We’ve finally arrived at the end of this short month, which has seemed at least as long as any other month! This means the last day of Paula’s Month of Lurve challenge.
My final love is games!
Feb. 28: I love…to play games! It can get out of hand when I spend half a day playing games on my phone! But I prefer games I can play with others – good old-fashioned Scrabble or Scattergories or other board games. Games we used to play with each other as kids. I always think of my dad when talking about games, because there is no one who loved to play games more than he did! So I and my siblings grew up with a love for games. We had educational games that helped us learn things, like state capitals and countries of the world as well as the usual Parcheesi, etc. It was a way of sharing time together when we’ve exhausted all conversation topics – or to look forward to at the end of the day. One of my sisters lives in this senior community with her husband, and we often get together to play games. Most days there’s some kind of game going on in our community center.
Word games are my favorite, and I have several different ones on my phone: Words With Friends is my favorite, even though there are inconsistent rules about what words are acceptable, and they have some made up words. I like this game because it’s the only one I play with other people, and it’s like Scrabble. I also have Wordscape, Word Stacks, and Word Scroll.
Some games are good to keep one’s mind sharp, although I don’t believe that crap in ads about games that your IQ is based on whether you score well on their games! I added a few additional games recently, including one that hones geometry skills.
This challenge has been fun, but also challenging since I often had a hard time keeping up! Thanks, Paula, for hosting it!
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!
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!!
Here are Melanie’s questions this week for Share Your World. Nothing heavy or controversial this week!
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!
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.
Since I am retired, most things I spend time doing are things I like to do. I blog a lot about photography and travel, but not so much on my private pastimes.
A few years ago, the coloring book craze for adults was big. At the time, I acquired several coloring books, but put them aside for a few years. Now I am doing them again, mainly while “watching” the news – instead of looking at a talking head, I have fun with gel pens, markers and colored pencils! It softens the news for me: things will be okay if I can sit here and color. I prefer designs and patterns rather than actual scenes.
I also like to play word games on my cellphone (classic time waster!) I regularly do Wordscapes, Word Stacks and Words With Friends. I was playing so many Words With Friends games that I decided to limit who I play with to people I actually know.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Topical Tropical Trinity questions are about your interests, your passions, your hobbies and activities and about living your life in general.
Each weekly game will have a fixed ‘subject’ and ask you two basic questions – and one three fold question.
Today’s Questions for Topical Tropical Trinity are based on .. “Lockdown Limbo” Q.1 How long have you personally been in lockdown – when was the last times you were out and about and will you automatically return to your life post-lockdown?
My husband and I live in a senior community, which declared lockdown (stay-at-home) the week of March 17. I’m don’t remember if the governor declared it that week or the next week. We have a new routine which took a couple of weeks to adjust to. We get our news from staff and exercise classes on TV – we have 2 close-captioned TV channels here.
I’ve only been “out” (off campus) a couple of times since then. It doesn’t seem that long though. The last time I was somewhere other than here was not for a good reason – I found out my son had OD’d on pills due to depression, and had been in the hospital, but was released. We went to his residence and pounded on the door and yelled his name until he answered. We had to find out how he was. He was OK, but this stay-at-home order is making life very difficult for him. He suffers from depression, a diagnosis he’s had for many years, which has made it hard for him to work steadily. He last worked for Uber, but he doesn’t want to do that now and have “random people” in his car. So he’s stuck at home and is getting bored with watching movies. (Things are really bad for him when he says he’s sick of watching movies!)
When this is all over (if ever!), I will resume my former life but it won’t be terribly different. I will start doing meetings with friends live instead of on Zoom, and I’ll go back to my book clubs, church and choir. When we take walks around here, we see some of our friends doing the same, so we stop to chat while standing on opposite sides of the road. (One friend carries a large umbrella – he’s figured out that the length of the umbrella plus the length of his extended arm is the mandated 6 feet!)
Q.2 Are you happy with your progress so far and your ability to stay sane? [Alternative question – When did you pass Go on the Insane journey – how is that going for you?] Both Dale and I still have our wits about us. Dale spends a lot of his day watching Facebook videos. They are very eclectic musically, and sometimes very humorous. I read, write, blog, draw, do housework (Dale does that too), and try not to snack much – I’ve been able to keep my weight and have actually taken off a few pounds by eating only two normal sized meals a day, plus a reasonably healthy snack. We watch special programs the social directors provide – old movies, lectures, Cirque du Soleil, funny videos. We go out and walk around campus every day. Nature continues its march into spring, so I have a lot to delight me – green grass, flowers, and the mating of our resident swans. In May, I’ll start my garden. Since our community has most things we need – meals, exercise equipment, parties and other activities in “normal” times – we are not finding life so different. And the social directors have contests and games for us too! When the cygnets will be born is one of the contests – I said May 20, but now I think it will be earlier.
I do miss my church and library friends, however. And I can’t wait to be able to travel again! Will my reunion in Arizona still take place in June? What about our cruise to the Amazon next November? Right now, I have no idea.
I did get a feeling of dread earlier this week when our governor announced lockdown will continue through May. Our state has had more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 and the death toll keeps rising, although Chicago isn’t suffering as much as New York. The good thing is that he’s allowing some businesses to open, including golf courses, so that will get Dale out of the house!
The alteration in our routine means never going out without masks, (fortunately I know people who make them), calling in our dinner selections by 2 pm and having it delivered to our door. The most alarming thing is the amount of Styrofoam we’ve accumulated and the amount of time I spend wasting time!
Q.3 Have you started a new hobby? Not a new one, I’m just trying to get back into my artwork (I miss my art classes!). I think about trying to take up the piano again, but keep resisting. Meanwhile, I have projects I’m trying to get done, because I have no excuse not to! I’ve already completed one, which was organizing and labeling the things in our linen/bathroom closet.
Actually, I have started a new hobby – I’ve downloaded a new game onto my phone called Wordstacks, and have quickly gotten addicted. I spend way too much time on games and puzzles on my phone. I also am reading more, because it doesn’t matter really when I go to bed or wake up.
When was the last time you talked to the toilet? [No to the toilet not in the toilet] I don’t talk to the toilet – I don’t have to because I talk to myself a lot, carrying on full conversations with me, I talk to the cat, to my husband, of course, and to some inanimate objects, but not the toilet. This has always been normal for me.
If you share the house with others – either animal or human – how is the extended home time coming along with loved ones? Too much togetherness, I guess, but I think in general it’s been more bearable having someone else living with me. I pity the residents here who live alone! Our cat is overjoyed at having us around all the time. She can now beg for scraps from our dinner again, and we aren’t constantly leaving to do activities. Dale is the one who ventures out to stores to buy groceries about once a week. I’m looking forward to him going golfing again because he sometimes becomes demanding!
I think the change hasn’t been as onerous for us as for others, such as our kids. We are retired so are used to fluidity in our routines and we don’t have a workplace to go to or income to lose. I mentioned our son; our daughter and her husband are working from home, but our daughter still has to go into Chicago three times a week on public transportation, so she won’t let us come near her or her husband, or our beautiful grandcats! They moved into our old house when we moved here, so they’re renting from us. They are especially grateful now, because they each have their own “office” in different parts of the house, and they can chill out on the deck out back. Our daughter said if this had happened when they still lived in their apartment, she would have killed her husband by now! Both love to cook so sometimes they deliver food to us, which is a treat!
It’s time for a new set of questions from Melanie’s Share Your World. Questions: On A Scale Of 1-10, How Strict Were Your Parents?
This is relative. My parents were not strict in the sense that they never used corporal punishment (except one of the few times that my dad got angry, he chased me with a hairbrush! But he never used it). They ruled by consistent expectations. There were certain things we were obliged to do – not just chores, but for example, we all had to take seven years of piano lessons. We were obliged to call other adults that were not relatives by their title and last name (e.g. Mrs. Smith), especially friends of my parents. Still, being the youngest of five, I was spoiled and so was my brother, who was the only boy.
Their expectations were that we should live up to their values of respect, courtesy, civility, speaking clearly and correctly, getting an education, etc.. Just a scolding was often enough to stop an inappropriate behavior, but if the behavior was more serious, and many times when my brother and I got into fights, my mother would lock us in our rooms. There was a little metal hole attached to the doorframe and a hook attached to the door. Sometimes they would just tell us to go to our rooms.
What Wastes The Most Time In Your Day To Day Life?
Playing games on my phone, especially Words With Friends.
Do They Bury People With Their Braces* On? (* “braces” in this scenario are those metal bits they put on people to straighten their teeth. I realize “braces” are also some item of clothing that I believe men wear to keep their socks up or something. I’m talking about the teeth option). I really don’t know. I’ve never seen it, but then I try to avoid looking at a corpse in a coffin. The only young person I know who died around the time he might have had braces (age 12) was my nephew, and he didn’t have them. That was either because his teeth were straight or because he’d been battling brain cancer for two years and braces were the last thing on his parents’ minds.
Why Does A Round Pizza Come In A Square Box?
Have you ever seen a round box? OK, hat boxes used to be common, but now it’s very rare to see a round box, especially one as wide and flat as a pizza. I imagine round boxes are more difficult to make as well as to dispose of. A rectangular box can be broken down and flattened, making it easier to store as well as to recycle.
Gratitude: Share something you are grateful for right now. I know that’s a tough question. It helps to share those bright bits with folks though, because many of us are seeing through an increasingly dark glass. I am grateful for all the people who help in any way to alleviate or combat the coronavirus pandemic. That includes those on the front lines – doctors and nurses – as well as people who can sew making masks. I’m grateful for anyone with the ingenuity and courage to do what they can to make others’ life easier. I’m grateful for people like my husband who always have an encouraging remark for everyone they encounter during this crisis and who remember to call family and friends just to check in.
The topic of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge this week is At Play. While I cannot match the adorableness of the little girls in her post, I am submitting a few shots taken on Christmas Day at our daughter and son-in-law’s house. They had prepared a game which I’m calling “The Saran Wrap Game.” This took extensive advance preparation and a lot of plastic wrap! It involves a ball of plastic cling wrap in which have been inserted various small objects – small gifts, candies, etc. plus a pair of dice. To prepare, you start with the largest object in the middle, and start wrapping plastic wrap around it. As you apply layers of cellophane, you add other little prizes, and so on – it can be as big as you want!
When ready to play, the ball is handed to the first player. The person next to him/her has two dice and rolls them continuously while the first player frantically tries to unwrap the ball (you have no idea how hard this is – especially if it’s prepared with a cheap brand of plastic wrap!). When the person with the dice rolls doubles, he/she says “stop” and the player with the Saran Wrap ball hands it to the next person, keeping whatever little prizes fell out during that player’s turn. It’s best played around a table with 6-8 or so players. You just keep going around this way until the ball is completely unwrapped – and recycle the plastic wrap if you can!! The prize at the very center is usually the best – and my husband got it!
Hurray! Becky’s back with her quarterly month-of-squares photo challenge! The theme this month is light! She suggests: It would be great if you could join me daily, but you can post whenever inspiration highlights a square. Together we can alight this month with squares of sunlight, penlights, candlelight, searchlights, starlight, headlights, stoplights, taillights, flashlights, moonlight, fanlights, taperlight, floodlights, torchlight, skylights, gaslight, streetlights, and twilight. Or whatever word(s) ending in light scintillates you over the next thirty-one days. We’ve got plenty of choice with more than fifty words in the English language ending in light, and even more in other languages. So whilst I am not expecting any squares of trothplight we can share the limelight under all the spotlights!
2020 has just begun and many places usher in the new year with fireworks. The photos below were actually taken on 4th of July in Elk Grove Village a few years back, since I did not attend nor photograph any New Year’s fireworks.
We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve as we have for the last several years: noshing and drinking wine at my sister’s house while playing some rip-roaring games of Scrabble!
Here what we missed by not being squeezed among the crowds at Navy Pier in Chicago:
What’s the first thing you notice about a person?
What they are wearing, especially the color, if it’s someone I know – this is subconscious but if I see that color later, I will think it’s that same person. On the conscious level, if it’s a stranger, basically what they look like: their gender, approximate age, and their race. I also notice what they are wearing, especially if it something I especially like or that I think looks awful on them! Race is generally obvious, I’m still pretty good at guessing the age of someone under 15, but gender these days is not always obvious.
What three habits do you feel would improve someone’s life?
“Early to bed and early to rise,” to quote that old adage.
Drink lots of water.
Appreciate the natural world and count your blessings.
Now if you ask do I follow these three good habits, I can only say I strive to do the last two, but the first one is problematic for me. I go to bed later than I could but I’m retired! If I have to get up to go somewhere by 9-10 in the morning, I grumble about having to rush!
What takes up too much of your time? Would you stop that if you could?
Playing word games on my phone. Even as I’m doing it, I’m telling myself to stop but I don’t. It is an addiction! I have a bad habit of wasting my evenings this way instead of blogging or writing, or watching something worthwhile on TV.
Cookies (biscuits to those elsewhere), pastries, pie or cake? If not, what does your sweet tooth crave?
Cookies and brownies, or anything chocolate. Oh, and ice cream! But please, no peanut butter in anything sweet! My favorite brownies are the ones my niece makes for Christmas every year, with peppermint frosting. I also have a weakness for M&Ms.
Gratitude? Are You Happy? If so, why? If not, why not?
I am happy and blessed with what I have. I know I am lucky to have enough money to live comfortably and travel, to have a good and faithful husband, and reasonably good health.