The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken

On Sunday, for the first time in months, Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve intending to wander around the flat easy path that connects the herb garden to the old farmhouse.

‘Tis a pretty path any time of year, and knowing what I was getting into, I wore shoes for that kind of leisurely walk.  A stroll.

However, somehow [let’s blame it on curiosity], we got [shall we say?] off course and ended up on a moderately difficult path that took us half a mile down a steep hillside to a creek, along the banks of the creek, then back up to the parking lot.

From this experience, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I will always in the future, regardless of what we say we’re going to do, wear hiking boots when going to the Nature Preserve;
  2. I will always in the future take one of the free maps, readily available in a display in the parking lot;  &
  3. When descending uneven, seemingly never-ending limestone steps down a hillside, my mind thinks about the worst that can happen.  In this case, it flashed to the scene in Grace and Frankie [Season 4] when we get a glimpse of Grace’s icky knee, complete with stitches and a long bloody-ish incision, after knee replacement surgery.  Oy vey.

And on that angst-filled note, here are some photos of the path we took at the Nature Preserve as we walked, trudged, and then climbed our way around it.

• • •

Oh so pretty in late winter! Must see more.

• • •

What a charming little path. I wonder where it goes?

• • •

My goodness, this path suddenly looks old and not tended.

• • •

Well, at least that little stone bridge up ahead looks sturdy.

• • •

Oh look! What a nice flat rustic wooden bridge over a little dry creek.

• • •

Oh dear, this uneven path just keeps going down, down, down to a large creek.

• • •

Finally! What a lovely, relatively flat, stoney path by a large creek.

• • •

Yes! Look at these civilized wooden stairs leading back up the hill to the parking lot. Hallelujah!

THE END

The Tale Of The Confused Dude Going Further In The Ford Pickup Truck

• • •

Here’s what made me laugh way too much the other day.

I was on a two-lane curvy township road, stopped in construction traffic in a single file lane with about 20 other vehicles, waiting, when…

This young dude in a huge new Ford F-150 pickup truck in front of me started revving his badass engine, bouncing his truck on its bloated large tires, impatient, as he waited for the opportunity to be allowed to drive on the one lane that the construction crew had us using.

But apparently Mr. Pickup Truck zoned out during the minutes he was forced to sit still so that when the flagger gave the go ahead to drive forward, Mr. Pickup Truck drove his vehicle on the wrong side of the road: the side of the road that the flagger was not pointing to.

• • •

Continuing on with this story I will attempt to tell it in a non-mocking mature way.

Meanwhile, while we [the other drivers and I] watched, the flagger dropped the STOP/SLOW sign he was holding and started yelling “NO!”as he ran down the middle of the road around the curve after Mr. Pickup Truck.

Mr. Pickup Truck, however, was oblivious to what he’d done wrong and vroom-vroom-vroomed around the curve in the road where we could see that he had to stop, abruptly, behind a backhoe– that was now blocked by Mr. Pickup Truck’s F-150.

The man on the backhoe did not appear to be happy about this development, and seemed to have a few words to say to Mr. Pickup Truck.  I was too far away to hear the actual conversation, but from body language I’m going to surmise that the backhoe operator used words not suitable for a PG-13 blog such as this one.

• • •

Not wanting to seem unkind here, but this was darned funny on both a slapstick level and on an existential level.

First of all, I got to see this young guy do something really dumb in which no one was hurt.  Plus, it was humorous for me to drive, in the proper lane, by Mr. Pickup Truck who looked astonished that he was trapped on the wrong side of the road, unable to move in any direction until the flagger took pity on him.

But this didn’t happen immediately because the flagger was a person who believed that stupid actions had consequences. Thus he allowed the rest of us alert drivers to go on our way before [presumably] letting Mr. Pickup Truck drive in reverse around the curve back to where Mr. Pickup Truck needed to be so that he could drive in the lane that was open.

At the same time, on a more meta level, I got giggling because Ford’s ad campaign is: “Go Further.”  Little did they know that their slogan needed to be tweaked;  that is, apparently Ford needs to clarify to their truck buyers that the drivers should go further in the correct lane. 🙄

Modern Life 101: When The Text Wasn’t Meant For You, What Do You Do?

THE OTHER DAY I received text messages from friends that I wasn’t supposed to receive.  I was part of the conversation by accident.

We all know that stuff like this happens.

[In fact, it’s a miracle that when I text with Z-D I don’t accidentally include his sisters on the text.  In my phone, they’re all set up together so that I can send group texts.  Meaning that if I want to just text Z-D alone, I have to scroll down my contacts to find him.

I figure it’s a matter of time before I get distracted and text his sisters with something like: Pizza 🍕? Beer 🍻 too plz. You get dinner 🆗?]

SO, YOU’RE WONDERING IF what I read in these texts was salacious, aren’t you?  Did I get some good dirt on these friends who included me, but didn’t really mean to include me?

Well, no.

The texting was about how much one friend adored the daughter of another friend and how she was so happy to have spent time with the other friend’s daughter.

Gushy Mom Stuff, you know?

[But this texting did remind of something that happened years ago when email was new.  I got BCCed on messages going between two married friends who were, it seemed to me, having a lesbian affair that their husbands didn’t know about.

I didn’t need to know about it either, but there it was.]

ANYHOO, I FIGURE THAT everyone probably has a story about inadvertently learning something about someone else because that someone else made a mistake when using some kind of newfangled communication technology.

Like a text. Or an email. Or a voice mail, if we’re really reaching back in time.

I’m talking about eavesdropping, modern-style.

So, kids, spill the beans.

 – – 👀 – –

What do you know that you’re not supposed to know? How did you come to know this? Did you do anything with the information that you accidentally learned?

– – ? – –

In Which Ms. Bean Drives In Circles & Contemplates A Personal Slogan

About 100 years ago this car would have been my preferred set of wheels, especially if it came standard with a dog. Obviously. { photo via Library of Congress }

~ ~ • ~ ~

OF LATE I’VE HAD MORE OPPORTUNITIES THAN USUAL TO drive to and from the airport.  Considering where we live in Ohio, our closest international airport is in Kentucky, meaning that I have to drive on an interstate highway to cross over the Ohio River to get there.

It’s all about geography.

I can do this by EITHER driving on the outer belt through Ohio, across a bridge into Kentucky.

OR, if there is an accident in my way or construction delays, I can drive in the other direction on the outer belt through Ohio, then through Indiana, across a bridge into Kentucky.

The excitement?  It never ends.

~ ~ • ~ ~

IT IS WHILE SASHAYING AROUND THE AFOREMENTIONED INTERSTATE OUTER BELT SYSTEM THAT I’ve come to notice, on huge bridge signs, that Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana have new-to-me state slogans*.

  • Ohio, formerly “THE HEART OF IT ALL” is now “SO MUCH TO DISCOVER”
  • Kentucky, formerly “WHERE EDUCATION PAYS” is now “UNBRIDLED SPIRIT”
  • Indiana, formerly “CROSSROADS OF AMERICA” is now “HONEST-TO-GOODNESS INDIANA”

Seeing these state slogans, writ large [literally and figuratively], got me thinking about branding, albeit in a narcissistic way.  That is, what might I use as my personal slogan?

If I had to have one.  Which to my knowledge I do not.  Yet.

~ ~ • ~ ~

THUS WANTING TO BE PREPARED FOR ANY CONTINGENCY and bored out of my gourd while driving, I compiled the following list** of potential Ally Bean slogans.

Should you be of a mind to help me decide what my personal slogan should be, please indulge me and do the following two things:

  1. Indicate your preferred slogan for moi, by answering the simple poll question below.
  2. If you have a personal slogan, I’d love to know what it is.  Yours might be better than mine and it’s not too late for me to steal it from you I could be inspired by it.

Thank you in advance for your immediate input on this totally irrelevant, but blogworthy, issue that has come to plague me as I drive hither and yon around the interstate outer belt system.

~ ~ • ~ ~

* I’ve no idea how often these slogans change. All I know is what my addled brain remembers, a faulty system at best– and these state slogans seem different from what I remember them being before.

** Oddly enough, most of these potential slogans are ones that I’ve used in various places online over the years. Or, ideas I wrote down intending to use as topics for blog posts.

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. 

Be The Light: “You’ve Got To Have Friends”

INTRODUCTION:

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, whatever they might be, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of July, I have a story to share with you, my gentle readers.

* * *

THE NEWS STORY:  

This is a simple story with funny photos.  The gist of this story is best understood in its title: To Prove A Point, This Woman Wore Her ’90s Bridesmaid Dress Everywhere.

As explained in the article, the reason the bridesmaid wore her dress everywhere was to poke fun at her friend, the bride– who recently apologized to her bridesmaids for making them wear these dresses years ago.

The bridesmaid, who took umbrage at this apology, showed her friend, the bride, that she, the bridesmaid, loved the dress and then wore it as she did her daily activities.  She even provided photographic proof.

* * *

MY COMMENTARY:

This story, which is totally absurd, made me laugh out loud.

It reminded me that a longtime friendship like the one described in this article is rare and true and needs to be celebrated.

I mean think about it: who do you know who’d do something as goofy as wearing a bridesmaid dress while doing her daily activities just to make you laugh– and eat your words?

My answer: only a dear friend, that’s who!

And it’s for this reason that I share with you this small, silly, happy news story proving that a bit of humor can go a long way toward making life more positive and enjoyable.

Like they say, you gotta have friends.