In Which I Do NOT Steal A Man’s Identity, But Could Do So Easily

You put together a puzzle. You take a photo. You run it through the Waterlogue app on your cell phone and this is what you get: PRETTY!

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED

I was sitting in the waiting area in a small boutique eyeglass shop that is in an old house, formerly a residence, but now zoned for commercial use.

I was having my spectacles adjusted. The optician helping me had taken my glasses with her into the back of the house, probably into what was formerly [maybe still is?] the kitchen, to have her way with them.

Across the room from me a different optician was talking with a man who was ordering new glasses. The room we were in was what would have been the living/dining room, with an 8′ ceiling, about 20′ x 15′ in size.

This man hadn’t gotten new glasses in over 12 years. The optician had found his file, a paper one, and was confirming details by saying things about him out loud to him.

Very normal.

BUT THERE WAS THIS LITTLE ISSUE WITH ACOUSTICS

Inadvertently I was overhearing everything that was being said between these two people. I didn’t want to hear but I did. I’ve changed the specific details to protect his identity, but the following is what I know about this man:

  • his former residence is 123 Oak Street in one community;
  • his current residence, that he moved into in 2017, is 4567 Eagle’s Nest Drive in a different community;
  • his last name is Smith;
  • his legal first name is Frederick, but he goes by his middle name, Daniel, preferring to be called Dan;
  • his wife’s name is Martha;
  • his brother who also buys glasses in this boutique is named Will;
  • he has no children;
  • he confirmed the date of his birth, he is 44 years old;
  • he confirmed his cell phone number, mentioning that he’s had it for years
  • he used to work for Blah Blah Blah Corporation but now works from home for Yada Yada Yada Corporation;
  • his medical insurance is Boring Useless Insurance Company;
  • he no longer has a checking account with Fancy Regional Bank;  and
  • he prefers to use his Visa for large purchases because he gets points for travel on Whoop-ass Airline.

The optician didn’t ask about the following but in the course of their conversation I also learned that:

  • he drives a BMW that was parked outside directly in front of this business;
  • he and his wife have been remodeling their house using Super Duper Home Remodeling Company;  and
  • they have a vacation planned for August.

Obviously I accidentally know a lot about this man, the proverbial ship I passed in the night. If I was a person with nefarious intentions I could easily have snapped a fast photo of him + his car’s license plate, then assumed his identity by knowing these random, but incredibly personal, details about him.

KIND OF SCARY, HUH?

Please discuss 😳

For Love Of Reading, Answering The Bookish A-Z Questions

Earlier this week Deb Carey at Debs Despatches shared and answered these questions. She inspired me to do the same today. Do this on your own blog if you like and/or chit-chat about books [or whatever] in the comments below.

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Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve read the ones written by Parker but not by the author who took over after Parkers’s death.

Best Sequel: No answer, I’m coming up blank on this question.

Currently Reading: Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Drink Choice While Reading: Hot tea or cold wine

E reader or physical book: I prefer a physical book at home, but I use an E reader when I’m not at home.

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school: I didn’t date much in high school so I doubt that I’d have gone on a pretend date with a fictional character. Just saying

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance: Slade House by David Mitchell. I tried to read Cloud Atlas by Mitchell and couldn’t do it, but Slade House I enjoyed. Sly premise, short read

Hidden Gem: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. This is a memoir with a positive message that confirms you can plan your life all you want, but reality will intervene, especially when family loyalty is involved. It’s sweet and funny.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life: As an adult I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. The novel is meant for YA but while reading it I had a light bulb moment wherein I realized I was like the main character in the novel and had been a writer since girlhood.

Just Finished: The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleton. Set in 1935 during a hurricane the novel is well-researched with a twisted plot. I enjoyed the characters, the odd circumstances that brought them together, and how they persevered.

Kind of Books I Won’t Read: Memoirs *written* by politicians or political hacks;  historical books about sports;  motivational books foisted upon us by grifters;  and any novel I sense will be filled with gore

Longest Book You’ve Read: A guess but I’d say Hawaii by James A. Michener. It’s about a million pages long. 

Major Book Hangover Because Of: If you mean what book stayed on my mind long after I read it, I’d say The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

Number of Cases You Own: 4 actual book cases;  many drawers filled with books;  piles of books under the coffee table in the living room;  and many cookbooks stashed away in kitchen cupboards + on the counter

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Preferred Place to Read: a comfortable chair with decent light and a table beside it for my beverage

Quote That Inspires You, or Gives You All the Feels, From a Book You’ve Read“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It’s the last line from The Great Gatsby.

Reading Regret: I was slow to get around to reading the Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I don’t know why I hesitated because they’re funny and brilliant.

Series You Started and Need to Finish: Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mystery series

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell

Unapologetic Fanperson For: No one I can think of

Very Excited For This Release (More than all the others):  I’m never current in my reading so it doesn’t matter when an author plans to publish, I’ll get to the book when I get to it.

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting one book in one room, a different book in another room, a third book in a third room… then getting confused about what I’m reading. Go figure

X Marks the Spot—start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull

Your Latest Book Purchase: Bomb Shelter by Laura Mary Philpott

Zzz-Snatcher Book (the last book that kept you up late): I don’t stay up late reading so the answer is none.

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Who Are You People? Allow Me To Tell You, Then Ask One Question

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I said I’d be back in August, and true to my word, I’m here again, ready to tell you a little bit about you, the cool kids.

Intrigued, aren’t ‘ya?

For no particular reason, on a whim really, I decided to analyze who follows this blog & comments regularly.  WP tells me I have thousands of followers, but most of those followers don’t bother to engage with me, and other bloggers, via the comment section of this blog.

[This is fine by me. Speak up when you feel so moved. I’ve always had many kind lurkers who eventually join in.]

Welp, it turns out there are about 110 cool kids who make a habit of consistently checking in here, chit-chatting in the comments, AND who also write personal blogs of their own. The whole megillah, as they used to say.

[There are many other delightful commenters who say something once in a while and I love you for it. Spammers, on the other hand, make me say, “I hate those meeses to pieces.”]

Granted my methodology here is more subjective than objective: I’m telling you how I categorize/perceive your blogs. But, be that as it may, here are four things I’ve figured out about you, the cool kids.

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I.  How often do you post to your blog?

  • 34% post Multiple Times Per Week (more than twice, less than daily)
  • 25% post Monthly (or less)
  • 20% post Once A Week
  • 14% post Twice A Week
  • 7% post Once A Day (or more)

II.  Where do you usually find your muse?

  • 76% are Independent Thinkers
  • 24% are Joiners who use prompts or challenges, always or most of the time

III.  What do you primarily write about regardless of the source of your muse?

  • 37% write about Family
  • 22% write about Ideas or Questions
  • 22% write about Hobbies or Special Interests
  • 12% write about Books or Writing
  • 7% share Photos

IV.  Where do you live?

  • 79% are Within the US
  • 21% are Outside the US

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When I started my analysis I had a fifth question in mind, but quickly realized I couldn’t answer it on my own, so I’ll ask you. I’d like to know:

HOW DID YOU FIND THE SPECTACLED BEAN? 

  • did we do a challenge together?
  • did you see a comment I left somewhere?
  • did a friend point you this way?
  • did you find me on Twitter or Instagram?
  • did you surf by one day and stay?
  • did you get here some other way?

I await your comments below. 

Notes From The Last Weekend Before Daylight Saving Time Begins

This past weekend it was in the 60s F with mild sunshine. That’s unusually warm for this time of year. We had no specific plans, so it was two days of go with the flow, do your own thing.
Here are the highlights of what I did:

• I finished watching The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in Window.  It stars Kristen Bell and is on Netflix.  It’s a parody of books and movies in which the main character witnesses a murder, but can’t prove that the murder took place.

This 8-part miniseries has dark humor with a melodramatic plotline.  I loved it, think Twin Peaks OR more recently Teenage Bounty Hunters.

• I stumbled over the What is your style personality? quiz on a fashion website called 40+STYLE.  According to this website there are 12 style personalities.  Each style is explained in-depth and accompanied with photos + brand recommendations.  My results from the quiz confirmed what I already knew: my primary style is Natural, but I also lean into Minimalism or Classic.

For years I’ve been describing my personal style as tailored suburban casual meaning a relaxed non-trendy look with some texture & mellow colors, structured, simple jewelry, flats shoes–  with no flower-y patterns or twirly skirts.

[Downside of this quiz is that you have to give up your email address to get your results, but after I received mine I unsubscribed from the website.]

• I started reading THE SISTERS: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell.  This is the first time in years that I’ve picked up an honest and true biography, instead of reading a memoir.  I’m enjoying the book because it’s well-researched and footnoted.

So far I’m learning that the Mitford sisters were raised and lived in nonconventional ways that make for spectacular stories, as if they planned to be famous from the git-go.

• I’m a fan of Apartment Therapy.  It’s a website about interior design + organization that ostensibly focuses on small spaces.  HOWEVER, as you probably realize, any conversation about interior design preferences can also be a sly insight into who you are.

For instance, an ongoing Apartment Therapy feature involves real life people sending in photos of their amazing home improvement projects.  Apartment Therapy then interviews these people, always including a request that the real life person “describe your home in 5 words or less.” 

So for snorts and giggles I decided to answer that question here.  I’d describe Chez Bean, aka Happy House, as: relaxed traditional, warm vibes, eclectic.  Sound like anyone you know?

Have a happy week, everyone. 
Soon enough we’re going to be marching on, springing forward, trudging into Daylight Saving Time. May saints preserve us.

Pondering: If You Tell Me You’re Independent, What Does That Mean?

Something pretty to enjoy while pondering…

Shortly before the pandemic began 2 years ago this month, I was at a social function with Z-D.  It was for his work.

I was seated next to a 70-something woman, a delightfully chatty child-free extrovert, who was [and I hope still is] the wife of a man who used to work with Z-D.

Thanks to many social business events we’d endured together I knew this pleasant woman as a casual acquaintance so this was good.  From previous conversations with her I knew she was a Joiner with a capital ‘J’.

To wit, over the years she’d told me that she was in a garden club, a book club or two, a dog breed club, a bicycling group, a music guild, a Bible study group, a travel club, and she was a member of a country club.

She went on a *sisters only* cruise every year and hosted parties for her nieces who were involved in multi-level marketing schemes.  She always had a family Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  Plus at one point she had worked full-time and socialized with her workmates, seemingly every weekend.

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We had a lovely time chatting, which is to say I mostly listened and she mostly talked.

As we were getting ready to leave, perhaps sensing this would be the last time we’d see each other [and it was], she leaned over to me and said in a confidential tone: “I’m independent. I need for you to know that.”

INDEPENDENT?

NEED for me TO KNOW?

SAY WHAT?

I had zero idea what she was getting at and because of the circumstances I didn’t get the opportunity to ask her any, shall we say, clarifying follow-up questions.

Over these last two years I’ve thought about that comment often and have talked with friends in real life about what it could mean.  Without context it can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Here is what we’ve come up with:

  • I’m independent because I have money of my own.
  • I’m independent because I am free to choose which groups I join.
  • I’m independent because I don’t have children.
  • I’m independent because I’m retired and so is my husband.
  • I’m independent because I grew up as a second-wave feminist.
  • I’m independent because I haven’t declared myself to be aligned with a particular political party.
  • I’m independent because the church I go to is outside the mainstream, not part of an established protestant denomination.

So what say you, my gentle readers?  

Do you consider yourself to be independent? And if you do, what does that mean to you? Also, do you need people to know you’re independent?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  This can be an interesting conversation.

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