Sunday Stills: Getting It Straight

Terri Webster Schrandt has a Sunday photo challenge, Sunday Stills. The theme this week is straight.

Apartment building (Woodstock, IL)

Here’s a place I’ve really been missing the last few months – the library! (Des Plaines, IL)

Under these floor tiles, several hundred people were buried during the Middle Ages! (Oude Kerk, Amsterdam)

Bridges: Pegasus Bridge (Normandy, France)

Bridge over a river on the border of Germany and Austria (near Scharding, Austria)

A tall house (Mont St-Michel, France)

Entrance to a graveyard (Merville-Franceville-Plage, France)

A straight and narrow street in Passau, Germany

Ornate fence in front of the World Museum in Vienna, Austria

Thursday Doors With Flowers

Since I haven’t gone anywhere lately where I could photograph doors, I’m recycling some previous ones I’ve posted, thematically. This week for Norm’s Thursday Doors, I present doors with flowers.

Luxor, Egypt
Des Plaines, IL, USA
Quebec City, Que., Canada
Chicago, IL, USA
Des Moines, IA, USA
Maisons-Alfort (near Paris), France
Maisons-Alfort, France
Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany
Miltenberg, Germany
somewhere in northeastern France
Caen, Normandy, France
Woodstock, IL, USA
Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria
Schaerding, Austria
Regensburg, Germany
Nuremberg, Germany
Santa Fe, NM, USA

SYW: On Patriotism

Another week, another set of questions for Share Your World.

Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.


In your opinion, does patriotism require the belief that one’s country is the greatest on earth?
 I don’t think so. This has always been one of my problems with patriotism. The xenophobia of the American people and all the flag waving – as if this makes someone a patriot! So for a long time, I did not consider myself patriotic. I called myself an “internationalist” or “globalist.” Everywhere in the world, no matter how difficult life is, people love their countries. Having traveled abroad a lot more than most Americans, I have seen things in other countries that I thought were better than here – some of them I wish we would emulate. People abroad would even ask me, “Do you think the United States is the best country in the world?” I always said that I couldn’t say because I hadn’t been to every country in the world to form an opinion about that. Or I would say in some ways yes, in some ways no.
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Since patriotism has always been problematic for me, I am trying to reconcile how I feel about it. I see myself becoming passionate about the issues facing this nation, about the erosion of democracy. If I didn’t care about my country, I wouldn’t care about these issues! So I decided that I AM patriotic. I don’t wave the flag or claim this is the best country on earth, I don’t even like singing the national anthem most of the time, but I do care about what is happening. I get angry at injustice, racism, and inequality. Just because I don’t support the president’s actions unconditionally, doesn’t mean I am not a patriot. I have never had to fight for my country, but I have represented it by traveling and living abroad.

Why is patriotism considered by some to be the highest of virtues? What is so important about love of country? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about humankind, or the planet as a whole, rather than a single country?
Yes, I believe we should be most concerned about the planet as a whole. The issue of climate change is a global one, affecting some areas of the world more than others, but ultimately affecting us all. We cannot solve this problem alone. All nations must cooperate, but we also must understand the point of view of other countries, and take into consideration their interests as well as our own. I do not consider patriotism to be the highest of virtues. I think this is connected with serving one’s country, as in the military. I have never served in the military nor have any desire to do so. Yet I do deeply respect those that do and what they go through while serving, especially in times of war.

But it is important to love one’s country. It’s like loving your children – sometimes you don’t like them very much, but you always love them. I am ashamed at some of the United States’ actions around the world and I am embarrassed to have the president we have now. But if you don’t love your country, then you won’t be inclined to fight for it – not necessarily in battle, but in whatever way you can. If there is injustice, people who love their country should protest, or get involved in some way to rectify the problem. Voting regularly is another sign of patriotism. I vote in every single election. I don’t understand people who don’t exercise their right to vote. Our electoral system isn’t perfect, but we still have the right – and I believe the duty – to vote.

What is the relationship between decisions and consequences?
It is a cause and effect relationship. Every decision has consequences, no matter how small. Some decisions change history. Some decisions cause people to die. For some decisions, the consequences are not felt until later – the decision seems right at the time, but ultimately it causes much damage in the world. The history of our policies in the Middle East is one example of this. Pursuing American interests without considering the interests of other countries in which we become involved has had many devastating results.

What is social justice?
Treating every person or every group in society fairly.

and one ‘easy’ one because those others?  Fairly difficult.
What’s one body part you wouldn’t mind losing? (told you.  Silly).

I guess I would say my appendix. I have never needed it but never had to have it removed either.

FPQ #71: Act Your Age…


Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is again a question with multiple sub-questions:

How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?

*If you’re uncomfortable revealing your actual age, maybe you can just say something like, “I’m in my twenties.” Or fifties. Or “I’m a senior citizen.”
getting older-music

I don’t mind revealing my age – I will turn 68 next week.  I have never felt my age until recently, and until recently, people would guess me to be younger than I am. I let my co-workers (in teaching, all were younger than me) think I was younger. That’s why it’s strange in a way to be living in a senior retirement community. We moved here primarily because of my husband, who is eight years older than I am. He was sick of maintaining a house, especially one that was close to 100 years old – something was always needing to be fixed or renovated. For me, it was the stairs – I have bad knees and it had become increasingly difficult to live in a 2-story + basement house. The washer & dryer were in the basement, but I spent a lot of time in my “office” on the 2nd floor. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to move into a condo somewhere near where we used to live.
getting older-friend

I say I never felt my age until recently because my body has been reminding me of my age. I have a heart monitor for my congestive heart condition and, as I said, bad knees. I have fallen quite often and my knees have gotten arthritic. I still try to keep active, because I know that if I don’t, my body will deteriorate faster now than when I was younger. The other day, Dale cleaned up our bikes and pumped air into the tires. Then he wanted to go for a spin around the campus. Just trying to get my leg over the middle bar was difficult! (I don’t have the classic “girls’ bike” – the bar is not as high as on a men’s bike; it’s halfway in between.) I still make an effort to walk every day and if possible, two or more miles.
getting older-dumb

These days I have to watch my salt and fat content. If I don’t, my body reminds me of it! I can no longer drink coffee and I only very rarely eat fast food.

Acting my age is something I have never done! Remember that stupid teasing phrase, “Act your age, not your IQ”? When I was young enough to say that or be teased with it, I probably did act my age! But now… what does it mean to be 68? How much longer have I got? I don’t think about it much. But it’s true that “70 is the new 50.” People live longer these days and becoming a senior citizen and retiring doesn’t mean your life is over. Retirement for me created opportunities – to attend multiple book groups at the library, attend classes in writing, art, and international/political affairs, travel at any time of the  year.

I don’t have to get up early most of the time. As a retiree, I have filled my days with activities and pleasurable pursuits. (I now understand why retired people tend to be busier than working people!) I love to travel more than anything else, but I’m not ready to take cruises all the time where I never have to get exercise or even get off the ship. I prefer tours that require tramping around cities or nature areas.

I still like the things I liked when I was 30 or 40. My husband and I both like to act silly sometimes – well, more than sometimes – A LOT. The good thing about living in a senior community is meeting people older than me that still live active lives. When I talk to people here, I forget about their age. (Everyone here considers me a “youngster!”) They like the same things, do the same sorts of things, enjoy life the same way I do. Many of them get excited about hearing Beatles songs! So what exactly is “acting my age?” I have no idea – I just act the way I have been.  I don’t think about death being any more imminent than it was before.
getting older-fun

However, there are some things that I feel an urgency to do now that I’m getting older. Keeping records of our investments, writing down for our kids the wishes we have regarding our death, and finishing long term “legacy” projects – all these are important to do as soon as possible, but being the procrastinator that I am, they are far from being completed. We do have a will or should I say, a trust, that has been drawn up and is kept in a place that’s easy to find. But I guess that’s what it means not to act my age – to take for granted that I have plenty of time to do all the things that I believe must be done.

getting older-50