If: It’s Hypothetical (SoCS)

If is a preposition at the beginning of a clause supposing something. In many European languages, “if” requires a verb in the subjunctive tense, because it is speculation about something that hasn’t happened (yet) or an alternative or hypothetical scenario. In English, the subjunctive would be thus: If I were...

But nowadays, most people say “If I was” so the subjunctive is falling into disuse. But it is very much alive in the Romance or Latin languages as well as many others. Learning what comes after “if” in Spanish means I have to think of how to conjugate the verb that follows. After a while, it becomes a habit: “Si quisieras” (if you want…) sounds right and I feel proud of myself for remembering to use the subjunctive! I was brought up in a highly literate family, my parents requiring us to speak properly – we would get corrected if, for example, we said “Me and Joe are going to the concert.” Commonplace nowadays, but not right. It sounds sloppy, ignorant. An “if” clause, however, would perhaps not sound so dissonant, because it has become acceptable not to use “were” as a subjunctive verb.

Also, most verbs in English don’t have a different form for an if clause: “If I wanted” is the same form of “want” as would be used for past tense in any context. I would wager that most people who read this may not even know what I am talking about! (Subjunctive? What is that?) If you study French, or Portuguese, or Italian, for more than one college semester, you will definitely have to learn it!

“If I were hoping to go on a cruise” is actually correct, but often now you will utter “If I was hoping to go on a cruise.” It still sounds dissonant to me, but it doesn’t bother me because I don’t use the subjunctive as often as I used to. Sometimes I forget all about it. I guess English speakers think IF is enough to signal a hypothetical event. Eventually it will be so rare that saying “if I were” will sound strange.

As for going on a cruise…I’m ready to go! No ifs, ands or buts about it!

(My attempt at stream of conscience writing this week for the SoCS challenge.)


SYW: Games, Scary Movies, Nature, etc.

Melanie’s back with a new set of Share Your World questions today!

QUESTIONS

(Two ‘seasonal’ and two plain today)

What is the scariest game (board or on-line) you ever may have played?
I have never played a “scary” board/on-line game. I have never heard of a scary game, but I’m not a big “gamer” in terms of online/video games. Perhaps when I was a child, I may have gotten scared by some game like Hide and Seek if I felt left alone and couldn’t find anyone. I don’t remember, so it probably didn’t happen. I have played games that are thrilling and exciting, but not scary.

What’s just ‘over the rainbow” for you?
Traveling – we finally got our new passports!

Passports – Cleveland Public Library

mDo you have to watch something upbeat after watching a suspense or horror movie so you can go to sleep?
I don’t normally watch those kinds of movies. I have a few that I like in that genre, but no, I wouldn’t watch them late at night! I went alone to Silence of the Lambs at a local theatre many years ago. It was dark out when I left the theater, and I started to walk home, only about 2 blocks away. Once I left the downtown area and started down a street that was not well lit, I saw a man coming toward me, on the other side of the street! He didn’t make any threatening gesture and I couldn’t even see what he looked like, but I started running and didn’t stop until I got inside my apartment building! Never again!

The Silence of the Lambs - Where to Watch and Stream - TV Guide

Is there intent behind every action?
EVERY action? No, I don’t think so. I often do things without thinking, although I don’t think that is a good thing to do in general. I usually don’t even remember most of the “actions” I have taken during any particular day.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always, optional)

Feel free to share some gratitude with folks today!   Thanks!  
Although it’s probably got some connection to climate change, I am grateful for the warm, summerlike weather we have had the last week.

I am also grateful for nature. Yesterday, I was sitting on our screened porch and noticed a bird at the foot of a tree. It looked bigger than most birds I see around here, but maybe it was a pigeon. But then it flew up on a low branch on a tree and I saw that it was a hawk! And it was trying to catch a squirrel! I watched the drama of predator and prey play out for at least five minutes. The hawk was unsuccessful, though – the squirrel escaped every time the hawk tried to grab him. Lots of flapping of wings and scurrying up the tree and onto higher branches. I think the hawk was young, probably born this year and now out fending for himself, but apparently he has much to learn about swooping down and grabbing his prey before it can get away. Each and every time, the squirrel outwitted the hawk. I sat there, watching the scene and in the back of my mind, I was wishing I’d had my camera right then – I could have gotten some great shots! But I was content just to witness the scene. There are dramas unfolding every day in the natural world!

I have a new phone, and it takes sharper photos than my previous one. Here are a couple of photos taken at one of the ponds of the heron who comes here every day.
 

SYW: Life Challenges, ADHD, Alone Time, & Getting Into Heaven

Melanie has some interesting questions for this week’s Share Your World.

QUESTIONS

(Some just ‘off the cuff’ ones today)

How do you feel about sharing your computer or phone password with your partner?
I think it would be confusing having to switch back and forth, and also, my husband has visited web sites that I don’t want to have anything to do with. This kind of browsing leads to a lot of spam in his email accounts, and some of it really offensive to me. He is not doing this so much now, but sharing would also mean that I would sometimes want to use the computer when he is using it. I have a lot of projects, artwork, and writings on my computer that I want to have exclusive access to.

As for passwords, we do share those sometimes, or make slight alterations when we use the other’s passwords.

What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome? (This isn’t meant to be invasive, just use general terms if you’d like.  Or if not, feel free to pass on the question.  That’s allowed too).
Living with ADHD – a lifelong struggle. BUT…My life has been pretty good and happy; the main struggles I had were in adulthood – parenting and teaching. I was smart enough to get through my school years by figuring out my own coping strategies; I had no idea that I had any sort of disability. But in adulthood, I realized there was something not normal about me compared to other people and eventually was diagnosed with ADHD. Parenting was a challenge: I had (have had – it’s still ongoing although it’s better now) a lot of problems with my son’s mental illness, which affected his education and his adult life and my inconsistency and difficulty in coping with his problems while living with ADHD (both mine and his). Teaching because it was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I was well into middle age when I got my teaching degree. When I was finally diagnosed with ADHD, it explained a lot of my struggles but didn’t really make them any better, except that I stopped being so hard on myself. Teaching with ADHD is a huge challenge – having ADHD affected my memory (especially short-term memory), my ability to be consistent, my penchant for losing (misplacing) things I really need at the moment I need them, maintaining order in my classroom, etc. A lot of colleagues would throw out a casual comment that they ‘must have ADD’ because they kept misplacing things – they had no idea what actually living with it was like every day.

If heaven is real and you died tomorrow, do you think you would get in?  Why or why not?  (this is purely speculation, no bias if you don’t believe)
Yes, I’m pretty sure I would get into heaven (although I don’t believe in it as a physical place where one goes after death), because in spite of the things I have done wrong, maliciously or not, I am basically a caring and compassionate person. That said, to me the idea of ‘heaven’ is what remains in the memories of those who survive me. Do they remember me with fondness or animosity? I am pretty sure that my father went to ‘heaven’ because no one ever says a bad word about him. He was an exceptional man, a compassionate person, and a great dad. And conversely, those who go to ‘hell’ are those truly evil individuals that people and history have judged harshly – Hitler and Stalin come to mind.

Kingdom Of Heaven Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from CartoonStock

What makes you feel like you really need to be alone?
When I need to get things done that no one can or should help me with. For example, if I am working on a photo book of our trip to France, I need to have a large block of time undisturbed. Sometimes I get so busy with activities and other commitments like volunteer work, exercising, or housework, that the days fly by and I never have the time I crave to work on my computer projects (blog, photo books, writing, transcribing letters, working on photos, etc.) or to finish a book I don’t seem able to make progress on.


GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always, optional)

Do you have any traditions around this time of year? 
Not anymore. I used to always stay home on Halloween to greet the little goblins and superheroes that came trick-or-treating, and to give out treats equally to all. I sometimes would put on my witchy costume and get into character. I didn’t like to be out on Halloween because sometimes older kids would vandalize houses where no one was home, or steal Halloween decorations from my front porch. Now that I live in a senior community, there are no trick-or-treaters, although the last couple of years we spent in our house before moving here, the trick-or-treaters had really diminished in number. Sign of the times, I guess.

Since I am retired, I don’t get into the spirit of Halloween anymore, because I’m not seeing the excited faces of the children in my classroom and I no longer participate in the fun activities we used to have at school with the kids. In fact, Halloween and Day of the Dead are the only time of year that I miss teaching.

A game at a Halloween party in a 2nd grade classroom (2010)

SYW: Exercising & Carousels

I’ve been taking a break from my blog for the last couple of weeks. Now that I’m back, I’m getting in on the last days of Share Your World of Sept. 26!

QUESTIONS

1. What’s your favorite way to exercise?  (if you do or don’t.  Exercising one’s mind is a valid answer IMHO, because that’s my favorite).
I have a goal to get in much better physical shape by September of next year. Right now, my favorite is the Circuits class led by our fitness director, as well as walking, which has always been my favorite!

As for exercising my mind, I’ve been very worried lately about cognitive decline! I grasp for words I just said a few minutes before, reading words wrong, and general memory loss. So I’m exploring other options. I have heard that the best way to boost your brain power is to take on activities that are new to you, or that you left behind long ago. More recently, I downloaded Lumosity, a game site to help people with various skills. I only get the free one for now, so I’m limited in the games they provide, but I may get a subscription eventually. So far most of the games are challenging.

2. What’s more important to you – family or friends?
Family, although friends are important too!

3.  (a segue of sorts from last week’s SYW)..Have you ever voted for someone (in whatever venue – politics, contests, school elections) based solely on how they looked?
No.

4.  (silly one)  How could carousels be spiced up so they are more exciting?
More horses! I love to ride the horses!

GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always optional)

Please feel free to share something you’ve enjoyed about this September.
On the news a couple of days ago, I heard that September 2021 has been the warmest on record! I know it’s about climate change and that many places are literally on fire, but here in the Midwest it has been pleasurable. I have been enjoying the warm weather!

I had to get a new phone because our contract expired and we had to get a new contract so they required that we buy new phones! I have found that close-up photos are much clearer with this phone camera (Galaxy S21)!

SYW: On Soulmates, Aromas, Being Older, and Sharing

Although it is a holiday in the U.S. today, that didn’t stop Melanie from putting out her weekly questions for Share Your World!

QUESTIONS

Do you believe in soul-mates?  (my definition of ‘soul mate’ is the IDEAL partner romantically).
I agree with Melanie that a “soulmate” is the ideal partner, whether you ever meet that person or not. I know some couples who say they are “soulmates” – often those who have waited a long time and had other partners. I love my husband, but I do not consider him my “soulmate.” He is not my “ideal” romantic partner, but perhaps I was not destined to find whoever that might have been. I’m OK with that. However, he supports me in so many ways, including putting up with my ADHD-related defects, and says I do the same for him, so I did marry someone who I could spend the rest of my life with.

What are three scents you like?
Brewing coffee (although I can no longer drink it), chocolate, and the smell of grass & dirt after it rains.

What are some things that you might be considered too old to do, but that you enjoy?
There are 2 ways of approaching this question: either people in general think I am too old to do it, but I do it anyway; or things I used to enjoy doing but no can longer do. If the former, I would say it is the type of clothes I wear. If the latter, being able to drink coffee with no adverse effects. Also, being able to do regular yoga and long-distance walking or hiking. I can no longer hike on paths that have a lot of boulders or stairs, but I still walk as much as possible. I consider it better than bike riding, because I can enjoy the small things in nature that I wouldn’t be able to notice while riding a bike. Also, my balance isn’t so good anymore, which explains my inability to do a lot of yoga postures that are on the ground, or “flow” up and down. I used to be very flexible. Maybe I am still considered flexible for my age, I don’t know. Whatever the case, I am trying to stay as fit as possible, because as a senior citizen, if I don’t exercise, I will soon lose my ability to do so.

Living in a senior community, I am amazed at the range of physical abilities of older people. I know many people older than myself that are much more fit than I am. That is a motivation for me to try to get better fit. I still want to travel the world, without worrying about physical handicaps that would interfere with that.

What is one food you absolutely refuse to share?
Most chocolate desserts – I allow my husband to take a bite, but that’s all!

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)

Please feel free to share something positive!    

SYW: On Being Better, Love, Memories, Death & the Composition of a Baseball

A new set of questions this week from Melanie’s Share Your World!

QUESTIONS    (Going DEEP on these today)

Are human beings required to better themselves and will doing that make them happier?
Required? No, no one is required to do anything in their life, but it’s better that they achieve their potential, which will be a contribution to our society and human existence in general. I think if a person works hard to achieve something, or meets a goal, (s)he will be happy with what was achieved; so collectively, people who strive to be the best they can be will be happier and more confident in themselves.

Is it easier to love or to be loved?
Depends on who is doing the loving! If one who loves another is always having to give, give, give and the other gives little in return, that can’t be an easy emotion to deal with. Love ultimately requires work, while being loved requires nothing. So being loved is easier, but both are needed.

Outside traumatic brain injury, can memories be completely erased?
I don’t know. I do know it’s possible to “block” traumatic events in one’s life – such as a history of child abuse. A person may block such memories for self-preservation and to forget those terrible events to be relieved of suffering, having nightmares, etc. But I guess these memories aren’t really “erased” – a good psychotherapist may succeed in bringing a patient’s blocked memories to consciousness in order to confront them to aid in healing.

Is there such a thing as a good death?
Sometimes. If a person has been suffering a lot or has no quality of life, or “alive” due to machines but in a vegetative state…then yes, their death could be considered “good” because it alleviates their suffering. When my mother was suffering from dementia and could no longer really communicate – and she was a person who loved being sociable, to talk on a variety of subjects, reading and writing – I used to pray for God to allow her life to end.

Perhaps we can also say that a human monster (like Hitler) who has caused terrible suffering and death of innocents, also had a “good death,” in that the world is better off without him!

Or perhaps a “good” death is simply death free of pain and prolonged suffering – such as dying in one’s sleep or very suddenly with no pain involved.

Anyone’s idea of a “good death” is really subjective.

and one ‘silly’ one because the former questions were fairly serious:   What do you imagine is inside a baseball? 
Some stuffing – cotton, or fibers of some kind. Maybe a ball of string? I’ve never thought about it before.  But your question made me curious, so I looked it up.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Feel free to share something uplifting this week!  

SYW: On Unicorns, Apostrophes & Diversity

Melanie’s Share Your World questions this week come from her “partner in crime” called Evil Squirrel.

QUESTIONS

 When you just need to forget the world for a few hours, what helps you get away from it all? 

I read a good book or get engrossed in a movie or TV series that I really enjoy.

 If you woke up tomorrow with a unicorn horn extending from the top of your head, what would be the biggest advantage and disadvantage of your new appendage?

Disadvantages would be its weight and the inability for me to wear a hat, which I always do when the weather is cold. I can’t think of an advantage.

  What is the creepiest thing you’ve ever seen someone do, that you’d be willing to talk about, of course? 

Guys who grab or scratch their crotch multiple times in public, seemingly unaware – or not caring – that they are in full view of other people.

 What’s the silliest or pettiest thing that tends to really upset you?  

People’s abuse of the apostrophe. It seems as though they never learned that an apostrophe at the end of the word (or is followed by s) means POSSESSIVE. I have a friend who I care dearly about, but his emails are full of misplaced apostrophes (almost every plural word he writes has an apostrophe). This misused symbol should never used to denote a plural!! NEVER!

The weirdest apostrophe-used-for-a-plural mistake I saw was a few days ago. There was a sign up sheet for men’s and women’s breakfast at a restaurant. For women’s, the creator of the sign up sheet wrote LADIE’S. So she was combining two grammar/spelling mistakes: Changing the /y/ to an /ie/ when making a plural (she sort of got that right), and it seems she was confused about exactly how to make a possessive out of a word that is already plural. (There are two acceptable ways to do this: LADIES’ or LADIES’S, but the first one is preferable.)

An old writing buddy of mine published a book, a mystery set in Hawaii. Apparently she didn’t have it proofread, because every single word that ended in a vowel that was made into a plural (like the word “lei”), she added an apostrophe before the s. There were so many errors of this kind in the book that I deducted a star from my review on Amazon. How can someone publish a book and not have it proofread or edited? Obviously, since she is older than I am, she forgot this basic English spelling rule.

This may seem petty or silly to get upset about because there are many more important things that deserve one’s wrath, but it shows the decline in grammar/spelling education. It has to be this, because the misplaced apostrophe is such an ubiquitous mistake nowadays, but 20-30 years ago, it was fairly rare.

GRATITUDE SECTION (Always Optional)

How comfortable are you with meeting others who are very different from yourself? (no judgment implied.  Different in any way you’d like to think about – different cultures, different races, different mind set (opinions)? 

I like meeting people who are different from me, but I tend to be shy around strangers so I may appear to be uncomfortable. I am afraid to ask questions that might make them take offense; or I am afraid to speak to them in their native language when it is one I know (Spanish & Portuguese). I don’t know why this is – it’s silly really, but if I get to know the person or people enough to be comfortable around them, then I have no problem, unless their accent is so strong that I can’t understand them. In general, I like to be in places where a diversity of people surround me, where I hear a number of different languages being spoken, or I see unusual hairstyles, or the people are wearing non-Western but beautiful clothing. I’m also pretty open to trying new cuisines, although I do have my favorites.

So my gratitude is living in a country that has a lot of diversity – cultural, racial, ethnic, etc. I actually am looking forward to being in the minority (white, northern European origin). It’s a shame that many people feel threatened by our increasingly multicultural society.

SYW: On Ice Cream & Traveling During Covid

I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to participate in Melanie’s Share Your World until today!

QUESTIONS

Restrictions are being lifted all over the world.  Do you feel it’s safe to go out and mingle in crowds in light of the Pandemic?
To a certain degree, yes, although the delta variant is causing the cases to increase at an alarming rate, such as we haven’t seen for several months. I just saw a Facebook post from a cousin’s son announcing that he was a “breakthrough” case – fully vaccinated yet got the delta variant of Covid.

COVID Breakthrough: About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not  had a deadly breakthrough case, CDC data shows - ABC7 Chicago
Notice that there are no “green” states on this map!

His symptoms were not serious and he’s OK now, but it made me think that I ought to be a bit more cautious. Mask mandates have been reimposed here so I’m carrying one around again and having to wear one even when I exercise. The mask came in handy last night, though, when a homeless man “joined” our book discussion group at the library (the discussion is held outside). The moderator was nice to him and the rest of us tried to be casual and welcoming, but I did put my mask on.

It’s a strange situation – there is no lockdown, because of the vaccine, but the vaccine isn’t perfect and the delta variant is spreading fast so we have to wear masks again. Yet I feel Covid-19 fatigue, as I’m sure most people do. I have not tried to go out into a crowded place, such as a theatre. I would, however, love to travel again. I don’t know if I want to get on a crowded airplane right now, though. To go on a road trip, I would consult Covid statistics to see if our destination is more or less safe.

What are some things that are okay to do occasionally,  but definitely not okay to do every day?
Having a drink, eating ice cream – anything in excess is not okay.

Would you relocate for love (romantic or otherwise)?
I have done – moving here to this senior community was my husband’s idea. I didn’t feel ready for it, and it’s still strange to be surrounded by white haired people who have children close to my age, but I’ve gotten to enjoy it. You’re only as old as you feel, and many of the folks here feel young!

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories (no judgment)?
Not the quack-a-doodle conspiracies promoted on social media today, but there have been some conspiracies worth looking into. There are still people trying to find out if JFK’s assassination was a conspiracy and Oswald/Ruby were just front men. I’ve heard enough convincing and reasonable evidence that I believe it might have been a conspiracy.


GRATITUDE PORTION (Optional to participate, as always)

Please share something sweet (take that as you want)

Chocolate ice cream | Chocolate recipes | Ginny Rolfe for Jamie magazine