FDDA #31: September

Fandango’s last theme for his Dog Days of August is your plans for September are.” Do you have any? If so, what are they? They can be anything, from posting more (or less) frequently on your blog, taking a trip, learning a new skill, getting married, engaged, or divorced, getting more exercise? Or are you just going to play it by ear? Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about your plans for September.

I don’t have any specific plans for September except to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Due to Covid-19, I don’t have much of a choice. But my husband and I are going to go out more: We have a day trip planned for this Thursday to go to the western suburbs to see some kitschy things I found out about in the newspaper. (Stay tuned! I hope to post pictures!) We can’t stay overnight anywhere, unless we don’t mind being quarantined for 14 days afterward (yes, I do mind!).

Another excursion we will be doing perhaps next week is to the Chicago Art Institute. The parking is a bitch and we don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation so…we’ll just have to pay for parking. I’m a member so there’s no admission fee. Right now there are two very different exhibits I want to see: special exhibit on El Greco and another on an artist from Mozambique with really wild, colorful art.

I also will make plans for a future trip abroad. If I book a tour before the end of September, the company I’m planning to use (Overseas Adventure Travel – I strongly recommend them!) will give us a couple of discounts. So I will be spending the next couple of weeks perusing their catalogs. That will be fun!!

Other than that, it’s the same-old same-old, doing the things I’ve been doing to wile away my time for the past several months: reading, blogging, exercising, working on photo books of past trips, artwork.

As the election approaches, I hope to get involved in some get-out-the-vote initiative.

SYW/HP: On Haunted Houses, Crowded Concerts, Bell Bottoms, Cockroaches and More…

I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.


Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

  • Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen?
    No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
  • The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended?
    Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.

    The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?

    The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
This is a fraction of the crowd we could see from our spot on the lawn.

This was the set up of the people next to us.
  • When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool?
    I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
  • Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made.
    It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!

    Muggle Questions (from Melanie):

What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.

When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!

CB&WPC: Footwear and Feet

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is feet or shoes human and animal.

Collections of shoes and other footwear

Truthful Tuesday: All Good Things Must Come to an End

I’ve never participated in this challenge before, because I just found out about it today (thanks, Fandango!), so even though it’s Wednesday, I’m going to join in. Truthful Tuesday is hosted by PCGuyIV.

What’s something that seemingly everyone else just can’t stop talking about that you just never got in to, and why not?
I feel as though I am woefully behind in cultural trends nowadays. Maybe that’s a part of getting old. I used to tease my mother when she didn’t know about some cultural icon, like Robert Redford. Now I am my mother!

Two TV series that never interested me at all were Game of Thrones and Seinfeld. Yet it felt like everyone else was addicted to these shows. Seinfeld, of course, is several years older than Game of Thrones and I guess people had their favorites. But certain quotes or characters got into our media culture so there are cultural references I just don’t get.

I used to watch a lot of TV and see lots of movies, but haven’t done much of either in the last several years. It started when I got too busy with work to get interested in any shows or have time to go out to a movie. Now I’m just used to it. Every once in a while, someone will mention a Netflix series that sounds interesting, and my husband and I will watch it. PBS is where I found most of the shows that I like to follow. Now that I don’t pay attention to it, I feel like I’m missing out on something.

The second question for the week is pretty much the exact opposite of the first:

What’s something that you hold near and dear, but it seems as though no-one else has heard about it, or at the very least, has no interest in it?

I can’t think of anything in particular. But I do remember that there have been products we found out about and started buying at the supermarket, only to have them discontinued a short time later. My husband’s been complaining that a lot of the turkey substitutes are disappearing, like turkey ham, turkey pastrami, etc. When I wore contact lenses, I was allergic to thimoseral, so I had to use a product that didn’t have thimoseral in it, which became increasingly harder to find. Eventually I couldn’t find it at all. There may have been other products I could have used but I didn’t know what they were, and later I gave up on wearing contact lenses altogether.

There have also been TV shows that we really thought were wonderful, but were cancelled after only one season – even though the writing was brilliant and the plots engaging. Oh well, I guess they had to make time for more reality shows and crime dramas. On Netflix, there were three seasons (amounting to about 8-9 episodes each) of Anne With an E, basically the story of Anne of Green Gables, but with original plot lines added. But there are three books in that series, yet they cancelled the series before getting to either of the other two! Same thing with Outlander (I forget which network it was on) – I think it was discontinued after 4 seasons (corresponding to 4 books in the series) but I’ve also heard rumors that it’s coming back eventually.

I don’t know how many people were interested in any of these things other than me, but it seems we have very little influence with the people in charge of deciding whether to continue something or not. One thing I like about PBS is that when one of their series is very popular, their writers are hired to write more episodes. I don’t think Downton Abbey was expected to last more than a few seasons, but it was so popular that they gave us more seasons and a movie too!

the cast of Downton Abbey

But of course, all good things eventually come to an end. (It seems like the not-so-good things, like this Covid pandemic, are never going to end….)