SYW: On Butt Calls, Snowbirding, 5-Second Rule, & Bernie Sanders

Here are Melanie’s Monday weekly Share Your World QUESTIONS:  (an “odd” basket full today)

Have you ever ‘butt dialed” someone?  (‘butt dialed’ means have you ever made a phone call that you weren’t aware of making, because the buttons on the phone got pushed by your sitting on them (in your pocket) OR having something in your handbag press against them?)
Geez, who hasn’t? I’ve gotten them several times too, and it’s usually the person I most recently talked to who stuck their phone in their pocket and some movement dialed my number again.

If you were given 1000 acres of land, what would you do with it?
I can’t even conceive of how much that is. (I’m not good with area measurements.) But let’s say it’s large enough to build a manor house with outbuildings, and a large manicured garden – i.e. an “estate.” I would NOT do this, although I’ve been known to drool over properties I’ve seen on the road or in a magazine.

It depends where it is. If it were somewhere abroad that is beautiful and the kind of place I’d like to visit, I would probably build a modest house with a garage on it, maybe a pool too (depending on the climate in the area), and go there every year to spend several weeks exploring the surroundings and other countries. The rest of the time I would rent it out through Airbnb or something like that.

If it were in a poor country, I would probably donate it to the city or state or country through a reputable organization that would use it for whatever is needed in the community.

If it were in the U.S., I would want it to be in the Southwest, so I could build on it, have a cactus garden, and spend my winters there – I’d become a snowbird!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on-line recently? 
I enjoyed many of the pictures people posted using the Bernie Sanders at the Inauguration meme inserted in them. In fact, I now have a crocheted Bernie, made by a friend, and it sits on my mantle above the fireplace. Maybe I’ll take it out with me and photograph it in various locations.

Have you ever eaten something off the floor?  ‘5 second’ rule applies or not (the ‘5 second rule’ is that if you pick up the dropped food within a set time frame, it’s still ‘clean’ and you can safely eat it)?
Oh, yes, I do that all the time! Imagine wasting a succulent tomato or a piece of the only chocolate chip cookie I allow myself to have each day! Although at the beginning of the pandemic, I was so paranoid that if something dropped on the floor, I would immediately throw it away and sanitize my hands. I also throw it out if I’d given it to the cat and she rejected it after sniffing and maybe licking it. Also, it depends on how clean the kitchen floor is. Needless to say, I don’t pick up liquids (except to clean up).

Thanks to Fandango for this cartoon.

GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)

Feel free to share your gratitude with everyone in the form of a quote, a thought or an image.
I am grateful today for my family, especially my son, whose birthday is today!

“Recalculating…” – Maps vs. GPS

Truthful Tuesday

It’s Truthful Tuesday time again and the question this week is as follows:

When it comes to navigation in unfamiliar territory, do you shun technology, relying on traditional maps and written directions, or do you leave the atlas behind letting GPS and Google Maps guide the way?

We always have a road atlas on hand when we go on road trips to get an overall idea of the route, mileage, etc. When I plan trips (I do the planning, Dale does the driving!), I use a road map so I can map out where to go and how to get there. That way, we can wend our way through a state and see a number of things without having to backtrack. I use the Internet as well as guide books to plan where to go.

However, we use the car’s GPS system (in my car; in his car, we use Google maps on his phone) when we are on the road to make sure we don’t get lost.

This is good because Dale and I have had arguments in the past when we used paper maps – I would tell him to turn right but for whatever reason he turned left because he didn’t believe me. I WAS LOOKING AT THE DARN MAP!! And I was a good navigator too. But when walking, I tend to get mixed up using the GPS on my phone and am better off with a small paper map of the area. I’m thinking of the times we tried to find restaurants in Sao Paulo which were close to where we were staying but somehow the GPS disoriented us and we ended up going somewhere else we happened to find when we were lost getting to the place we were looking for. In Tel Aviv, we stood on a street corner with the phone GPS in hand, arguing about which way we were supposed to go to get back to our hotel after exploring a shopping mall.

I don’t have that problem with road maps or most of the time with the GPS in my car. However, we have gotten lost when the GPS didn’t know the way! Once we were going from Highland Park to Highwood, two north suburbs in the Chicago metro area very close to each other, but the GPS led us way out of the way and after driving for about 20 miles, I said, “I don’t think this is right.” My sister had said the restaurant where we were meeting was five minutes from the place we were coming from. It wasn’t a brand new street address, either, so I don’t know what “Jeanie” (which is what we named the GPS voice on my car) was thinking. The only other problem with GPS systems is that we may enter an address, the official address of the place, but we end up on a busy street with a wall next to us, and we know the place we are going is behind that wall, but where is the entrance?? The entrance is not always the same as the address.

Therefore, I recommend having a paper map if possible as well as the GPS. Locally, the GPS usually gets us where we need to go, even if sometimes Dale takes what he thinks is a shorter way (and turns out usually to be wrong). And imagine if something happens to the phone or the car and technology isn’t available? This can happen in remote areas when there is spotty Wifi service, and then the GPS may not work at all.

My favorite GPS system is Waze.

Wazeopedia - For the Community, By the Community

It’s a free app for your phone and works best when there are two people in the car – one to drive and the other to look at Waze. People can input problems they encounter on a road – police in vicinity, car on side of the road, traffic jams, etc. It also identifies red light cameras so you can follow the speed limit when you are near one! I recommend it for anyone who does a lot of city driving. You can earn points and eventually choose your own Waze avatar!

It’s much less nerve-wracking to have a GPS in the car one is driving than depending on a map and nowadays we can usually count on any rental car we get having one. The GPS in our rental in France was great, once we figured out how to use it – it was very counterintuitive and each time we got it right, we couldn’t remember what we did the next time we got into the car! That GPS voice was British and announced everything in meters and kilometers, of course, but I loved her – we dubbed her “Eleanor.”

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!

30-Day Film Challenge: Days 3 & 4 – Lina Wertmuller and British Humor

Sandman Jazz is back with a new 30-day challenge, this time about movies. Days 3 & 4 can be combined because both of the movies that made me laugh (Day 3) so hysterically I nearly peed my pants start with “The” (which is Day 4).

Back in the 70s, I got really into foreign films and went to “art” theaters to see them. They were a mixture of politics, love and sex. I loved the films by Lina Wertmuller, an Italian director, and especially the male lead in many of her films, Giancarlo Giannini – his facial expressions and body language were hilarious! The film that made me laugh the hardest was The Seduction of Mimi (1972)- you can read the plot synopsis here.

The other movie that I saw a few times and laughed out loud hysterically each time was The Wrong Box (1966). A one-sentence description on IMDb says, In Victorian England, a fortune now depends on which of two brothers outlives the other, or can be made to have seemed to do so. It stars Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson, Nanette Newman, John Mills as the main characters, but also features the very funny duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, as well as Peter Sellers. It’s typical British absurdism and dry humor. The first time I saw it was with my mother, who thought it was so funny that, years later, all one had to do was say the title “The Wrong Box” and she’d start giggling. They just don’t make movies like this anymore!

See the source image
See the source image
A very young Michael Caine discovers a terrible mix-up in The Wrong Box.

RDP: Flatus

When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today, I laughed! Really? I thought. Does that mean what I think it does? Indeed it does – I looked it up, and here’s a little etymology:

Flatus comes from 17th century Latin (I imagine Chaucer made good use of it!), and literally means “blowing.” I don’t think I need to list all the synonyms, although “farting” is the word used in our house. Here’s an interesting synonym: borborygmus, its definition being “intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas.” OK, not quite the same – and although it may be embarrassing to emit the sound of a borborygmus in public, it is downright impolite to expel flatus in public, warranting a heartfelt “Excuse me!” And that inspires me to write a poem!

FLATUS

If you’re in a crowd
And it isn’t very loud,
But people start to stare,
Smile without a care!

No one needs to know
It was you that had to go
And emit (yes, you heard it!)
Flatus, or another name for it

Is farting, or more politely,
“Passing gas” whispered lightly.
Although considered rude
It’s just that I ate some food

That caused me to be so crude –
But I doubt you’re in the mood
To hear the explanation,
Of an old fart‘s gratification.

Sometimes there’s no help for it
And sometimes I just can’t quit
Whether “silent but deadly”
Or loud and like a medley

‘Cause my spouse is here beside me
We sometimes fart in harmony
So why not just have a laugh –
It’s only natural to pass gas!