12 Bloggerz August 2020: On the State of Our World, Our Nation and Ourselves

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke has a monthly 12 question challenge, called 12 Bloggerz August 2020.

Meet the Bloggerz Directory

We live in a questioning world so it’s hardly surprising that there are so many questions that are asked by people every day, week and month is it? This feature will ask you all sorts of questions – but will only ever ask you 12 questions per month. You can answer them in the comments section below or create a post on your own blog should you wish to – that’s your choice.

In many ways this feature will be a no holds barred styled questions arena – covering many topical areas, controversial, opinionated – taboo orientated and just general and light hearted – just questions about people and things from all walks of life!

Additionally should any of the readership wish to pose a question to be featured within 12 Bloggerz in the future episodes – please drop me an email to aguycalledbloke63@gmail.com

Cheers Rory

Your answers to these questions are down to your individual interpretation of each question.

So here goes:

As a society are we really that social anymore – like it used to be?
We are social in a different way – today it’s all about social media, online meetings, Zooming, etc. But I don’t think we are as likely to take a nice leisurely lunch with a friend, for the pleasure of simply chatting. Do we really care about the person we’re socializing with? A lot of social media seem to be a forum for people to tell their own story and hope that other people will read their posts. And I find that it’s easier to just scroll and hit “like” when I feel I should. But I’m not knocking social media – nowadays it’s the way to keep in touch with people I care about but rarely get to see. I’ve blogged about this before, such as here.

If only l was twenty years younger l would … ?
Twenty years ago, when I was in my 40s, I was antsy to find a more meaningful profession. If I were to go back with 20/20 hindsight, I would not have chosen teaching. I was preoccupied (although somewhat justifiably) with the wrong things. I should have been asking, Will I be happy doing this? Can I really be good at it? Do I want it just for salary and benefits (because believe it or not, teaching had better pay and benefits than what I was doing before)? If I could, I would have done more research on professions that would suit me better.

Is society ruder more now than it used to be back in the day?
Yes, most definitely. People put themselves first. They talk about their “rights” but rarely about the responsibilities that go with those rights. Our current federal government (USA) has encouraged, aided and abetted this attitude. We do not have good role models in leadership roles.

Emperor Trump: Tattoo'd, rude and in an impeachable mood - al.com
Trump: Leader of lies, rudeness and hype

Is our world hyper-focusing progression on the wrong things or in the wrong direction?
If you mean, do I think humanity is trending toward the wrong direction, I would say yes, but not everybody and not everywhere. I think our planet and our ability to continue living on it and respecting other creatures we share it with should be top priority for everyone right now. There are so many other problems connected with climate change – the biggest polluters are not the ones who will suffer most from the results. Greta Thunberg has the right priorities!

Do you think there is any truth what so ever to any current conspiracy theories?
No, and I don’t think it deserves any more of an answer than this.

Are you more confused about the shape of our world today more so than when younger? 
Confused, no – I think I understand our world a whole lot better than I did when I was young(er). Concerned, yes, as everyone should be.

Do we as a society simply have too many labels and too many label hunters?
Yes, but at the same time, sometimes “labels” are helpful – not to stereotype, but to provide help to those who need it. So if a kid is diagnosed with ADHD, don’t just dismiss it by saying, “It’s just a label.” It’s not, and neither are a myriad of other disorders and disabilities. “Being depressed” isn’t just being sad. It’s a very serious, and debilitating mental illness that can lead to addiction or worse.

Are you more or less family orientated?
Yes, I am family oriented, because my family is my greatest blessing. I grew up in a mostly loving home and I love getting together with my siblings’ families. Family is my top priority. I think it is the source of most people’s happiness.

Do you dress up ‘smart’ to go out or is your style more casual all day every day?
I like casual, but I also like to dress up a little. Right now, I lament the fact that I bought a lot of new clothes to wear at our senior community’s dining room and events, and now none of those things are taking place so I’m not wearing all the new clothes I bought.

But in general, I wear what is comfortable and what best hides my aging bulges!

With the current ‘pandemic’ do you miss ‘Yesterday’s way of life or not?
Of course, doesn’t everyone? But I am so angry with selfish people who won’t do what medical professionals are telling us and as a result, the pandemic and its restrictions are dragging on longer than necessary. No one really likes to wear a mask, but if that is what we need to do to protect others as well as ourselves, I am willing to do so. If everyone were willing to be on board with this, we would be able to get back to “yesterday’s” way of life again.

What I miss most is being able to travel.

What do you class as adventurous?
Anything that takes guts or involves taking risks. That said, I am not particularly adventurous, but I do like “adventures” – as in “travel adventures. “

Are you more conventional brick and mortar shopper or online and Internet buyer styled?   
I do both, because it depends on what I’m buying. I won’t buy shoes online, for example – I have to try them on to see if they are comfortable. In one style, I may wear a size 8, whereas in another style, I wear 8 1/2. Shoes are too important to take chances.

But right now, I love buying things online, because then I get packages in the mail – something to look forward to! I’ve been buying a lot of books, getting them cheap on Amazon. Also art supplies, and a variety of other miscellaneous things.

Amazon Smile logo - Ferrum College
Sorry for Amazon plug. That’s a whole other subject for discussion!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Future

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge this week is to depict the topic of future. How can I take photos of something that hasn’t happened yet? Of course, that is impossible, but I can photograph potential and anticipation: the changing of seasons, children growing up, construction sites where buildings are being built on their current foundations.

I read this morning that there are currently six generations of people alive today. The G.I. Generation was born in the years 1900-1924. This generation is disappearing, but a few of them are still living independently in our senior community!

Mother facing the empty shelves
My mother, born in 1917, sat in her empty apartment in 2009 contemplating her future – the last chapter of her life – as we, her children, packed up her possessions in preparation for her move to assisted living. The empty white walls and shelves represented the end of her independence. (She died at the end of 2014.)

The Traditionalists/Silent Generation was born during the Depression and World War II, 1925-1945. Baby Boomers, the largest generation, were born 1946-1964 (this is my generation).

Members of three generations – my husband, Dale, was born in 1944 and grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s. Behind him is me, born in 1952 – a Baby Boomer. In back, that smiling, handsome young man is my son, Jayme, born in 1985 – a Millennial, because his generation reached adulthood in the 21st century. Every one of us has a future to look forward to, although Dale takes it less for granted than Jayme. Dale and I look to the future as one of travel and pursuit of our own interests in our retirement years. Jayme – assuming he lives as long as we have – will see a very different world: one with altered climate, perhaps shortage of food and hopefully, a more enlightened government that invests in renewable energy. Will his health be compromised from smoking during his young adulthood? Will he quit before that? Will he find the love of his life, get married and have children? Will he publish a book of poems? I wonder about his future when I look at his face. HOPE is always a projection of the future!

Generation X is those born between 1965 and 1979. Millennials were born between 1980 and the late 1990s. Finally, Generation Z (because we don’t know what else to call them yet!) are the kids of today: born in the last years of the 20th century to the 2010s.

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A member of Generation Z is filled with wonder and delight at the ducks around her. She hopefully can look forward to a long future ahead.

Mason (in lime green hoodie), holds his younger brother, Max, (my grand-nephew) as they watch fireworks over a lake in northern Wisconsin. I have already seen their future – this was taken in 2014, and Mason is no longer a child – he’s in high school, and Max, age 2 or 3 in this photo, is now a second grader.

Each of these generations had or have a future. The older ones have already fulfilled their potential – their hopes and dreams either completed or frustrated. The future they looked toward is now.

In the political arena, I see the youngest two generations as our hope for the future. These are the kids of Parkland High School, who are turning eighteen and have registered to vote; they are 18-year-olds all over the country who are signing up to vote fueled by the passion of their peers, peers such as the survivors of Parkland who saw their classmates gunned down at school, or such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old face of the movement to deal with climate change. We need their passion nowadays! We older folks can continue to march and protest Trumpism; we can show our concern for climate change and help in various ways. But it is really these younger people that carry us into the future.

Hope for future reflected in participants in a flash rally (including us – that’s me in the photo at left) in downtown Arlington Heights, that Robert Mueller would be allowed to do his job and discover damning information that would implicate Trump. What has Trump got to hide? Much of that is still to be uncovered – will the future bring us the full truth?

The future is my 50th high school reunion in June. Sedona, see you soon!
The future for an artist is an empty canvas.
20200212_001230Nature is a good place to look for the promise of the future.

I was taking a walk on a chilly (but not horribly cold) afternoon last week and took this photo of a tree rising out of a sheen of ice on a retention pond. Later, when I looked at it in large size on my computer, I noticed a lot of white specks on the branches and realized, the tree is budding already! This has been a very mild winter and plants have been fooled into thinking it’s almost spring. Already we see the future on this tree – a future of blossoms and green leaves.

All species are equipped to reproduce, so that their kinds will continue. Flowers have fertile interiors, filled with the pollen needed to spread its seeds. The flowers’ colors and fragrance are designed to attract insect species to spread their pollen. Few orchids are red, because bees cannot see that color. And flies prefer flowers that are brownish, resembling decay.

To look into the center of a flower is to see the future – or the promise of it!

Baby animals start out so small…

Our grandcat, Freddy, when he was still a kitten. Look at the hair in his ears – what breed was in this shelter kitten? Only the future would tell…Now he’s six months old with the bushy tail of a Maine coon cat!

and in the wild, their parents can only hope that their future includes reaching adulthood!


FOTD: Blue Netherlands: Cool Water in a Heat Wave

June 25, 2019 (Day 1 of Viking cruise)

I’ve been busy the last few days and unable to participate in Becky’s Square July Blues.
So to make up for it (just a little!) I’m posting three blue squares today -all taken in the Netherlands in late June of this year. Known for its Delft china (which is also blue), Holland is also a country very much connected to the water. This is where the Rhine River ends, and there are many canals, rivers and bogs. In fact, most of the Netherlands is below sea level, which is why they had to build dykes. Boating and river-based sports are naturally popular, and cities grow up around waterways.

The first blue square photo was taken on a private canal tour during our four days in Amsterdam. Sleek modern buildings are not what come to mind when one conjures up an image of this city of canals and bicycles, but there are many such buildings, especially on the far side of the river, like this one. The Rhine River widens here as it flows to the Atlantic Ocean.  Blue water, blue building, blue sky!
DSC00642 Amsterdam
Our 2-week Viking river cruise began in Amsterdam on June 25 and wound along the Rhine, the Main and the Danube rivers. The next photo is of Nijmegen, a city in the south of the country.
DSC00843 Nijmegen
There is a lot of boat and ship traffic on these rivers, not only popular for cruises but also to transport freight and leisure for the locals. This photo was taken on the cruise, somewhere between Amsterdam and Nijmegen. As a special touch, this photo has a blue square within a blue square! 😉
DSC00837 (2)
Climate change was very much in evidence in Europe in June and July this year. Just a few days ago, a fierce heat wave sent temperatures soaring to record highs in many countries unused to extreme heat (Paris broke all-time records on July 26 with an afternoon high of 109ºF/43ºC!). Although places of business often have air conditioning, most people live in houses or apartments without air conditioning because they so seldom have needed it.

An earlier heat wave (not as extreme, but it lasted longer) hit while we were in Amsterdam. Our Airbnb didn’t even have a fan! However, usually it would be cool enough with a balcony in front and another one in back creating a cross draft. Fortunately, two days after the heat wave started, we were on a Viking river ship, where all inside areas have air conditioning.

What does one do when temperatures reach 90-95°F/32-35° in Holland? Go to the beach!
We saw many scenes like this as we cruised up the Rhine River. And it wasn’t just people!
Cows also know how to “chill” when it’s hot!

Now “chill out” with this golden oldie, Heatwave by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas!




“Museum of Tomorrow” – Rio’s futuristic (?) museum

November 25, 2016

Today we had tickets to see Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), which my sister-in-law had purchased online in advance. This would allow us to avoid long lines to pay admission and just go right in.


I was both impressed and disappointed by my experience at the museum. I was impressed by the way the information was presented and the educational quality of the information (plus the fact that much of it was available in English or Spanish as well as Portuguese, which made it a lot easier for my husband, who is monolingual, and for me because I didn’t have to translate everything for him).

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I was disappointed by the fact that there really wasn’t anything futuristic or speculative. For example, the section on climate asks the viewer to think about what climate change is doing to our planet and how it affects or may affect them in the future, and presents the facts as they currently are about the issue, but it does not make projections about the future. I think it would have more impact if we could step into a mini virtual environment of the future where climate change can be felt.

This globe hanging above the waiting crowd’s heads changes to show different aspects of the Earth. We were waiting for admission to watch a video.

If you want to learn about a particular ecosystem, you can find it here. You can spend quite a bit of time reading the material available, but you need to pick and choose or you will never finish seeing everything!  That is what happened to me. Exhibits are also  presented in innovative ways using the latest interactive technologies.

DNA wall

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This room has a variety of species that you can select via touchscreen to learn more.

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Enter this cube to learn about the diversity in the human species.

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Inside the cube: Panels tell about race, economic activities, housing, and much more in the human experience.

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Step inside this structure to see…

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The architecture was futuristic, simple and functional with sleek lines, in keeping with its theme and purpose, inside…

Brazil 2016c 512

and out…

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Brazil 2016c 528

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Replica of the “14 bis”, the plane flown by early aviator Santos Dumont, considered by Brazilians to be the father of aviation. This was an interesting contrast to the futuristic look of the museum: Look to the future, but remember the past!


Just outside the museum’s exit, the “Plant Man” introduces himself to a young boy.


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And since it was 2016, year of the Rio Olympics, large letters spell out “Olympic City.”

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The backside of the letters were all painted with colorful scenes of Rio by Brazilian artists.


Yours truly sitting on one of the letters.