SYW: Contemplations on Cats, Crashes, the Cosmos and Cars

Share Your World Meets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  1. Harry Potter can speak to snakes. If you were able to have conversations with any one animal, what animal would you like to speak to? What would be the topic of your first conversation?
    I would talk to my cat. I often wonder what she is thinking and how she really sees her human friends and caretakers. Our first conversation would be what she dreams about. Sometimes she makes funny noises in her sleep so I’m wondering if she’s chasing a squirrel or a bird in dreamland.
  2. The portraits in Hogwarts dormitories can talk. If your graduation portrait could speak to people passing it by, what would it tell them?
    I don’t have a graduation portrait.
  3. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger use the Pollyjuice Potion for finding new clues for the happenings at Hogwarts. (The Pollyjuice Potion is a magic potion that allows your body to form into that of another and live their life for a few hours.) If you could transform into another being, who would you chose to be? What would you hope to learn?
    Once again, I would like to be a cat for one day to see what it’s like. I could really relax if I had no cares at all and could spend 16 hours a day sleeping. I think after one day, though, it would get boring. Cats can’t read!! And their food is gross!

4. There was a flooding in the girl’s bathroom where Moaning Myrtle resides. Whathas been the most dangerous (or comical) ‘flooding’ where you reside?
The Des Plaines River has always been prone to flooding, but since they built the deep tunnel (large diameter pipes underground), it isn’t as much of an issue. However, the city still gets flooded in heavy rainstorms. The local government puts up signs warning people of the flooded areas. One of my son’s girlfriends once drove right through a flooded road. She felt good about getting through the flooded area, but needless to say, her car was ruined.

The worst sort of “flood” we had in our house in Des Plaines was when the sewer backed up. The sump pump couldn’t handle the amount of rain and so the basement got flooded with sewage. Anything that was on the floor was ruined.

Mundane or “Muggle” Questions:

(Serious one which is rather creepy):  How do you think you’ll die?  IF you do think about it?
I do think about it, actually. I want to die in my sleep at an old age. Doesn’t everybody? I get scared sometimes when flying in turbulence and during landing. Last year, I had a panic attack while driving. I suddenly realized I was in a machine going at a relatively fast speed and all around me were other people in equally “dangerous” machines – it was shortly after my son totaled his car, so it was probably for that reason that I panicked. So I do sometimes think I will die in some sort of crash but I really hope not. I might die when traveling – maybe there will be a terrorist attack. Or I could cross the street and get hit by a truck – who knows? That’s the good thing about death – most people don’t know when or how it will happen, so we just go on living our lives, which is what we should do.

What’s the best on-line screen name you’ve seen? “Best might mean the oddest.
I have no idea.

What’s invisible that you wish people could see?
Dark matter. It would be interesting to see how much dark matter there is in the universe compared to matter we can see.

If over time you replace parts on a car, at what point does it stop being the same car you bought? How many parts do you need to replace to make it a new car?
I don’t replace a lot of parts in my cars, except batteries, tires, and so forth. I would consider it the same car no matter how many parts are replaced as long as when I get in it, it feels the same inside and its body is the same. I don’t think about cars very much. I love my car and it has a “pet” name I’ve given it, but that is the extent of my attachment to it.

5 Things I Hate (?) About Summer (!)

This is a tough one to write about, since my favorite season is summer – it would be a lot easier to list 5 things I LOVE about summer. But since this is Dr. Tanya’s topic for her 5 Things challenge, this week, here goes…

1. Humidity – I would love to live in a drier climate. It can be a mild day, but I still sweat due to the high humidity here in Midwestern USA!

I’d rather be living in the orange or yellow zones! Seriously, most of the time our humidity in the summertime is 70-80 %, even though the map shows an AVERAGE of 55% for northern Illinois.

2. Extreme heat – temperatures in upper 80s and above. I just have to stay inside an air conditioned house in those conditions. I admit, though, that I didn’t mind it while traveling in Europe last year during a heat wave – maybe it’s less humid or maybe I was just having too much fun to care!

National Weather Service issues heat warning | News ...

3. Bugs, especially mosquitoes and stinging insects. This is the one thing that every summer brings, and one of the few things I don’t like about this season.

Mosquito Control & Removal | How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes | Orkin

4. Excessive air conditioning – I realize it’s highly desirable to have air conditioning, but many buildings have cranked up the air conditioning so that I feel cold – after all, we are wearing summer clothes, we don’t want to freeze in a restaurant! Hotel rooms, too – I hate their air conditioning – it’s usually noisy and I don’t sleep well in air conditioned rooms.

LG LT1216CER: 12,000 BTU Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner | LG USA
In our old house, we relied on window units like this one and fans. Now we have central air.

5. Getting into a hot car that’s been sitting in the sun – I can open the windows a little bit and put a sunshade over the windshield while it is parked, but these things don’t help too much – and if I’ve left a water bottle in there, the water is warm, ugh!

21 children have died in hot cars this year | Fox 59

In the past, at the top of my list would be “sunburn” – but I don’t get sunburned anymore. My lifestyle has changed and I tend to protect myself, if needed, with sunscreen, but mostly by wearing a hat! And I just don’t go lie on beaches anymore – skin cancer is too much of a risk!

CFFC: Painting of Many Kinds, Times & Places

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is anything painted.

Roof decoration on Hualapai Center, Peach Springs, Arizona
Appropriate for the 4th of July! Patriotic painted car, Seligman, Arizona
Train mural, Kingman, Arizona
Painted figures on a maypole next to a painted church, Wurzburg, Germany

Frescoes on the ceiling of a cathedral in Passau, Germany – I took this one year ago today!
Pharaoh offers food to the god Amun. Although in poor condition, the paint on this mural has lasted 3,500 years! Hatshepsut’s Temple, Egypt
Hanging on a wall in a hallway at the Moorings of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Depicted are the parts of a cashew tree.
VW in line for 4th of July parade, Arlington Heights, Illinois – I took this photo 3 years ago today!
Birdhouse, Des Plaines, Illinois
Painted chair, Highland Park, Illinois
Gospel Singers, by American artist Charles White, exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago, August 2017
Realistic looking mural covering an entire wall in Quebec City, Canada

CFFC: Vintage Cars, Covered Bridges, Flowers & Murals

Cee posted this picture and her Fun Foto Challenge this week is to use the picture to find subjects for this week’s challenge.

Some of her suggestions are: Mural, covered bridge, car, green, grass, vintage car, people, trees, road, flowers, landscape, sidewalk, or come up with your own topic.

 

 

 

 

Covered bridge (Madison County, Iowa)
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Red & yellow flowers (Des Plaines, Illinois)
20170731_172024Mural (Cuba, Missouri)
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Vintage car (Kingman, Arizona)
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Len-Artists: Reflections of…

Guest host Shower of Blessings has given us the theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87: Reflections.

My car is a source of several types of reflections:

Reflections of holiday lights on its hood
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Light from its headlights reflecting on snowfall
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An image in its driver’s side mirror (Rocky Mountain National Park)
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Bodies of water are also great sources for photographing reflections:

One of the ponds at our senior community – the reflection was clearer on the water side (left) than the ice side (right).20200108_155657
Hippo and its reflection (Serengeti National Park, Tanzania)
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Egrets on the edge of a lake (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)
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In this close-up of two geese that are part of a sculpture, the reflection of the top of the sculpture, geese in flight, can be seen in the pond. (Chicago Botanic Gardens)
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Polished surfaces, such as glass and mirrors, are good places to look for reflections.

Glass pots on display at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington – the pattern at the bottom of the pot on the left is reflected on the platform.
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Glass bowl
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Glass sculpture on the roof of the museum after a rainfall – the birds are actually reflected in the puddle – it reminded me of the egrets in Tanzania!
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The polished floor in the courtyard of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt
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It took me awhile looking at this photo to realize it was actually a mirror image I was photographing, at a restaurant in Cairo. There was also a mirror at the far end, where the actual scene of our group having dinner was reflected, in the second photo.
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Finally, semi-spherical mirrors were used to enhance flower exhibits at the annual orchid show (Chicago Botanic Gardens). This photo is a bit blurry but I liked the reflection – and you can see my camera in my hand at left!
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And now, a theme-related video of a golden oldie from the 1960s!

 

Lens-Artists #84: Narrow Passageways

Amy at Lens-Artists this week invites us to explore the topic of narrow.

In my travels to “old” places – places built when there were no cars or crowds of tourists -I explored (or declined to explore) many narrow streets and other passageways.

Places like Old Town Tallinn, Estonia (where I got lost due to sidewalks and streets so narrow that I lost sight of our guide!)…
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A van that is nearly as wide as this street in Old Town forces all pedestrians to the narrow sidewalk on the left.100_0371
There were also narrow witches!
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In Stockholm, Sweden, I tried to imagine returning home to one of these narrow alleys on a dark afternoon in winter!
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Dale ends our bike ride through Stockholm coasting down a narrow cobblestone street.
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Stockholm, like many European countries, also has tall, narrow buildings.
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Even older is Old Jerusalem, Israel…Like elsewhere, vehicles have the right of way, squeezing pedestrians to the wall.
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Some of these climbing narrow streets are divided between steps and ramps.
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Watch out for motorcycles coming through!
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In ancient Egypt, clearly people were smaller to fit into narrow passageways into pyramids and tombs.

Dale and a few other adventurous souls (such as this woman from our group emerging from a pyramid) did go down these narrow steps into a now empty room in the Queen’s tomb in Giza. I took one look and decided to wait outside!
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Tourists descend a long narrow hallway covered with inscriptions and paintings to reach the tomb of Ramses IX in Valley of the Kings. These hieroglyphics declaim the deeds of the king during his reign, and there are also symbols of gods to accompany him to the afterlife.
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At the Chateau of Caen, France, a narrow stairway leads down to…where??
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On Omaha Beach, in Normandy, are the remains of WWII German bunkers, which I declined to enter, also reached through narrow passages and stairways. (I’m glad I didn’t go in – my son’s photos show empty rooms with an inch of rainwater covering the floors!)
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On the way back to our Airbnb farmhouse through the Normandy countryside, we drove down the narrow roads of villages, flanked by houses on both sides.
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A car in front of us navigates a sharp corner into another narrow street.DSC00482
A lot of traffic in Amsterdam travels its canals, which narrow on approach to bridges.
DSC00587Floating traffic jam!
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Bridges have these traffic signals indicating when it is safe and permissible to proceed (or not!).
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The day after our tour of the canals, we went to the “red light district” where we were told not to take photos of the sex workers who lived on either side of these narrow alleyways. Probably also not a good idea to photograph potential clients – good thing this one came out blurry!
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In Amsterdam, we stayed in an Airbnb 2nd floor flat, with a narrow stairway winding up to it. That was one of our son’s obligations to us for paying for his trip – carry our suitcases up and down! The stairway was so narrow and windy that he had to carry the suitcases one by one in his arms!
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Last and First Photos

Bushboys World has a new challenge, to post the last photo taken in January. I actually haven’t taken any ‘real’ photos the last several days, just my artwork. So here’s the last photo I snapped of a drawing I did on Wednesday. I am practicing drawing portraits. This is of a little girl named Zia that we met in Luxor, Egypt in Dec. 2018.
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After that, the next photo I took was today, of my son’s new (used) car. He bought this car from a friend a couple of months ago. It was the most expensive car he’s ever purchased, the newest (2017) and the first time he’s bought a Kia. Since he is away for awhile, we drove his car to our daughter’s house and parked it on the lawn. It isn’t safe to leave a car on a street in Chicago for more than a couple of weeks – someone might consider it abandoned! Either that, or someone will try to steal it. So here it sits in the suburbs, until he returns to drive it back home!
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