SYW/HP: On Household Chores, Love & Marriage, Speaking One’s Mind and Happiness

Here are Roger and Melanie serving up some interesting questions this week in Share Your World Meets Harry Potter.

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Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions

  1. You have just been gifted a magic wand that specializes in completing household chores. You can request the completion of only two household chores. Which chores would you assign your wand to complete?
    Laundry and vacuuming/sweeping. We don’t usually cook anymore, and when we do, Dale enjoys being the “short-order cook.” Thanks to him, we eat omelettes every Saturday and sometimes pancakes on Sunday! And for some reason, I don’t mind cleaning up. I would rather tackle it alone – the only thing I don’t like is emptying the dishwasher!
  2. At the local Wizards-R-Us store there was a sale on handshake shockers, instant darkness pellets, and levitation pills. Which of these ‘party thrillers’ are you more likely to purchase?
    levitation pills – I am somewhat scared of the dark and handshake shockers aren’t my thing. Besides, no one is shaking hands these days! Levitating would be like flying, which would be cool. If I were walking and got really tired, I’d take a levitation pill and “fly” over the trees and bushes directly back home!
  3. In the alley behind Wizards-R-Us, there was a tradesman selling a Love Potion. The sales pitch was too much for you and you yielded and purchased one vial. What do you do with it?
    I would give it to my son. He needs love in his life!
  4. You are the Great Clearinghouse Winner of a new ‘good luck’ potion – Felix Felicis. It has to be used within the next thirty days or its potency becomes diminished. Do you use it? Do you give it to a friend in need?
    I like what Fandango* said, so I’m going to copy it: I’d go out and win the lottery! Then I would give some to a friend or others in need, and with the rest, I would travel the world!
    *Fandango, you do know that copying is the highest form of flattery, don’t you?

Melanie’s Mundane Muggle Questions:

  1. If everyone spoke their mind, would this world be a better or worse place?  Why?
    I think it would be a better world if people were honest, but such bluntness could hurt a lot of people. Not everything we think about should be voiced, but on the other hand, we should give voice to issues that are important and necessary to discuss, issues that too often people suppress because they don’t want to hear about them. Controversy isn’t necessarily bad and is sometimes necessary.
  2. Can achieving nothing make a person happy?
    A sense of achievement is what makes a person happy, I believe. When you accomplish something, something you did yourself, it boosts your self-esteem. So achieving nothing probably will not make a person happy. More likely a person who thinks or talks about “achieving nothing” is clinically depressed.
  3. How do you know if you love someone enough to marry them?
    That’s a great question and is asked all the time by teenagers in the throes of romance, but generally their parents don’t have an answer except, “you just know.” If you love yourself (you must if you want to have a healthy relationship with someone else) and are ready to recognize your inner gut feelings, you are probably going to know when you have found an enduring love. If you have any doubts, get those resolved before you marry someone (I’m speaking from personal experience here!), and if you can’t resolve those doubts, don’t marry that person.

    Love is not just passion; it is respect, it is companionability over the long term, and a recognition that the person you love also has faults. But passion is important too and probably the most pleasurable part of your relationship!
  4. GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always this is optional)

Please feel free to write about or share an image of something you’re grateful for!
I’m grateful for sunflowers.

SYW: On Fear, Hair Color, Bullies, and Winning & Losing

Melanie and Roger have a new set of questions for Share Your World/Harry Potter for the week of Sept. 7.

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Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions

  1. What happened to cause you to discover ‘bullies” were real?
    Nothing – I have always known bullies were real. My brother was a bully when he was a kid and his favorite person to bully was me! Although I was never seriously bullied (my brother’s would be called teasing), my son was in high school. One day he came home early from school – he’d been “suspended” for two days for fighting. I was not mad at him because he was fighting with the bully – he was sick of the other kid’s bullying. The kids watching actually rooted for him!

    I had a book about bullies for children that I had read to him when he was much younger. And when he complained about the bully to me, I told him that he should ignore him if he could, and feel sorry for him because he (the bully) obviously had self-esteem issues. Maybe there was violence in his home.

    Now we have a bully in the White House – what a role model!!
  2. Eavesdropping- When given the chance, how often do you eavesdrop?   (this may be a similar question to what some folks said they’d do with an invisibility cloak)
    I am tempted to eavesdrop at times, but usually listening in on someone else’s conversation isn’t very interesting.
  3. Escalators, at one time, were the ‘next big thing’. When was the last time you rode an escalator?
    Three days ago, at Nordstrom’s.
  4. Have you ever ‘let’ someone win in a sports competition or a board game? How did it turn out?   
    Probably – but it was more like others letting me win – I was the youngest of five children and always wanted to participate in games, but my life experience wasn’t as mature as the others’, so they sometimes let me win, I think. As for sports, I was always the worst in every sport except swimming. No one wanted to pick me to be on their team. And no one ‘let’ me win!

Melanie’s Muggle Questions:

I’m very short on time today (Sunday) so I’m borrowing from Rory and Sandmanjazz to fill the questions today:

Do our fears start with our DNA?  (Credit to Rory)
I suppose there are people more susceptible to fear than others; that might be DNA-related, but in general, regarding fear and “nature vs nurture” I would say it’s more nurture – i.e. learned. People who are more sensitive and likely to have fears may have had some early experience, even as far back as infancy. But there is definitely biology in there too, because fearful people are often insecure people, and insecurity can arise from experience or be a bi-product of mental illness.

If you could have your hair any colour for 24 hours, what colour would you choose?  (Credit to Sandmanjazz)
I think I’d like to be a redhead for a day!

When do you think a person gets old?  (Credit to Rory)
When a person starts thinking old! For example, my husband and I are both senior citizens but we don’t feel old! I feel like the same person I always was. Oh sure, I have more aches and pains but most of the time I just am who I am.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (as always this is optional)

Please feel free to write about an uplifting moment in your life this week! We went on a day trip last Tuesday, just out to the western suburbs to seek out “kitschy” stuff (such as the Humpty Dumpty doppelganger pictured below). It was fun and I felt renewed!

The artist named him “Mr. Eggwards.” He sits on a wall surrounding Mount St. Mary Park, which is full of unusual sculptures, in St. Charles, IL

Here are some of the other sculptures in that park.

SYW/HP: On Haunted Houses, Crowded Concerts, Bell Bottoms, Cockroaches and More…

I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.

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Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

  • Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen?
    No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
  • The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended?
    Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.

    The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?

    The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
This is a fraction of the crowd we could see from our spot on the lawn.

This was the set up of the people next to us.
  • When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool?
    I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
  • Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made.
    It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!

    Muggle Questions (from Melanie):

What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.

When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!

FPQ: Best and Worst of Book-to-Film

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is: What movie adaptation of a book you have read before you saw the movie has done the best job when it comes to casting the actor (or actors) in the movie to match your image you had of that character (or those characters) in the book. Conversely, what movie adaptation has done the worst job of matching the casting of the characters to those you envisioned in your head.

I thought it would be impossible for me to answer this question, because I really don’t see many movies these days. But then I remembered the Harry Potter series.

I read the first book long before the movie came out, but as I watched it, I remember thinking that the casting and set design were perfect – as if Hogwarts jumped out of my brain the way I had envisioned it and projected that way on the screen. I think overall I enjoyed all the Harry Potter movies more than the books, but the books were good, too. And the best adaptations (at least the ones I thought about) were the first four books.

Rupert Grint with his fiery red hair and zany expression was a perfect Ron Weasley. And Alan Rickman as Snape – nobody could have done that role better, with his deep voice and cynic tone. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry was perfect – his dark hair with bangs hanging over his scar, his round glasses – the glasses made him seem vulnerable and I think the author, J.K. Rowling, intended it that way. She was involved in the making of the films, so that may be the reason why the adaptations – characters, sets, everything – were so good. The photo below is how they looked in the first movie – so British and a look of mischief on Ron’s and Harry’s faces!

Now for the worst – it was easy to come up with several candidates for worst casting, but the most glaring difference, in my opinion, between book and film was A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. The director of the movie, Ken Kwapis, cut a lot of the plot because it didn’t make sense with the actors chosen for the two leads – aging Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. While these guys are both fine actors, and perhaps their star status was what the casting director was thinking of, the story was ruined by the fact that these actors were TOO OLD! In the book, the two guys hiking the Appalachian Trail were middle aged, and one of them was quite physically fit. Some of the things that happened in the story (the book) were just not plausible for two old guys to do. As a result, the movie was nearly unrecognizable as the same story as the book. In fact, I read the book and saw the movie to participate in a Book-to-Film group at by our public library. While I was in this group, I saw several very good matches of book to film, but this was not one of them. The other people in the group had similar feelings.

Read the book A Walk in the Woods. Don’t watch the movie. Here’s a photo of the book cover:

SYW/HP: On Snowballs at National Parks, Gratitude for Summer, Wisdom & Happiness

Share Your World Meets Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  1. One of my favorite gifts that Harry Potter received came from the Weasley Twins; and was “Mrs. Mooney’s Marauder’s Map”. This magical document showed every classroom, hallway and secret corner in all of Hogwarts. It also showed you the location- by name- of every person in Hogwarts.  If you had such a magical map of your town, what would you use it for? If you would not use it, is there another person to whom you would gift it?

I think this makes more sense to have at a school or at a large company, both of which are rife with gossip and in both places, you might like to know where everyone is so you can continue the gossip! As for my town, GPS does well for me.

  1. When was the last time you made a snowball? Were in a snowball fight?

    I don’t like snowball fights – I’ve always been a wimp! The last time I was in a “snowball fight” was at Yosemite (pronounced yo-SEH-mih-tee, in case you, like Trump, have never heard of this place!) National Park in 1998. Our family was on a trip to California for our nephew’s wedding and we did some traveling around in the state. Even though it was early July, we thought it was really cool to find snow in the upper altitudes of Yosemite – so the kids and I got out of the car and started throwing snow at each other – very ad hoc, not really “snowballs.” The last time I made a snowball was probably two years ago at another national park – Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where again at the higher elevations there was snow. I think I just made a snowball with my bare hands just to prove to myself that it was indeed snow, in spite of hot weather down below! I promptly dropped it because why would I have gloves with me when traveling in June?
  2. Many cultures set great value in each child of the family having godparents. Did you have godparents? Are you a godparent yourself?
    I may have had godparents, I don’t know. I am not a godparent, at least I hope not…I did actually agree to be the godparent for the daughter of a sort-of friend who was very persuasive and I remember attending an informal “ceremony” in her living room. I lost touch with her soon after that (for which I am grateful) and never saw nor heard from her or the little girl again.
  3. You have found a secret tunnel under your house. Where does it go?
    Someplace where it’s warm when it’s winter here, where there is no or minimal Covid-19, that I could crawl to without having to get on an airplane. (New Zealand, here I come!!)

Muggle Questions (of a more philosophical bent this week):

Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?  
Both are useful. Intelligence can lead to wisdom, but intelligence can exist without wisdom, at least early in one’s life. Wisdom requires that you have had experiences in life that you learned lessons from and you can look back on. Intelligence is just having knowledge and knowing how to apply it. So children may have intelligence, but only when they are older will they obtain wisdom.
How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
Play is as important as work. Play is when you learn things while enjoying yourself, or engaging in a hobby or interest. Breaks from work are necessary to be healthy, physically or mentally. Some workaholics would say they have a fulfilling life, I guess if their work has given them that fulfillment – I think one would have to have a job they really love to feel fulfilled, unless one was lying to oneself. I’m all for play! Take a vay-cay!!

Is happiness just chemicals flowing through your brain or something more?
If you study happiness scientifically as to how it manifests itself in the brain, then the former may be true. But for most people, happiness is an important part of life, without which you would probably be rather unhealthy. Positive emotions are necessary in order to have a satisfying and healthy life. I think everyone seeks happiness. I sometimes ask myself if I am happy – not just that day, but in general. I always want the answer to be yes, but it isn’t always, if I’m honest with myself… I think a lot of people reflect on this because happiness is something we all strive for.


GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
I’m grateful for:
happiness
the ability to play (i.e. find enjoyment in life)
living a fulfilling life
both intelligence and wisdom
it being currently summer with no possibility to be hit with a snowball!

I’m grateful for bright-colored flowers.

SYW: Contemplations on Cats, Crashes, the Cosmos and Cars

Share Your World Meets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  1. Harry Potter can speak to snakes. If you were able to have conversations with any one animal, what animal would you like to speak to? What would be the topic of your first conversation?
    I would talk to my cat. I often wonder what she is thinking and how she really sees her human friends and caretakers. Our first conversation would be what she dreams about. Sometimes she makes funny noises in her sleep so I’m wondering if she’s chasing a squirrel or a bird in dreamland.
  2. The portraits in Hogwarts dormitories can talk. If your graduation portrait could speak to people passing it by, what would it tell them?
    I don’t have a graduation portrait.
  3. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger use the Pollyjuice Potion for finding new clues for the happenings at Hogwarts. (The Pollyjuice Potion is a magic potion that allows your body to form into that of another and live their life for a few hours.) If you could transform into another being, who would you chose to be? What would you hope to learn?
    Once again, I would like to be a cat for one day to see what it’s like. I could really relax if I had no cares at all and could spend 16 hours a day sleeping. I think after one day, though, it would get boring. Cats can’t read!! And their food is gross!

4. There was a flooding in the girl’s bathroom where Moaning Myrtle resides. Whathas been the most dangerous (or comical) ‘flooding’ where you reside?
The Des Plaines River has always been prone to flooding, but since they built the deep tunnel (large diameter pipes underground), it isn’t as much of an issue. However, the city still gets flooded in heavy rainstorms. The local government puts up signs warning people of the flooded areas. One of my son’s girlfriends once drove right through a flooded road. She felt good about getting through the flooded area, but needless to say, her car was ruined.

The worst sort of “flood” we had in our house in Des Plaines was when the sewer backed up. The sump pump couldn’t handle the amount of rain and so the basement got flooded with sewage. Anything that was on the floor was ruined.

Mundane or “Muggle” Questions:

(Serious one which is rather creepy):  How do you think you’ll die?  IF you do think about it?
I do think about it, actually. I want to die in my sleep at an old age. Doesn’t everybody? I get scared sometimes when flying in turbulence and during landing. Last year, I had a panic attack while driving. I suddenly realized I was in a machine going at a relatively fast speed and all around me were other people in equally “dangerous” machines – it was shortly after my son totaled his car, so it was probably for that reason that I panicked. So I do sometimes think I will die in some sort of crash but I really hope not. I might die when traveling – maybe there will be a terrorist attack. Or I could cross the street and get hit by a truck – who knows? That’s the good thing about death – most people don’t know when or how it will happen, so we just go on living our lives, which is what we should do.

What’s the best on-line screen name you’ve seen? “Best might mean the oddest.
I have no idea.

What’s invisible that you wish people could see?
Dark matter. It would be interesting to see how much dark matter there is in the universe compared to matter we can see.

If over time you replace parts on a car, at what point does it stop being the same car you bought? How many parts do you need to replace to make it a new car?
I don’t replace a lot of parts in my cars, except batteries, tires, and so forth. I would consider it the same car no matter how many parts are replaced as long as when I get in it, it feels the same inside and its body is the same. I don’t think about cars very much. I love my car and it has a “pet” name I’ve given it, but that is the extent of my attachment to it.

Share Your World and Harry Potter

Melanie, who hosts the weekly Share Your World, has teamed up with another blogger, a Harry Potter fan, who has added questions related to the first Harry Potter book, The Sorcerer’s Stone. Since I am also a Harry Potter fan, I’m doing my best to answer BOTH sets of questions – Melanie’s Share Your World and Roger Shipp’s Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone questions.

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  1. Because of the state-wide quarantines many of the local SPCA’s are having an influx of animals. You have decided that you would love to have a new pet. Would you go the normal wizardry route and pick an owl, a cat, or a toad? Or would you become a more eccentric wizard (like Hagrid, the games keeper) and seek out a three-headed dog, a dragon, or a unicorn? Please explain your answer.
    I’d get a cat. I love cats and have one already, so why not another one? I would not want to clean a bird’s cage or maintain a terrarium for a toad. Besides, I don’t particularly like toads. Hagrid’s animals would be too difficult to take care of and I don’t have room for them.
  2. Neville Longbottom was gifted a Remembrall. This was a glass ball that would assist you in maintaining memories of things that you often forget. What would you want your Remembrall to help you remember?
    That’s a good question! I have trouble remembering everything, so I would probably give it new instructions every day, depending on what would be most important to remember that day. I could get rid of post-it notes!! I might give it a list of things, including some I need constant reminders about, such as don’t forget to always have a full water bottle and drink plenty of water; don’t forget to work on a photo book project; etc.
  3. Professor Dumbledore gave Harry Potter an invisibility cloak that Dumbledore said was from Harry’s father. Now, you have inherited a cloak with similar powers. Would you use it? When?
    Of course I would use it – who wouldn’t? I think I’d mainly use it when I don’t want to be found – i.e. when I want to be alone. Sometimes I just want to read a book and not have my husband bugging me to do something else. I might have used it when I was working so the evil principal or co-worker wouldn’t be able to find me. It would also be good for following someone around, but I can’t think of a time recently when I’ve wanted to do that.
  4. While cleaning your attic, you have discovered the Mirror of Erised. (“Erised” is “desire” spelled backwards, as if reflected in a mirror) The Mirror of Erised is a magical mirror, which, according to Professor Dumbledore, when you gaze into it, it shows the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.” You have chosen to look in the mirror. What do you see?
    I see all the places I want to travel to and those I have traveled to that I particularly love. This would be sad, because right now I can’t travel anywhere due to the pandemic and other countries barring Americans from entering their territory. I would also see myself doing the most awesome photography on those trips – better than I usually come away with. I would see myself returning to places I want to learn more about.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione – how young and innocent they were!

Please have a bit of fun with the answers.   Even if you aren’t a Potter fan, the questions are (to me anyway) fun ones which could be answered ‘outside of Harry Potter’s world’.   Imagination might be required though.   
These are good questions because they are what in elementary school teacher lingo would be called “on your own” questions. They relate to the book but you can answer them without having read the book.


Now for the ‘traditionalists’ who like “just the questions m’am (or sir)”.   Here’s three random questions I found.

Would you rather live 120 years that are comfortable but boring, or live half as long, but have an exciting adventure-packed life?
Well, since half of 120 is only 60, I would be dead already, so I will propose a compromise: How about 90 years of a life that has some excitement and some boredom? After all, without boredom, would I be able to appreciate the exciting, adventurous times? And sometimes after an extended period of excitement, I would just crave a period of relative boredom.

What’s something that overwhelms you?
Too much paper. I get notices and mail and newspapers that I don’t know what to do with – it might be something I want to keep but don’t need it currently, so it goes in a pile. Then that pile becomes two piles and pretty soon every surface that isn’t used for sleeping or sitting is covered with paper and I can’t stand it. It’s too overwhelming. I wish I more often felt the urge to purge.

Fortunately, my workspace doesn’t look THIS bad!

What do or did you take for granted?
When I was young, I took life for granted. I was determined that everything I felt was important to me would occur because I would make it so. Now I take comforts of modern life for granted: such as running water; electricity – my husband and I both leave too many lights on and it’s very wasteful; sunshine; being able to keep warm and well fed. Many people around the world even in our modern world do not have any or few of these things. Homeless people, for example, can’t afford to take anything for granted. Desperately poor people don’t know whether they will have anything to eat each day when they wake up. I try to be mindful of these things and be grateful for them. No resource is infinite.

Gratitude:
I’m grateful for summer days. I’m grateful for running water. I’m grateful for the ability to walk on my own two legs and to take care of myself. I am grateful for the bounties I enjoy on planet Earth.