The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

If I Could Be

Whimsy Chick has tagged me to play a "if I could be" type of game. As she wrote in her post that played the game, "The rules are choose five from the list and write a description, then add one to the list and pass it along."

If I could be a scientist . . .

If I could be a farmer . . . I would have goats and chickens and horses. I wouldn't want to make my living as a farmer. Rather, I'd be a "gentleman" farmer. I'd have enough money to just do the things I like and not worry about making a profit. With my goats, I would get fresh milk and learn how to make cheese. With my chickens, I would get eggs of course. And would I breed some in order to eat? Hmm, I don't know about that. The horses would be purely for pleasure. I'd have only fat, pinto ponies who would live outside all year long and eat grass. My farm would be maybe 40 acres, and it would be somewhere with rolling hills and a cute, little tiny town nearby where the houses are made of stone, and my children would go to school in a one room school house.

If I could be a musician . . .
If I could be a doctor . . .

If I could be a painter . . . I would live in a seaside village that had existed for centuries. The weather would not be perfect nor the climate, and because of that, it would not be a mega resort area. Rather, people whose families had been there for generations would live there, probably making their living from fishing. I would paint scenes from the town like Sue McDonald and there would never be people in any of my paintings, and there would always be the ocean.

If I could be a gardener . . .
If I could be a missionary . . .

If I could be a chef . . . I would have a little, tiny restaurant that just me and my partner would work at (until our children were old enough to be forced into labor). Our restaurant would be in a small town, much like the one I mentioned in "If I could be a farmer," and it would be the only one there. Some people would come from out of town to eat there, but we'd basically be a well kept secret. We'd have theme nights once a week, where we would make Chinese food or Indian food or Mexican food, etc. etc., and everyone in the town would look forward to those nights and we'd have to draw a lottery to see which townspeople would get to come. Our normal menu would be comfort food, although we'd always have a tofu dish that the farmers would shake their heads at and their teenage daughters would order just to spite them.

If I could be an architect . . . I would only design buildings that were under 200 square feet. I would work closely with whomever was commissioning my work. Almost always, these would be people building a getaway cabin in the woods, either on their property or on some plot of land that they bought for a weekend retreat. The little houses I would design would blend in with the scenery around them so that you might not even see it there unless you were looking for it. I would always try to convince my clients to go for a stone fireplace, and then I would spend months combing the area that the little house would be, finding stones and carrying them back to the site, and by the time I had enough, months later, I would know that patch of land so well that I would be able to walk amongst the trees blindfolded.

If I could be a linguist . . .
If I could be a psychologist . . .
If I could be a librarian . . .
If I could be an athlete . . .
If I could be a lawyer . . .
If I could be an inn-keeper . . .

If I could be a professor . . . I would teach in a small, private college that had no set majors. Each student would arrive and start taking classes that they liked, and after two years, they would have to design their own major. I would teach folklore, and no one would ever want to major in folklore, because what could you do with such a major? But everyone would take my class in that first year or two, and that would make them think about real people and real lives, and the research for their final paper would almost always lead them to whatever their major would end up being, and they would say, "Now I know why everyone takes this class." And I would not give out letter grades, only pass/fail. And in the fall, I would wander around the campus with a little leather notebook in my hand and a twead jacket with leather elbow pads, and I would smell the air, and watch the golden, orange, and red leaves fall down, and I would wonder about all the students I would meet that year and what I would learn from them.

If I could be a writer . . .
If I could be a llama-rider . . .
If I could be a bonnie pirate . . .
If I could be an astronaut . . .
If I could be a world famous blogger . . .
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world . . .
If I could be married to any current famous political figure . . .
If I could be a show dog owner. . .
If I could be a fictional character. . .

If I could be a species other than human . . .

I added that last one. And to fulfill my final obligation to the game, I tag Foxy Mama. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Happy Birthday, Bean Blog

There's been a rash of blog birthdays lately. I find it a bit odd that so many of the blogs I regularly read came into existence at the same time as mine. With all of the blogs out there, how did I become attracted to so many that were born in May 2004? Some of these blogs, like the Moxie Blog, are still going strong, maybe even stronger than ever. Other blogs, like Diary-A, have lost their steam and I wonder what the future holds for them.

On my blog's birthday, I have to wonder where it stands in the spectrum from Moxie to Diary-A. No doubt, my entries have been slowing and possibly becoming less interesting. My will to blog has abated a bit. But I still feel compelled to do it. Out of obligation? Responsibility? Or a realization that this is a good thing, cyclical in nature, and if I stick with it, my joy in it will return?

As I look back over my first posts, I find it amusing to see my blog's personality evolve. It has become something that is me and yet not me. Reading those posts, I can only imagine that I started out thinking I would write something literary, a bit dark, full of the depression I was feeling at the time. And then somewhere along the line, my blog changed into something more Seinfeld-esque as I questioned the bizarre and the ordinary, hopefully in an interesting way. Both of those facets are parts of me, although neither give a complete picture of who I am.

Reading my depression posts from last May and June, I can't help but notice that I've been depressed again lately. And this is something a bit...odd...to realize. Why on earth would I fall into depression in May and June? Aren't people supposed to awake from depression as the days get longer and warmer? Isn't the winter for the depressed?

And seeing this possible pattern makes me look at my blog in a new light. Of course I hoped/expected that it would be a record of what I was doing and thinking and feeling--that it would give me some insight down the road as I looked back on it. But I guess I wasn't expecting insight quite so quickly.

Looking back naturally leads to looking forward. Will the Bean Blog exist next year? Will the other blogs that I read that are struggling still be around? Or even the strong ones? This next year, my life will change like never before. I wonder what kind of record I will have of it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Kind of Show

I wrote about a show I went to see a few weeks ago. Mostly, I complained about how I was old and required creature comforts. This past Saturday, my requirements were met.

The Bread Winner and I went to see Vanida Gail perform at The Point. She used to be one of the two lead singers of one of Philadelphia's best local bands ever, June Rich. They broke up six or seven years ago. Very sad. But finally, Vanida Gail has put out her first solo CD, and last Saturday was the release party.

But enough about her. Let's talk about me. First of all, the show started at 7pm. 7PM. It was still light outside. Which, I have to admit, was a little weird. But also quite nice and relaxing. 10pm is my bedtime, and when shows start then, I'm already anticipating my own tiredness. But 7pm, that's more like it.

There was no opening act. And she was on the stage by 7:15 or so. Perfect.

There were chairs. We got to sit down and enjoy the show.

The Point is a non-smoking venue.

It's also primarily a cafe that also serves food. So I got to eat and drink an iced chai tea while I enjoyed the music.

Around 8:30pm, it was over. I was back at home before my bedtime.

All in all, it was a great experience. I know this is further validation of my oldness, but c'est la vie. As many reviewers have said about the Point, I have to agree. It is one of the Best Places to See Live Music. And I'm sure someone old wrote that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Termination: Family Member

While visiting my in-laws in Wisconsin last week, I bought the most fabulous thing. It’s called Multiple-Choice Correspondence. It has a collection of some 48 “letters” with different subjects, organized into six categories. The categories are “Thanks,” “Staying in Touch,” “Congratulations,” “Regrets,” “Complaints,” “Termination,” and “Love.” Each “letter” contains an open-ended statement followed by five multiple choice options. Instead of writing a letter, you check off the appropriate choices and mail it.

Here’s the “letter” that is on my mind tonight:

CATEGORY: Termination
SUBJECT: Family Member


DEAR_______________

For many years now you’ve
  • made me the black sheep of the family.
  • been an unrepentant narcissist.
  • taken little notice of my accomplishments.
  • pissed me off.
  • _______________

It’s been incredibly difficult for me to
  • realize that I actually am a black sheep.
  • develop my own narcissism.
  • stop excusing your behavior.
  • access my anger through the self-protective veil of denial.
  • _______________

As you know, I’ve tried to
  • alert the humane society.
  • look in the mirror.
  • overachieve to gain your love.
  • lash out at you in every way possible.
  • _______________

Despite my best efforts, however, you
  • turned my room into a stable the second I left home.
  • continue to criticize the way I dress.
  • failed to congratulate me even when I was awarded the Nobel Prize.
  • are still an asshole.
  • _______________

Though blood may be thicker than water, I now must
  • inform everybody that I was a clone.
  • share all your dirty secrets with my therapist.
  • begin failing in order to merit your attention.
  • give you the finger.
  • _______________


  • Have a nice life,
  • Regretfully,
  • Sincerely,
  • Signed,
  • _______________



I’m quite tempted to send this out to my sister-in-law. Who would you like to send it to?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

When Drugs Come Between Brothers

I write about my dogs somewhat frequently, but my cats, by and large, haven't made much of an appearance on this blog. It's time to rectify that situation. Here goes. I have two cats. They are brothers, littermates. I took in the three kittens that made up a litter because I felt bad for them. And I had just started dating the Bread Winner, and she likes cats, so I thought I could score some points...and do some other scoring as well...if I had three adorable kittens in my house. (Worked like a charm.) I never really intended to keep the three kittens. Just save them from an animal shelter and then try to find homes for them. Well, I found a home for one of them. But I was stuck with the other two, Sam and Gouda (don't ask). It's been almost six years now. I think they are officially my cats now (or mine and the Bread Winner's).

They were kind of cute, weren't they?



(The ones I still have are the one on the right--Gouda--and the middle one--Sam.)

I can't recommend getting littermates highly enough. As far back as I can remember, I've always had two cats, but they were always gotten as adults at different times. And they just put up with each other. Usually, both cats were not to be found in the same room. Not these two boys. They sleep together constantly. They groom each other. They're very sweet.

Then this past weekend, I bought this cardboard scratching thing, and it came with catnip to encourage the cats to investigate it. I put the catnip on it, per the instructions, and all of a sudden, it was World War III. Gouda looked at Sam and hissed. Ears pinned back, he swatted at his brother in between rubbing his head against the cardboard. When Gouda stumbled away in a drug induced stupor, Sam had his turn. When Gouda approached, he received the same treatment: hissing, physical violence, a low gutteral growl thrown in here and there.

My good, sweet boys! Torn apart by drugs. Such a sad sight.