Jottings About The Opposite Of Purple Prose + A Question About Endings

THE JOTTINGS PART

Purple prose is writing that is too elaborate or ornate. It detracts from the narrative instead of moving the story forward. [More here]

My way of describing purple prose is that it is fussy, unfocused, and old-fashioned. I don’t write like that.

I’m a straightforward writer. I tend to have a point, get to it, and make it snappy in the process. Photos and images help me make my point. I like pretty.

I edit mercilessly because while I can be chatty I shall not dither, possibly wasting someone’s time. That’d never do.

And when possible, depending on the topic I’m discussing, I prefer to come to a conclusion, whether it be my reasoned opinion and/or a specific question.

Thus I give you, my gentle readers, the following. It’s something I’ve been thinking about of late, for a reason you’ll understand.

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THE QUESTION PART

The longer I write this blog the more I wonder how much longer I’ll be writing this blog.

As many of you know I had blogs before this one, starter blogs as I think of them, but when I created this blog in 2011 I told myself that if I hit 1,000 posts I’d call it quits.

Welp, after hitting publish on this post I’m 15 posts away from 1,000. Meaning that if I’m true to my original plan, I’ll soon be faced with a decision about what to do with this blog.

Which brings me to my question to you:

HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO END YOUR BLOG?

A Photo Story: The Tale We Have Here Is Something Quite Dear

After writing in my previous post about the ridiculous absurd time-wasting hassle of buying bags of stones, I thought I’d take a few photos of our backyard showing you, my gentle readers and curious lurkers, where the aforementioned hard-won stone is. I took the photos while standing on the deck above the yard and they show the stones + something unexpected.

This photo shows how the stones edge the planting bed creating a clear dividing line between mulch and grass. Not too exciting perhaps, but there is more, and unless you’re a Hard-hearted Hannah [the vamp of Savanah], you’re going to like it.

This photo gives you a better idea of the length and width of the stone edge dividing line. It also shows you something unexpected. Look closely in the middle of the photo, kids.

Do you see who’s lounging under a bush?

Yes, it’s a sweet little fawn whose mother has left it there, knowing it’d be safe and hidden from view from most predators. I could only see it because I was above on the deck looking down onto it [and Zen-Den pointed it out to me]. Now isn’t that dear?

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. May something dear, or deer, happen to you today!

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As June Begins, I’m Doing Not Much Of Anything Enthralling

WHAT DAY IS THIS?

I’m scattered this week. I tell ‘ya, begin a week with a Monday holiday and I’m confused, more than normal, for days after. But then what kind of weirdo who isn’t? Hmmm…?

Anyhow, the title says it all. Well, everything except the deets about the Not Much Of Anything Enthralling. That’d be things I’ve done, or tried to do, or hope to do.

I read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero and it’s wonderful. Originally published in 1984 I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. Oddly enough I thought of each short succinct chapter as a blog post; the style of this book is prescient vis-à-vis today’s blogosphere. This book was part of my own unique 2021 reading challenge.

We’ve been enjoying Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs [thanks Katie] and Corn and Black Bean Salad [thanks Dorothy]. If there’s one good thing about the pandemic, it is that we’ve tried many new recipes and that’s fun in my worldview.

We’re on Season 20 of Midsomer Murders. Almost every night this spring we’ve sat down to watch one episode. They’re charming and light and often have an unexpected twist that’s plausible. Also, if we can’t travel to England, then we can look at it and listen to posh accents.

I skimmed through The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. It’s a deep academic book about trauma; there are many extensive case studies. While I found some of the chapters interesting, like the ones about how yoga and meditation help you release the negativity/emotional hurt in your body, the rest of the book was too deep for me.

I revised my About Ally Bean page and added a Blogging Hints page. I’m contemplating having an old-fashioned blogroll page again, but don’t know if there’s a need. I’d base it on the results of the Bean Personality Quiz that I shared in my previous post. Where do you stand on blog rolls? Yay or nay?

I’m hoping to go to the Le Creuset outlet store to look at, and maybe buy, new coffee mugs. I broke my favorite orange coffee mug this week and had a sadz. But then I decided I wanted to buy four new mugs that all match and are the same color. [Can you imagine?] There’s no better place than to see all the colors available than at the outlet store.

We’re hoping to to go to Summerfair at Coney Island, an outdoor art show. It’s this weekend and is an annual event that we missed last year because of… oh you know why. I like going to this particular art show because I enjoy walking around outside by the river; seeing, perhaps buying, some art; and indulging in some kettle corn freshly made in front of me.

LET SUMMER BEGIN!

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING LATELY? ANYTHING ENTHRALLING?

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Comment Confidential: The Perks And Pitfalls Of Reaching Out To Newfound Bloggers

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I feel the need to confide.

One change brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic is that some bloggers, often longtime bloggers, have stopped posting. As a result many of my bloggy friends, ones who were here and I was there all the time, aren’t around anymore.

I miss them but understand why they’ve moved on and I realize that my blogging community is different, a bit emptier, without them in it.

Thus a couple of months ago, as I was sitting here at home still, I decided to be more extroverted and started reaching out to bloggers who were new to me. I felt that as a longtime blogger I could be proactive about creating bloggy friendships, especially with newfound bloggers.

These newfound bloggers came my way: 1) by leaving comments/likes on my blog; 2) when I saw them comment on blog posts elsewhere; and/or 3) when I saw they were part of the A-to-Z Challenge.

To be clear I only commented on blog posts that I found interesting, never as a way of ingratiating myself to someone hoping for reciprocity, never as a troll. I just said what I was thinking in the moment, like I always have, hoping that my first contact didn’t seem too weird or too nutz.

Then I waited to see how I would be received.

Below is a list of the perks and pitfalls that happened when I reached out to newfound bloggers. ‘Twas an enlightening experience. I’m glad I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone and do this, but now I’m back to being my more introverted [ambiverted?] self, happy to chat with friendly bloggers who show an interest in what I have to say here.

Thank you very much.

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ONE: Encouraging. Many bloggers seemed pleased that I jumped into their comment section, replying in a timely fashion that made me feel welcome.

TWO: Confusing. Some bloggers sent out mixed signals. Despite generic polite replies I couldn’t figure if I was butting into their circle of blog friends or if I was wanted and they were just surprised by my interest.

THREE: Different. A few bloggers have tightly structured comment sections reminiscent of the singsong Episcopalian worship service’s Collect of the Day. Everyone who left a comment got a pleasant reply [blessing? response?] but the conversations in the comment section never went any farther.

FOUR: Duly noted. A few bloggers ignored my comment, or marginalized it by only ‘liking’ my comment, so that I got the clear impression I was not wanted.

FIVE: Perplexing. Some bloggers have commenting systems that ate my comment not indicating if it was being held in moderation or was not accepted. Should I try again? Do they want comments? [Was WP screwing with me again?]

SIX: Questionable. A few bloggers don’t seem to reply to comments at all, even though they had many of them. Without clearly stating how they process comments it was impossible for me to know if some commenters get an email reply behind the scene and I wasn’t worthy of one or if everyone doesn’t receive a reply.

SEVEN: Uplifting. After leaving a comment for some newfound bloggers, they were curious to see who I was and came here to this blog, often immediately jumping into my comment section.

EIGHT: Sociable. Often when commenting on a newfound blog I came across bloggers who also comment here. As a way of introduction in my first comment to the newfound blogger I’d mention our mutual bloggy friend because interconnectedness is one of the best things about blogging, right?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you inclined to leave comments on newfound blogs that you come across in blog land?

How do you feel when you do that? Do you assume the blogger wants your comment or do you figure you might be an intruder? Or some point in-between?

What’s the best thing that can happen when you leave a comment on a blog post?

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A Glimpse Into The Time Before Morsels: A Recipe, A Realization, A Research Project

Maybe you know this already and I’m the last to know, but I’m going to tell you my story anyhow.

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I HAPPENED UPON A WRAPPER from a Nestlé Semi-Sweet chocolate product [see photo immediately above].

I found it among the recipes that my mother had saved, filed loosely in an old notebook. The recipes, ranging from the 1940s to the 1990s, are from her mother and newspapers clippings and friends and packaging. No rhyme or reason to them, just saved.

My best guess is the wrapper is from the early 1940s. It intrigued me.

After glancing at the front I looked on the back at the recipe. I skimmed the recipe and it initially looked about the same as any chocolate chip cookie recipe you’d see today.

The copy on the wrapper states that it’s THE ORIGINAL Toll House Chocolate Cookie recipe created by Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, MA. And it could be. However the current Nestlé website says that this recipe, a recipe that differs in one significant way, is the original Toll House Cookie Recipe.

You see, it wasn’t until I turned the package over again and looked closely at the front that I realized this WASN’T a package for Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate morsels [chips] that we have today. It WAS for a bar of chocolate that was to be cut into “pieces the size of a pea” by the person making the cookies.

As in if you want chips of chocolate in your cookies, do it yourself, darling [see photo immediately below].

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I HAD A DUH! MOMENT because I’d no idea that chocolate chips had not always existed, which is a rather lame thing to say. Obviously someone invented them. They don’t fall from the heavens above fully formed, now do they?

After a bit of research I discovered that chocolate chips were originally a kind of molasses chocolate-coated candy made popular in the early 1890s by Kauffmanns of Pittsburgh, PA. In 1897 a court case involving the use of the trademarked name “Trowbridge Chocolate Chips” also described chocolate chips as being molasses chocolate-coated candy.

However by the 1930s as Wakefield’s recipe grew in popularity the term *chocolate chip* morphed from being a kind of candy into being an ingredient in cookies, so much so that by the early 1940s Toll House cookies were often referred to as chocolate chip cookies.

Seeing an opportunity for increased sales, in 1940 Nestlé started making and selling manufactured chocolate chips that they called ‘morsels.’ This was in addition to the semi-sweet chocolate bars for which they were known.

So with that short history lesson on what I’d call the primary ingredient in Toll House Cookies, I’ll end this post by asking you:

Did you know there was a time when you created your own chocolate chips [aka morsels] to put in your cookies?

What do you call cookies that have chocolate chips [aka morsels] in them: Toll House Cookies or Chocolate Chip Cookies?

And more to the point, made any of them lately?

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SOURCES:

A Brief History of the Chocolate Chip via Mental Floss

Chocolate Chip Cookies Chip versus Morsel via New England Recipes

The First “Chocolate Chip” Was a Molasses Candy via Smithsonian Magazine

Who Baked the First Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie? via Chowhound