SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs

I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!

QUESTIONS

In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!

Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?

Opinion.  John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art?  A combination of the two?   Neither, it’s stupid.  Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!

How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!

Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)


GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).

Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.

Cheetah mom & cub, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania

On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!

From the tomb of King Ramses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Photo credit: Mohammed Fathy.

SYW: Amazing Books, Amazing Sandwiches, Amazing Ukrainians

It’s time I got around to participating in this week’s Share Your World! (And thank you, Melanie, for providing us with these weekly questions!)

QUESTIONS

What very common thing have you never done? 

I have never watched Seinfeld, Game of Thrones, Friends, or most other mainstream TV shows. (I’m a news and PBS junkie!)

Are we morally obligated to be charitable, if we have the means to?

Obligated? No. But the “morally” descriptor makes me think yes, sort of. I think wealthy people who spend everything on themselves are selfish and, in a sense, immoral.

What is the most amazing fact you know?

Amazing? I learn new “amazing” facts almost daily! I think it’s amazing that the Ukrainian people are fighting back against Russia so fiercely and completely in the face of such utter destruction of their homes, livelihoods, and risking their own lives. People who never would have thought of themselves as heroes a month ago are now doing heroic acts, such as staying in Ukraine in order to get needed food and medical supplies to people who have lost everything instead of fleeing themselves. It’s amazing that Zelenskyy is still alive and not in hiding. It’s amazing that Poland has rallied to take 2 million Ukrainian refugees and is already teaching the young people Polish. It’s amazing that people will fight so strongly to retain sovereignty and democracy. I don’t think all Americans appreciate the freedoms we have, that they are willing to advocate censorship (banning books and disseminating lies) and rally behind a man who clearly admires Putin because he himself would love to be a dictator. On the other hand, there are Americans who, like their predecessors in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, are going to Ukraine to volunteer to fight alongside Ukrainian soldiers. That’s amazing and heartening too!

What’s your favorite sandwich and why?

I rarely eat sandwiches these days. I like Reuben sandwiches, but I also really love cheeseburgers. I now indulge in an occasional veggie cheeseburger, or other non-beef iterations.

Please feel free to share something you find inspires you.

I just finished reading a book that really inspired me, Braiding Sweetgrass. Native American culture is truly so wise. I highly recommend this book!

SYW: Laughter, Music, Soaring, and Conservation

Melanie has some great questions this week for Share Your World!

QUESTIONS

How do you tell if someone has a sense of humor? 
If they laugh a lot. I know a woman who has the most unique laugh, and when I hear that laugh across the room, I know it’s her. She laughs often and when I’m with her I try to say funny things so I can hear her laugh!

What sort of music do you prefer?
Prefer: Right now, classical, but my tastes change sometimes. I also like rock, especially the Beatles (I have the Beatles Channel on my XM radio in the car). I like folk, blues, and world music of all types. This month, I’m hearing a lot of Celtic music! As for jazz, I only like certain kinds. I like big band and Dixieland but not “improvisational” jazz which just goes on and on. I get tired of it. But usually I choose classical or certain vocal groups, such as the Angel City Chorale (this group sings just about anything).

Thoughts on gravy or ‘sauce”?   Yea or nay?

I like some sauces, especially salsa if it’s mild (my digestive system doesn’t tolerate anything spicy) and has fruit like mango added to it. Gravy is okay, I don’t use it unless the meat is really dry – too many empty calories!

Would you enjoy a hot air balloon ride?

I’m not sure…I have had opportunities to go on them, for an additional cost, during tours when I’m traveling. But my husband is afraid of heights and absolutely would never go on one. So unless I had someone to go with, I probably wouldn’t. I guess I’m neutral.

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GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)

What do you think is widely taken for granted?  

The goods and services we enjoy in our society. We never thank anyone for the water that automatically comes out of our faucets when we turn on the tap. We don’t thank anyone for the electricity that powers our lights and electronics. I am reading a fantastic book, Braiding Sweetgrass, in which I found out that many Native American tribes thank everything they use – the animals they kill and use every part of, the trees which provide so much more than just shade, and plants that provide them with food. Saying grace before a meal is a good – but, I fear, dying – custom. It seems the more we have, the more we want and the more we take it all for granted. This is, I’m afraid, is what makes people reluctant to conserve – to reduce, reuse, and recycle – in order to save our precious resources.

FPQ #159: Love Is All You Need

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is as follows:

If there are only three things in life that truly matter, what do you think they are and why did you choose those three?

My answers are all about love, which leads to all else that truly matter.

  1. Self-love. If you don’t love yourself, you will not have the capacity to truly and selflessly love others, and you will probably have a miserable life. Self-love (or self-esteem) involves self-care: taking care of your physical and mental health and seeking help when needed; searching for work that really suits you and that you like; it brings out loving characteristics, such as kindness, respect, honesty, gratitude, and the ability to smile every day. Self-love allows you to feel gratitude for things great and small that you have or that happen to you. Self-love also is genuinely accepting love from others.
  2. Love for others: friends and family. I am lucky to have a wonderful extended family that loves and supports each other, and we are also financially secure. I am blessed for that! But even without actual kin, you can create a family of sorts with the people that love and care for you, perhaps a group/organization you belong to, or people who share your residence, or just your friends in general. Love for others, though, goes beyond these relationships. It is also caring for people you don’t even know, people who live in other countries, compassion for those who are suffering, nearby and far away. There is too much hate in our world today. Love for others means being kind toward others, showing respect, being honest, helping and showing interest in others. Love for others is non-judgmental; it’s about showing gratitude for others’ gifts, support, love, and care. If more people spent their time loving others, instead of hating or putting people down, this world would be a much better place! We might even have peace all over the world – imagine no more war!
  3. Love for Earth or the natural world. I am reading a very good book right now, called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The author is a Native American (Potawatomi) woman who writes about loving and showing gratitude for the gifts we receive from others, especially from the land. She shows how the natural world gives us gifts every day, which we would appreciate if we just stopped and looked around: every living thing, as well as non-living things, is here for a purpose and each has its own work to do to provide gifts to other living things, including ourselves. We are part of the web of life of this planet and we should not take it for granted.
  1. Love for Earth means taking care of it – this is the home of everyone and every thing we know, and it’s the only one we have – as of 2022, we cannot move anywhere else! Climate scientists are issuing dire warnings that we must curb our reliance on fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases. Already the planet has heated up to the point where we are seeing more natural disasters: flooding on coastlines as the sea level rises, wildfires that destroy everything in their path in areas with prolonged drought, hurricanes which have increased in number and intensity due to the warming of the oceans, avalanches where excessive rainfall causes the eroding of the soil, and many others. It will soon affect us all, especially our children, grandchildren, and successive generations who will continue to live here. And scientists warn that eventually it will be an unpleasant place to live.

    To love the Earth, we must stop polluting air, land, and bodies of water. Increasingly, medical scientists are finding that many forms of cancer are caused by breathing polluted air or drinking polluted water. Also, the land is home for many animals who share this planet with us and we are trashing their homes! A sixth massive extinction is taking place right now, and it is being caused by human activities. Even if you are a person who really doesn’t care about people outside your circle of family and friends, every creature on this planet has a purpose – plants and animals that feed us, species that provide medicines which can cure many diseases (and we haven’t found them all, so some may become extinct without being able to provide us with its gift of healing medicines), and the removal of which disrupts the food chain, either in minor or major ways – we can make predictions but cannot say for sure how serious the impact of altering any particular food chain will be.

    People who show love for the natural world work, if they can, to advocate for cleaner ways of living, for finding solutions to problems such as how to provide fuel to heat people’s homes, provide energy for cars, machinery, etc. A great lover of the Earth is the Swedish young woman Greta Thunberg, who has turned her local protest at her high school into a worldwide movement. But there are many ways to love and show gratitude toward the natural world, including recycling, reducing what we use (such as single use plastics), and reusing what we can. It includes walking outside on a pleasant day and appreciating the beauty of the flowers (if they are blooming where you are) or the cycle of life, in which each season has its purpose to perpetuate future seasons. It includes having gratitude for the (hopefully) fresh air we breathe, for the coolness of a stream we dabble our toes in, for the sun that warms us and the moon and stars which cheer us.

SYW: Morality and Bananas

I’m finally getting around to this week’s Share Your World!

  • Questions
  • What’s the most useful thing you know? Compared to many other seniors I know, I’m pretty good at navigating my computer, including knowing how to do spreadsheets, social media, texting, researching online (and being able to find the more reputable websites), etc. I also do all my writing and storing my photos on my computer. When our community had to learn how to get on “Caremerge” – a community website that has all kinds of information about happenings and also residents’ email addresses, etc. – it caused a lot of anxiety. I would say that even now, only about 25% of the residents here know how to use it. I also have downloaded a variety of games and my Kindle library on my phone and tablet. The games do mesmerize me sometimes, so I lose track of time and don’t get other things done (such as doing this blog!).
  • What impact do you think it would have on the world if bananas were illegal? It would greatly disrupt my life – I eat a banana every morning with my morning tea! Bananas are a good source, although not the only one, of potassium. Many people in Latin America would lose their jobs picking and preparing bananas for shipment. In Costa Rica, some live near the plantations, in modest houses their employer provides for them, so they would lose their homes too! I think someone would start smuggling them, like drugs, so that people could keep working on banana plantations. That would employ more people – the smugglers and sellers in the countries the bananas are smuggled to. But hiding drugs in shipments, or even on one’s person, is much easier than bananas would be – can you imagine hiding a banana under your clothes? It would get all smushed and get all over your clothes and skin – yuck!
  • What social stigma does society need to just get over? Mental illness, addiction, and LGBT individuals, as well as racism (which is not exactly a social stigma but we still need to get over it).
  • Do you prefer the moral viewpoint of consequentialism*, which focuses on the consequences of actions, or deontology,*  which focuses on the innate rightness or wrongness of the actions themselves?  Thanks for the helpful definitions! Consequentialism is like saying, “by any means necessary” and that seems immoral to me. Sometimes it’s necessary to try a variety of means to achieve a goal, but not every possible option is appropriate: such as impinging on the freedom of others or violence, or just outright killing people to get one’s way. In light of what Russia’s leader Putin has decided to do in Ukraine – make war, killing people with no provocation – to get his way, it’s a very extreme example of how “by any means necessary” is used. I think Putin’s philosophy is “by any means necessary.” Trump believed in this too – whatever he has to do to get his way, he will at least try to do.

    Deontology, on the other hand, is a study of the moral issues of duty and obligation. Although I will not study this field, I have my own moral code, which I think is a good one that many people share. But plenty of people don’t. That is, it is good to have rights, but with rights come responsibilities. During this pandemic especially, we have seen many examples of people who have forgotten (or don’t give a rat’s ass) about the responsibility they have to society as members of that society. Their rights end where the next person’s begins. Imposing mitigation measures and vaccination to stop the spread of the coronavirus are the scientifically based and moral thing to do. Is it really necessary to attack flight attendants because you don’t want to wear a mask on an airplane?? It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, yes, but it won’t kill you. And people who have gotten all their vaccinations, but refuse to get the COVID vaccination, really irritate me. A medical issue that affects all of society has been politicized. And once again, members of society ought to comply with getting the vaccination if we ever want to get control over the disease. No one complained about getting vaccinated against smallpox or polio – although many anti-vaxxers today don’t want their kids to get vaccinated against childhood diseases such as measles and mumps. I think we live in a very selfish era.

/ˌkänsəˈkwen(t)SHəlizəm/
noun
PHILOSOPHY
noun: consequentialism
* the doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences.
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de·on·tol·o·gy

/ˌdēänˈtäləjē/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
* the study of the nature of duty and obligation.

GRATITUDE SECTION (As always optional)

Please feel free to share something good that happened to you in the past week.

Tuesday (Twosday), 2-22-22 (this date has sparked a lot of discussion – we will not have another date with all the same digits again in our lifetimes!) was my son’s birthday. I invited him over for dinner here and afterward we came back to my house so I could give him the birthday present I got him – a Kindle! He has started reading more (he’s never been a big reader, although he has many books) and he wanted to be able to download books onto a Kindle because he doesn’t have much room where he lives now. I don’t get to see him much, but every time I do, lately he’s been a delight to be with.

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal this month and every day I’ve written something down (with some repetitions!). Here’s what I wrote for my son’s birthday (and read to him when he was here):
I am grateful to be a mother, mother to a son who despite his many difficulties is kind, intelligent, and handsome. I am grateful that his survival instinct got him out of his lonely isolation, fueled by drugs and alcohol, to a better place, Now he is surrounded by others, he works out problems by himself and even takes others’ advice! Happy birthday, Jayme!

SYW: Aliens, Cats, and Gum

I missed Share Your World last week so I am determined to participate this week! Here are Melanie’s questions for this week for us to share our world.

What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?

Intelligent/sentient life on another planet, and being able to communicate with them.


If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go?


Probably not. I would want to know about where they lived first. Also, it would be a very long journey!

What breed of dog would you be?  If you’re more a cat person – what breed of cat?


I’d be a tortie (cat), because they are known for being aloof sometimes – they want to maintain their space, but at the same time, they are also very affectionate toward their humans. I am including a photo of my cat, who is a tortie, for those who don’t know what this breed is. (Tortie is short for “tortoise shell” although I don’t really understand the connection.) Torties and calicoes are closely related, and are usually female. Being a cat also means sleeping a lot!

Bubble gum?  Yay or nay? 
I chew gum sometimes to keep my coughing and throat clearing at a minimum – I heard about this and decided to try it, and it works! Drinking a lot of water also helps, but gum can be more effective. But it’s not bubble gum and it’s kind of rude to chew in front of other people (except those you share a residence with, of course).
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GRATITUDE SECTION  (As always, optional)

Feel free (no pressure) to share some gratitude from January of this year.
I like this gratitude image that I downloaded from Google.


Society6 print – downloaded from Google.

CBWC: Plastics

The topic of Cee’s Black & White Challenge this week is plastic. So many things are made of plastic these days that one could probably find something plastic in almost any photo taken in human-made situations! Plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose and even then, it is reduced to microscopic pellets that enter the digestive systems of fish, birds, mammals, and eventually, humans. So here are some photos of plastic things, which eventually will be discarded, end up in a landfill somewhere or the ocean and…well, you know.

This is the top of a bottle with a hole for the straw that comes with it. The top without a hole was lost!
I am pretty sure that the dinosaurs on display at the Brookfield Zoo were (at least in part) made of plastic!
My niece turned 50 and this was put on her cake.

Alzheimer’s Awareness at The Moorings. The fitness instructor (she’s under the arch!) blew
up all these purple balloons herself! I’m pretty sure she had a machine.
A pinwheel turning in the wind.
A plastic container with rolls of licorice inside.

Please, when possible, RECYCLE (look for the numbers 1-5 in the recycling triangle symbol & check your community’s recycling program to find out which numbers they’ll take), REUSE whenever you can, and REDUCE the plastic items you buy or acquire (difficult to do, I know) – one way to do this is bring your own cloth or woven plastic reusable bags to the store when you shop so you don’t use the plastic bags supermarkets tend to put your groceries in.