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: Least Favorite Day, Energy, and Other Musings

Monday, Monday…I can trust that day
Monday, Monday…to find Melanie’s Share Your World today!

This is a good segue into Melanie’s first question, which is…

“What’s the worst day of the week for you?”  Why?

It’s not Monday, as it probably is for many in the working world – but I’m retired so Monday is just fine, and so are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! I have a different schedule every day. Monday is mostly free of scheduled activities and commitments, but it’s the day I have to do our weekly calendar, fill my pill cases, and usually do laundry and/or run the dishwasher (i.e. clean up the kitchen, thus filling the dishwasher). But it’s pretty laid back. Sunday, I guess I would have to say, is my least favorite, because it’s the only day I have to get up early to go to church! But really, I can’t think of a “worst day” of the week. I have random “bad days” but they don’t fall on the same day of the week.

With the recent energy crisis here in the UK, would you prefer electric, gas, oil or some other means of heating your home?

Downloaded image from Google, courtesy of https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/articles/iea-awarded-illinois-wind-farm-project

I would prefer to have solar panels and a system for storing solar energy at my house, but I cannot do that, because I live in a senior community and our house is rented. We have all electric, except water & heat, which are gas. That said, when we were living in our own home before we moved here, I was some years ago given the opportunity by our energy provider to choose wind energy. I signed up for 100% wind energy – there are extensive wind farms in southern Illinois. I hope my instructions were followed, but I have no way of verifying that all of our household’s our energy was in fact generated by wind turbines. More and more people in this area are signing up for solar power – they have the panels installed on the roof and a system for collecting and storing that energy. It requires an initial large financial commitment, but in the long run, it saves money. You can get energy credits and “sell” your energy back to the company. I wish this community would go solar!

In your household, who takes care of the bills, taxes, and other financial stuff? Is one person responsible or is it a shared chore?

We share financial matters, but I do more of it in terms of the amount of time spent on it. I pay the bills, keep track of medical/drug/charitable expenses by putting them all on spread sheets, and then when we are compiling our tax information, I print out the spread sheets and give them to my husband. I also keep spread sheets of our trip expenses and our children’s debts to us. Dale takes care of getting financial documents together, compiling all the things we have put into our yearly tax folder, and getting them over to our tax preparer. We also have investments, and managing these is a shared responsibility.

If you can have any one job (real or fiction) in the galaxy (yes, the galaxy, I’m widening the search radius, imagining relocation to other planets possible), what is that job?

galactic explorer and journalist/travel writer; also perhaps being an interplanetary travel agent, helping people plan trips to wherever. I would expect perks from this job – free or almost free travel credits on flights aboard space ships!

Who are you grateful for?

My husband, Dale. He does so much to take care of me and does all kinds of tasks that I get frustrated doing or my ADHD interferes with me doing, as well as a lot of household chores. He has been having some more health issues lately, and I feel as though I should learn to do the things he customarily does. I think I take him for granted too often! Living in a senior community, we find out when someone in independent living passes away, often leaving a husband or wife behind. Sometimes it happens suddenly, and sometimes after a long illness. But it’s always hard, and there are a lot of widows and widowers here! This may sound morbid but it’s just part of getting older.

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: On Games, Grief, Regret, & Truth

These are the questions and my responses for Melanie’s Share Your World this week:

QUESTIONS

What did you learn the hard way?
How difficult teaching was for a person with ADHD.

Which activities make you lose track of time?

Wood Block Puzzle Game - Free Offline APK Download | Android Market


Almost anything I’m engaged in! Especially, though, games I play on my phone. Most are word games, but I also have two different Solitaire games, and a “wood block” game, where you fit pieces of different sizes and shapes into a grid. This last game is the most addictive! I could play it, mesmerized, for hours – I don’t know why!

The best thing I can do if I want to accomplish several things in one day is to stay away from these games until I have a lull in the evening, or am waiting at a doctor’s office, for example.

Why do we seem to think of others the most after they’re gone?
Sad, isn’t it? Grief makes you linger on the one you’ve lost, and regret reminds you of all the things you wish you had said or done for them, but didn’t. I think we take others for granted. If they are a regular part of our lives, it just seems like they’ll be there forever. I hope the pandemic has taught us that we should value our time with loved ones and say and do everything for them that we can to show our appreciation.

Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
Hmm, this is a difficult one. Many people claim to know the “truth” due to what they’ve been taught, and they’ve never been exposed or challenged by other ideas. They may have their “truth” confirmed by other people around them who think the same way, but how can they know they are right? If one is really convinced of the “truth,” that person doesn’t feel the need to go beyond that. They just hang onto reinforcement of that truth.

So yes, one can claim to know “truth” without examining that truth, but I do think that only by being exposed to other “truths” and examining them in an objective way (if that is even possible) can one feel secure that the truth is what one believes or has been brought up to believe.


GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

Please feel free to share your gratitude with everyone!   We can all use a boost in spirits from time to time!
Here’s a sentiment I can relate to!

SYW: Speak Up or Shut Up, Luck, and Rocks

A new week has arrived and along with it, a new set of questions from Melanie on Share Your World. QUESTIONS:

Do you feel you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I like to ask questions. I am very inquisitive and I often go in search of information for answers. If I didn’t ask questions, what would I know? Questioning is vital to gain knowledge. This is why little children ask so many questions, Why this and why that? They have little knowledge and to get more, they have to ask why, although sometimes the adults don’t have answers.

That said, there are certain situations in which I do stop asking questions. If a very annoying person is chatting me up, for example, on an airplane or a bus, and I don’t want to talk to that person, I say what is polite and then turn away. Or when a meeting goes really long, and everyone is fidgeting because they want to get out of there, but I still have a question, I most likely bite my tongue and settle for what I know, with the thought of finding out the answer to my unasked question later or elsewhere.

Asking questions occasionally gets me into trouble; in fact, I lost a teaching job at least partly due to asking a question that my boss (the new principal of the school) didn’t like, because she thought it made her look bad.. She harbored a resentment toward me the entire school year and found fault with me even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. She ended up not rehiring me and I wasn’t tenured. But I really did want to know the answer to my question and never really got one.

When did you fail to speak up when you feel you should have?
There was one incident that I still regret not having spoken up – or perhaps if I had realized sooner to put two and two together. I went to a party at a former coworker’s house one summer. When I got there, I was happy to see several of my former coworkers from the school I had loved teaching at, including the principal who I really liked because she had always been supportive of me. I had lost my job in that school district, because they reconfigured the schools into “grade level centers” and by moving people around, they could dispense with nine teachers. I was one of them because after three years, I wasn’t yet tenured. In Illinois teachers don’t get tenure until the end of their fourth year. I was telling the principal about my new job and how happy I was there, even though the pay was extremely low – I’d had to take a program assistant job, because I couldn’t find a teaching position except for substitute teaching, which I was tired of. The principal asked me several times if I was sure I really liked it where I was working, and I kept saying yes.

A short while later, I ran into the other ESL teacher I had worked with at that school and found out she had just retired. I didn’t make any connection at the time and it wasn’t until a day or so later that my dense mind figured it out! The principal had been trying to find out if I would be interested in going back to my former position, but I didn’t realize that at the time. She wanted me to replace the retiring teacher because they really needed a Spanish-speaking ESL teacher, which they lost when I was cut from the district. They had replaced me with another ESL teacher from another school in the district who was tenured.

I realized I should have said something – although I liked the program assistant job, the pay was so low that Dale and I were having trouble keeping a positive balance in our checking account, and if I could have gotten a teaching job in my former district, where I was really happy, I would have taken it. I thought about calling that principal and asking her if the job was still available, but I didn’t. I had convinced myself by that time that in spite of the low pay, I was glad not to have the responsibility of a teaching job. I could go home after work and not have to do more work at home to prepare for the next day or grade papers. I valued that additional leisure time. Even so, I know I would have taken that ESL position back if it had been offered to me and worked for several more years instead of retiring at age 63, when I acquired an inheritance after my mother died.

When was the last time you felt lucky?
A few days ago! Maybe “lucky” isn’t the right word. People have no control over what family circumstances they will be born into. I happened to be lucky to be born into a psychologically and financially stable family. The reason I felt lucky a few days ago is that, when hearing the news of the pandemic, of people who have lost their jobs and depend on the stimulus checks for their financial support right now, for people who have no money, I thought about how lucky I am – a retired, 68-year-old married white woman with a good husband and a wonderful home in a senior community (which most people would be hard pressed to afford). This community provides us with a lot of support during the pandemic and our monthly fee pays for maintenance, snow shoveling, etc. We’ve gotten ahead of others in getting the Covid vaccine, we have a housekeeper who comes once a week, and we don’t have to cook because our meals are delivered to us. We have a beautiful campus where we can walk and see our neighbors (when the weather is good), so we don’t feel so isolated. I thank God every day for my good fortune.

What is a boulder?
It is a large rock. When people talk about avalanches, they usually call the rocks that hurtle down the side of a mountain boulders. Boulder is also a city in Colorado, home of the University of Colorado.

Image result for main campus university of colorado

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share your gratitude with everyone!  See the answer about feeling lucky above. I am grateful for all I have. While people in Texas are suffering from lack of electricity and water during a freak storm, I am watching their distress on TV in my comfortable home. I am warm and don’t lack for anything. The employees of our community take good care of us.

Image result for gratitude

SYW: On Parenting, Teaching, and Punning

Melanie always has some great questions on her weekly Share Your World!

SYW Artic Ice

QUESTIONS:

What should you get rid off, that would make your new year better, and why? (Don’t say Covid-19, we all want to get rid of the dang virus.)   
Stress. I am a worrier by nature, but I wish I didn’t have things in my life that cause me a lot of stress. I should meditate but I don’t take the time. I don’t mean the virus, which actually isn’t a source of stress for me right now. I’m used to it. The most stress I experience is dealing with my son. He has a lot of problems due to mental illness (depression, anxiety, extremely low self-esteem) which has led him to “self medicate” – i.e. getting drunk and taking drugs. Right now, he is struggling to stay sober. He has trouble holding jobs because it is hard for him to get up to go to work, and when he’s depressed, he sleeps a lot and misses work altogether. He has applied for disability but it will take years for him to get it.

I try to stay upbeat and encourage him. Lately there’s been reason for hope but he could fall back into depression any time triggered by the smallest things. The other day he got angry at the cashier at 7/11, who was rude to him. This is something we all encounter and just have to deal with it. But he gets so upset that he can’t calm down right away. Yes, he has learned techniques in rehab to help him calm down, but he forgets about them at the moment he’s becoming angry and anxious.

I just want to have my retired life to enjoy with my husband. I love my son, but he is always a source of stress.

 What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Zip-lining in Costa Rica. I’ve written about this before. So I will say, changing careers. When I was in my 40s, I was bored with my job and wanted to do something more meaningful, to contribute to society. I decided to go into teaching. I didn’t think it through well enough, but on the other hand, I didn’t really know what the state of public education was by the late 1990s. Talk about stress!! I struggled because I wasn’t great with classroom management, but I had other strengths, such as being bilingual, being enthusiastic and intelligent, and having compassion. I got my first teaching job when I was 50!

The main problem is that after I started teaching, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’ve always had it, but never knew what it was, until I was having my son diagnosed and realized that I had all the characteristics of ADHD. Symptoms are exacerbated as people get older and due to a heart condition, I cannot take stimulants, which are the most successful medications for ADHD. People with ADHD tend to get distracted easily, have difficulty multitasking, staying focused and remembering all the things a teacher needs to remember throughout the day. I wrote detailed lesson plans, very well thought out, and put all kinds of helpful hints and reminders to myself in them, but when I was in the classroom, I would sometimes lose my lesson plans or forget to consult with them. A major characteristic of ADHD is forgetfulness.

At the same time, administrators were putting a lot of pressure on teachers because of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind policies. Success or failure were determined by standardized tests; schools that were not performing well lost their funding (which makes no sense – those are the schools that need the funding the most). So principals were hyper critical of every little thing and I had the bad luck to have really terrible principals. Not all the time – my most successful years I had wonderful principals, but these were not the majority. When you end up with a resume that has a lot of jobs listed, that is a red flag for administrators when they are hiring. At the end of my career, I could no longer get teaching jobs, so I worked as a substitute for awhile and then took a low-paying job as a program assistant. I found that financially I was able to retire when I was 63. I decided to retire because the pay was so low, it was hardly worth it. I had been working mainly so that I would have health insurance. So my plan was to take the school district’s COBRA insurance for 18 months, then get insurance through the ACA until I turned 65 and could get Medicare.

I confess that I do not miss teaching at all. I don’t miss the kids, but I do remember them fondly and am proud of my accomplishments and successes.

Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?
Not really – but if we did, it would be something like “a pun for every occasion.” There is never an inappropriate time to use a pun! I didn’t used to be a punster, but my husband is notorious for his bad puns, and it has rubbed off on me. I grew up in a family with a particular sense of humor. My father always loved puns and jokes.

On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are?  (this does not mean ‘smell’ or looks; because this is a judgment free blog!) 
If 0 is not funny at all and 10 is the funniest, my husband informs me that I am a 7. That is pretty good – I would give myself a 5! Sometimes I am too serious and need to lighten up. On the other hand, I see humor in little things or situations and as I said above, I’m learning to be a punster!

GRATITUDE SECTION

Tell everyone something that you found personally lifted your spirits!  
I know I said this last week, but this time I have a photo – orchids blooming in winter!

SYW: On Electronic Game Playing, Color Assignations, Tongues, and Fireplaces

Here are Melanie’s questions this week for Share Your World. Nothing heavy or controversial this week!

SYWMaskIssa

QUESTIONS

What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it?  It MUST be something you aren’t supposed to enjoy because it is “bad for you”.
Playing word games on my phone, according to my husband! I have ADHD and years ago, a therapist told me never to get a phone with lots of apps because they would distract me too much (I had a Blackberry at the time). Sure enough, he was right! I have been known to waste an entire morning playing games on my phone, and when I come back into reality, I realize I haven’t even gotten dressed yet and it’s noon!

I’ve been trying to be more mindful about this and having some success. It is “bad” for me because these games are addicting and my eyes get sore from staring at the phone screen for so long.

(I wanted to say “chocolate” but he doesn’t really get annoyed about that. My body does, though!)

Is it okay for men to wear the color pink?
Of course. This assigning of colors for boys and girls is so silly. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to tell anyone what the sex of my child was, because I didn’t want to get lots of clothes in the same color. Since my child was a boy, it wouldn’t have been as bad as if I’d had a girl. Even so, I stayed away from “baby blue” to decorate with. Babies like BRIGHT COLORS!

Anyway, Dale’s favorite color is purple. Is that unmasculine? I’ve seen men wearing pink and they look quite spiffy!

Can you curl your tongue? 
Yes. I think it’s genetic.

What, in your opinion, is the best room to put a fireplace?
Whatever room is below the chimney!! Of course, the living room. Before central heating, people who could afford it had fireplaces in many rooms. We now have a gaslit fireplace (so no flue, no mess) that we push a button to start and stop. It’s so nice to sit in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and read. Every house I’ve lived in that had a fireplace, it was in the living room. I wouldn’t want it in the bedroom for two reasons: there would be the danger of falling asleep while it was lit, which could lead to a disaster; second, I don’t like the bedroom to be too warm. I like being under warm covers but if the room is warm, I get hot and can’t sleep. And there’s a third reason: Santa Claus coming down into the bedroom would be unseemly and we would see his gifts before Christmas morning!

Here’s my cat, Hazel, in a state of bliss before the fire. Now that it has turned cold, our morning tradition is to sip our coffee or tea in front of the fireplace and read, and Hazel always joins us!

GRATITUDE SECTION

I’m grateful that no one I know and love has died from COVID-19. I’m grateful for being able to Zoom with friends and family. I’m grateful that we will soon have a sane president. I’m grateful that a vaccine is coming. I’m grateful for having a nice home, a good husband, and good friends.

I am truly:

This 1 Act of Gratitude Will Make Your Workplace Happier and More  Productive | Inc.com

FDDA 22: I Write Because I Must

Faandango’s Dog Days of August 22 prompt is: Why writing matters to you.

Why do I write? I always have and probably always will. I blog, I write a journal (although far from daily), I write poems, essays, and autobiographical pieces mostly.

When I hear something about Trump that is particularly egregious, I will expound on the topic in order to get out my feelings and frustrations. These rants are part of my journaling, but sometimes I can develop them into decent essays to use for my “public” writing – either my blog or in my writing group. I have even written letters to the editor to be printed in our local newspaper.

When I am pondering a big or serious problem, I write to organize my thoughts. Sometimes this helps me come up with a solution.

I write in order to remember things (and almost forgot that I intended to write “I write in order to remember things” just now!). I have a poor memory and writing things down makes meaning for me, fixes the information in my mind. Sometimes people will see me taking notes at a lecture and ask me why I do it – I do it to remember it! But not only that, I also write to keep me from getting distracted.

In other words, I write to focus my thoughts.

Writing has always come easily to me and I love to do it. I’ve been writing stories and narratives since I was a kid. Once I learned to write and spell, I began writing coherently (but even before that, I wrote random letters because I liked it). I usually illustrated what I wrote, because I also like to draw. I dreamed of being a famous author one day. That never happened, but it’s okay – it doesn’t matter anymore. Although I am working on a book about my ancestors, I have put it aside after writing six chapters but vow I will get back to it.

Writing is something I’m good at. I write because I must.

I love words and language and I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling!!

Reading is important too – reading helps a writer write better. I do a lot of reading now, but I didn’t when I was younger, because I got distracted easily. Certain writing styles inspire me and if I read a lot of books by the same author, I start imitating their style by injecting it into my writing.

Nowadays, I seldom write longhand – typing is infinitely easier and since word processing was invented, it’s so much easier to edit. If I don’t have access to a computer, then I will write longhand – such as when we are on an overseas trip. A notebook is one of the first things that I pack! I endeavor to write a journal every night when we are back from sightseeing, which lasts a week if I really persevere, less than that if I’m too tired. Plus my handwriting is deteriorating as I get older.

Now I usually write a few things during my travels, but mostly use my photos to help me remember what happened and when, and then I write about it when I’m back home. An example of this is my travel journal and blogging, notably my Journey to Egypt posts. It helps me relive the experience, which is even more important now that I cannot travel due to the pandemic.

Writing ties into almost everything else I love to do – reading, photography, drawing, making scrapbooks (nowadays these are photo books that I create online). Sometimes I am inspired to write a book review, and have been known to keep a food & weight journal. I would write inspirational things to keep me motivated on my “weight loss journey.”

Writing is part of who I am. That’s why writing matters to me.

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All pictures downloaded from Google Images.