FPQ: Rediscovering My Joys

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week encourages us to look inward, at ourselves. Fandango writes: I saw this question on a site that offers up a bunch of “deep, philosophical” questions and this one intrigued me. It’s about evolution, but not in the context of Darwin’s evolution of the species. It’s more about evolution of the individual and about who you are and how you change over time. Here’s this week’s question, which is essentially about you. I hope you’ll have fun with it.

Is the concept of “you” continuous or does the past “you” continually fade into the present and future “you”? (Yes, it’s both.)  Considering that your body, your mind, and your memories are changing over time, what part of “you” sticks around? (My essence, my soul, my identity).

Now that I’ve answered both questions in brief, I will expand, as I am wont to do!

I once had a revelation about myself that I told my daughter: You may have changed a great deal since childhood, but whatever you were good at and interested in when you were 10 will come back around when you are an adult. Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy challenge has a theme related to this: rediscovering your childhood joys.

For me, it was art (I drew and doodled incessantly) , languages (I fell in love with Spanish in 5th grade), cultures (I was fascinated by the pictures in my parents’ National Geographic magazines), cats (I have always had one as a pet, except when my son had allergies growing up), and writing (I wrote many stories and even a short novel when I was a kid).

This is one of my more recent drawings – it’s a combination of drawing and watercolor. First, I chose a photograph I had taken. Then I drew it freehand with black pigment liner. Then I used watercolor pencils for the color and background.
Another of my obsessions – cats. This is the best cat drawing I have done, but not the only or most recent one!

Another art form I love is photography, as any reader of my blog knows. I first started taking pictures with a Brownie black & white camera when I was about 10.

I took these photos of my friends with my Brownie camera in 1966!

In high school, I bought an Olympus SLR and got “serious” about photography. It helped that I had a boyfriend who was a photographer, and he taught me how to develop my black and white pictures. Later I installed my own mini darkroom in the second bathroom of an apartment I lived in in college.

In my late teens and early adulthood, for years I tried to become something that I couldn’t become – a musician (I’m not very talented in music, much as I love it), a best-selling author (I don’t have the discipline), a counselor (I have trouble giving advice on the spot) – and then I dreamed of being something that I could become, but didn’t: a linguist, an anthropologist, a translator at the United Nations – and finally became something I’d thought about in childhood but never thought I could become: a teacher. One of my sisters was a great teacher and she was very patient. I have never been patient.

I wasn’t actually a great teacher. I was, in fact, mediocre as a classroom teacher, and kept losing classroom teaching jobs. I was better at being a “pull-out” resource teacher (teaching ESL and bilingual literacy to smaller groups of students who came to me during their classroom’s literacy time). I was better at this because I didn’t have to worry about 10 things at once and didn’t have to keep track of 20+ kids at the same time. I also love languages and was very passionate about language acquisition and a strong advocate for bilingual education. So that job (where I spent more years and was happy) utilized more of my strengths: using Spanish every day, teaching English as a second language, enthusiasm about learning, working with students, doing creative holiday projects and writing projects with them.

I started a paper recycling club at my school one year, and this is me receiving an award worth $200 for the paper recycling we did. The money was used for the school’s club fund. I have always been passionate about environmental issues.

On the other hand, classroom teaching emphasized my weaknesses – midway through my teaching career, I found out I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This is not a good thing to have if you are a teacher but at least I knew it wasn’t because I was a failure – at discipline, executive functioning, at remembering to send in my attendance every morning, at trying but never succeeding at being organized. This diagnosis helped me become more accepting of who I am and not ashamed of what I am not.

Now I’m happily retired and doing the things I used to spend hours doing when I was a kid: drawing, writing, learning foreign languages, pursuing intellectual interests such as politics, international affairs, and traveling (I didn’t do these last few much as a kid, although I have fond memories of family trips and I never avoided controversial topics with my parents, which didn’t always work out very well). I love other cultures and seeing new things.

Here I am with my cousins in Tanzania in 2018 (that’s me in the light colored shirt) – we are about to learn a traditional dance in a Maasai village.

These interests have always been a part of me, even though I have evolved a great deal in my journey of self-discovery. I’m not so hard on myself as I used to be. Finding out about having ADHD was a revelation about my entire life – why it was hard for me to make new friends, why I daydreamed so much, why I talked out of turn in school, why I was a “slow reader” (I wasn’t slow – I just got distracted so that by the time I had finished a page, I couldn’t remember what I’d read and had to go back and read it again), and why I was constantly losing things.

Besides the self-discovery that comes with maturity, I look back at my life and sometimes feel I really haven’t changed that much. I’m still me. I sometimes think I’m still that girl I was in high school. I still have the same soul, which I will have until my dying day. I carry buried memories and emotions of the last 68 years in my brain, but I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, because that doesn’t matter. I have a good life – everything I need and much of what I want. I’ve been lucky, I know that and I am grateful.

10 Favorite Feelings

I found this challenge on Melanie B. Cee’s (sparksfromacombustiblemind) blog and it struck me as interesting. This challenge comes originally from Xandria, a blogger I didn’t know before. 10 favorite feelings? Could I really find so many favorite feelings? (That is, not feelings I have that I don’t like, but ones I love to have.) When I started writing them down, I found that I could name MORE than 10 and barely had room on the post-it note for them all to fit!

“Feelings” can be interpreted in different ways, as I saw reading some of the participants’ posts for this challenge. I am going to use emotions as my basis for writing this. My blog’s name, Wanderlust and Wonderment, are two of the feelings I love most! But I will name 10 more here.

  • 1. gratitude:  I feel grateful for all I have – a good family, a nice place to live, the opportunity to travel and explore my interests. I try to stop for a moment every day, at least once, to appreciate the good things in my life.
  • 2. anticipation: Whenever we decide to go on a trip – planning, envisioning what it will be like, the places we’ll go, packing, on the airplane taking us to our destination. One of the best things about traveling is anticipating it before it happens!
  • 3. fascination: I am fascinated by many things, sometimes things I never thought I would have any interest in. When I travel, many things fascinate me: the swans who swim close to the cruise ship, the distinctive architecture of a place, the way wines are made, the meaning of hieroglyphics, etc. There is so much to learn and absorb in this world!
  • 4. awe: I enjoy reveling in the miracle of things large and small. I feel awe standing in the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, and I also feel awe watching nature unfold in my garden – watching the shoots of the first leaves push up out of the ground, the growth – getting taller and fuller, the buds that appear, and then the flower that opens up to the world. I feel awe at how that flower propagates, the delicate wings of a butterfly, how nature always repeats its cycle, no matter what humans are doing in the meantime.  Awe at the animals – so close – on safari. Twice I have visited places where my ancestors lived – I mean, the actual land or the actual house they lived in. I felt awe to be standing in the same place my 3-greats grandmother stood.
The awe of seeing a giraffe close up in its natural environment. Giraffes are truly awesome!
  • 5. relief: The feeling that washes over me after I’ve been worried about something or someone, when it turns out to be okay. I worry especially about my son, who struggles with many things in life. I call him, he doesn’t answer, so I leave a message which he doesn’t reply to; I send him a text to find out if he is all right…and finally I receive a reply, “Don’t worry, Mom! I’m okay!”
  • 6. love: I fall in love all the time – not just with a romantic partner. I love my cat, and feel this love whenever I look at her sweet, beautiful face staring at me. I love places I visit. I fall in love with countries. Also, yes, the “new love” feeling I had when I met my husband-to-be and realized he’s the one! When you’re in love, the whole world seems beautiful!
  • 7. saudade: This is a Portuguese word that means “sweet sorrow” (when you have to leave someone or some place that you know you will miss dearly), longing, sort of nostalgia, but also the feeling you have when you look at someone or something that you’ve been waiting to see and here it is in front of you. Saudade is often translated as nostalgia, but it’s more than that. I think “sweet sorrow” is a better translation. The word comes from the time of slavery in Brazil, when the slaves were brought over to that country and what they felt when they thought about their homeland.  It’s what anyone feels when they are forced to leave the place they belong and the longing for home.  It’s not just nostalgia because you can feel saudade for a person, a place, a thing, even when you are with them!
  • 8. accomplishment: I think there is no better way to feel good about yourself as when you have a feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment upon finishing a really well-written term paper; or admiring a drawing I just completed and it looks exactly as I want it to be; accomplishment when finally understanding a difficult concept. Anyone can say to you, “you are wonderful, you are smart” or whatever, but when you accomplish something yourself, then you know you can be proud of yourself.
  • 9. absorption: What I feel when I am totally engrossed in a book that I really like. I don’t want anyone to tear me away from it! I also get absorbed in writing my blog, making a photo album, drawing an intricate picture. I feel kind of dizzy and disoriented when I have to leave whatever I’m absorbed in!
  • 10. excitement: the rush I feel when I am traveling and come to the realization, for example, OMG, I’m really in PARIS! Or, excitement while looking at ancient Egyptian monuments that have survived for 3500+ years! 
It was exciting to be among these monumental pillars in Karnak, Egypt.

FPQ #64: Who Am I, Really?

It’s Wednesday, which means Fandango asks his provocative question of the week!

Are you the same person on your blog as you are in real life? Do you like yourself more in the virtual world than you do in the real world?

I’m not much good at pretending and I am generally quite open about my life, in reality and on my blog. But I do hold back some details online because you never know who’s trolling out there in cyberspace. My blog name is not, of course, my real name, but it is related to it. Some people who follow me more diligently (ahem!) probably know my name, but usually on my blog, people just refer to me as “Amoralegria.” Anyone who speaks Spanish or Portuguese knows what this means, and its English equivalent is my maiden last name.


Swan love

Although I enjoy answering the questions posts online, like this weekly provocative question or Share Your World, I tend to show my best self on my blog and I won’t finish them if I don’t like what I wrote. I have done a lot of writing, but I find that written posts don’t get as many hits, so if I do write a narrative about something, I add photos, either my own or from Google. I learned this in a summer weeklong seminar about writing online. I do in fact love to write, and most people who have read my stuff say it’s good. For most of my life, I wanted to become a writer, but realized it was too much trouble, so I just do it for me, or for this blog, or my writing group.

I tend to put my best foot forward on here – I do a lot of photo challenges, because I get more hits, and I usually search for the most appropriate photos from my vast collection of photos, so I make sure to feature the “best” ones. Anyone who has seen the photos I post would probably say I’m a decent or average photographer, which is how I see myself. I don’t have a fancy camera with lots of zoom lenses nor good photo software, and don’t know if I would take the time to really get good at using it if I did. Still, I love photography and have been doing it since I was a kid.


My first daffodils at our new house


I am a creative person, which other bloggers (hopefully) have noticed by now: my three best talents are writing, drawing and photography. Of the three, I’m probably best at drawing, but I rarely post the drawings I do. If I thought that working to perfect any of these things would earn me lots of followers and “hits,” I probably would work on it. However, because I have ADHD, I get gung-ho on projects but don’t finish the majority of them.


Disorganized hotel room

As a blogger, I thrive on comments and likes, and in general, I get the best response from “photo essays” – writing a narrative with more photos than writing, and the photos support the theme. I think this is true of me in real life, also – I thrive on positive comments from other people. This is primarily because I am insecure and don’t believe in my abilities, so I depend on others to boost my ego.

On my blog, I tend to give people what past feedback has told me they want. And that’s photography. Since I always have at least my cellphone with me, I’m happy to oblige. I take a LOT of photos.

I have occasionally written exceptionally good posts – ones that I’m proud of – after I’ve worked hard on putting them together, sometimes over several days, but if they are not in response to a writing or  photo challenge, I seem to get few likes. So I’m discouraged from doing it more often. This is the same in real life – appreciation motivates me to continue. I also do it as a legacy for future generations in my family.

I enjoy blogging and that’s why I do it. Many likes or few likes, I keep doing it. Really and virtually.


FPQ #64

CFFC: The K’s Have It

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge’s topic this week is needs to have the letter K anywhere in the word.

Korazim (also called Chorazin) National Archaeological Site in northern Israel

Katy (yours truly!) at Korazim

Katy’s drawing of a kitty
Cat 19-10-22 (white chalk on black construction paper) (2)

Kinderdijk – town of windmills in the Netherlands

Naschmarkt food market, Vienna, Austria

Kitten in Israel (we saw many felines in Israel, but this one was so little and so needy for affection!)
Karnak – one of the most important ancient Egyptian temple sites on the Nile

Obelisks at Karnak
Egyptian obelisin Paris that originally came from Karnak
id at orchid show (Chicago Botanic Gardens)

Karibu Sana! (Swahili for “You are very welcome”) – on our last night in Tanzania, the cooks at the safari camp made us a cake and sang.

And here’s a video, just for fun…

Khachaturian, Waltz from Masquerade

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Something Different

Tina Schell from Lens-Artists has posted beautiful pictures of the Southwest (USA) for Photo Challenge #40’s theme Something Different. I looked into my archives for photos I don’t quite what to do with, for my own take on Something Different, and found some weird stuff!

When I was still teaching, I had software installed on my school computer called “Photo Booth.” There were lots of different things you could do with photos on this software, so I was fooling around after school one day and came up with this weird, distorted picture of me.  I call it “Fish.”
Katy as fish
This may look like poop from many animals, but actually these are roots of a tree that I saw in San Antonio, TX.
Close up of the weird tree roots that look like mounds of poop!
Who takes photos of soap chips? Well, I did once.
Mystery picture: What is this? soap
One of the few times my stepdaughter allowed me into her apartment, I took this photo of all the shoes she possessed lined up behind the sofa.
Tam's shoes

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.

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.