A Photo a Week: Candid Camera

Those of us over 50 most likely remember the old TV series Candid Camera – I can still remember the last line of its theme song: “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week challenge this week is candids. I offer my submission, first with two photos taken of family members at my grand-nephew’s birthday/going away to college family gathering (that’s him in the second photo); and a few animal candids of wild and domestic furred or feathered friends.

Our cat had been sleeping behind some propped pillows on the bed – she’d never slept there before, and she seemed a bit surprised and perhaps annoyed that we found her hiding place!

Bodhi is a Tibetan spaniel (very much like lhasa apso).
A pair of swans preparing their nest – swans mate for life and both share the nest preparation duties. Tragically, shortly after this photo was taken, the male swan died!
A different pair of swans, a happy couple – they are always together!
I seem to have caught this Canada goose at an awkward moment!

L-APC: Soft as …

a cat (my cat Hazel), especially her belly (when she lets me touch it)!

…my favorite slippers.

a member of our community, a lhasa apso, Bodhi.

my grandcats, Freddie/Bubba (his name is Freddie Mercury but our kids call him Bubba) on the left, Stevie (Nix) on the right.

Posted for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #137 with the topic soft.

February of Love #5

Feb. 5: Yesterday, I wrote that I love cats. Right now, most of my cat-love goes to my one cat, Hazel. (The rest goes to my three grandcats, who I don’t get to see very often these days!) Hazel has been with us since Christmas 2013 and is now almost 10 years old! She has her moods, but usually is good for some nice fur-fluffing, and sleeping between our legs, especially in cold weather. In the mornings, she likes to lie by the fire, joining us with our morning coffee/tea.

For some reason, she prefers to drink from the toilet rather than her water “fountain,” which constantly recycles the water so it’s always clean.
One of my favorite photos of Hazel, sitting on the coffee table (where she wasn’t supposed to be).

Posted for Paula Light’s February Love Me challenge to post something you love for every day this month.

February Love #3-4

I have to catch up again with Paula’s Month of Love, with the challenge to post something I love every day of this month!

Feb. 3: I love…books. I used to be in 3 book groups – it was hard to keep up and still have time to read other things. I gave up the two library book groups because it got too difficult to access the books and Zoom meetings after Covid quarantine kept us from in person meetings. In the meantime I’ve joined another group here at our senior community, and I’m still in one at our church. I post all my books on Goodreads. There is a challenge every year: you start the year pledging to reading the number of books of your choosing. Last year I pledged 35 and read 45. So this year, I’ve pledged 40 and will probably go beyond that again! I always read a mix of fiction and non-fiction in a variety of genres. My favorite genre is historical fiction.

One reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I can go an entire day never turning on my computer, instead preferring to sit near the fire and read for hours!

Feb. 4: I love…cats! I take photos of cats wherever I go. Here is a sample of cats I’ve seen or loved as pets.

SYW: On Smoking, Cats, ET, and Plans for 2021

A new week, a new Share Your World from Melanie!

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QUESTIONS: 

What’s a relationship deal breaker for you?
At this point, I would say smoking. I was married to a smoker, which I endured for 20 years. Dale, my current husband, doesn’t smoke, thank God. When you are not around smokers, you become sensitive to the smell of smoke on them and everything they possess. Smokers and those who live with them become unaware of the smell. My son smokes now, and after spending a couple of hours with him yesterday in his apartment, my hair, clothes, and coat were all permeated with the smell of smoke.

Do you believe in extra-terrestrials?
Yes, in the vast universe with innumerable stars and planets, how could we be the only “intelligent” beings? It’s logical that there are intelligent beings on other planets, a few of them anyway. We are made of “star stuff” – the matter and energy that the birth and the death of stars create in a constant cycle. We are carbon-based life forms. Other planets may have evolved life forms that are carbon-based or something else. There are many factors that have to come together to generate life, so it’s a miracle in itself, but certainly not unique.

In the morning, do you hit the snooze button on your alarm (sometimes repeatedly) or do you leap out of bed, ready to face the day?
Since I am retired, I rarely ever use my alarm clock.

If you came back in the next life as an animal, which animal would you choose to be?  (and even if you don’t believe in that, let’s suspend belief for a moment just to have a little fun)
Some kind of cat. They sleep a lot! I would not want to be a house cat, though, because nowadays cat “owners” don’t let them go outside. If I could go outside, I would definitely be someone’s cat, because I could enjoy the natural world and come home to whatever love and attention I myself decided I wanted. My humans would feed me and if I didn’t like the food, I could glare at them and they would bend over backward to find food I preferred. When I wanted, I could jump on my human’s lap and purr while being stroked and scratched on the back of my neck. I could curl up in a ball and my fur would warm me. I’d never have to be cold! They would play with me, laugh at my antics, and love me just as I am.

This beautiful, fluffy cat was hanging around at a lookout spot above Jerusalem. By its appearance, it must have humans who love and care for it, perhaps one of the scarf vendors that set up their booths at that lookout.

GRATITUDE (Participation is always optional)
I am grateful for orchids in the winter! After many months of being dormant, my orchid plant grew a new stem with little buds all along it. Now those buds are beginning to bloom, and cause me delight when there are no other flowers to feast my eyes on at this time of year!

What do you plan to work on this year to make it better than last year  (personal goals, physically or mentally, or all three)?
I am wary of making resolutions, which I never follow through on. Although I am maintaining my weight, I would be healthier if I lost a few pounds but I keep ordering desserts and cannot give up chocolate! That said, I pledge to work on becoming healthier by eating healthier foods (within the limits of what they provide here, but there’s always salad on the menu) – and I’ve mostly given up red meat so far – and working on being fit. I have let myself go somewhat during the pandemic, but I regularly take walks or spend half an hour (the limit right now) in the fitness center, and I can do fitness classes on line.

I also pledge to motivate myself to work on my writing projects (family history, personal history, and blogging), do more watercolor to become better at it, and enjoy life as much as possible!

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!

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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

SYW: Breakfast, Clever Answers to Mindless Questions, and Cat Preferences

Monday = Melanie’s Share Your World! I haven’t posted much lately, but I always look for Share Your World!

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This week’s questions:

Is cereal soup? Why or why not?

What an odd question! Of course cereal isn’t soup, unless you like soggy cereal drowning in a bowl of milk! Actually, I rarely eat cereal with milk anymore – I usually use yogurt instead. I have cereal with fruit & yogurt for breakfast a few days a week. Soup makes a good lunch in the winter. Another difference between soup and cereal is that usually cereal has some sort of sweetness to it, while soup tends to be salty.

What are some interesting ways to answer everyday questions like “how’s it going” or “what do you do”?

How’s it going? “Going? Going where?”
What do you do? “Lots of things – eat, sleep, make love, read, exercise, go to work, sleep late, travel. Which one are you asking about?” (I might select a couple of these depending on my mood.)

But I never have a clever response to anything like that – I don’t think of clever things on the spur of the moment; sometimes I come up with a good response an hour later when I’m in my car. However, I do want to be honest sometimes when someone asks me, “How are you?” I usually say, “fine and you?” But what if I said something like, “I feel like sh** this morning, how about you?” I mean, do people really want to know how it’s going or how I am? It’s just a mindless greeting. I prefer greeting people with a smile and “hello!”

What was your favorite toy growing up?

It wasn’t really a toy. Paper and crayons/pencils. I always loved to draw, and I would write and illustrate little books. As I got older, I preferred journaling or writing romantic stories, but added drawings as well.

If you have a pet, and you could ask it three questions, what would you ask?
Every animal has its own personality and preferences, and Hazel is no exception! I would like to ask her about some of her idiosyncratic preferences:

  1. What makes you choose one place over another to take your many cat naps?
  2. You change your mind so often regarding what food you prefer, so what kind of cat food do you really like? (I know what people food you like!)
  3. Why do you only want to sleep between Dale’s legs when he’s sitting on the recliner (and not when I’m there) but in bed, you always sleep between my legs and not his?
Hazel sleeping blissfully on my bathrobe (which is soft and plush)

Attitude of Gratitude Section (Always Optional)

What’s one simple thing society at large could do to improve our world? Wear a mask and believe what doctors tell you!

Selfie: Dale & I wore our masks at Millennium Park.

Thursday Special Pick a Word

These are the words for Lost in Translation‘s October occasional Pick a Word photo challenge. We are free to choose any or all of the words. I chose them all.

LUNAR

Moon over water, pastel sketch

VOLTE FACE

About face!

SOARING

REPOSING

Cat in repose (cats are good at reposing!)

IMPREGNABLE

It was impregnable in the Middle Ages, perhaps!