1. Which of the following could you do without? TV, Computer, Mobile Phone. TV, I guess. I would miss PBS! My son has no TV and he streams everything. Maybe he could teach me!
2. Do you have a lot of old photographs in a box, or did you put them in albums? I do have some photos in a box, but at least they are all sorted and labeled. I have also put a lot of my photos in albums. I was into the scrapbooking craze for awhile – it’s amazing how much time I took (and money I spent!) to add little embellishments and create fancy backgrounds. It’s a lot easier now, because I do it on Shutterfly, since all my photos are now digital (and I can scan the ones that aren’t, which are mainly ones other people have given me). I don’t like to just keep all my photos on my computer, or on flashdrives or whatever. Then if I look at them later, I won’t remember what’s in the photos. I like to remember my trips and I enjoy making and looking at my albums (especially in the depths of winter) and showing them to others. There are many trips I haven’t made into albums, but at least I try to have a journal so I know what the photos are about.
If my kids or grandkids want to throw away my albums after I’m dead, so be it! I will die believing they will cherish them as keepsakes, as well as all my writing!
3. What was the first thing you bought for yourself when you started work?
OMG, that was so long ago, I have no idea! Probably clothes.
4. What is the biggest thing you have bought that did not require finance?
My husband’s car – we didn’t need to finance because at the time we happened to have the money from selling a property, and we also got something of a rebate from his trade-in. It was great not to have monthly car payments, at least until I bought a new car a year later…
Di at pensivity101 is still substituting for Melanie for Share Your World. Here are her questions:
Do you have family photographs on display in your main living room? Yes – well, mostly not in the living room, but on bookshelves in a few different rooms, mostly our bedroom. Our daughter’s wedding photo is on a bookshelf in the living room, wedged between two book ends holding sets of books on either side.
2. What was the best vehicle you owned? I think it’s my current one, a Toyota Prius. I have almost always had Toyotas, which have always worked great for me. Once I had my dad’s old Dodge, which petered out and I had to sell because it would stall when it was raining. (In fact, it was due to that problem that I bought my first cell phone – a big clunky thing!) Another time, I bought a Chrysler Reliant, which was a terrible purchase. Admittedly, the car was used but I had one problem after another. “Reliant” – Ha! What a lie! After that, I went back to buying a used Toyota, and when I could afford a new car, I bought a Toyota Corolla! Since then, I’ve had a hybrid Camry, which we gave to our daughter and son-in-law when his truck died, giving me the excuse to buy the Prius. I have never had to replace a Toyota due to problems with the car; it’s always been to donate to one of our kids!
3. Did you pass your driving test first time? No, I passed it the second time, 6 months after my first try. I didn’t really do anything wrong in my first driving test, except that I was driving my dad’s stick shift car, and it had developed a random habit of stalling. The way to get it going again was to open the hood and wiggle two wires that my dad had shown me! Since this didn’t happen all the time, I took a chance that it wouldn’t happen during the test (and it was the only vehicle available that day). Well, it did! The car stalled after I stopped at a stop sign. I told the instructor I knew what to do to get it going again, but he wouldn’t let me open the hood to wiggle the two wires! So I had to just keep trying to start the car again the normal way, and eventually succeeded without my dad’s remedy! When he failed me, the instructor said, “Next time, bring a car in good working order.”
4. Does loud music from a neighbour or passing cars annoy you? Yes. I think this is very rude. However, I have occasionally turned the volume up on the radio in the car when a favorite song comes on, but now I roll up the windows.
The worse time to have loud music next door is in college, when you’re trying to study and in the next dorm room, they’re having a party and don’t turn it down when you ask them nicely. This happened to me one time and I went next door and pounded on the door. I was so mad I could hardly control myself! I wanted to strangle the guy who opened the door. Instead, I just yelled at him, using several choice epithets. Seeing that my face was red and I was screaming at him, he agreed to turn it down, which he did (but not enough). Well, that’s dorm life!
Gratitude: What has made you smile over the last seven days? My cat, hearing Mahler’s Symphony #1 on my favorite XM radio station in my car, our family’s monthly Zoom meeting and hearing about my nieces and nephews from my sisters.
Platycodon grandiflorus, more commonly known as “balloon flower,” is a perennial that blooms in July. I acquired mine from my sister many years ago, which she gave me from her own garden. I planted them in my garden outside my house where I lived for 25 years, then I dug them up and transferred them to my new home when we moved 3 years ago. They now happily bloom on my patio in a large pot, which they share with columbine, another perennial that blooms earlier, in June.
1. Do you prefer to live in a single story property like a bungalow, a high rise apartment, or a house? House. We live in a duplex, or what is here called a “villa.” I like it because there is only one stair in the entire house – the step from the garage into the kitchen! 2. If you won a large amount of money on the lottery, would you want publicity or keep things quiet and low key? Probably keep quiet, although that’s not easy for me, lol!
3. How do you like your eggs? (No, this is not a trick question) Just about any way, except runny yolks! My favorite is my husband’s omelets, which he makes once a week! 4. If cars were no longer available, what would be your choice of transport? Metro or walking (I used to ride a bike, but now I have balance difficulties.)
Gratitude: Our aim is to make at least one person smile every day. I belong to a group here at my community called “Bright Side,” where we talk about and promote positive feelings and attitudes. The first Friday in October is designated as National Smile Day. Since we are still required to wear masks in our community’s common areas, it’s hard to give and receive smiles. So we are planning an event for the first week of October to promote smiling! Maybe we will give out smiley face stickers to everyone, or have a “feel good” event.
When you’re on holiday, do you prefer self catering or a hotel/B&B? On road trips, I will pack a cooler with necessities for picnics, such as bread, cheese, fruit, and beverages. But we rarely use them. It’s just easier to go to a restaurant. The last time I remember having a picnic on a road trip was the day we went to Devil’s Tower in eastern Wyoming, five years ago. After visiting the monument, we found a picnic table near the entrance to the park, and I set out our picnic fixings. It was about 6 p.m., and just as we were starting to eat our picnic dinner, it started to rain! We finished our sandwiches quickly, then headed back to the car just in time before it started to pour!
Do you have a favourite meal you cook for yourself or order when out? We live at a senior community, and one reason we moved here was so we wouldn’t have to cook anymore. We get our own breakfast together and for lunch, eat salad or leftovers from dinners the night before in the dining room. In the evening, we eat in the dining room, and I must say the food is usually quite good.
That said, my husband makes great omelets, customarily on Saturdays, but it could be any day he feels like doing it! The omelet always contains tomatoes, onions, kale (from a friend’s garden), sometimes luncheon meat, and cheese. It might have other veggies, like broccoli. We have freshly squeezed orange juice (this is done at Mariano’s supermarket, we just buy the bottles of it!) and either a bagel, a muffin, or toast. That is the most elaborate meal we cook for ourselves these days!
In the current fuel crisis, have you made a conscious effort not to use the car unless absolutely necessary? I think about it sometimes, and I at least drive a Prius (hybrid), but we don’t drive a lot anymore. We are both retired and our regular trips consist of to and from a golf course weekly (my husband, with his Subaru Forester), doctors’ appointments and shopping, usually in neighboring suburbs, and some activities I do with friends in the city we used to live in, which is only five miles from here. It takes several weeks, usually a month, for my gas tank to get low enough to buy gas. I get 50 miles to the gallon, which is better than most cars on the road in the U.S.!
4. If you were to compare yourself to a plant, what would you be? I’d be a saguaro cactus. I love these majestic giants and sometimes they have many arms in a variety of positions. They look awkward sometimes, and I can relate!
I am lucky to have a lot of happy memories from my childhood. Please share one from yours. Most of my friends during childhood lived in my neighborhood in our hometown in southern Wisconsin, so we played together outside when weather permitted. We’d ride our bikes, go to our local beach (a man-made pond with a sandy shore), or play in the woods behind our houses. In the summer, we’d stay out as late as our parents let us – it was perfectly safe then, even after dark. In the winter, we’d go to each others’ houses, but usually ended up at mine. If one of the kids left a scarf or hat at my house, I’d smell it and then I’d know who it belonged to!
Do you ever feel more excited about getting the package in the mail, rather than the item that’s in it? Sometimes. It is fun to shop online because I get the package in the mail and that’s exciting.
What is the difference between your ideal self and your real self? (i.e. what attribute or physical feature would allow you feel the ideal ‘you’?) It would take many pages to thoroughly answer this question! Physically, I’m okay except I need to lose about 15 lbs. I would be more my “ideal” self if I didn’t have ADHD. My life would have taken a different trajectory if I had had the self-confidence to make decisions and be happy with them. For most of my life, I didn’t know why I was the way I was – low self-esteem, forgetful, lack of consistency, always losing things. I got distracted in class so I didn’t do as well in my classes as I might have. I didn’t get a diagnosis of ADHD until 2007, when it was too late for me to take the most effective meds (because by then, I had a heart problem). But at least I understood myself after that, and I was nicer to myself.
I now am relatively satisfied with my life. I think that happens often to people when they enter their senior years. I am not going to be a famous author and my teaching years are over, so I will never have the chance to be a much better teacher. But being retired, I do a lot of things that I want to do and no one judges me. I have come back to a childhood interest, which is art. I sing in two choirs. I am in two writing groups and 3 reading groups. I write my blog when I feel like it. I travel and look forward to upcoming trips. I have lots of new friends in the senior community where my husband and I live now, and I love the little house (basically a duplex) where we live. I have everything I need and want (well, mostly).
If you found $2,000 on the ground and there were no witnesses, what would you do with it? I once found $100 on the grass outside a restaurant and carried around that $100 bill for months. I was going to just spend it – after all, there was no way to trace whose it was. But when I talked to my sister, she said whenever she found money, she would give that same amount to a charity. I thought that was a good idea.
Much as I would like to just use the $2000 for a trip, I would probably feel compelled to donate at least part of it (I’m more selfish than my sister!). So maybe I’d use half for my travel fund and give half to a worthy cause.
Are you ever morally obliged to take action? Under what circumstances? If you witness a crime, you should report it, or if possible, intervene to stop it (without endangering your life). But at least report the crime to the police.
I think I am also morally obligated to do something to help the cause of saving our planet from the effects of human-caused climate change. I don’t do much – just small things, but I will write a letter to the newspaper to counter a denier of human caused climate change. If I ever get a new car, it will be an electric car. (Right now I drive a hybrid – a Toyota Prius, which gets 50 miles to the gallon). I belong to a committee to promote awareness about recycling and doing things to help the planet or our community to become more “green.” I recycle. My husband and I collect Styrofoam from people (which cannot be recycled in most instances) and then take a carload to a company that’s over 40 miles away, to recycle it. It’s the Dart Company, which makes Styrofoam. I tell everyone I know to save the Styrofoam containers they get and give them to us. Dart has four huge bins on the edge of their premises where people come to recycle their Styrofoam. It warms my heart to see that the bins are usually full to overflowing, which means other conscientious people are bringing their Styrofoam there too! There are many small ways that people can become involved – refuse straws & plastic utensils, don’t litter throwaway masks, recycle not just paper and the other materials that one’s community accepts, but also donate old clothes to resale places. Better yet, don’t buy new clothes in the first place (this is a hard one for me!). Compost if you can.
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Refuse
GRATITUDE SECTION Please feel free to share how last week went for you. Bright or not so bright spots?
Not so bright: I wasted too much time playing games on my phone, which is a strain on my eyes and I can barely read a book after that! Bright: I’m making birthday cards for my friends and have developed a sort of style for these cards. I am hoping to make a couple of sets to sell at a craft and vendor sale at my church. Here’s an example:
Another Monday, another Melanie’s Share Your World! I have not participated in several weeks, although I think there are a few unfinished ones in my Drafts.
What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? (If you don’t know, just choose something that you think would improve things. The golem is a creature of Jewish folklore created from inanimate material, such as mud or clay, brought to life to serve a particular purpose. It originated in the 1500s in Prague. In some stories, the golem was created to defend against anti-Semitic attacks. Based on the news I’ve been watching this evening, there is a dangerous rise in anti-Semitism and the growth of the “Christian nationalism” movement, which to me smacks of Nazism. (Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene, I am convinced, would have been an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler.) So I think we need to create a golem – a gigantic one – to guard against anti-Semitism and perhaps other ethnic and racist attacks as well.
Should the death penalty be re-instated? Why or why not? First of all, the death penalty is still alive and well in some states (Texas comes to mind). Where I live, in Illinois, it was suspended about a decade ago after a group of Northwestern University law students discovered that several men on death row had been wrongly convicted and were actually innocent. The governor, a Republican, in light of these revelations, suspended the death penalty, and it is still inactive in this state. Several other states have also banned or suspended it, but it’s still active in many states. Most “civilized” countries banned the death penalty long ago.
Morally, I am opposed to the death penalty, particularly because it disproportionally affects black people, especially men, who are incarcerated at a far higher rate than white men. Our justice system is imperfect, and as the Northwestern students proved, there are innocent men on death row; in fact, innocent men have been executed even though their cases contained a lot of doubt about their guilt. Also, the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime (this has been shown to be the case through research, regardless of what death penalty advocates would have us believe), so why have it? It is a barbaric vestige of medieval times.
Another problem with the death penalty is its financial cost. Lawyers of people on death row generally try to appeal their clients’ cases multiple times. This costs taxpayers money. It is less expensive – and, I believe, a worse punishment – to sentence someone to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Sometimes, prisoners who have been incarcerated for a long time do good things in prison to improve themselves – some have even obtained college degrees in prison! Also, there are some who become pastors who minister to their fellow prisoners. In my opinion, these prisoners that have shown themselves able and motivated for self-improvement have proved they have been rehabilitated and could be released. The prison system in our country is awful, and there is a lot of big money interests behind it. Meaningful prison terms can sometimes be served in service to others or in learning to work on farms or ranchers, for example. The prisoner learns a skill that can be useful to him (or her) after release.
Spontaneity Or Stability?
I yearn for both.
Can a dog/cat suffer? What about an ant? What about a plant? What about a bacteria cell? Why do some humans think we’re the only species that does suffer? Your thoughts?
I know that animals suffer – just as we do; after all, humans are animals. Anyone who has owned a pet or has contact with animals knows this. Plants, perhaps also. Trees that have had disease struggle to recover, but little by little wither and die. When I neglect my garden, I can see the plants suffering from lack of water and care – such as removal of weeds that grow around them and threaten to choke or smother them. If lack of water, they show their suffering with wilted leaves, which perk up amazingly well after a good watering or a couple of good rains!
I have no idea why some humans think we’re the only species that suffers. Perhaps it’s to justify their cruelty to animals or their sense of superiority and dominance over the earth. Some use the Bible to “prove” their claim that other species don’t suffer and that humans have the right to dominance over all creatures. The Bible, however, also says the opposite, telling us to take care of nature. (Read Psalm 8, one of my favorites.) I have heard people say that because an animal doesn’t cry out in pain during labor and giving birth, it means the animal doesn’t feel pain. This makes no sense! Animals in the wild can’t afford to cry out while in the pains of labor, for it may attract predators.
What are two things that have brightened your day today?
Reading to a fellow resident in my book group. She has low vision and cannot read the book we’ll be discussing, even with large print. So my sister and I are taking turns reading to her. We all get together and enjoy hearing (and reading) the book together. I enjoy reading aloud and would do it for any resident under whatever circumstances.
Learning the benefits of the Power Plate machine for a variety of conditions – today we had a workshop at the fitness center, where one of the instructors demonstrated its benefits. Then I used it to massage my feet for six minutes!
I haven’t participated in Fandango’s Provocative Question lately – mainly because I haven’t been on my blog much lately – but this question I cannot resist because it is about my favorite subject: ICE CREAM!
What is your favorite ice cream? Please list not only your favorite flavor, but also the brand that is your favorite. Please be specific.
Let me give you an example of what I’m looking for. I like Cookies and Cream ice cream (which flavor inexplicably didn’t make Ally Bean’s published list). And my preferred brand of Cookies and Cream ice cream is Breyers. But my very favorite flavor and brand of ice cream is Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream from Ben & Jerry’s.
Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite food is, I say ice cream. Ice cream, to me, encompasses classic ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. I am partial to flavors that involve chocolate and/or coffee, but I have always thought my favorite ice cream is peppermint ice cream, especially when it is topped with hot fudge sauce, because peppermint and chocolate go so deliciously together!!
But lately, I’ve branched out because there are so many wonderful flavors and combinations out there. I love Ben & Jerry’s and also Haagen Dazs. If I am splurging and come across some Ben & Jerry’s, I’ll look for a combination of flavors I prefer, such as chocolate/dark chocolate (preferably with chocolate pieces blended in), coffee, caramel, or a sorbet such as raspberry (my favorite sorbet flavor). The one Fandango posted looks good and I have probably had it before because I not only love B&J’s ice cream, and ice cream with pieces of cone in it, but I’m also a fan of Stephen Colbert!
My husband and I live in a senior community and very early on, I learned that the ice cream flavors offered for dessert here are really great. Most of the time, they have the basic flavors as well as coffee, so I will often choose that, and it’s great, but they also have some other very popular and scrumptious flavors, like mint chocolate chip or roadrunner raspberry (vanilla with ribbons of raspberry and big chunks of chocolate), “hazelnut” – which is actually dark chocolate with slivers of hazelnuts, and dark chocolate raspberry – this is my new favorite! We have a mini-mart here which sells pints of some of the best flavors, and they are all made by Hershey. Not what I would have expected, and also not as healthy in terms of ingredients (they use high fructose corn syrup), but they do have some interesting flavors such as those I’ve mentioned above.
If I’m in a tropical country, or a place that I can get tropical flavors, I also love coconut, mango, and passion fruit ice cream/sorbet. In Brazil, I used to order doce de leite com flocos, or dulce de leche (a sort of caramel flavor) with chocolate pieces.
So you see, it is really hard to pin down my MOST favorite, but peppermint is always a great choice for me as well as dark chocolate anything or mocha – chocolate/coffee mixed in some combination. OK, I need to stop writing this and go to the freezer to get my dark chocolate raspberry ice cream for dessert! YUMMMM!