Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the theme you make use of every day – ordinary but useful objects.
SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs
I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!
In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!
Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?
Opinion. John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art? A combination of the two? Neither, it’s stupid. Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!
How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!
Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)
Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).
Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.
On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!
CFFC: Paper and Books Memorabilia
The theme of Cee;s Fun Foto Challenge this week is books and paper. When I looked up my photos in this category, I found memorabilia (personal and historical), such as the following:
At the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France
I don’t think this display is really made of paper, but it’s meant to look like the pages of a book. This display describing the history of the hotel and the findings of Howard Cater was in the lobby of the Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor, Egypt.
In our local newspaper, The Daily Herald, there is a column on Sunday that I enjoy reading called “Grammar Moses.” Jim Baumann, Mr. Grammar Moses himself, writes about grammar and spelling gaffes, mistakes, and clarification of usage of particular words or phrases sent in by readers. How often have we all seen a sign like this one?
Cards Against Humanity is a sort of nasty card game that is also hilarious (if you like this sort of thing), which I’d never heard of before until our son-in-law introduced it to us. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, seek out this game if you are not prepared for truly sick and twisted humor! Every once in a while, I get in the mood for it, and then I ask my son-in-law if we can play it next time we go over to their house…
Books and coloring books were my solace and salvation during the pandemic quarantine, in the spring of last year.
I did some original artwork during those months too.
SYW: On Parking, Afternoons, Avocados, Generations, & Art Inspiration
It’s Monday, time for Melanie’s latest Share Your World questions.
QUESTIONS (a random bag today)
Can you parallel park (if you drive)? If you don’t drive, can you still skip?
I have never been particularly good at parallel parking, although I have to do it once in a while. It is facilitated in newer cars (like mine) by displaying a picture of what is behind the car when the driver puts the car in reverse. Superimposed on the display is a sort of “map” of the car which shows where the back and sides of my car are. It does help but I still dislike parallel parking. Usually I end up too far from the curb.
Do you prefer early morning or late evening? Or something in between?
I am not an early morning person. I will not take an exercise class earlier than 10 a.m.! I usually am awake until about midnight, but we’ve been going to bed a little earlier so that we can get up early enough to take a walk before it gets too hot. So I guess I prefer in between. I think I’m an “afternoon” person – that seems to be when I get the most done.
Do you like avocados?
Yes, sort of. In the form of guacamole, I love it!
Is mind or matter more real?
What an odd question! Both are “real” – that is, both are part of the experience of a person’s life.
and a bonus ‘deep’ question just because
Are people in this current generation less or more sensitive than people from past generations?
I’m not sure what you mean by “sensitive.” More empathetic? More kind or caring? Less self-absorbed? It’s hard to say, because there are many “generations” living at the same time. The word generations has come to mean certain age groups, with some stereotypical characteristics attached to that group, such as “millennials” or “Gen-X,” etc. I think we older citizens (mostly Baby Boomers now, like myself) look somewhat askance on the behavior of some people younger than ourselves; for example, it seems to be no longer safe to travel by air – especially if you are one of the flight attendants – with so many attacks from passengers. Not just rudeness, although that’s there too; I mean, there are reports of physical attacks on flight attendants because the passenger feels his/her “rights” are being violated, such as a requirement to wear a mask to minimize the spread of Covid in a tight space packed with people. Such behavior never (or very rarely) used to happen on airplanes.
Then there are mass shootings in public places which used to be considered safe, random shootings on expressways, crime rates in urban areas have gone up, people feel free to say racist things without considering how it may offend others, and social media has taken over public discourse.
If “sensitive” means easy to offend, I would say that yes, the younger generation is more sensitive nowadays. People get offended by the most casual things, they talk about “cancel culture” or what is “PC” or not. Perhaps this trend is a reaction to the incivility in today’s society (as described above)?
I think the last four years have ushered in an era in which rudeness and nastiness are considered an okay way to express one’s views. It seems to be most prevalent in the 30-50 age group, although that’s just my perception and I am not saying that all or even the majority of 30-50 year-olds are that way. It’s just more prevalent. People believe conspiracy theories or false information they read on the Internet, instead of listening to experts in a particular field. Human-induced climate change is agreed upon by 99% of climate scientists, and evidence is everywhere, yet some right-wing web site says it’s a hoax, so people believe it. Some people are more scared of the Covid vaccine than Covid itself. Pure madness!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)
Please feel free to share something inspiring that’s happened to you recently!
I attend a weekly art workshop here at the Moorings. It’s just a group of artistically inclined people who get together for an hour and a half, each doing their own art projects. One guy is making a quilt. A retired high school art teacher is painting on a gourd. Others are painting in water color, oils, or making cards. I am inspired by the work of the other artists, and some have inspired me to try certain techniques. I have always been good at drawing, but now I’m expanding into painting in watercolors, which is definitely a learning experience! I try to use techniques I see others use. We also give each other tips and encourage each other. And one of the women asked if she could purchase a chalk drawing I did for her daughter, who had admired it at a recent art display for a garden walk. This is a photo of it:
SYW: On Laws vs Justice, Insurrections, & Artwork
It’s Monday and time for Melanie’s Share Your World questions.
Are justice and the law necessarily the same thing?
No. Laws are the rules we live by and justice is treating everyone fairly according to the law. Example: Marijuana possession has been made legal in many states, but before that happened, black people were more likely to be convicted and go to prison than whites. Even today, prisons are crowded with people of color, especially blacks, disproportionally according to their population. George Floyd died because of some petty charge about using a counterfeit $20 bill; then the police arrived and used bodily force even though he posed no threat to them. Even if George Floyd had had a record, there was no justification for what the police did. I can’t see that happening to white people. My son was once caught with weed paraphernalia and taken to a local police station. The police then called us to come and post bail. We did and he was freed. Later, the bail was reimbursed. Trayvon Martin was killed by a white wannabe cop and his killer was acquitted in the state of Florida. It’s clear that in this country, there is still less justice for people of color.
Which kitchen appliance do you use every day?
The refrigerator and the microwave oven. My husband uses the grind and brew coffee maker every day, but I can no longer drink coffee.
What is one thing you’ll never do again?
Get pregnant and have another child. I’m way too old!
What event escalated very quickly?
The Trump rally on January 6 that ended up as a insurrection and assault on our nation’s Capitol, during which rioters smashed windows, destroyed property, and killed a policeman. Five people died that day. What did Trump do? He dragged his feet on calling on the National Guard to help restore order, so in spite of pleas for help from lawmakers inside the building, no back-up arrived.
GRATITUDE (As always, optional)
Feel free to share something that made you feel good from the past week!
People have admired my artwork and one person even offered to buy one of my drawings of a cat. I wasn’t there at the time, but probably would have sold it. The circumstances don’t matter; I am just happy that people have been very encouraging about my artwork, and that is a great motivation to continue doing it!
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the subject flowers – real or fake, an artist’s vision, a mural, a garden or a field of flowers: from a Van Gogh immersion to a castle in Germany.
SYW: On Doing Art, Having Courage, & Showing Gratitude
On this Monday Memorial Day, Melanie presents us with some food for thought questions for Share Your World.
What activity instantly calms you?
Art, both the pictures I create myself, and those that I color. Both are very relaxing and because I’m good at it, it is usually quite satisfying. I attend a weekly art workshop, where women from our senior community go and do whatever they want to do in their artwork. We admire each other’s work and give each other encouragement. There are two retired art teachers who help us learn new techniques.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done lately?
I can’t remember – my short-term memory is terrible. I don’t tend to be spontaneous in big ways.
If people receive a purple heart for bravery, what would other color hearts represent? (Example yellow heart = cowardice)
Red heart = love and compassion for others
Yellow or orange heart = optimism in the face of adversity
Blue heart = calm, keeping one’s wits about oneself.
Green heart = advocacy and contribution toward improving the environment, helping our planet; such as an innovation that contributes to a reduction in plastic waste, for example.
White or pink heart = volunteerism
Rainbow heart = tolerance, acceptance; extraordinary acts to create diversity in our society
What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done or witnessed someone else do?
Another hard question! I guess in my case it would be making the decision (and following through) to change careers. I was comfortable & competent, but bored, in what I was doing for a living. When I remarried, it became possible to think about finding a career in which I could use my skills in a more meaningful way. I went into teaching because I felt that what teachers do is so vital; every time I walked into my son’s school, I felt a surge of excitement, like something important was happening there. I did it in spite of advice from my husband and others, in spite of knowing it would be very challenging and difficult for me due to my ADHD, in spite of a it being a time of great tension in the field of education due to increased pressure to show student success through standardized tests (or losing funding if scores were not at a certain level. Remember “No Child Left Behind?” What a disaster!) Bilingual and special ed teachers were especially stressed because our students tended NOT to get great scores on these tests. We were watched more closely and there was little tolerance for mistakes or non-traditional classroom techniques.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
How do you show gratitude to the people you respect?
First, by thanking them, hugging them or maybe sending them a card. But mostly by being generous, doing things for them, giving them a gift I know they would particularly like. For example, I have a friend of many years, since our sons were little and playing together. She has been through a lot in her life, including the loss of her husband to cancer and her son to an overdose. She sacrificed much of herself for her son, who had disabilities that were difficult to deal with. She has always worked, and even now cannot afford to retire. She always shows her caring toward others, calling when someone she knows is in difficulty, or visiting someone who is homebound. Unlike me, she has never had a chance to travel abroad except to Canada. She is a very Christian person – I mean strong in her faith, more so than I, so when there was an opportunity to visit the Holy Land with a group from our church, I knew how much she wanted to go, and I paid for her trip. I had the money and the trip was fairly inexpensive. Otherwise, she could not have gone. It made me so happy to see her enthusiasm and awe about everything she experienced while we were in Israel.
I don’t do generous things for people very often, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t remember to do so. Therefore, when I feel strongly that a generous act – something I have the ability to do for someone else – would help a person I love and respect, I do it if they let me.
I used to be impatient and often didn’t bother to understand others, but I think that as I have aged, I have become a better person in that way. I wish I were more of a risk-taker, so I could do much more for others, but I’m not; I’m too comfortable and selfish about my own life and what I want. I’m not a person who jumps to volunteer for a big project, but now I look for opportunities to help someone I care about, in some small, individual way.
SYW: On Art, Freedom, Money, & Gratitude
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…
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!
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!
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.
Thursday Special Pick a Word
These are the words for Lost in Translation‘s October occasional Pick a Word photo challenge. We are free to choose any or all of the words. I chose them all.