SYW: On Being Better, Love, Memories, Death & the Composition of a Baseball

A new set of questions this week from Melanie’s Share Your World!

QUESTIONS    (Going DEEP on these today)

Are human beings required to better themselves and will doing that make them happier?
Required? No, no one is required to do anything in their life, but it’s better that they achieve their potential, which will be a contribution to our society and human existence in general. I think if a person works hard to achieve something, or meets a goal, (s)he will be happy with what was achieved; so collectively, people who strive to be the best they can be will be happier and more confident in themselves.

Is it easier to love or to be loved?
Depends on who is doing the loving! If one who loves another is always having to give, give, give and the other gives little in return, that can’t be an easy emotion to deal with. Love ultimately requires work, while being loved requires nothing. So being loved is easier, but both are needed.

Outside traumatic brain injury, can memories be completely erased?
I don’t know. I do know it’s possible to “block” traumatic events in one’s life – such as a history of child abuse. A person may block such memories for self-preservation and to forget those terrible events to be relieved of suffering, having nightmares, etc. But I guess these memories aren’t really “erased” – a good psychotherapist may succeed in bringing a patient’s blocked memories to consciousness in order to confront them to aid in healing.

Is there such a thing as a good death?
Sometimes. If a person has been suffering a lot or has no quality of life, or “alive” due to machines but in a vegetative state…then yes, their death could be considered “good” because it alleviates their suffering. When my mother was suffering from dementia and could no longer really communicate – and she was a person who loved being sociable, to talk on a variety of subjects, reading and writing – I used to pray for God to allow her life to end.

Perhaps we can also say that a human monster (like Hitler) who has caused terrible suffering and death of innocents, also had a “good death,” in that the world is better off without him!

Or perhaps a “good” death is simply death free of pain and prolonged suffering – such as dying in one’s sleep or very suddenly with no pain involved.

Anyone’s idea of a “good death” is really subjective.

and one ‘silly’ one because the former questions were fairly serious:   What do you imagine is inside a baseball? 
Some stuffing – cotton, or fibers of some kind. Maybe a ball of string? I’ve never thought about it before.  But your question made me curious, so I looked it up.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Feel free to share something uplifting this week!  

Loving S Words

Catch-up time for Paula’s February Month of Love challenge!

And what do you know?? All my loves for this post start with the letter S, which is the subject of /Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

Feb. 23: I love…sunsets (and sunrises, although I’m hardly ever awake for those! 🙂 ).

Somewhere at sea
The wires are unfortunately visible, but I like this sunset against Chicago’s skyscrapers.
I took this on a walk a few days ago – it’s not quite sunset, but the sun is low in the sky, casting shadows from the tree.
Sunset from an airplane
Sunset in Tanzania

Feb. 24: I love…spring! I already included summer as one of my loves, but the spring is special too, because it is the season of hope and anticipation. The cycle of life begins, emerging from winter snow and cold, producing new life in flora and fauna. Last spring, I took photos of my daffodils on the side of my house in March, from shoots to blooms.

Fruit trees bloom.
And my garden was newly planted.

Feb. 25: I love…singing. I never had good manual dexterity to play an instrument but I’ve always loved to sing. When I was a young adult and needed a spiritual outlet, I turned to singing by joining a community choir. After moving to Des Plaines, I joined the choir at First Congregational Church and still participate in that! It’s rather hard during the pandemic to do group singing, but we use Zoom and a music software called Upbeat to practice and then record the pieces we sing. So I’d like to end with a song about singing (with a virtual choir that may also use Upbeat software!):

Love Me February 9-10

I’m trying to keep up with Paula’s monthlong challenge to blog every day this month something we love, by posting every few days! Here are 9 and 10, and I am not putting these in any particular order – I write them as I think of them.

Feb. 9 I love…summer. Long days, sunshine, warm weather, vacation, all of it.

Feb. 10: I love…music. I have a varied taste and go through periods of favorite genres. When in the car, I like to listen to the Beatles challenge on XM radio. For background music, I prefer classical, which is currently my favorite genre. I like jazz, blues, rock (oldies mostly – my generation’s rock music is now in that category!), big band, movie soundtracks, folk, religious, world. My second favorite genre is world music – music from around the world. I have spent quite a lot of time in Brazil over the years, and got to love their music – samba music, bossa nova, Brazilian rock (some of it – they have metal, like everywhere now, which I don’t like). I also like humor, when it’s well-done (listen to the last song below).

In fact, there are really only two genres of music I don’t much like: rap/hip hop and metal. Metal to me is just noise, but my son loves it. Rap/hip hop – it may be because ethnically I am not part of the culture. Back in the 1960s, there were wonderful soul groups like The Supremes (RIP, Mary Wilson!), Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, etc. Most soul music was great to dance to. Actually, I do like some hip hop/rock that gets me dancing – that is the case with a lot of Latin American pop music nowadays, which I do enjoy. And I do respect rappers for what they do – how they can improvise rhymes on the spur of the moment, and do that for a 5 minute song. Some of the danceable hip hop tunes I got to like while taking Zumba classes.

Other international music I particularly like is Celtic/folk, traditional music from Latin America and from Africa. Sometimes I get to like a particular type of music after I traveled to the area where it comes from. Usually it’s discovering something I hadn’t heard before, but I found out about several popular groups while traveling – La Oreja de Van Gogh in Spain, for example – I love their music. I don’t need to understand the language to appreciate the music, although it helps if I do. Music is an international language, that can be appreciated anywhere, but some music contains the soul of its people – blues, African songs, Celtic, etc.

Below are a few of my favorite (short) musical pieces. All have special meaning for me and give me tremendous saudades (a Portuguese word with an approximate meaning in English as melancholy, nostalgia, longing).

Enjoy the music!

My very favorite bossa nova song, because it brings back a lot of memories!

This Scottish song about a young man going off to war is kind of melancholy but it is one of my favorites.

My favorite international band is from Spain, La Oreja de Van Gogh. This one is more animated. Their music gives me so many saudades because I used to listen to them a lot.

Angel City Chorale is a choir I’ve known about for many years. They do religious, pop, and foreign language songs. I had never heard this one before, but I like it because of its African beat and language.

Here’s another one from Angel City Chorale that most will surely recognize. You don’t hear anything at first but keep listening! Originally sung by Toto, I had this song in my head the whole time we were in Tanzania*, so that is what it reminds me of! They also do Beatles and Beach Boys medleys, among others.

*I wanted to find out if you can see Mount Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti – you can’t.

And to end, here is a new release from Randy Rainbow. I LOVE this guy – he is so talented – he has a great voice and writes new humorous lyrics to well-known songs. Warning: This has a definite political slant.

February Love Me

Yikes! I have a few days to catch up for Paula’s February Love Me challenge! Here are 3 more, in no particular order…

Feb. 6: I love…ice cream! Even though it is winter, and quite cold here, I can’t resist the temptation of ice cream once in a while!

Ice cream in France

Feb. 7: I love…art. I love to visit art museums whenever I can as well as do my own artwork! I just finished the book Frida in America by Celia Stahr, a new biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo focusing on her years in the United States with her husband, Diego Rivera. While reading the book, I explored her artwork on line and, although I was quite familiar with her work, I discovered a lot of her paintings I hadn’t known about before. I also love mural art wherever I find it – and usually stop what I’m doing to take a picture!

Claude Monet, Bordighera, 1884, oil on canvas; exhibition at Chicago Art Institute, Oct. 2020
My artwork: Painted Bunting, sharpie and pastels on construction paper, January 2020

Feb. 8: I love…traveling. Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally knows how traveling is absolutely the thing I love most to do! And while traveling, I engage in one of my favorite hobbies, photography, and when I come back, I engage in another favorite activity, writing (or blogging). Below is a gallery random sample of travel photos from 2018-2019. There are no travel photos from 2020 due to not being able to travel during the pandemic! I have two international trips booked for 2022 and hopefully we can do a road trip in the fall of this year.

SYW: Love Is…

It’s Monday, and Melanie has put out a new set of questions for Share Your World. Fittingly, this week it’s all about love and romance.

In your opinion, do May/December (older partner with much younger partner) romances ever work?
I think they can, if there is real love between them. I know people are often suspicious that a woman marrying a much older man, especially if he’s rich, do it for the money. (Why did Melania marry Donald Trump?) But I believe in love, and love can occur between people of any age or gender.

Image result for love and romance jokes

What physical action or gesture do you find romantic?
Hmmm, without getting pornographic here, I guess I would say when he comes up behind me and gives me a shoulder massage.

What is your idea of a romantic dinner?
Just the two of us in a quiet café, preferably in Europe, with plenty of time to wine and dine.

Is ‘love’ a real ‘thing’ or merely a physical chemical response and brain activity pulling our emotional strings?
Of course it’s real – all emotions are real, but each has a physiological component. I have heard that people are attracted to each other due to pheromones – unconsciously they are attracted to the way the other person smells – but I think it’s more than that. It’s biological (love leads to procreation of the species), physiological (certain chemical reactions occur – I’m not sure, but the movie Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Sex pretty much sums it up!), psychological (the people involved are ready for a relationship – and for love to succeed, one must have self-love first), and emotional (you can’t stop thinking about the other person, you feel happy even on a bad day, you go crazy at the sight of the objection of your affection, etc.).

So the short answer to the question is “both.”

How do you show your loved ones that you love them?
By doing things for them that they don’t expect, such as things you know they want or need, but they haven’t asked for it. Listen when they have something to say, and take their advice. Also small gestures, such as hugs and laughing at their bad jokes!

February of Love #5

Feb. 5: Yesterday, I wrote that I love cats. Right now, most of my cat-love goes to my one cat, Hazel. (The rest goes to my three grandcats, who I don’t get to see very often these days!) Hazel has been with us since Christmas 2013 and is now almost 10 years old! She has her moods, but usually is good for some nice fur-fluffing, and sleeping between our legs, especially in cold weather. In the mornings, she likes to lie by the fire, joining us with our morning coffee/tea.

For some reason, she prefers to drink from the toilet rather than her water “fountain,” which constantly recycles the water so it’s always clean.
One of my favorite photos of Hazel, sitting on the coffee table (where she wasn’t supposed to be).

Posted for Paula Light’s February Love Me challenge to post something you love for every day this month.

February Love #3-4

I have to catch up again with Paula’s Month of Love, with the challenge to post something I love every day of this month!

Feb. 3: I love…books. I used to be in 3 book groups – it was hard to keep up and still have time to read other things. I gave up the two library book groups because it got too difficult to access the books and Zoom meetings after Covid quarantine kept us from in person meetings. In the meantime I’ve joined another group here at our senior community, and I’m still in one at our church. I post all my books on Goodreads. There is a challenge every year: you start the year pledging to reading the number of books of your choosing. Last year I pledged 35 and read 45. So this year, I’ve pledged 40 and will probably go beyond that again! I always read a mix of fiction and non-fiction in a variety of genres. My favorite genre is historical fiction.

One reason I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I can go an entire day never turning on my computer, instead preferring to sit near the fire and read for hours!

Feb. 4: I love…cats! I take photos of cats wherever I go. Here is a sample of cats I’ve seen or loved as pets.

Square Up 5: Love and Friendship

Becky’s January Square photo challenge continues with the topic UP – either as a word or part of a word! My contribution for today is coUPles.

A loving couple: Dale (hubby) and Katy (me)
Loving couple enjoying a snack (including a cUP of hot chocolate!) in Amsterdam
A couple of pastors at our church’s sesquicentennial in 2019
Another loving couple (with 60 years of marriage!) on Valentine’s Day
A couple of friends
A couple of sisters

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.

HPHBPSYW

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.