FPQ #98: I Just Want Peace

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week Fandango poses a provocative question for our consideration. Fandango says:

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest. What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

Last week I asked for some suggestions for potential provocative questions and a few of you came through with some good ones. This one comes from Paula Light over at Light Motifs II. Her question revolves around interpersonal relationships. She asks…

When it comes to your friends, your spouse, your significant other, or members of your family, is it better to confront them about things they say or do that bother or upset you or is it better to try to ignore those things in order to maintain peace in your relationship?

It depends on several things: how close I am to that person or how well I know them; what the issue is (really important or trivial); my mood; the kind of person I’m confronting.

With my husband, I sometimes ignore whatever it is that bothers me (like leaving the toilet seat up) or if I am in a prickly mood, I will say something like, “I really wish you would…” But if it is really important, I will say something right away. Sometimes Dale is on the verge of saying something inappropriate (well, I know it’s inappropriate – Dale has no filter sometimes!), and I intervene to stop him, so he doesn’t offend the people he’s talking to or embarrass me (because he rarely gets embarrassed – that’s part of having no filter). What really gets me is when he picks on me to correct a habit and then HE starts doing the same thing! Like turning off lights. OK, I know our monthly payment to this senior community includes utilities, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about wasting electricity! I am always concerned about the environment, and don’t like to waste resources unnecessarily. He used to tell me to turn off the lights, but now he is the primary guilty one. I often just do it myself, because he does a lot for me, for us: laundry, dishes, and other things for the umpteenth time without complaining.

There are some people who are very sensitive, however. I have a friend that I really have to be careful what I say. I don’t criticize her ever. Sometimes she’ll be telling me something, and I say, “Oh, really?” – which is a common response to show interest – she takes it the wrong way, getting very defensive as if my response implied that I didn’t believe her.

I usually don’t confront family members, either – I’m too accommodating. My sister, for example, does something that is really annoying – during a concert or play, when I’m sitting next to her, I hear her murmuring to herself. She always does this, so I figure either she doesn’t realize she’s doing it or she can’t help it. I don’t know why she does this. Maybe it’s not that I’m accommodating, I’m just chicken! I don’t want to provoke or offend her, and I know I have little habits that offend other people too. Would I want them to confront me? I guess I would if it were serious, like if I had really bad body odor. I would want my friend or relative to tell me so I could do something about it.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t confront most people about stuff that annoys me. Sometimes I avoid the person, if it’s possible – it depends on my mood. Dale is the only one that I do confront now and then. After all, I have to live with him, and nowadays, while we’re stuck at home, we’re together almost all the time.

In fact, when other people confront my son, I defend him even when I know they are right. That is because I don’t want him to be provoked because he easily gets out of control and starts yelling and swearing. He is very sensitive, so if someone hurts him, he overreacts. Then the other person gets mad and starts yelling and swearing back. But I know that he is fundamentally a kind person.

I’m also very sensitive. When someone hurts me, I tend to withdraw and lick my wounds, but if it happens often, I will confront the person. Dale sometimes yells “SHUT UP!” at me when he could react less strongly, or he yells at me from across the room in a tone of annoyance when we are on vacation, in other words, in a situation where others in our tour group witness it – that is very embarrassing. I do talk to him about this, but only when we are alone in our room. I have gotten into the habit of reminding him about this BEFOREHAND – because I know it’s going to happen when he gets annoyed when I linger to look at something or take a photo.

I think I know why I am reluctant to confront people about the things that bug me – I just want PEACE and HARMONY among the people I’m with.

Love, Peace, and Harmony #thoughts , #ThinkPositive , #love, #Peace , # Harmony , #SPIRITUAL | Peace quotes, Harmony quotes, Humanity quotes

Why can’t we all just get along?

SYW: On Electronic Game Playing, Color Assignations, Tongues, and Fireplaces

Here are Melanie’s questions this week for Share Your World. Nothing heavy or controversial this week!

SYWMaskIssa

QUESTIONS

What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it?  It MUST be something you aren’t supposed to enjoy because it is “bad for you”.
Playing word games on my phone, according to my husband! I have ADHD and years ago, a therapist told me never to get a phone with lots of apps because they would distract me too much (I had a Blackberry at the time). Sure enough, he was right! I have been known to waste an entire morning playing games on my phone, and when I come back into reality, I realize I haven’t even gotten dressed yet and it’s noon!

I’ve been trying to be more mindful about this and having some success. It is “bad” for me because these games are addicting and my eyes get sore from staring at the phone screen for so long.

(I wanted to say “chocolate” but he doesn’t really get annoyed about that. My body does, though!)

Is it okay for men to wear the color pink?
Of course. This assigning of colors for boys and girls is so silly. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to tell anyone what the sex of my child was, because I didn’t want to get lots of clothes in the same color. Since my child was a boy, it wouldn’t have been as bad as if I’d had a girl. Even so, I stayed away from “baby blue” to decorate with. Babies like BRIGHT COLORS!

Anyway, Dale’s favorite color is purple. Is that unmasculine? I’ve seen men wearing pink and they look quite spiffy!

Can you curl your tongue? 
Yes. I think it’s genetic.

What, in your opinion, is the best room to put a fireplace?
Whatever room is below the chimney!! Of course, the living room. Before central heating, people who could afford it had fireplaces in many rooms. We now have a gaslit fireplace (so no flue, no mess) that we push a button to start and stop. It’s so nice to sit in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and read. Every house I’ve lived in that had a fireplace, it was in the living room. I wouldn’t want it in the bedroom for two reasons: there would be the danger of falling asleep while it was lit, which could lead to a disaster; second, I don’t like the bedroom to be too warm. I like being under warm covers but if the room is warm, I get hot and can’t sleep. And there’s a third reason: Santa Claus coming down into the bedroom would be unseemly and we would see his gifts before Christmas morning!

Here’s my cat, Hazel, in a state of bliss before the fire. Now that it has turned cold, our morning tradition is to sip our coffee or tea in front of the fireplace and read, and Hazel always joins us!

GRATITUDE SECTION

I’m grateful that no one I know and love has died from COVID-19. I’m grateful for being able to Zoom with friends and family. I’m grateful that we will soon have a sane president. I’m grateful that a vaccine is coming. I’m grateful for having a nice home, a good husband, and good friends.

I am truly:

This 1 Act of Gratitude Will Make Your Workplace Happier and More  Productive | Inc.com

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.

FDDA: A Day In My Life

Today Fandango’s Dog Days of August theme is your daily routine.” Do you follow a daily routine? Many of us are creatures of habit. We have routines that we follow, whether it’s the time we get up each day or go to bed, what we do during the day, or how we spend our time. For some, it can be disruptive if our routines are interrupted. Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about your daily routine.

I love to write haiku – it’s the most fun kind of poetry to write. So I went a bit overboard writing it, but here’s my

PANDEMIC ROUTINE HAIKU

OMG! Will it
Never be over? Five months
And no end in sight!

My routine is thus:
Get up whenever I wake,
Weigh myself, brew tea.

Eat a banana,
And a piece of cheese, sip tea,*
On my screened back porch.

*I no longer drink coffee.

If hubby is home
We eat omelets and toast
On our screened back porch

If hubby plays golf
It’s cereal and yogurt
With fruit for breakfast.

Eventually,
I get dressed and brush my teeth,
Then find things to do.

Housework? Clean kitchen,
Maybe do laundry again,
Turn on computer.

Creativity:
Ways to combat the sameness –
Read, paint, blog, research

I might watch TV,
But not for long – I get tired.
Get up, get ready!

Take walks on campus
What are ducks and swans up to?
No cygnets this year.

Swans and ducks at West Lake

Meet friends walking too –
We discuss pets, pandemic:
End in September?

Reading is something
I love to do and I have
Read so many books!

Play scrabble online,
Write a blog for all to read,
Entertain myself.

Social media?
Facebook entertains also –
Enjoy the humor!

Cute cat videos,
I laugh at anti-Trump memes,
See doings of friends.

Listen to music,
Think about playing piano…
But I never do.

I can’t motivate myself to play, but I don’t want to give up my piano!

My husband returns –
Time for a nap! Then we check
Mail, e-mail, and texts.

Dinner delivered
To us on Styrofoam trays;
Cookies for dessert.

At night we watch news –
Rachel Maddow, Lawrence too:
Trump’s latest scandals.

Get a laugh watching
Late Night With Stephen Colbert –
Laugh so we don’t cry.

Selfish people won’t
Wear masks, claiming it’s their right
What about duty?

Five months of finding
Creative things to do and
Hoping it ends soon!

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.

FPQ: Satisfaction

Fandango’s Provocative Question #76 is a very personal one, really. I always feel compelled to be as honest as possible. Here it is:

Are you satisfied with your life at the moment. If so, what is it that brings you the greatest satisfaction? If not, what might you do to achieve satisfaction in your life?

Sorry – I couldn’t resist including this. It’s what I always think of when I hear “satisfaction.”

I could answer this question easily without going into detail, but since you asked, I will take the risk of sounding like a whiny, privileged white person.

Five years ago I joined my husband in retirement. With decent income coming in from pensions and investments, we did not need to worry about money, although I continued to budget because I was used to doing it. We had several options for how to live going forward. We could:

  1. Just stay where we are and travel as much as possible.
  2. Become “snowbirds,” going to Arizona for the winter.
  3. Move to another country entirely. (my favorite option, actually!)

Those were the three options I had in mind, but Dale added another one:

4. Move into a retirement community which will take care of us but gobble up most of our income. Meaning, cutting back on travel until our 10-year annuity matures and gives us more income.

I resisted this idea as long as possible. Both of us have arthritic knees so staying in our 2-story home with laundry machines and Dale’s “office” in the basement was become untenable. I suggested we start looking to sell our house and move into a condo. That way, we could stay in the same town, with our kids nearby, and we’d get rid of an awful lot of stuff.

But then our daughter and her new husband decided they wanted to rent our house and buy it eventually.

To prepare for that, I stepped up pressuring Dale to make a decision on one of the before-mentioned options. My sister and brother-in-law, meanwhile, had moved to a nice retirement community in Arlington Heights, and after looking at several places like it, we chose the same community. What an advantage, having my sister nearby! However, I had to give up the fight to move into a condo in order to be able to travel.

Don’t get me wrong – I like it here very much. Those of you who read my blog have seen many photos that I post of the nature on campus. The grounds are beautiful. But in order to move here, we had to take out two loans so we literally have very little in our account at the end of each month.

Which brings me back to Fandango’s original question. The thing I love and desire more than anything else in the world is to travel, while I still can. I’m still relatively young and able-bodied. My husband, while several years older, is also in pretty good shape after recovering from quadruple bypass surgery last year. We try to exercise as many times a week as possible, which is now mostly walking.

So, am I satisfied with my life? Yes and no. I haven’t traveled outside this country for a little under a year now, and I’m chomping on the bit to do so. But now with the pandemic and such poor handling of it on the part of our federal government, we can’t go to most to Europe, and probably would be required to spend two weeks in quarantine in order to go to other places we’d like to go. And I’m a bit scared of taking a road trip because Illinois is one of the best states right now in terms of getting Covid under control (thank you, Gov. Pritzker!). Cases are rising rapidly in many states, including at least one that borders Illinois.

So most likely, we wouldn’t be traveling now anyway. And really, I’m grateful now to be living here. Our meals are delivered to our door each day, everyone has been tested for Covid-19 and not a single resident tested positive, which is better than any of the other retirement communities/nursing homes/senior living facilities in this area, and we have a lovely campus with landscaped grounds and two lakes. I find much joy in walking over to West Lake to watch the swans, geese, and duck families, and I always hope to see the heron than drops by almost every day. So, yes, I am satisfied now with our living situation.

What brings me the most satisfaction right now is being able to pursue my interests without having to worry about time and money, spend time in nature, and being able to see the kids and their cats and spend time with part of my family.

The unsatisfied part of me desires two things: travel (which is impossible right now) and a grandchild. Neither our daughter & son-in-law nor our son plan to have kids.

I am also unsatisfied with myself, a lifelong struggle. I’m very critical of myself and I hate that I don’t do all the things I want and should, that is, to take advantage of the opportunities I have right now. I waste too much time playing games on my smart phone.

But I can’t have everything and I know that I am lucky to have a good husband, family nearby, and money for the future. If I have the patience to wait – wait for Covid-19 to go away, wait for the sale of our house, and wait for more income to travel – I will have a very satisfying life. So I am basically satisfied with my life, but right now I’m bored and restless – like millions of other people right now!

Also, I want the fitness center to reopen because I need to lose some weight!

See the source image

SYW: On Public Speaking, Caves, Unexpected Outcomes & Gratitude

Questions:

How comfortable are you speaking in front of large groups of people?
I used to be petrified by speaking in front of a group of any size. I had to take a speech class when I was working toward my master’s degree in teaching, in which I not only had to give prepared speeches in front of my classmates (which were very rushed), but I also had to videotape myself giving a speech and analyze it! Arghh! BUT…it worked! The next semester I took a lit class with the same instructor and I wasn’t shy or scared at all! Needless to say, teaching involves a lot of speaking in front of large groups of people (albeit little people!). I also gave a lecture at a bilingual eduction conference with two colleagues as well as had to prepare and speak about relevant topics occasionally at teacher meetings. So now I’m pretty comfortable, but I guess it would also depend on the audience.

What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?
Pretty stalactites and stalacmites and other cool formations that result from water dripping into the cave. I enjoy taking cave tours! One cave we visited out west actually had a hotel room down there that you could rent, and another had a lunch café and theatre seats! But I still prefer the natural formations of the cave!

What did you think was going to be amazing but turned out to be horrible?

I’d rather answer the reverse: what I thought would be horrible and turned out to be amazing! That would be eggplant, which I thought I hated, but when I had to eat it at a family’s house in Egypt in order to be polite, I found it to be amazing!!

OK, I thought of one thing. Without getting into too many personal details, my extended family took a vacation in Puerto Rico over New Year’s 1990/91. Parts of it were amazing – I enjoyed all the places we visited, but it was my first husband, who went on the trip even though he wasn’t expected to (we were on the verge of a divorce) that made some parts of the trip very unpleasant, to the point that my 5-year-old son was afraid of going into the condo we were staying in. But something good came out of it: I sat next to one of my sisters on the plane coming back and she got me to thinking about how I (and my son) were being treated, and two weeks later I hired a divorce lawyer.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve observed someone get upset about?
The people who protested about the extended lockdown because they wanted to get haircuts! They called their respective governors “fascist” for not “opening” their states up faster. Plus they went outside with signs in very close proximity to each other and most without masks. Really, a governor is fascist for trying to protect the people of her/his state from a potentially fatal virus? I’ll call it silly but I really could use much stronger words for it!

Gratitude: 

Please feel free to share something that gave you an uplifted spirit during this past week.  (Optional)
It was my birthday last Tuesday (June 2) and I got several phone calls from residents here as well as lots of cards! On Friday, a friend of mine brought over a pot of flowers, which was really nice, because the one I’d bought and had hanging all died for some reason and it was embarrassing to have a totally wilted pot of flowers in front of the house! I am also grateful for all the flowers I’m seeing everywhere on campus!

FPQ #71: Act Your Age…

FPQ

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week is again a question with multiple sub-questions:

How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?

*If you’re uncomfortable revealing your actual age, maybe you can just say something like, “I’m in my twenties.” Or fifties. Or “I’m a senior citizen.”
getting older-music

I don’t mind revealing my age – I will turn 68 next week.  I have never felt my age until recently, and until recently, people would guess me to be younger than I am. I let my co-workers (in teaching, all were younger than me) think I was younger. That’s why it’s strange in a way to be living in a senior retirement community. We moved here primarily because of my husband, who is eight years older than I am. He was sick of maintaining a house, especially one that was close to 100 years old – something was always needing to be fixed or renovated. For me, it was the stairs – I have bad knees and it had become increasingly difficult to live in a 2-story + basement house. The washer & dryer were in the basement, but I spent a lot of time in my “office” on the 2nd floor. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen to move into a condo somewhere near where we used to live.
getting older-friend

I say I never felt my age until recently because my body has been reminding me of my age. I have a heart monitor for my congestive heart condition and, as I said, bad knees. I have fallen quite often and my knees have gotten arthritic. I still try to keep active, because I know that if I don’t, my body will deteriorate faster now than when I was younger. The other day, Dale cleaned up our bikes and pumped air into the tires. Then he wanted to go for a spin around the campus. Just trying to get my leg over the middle bar was difficult! (I don’t have the classic “girls’ bike” – the bar is not as high as on a men’s bike; it’s halfway in between.) I still make an effort to walk every day and if possible, two or more miles.
getting older-dumb

These days I have to watch my salt and fat content. If I don’t, my body reminds me of it! I can no longer drink coffee and I only very rarely eat fast food.

Acting my age is something I have never done! Remember that stupid teasing phrase, “Act your age, not your IQ”? When I was young enough to say that or be teased with it, I probably did act my age! But now… what does it mean to be 68? How much longer have I got? I don’t think about it much. But it’s true that “70 is the new 50.” People live longer these days and becoming a senior citizen and retiring doesn’t mean your life is over. Retirement for me created opportunities – to attend multiple book groups at the library, attend classes in writing, art, and international/political affairs, travel at any time of the  year.

I don’t have to get up early most of the time. As a retiree, I have filled my days with activities and pleasurable pursuits. (I now understand why retired people tend to be busier than working people!) I love to travel more than anything else, but I’m not ready to take cruises all the time where I never have to get exercise or even get off the ship. I prefer tours that require tramping around cities or nature areas.

I still like the things I liked when I was 30 or 40. My husband and I both like to act silly sometimes – well, more than sometimes – A LOT. The good thing about living in a senior community is meeting people older than me that still live active lives. When I talk to people here, I forget about their age. (Everyone here considers me a “youngster!”) They like the same things, do the same sorts of things, enjoy life the same way I do. Many of them get excited about hearing Beatles songs! So what exactly is “acting my age?” I have no idea – I just act the way I have been.  I don’t think about death being any more imminent than it was before.
getting older-fun

However, there are some things that I feel an urgency to do now that I’m getting older. Keeping records of our investments, writing down for our kids the wishes we have regarding our death, and finishing long term “legacy” projects – all these are important to do as soon as possible, but being the procrastinator that I am, they are far from being completed. We do have a will or should I say, a trust, that has been drawn up and is kept in a place that’s easy to find. But I guess that’s what it means not to act my age – to take for granted that I have plenty of time to do all the things that I believe must be done.

getting older-50