the GNP in our own ways, this can be problematic.

A Lunch Date Wherein I Am Happy But Told I Should Not Be So Happy

You’re too happy.

I met an acquaintance for lunch.  She’d texted me the afternoon before we had lunch to arrange where she suddenly wanted to go to lunch.

Nowhere convenient, I’ll tell ‘ya that.

However, I happily rearranged my schedule to accommodate her whim preference, but that fact seemed to escape her notice as we sat there eating and talking.

Nope, she was on a rant about all that is wrong in the world;  and she needed me to know that in her opinion I was too happy when discussing the wrongs in the world.

My equanimity seemed to bring out the demons in her.

She was perturbed with me because I wasn’t in the depths of despair over The Donald’s latest bull sh!t move of telling people to go to work when they’re sick.

[How stupid &/or senile is that man?]  

Nor was I despondent enough over Elizabeth Warren, the competent presidential candidate who the news outlets marginalized, dropping out of the race.

[How sad is it that our country is so backward when it comes to electing leaders?]

Nor was I gnashing my teeth over the gloomy grayness that has been the subtext of our winter weather here.

[How soon will spring get here?] 

Yep, she was peeved with me, but she’s what I’d call an Eeyore, a bit on the gloomy side.  Always.  Which means, of course, that my Pooh-like demeanor rankles her.

I do like her if only because she reminds me that someone else’s opinion of you need not define you.  And that by talking with a variety of personality types you can, if you are open to it, learn a few things.

Like for instance, you can learn that the word ‘happy’ can have a negative connotation. Who knew, huh?

The Tale Of The Drunken Daffodils That Didn’t Get Drunk Enough, I Guess

Last fall I decided that I’d attempt to force some daffodil bulbs to bloom inside the house this winter.  I thought the yellow flowers would be a spot of cheerfulness in February, the grayest of months.

I found THIS ARTICLE that told me how to create the perfect environment for my daffodils so that when it was time to take them out of the dark basement, they’d not get leggy.  Instead, they’d use their energy to make the flowers bloom bigger, better, more colorful.

Bloom being the operative word here.

I did as instructed, rescuing the bulbs from basement darkness a few weeks ago.  At first it seemed like I was going to have, as they used to say, a success experience because the bulbs were getting jiggy, pushing healthy green leaves upward.

I was jazzed.

In fact, in anticipation of the yellow flowers I put the pots with the bulbs in a sunny spot on the kitchen table, where I’d see the beauty from many rooms.

As per the article in order to stunt their growth, I watered the bulbs with a carefully measured concoction of water and alcohol. I mean when you task me with the responsibility of getting some daffodils drunk, I take it seriously. Do my best. Or so I thought.

However as the days have gone by, the daffodils have grown leggy and there’s no indication that they’ll ever bloom.  I agree that they’re a lovely shade of green, but as for the yellow flowers?

There are none and I am sad.

Thinking this through all I can figure is that despite what the article said, in order to stunt their growth the bulbs needed more alcohol than I gave them.  This means I failed them, not getting them liquored up enough to bloom where they were planted.

But if nothing else at least I tried, getting a good blog story out of it. 🍸

These daffodils appear to be sober and aren’t blooming, with no indication that they will. Let that be a lesson to you.

A Life Lesson: How To Look Scruffy In Three Simple Steps Then Get Over Your Sad Self

How ‘ya doing scruffy face?

Zen-Den said this to me as he was walking into the kitchen from the garage after getting home from work.  Because I had my back to him while standing at the stove cooking ye olde supper, he couldn’t see my face.

Domesticity, we got it.

Anyhoo, while you might think this is going to be a tale about another gushy nickname, he was being literal.  There was no Chickiedoodle cuteness involved in this salutation.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

You see, somehow, probably while out in the forest primeval behind the house doing the fall clean-up, I got a rash on my face.

And somehow, probably by using one of the aesthetician-approved fancy Vitamin C serums that are all the rage, I exacerbated the rash.

And somehow, probably by not backing down on my doctor-prescribed retinoid, I managed to destroy my face.  Well, not literally, but my face got all red and flaky and itchy and beyond not good– straight to ugly.

~ ~ 👀 ~ ~

So there I was cooking, not looking my best nor happy about it, still feeling a twinge of self-pity, when Mr. Hilaremoose wanders into the house.  And you know what?

His ridiculous way of saying “hello” to me, even before he saw my ratty face, cheered me up instantly.

Didn’t do a thing to reduce the inflammation, but made me realize how inconsequential it is to worry about that. which. just. happens.

Laugh it off, move along.

Make dinner.

My life.

In Which Ms. Bean Attempts To Buy Outdoor Holiday Lights During A Bleak Week

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A photo of the view out a bedroom window. Bleak.

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THIS WEEK I’VE BEEN TRYING to get it into gear to start putting up outside holiday decorations.

You’d think at this point in my life that’d be a simple task.

You would be wrong.

Last year, in a fit of tidy, I got rid of all our outside lights and wreaths.  The lights worked in sections and the decade-old wreaths were looking downright ratty.  They were more wire than fake pine needles and the dingy red bows on them added to the pathos.

So, knowing that we needed some new decorative stuff, I hauled myself up off the sofa and wandered meself through many a store looking at all the newfangled, complicated, high-priced lights– and wreaths.

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A photo of ground cover covered in snow. Bleaker.

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FROM MY FORAY INTO ACTUAL brick and mortar stores I learned that I haven’t a clue about how much to spend, what to buy [net or string? LED or incandescent? solid color or multi?] and where we might put that which I buy once I get it home.

I also looked at some pretty sparkly wreaths– that all seemed to be covered in glitter.  Me not happy. Me not want glitter traipsed into house.

Me fussy like that.

And so on that note of shopping defeat, underscored by one of the bleakest weeks I’ve ever seen in November, I’ll end this post.  Figuring that there’s a weekend a’coming and a husband to be cajoled into helping me find the perfect outdoor lights and wreaths.

To add much-needed color to our world. Hallelujah!

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A photo of trees in backyard. Bleakest.

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