A Remodeling Update: In Which Ms. Bean “Helps” & Other Important Things

It will come as no surprise to you, but it’s a mess around here.

Dining room with stuff from other rooms in it.

 Nothing is where it’s supposed to be.  Rooms that aren’t being remodeled have been turned into storage spaces for the stuff from rooms that are being remodeled.

Then with no clothes dryer, we’re using portable wooden racks, wedged into bedroom corners, to dry our clothes and towels and unmentionables… that are getting covered in a layer of dust before they dry, courtesy of the construction all over the house.

 Because the family room and the master suite are under construction, Zen-Den and I are living on the other side of the upstairs, each having taken up camp in a different guest bedroom.  At night we shout “good night” to each other like we’re the fricking Waltons: “Good night, Sue Mary Ellen… Good night, John-Boy.” 

Old microwave sitting on counter underneath spot where it fit, but new ones won’t.

 I officially hate microwaves.  Did you know that the manufacturers change the sizes of microwaves fairly often?  This means that the one we had built into the kitchen cabinets 9 years ago is now a size that is no longer available.

So we have to redesign the cabinets to accommodate the newer deeper microwaves.  I cannot *mutter* enough about this development.

 When the water is off for a few hours you immediately understand there’s one flush left in the toilet, right?  BUT what you might not remember is that there’ll be no water to wash your hands– and that you’ll need to have some hand wipes around.  IF you don’t have them around, then you’ll end up eating your lunch using a paper towel as you hold your sammie– then perhaps accidentally ingest some paper towel. 😖

Tools and such that are now on the floor hither and yon around the house.

 And finally, how is that I helped?  Well, as if there’s not enough destruction around here, I added to it when I went to close the bathroom door and the handle fell off into my hand.

Just. Like. That. I’m stuck outside the bathroom, holding the formerly useful handle in my hand, looking forlornly at the screws now at my feet.  Screws that happen to be about the same color as the carpeting, allowing them to blend perfectly with the carpet fibers, causing Ms. Bean to become FRAZZLED.

And on that cheery note, I’ll wish y’all a happy weekend.  Catch up with you later, kids. 

Share Your World | Pretty & Potted

Calibrachoa, mint + citronella mosquito plant in pots looking summer-y up on the deck.

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Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog.  Then, when I get it together like this week, I answer the questions here on my blog.

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• What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you that is not part of your regular daytime routine?

I like to go to local festivals to see the people and enjoy the atmosphere.  I like to go to parks to see the people and look at nature.  I like to go to speciality grocery stores to see the people and buy the tasty goodies.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Probably not much of anything different from what I do now.

Maybe buy a new car [mine’s 14 years old]? Maybe go on vacation for longer than a week?  Maybe give it all to the humane society, on the proviso that they never name a building or fund after me.  That would be tacky.

What makes you laugh the most?

TV situation comedies that point out human foibles make me laugh the most.  Currently I like The Big Bang Theory + Grace and FrankieThe Good Place.  I like reruns of Will and Grace + Friends + Parks and Recreation.

What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?

< begin rant >

The conceit that modern technology is making my life easier. It is not.

To wit, it’s making communication more immediate, but that’s not necessarily easier.  It’s making cars and microwaves swankier, but that’s not necessarily easier.  It’s making airport check-in and banking more self-directed, but that’s not necessarily easier.

Why?  Because there are more steps + options now when it comes to doing anything. Everything. All the time.

Meaning that, in my opinion, modern technology adds an unasked for layer of complexity to my life that I then have to muddle through to get anything accomplished.

And it wears me out.

< end rant >

 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 an early start to our home remodeling projects.  We weren’t schedule to begin until late June/early July, but our projects got moved forward.  Sure, it’s chaos around here, but I feel better, less anxious, now that we’re in process rather than waiting around for things to start.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to… well, honestly, I’m not looking forward to any one thing.  No big weekend plans.  No small weekend plans.  I’m just kind of living in the moment right now… for the moment!  😉

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

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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.