Because It’s Still February & I’m Bored: 10 Trivia Facts I Know

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{ photo by Alice Donovan Rouse via Unsplash }

I don’t know if the following list is an example of useful information OR humblebragging.

I mean on the one hand, knowing some trivia can be fun and fill-in those awkward pauses in social conversations.

But on the other hand creating a list like the one that follows is a bit egotistical.  I mean in essence I’m saying to you, here are things that I know and you probably don’t.  Woo-hoo!

However, I have nothing else to write about today because February, the longest short month on the calendar, is never going to end and I am bored with it.  So why not share some trivia?

Ten Trivia Facts That I Know
  1. I know that on the Jetsons, Astro’s name before he came to live with the Jetsons was Tralfaz.
  2. I know that Cosmic Latte is the name of the color of the universe.
  3. I know that at one time Jell-O came in a Celery flavor.
  4. I know that shoes used to be made with buttons on them, no laces or velcro;  and that you needed a button hook to get the button-hole over the button on your shoe, so it would stay on your foot.
  5. I know that a stoat is a kind of weasel that according to folklore, upon seeing one a person must say “hello” to it– or risk bad luck.
  6. I know that coffee, not tired eyeballs, is an ingredient in red-eye gravy.
  7. I know that baby squirrels in the nest chirp like baby birds.
  8. I know that at one time in the English language you put a backward question mark at the end of a sentence when the question in the sentence was rhetorical.
  9. I know that chromophobia is the word for the fear of color.
  10. I know that you can make a passable martini using chardonnay instead of vermouth.

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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO SHARE, MY GENTLE READERS. TELL ME SOMETHING TRIVIAL THAT YOU KNOW!

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The One About My Favorite Public School Teacher

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{ tweet by @ericweiskott }
• • •

So which public school teacher inspired and encouraged me the most?  Who had, and still has, the greatest influence on who I am today?

{ drum roll please }

My answer would be: Mrs. L——-, my high school sophomore English teacher.

She was the first teacher to ever tell me I knew how to write.  All the other teachers before her, many good women and men, assumed we kids didn’t know what we were doing.  But not Mrs. L——-, whose first + middle name was Clover May.

By the time I had Clover May she was nearing retirement– and didn’t give a rat’s tutu about what she was supposed to teach or how to teach it.  She’d done this teaching gig for so long that she intuitively knew how to get kids to write.

So instead of closely following any textbooks or lesson plans, Clover May would tell us funny little stories from her own life*, then have us tell a similar story from our lives… in writing.

She believed anyone could write.  It wasn’t a big deal.  All you had to do was talk about what happened & BE SPECIFIC.  Details like grammar and spelling could always be adjusted after you wrote down what happened specifically.

Yes, Clover May believed in all of us and our ability, perhaps yet untapped, to write a good story… as long as you were specific.

• • •

* One of Mrs. L——-‘s funniest stories had to do with her given name.  From day one she insisted that we kids know her full name.  While decorum dictated that we call her Mrs. L——-, she believed we should know her first + middle name because this was an example of how to BE SPECIFIC.

So when Mrs. L——- discovered that one of her less-than-enthusiastic students could not remember her name correctly, she was ready to be perturbed.  However, she couldn’t be upset with this kid, who apparently lived on a farm, because the way he confused her name was so clever that she had to laugh.

You see, this kid, who had been sort of listening to what she said, thought that Clover May’s name was… Alfalfa June.

• • •

QUESTION OF THE DAY

If you went to public schools, who was your favorite teacher? And why?

• • •

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?

6 Small Thoughts Upon The 6th Anniversary Of This Blog

A glimpse into my personal blogging evolution…

1)  I like my writing better now than when I started The Spectacled Bean.  I’ve learned how to write in a smooth flowing chatty style that is genuine, not dry & academic.  I express myself with more attitude, more gratitude, less awkwardness, and a propensity to use goofy big words that I love.

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2)  I write more in-depth now on one event or topic or person, instead of glossing over and combining many things into one post like I used to do.  I’m more focused, definitely less ditzy.

3)  I think of my blog as a newspaper lifestyle column now in which I share my observations, experiences + research, making sense of these things, so that I can start conversations which, I hope, add a bit of love +  learning + laughter into the world.  I no longer think of this blog as a diary or a variety show or a scrapbook.

4)  My posts look prettier now thanks to the instant availability of font sizes, styles, and colors.  Plus it’s so much easier to add images and videos now.  I sometimes wonder why any of us read any blog considering how text-based and bland they all looked.

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5)  I find myself more engaged with my followers now than ever before.  Lots of  fascinating articulate people have found The Spectacled Bean, and I have found their blogs.  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, and thank you for making me part of your lives as well.

6)  I’m much mellower now about this whole blogging thing.  No more angst over what to write about, little worry about how to write it, still some concern that I’ll make a spelling or grammatical error.  But overall, I’m chill– and comfortable in my role as a suburban blogger.

Image sources: |1| |2|

Well It Goes Like This, I Shredded My Past. Hallelujah!

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Bifocal glasses, not mine, left on a picnic table in the park. Someone is not reading the fine print today.

• • •

SO LAST WEEK while stuck at home because of this, I decided to go through all the writing ditherage I’ve kept over the years.

Much of it was in boxes in the basement.

Lots of it was spiral notebooks from the late 90s to mid-2003 filled with my handwritten Morning Pages a la The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I was diligent about my daily 3 page writing practice for a while there.

Just about all the notebooks contained a repetitive selection of whiny, self-absorbed, humdrum scribblings that suggest to me now I was stuck and unhappy during those years.

My inner muse had not caught my attention yet.  

• • •

AFTER SAVING THE few good or funny thoughts I’d captured years ago in these notebooks, I had an epiphany.  I thanked the writing practice for guiding me to today, then as a way of making my life lighter I shredded these notebooks.

Every last one of them gone.

Thus I’ve freed myself, literally and spiritually, from a bunch of heavy negativity that I’d been saving in boxes in the basement for over a decade.

I tell ‘ya, if you’re feeling burdened by life I recommend shredding outdated thoughts.  It may sound corny, but doing so has lifted a weight from me.  And I feel free to get on with that which needs to be written now.

Muse, lead the way.

• • •

Of Hummingbirds & Humility

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-41-34-amI was dive-bombed by a hummingbird the other morning.

I was wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, sitting outside on our deck in the sunshine, drinking coffee from a red mug.

I was lost in serious thought pondering what I might write about next on this blog, when *flutter, flutter, flutter* a small energetic little bird started diving at me.

I knew that the bird was a hummingbird;  there are lots of them in the wooded ravine behind our house.

They flit around.  You cannot miss them.

I knew that to this little bird I must look like the biggest darned flower in the land, a doozy of a good find.

I tried to sit still hoping that the little bird would tire of attacking me, but you know what?  That little bugger just kept going.  The Energizer Bunny should be so determined.

Eventually I decided to *shoo* the hummingbird away from me because I needed to sip my coffee while it was hot to get my brain going.  I had important things to think about like the topic of my next blog post.

But of course my brain, that can be a tad self-absorbed and egotistical, was blinding me to the obvious.

That is, the topic of this post was making itself known, quietly, right in front of me.  A humble little idea showing me the way, while at the same time reminding me of the basic premise of The Spectacled Bean.

A premise I explain thusly:

  • be here now;
  • make sense of what you’re seeing | feeling | experiencing;  then
  • write about it.

In other words, PAY ATTENTION.  Life is in the details, and that’s where you’ll find the best stories.

Always.

The Iceberg Illusion: Reflections Upon The Occasion Of My Return To The Blogosphere

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{ source }

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WELL… I’m back.

August turned out to be every bit as hot and humid and hateful as I anticipated it would be.  Just a miserable excuse of a month during which I did not do much of anything except think about what I will be doing in the future.

Planning?  Or procrastinating?  You decide.

Whatevs.

Bottom line?  I’m here now with a renewed sense of purpose.

To wit, I’ve decided that blogging gives my weeks a bit of much-needed structure, provides me with a way to process the details of my life, and overall it’s fun.

Plus I’ve concluded that I’m doing something right and helpful here, considering how many people follow me and make the effort to comment.  Thank you.

So I’m going to keep on keeping a blog.

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BUT… I’ve also realized that writing a quirky personal blog, such as The Spectacled Bean, has morphed from a hobby into an unpaid part-time job that has a certain work-y-ness to it that you, my gentle readers, don’t see.

Rather like an iceberg.  Much going on below the water line to make this blog engrossing and twaddle-y, so to speak.

I’m not complaining, mind you.  Just explaining that if I disappear from the blogosphere from time-to-time, it’s not that I don’t love you all to pieces.  I do.

It’s just that I’m an introvert who occasionally doesn’t know what to say.  About anything.  Here.

Or in real life.

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