Saucy Questions & Spicy Answers

The Chocolate Box – 18 Questions – This is from A Guy Called Bloke, better known as the guy who loves to ask questions.

The Once Every 6 Weeks Saucy and Spicy, Sugary Sweet and Sour Game

Game 2 – Season 1 (Does this sound like it’s all about either food or sex? That’s what attracted me to play this game!)
February 2021

What is your reaction and interpretation to ……….. “Oooh l say that’s a big one!”
Usually a fish – like a record-breaking muskie. (I spent all the summers of my youth in northern Wisconsin. That’s what people do up there – they fish and hope to break the latest record.)

Are you more introverted, extroverted or ambiverted or if you prefer ‘lean more towards’ ambiversion?
I like that word – ambiverted. That does describe me.

Do you think you honestly know ‘hand upon heart’ what members of the opposite sex actually think?
I don’t think men are so different than women in what they think, in terms of love or relationships.. However, they do tend to think about different things than women if my husband is typical of the average male, which I think he is. Part of it is cultural conditioning too, so that men tend to prefer sports or tinkering with their cars, etc. Also when they are together, they don’t go into their personal lives as much as women. And they don’t always think about the way women think about casual sexual overtures. (I’m thinking of Andrew Cuomo, who is now facing sexual harassment charges, which he denies. He didn’t think of it as harassment, apparently.)

Which is more appealing of these two attributes only – brawn or brains?
Definitely brains, although physical appearance is undeniably important especially for initial attraction. I mean, people who are not physically attractive have to work harder to get the opposite sex to get interested in them.

What are some of your strangest quirks?
I make weird noises just for the hell of it, or to drive my cat crazy. She’s on to me already, however, so I don’t faze her anymore. But my husband shakes his head and mumbles something about the eccentric woman he married. Anyway, I’m pretty good at making strange noises – I’ve got quite a repertoire! I can also imitate animal noises so well that I really do freak out any domestic animal (cats or dogs mostly) that happens to be around.

What or when is the dirtiest you have ever been [your interpretation]?
I was trying to write a novel for NaNoWriMo, expanding on a short story I’d written years ago. My daughter and I took a “writing weekend” by ourselves at a hotel, and stayed in separate rooms to work on our novels. I wrote for HOURS. I got to the point of writing a sex scene, which turned out to be quite, um, graphic. Actually, there were several sex scenes that happened one after another, but one of them in particular was really detailed. After I wrote it, I was sort of embarrassed but I know there are authors who write this kind of stuff a lot – but I don’t read it. And to this day, I can’t read that scene I wrote without feeling kind of shocked.

By the way, I never finished the novel. (There didn’t seem to be a good way to proceed after that to continue to hold readers’ attention…)

Do you prefer to give, receive or take away?
I like them all, but lately giving stuff away is much more a part of my life. I am at that stage of life where I’m downsizing and letting go of lots of things I’ve accumulated that I considered so important at some point in my life. The easiest thing to do is to give them to others who will appreciate and make use of them.

Have you ever eating edible clothing?
No, what do you have in mind?? If it’s chocolate, I’ll be right over!!

Do you like it saucy or just enjoy a good sauce?
Depending on what “it” is. If it’s food, I prefer sauce.

Have you ever performed the naughty or nauighties in the car, your car, a car, any car?
Sort of, yes – I was 18 working at my first summer job, and my boyfriend was visiting. I was staying at our family’s summer home in northern Wisconsin and I had been driving my grandmother’s car for the summer. We drove down some back roads that wind around the lakes and countryside and stopped in a small clearing, and after the, well, what we did in the car, we couldn’t find the key! Worse is that it had gotten dark by then! We were groping around for it on the ground and since it was just a single key with no key ring or anything attached, it was like finding a needle in a haystack. We were saved by a quirk that some cars had at that time: there were cars you could start without a key – the ignition stuck out a little, and if you could turn it, the engine would start. That’s what I did, so we got back home. (There were no cellphones in those days to call for help, of course.) But I did have to tell my mother about the lost key and my boyfriend’s face turned so red when I made up a lame excuse about what happened. I’m pretty sure my mom figured out what we had been up to!

Have you ever skinny dipped or taken part in naked mud wrestling?
Skinny-dipped, yes. It was in the lake at the abovementioned summer home. My mother skinny dipped every morning, so once I went with her. We went down to the lake with our bathing suits on, and took them off in the water. Before we got out, we squirmed into our wet suits.

Are your more of a sweet or a sour person?
I prefer sweet and sour! (Ether the combination is great, or you never know what you’re getting when you come into contact with me.)

Where would you find the Sea of Tranquility?
On the moon – but it’s not much of a sea, since there’s no water on the moon. Perhaps it’s how the Dead Sea will be a few years from now when it dries up completely. (The Dead Sea’s ratio of salt to water increases every year and it is expected to dry up sooner than previously thought, due to climate change.)

What five items could you buy at a supermarket which would make the cashier give you an uncertain if not just weird look?
Contraceptives – i.e. condoms (which is the only kind of contraceptive you can buy in a supermarket), which would probably cause a stir considering I’m not young anymore. Then stocking up on only the most caloric comfort foods they have – big chocolate donuts, a cake with the inscription “Happy Divorce” (especially coupled with the condoms), lots of chocolate sauce (which has multiple uses), and a case of cheap wine. Those young cashiers have no idea how much fun old people are capable of!

Ok, you have been arrested and no one one knows why – what would your friends think you had done?
They wouldn’t be able to figure it out. I’m not sure even I would know what I had done – I’m such a law-abiding citizen!

Oh dear, for some bizarre reason you find yourself in an insane asylum how can you convince those in charge you don’t belong there?
I’m thinking “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” type of place, right? I’m not sure, but I definitely wouldn’t display my weird quirks like making the strange noises I mentioned in a previous question! Maybe I would sing religious hymns to them, and act very pious.

You have two outfits but only one choice – which do you choose to wear for the day of the following …. skin tight flesh coloured body suit OR a very holey oversized long tee shirt?
Probably the skin tight flesh-colored body suit. At least I could exercise in it. But the holey T-shirt? People in my community might not approve.

What is a whack when used in relationship to the term ‘out of whack?’
Whack would be what is normal, whatever the expected function or action or thought might be.

LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

Thursday Doors: Door Art

Norm’s Thursday Doors is a weekly opportunity to share photos of doors with other door lovers! This week, I’m dipping back into my archives to present doors that are part of, or surrounded by, street art. (Check out my earlier post for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Murals.)

Black Cat Alley, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: This alley near downtown Milwaukee has become a place for street artists to share their art. This mural includes a door to a formerly industrial building.

A converted warehouse complex in Lincoln, Nebraska has become an artists’ co-op, its outside walls decorated by local artists.

Cuba, Missouri is located on the famous Route 66 and a popular stop along the historic road. There are many murals throughout the town, depicting historical events (including the Civil War) and scenes of daily life.

Pontiac, Illinois is one of the first, or last, stops on Route 66 (depending on whether you are taking the historic road west or east), and as such caters to Route 66 tourists. Besides murals, there is a museum/shop containing all kinds of Route 66 memorabilia and you can visit the bus-converted-to-home of possibly Pontiac’s most well-known native son, Bob Waldmire, who traveled the Mother Road and lived in his bus-home for several years in the Arizona desert.

Whether real or painted, a door is still a door!

For mural/graffiti/street art connoisseurs, Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) in São Paulo, Brazil is a must-see. “Graffiti artists” have covered this residential neighborhood – walls, streets, doors, windows, anything paintable – with art!

A restaurant entrance near Batman’s Alley
Courtyard gate
Garage door
Garage door/store entrance gates
This is more graffiti than mural art – the entrance in particular is covered in pure graffiti.
More graffiti

Street artists in São Paulo find “canvases” for their artwork in many other places as well. These are found in the vicinity of Ibirapuera Park, a large park with museums, bike paths and other amusements.

CFFC: Murals

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the topic Murals and GraffitiI have a wealth of photos in my archives, because I love photographing public artwork! I include here a sampling of each location. Note that I have blogged about most of these places before, so there will be some duplicates. 

Tucumcari, New Mexico: A town I had never heard of before has apparently achieved renown due to at least two songs about the town, and a novel set there. It’s a stop on Route 66.

Cuba, Missouri: This small town on Route 66 is famous for its murals, depicting historical scenes and events, and scenes of daily life.  Many are scenes of the Civil War, but I have not included any of those here. Cuba is a “must-see” for any Route 66 trip!

Pontiac, Illinois:  one of the last (or first, depending on which way you go) along Route 66. In Pontiac also is a good-sized museum and store selling all types of Route 66 memorabilia. 

Because of its prominence on Route 66, there are miniature cars all over downtown Lexington, each with a different artist’s painting.
Local historical figures

Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an alley flanked by old industrial buildings, which has been converted into a “canvas” for local mural painters! Located in the downtown area, it is easy to get to and I would recommend it for anyone visiting Milwaukee that has an interest in mural art.

Lincoln, Nebraska is a surprisingly interesting city. I had never been to Nebraska before our 2018 road trip and since we like to visit capital cities, we spent a day there. There is a section of town we discovered by accident while finding our way to a restaurant recommended online. Across the street was an old warehouse converted into an artists’ co-op workshop with interesting art on the outside walls.

Denver, Colorado:  We stayed at a fantastic Airbnb in the artsy part of town. On Tennyson St. (where the first of these photos were taken), they have weekly art fairs during the summer season.

Sidewalk art/graffiti in downtown Denver

Dubuque, Iowa – near the Mississippi River Museum

Des Moines, Iowa

In Amsterdam, Holland we took a private boat tour on the canals and harbor. We discovered several trailers painted in vivid colors.

Brazil is very rich in culture and teeming with artists of all kinds. The more famous ones display their art in galleries and museums. However, the street art is amazing, painted by very talented “graffiti artists.” In the city of São Paulo, there was literally art everywhere – you could barely walk one block without seeing street art.

Ibirapuera Park is a large park in Sao Paulo containing small art museums, walking paths, and refreshment stands. This mural was on the wall outside a public restroom.
On another wall outside the same restrooms
On a street near Ibirapuera Park
Under a bridge near Ibirapuera Park – graffiti art and a homeless person’s possessions

For connoisseurs of “graffiti art” (although most of it is much more beautiful than graffiti), there is a neighborhood in São Paulo called Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) – wander its cobblestone streets to see an explosion of beautiful and/or humorous murals and sometimes political statements. The first two photos were taken outside Beco do Batman proper, which is residential – and we needed lunch so these were our view from the small café where we ate.

CFFC: What Noses Smell

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week continues with the senses. This week it is the sense of smell.

Swan noses are two thin parallel slits on their bills.
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Cows smell the grass and feed they eat.
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Cats’ noses…
20200125_191913smell everything they encounter as they explore anything new….
…a birthday cake or
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…someone’s jacket.
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Cats are especially attracted to the smell of catnip, a plant in the mint family with a pungent smell. Pet stores sell little toys stuffed with catnip – Hazel’s was a carrot that we tied to her scratching post. Catnip is the marijuana of catdom!!
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Noses may be displayed in artwork, such as on this tapestry entitled “Processional Nose” at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam.
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Human noses…

are also attracted to certain smells. Some research indicates that humans may choose their mates by the person’s smell (unconsciously, of course).

What could be more wonderfully sweet than the smell of lilacs in spring?
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Many flowers have a pleasant fragrance, perhaps to attract pollinators.
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Spices also have strong smells.
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A smell unpleasant to most people is cigarette smoke – yet smokers and those who live with them don’t smell it at all! Their noses are desensitized to the smell that permeates everything they own. (This photo courtesy of Google Images)
Delaware moves closer to raising smoking age to 21 - WHYY
However, we associate some smoke smells with family barbecues.
20170710_192031Like certain songs, many odors, such as smelling a certain cuisine, can invoke memories. Many foods have strong smells, whether one appreciates them or not.
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What smells can you conjure up looking at these photos?
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Words associated with smell include:  smell, stink, odor, rotten eggs, fragrance, perfume, scent, aroma, smoky, musty, garlicky, acrid, reek, funky, malodorous, fetid, whiff, inhale, putrid, rancid, stench, odoriferous, sweet-smelling, flowery, redolent, pungent, bouquet, balm, savory, spicy. (Notice how many words we have for bad smells, less for good smells!)

CB&WPC: I’ve Looked At Clouds

Cee’s black & White Photo Challenge this week has the topic clouds. This is an interesting topic, because one of the things that makes cloud pictures spectacular is color – especially sunsets. I tried and rejected several photos because they just didn’t have appeal without the color. Others, however, look even more dramatic in black & white! So here’s what I chose.

I’ll start with clouds seen from above (through an airplane window).
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I got some dramatic sunset photos in black & white when I looked for strong contrasts between the clouds and the sky.
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The variety of the shapes of the clouds makes this an interesting photo in black & white.

2-6 sunset from our room at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (2)
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Sometimes, what attracts me to take photos of clouds is the variety of shapes. It can be especially dramatic in the wide open spaces on the prairies of North Dakota…
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…or a sunburst over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
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More subtle effects over the pond on the campus of our community.
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In this photo, the clouds are reflected in the rippled surface of the water.
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Sometimes, instead of a prairie, a dramatic landscape – such as majestic mountains – enhances the photo, offering a dramatic contrast between land and sky.
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The official title of the following song is Both Sides Now. But this is a pretty rendition with ethereal moving clouds. Although the song was written by Joni Mitchell, who sings it here, it was first recorded by Judy Collins, which was the first version of it I heard.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Future

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge this week is to depict the topic of future. How can I take photos of something that hasn’t happened yet? Of course, that is impossible, but I can photograph potential and anticipation: the changing of seasons, children growing up, construction sites where buildings are being built on their current foundations.

I read this morning that there are currently six generations of people alive today. The G.I. Generation was born in the years 1900-1924. This generation is disappearing, but a few of them are still living independently in our senior community!

Mother facing the empty shelves
My mother, born in 1917, sat in her empty apartment in 2009 contemplating her future – the last chapter of her life – as we, her children, packed up her possessions in preparation for her move to assisted living. The empty white walls and shelves represented the end of her independence. (She died at the end of 2014.)

The Traditionalists/Silent Generation was born during the Depression and World War II, 1925-1945. Baby Boomers, the largest generation, were born 1946-1964 (this is my generation).

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Members of three generations – my husband, Dale, was born in 1944 and grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s. Behind him is me, born in 1952 – a Baby Boomer. In back, that smiling, handsome young man is my son, Jayme, born in 1985 – a Millennial, because his generation reached adulthood in the 21st century. Every one of us has a future to look forward to, although Dale takes it less for granted than Jayme. Dale and I look to the future as one of travel and pursuit of our own interests in our retirement years. Jayme – assuming he lives as long as we have – will see a very different world: one with altered climate, perhaps shortage of food and hopefully, a more enlightened government that invests in renewable energy. Will his health be compromised from smoking during his young adulthood? Will he quit before that? Will he find the love of his life, get married and have children? Will he publish a book of poems? I wonder about his future when I look at his face. HOPE is always a projection of the future!

Generation X is those born between 1965 and 1979. Millennials were born between 1980 and the late 1990s. Finally, Generation Z (because we don’t know what else to call them yet!) are the kids of today: born in the last years of the 20th century to the 2010s.

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A member of Generation Z is filled with wonder and delight at the ducks around her. She hopefully can look forward to a long future ahead.

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Mason (in lime green hoodie), holds his younger brother, Max, (my grand-nephew) as they watch fireworks over a lake in northern Wisconsin. I have already seen their future – this was taken in 2014, and Mason is no longer a child – he’s in high school, and Max, age 2 or 3 in this photo, is now a second grader.

Each of these generations had or have a future. The older ones have already fulfilled their potential – their hopes and dreams either completed or frustrated. The future they looked toward is now.

In the political arena, I see the youngest two generations as our hope for the future. These are the kids of Parkland High School, who are turning eighteen and have registered to vote; they are 18-year-olds all over the country who are signing up to vote fueled by the passion of their peers, peers such as the survivors of Parkland who saw their classmates gunned down at school, or such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old face of the movement to deal with climate change. We need their passion nowadays! We older folks can continue to march and protest Trumpism; we can show our concern for climate change and help in various ways. But it is really these younger people that carry us into the future.

Hope for future reflected in participants in a flash rally (including us – that’s me in the photo at left) in downtown Arlington Heights, that Robert Mueller would be allowed to do his job and discover damning information that would implicate Trump. What has Trump got to hide? Much of that is still to be uncovered – will the future bring us the full truth?

The future is my 50th high school reunion in June. Sedona, see you soon!
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The future for an artist is an empty canvas.
20200212_001230Nature is a good place to look for the promise of the future.

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I was taking a walk on a chilly (but not horribly cold) afternoon last week and took this photo of a tree rising out of a sheen of ice on a retention pond. Later, when I looked at it in large size on my computer, I noticed a lot of white specks on the branches and realized, the tree is budding already! This has been a very mild winter and plants have been fooled into thinking it’s almost spring. Already we see the future on this tree – a future of blossoms and green leaves.

All species are equipped to reproduce, so that their kinds will continue. Flowers have fertile interiors, filled with the pollen needed to spread its seeds. The flowers’ colors and fragrance are designed to attract insect species to spread their pollen. Few orchids are red, because bees cannot see that color. And flies prefer flowers that are brownish, resembling decay.

To look into the center of a flower is to see the future – or the promise of it!

Baby animals start out so small…

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Our grandcat, Freddy, when he was still a kitten. Look at the hair in his ears – what breed was in this shelter kitten? Only the future would tell…Now he’s six months old with the bushy tail of a Maine coon cat!

and in the wild, their parents can only hope that their future includes reaching adulthood!

 

CFFC: Mostly Monochrome

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with the theme of colors. This week the topic is basically one  color or hue.

This photo was not shot nor edited black & white. The trees and clouds actually looked like this on a spring day in northern Wisconsin.
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Turtles at The Grove visitors’ center, Mt. Prospect, IL
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Chinese Reconciliation Park, Tacoma, WA
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Point Defiance Park, Tacoma
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Passau, Germany
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Wine pressing tanks, Morwald Winery, Austria
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Modern clock, Cologne, Germany
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Kinderdijk, Netherlands
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Cologne Cathedral, Germany
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Miniature show “Whimsical Wonderland,” Elk Grove Village, IL
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Flowers, Des Plaines, IL
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Some animals are the color they are to blend in with their environment, such as hyraxes who hide among the rocks where they live, mongoose who inhabit giant anthills, and even a hippo with just its eyes & ears above the water. (All photos taken in Tanzania.)

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

The subject of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #75 is nostalgic. I feel nostalgic for places that I used to go to, such as our family’s cottage in northern Wisconsin. We sold the cottage in 2015, which had been in my family for 50 years, because it was no longer possible or feasible to manage the place from far away. But for many years, that beautiful place was a relaxing – and inexpensive – vacation.

Dale used to love to fish there, off the pier and in the rowboat. He would stay out there for hours. This photo is from July 2013.
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Our lake had a couple of pairs of loons which nested somewhere across the lake. Their calls echoed over the lake as they communicated with each other and even with loons on nearby lakes. I got to know what each of their distinct calls meant – danger/fear, looking for company, and just “I am here.” It was a treat to see them get relatively close to the shore, so that I could take a photo like this one in July 2014.
a pair of loons! They have been getting so close to the dock.
At the cottage, I always felt close to nature and sometimes I would sit on the screened porch during a thunderstorm, watch the black clouds covering the sky, listen to the falling rain, feel the cool, moist air and smell the earthy freshness that rain brings.
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Another place that I have visited several times is Rio de Janeiro – I always spend at least a few days there every time I go to Brazil. Most of the times I’ve been there, I’ve stayed with in-laws or friends in Leme, at the far end of Copacabana. Just looking at this photo makes me feel nostalgic.
20161123_190534And when I am there, I always insist on taking the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf in late afternoon, and watch the sun set. And as I look over that beautiful scene – the colors of the sunset and the lights coming on in all the neighborhoods I can see from there – I always get tears in my eyes and promise: I will be back. And so far, I’ve kept that promise, but of course I never know when it will be my last time there. I took both the photo above, of Copacabana Beach looking toward Leme at the far end from the bar at the top of a hotel, and the photo below, at sunset on Sugarloaf, in November 2016, during my last trip there.
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These places I love, and the people, scenery, smells and sounds associated with them, give me what Brazilians call saudade, which is roughly translated to nostalgia, but it is more than that: it is sweet sorrow, it is happiness and sadness, love and longing, all at the same time. You can have saudades even when you are with the people and in the places which invoke it. Because you know that life is fleeting, that the moment you are experiencing is just that – a moment. Saudade reminds you not to take life for granted.

 

Since the end of 2013, Dale and I have had Hazel, our cat, as part of our family. But for 20 years before that, I did not have a cat, primarily because my son had asthma and was allergic to cats, which was sad for me because I love cats. Amazingly, he outgrew both his allergies and his asthma, and anyway, he no longer lives with us, so we were able to welcome a shelter cat into our home at Christmas time that year. Prior to 1993, I had pet cats for much of my life, and I remember them with nostalgic fondness.

From left to right are Kirry (a male Manx, my family’s pet cat during most of my childhood), Joia (1976-1992, a female half-Manx;  I was with my first husband then and she traveled from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to Brazil and back), and Blackfoot (female tabby, 1993 – I had this cat only briefly before having to give her up because my son developed asthma).


I have developed nostalgia (or more accurately, saudade) for all the places I’ve been and the happy times I have spent in them. That is one reason I love photography – the photos I take tell the story of my experiences and invoke memories I would otherwise have forgotten.