Those of us over 50 most likely remember the old TV series Candid Camera – I can still remember the last line of its theme song: “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week challenge this week is candids. I offer my submission, first with two photos taken of family members at my grand-nephew’s birthday/going away to college family gathering (that’s him in the second photo); and a few animal candids of wild and domestic furred or feathered friends.
Our cat had been sleeping behind some propped pillows on the bed – she’d never slept there before, and she seemed a bit surprised and perhaps annoyed that we found her hiding place!
It’s question week for me, and every week I look forward to Melanie’s Share Your World. Following are her questions for this week.
Is every piece of truth worth telling? (credit to the magnificent Cyranny for this one) No, not at all. Sometimes the truth is brutal. Telling someone they are fat, for example. It may be the truth but you don’t say it. Instead, you find a way to compliment that person with another (hopefully) true opinion, such as “I love your outfit!” or “That shirt looks great on you!” Can an opinion be the truth? It is if it is your true opinion! 😉
Important truths, however, must be told, brutal or not. Such as the fact that Joe Biden won the U.S. election for president. Such as Trump won’t admit defeat due to his pathological narcissism, which is why he continues to maintain that he won, and that makes him dangerous. Such as OANN and Fox have been lying to you. Who and how these truths ought to be told is another matter. If you want people to believe you are telling the truth, you must be believable to them. A left-leaning activist should not be the one to address the right-wing about what is the truth and what is not. It’s not just politics – people tend to believe what fits their own world view; this has been shown through study after study. Why do you gravitate to certain news sources rather than others that are also readily available? How do you know who is telling the truth? What if it is all a huge conspiracy? There are people who tend to believe conspiracies, but I am not one of them. And personally, although it’s interesting, I don’t really care why Oswald killed Kennedy. The fact that he did it is what determined the future.
I try to be objective when hearing people who claim to be truth-tellers, like the media I choose to watch or read (because those sources fit my world view, I guess – but I think it is more than that). Some things just don’t ring true. Giant conspiracies that would involve coordination between thousands of people across the globe just are not believable. The view of one scientist who is a friend of your brother’s wife’s cousin that climate change isn’t happening doesn’t hold up to the vast majority of scientists in the world who maintain that it is and we must do something about it. Take a moment before forwarding that Facebook post to think, does this sound like it’s true? There are ways of investigating what is the truth and what is not, and the process of learning this should begin in middle school when kids begin to do a lot of Internet surfing and research. Lies are disseminated when social media users feel drawn to a particular concept or meme, and then forward it to others they know who basically think the same way they do. We are all guilty of this, without exception, I think. But I have always had a streak of skepticism in me, and if it sounds too bizarre or ridiculous to be true, I check the source and then fact-check the information, if it’s important enough to me.
Big truths should and must be told, but small ones are up to the teller. Will telling the truth in this case just hurt somebody’s feelings or will it make a difference in their decision-making? If the former, don’t tell it; if the latter, one probably should. Withholding the truth should never be an excuse, only a reason.
Whom do you miss more Freddy Mercury or Prince? (if you don’t know who those people are, just skip this question. It’s cool). I know who both of them are, but Freddie Mercury is not dead. He lives on in the body of one of my grandcats, an orange Maine coon mix who is very frisky, naughty, and loveable!
If you could only email or text people for the rest of your life (no other form of communication), which would you chose? Email might be more practical, but it is also slow and easy to miss in the slew of emails I get on a daily basis and don’t have time to read. I love texting and prefer it even to speaking on the phone.
Would you prefer to work the midnight shift at a really creepy out of the way motel OR work alone for eternity? Thank God I don’t have to make that choice!
Bonus question because yes, these are a weird bunch (no worries – I did Bushboy’s yesterday!) this week: What’s one secret you’re still keeping from your immediate family? (no details required. You could say something like “The lost weekend in 1982”. You can also answer “Why I NEVER keep secrets from my nearest and dearest!”). That I never really loved my first husband. At least, I’ve never told my son (whose father is my ex) that. This may be an instance in which telling the brutal truth is not a good idea. I believe that when parents separate, it’s best not to always trash the other parent to the kids; be honest but try to be positive too.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please feel free to share something uplifting that you’ve experienced so far in 2021. I wouldn’t call it uplifting but I am grateful for it – Dale and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 with its 95% effectiveness rate! We both had a few symptoms: I felt general malaise for a day, with headache. I took a long nap complemented with extra-strength Tylenol. Now we both feel fine!
Feb. 5: Yesterday, I wrote that I love cats. Right now, most of my cat-love goes to my one cat, Hazel. (The rest goes to my three grandcats, who I don’t get to see very often these days!) Hazel has been with us since Christmas 2013 and is now almost 10 years old! She has her moods, but usually is good for some nice fur-fluffing, and sleeping between our legs, especially in cold weather. In the mornings, she likes to lie by the fire, joining us with our morning coffee/tea.
I have to catch up again with Paula’s Month of Love, with the challenge to post something I love every day of this month!
Feb. 3: I love…books. I used to be in 3 book groups – it was hard to keep up and still have time to read other things. I gave up the two library book groups because it got too difficult to access the books and Zoom meetings after Covid quarantine kept us from in person meetings. In the meantime I’ve joined another group here at our senior community, and I’m still in one at our church. I post all my books on Goodreads. There is a challenge every year: you start the year pledging to reading the number of books of your choosing. Last year I pledged 35 and read 45. So this year, I’ve pledged 40 and will probably go beyond that again! I always read a mix of fiction and non-fiction in a variety of genres. My favorite genre is historical fiction.
One reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I can go an entire day never turning on my computer, instead preferring to sit near the fire and read for hours!
Feb. 4: I love…cats! I take photos of cats wherever I go. Here is a sample of cats I’ve seen or loved as pets.
What’s a relationship deal breaker for you? At this point, I would say smoking. I was married to a smoker, which I endured for 20 years. Dale, my current husband, doesn’t smoke, thank God. When you are not around smokers, you become sensitive to the smell of smoke on them and everything they possess. Smokers and those who live with them become unaware of the smell. My son smokes now, and after spending a couple of hours with him yesterday in his apartment, my hair, clothes, and coat were all permeated with the smell of smoke.
Do you believe in extra-terrestrials? Yes, in the vast universe with innumerable stars and planets, how could we be the only “intelligent” beings? It’s logical that there are intelligent beings on other planets, a few of them anyway. We are made of “star stuff” – the matter and energy that the birth and the death of stars create in a constant cycle. We are carbon-based life forms. Other planets may have evolved life forms that are carbon-based or something else. There are many factors that have to come together to generate life, so it’s a miracle in itself, but certainly not unique.
In the morning, do you hit the snooze button on your alarm (sometimes repeatedly) or do you leap out of bed, ready to face the day? Since I am retired, I rarely ever use my alarm clock.
If you came back in the next life as an animal, which animal would you choose to be? (and even if you don’t believe in that, let’s suspend belief for a moment just to have a little fun) Some kind of cat. They sleep a lot! I would not want to be a house cat, though, because nowadays cat “owners” don’t let them go outside. If I could go outside, I would definitely be someone’s cat, because I could enjoy the natural world and come home to whatever love and attention I myself decided I wanted. My humans would feed me and if I didn’t like the food, I could glare at them and they would bend over backward to find food I preferred. When I wanted, I could jump on my human’s lap and purr while being stroked and scratched on the back of my neck. I could curl up in a ball and my fur would warm me. I’d never have to be cold! They would play with me, laugh at my antics, and love me just as I am.
GRATITUDE(Participation is always optional) I am grateful for orchids in the winter! After many months of being dormant, my orchid plant grew a new stem with little buds all along it. Now those buds are beginning to bloom, and cause me delight when there are no other flowers to feast my eyes on at this time of year!
What do you plan to work on this year to make it better than last year (personal goals, physically or mentally, or all three)? I am wary of making resolutions, which I never follow through on. Although I am maintaining my weight, I would be healthier if I lost a few pounds but I keep ordering desserts and cannot give up chocolate! That said, I pledge to work on becoming healthier by eating healthier foods (within the limits of what they provide here, but there’s always salad on the menu) – and I’ve mostly given up red meat so far – and working on being fit. I have let myself go somewhat during the pandemic, but I regularly take walks or spend half an hour (the limit right now) in the fitness center, and I can do fitness classes on line.
I also pledge to motivate myself to work on my writing projects (family history, personal history, and blogging), do more watercolor to become better at it, and enjoy life as much as possible!
Here are Melanie’s questions this week for Share Your World. Nothing heavy or controversial this week!
What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it? It MUST be something you aren’t supposed to enjoy because it is “bad for you”. Playing word games on my phone, according to my husband! I have ADHD and years ago, a therapist told me never to get a phone with lots of apps because they would distract me too much (I had a Blackberry at the time). Sure enough, he was right! I have been known to waste an entire morning playing games on my phone, and when I come back into reality, I realize I haven’t even gotten dressed yet and it’s noon!
I’ve been trying to be more mindful about this and having some success. It is “bad” for me because these games are addicting and my eyes get sore from staring at the phone screen for so long.
(I wanted to say “chocolate” but he doesn’t really get annoyed about that. My body does, though!)
Is it okay for men to wear the color pink? Of course. This assigning of colors for boys and girls is so silly. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to tell anyone what the sex of my child was, because I didn’t want to get lots of clothes in the same color. Since my child was a boy, it wouldn’t have been as bad as if I’d had a girl. Even so, I stayed away from “baby blue” to decorate with. Babies like BRIGHT COLORS!
Anyway, Dale’s favorite color is purple. Is that unmasculine? I’ve seen men wearing pink and they look quite spiffy!
Can you curl your tongue? Yes. I think it’s genetic.
What, in your opinion, is the best room to put a fireplace? Whatever room is below the chimney!! Of course, the living room. Before central heating, people who could afford it had fireplaces in many rooms. We now have a gaslit fireplace (so no flue, no mess) that we push a button to start and stop. It’s so nice to sit in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and read. Every house I’ve lived in that had a fireplace, it was in the living room. I wouldn’t want it in the bedroom for two reasons: there would be the danger of falling asleep while it was lit, which could lead to a disaster; second, I don’t like the bedroom to be too warm. I like being under warm covers but if the room is warm, I get hot and can’t sleep. And there’s a third reason: Santa Claus coming down into the bedroom would be unseemly and we would see his gifts before Christmas morning!
I’m grateful that no one I know and love has died from COVID-19. I’m grateful for being able to Zoom with friends and family. I’m grateful that we will soon have a sane president. I’m grateful that a vaccine is coming. I’m grateful for having a nice home, a good husband, and good friends.
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.
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!