Share Your World | Power To The Purple Pansy

Last week while answering Cee’s questions I told you, my gentle readers, that I was looking forward to planting some pansies in a pot. Here is a photo of said pansies in said pot. Aren’t they pretty?

~ ~ • ~ ~

• Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

This is a tricky question for me to answer because I write this blog under a nom de plume.  Yes, Ally Bean is my nickname.  It evolved from the old saying: “Know what I mean, Jelly Bean?”  Back when I started blogging in 2004 no one used his or her real name when writing online, so I went with Ally Bean.  As for this name’s significance, all I can suggest is that it might mean, FRIEND LEGUME.  I guess.

• Music or silence while working?

Almost always silence when working.  Quiet focuses me.  And a focused me is a productive me.

• If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

Not sure if this question is asking me what are my three most special possessions OR what is my special place for them?  No matter.  I’ll answer the latter question by saying my most special possessions, of which there are many more than three, are in our house.  Ergo our house must be a special place, right?

• The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?

I will never do cardiac surgery, ride on a Segway again, write a textbook on quantum physics, collect dolls, imbibe any rum-based drink again, travel by submarine, buy a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps, teach a class about car repair, OR needlepoint a pillow cover.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Season 3 of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.  I’m grateful for anything that makes me laugh and this TV series does that.  Over the weekend I watched half of Season 3, released on Friday, and I’m still smiling about the characters, the plot, the settings, the humor.  So funny + smart.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to an Ikea chest of drawers, now in three large heavy flat boxes leaning against the wall in the upstairs hallway.  Next weekend Zen-Den and I hope to remain married while we build this chest of drawers that, when assembled, will give me one place to put all of my foldable clothes.

~ ~

This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

~ ~

Share Your World | Hail, Hail, Spring Is Here

This is a photo of hail, pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds, as seen on our deck. There is nothing inspiring about hail, yet there it is.  Hello, spring.

Spring is here and I’m ready for a change of pace vis-à-vis blogging.  

So starting today and in the coming weeks instead of me dreaming up something to write about here, I’m going to do Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge wherein I’ll answer her questions on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week.

I may post a few other things along the way, but for the most part I’m going to see where Cee’s questions take me.  ‘Cuz, you know, why not?  

And now, onto the main event…

~ ~ • ~ ~  

• How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

It depends on the time of day.  If it’s morning, say 9:00 a.m. when I’m caffeinated and alert, then I’m 35 years old.  However after a normal day, by 9:00 p.m. in the evening, I’m 85 years old.  This means, quite logically, that I age a little over 4 years every hour of the day.

• So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I know where my umbrella is.  It’s red and in the backseat of my car.  No one except me may use my red umbrella without written authorized consent, submitted in triplicate 24 hours before the proposed using of my umbrella.

I wasn’t always so selfish with my umbrella, but *true confessions* I married an umbrella thief + hoarder whose behavior has led me to institute a strict protocol about all umbrellas, use of said.

• Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

To recharge I need quiet time alone, about 2 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.  Unless it’s Christmas-time, then it’s 3 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.

• Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend have in common.

Zen-Den and I: 1) look good wearing the color blue;  2) prefer mustard potato salad;  and 3) enjoy Ruth Galloway mysteries written by Elly Griffiths.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Olly, the doggo featured in the YouTube video below.  His energy combined with his disregard for the rules made me laugh more than I can tell you.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to the yet-to-be planted pansies, sitting inside our garage.  IF there’s no frost, THEN I’ll plant them in pretty pots, and place the pansified pots by the front door and on the deck, adding some color around the outside of the house.

~ • ~

This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

~ • ~

The Beginning Of My Life As A Purposeful Procrastinator

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-8-15-02-amTwenty years ago this month Zen-Den and I bought a dial-up modem that we used to connect our home computer to the World Wide Web– and our lives changed forever.

For a few years before this, we’d been using a home computer to keep track of finances and to make a recipe book– well, one of us was making a recipe book.  These uses of a home computer seemed modern enough to us, but with a snazzy new modem we had the luxury of the WWW in our home.  Imagine!

~ ~ ~ ~

I knew about email because in college I had an email address.  That was only because I was part of an early academic study on how strangers interact with each other on the World Wide Web.

[Back then, the answer would be formally, as if writing a letter and responding back to each other on a weekly basis.]

I also knew a little bit about getting information from the web, although my experience had been with college librarians who were the only people with direct access to computers that connected to the WWW.

[Back then I’d give my query of keywords, perfectly parsed a la Boolean logic, to a librarian who then input my query into a computer.  Hours later I’d get a printout of where to go in the bricks-and-mortar library to read whatever it was I was researching.]

~ ~ ~ ~ 

But what I didn’t know about the WWW was how much I’d fall in love with it, and its ability to provide information and conversation instantly.

Now, of course, it seems completely normal. Pedestrian.

But I tell ‘ya when we first went online at home in 1997, I never dreamed that the World Wide Web would be the making of me.  And that the screechy sound of our dial-up internet connection was heralding my quirky future as a purposeful procrastinator with a blog.

~ ~  ~ ~ 

~ ~  ~ ~ 

Questions of the Day

When did you first get connected to the WWW in your home?

How has your life changed because of it?

~ ~  ~ ~ 

On St. Valentine’s Day: A Slightly Risqué Conversation Between The Old Married People

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-32-22-amZen-Den and I were sitting in our living room the other evening.

I was playing Farm Heroes Super Saga on my iPad.

It’s a free game in which you collect brightly colored produce, flowers, rain drops, wheat sheaves, and acorns.  You accomplish this by moving pieces around the board while dealing with Darwin the Goat who eats wheat sheaves and Fidget the Squirrel who thunks acorns with his tail.

What’s not to love?

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-7-40-43-amZen-Den, on the other hand, was reading a copy of Smithsonian magazine, but he looked up to ask me how my game was going.

I told him I was on a particularly fun, but difficult, level where in order to win I needed to get Fidget the Squirrel to whack all the acorns on the screen.

To which Zen-Den commented: “Sure, any game in which nuts get a little tail is a good one. Enjoy.”

Image Sources: |1| |2|

~ Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone ~

A Mid-Winter Walk In The Nature Preserve

On Saturday the sun was finally shining, so Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve for a walk. We enjoyed the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air on a brisk winter afternoon when there was no snow around. Here are a few photos I took along the way.

~ ~ • ~ ~

path

We decided to take the flat, relatively mud-free trail. It was less than a mile, and interesting to wander along. Having never been on it before, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw.

~ • ~

rowena

Near the beginning of the trail we noticed this little cutie pie squirrel munching on a seed. I immediately named her Rowena.

~ • ~

bench

A little farther along the trail we saw this bench that had an inscribed plaque on it. The plaque said: “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have Fun.”

~ • ~

pond

We walked beside this partially frozen pond that was reflecting light into the darker forest just beyond it. The scene looked like something out of an animated Disney movie.

~ • ~

cabin

Soon thereafter we walked across a field and came upon this relocated 200-year-old cabin. Much of the cabin’s wood is original.

~ • ~

cabin-door

Entering the cabin through this door, we discovered a table and two benches + a fireplace. Nothing else in there. Very rustic.

~ • ~

pond-2

Then, near the end of the trail we walked beside this small pond surrounded by tall grasses under the blue winter sky, making for a picture perfect photo at the end of our walk.

~ ~ • ~ ~

When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

~ ~ ~ ~

I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

~ ~ ~ ~

III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Pillow Talk: Of Snowy Nights and Annoying Logic

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I woke up with itchy eyes.  I have lots of boring medical problems with my eyes so this happens.

Downstairs on the kitchen counter was a bottle of prescription eye drops that I knew would relieve my itchy eyes, but it was all. the. way. downstairs. and I was toasty warm in our bed upstairs.

Botheration.

However, I couldn’t get back to sleep so I begrudgingly got up and went downstairs at 3:00 a.m. to instill [that’s medical lingo!] a drop in each eye.

Of course while I was downstairs waiting for the drops to do their thing, I glanced out the window to see what was happening outside.

Curiosity.  Or habit.  Maybe both.

I dunno for sure, but I took a look-see.  Just ‘cuz.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-21-45-am
Is this me OR is this a showgirl featured in a promotional photo for the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940)? { source }

~ • ~

ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER I WENT back upstairs to bed where I thought I quietly slipped into bed again.  But apparently my blanket shuffling was more disruptive than I realized and I awakened Z-D.

After politely inquiring if I was “ok” Z-D, who knows my habits, asked what the weather was like outside.  I told him that it had snowed, but that it had only snowed on the grass, not on the sidewalk, driveway, and street.

He mumbled: “that can’t be.”

I assured him that was what had happened outside.  It had snowed on the lawn, not on the hard surfaces.  I’d seen it.

Again he said: “can’t happen.”

Then he rolled over away from me taking the covers with him and began to snore.  I would have ignored him entirely but he had swiped too much of the blanket and I wanted my part back.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-29-56-am
Is this our bedroom OR is this a photo from the New York World’s Fair (1939-1940) Town of Tomorrow Exhibit? { source }

~ • ~

SO I TUGGED ON THE BLANKET which roused him again.

At which point, in his sleepy daze as if the conversation about the weather was still ongoing, he said to me: “you’d have to be some kind of stupid to not know that snow falls on everything outside.  It just doesn’t land on the grass, it falls on hard surfaces, too, where you don’t see it because it’s melted.”

And with that he fell fast asleep, leaving me, the stupid person, to realize that: 1) he was absolutely right;  & 2) I had no more interest in talking to him if he was going to use annoying old logic.

I mean, really– this is a man who can’t find his car keys at noon when they’re on the kitchen counter right in front of him, but he can tap into meteorological reasoning when awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?

Who does that?  Honestly…

Meh.