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.

SYW: Morality and Bananas

I’m finally getting around to this week’s Share Your World!

  • Questions
  • What’s the most useful thing you know? Compared to many other seniors I know, I’m pretty good at navigating my computer, including knowing how to do spreadsheets, social media, texting, researching online (and being able to find the more reputable websites), etc. I also do all my writing and storing my photos on my computer. When our community had to learn how to get on “Caremerge” – a community website that has all kinds of information about happenings and also residents’ email addresses, etc. – it caused a lot of anxiety. I would say that even now, only about 25% of the residents here know how to use it. I also have downloaded a variety of games and my Kindle library on my phone and tablet. The games do mesmerize me sometimes, so I lose track of time and don’t get other things done (such as doing this blog!).
  • What impact do you think it would have on the world if bananas were illegal? It would greatly disrupt my life – I eat a banana every morning with my morning tea! Bananas are a good source, although not the only one, of potassium. Many people in Latin America would lose their jobs picking and preparing bananas for shipment. In Costa Rica, some live near the plantations, in modest houses their employer provides for them, so they would lose their homes too! I think someone would start smuggling them, like drugs, so that people could keep working on banana plantations. That would employ more people – the smugglers and sellers in the countries the bananas are smuggled to. But hiding drugs in shipments, or even on one’s person, is much easier than bananas would be – can you imagine hiding a banana under your clothes? It would get all smushed and get all over your clothes and skin – yuck!
  • What social stigma does society need to just get over? Mental illness, addiction, and LGBT individuals, as well as racism (which is not exactly a social stigma but we still need to get over it).
  • Do you prefer the moral viewpoint of consequentialism*, which focuses on the consequences of actions, or deontology,*  which focuses on the innate rightness or wrongness of the actions themselves?  Thanks for the helpful definitions! Consequentialism is like saying, “by any means necessary” and that seems immoral to me. Sometimes it’s necessary to try a variety of means to achieve a goal, but not every possible option is appropriate: such as impinging on the freedom of others or violence, or just outright killing people to get one’s way. In light of what Russia’s leader Putin has decided to do in Ukraine – make war, killing people with no provocation – to get his way, it’s a very extreme example of how “by any means necessary” is used. I think Putin’s philosophy is “by any means necessary.” Trump believed in this too – whatever he has to do to get his way, he will at least try to do.

    Deontology, on the other hand, is a study of the moral issues of duty and obligation. Although I will not study this field, I have my own moral code, which I think is a good one that many people share. But plenty of people don’t. That is, it is good to have rights, but with rights come responsibilities. During this pandemic especially, we have seen many examples of people who have forgotten (or don’t give a rat’s ass) about the responsibility they have to society as members of that society. Their rights end where the next person’s begins. Imposing mitigation measures and vaccination to stop the spread of the coronavirus are the scientifically based and moral thing to do. Is it really necessary to attack flight attendants because you don’t want to wear a mask on an airplane?? It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, yes, but it won’t kill you. And people who have gotten all their vaccinations, but refuse to get the COVID vaccination, really irritate me. A medical issue that affects all of society has been politicized. And once again, members of society ought to comply with getting the vaccination if we ever want to get control over the disease. No one complained about getting vaccinated against smallpox or polio – although many anti-vaxxers today don’t want their kids to get vaccinated against childhood diseases such as measles and mumps. I think we live in a very selfish era.

/ˌkänsəˈkwen(t)SHəlizəm/
noun
PHILOSOPHY
noun: consequentialism
* the doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences.
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de·on·tol·o·gy

/ˌdēänˈtäləjē/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
* the study of the nature of duty and obligation.

GRATITUDE SECTION (As always optional)

Please feel free to share something good that happened to you in the past week.

Tuesday (Twosday), 2-22-22 (this date has sparked a lot of discussion – we will not have another date with all the same digits again in our lifetimes!) was my son’s birthday. I invited him over for dinner here and afterward we came back to my house so I could give him the birthday present I got him – a Kindle! He has started reading more (he’s never been a big reader, although he has many books) and he wanted to be able to download books onto a Kindle because he doesn’t have much room where he lives now. I don’t get to see him much, but every time I do, lately he’s been a delight to be with.

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal this month and every day I’ve written something down (with some repetitions!). Here’s what I wrote for my son’s birthday (and read to him when he was here):
I am grateful to be a mother, mother to a son who despite his many difficulties is kind, intelligent, and handsome. I am grateful that his survival instinct got him out of his lonely isolation, fueled by drugs and alcohol, to a better place, Now he is surrounded by others, he works out problems by himself and even takes others’ advice! Happy birthday, Jayme!

SquareOdds: Odd Cars (and Other Vehicles)

I haven’t had the time to use my computer much less blog! I’m involved in so many things, I guess. That is why I am grouping my “odds” in subjects so I can post several at once, for Becky’s February Squares: SquareOdds.

Unfortunately, I can’t find my photo of a car with eyelashes, or it would be in here! But have you ever seen a VW in a tree? Maybe someone in Bethlehem (Israel) put it there to be considered “art”!

Baby car hitches a ride on mama car in some small Iowa town – they’re ready to go! Pretty spiffy, though!

An abandoned van in the desert along Route 66 between San Bernardino and Kingman.

I just had to take a photo of this ironic bumper sticker. It’s one of the best I’ve seen! Also this car has an odd number of bumper stick-ons! I don’t know who this car belonged to, but it was parked in the parking lot behind a high school in Sedona, Arizona.

Now here are some real oddities: outer space cars?? You will find them in Baker, California!

Here’s a side view of the above, although I could not make it square. Galaxy Peace Patrol? Sort of ironic that it is “armed” with missiles!

This is a picture of my absent car – it left a snowy outline of its space, because the driveway was shoveled around it. It’s an odd picture – I don’t know why I took it!

SquareOdds: Odd Faces

I haven’t been on my blog much lately, so I’ve missed many days of Becky’s Square Odds this month, even though I love to participate! So, instead of just one oddity, here are several odd faces (including some faux faces)!

This carving is on the back of a chair at Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam.
I found this guy looking around on Northwestern University campus, next to Lake Michigan.
How often do you see a dog with sunglasses, hanging out a car window?
A goat’s face on top of Little Goat restaurant in Chicago
Not a real face, but this orchid sure looks like it is hamming it up for the camera!
Unusual “face” on a building in Germany
With a gaping mouth, this “face” is on a rock face (pun intended!) in Arches National Park
A stressed face on a hot day in Vienna

SYW: Happy Valentine Birthday

It’s Valentine’s Day Monday, so Melanie’s Share Your World questions are all about this day of love.

Which traditional Valentine’s Day  gift would you rather receive: chocolates, flowers, or a card with a personal message?

Flowers with a card and chocolates!

Do you like romantic movies?
Yes, some of them. Actually, my husband is a lot more into rom-coms than I am. He watches the same ones over and over when given the opportunity!

Is Valentine’s Day only about romantic love? Or is it a good occasion to celebrate friendship as well?
It’s both. And actually it’s a day to have a birthday celebration too! (See below)

How do you deal with unwanted romantic attention?
Hahahaha! I wish!!

GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)

Share one or two of your favorite memories of your special loved one if you’d like.
My husband, Dale, has his birthday on Valentine’s Day. Today he had a very special Valentine birthday! In the morning, he presented me with a very LARGE Happy Valentine’s Day bag. In it were two gifts for me for Valentine’s Day as well as a mushy card (he always gets those!). I had not even had the chance to wrap his birthday gift yet, but when I returned home from a book discussion group, he had gone to a doctor’s appointment, so I was able to get his gift ready. But he had a real surprise in store for him! First, he got several cards and phone calls wishing him happy birthday. The doorbell rang and it was one of our friends from our senior community delivering two beautiful cupcakes (they must have been from Mariano’s – this supermarket is known for its elaborately decorated desserts) along with a card from him and his wife! Dale was sheepish!

The cupcakes from Mariano’s!

We had an early dinner reservation because I had arranged for my brother-in-law’s barbershop quartet to come serenade him with a singing Valentine, and it was to be their last singing Valentine of the day! I had to make up an excuse to have dinner so early, so I told Dale I had to go to church for a rehearsal and he didn’t suspect anything. Before the quartet arrived, six of us were settled at our table set for seven. (The 7th was for my sister, who arrived late.) These were all friends or friendly acquaintances of ours, but especially friends of my sister’s. One of the women has a walker and on it she had brought a beautiful bouquet of roses for the table and a box of cookies to share with us, as well as a bottle of wine! So we had quite a celebration, even before my brother-in-law’s singing Valentine arrived! The guys presented him with a red rose (which he left on our table!! 😦 ) and sang three romantic songs, ending with Happy Birthday.

Oh, and I almost forgot – Dale got a call from our son during dinner to wish him happy birthday and they had a long conversation. This was very special because our son never remembers to call us on our birthdays. He has really turned over a new leaf!!

So we had a very memorable and fun celebration. And we still have the cupcakes to enjoy on another day!!

The quartet singing to Dale (who is on the far right of this photo). In the middle is Sally, the woman who brought the wine, cookies and flowers for the table. On the far left is my sister Mary.
The quartet poses with Dale, with the rose in his mouth! My brother-in-law Elmer is on the left, wearing a black mask.

Here is a barbershop quartet (not Elmer’s!) singing Let Me Call You Sweetheart, a standard for singing valentines.

SYW: Aliens, Cats, and Gum

I missed Share Your World last week so I am determined to participate this week! Here are Melanie’s questions for this week for us to share our world.

What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?

Intelligent/sentient life on another planet, and being able to communicate with them.


If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go?


Probably not. I would want to know about where they lived first. Also, it would be a very long journey!

What breed of dog would you be?  If you’re more a cat person – what breed of cat?


I’d be a tortie (cat), because they are known for being aloof sometimes – they want to maintain their space, but at the same time, they are also very affectionate toward their humans. I am including a photo of my cat, who is a tortie, for those who don’t know what this breed is. (Tortie is short for “tortoise shell” although I don’t really understand the connection.) Torties and calicoes are closely related, and are usually female. Being a cat also means sleeping a lot!

Bubble gum?  Yay or nay? 
I chew gum sometimes to keep my coughing and throat clearing at a minimum – I heard about this and decided to try it, and it works! Drinking a lot of water also helps, but gum can be more effective. But it’s not bubble gum and it’s kind of rude to chew in front of other people (except those you share a residence with, of course).
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GRATITUDE SECTION  (As always, optional)

Feel free (no pressure) to share some gratitude from January of this year.
I like this gratitude image that I downloaded from Google.


Society6 print – downloaded from Google.

CBWC: Plastics

The topic of Cee’s Black & White Challenge this week is plastic. So many things are made of plastic these days that one could probably find something plastic in almost any photo taken in human-made situations! Plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose and even then, it is reduced to microscopic pellets that enter the digestive systems of fish, birds, mammals, and eventually, humans. So here are some photos of plastic things, which eventually will be discarded, end up in a landfill somewhere or the ocean and…well, you know.

This is the top of a bottle with a hole for the straw that comes with it. The top without a hole was lost!
I am pretty sure that the dinosaurs on display at the Brookfield Zoo were (at least in part) made of plastic!
My niece turned 50 and this was put on her cake.

Alzheimer’s Awareness at The Moorings. The fitness instructor (she’s under the arch!) blew
up all these purple balloons herself! I’m pretty sure she had a machine.
A pinwheel turning in the wind.
A plastic container with rolls of licorice inside.

Please, when possible, RECYCLE (look for the numbers 1-5 in the recycling triangle symbol & check your community’s recycling program to find out which numbers they’ll take), REUSE whenever you can, and REDUCE the plastic items you buy or acquire (difficult to do, I know) – one way to do this is bring your own cloth or woven plastic reusable bags to the store when you shop so you don’t use the plastic bags supermarkets tend to put your groceries in.