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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The Tale Of Diligent Dave & The Wily Fiber Optic Cable

We were told that the switch from coaxial cable to fiber optic cable would happen on Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Here’s what actually happened.

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This is my DIY standing desk arrangement. It’s a wonderful use for the 1966 50th Anniversary Edition of the World Book Encyclopedia.

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The following will please the optimists, inform the curious, disappoint the naysayers, and entertain the pre-amused…

At 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday we got a knock on the front door from a man who told us he was going to be digging a trench through the yard where the new cable would be buried. He did so without any fuss.

At 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, only a half hour late, a man who I shall call Diligent Dave but Z-D refers to as That Kid, pulled into our driveway to start things rolling. Diligent Dave sat inside his truck for a while goofing around on a computer, wandered around our front yard a few times, then backed out of our driveway and drove up  & down our street many times.

At 9:30 a.m. Diligent Dave came to the front door and told us:

  1. there was something wrong, his computer indicated that the connection to the above ground fiber optic utility box on the street didn’t exist even though lines had been installed on this street earlier in the fall;
  2. he had called the department that installed the lines to have someone come out to find out what was wrong; and
  3. he could come inside the house and start running the cable line from the basement up to the home office while we waited to see IF the connection outside on the street really did exist.

At 11:00 a.m. a man, let’s call him Happy Henry, from the outside installation department came to the front door to talk with Diligent Dave. They chatted about what wasn’t happening.

At 11:30 a.m. two trucks, each driven by one man, arrived. After conferring with Happy Henry those two men pulled out a table and some tools. They went into the neighbor’s yard where they set up the table and started messing around with the above ground fiber optic utility box, hoping to find our house’s particular cable connection inside it.

At 12:15 p.m. a miracle occurred and voilà the “missing” outside fiber optic cable connection was found, meaning that all we needed now was for Diligent Dave to finish his job.

At 1:15 p.m. Diligent Dave succeeded in getting the cable line across the ceiling in the basement, up through the wall and into the home office… behind my desk.

At 1:20 p.m. Z-D and Diligent Dave carefully moved my desk with all the stuff on it [my desktop computer, Keyzia, included] away from the wall so that Diligent Dave could fiddle around near the baseboard and attach a small magical box to the wall.

At 1:30 p.m. our fiber optic cable connection happened.  Then under Diligent Dave’s watchful eye we started testing all our electronic gadgets [computers, phones, iPad, TVs] to confirm that the wifi, now connected to the fiber optic cable, was indeed working as advertised. It was.

At 1:45 p.m. after Z-D and Diligent Dave moved my desk back into place,  Diligent Dave left and there was joy in the land.

But, of course, there is more to the story, the After Party so to speak…

Once Diligent Dave left the house Zen-Den and I ducked out of the house to go to the grocery.  At 2:30 p.m. whilst in the midst of shopping in the grocery we received a phone call from a slightly frantic Diligent Dave who had left his tool bag in our basement and REALLY needed it to be able to do his next appointment at 3:00 p.m.

Thus we quickly bought our food, rushed home [a 10 minute drive] so we could retrieve Diligent Dave’s tool bag in our basement and hand it to him.  He was pleased, expressing thanks, telling us that his next job was only 8 minutes away so he’d be there to start it on time.

Unlike our job where he showed up a half hour late BUT who doesn’t like a touch of innocent irony to go along with their new scary fast fiber optic cable?

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Questions of the daY

Regardless of the type of computer you use, do you have a sitting or standing desk? Or do you prefer to sit at a table? Or to plop your computer onto your lap?

Do you know how you get your internet connection in your home? Do you like it?

Considering that Zen-Den continues to refer to Diligent Dave as That Kid, do you believe, like I do, that Z-D the recently semi-retired is well on his way to becoming an old codger?

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Know What I Mean, Ally Bean? 4 Things I Say Because I Am Me

This is funny, I say wisely

Let the flapdoodle & twaddle begin…

I don’t know if other people do what I’m going to tell you I do, but what I do is so ingrained in me that I don’t think about it unless I intentionally decide to write a blog post about it.

[Nice sentence, huh?]

I compiled the following of that which is ingrained in me by paying more attention to myself than I normally do, which is to say tuning in to who I am when I’m on auto-pilot.

So here’s what I’m getting at: I have specific things I say to myself when prompted by certain situations.  These things are not profound, but they are an indication of who I am when left to my own devices.

Allow me to explain below.

1

I am a magnet for good.

Years ago I read an article about how you should have a mantra you say whenever you go out into the world.  This mantra should empower you AND tell the Universe how to treat you.

There was a list of mantras and I picked this one, primarily because I like literal images I can envision in my pragmatic brain that also have a figurative component that makes my English Lit major heart happy.

2

Learn something!

I say this out loud whenever I see a school bus filled with kids drive by the house.  Those little trapped faces stare out at me and I feel for them, thus I bless them with what I believe is a good idea.

3

I park in “H” for hell.

There’s a story behind this one.  You see, whenever I go to any big box retail store that has a huge parking lot wherein rows are designated with letters of the alphabet I do one particular thing.

I cannot take credit for dreaming up this idea.  My mother and her friends did this.  Naturally she encouraged me to do the same thing.

Thus being a dutiful daughter I picked a letter, “H” for hell, and always park as close to it as I can.  Mom approved, although she rolled her school teacher-y eyes at me concerning the why of the letter I picked.

4

Tres bien

I say this in the morning as I pour my first cup of coffee into a mug.  It’s a blessing and a goal and a hope all in one phrase.  I will admit, however, that sometimes I say “muy bueno” or “very good” which impart the same meaning, just in different languages because variety is important.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you, like me, consistently say things to yourself in certain situations that if overheard might make someone wonder about you?

If so, care to share what you say?

If you were forced to decide, do you think this post is more flapdoodle-y OR twaddle-ish? 

Hocus Pocus Tuesday Focus: Five Useful Questions + Five Autumn Photos

And now for something different…

From what I can tell Seth Godin [marketing guru, author, lecturer] is a master at getting people to think about their projects, or their lives, in a new light.

He does this by asking generic questions that nudge you, the self-aware reader of said questions, to answer them in such a way as to frame your project/life differently and go forth with a renewed sense of purpose.

And isn’t that magical, by cracky!

Which brings me to today, a Tuesday, the day on which I plan on publishing a personal blog post, one that answers the most basic of basic question: What up, Buttercup?  

But alas & alack on this Tuesday I’ve nothing in particular to talk about, nor has anything interesting happened that is worthy of a blog post.

However, be that as it may, today instead of my usual flapdoodle and twaddle I shall charm you, my little hobgoblins, by answering the following questions that are perhaps meant for business projects, but equally useful when conjuring a personal blog post.

Seth’s Five Useful Questions 

🔶 What’s the hard part? 

I find that keeping the leaves out of your wine glass is the hardest part. You’d be amazed how many leaves try to jump into the glass.

🔶 How are you spending your time?

Autumn is my favorite season so I’m doing everything I can to enjoy it by going outside to walk, to rake, to sit, to muse upon the meaning of life.

🔶 What do you need to know?

I need to know where the rake is. And a broom, too. Maybe even the electric leaf blower if I can find the cord for it. There be leaves everywhere.

🔶 What is the scary part?

The scary part is climbing on a ladder to get the leaves out of gutters. We only clear the gutter you see in this photo, then in November the window washer guy will remove the rest of the leaves from all the gutters.

🔶 Is it worth it?

I believe it is. I like living among deciduous trees for many reasons, but mostly because I enjoy seeing the leaves change colors in the fall. Besides what’s a few hours of working in the yard, raking leaves, when there’s beauty all around?

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WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU? WHAT’S MAGICAL IN YOUR LIFE TODAY? BEWITCH US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW

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A Conversation About Curly Hair With The UPS Delivery Man

Our new front sidewalk, pristine and perfect.

THE Scene

I heard the UPS truck pull up in front of the house, mid-morning. I looked out the study window and saw the UPS delivery man step off the truck carrying a thin squishy envelope package for me [a t-shirt from Lands’ End].

He’s a nice guy, handsome, a regular in our neighborhood, and I’m a nice person so I walked out the front door and started walking down the sidewalk to meet him halfway.

Save him a few steps in the intense summer heat, ‘ya know.

Welp, I smiled and said “hello” while extending my left hand to grab the thin squishy envelope package, figuring he’d hand it to me. But instead he froze in place about four feet in front of me and just stared at me.

I followed his gaze and realized I had MY HAIR TIED UP on top of my head in what probably seemed to him to be an UNUSUAL style. I was wrong about that assumption.

THE CURLY HAIR BACKSTORY

When I can, like on days when I’m staying home, after I wash my hair I don’t use a hairdryer;  instead I pull my wet curly hair into a topknot held in place with an elastic.

Then I twist bandana around it in such a way as to tie up my hair. This way my hair dries off my neck AND it forms groovy, beachy curls in the process.

It’s AN OLD-FASHIONED WAY of styling your hair that back then involved clean rags, but now as an affluent suburbanite I use A BANDANA purchased at Walmart for $1.98.

THE CONVERSATION BEGINS

Curly hair, he said.

Yes, said I while trying to reach over to grab the package from his hand, but to no avail.

You do that when it’s wet, he said. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Yes, said I whilst staring intently at the package in his hand, hoping he’d remember why he was here.

Huh, he replied.

A LONG PAUSE during which time I began to notice how hot it was outside standing on the sidewalk in bare feet in the direct sunshine. DAMNED HOT.

THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES

My wife does that with our daughter’s hair, he explained.

Yes, said I nodding my head in what I hoped was a conversation-ending gesture of understanding.

I thought she was pulling my leg when she said it’s what you do with curly hair. I had two sisters but they had straight hair, he continued.

Yes, said I.

They never did that, he confided.

Hmmm, said I wondering where this conversation was going to go next.

After another LONG PAUSE, during which time he further scrutinized my hair like I WAS A SCIENCE PROJECT, he handed me the package.

THE UNEXPECTED COMPLIMENT

The bandana is a nice touch. My wife doesn’t use one of those but it looks cute on you, he said.

Thank you, said I whilst pondering how out of kilter the Universe must be that I, a gray-haired woman of a certain age, had just been told my hairstyle was “cute” by a handsome 30-something man.

I’m going to suggest she get some bandanas for our daughter’s hair, he told me.

Good idea, said I.

And with that he FINALLY handed me the package and said “goodbye” as he walked back to his truck, SHAKING HIS HEAD IN AMAZEMENT, mumbling about how he couldn’t believe his wife hadn’t been joshing him all along.

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PLEASE NOTE: I’m having difficulties leaving comments on some blogs and it’s incredibly frustrating.

I don’t know if the problem is in my browser or if it’s another example of gremlins in WordPress. The problem seems random. Rivergirl, yes. Nicole, no. Kate, sometimes. And so it goes…

Also, on random blogs I’m not consistently receiving an indication that there’s been a reply to my comment when there has been one. Another gremlin?