As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

No Salt For You: A Circular Dinnertime Conversation Between The Married People

You know how in the movies married couples have these amazing heart-to-heart conversations over a home-cooked meal? We’re not like that.

Our conversations are more like a Looney Tunes cartoon.

~ ~ ~ ~

Me, putting a plate of hot food in front of him: Don’t want any salt on your dinner.

Him: Ok.

Me, sitting down to eat: How does it taste?

Him: Tastes good. It doesn’t need salt.

Me: Good. Then you don’t want any salt on it.

Him, giving me an odd look: Yes, I don’t want any salt on my dinner.

Me: Excellent.

Him, still staring at me: Yep, quite tasty as it is.

Me: Uh huh.

Him: ARE YOU EVER GOING TO TELL ME WHY I CAN’T HAVE ANY SALT ON MY DINNER?

Me: Oh, sorry, you don’t know. We’re out of salt so don’t want any salt on your dinner.

Him: You’ve said that.

Me, distracted by the merry-go-round of thoughts in my brain: What?

Him: I don’t want any salt on my dinner.

Me: Well, good. That’s what I told you to do.

Him, giving me a sidelong glance: Yep, you did. Happy to cooperate. Wouldn’t want any salt on my dinner… oh. no. I. wouldn’t.

Me, half listening: Uh huh… what? Ok.

~ ~ ~ ~

Could it be that The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down is the Looney Tunes Theme? Why by golly, it is.

~ ~ ~ ~

That’s all Folks!

In Which The Beans Discuss The TV Remote Control, Unnecessary Complexity Of Said

ZEN-DEN POLITELY EXPLAINED TO ME that I needed to re-frame my irritation.  That I had to let my mind embrace a new way of thinking about some of the little daily irritations that bug the snot out of me.

“Chickiedoodle,” he said, “it’s all just dust in the wind. Insignificant.”

[Yes, he sometimes call me Chickiedoodle.  Grow up people, we’re married & cutesy nicknames happen.]

“It’s not worth worrying about these small things.  I respect your feelings about them, and you’re right– but you gotta let it go.”

There’s a reason why he’s called ZEN-Den, you know.  He can get mellow, philosophical at the interconnectedness of life, almost without trying.  Little things in daily life don’t bug him so much.

But me?  I see the faults.  I remember the faults.  And then I tend to mutter.

Which is how this conversation started.

~ • 📺 • ~

Artist’s rendering of sensible TV remote control that has only what is needed on it, written in large letters and numbers.

~ • 📺 • ~

YOU SEE, I WANTED TO watch something on cable TV, but I was once again thwarted by the unnecessary complexity of our remote control.

Hence, I was muttering to Z-D about how ridiculous it is that to turn on the television one does not use the “TV” button on the remote control.  No, one uses something called “Input” while ignoring the button that you’d think logically turns on the television.

But it doesn’t.

And if by chance you forget and hit the logical “TV” button, then everything goes wonky on the screen, and you’re left not watching television because you, a woman who dislikes gadgety things on principle, can’t remember how to turn on the darned television.

So I end up not watching cable TV, while complaining loudly about the intentionally irritating nonsensical TV remote control.

Dust in the wind?  Not buying it.

It’s a conspiracy to drive me crazy crazier.

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

Making A Decorating Decision Whilst Sitting On A Bar Stool

Spoiler Alert: There is no calamity in this post. For longtime readers this will be shocking because usually when I get involved in buying furniture something goes wrong.

• • •

IF YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THIS BLOG for a while you may remember that last fall Zen-Den & I spent a Saturday away from home because our electricity was inexplicable off in the house.

[Full story here.]

Well, what I didn’t tell you was that as we sat in the chicken joint’s bar, eating our sandwiches, dawdling over beer, watching a college football game that we had no interest in, we both noticed that the swivel bar stools that we were sitting on were comfortable.

Darned comfortable.

They weren’t like the awkward ancient curvy wrought iron bar stools that we had at our kitchen counter in our home.

So while in the bar Z-D turned over one of the stools hoping to find the manufacturer’s name on the bottom of the seat, but there was no name.

Naturally this didn’t slow us down in the least. When we want to know something we are intrepid. Blame it on our love of mystery novels and TV police procedurals. We find the answer.

Thus it came to be that, using a smart phone, we snapped a few pics of these stools, and googled them once we got home.

We found the manufacturer’s website and discovered that they make about a gazillion and seventy-two bar stools: different styles, different heights, different metals, different wood seats, different fabric seats.

All lovely.  Somewhat pricey.

• • •

Look at who’s peeking over the top of the kitchen counter!

• • •

THE STORY WOULD HAVE ENDED THERE except for the fact that in early January I received a coupon in the snail mail from Wayfair.  The coupon said that as a first-time buyer I could get 10% off anything I ordered plus free shipping.

On a whim, motivated by the coupon, I went online to see what Wayfair had to offer… and just for the fun of it, I looked to see if they had counter height bar stools.

Well, the angels sang…

Come to find out Wayfair offered one basic style of the above-mentioned company’s bar stools available in a size, and in a metal + wooden seat color combo, that worked in our kitchen.  Plus, using my precious coupon, *even better* these bar stools were the right price.

[Some assembly required.]

So lickety-split we ordered these bar stools from Wayfair.  They arrived without incident, and over the weekend Z-D put together our new bronze metal with dark cherry-stained maple seat counter height swivel bar stools.

Life is good when you’re sitting pretty– and comfy!

• • •

Feast your eyes on this svelte beauty! I dare ‘ya.

• • •

[Hello FTC!  Please note that I’m sharing what happened while buying this furniture.  There was no monetary &/or other compensation involved while shopping and purchasing this furniture.  But you already knew that, right?  However, to be clear, I just wanted to add this disclaimer.]  

15 Hours Without Electricity Because– Well, We Don’t Know Why

Think of this as a rambling “Dear Diary” post…

THE LONG WHINY PART

{ feel free to skip if muttering and complaining bother you }

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened from my slumber by the loud *click-clack-thunk-bunk* sounds of our machines, powered by electricity, turning themselves off.

What kind of forking shirt is this, I asked myself, emulating Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place as I used her creative vocabulary to express myself.

As one does.

Inside our house it was dark except for where the moon beamed in some light on the back of the house.  The front of the house, along with all of our neighbors’ houses, was dark.

Of course, having not recently fallen off the suburban homeowner turnip truck, I didn’t do a thing, except to look out a few windows, confirm that the whole neighborhood was without power, and then go back to sleep.

Next morning there was still no electricity anywhere on our street, so being the trooper that I am I got dressed and drove elsewhere to find us hot coffee.

[And what a sad bedraggled bunch of folks were we, the coffee fetchers, at the local Kroger Star$ kiosk.  Barely alert, yet focused on our mission to get the sustaining elixir of life for ourselves and our loved ones.]

THE DETAILED WHAT WE DID UNTIL WE GOT ELECTRICITY AGAIN PART 

{ probably want to skim over for context regarding the photos to come }

By 9:00 a.m. we still had no electricity, no idea why we didn’t have electricity, and our cell phones were almost without juice, so we did the only thing we could think of and went out to breakfast, at what turned out to be the world’s worst Bob Evans.

Humph.

Then, needing to charge our phones, we drove to the other side of somewhere to go to a garden nursery;  we like this garden nursery, but buying mums, which we did, was the secondary reason for our visit.  We required a long car ride to help our phones get going again.

Modern life, ain’t it grand?

Then, having called home to find that our answering machine wasn’t picking up, meaning no electricity, we decided to stop at a little new-to-us township park to wander around its flat paths and see what was there.

Short answer: kids and chairs.

Then, it being the middle of the afternoon on a day that wasn’t working out like I’d hoped, we went to the bar of a local restaurant that is known for chicken.  There we had delicious chicken sandwiches, watched some football, and drank beer.

Because… Saturday… in the fall… and bored.

THE 8 PRETTY PHOTOGRAPHS PART

{ make sure to look at these ‘cuz it was a clear day meant for snapping pics }

Pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Geese on pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Ducks avoiding geese on pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Island in middle of pond at township park.

• • •

Human beings gathered around play area beside pond at township park.

• • •

Old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

• • •

Chairs waiting for guests beside old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

• • •

Farm with corn in the field across from pond at township park.

• • • • •

Carelessness, Coupons, And Cake– OH MY!

It would seem that at some point in the recent past we stole our neighbor’s mail.  Well, we didn’t intentionally steal it as much as we accidentally acquired their mail.

My defense for this lapse is that we aren’t mail thieves, per se, as much as distracted, pre-elderly homeowners who assume any and all mail in our mailbox is, indeed, our mail.

But that assumption would be wrong. Oh yes, so wrong.

In fact, I wouldn’t have noticed this theft accidental acquirement if not for the good old coupons.  You know, the paper kind that come in the mail IF you’re a Kroger Plus Customer.

I’m talking about the ones that are specifically sent to you because you buy the same stuff over and over.

# # #

Look at those shopping carts all lined up. So tidy.  {Photo via Pixabay by Michael Gaida}

# # #

IT’S LIKE THIS, my gentle readers: the other day I went to get our mail from our mailbox and I see that our monthly Kroger Plus Customer coupon envelope is among the letters/junk mail in my hand.  I go inside the house, open the envelope, whereupon I feast my eyes on our very special and specific coupons.

[Some of which are for FREE money off your order if you spend a certain amount of money at the checkout.  This is normal.]

But it dawns on me that just a few days before Zen-Den had retrieved the mail from the mailbox, opened what he assumed was our Kroger Plus Customer envelope and left the coupons on the kitchen counter for me to file.

Which I hadn’t done yet.

Suddenly I start looking at these coupons on the counter, thinking how peculiar it is that we have coupons for Hubba Bubba bubble gum, and Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls with Icing, and Simply Potatoes frozen potatoes. Items we don’t buy. Ever.

[I also notice that the FREE coupons are for things like Betty Crocker cake mix, not for FREE money.  That’s not our normal.]

# # #

Look at Barney Kroger, founder of the Kroger supermarket chain. So dapper.  {photo source here via Library of Congress}

# # #

SLOWLY IT DAWNS on me that the coupons we have sitting on our kitchen counter are someone else’s coupons.  And because the envelope that these coupons came in is long gone, there’s no way to return the coupons to them.

Meaning, of course, that we, the Beans, jointly and severally, are miscreants of the lowest order, stealing [acquiring?] grocery coupons from our neighbors, like we’re two addled-brained overwrought suburbanites without the sense to read the front of an envelope.

Which clearly we are… but does not necessarily mean that we’re above using an accidentally acquired coupon to get a free box of cake mix.

Because, you know, CAKE!