Goodbye 2020: A Sunset Delightful + A Secret Disclosed

A trippy sunset in late autumn. Doesn’t it remind you of tie-dye?

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Would you like to know a secret? One that has to do with my word of the year, simplify, and with the plans I made in the beginning of 2020?

Well here it is: On the first day of spring I was planning to go on an extended hiatus from this blog.

Yes, I was all set to say *hasta la vista* to this blog and take spring + summer off, living simply as it were. Then I was going to come back to the blogosphere in the fall, with more bounce in my pounce.

With a new sense of purpose and direction.

A whole new me.

BUT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DID IT?

Instead, as you may remember, the country shut down the week before my intended *see ‘ya later* meaning that Z-D began working from home [8 months now!] and I realized that personal blogging was going to be a good thing to do in the upcoming months.

Something positive to do.

Something normal and reassuring.

So, stating the obvious here, I kept this blog going and have continued to show up with my usual flapdoodle and twaddle, interspersed with helpful hints [I guess], and augmented with a modicum of snark.

Because I can.

And because I wanted to.

However, 2020 has exhausted me both mentally and spiritually. I will not lie.

And because I sense this upcoming holiday season is going to be stressful, zapping my energy in new ways while testing my patience with ill-mannered people, I’ve decided to call it a year, a few weeks early.

Thus I’m out of here until 2021, intending to return with a new word of the year and with a renewed sense of focus. Or maybe it’ll be the *same old same old* word and the *same old same old* focus. I don’t know yet for sure. Who’s to say?

I just know I’m tired, in need of a break from writing.

Stay safe, everyone. Please be here when I get back.

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When Holiday and Pandemic Stress Collide via Psychology Today

How to fight ‘Covid fatigue’ as America heads for a deadly winter via The Guardian

Do you have coronavirus ‘caution fatigue’? via Fox News

What To Say To People Who Say You’re Being ‘Too Safe’ Amid COVID-19 via HuffPost

COVID-19 is not tired of us, says WHO chief via Yahoo! News

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TGIF: 5 Words To Know + A Bit Of Wordsmithery Fun + A Simple Question

Although I keep an ongoing list of words or definitions that are new to me, I haven’t done a wordy post in a while. It’s Friday, so why not?

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WORDS TO KNOW

WHUZZLE WAFFLING is the sound made by a loom as you weave something on it

PROLIXITY means using or containing too many words as in tediously lengthy

TARNATION is an exclamation used to express incredulity; it is a minced oath of the word “damnation”

SOPHISTRY is using false arguments with the intention of deceiving

CONFABULATE in psychiatry means to create imaginary experiences to compensate for the loss of memory; in everyday usage it means to engage in conversation

As always, anyone who can write one sentence using all the words gets a gold star.

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A BIT OF WORDSMITHERY FUN

The above paragraph is my attempt at using THE UP-GOER FIVE TEXT EDITOR.

The editor challenges you to explain something using only the ten hundred most used words in the English language. This is more difficult to do than you may think.

At least it was for me a wordy girl who loves to vary my words, relying on nuance to get my point across, fearlessly using polysyllabic words.

Follow the link shared above and see for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about how The Up-Goer Five Text Editor will stop you lickety-split if you use a word that is not one of the top ten hundred.

If you choose to mess around with this editor, let me know how it goes for you. Just curious…

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A SIMPLE QUESTION

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “It has been estimated that the vocabulary of English includes roughly 1 million words.” [Read more here.]

Of all the words in the English vocabulary which ONE is your favorite?

I shared mine in the comments below.

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Let’s Write Friendlier Blog Posts, Shall We?

Everything old is new again…

SORTING THROUGH ANOTHER BOX of stuff I inherited from my mother and her sisters, I found a small booklet, Let’s write Friendlier Letters by Earle A. Buckley, Director of the The Buckley Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

This booklet, published in 1945, is described as: “A practical course in MODERN LETTER WRITING.” It is 36 pages long and has 21 points intended to help you become a better letter writer.

If I may be so bold as to summarize, the gist of the advice in the booklet boils down to 3 smart writing tips: be concise, be conscientious, be personable.

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AS I UNDERSTAND THEM, the 21 points are as follows:

  1. Every letter is a sales letter.
  2. Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.
  3. Stereotyped, trite, hackneyed phrases serve no useful purpose in letter writing.
  4. Words cost money so eliminate unnecessary ones.
  5. Your opening sentence is your first impression.
  6. Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.
  7. Prepare yourself mentally so that you’re thinking clearly about the subject you are about to discuss in your letter.
  8. Your letter must have personality if it is to be perceived as truthful.
  9. Stay away from long sentences because “they’re dangerous.”
  10. Letters are either categorized as “inquiry” or “answer.”
  11. Write in a way that makes the letter look pretty while molding opinions in your favor.
  12. When answering a complaint you must show you understand why the complainant is upset, then move the discussion to friendly terms quickly.
  13. Use contractions to make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.
  14. Don’t write like a telegram because your letter won’t be perceived as written by a friendly human being.
  15. Look at the appearance of your letters as you would the appearance of a salesman.
  16. Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.
  17. Write so that your ideas flow logically + smoothly from paragraph to paragraph.
  18. Your relationship with your stenographer needs to be one of effective teamwork.
  19. Avoid form letters that look “form-letter-ish.”
  20. Get in the habit of editing your letters, you’ll become a better letter writer.
  21. To be an effective letter writer you must sell yourself first so that your tone will be a friendly one, sure to increase your business.

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WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF Point 4 [words don’t cost money in the blogosphere] and Point 18 [who has a stenographer?], I’d suggest that these points are amazingly good advice for today’s modern blogger.

Good advice that is spot on IF you want to write friendlier, well-received blog posts. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Who am I to say what it is that you want to do with your blog?

However, if’n you’ve been wondering how to zhoosh up your blog making it more convivial in these stressful, antagonistic times, then may I suggest you heed this old-time letter-writing advice from 1945.

Just a friendly thought. Agreed?

Good Morning To Everyone Except WordPress, My Frenemy

Et tu, Brute? 🤓

Entirely against my wishes in one of the most difficult years of my life, WordPress, my now former friend, has stabbed me in the back by stealing my favorite classic editor. This is no way for a friend to act.

Here’s the dealio. One week after sending me the annual renewal bill for this personal blog, WordPress has dumped their new unwanted editing system on my account. They call it the block editor; I think of it as the blockhead system.

I don’t want this new editor, nor do I need this change. I’m already living in a daily state of confusion and angst without this added burden in my life. This begs the question: would a true friend make my life more difficult during a pandemic? Just so they could get their jollies at my expense?

I’d say ‘NO.’ However as of yesterday I’m being forced to learn a new way to write + edit my blog posts, showing me how little I mean to WordPress. Not that I’m surprised, mind you. I know I am, we all are, pawns in WordPress’s game.

BUT it does bring home the fact that social media companies, all of them, do not have our best interests at heart. They manipulate us into communicating in ways that primarily serve their purposes, not our own.

Will I continue to write a blog in a system that makes more work for me? Truthfully, I dunno. I don’t have to keep a blog, I do it for fun– and let me clue you in, learning a new editing system is the opposite of fun for me.

I’ve no doubt that I can learn how to use this blockhead editor, but I resent having to do so this year because, as we all have learned in 2020, life is too short and precious for stressful sh!t that detracts from living happy and healthy.

Not cool, WordPress. Not cool. 🤨

[At this point I’d like to add an image to this post but I don’t know how to do so. That sentence makes me sad… sadder, I suppose. Also, I have some posts written ahead but I don’t know how to publish them now that I’m in block editor hell.]

Ally Try Again: Re-evaluating My Rules Of Life, As One Does

As you may recall The Spectacled Bean is on Summer Hours.  

This means I continue to show up here every few weeks. I write about anything that isn’t current events, instead leaning into my penchant for flapdoodle and twaddle.  

Thus I give you the following.  

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Deconstructing What Was

SORTING through old paper files I found the above.  I published it 13 years + 6 months + 21 days ago on January 01, 2007.  I wrote it, complete with disclaimers, in the context of a New Year’s Resolution + my guidelines for how I wanted to live my life.

For many years this is how I approached my life.

However thinking on my rules of life in light of today’s world I find the above useful, but not in step with how I conduct myself now. And that’s where I want to be, not stuck in the past, like some lost soul who longs for what was.

So I sat down with myself and analyzed what I’d written before.  I decided that when it comes to rules of life I liked short action statements that get to the point.

I also decided that I didn’t want my new rules of life to include pithy sayings [like the watermelon seeds one in the example above].  I say pithy things, but those are personal mantras or succinct commentaries on a particular situation rather than actual rules of life.

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Creating What Will Be

PONDERING what my new rules of life might be, I deleted the ones from before that no longer served me.  Then I made the following list of potential rules adding ones that I believe might be helpful now.  In the bracket behind each rule I wrote what core value I was thinking about when I chose this rule.

Do your best [trustworthiness]

Less is more [simplify]

Maximize your options [creativity]

Pay attention, life is in the details [knowledge]

Ditch the mean people [self-respect]

Keep moving forward [growth]

Say thank you often [gratitude]

Follow your muse [authenticity]

Do no harm [kindness]

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Questions Of The Day

Comments, anyone?

Do you have rules of life you follow? If so do you rethink them, then update them from time to time?

This list is not definitive, it’s in process. What am I missing here?