SYW: Pillow Talk, Piñatas, Summer Night Irritations, & Being Free as a Bird

Here are Melanie’s Share Your World questions for the week:


How many pillows do you sleep with?  If over one or two, is it because you sleep better ‘propped up’ a little?
I have a chronic mucus build-up in my sinuses and throat which no meds totally work for. It is often, inconveniently, worse at night. I like to read in bed before I go to sleep, so I prop myself with two pillows. When I go to sleep, I use mainly the “My Pillow” I bought at Costco years ago (before I knew the CEO’s politics!). It creates a depression for my neck and poofs up around each side of my face. I’m a back sleeper, so I mostly use that pillow plus a foam wedge to stay a bit elevated. I also use a small pillow under my knees, and if I turn onto my side, I put that pillow between my knees. On my side, I tend to also use a firmer pillow to reduce strain on my neck and shoulders. So, in total, not counting the wedge, I use three pillows. (If one ends up on the floor, I shake it out before using because a person is never more than 18″ from a spider.)

What would be the worst thing you could put in a piñata?
Olives. Also raisins. But olives would be worse, because they’d be messier! If raisins weren’t picked up by the greedy kids, at least birds would eat them. I don’t think birds eat olives, though, so uncollected olives would litter the ground.

What noise annoys you the most?
A mosquito buzzing in my ear. I remember many summer nights at our cottage up north, when mosquitoes would sometimes get in, because people were constantly opening doors to come in or go out. The mosquito would always find its way to my ear and face. As soon as it started buzzing, I would sit up with a start. Sometimes I would have to actually get up and turn on the light, and try to find the offending insect in order to kill it. Mostly, though, I would put my head completely under the sheet, which also made me lose sleep because I like fresh air when I sleep.

Was a mosquito this big in May (2020) a sign of a season of overly robust mosquitoes?

If cartoon physics suddenly replaced real physics, what are some things you would want to try?
Floating or flying in the air, with no fear of falling. I would like to experience what it would be like to be a bird. I would be able to take the direct routes to places I would like to visit, saving me airport and airplane hassles!


Please share something good that has happened to you over the past month.
The weather has been unseasonably warm in late Oct.-early Nov. (which I know is a sign of climate change, but I liked it anyway!)

My son has been clean & sober nearly five months and recently got a job as a production assistant for a studio. As he says, it’s entry-level, but it’s a foot in the door of the field he wants to work in, and hopefully it means no more dead-end retail and food service jobs!

February Love Me 1&2

Paula Light has a new challenge for the month of February, to post something we love for every day of the month! I’m a day late on this so I am going to post two things!

Feb. 1: I love…flowers. All colors, shapes, and species – and I love to photograph them too!

Feb. 2: I love…chocolate! Although I am trying to lose a little weight and watch my diet, I cannot resist ordering chocolate desserts! I keep a stash of fancy candy bars in a drawer of my desk, and every once in a while, I break off a small chunk to savor! I have made it a rule that this sweet treat does NOT count toward my calorie count for the day – although my regular dessert does!

Countdown to Christmas: Lights, Love, Colors, Candy, Candles, Creature, Desserts

Due to pressing tasks related to the holidays that have taken up much of my time, I really got behind in Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Days 12 & 14: Lights and Colors
Holiday decorations in many colors

Our former house in Des Plaines is decked out for Christmas far better than we ever even attempted to do! I’m proud of our daughter & son-in-law (who live there now) for putting so much effort in it! Notice the moving colored lights projected onto the second floor dormer!
Christmas tree elegantly decorated in blue & gold, in the lobby of our senior community’s main building. I like the way the lights on the tree reflect onto the dark blue of the sky outside!
Close-up of one of those decorations

Day 13: Love
Who doesn’t love Christmas? Here’s a bouquet of mostly roses (symbol of love) in our house earlier this week.

Day 15: Candy
Today we walked the halls of the apartment building in our community, for several purposes: exercise (too cold to walk outside!), taking photos, and working on a scavenger hunt. Residents not only decorate their doors, but also the ledges outside their apartments. Sometimes there is candy set out for anyone to partake of!

FRANGO MINTS!! How could I resist this traditional Chicago treat?

Day 16: Candles
Candles make me think of Hanukkah, which we celebrate every year because my husband in Jewish. Since I have no photos of the menorah we use every year at Hanukkah (which ended last night), here is another of those ledge decorations outside someone’s apartment.

Day 17: Creature
Creature?? What does this have to do with Christmas? Oh yeah – elves!

Day 18: Dessert!
Dessert for me means some concoction involving ice cream. But right now, it’s Christmas cookies! Having a box of them in the house makes it hard to resist them! So each night, I have one or two cookies with a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. Christmas isn’t Christmas without cookies!

Back in the days when we could have parties and take cookies from a common plate, a friend of mine gave a holiday party in her apartment, including this delicious variety of cookies!

Craft Jingle Jolly Tree!

I’m back again, ready for days 8-11 of Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Day 8: Craft – I don’t do crafts, but as a teacher’s aide, I helped many first graders make gingerbread houses!

Day 9: Jingle If I don’t have something of my own to share, I go to YouTube. Enjoy the music!

Jingle Bells


Day 10: Jolly Ray Conniff Singers

Day 10: Jolly – Ray Conniff Singers


Day 11: Tree
I haven’t had a Christmas tree the last two years, but I intend to go out and get a small one so I can use some of the ornaments I’ve collected over the years that have sentimental value. Meanwhile, here’s our Christmas tree at our old house. This (fake) tree was about 7 feet tall!

This is frustrating and never happened to me before! When I published this post, WordPress jammed the videos & photos together and completely took out my narrative! I tried to fix it by going back and designating each narrative as a paragraph block, followed by a video/picture block, but it didn’t work! So I had to make my Tree narrative a caption for the last photo and add lines in between each (which don’t even show up) to separate them.

OHC: Religious Traditions in Chicago; Part 1: ISKCON and Moody Church

During Open House Chicago, one has the opportunity to see many architecturally and historically interesting places, but some of the places I choose to attend during that weekend are churches and temples. Chicagoans represent all faiths and worship in a variety of ways (if they worship at all, which many of them don’t and that also is OK with me). I intend to feature two faiths in each post on this subject.

Although I posted about the Krishna tradition last year, I am including it as part of this post’s topic of diverse faiths. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the official name of the religion and place of worship.
Krishna is a major deity in the Hindu religion, one of its principal gods. Krishna can be portrayed as male or female and is not especially identified with either gender, I was told when we visited ISKCON last year.
According to Religious Tolerance: Hare Krishna and ISKCON web site, “ISKCON and Hinduism both trace their beginnings to the Vedas and to the Bhagavad-Gita text. Whereas mainstream Hinduism regards Krishna to be the 8th incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver and one of the Hindu trinity of deities), ISKCON regards Krishna to be the supreme Lord over all deities, including Vishnu. They are therefore a monotheistic faith group, one that stresses bhakti, the way of devotion.”
The spiritual leader of ISKCON is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who introduced Westerners to the faith by publishing 60 books in only 12 years and over 60 million published in 30 different languages. He initiated over 4,000 disciples of Lord Krishna, established ISKCON which has more than 100 temples, and he travelled around the world 14 times preaching the message of Krishna consciousness.
Musical instruments such as drums, keyboards, and sitars are used in Krishna worship.

The roots of the faith can be traced to the advent of Krishna, 5000 years ago in an Indian village, and was revived in the 16th century by Guru Caitanya Mahaprabu who is considered to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna himself. He taught that Krishna was the one true deity and that anyone can gain a personal relationship with the god through sankirtana, congregational chanting of God’s names, specifically the Hare Krishna Mantra, also known as the Maha Mantra.


Worship takes place in this large hall.



As Krishna worship is an offshoot of Hinduism, I now turn to one offshoot of the Protestant Christian tradition. This year we visited the Moody Church. This non-denominational evangelical faith was named after Dwight L. Moody, an evangelist of the mid to late 19th century. The present church building, completed in 1925, combines Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, meant to bridge the gap between the Roman Catholic cathedral and the typical Protestant church buildings of the 19th-20th centuries.

In this vast sanctuary which seats 3,700, people of all faiths are welcome. The Moody Church is fundamentalist and evangelical in its beliefs, including the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus, published on their web site.  

Here are some excerpts of their Doctrinal Statement:

Article I
God is triune, one Being eternally existing in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; these divine Persons…work inseparably and harmoniously in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world. …

Article II
The Bible, including both the Old and the New Testaments, is a divine revelation, the original autographs of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. …

Article III
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God…He is Himself very God; He took upon Him our nature, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary; He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world; … He will come again personally and visibly to set up His kingdom and to judge the quick and the dead. …

Article IV
Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin, and, in that sense, is lost;…[unless a person is] born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; …the retribution of the wicked and unbelieving and the reward of the righteous are everlasting, and as the reward is conscious, so is the retribution. …

Article V
The Church is an elect company of believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air ere He appears to set up His kingdom. …






SYW: On Facebook, keeping old stuff, holiday decorating, and gratitude for my life

Melanie B. Cee’s Share Your World this week has some interesting questions.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) a good thing, a bad thing or a mixture of both?
I have to say a mixture of both. Isn’t this blog part of social media in a way? I love posting and sharing my photos and thoughts, and reading/viewing others’.

For me, Facebook – and to a lesser extent, Instagram, which I rarely look at – has been a good thing. I should start by saying that I have steadfastly refused to use Twitter or any other social media platform, because I don’t have the time and, because I have ADHD, I can’t have the temptation of such distractions. Facebook, however, has been a way for me to stay in touch with people I rarely see and in a few cases, has helped me reconnect with friends I hadn’t had contact with for years. Yes, it can be polarizing, because a lot of political sh** comes up and I do forward it sometimes, but I try to stay positive and personal as much as possible. For example, on a day that Trump or his cronies have done something particularly egregious, I will cheer people up by posting photos I’ve taken of flowers or other nice things. And I love cat videos!
FB Bring Together

If it weren’t for Facebook, I would barely know some of my nieces. Through their posts, I’ve found out about their pregnancies, seen the first photos of their babies, learned how they feel about their jobs or their love lives. When I attended the wedding of one of them two years ago, I felt like I knew her – otherwise I wouldn’t have known what to say to her, since she had grown up so much since I had previously seen her. I felt I had bonded with her and her sisters, as if we had been living near each other.

Similarly, I got in touch with a couple of friends – actually several friends – from high get-facebook-likesschool who live all over the country. I reconnected with my two best friends through FB 15 years ago and as a result, we arranged to attend two reunions together, Dale and I went to visit one of them who lives in Texas, and we are still in touch. In a way, FB has been a lifeline for me. Another friend I had fallen out with a few years ago also “friended” me and we’ve since had a couple of lunch dates. People I know but never see anymore I sometimes find on my favorite online game, Words With Friends – so I connect with them that way!

Several of my friends and family members have met their significant others on social media, usually dating sites, but some on sites of mutual interest. Our daughter met her soul mate on a site for “foodies” – someone she would never have met as he lived in Florida and she in Chicago. A really good friend, who had had a long-term loveless marriage, met the man of her dreams after her divorce on OK Cupid. I know several examples of this.

Even with friends on FB who are very conservative politically I manage to stay on good terms with because of interests we share – animals, travel, etc. If they post something I disagree with, I just ignore it, but many times we can find common ground even there – such as support for veterans, troops overseas, etc.

All that said, I know social media is not always the positive thing that it is for me and my husband. Our son, for instance, has been going through a lot, suffering from depression and inactivity because of it. He sometimes posts long, rambling posts which are mostly negative about himself. Some of the comments he gets from his “friends” are helpful, but many are not. He obsesses over their criticisms of him, and I think this happens to many young people for whom social media is a much bigger part of their life than it is for me. A few times, he has posted that he is feeling suicidal, and then someone who reads it calls 911 and he has ended up in a psych ward very unwillingly. Two of my nieces have had to block him because they are mandated reporters (one is a therapist and the other is a doctor) and they really don’t want to have to report him to the police, because they know he is usually just bluffing or crying out for help.

Unlike my son, who mainly depends on FB for support, some kids have committed suicide after going through the anguish of cyberbullying. Some young people use social media to break up a relationship. It is though they are not able to talk things out in person. Social media occupies too big a part of their lives and they are obsessed with it. Someone I met overseas referred to people constantly on their cell phones as being in a “monk” pose – their heads down looking at their hands as if they are praying!

Are you camera shy or do you pose for the camera with confidence?
I’m not camera shy but it seems that most photos of me – especially those taken without my knowledge – show me at a moment that I look terrible! I’m slouching, or my hair looks bad and I look fat, or I have my mouth twisted in a way that looks ridiculous. My husband loves to take those “tourist photos” when we travel, telling me to pose in front of some monument, which I don’t like to do. But at least I have a chance to compose myself and stand up straight!


I don’t like myself in this photo but my son looks great!

Is there anything you’ve kept from younger years for sentimental reasons alone?
Yes, several things. I keep a lot of family heirlooms which somehow end up with me because I’ve become the “family historian” since I’m researching and writing a book on

Laurie Hunter, Valerie Carlson, Debbie Winsauer - in back of 1526 Tyler St, Janesville

Photos from my oldest photo album

one branch of my ancestors. But I would have to say my photos and photo albums. When my mother died, my brother took a lot of her photo albums and scanned many (but not all) of the photos, then threw the physical albums away. Perhaps someone will do that to mine when I die, but meanwhile, I’ve lugged them to our new – much smaller – house and made room for them on two book shelves. I rarely look at them, but I spent a long time making them and am proud of what I have done, even though I don’t make them anymore since all my digital photos are on my hard drive or flash drives. Besides the albums, I have boxes of photos from the 1980s and 1990s, when I was too busy to make albums which slowly I have been going through. I scan many of them and then throw away the originals but I worry that the scanned photos will become “incompatible” with whatever software I have – it happens sometimes – and I’m afraid that some of those will be some of the best photos of my son’s childhood or whatever. I still have photo albums that I made when I was in elementary school!

Do you like to decorate for different holidays?
Yes and no. I used to try to decorate for the major ones – Christmas, Easter, Halloween – but over time I got lazy and didn’t do much unless I was having guests over for the holiday. I stopped decorating for Halloween when the squirrels took bites out of my pumpkins and made off with my Indian corn, neighborhood punks smashed my jack-o-lanterns that I had carved with my son, or something I put outside got stolen. So I stopped decorating for Halloween altogether, which didn’t much matter because as the kids in the neighborhood grew up, we had fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters each year.

However, I’ve always liked having a Christmas tree and getting out some of my Christmas decorations. I have several bins full of tree ornaments, strings of lights, and small Christmas-themed things, such as pretty stockings I’ve gotten as gifts, which I hung under the mantle over the fireplace, a few door decorations, and my creches. I have one “main” creche that was made in Portugal, very folksy style, and a collection of small ones from around the world. I set the large one up on the mantle and the smaller ones I scatter around the house. My son has always enjoyed putting up the creches. It’s his favorite family tradition. Since we’ve moved, I am not going to be able to have a 7-foot tree anymore. I’ve left my tree with our daughter and son-in-law who have taken over our old house and we’ve agreed to divide up the ornaments when it comes time for decorating. I will have to buy a small tree for our new house and figure out where to put it!


Our decorated Christmas tree, 2014

Do you feel you’re a strong person character-wise? Also, if you do have a gratitude thought or picture you’d like to share, please feel free! The world can always use more positive vibes!
I have a strong personality, that is for sure! Not sure about character. I am grateful for many things – the wonderful family I’ve been blessed to grow up in, the fact that I have never had to worry very much about money, and the opportunities I’ve had for a variety of experiences, from hiking in the Grand Canyon in high school and spending two weeks on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, to traveling to many parts of the world – four continents so far (five if you count Israel as part of Asia)! I’m grateful to have intelligent and kind children, and a husband who always supports me. I got lucky – at least the second time!

SYW: On being old, rainy days, why I don’t play golf, and love of flowers

It’s time for Melanie B. Cee’s weekly Share Your World!

When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?
I think it will be whether I am healthy enough to have a good quality of life. I’d like to be able to travel, but if not, I would want to be able to look forward to something. If I am in pain or suffering from a disease or health condition that isn’t going to improve, at that point I would rather die.

old person eating ice cream

When I’m 90, I want to still be able to eat and enjoy chocolate ice cream!

What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?
I know this sounds cliché, but I like sitting on the porch reading a book. I love the sound of the rain and the smell of fresh earth; I find it very relaxing. If I don’t have a book, I am content to just sit there and watch the rain coming down. Thunderstorms can be awesome to watch!

What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?
Why I am competitive. It’s something I don’t want to be and I don’t admire it in myself. I want to win and if I am playing something (a sport, a game) that I can never win, I lose interest and give up. Logically, I would rather be the type of person that just enjoys what I’m doing regardless of whether I’m good or bad at it. But instead, I compete, even if it is with myself. Then I am hard on myself when I don’t succeed.

Cute Little Girl Playing Golf On A Field Outdoor

I never liked golf because I am lousy at it; therefore, I refuse to play it.

When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?
Unfortunately, it’s unfit to print!

This is an opportunity to share a picture, a story or event that shows your gratitude.
I am grateful for flowers:
to be able to appreciate them
the eyes to see them
and hands to draw or photograph them.


First three photos: downloaded from Google Images.