The Russian invasion of Ukraine and how far Putin is going to push it – what a tragedy!
Our upcoming trip to Europe: I just booked a cruise with an extension in eastern Europe. We start with five days in Poland, then get the cruise in Prague and sail to Berlin. I hope the War of Russian Aggression or a new variant of Covid-19 doesn’t interfere with our trip, which starts in April. I REALLY need to travel right now!
The environment/climate change. This is always on my mind. Also, getting a blurb to put in our weekly newsletter from the Environmental Concerns Committee, of which I seem to be chair.
The book I am currently reading, Braiding Sweetgrass – excellent! I’ve been taking notes!
Whether Republicans are going to retake the House and/or Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. They are projected to win because that’s the tradition in midterms, but does it have to be? The Dems need to do something to improve their messaging! More GOP control will be a disaster, especially with the kooks that run the party now!
Whether I have time to accomplish everything I want to accomplish this week.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Fill in: ‘If I were really completely honest, I would say that …’ This is a question for ‘radical honesty’. What are the things you wouldn’t normally say? Things you would otherwise actually hide? What’s on your mind? What would you really like to be able to say? ********************************************
I would talk about the emergency facing our planet: that is, climate change and the havoc it will wreak, not just in a once-a-month meeting of an environmental committee or a conversation over dinner – I would talk about it ALL THE TIME! I would tell people not to litter their masks on the ground – instead, take them home, cut the loops, and dispose of them. I would insist that people recycle. I would chase after scofflaws who litter. I would tell managers at supermarkets that it should be against the law to use plastic bags for loading groceries and demand that they stop or at least charge a quarter for each bag. I would not bite my tongue when someone I’m having lunch with asks for or uses a plastic straw that the wait staff leaves on the table. I would go immediately to the management of the restaurant to tell them not to use straws because plastic straws represent 7% of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and in landfills. I would be much more “in-your-face” aggressive about anything I were to see relating to pollution of the water or air and other environmental problems (diminishing animal habitats, etc.) and I would demand that our politicians DO SOMETHING NOW!
But of course, I can’t really do much to influence politicians, because it’s not just American politicians – it’s leaders all over the world who are not doing enough to address this crisis.
I would tell everyone to watch the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up and discuss how the premise of the movie is an allegory for the attitudes of politicians toward the serious, life-threatening problem of climate change.
Have you ever broken anything? What about rules? *******************************************
I have broken things, although not many, considering my klutzy-ness. But rules? Sure, I’ve broken many, but not serious ones, nothing that would hurt or impact another person. In high school, my friends and I used to joke about how many rules we broke – we even made a list of all the school rules we’d broken. I think there were at least 25 on the list! As a mature adult, overall, I obey laws and rules if they make sense.
Are you also afraid of spiders? What is your biggest fear, other than spiders? (if you’re not afraid of spiders, use your biggest phobia instead). ***********************************************
I’m not really afraid of spiders. I see them all the time and usually they aren’t bothering me so I let them be. Sometimes I like to watch them. I had a boss once whose son had tarantulas in a tank behind his father’s desk. It was really cool when they shed their skins – it looked exactly like a tarantula itself! Once, I tried to take one of these shedded skins home to show my son, but it disintegrated almost as soon as I touched it.
I have a phobia of pests that run really fast, such as mice and cockroaches. Oh, and also millipedes! We used to see them often in our old house because the basement was often damp. Fortunately, I haven’t seen a millipede where I live now. I hope never to see cockroaches either; we did have a mouse in the garage once. Management put out traps for them near the garage door, but no mice ever got caught in them, so they were eventually removed.
Do you think time goes faster as you get older? ***************************************************
Oh, definitely! There is a scientific basis for this perception. Older people literally have so many memories stored in their brains that ordinary happenings barely register, so they lose track of time easily. (This is also the reason why older people forget things that happened yesterday, but can remember seemingly inconsequential things from their childhoods.) For example, I might get on my computer, expecting to be on for about an hour but then when I’m ready to get off, I look at the time and it’s 3 hours later!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
Please share something that really inspired you from this last week or month.
I joined a group which met this week for the first time in my senior community. One of the activity directors thought of it. It’s called “The Bright Side” group. We met on Tuesday and discussed ideas on what this group could be or do in the community. For example, I suggested that we buy birthday cards and give every person who has a birthday that day a card, signed by at least one of us. Even if we don’t know the individual personally. We used to have a birthday party every month for people whose birthday was in that month, but Covid restrictions put an end to that.
The group is going to meet twice a month and share positive stories or brainstorm ideas for making the people in our community look on “the bright side” of life!
Melanie’s Share Your World for this first week in December has some interesting questions.
What really turns your stomach? (politicians aside) Cockroaches. They are the most disgusting species on Earth!
(Although I am in complete agreement with Fandango’s response to this question, I’m not going to write the same thing. I made a comment on his post.)
What would YOU do with the immense amount of ‘garbage’ in the world, if there weren’t dumps or barges (Sorry New York/New Jersey) where it was taken to be processed? This is a relevant question about an urgent problem worldwide! It’s also a difficult dilemma. They used to ship plastic for recycling to China, but China isn’t accepting it anymore. I have heard that only 15% of recyclables actually get recycled. So is it worth doing it? Yes, because there are innovations happening all the time that might lead to more of it being truly recyclable. And it makes me feel good. Our society is moving inexorably toward a “green” society in spite of delay and resistance, and while a few people might invent something or lead the way, all of us can do our own little part.
Meanwhile, I recycle whatever this city’s recycling service allows. I don’t compost now because I don’t really have a place to do it since we moved to a senior community, although some residents do. I take reusable bags to the supermarket and do not accept those flimsy plastic bags most of them use. (If I forget my bags, I insist they use paper.) I also take mesh bags for vegetables and fruits and try to stay away from single-use plastics. I cut any discarded plastic rings so animals don’t get caught in them. I could do a lot more, and I’m working on it (and working on my husband to do it too!)
What’s the oddest container you’ve ever gotten a gift in? I don’t remember if I ever did – I guess it didn’t make a big impression on me if I did. However, a few days ago, I got a large, bulky FedEx envelope (the recyclable kind! 🙂 ) which turned out to contain two duffel bags on wheels and two water bottles from our tour company to use on a safari I booked!
Do people behave differently during Christmas (insert your own holiday or festive season)? Do they try to be better? Do you donate something (money, clothes…) to charities? Do you give something to homeless people? Some people are more generous during the holiday season – it seems to be a time when we think about giving donations to our favorite charities. One year I actually made three kinds of Christmas cookies – that is not my normal behavior at all!! So I guess that to the first question, I say yes, but with reservation, because the same sh** is still going on in this polarized country.
I do have a few favorite charities, and I send a donation to them at this time of year, but not only at this time of year. But I can’t give to even 1% of the charities that solicit money in my mail every day. So I say a definite “yes” to charity-giving.
I don’t do anything for homeless people currently. I was/am the coordinator at my church to get volunteers to work at our local homeless shelter, but since Covid arrived, those shelters are closed (and with the stimulus money they got, they are putting people up in hotels). People have given me interesting suggestions for giving to people that approach my car when I’m at a stoplight, such as buy a bunch of McDonald’s gift cards to keep in my car or carry with me and give them to homeless people, so I know they will use it for food. I haven’t done this, though!
GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional) This is an allegedly joyful time of year. How do you, personally, FEEL? Lazy! My husband is Jewish, so during Hanukkah, we light the candles each night and since it was earlier than usual this year, I refrained from any kind of decorating for Christmas until it was over. Well, it’s been over for almost a week and still I haven’t taken my new Christmas tree out of the box, set up my creches, or addressed holiday cards. It’s Saturday so I should probably make some time for some of these things today, but here I am blogging on my computer. But I’ve been so busy lately that blogging is a rare treat!!
When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Yes, I’ve already said more than enough.
What does the world need less of? ignorance
Do you feel older or younger than your age? Younger in my mind, about my age physically
What is a cause you’ll always passionately support? There are several but the most important is Sustainability (Environmental responsibility) & Climate Change and everything connected with that: reducing waste, cleaning up the oceans, pollution, renewable energy, recycling, conservation of public lands, saving species from extinction, etc.
Others include economic and racial justice, women’s reproductive health, gun control, voting rights, improving education. I am passionate about a lot of things!!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
What is your personal affirmation if you have one? (for this instance “affirmation means emotional support or encouragement.” )
Fandango has an interesting and relevant question for us this week; in fact, the issue has been on my mind the last several days. Fandango prefaces the question as follows:
It seems to me that there are a lot of things to worry about these days. Whether we’re talking about the climate, politics, the seemingly never ending pandemic, natural disasters, social injustice, mass shootings, cultural clashes, or wars, the news is rarely good. I have almost gotten to the point that I’m considering stopping reading or watching the news because I find it both disheartening and depressing.
So with this in mind, my provocative question this week is this…
What worries you the most about the future? Why is that your biggest concern? Or are you not that concerned about the future?
Last week, I was on the verge of tears, watching a news piece about voting restriction laws that are being passed in various states around the country. If these laws are allowed to take effect, the Republicans in Texas, Georgia, and elsewhere will be able to overturn election results that they don’t like, by removing election officials and installing others of their choosing. This has come about as the “Big Lie” has not been allowed to die – there are still Trumpian politicians who have convinced a large minority of people that the Democrats corrupted the election and that Trump, in fact, had won, not Joe Biden. I believe these politicians are fully aware that there was no fraud and that Biden is the legitimate president, but they continue to fuel this lie for their own interests. It occurred to me, as I watched Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, that if they get away with it, they will destroy what is left of our democracy. The Republicans, under these laws, will have the advantage over the majority, and will control the election results, in their favor. They know they cannot win elections unless they cheat – the victory of the Democrats in the 2020 election and the special Senate election in Georgia, in which two Democrats ran close races against Republican challengers, and won, flipping Georgia – always a Republican stronghold – to “blue.” The Georgia GOP has its greedy eyes on Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, and has already removed its top election official. It is really scary.
Then this week, climate scientists put out a report on the status of climate change: it is no longer a threat, it is a reality now. A 4,000 page report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which includes work by 234 authors who are experts in climate science, and roughly 14,000 citations to existing scientific studies, is the most comprehensive look at climate change and unequivocal in its pronouncements. The Washington Post, on August 10, published a review of this report. The Post cited five major quotes from the report:
‘It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.‘
‘The last decade was more likely than not warmer than any multi-centennial period after the Last Interglacial, roughly 125,000 years ago.‘
‘Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.’
‘With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.’
‘Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.’
Although the Biden administration has pledged to finally do something to mitigate climate change, and the Democrats’ large infrastructure bill includes attention to climate change especially in the manufacture of electric cars, it will unlikely be enough. Other countries have also pledged to make drastic modifications to their energy infrastructures, but so far, there has been way too little change. I understand – industries are reluctant to make the kind of changes that they fear will impact their bottom line, especially since the investment in making the changes will have to be done long before measurable results (as well as their profits) will equal these efforts. And U.S. politics have always focused on short-term (about the length of politicians’ time in office) fixes for short-term results. To really make the kind of changes that will lead to meaningful benefits to society at large, politicians need to become far more altruistic in their vision for the future.
It’s time to stop finger-pointing at other countries (such as China and Russia) who are big polluters but have not committed to major changes. We need to get to work on this “yesterday, if not sooner” (as a former boss of mine liked to say) and encourage others to follow us.
What more real-life proof do we need that the situation is dire than massive out-of-control fires burning in so many areas of the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere? Half of one of the largest islands of Greece, Evia, a major tourist destination, is being decimated by wildfires. Even the Big Island of Hawaii is combatting fires. What about the “heat domes” that have settled for weeks over places that have never dealt with such hot temperatures? Portland, Oregon, reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit, and even Death Valley is hotter than ever, with reported temperatures of 134 F! Two years ago, people died from the heat in Paris, France, which saw unprecedented temperatures of 109 deg. F, in a country where few residents have ever felt the need to invest in air conditioning their homes.
In its conclusion the, WP article says, Even if current emissions pledges are realized, they would amount to just a 1 percent reduction in global emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Scientists say the number needs to be closer to a 50 percent reduction.
What can we do RIGHT NOW?
We already have the technology to hook residences and businesses up to energy created by wind farms. I have received phone calls offering a great deal on putting solar panels on the roof of my home and switching my residence to 100% solar & wind power. If this kinds of things are being done already on a small scale, why not expand it to include entire cities, states, and yes, even whole countries?
2. Many businesses are realizing that the switch to green power is in the near future, and are getting on board. They have understood that they will not lose all their profit from fossil fuels, because there is plenty of money to be made embracing the new energy technologies. And LOTS OF JOBS will be created! Committing to green energy can vitalize the entire economy! That’s what the much-criticized “Green New Deal” is about.
3. Yesterday, on BBC World News on the radio, there was a discussion regarding methane, the second largest cause of global warming. The first thing that comes to mind when I heard the word ‘methane’ is cows. Cows and pigs. Their farts and manure are culprits, made worse by feeding the cows a diet mostly comprised of corn, which is not in the bovine’s natural diet and which its gut has a hard time processing. Waste in landfills also emits a great deal of methane. The BBC report indicated that methane is a more short-term problem that can be dealt with. While CO2 emissions are, of course, vital to deal with, the ways to lower methane can show more short-term results which would benefit not only the planet as a whole, but also humans in every sector. (It sure would smell a lot nicer too!)
I looked up the BBC report online and found it, referencing more findings in the IPCC report. “An aggressive campaign to cut methane emissions can buy the world extra time to tackle climate change, experts say.” The BBC online article goes on to make the following points.
“One of the key findings in the newly released IPCC report is that emissions of methane have made a huge contribution to current warming.
The study suggested that 30-50% of the current rise in temperatures is down to this powerful, but short-lived gas.
Major sources of methane include agriculture, and leaks from oil and gas production and landfills.”
One of President Biden’s goals is to totally convert our automobile industry to electric power by 2035. But we don’t have that long to wait for many major changes to be made. Like Greta Thunberg, I am depressed that there may not be the human will to think long-term. Yet this planet is the only home that humans and other organisms have!
CadyLuck Leedy hosts the challenge Just One Person From Around the World. Her posts are always interesting, and if you follow this link, you will learn about the rigorous life of the guards who guard the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery!
When we took our European cruise two years ago, we spent three days in Amsterdam, which was at the beginning of a prolonged heat wave! Europeans are not used to this kind of weather, but do take advantage to enjoy it! In Amsterdam, many people spent a day in the sunshine on their house boats. I can’t tell if this guy is happy or grumpy about the weather, but he knew how to stay cool!
Anyway, the heat wave lasted until several days after we got home two weeks later. Later in the summer of 2019, another heat wave hit Europe, sending the temperature in Paris to 109 degrees F (43 degrees C) at one point!
2016 broke the high for hottest summer on record, and every summer since then has similarly broken the record of the previous year! I wonder if 2021 will do the same?
Climate change is real and urgent action is needed!
I haven’t been on my blog for a few days – I’ve been busy! Which is why I’m late this week for Melanie’s Share Your World. Better late than never, though!
So here are the questions and my responses:
What was the last TV show you binge-watched? If you don’t watch TV (congratulations by the way) what’s the last thing you binged ON? We don’t “binge watch” the way some people do. If we watch more than three shows in a row, it’s probably things we recorded and want to delete from our DVR (to make space for MORE shows!). So I guess I will have to say MSNBC on a weekday! When there is “big news,” we have been known to watch several MSNBC shows in a row. Sometimes we are only half paying attention and then realize we’ve watched every show from Nicole Wallace to Lawrence O’Donnell! (For those unfamiliar with these programs, Nicole Wallace comes on at 3 pm CT and Lawrence O’Donnell ends at 10 pm! We are trying to cut back on this, though – confine ourselves usually just to Rachel Maddow and then watch something else.
That said, our biggest “binge” with recorded programs is either Call the Midwife on PBS or Anne With an E on Netflix. And I have to say, when we finished all of those, we felt lost…what will we get hooked on next??
What’s your most prized possession and why? This is a tough one. But it would have to be something connecting my hobbies with travel, so I will say my photo albums/photo files and my camera. (I know this isn’t all one thing, but they are interconnected.) Some time before digital photography, someone said that the cheapest and most important thing you can bring home with you is your photos. What better way to make memories of an amazing trip?! For as long as I can remember, I have loved making photo albums. I took after my mother in this regard – she always made albums of her trips and of each year, at least after her grandchildren were born. I have done the same thing, but got woefully behind and so some “photo albums” are just pocket pages in a binder with the photos stuck in the pockets.
Some of my albums, however, I am very proud of – pre-digital book of my trip to Cuba in 2001 and 2 volumes of my month-long stay in Costa Rica come to mind. To do these books, I spent countless hours at scrapbooking workshops or carved out a little space for myself at home picking out the best background papers, stickers and other embellishments for each page. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and supplies. (The time and money were worth it!) The best albums I made were with the company Creative Memories – their photo books are high quality and relatively easy to add extra and mix types of pages.
I haven’t done many photo books digitally – only 3 so far, and I’m working on a 4th. I only got started about a year and a half ago with Shutterfly on my trip to Israel. That book came out pretty well, but there were a few mistakes – it was a learning experience, and as a result, my 2-volume trip to Egypt came out much better. I’m now working on France.
Since I generally don’t get around to starting and finishing these books until well after the trip is over, I have to rely on my memory, aided by the photos in my files, to put them together coherently. Besides the photos, I usually go to web sites about places I went to where either I didn’t take notes, couldn’t hear the guide very well, didn’t remember what the guide said, or didn’t even remember exactly what the subject of the photographs was! But that is OK, even advantageous, because a lot is lost whenever you go on a guided tour, and refreshing my mind about a particular site we saw using information from the Internet is a great way to fix it in my mind and immortalize it in the photo book! I learn even more about and appreciate those places than I had before!
And finally, my camera is part of all this. I often snap photos with my cellphone camera, which is light and easy, but I do endure the hassle of carrying around my Sony camera and lenses, because the quality of the photos taken with that are in general much better – plus I can take photos of details close-up that are too far away for a cellphone to capture a good image of. It was especially helpful on safari in Tanzania – which is why I bought a camera with a good telephoto lens initially.
If you had the time and inclination, what would you volunteer for? Habitat for Humanity or projects in poor countries – such as teaching literacy or modern hygiene to people in a village, building a school, or something else they need. I have a friend whose travel itinerary was most often with Earth Watch – she would participate in projects in different countries, as well as take time for sightseeing. I wish I had done that. One of my cousins was in the Peace Corps, another great program where you are really immersed in a culture and people.
Also, I would love to participate in an archaeological dig. In southern Illinois, there is an ancient site called Cahokia, where people belonging to the Mississippi culture built mounds and henges as part of their communities. Cahokia accepts volunteers of all ages. I saw an elderly man there whose task was to sift through dirt for pot shards, etc.
Do you think that humans will ever be able to live together in harmony? Being an optimist and an idealist, I still have that hope. I think it can happen if all the countries of the world join in a effort to solve a global problem that affects us all – dealing with climate change. This is an urgent issue that needs addressing, but its components are so vast and diverse that people in different areas are affected in different ways, all of which could be part of the global project. There is a lot of politics involved on every level and in every country, social and economic disparities and needs, scientific knowledge, business considerations, and understanding why saving a particular species, say, benefits us all. All creatures need to be respected and considered, and included in the plan to solve the overall plight of our planet.
Gratitute section: Share something uplifting with everyone. It can be some writing or an image or photo you like!
Yesterday was Earth Day, so I’d like to share a few inspirational quotes – “food for thought.”
My predictions (for the United States of America):
1. Trump will lose the election in November, in spite of the development of a vaccine for Covid-19 or at least the promise by medical experts of a vaccine being available soon.
2. While the new administration will attempt to repair relations with our allies, and will have some success, there will continue to be wariness abroad about American long-term political and economic stability. That could include restrictions on American travel to some countries.
3. Most students will return to school in the fall of 2020. However, there will not be a unified response to the question of school reopening while still in the throes of the pandemic; instead, each state and/or district will create a patchwork of solutions to keep students (relatively) safe in order for them to return to school.
4. In spite of the lessons of the pandemic about the inherent problems of our society (racism, inequality, lack of affordable health care for all, etc.), the new administration will struggle to solve these problems. We will not achieve universal health care for all, but there will be some progress made, such as lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare to 60. An economic slump will continue to plague us, however, for several years.
5. Because of the election of Democrat Joe Biden for president, and Democrats regaining control of both legislative houses, there will be serious attempts to mitigate climate change through sane environmental policies – the EPA will be restored to its pre-Trump mission and effectiveness, policies to encourage the move to cleaner energy sources will be proposed, and the U.S. will re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. The federal government will be restored to a more professional and less corrupt state.
Hurray! It’s Monday again, the day Melanie puts out a new set of questions for Share Your World! And this week, they’re real doozies! So here goes…
What song always gets you out on the dance floor? Any catchy Latino or other dance tune, such as:
Actually, I have a whole dance workout playlist, which includes this song and many others, including songs with a good beat from Latin America, Brazil, Africa, Celtic (Ireland/Scotland), Caribbean steel pan, and more. I listen to it when I’m at the fitness center working out, and I really miss it now, because I can’t go to the fitness center to work out!
What’s your favorite sleeping position? I go to sleep and spend most of the night on my back. I use a special pillow for my neck due to a minor case of scoliosis that I inherited from my dad, and also slide a small pillow under my knees. But some time during the night, I switch pillows and sleep on my right side with the small pillow between my knees. Eventually, I go back to sleeping on my back.
If you could snap your fingers and instantly make the world better, what would you do? Of course I would do it, but I have noticed that lately my finger snap doesn’t make a snapping noise anymore – I think it’s a sign I’m getting old!! I can’t whistle very well anymore either.
Also, would I get to decide, before the finger snap, what constitutes making the world better? That would be important, since what is better in my opinion, may not be what others think. So I will list some of my requirements for the “world being better:” –clean energy used all over the world, mitigating the effects of climate change. Earth will breathe a sigh of relief, and it would save many people around the world from starvation, displacement, and war. Everyone would be invested in conserving resources. The planet would begin to heal itself and its inhabitants as well. No more extinction of precious species. –no more poverty –medicine will be advanced to be able to cure any disease or find a vaccine easily and quickly – maybe like the “healing” done on the Star Trek series, just waving a scanning-type device over the diseased part, and voila! – the person is healed!
–no one left on Earth named Trump –racism and discrimination wouldn’t exist, there would be no more war. –PEACE ON EARTH!!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why did you do it?
I don’t want to go into my most nightmarish, scary experience, which wasn’t exactly something I did – it just happened to me. So I will answer with the scariest thing I ever did voluntarily and willingly….I went ziplining in Costa Rica!!
I was with my son in Monteverde; we’d gone there for a weekend during a monthlong stay in Costa Rica. He wanted to go ziplining – we were at the place where you get geared up and listen to all the instructions and safety rules. I didn’t really want to go, but if I stayed behind, I would have to amuse myself with nothing but a small tourist shop for entertainment for about two hours, which was the approximate length of this experience. I was really scared, but I looked around at the other participants and there were several who were clearly older than me. So I started to feel ashamed of myself if I didn’t go, and if I chickened out, I would probably regret it later. Needless to say, I went.
There were a total of 14 ziplines in this course. Some were short, some were longer. It was very important to judge when to pull the rope to slow down – you wanted to do it soon enough to slow down sufficiently when you arrived at the platform. On the other hand, if you pulled the rope too early on a long line, you could end up slowing down and stopping in the middle of the line, with only your gear holding you, dangling about 200 meters above the rainforest floor! But don’t worry, we were told – there will be a guide on the other side who will signal for when to pull the rope.
That worked OK for the first three or four lines. There were a lot of tourists there speaking languages from all over the world. I soon got separated from my son, but I wasn’t worried.
Then came the line where I had an accident. I was zipping across, watching the guide on the other side to signal to me, but he was distracted by other tourists talking to him, so he didn’t signal. Should I or shouldn’t I, I wondered, panic rising. I was approaching the platform fast, too fast – I pulled the rope, but it was too late – I slammed into the metal frame of the platform. I felt searing pain in my right shin. It took a few minutes in the confusion for someone to come to my aid, because there were so many people crowded on the platform. I saw that my leg was bleeding, and rummaged through my backpack for some Kleenex. I had about two sheets of it left, which I gingerly applied to the long gash on my shin as I gasped in pain. The Kleenex didn’t do much good – it just stuck to the wound.
Finally, a guide came to my rescue. I told him I couldn’t go on, I needed to go back. He explained that that was impossible – we were in the middle of a rainforest and it was a several miles hike – uphill – to get back, and no one could be spared to accompany me. I wanted to sit in a truck, but I couldn’t do that either. He told me just to wait until he was free, and he would take me across himself. So I sat on the metal steps, while lines of gabby tourists flowed upward around me. My son had gone across the road with a couple of other young people, who had found a “Tarzan rope” – he called for me to come and see. I answered that I was seriously injured and could barely walk (this was exaggeration, which I tend to use when I get injured), so I couldn’t go see. He didn’t answer, and it wasn’t until he returned that he realized what had happened to me.
After what seemed like half an hour, the guide who was going to take me across came over and helped me up. He hooked himself and me together and off we went. He had introduced himself as Rafael, and started telling me facts about the rainforest – such as how far above the forest floor we were! He said I could look down into the canopy and spy monkeys or birds. (LOOK DOWN??? No way, Jose – I mean Rafael!). We arrived safely and gently at the next stop and he helped me down. I waited for him again, and once again I was in the arms of Rafael zipping above the green canopy. Even having him with me, I was too scared to look down. So I saw none of the wildlife advertised as being able to spot during this activity.
At the third stop after the accident, I waited a long time and realized that Rafael was no longer there. He’d forgotten me or perhaps thought I should be OK to go by myself. I protested and another guide took me across the next line. However, after that I was on my own.
Finally, mercifully, it was over. I even got a snapshot of my son zipping to the ground on the last stop. We then had about a quarter mile to walk to the waiting jeeps to take us back. I limped along, a nice guide holding my elbow. Although there was blood dripping down my leg and staining my sandal, he asked me if I had fun. I just laughed – I refused to be a whiny American tourist. Instead, I said something to him in Spanish and we conversed in Spanish the rest of the way back.