I have strong feelings about this week’s topic for Truthful Tuesday by PCGuyIV, so I have a lot to say to answer these questions, based on my own experience!
The old adage says, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Today’s questions stem from this bromide. Don’t worry if you aren’t currently working. The questions can easily be answered, and are likely better answered from a reflective standpoint.
- Do you now or have you ever been employed doing what you love?
The first 20 years of my working life, I worked in clerical positions, primarily in export shipping and freight forwarding. I didn’t love these jobs, but some were better than others. I enjoyed being able to use my skills, such as being able to use one of the two foreign languages I speak, and there were some other things I enjoyed, but usually I was somewhat bored and I felt I wasn’t really contributing anything meaningful to myself or society. That’s why I decided to change careers and become a teacher.
I would say that I actually loved my job for about three years out of my entire working career. These lovely three years occurred primarily when I was teaching and I had the ideal working environment: my principal liked and supported me, I got along with co-workers and they respected my opinions, I was working with small groups of students that came to my classroom, and I was doing what I best at. Sometimes I would be at school preparing for the day, and as I wrote on the whiteboard the schedule for the day, I would have a feeling of exhilaration: there I was, writing the date in Spanish and English, something simple like that, because I was good at what I did and I loved using Spanish in my job as well as teaching English to Spanish speakers. This feeling of exhilaration would sometimes wash over me when I was sitting at a table working with three or four kids on reading. I felt like I was really making a difference, I was doing something to help those kids by teaching them to read! When I saw a child make progress in an area difficult to him or her, teaching was the best job in the world!
During my three best years, I did projects with my students that were really enjoyable, and as long as I taught the curriculum and my lesson plans fit the standards, I could expand on it as I wished. I was great help and a good resource for the classroom teachers that my students were in. The kids felt comfortable with me because most of their day was spent in a classroom with native English speakers and that could be intimidating, even when they were competent in spoken, non-academic English. Although I did encourage them to do their work in the language of instruction, with me it was okay if they preferred writing in Spanish at first instead of English. I also tried to make connections between the two languages and we drew on their native culture whenever possible. I told all my students to be proud to be bilingual and not to give up their native language even if their academic work was mostly in English. I told them that being bilingual would help them get a better job in the future. (If I had not been what is considered bilingual, I doubt I would have ever gotten a teaching position in a public school system.) It was clear that I loved and respected their culture, and knew something about it.
These feelings of contentment sometimes happened outside of those three years in which I was truly happy, but three years out of 12+ years of teaching is only 25% of the time – the teaching profession is brutal these days! The other years either I had a principal that didn’t support me or didn’t care, I had either too much to manage or too little control over what I did, and/or I felt that I wasn’t appreciated or respected by the administration or my colleagues. I was only a mediocre classroom teacher – there were too many things pulling on me, I had to keep track of more tasks and more kids than I could manage well. With small groups, especially when they came to me in my classroom that was set up for their needs and mine, I was a better teacher and happier too.
But I have to say, when I was able to leave the profession and retire, I was very relieved and grateful. I hardly ever miss teaching.
- Do you agree with this saying (If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life) or is it a bunch of poppycock, and why?
Doing what you love is still work. Even those three ideal teaching years, I worked very hard – late nights planning and grading papers, early mornings preparing for the day, and I only allowed myself one day on the weekend to completely get away from my work. Ask the health care workers on the front line taking care of Covid-19 patients if they don’t consider what they are doing as work! Most people are not lucky enough to spend their working life doing what they love, and even when they do, it’s still a lot of responsibility. You can’t just take the day off because you want to. Sometimes you will be doing that part of your job that you love, when something you don’t enjoy so much imposes itself on you and you have to take care of it because that’s part of your job too. I don’t believe there is anyone on Earth who loves every minute of every day of their work – not even workaholics!
In an ideal world, we would all work less hours, have more leisure time, and the work we did would be fulfilling and a contribution to society. We would be respected for our labors. However, living in a country which values work so much that there isn’t even a law requiring employers to give their workers vacation time, this adage has even less chance of ever becoming reality!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is photos of purple and/or blue flowers. Here is my collection of flowers through the seasons.
Here’s this week’s edition of Melanie’s Share Your World.
- What is worse than a dentist with bad breath?
A dog who farts all during Thanksgiving (with a house full of people) because he gobbled up an entire pie that was left on the counter.
- Have you ever been rejected by someone that you liked, or been told that you were not good enough for somebody else?
I have been rejected, but never told I wasn’t good enough for someone else.
- Did you ever want to have toast for breakfast, only to find that all your bread was covered in green mold?
Yes, sort of. It is a disappointment, that’s for sure, but I just chide myself for letting the bread get neglected for so long. If the mold is just on the edges, though, I cut around it and eat it anyway.
4. Did you ever sneeze so hard that your whole body hurt?
I can’t recall that I have, but I have laughed so hard that I felt like I was having a heart attack or couldn’t breathe. Since it was temporary, I didn’t worry about it.
5. Did you ever buy clothing on the internet that did not fit, but you wore them anyway, since you didn’t want to pay the $5 shipping charge to send them back?
Most online vendors do not make you pay to have merchandise sent back, especially now since shopping in a real store may be hazardous for your health! If the clothes didn’t fit me, I wouldn’t wear them. If they are a little too small, I probably would keep them so I can wear them after I lose weight (I have a lot of clothes in this category right now! 😉 ). Recently, I acquired a shirt that was WAY too large for me – I don’t mind wearing clothes that are a little large, but in this case it didn’t look good at all. I have a sister who is a lot heavier than I am, and her daughter is even bigger than that. So I gave that shirt to my sister. We determined it would fit her but not her daughter. It looks very nice on my sister!
To avoid the hassle of returning items, whether it’s free or not, I usually give it away to someone else or even to a rummage sale if I hadn’t paid too much for it.
Gratitude: Our community has a “tree” (cut out from paper) and each resident got a leaf to put on the tree. We were to write something we are grateful for on the leaf and tape it to the tree. Our message said: We are grateful for all the new friends we have made since we moved here! So I will leave it at that, since we rarely get to see them now – the new surge in the coronavirus has caused most of the activities we were beginning to have again to shut down.
A HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE IN BLOGLAND!!
My pick for Fandango’s Who Won the Week is Rachel Maddow, a prime-time news anchor on MSNBC. She has been in quarantine because her partner, Susan, had a serious case of Covid-19. She had a substitute for several nights, who told us that she was quarantined because “someone close to her” had tested positive for Covid-19. On Thursday of last week, she was back! Only she wasn’t in the studio, she was in her home office so not only the background was different, but she looked different – this is because she didn’t have on make-up (which she doesn’t wear outside the studio) and doesn’t even know how to put it on herself! At one point, she had trouble with the mikes and had to clumsily figure it out. She told us her story with great poignancy as well as good humor.
She started out her quarantine story this way: “I’m in love.” Rachel and Susan have been together for 21 years and have a very solid relationship. She then went on to explain the anxiety she felt when Susan got sick, especially as she showed some serious symptoms, saying she wished it had been herself instead of Susan. Her story was a lot like the stories of many people around the country – around the world, actually: she unabashedly revealed her emotions and described how worried and fearful she became because Susan was really sick. I guess she never had to go to the hospital, but as an MSNBC news reporter, Rachel knows what can easily happen with this virus and she was prepared for whatever would happen. She nursed Susan, she comforted and entertained her, and I suppose gave her whatever pharmaceuticals she could to help her partner out. She injected a little humor into the story, as she does on TV.
For people reading this who don’t know who Rachel Maddow is, she is an excellent news reporter – she is inquisitive, serious when the issue is serious, and humorous whenever she can. She usually presents the news in a way that captures one’s interest: she begins a human-interest story, focusing on a person, a situation, or a place, and you never know at first how it’s connected to anything but also know that she will make the connection as she launches into the major news story. Her show is on at 8:00 pm Central Time Monday through Friday and her reputation is such that she is allowed to hold off commercial breaks for around 25 minutes while she develops the story she’s reporting on, so you get the facts of the issue as well as her own twist on it. She helps the viewer see the issue in a wider context – like a camera that focuses on a small detail and then zooms out to include the entire scene.
Rachel is no dummy – she was a Rhodes scholar and earned her PhD in politics at Oxford University. She has also won a number of awards as her popularity soared. She connects well with her audience and while we see some of her personality on her show, the story of her partner’s illness and how she felt about it revealed a much more personal and intimate look into her world outside work. She did this not only to explain to her viewers why she was in quarantine but also to hopefully touch someone out there who may not take Covid-19 as seriously as it is, and the anxiety that loved ones go through not knowing how the virus will affect the person close to them. She wanted people to understand why foregoing a family at Thanksgiving this year is the smart and loving thing to do:
Maddow expressed some understanding for those who take risks with their own welfare in order to snatch a tiny slice of normal life back. But she also explained that, unfortunately, that’s not how coronavirus works. “I’m guessing that you might be willing to risk yourself. Especially after all these months and all this time. It’s so frustrating, right?” she said. “You don’t get to just say, ‘I’m willing to get this thing and play the odds.’ You don’t get that choice. It won’t necessarily be you. It’ll be the person you most care about in the world. How can you bear that?” (Quoted from KQED Nov. 20, 2020)
She concluded by saying, “All you can do is move heaven and Earth to not get it and not transmit it. “This thing is scary as hell. Whatever you have been doing to risk getting it, don’t.”
I am betting this story will be one of the most watched of all her shows and who knows? She may get another award for it.
By the way, Susan is recovering well!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge‘s colors this week are white and cream colored.
For several daily word prompts, I present a window into one of our oldest family traditions: playing board games.
Every New Year’s Eve, it’s a tradition for my sister and brother-in-law and the two of us to dust off the Scrabble game. Accompanied by wine, you would think everyone would have fun!
I’m sorry to say, however, that my brother-in-law is a sore loser! I was surprised to discover this trait in him, because he is usually laid back and accepts whatever comes with a chuckle. But coming in last in Scrabble – he just can’t take it!
Here’s the scenario:
I’m looking over the board, trying to find a place to place at least one of my difficult-to-play letters. There are few openings. I’m in third place with few options at this point in the game.
Aha! I spot an “I” with spaces around it! And one of them is a double letter square – usually not great, but by placing my “Q” in that spot, it boosts my score by 21 points, and I move into second place!
“QI?? What the hell is that?” says E–. (I am not disclosing his full name, in case he or anyone who knows him happens to read this!)
“Qi – you know, it’s a Chinese word,” I try to explain. “It means ‘energy’.”
“Well, whatever it means, it’s not English!” he retorts.
“But everyone – (ahem) – lots of people know about it,” I reply. “And it is frequently used in my Words With Friends game which is based on Scrabble.”
“Words With Friends?? I don’t know what that is. We are playing Scrabble here.”
With a sigh, I try to explain that it has come into general usage in English. “I know at least one blogger who uses it a lot.”
“Well, one blogger isn’t general usage,” he insists stubbornly. “Katy, you’re being really ostentatious.”
“Oh, come on!” I protest, getting flustered and trying to think of another example of a foreign word that is used in English.
“Qi is an acceptable word,” my sister puts in. “It’s in the Scrabble dictionary.”
“And also the English dictionary, which we have right here!” I say exuberantly, and jump up to look it up in our Webster’s 20th Century Unabridged Dictionary, which lies open on the chest next to the dining room table.
“Wait, wait,” E– says. He turns to his wife. “Why do you say it’s acceptable?” He still clings to the slim hope that he can prove us wrong.
“I just told you – it’s in the Scrabble dictionary,” my sister says.
“And here it is in this dictionary, too,” I reiterate as I put a finger on the word in the massive dictionary.
“But we don’t use dictionaries when we play Scrabble,” E– insists.
“Huh?” both my sister and I exclaim. “Yes, we do,” she continues.
“We only use a dictionary when a word is contested,” says E–.
“Yeah, and you are contesting my word,” I put in.
“Which means you lose your turn,” my sister says smugly.
Now my sister’s husband is really mad. He begins to sulk.
I try to smooth things over by being reasonable. “You know, we use a lot of foreign words in English. What about taco?”
“Everyone knows what a taco is,” he replies resentfully. “Qi – what’s qi?? – It’s not in general usage.”
Because it is three against one (my husband, who has kept out of this conversation, votes with us women), E– has to accept it. It’s supposed to be his turn next and he slams the letters he was going to play on the table. He really does have crappy letters, I notice with chagrin.
When the game is over, I’ve won and E– is in last place.
We have had this argument at least three times. Now when someone plays “qi,” he just shakes his head and grumbles to himself.
Monday = Melanie’s Share Your World! I haven’t posted much lately, but I always look for Share Your World!
This week’s questions:
Is cereal soup? Why or why not?
What an odd question! Of course cereal isn’t soup, unless you like soggy cereal drowning in a bowl of milk! Actually, I rarely eat cereal with milk anymore – I usually use yogurt instead. I have cereal with fruit & yogurt for breakfast a few days a week. Soup makes a good lunch in the winter. Another difference between soup and cereal is that usually cereal has some sort of sweetness to it, while soup tends to be salty.
What are some interesting ways to answer everyday questions like “how’s it going” or “what do you do”?
How’s it going? “Going? Going where?”
What do you do? “Lots of things – eat, sleep, make love, read, exercise, go to work, sleep late, travel. Which one are you asking about?” (I might select a couple of these depending on my mood.)
But I never have a clever response to anything like that – I don’t think of clever things on the spur of the moment; sometimes I come up with a good response an hour later when I’m in my car. However, I do want to be honest sometimes when someone asks me, “How are you?” I usually say, “fine and you?” But what if I said something like, “I feel like sh** this morning, how about you?” I mean, do people really want to know how it’s going or how I am? It’s just a mindless greeting. I prefer greeting people with a smile and “hello!”
What was your favorite toy growing up?
It wasn’t really a toy. Paper and crayons/pencils. I always loved to draw, and I would write and illustrate little books. As I got older, I preferred journaling or writing romantic stories, but added drawings as well.
If you have a pet, and you could ask it three questions, what would you ask?
Every animal has its own personality and preferences, and Hazel is no exception! I would like to ask her about some of her idiosyncratic preferences:
- What makes you choose one place over another to take your many cat naps?
- You change your mind so often regarding what food you prefer, so what kind of cat food do you really like? (I know what people food you like!)
- Why do you only want to sleep between Dale’s legs when he’s sitting on the recliner (and not when I’m there) but in bed, you always sleep between my legs and not his?
Attitude of Gratitude Section (Always Optional)
What’s one simple thing society at large could do to improve our world? Wear a mask and believe what doctors tell you!
This is a type of kale that I saw at Chicago Botanic Gardens. I like the fullness of it!
Lisa Coleman of Our Eyes Open‘s Bird Weekly photo challenge this week asks us to post long-legged birds.