If is a preposition at the beginning of a clause supposing something. In many European languages, “if” requires a verb in the subjunctive tense, because it is speculation about something that hasn’t happened (yet) or an alternative or hypothetical scenario. In English, the subjunctive would be thus: If I were...
But nowadays, most people say “If I was” so the subjunctive is falling into disuse. But it is very much alive in the Romance or Latin languages as well as many others. Learning what comes after “if” in Spanish means I have to think of how to conjugate the verb that follows. After a while, it becomes a habit: “Si quisieras” (if you want…) sounds right and I feel proud of myself for remembering to use the subjunctive! I was brought up in a highly literate family, my parents requiring us to speak properly – we would get corrected if, for example, we said “Me and Joe are going to the concert.” Commonplace nowadays, but not right. It sounds sloppy, ignorant. An “if” clause, however, would perhaps not sound so dissonant, because it has become acceptable not to use “were” as a subjunctive verb.
Also, most verbs in English don’t have a different form for an if clause: “If I wanted” is the same form of “want” as would be used for past tense in any context. I would wager that most people who read this may not even know what I am talking about! (Subjunctive? What is that?) If you study French, or Portuguese, or Italian, for more than one college semester, you will definitely have to learn it!
“If I were hoping to go on a cruise” is actually correct, but often now you will utter “If I was hoping to go on a cruise.” It still sounds dissonant to me, but it doesn’t bother me because I don’t use the subjunctive as often as I used to. Sometimes I forget all about it. I guess English speakers think IF is enough to signal a hypothetical event. Eventually it will be so rare that saying “if I were” will sound strange.
As for going on a cruise…I’m ready to go! No ifs, ands or buts about it!
(My attempt at stream of conscience writing this week for the SoCS challenge.)
It’s a new week, and here are Melanie’s new (?) questions for Share Your World. I do feel as though I’ve answered some of these before, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
What are you most proud of in the last year?
The artwork I have done. I wish I could say that during the pandemic lock-down, I did artwork every day, but that would not be true. I meant to, but didn’t do it…
Even so, I have produced a number of drawings and watercolors during the past several months, as the rules loosened and we could form a small art group again. I even gave my niece one of my watercolors for her birthday! She had actually asked me to paint “something green and with a waterfall in it,” so that’s what I did.
As a result, I am accumulating a decent portfolio of my artwork. The pieces I am most proud of I will gladly display for viewing if an opportunity arises.
Besides these free-hand works, I did a lot of really nice coloring pages. Maybe that sounds silly, but there are coloring books for adults and I set myself high standards! I’ve had many of the books for several years, but didn’t do much with them until this past year. I used gel pens, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or markers, depending on the picture.
If you see a puddle on the ground, do you walk around it or give in to the child within and splash about?
I walk around it, although right now the rain puddles are welcome because we really need rain! We need enough rain to make puddles impossible to avoid! We have been down 8 inches of rain this spring compared to last year, and normal would be 6 inches more than we’ve had. It finally rained last night and today the sprinklers are on!
Do you feel free? Why or why not?
I do benefit from the freedoms afforded to me as a U.S. citizen, good health, and enough money to live on and to travel. So I do consider myself to be “free.” However, we all have our burdens, which hamper our freedom because they tie us down in some way. It’s very liberating when a burden is lifted from my shoulders!
I also feel that the freedoms given to us in the Bill of Rights are not completely unlimited. My freedom ends where another person’s begins. It is not a “freedom” issue, for example, to disobey a mask mandate, just as one has to obey traffic laws, or suffer consequences. Part of living in a society that provides us with many benefits is being responsible to other people living in that society. They have the same freedoms the rest of us do. I don’t have a problem with accepting these responsibilities nor do I think I am not free as a result.
To be totally “free”, perhaps one would have to live alone with no one around to impose rules. I don’t want to live like that.
What life skills are rarely taught but are extremely useful?
Money management. My dad tried to teach us how to manage money, but he didn’t succeed very well with me – probably because I wasn’t listening! However, I did learn on my own how to make a budget and make sure I had enough income to pay my expenses. Even so, I wasted a lot of savings because I didn’t plan for the future.
I think there are a lot of young people who never had a class on money management. But what if they win the lottery or get hired to be on a major league sports team? Suddenly they have a lot of money, but not necessarily the skills to make sure they don’t lose it! Some lucky people take having money for granted, and they blow it all on get-richer schemes or lavish entertainment. Tales of riches-to-rags are as prevalent as tales of rags-to-riches! For most people, having enough money takes hard work and sacrifices.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please share some gratitude with everyone! There are lots of reasons just now I think!
I am grateful for my legs. Although I have arthritis pain in my knees, my legs can still take me where I want to go. I am grateful for my arms, which finally can be used to hug people again! I am grateful for my hands, which are used to take photos or create nice pictures, and to write. I am grateful for my eyes, which, although severely myopic, let me read books and see the world. I am grateful for my brain, befuddled as it is. I have put it to great use in all the intellectual pursuits of my life. Since I am expressing gratitude, I will not list its shortcomings! I am grateful for my ears, which can listen to music, such as one of my favorite songs performed by Cat Stevens…
Would you rather be a super nice person and be depressed all your life, or be happy and a total *sshole? (Credit goes to Cyranny for this question, aired on one of her “Cyranny’s Quickies” posts.) I would like to rebel as some respondents have, and try to recombine these choices. But, having a loved one who suffers from depression and because I’m reading a book about the subject in order to understand it better (the cover of that book appears below), I do not see “depression” and “being nice” as a dichotomy. Yup, here I go, taking this questions perhaps WAY too seriously! But that’s what happens when I’m involved in something that is really a very complex question. So please forgive me for overthinking this seemingly binary choice!
I definitely would not want to be an a-hole in any condition and I doubt it would make me happy. Although I suppose there are plenty of happy people who are oblivious to the fact that they are cruel jerks – or they just don’t care. It wouldn’t be me, though. I have too strong a moral compass and always feel guilty when I treat someone badly.
That said, it is perfectly logical to be both nice and depressed. For one thing, very few people are depressed “all the time.” Depression comes and goes. When someone is in a deep depression, they often isolate themselves, cut themselves off from friends and family. People close to them see the warning signs and then may try to intervene.
When someone suffering from depression is NOT depressed, however, he or she seems like a completely different person! When they are not depressed, people who suffer from this mental illness are often quite nice people. Why, you may ask? It may seem like a contradiction, but actually it isn’t. Because there is such a contrast between the depressed and normal states, these people tend to appreciate life and other people more when they are feeling ‘normal’. They feel things acutely and tend to be very sensitive. They are often empathetic (that is, when they are not depressed). They know what it is like to suffer greatly, and know that during their normal state, they should enjoy life and accomplish as much as they can, because they also know that the darkness and isolation – the abyss – will return. The best time for them to seek help with their mental illness is when they are feeling good, because during depression, they can hardly get out of bed, much less do something constructive. When they are depressed and thus miss an event they looked forward to attending, they feel really bad about that, and know that most people at the event probably didn’t expect them to attend, but would have been pleasantly surprised if they had showed up. They live with a lot of guilt, but they usually take that out on themselves, not on other people. (It’s true that the suicide rates are much higher among depressives than non-depressives.) They do invariably hurt people, but usually unintentionally, so you can’t say they are fundamentally a-holes.
So if I had to choose, I would rather be nice and depressed. First of all, the depression doesn’t last forever, and nowadays there is plenty of help for depression, in the form of medications and therapy. New drugs are constantly being put on the market that improve on earlier ones, because medical understanding of depression constantly improves. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others, and different combinations, to try.
Believe me, I don’t desire to be depressed! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! But as you have posed an either/or choice, this is my reasoning for choosing depression and being nice.
Have you ever made someone cry? Of course – even though I’m nice and not an a-hole, I am not perfect! I’m sure I’ve made my son cry, but I can’t remember the last time that was.
Are you a dreamer or a go-getter? I’m a dreamer and unfortunately, not a go-getter. It would be better to act on my dreams, and to some extent I have, but I am not one of those assertive, in-your-face types.
If you were in a band, what instrument would you play? Probably the piano, because it’s the only instrument I have ever learned to play. But instruments don’t have to be external – I consider my voice an instrument, and so I would be the singer. I sing much better than I play the piano anyway.
Do you feel gratitude is necessary? Yes, or rather I feel it SHOULD be necessary. Everyone should feel gratitude about the good things in life, or the people who have touched them. It is necessary for ME, anyway, to feel gratitude. I try to stop and count my blessings or appreciate my life in some way every day.
I greatly appreciate the following song and am grateful that John Lennon gave us his talents until his tragic death in 1980.
I haven’t been on my blog for a few days – I’ve been busy! Which is why I’m late this week for Melanie’s Share Your World. Better late than never, though!
So here are the questions and my responses:
What was the last TV show you binge-watched? If you don’t watch TV (congratulations by the way) what’s the last thing you binged ON? We don’t “binge watch” the way some people do. If we watch more than three shows in a row, it’s probably things we recorded and want to delete from our DVR (to make space for MORE shows!). So I guess I will have to say MSNBC on a weekday! When there is “big news,” we have been known to watch several MSNBC shows in a row. Sometimes we are only half paying attention and then realize we’ve watched every show from Nicole Wallace to Lawrence O’Donnell! (For those unfamiliar with these programs, Nicole Wallace comes on at 3 pm CT and Lawrence O’Donnell ends at 10 pm! We are trying to cut back on this, though – confine ourselves usually just to Rachel Maddow and then watch something else.
That said, our biggest “binge” with recorded programs is either Call the Midwife on PBS or Anne With an E on Netflix. And I have to say, when we finished all of those, we felt lost…what will we get hooked on next??
What’s your most prized possession and why? This is a tough one. But it would have to be something connecting my hobbies with travel, so I will say my photo albums/photo files and my camera. (I know this isn’t all one thing, but they are interconnected.) Some time before digital photography, someone said that the cheapest and most important thing you can bring home with you is your photos. What better way to make memories of an amazing trip?! For as long as I can remember, I have loved making photo albums. I took after my mother in this regard – she always made albums of her trips and of each year, at least after her grandchildren were born. I have done the same thing, but got woefully behind and so some “photo albums” are just pocket pages in a binder with the photos stuck in the pockets.
Some of my albums, however, I am very proud of – pre-digital book of my trip to Cuba in 2001 and 2 volumes of my month-long stay in Costa Rica come to mind. To do these books, I spent countless hours at scrapbooking workshops or carved out a little space for myself at home picking out the best background papers, stickers and other embellishments for each page. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and supplies. (The time and money were worth it!) The best albums I made were with the company Creative Memories – their photo books are high quality and relatively easy to add extra and mix types of pages.
I haven’t done many photo books digitally – only 3 so far, and I’m working on a 4th. I only got started about a year and a half ago with Shutterfly on my trip to Israel. That book came out pretty well, but there were a few mistakes – it was a learning experience, and as a result, my 2-volume trip to Egypt came out much better. I’m now working on France.
Since I generally don’t get around to starting and finishing these books until well after the trip is over, I have to rely on my memory, aided by the photos in my files, to put them together coherently. Besides the photos, I usually go to web sites about places I went to where either I didn’t take notes, couldn’t hear the guide very well, didn’t remember what the guide said, or didn’t even remember exactly what the subject of the photographs was! But that is OK, even advantageous, because a lot is lost whenever you go on a guided tour, and refreshing my mind about a particular site we saw using information from the Internet is a great way to fix it in my mind and immortalize it in the photo book! I learn even more about and appreciate those places than I had before!
And finally, my camera is part of all this. I often snap photos with my cellphone camera, which is light and easy, but I do endure the hassle of carrying around my Sony camera and lenses, because the quality of the photos taken with that are in general much better – plus I can take photos of details close-up that are too far away for a cellphone to capture a good image of. It was especially helpful on safari in Tanzania – which is why I bought a camera with a good telephoto lens initially.
If you had the time and inclination, what would you volunteer for? Habitat for Humanity or projects in poor countries – such as teaching literacy or modern hygiene to people in a village, building a school, or something else they need. I have a friend whose travel itinerary was most often with Earth Watch – she would participate in projects in different countries, as well as take time for sightseeing. I wish I had done that. One of my cousins was in the Peace Corps, another great program where you are really immersed in a culture and people.
Also, I would love to participate in an archaeological dig. In southern Illinois, there is an ancient site called Cahokia, where people belonging to the Mississippi culture built mounds and henges as part of their communities. Cahokia accepts volunteers of all ages. I saw an elderly man there whose task was to sift through dirt for pot shards, etc.
Do you think that humans will ever be able to live together in harmony? Being an optimist and an idealist, I still have that hope. I think it can happen if all the countries of the world join in a effort to solve a global problem that affects us all – dealing with climate change. This is an urgent issue that needs addressing, but its components are so vast and diverse that people in different areas are affected in different ways, all of which could be part of the global project. There is a lot of politics involved on every level and in every country, social and economic disparities and needs, scientific knowledge, business considerations, and understanding why saving a particular species, say, benefits us all. All creatures need to be respected and considered, and included in the plan to solve the overall plight of our planet.
Gratitute section: Share something uplifting with everyone. It can be some writing or an image or photo you like!
Yesterday was Earth Day, so I’d like to share a few inspirational quotes – “food for thought.”
Becky posted a gorgeous sunrise for her Bright Square today, but I’m rarely up early enough for that! Even so, I have these beauties in my archives – a sunrise in Tanzania and a sunset in the Baltic Sea. In my (limited) experience, sunrises tend to be more subtle than sunsets, but beautiful nonetheless.
Last Saturday, April 3, 2021, Egypt celebrated in a big way the transferring of 22 mummies from the old Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to the new museum, The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, located in Fustat (part of Old Cairo), which was the first capital of Islamic Egypt. Egypt’s president and other dignitaries were witness to the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade which included an extravaganza of music, dance, and light show to celebrate the event. Some of the performances were projected on a screen behind the orchestra and chorus, because they had been pre-recorded at three important sites of ancient Egypt: the plateau of Giza (which is the site of the three large, most famous pyramids, constructed in the 25th century BCE, as well as The Sphinx); Saqqara (site of the step pyramid of Djoser, a first dynasty pharaoh – a few centuries older than the pyramids of Giza); and Deir al-Bahri (site of the beautiful temple of female pharaoh Hatshepsut).
The event began at 6:30 pm local time in Tahrir Square, recently renovated for the event, including the erection of a broken obelisk built by King Ramses II in the middle of the square, surrounded by four ram-headed sphinxes brought from Karnak Temple in Luxor.
The mummies of pharaohs and a few well-known queens were transported in specially made vehicles meant to resemble the boats on which pharaohs (who were considered gods) traveled to the afterlife.
The entire event can be viewed on YouTube and it is quite spectacular. Watching it, I was struck by the look of pride on the faces of the Egyptian children, who started the program, and of the Egyptian president (once he took off his mask).
I am including here a video of TheHymn of Isis, sung by Egyptian soprano Amira Selim, backed by a choir and orchestra, which was part of the program. I like this particular video because the words being sung in the ancient Egyptian language are displayed, followed by their English translation. The words are taken from inscriptions on a temple to the goddess Isis, from the Greco-Roman period. More information can be found at Wikipedia: Pharaohs’ Golden Parade.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear of this event, because when we were in Egypt 2 years ago, we were told that the new museum probably would take another 10 years to complete! We drove past the building, which was pointed out to us. Now I have another reason to revisit Egypt!
Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday this week asks for submissions containing one of the words Blossom/Cherry/Flowers in honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.
Here is an “oldie but goodie” by Canadian band Skylark from 1972: Wildflower. As I was listening to it, it became familiar to me in the refrain “She’s a lady/she’s a child” and “she’s a free and gentle flower.” I remember liking the song but didn’t remember much more than that part of the refrain. It’s one of those songs that gets in my head but is frustrating because I can’t remember the rest of the song!
She’s faced the hardest times you could imagine And many times her eyes fought back the tears And when her youthful world was about to fall in Each time her slender shoulders bore the weight of all her fears And a sorrow no one hears Still rings in midnight silence in her ears
Let her cry, for she’s a lady (She’s a lady) Let her dream, for she’s a child (Child) Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild
And if by chance I should hold her (If by chance that I should hold her) Let me hold her for a time (Let me hold her for a time) But if allowed just one possession I would pick her from the garden to be mine (I would pick her from the garden to be mine)
Mm-mm-mm, mm-mm Be careful how you touch her, for she’ll awaken And sleep’s the only freedom that she knows And when you walk into her eyes, you won’t believe The way she’s always payin’ for a debt she never owes And a silent wind still blows That only she can hear, and so she goes
Let her cry, for she’s a lady Let her dream, for she’s a child Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild
Let her cry, for she’s a lady (She’s a lady) Let her dream, for she’s a child Let the rain fall down upon her She’s a free and gentle flower growing wild She’s a flower growing wild She’s free
History of the song Wildflower Wildflower was written by Doug Edwards and David Richardson in 1972. Edwards was a member of the Canadian band Skylark, which first recorded the song. Since then, it has been covered many times and recently has been sampled in several hip hop songs. Edwards composed the song after reading Richard’s poem.
Capitol Records signed the band and Wildflower was included in their first album, named simply Skylark. Donny Gerrard was the vocalist for the song, which was also released as a single, but was not successful at first. It was played on a single radio station in Windsor, Ontario, CKLW. Capitol then decided to release it in neighboring Detroit as a regional release, where it became a huge soul hit before crossing over to the pop charts nationally. Wildflower spent 21 weeks on the Billboard pop chart and became very popular in Canada also, where it reached number 10 on the RPM Top Singles chart. Total sales of the single exceeded one million copies, so it was included on Skylark’s second album as well. In the end, it was the only Skylark song that made the pop charts in the United States. Its peak position in 1973 was 65 on Australia’s pop charts, 23 on the Dutch Top 40, 10 on Canada’s RPM Top Singles and number 1 on RPM Adult Contemporary chart.
Several R&B groups and singers have covered Wildflower, including Color Me Badd, Hank Crawford, Johnny Mathis, Lisa Fischer, Gary Morris, New Birth, The O’Jays and Silk. New Birth’s version added a more instrumentally complex introduction and other enhancements, and became a hit in its own right, making the R&B singles chart’s top 20 in 1974.
Meaning of the song Wildflower Wildflower is about the struggles and emotions of young womanhood. The central character in the song is a young woman who has survived very difficult times, much harder than a woman of her age should have to bear. “Wildflower” alludes to the person being able to grow through her struggle without help. She has been alone and can hardly hold back tears because no one knows or cares about her pain.
The solution is for her to have a chance to let out her emotions and pursue her dreams without any fear. “Letting the rain fall down upon her” means showering her with love and affection. The singer expresses how precious she is, and if she gives him the chance, he will try to make her his. Her emotions are delicate and the writer warns others to be careful how they treat her. She needs to be free for awhile.
The problems she has suffered were not caused by her; she is a loving and caring person who is affected by other people’s problems, and wants to help solve them.
The writer of the poem, David Richardson, says he was inspired by a nurse he was dating. He found her on the brink of tears one night, because two of her patients that she had become close to had died that day. He listened to her as she let out all her pain.
Ultimately, the song focuses on the strength with which this woman faces her problems. It also urges people to be sensitive of the needs of others and to give them a shoulder to lean on in hard times.
This video has gone viral because it is so beautifully written and performed by two Canadian sisters, Cassandra Star (aged 10) and Callahan (aged 19) Armstrong. It uses the melody of Leonard Cohen’s famous song “Hallelujah” with words written by Kelly Mooney that tell the Easter story. The sisters originally recorded it as a gift for their grandparents as their grandmother battles illness and the family is separated for the holiday. Their grandmother is a religious person and has been unable to go to church since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Listen and watch – the lyrics are printed on the screen as they sing.
If not now, then when? This is the story of my life: Procrastination!
Can you describe your life in a six-word sentence? No, I don’t think I can.
Do you remember that thing people used to say, about how you swallow eight spiders a year while you sleep? It’s not true, but do you think you’ve ever swallowed any? What bug do you think you’ve eaten the most of by accident? Yuck! I hope none! Although I probably have inadvertently swallowed a gnat, since there always seems to be one around me.
I have eaten bugs, but it was intentional, sort of. In Oaxaca, Mexico, I was dared to eat chopped up fried grasshoppers that had been served as a complimentary appetizer at a restaurant! I did take a very small bite, and lived to tell the tale, although I don’t remember how it tasted. I don’t want to ever do it again! But the people I was with cheated me – they said if I tried it first, they would all then try it. But they didn’t. How gullible am I???
What’s the best approach to resolving conflict? Calmly.
Where do you find inspiration? By inspiration, do you mean inspiration to do something creative? Or do you mean spiritual satisfaction? If to do something creative, then I say in nature mainly. But sometimes something just comes to me and I have the urge to be creative – like certain books make me want to write. But for spiritual satisfaction, I am inspired by singing, mainly as part of an ensemble like a choir. Appropo here is a song that I have posted before, but it is definitely worth repeating: (Lyrics below)