A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

February 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Relations,

Not much happening around here, but I’ll write to you anyhow because it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week. Huzzah!

Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.

We continue to wait until we are eligible for our first Covid-19 vaccine shot. Then, of course, there’ll be a wait for the second one, which seems to be in short supply around here, so maybe not getting the first one yet is a good thing?

I dunno. We’ve been home together in our own little bubble for about 11 months now, so what are a few more weeks or months? We’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re doing low-key things.

Here is where we updated the cookbook.

We’ve finished updating our Family Favorites Cookbooks, 3rd edition. Yep, this is a re-do of a re-do of my first home computer project that I completed in February 1994, then updated for a second edition in April 2005. The bottom line is that we now have all our favorite recipes saved in the computer as well as printed, put in binders, and ready to go in the kitchen.

Move over Martha, you ain’t the only kid on the block who has it going on with her recipes. Ha!

The epicenter of clutter where the paint fan now resides.

We’re also in the process of deciding on a new exterior paint color for the trim and siding of Chez Bean. A new roof a few years ago + a new limestone retaining wall last December + a new deck sometime in 2021 [fingers crossed] = time to repaint exterior of the house bringing the color scheme into this decade.

Deciding on a new color is fraught with design peril. Oh yes it is. We have four seasons with natural light shining in different ways on four sides of the house, and there’s a need to coordinate with the brick and new retaining wall. Thus there are many variables, many possibilities– and one dithering me.

Our “communication center” where I await your replies.

And with that I’ll end this missive about our humdrum daily life, hoping it finds you well. What’s new with you?

Very truly yours,

Ally Bean, the bored

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Food For Thought: When’s the last time you wrote a letter home? It seems quaint now to think about doing that, let alone write one that includes snapshots. Remember doing that, too?

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In Which I Read A Book, Then Hit The Wall

A Cautionary Tale from my Daily Life

YOU SEE, I WAS IN BED READING A BOOK. I had a LED clip-on light attached to the book and I was involved in the story, eyes wide open. However my eyes got tired and started to blur so I stopped reading and put my spectacles aside.

I got up from bed, walked over to the light switch on the bedroom wall to turn off the overhead light [yes this one], then walked into the dark bathroom to avail myself of the facilities therein.

As one does.

I thought I could safely walk to where I needed to be in the bathroom, but I was temporarily blinded after turning off the lights in the bright bedroom and then walking into a pitch black bathroom. Thus it came to be that I walked smack dab OH MY GOODNESS TO THE GRACIOUS into the bathroom wall.

Yes, I hit the wall, literally.

Naturally being the mature woman I am I started yelling for Z-D to come help me because I KNEW THE END WAS NIGH. I was convinced I’d broken my nose and would be shuffling off to a hospital where I’d not be able to wear a mask because of my broken nose– and I’d catch Covid-19.

It was perhaps an overreaction, but during these dreary days of the endless pandemic one cannot be sure about what is going to happen to oneself after a bathroom wall willfully gets in your way.

To his credit Z-D did not immediately start laughing when he found me holding my nose and jumping up & down like a crazy person. In fact he turned on a light, politely examined my unbloodied, undamaged nose that never even got black and blue, THEN he started laughing like I was the lead character in the funniest Marx Brothers movie he’d ever seen.

And he would. not. stop. laughing.

Asking me over and over again why I didn’t turn on the light in the bathroom before I walked in.

Then laughing. some. more.

Finding this whole ridiculous slapstick incident much too entertaining, IF YOU ASK ME.

Happy Weekend, everyone. Try not to hit the wall.

A Simple Hello: Ms. Bean Goes For A Car Ride AND Returns To Blogging

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A few days before Christmas Day I realized I hadn’t driven my car in over a month. How very 2020 is that, I ask you?

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To remedy this situation I decided that we, that being Zen-Den and I, would go for a car ride to make sure that my sweet old car, now 18 years old, was still working.  She was.

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Inspired by the beautiful clear December day, we went to a city park where instead of walking, we drove around to see what we could see.  A different way for us to enjoy a park, but considering everything about 2020 was unique, it seemed fitting.

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A few people were outside walking, but for the most part we were by ourselves. I, of course, snapped a few photos to share here because what’s the point of having a camera in your cell phone if’n you don’t use it? I mean, really?

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Thus with this little vignette of a day in the life of Ms. Bean, I’m back here in the blogosphere with a renewed sense of vigor and, I hope you’ll agree, a snazzy new template for The Spectacled Bean. It was time for a change here.

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Also, for those readers who care about such things, I’ve decided on my word of the year. *drum roll please* In deference to my good intentions gone awry by things outside my control in 2020, I’ve decided to reuse my 2020 word of the year.  Yes, my #OneWord365 is going to be SIMPLIFY.  Again. 

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In Which The Beans Disagree Over The Value Of Texts Announcing Emails

Not seeing eye to eye, but that’s okay.

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To be clear this is NOT a strong opinion tightly held situation.

It’s just that Zen-Den and I disagree over something.  Nothing large, a quiet disagreement.  In fact it might be best described as a puny opinion half-heartedly held situation, but one that does lend itself to consideration and conversation.

Never would I have thought to write about it here except that I’m reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and in her memoir she talks about that which we disagree on, i.e., the value of texts prompting you to do something now.

In fact if you’ve read what she has written about texting you know that she says: “Texts are not the boss of me, and neither is anybody who texts me.” She is not a fan of them, in general– allowing for a few specific situations in which they are good.

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Getting to our particular disagreement.

Zen-Den, Esq, finds it mildly annoying when someone texts [or worse yet phones] him to say that this someone has sent Z-D an email that they want him to read.  Z-D considers that to be a remnant of old-school business practices left over from when everyone used snail mail and wanted you to know that the document was in the mail.

It is totally unnecessary in today’s electronic world. He thinks of it as weak sauce [my term for his thoughts].

I, on the other hand, like it when someone sends me a short text [no phone calls please] to alert me to the fact that this someone has sent me an email they would like me to read soon.  I consider it a polite heads-up to Ms. Bean, a woman known for forgetting to check her email accounts regularly.

It is not necessary but a good precaution if you want me to read your email on a timely basis.  I call it an act of random kindness.

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So what do you think, my gentle readers?  

Do you like to know when someone has sent you an email? OR do you prefer to find them when you find them?

When receiving a text message about an email that’s been sent to you, does the context, business or personal, influence your answer to the first question?   

Also, do you consider text messages to be bossy? OR do you consider them to be like a polite wave from a neighbor across the street?

Please discuss in the comments below.

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The One About The Deck Stairs Betraying Us [No One Was Hurt]

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS… hopefully sometime in the next year, but who knows?

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Our deck is 21 years old and we need to replace it.  To wit the top section of the wooden stairs have fallen apart.

Dramatically, in fact.

You see, the top section of the wooden stairs gave out as Zen-Den started to walk down the stairs to join me on the terrace below.

I saw it happen.

Fortunately Z-D is fast on his feet which is kind of amazing for a chubby older fellow, but there you have it.  He didn’t get hurt.  He used to be athletically-inclined, played team sports, so maybe those experiences helped him in the moment.

Still, unnerving.

  • Did I mention that the deck is 8-9 feet above the ground below?
  • That Mr. Man jumped about 6 feet down to the ground as the stairs gave way underneath him?
  • And that the look of amazement on his face was one for the ages?

Like I said no one was hurt, but now the long tedious process of finding someone reliable to replace the steps, and the deck, has begun.  Spring 2021 seems to be the earliest anyone can get to us.

Of course it is.

Nothing more to say here except stay safe, kids.  When things fall apart may you land securely on your own two feet.

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Questions of the Day: Does anyone have any experience with OR advice about having a deck replaced?  Did you go with wood OR composite?  Did you go with a dark stain/color OR a lighter one?  Did you pick metal posts OR wood or composite?  How did you decide who would build the deck?