FPQ #122: No Remorse, No Regret

Fandango’s Provocative Question #122 is about REGRET.

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Lucille Ball, the American actress and comedian, was quoted as saying…

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

For this week’s provocative question I’m going to ask you to think back upon the life you’ve lived so far. And as you do so, consider this week’s question:

What is your biggest regret in life?

I suppose I could name several “regrets” I’ve had in my life, or the “biggest regret”, but I understand why I made the decisions I did at the time. So, I prefer to think of those things as mistakes, or the “roads most easily taken” without thinking ahead.

Me, a long time ago

I understand myself a lot better than I did when I was young. I was always beating myself up for stupid things I did or said, but I am nicer to myself these days. I like the way my life is headed now, in spite of being a “senior citizen.” Actually, being a senior citizen, except for reminders that my body is slowly falling apart, is quite nice. People at this age are much more forgiving, and more accepting. Every day, I look forward to traveling again, pursuing hobbies I enjoy, and relishing time with family and friends.

So I have “no remorse, no regrets.” Easy come, easy go!

SYW: Haircuts, Flowers & Weird Stuff

Melanie’s thrown me for a loop this week! But I’ll take a stab at her weird questions in this week’s Share Your World! (Thanks for the challenge of thinking “outside the box!”)

QUESTIONS: 

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?
Mastectomies.

Have you ever gotten a really bad haircut?  Do share!
Not “really bad” but let me just say…radical. I’ve had my hair long (a little past my shoulders) since I moved to this senior community a year and a half ago, and I was sick of having to wear a ponytail whenever I exercised (or afterward) when I get all sweaty on my neck. I usually have my hair cut before going on a trip, but since that didn’t happen last year, my hair just got longer. So I finally decided I would get a short haircut. I’ve had them often enough before and usually am pleased with them while they last. I figured it would be my Easter haircut.

I couldn’t go to my usual salon, where I knew some of the stylists, because it closed about 6 months ago with a change in management. Since I had a gift card for that chain, I went to another one, closer to where I live now, but that I’ve never been to before. I thought I could show the stylist a picture of me with short hair from my Facebook photos, but when I looked for them, only a few showed up. I looked in my cellphone camera archives – nothing. So I showed her a photo of another friend of mine with short hair! (Later I realized that – duh – I had my purse in my lap, and always have paper & pens in there, and I draw pretty well, so I could have drawn it but I didn’t think of it then.)

I always have to take my glasses off during a haircut because they get in the way, and I didn’t think anything was amiss until I heard the buzz of a razor being used ON MY NECK! By then it was too late, and now I have hair shorter than I have ever had in my life that I can remember. At first, my head felt cold – the weather was still chilly in late March, and I had to go around wearing scarves over my head. And every time I look in the mirror, I look like a boy! Now it’s starting to grow out a little bit and I’m used to it, so I just smile and say “thank you” when people compliment me (which almost everyone has done).

Here are before and after pictures…

Me about a year ago, which is about how my hair was last month when I got it cut.
A selfie I took the day I got my haircut – this is the “nicer” of the two selfies I took, because I’m smiling.

The best thing about my haircut is now I can wear my earrings again!

Isn’t Disney Land and Disney World (and all the variants) just a people trap operated by a mouse?
Allegorically, yes. They are definitely people traps!

What if Batman got bitten by a vampire?   What would happen? 
The vampire would get Covid-19 due to the exchange of body fluids, since the virus originated in bats.

What do you want your final words to be if you could choose?
I’ve done everything I wanted to do in my life and I’m satisfied. I love you all!

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Please feel free to share some gratitude! 
I’m grateful for spring flowers. These photos were all taken within the last two days.

SYW: Bugs, Inspiration, & More

I’m starting off the new week with Melanie’s Share Your World.

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QUESTIONS: 

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)

“How Can I Keep From Singing?”

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars
I hear the truth, it liveth
And though the darkness ’round me close
Songs in the night it giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?


When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

SYW: On Smoking, Cats, ET, and Plans for 2021

A new week, a new Share Your World from Melanie!

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QUESTIONS: 

What’s a relationship deal breaker for you?
At this point, I would say smoking. I was married to a smoker, which I endured for 20 years. Dale, my current husband, doesn’t smoke, thank God. When you are not around smokers, you become sensitive to the smell of smoke on them and everything they possess. Smokers and those who live with them become unaware of the smell. My son smokes now, and after spending a couple of hours with him yesterday in his apartment, my hair, clothes, and coat were all permeated with the smell of smoke.

Do you believe in extra-terrestrials?
Yes, in the vast universe with innumerable stars and planets, how could we be the only “intelligent” beings? It’s logical that there are intelligent beings on other planets, a few of them anyway. We are made of “star stuff” – the matter and energy that the birth and the death of stars create in a constant cycle. We are carbon-based life forms. Other planets may have evolved life forms that are carbon-based or something else. There are many factors that have to come together to generate life, so it’s a miracle in itself, but certainly not unique.

In the morning, do you hit the snooze button on your alarm (sometimes repeatedly) or do you leap out of bed, ready to face the day?
Since I am retired, I rarely ever use my alarm clock.

If you came back in the next life as an animal, which animal would you choose to be?  (and even if you don’t believe in that, let’s suspend belief for a moment just to have a little fun)
Some kind of cat. They sleep a lot! I would not want to be a house cat, though, because nowadays cat “owners” don’t let them go outside. If I could go outside, I would definitely be someone’s cat, because I could enjoy the natural world and come home to whatever love and attention I myself decided I wanted. My humans would feed me and if I didn’t like the food, I could glare at them and they would bend over backward to find food I preferred. When I wanted, I could jump on my human’s lap and purr while being stroked and scratched on the back of my neck. I could curl up in a ball and my fur would warm me. I’d never have to be cold! They would play with me, laugh at my antics, and love me just as I am.

This beautiful, fluffy cat was hanging around at a lookout spot above Jerusalem. By its appearance, it must have humans who love and care for it, perhaps one of the scarf vendors that set up their booths at that lookout.

GRATITUDE (Participation is always optional)
I am grateful for orchids in the winter! After many months of being dormant, my orchid plant grew a new stem with little buds all along it. Now those buds are beginning to bloom, and cause me delight when there are no other flowers to feast my eyes on at this time of year!

What do you plan to work on this year to make it better than last year  (personal goals, physically or mentally, or all three)?
I am wary of making resolutions, which I never follow through on. Although I am maintaining my weight, I would be healthier if I lost a few pounds but I keep ordering desserts and cannot give up chocolate! That said, I pledge to work on becoming healthier by eating healthier foods (within the limits of what they provide here, but there’s always salad on the menu) – and I’ve mostly given up red meat so far – and working on being fit. I have let myself go somewhat during the pandemic, but I regularly take walks or spend half an hour (the limit right now) in the fitness center, and I can do fitness classes on line.

I also pledge to motivate myself to work on my writing projects (family history, personal history, and blogging), do more watercolor to become better at it, and enjoy life as much as possible!

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: Adjusting, Resolving, and Following My Passions

NEW YEAR’S THEMED QUESTIONS:
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What was the single best thing that happened in your life this past year?
Moving to a senior community – I have been participating in many new enjoyable activities and making new friends! Everyone here is very friendly. I love our little house – two bedrooms, no stairs, everything easy to access. Our washer/dryer are in a closet off the kitchen so I only have to carry laundry a short distance (and no stairs!) and also, everything is new and modern. If anything malfunctions, we call maintenance and they take care of it! We have a screened porch, which we didn’t before and I am looking forward to having a garden!

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The back of our new house!

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Our community’s resident swans and ducks

The most challenging?
Moving to a senior community – the move itself/downsizing, and getting used to a new way of life. I’m one of the youngest people here so that’s an adjustment for me, too. I used to live near downtown Des Plaines and could walk everywhere – now I have to drive to go anywhere off campus. Regulating what I eat is harder because we eat in the dining room, so I have less control and there is more temptation – I’m struggling to lose weight.

One thing you learned in 2019?
That I like eggplant if it’s prepared Middle Eastern style (in a tomato base)!

Given all your experiences, insights, and lessons learned in 2019, what’s the best advice you could give yourself for 2020?
Follow my passions and don’t worry about pleasing others. Exercise self-control in my eating habits. Do what is best for my mental and physical health.

What’s the best meal/food you ate in 2019?
Middle Eastern food! In both Egypt and Israel, there were lots of delicious things to eat!

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Jerusalem bread vendor

What are three activities you plan to use in the coming year to relieve stress?
1. Be a hands-off parent but communicate my wishes to my kids, who are adults. (i.e. Don’t give advice unless asked and then don’t react if they don’t take it; let them know what you expect of them, and expect them to be able to figure stuff out.)
2. Exercise more regularly.
3. Draw.


Gratitude Question:
What brought you the most joy and are you going to do more of that?
Traveling abroad and yes, I hope to, if we can afford it!

Lastly – Any resolutions you’d care to share?
I did – the three activities I wrote above.

Share Your World, 12/30/19

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Life Lines

For Becky’s October Square (lines & squares) and Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: hands, I decided to take a look at the lines on my palm.
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Analyzing these lines is called “palmistry” and while I consider this to be superstition, much like astrology, it still somehow interests me. I guess it has to do with the human desire to predict the future, which cannot be done with any certainty, so we resort to such things as palmistry and astrology to tell us what will happen in our future or something about our personality.

I was most interested in my “life” line and my “fate” line. The life line is the one that is closest to the thumb and curves downward. Here’s what one web site had to say about it:
Is strong and deep: You have a lust for life and you strive to reach your full potential.
Is shallow and faint: You tend to be less ambitious.
Is curved: You are strong.
Is straight: You are cautious when you enter a new relationship.
Is broken: You have experienced a sudden change in lifestyle.
Has circles: You have been hospitalized or injured.
Isn’t alone and you have multiple life lines: You are a very lively person.
My life line is definitely curved, so I am strong. It is pretty strong and deep, so I have a lust for life and strive to reach my full potential.  Physically, I’m not very strong. But I have endured a lot in life (even though I’ve been pretty lucky, too), so I guess by that standard, I am strong. I do have a lust for life and I sometimes strive to reach my full potential, but on the other hand (no pun intended), I have ADHD so I get distracted and never seem to finish what I start.

I won’t bore you with what my “fate” line or other lines say. You can analyze your own, if you wish, by looking up “palmistry” or simply “lines on palms.” The web site I looked at was the kind of thing people share on Facebook.

But these are photo challenges, so getting back to images… One of the things I love to do with my dominant hand is to draw. Here are two sketches of hands that I drew several years ago:

I don’t have photos that are particularly focused on hands, but I do have several of people holding children and one can get a good look at the holders’ hands.

Finally, here is a newlywed couple whose hands combine to cut their wedding cake.
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One final opinion: I like astrology better than palmistry!

Lens-Artists’ #65: A Place With Special Memories…Sedona

I have been to so many places, in the U.S. and abroad. Every place has been memorable and I thought of the places that were most meaningful to me for this photo challenge: Lens-Artists’ #65 – Pick a Special Place. Scotland – my mother took us on an ancestors’ tour there in 1999 and visited the actual homestead where my 3-greats-grandmother lived. That was very special, but I have no digital photos of it. A couple of other very special places we traveled to came to mind: Tanzania – our safari there was the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken, and Egypt – I fell in love with the ancient ruins of a civilization over 3,500 years old. But I have blogged extensively about both of those trips. So I return to my childhood: I was privileged to attend high school in one of the most beautiful places in the United States and today a major tourist attraction – Sedona, Arizona. At the time I attended high school there, Sedona was just a small town in a beautiful setting where movies were sometimes filmed – it was not well-known then; just a sleepy artists’ colony of sorts. So here are some photos of Sedona, or more specifically, the high school that changed my life and my world view, Verde Valley School.

I start with some photos I took when I was at school there. In my senior year, I was learning photography and developing my own black & white photos in the campus darkroom.

I attended reunions in 2005 and 2006, and then didn’t return until December of 2015, when we were passing through on our way to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few from 2006.

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View from inside the chapel – Cathedral Rock

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“Brenda” the bus with Napoleon Rock in the distance. We used to take field trips in green buses like this one, which had been repurposed  as a store for VVS memorabilia.

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This is a much older me in front of Rollie’s Camera Shop in Sedona, a place I spent considerable time and money during my high school days.

In June of 2018, Dale and I attended a 3-day anniversary reunion, celebrating the school’s 70th year. Unlike other reunions, there were people from all different classes and it was fun to get to know some of those I had never met and reconnect with those who had been there at the same time I was.

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We were greeted with this sign painted on the side of a truck we had also used for transportation way back when. It was positioned along the dirt road leading to the campus.

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My dorm room my sophomore year was the one at the top of the stairs.

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The school “farm” – a new addition on campus. They grow a variety of vegetables and spices which are used by the cooks to feed the multitudes. One of the projects that weekend was making “seed balls” to add to the garden – but only the gardener and I showed up! It was fun getting our hands muddy with the wet red sandstone dirt.

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Cathedral Rock in early evening in June

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Looking through a window from the buffet table to where people are gathering for our last brunch on campus before returning to our ordinary lives.

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Painting this geometric mural was the beginning of someone’s project, which was never finished – we were all supposed to write our names or whatever we wanted to say in black paint, but that part never got done.

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Pathway near the art studio

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Another photo of the girls’ dorm, which looks pretty much the same except that in that center circular area there used to be a huge cottonwood tree.

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Someone painted one dorm room door this beautiful shade of blue and I like the contrast with the turquoise blue of the swing in front.

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A student in recent years created this sign “MOTEL” which was the nickname given to the boys’ dorm behind it.

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This awesome mural was painted by a class in the early 2000s, but was whitewashed over shortly after this picture was taken in 2006, which made a lot of people angry! These graduates were happy to learn that I had this photo because no one else had ever thought to take a picture of it.

And here are a couple of iconic Sedona landmarks: Bell Rock and Cathedral (taken from Oak Creek – the side facing the school is to the right). Elvis Presley once made a movie with Bell Rock as a backdrop. We students got to see him one day (in 1967) when we were in town, when he was filming a scene on a motorcycle emerging from behind a bank. This view of Bell Rock was the scenery from our back window at a resort/condo we rented with friends for 2006 reunion weekend.

Verde Valley School is today one of the most prestigious private high schools in the United States. This school of about 120 students is known for its location, small teacher-student ratio, and its innovative and inclusive curriculum, with an emphasis on environmental and international studies. Many students, especially foreign students, are attracted by the IB (International Baccalaureate) program that was initiated sometime in the late 1990s. The IB is a rigorous, internationally recognized curriculum. VVS graduates are accepted at all major colleges and universities, well-equipped for the demands of college life. Students at Verde Valley School continue to go on one major field trip each school year, as has always been the case since the school was started, as well as shorter trips at various times a year, and also complete a two-week “project period.” If you think your son or daughter or grandchild would be interested in VVS’s progressive and inclusive program, you can browse the school’s web site www.vvsaz.org.

 

SYW: On Bad Habits, Improving One’s Life, and Anything Chocolate

Here are the questions for Share Your World this week and my answers:

What’s the first thing you notice about a person?
ppl in a crowdWhat they are wearing, especially the color, if it’s someone I know – this is subconscious but if I see that color later, I will think it’s that same person. On the conscious level, if it’s a stranger, basically what they look like: their gender, approximate age, and their race. I also notice what they are wearing, especially if it something I especially like or that I think looks awful on them!  Race is generally obvious, I’m still pretty good at guessing the age of someone under 15, but gender these days is not always obvious.

What three habits do you feel would improve someone’s life?
“Early to bed and early to rise,”  to quote that old adage.water bottles
Drink lots of water.
Appreciate the natural world and count your blessings.

Now if you ask do I follow these three good habits, I can only say I strive to do the last two, but the first one is problematic for me. I go to bed later than I could but I’m retired! If I have to get up to go somewhere by 9-10  in the morning, I grumble about having to rush!

What takes up too much of your time? Would you stop that if you could?
Playing word games on my phone. Even as I’m doing it, I’m telling myself to stop but I don’t. It is an addiction! I have a bad habit of wasting my evenings this way instead of blogging or writing, or watching something worthwhile on TV.

Cookies (biscuits to those elsewhere), pastries, pie or cake? If not, what does your sweet tooth crave?
Cookies and brownies, or anything chocolate. Oh, and ice cream! But please, no peanut butter in anything sweet! My favorite brownies are the ones my niece makes for Christmas every year, with peppermint frosting. I also have a weakness for M&Ms.
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Gratitude? Are You Happy? If so, why? If not, why not?
I am happy and blessed with what I have. I know I am lucky to have enough money to live comfortably and travel, to have a good and faithful husband, and reasonably good health.
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