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!
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!
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!!
CCSC is an opportunity to share a photograph you have taken, that you were in somewhere. Maybe even by accident, or intentional.There are all kinds of selfies, the simplest is getting in the way of the camera. I’ve given up trying to get out of the way when attempting a window photograph. Of course there’s where your toes get in the way.
Anything Counts as a Selfieas long as you’re the one holding the camera. Some examples of Selfies and why you take them:
A photo of you doing something special. Boy I’m proud
Creating a memory. I was here doing this…
A photo of you in a mirror ( hair cut, new hat, should I get this dress?
An image where you only catch part of yourself (my toes get in flower shots more then I want.) sometimes it’s cute
Photo with you and one other person even a whole group of friends (screen shots of zoom groups count )
Just your finger pointing something out.
An I.D. Picture
Selfie from archives are welcomed
The Prime Directive is HAVE FUN.
I am including an example of three types of selfies. The first is the “partial leg selfie.”
The next could be called “in a mirror darkly.” This was completely unintentional, but I kind of like how it turned out!
Finally, a “full face” selfie – this is my favorite selfie!