We All Scream for Ice Cream! (FPQ #171)

I haven’t participated in Fandango’s Provocative Question lately – mainly because I haven’t been on my blog much lately – but this question I cannot resist because it is about my favorite subject: ICE CREAM!

Yes, Fandango’s Provocative Question #171 today is:

What is your favorite ice cream? Please list not only your favorite flavor, but also the brand that is your favorite. Please be specific.

Let me give you an example of what I’m looking for. I like Cookies and Cream ice cream (which flavor inexplicably didn’t make Ally Bean’s published list). And my preferred brand of Cookies and Cream ice cream is Breyers. But my very favorite flavor and brand of ice cream is Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream from Ben & Jerry’s.

Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite food is, I say ice cream. Ice cream, to me, encompasses classic ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. I am partial to flavors that involve chocolate and/or coffee, but I have always thought my favorite ice cream is peppermint ice cream, especially when it is topped with hot fudge sauce, because peppermint and chocolate go so deliciously together!!

But lately, I’ve branched out because there are so many wonderful flavors and combinations out there. I love Ben & Jerry’s and also Haagen Dazs. If I am splurging and come across some Ben & Jerry’s, I’ll look for a combination of flavors I prefer, such as chocolate/dark chocolate (preferably with chocolate pieces blended in), coffee, caramel, or a sorbet such as raspberry (my favorite sorbet flavor). The one Fandango posted looks good and I have probably had it before because I not only love B&J’s ice cream, and ice cream with pieces of cone in it, but I’m also a fan of Stephen Colbert!

My husband and I live in a senior community and very early on, I learned that the ice cream flavors offered for dessert here are really great. Most of the time, they have the basic flavors as well as coffee, so I will often choose that, and it’s great, but they also have some other very popular and scrumptious flavors, like mint chocolate chip or roadrunner raspberry (vanilla with ribbons of raspberry and big chunks of chocolate), “hazelnut” – which is actually dark chocolate with slivers of hazelnuts, and dark chocolate raspberry – this is my new favorite! We have a mini-mart here which sells pints of some of the best flavors, and they are all made by Hershey. Not what I would have expected, and also not as healthy in terms of ingredients (they use high fructose corn syrup), but they do have some interesting flavors such as those I’ve mentioned above.

If I’m in a tropical country, or a place that I can get tropical flavors, I also love coconut, mango, and passion fruit ice cream/sorbet. In Brazil, I used to order doce de leite com flocos, or dulce de leche (a sort of caramel flavor) with chocolate pieces.

So you see, it is really hard to pin down my MOST favorite, but peppermint is always a great choice for me as well as dark chocolate anything or mocha – chocolate/coffee mixed in some combination. OK, I need to stop writing this and go to the freezer to get my dark chocolate raspberry ice cream for dessert! YUMMMM!

Cappuccino crunch – rare to find, but I snatch it up when I can get it!

SYW: Musicals, Memories, & Other Musings

Here is my take on Melanie’s Share Your World this week.

QUESTIONS

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?
Always, I love the crusts!

Are you a fan of musicals—why or why not?
Yes and no. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s a new musical out (What is Six?!). Some of the topics they take on are not necessarily good as musicals, but might make great plays or movies. (Believe it or not, I actually saw a production of Jane Eyre: The Musical. Not one of my favorites.) I prefer musicals that are written as musicals, not adaptations of books, like Jane Austen novels – a few of them have been made into musicals, and I didn’t like that at all. The songs can be a distraction.

When I’m watching a musical, I often get impatient when the characters break into song, because I want the story to continue. But some musicals are really great and a lot of fun. I enjoy some of the classics, like The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, or West Side Story. I also enjoy singing along to the familiar songs while listening to a CD. I have not seen Hamilton yet, mainly because I don’t want to pay $200 for a ticket, but also I’ve heard that it’s best to “preview” the songs, to have time to understand the lyrics. I probably wouldn’t do that, and as a result, I wouldn’t “get” the songs. But I’d still like to see it. However, I don’t rush out to see every single musical or remake of a musical. Really, I’m not sure politicians or historical figures are good subjects for musicals.

The thing is, I do really like opera, although some are more interesting than others. But in opera, they sing all the time and there are usually subtitles, even when it’s sung in English. I guess I see opera as a whole “experience” while going to a musical is like going to a play or a movie. But now, I’ve taken to watching operas from the Met on a movie screen. The seats are far more comfortable and the theatre is a short, easy drive in my car!

Is it difficult to do what you do? (for a living, hobby etc.).  If you’re retired, what you ‘did’ previously for a job can be substituted.
Yes, at least my second career – teaching – was very difficult. Some situations were easier for me than others. I didn’t really like or succeed at being a regular classroom teacher because there were too many things to remember, especially non-teaching things, like checking my email every morning and taking attendance. I really loved, and I think excelled at, being a resource teacher – that is, taking kids out of their classrooms and working with them in small groups. I think the kids liked it too. Being a bilingual teacher, sometimes the foreign-born kids were overwhelmed in the classroom with all their American peers, and my classroom was more culture-affirming and comfortable for them. For me, it was more relaxed, less rigid. My groups were usually 4-10 students, that I would have during literacy block – about an hour and a half per grade level. So I was their reading and language arts teacher, one with knowledge of their native language and culture and trained in teaching English as a Second Language. I was also a resource for classroom teachers who did not know how to teach English as a Second Language. I enjoyed the collaborative and reflective aspects of teaching.

But I really struggled being a classroom teacher. Classroom management, for a person with ADHD, can be very difficult. I was always misplacing things, so I didn’t have them when I needed them. Although I wrote detailed lesson plans, I didn’t always follow them as I should have. I spent hours every night preparing for my classes or grading papers. I would say I worked about 70 hours a week! (Which is worth a couple of summer months off, don’t you think so?)

My 4th grade students (2009) performing a Reader’s Theatre play for their peers

Besides the difficulties keeping up in the classroom, there were always school politics. If your principal was a jerk or didn’t like you, your school year could be hell. Some principals have favorites among the teachers, who then would form a little clique and act superior to other teachers. I even had one principal use my classroom aide to spy on me. Administrators are under a lot of pressure these days, due to their schools having to perform well on standardized tests. And of course, the special ed and bilingual students always were at a disadvantage taking those tests. The principals were also under scrutiny and beholden to superintendents and school boards. Not an easy task, and these days I wouldn’t want to go up against a school board! Some of the parents are crazy! Anyway, I tried to understand what principals were up against, but some principals were just terrible. A few were very good and sympathetic, and those teaching years were the best – at least I was less stressed.

It takes a certain type of person, one who is organized and doesn’t get flustered easily, to be a good teacher. I think I was good, as I said, with small groups, but not as a classroom teacher. And I’m sure it has gotten worse for teachers since I retired seven years ago, not better.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?  (Doesn’t have to be a rock concert either).

That’s a hard one! I’ve been to many great concerts, so it’s difficult to say which was the best. I do remember rock/popular music concerts better than classical concerts; I went to very few actual rock concerts. Classical concerts? There are too many to remember. The best popular music concerts were those at which I could hear the music and liked it, and where there were no disturbances like drunk people throwing up near me. I liked seeing Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, and some of the Celtic bands made me want to get up and dance!

GRATITUDE SECTION

Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for?  One thing you really regret?
I’ll do the regret first – I regret not getting into a profession earlier or even preparing for one during my years ass an undergraduate in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, except that I really liked writing and drawing. The work I did for 20 plus years I put in the category of “a job” – not a profession. Teaching was the one profession I went into, when I was a lot older and more mature. I went to grad school and got my MA in teaching, and did further coursework to become a bilingual/ESL teacher. I wish I had done something like speech pathology – I never really understood what that was and if I had, I might have taken that path. Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge!

I am grateful for many things, but the most important one is my family. Although my siblings and I bickered sometimes, in the most important things we supported each other. We never fought over money or our inheritance as some families do. No one tried to take more than was due to them. When I was in my first marriage, and especially when I separated from my ex-husband, my family really supported and helped me with their love and understanding. They have been so welcoming to my stepdaughter and her husband, integrating them into the family as full members, not adjuncts. My stepdaughter, who was an only child, suddenly gained a whole lot of cousins, aunts and uncles! She really appreciates that and knows a lot more about what’s going on with my nieces and nephews than I do!

I have been very lucky to have the family I do!

A family gathering in my #2 sister’s dining room

SYW: Blog Ennui, Doppelgangers, Fire, & Sweet Potatoes

We are back from a two-week vacation in Europe! I have not had time to work on my blog since we got back. But as soon as I came to my blog, I looked for Melanie’s Share Your World!

Here are her questions for this week, some of which, I must say, require some pondering!

Do you become discouraged by the annual “Blogging Ennui” phenomenon that comes around every year?    (it’s early this year IMO) (blogging ennui means (to me) a distinct slow down in writing and participation, which lasts an indefinite period of time).
I’ve had blog ennui for many months now, actually. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s worth writing, and I’m often busy with other things. There are a few challenges that I like to do, and wish I did on a more regular basis. I have gotten to the point that I mostly ONLY do challenges, because the posts I do on my own get few readers. I wish I could say (as I used to) that I only do it for myself, but I have an ego and like to be recognized, so that is why I stick to challenges that get a lot of readers, some of whom will read my posts.

If you were in a room filled with you and your doppelganger (someone who looks exactly like you do.  Supposedly everyone has at least one out there in the world)  and 2 billion dollars, what would you do?   What do you think your doppelganger would do?

I’d invite my other me to take a trip around the world with me. Then I’d keep enough to have a comfortable life and give the rest away to friends, charities, or political candidates (since there is no limit to what I can donate to get my candidate elected – I would fill the Congress with solid Democratic majorities, as well as the presidency!) The charities I would donate to would include those that help those suffering from poverty, war, and climate change. And organizations working on climate change and saving environments around the world! As for my look-alike, I can’t say what she’d do with the money, since we only look alike but don’t necessarily think alike. Maybe after we’ve traveled the world together…

A building is burning. You have time to either save a child trapped inside or a valuable painting which you would then sell, using the money to save 20 children from starvation. What would you do and why?

I have a terrible phobia of fire – I can’t even light a regular-sized match! – so I would not go into a burning building under any circumstances (or if I were in the building, I’d save myself and get as far away from the fire as possible). I’d rather save starving children with some of the 2 billion dollars I am getting to share with my doppelganger!

What’s your opinion of yams or sweet potatoes? I love them, and they are a healthier option than regular potatoes. I especially like mashed sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries!

Please feel free to share an image of something that makes you smile!

Hazel never ceases to make me smile!

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

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

QUESTIONS

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

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

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

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

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


GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

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

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

Cheetah mom & cub, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania

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

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

SYW: From Productivity to Personhood

Here are Melanie’s questions (and my answers!) this week for Share Your World.

QUESTIONS

Are you more productive at night or in the morning? Do you think it’s possible to change and get used to another schedule? I’m not really a morning person. I am more active at night, usually – perhaps it’s because I realize I have things to do and here it is evening and I haven’t done them yet! Yes, I think it is possible to adapt to another schedule, which I would like to do. There is an exercise class at 9:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is right now too early for me, but if I stop staying up so late, I should be able to get up an hour earlier so I can go to that class! So I should try to move back my bedtime incrementally. (But here it is 11:18 pm and I’m just starting to blog!)

What’s the biggest vehicle you’ve driven?  If you don’t drive, what’s the biggest vehicle you’ve ridden in? This is wimpy, I know, but the largest car I’ve ever driven is a station wagon or small SUV. I have recently started driving my husband’s Subaru Forrester for short distances in decent weather, but I still prefer my Prius!

My Prius during a snow storm. I would not drive Dale’s Subaru in weather conditions like this!

What songs would be played on a loop in hell?  (Suspend disbelief for this one, it’s cool not to believe in Hell, but let’s use our imaginations to answer.  Of course one can always skip the questions they find odd too.  And yes, I took into account that individual tastes will influence individual choices.) Advertising jingles – they are very repetitive, loud (ads are louder than the TV shows that air them), annoying as hell, and somehow stick in one’s mind. I think that would be the worst thing to listen to on a loop in whatever hell one may end up in!

(Deep and chewy philosophical question):     What does it mean to be a person?  What constitutes “personhood?” (there may be some diverse opinions, but we’re all mature adults in here, so be respectful of others please). I think of a “person” as a human being. I don’t refer to animals such as pets as “persons,” although some people do. All humans are “persons” (or people – is that the plural of person?), no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or whatever. Every human is equal to every other. Some are nicer than others, but that doesn’t make them less than persons. However, just because a person is a human being doesn’t make him or her superior to other animals. We think we are more intelligent and more important than other animals, but we have a lot to learn – a humbling prospect!


GRATITUDE SECTION (Always Optional)

How were your spirits (mood) over the past week? 

It’s been a hectic and sort of dreary week. The weather has been lousy overall for this time of year. My daffodils are starting to bloom, while we get snow and hail! I was feeling really blah this morning, but I felt better after being in the swimming pool and hot tub this afternoon!

I’ve been busy working on Earth Week (April 18-22) activities here at the Moorings, as head of the environmental concerns committee, so everyone looks to me to figure this stuff out! I hope it will be a success though! Stay tuned!!

HAPPY EARTH MONTH!!!

SYW: Amazing Books, Amazing Sandwiches, Amazing Ukrainians

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

QUESTIONS

What very common thing have you never done? 

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

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

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

What is the most amazing fact you know?

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

What’s your favorite sandwich and why?

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

Please feel free to share something you find inspires you.

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

SYW: Laughter, Music, Soaring, and Conservation

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

QUESTIONS

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

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

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

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

Would you enjoy a hot air balloon ride?

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

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GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)

What do you think is widely taken for granted?  

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

SYW: Strange Growths & Music, Horrible History & Food…and Thoughts of Travel

Here are Melanie’s questions for her Share Your World this week.

Questions

What’s the strangest thing in your refrigerator?
Cottage cheese that’s been in there since last summer. I imagine some strange things are growing on it by now! When I clean the ‘frig (and that should be soon!), I’ll throw it out without releasing the strange beasties!

Would you rather hear the music of Johann Sebastian Bach played by a barbershop quartet, or a heavy metal band? Barbershop, no question. First of all, I don’t like heavy metal – it gives me a headache. Second, I’m used to barbershop because my brother-in-law sings in a barbershop chorus and quartets, so I’ve gotten to like it. And it’s much easier on the ears that heavy metal! But – just symantics – barbershops don’t “play” music, they only sing; their music is by its nature a cappella. I imagine their version of Toccata and Fugue in D minor would start something like this:

Leads: Ba da da! Ba da diddle da da!
Baritones: Da da da! Dee dum dum da!
Basses: Doo doo doo! Doo doo doodle doo doo…

You get the idea…don’t you?

The Arlingtones performed at North School Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois last summer.

If you could erase one event from history, which one would you erase? The Holocaust
(although there are many other ‘good’ candidates, the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades among them).

If your food is bad at a restaurant, do you say something? I send it back, hoping to get a better replacement before everyone else has finished eating and are ready to leave.


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GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional):

On one side of the earth we’re facing upcoming spring, and on the other autumn.   What positive or uplifting thought do these changes bring to you? Thoughts of renewed travel: to Europe this spring, and to Australia & New Zealand in the fall (when it’s spring down under)!

(OK, I could have said something like the beauty of the cycle of life or anticipation of flowers, but after 2 years stuck at home, travel is the most positive and uplifting thought I can think right now!)

Trivial Thought for the day: The word “queue” is just the letter Q followed by four silent letters.