Monday Window: The Summer of Frida

The Summer of Frida is my theme for this week’s Monday Window hosted by Ludwig Keck. People in the Chicago area – especially in the suburbs of Glen Ellyn and Wheaton – are going gaga over Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who painted a variety of subjects reflecting her experience and Mexican culture, as well as many self-portraits meant to portray her own thoughts and feelings.

“Frida in New York” (1946), photo by Nicholas Muray

At the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the theatre on campus built a brand new gallery in 2018-19 specifically to house an exhibit of 26 Frida Kahlo works borrowed from the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City. After negotiating with the museum for the exhibit, they planned for it to take place in the summer of 2020.

We all know what happened in 2020 – Covid-19 – so the exhibit was postponed, and opened with great success and fanfare on June 5, 2021. It will run until early September.

Dale next to the “2021” that is painted in Mexican style at the museum. If you look carefully, you can see that the style and colors of the painting on the numeral 1 are different from the other digits – that’s because the original number was “2020” and they had to get a different artist to paint the number 1.

The exhibit is expected to draw large crowds, so one must buy tickets online with a specific date and time for entry. Already reservations have come in from 48 states and 6 other countries! Not wanting to lose the opportunity to capitalize on this event, the suburban communities of Glen Ellyn and its neighbor, Wheaton, have decorated their downtown areas with festive “papel picado” (colorful banners of crepe paper with designs cut in them), large pots of colorful flowers (Frida Kahlo loved flowers, which figure prominently in her work) and by painting images of the artist on the windows of stores and restaurants.

This downtown Wheaton street is blocked off to traffic and tents have been erected to have outside seating for several restaurants. We didn’t eat outside because the weather was too hot! Note the colorful flower pots and “papel picado” crepe paper banners.

I have a good friend who lives in Wheaton and is a Spanish professor at the college, so after we toured the exhibit, we went to downtown Wheaton for lunch, where we saw several of these windows.

My friend Sandy and her husband taking a selfie in front of one of the windows.
This pizzeria is across the street from the restaurant where we had lunch.

Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907 to a German father and a Mexican mother. Her father was a photographer, so there are many photos of Frida and her family. At school, she was studying the prerequisites for medical school but in 1926, on her way home from school, the bus she was riding in was in a serious accident when it collided with another vehicle.

Frida’s drawing of the accident

Frida was thrown to the ground and suffered serious injuries from which she never fully recovered, in spite of having several surgeries. While in a body cast, she began to paint on it, thus initiating her career as an artist.

A replica of one of Frida’s body casts that she painted on.

She broke her pelvic bone, and fractured her back in three places, the result of which she was almost always in pain, and was not able to birth a child.

At the age of 20, she married the famous muralist Diego Rivera, and spent time in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit, where he had commissions to paint murals. Diego said of Frida that she was a better painter than he was! Anyone who sees the beauty of her subjects, and the intricate details and symbolism in her paintings would tend to agree!

Coincidentally, there’s a new biography out by Celia Stahr, called Frida in America. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about Frida Kahlo and her work. Several of her works, mainly those painted while she lived in the United States, are featured in the book.

Just One Person From Around the World – Curitiba, Brazil

Cadyluck Leedy has a fun photo challenge to post just one person from around the world. She says:


I have stopped watching the news….I have dropped all social media, except for my blog, which I try to keep to positive vibes…. there are a lot of folks in the world, who are everyday folks, just trying to provide food and shelter and love……….they are trying to make a living…….keep their kids educated and basically just take care of their families, without an agenda.  Me too. I think there is more of us…. Just trying to live our lives….. So, I would like to take the time to focus on one person a week to bring us together, to celebrate ordinary folks.

Feel free to join Just One Person From Around the World  by creating your own post and then share your link in the comments!


In 2016, my husband, Dale, and I took a 3 1/2 week trip to Brazil, to visit friends and sightsee on our own. We spent the first week in the southern city of Curitiba, where we stayed with friends. The person who had prompted this trip was a 92-year-old woman, Dona Lais, whom I have known since 1971 when I stayed in her family’s house during a summer exchange program. We have written each other off and on, but for years she was always faithful in sending newsy letters during the holidays. She does not do that now, so when I realized she had turned 92, I thought I should visit her right away, because this visit could be – probably would be – the last. Here is Dona Lais playing the piano at her home in Curitiba. She had stopped playing the piano after many years, but she took it up again a few years ago, because, she says, it helps alleviate the arthritis in her fingers.

Love Me Do!

What would life be without friends? So my love on Feb. 26 for Paula’s month of lurve goes to…

Feb. 26: I love…friends! I have friends pretty much all over the U.S. and in Brazil because I have lived in several different places and in my high school there were students from all over. I have come to think of some of you as my blogger friends, reading your posts and commenting, and you doing the same! But I am dedicating the collage below to good friends, even though we have seen little or nothing of each other during this pandemic! All the more reason to appreciate them!

I also love the Beatles!

SYW: On Trust, Grudges, and Controlling Emotions

M is for Monday and also for Melanie, who has a new set of questions for Share Your World!

SHAREYOURWORLDSTARHANDS

QUESTIONS:

Is it necessary to trust someone you like?  (friends, acquaintances or co-workers with whom you have no familial ties)
I don’t know if I could like someone really untrustworthy. On the other hand, there are people who are likeable and friendly, but they can’t keep a secret. Everyone has flaws, and some people just can’t keep their mouths shut! If I had a friend or acquaintance like that, I wouldn’t confide in them about anything important. Especially at and about work – office gossip can cause serious trouble! At work, there were a lot of people that I liked – that is, I had no problem with them and they were fun to talk to in the lunch room or whatever – but not enough to really be friends with, to share confidences with.

Do you hold grudges?   What do you do when someone really irritates you?

How to manage a grudge

I don’t like to hold grudges but in fact I do, and it’s so stupid because I will probably never see any of those people again. The two people I have the strongest grudge against stabbed me in the back, and for no good reason. Other people I knew had similar complaints about these particular two individuals – they were not popular, but they were people I depended on for good reviews going forward in my career. I should stop being resentful toward them; after all, most other people didn’t like them anyway! The only other person I have a “grudge” against is a girl in high school who didn’t give me the recognition I thought she should have. This is silly really. No one remembers or cares anymore, but it hurt me that after the work I did for her, she didn’t even acknowledge it.

I don’t like to get really angry or irritated, because I tend to lose my temper and say or do something I later regret. After this happening several times when I was younger, I learned to wait before acting, so that I could calm down. I tend to back off nowadays when an argument gets really heated. Let’s keep the peace!! It’s hard though, when someone I am around a lot irritates me. I try to put that into perspective: I really care about this person, so I shouldn’t blow up at him or her. I wonder how people who live in the same household are getting along during this pandemic, having to be around family members they love, but are not used to spending most of their time with. There are things, though, that I can’t tolerate – rudeness or lack of consideration for others are the things that really get me angry.

What’s the most sensible thing you’ve heard someone say?
I hate this kind of question because I have a poor memory and can’t think of that most sensible thing! But I guess it’s what my husband always says, “Don’t let the little things get to you.” (I cleaned this up, using the word ‘things’ instead of the word he actually uses! 😉 )

Cliché, maybe, but it’s good advice.

Is crying a sign of weakness or strength in adults? 
I don’t think crying is a sign of weakness in anyone. I never have, and have never judged men, for example, for crying. Because they’ve been taught that’s not what manly men do, many men are ashamed to cry. But I think crying shows someone’s sensitivity – whether it be at the end of a movie with a poignant ending, when the person feels regret, or cries tears of happiness, or just feels homesickness. I like sensitive people. I am one, so I understand others who are sensitive.

People used to laugh at John Boehner (former Speaker of the House) because he would cry sometimes. I was no fan of Boehner, but I thought those judgmental people were mean. If you want to criticize someone, find a better reason than that!

Why crying at work is good for your health and career - Insider
Even presidents cry sometimes.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (Always Optional)

What small things were you grateful for this week?
We were told last week that we will be getting our Covid vaccinations in February – first dose on Feb. 5, the second in late February. I am grateful for that!

Square Up 5: Love and Friendship

Becky’s January Square photo challenge continues with the topic UP – either as a word or part of a word! My contribution for today is coUPles.

A loving couple: Dale (hubby) and Katy (me)
Loving couple enjoying a snack (including a cUP of hot chocolate!) in Amsterdam
A couple of pastors at our church’s sesquicentennial in 2019
Another loving couple (with 60 years of marriage!) on Valentine’s Day
A couple of friends
A couple of sisters

FPQ #98: I Just Want Peace

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week Fandango poses a provocative question for our consideration. Fandango says:

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest. What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Last week I asked for some suggestions for potential provocative questions and a few of you came through with some good ones. This one comes from Paula Light over at Light Motifs II. Her question revolves around interpersonal relationships. She asks…

When it comes to your friends, your spouse, your significant other, or members of your family, is it better to confront them about things they say or do that bother or upset you or is it better to try to ignore those things in order to maintain peace in your relationship?

It depends on several things: how close I am to that person or how well I know them; what the issue is (really important or trivial); my mood; the kind of person I’m confronting.

With my husband, I sometimes ignore whatever it is that bothers me (like leaving the toilet seat up) or if I am in a prickly mood, I will say something like, “I really wish you would…” But if it is really important, I will say something right away. Sometimes Dale is on the verge of saying something inappropriate (well, I know it’s inappropriate – Dale has no filter sometimes!), and I intervene to stop him, so he doesn’t offend the people he’s talking to or embarrass me (because he rarely gets embarrassed – that’s part of having no filter). What really gets me is when he picks on me to correct a habit and then HE starts doing the same thing! Like turning off lights. OK, I know our monthly payment to this senior community includes utilities, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about wasting electricity! I am always concerned about the environment, and don’t like to waste resources unnecessarily. He used to tell me to turn off the lights, but now he is the primary guilty one. I often just do it myself, because he does a lot for me, for us: laundry, dishes, and other things for the umpteenth time without complaining.

There are some people who are very sensitive, however. I have a friend that I really have to be careful what I say. I don’t criticize her ever. Sometimes she’ll be telling me something, and I say, “Oh, really?” – which is a common response to show interest – she takes it the wrong way, getting very defensive as if my response implied that I didn’t believe her.

I usually don’t confront family members, either – I’m too accommodating. My sister, for example, does something that is really annoying – during a concert or play, when I’m sitting next to her, I hear her murmuring to herself. She always does this, so I figure either she doesn’t realize she’s doing it or she can’t help it. I don’t know why she does this. Maybe it’s not that I’m accommodating, I’m just chicken! I don’t want to provoke or offend her, and I know I have little habits that offend other people too. Would I want them to confront me? I guess I would if it were serious, like if I had really bad body odor. I would want my friend or relative to tell me so I could do something about it.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t confront most people about stuff that annoys me. Sometimes I avoid the person, if it’s possible – it depends on my mood. Dale is the only one that I do confront now and then. After all, I have to live with him, and nowadays, while we’re stuck at home, we’re together almost all the time.

In fact, when other people confront my son, I defend him even when I know they are right. That is because I don’t want him to be provoked because he easily gets out of control and starts yelling and swearing. He is very sensitive, so if someone hurts him, he overreacts. Then the other person gets mad and starts yelling and swearing back. But I know that he is fundamentally a kind person.

I’m also very sensitive. When someone hurts me, I tend to withdraw and lick my wounds, but if it happens often, I will confront the person. Dale sometimes yells “SHUT UP!” at me when he could react less strongly, or he yells at me from across the room in a tone of annoyance when we are on vacation, in other words, in a situation where others in our tour group witness it – that is very embarrassing. I do talk to him about this, but only when we are alone in our room. I have gotten into the habit of reminding him about this BEFOREHAND – because I know it’s going to happen when he gets annoyed when I linger to look at something or take a photo.

I think I know why I am reluctant to confront people about the things that bug me – I just want PEACE and HARMONY among the people I’m with.

Love, Peace, and Harmony #thoughts , #ThinkPositive , #love, #Peace , # Harmony , #SPIRITUAL | Peace quotes, Harmony quotes, Humanity quotes

Why can’t we all just get along?

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!

SYWMaskIssa

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

LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

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