The One About Grace And Frankie & Fun Quirky Details About My Dad

[Spoiler alert]

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OVER THE WEEKEND I FINISHED WATCHING the last hilarious season of the TV show, Grace and Frankie.  One of the episodes* in this season involves Grace [played by Jane Fonda] reconciling with her younger brother [played by Jamey Sheridan] who she hasn’t seen in years.

She invites him to her house on the pretext of familial love, but the truth is she’s feeling unexpectedly nostalgic and wants him to give her the family recipe for chicken paprikash.

He knows this recipe by heart.

In the course of their conversation he figures out the subterfuge and starts to walk out, but Frankie [played by Lily Tomlin] finds a way for the two of them to get along.

He was young when their father died and he wants to know fun little details about the man.  So for every chicken paprikash ingredient he says, Grace tells him something personal about their father.

This episode was quintessential Grace and Frankie, funny and poignant.

Absurd, yet believable.

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THIS EPISODE GOT ME THINKING ABOUT fun little details about my father;  he died when I was 15 so my memories of him are from a kid’s point of view.  The details I remember aren’t about his professions, or his accomplishments, or his character– just idiosyncratic things about an adult.

Thus in honor of this coming weekend’s Father’s Day in the US, and for snorts and giggles, I share a list of some fun quirky details about my dad.

Ostensibly it’s about my father, but perhaps gives a glimpse into who I am as well.  I’ve read that the oldest daughter is a female version of her father. Maybe so, maybe not.

All I know is he was character.

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✅ He could wiggle his ears.

✅ His favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s Day. He wore a green necktie and green suspenders, and insisted we have corned beef & cabbage dinner– with a shot of Irish whiskey for the adults.

✅ He collected antique guns.

✅ He was a camera-shy** camera nut, with more brands and lenses and tripods and lights than you can imagine. Equipment everywhere.

✅ He kept bees and we ate honey from the hive.

✅ He had a pair of boxer shorts underwear that had a white background with red ants crawling around. When he wore the underwear he’d say he had “ants in his pants.”

✅ He was ambidextrous.

✅ He didn’t suffer fools easily, nor dawdling little girls, so if I was being pokey and said “I’m coming, I’m coming” he’d yell “SO’S CHRISTMAS.” 

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Questions of the Day

If you knew him as a child, what fun and/or quirky little details do you remember about your father?

Are you like him in any ways?

If you watched it, what did you think of Season 7 of Grace and Frankie?

Did the series finale work for you?

* Season7, Episode 14 – The Paprikash

** The best photo of him I have is of him sitting by a cadaver he worked on in med school.  While interesting, it is macabre, not suitable for this PG-13 blog.

This Is Not Insipid: A Vocabulary Tutorial + Photo Update Of Guest Bathroom Renovation

THE VOCABULARY PART

Here’s how this blog post came to be, my little scribes.  I read something that was lame, lacking any spunk.  In truth I couldn’t believe it’d been published.

All I could think was: “this is insipid.”

While I thought that was the right word to describe what I’d read, I sometimes doublecheck words when I want to confirm that I’m using a word properly, that I know its real meaning.

That the word hasn’t become slang for something I don’t want to be saying. That I’m not inadvertently being vulgar.

So being a conscientious person I went to doublecheck the meaning of the word insipid.  I used the trusty New Oxford American Dictionary that’s on my iMac.

Come to find out I do know the definition of the word insipid.  It means: lacking vigor or interest.

Yep, that’d describe what I’d been reading.


However there’s more to what I learned.  You see, while looking up the definition of insipid, come to find out, there are subtle differences among three words that are occasionally used interchangeably.  Please refer to image immediately  above this paragraph.

These words are the ones that writers, myself included, often misuse.  Perhaps you’ve used them wrongly, too.  No judgement here.

To demonstrate that I, a wordsmith, now understand the nuances implied in each word I’ll use these aforementioned words correctly in one long sentence.  This sentence is the summation of our home improvement journey thus far.

When writing anything I aim to not be INSIPID, but admit that studiously researching a topic for a post can be TEDIOUS, not at all like the excitement created by the comings and goings of the tile guy who is making my daily life anything but UNEVENTFUL.

THE PHOTO PART

Tile around tub in progress

Tile guy’s stuff stored in guest bedroom

Example of  23.5″ x 11.75″ tile up-close

Tile guy’s tools in garage

Cabinet in guest bathroom in place

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you sometimes wonder how the heck someone got their insipid article or book published?

Do you look up words in the dictionary to make sure you understand a word’s true + current meaning?

Is the tile in your bathroom primarily small, medium, or large like the new stuff we’re using? What color is it?

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A Neighborhood Update: I’m Not Nosy, They Are Noisy

NOW that we’re beginning to have a few warmer spring days, I’ve been opening the windows in some rooms.  The sounds of nature drift into the house.  Often it’s birds.  In fact we have a loud hoot owl that does his thing late evening, early morning.

Totally expected.

AND we’re hearing our young neighbors again.  Kids playing on a jungle gym, for instance.  Kids bouncing basketballs.  Kids riding bikes up and down the street while talking or singing.

Again totally expected.

PLUS there are two new February babies on either side of our house.  A boy on one side, a girl on the other, both with well-developed lungs and a tendency to be unhappy in the afternoon. I know this to be a fact– and I’m sure their parents know this as well.

So there’s that.

BUT the biggest news vis-à-vis noise around here is that Crazy Bird Lady, a fifty-something woman who lives across the forested ravine from us, is no longer standing on her deck yelling “f*ck you” at the birds.  And she’s stopped hitting a metal soup pot with a metal spoon while cursing at them.

I don’t want to sound judgy but I believe this might be a good thing.

Instead of the loud cursing she has taken to dancing what I’d describe as the Flamenco on her deck.  This involves her stamping her feet in a rhythmic way while clapping her hands over her head.  She swirls around, kind of hums a tune, then yells ¡Olé! every so often.

I’m mesmerized by this woman’s eccentric behavior, I admit it.  Which brings me to what I want to ask you, my little cherry blossoms:

Who’s the wackiest person in your neighborhood?

Now that spring [Northern Hemisphere] or fall [Southern Hemisphere] is here what’s going on outside your windows?

Any fun plans for the weekend?

~ ~ 🌸 ~ ~ 

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.

True Confessions In A Snap: Some Photos You Dislike, Some Photos You Like

This is a photo of a blooming amaryllis that first bloomed in late December and has now re-bloomed in mid-February. Let’s give it up for this likable go-getter.

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I FIND PEOPLE FASCINATING, although I’ll admit that what people do is much less interesting than why people do what they do.

Therein is the start of many a good conversation. N’est-ce pas? 

You can tell me every stinking detail about WHAT you do in your life, but if I have no idea WHY you do what you do, I’m much less inclined to be interested in you.

To be clear I’m not here to fix people. I figure my job is to observe [what’s up] and understand [as best I can] and help [when asked] and report [in this blog] on them.

This brings me to the point of this post.

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FRIENDS HAVE TOLD ME the following three reasons WHY they dislike some photos their friends + family post on social media, but these friends will not tell their friends + family that they dislike the photos.

[And I sure as heck am not going to tell them.]

I’m not saying these are the most rational ideas, but they are enlightening and have made me smile as I listen politely, nod my head encouragingly, and murmur nondescript soothing sounds of understanding.

 Friend A dislikes photos of food.

This would be any food, either plated, for sale, or in the process of being made. Friend A feels these photos are something that could potentially make her fat because they trigger her to want to eat, which she is always trying not to do.

Friend A is thin.

She doesn’t like food photos so much that she won’t join IG where she feels too many people share photos of food, but does admit that she likes seeing people sitting around a table on which there is food.

 Friend B dislikes selfies.

She thinks they’re are an egotistical show of shallowness that distracts from any relationship. She wants to see what a person is looking at, not what the person looks like while they are looking at something.

Friend B is artistic.

Because of her firm conviction about the wrongness of selfies, she ignores them as best she can which means she’s ignoring a lot of people. This reality, she admits, gives her pause.

 Friend C dislikes photos of paths in the woods.

She says that all paths look the same, all woods surrounding a path look the same, and therefore if you’ve seen one path you’ve seen them all. Why anyone would bother to take these photos is beyond her.

Friend C is studious.

She extends this principle to photos taken of city sidewalks with buildings on either side, but seems less harsh with her criticism allowing that sometimes those photos are interesting.

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THUS HAVING SHARED THESE three character studies based on the truthful mutterings of generally kindhearted people with a need to vent, I’m reminded of Eeyore’s wise words: “We can’t all and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

This, of course, leads to me to asking you, my gentle readers, a few questions as catalysts for discussion about photos you see on social media.

Or as I like to think of the comment section here, it’s true confessions time!

When it comes to the photos your friends + family share, do you have a strongly held opinion about any one type of photo you dislike seeing?

Do your friends + family know that you dislike seeing that type of photo and WHY?

Or to put a positive spin on this conversation, do your friends + family know which photos you prefer to see and WHY?

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