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…



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.


√  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.



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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Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.24.47 AM

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

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Z Is For Zwieback, A Good Way To End

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 11.05.45 AMYou can’t dunk your zwieback in your Bosco.”

~ Radar O’Reilly, M*A*S*H

This quote, which is from an episode of M*A*S*H, refers to the uncomfortable feeling you have around someone who is more uptight + judgmental than you are.

Radar said it to Hawkeye in a literal way, referring to Colonel Potter, but over time this quote has come to be an idiom meaning that you’re not relaxed and confident around someone else because you’re afraid that you’ll do something wrong.

And get in trouble or be judged for it.

I’ve heard people in real life say this quote.  It’s clever, and it does show you how language + meaning evolve in the most unpredictable ways.

Which, now that I think about it, might the subtext of my FOOD: Talking The Talk theme.  That is, all the words I’ve picked here have morphed, for reasons varied, into meaning something more than their literal definitions, which for me, a wordsmith + foodie, is worthy of note.

And it is a perfect thought on which to end this 2016 A To Z Challenge.

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Thanks everyone for stopping by to read and comment.  I appreciate you taking the time to be here as I did something I wasn’t sure that I could do. I guess, after all my doubts, my challenge turned out to be better, rather than worse.


PLEASE NOTE: next week I’ll reflect upon this blogging adventure, using the sayings that didn’t make the cut.  You’re going to like it.  😉

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P Is For Parsnips, Most Peculiar

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.56.48 AM “Fine words butter no parsnips.”

This is an old English proverb that means empty words or flattery achieve nothing.  The idea being that buttering food makes it taste better, but it’s still the same food.

I first remember hearing this proverb on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Olivia d’Abo as Nicole Wallace played an accomplished grifter who was always one step ahead of Vincent D’Onofrio as Detective Robert Goren aka Bobby.  She tormented Bobby, the brainiac, like a cat with a mouse, and at one point while he was trying to find a way to put her in jail, she said the above saying.

The saying stuck with me, and is my only “real life” experience with this saying.

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If you’re a fan of vegetables and of Walt Disney World, you may remember that during the 1980s & 1990s there was The Kitchen Kabaret show at The Land Pavilion in Epcot.

The show was a hoot, complete silliness– with a memorable theme song.  Click HERE to listen to the “Veggie, Veggie, Fruit, Fruit”  song.  Click HERE to see some photos of the show.

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C Is For Cracker, Just Cuz

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.37.14 AMHoly crap on a cracker!

… is one of those things people say when stuff goes wrong in a weird way.  I couldn’t tell you when or where I first saw or heard this saying, but I know that I say it from time-to-time.

When I started researching this phrase’s derivation, I discovered that some sources say that “crap on a cracker” is a polite way of re-stating what my FIL, a Korean War vet, would describe as: sh!t on a shingle.”  

I dunno if that’s true, but it makes for a good story.

What I do know to be true about this phrase is that it’s been made popular by Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny on The Big Bang Theory.

And that’s all I can tell you, my gentle readers, about holy crap on a cracker!  😉

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