While Spring Rain Falls, Musing On How I Feel Now

A prismatic spectrum of colors resulting from last weekend’s sun shining through beveled glass onto neutral chair fabric. Cool huh?

What a wet week it has been so far.

After a lovely sunny weekend that suggested Summer was here, we’ve been inundated with rain.  Constantly.  The kind of rain that brings flash floods.

Spring is back and says *HA!* fooled you, sucker.

My gardening projects are on hold because I don’t do mud.

Plus I’m a mellow woman so I’ll get to weeding + planting + trimming in due time.  It’s not like the flower beds are going anywhere.  Even with the threat of flash floods I think our yard is safe.  It won’t be washed away.

Thus instead of being outside in the garden I’ve been sitting inside our screened-in porch observing the weather, watching the gray sky above, noticing the monotony of falling rain. This has put me into a contemplative mood about these last few months.

The great pause, as many are calling it.

These long days during which many of us are not doing what we thought we would be doing this Spring.

I find it trippy to realize that everything in society is being transformed around me while I sit at home waiting to see how these changes will affect me and my relationships and my lifestyle.

This colorful and smart graphic clearly demonstrates all the feelings I’ve gone through in these last few months. You too? [Click on graphic to go to source.]
On the one hand I feel completely insignificant.  Passive, even.  Just waiting, twiddling my thumbs.

However on the other hand I feel *hell to the yes* I’m doing something.  I’m actively holding it together in the middle of a pandemic.  I’m demonstrating a bit of grace + tact + cooperation while feeling wistful about, but not dwelling on, what was normal.

A normal we’ll never see again.

I accept that life is different now, but what I think it means for me, how I feel about it?  Well, my feelings are all over the place while the hours pass and I muse a little more.

Waiting to get into the garden, and my life, again.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

How are you feeling about these last few months? 

Do you find yourself going back and forth, up and down, hither and yon with your feelings?

How do you hope to feel in the future?

~ ~ ~ ~ 

Who Goes There? Chatting About The Names We Use When Blogging + A Poll Question

BACK WHEN I FIRST STARTED writing a blog I read a blog [whose name I do not remember] written by a woman named Karen [I think].

She was hilarious and outrageous, posting every stinking day about her small-town life.  Her writing was wordy and it was perfect.  No grammar or spelling mistakes, ever.

I was in awe of her.

She had a huge following.  They were as outrageous as she was which made reading the comments a hoot.  I was more reserved back then, so I didn’t jump into her comment section like I would today.

• • •

IN RETROSPECT THE MOST INTERESTING thing about her comment section was that the commenters created nicknames for themselves.  This was ostensibly to distinguish one from another, when more than one person had the same first name spelled the same way.

For instance [making up examples here] there’d be “Cathy from California” who wasn’t to be confused with “Cathy who hates gerbils” who most clearly was not “Cathy the Cookie.”

It was all inside jokes and seemed harmless.  Rather fun, crazy awesome, even.

• • •

HOW THE HECK DID I get thinking about a blog from 15 years ago?

The other day I sat down to answer my comments here.  I had three comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.  Then I had two comments in a row from women with the same first name who spelled it the same way.

Suddenly, thinking back to the blogger from years ago, I was curious about how many people with the same first name spelled the same way leave comments here on a regular basis.

I had no idea, so I did a little behind the scenes research.

I was surprised by what I learned and I’m betting that you, my gentle readers, won’t guess which first name spelled the same way is the most popular one among my commenters, but give it a go.  Here’s the poll question.

Also, out of curiosity, have you ever seen a blogger with commenters who have created specific nicknames to use only when commenting on that blog? Is/was this a thing? Or is this something as unique as I think it was? 

Who’s Zooming Who: When Being Polite Doesn’t Work In Your Favor

What is it with people lately?

You’re with a group of people and one woman, Queen Bee, starts to talk about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem.  She wants everyone in the group to tell her what to do, that’s how distraught she claims to be.

You remain politely reserved saying nothing, thinking to yourself this isn’t a problem you crowdsource for a solution, while everyone else [oh. my. to. the. goodness. gracious.] tells Queen Bee what is wrong with her. And what she should do. And how she should do it.

Eventually all eyes fall on you so you go all Glinda the Good Witch.  You say something like you don’t need any help because you’ve always had the power within you to solve this problem.  Just put on your magic slippers, click your heels together, Dorothy Queen Bee, and you’ll find your way home solution.

Well a short time later you run into Queen Bee who tells you that she has no intention of following any of the advice from the group.  In fact she says that she only talked about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem because she was testing everyone to see who was on her side.

Oh dear.

In a nanosecond you realize that Queen Bee now considers you a supportive friend.  You find yourself wondering how it is that being polite got you into this situation?  And how in the future you’ll be politely distancing yourself from Queen Bee?

Your new deceitful [I. don’t. think. so.] friend.

Blog Post #901: What We Have Here Is A Tuesday-type Situation

IF AFTER 900 POSTS on The Spectacled Bean you know anything about me you know that I adore images that summarize what’s going on.

While it’s true that I’m a wordy girl at heart, I’m not a word-exclusive snob so I find a visual image, such as the one I’ve shared here, can get to the point of a situation quickly and accurately.

Make it snappy, I say to my wordy self as I compose posts for this blog;  tell the story in whatever way conveys your message clearly, I remind myself before I add an image.

Yep, that’s how I talk to myself when writing a personal blog post.  Scintillating? Not so much.

ALSO, FOR THE RECORD, I found this image in a file on my old computer and realized I’d made the image in order to learn how to make a Venn diagram but had never used the image for anything because, I guess, once I’d learned how to make a Venn diagram I had no need for said image.

Until today.

A Tuesday, a day of the week that sometimes can be difficult to embrace wholeheartedly.

A Tuesday on which I want to return to blogging after a long hiatus but am feeling awkward about how to start writing again.

This particular Tuesday to be exact.

THUS IN KEEPING WITH the concept of SIMPLIFY, my #OneWord365 for 2020, I thought for blog post #901 I’d write something light and easy, something sincere but a bit silly. Something that acknowledges that it’s a new year on the calendar but confirms that I’m the same old me.

Something, in fact, that might be construed as a catalyst for comments and conversation about your approach to blogging OR your word of the year OR your opinion of Tuesdays.

What’s new with you, kids? I’ve been away far too long.

Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been
I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

• • •

I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

• • •

I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

• • •

Unexpected Rudeness: She Tried To Yuck On My Yum

A short story from real life. Mine.

Wherein, while at lunch, an aquaintance, who I shall call Grumbly Gertrude, was rude to me for no discernible reason.

I don’t know why what I do makes Grumbly Gertrude unhappy, but it does.  I barely know the woman however I’m guessing I bring out her inner demons.

As they say.

Anyhoo here’s what happened: at lunch with many people sitting around a table Sam the Sincere asked me politely about how my blog was going.  I answered in a few sentences saying, in essence, it was going well.

Sam the Sincere turned to Grumbly Gertrude and asked her politely if she had a blog?

Sam the Sincere, for some reason, was under the impression that because Grumbly Gertrude and I were English majors in college at about the same time, that it’d follow that we both wrote personal blogs.

He was being a kind guy keeping the conversation going, you know?

Welp, Grumbly Gertrude seemed annoyed with Sam the Sincere’s question, choosing to glare at me while she answered the question by saying that she did not have time to have a blog because SHE. HAD. THINGS. TO. DO.

Unequivocalness? She had it. Politeness? Not so much.  A blog? No way.

Of course everyone at the table started looking at me, waiting to see what I’d say back to Grumbly Gertrude and her odd passive-aggressive response to Sam the Sincere’s innocent chit-chat question.

And do you, my gentle readers, know what I did? You’d be so proud of me.

I smiled. Like Mona Lisa.

A smile inscrutable in its meaning, polite, but hiding my real thoughts about what the heck is wrong with Grumbly Gertrude and her snarly answer.

And about how a delightful blog post story had just been handed to me while I did the things I had to do– in addition to writing my blog.  🙄