SYW: Of Crimes, Birds, Change & Birthday Gratitude

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


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!|


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 ...

Square Tops: My Closet

Welcome to my closet! All of our closets are overflowing with clothes. We culled a lot before moving, but even so, there just are too many clothes for the space – of course, we also buy new clothes…

For Becky’s April Squares challenge with the theme of top, I am posting photos of most of my tops!

20200423_175630 (2)
These are my dressy tops and summer tops.

I have an upper and lower hanging space, which is great for tops, but I have too little space for my long clothes – pants, dresses, and such.

These are the tops I’ve been wearing this winter.

New tops!

We live in a senior community and people dress up a little for dinner in the dining room. I didn’t have many nice tops and the ones I had were all striped! How unimaginative! So I ordered 6 new tops from an online catalog, but when they came, in early March, I never had a chance to wear most of them!

So they sit waiting in my closet, for when this quarantine is over and we start going to the dining room to eat again!  (Currently, and at least until the end of May, the kitchen staff delivers the dinners to our door.)

While I was in the closet taking these photos, I noticed someone else in the closet too! 😀

20200423_175654 (2)
I must have surprised her, by the look on her face and her fur sticking up – she had “bed hair!”




CFFC: Shirts of Opposing Colors

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge ends her color theme this week. The topic is opposing (or complementary) colors. The three primary colors are: yellow, blue and red. The secondary colors are: green, purple and orange. To make green, you combine blue and yellow. To make purple, you combine blue and red. And to make orange, you combine red and yellow. So complementary colors are when you match a SECONDARY color with the PRIMARY color that is NOT part of the combination. So for example, red’s complementary color is green because green is made by combining blue and yellow (NOT red). 

Here are the combinations:
Blue & orange
Red & green
Yellow & purple

Artists have long made use of complementary colors to make their subjects “pop,” painting these colors next to each other. The contrast serves to emphasize objects in the painting. I love to use these combinations also, when I do coloring pages. Here’s an example – every shape or combination of shapes in this geometric pattern is made up of complementary colors of different hues. It is one of my earlier experiments with gel pens.
Purple and yellow shirts
Bears shirt
20200103_192657.jpgEver wonder why Christmas colors are green and red? – Complementary colors!
My nephew in his new shirt – a present for Christmas


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is the color RED.  These red items are mostly from my travels. Excerpts from my color essay on red are included.

Red says, “Look at me!” And we do because red stands out.

Many flowers are red – tulips, roses, dahlias and many others can be red – maybe these beautiful flowers are why some people choose red as their favorite color.

Zinnia in Arlington Heights, IL

Dahlia in Tacoma, WA

Wearing red clothes makes a person stand out.

A friend arriving at Tel Aviv airport, Israel

My brother-in-law’s barbershop quartet doing their annual “singing Valentines” – this one was for my sister at the Moorings.

Me sitting in a tall red chair at our hotel in Tiberias, Israel

Whimsical glass figure made by a child, on display at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

Red building in Poulsbo, WA

Facade of a church in Nurmberg, Germany

Famous cafe in the Jewish district – Budapest, Hungary


Some very delicious fruits are red – tart apples, succulent raspberries and yummy strawberries. Red tomatoes and red peppers are good and juicy too. But watch out! Red peppers can be HOT.

Raspberries & peppers in community garden, the Moorings, Arlington Heights

Sign in front of a winery, Miltenberg, Germany

Omaha Beach memorial, Normandy, France

Cake served on our river cruise ship, Viking Sigyn, on the 4th of July

Helio Oiticica (Brazilian artist) exhibit at the Art Institute, Chicago, IL

Speaking of hearts, we normally think of hearts as red. We give each other cards on Valentine’s Day with red or pink hearts.

Dale’s Valentine to me on Valentine’s Day 2019. 

And by the way, Dale’s birthday is Valentine’s Day!

Dale celebrates his Valentine birthday with a dessert of flan and a margarita, Mexico Restaurant, Des Plaines, IL

CFFC: Fashion Near and Far

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge this week is about fashion.

In The Bistro Restaurant at Lyric Opera of Chicago, there is always one of the beautiful dresses worn by the lead female character on display in a case with a mirror behind it so you can see both front and back. This was the dress on display last December for Il Trovatore.
These miniatures were on display at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines, Sept. 2018, as 19th century public figures decked out in their finery.
1960s fashions – exhibit at Evanston History Center (Dawes House) during Open House Chicago, Oct. 2018.
Muslim women & men in Old Jerusalem, Israel, January 2019.
At the Israeli Diamond Center, Tel Aviv
Mannequin, Le Pijp Market, Amsterdam, Holland (June 2019)
Store display – for bridesmaids (?), Wurzburg, Germany (June 2019)
Ribbons for hats, Regensburg, Germany (July 2019)
Not sure what this mannequin is advertising, but she looks rather fashionable, don’t you think? (Regensburg, Germany)
When I saw the design on this T-shirt in Regensburg, I had to go into the shop and purchase two of them for our daughter and son-in-law, who have a particular fondness for skulls and food!

December Squares: Ugly Sweater Time!

Becky is hosting her December Month of Squares with the subject time. It’s that time of year to attend holiday parties – get out your “ugly Christmas sweater!”

Wearing “ugly Christmas sweaters” to a holiday party has become an American holiday tradition. So much so that now stores are marketing ugly sweaters and other garish items of clothing. Today I saw “ugly” clothing for sale while shopping at Meijer, such as this skirt covered with colorful shiny bows with a golden garland fringe.
Maybe you would prefer to attend the party dressed in a Santa suit.

And here it is, the classic “ugly sweater!” (This is my favorite!)
I can’t help but include, in a nod to my Jewish family members, my stepdaughter at her bridal shower with a special gift: an “ugly” Hanukkah sweater!
20181208_171035 (2)

HOHO Halifax, Part 3 – The Citadel

October 2, 2017 (continued)

Our next stop was the Halifax Citadel, a fort on a hill with many things to see.

We went up to the ramparts and looked at cannons. A kilted guide spoke for a long time to a tour group. We descended a ramp where another guide in a kilt demonstrated how we primed and prepared his musket.

SONY DSCThe Citadel sits on a large hill overlooking the easily-defended harbor, which was what led the British military to found the town of Halifax there in 1749. One of the first buildings constructed was a wooden guardhouse on Citadel Hill, and Halifax’s first settlers built their homes at the base of the hill, close to the shore. As the fort grew, so did the town, which catered to the businesses of supplying the soldiers with essentials as well as off-duty entertainment.


The Citadel one can visit today was completed in 1856 and its official name is Fort George, named after Britain’s King George II. This is actually the fourth fort built on Citadel Hill. It is built in the shape of a star which was typical of many 19th century forts.  This shape provided a wider range to shoot from in case of attack.  In fact, the Citadel was never attacked. SONY DSC

The Citadel National Historic Site contains several things to see: the ramparts with their cannons, the Army Museum, the changing of the sentry guard (every hour that the site is open), reenactment by interpreters in full 78th Highlander uniforms, and one can become a “soldier for the day”, including: getting dressed in a full 78th Highlanders’ uniform –  a cotton shirt, wool kilt, sporran, red wool Highland “doublet,” wool socks, boots, spats, and a Glengarry bonnet bearing the brass badge of the 78th Highlanders. During the three hour program, one can learn to drill, fire a rifle (or, for those under 16, play the British Army’s field drum) and learn the ins and outs of a soldier’s life in Her Majesty’s army! (Pre-booking required; program fee and details available online.) (See Halifax Citadel National Historic Site within website for more information about the Citadel.)

You can dress like a bona fide Highlander in the program Soldier for a Day.


In the gift shop, I found only one style of hooded sweatshirt – not my favorite design, but I was desperate. I bought it along with a few other Scotland-related souvenirs. Dale told me the changing of the guard was about to happen, but by the time I finished the transaction and went outside, it was over! I went to the restroom where I put on the sweatshirt under my fleece jacket. After that, I was comfortable, but could still feel the cold.

Gift shop Mackenzie tartans!

We did not participate in the Soldier for a Day program and only had a quick look at the Army Museum. By far the most interesting thing, to me, was the trench warfare installation. I knew this was a grueling and commonly used type of warfare during WWI but really didn’t have a clear picture of how it looked and worked. We entered as small room where anther kilted guide explained the layout of the trenches in one area of France. There was a diorama of trenches zigzagging across the landscape, which I had never conceptualized before. When the guide moved over to a wall covered with battle maps, I went to have a closer look at the diorama.

A doorway led out to a realistic reconstruction of a trench, which snaked around until it led to an exit onto a grassy area. The floor of the trench was covered with wooden slats, which surprised me. I had envisioned muddy dirt. A female guide dressed in a woolen army uniform explained that the slats were added to trenches after too many soldiers got “trench foot” from constantly standing in muddy trench bottoms. The wooden slats greatly alleviated the problem.

The walls of the trenches were also covered with wood, and I was surprised at how high they were. How were the men able to shoot their guns from them? She explained that there were ladders and benches on which men stood or used to get in and out of the trenches. In some sections, there were rectangular holes where guns could be fired from.SONY DSC

There were also lots of sandbags. Here and there were small rooms, one for an officer’s post, one with medical equipment used for basic first aid (they had even smeared patches of red paint to the floor to look like blood!).


Serious wounds called for transport out of the trench – a hazard itself – to a medical tent or field hospital located some distance away from the battlefield.

When we exited, we returned to the main part of the fort along the outside of the trench, where recruitment and propaganda posters were plastered on the outer wooden walls.SONY DSC



Again we were lucky to arrive at the stop just when a HOHO bus was arriving. As on all of these tourist buses, there was a guide on board pointing out places of interest and narrating as we went along.SONY DSC

Monday Windows: Store windows in Copenhagen

I love the store windows in Copenhagen. They are colorful and creative.

Pastries in the window of the famous bakery chain, Lagkagehuset.

Denmark is the origin of the most famous children’s building toys, Legos.

Advertising footwear

Store that sells lingerie. I’m not sure what knickers have to do with lingerie, though.

Necktie display, using stylized tall, narrow buildings, typical of Scandinavia

Colorful display of summer dresses and purses

All photos taken August 6-7, 2015.

Monday Windows

ABC COUNTDOWN TO RETIREMENT: U is for uniforms (uniformity?)

U is for uniforms.

Most public school students in the United States do not wear uniforms. However, a common topic for teaching persuasive essay writing is, “Should students be required to wear uniforms to school?”  The majority of students I have seen write on this topic have the opinion that no, students shouldn’t be required to wear them. School uniforms may promote school pride and unity, but the idea goes against a basic value in our society: individualism.

I used to be a strong critic of uniforms for public school students, but I am leaning toward being a proponent of some kind of uniform – or at least some uniformity of dress for students.

This graph shows that the number of schools requiring students to wear uniforms has increased, but only slightly.
This graph shows that the number of schools requiring students to wear uniforms has increased, but only slightly. How many of these are public schools?

I understand the arguments against uniforms…they take away individuality, they lack style, you’d need to buy several of them to last through the week and they can’t be replaced by hand-me-downs.

However, one thing I’ve noticed in our culture of informality is that people’s manners tend to match their clothing. If you are dressed up to go to the opera, say, or a night out on the town, you would probably dress nicer than usual. If you are wearing nice clothes, you tend to have better manners while eating so you don’t soil your dress up clothes, and your behavior in the theatre or on a date is also affected.

I went to a private boarding high school in Arizona. There was a lot of dust in the air and it was the late 1960s. Most of the time, we students wore jeans or cut offs, T-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, etc. However, the rule then was that we had to dress up for dinner: boys were required to wear a nice shirt and dress pants (no tie or suit jacket necessary) and girls were expected to wear dresses or at the very least, dressy pants.  It may have seemed like an inconvenient rule at the time, but I came to realize that I liked it. It made dinner a little more special because we had to prepare for it by showering and wearing nice clothes. Our manners in the dining room improved, and it was a chance to wear my nicest clothes.

I think the same holds true with students today. If kids come to school with ripped, frayed jeans, or shirts that are soiled or too small, their behavior in some ways will match the clothes. I have worked as a substitute in schools were some kind of uniform dress was required and – maybe it was my imagination – the kids seemed a little better behaved. I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure studies have been done on this phenomenon.

By “uniforms”, do I mean this:uniformity in uniformsor this:
uniforms-optionsuniforms-diff colors?

I think the latter. Most of the time when I’ve seen uniforms in public schools, there is usually a polo shirt in a choice of colors, and pants (shorts in warm weather) or skirt (or jumper) that are either dark blue or tan. No jeans! Having a uniform policy that is somewhat flexible like this prevents costs going up when a company monopolizes the school uniform market. You can find polo shirts and plain dress pants and skirts just about anywhere. And the shoes?  That’s where I think kids should be able to wear whatever is comfortable and affordable.

Here are some more arguments for and against wearing uniforms at school:


uniforms-stylizeuniforms-pro and con

Hand-me-downs? ALL clothes that are in good shape can be hand-me-downs! Take it from me, the youngest of five children!

uniforms-pro&conIn the last chart, (from, I disagree with most of the “con” side.  Sure, uniforms cost money but so do all clothes! And with uniformity, there is less peer pressure to get the latest fashion or look “cool”. Polo shirts and plain pants are available at stores like Wal-Mart and Target, where affordable prices are the norm.

Uniforms don’t have to be uncomfortable. Polo shirts are not uncomfortable and if given a choice in style while conforming to the color rules, pants and skirts will be similar to what the child is used to wearing.

In the real world, people don’t all dress the same. “Real world”, meaning “out of school.” In the “real world” you don’t have 25 to 90 children in the same place at the same time. Besides, school is part of the real world. It is the real world that children inhabit on average 5 1/2 hours a day, five days a week, 9 months a year.

What I often see in school are kids wearing inappropriate clothing: skinny tops that don’t cover  little girls’ torsos so their belly buttons show, pants that are ripped, frayed, or too big, which to me denotes a lack of respect for oneself as well as the school. Kids, especially the young ones, may not be the best judges of what is appropriate to wear. That’s the parents’ job. Having a uniformity policy takes away the potential of conflict between parent and child over what to wear.

A school-wide incentive could even be implemented –  “No uniform day” – for a low number of disciplinary cases in the school.

I found an interesting map, showing the states that “allow” districts to make decisions regarding uniforms. This is from the web site

uniforms-states that allowThis may be curious especially to people in other countries, where uniforms are a given, not a debatable issue!

Uniforms are not going to solve the problems of bullying, peer pressure, and gang activity in school, but they may help alleviate these problems.

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Undulate (wavy/ripple)

Undulate (wavy/ripple) makes me think of

1.      The pahoehoe lava that dries in long rippling waves at Kilauea (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park)

2.      The long, smooth ripples on the lake, caused by the wake of passing boats, becoming gentler as time passes and they reach the shore

These ripples are caused by a boat that has already passed, as well as the wind which causes small areas of counter-currents.
These ripples are caused by a boat that has already passed, as well as the wind which causes small areas of counter-currents.

3.      The lap-lapping sound of waves on the shore of the lake, whether caused by boats or wind – it is a soothing sound

4.      Sunlight dancing on the tiny ripples of a lake in late afternoon


5.      The wavy lines on a piece of wood, made by a tree, each section unique – found in rustic built cabins where the smell of the wood still permeates the air

6.      Dreams: an image that comes closer and closer, then begins to fade away, each image like a long wave.

7.      Music based on dreams, a sound beginning soft, almost unperceivable, grows louder and louder, then fades away – like the sound of a train that approaches, passes, and fades away, the sound growing fainter and fainter

8.      Tall grasses blown by a gentle breeze; waving back and forth, or causing a ripple to travel over a prairie field

9.      Meditating: colors or abstract images that undulate across the consciousness that I see behind my closed eyelids

10.  A smooth dance – the dancer’s body undulating as it moves, the ripple of a flowing skirt or ribbons attached to the dancer’s costume

Traditional Peruvian dance, at a dinner show in Lima
Traditional Peruvian dance, at a dinner show in Lima

11.  The ripple of a layer clouds brightly colored by a sunrise

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????12. Intertwined snakes

These snakes in contrasting colors are the same species; the white one is a rare coloring, but it is not an albino.
These snakes in contrasting colors are the same species; the white one is a rare coloring, but it is not an albino.

I wish I had pictures of all of them, but although I have seen or heard each of them, I have no photographic record – they are imprints on my mind. Those that I have taken pictures of appear in this post.