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/HP: On Household Chores, Love & Marriage, Speaking One’s Mind and Happiness

Here are Roger and Melanie serving up some interesting questions this week in Share Your World Meets Harry Potter.

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Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions

  1. You have just been gifted a magic wand that specializes in completing household chores. You can request the completion of only two household chores. Which chores would you assign your wand to complete?
    Laundry and vacuuming/sweeping. We don’t usually cook anymore, and when we do, Dale enjoys being the “short-order cook.” Thanks to him, we eat omelettes every Saturday and sometimes pancakes on Sunday! And for some reason, I don’t mind cleaning up. I would rather tackle it alone – the only thing I don’t like is emptying the dishwasher!
  2. At the local Wizards-R-Us store there was a sale on handshake shockers, instant darkness pellets, and levitation pills. Which of these ‘party thrillers’ are you more likely to purchase?
    levitation pills – I am somewhat scared of the dark and handshake shockers aren’t my thing. Besides, no one is shaking hands these days! Levitating would be like flying, which would be cool. If I were walking and got really tired, I’d take a levitation pill and “fly” over the trees and bushes directly back home!
  3. In the alley behind Wizards-R-Us, there was a tradesman selling a Love Potion. The sales pitch was too much for you and you yielded and purchased one vial. What do you do with it?
    I would give it to my son. He needs love in his life!
  4. You are the Great Clearinghouse Winner of a new ‘good luck’ potion – Felix Felicis. It has to be used within the next thirty days or its potency becomes diminished. Do you use it? Do you give it to a friend in need?
    I like what Fandango* said, so I’m going to copy it: I’d go out and win the lottery! Then I would give some to a friend or others in need, and with the rest, I would travel the world!
    *Fandango, you do know that copying is the highest form of flattery, don’t you?

Melanie’s Mundane Muggle Questions:

  1. If everyone spoke their mind, would this world be a better or worse place?  Why?
    I think it would be a better world if people were honest, but such bluntness could hurt a lot of people. Not everything we think about should be voiced, but on the other hand, we should give voice to issues that are important and necessary to discuss, issues that too often people suppress because they don’t want to hear about them. Controversy isn’t necessarily bad and is sometimes necessary.
  2. Can achieving nothing make a person happy?
    A sense of achievement is what makes a person happy, I believe. When you accomplish something, something you did yourself, it boosts your self-esteem. So achieving nothing probably will not make a person happy. More likely a person who thinks or talks about “achieving nothing” is clinically depressed.
  3. How do you know if you love someone enough to marry them?
    That’s a great question and is asked all the time by teenagers in the throes of romance, but generally their parents don’t have an answer except, “you just know.” If you love yourself (you must if you want to have a healthy relationship with someone else) and are ready to recognize your inner gut feelings, you are probably going to know when you have found an enduring love. If you have any doubts, get those resolved before you marry someone (I’m speaking from personal experience here!), and if you can’t resolve those doubts, don’t marry that person.

    Love is not just passion; it is respect, it is companionability over the long term, and a recognition that the person you love also has faults. But passion is important too and probably the most pleasurable part of your relationship!
  4. GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always this is optional)

Please feel free to write about or share an image of something you’re grateful for!
I’m grateful for sunflowers.

FDDA: A Day In My Life

Today Fandango’s Dog Days of August theme is your daily routine.” Do you follow a daily routine? Many of us are creatures of habit. We have routines that we follow, whether it’s the time we get up each day or go to bed, what we do during the day, or how we spend our time. For some, it can be disruptive if our routines are interrupted. Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about your daily routine.

I love to write haiku – it’s the most fun kind of poetry to write. So I went a bit overboard writing it, but here’s my

PANDEMIC ROUTINE HAIKU

OMG! Will it
Never be over? Five months
And no end in sight!

My routine is thus:
Get up whenever I wake,
Weigh myself, brew tea.

Eat a banana,
And a piece of cheese, sip tea,*
On my screened back porch.

*I no longer drink coffee.

If hubby is home
We eat omelets and toast
On our screened back porch

If hubby plays golf
It’s cereal and yogurt
With fruit for breakfast.

Eventually,
I get dressed and brush my teeth,
Then find things to do.

Housework? Clean kitchen,
Maybe do laundry again,
Turn on computer.

Creativity:
Ways to combat the sameness –
Read, paint, blog, research

I might watch TV,
But not for long – I get tired.
Get up, get ready!

Take walks on campus
What are ducks and swans up to?
No cygnets this year.

Swans and ducks at West Lake

Meet friends walking too –
We discuss pets, pandemic:
End in September?

Reading is something
I love to do and I have
Read so many books!

Play scrabble online,
Write a blog for all to read,
Entertain myself.

Social media?
Facebook entertains also –
Enjoy the humor!

Cute cat videos,
I laugh at anti-Trump memes,
See doings of friends.

Listen to music,
Think about playing piano…
But I never do.

I can’t motivate myself to play, but I don’t want to give up my piano!

My husband returns –
Time for a nap! Then we check
Mail, e-mail, and texts.

Dinner delivered
To us on Styrofoam trays;
Cookies for dessert.

At night we watch news –
Rachel Maddow, Lawrence too:
Trump’s latest scandals.

Get a laugh watching
Late Night With Stephen Colbert –
Laugh so we don’t cry.

Selfish people won’t
Wear masks, claiming it’s their right
What about duty?

Five months of finding
Creative things to do and
Hoping it ends soon!

FPQ: Satisfaction

Fandango’s Provocative Question #76 is a very personal one, really. I always feel compelled to be as honest as possible. Here it is:

Are you satisfied with your life at the moment. If so, what is it that brings you the greatest satisfaction? If not, what might you do to achieve satisfaction in your life?

Sorry – I couldn’t resist including this. It’s what I always think of when I hear “satisfaction.”

I could answer this question easily without going into detail, but since you asked, I will take the risk of sounding like a whiny, privileged white person.

Five years ago I joined my husband in retirement. With decent income coming in from pensions and investments, we did not need to worry about money, although I continued to budget because I was used to doing it. We had several options for how to live going forward. We could:

  1. Just stay where we are and travel as much as possible.
  2. Become “snowbirds,” going to Arizona for the winter.
  3. Move to another country entirely. (my favorite option, actually!)

Those were the three options I had in mind, but Dale added another one:

4. Move into a retirement community which will take care of us but gobble up most of our income. Meaning, cutting back on travel until our 10-year annuity matures and gives us more income.

I resisted this idea as long as possible. Both of us have arthritic knees so staying in our 2-story home with laundry machines and Dale’s “office” in the basement was become untenable. I suggested we start looking to sell our house and move into a condo. That way, we could stay in the same town, with our kids nearby, and we’d get rid of an awful lot of stuff.

But then our daughter and her new husband decided they wanted to rent our house and buy it eventually.

To prepare for that, I stepped up pressuring Dale to make a decision on one of the before-mentioned options. My sister and brother-in-law, meanwhile, had moved to a nice retirement community in Arlington Heights, and after looking at several places like it, we chose the same community. What an advantage, having my sister nearby! However, I had to give up the fight to move into a condo in order to be able to travel.

Don’t get me wrong – I like it here very much. Those of you who read my blog have seen many photos that I post of the nature on campus. The grounds are beautiful. But in order to move here, we had to take out two loans so we literally have very little in our account at the end of each month.

Which brings me back to Fandango’s original question. The thing I love and desire more than anything else in the world is to travel, while I still can. I’m still relatively young and able-bodied. My husband, while several years older, is also in pretty good shape after recovering from quadruple bypass surgery last year. We try to exercise as many times a week as possible, which is now mostly walking.

So, am I satisfied with my life? Yes and no. I haven’t traveled outside this country for a little under a year now, and I’m chomping on the bit to do so. But now with the pandemic and such poor handling of it on the part of our federal government, we can’t go to most to Europe, and probably would be required to spend two weeks in quarantine in order to go to other places we’d like to go. And I’m a bit scared of taking a road trip because Illinois is one of the best states right now in terms of getting Covid under control (thank you, Gov. Pritzker!). Cases are rising rapidly in many states, including at least one that borders Illinois.

So most likely, we wouldn’t be traveling now anyway. And really, I’m grateful now to be living here. Our meals are delivered to our door each day, everyone has been tested for Covid-19 and not a single resident tested positive, which is better than any of the other retirement communities/nursing homes/senior living facilities in this area, and we have a lovely campus with landscaped grounds and two lakes. I find much joy in walking over to West Lake to watch the swans, geese, and duck families, and I always hope to see the heron than drops by almost every day. So, yes, I am satisfied now with our living situation.

What brings me the most satisfaction right now is being able to pursue my interests without having to worry about time and money, spend time in nature, and being able to see the kids and their cats and spend time with part of my family.

The unsatisfied part of me desires two things: travel (which is impossible right now) and a grandchild. Neither our daughter & son-in-law nor our son plan to have kids.

I am also unsatisfied with myself, a lifelong struggle. I’m very critical of myself and I hate that I don’t do all the things I want and should, that is, to take advantage of the opportunities I have right now. I waste too much time playing games on my smart phone.

But I can’t have everything and I know that I am lucky to have a good husband, family nearby, and money for the future. If I have the patience to wait – wait for Covid-19 to go away, wait for the sale of our house, and wait for more income to travel – I will have a very satisfying life. So I am basically satisfied with my life, but right now I’m bored and restless – like millions of other people right now!

Also, I want the fitness center to reopen because I need to lose some weight!

See the source image

FPQ #71: Act Your Age…

FPQ

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is again a question with multiple sub-questions:

How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?

*If you’re uncomfortable revealing your actual age, maybe you can just say something like, “I’m in my twenties.” Or fifties. Or “I’m a senior citizen.”
getting older-music

I don’t mind revealing my age – I will turn 68 next week.  I have never felt my age until recently, and until recently, people would guess me to be younger than I am. I let my co-workers (in teaching, all were younger than me) think I was younger. That’s why it’s strange in a way to be living in a senior retirement community. We moved here primarily because of my husband, who is eight years older than I am. He was sick of maintaining a house, especially one that was close to 100 years old – something was always needing to be fixed or renovated. For me, it was the stairs – I have bad knees and it had become increasingly difficult to live in a 2-story + basement house. The washer & dryer were in the basement, but I spent a lot of time in my “office” on the 2nd floor. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to move into a condo somewhere near where we used to live.
getting older-friend

I say I never felt my age until recently because my body has been reminding me of my age. I have a heart monitor for my congestive heart condition and, as I said, bad knees. I have fallen quite often and my knees have gotten arthritic. I still try to keep active, because I know that if I don’t, my body will deteriorate faster now than when I was younger. The other day, Dale cleaned up our bikes and pumped air into the tires. Then he wanted to go for a spin around the campus. Just trying to get my leg over the middle bar was difficult! (I don’t have the classic “girls’ bike” – the bar is not as high as on a men’s bike; it’s halfway in between.) I still make an effort to walk every day and if possible, two or more miles.
getting older-dumb

These days I have to watch my salt and fat content. If I don’t, my body reminds me of it! I can no longer drink coffee and I only very rarely eat fast food.

Acting my age is something I have never done! Remember that stupid teasing phrase, “Act your age, not your IQ”? When I was young enough to say that or be teased with it, I probably did act my age! But now… what does it mean to be 68? How much longer have I got? I don’t think about it much. But it’s true that “70 is the new 50.” People live longer these days and becoming a senior citizen and retiring doesn’t mean your life is over. Retirement for me created opportunities – to attend multiple book groups at the library, attend classes in writing, art, and international/political affairs, travel at any time of the  year.

I don’t have to get up early most of the time. As a retiree, I have filled my days with activities and pleasurable pursuits. (I now understand why retired people tend to be busier than working people!) I love to travel more than anything else, but I’m not ready to take cruises all the time where I never have to get exercise or even get off the ship. I prefer tours that require tramping around cities or nature areas.

I still like the things I liked when I was 30 or 40. My husband and I both like to act silly sometimes – well, more than sometimes – A LOT. The good thing about living in a senior community is meeting people older than me that still live active lives. When I talk to people here, I forget about their age. (Everyone here considers me a “youngster!”) They like the same things, do the same sorts of things, enjoy life the same way I do. Many of them get excited about hearing Beatles songs! So what exactly is “acting my age?” I have no idea – I just act the way I have been.  I don’t think about death being any more imminent than it was before.
getting older-fun

However, there are some things that I feel an urgency to do now that I’m getting older. Keeping records of our investments, writing down for our kids the wishes we have regarding our death, and finishing long term “legacy” projects – all these are important to do as soon as possible, but being the procrastinator that I am, they are far from being completed. We do have a will or should I say, a trust, that has been drawn up and is kept in a place that’s easy to find. But I guess that’s what it means not to act my age – to take for granted that I have plenty of time to do all the things that I believe must be done.

getting older-50

SYW: On Broken Hearts, Cellphones, Typing Books, Snakes and Virtual Choirs

It’s Monday! Time for Melanie’s Share Your World!

QUESTIONS:
What can you break even if you don’t touch it? (yes there is a real answer to this. I’ll reveal it in the next week sometime. Still, answer how you would like – no right or wrong answer)
A heart. All it takes is a “Dear John” letter! Or nowadays, just a text saying it’s over. 

What’s the most useful thing you own?

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My husband, Dale, is very useful.

The first thing that comes into my head is “my husband.” He’s very useful and I don’t know what I would do without him. But I don’t “own” him.

So I guess I will say my cellphone. Cellphones have become indispensable, because they do so many things that we’ve come to depend on. If something happens to me, I can call someone for help. If I remember something I wanted to tell someone, I can just send them a text, so that they can read the message and answer at their leisure. That way I don’t have to write myself a note to remind me of what I need to tell them. If I want to listen to music, I can go onto YouTube on my phone. When I exercise in the fitness center, I have a dance workout playlist on my phone to keep me going. When I am out for a walk, and I see something photograph-worthy, I can use the camera in my phone – not necessarily the best photo, but I can at least have a photo of that thing.  And sometimes the photos are high quality! If it’s a flower or plant I want to identify, I just go on my Plant Snap app on my phone. I also can go on Facebook to find out what people are talking about. There are a lot of legitimate criticisms of Facebook, but personally, I love it! It really helps me stay connected to people, especially now.

samsung galaxy s7
I’ve never felt the need to update my Samsung Galaxy S7.

When I ask Dale something like, “What’s the weather supposed to be tomorrow?” he answers, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a little device we can use to find things out?” He’s telling me, in other words, look it up on your phone!  Sometimes I have a burning desire to find out something, such as how many coronavirus cases there are in Brazil, whether all swan eggs hatch on the same day, or who were the pharaohs in ancient Egypt’s 18th dynasty. You know, important stuff like that even if totally irrelevant to what is happening at the moment! If I’m bored, I have my cellphone I can play games on. I like word games like Wordscapes, Word Stacks, and Words with Friends. I also have jigsaw puzzles, Spider Solitaire and Sudoko. (I could even read my Kindle books on my phone if I wanted to, but I prefer reading on my tablet.) So there’s plenty to keep me occupied – IF my cellphone has enough charge and I can access a charger if necessary!

Finally, my phone has become extra important in this pandemic era. I can attend book groups at the library, church services and coffee hour afterwards, celebrate family members’ birthdays and other get togethers by using Zoom! I don’t feel so isolated when I can at least “see” my family and friends in a long-distance meeting.

(Even so, if all else fails, I always carry a couple of pens and a small pad of paper, just in case I forgot my cellphone or it needs charging. That way I can at least doodle or draw something I see nearby.)

Come to think of it, WHERE did I leave my phone? It probably needs a charge…

What’s The Silliest Reason You’ve Ever Gotten Into A Fight With Someone Over?
I borrowed a typing book (yes, this was in the time when we used typewriters!) from a co-worker. I noticed a lot of scribbling in it, but I thought, who cares. So when I wanted to give the book back, she wasn’t at work, so I left it on her desk. The next time I saw her was in the elevator. She seemed really crabby. I said, “Did you get the typing book back?”
She answered very angrily, “It’s written in.” Written in? Is she talking about the scribbles that were already there?  I said, “That scribbling was already in there.” She said nothing, so I tried to make a joke. “Maybe your little sister or brother got hold of it and scribbled in it.”  She wasn’t amused, but said, “I don’t have a little sister or brother.” Then she exited the elevator very abruptly and walked quickly back to her cubicle. She never talked to me again. Fortunately, she wasn’t more than a friendly acquaintance in the first place, so no loss! Still, it irked me for a long time that she accused me of scribbling in her typing book, when she must have known it was there already.

I’m sure I could come up with a better story than this if I didn’t have such a bad memory. The strange thing is that I even remember this particular incident. It was so unimportant, but somehow it got stamped in my memory!

If You Were A Snake, How Long Would You Want To Be? No, size does not matter.
I’ve always wanted to know what it would be like to slither. So I’d like to be long enough to really experience slithering…through grass, across sand, maybe even in water, or onto a big rock to sun myself.snake
By the way, I would be a harmless grass snake, like the one pictured here. I would want people to like me!

Gratitude and/or uplifting? Please share. We can all use some of those.

The other day, I wrote a post for Fandango’s Who Won the Week challenge about virtual choirs and how I find them uplifting. Their singing makes me grateful for the basic goodness of people.

 

Note: Photos of Samsung Galaxy S7 and snake are courtesy of Google Images.

LAPC: On the Home Front

Lens-Artists’ theme for this week’s photo challenge, in these pandemic times, is At Home.

Here in our quarantined community, we do get out and walk around the campus, but these photos have been taken within the last month inside our house.

In an effort to entertain us, the activities directors at our senior community are airing videos on our close-captioned TV stations. This was one of them – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony!
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We do spend most of our time in the room with the TV these days, because it’s also where our computers are and where all my art supplies are. Sometimes when we are watching the news, I’ll just listen to the news while drawing. Here’s a recent drawing – I’d been wanting to do a swan on black paper.
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Here’s my husband, Dale with our cat, Hazel, sitting on the couch watching something on TV the day after the symphony.
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Last fall a friend gave me a bagful of daffodil bulbs. I had too many to plant in one spot, so I did an experiment, planting some on the east side of the house, some in front (which gets little sun), a few in a pot on the back patio, and a few in a raised bed of mulch with lots of pine needles. Obviously, the ones on the east side of the house bloomed first.
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Next, one daffodil bloomed in the patio pot. But a late snowfall last week knocked it over!
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Fortunately, the snow melted quickly and it popped right up again! None of the other daffodils have bloomed – just the leaves have come up!

Since we spend so much in the room with our electronic entertainment, here’s another view of that room – which, like many of my interior photos, has my cat in it!
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The only plants I have inside are a perennial geranium, and an orchid plant. The orchid has been blooming for two months – recently half the blooms fell off, but there are five left. The geranium and the orchid sit on the window sill over my kitchen sink.
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A few days ago, I was taking photos of my closet for another photo challenge, Becky’s April Squares, and who did I find in there? Hazel, of course! I think when she jumps on a shelf in the closet, it probably means she doesn’t want humans around. Her look is one of surprise, annoyance, or both!
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She likes that we are home a lot these days, but there’s such a thing as too much togetherness!

In this photo, she’s perched on the back of a chair on our screened porch. She loves being out there, for the fresh air and to watch the squirrels and birds! This was another late snowy day!  Since taking this photo, I’ve moved these all-weather chairs outside on the patio, since recently Dale bought a little “bistro” table for the porch at Costco. I’m hoping it will soon be warm enough to sit out there and read or eat lunch.
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We are fortunate that a walk around the entire campus of our community is one mile, so we do walk outside every day that the weather is decent and usually do two rounds. That is when we have a chance to see our friends and neighbors that we miss seeing a lot more often! It also gives us a chance to watch the progress of the swans. The other day, the female “Duchess” (as she’s been named by a majority of interested residents) was off her nest completely. Five eggs! They should be hatching in mid-May, and probably several of our resident ducks will be venturing out with their little ones too!
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So we have plenty of space to live out this quarantine without it being too onerous. I feel sorry for friends who live alone! We have our meals delivered to our door and here’s the most alarming thing – the amount of Styrofoam we are accumulating! A fellow environmentally-conscious resident has found a place that recycles it (which is rare), so we are now collecting the containers instead of throwing them away. I suppose she’ll take them to the recycler when quarantine is over – hopefully the end of May!
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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).

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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.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
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.

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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!
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The future for an artist is an empty canvas.
20200212_001230Nature is a good place to look for the promise of the future.

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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…

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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!

 

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).

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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