The Beginning Of My Life As A Purposeful Procrastinator

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-8-15-02-amTwenty years ago this month Zen-Den and I bought a dial-up modem that we used to connect our home computer to the World Wide Web– and our lives changed forever.

For a few years before this, we’d been using a home computer to keep track of finances and to make a recipe book– well, one of us was making a recipe book.  These uses of a home computer seemed modern enough to us, but with a snazzy new modem we had the luxury of the WWW in our home.  Imagine!

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I knew about email because in college I had an email address.  That was only because I was part of an early academic study on how strangers interact with each other on the World Wide Web.

[Back then, the answer would be formally, as if writing a letter and responding back to each other on a weekly basis.]

I also knew a little bit about getting information from the web, although my experience had been with college librarians who were the only people with direct access to computers that connected to the WWW.

[Back then I’d give my query of keywords, perfectly parsed a la Boolean logic, to a librarian who then input my query into a computer.  Hours later I’d get a printout of where to go in the bricks-and-mortar library to read whatever it was I was researching.]

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But what I didn’t know about the WWW was how much I’d fall in love with it, and its ability to provide information and conversation instantly.

Now, of course, it seems completely normal. Pedestrian.

But I tell ‘ya when we first went online at home in 1997, I never dreamed that the World Wide Web would be the making of me.  And that the screechy sound of our dial-up internet connection was heralding my quirky future as a purposeful procrastinator with a blog.

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Questions of the Day

When did you first get connected to the WWW in your home?

How has your life changed because of it?

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Make No Assumptions. It’s Greenery For The Win.

AS A WAY OF adding some color into our lives during this mid-winter gray time of year, I went to Lowes this week where I bought some little houseplants in little plastic pots.

I’m not a full on hippy dippy plant lady yet, so fear not. But I could be headed that way.  [And really, would that be such a terrible thing?]

While transplanting each plant into a proper terra-cotta pot, it drifted into my addled mind that Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017 is Greenery.

I also remembered that when I first saw this color in early December I wasn’t taken with it, thinking that this particular shade of yellowish-green was almost garish.  A color I’d never want to see in my house. 

Was. not. a. fan. and. said. so.

But you know what?  I was wrong in my snap judgement.

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“Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.” via Pantone

I HAD TO ADMIT this to myself as I placed the new houseplants around the house– and realized that they were exactly Greenery green.  And as such, they blended beautifully with our neutral color scheme of khaki golds + creamy whites + warm grays.

In fact, the new houseplants added much-needed splashes of spring-y color everywhere, proving to be an amazingly easy, cost-effective way of lifting my winter spirits.

So the moral of this little story is that when it comes to unfamiliar colors reserve your judgment until you’ve given the new color a chance to dazzle you.

For all you know the new color might be the perfect thing ever to grace your life… on a gray winter day.

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.

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Saturday Morning At The Grocery: Of Red Blazers And Rousing Enthusiasm

You know, my gentle readers, that you can always count me in for some harmless unexpected looniness…

•  Walking into our small town Kroger on Saturday morning around 11:30 a.m. I chanced upon a group of people, clapping loudly, who were, depending on your point of view, blocking my path OR gathering together in the floral department to watch an important event.

[I’ll go with the latter explanation.]

Looking in the direction that everyone was looking, I saw 8, maybe 10, little old white-haired ladies, all dressed in bright red blazers. Some of the ladies were in wheel chairs. Some, seated on folding chairs, had their walkers beside them. A couple were standing on their own.

Despite their matching crimson attire, these little old ladies didn’t look they were emissaries from the Devil sent to steal my soul, so I decided to join in and clap too.

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 Naturally I wanted to know what was going on, so I continued to watch.  First, an older gentleman, our MC, dressed to the nines in his Sunday best, mumbled something into a microphone… and we all clapped and nodded in agreement with him.

Then with a dramatic flourish of his arms, which left him wobbly, he pulled a shiny white polyester tablecloth off an easel that was tucked in among the roses. Being a latecomer to this event I hadn’t noticed the easel before, but I could tell that underneath that tablecloth was a piece of art.

The crowd, upon seeing the art, oohed and aahed… and we all clapped enthusiastically.

The MC, still tottering, then presented a large award plaque, presumably for first place in whatever this event was about, to one of the little old ladies… and we all clapped and smiled in her direction.

Continuing on, he slowly handed smaller awards to the other little old ladies in the bright red blazers… and we all clapped as each individual received her award.

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 Now I know it’s often said that kids today get too many participation trophies that devalue the winner’s accomplishment, while falsely inflating the value of everyone else’s contribution.  And that may be true.

But after seeing the joy on these little old ladies’ faces, I’m going to suggest that when it comes to a Senior Citizen Art Event In The Floral Department Of Your Local Grocery, it hurts no one to give participation plaques to everyone involved.

Especially when each recipient, upon receiving a plaque, grins like the cute kid she used to be.

New Windows & Doors In The Time Of Political Angst

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Photo of old leaky window with bad attitude leaning against garage on the way out of my life. Buh bye.

Why not add some more stress to election week, I said to myself.

Then, looking up from my date book, I said “yes” to the sales representative sitting across our kitchen table from me.

Therein I agreed to be here at the house this week so that we could have new windows and doors installed.

Windows on second floor, doors on first floor.

Naturally when I told Zen-Den, Esq, about when all this was going to happen, he mentioned that he’d be out of town on work this week.

On the other side of the country.  In southern California.

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Photo in which I cannot get the lighting right, but I promise it shows a new window. Gaze through the window upon the forest instead; it’s pretty out there.

Uh-huh.

This, however, did not stop me, intrepid homeowner and [nasty] woman with a purpose.

Nope, I went forward with the project, knowing as I do that winter is [global warming notwithstanding] around the corner.

And that I want leakless windows and airtight doors put on this house before it gets cold outside.

Thus I’ve been here this week, all by my ownsome, counterbalancing loud screechy construction noises [similar to those created by the cat in the video below] with political angst + existential outrage courtesy of the results of this presidential election.

Ain’t life a pip?

Grateful For Smiles, Three Unexpected Things

THING ONE: Looking Up

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Our local Kroger is undergoing a remodel that started in April.  Since about day 1 this upside down wheelbarrow has been on the roof, not moving, just sitting up there.  While the unexpected wheelbarrow placement is a charming bit of whimsy, every time I see it I chuckle to myself wondering if anyone doing the remodel remembers that it’s up there.

Care to place a bet as to when [if] it ever comes down?

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THING TWO: Looking Forward

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Shopping in Half Price Books I noticed that the clever employees have quietly moved all the books by and about Hillary Clinton off the “First Ladies” shelves to the nearby “Presidents” shelves.  This might be presumptuous OR it might be prophetic, but it is, if nothing else, an unexpected bit of humor.

Good people in that store. I like how they think.

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THING THREE: Looking Around

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Fuzzy the Squirrel, who hangs out around our house, has found a new, unexpected way to entertain [annoy?] me.  For the first time he’s leaving nut shells all over any concrete or stone surface in front of the house.  Meaning that when I want to get the mail I have dodge sharp nut shells as I walk to the mailbox OR use a broom to sweep the shells away as I walk along.

Sure, he’s cute, but oh. so. bothersome.

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{ This post, inspired by Nerd in the Brain‘s Three Things Thursday, is part of a weekly blogging event dedicated to the idea that gratitude is awesome and leads to smiles. You can join in too. Go here to learn more. }