Encouraged By Your Interest I Answer Minnie Driver’s Existential Questions

These 7 questions are from the podcast Minnie Questions with Minnie Driver. In December I asked you, my gentle readers, if these questions would be of interest to you and there was a resounding YES! My answers are as follows

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Artwork created by Zen-Den the Retired who has figured out how to draw pictures on my iPad.

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When and where were you happiest? 

When? Now. Where? Here. Granted there’s nothing about my current midwest suburban lifestyle that years ago I’d have thought I’d like, but I do. I’ve adapted. I’m grateful for where I’ve landed.

And with whom, of course.

What quality do you like least about yourself? 

I still tend to be a perfectionist in certain situations. I’ve overcome it in the sense of meal planning and daily schedules and wardrobe decisions, but when it comes to interior design decisions or word choices/grammar I get in my own way because I want things to be perfect.

I know, I know, progress not perfection.

What relationship — real or fictionalized — defines love for you?

I’m going to go with a fictionalized relationship and say Amy Pond + Rory Williams.

They travelled with the 11th Dr. Who [Matt Smith] for a while and their love for/commitment to each other was so strong that Rory once guarded Amy’s tomb for thousands of years, just in case she would come back to life. Which she did, eventually [because time travel, like a bowtie, is cool].

They were honest with each other, kind and adventurous, accepting each other’s foibles for what they were, quirky personality features.

What would be your last meal?

Once upon a time Z-D and I were in Hawaii on Christmas Day. We didn’t have reservations at any restaurant so we ate our Christmas dinner sitting on chaise lounge chairs by the hotel pool.

We ordered from the poolside menu, choosing the only items that were still available. Thus we each had a tuna salad sandwich on wheat, a small bag of potato chips, a cup of pineapple cubes, and a couple cans of light beer.

It was memorable and delicious.

What person, place or experience has most altered your life?

I don’t have a specific answer for this question. Maybe going to college altered my life? Or having a house built altered my life? Or learning about reiki altered my life? Or writing this blog altered my life?

All of the above, none of the above, I do not know for sure.

What question would you most like answered?

I’d like to know why some people are only happy when they’re clinging to their problems.

They blah-blah-blah about their problems, sometimes even ask for advice, but if you offer a solution, or suggest that it’s not really a problem, then you are the foe in their narrative. How dare you deprive them of their precious problems!

Can’t you see how put upon they are?

I understand the need to vent for a while but there comes a point when you have to fish or cut bait. Do something or shut up about it.

What in your life has grown out of a personal disaster?

I’d say blogging. Years ago I had emergency surgery, called volvulus, to remove part of my large intestine that unceremoniously had knotted itself shut [plus while the surgeon was in the neighborhood he removed my appendix]. After 6 days in the hospital in a morphine haze I was sent home to recover.

Come to find out healing from major abdominal surgery was a huge lifestyle change. No longer was I the walking-est yoga girl ever. Instead I was told to not exercise vigorously, to not stretch, to not lift heavy objects– and pretty much to sit still.

For 13 months.

So I did the only thing I could think to do while sitting still, I threw myself into blogging as a way to pass the hours and feel productive. Thus thanks to emergency surgery I became Ally Bean, the blogger you know and love today.

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Questions of the Day
What do you think of Minnie’s questions? Yay or nay?
How do you feel about my answers? 
Will you answer Minnie’s questions on your own blog? Why or why not?
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Three Thoughts Thursday | Enjoying. Reading. Watching.

Years ago I dreamed up this feature thinking I’d do it every so often [maybe quarterly], but I let it slide. I’ve been wanting to resurrect it, so I shall. Three Thoughts Thursday is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.

 ONE 

I think that… Only Murders in the Building [available on Hulu] is a hoot and half, as they used to say.

Set in modern day NYC, this TV show stars Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. The plot revolves around the efforts of three neighbors, bumbling along, as they try to solve a murder, or two, in their apartment building. While it may sound trite and predictable it is not, and has enough laughs to make it a comedy.

Definitely recommended.

TWO 

I think that… SparePrince Harry’s memoir, is an interesting detailed glimpse into how the House of Windsor works. Or more accurately, how it doesn’t work in the case of their dysfunctional family dynamics.

Starting with his adult realization that his family doesn’t understand him, he sets out to explain his take on his life since age 12 when his mother, Diana, died.  I admire anyone who can claim their narrative and tell their story, which is especially difficult when you’re part of an uptight royal family and the British tabloids are primed to make you seem awful.

Would I recommend reading this book? Welp, I read half/skimmed through half because I didn’t care about his time in school or his travels around the world with friends or his experiences in the military.

However I was intrigued by his honesty about his teenage grief, his adult depression, and his growing disbelief about the ways in which his family of origin had treated him– and now his wife.

Not well, as you probably know.

THREE 

I think that… Glass Onion is a fun entertaining whodunit movie. I rarely watch movies, but I like the flamboyant Benoit Blanc character, played by Daniel Craig, so watching him solve another murder was delightful in that Agatha Christie cozy mystery way.

The cast is brilliant, the writing is sharp, the setting is stupendous– and the mystery itself is intriguing, unfolding in ways unexpected, like you’d expect.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY  

Do you enjoy slightly absurd kind of wacky TV shows that make you laugh? If so, any suggestions for what we might watch next?

Do you read [or listen to] books? If so, are you interested in memoirs written by or biographies about celebrities? Why or why not? 

If you watch movies do you prefer to do so at home or in a theater? Do you enjoy sequels wherein you watch the same main character [or characters] do whatever they do as the story continues?

 AND FINALLY

Yesterday WordPress sent me the above message. If you’re interested you may click HERE and be magically taken to my first post on this blog wherein I boldly asserted: good things don’t happen without the correct amount of angst.

About Blogging: 5 People Whose Unsolicited Advice Shaped Me + A Blogroll Opportunity

A RATTLING GREAT INTRODUCTION

Not long ago someone [a spammer but whatevs] told me that I write a “rattling great” weblog. No one has ever used the word *rattling* to describe what I do here.

I had to look up the word to make certain I knew what it meant in this context. It’s an adjective used for emphasis when denoting something very good of its kind. 

I’m flattered, regardless of the source, because I’ll take encouragement wherever I find it.

Which leads me to writing about the five people, none of whom blog anymore, who guided me to be the blogger I am today. Without their help, which was pretty much unsolicited advice, I never would have stuck around as long as I have.

Many, many thanks to each.

THE 5 PEOPLE & THEIR UNSOLICITED ADVICE

DAISY (2004) – was a graphic designer who sent me, out of the blue, an email in which she told me point blank that I needed to write a personal blog.

I’d commented on her personal blog and she wanted me to know that I should write my own blog because I had what it’d take. That is, I was articulate and informed with a snarky vibe. I was fascinated by this new thing called blogging so I did as she suggested.

COLLEEN (2005) – was a librarian who took it upon herself to help me. Via email she’d politely point out grammatical errors and spelling mistakes I’d made. She also introduced me to the idea of adding links + images to posts.

While today her determination to correct + teach me might be perceived as trollish, at the time I took it as a generous gesture on her part to help me write clearly, learn html, and make my blog pretty.

TARA (2007) – was a marketing professional who thought personal blogging was great, a wonderful creative adjunct to basic marketing channels.

She read something I wrote then encouraged me to approach each blog post as if I was writing a letter to a few close friends.  Pick your friends, she said. Then write only to them allowing your sincerity and joie de vivre to draw readers to your blog.

CHRIS (2011) – was a lawyer who briefly wrote a family blog that had some of the most succinct entertaining posts of any blog ever.

His advice, that I took to heart, was to make the best use of a few words, often obscure words even. He never dummied down down his posts, nor did he meander aimlessly. He had a point and he got to it with panache.

KAREN (2013) – was a teacher who one day just up and told me that my best blog posts were the ones with the wackiest titles.

I’d never considered my titles, but she was prescient about this, realizing that by letting my freak flag fly in the titles I’d draw in curious readers who’d stick around to see what nonsense I was on about that day. And many days thereafter.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you know the meaning of *rattling* without looking it up? Is that word part of your daily lexicon?!!  

If you write a personal blog what’s the best blogging advice you’ve received? Was it solicited OR unsolicited?

In general what’s your opinion of unsolicited advice? Are you open to it OR snarly about it?

A BLOGROLL OPPORTUNITY

Last year in January I crowdsourced my Delightful Blogroll. It’s unique in that it’s a compilation of blogs based on the age of the weblog. I’m going to revise the blogroll this next month.

If you’re not currently on it and would like to be included let me know in the comments below by January 31st.  No act of kindness goes unpunished. Case in point, offer closed early due to excessive spam. Thanks for nothing, dipshits. Terms & conditions are were as follows:

  1. your blog must be at least one year old so tell me the year you started it & its complete name;
  2. your blog must be primarily a personal one;
  3. your blog cannot be rude, vulgar, vindictive, or hateful as determined by me; and
  4. you must demonstrate to my satisfaction that you engage with other bloggers via comment sections. 
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Forget Resolutions, These Are My 2023 New Year’s Rejections

My brain trust. Obviously

How My New Year’s Rejections Came To Be

THANKS TO EVERYONE who read my last post and answered my question, a call to action, about what I should write about next.  You’re the best, my personal brain trust.  I was feeling indecisive and needed some help.

I’ve never asked for guidance like that before and given the chance to tell me what to do y’all came through. Come to find out my brain trust wants me to write about what I’m rejecting in 2023.  

Oddly enough I tossed that topic into the choices at the last minute before hitting publish.

A friend and I had been talking about how comfortable we are rejecting trends and ideas that at one time would have seemed important to us. We got laughing about what we dubbed our New Year’s Rejections.

We weren’t saying that a particular idea, a solution, or a way of living is bad for everyone, just that something doesn’t work for us. Rejection is a sound concept if you’re clear about your underlying assumptions and what space you’ll create in your life because of it.

 What I’m Rejecting This Year

GETTING TO MY LIST of New Year’s Rejections a la 2023, I give you the following that I shall be rejecting for at least a year, maybe longer:

Newsletters – From a marketing point of view I understand them. They’re a way for a business/author to distribute information to their customers/readers keeping everyone up to date. They’re predicated on the hope that the customer/reader actually reads the newsletter and doesn’t send it directly to spam.

However as a person who receives these newsletters, I don’t like them. I rarely read them because they seem more like advertisements for new products than sources of information. There’s no engagement with the company/author and I sense I’m a mark, a pawn in someone’s game. This makes me feel irritable so I’ve unsubscribed to the ones I was receiving.

Assumption rejected? I am gaining valuable insight and information.

Cocktails – As I imbibed a few over the holidays I realized that: 1) I wasn’t taken with any of them; 2) they were fussy and expensive; and 3) that I prefer a shot of top-shelf liquor neat, or on the rocks, or with a splash of club soda. Thus I’ve decided to simplify my life, save money, and forgo mixed drinks.

Assumption rejected? I am having fun because I’m drinking something fancy.

Steps Per Day – I’ve never been one to judge my physical healthiness based exclusively on numbers, whether the numbers are external validation &/or criticism. I think that trusting myself to know how to live my life is the best approach, especially when it comes to walking.

To wit, there’ll be no recording of my steps each day. Instead, I’ll move when I want to, the amount I want to. I’ll walk with no preconceived idea [10,000 steps] of what I have to accomplish each day.

Assumption rejected? I am being healthy by focusing on and knowing a number.

Sweet potatoes/yams – Okay, I understand the reason why these starchy vegetables are good for me. They’re filled with fiber and minerals and magical properties helpful to women of a certain age. However, potatoes shouldn’t be sweet, they just shouldn’t. If I eat a potato, it’s going to be a basic old Idaho spud– or some redskin new potatoes.

Assumption rejected? I am eating something good for me.

Word of the Year – In 2011 I started picking one word to be my word of the year. I’ve continued this tradition for about a decade BUT more years than not my word of the year hasn’t made me feel good about my life.

That is, instead of getting a smoother or simplified or enjoyable year, I’ve gotten the opposite. The gods have laughed in my face. Thus I’m foregoing a word of the year to see if, by chance, I don’t need it.

Assumption rejected? I am living my best life because I circle back to a word, a 21st century talisman for self-improvement.

AND FINALLY THREE READER COMMENTS…

ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES with Alexa:

“Our Alexa is a buttinsky quite often. Just yesterday, I was chatting with my husband and daughter about crackers and Alexa piped up, “I’ve added crackers to your grocery list.” No thank you, Alexa. And then she wanted to know if we wanted a suggestion for something she thinks we need to re-order. NO THANK YOU ALEXA.”

~ Suzanne

“That’s funny what Alexa did and said. I’ve had her answer questions on TV when her name is said in a commercial or TV show.”

~ Jean

“We have never activated Alexa or Siri on any of our devices, finding the idea of them sitting there listening to our inane chatter rather creepy. Unbeknownst to us, however, my husband’s new Kindle reader came with Alexa activated. One evening, we were watching some show in which an actor asked his device to find a particular song he had been looking for. Almost immediately, a voice came from Bill’s Kindle asking if this was the song we were looking for, and some piece of music started playing. We did lose our stuffing, and disabled the little snoop faster than you can sing ‘Hit the Road, Jack.'”

~ Donna

When Muse Is Feeling Blah, There Are Random Links To Share On A Tuesday

I’ve been feeling under the weather this week with a sore throat and my ears hurt. And I have a headache.

I just want to sleep.

I’ll survive, but I can’t think of much to write about today, so how about I share some links with you, my gentle readers and kind lurkers?

That’s a good way for me to make the world a little more clear, a little less cluttered, and not ugly.

Enjoy

EIGHT INTERESTING LINKS TO SHARE

Laverne DeFazio did it first, but now Lindsay Lohan is saying it’s naughty? Become aware of this commercial and remember that everything old is new again

Looking for a true crime podcast that provides insights into the curated, somewhat pretentious, world of modern art? Listen to Death of an Artist

Fascinated by history and want to learn about Christmas foods? Go HERE and be amazed

Have difficulty when using touchscreen? You might have zombie fingers [I do]

Wondering what’s been going on with color trends lately? Read about Sad Beige Parenting &/or enter Pantone’s 2023 Magentaverse

Interested in trying a delicious salad with warm goat cheese? Ina has the recipe [Made my own vinaigrette though]

Looking for a lighthearted movie that is reminiscent of a 90s rom-com? Watch The People We Hate At The Wedding

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