EM’S RWP: My Birthday

Last Thursday was my birthday (June 2). It was also the day of our senior community’s first variety show in many years. We had some real talent! Some of the acts were very funny, including the Walker Sisters, who ended the show. This got a lot of laughs from the audience!

I was in two dance numbers, comprised of some of the members of our Zumba class.

I’m the one who looks like she’s going to fly off the stage! This is actually a still photo from a video.

My brother-in-law sang in a barbershop quartet. He’s the one on the far left, with a mustache.

Then, yesterday, we hosted a birthday party for him and me, which was also a smashing success! We both have early June birthdays, and this was a landmark birthday for both of us. The whole independent living community was invited and we also had family members. We served hors d’oeuvres and cake.

My nephew played the keyboard. We received SOOO many cards and edible gifts (chocolate, primarily), although we didn’t ask anyone to give us anything. It was a lot of fun! Since yesterday, I’ve received calls from residents to thank me for hosting this party.

I ordered these t-shirts for us to wear at our party!

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!

February Month of “Lurve” – #16-20

Whoa! I have five days to catch up on this challenge, Paula’s February Love Me!

Feb. 16: I love…my house. We moved here in August 2019, a compact, pristine little house (it’s actually a duplex) waiting for us. Everything is new & modern, nothing is malfunctioning (and if it does, we call maintenance who comes to fix it right away and we don’t have to pay for it), there are no stairs, we have a tiny screened porch and a patio with an elevated plot next to it where we can plant whatever we want, and adequate storage space. I think this house is the most satisfying thing about living in this senior community. I was so sick of our old house – nearly 100 years old, it had old plumbing, poor water pressure in the shower, and three levels. The washer & dryer were in the basement, and our bedroom was on the second floor. Now when I want to wash clothes, I just go from my bedroom to the washer & dryer unit off my kitchen. There was always something going wrong at our old house and we had to replace the roof twice. We don’t need to worry about any of that here!

Of course, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I didn’t mind that. It was good to downsize!! The only drawback is having only a one-car garage, so one of us has to park in the driveway.

We live in the house on the left – the red Subaru is Dale’s.
View from the window of our second bedroom, which we use as our entertainment center – TV and computers are here.

Feb. 17: I love…my family. I grew up with three sisters and one brother, and both parents. We were not a dysfunctional family, we got along for the most part. My brother was really mean to me when we were children, and my oldest sister was kind of bossy too, but still we were a remarkably cohesive family. Now my parents are deceased, one of my sisters is also deceased, but we all have kids, and most have grandkids. I love and cherish my large extended family!

Our daughter gave us this photo in a frame. These are the members of my family who were there. But there are many more.
This photo was taken in 2007 (also in a frame) when we gathered to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. She is in the middle of the first row, wearing a black & teal outfit.

Feb. 18: I love…my knickknacks. I have a lot of small figurines and other knickknacks that I have accumulated during my travels, or sometimes they were gifts. I have a lot more than pictured below!

Still life of five random things I have collected over the years! In back is a little round box that opens into a traditional neighborhood scene, from Cuba; at left is a black clay turtle, which also has a whistle; and a Mexican alebrije – a seal made from copal wood and then brightly painted with beautiful designs! On the right is a circle of Peruvian figures made from clay and painted in traditional dress; and a snake I bought at a craft fair, because I just liked it.
Maybe you have seen a meme on social media of a cutout photo of Bernie Sanders at Biden’s Inauguration, placed in other photos. He was sitting near the back and was hugging himself in the cold. A friend crocheted this figure of Bernie for me. She also makes mittens (full size, that you can wear!). Bernie Sanders himself has capitalized on his meme by having it printed on T-shirts for sale; all the proceeds go to Meals on Wheels of Vermont.
This is Josephine (Josefina), a javelina made out of metal by an artist in Tucson, Arizona. I am doing a series of photos with Josephine in various random locations. Here she is on my piano keyboard! (A javelina is a type of wild pig native to Southwestern USA.)

Feb. 19: I love…coloring. A few years ago, there started to be coloring books for adults on the market. They were promoted as being relaxing. You can find coloring books of anything from scenes from Outlander to Cats with Hats to Amazing Mandalas and geometric designs. It is really calming, so I tend to do it while watching the news! I bought several sets of gel pens, which are my favorite medium for coloring, but I also use colored pencils a lot – which are good for doing shading in the pictures – and markers. I like experimenting with different color combinations and it also helps me to color small details without going outside the lines – a good practice for when I need a steady hand for doing water colors or drawings. Here is a sampling:

Feb. 20: I love…walking. Walking is my favorite type of exercise. I like walking outside especially, because I can appreciate the nature around me, and it’s possible to find small things to admire, something I can’t do if I’m riding a bike, for example. I walk in any season as long as the weather isn’t too cold – it’s really the wind that keeps me inside!

On the walking path of our campus, a few days ago.
On our campus – I liked the shape of this autumn foliage!
At Cuba Marsh in spring
Duck on a pond with water lilies, at Chicago Botanic Gardens last July

SYW: Of Crimes, Birds, Change & Birthday Gratitude

It’s time for a new week of Melanie’s Share Your World!

Questions:

Is it ever okay to commit a crime?  Please explain.
A crime in which someone is hurt or property damaged is not OK. However, sometimes one might kill or injure someone due to legitimate self-defense (such as domestic abuse). Some so-called crimes are not really crimes. For example, the only “crimes” I have committed consist of smoking marijuana when it was illegal and stealing a few pencils or pens or small things like that from the office where I was working. I don’t think taking drugs of any kind should be a crime, but it must be a crime to sell or smuggle them. And while it’s OK to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, just don’t get in a car and drive when you are under the influence! Because that is irresponsible and also a crime!

Do you deal with change well?  (not money, because I know some wit out there is thinking how bulky coins are. Well I did any how.    ) Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Facing change, whether good or bad, always causes me anxiety at first – fear of the unknown. Everyone must learn to cope with change – it’s part of life; but it’s not easy.

Do you like birds?   The sound of bird song in the morning, taking pictures of them, as food?   
Of course I like birds! I do like to hear the chirping of the birds and trying to identify them. When I take decent photos of them, I feel proud of myself! Photographing birds is especially fun when you have a chance to see exotic ones, like when on safari in Africa. But I also like to catch them in flight, with their wings extended. As for eating them, well, I do like chicken and turkey, and occasionally duck. But I’m not a hunter and I think the birds destined for human consumption should be raised more humanely, so they can have a semblance of normal bird life.

What’s the least used item of clothing you own?
A few months ago, I noticed that nearly all of my decent shirts were striped, and I became obsessed with adding shirts to my wardrobe that had different designs on them other than shirts. So I bought several on sale from an online catalog, but I have only worn one of them! Shortly after they arrived, the pandemic lockdown started and I had no reason to wear them. So they are the least used clothing I have, but hopefully not for long!|

Gratitude:

If you care to share, what are you grateful for?  
I’m grateful for the warm weather and for all the people who called me or sent me cards today to wish me happy birthday!

Celebrating a Birthday? | Office of Student Outreach & Support ...

Song Lyrics Sunday: Happy Birthday

The ubiquitous classic, Happy Birthday to You, actually has a rather interesting history.*

I’ve chosen this song for Jim Adams’ Song Lyrics Sunday  with the theme Birthday/Cake/Gift/Party/Surprise   first, because I was able to find a fun version of it and second, because it’s the song we’re all singing in our bathrooms as we wash our hands 20 times a day during this Covid-19 crisis! If you sing the happy birthday song twice through, you’ve taken up about 20 seconds, which is how long you are supposed to lather and scrub your hands to totally rid them of any lurking malicious germs and viruses.
How to wash your hands properly, according to doctors

According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, Happy Birthday to You is the most recognized song in the English language, and it has been translated into about 20 other languages.

Here’s a sort of cute “theme and variations” of this classic folk song, all parts sung by Charles Cornell (alone and practicing social distancing, I’m sure! 😉 ), who apparently does a lot of these variations on common ditties on YouTube:

Charles Cornell has also recorded similar versions of Jingle Bells and Row, Row, Row Your Boat, among others, which you can watch on YouTube.

And now the lyrics (just in case you’re checking in from another planet and have never heard this song before)!!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Jimmy
(or whoever’s birthday it is)
Happy Birthday to you!

OK, we all sing it but does anyone know the history of this song? Neither did I until I did research for this post. It all started in a kindergarten class…

Patty Hill was a kindergarten principal in 1893 in Louisville, Kentucky and her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer. The sisters used Good Morning to All as an easy song that kindergartners could sing and remember, and it was sung every morning at the beginning of class. When it was a child’s birthday, they used the same melody, but made it into a birthday song.

The song was attributed to the Hill sisters, but like many folk songs, no one really knows for sure who composed it. The combination of the melody with the birthday lyrics first appeared in print in 1912.  It did not have a copyright until 1935, when the Summy Company registered a copyright attributing the song to different authors. The Hills did, however, copyright Good Morning to All.

As the birthday song’s popularity expanded, the Hill sisters began to file suits against its unlicensed use, including  Irving Berlin and Moss Hart, who allegedly used the song in a Broadway musical, The Band Wagon.

In 1988, Warner/Chappell purchased the Summy Company and with it, the copyright, for $25 million. The song’s value was estimated at $5 million! Warner Bros. claimed that the United States copyright would not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid. (Who knew??) In February 2010, the royalty for a single use was US$700. (Wow, a very expensive birthday party for your kid if you had to pay royalties for using the song  in the privacy of your own home!) Still, by one estimate, Happy Birthday is the highest-earning song in history. In one example, Disney had to pay Warner Bros. $5,000 to use the song in a parade.

The copyright status of the song began to get more notice with the passage of the Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the act in its decision Eldred vs. Ashcroft. Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned the birthday song in his dissenting opinion.

Filmmakers and lawyers began to organize in opposition to Warner’s copyright, claiming that the song should be in the public domain. In 2010, a law professor named Robert Brauneis extensively researched the song and came to the conclusion that it almost certainly was not under copyright. In 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song and not to its lyrics and melody. In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for $14 million, and the court ruled that Happy Birthday was now in the public domain. (Whew!!! I’m so relieved we’re finally off the hook when we celebrate the birthdays of our friends and family!)

I used two sources for this post:
Wikipedia, Happy Birthday to You
The Contentious History of the Happy Birthday Song

*I was going to choose Birthday by the Beatles but its history wasn’t interesting and I figured other people would choose it.

Hunt for Joy Challenge: Say Cheese

Cee Neuner has a new weekly challenge entitled On The Hunt For Joy. This is the second week and the theme is Say Cheese. She says,

“find some photos of you smiling and feeling joyful, or find some photos that brings a smile to your face or brings you joy.  Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee [who is the inspiration for this challenge]: ‘Studies show that our expressions can influence our emotions. So when you’re feeling down, try faking it ‘till you feel it by smiling, doing laughter yoga exercises, or looking at a photo of yourself taken at a particularly joyful time.'”

I selected photos that represent happy times in my life. The first is me having a fun moment with my son when he was a little boy, circa winter 1988.Jayme & Katharine Villa-Alvarez
A wedding photo taken when I married the man I love, Dale, in November 1995.
Katy & Dale wedding picture - 11-19-95
Playing around with the photo software on my computer in my classroom at Anne Sullivan School. This was one of the happiest years during my teaching career, 2009-2010.
Me from PhotoBooth
Here are some happy times traveling.

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Me with fish band sculpture, Laclede, St. Louis, MO (2016) – I include this because of the interesting & humorous sculpture.

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You may recognize this as my profile picture on WP. I’m smiling because we were in Monterey, CA (2015), one of my favorite areas in the U.S.

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Relaxing on deck with a margarita during our cruise to the Panama Canal (2017).

1-29 enjoying a snack at Rijksmuseum

Relaxing with hot drinks and pastries after a few hours looking at art, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2018).

Finally, one of my “shared” birthday celebrations – my brother-in-law and I have birthdays nine days apart, and he is 10 years older than I am.  (They spelled my name wrong at the bakery – it’s Katy, not Caty! 😦 )
Elmer & me - joint birthday celebration

 

Someday

Sheryl’s Your Daily Word Prompt today is someday.

This poem is written for my son, who turns 34 today. It expresses a mother’s hope for his future.

Someday

Today is your birthday…
Someday you will be happy
Someday you will feel confidence
Someday you will love yourself
Someday you will have a steady income
Someday you won’t live alone
Someday you will believe in yourself
Someday you will be in love
Someday someone will be in love with you
Someday you will know how to deal with depression
Someday you will conquer your anxiety
Someday you will meet your soulmate
Someday you will look forward to the future
Someday you will look in the mirror and see
how beautiful you really are.

Someday…..
Even if not today.
Why not today?

Happy birthday, Jayme! I hope 2019 brings you joy!

Jayme & Katharine Villa-Alvarez

c. 1987

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At his sister’s wedding, January 2019

CFFC: You’re On Candid Camera!

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is photos capturing people unaware, in other words, candid shots., reminding me of that old TV show, Candid Camera.

Visitor on a rocking horse outside Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam
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Women in Arusha, Tanzania
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A Chicago Sinfonietta concert patron tries out the sitar during intermission at Symphony Hall in Chicago…
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…while children make Diwali “rangolis” using patterns, glitter and glue.
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Shoppers gather at the base of the Gastown steam clock, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Selecting pumpkins at Park Ridge Farmers’ Market in early October
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At a friend’s 80th birthday party with a Hawaiian theme
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At a reunion in Sedona, Arizona, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Verde Valley School, June 2018:
Saturday night dance
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Sunday brunch
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Cee’s SYW: On Classes, Cooking, Phobias (etc.)

Cee’s challenges are back! Here are my answers for this week’s questions in Share Your World:

A class you wish you would have taken?
There are actually several! I wish I had transferred to a university where I could major in anthropology, which was my first academic love.

I always wanted to take art classes, but they were always full, since art majors had priority. I enjoy art and did take a drawing class at a community college, where I learned techniques that allowed me to produce some fairly good drawings of my classmates, good enough that I still have them! Recently, I went to a wine and painting event, and everyone liked my painting of a cat, so now I’m working on another painting.

Since I included the cat painting in a post the other day (RDP#72 – Cat), I’m posting one of the drawings I did of a classmate many, many, many years ago, and a more recent doodle of myself in a hat when I had longer hair.
classmate (charcoal pencil)  Doodle-woman in hat

I also wish I’d taken photography classes. Everything I know I learned from a photographer boyfriend I had in high school, and of course, from experience. My husband is an amateur photographer too and I admire some of his great photos. He has good powers of observation and knows where to stand to capture his subject at the best advantage. I would like a class just in learning how to use all the features of my camera.

Here’s a photo of a shooting star flower that I took in May with my Sony Alpha 380, working on sharp close ups with blurred background.SONY DSC

The great thing about this is, now that I’m retired, I can easily take classes in art and photography, which are available to seniors at a discounted rate! I’m trying to find a photography class that my husband and I can attend together.

Are you scared of heights?
Not really, unless I think about it. Although going up some of those mountain roads in Colorado this spring was pretty harrowing!

My husband, though, is very scared of heights. He doesn’t even like to drive over high bridges! The first time we went to Rio de Janeiro, he would not go all the way up to Sugar Loaf with our son and I. He stayed on the lower level and contented himself with taking photos from that vantage point. However, we went back to Rio in 2016, and this time he went all the way up to the top! He stood in the middle of the cable car, surrounded by people, so he couldn’t see out. Once he was up there, he was OK and loved watching and photographing the setting sun.

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One of Dale’s photos of the sun setting over Rio de Janeiro from Sugarloaf

Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?
Occasionally I will whip something up that’s different from normal, with more color and flavor than usual. Or I’ll make Christmas cookies when I’m in the mood. My husband does most of the cooking, and his meals are very simple. I like to rib him about the lack of color on our plates when we have chicken or fish with corn! Both of us are sort of lazy at this point about cooking, so we often eat out. Now we’re thinking of moving to a retirement community in a couple of years, where we can eat in a community dining room!

IMAG2914

I made these Christmas cookies in 2014, the last time I made homemade cookies!

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I had to buy some birthday cards, because several family members had birthdays and we were celebrating them all together. I usually have some funny cards on hand for these occasions, but I was out. So I stood in the birthday card section at the supermarket and read all the humorous cards. Several of them made me laugh out loud! Fortunately, there were few people at the store at that time so I was free to appreciate the silliness without anyone staring at me!

funny birthday cards

This photo was downloaded from Google Images.