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.

FPQ #159: Love Is All You Need

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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