SYW: Speak Up or Shut Up, Luck, and Rocks

A new week has arrived and along with it, a new set of questions from Melanie on Share Your World. QUESTIONS:

Do you feel you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I like to ask questions. I am very inquisitive and I often go in search of information for answers. If I didn’t ask questions, what would I know? Questioning is vital to gain knowledge. This is why little children ask so many questions, Why this and why that? They have little knowledge and to get more, they have to ask why, although sometimes the adults don’t have answers.

That said, there are certain situations in which I do stop asking questions. If a very annoying person is chatting me up, for example, on an airplane or a bus, and I don’t want to talk to that person, I say what is polite and then turn away. Or when a meeting goes really long, and everyone is fidgeting because they want to get out of there, but I still have a question, I most likely bite my tongue and settle for what I know, with the thought of finding out the answer to my unasked question later or elsewhere.

Asking questions occasionally gets me into trouble; in fact, I lost a teaching job at least partly due to asking a question that my boss (the new principal of the school) didn’t like, because she thought it made her look bad.. She harbored a resentment toward me the entire school year and found fault with me even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. She ended up not rehiring me and I wasn’t tenured. But I really did want to know the answer to my question and never really got one.

When did you fail to speak up when you feel you should have?
There was one incident that I still regret not having spoken up – or perhaps if I had realized sooner to put two and two together. I went to a party at a former coworker’s house one summer. When I got there, I was happy to see several of my former coworkers from the school I had loved teaching at, including the principal who I really liked because she had always been supportive of me. I had lost my job in that school district, because they reconfigured the schools into “grade level centers” and by moving people around, they could dispense with nine teachers. I was one of them because after three years, I wasn’t yet tenured. In Illinois teachers don’t get tenure until the end of their fourth year. I was telling the principal about my new job and how happy I was there, even though the pay was extremely low – I’d had to take a program assistant job, because I couldn’t find a teaching position except for substitute teaching, which I was tired of. The principal asked me several times if I was sure I really liked it where I was working, and I kept saying yes.

A short while later, I ran into the other ESL teacher I had worked with at that school and found out she had just retired. I didn’t make any connection at the time and it wasn’t until a day or so later that my dense mind figured it out! The principal had been trying to find out if I would be interested in going back to my former position, but I didn’t realize that at the time. She wanted me to replace the retiring teacher because they really needed a Spanish-speaking ESL teacher, which they lost when I was cut from the district. They had replaced me with another ESL teacher from another school in the district who was tenured.

I realized I should have said something – although I liked the program assistant job, the pay was so low that Dale and I were having trouble keeping a positive balance in our checking account, and if I could have gotten a teaching job in my former district, where I was really happy, I would have taken it. I thought about calling that principal and asking her if the job was still available, but I didn’t. I had convinced myself by that time that in spite of the low pay, I was glad not to have the responsibility of a teaching job. I could go home after work and not have to do more work at home to prepare for the next day or grade papers. I valued that additional leisure time. Even so, I know I would have taken that ESL position back if it had been offered to me and worked for several more years instead of retiring at age 63, when I acquired an inheritance after my mother died.

When was the last time you felt lucky?
A few days ago! Maybe “lucky” isn’t the right word. People have no control over what family circumstances they will be born into. I happened to be lucky to be born into a psychologically and financially stable family. The reason I felt lucky a few days ago is that, when hearing the news of the pandemic, of people who have lost their jobs and depend on the stimulus checks for their financial support right now, for people who have no money, I thought about how lucky I am – a retired, 68-year-old married white woman with a good husband and a wonderful home in a senior community (which most people would be hard pressed to afford). This community provides us with a lot of support during the pandemic and our monthly fee pays for maintenance, snow shoveling, etc. We’ve gotten ahead of others in getting the Covid vaccine, we have a housekeeper who comes once a week, and we don’t have to cook because our meals are delivered to us. We have a beautiful campus where we can walk and see our neighbors (when the weather is good), so we don’t feel so isolated. I thank God every day for my good fortune.

What is a boulder?
It is a large rock. When people talk about avalanches, they usually call the rocks that hurtle down the side of a mountain boulders. Boulder is also a city in Colorado, home of the University of Colorado.

Image result for main campus university of colorado

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share your gratitude with everyone!  See the answer about feeling lucky above. I am grateful for all I have. While people in Texas are suffering from lack of electricity and water during a freak storm, I am watching their distress on TV in my comfortable home. I am warm and don’t lack for anything. The employees of our community take good care of us.

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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!

SYW: On Parenting, Teaching, and Punning

Melanie always has some great questions on her weekly Share Your World!

SYW Artic Ice

QUESTIONS:

What should you get rid off, that would make your new year better, and why? (Don’t say Covid-19, we all want to get rid of the dang virus.)   
Stress. I am a worrier by nature, but I wish I didn’t have things in my life that cause me a lot of stress. I should meditate but I don’t take the time. I don’t mean the virus, which actually isn’t a source of stress for me right now. I’m used to it. The most stress I experience is dealing with my son. He has a lot of problems due to mental illness (depression, anxiety, extremely low self-esteem) which has led him to “self medicate” – i.e. getting drunk and taking drugs. Right now, he is struggling to stay sober. He has trouble holding jobs because it is hard for him to get up to go to work, and when he’s depressed, he sleeps a lot and misses work altogether. He has applied for disability but it will take years for him to get it.

I try to stay upbeat and encourage him. Lately there’s been reason for hope but he could fall back into depression any time triggered by the smallest things. The other day he got angry at the cashier at 7/11, who was rude to him. This is something we all encounter and just have to deal with it. But he gets so upset that he can’t calm down right away. Yes, he has learned techniques in rehab to help him calm down, but he forgets about them at the moment he’s becoming angry and anxious.

I just want to have my retired life to enjoy with my husband. I love my son, but he is always a source of stress.

 What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Zip-lining in Costa Rica. I’ve written about this before. So I will say, changing careers. When I was in my 40s, I was bored with my job and wanted to do something more meaningful, to contribute to society. I decided to go into teaching. I didn’t think it through well enough, but on the other hand, I didn’t really know what the state of public education was by the late 1990s. Talk about stress!! I struggled because I wasn’t great with classroom management, but I had other strengths, such as being bilingual, being enthusiastic and intelligent, and having compassion. I got my first teaching job when I was 50!

The main problem is that after I started teaching, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’ve always had it, but never knew what it was, until I was having my son diagnosed and realized that I had all the characteristics of ADHD. Symptoms are exacerbated as people get older and due to a heart condition, I cannot take stimulants, which are the most successful medications for ADHD. People with ADHD tend to get distracted easily, have difficulty multitasking, staying focused and remembering all the things a teacher needs to remember throughout the day. I wrote detailed lesson plans, very well thought out, and put all kinds of helpful hints and reminders to myself in them, but when I was in the classroom, I would sometimes lose my lesson plans or forget to consult with them. A major characteristic of ADHD is forgetfulness.

At the same time, administrators were putting a lot of pressure on teachers because of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind policies. Success or failure were determined by standardized tests; schools that were not performing well lost their funding (which makes no sense – those are the schools that need the funding the most). So principals were hyper critical of every little thing and I had the bad luck to have really terrible principals. Not all the time – my most successful years I had wonderful principals, but these were not the majority. When you end up with a resume that has a lot of jobs listed, that is a red flag for administrators when they are hiring. At the end of my career, I could no longer get teaching jobs, so I worked as a substitute for awhile and then took a low-paying job as a program assistant. I found that financially I was able to retire when I was 63. I decided to retire because the pay was so low, it was hardly worth it. I had been working mainly so that I would have health insurance. So my plan was to take the school district’s COBRA insurance for 18 months, then get insurance through the ACA until I turned 65 and could get Medicare.

I confess that I do not miss teaching at all. I don’t miss the kids, but I do remember them fondly and am proud of my accomplishments and successes.

Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?
Not really – but if we did, it would be something like “a pun for every occasion.” There is never an inappropriate time to use a pun! I didn’t used to be a punster, but my husband is notorious for his bad puns, and it has rubbed off on me. I grew up in a family with a particular sense of humor. My father always loved puns and jokes.

On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are?  (this does not mean ‘smell’ or looks; because this is a judgment free blog!) 
If 0 is not funny at all and 10 is the funniest, my husband informs me that I am a 7. That is pretty good – I would give myself a 5! Sometimes I am too serious and need to lighten up. On the other hand, I see humor in little things or situations and as I said above, I’m learning to be a punster!

GRATITUDE SECTION

Tell everyone something that you found personally lifted your spirits!  
I know I said this last week, but this time I have a photo – orchids blooming in winter!

SYW: Of Farting Dogs, Moldy Bread, Clothes That Don’t Fit, and Gratitude Trees

SYWTHANKSGIVING2020

Here’s this week’s edition of Melanie’s Share Your World.

  1. What is worse than a dentist with bad breath?
    A dog who farts all during Thanksgiving (with a house full of people) because he gobbled up an entire pie that was left on the counter.
  2. Have you ever been rejected by someone that you liked, or been told that you were not good enough for somebody else?
    I have been rejected, but never told I wasn’t good enough for someone else.
  3. Did you ever want to have toast for breakfast, only to find that all your bread was covered in green mold?
    Yes, sort of. It is a disappointment, that’s for sure, but I just chide myself for letting the bread get neglected for so long. If the mold is just on the edges, though, I cut around it and eat it anyway.
If it looks like this, I’d find the slices that have the least mold, cut it out, and toast it.
If it looks like this, I throw it out!

4. Did you ever sneeze so hard that your whole body hurt?
I can’t recall that I have, but I have laughed so hard that I felt like I was having a heart attack or couldn’t breathe. Since it was temporary, I didn’t worry about it.

5. Did you ever buy clothing on the internet that did not fit, but you wore them anyway, since you didn’t want to pay the $5 shipping charge to send them back?
Most online vendors do not make you pay to have merchandise sent back, especially now since shopping in a real store may be hazardous for your health! If the clothes didn’t fit me, I wouldn’t wear them. If they are a little too small, I probably would keep them so I can wear them after I lose weight (I have a lot of clothes in this category right now! 😉 ). Recently, I acquired a shirt that was WAY too large for me – I don’t mind wearing clothes that are a little large, but in this case it didn’t look good at all. I have a sister who is a lot heavier than I am, and her daughter is even bigger than that. So I gave that shirt to my sister. We determined it would fit her but not her daughter. It looks very nice on my sister!

To avoid the hassle of returning items, whether it’s free or not, I usually give it away to someone else or even to a rummage sale if I hadn’t paid too much for it.

Gratitude: Our community has a “tree” (cut out from paper) and each resident got a leaf to put on the tree. We were to write something we are grateful for on the leaf and tape it to the tree. Our message said: We are grateful for all the new friends we have made since we moved here! So I will leave it at that, since we rarely get to see them now – the new surge in the coronavirus has caused most of the activities we were beginning to have again to shut down.

Sad Face Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

A HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE IN BLOGLAND!!

400+ Turkey Pictures & Images [HD] - Pixabay

SYW: On Beer, Age, Dead Bodies & Halloween

Monday = Melanie’s Share Your World!

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Here are the questions:

When was the last time you tried something new?  How did that go for you?
This would have to be before Covid.

Last year, our library book club read a book called The Lager Queen of Minnesota. It was about three generations of women in a family who get involved in brewing beer. I don’t like beer but I learned a lot about different kinds of beer from the book. On the day of the discussion, the moderator brought some of the types of beer featured in the book and I tried a couple. One of them was actually tolerable: it was an infusion, made with peach. I can’t remember its name and don’t recall ever seeing it again, so I kind of forgot about it. And I still have no interest in drinking beer.

Not the one I tried but something similar, I think

What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
Donald Trump isn’t fit to be president. It’s not that he refuses to handle the job – he CAN’T handle the job. Psychologists (including his own niece) have declared him to be a pathological narcissist. I don’t know if this is the most sensible thing I ever heard from someone (many someones, actually) but it’s what’s on my mind lately.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
I’m not sure how to answer this question. Perhaps if I had come from a society that didn’t have a calendar or keep track of time beyond day and night, I might think I was really old because in such societies life tends to be harder and people die earlier. However, in terms of my mind, although my body is aging, I still feel that I am the same person I was at 25.
No, cancel that – my mind has deteriorated to some extent as I’ve aged. So if I had to guess how old I was (because I was isolated and didn’t keep track), I’d probably pick some age close to my own, mid-60s.

Lastly, I’ll be doing one “Halloween” themed question per week during October.  Those who don’t observe the holiday are welcome to answer or to ignore it as they wish.

Fun  CREEPY Halloween Question:

Have you ever seen a ‘fresh’ corpse (aka dead body)?
Not in person, no. Just on TV or in movies. And I tend to cringe and hide my eyes behind my hand when I see something gory. But the ones in the morgue are easier to look at. I have seen dead people at open casket funerals, which I don’t like at all. I would normally choose not to look at the body, but in the case of my sister I had no choice – I was seated in the front row. My brother-in-law was so distraught that he let the funeral home director make all the decisions. I feel sure he would not have chosen open casket if he’d thought about it. It’s not what my sister would have wanted either.

I’m grateful that I have never seen a freshly dead body.

GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

Do you enjoy any seasonal traditions around this time of year?
Not anymore – when my son was young, I would take him trick-or-treating and I’d put up some lame decorations on the door. I had a cool witch figurine that made spooky sounds, but one year I put it outside to entertain the kids on Halloween and it got stolen. Another thing I did with my son is make jack-o-lanterns. The problem was that the squirrels would attack them – what’s the point of making jack-o-lanterns if you can’t leave them outside?

However, the one time of year I really miss teaching is at this time of year. The kids got so excited about Halloween. I’d dress up as a witch and we’d have a class picture taken dressed up in our costumes. There would be a parade around the school. I had a lot of fun, Halloween-themed educational activities that I did with students. Since I was a bilingual teacher and my students were mostly from Mexico (or their parents were) we would always celebrate Day of the Dead. We did some really cool projects and shared them with the whole school.

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

Monday means Melanie shares questions for Share Your World.

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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.

SYW: On Waiting, Refrigerators, Speaking, and Elevators

I love starting the new week with Melanie’s Share Your World!

Questions:

WHERE DO YOU NOT MIND WAITING?
I don’t mind waiting almost anywhere if I have either a charged phone or tablet, or a book with me. If I’m in the middle of a good book, I actually LIKE waiting, so I have a good reason to read!  I’m fine if I’m not overheated or in a crowd of people.

WHAT IS IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW?
It’s chock full of lots of leftovers and produce we purchased yesterday at the farmer’s market. The door shelves have drinks and condiments. There is literally no room in there for even one item more!

IF YOU COULD ONLY SPEAK ONE WORD TODAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Wow, that’s hard – I can’t imagine only being able to say a single word in a day – it reminds me of a book I read where girls and women were restricted to only 100 words a day. 

It would depend on the day. If I were in the middle of something and wanted to be left alone, I guess I would say, “Leave!” Then I’d use gestures to get my point across.

WOULD YOU RATHER BE TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR FULL OF MEN WITH BO OR WITH THREE SOAKED DOGS? (THIS ASSUMES THERE IS NO COVID-19.)
COVID-19 or not, I would probably prefer the dogs. Men (or women) with B.O. is absolutely the worst smell in the world – it makes me gag! In fact, I even thought of it a couple of weeks ago when one of the SYW questions was what is the worst smell.

GRATITUDE:
I am grateful for all the people in society who wear masks in public and maintain 6 feet of distance. These are the people who care about others and realize that when living in a society, one has rights but also responsibilities. Taking these simple measures during a pandemic makes sense and is for the well-being of all.

I am also grateful for Mary Trump, whose book comes out this week. Anything that will help people understand how dangerous 4 more years of Donald Trump would be, so they will vote him out of office, deserves my gratitude.

SYW: Magic, Bad Smells, Bad Bosses, & Voting

A new week, a new set of questions in Melanie’s Share Your World!

Questions:

In your opinion, what’s the closest thing to real magic?
When the first flowers of spring appear after a long winter.

Where is the worst smelling place you’ve been?
The basement of our former house. It was an old house and prone to plumbing problems. The worst was when sewage would back up into the laundry sink or the shower (there was a shower in the basement).

What are some things that you’ve heard in your own life, which sounded like compliments but were actually insults?
I had two really horrible principals during my teaching career who often said insinuating things, to me or to others. One of them actually sabotaged my ability to get another job after he decided I couldn’t handle a classroom, because he had spent the school year doing everything he could to keep me from being successful. After he told me my contract wouldn’t be renewed, I asked if he would support me in another type of teaching job in the district and he said, “Well, you can apply…” I had many interviews that summer at various school districts and several offers, all of which were withdrawn after they talked to him. Finally, at the beginning of September, I was desperate and applied for a job as a teacher’s assistant (which means about 1/10 of the pay I’d received as a teacher). I was hired and the principal was very pleased with my former principal’s recommendation: “He said this would be a very good fit for you!”

What incredibly common thing have you never done?
Watched Game of Thrones.


Gratitude Section (Optional, as always)

I’m grateful for all the people who vote in the U.S. and for all the volunteers who register new voters and help people overcome the obstacles that Republicans create to keep people from voting. Hopefully, there will be a record turnout in November’s election. If there is, the Democrats will win and Trump will be history.