CFFC: White

Cee is doing a color series for her CFFC and this week’s color is white.

soap with bubbles
peonies
Swan
white lilies
Queen Anne’s lace macro
hydrangea macro
Flowering tree at Chicago Botanic Gardens
Waterfall – CBG
Snowy footprints
ceramics ready for decorating
leaves in frost
VW in Bethlehem
bride and groom
snakes
patio chairs in January

CFFC: Males & Females

More comparisons this week for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge! This week it’s males vs females. But I am going to make it females (first) vs males (second)!

Lions – I’m not lyin’! (Ngorongoro, Tanzania)

Maasai people – in a village

French people with dogs by the sea in Normandy

Mallard ducks

Ancient Egyptians: Queen Nefertari and King Ramses II

Selfies: Amsterdam

Two people making funny faces & wearing glasses: father and daughter

Artwork by American artist Charles White: Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep (1956); Harvest Talk (1953)

Children laughing: Chicago Botanic Garden

Truthful Tuesday: Money Makes the World Go ‘Round

PCGuyIV has posted a new question for Truthful Tuesday:

When it comes to giving money, do you view it as a thoughtful gift, or as a sign that the giver didn’t care enough to think about a “real” gift?

For years, my parents gave us money for Christmas and birthdays, and I looked forward to it! Usually I needed it to pay off credit cards, or for bills. So it was always welcome. My mother, however, would always give a wrapped gift also, which usually wasn’t fancy or expensive, so we’d “have something to open.”

I have followed basically the same custom with our kids which makes life much easier, instead of having to think of something cute or clever to give them. And this year, our daughter & son-in-law said all they want is money. I’m sure our son will appreciate a check also. But I will get them a few other things so that they’ll have “something to open” and also because Dec. 25 is our daughter’s birthday as well as Christmas! Since my husband and daughter (she’s really my stepdaughter) are Jewish, I always give them some little thing for Hanukkah also – they say socks and underwear are standard Hanukkah gifts! This year they are literally getting socks for Hanukkah!!

Although it makes life easier to write out a check (and as you said, I usually give more than a gift would be worth), I do like to shop, but I don’t want to buy just anything. I have been known to give a friend a gift when it’s not their birthday or Christmas because I happen to find something I know they will like. Sometimes a gift card is the solution when I don’t know what to get somebody. Gift cards are a bit of a cop-out but it’s better that they get an Amazon gift card to buy something they want than to go to the trouble of trying to find something I think they might like.

So with our kids I just follow my mother’s tradition, because they know they can rely on getting money from us but we always have a wrapped gift or two for them as well! I do usually get gift cards for my nieces and nephews, and this year especially, because mailing a gift card when you can’t get together because of Covid-19 just makes more sense!

Money Housewarming Gift, fold $1, $5 and $10 bills into flowers, fill the  bowl, cover with plastic wrap, wrap w… | Money gift, Creative money gifts,  Christmas money

And now for some related entertainment from the great musical Cabaret!

Countdown to Christmas

Tourmaline is hosting her first Countdown to Christmas challenge this year! Here are the themes:

I am admittedly lousy at keeping up with a daily challenge, so I am going to take this one by chunks, this time at least!

Dec. 1: Decorations
Many people here at our senior community put wreaths and other decorations on the doors and shelves outside their apartments. Last year when it was too cold to walk outside, I instead walked the halls of the apartment building and took lots of photos of decorations. I will probably do the same thing this year. Because of COVID-19, to get us into the holiday spirit, there is a door decorating contest, so there ought to be even more doors decorated this year!
Here are a few from last year. I especially like the ones that reflect different ethnic traditions.

I made this collage of some of the door wreaths.

Dec. 2: Family
I have a large family so we don’t all gather together. Mostly we get together with the kids and grandkids of my sister and brother-in-law, who live in this same community. Last Christmas, our daughter & son-in-law hosted the celebration at our old house (where they currently live).

Dec. 3: Traditions
We have several holiday traditions, such as putting up my collection of creches (Nativity scenes – I have quite a few), a Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments, and games – we always play some games! We also sing carols around a piano (if there is one). My sister has two Christmas carol games and we also love to play Charades and Categories. Last year our daughter and son-in-law had a new game for us, where everyone at the table takes turns unwrapping a large ball of cellophane full of little prizes. One person unwraps while another throws dice. When the dice come up as doubles, the person unwrapping has to stop and pass on the cellophane ball. It was frustrating and fun!

My brother-in-law unwraps while my friend Marcia rolls the dice. My sister Mary is closest to the camera.

I think we will have to forego the games this year, because we can’t get together – but maybe we can play Categories via Zoom!!

SYW: On ADHD, Nature, Talking, and a Dog

Monday means Melanie shares questions for Share Your World.

SYWaerosolworld

Questions:

Are you a clean or messy person?
I try to keep myself and things around me clean, but I am excessively messy. It doesn’t help that I have ADHD. I’m incorrigibly disorganized. Every once in awhile, I will discipline myself and unclutter a space because I can’t stand it anymore. But come to my house and you will definitely find a mess!

If I asked you to describe yourself in five words – what would they be?
enthusiastic, talkative (see below), adaptable, procrastinator, ADHD (using initials is only one word!)

Do you enjoy being out in nature?
I love it! It’s my favorite place to be! Without it during this Covid crisis, I would go crazy!

What could you spend all day talking about?
Wow, this is hard, because I love to talk! And if I spend the whole day talking, I would get into a variety of subjects, but my favorites are: politics, traveling, languages (including speaking in a couple of foreign ones! 🙂 ) Pretty much what you see me blog about is what I like to talk about.


Attitude of Gratitude:(OPTIONAL)

I am grateful that our granddog is home safe.

Two weeks ago our daughter & son-in-law got a dog to join their family of two humans and three cats. She is shy and scared – she may have been abused in her former home. Last week, our daughter was out walking her and she was startled by a kid coming up from behind her on a scooter. She dropped the leash and the dog – who was also scared of the scooter – took off. My husband went over and helped them look for her but no luck.

It’s hard to see her on this couch which is the same color as she is, but she hardly ever leaves it!
I hope to get better photos of her soon!

Next morning about 5:30 am, our son-in-law got a phone call – he was up already, getting ready for work. The dog, who had a tag with both of their cellphone numbers, had been found but she was injured. Apparently, her leash (still attached) got caught on something and she tried to get away, tearing the pads of her paws up pretty badly. He went to get her and they took her to the vet, who prescribed some ointment and said she was not to walk for 2 weeks! So they have to carry her to get her food, go outside, etc. It’s a good thing she is not very big!

Also, they gave her a new name. Her name had been Winter, which seemed odd – none of us could figure out why she’d be called that (she’s black with white paws and a white strip on her chest) – and they changed it to Lydia.

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

FOTD: Spring Bouquet

Yesterday our daughter & son-in-law drove over to give us dinner they had cooked. They are renting our old house and planning to buy it next year. Besides the meal (which was yummy!), I was delightfully surprised when they gave me a bouquet of spring flowers! My former neighbor is quite a horticulturalist and when she heard they were bringing us dinner, she gathered these flowers from her garden for us!

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pretty daffodils…

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…including some miniature daffodils as well as tulips…

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…and fragrant blue hyacinths!

Cee’s FOTD 4/28/20

Ailurophile in Mourning

I am an ailurophile, which is someone who loves cats! A few days ago, we lost one of our grandcats, our daughter’s geriatric and crotchety Siamese, Fu. In spite of her prickly personality and in general bad temper, I was so sad to hear of her passing! In her old age, it seemed to me that she had mellowed (although my daughter and son-in-law disagree!) – anyway, she allowed me to pet her a few times after they moved into our old house in Des Plaines.

So, here’s to Fu! May she rest in peace!
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She will be missed by her sisters, Gigi and Stevie Nix, and her little brother Freddie.