Bloganuary, Day 4 (But I Never Got 1-3!): A Childhood Passion

Today’s Bloganuary prompt is What was your favorite toy as a child?

I have come to believe that whatever your interest or passion as a child, even if you don’t follow that passion for many years, will come back to you sometime in adulthood, and you will have a chance to pursue it once again and hone your skill.

My favorite toy, although not really a toy, was reams of paper that my dad picked up at the local newspaper’s office. It was left over from what the newspaper used to print each edition of the paper. My dad knew I would be happy to put it to good use. Along with pencils and crayons, this paper was the material I used to create my drawings and writings. I wrote little books, usually about my family or an experience I had, such as a basketball game, and illustrated them.

This image was downloaded from Google Images.

A few years ago, going through some of my mother’s stuff, I found several of these little books, which my mom had had stiff covers put on to preserve them. I haven’t been able to throw them out! I guess I will leave that to my kids to sort out after I’m dead. At that point, I will no longer care!

As I got older, my stories were longer and usually fictional. I wrote a “book” of several chapters when I was in junior high – I typed it and illustrated it. It was about a girl who meets a boy when visiting California and they are separated when she has to go back home to Wisconsin. Did he love her as she loved him? That was for her to find out (typical young teenage preoccupation!).

I have always loved drawing and writing. I kept a diary for many years when I was a kid, and I still journal, although not nearly as often as I would like to. I also have started writing projects which I keep meaning to get back to. Some day they will all be stored on flash drives and my kids can either read them or discard them. Maybe they will entertain or enlighten someone. Anyway, I enjoyed doing them! Currently I spend more time drawing and painting than writing. I am not very good at painting yet, but have done several watercolors, such as the one below.

Watercolor, finished in July 2021

SYW: Colors, Back to the Future, Holiday Parties

UNVARNISHED QUESTIONS from Melanie’s weekly Share Your World!

If you had the power to strike one person in your life permanently speechless, who would it be? (Real names aren’t necessary, vague descriptions are fine… and yes, this is being asked in fun and not to be mean). Donald Trump


If you could relive your childhood over again, what’s one thing from this modern world world today you’d want to take back with you?
My computer/word processor. Writing would have been so much easier!

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple are the standard colors of the rainbow.
Name something you love (or greatly admire/appreciate) for all six major colors of the rainbow! (Sorry indigo, you’re just blue-purple.  Hot pink?  You’re too flashy!)

Red: apples and tomatoes – because they are delicious to eat!
Orange: Zinnias and Dahlias – they are pretty and bright!
Yellow: bananas – I eat one every morning! Also daffodils – because they are the harbingers of spring.
Green: trees & grass – the primary color of nature
Blue: sky – because it means the sun is shining!
Purple: my parka which used to be my sister’s but she passed away and I got many of her clothes – it still reminds me of her!
All 6: M&Ms (except purple, which is brown instead). I love to sort them by color and eat them one by one.

If you were to open the world’s most accurate fortune cookie, what would your fortune inside it read?
You will lead a good life and travel a lot, but also bear the consequences of many of your decisions.

Santa’s tired of people leaving him out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve night!  If you really wanted to get on Santa’s good side, what would you leave out for him to eat/drink instead? (This question applies whether you celebrate Christmas or not.  It’s just for fun, so imagination?  Welcome!  )

A good, cold glass of beer (Santa seems to be more of a beer person than a wine person), hot tomato vegetable soup, steak dinner, and a cup of hot chocolate!

GRATITUDE SECTION (Still optional)

What plans do you have for the upcoming holiday/celebration/festival season?    
Socializing in a party atmosphere with co-residents, even if we still need to wear masks! Also, going to plays and concerts again!

A friend’s holiday party two years ago!

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!

SYWCouple

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:
Image result for 2020 images

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

Image result for 2020 images

 

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!