Love Me Do!

What would life be without friends? So my love on Feb. 26 for Paula’s month of lurve goes to…

Feb. 26: I love…friends! I have friends pretty much all over the U.S. and in Brazil because I have lived in several different places and in my high school there were students from all over. I have come to think of some of you as my blogger friends, reading your posts and commenting, and you doing the same! But I am dedicating the collage below to good friends, even though we have seen little or nothing of each other during this pandemic! All the more reason to appreciate them!

I also love the Beatles!

SYW/HP: On Haunted Houses, Crowded Concerts, Bell Bottoms, Cockroaches and More…

I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.

SYWaerosolworldgobfire

Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

  • Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen?
    No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
  • The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended?
    Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.

    The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?

    The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
This is a fraction of the crowd we could see from our spot on the lawn.

This was the set up of the people next to us.
  • When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool?
    I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
  • Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made.
    It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!

    Muggle Questions (from Melanie):

What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.

When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!

FDDA: Him 1

Fandango’s Dog Days of August continues with today’s theme: “your first love.”

It was 1964. The Beatles had just come to America. I was in 6th grade and I sat behind Steve in school. Steve was nice to me and traded Beatles cards with me. He had a huge collection of Beatles cards! I didn’t because the cards usually came in a pack of gum, and I didn’t chew gum – it wasn’t allowed in school nor at home.

However, I did manage to acquire a few cards – mainly my friends’ duplicates – and it was enough for Steve to notice me.

Actually, Steve had already noticed me. Whenever I dropped something on the floor, he was quick to pick it up and hand it to me. I started doing the same for him, which made him smile. He would sometimes tell me dumb jokes or what he thought of that day’s math homework. When the teacher had volunteers write a symbol on the board which would represent a number in our “new numbering system,” his was chosen, but mine wasn’t because the teacher said it was too hard to write fast. Steve encouraged me, telling me to “try again” but alas – none of my invented symbols were chosen.

I had the biggest crush on him because no boy had ever really been nice to me before.

Sometimes Steve would pass me a note.

My best friend Gloria had a crush on another boy named Steve in our class, so we used to call them “Him 1” (my Steve) and “Him 2” (her Steve) so that no one would know who we were talking about. But of course, girls have a way of finding out who likes who and a girl in my class found out about my Steve and decided to tell him at recess that I liked him.

She waited until the group of boys he was in was nearby, and she called out to him, “Hey, Steve!” He looked over at her and she began to tell him, “Hey, Steve, Katy– ” That was as far as she got, because the other girl she was with thought it was better to keep it a secret from him that I liked him. So she interrupted and said, “Katy is mad at you because of something you said to her.”

I had no idea this had happened, so I couldn’t understand his change in attitude toward me. When he dropped a pencil later that day, and I leaned over to get it, he grabbed it himself and didn’t even look at me. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to see the new Beatles cards he’d gotten (I knew he had gotten them because he was showing them off to other boys) whereas before he always showed me his new cards. He wasn’t overtly hostile, but he tried very hard to ignore me from then on.

On the way home a few days later, I told Gloria that “Him 1” was acting very strangely toward me. The next day, through the girl gossip grapevine, she found out the whole story and told me what had happened.

So that was the end of our “relationship” (if you could call it that). I didn’t get over him right away, though. When I walked downtown with my friends to see the Beatles movie that summer, we passed right by his house and I looked at it with a mixture of affection and sadness. I wanted him to come outside right then so I could talk to him, but he didn’t.

The next year we went to junior high, and Steve was in some of my classes again. He had gotten over his disappointment and once more acted very friendly toward me. I could have taken his hints but instead I ignored him, which wasn’t hard because we didn’t sit near each other. Anyway, I took the easy way out because I was too shy to do anything about his overtures toward me, and eventually he lost interest.

Images courtesy of Google Images.

LAPC: Surprise!

We have so many surprises in life. Unfortunately, it is rare for me to get a picture of it – such as the swans on one of our lakes mating! Another resident here, a wily older man from Germany, took a series of pictures of the swans’ mating ritual – before, during, and after – close-up! I’m not that clever, I guess.  So at first I was hard pressed to think of photos I had taken that represent surprise, which is the topic of Lens-Artists’ photo challenge this week. I noticed several participants had freaky nature photos, which I don’t.

Still, nature often does provide more subtle surprises. I call this photo “Hostas with a hostage” – because they’ve completely surrounded a flower pot!

Every day that I go to our community garden, I take a look at others’ gardens and sometimes take photos. I took the “before” picture as an example for my daughter how to plant marigolds around your garden to protect it from squirrels, etc.  I took the photo ion early June.

Then a few days ago, I noticed how fast it grew – it doesn’t look like the same garden!

Is this normal? I don’t know, but we have had a good balance of sunny and rainy weather this month. Nature always surprises me. When I went to the nursery to buy plants in mid-May, I saw this unusual flower – it looks like it is wearing a bonnet!

A safari always brings surprises – you never know what you are going to see and every safari is different. On our Tanzanian safari, I had almost given up seeing a leopard closer up than this:

Then, on our last day in Serengeti National Park, we were bumping along a dusty road when suddenly our driver turned around and sped back to the spot where we’d seen the leopard in a tree. He’d been notified that there were “spots below” (code for leopard on the ground). The leopard had gotten up from her nap and came down the tree, where she looked around at all the tourists gawking at her.

Seeing no danger, (all the humans were “contained”), she then leisurely ambled past all the safari trucks, including ours.

Another big surprise we had in Tanzania was seeing groups of boys alongside the road, who were undergoing a monthlong puberty ritual. Our guide told us this was very unusual to see, since the Maasai only undergo this ritual every three years – the boys are aged about 12-15.

These boys paint their faces white and wear black during the monthlong ritual in which they go from being boys to men. They have to spend a month living communally, away from their families, and are not allowed to associate with anyone in their village except each other.

Surprises come in many forms. Sometimes you can be driving along a country road, as we were, in north central Iowa, when we came across “Pinkie.”

And I love coming across unusual sights walking around the city of Chicago.

Speaking of Iowa, our biggest surprise on our 4-day trip there happened when we checked into our hotel in Mason City for the night. The concierge asked us if we wanted to see the band American English in concert that night. The tickets were free and American English is the best Beatles tribute band in the country. They were to play at the Surf Ballroom, a famous concert venue in Clear Lake, Iowa (about 20 miles from Mason City), known for the event “the day the music died” when Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and “The Big Bopper” Richardson played their last concert before being killed in a plane crash.

So we said, “Why not?” and spent a completely unexpected evening in a crowded theatre where people were dancing in the aisles and singing along. It was great!

Selfie of me and Dale having a great time with people of our generation!

LAPC: Long & Winding

Lens-Artists’ 100th(!) photo challenge is long and winding roads.

French countryside, province of Normandy
Not exactly a road, actually it’s a path. But it’s a long way down! Above the town of Arromanches, France and Port Winason. The British created an artificial harbor here using old barges and truck bodies, which was named Port Winston, in preparation for D-Day.
The island of Mont St-Michel is reached by a long causeway at low tide (at high tide, the island is cut off from the shore). Taken from the abbey at the top of Mont St-Michel, France.
Are we looking down at the road just traveled, the road yet to be traveled, or the road not traveled? Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
The road winds up and down mountains at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
A long and winding hiking trail (which we did not explore) at Arches National Park, Utah, USA. We were content to photograph the scenery!
A dusty and winding road at the base of Masada plateau, Israel – the workers’ entrance?
A very long and very dusty path for the hardy hikers who take it up to the Masada plateau. Taken from the cable car our group wisely chose!
Another photo of hikers on a very windy path taken from the top, at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Not much of the road is visible here, but the sign tells us about it! Near Oatman, Arizona, USA
Around that 15 mph bend in the road and who do we see? A couple of Oatman residents on the road! Oatman, Arizona, an old mining town today survives because of the tourists on Route 66, (of which this is a part), who come for the burros that hang around town – and hike along the road! Oatman has a couple of Route 66 touristy stores and buildings that are the remnants of its mining heyday.
Leaving Sedona, Arizona, after a weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Verde Valley School, where I attended high school (but much less than 70 years ago!).

And to end, I can’t resist – because this is what I was singing in my head while composing this post.

Song Lyrics Sunday: Isolation

This is a John Lennon song that I never heard before, and it fits this week’s theme for Song Lyrics Sunday with the prompts Alone/Confined/Depressed/Isolated/Restless/Solo .
After listening to several other songs that fit the prompt, I chose this one because I have always been a big fan of the Beatles and John’s solo career.

Isolation
Words and Music by John Lennon

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation
Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation
I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane
We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Isolation was included on Lennon’s first solo album in 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, released on the Apple label. It is the last song on Side One. The song is about Lennon’s feelings of vulnerability, dissatisfied with the way his life was going. The Beatles had broken up and he was feeling disillusioned with fame, especially because he and his wife Yoko Ono were the subjects of attacks. At the time, he was full of insecurity and self-doubt, feelings brought on by his extensive drug use.  In Isolation he found release, inspired by Primal Therapy which he experienced in the summer of 1970, guided by Dr. Arthur Janov. The song was recorded in September-October 1970.

In the first verse, he is saying that even though he and Yoko have everything, they feel as lonely and isolated as everyone else. The second verse alludes to the couple’s political activism and the way people reacted to it caused even more isolation. The third verse is more generalized to include all those who have caused his pain; he absolves them because they are only human, and all of humanity is victim of insanity at times. The fourth verse generalizes even more, putting people’s fears of each other and even the sun into the context of a universe which may be permanent, but our planet may not be, this last concept illustrated by the song’s abrupt ending.

The pain the song addresses is enhanced by musical dissonance, especially the use of semitone, or half step, intervals. Musicologist Wilfred Mellers called Isolation an “Anglicized version of Negro piano blues.” The instrumentation starts with just drums, played by Ringo Starr, and piano, played by Lennon, as back up to his vocals. As the song becomes louder and more emotional, an organ, also played by John, is added. There is also a bass guitar played by Klaus Voorman, a German artist and musician who designed the covers of albums of the Beatles and many other bands. The mood of isolation is enhanced by silences incorporated into the sad melody.

Several covers were made of the song, including by Marianne Faithfull and Snow Patrol (a northern Irish-Scottish indie rock band) in 2005. Harry Nilssen, Joe Cocker, and Matthew Sweet, among others, also recorded the song. Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck have released the newest version, in April 2020.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Isolation (a John Lennon song)

The Beatles Bible: Isolation