SYW: Grammar, Genets, Sibs, & Alter Egos

Monday Melanie starts 2022 with the following Share Your World questions:

What frivolous, but annoying thing that people do be considered a sin (crime)?  
And how should violators be made to repent (be punished) for it?   

Confuse possessives with plurals by adding an apostrophe where it does not belong!!This is extremely common these days. Don’t they teach grammar in elementary school anymore or were these people asleep in class? It should be a crime, punishable by having to spend a whole day in a grammar class in which the attendees would write out many examples of both plurals and possessives, using all the rules for making plurals and possessives in the English language.

Cake’s is not a word, although the supermarket would have you think so! What belongs to the cake? Frosting? A message written on the top? No. They mean simply “more than one cake” which is a plural. The rule in this case is to add an “s” to the end of the word, NO APOSTROPHE! I have a dear friend that makes this mistake all the time and it drives me crazy!! But I don’t tell him about it because he would feel I am just lecturing him in my teacher mode! At the very least, he’d be embarrassed and since I only see his writing in emails, I’m letting it slide. There is one common exception to this rule which confuses a lot of people: its and it’s. “Its” is the possessive. (Its paws, its timing, etc.) “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.” If it doesn’t make sense to substitute “it is” where you’ve written “it’s” in a sentence, then correct it by removing the apostrophe.

Imagination IN and impracticality and logic aside, if you could pick one animal to have as an exotic pet based solely on how cute and adorable it is, what would it be?

A genet. I had never heard of this species until I went on a safari trip in Tanzania, and at one of the lodges, the owners had genets (they left food out for them so the genets would hang around) who would crawl out onto the rafters and stare at the people below. They look like cats, which is probably why I like them so much, but they are not cats. However, they are so CUTE!!

A genet looks down on diners at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

Do you have any siblings?  If so, where do you rank in birth order?  And do you think either of these facts contributed to the person you became?

I am the youngest of 5. I have three older sisters and one older brother. I’m sure it contributed to the person I became, because I tended to get away with stuff more often than the others. And I was the rebel, or “black sheep” of the family, so I think I made my mother rethink all of her child-rearing methods that she had developed raising four other children before me. Letting me excuse myself from dinner because “we eat so late” and I wanted to watch a TV show during that time. (Not sitting with the family during dinner was always verboten!) And letting the cat stay with me in bed instead of making him sleep in the garage. Things like that, I was able to get away with. Still, I fought a lot with my mother, but not my dad – he was always calm and hated conflict. Then my siblings, one by one, went away to school, and I ended up with only my brother, or alone, living at home with my parents. I think that had an effect also. I loved one of my sisters the most, and always wanted to stay up until she got home from school so I could see her right away. It was hard when she went away, because she served as a buffer between my brother and me. My brother teased me mercilessly, and I wanted that sister at home to comfort me, to distract me with songs or games.

We all have things that make us happy, but what makes you deliriously, giddily, tail wagging-ly happy?

I wish it were my grandchildren, but I don’t have any. It is my cat that makes me the most happy, although I wouldn’t say “giddy” – I love to watch her antics, to play with her, to hear her purr when I stroke her. Speaking of wagging, did you know that cats wag their tails? People associate wagging with dogs, but my cat does wag her tail by flipping it back and forth when she is content. It’s almost an unconscious gesture, because if I pet her when she is almost asleep, her tail starts flipping.

Who could resist a face like this? This is my adorable fur baby Hazel.

If you had an alter ego, who or what would it be?  Describe some fun or interesting things about them!

I don’t know if my alter ego would be male or female. I guess I would want her/him to have the skills and personality characteristics that are the opposite of mine. My alter ego would be confident, organized, and a risk-taker. (S)he would do things I would never do, such as ziplining, hang gliding, going on archaeological digs, and white water rafting. (S)he would be athletic and agile (unlike me) and be an excellent photographer. (S)he’d have a blog, far more exciting than mine, about traveling all over the world. At home, (s)he would have an awesome job: graphic designing, travel consultant, linguist or anthropologist, famous novelist or painter, architect designing eco-friendly buildings. (S)he would get involved in environmental projects that would really make a difference in preserving species from extinction or mitigating the effects of climate change.

I guess my “alter ego” would be damn near perfect!! 🙂 😀

What are some hopes or accomplishments you’d like to see happen in 2022?
My number one priority is for the federal government to really get serious about mitigating climate change, and that the population in general become more aware so they can pollute less and love our planet more! I have many other hopes, but I’m afraid they are just pipe dreams: Trump and his cronies get convicted for corruption, lying under oath, and deception of the public. Everyone gets vaccinated against Covid-19 so no new variants have a chance to take hold and wreak havoc. And a personal accomplishment would be for me to waste less time, so that I have time for all the things I “don’t have time” to do! And that the exciting trips I have booked for this year don’t get cancelled!!

FPQ: Dream a Little Dream

Fandango’s Provocative Question #86 is about dreams:

What has been the strangest, weirdest dream that you can remember? What do you think triggered that dream?

I’ve had many wild dreams in my life! In periods of creativity, my dreams also become creative and I have been able to remember a few of them quite clearly. But the craziest one I ever had (that I remember) was when I was a kid – it was a recurring dream, which is why I still remember it.

My mother was worried – we were having a very dangerous weather phenomenon. It was raining clams! I looked out the window to see the clams falling from the sky. Just then, my brother appeared (outside) with a happy smile on his face. He had his arm around a gorilla the same height as he was, and the gorilla also had his arm around my brother’s shoulder. The gorilla was also smiling. We were elated – the gorilla would get us out of the danger of raining clams! And he did.

My brother had recently made friends with the gorilla. They really enjoyed each other’s company. I was glad he had such a valuable friend.

This a picture of my brother when he was a young man. I can’t find one of him with a crewcut and freckles all over his face!

What triggered it? I have no idea! Since it was a recurring dream, maybe it had something to do with my brother – he was always teasing me mercilessly. Perhaps I first dreamt it in the summer and there was a tornado warning. Then my mother would insist that every family member (including the dog and the cat) go down in the basement. Sometimes it was just a tornado watch, but whenever she saw black clouds overhead, she worried. The gorilla and the clams, though? Just random, I guess!

Free Gorilla Clipart - Clip Art Pictures - Graphics - Illustrations

FPQ: You Just Know

Every week, Fandango poses a “provocative question” (a question to make you think, but supposedly non-controversial). This week’s question is:

You’ve heard of extra sensory perception, right? You know, ESP. There are three forms of ESP.

  1. Telepathy — the transfer of information from one person to another without the use of sensory communication.
  2. Clairvoyance — the acquisition of information about places, people, or events without the use of normal sensory contact.
  3. Precognition — the acquisition of information about a future event that could not be anticipated through any known processes of inference.

So my question to you this week is:

Do you believe there is such a thing as ESP? Or is what some suggest to be ESP merely that there are people who are highly intuitive and are very good at reading people’s very subtle signals?

I do believe in it although I think there are people out there who fake it to cheat people. I would never go to one of those clairvoyants with (or without) a crystal ball. But I do think humans have a kind of tuition sometimes, perhaps inherited from our pre-human days that we suppressed once we had language and our brains got bigger. Something in the deep recesses of our mind that we generally have no use for. Animals use it all the time.

But it’s more than that. Some people do have the ability to anticipate happenings before they happen and without any clues about it. Perhaps certain individuals are more in tune with their subconscious mind or highly sensitive to the supernatural. I think it most often happens when it involves someone or something you care very much about. My single experience with precognitive ESP confirms my belief.

I was in a rocky marriage, living in northeastern Brazil. My husband taught at the local university. All my life, I had wanted at some point to have children. I had dreams about it – seeing myself talking or walking hand in hand with a girl. (I especially wanted a daughter.) But these were just dreams, with that sort of misty surrealism that dreams have, where you don’t really see the other people in the dream clearly, or things happen in them that cannot possibly happen in real life. Sleep is a time for your brain to rest and as it does that, I think it casts off all sorts of images and ideas that were swirling around in it and often puts things together in odd ways.

But my longing for a child led to my one ESP experience (unless you consider deja vu or out -of-body experiences to be ESP, which I don’t). One night I had a very vivid, clear dream. It was not dramatic, it was simple. But I knew where I was and who I was talking to.

I was sitting on a couch on the screened porch of my family’s summer home. I remember the couch – very firm, white faux leather, which had a bedspread thrown over it. Across the room from me was a toddler, a small boy rummaging in a box of plastic sandbox and lake toys. I called to him in Portuguese: “Jayme, vem cá.”

He stood up and turned around to look at me and I saw his face, clear as day. He had curly light brown hair, and one curl was particularly long and fell down over his forehead.

That was the entire dream! Just that simple scene. It was so realistic that when I woke up, I had goosebumps! I told my husband. He thought my dream was really cool and believed it too. We had discussed perhaps having a child, but he wanted to wait until we lived someplace with better health care facilities. His job at the university was only for two years.

That happened in 1980, five years before I gave birth to my one and only biological child. The summer home wasn’t in Brazil, it was in northern Wisconsin and everything in the scene was exactly as it was at the cottage at the time, even though I was living in a country and climate far away and different.

I forgot about the dream until I got pregnant. From the time I got pregnant, I knew I would have a boy because of that dream. I had an ultrasound at about 4 months and from the position of the fetus, the doctor was able to tell that it was a boy. (The image was fuzzy and the one thing I saw clearly was the backbone. But the doctor pointed out a dot on the screen and said, “That’s his penis.”) Before he told us, though, he asked us what we wanted.

“We want a girl, but we both think it will be a boy,” I said.

And it was. My son, at two years old, looked exactly like that little boy in the dream. The only thing I knew in 1980 was the name we would give to a child if it was a boy. Jayme was my husband’s grandfather, a doctor in Rio de Janeiro, whom everyone loved and respected, and we wanted to pay him homage.

I never had another vivid dream about a child. But that was what convinced me that occasionally, some people can see something in the future. I don’t think it is something they set out to do. It just happens. I am not an easy person to convince to believe in something I can’t see or prove. But I’ve heard other people’s stories of “seeing the future” or having a near-death experience, so I strongly believe that ESP, at least the precognition type, is absolutely real.

SoCS: Dream Is the Stuff of Songs & Snow


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is a weekly writing challenge hosted by blogger Linda G. Hill. There is a simple prompt or theme and you just write whatever comes into your head – no editing! Except typos. I rarely participate in Stream of Consciousness Saturday, but as I was reading other participants’ contributions, I decided to try it. When I read the prompt – “dream” – my mind immediately began thinking of song lyrics. Also vacations.

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream. Dream a little dream of me. Dre-e-e-eam, dream, dream, dream. Michigan seems like a dream to me now. All of these phrases from songs came into my head when I thought about dream. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just done a post for Song Lyrics Sunday and have listened to a lot of songs. I personally dream of taking a trip to somewhere warm, far from this frigid Midwestern November. Today would have been my ex-husband’s 70th birthday, but he died at 54, and our relationship seems like only a dream to me now. I read old journals and look at old pictures of us together and I can’t believe I ever loved that man and whether I did or not, I spent 20 years with him. Ironically, he was born and raised in a tropical country but hated the heat – and was always willing to go out and shovel snow! I, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, have had quite enough of snow and cold.

Michigan seems like a dream to me now – I don’t have many memories of Michigan but the sentiment is how I feel about the past. Past relationships, past destinations, they are all dreams to me now. I am still blogging about our trip to Europe last summer even though that too seems like a dream. It no longer seems real – but the pictures tell me it was. I enjoy immersing myself in those memories. It’s hard to imagine now that while we were there, Europe had a heat wave that to us Midwestern Americans felt like a normal summer, but the Europeans normally don’t have such hot weather. Hot weather – that too is a dream as I sense how cold my hands are typing this. My present is what I live every day and dreams are what enter my mind at night. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas – well, yes, but I never dream of a white November! Maybe after Christmas, a trip to somewhere warm might be nice! One can always dream!!


Looking out the window of a friend’s apartment on Nov. 11 – our Veteran’s Day snowstorm!

Fotunately, the snow itself is practically only a dream now: for a few days, nothing melted because of below freezing temperatures, but now, nearly a week later, only small patches of snow remain to remind us of our Veteran’s Day snowstorm!