Here it is, the end of the week, and I am only now getting around to participating in Melanie’s Share Your World!
Here are her Halloween-themed questions:’
Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building (yeah it’s a retread. But there are new participants to SYW too who probably never answered it) Anyone with a gun, knife, or other weapon. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go into a dark forest or abandoned building by myself for fear of running into such a person.
Do you believe in multiple dimensions or worlds? Yes. There are definitely other “worlds” (planets) outside our solar system – several have already been discovered. With the number of stars just in our galaxy alone, I think it is highly probable that life exists on many of these planets. As for multiple dimensions, some scientists are exploring the idea of multiple universes or life mimicking our own in some other dimension. Don’t we already have at least four dimensions? And I remember the rock band The 5th Dimension. That’s enough proof for me!
Would you ever go to a graveyard at night? I don’t know why I would do that, although I do enjoy exploring graveyards & cemeteries in the daytime. There are so many stories of past lives to contemplate there.
What is the most frightening book you’ve ever read? I tend not to read really scary books. I’ve seen a few very scary movies, but they only last a couple of hours while typically I take at least a week to read a book – and I like to read before I go to bed!! I once decided to join a Halloween book group which was reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I think I had read 20 pages or so and had to stop because it was too creepy and scary for me! I have never tried to participate in a scary book group again!
BONUS QUESTION (just for silliness’ sake!)
If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), which would you pick out of the five choices? No contest – a black cat. I love cats!
GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional) What are you grateful for? My “tortie” cat, Hazel, who is mostly black!
I picked an October 20 from my blog archives. I am featuring them here for Becky’s Past Squares (or SquarePast?) today. The photos below are from two posts on Oct. 20, 2016.
For Thursday Doors that week, I posted doors of houses in Des Plaines. I have selected the ones that are most seasonal.
The other post I did that day was for Cee’s weekly Fun Foto Challenge. Her topic was vibrant colors. This is, coincidentally, the topic of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week. These photos were taken on a trip to Texas, where we visited the San Antonio Museum of Art.
How do you feel about sharing your computer or phone password with your partner? I think it would be confusing having to switch back and forth, and also, my husband has visited web sites that I don’t want to have anything to do with. This kind of browsing leads to a lot of spam in his email accounts, and some of it really offensive to me. He is not doing this so much now, but sharing would also mean that I would sometimes want to use the computer when he is using it. I have a lot of projects, artwork, and writings on my computer that I want to have exclusive access to.
As for passwords, we do share those sometimes, or make slight alterations when we use the other’s passwords.
What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome? (This isn’t meant to be invasive, just use general terms if you’d like. Or if not, feel free to pass on the question. That’s allowed too). Living with ADHD – a lifelong struggle. BUT…My life has been pretty good and happy; the main struggles I had were in adulthood – parenting and teaching. I was smart enough to get through my school years by figuring out my own coping strategies; I had no idea that I had any sort of disability. But in adulthood, I realized there was something not normal about me compared to other people and eventually was diagnosed with ADHD. Parenting was a challenge: I had (have had – it’s still ongoing although it’s better now) a lot of problems with my son’s mental illness, which affected his education and his adult life and my inconsistency and difficulty in coping with his problems while living with ADHD (both mine and his). Teaching because it was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I was well into middle age when I got my teaching degree. When I was finally diagnosed with ADHD, it explained a lot of my struggles but didn’t really make them any better, except that I stopped being so hard on myself. Teaching with ADHD is a huge challenge – having ADHD affected my memory (especially short-term memory), my ability to be consistent, my penchant for losing (misplacing) things I really need at the moment I need them, maintaining order in my classroom, etc. A lot of colleagues would throw out a casual comment that they ‘must have ADD’ because they kept misplacing things – they had no idea what actually living with it was like every day.
If heaven is real and you died tomorrow, do you think you would get in? Why or why not? (this is purely speculation, no bias if you don’t believe) Yes, I’m pretty sure I would get into heaven (although I don’t believe in it as a physical place where one goes after death), because in spite of the things I have done wrong, maliciously or not, I am basically a caring and compassionate person. That said, to me the idea of ‘heaven’ is what remains in the memories of those who survive me. Do they remember me with fondness or animosity? I am pretty sure that my father went to ‘heaven’ because no one ever says a bad word about him. He was an exceptional man, a compassionate person, and a great dad. And conversely, those who go to ‘hell’ are those truly evil individuals that people and history have judged harshly – Hitler and Stalin come to mind.
What makes you feel like you really need to be alone? When I need to get things done that no one can or should help me with. For example, if I am working on a photo book of our trip to France, I need to have a large block of time undisturbed. Sometimes I get so busy with activities and other commitments like volunteer work, exercising, or housework, that the days fly by and I never have the time I crave to work on my computer projects (blog, photo books, writing, transcribing letters, working on photos, etc.) or to finish a book I don’t seem able to make progress on.
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
Do you have any traditions around this time of year? Not anymore. I used to always stay home on Halloween to greet the little goblins and superheroes that came trick-or-treating, and to give out treats equally to all. I sometimes would put on my witchy costume and get into character. I didn’t like to be out on Halloween because sometimes older kids would vandalize houses where no one was home, or steal Halloween decorations from my front porch. Now that I live in a senior community, there are no trick-or-treaters, although the last couple of years we spent in our house before moving here, the trick-or-treaters had really diminished in number. Sign of the times, I guess.
Since I am retired, I don’t get into the spirit of Halloween anymore, because I’m not seeing the excited faces of the children in my classroom and I no longer participate in the fun activities we used to have at school with the kids. In fact, Halloween and Day of the Dead are the only time of year that I miss teaching.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic of hole/whole. And for her newest challenge, Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge, the topic is orange.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a wonder of geological formations called “hoodoos.” These orangish sandstone shapes were carved over millions of years through water and wind erosion. Besides being orange, look carefully to see the holes!
Another beautiful national park in Utah is Arches National Park, named for the many arches carved by nature into the orange rocks. The first picture below is an iconic image, which many people have seen on calendars or posters. I had to use my telephoto lens to get a good shot of this beautiful arch, because without an arduous climb we could not get very close to it! The second photo is another of the park’s arches, which form a type of hole due to erosion, out of the whole rock!
Pumpkins, when they carved, become jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. At night you can see the light of the candle glowing through the holes!
What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of? Sears Tower (now officially Willis Tower, but Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower) – 104 floors! I went up by elevator but my 78-year-old brother-in-law climbs the stairs to the top once a year! Amazing!
What do you do to keep fit? Not enough, especially now with Covid + cold weather. I try to walk every day or most days. I try to get to the fitness center as often as allowed (3 days a week, 1/2 hour a day) and usually choose the stationary bike. I’m starting a new fitness program from New Zealand (called “Otago”) tomorrow for “older adults” to help with balance and reduce risk of falling. It has several types of exercises to be done each day.
What’s your jack-o-lantern carved to look like? I haven’t carved one in several years, for three reasons: 1. I’m really lousy at this and usually just was able to carve a rudimentary face with triangular eyes and smiling mouth with a couple of teeth sticking out. 2. My son is grown and moved out, and I’m retired from teaching, so there’s no incentive to do it. My husband has no interest. 3. When I used to put jack-o-lanterns on my front porch, either the squirrels got them or kids who had a thing about “smashing pumpkins” (isn’t there even a rock group with that name?) would steal them and smash them in the street.
Do you have hope or have you lost it? Bad day to ask (Monday, although I posted this Tuesday) – it has been a very depressing day in the news. On days like this, my heart feels heavy and I feel completely hopeless. Normally, I am fairly positive about life. *The U.S. Supreme Court now has a conservative majority of 6-3 thanks to the hypocrisy of the Republican Senate who pushed through Trump’s ultra-right-wing nominee one week before the election, when people have already been voting early all over the country. The Supreme Court is so politicized now, it’s no longer functioning as a “check” on the other branches of government! *Cases will be coming before this Supreme Court within weeks that may possibly take us backward by making abortion illegal and repealing the best health care system we’ve ever had (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) with nothing to replace it and people dying every day from coronavirus. *Another fallout from this is the increased possibility of an election decided by the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor. If the presidential election is close, if Biden wins by a small margin, Trump will surely intervene to contest the results. He’s been saying for weeks that the “Supreme Court will decide the election!” He’s polling at 43-45% nationally, way too high for comfort, in my opinion. If the Democrats don’t win a majority in the Senate, it won’t matter if Biden is elected president – they will block every legislation from the House and override the president’s veto on their (Republicans’) legislation. On the other hand, if the Dems take the Senate, they will play hardball with the GOP in the Senate and with Trump if he is (God forbid) reelected. There are several Senate races that are very close and it is possible the Democrats will win, but they also have to retain every seat they currently hold! *Today or yesterday Trump signed an executive order in which loyalty will be considered when deciding whether to hire applicants for federal government jobs. Disloyalty will be cause for dismissal. An official from some obscure government agency quit today because of this, and wrote a letter which was released to the press stating his reason for quitting. We are moving dangerously close to a dictatorship. *Then there’s the new spike in coronavirus cases, which seems to be happening everywhere, but in this country especially. Today it was announced officially that the Trump administration’s policy toward Covid-19 is to do nothing to stop or curb it, and just wait for a vaccine. Trump has been lying about that too, saying the vaccine will be available “in a matter of a few weeks.” He’s also saying “we’re turning the corner” when there are more cases than ever and some hospitals’ ICUs are filled to capacity. *Due to the spike in cases in our area, the governor has imposed new restrictions, including no more indoor dining at restaurants. This is sad for me because weekly lunches with friends have been my only chance to see them and I looked forward to it every week. I’m not saying the governor was wrong to do this, but it is hard especially now that the weather is getting colder. *It snowed today, earlier even than last year when we had snow on Halloween. It quickly melted, but I had to get out my winter coats, which turned out to have been mildewed during their storage in a bag at the top of my closet! Meteorologists are predicting lower than normal temperatures in the next couple of weeks, with a few days respite in between.
Feel free to share something you’re grateful for! Images and photos or poems, essays or free writing (stream of consciousness) pieces are all acceptable! AND you don’t have to do this part, it’s always optional! Two things! 1. Some former art teachers are forming an art class, mostly people from our art class that was discontinued last spring. It starts tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it! 2. The fall colors have been very beautiful this year, much better than the last few years. Here are a few photos I have taken on our campus recently:
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.
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.
Questions: Where’s the line between respectful disagreement and being downright mean (bullying) to someone? I think it is when insults and name-calling begin. This is not only mean but also indicates that the person disagreeing no longer has an argument defending his/her opinion. This has been happening more and more often lately. People who are simply angry lash out at others. There is a lot of political polarization these days and although many of us would like to have a dialogue with “the other side”, it is almost impossible when people have different sets of “facts.” Generally these respectful disagreements eventually break down and end up in name-calling.
Would you prefer to live in a world where alcohol was free or where politicians were honest? That’s easy – I’ll take the honest politicians. There are some now, but unfortunately they are not the ones who have much power to change anything. I’m hopeful, though – I think the House of Representatives, including a few Republicans, will vote to impeach Trump. I do not have much hope for the Senate, however. Even with the clear evidence of his guilt, they will not think his crimes are “serious” enough for impeachment. Treason? Enriching oneself while in office? Obstruction of justice? Blackmailing of foreign officials? Lying under oath? (Trump did this by promising to abide by the Constitution when he was sworn in.) Nah – these are children’s games!! The Republicans in the Senate have very few members who are honest.
There is also dissemination of lies. It’s one thing for Trump to lie every day – we are all used to it by now. It’s quite another for politicians beholden to lobbyists and corporations to say (when they know it isn’t true) that human-caused climate change is a hoax. This is irresponsible and dangerous. By denying science, they think they don’t have to do anything about it. And we MUST take action NOW – for future generations!
What’s one habit you have that your family or friends think is rather childish? I have a habit of making weird noises with my hands, feet and my mouth. This freaks out our cat and I think it is funny. It’s like a kid imitating farting for fun. My noises don’t sound like farts, but they don’t sound normal either. I just like to see the reaction of people’s pets.
Would you rather go to a big party and rub shoulders with the rich and famous or go to an amazing quiet Garden that hardly anyone has ever visited? Definitely the latter. I have no particular desire to meet people who are rich and famous. Either I would be indifferent, disgusted, or tongue-tied (if it were someone I admired).
On the other hand, I love nature and relish visiting places that are relatively unknown. I once went hiking in the Grand Canyon with a small group of people. The descent and ascent were on well-travelled trails. The day we went off the beaten track, hiking farther into the canyon on lesser known trails, and took a break along a pristine stream was the most wonderful part of the hike.
This is not in the Grand Canyon! It is at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA.
Halloween Question: What do you think of the idea of “trick or treat or money for a charity” as a way of making Halloween more useful? It’s not necessary for Halloween to be “useful.” It’s a fun holiday for all ages, if you are into it. However, there’s nothing wrong with collecting money for a charity at the same time. When I was a kid, we used to go around with little Unicef boxes in addition to our trick-or-treat bags. Some people gladly gave us pennies for Unicef, while others didn’t. Whatever we collected helped children somewhere else in the world. Meanwhile, we helped the dentists by getting cavities from eating so much candy!
Note: The first three images were downloaded from Google Images. The last two are my own.