Be The Light: Of Ladybugs, Love & A Clever Little Girl

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, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

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

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Did you know that in the Jewish religion when visiting a loved one’s grave it’s customary to leave a stone on the grave?  These stones are called visitation stones.

I wasn’t aware of this tradition until I read about a girl who took it upon herself, in response to cemetery vandalism, to create some pretty hand-painted lady bug and heart visitation stones.

The complete story [found here with video] tells of 6-year-old Ayel’s response upon learning that vandals had damaged her great-great-great-grandmother’s tombstone in a St. Louis cemetery.  Ayel decided to paint some stones for herself, and for all the other families who had experienced this vandalism, as a way of showing kindness to the living– and respect to the deceased.

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MY COMMENTARY:

If you took the time to watch the video, then you’ve already realized that Ayel is cuter than the bee’s knees.  I mean, how could you not love her?

That smile!

But beyond that fact I like this kid’s spirit.  She understands what happened in the cemetery and that it was a lousy thing for anyone to do.  However, instead of ignoring what happened or giving in to helplessness, she’s opted for kindness.

Ayel intuitively gets what many adults have forgotten.  She understands that creating something healing and meaningful doesn’t have to be complicated.  It just has to come from the heart.

Which, as anyone with even just an ounce of kindness in their soul knows, is a great place to start.

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[Unofficial] Share Your World | I’m Pivoting Here

{ Image via The Public Domain Review }

I’m sorry to report that Cee is ill this week so there are no official Share Your World questions for me to answer.  

This, however, will not stop me from sharing my world with you, my gentle readers.  Oh no it won’t.  

Thus I give you my answers to The Pivot Questionnaire made famous by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio.

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1.  What is your favorite word?  

It’s a toss-up between snazzy & neat-o.  I like them both equally.  Although flapdoodle & groovy are good ones, too.  Can I get back to you on this one? 

2.  What is your least favorite word?  

Close-minded.

3.  What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Blue sky, fresh air, being outside in nature or in a city, walking or sitting, taking it all in.

4.  What turns you off?

Hypocrisy.

5.  What is your favorite curse word?

“Frostbite.”  Stated thusly because this is a PG-13 blog.  Use your imaginations and I’m sure you can figure out which F-word I’m thinking of.

6.  What sound or noise do you love?

I like the sound that the leaves make when the wind blows through the trees, resulting in a quiet rustle that, along with a few happy bird chirps, is the epitome of mellow.

7.  What sound or noise do you hate?

Donald Trump’s voice.

8.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’m fascinated with interior design, so I’ll say that.

9.  What profession would you not like to do?

Trash collector.

10.  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome! We have your favorite table waiting over here on the deck out of the direct sunlight. Now it’s chilled Sauvignon Blanc, right? And will you need to see a menu today?

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Be The Light: Of Coffee, Kindness, And Connection

I read about the idea first when bikerchick57 posted about it on her blog, Mary J Melange.  Then I read about it again when Susan Scott wrote about it on her blog, Garden of Eden Blog.

I liked what they were talking about so I thought to meself, I’ll do this project, too.  Thus I share with you my first post in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest, the point of which is to highlight positive news stories and present them on the last Friday of the month.

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INTRODUCTION: I initially thought it would easy to find a positive news story online, but I was naive.

Stupidity. Anger. Hostility. Resentment.  Those news stories were everywhere, easy to find even when I didn’t want to find them.

I was ready to give up on this project but decided that I wouldn’t let vitriol win, and eventually I found the following positive news story, therein proving that good news is out there if you intentionally look for it.

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THE NEWS STORY: When I finally found something positive in the news, it was a story about a small personal gesture made by a woman who behaved rudely toward a guy who was just doing his job.  The story, Starbucks barista gets apology note and $50 bill from ‘sassy’ customer, hit home with me for many reasons.

For one thing, I’ve worked as a waitress, which is like a barista in that you have to deal with tired people who just want their food and drink. Now.

Also I’ve been a sassy customer, not in food establishments as much as in retail stores, when I can’t find what I want– and all that I want is, in my mind, so simple and should be there.

And three, I’ve sent apology notes to friends and family when I’ve goofed up. ‘Cuz good manners count.

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COMMENTARY: This was an act of kindness that highlights a common problem that I see in our increasing complicated, impersonal, and fast-paced world.  That is, a lack of patience for not getting what you want, then taking it out on whomever happens to be the messenger.

But what I do not see or read about often enough are apologies expressing a sincere regret for impatient behavior, backed up with something tangible. Hello, President Grant!

So in conclusion, with all due respect to Gibbs Rule #6, I think that in many cases, such as this one between strangers, apologies are a sign of strength that can only make our world a better, less hostile, more connected place in which to live.

And we all want that, don’t we?

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?

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• 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.

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

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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. }

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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.

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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?

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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.

Aging Gracefully: A Query, A Quandary, A Questionable Answer

“Explain the phenomenon of aging gracefully.”

  • You just never know, do you?

Looking at recent search queries that brought readers to this blog, the one written above caught my eye.  It amazed me.

Usually people find The Spectacled Bean when they’re looking for answers to garden problems [deer eating pansies], self-awareness [Quaker questions], or vanity [V-beam procedure].

I know it’s odd, but it’s true;  those are the three most popular posts on this blog.  Not exactly what I’d consider to be my focus or my best-written stuff, but Google’s algorithm does what Google’s algorithm does.

All Hail Google!

  • My first thought upon seeing this query was to feel a little insulted.  

Aging? Moi?! Pish posh, I say!

But then I remembered that one of my blog tags is Aging Gracefully so I had to lighten up on being insulted, and I shifted my thinking to “isn’t this wonderful?”

I was being asked to impart the wisdom of my many years so that others could learn from my depth of experience, keen observations about human nature, and buoyant spirit. 

So I sat down at my computer ready to compose a post in which I’d answer that query in such a way as to goose Google’s algorithm.  I’d write something so profound and pithy that anyone who asked a similar query, for years to come, would be directed here.

The dream, so close.

  • But here’s the thing, and it’s significant, I have no real answer to this query.

I mean, I dunno.  Maybe the answer is to never stop exercising?  Or maybe it’s to commit to being a lifelong learner?  Or to attempt to let go of any person, idea, or thing that no longer serves you?

None of these? Some of these? All of these?

Or maybe, just maybe, the real essence of the phenomenon of aging gracefully can be summarized in one crotchety remark: “DON’T BOTHER YOUR ELDERS WITH SILLY QUESTIONS!”

You got that, you nosy little whippersnapper?

If We Were Having Coffee On This May Morning…

THE SETTING:

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We’d be sitting in my living room, watching a rabbit watch us through the window.

We’d be drinking espressos that I made with my Nepresso Pixie machine, an indulgent acquisition that I’m really enjoying more than I thought I would.  

We’d be listening to SiriusXM 40s Junction because I’ve been in a weird mood lately and have taken a fancy to this old music. It’s fun.

THE CONVERSATION:

√  We’d be chatting… about the grocery bag, filled with canned goods, that you saw by our mailbox post when you drove into the driveway.  The bag is for our postwoman to pick-up today as part of the 24th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.  I’d be snarking about the half-assed neighbors who don’t give to this cause.  I notice, I remember.

√  We’d be sharing… our latest TV obsessions, which in my case is watching The Gilmore Girls from beginning to end, anticipating the revival.  I only saw the show occasionally when it ran on TV, so I decided that as a treat throughout Spring and Summer, I’d watch all the episodes in order.  So far, so delighted.

√  We’d be talking… about my question: if you have a blog, do you have a page for it on FB?  And if so, is it worth the bother?  Some friends in real life have suggested I should put The Spectacled Bean on FB to get more traffic.  While I like this idea in theory, because more people in real life NEED to be following me, I dunno if I believe it would work.  What say ye?

√  We’d be laughing… about how I know who I’m going to vote for in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.  I’m voting for myself because I’m the perfect candidate who can make both sides happy.  For Republicans, I have no experience in politics.  For Democrats, I’m a woman who knows a thing or two.  See what I mean?  Presidential.

THE CONCLUSION:

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We’d linger today because neither one of us has much to do today. Go figure. And it’s a Saturday, even.   

However, eventually we’d need to go our separate ways so we’d hug and promise to get together sometime next month, if summer vacations don’t interfere.

And we’d thank each other for listening to & commenting on our joys and woes. Like friends do. Everywhere. Over an espresso.

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Idea for this post came from Diana at Part-Time Monster.

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