SYW: Psychic Octopus, Famous People and Peanut Butter Jokes

Melanie has come up with a new set of questions this week for Share Your World.

QUESTIONS: 

Do you think psychic abilities exist? Yes, and I even know of a psychic octopus. I think some people have a high degree of sensitivity and connectivity to others. There are people who know when something has happened to one of their children, for example. I also believe some people can communicate with spirits. I don’t think that, in general, people can predict the future. But the psychic octopus did!

In the summer of 2010, we were in Spain during the World Cup, which was taking place in South Africa. The Spanish team was doing very well and everyone was super excited. During the semi-finals and finals, there was an octopus named Paul – he lived in Germany, I believe. On the evening before each of the semi-final matches, two little flags would be affixed to the side of two containers in which there was the favorite octopus food, mussels. Each contained a few mussels and both were placed in Paul’s tank. Every game – and this is really true – Paul would eat the mussels from the container of the winning team, that is, the team whose flag was attached. Unfailingly, he predicted every game. Sometimes he might take a mussel or two from both containers, but always selected the majority from the winning team’s container. And, the night before the final, his food selection predicted that Spain would win. By now, nearly everyone believed in the octopus. And, in fact, Spain DID win the World Cup final – it was the first (and so far the only) time they won this coveted award.

After the game, people poured into the streets from the bars where they’d been watching, and there was an all-night party in the streets of central Madrid. A few days later, the team members arrived home from South Africa, and all along the Gran Via (a wide thoroughfare in central Madrid) people gathered, wearing red and yellow – the colors of the Spanish team (and flag) – to wait for the bus that would bring the victorious players down the avenue for the benefit of everyone’s adulation. One of the things people wore were yellow octopus hats! Because Paul had predicted their victory, he was inextricably linked to the 2010 World Cup.

How would you describe peanut butter to someone who didn’t know what it was? A very sticky substance combining pureed peanuts and butter, that you use to spread on bread or to add flavor to a stalk of celery. (My dad had a hilarious joke about peanut butter – well, it was hilarious to watch him tell it, as it required some “acting.” But his description while telling this joke would give the person a pretty good idea of what peanut butter is like!)

Why does an octopus squirt ink? To protect itself from predators – the ink hides it from view and may be an irritant to predators.

Who are two of today’s greatest entertainers in your opinion?  (can be actors, musicians, singers etc)
I always am reluctant to answer this type of question, because my tastes are out of the mainstream for the most part, and I don’t even recognize the names of the current mainstream of entertainers! However, Stephen Colbert of A Late Show is one we watch regularly, and he got us through 4 years of Trump! In a similar vein, I also like John Oliver, who takes on serious subjects but he always gets a few laughs out of me and I love his accent!

GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

Please feel free to share a moment of gratitude in your life! 
The unseasonably warm, beautiful weather we have been given the last few days – flowers are blooming and I’m wearing sandals and short pants!

SYW: Knowing Tangerines & Potato Chips, and other Musings

Melanie asks some profound questions this week for Share Your World!

QUESTIONS: 

What is knowledge?
Google’s online dictionary has two definitions for knowledge (definitions are from Oxford Languages):
1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

Being smart is not the same as knowledge, but “street smarts,” for example, is a type of knowledge from definition #2. However, I usually think of definition #1 when thinking about what knowledge is.

How do you define consciousness (self awareness)?
Consciousness is being cognizant of your surroundings, who you are, and what you are doing. It’s also possible to be conscious without an awareness of one’s surroundings, such as the things you do without thinking – your mind is elsewhere. Often when we drive, we do it so automatically that we don’t think about it as we are doing it – but an unusual situation on the road will usually bring us back to that awareness. (If not – and this happens often enough – likely one will get into an accident.) It is difficult to be aware all the time – this is called “mindfulness,” distinct from consciousness in that we are constantly aware of our senses in the present.

Mindfulness takes a lot of training in self-control to keep one’s mind from wandering. I would like to be more mindful – appreciating the sensations, for example, in eating a tangerine: how it looks and smells, the sensation in my fingers as I peel it, and then really noticing it when it’s ready to eat: each section has little sacs in which the juiciness resides; there is some stringy residue of the peel still clinging to the outside. Smell it, taste it, be aware of how wonderful it is to eat a tangerine. We don’t do this enough. I tend to eat without even thinking about it, and then when I’m done (I eat too fast), I look at my empty plate and realize I didn’t have an appreciation for what I ate. The food is gone and I ate it without awareness.

So often consciousness involves one part of the brain paying attention to one’s surroundings as the person goes about doing routines automatically, while another part of the brain is distracted – thinking about something else altogether. Mindfulness, existing in and appreciating the present, is a richer experience than consciousness, I believe.

Is it possible to prove that other people besides yourself have consciousness?
Of course – they are conscious if they are engaging in the world around them, whether they are being mindful of it or not; it’s still consciousness. If you ask your partner, say, if he is asleep, and he answers “yes,” then he is probably lying. Sleep is our brain’s rest from consciousness. But are dreams simply a different level of consciousness?

Would you be able to tell if time had been altered in some way?
You mean, like a time warp? Yes, if I got into a blue English phonebox called the Tardis, and emerged from it in medieval Europe, or in a futuristic world, I would definitely be able to tell time had been altered!

We alter time twice each year, when we go on and off Daylight Savings Time. (Personally, I’d like to stay on DST all year.) It is then that I realize that time is an artificial construct that we impose on our world to establish order, a conformity that everyone in society lives with. Time is, of course, related to the cycles of the moon, the rotating and orbiting of Earth around the sun. Either it is light or it is dark. We behave differently and have different expectations of ourselves and others at night than during the day. Some people say they have trouble adjusting to going on and off DST, but I think, really? It’s just an hour, and during that hour – or missed hour – we are usually sleeping anyway. It is noticeable, sure, when we are used to leaving for work in early daylight, but suddenly, it’s dark out when we leave our house at 7:00 a.m. That’s a drag – and I’m very glad I’m retired and no longer have to worry about it!

Another time when we notice time changes is when we get into an airplane and fly halfway across the world. Our bodies continue on the time zone we were in when we got on the airplane, and yet when we get to our destination, it is a completely different time of the day. We may be tired, because back home the night was just beginning, but where we are now, everyone is very much awake and going about their daytime activities. In 2022, we are going to Australia and New Zealand, so we will cross the International Date Line and – presto! – although 12 hours have gone by, it’s the next day over there!! And we gain that day back when we return: It was Tuesday when we departed Auckland, and now we get to live most of Tuesday again at home on the other side of the world!

Do you like potato chips (they’re called ‘crisps’ in Europe I believe)?
Four “profound” questions that require real thought, and now you ask whether I like potato chips?? How mundane!! Yes, I do like them, but I try to avoid eating them, because like the commercial says, “so good, you can’t eat just one!” I make allowances on special occasions (noshing at a party, for example) or when I have only a small portion of chips on my plate and cannot eat any more!

GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

On this side of the world it’s coming into Springtime.   Celebrate Spring by sharing an image or anecdote that shares “Spring”!   Alternatively, it’s coming into Autumn on the other side of the world.  Please do the same for Autumn!   Thanks! 

Daffodils, the heralds of spring, are blooming everywhere!

Daffodils alongside the east wall of my house
Daffodils blooming along the fence separating our old house and the neighbor’s. Those weren’t there two years ago, when we moved, but I’m glad the new neighbors decided to plant these lovely flowers!

Truthful Tuesday: More on Reading Preferences

Truthful Tuesday continues this week on the subject of books and reading.

  1. Are there any books that you can read over and over again, and never seem to tire of?
    Yes, but not too many times and usually there is a space of several years between readings. I have read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice three or four times, and some of her other novels twice. Like I said, I have to be in the right frame of mind, so it doesn’t happen a lot. There are just so many books and so little time!!
  2. Have any of your favorite authors written any books that you just didn’t care for?
    Of course. No author writes a masterpiece every time, and of course, what constitutes a masterpiece is a matter of opinion usually. One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver, and I will usually buy and/or read anything she writes that I come across, but occasionally it doesn’t interest me much. Not all of Jane Austen’s novels are great, but the worst is the one she didn’t finish, and the version I have, the author who finished it for her wrote a very dull tale. Sometimes an author will write a trilogy or a series of books about the same topic, or set in the same place or with the same characters, but then I decide to read something else he/she has written, and don’t care for it. This happens especially with mystery writers who then write something else. I’m sure there are other examples but I can’t think of them right now.
  3. When it comes books, do you prefer reading fiction or non-fiction? The genre is unimportant.
    I like both fiction and non-fiction. I actually got on a non-fiction jag for awhile, but non-fiction books often take more time to read so fiction is easier. But you know what they say: Truth can be stranger than fiction!

    Also I am in some book groups so I read whatever the book selected is, whether fiction or non-fiction. I like book groups because I get out of my comfort zone and read something different, and often it is wonderful!

    My favorite genre is historical fiction, where I can learn about a time and place and at the same time enjoy the story. The only problem is knowing which parts are true and which are not. But usually I don’t care too much.

SYW: Bugs, Inspiration, & More

I’m starting off the new week with Melanie’s Share Your World.

SYWHandpaintedPL

QUESTIONS: 

If not now, then when?
This is the story of my life: Procrastination!

Can you describe your life in a six-word sentence?
No, I don’t think I can.

Do you remember that thing people used to say, about how you swallow eight spiders a year while you sleep? It’s not true, but do you think you’ve ever swallowed any? What bug do you think you’ve eaten the most of by accident?
Yuck! I hope none! Although I probably have inadvertently swallowed a gnat, since there always seems to be one around me.

I have eaten bugs, but it was intentional, sort of. In Oaxaca, Mexico, I was dared to eat chopped up fried grasshoppers that had been served as a complimentary appetizer at a restaurant! I did take a very small bite, and lived to tell the tale, although I don’t remember how it tasted. I don’t want to ever do it again! But the people I was with cheated me – they said if I tried it first, they would all then try it. But they didn’t. How gullible am I???

What’s the best approach to resolving conflict?
Calmly.

Where do you find inspiration?
By inspiration, do you mean inspiration to do something creative? Or do you mean spiritual satisfaction? If to do something creative, then I say in nature mainly. But sometimes something just comes to me and I have the urge to be creative – like certain books make me want to write. But for spiritual satisfaction, I am inspired by singing, mainly as part of an ensemble like a choir. Appropo here is a song that I have posted before, but it is definitely worth repeating: (Lyrics below)

“How Can I Keep From Singing?”

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars
I hear the truth, it liveth
And though the darkness ’round me close
Songs in the night it giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?


When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

SYW: Neighbors, Mirrors and Make-Up

Monday = Melanie’s Share Your World!

QUESTIONS: 

How well do you know your next-door neighbors?   Do you like them?   (credit to Cyranny for the question)
I do know our next door neighbors, George & Gail, but not very well. We have not lived here very long. At our former residence, I knew most of my neighbors, partially thanks to their friendliness and partly due to the annual block party. My next-door neighbor was a horticultural landscaper and she helped me start and expand my garden. Our neighbors across the street invited us to their New Year’s party every year, as well as their daughters’ graduation parties. These neighbors, in particular, were ones that I’d always stop to talk to. So yes,, I liked them.

Do you have a full length mirror?  (credit to Sadje for the rest of the questions)
Yes. After we had lived here for several months, I got frustrated about not having a full length mirror, since at our old house, we had two of them, one on the second floor and one on the first floor. So we finally bought one when we were shopping at Target or Meijer. It’s now hanging on the outside of our bathroom door.

(for the ladies)   How long do you spend putting on make-up in the morning?
None. I don’t wear make-up and never have. Anytime I tried to wear makeup, it would get in my eyes and irritate them. But even if it didn’t irritate my eyes, I wouldn’t bother with make-up unless I had a really noticeable zit (which invariably happened on picture day at school!).

How many items of clothing are in your bedroom (or closet) and not hung up?
Usually none, except for clothes in the hamper. But right now there is an outfit I want to wear again, but I didn’t want to wear it to exercise today and I was going to the fitness center. Just a pair of pants and a shirt.


GRATITUDE QUESTION (as always optional)

Do you have a happy place?
Anywhere there are flowers and nature.

Here I am at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma in 2019, where we visited a beautiful botanic garden. This arbor was the entrance to it.

SYW: On Partying, Pictures & Words, and Finding Waldo

It’s Monday and time for Melanie’s Share Your World. Her questions are a bit strange this week, but here goes!

QUESTIONS: 

If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be for?  (Covid considerations are suspended for this question) A carnaval party – I’ve always wanted to go to one of those (or throw one, in this case). Carnaval takes place at the beginning of Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s sort of like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but in Brazil it lasts for four days during which people party all night and sleep during the day. There are parties and samba parades, the bars are full, and there is lots of drinking and merry-making. Carnaval music is heard everywhere with its strong percussion beat and familiar tunes. Even though I’m not young enough to have the stamina to dance all night, I’d dance as much as I could, then I’d watch a show of professional samba dancers (who would be hired for the occasion), while enjoying the music and sipping caipirinhas.* Everyone would have a good time, because Brazilian parties are the best!!

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
Words can evoke pictures in the mind of the reader if the writer is good enough. For me, pictures and words are two separate things, but which belong together. In a blog, especially, a writer should include at least one picture. That is what people are used to nowadays, in this era of social media and non-stop visuals – selfies, memes, cute puppies or kittens, whatever. Sometimes it’s easier to post a photo, like I did above, to explain a concept instead of trying to describe it. If I just wrote “carnaval dancers” and then went on to describe what I meant in detail, most people would not read it! My blog is not a novel. So I either post my own photos, or find one on Google, as I did above, showing the colorful costumes and happiness that shows in the photo. They look like they’re having a good time and for sure, their audience appreciates their performance!! All it needs now is video and sound, but I’m not going to go that route this time.

Where IS Waldo?   (Waldo, for those unfamiliar with him, is a cartoon character featured in many “find Waldo” images and puzzles)     
You can see him in a book
You can see him by a brook
You might see him in a tree
Or on a sailing ship at sea!
You may see him in a park
You may see him on an ark
Or maybe he’ll be right next to you
On your next trip to the zoo.
You can see him in the air
You can see him anywhere!

What’s the best part of waking up?
My morning routine: tea and a banana while reading in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace (in cold weather) or enjoying the morning air on the porch, also with tea, banana, and book. ( I can’t drink any kind of coffee anymore and would never desire Folgers in my mug!)

Would you rather be covered in fur or covered in scales?   (Wee disclaimer.  I’m certainly not advocating the slaughter of creatures and the use of their skins for clothing or accessories.  No!  This question is a ‘grow your own’ type question…if you had an option of your own skin being made of fur OR scales, which would you choose?)
Definitely fur, so that people would pet me and cuddle with me. Who wants to cuddle with a snake or a fish?? Also, because of where I live, I am more in need of fur to keep me warm. Scaly animals have trouble surviving our winter climate!


*caipirinha – a Brazilian drink made with cachaca (sugar cane based alcoholic beverage), lime, ice, and sugar

GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional) 

Feel free to share your gratitude for our world!
I’m grateful for the GOOD NEWS about beating Covid-19! The American Rescue Plan has been passed, and soon Pres. Biden will sign it – this is a comprehensive bill, the biggest legislation to benefit ordinary Americans since the ACA. On the vaccination front, today in the U.S., almost 2.9 million people were vaccinated, way more than the president’s goal of 1 million per day. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. Sure, there is bad news too but I am very grateful for the good news, and the fact that soon we will be able to get together with small groups and families without having to wear masks, etc. My husband and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the majority of my friends have either been vaccinated or have appointments. In Des Plaines, a mass vaccination site was opened in the former K Mart building – they can vaccinate 3,500 people per day! And in Chicago, the United Center is being used to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day.

Seattle doctor's gratitude goes far beyond the person who gave his COVID-19  vaccine; read his unusual letter | The Seattle Times

The Last February of Love Post

We’ve finally arrived at the end of this short month, which has seemed at least as long as any other month! This means the last day of Paula’s Month of Lurve challenge.

My final love is games!

Feb. 28: I love…to play games! It can get out of hand when I spend half a day playing games on my phone! But I prefer games I can play with others – good old-fashioned Scrabble or Scattergories or other board games. Games we used to play with each other as kids. I always think of my dad when talking about games, because there is no one who loved to play games more than he did! So I and my siblings grew up with a love for games. We had educational games that helped us learn things, like state capitals and countries of the world as well as the usual Parcheesi, etc. It was a way of sharing time together when we’ve exhausted all conversation topics – or to look forward to at the end of the day. One of my sisters lives in this senior community with her husband, and we often get together to play games. Most days there’s some kind of game going on in our community center.

Word games are my favorite, and I have several different ones on my phone: Words With Friends is my favorite, even though there are inconsistent rules about what words are acceptable, and they have some made up words. I like this game because it’s the only one I play with other people, and it’s like Scrabble. I also have Wordscape, Word Stacks, and Word Scroll.

Some games are good to keep one’s mind sharp, although I don’t believe that crap in ads about games that your IQ is based on whether you score well on their games! I added a few additional games recently, including one that hones geometry skills.

This challenge has been fun, but also challenging since I often had a hard time keeping up! Thanks, Paula, for hosting it!