FDDA #31: September

Fandango’s last theme for his Dog Days of August is your plans for September are.” Do you have any? If so, what are they? They can be anything, from posting more (or less) frequently on your blog, taking a trip, learning a new skill, getting married, engaged, or divorced, getting more exercise? Or are you just going to play it by ear? Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about your plans for September.

I don’t have any specific plans for September except to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Due to Covid-19, I don’t have much of a choice. But my husband and I are going to go out more: We have a day trip planned for this Thursday to go to the western suburbs to see some kitschy things I found out about in the newspaper. (Stay tuned! I hope to post pictures!) We can’t stay overnight anywhere, unless we don’t mind being quarantined for 14 days afterward (yes, I do mind!).

Another excursion we will be doing perhaps next week is to the Chicago Art Institute. The parking is a bitch and we don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation so…we’ll just have to pay for parking. I’m a member so there’s no admission fee. Right now there are two very different exhibits I want to see: special exhibit on El Greco and another on an artist from Mozambique with really wild, colorful art.

I also will make plans for a future trip abroad. If I book a tour before the end of September, the company I’m planning to use (Overseas Adventure Travel – I strongly recommend them!) will give us a couple of discounts. So I will be spending the next couple of weeks perusing their catalogs. That will be fun!!

Other than that, it’s the same-old same-old, doing the things I’ve been doing to wile away my time for the past several months: reading, blogging, exercising, working on photo books of past trips, artwork.

As the election approaches, I hope to get involved in some get-out-the-vote initiative.

FDDA: Quotes

I don’t generally search out quotes, but today Fandango’s Dog Days of August is asking to share our favorite quote. So I looked in my old Pinterest account (which still exists, although I never add to it anymore) and found these gems. These are all meaningful to me and precepts I try to live by.

FDDA 22: I Write Because I Must

Faandango’s Dog Days of August 22 prompt is: Why writing matters to you.

Why do I write? I always have and probably always will. I blog, I write a journal (although far from daily), I write poems, essays, and autobiographical pieces mostly.

When I hear something about Trump that is particularly egregious, I will expound on the topic in order to get out my feelings and frustrations. These rants are part of my journaling, but sometimes I can develop them into decent essays to use for my “public” writing – either my blog or in my writing group. I have even written letters to the editor to be printed in our local newspaper.

When I am pondering a big or serious problem, I write to organize my thoughts. Sometimes this helps me come up with a solution.

I write in order to remember things (and almost forgot that I intended to write “I write in order to remember things” just now!). I have a poor memory and writing things down makes meaning for me, fixes the information in my mind. Sometimes people will see me taking notes at a lecture and ask me why I do it – I do it to remember it! But not only that, I also write to keep me from getting distracted.

In other words, I write to focus my thoughts.

Writing has always come easily to me and I love to do it. I’ve been writing stories and narratives since I was a kid. Once I learned to write and spell, I began writing coherently (but even before that, I wrote random letters because I liked it). I usually illustrated what I wrote, because I also like to draw. I dreamed of being a famous author one day. That never happened, but it’s okay – it doesn’t matter anymore. Although I am working on a book about my ancestors, I have put it aside after writing six chapters but vow I will get back to it.

Writing is something I’m good at. I write because I must.

I love words and language and I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling!!

Reading is important too – reading helps a writer write better. I do a lot of reading now, but I didn’t when I was younger, because I got distracted easily. Certain writing styles inspire me and if I read a lot of books by the same author, I start imitating their style by injecting it into my writing.

Nowadays, I seldom write longhand – typing is infinitely easier and since word processing was invented, it’s so much easier to edit. If I don’t have access to a computer, then I will write longhand – such as when we are on an overseas trip. A notebook is one of the first things that I pack! I endeavor to write a journal every night when we are back from sightseeing, which lasts a week if I really persevere, less than that if I’m too tired. Plus my handwriting is deteriorating as I get older.

Now I usually write a few things during my travels, but mostly use my photos to help me remember what happened and when, and then I write about it when I’m back home. An example of this is my travel journal and blogging, notably my Journey to Egypt posts. It helps me relive the experience, which is even more important now that I cannot travel due to the pandemic.

Writing ties into almost everything else I love to do – reading, photography, drawing, making scrapbooks (nowadays these are photo books that I create online). Sometimes I am inspired to write a book review, and have been known to keep a food & weight journal. I would write inspirational things to keep me motivated on my “weight loss journey.”

Writing is part of who I am. That’s why writing matters to me.

45 Best Resume Tips & Tricks (Writing Advice & Samples)

All pictures downloaded from Google Images.

FDDA: Him 1

Fandango’s Dog Days of August continues with today’s theme: “your first love.”

It was 1964. The Beatles had just come to America. I was in 6th grade and I sat behind Steve in school. Steve was nice to me and traded Beatles cards with me. He had a huge collection of Beatles cards! I didn’t because the cards usually came in a pack of gum, and I didn’t chew gum – it wasn’t allowed in school nor at home.

However, I did manage to acquire a few cards – mainly my friends’ duplicates – and it was enough for Steve to notice me.

Actually, Steve had already noticed me. Whenever I dropped something on the floor, he was quick to pick it up and hand it to me. I started doing the same for him, which made him smile. He would sometimes tell me dumb jokes or what he thought of that day’s math homework. When the teacher had volunteers write a symbol on the board which would represent a number in our “new numbering system,” his was chosen, but mine wasn’t because the teacher said it was too hard to write fast. Steve encouraged me, telling me to “try again” but alas – none of my invented symbols were chosen.

I had the biggest crush on him because no boy had ever really been nice to me before.

Sometimes Steve would pass me a note.

My best friend Gloria had a crush on another boy named Steve in our class, so we used to call them “Him 1” (my Steve) and “Him 2” (her Steve) so that no one would know who we were talking about. But of course, girls have a way of finding out who likes who and a girl in my class found out about my Steve and decided to tell him at recess that I liked him.

She waited until the group of boys he was in was nearby, and she called out to him, “Hey, Steve!” He looked over at her and she began to tell him, “Hey, Steve, Katy– ” That was as far as she got, because the other girl she was with thought it was better to keep it a secret from him that I liked him. So she interrupted and said, “Katy is mad at you because of something you said to her.”

I had no idea this had happened, so I couldn’t understand his change in attitude toward me. When he dropped a pencil later that day, and I leaned over to get it, he grabbed it himself and didn’t even look at me. He didn’t ask me if I wanted to see the new Beatles cards he’d gotten (I knew he had gotten them because he was showing them off to other boys) whereas before he always showed me his new cards. He wasn’t overtly hostile, but he tried very hard to ignore me from then on.

On the way home a few days later, I told Gloria that “Him 1” was acting very strangely toward me. The next day, through the girl gossip grapevine, she found out the whole story and told me what had happened.

So that was the end of our “relationship” (if you could call it that). I didn’t get over him right away, though. When I walked downtown with my friends to see the Beatles movie that summer, we passed right by his house and I looked at it with a mixture of affection and sadness. I wanted him to come outside right then so I could talk to him, but he didn’t.

The next year we went to junior high, and Steve was in some of my classes again. He had gotten over his disappointment and once more acted very friendly toward me. I could have taken his hints but instead I ignored him, which wasn’t hard because we didn’t sit near each other. Anyway, I took the easy way out because I was too shy to do anything about his overtures toward me, and eventually he lost interest.

Images courtesy of Google Images.

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!

FDDA: I Scream…

Fandango has a special challenge for the month of August called Fandango’s Dog Days of August. Every day this month, he posts a theme to get our creative juices flowing! Today’s topic is “favorite food.” I know I’ve written about this before, but I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to really extrapolate about my favorite food, which is…

ice cream!

My favorite food is ice cream. It’s part of why summer is my favorite season. I actually have more than one favorite food – I could name a favorite in each food category but right now I’m staying with ice cream.

This ice cream dessert is called “schaum torte” – the ice cream sits on a meringue, and there’s both hot chocolate sauce and strawberries to put on top.

My favorite flavor of ice cream is peppermint. The problem (if you can call it that!) is that peppermint is often associated with Christmas, so it’s sometimes hard to find peppermint ice cream in the summer. I sometimes eat ice cream in the winter, but not very often.  Ideally, the peppermint ice cream should have hot fudge sauce on top. Skip the cherry and whipped cream, just hot fudge sauce please!  And then, if available, I like to put some kind of embellishment on top, such as sprinkles, m&m’s, little bits of brownie – in fact, if the ice cream is ON TOP of a brownie, that’s even better! Because next to ice cream, brownies are my favorite dessert! 

We used to have a restaurant in our area, called Baker’s Square, that specialized in pie.

It's been a slice: Patrons bid farewell to La Grange Bakers Square ...

But on their menu, they had brownie with ice cream on top listed in their dessert menu.  So I would ask for that – I didn’t really expect peppermint ice cream, vanilla was okay – and would ask for fudge sauce on top if possible.  When the waitress brought it to the table, it was really yummy because the brownie was WARM, as if it had just come out of the oven! Too bad they closed their restaurants around here, because nowhere else serves brownie with ice cream on top quite the way they did.

But I digress…back to ice cream!  While I do prefer peppermint, I like a lot of other flavors, too – chocolate, coffee, fudge swirl, mint with chocolate chips, you name it. One thing I do NOT like in ice cream is peanuts or peanut butter! I hate peanuts and I don’t like peanut butter used as a sweet – save it for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

I also find sorbet very refreshing in the summer, as well as frozen yogurt. These are usually considered “healthier” options – less calories, anyway – than regular ice cream. Anyway, I lump all three together as “ice cream” when referring to my favorite food.

Ralphs - Halo Top Mint Chocolate Chip Light Ice Cream, 1 pt
This entire pint is only 330 calories!

There is a relatively new brand of ice cream called Halo Top, which is sold in pints with the number of calories shown on the side in large numerals. So if it says “360” (but some are lower than that), that’s 360 calories for the entire pint! Of course, I never eat it all at once so I know the calories aren’t too high. Admittedly, Halo Top is not as good as Ben & Jerry’s, but that’s something I have sometimes been willing to sacrifice in order to “have my ice cream and eat it too!”

Here at our senior community, when we were eating in the dining room, ice cream was always one of the dessert options, and they often had several flavors. When the waiter would come by to tell us about the desserts, all conversation ceased as we listened to the ice cream flavor choices! Occasionally they would have one of two very popular options – Roadrunner Raspberry or Peppermint Bark Moose Tracks (the moose tracks being chunks of chocolate mixed in). I don’t know how prevalent this last flavor would be in the summer – we moved here in the middle of August last year, so my 6 months of eating in the dining room (until the pandemic hit and we had to lock down) hasn’t been enough to know if peppermint bark moose tracks is strictly a winter flavor. Anyway, ice cream is rarely a choice of dessert now that our food is being delivered to our house, and when it is offered, it’s always vanilla.

Raspberry Roadrunner (it’s made by Hershey’s) is also a delicious flavor and I wish I had real hot fudge sauce to put on it. Sometimes it’s available for purchase at our Mini Mart, which is still open on weekdays.

The best hot fudge sauce was made at a place that had a restaurant, bar, sweet shop and boat dock, called Bosacki’s, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. 

Bosacki\'s Boat house, Minocqua Wi, Dining Boat Rentals

We had a cottage about five miles from there and I worked there one summer (in the kitchen), so their fudge and hot fudge sauce was a real treat – they would give you the ice cream in a bowl and serve it with a tiny pitcher of freshly-made hot fudge sauce! It was their “secret recipe” – also used in making their delicious fudge – so when they went out of business, that flavor experience was lost to me forever! However, one of the Bosacki siblings, Cathy, opened her own sweet shop where she sold the famous fudge, as well as jars of fudge sauce, but since we sold our cottage, I never go up there anymore.

But again, back to ice cream! Ice cream is a wonderful treat to have when we are traveling, because other countries have different flavors and after an exhausting day of sightseeing, it’s just the thing to recharge my energy!

Ice cream flavors at a shop in Mont St-Michel, France

In 2010, Dale and I went to Spain for a month under a study abroad program run by a local community college. We spent the mornings in Spanish classes and in the afternoon, we either had group sightseeing trips, or we explored on our own. We stayed at a dorm near downtown Madrid, so we walked everywhere. It didn’t seem like a long walk to the Prado and Reina Sofia art museums, for example, and en route we would cross plazas surrounded by colonial buildings and traverse narrow alleys, so there was always something to see. Being summer, the temperature in Madrid was always hot so people didn’t go out in the middle of the day – that’s siesta time, so we usually would wait until mid afternoon to go exploring.  To this day, if I were to go to Madrid, I would know exactly how to find the gelato place on the Gran Via! After walking around for hours, we’d be on our way back to the dorm and at some point I would be so exhausted, I couldn’t go a step further…and what do you know, that point was at the gelatería! After a soothing, cool ice cream sundae sitting outside under an umbrella, my energy would return and I could make it back home! (By the way, Madrid also has some excellent chocolaterías, where you get hot liquid chocolate to dip churros in, which are kind of like an elongated doughnut.)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! That’s what we used to say as kids in my family, and in late spring, we would begin hearing the tinkling of the ice cream truck as it meandered the residential streets of our neighborhood. Occasionally Mom or Dad would give us a quarter or fifty cents to buy something from the ice cream truck – what a treat! That incessant tinkling melody always takes me back to summertime in Janesville, Wisconsin. This is the one we always heard then:

But when I lived in Des Plaines, we would usually hear this one:

Here’s another saying: Whenever we were begging for a favor, we’d embellish our “please:”

Pretty please?
Pretty please with sugar on top?  
Which I changed to –
Pretty please with ice cream on top?
Pretty please with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top?
Pretty please with a hot fudge sundae covered with sprinkles and whipped cream?
Pretty please with a hot fudge sundae with sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry?
…and so on.

Well, I’d better end this because I just remembered that I have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Boom chocalatta! cookie core ice cream in the freezer! *Smack!* OHHHH, so good!