I know it’s Sunday, but this is my entry for Ragtag’s Saturday prompt: venation.
There’s a lot of venation in this photo I took at Chicago Botanic Gardens a few years ago.
I know it’s Sunday, but this is my entry for Ragtag’s Saturday prompt: venation.
There’s a lot of venation in this photo I took at Chicago Botanic Gardens a few years ago.
I felt guilty even as I was dialing my sister’s phone number. This was the first time I had called her since the pandemic started, but what better day than on her birthday?
She answered on the third ring, saying, “Hello” in the way she always does, as if it’s a final statement, not a question. I sang Happy Birthday to her.
She was surprised to hear from me but not being the emotional type, I could tell she was glad I called.
“So what’s news?” I asked her. (I may as well get this over with – my sister can talk non-stop for fifteen minutes, at least.)
“Oh, nothing much. I’m staying home a lot, not going out much. But I keep myself occupied.” My sister lives in a senior community where she’s involved in many things. During the pandemic it’s slowed down, but not completely.
“How are your beautiful granddaughters?” My sister has two very cute granddaughters, aged six and five.
“Oh, they’re fine. Ginny is really getting into distance learning with Molly. The teacher has the kids doing projects. They go around to various places to experience them, they look for things, like a scavenger hunt. Ginny says she’s exhausted, what with her new job and Molly’s kindergarten teacher keeping her occupied!” My sister chuckled as she said this.
“Sophie’s okay. I’m worried about her though – she’s getting confused, first with remote learning, then living in the house with only her mom one week and her dad the next week…”
“Huh? Why’s that?”
“Oh, I thought you knew. Nate and Julie are living apart. They each have their own place to live, so Sophie lives in the house all the time, and the two of them alternate living there with her.”
“Weird. Expensive, too, I imagine.”
“Oh, yeah. They couldn’t agree on who would get the house, so they left it to their six-year-old!”
“Why are they split up?”
“Well, a lot of things built up over time — Nate’s been taking this computer course, you know. He dropped all his piano students to do it, while Julie works all the time. Apparently she also suspects him of infidelity, but he doesn’t have a perfidious nature. Nate can’t handle her frustration and accusations, so he blows up at her. Then she rants about how she’s having to support the family, while Nate gets to just ‘do his thing,’ you know.”
“Wow, I’m so sorry! They’ve been together so long! I hope they reconcile their differences.”
We moved on to lighter topics and chatted for another fifteen minutes.
Posted for Fandango’s One Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, and Your Daily Word Prompt.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is the word lies. There is a lot I could write on this topic (for instance, most of what happened at the RNC these last four days). But I was just made aware of a John Oliver (I love this guy!!) show from a few weeks ago that is very relevant in the wake of the recent tragic events in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the protests and looting that have been going on all summer around the country. Why is this happening? Why is there so much racial unrest? Why are they saying black lives matter – don’t all lives matter? Everyone has an opinion, but too often their opinion is based on ignorance or downright lies.
A few weeks ago – around the time John Lewis died – John Oliver on his show Last Week Tonight talked about how Americans learn history wrong. Maybe it has gotten better, but there are still some (any is too many) white people around who say stupid stuff like, “Slavery was bad, but those people were lucky to come to a great place like America.” (Meaning being a slave here was better than living free in African societies.) Textbooks for young children dumb down history, saying things like the colonists “brought slaves with them to help with farm work and chores.”
“Washington freed his slaves” is another myth. Instead of teaching kids lies like George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and then confessed to his father, saying, “I cannot tell a lie,” why can’t we teach kids that yes, Washington was the ‘father of our country’ and he should be honored for being the first president, but he also OWNED SLAVES and he DID NOT free them when he was president (or afterward, either)! I admit, I never learned a single negative fact about Christopher Columbus or George Washington until I got to college. Why can’t students learn both the positive and the negative – i.e. the FACTS about these historical figures?
Well, don’t we need heroes? Yes, but kids, even elementary students, can understand that people can be both good and bad. Acts of heroism don’t erase the rest of a hero’s life. I’m not dissing heroes. I just think we need to be honest. And although any history teacher knows that one year in high school is not enough time to teach all of American history, we shouldn’t ignore important events that are more convenient to ignore than to teach our students. (American history should be taught for at least two years, or part of it every year.)
As a result, many Americans graduate from high school ignorant about American history (and forget about world history). We need to help students understand why racism continues to survive. We need to connect the past to the present, help our students make the connections, so they can understand what is happening now.
This is an excellent video that is worth spending the 28+ minutes to watch.
I need to say here that I do not necessarily approve of taking down statues of people like George Washington. But the idea of the so-called “cancel culture” is a topic for another post.
When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today, I laughed! Really? I thought. Does that mean what I think it does? Indeed it does – I looked it up, and here’s a little etymology:
Flatus comes from 17th century Latin (I imagine Chaucer made good use of it!), and literally means “blowing.” I don’t think I need to list all the synonyms, although “farting” is the word used in our house. Here’s an interesting synonym: borborygmus, its definition being “intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas.” OK, not quite the same – and although it may be embarrassing to emit the sound of a borborygmus in public, it is downright impolite to expel flatus in public, warranting a heartfelt “Excuse me!” And that inspires me to write a poem!
If you’re in a crowd
And it isn’t very loud,
But people start to stare,
Smile without a care!
No one needs to know
It was you that had to go
And emit (yes, you heard it!)
Flatus, or another name for it
Is farting, or more politely,
“Passing gas” whispered lightly.
Although considered rude
It’s just that I ate some food
That caused me to be so crude –
But I doubt you’re in the mood
To hear the explanation,
Of an old fart‘s gratification.
Sometimes there’s no help for it
And sometimes I just can’t quit
Whether “silent but deadly”
Or loud and like a medley
‘Cause my spouse is here beside me
We sometimes fart in harmony
So why not just have a laugh –
It’s only natural to pass gas!
Ragtag’s Daily Prompt today is Rosy Hues. This is the time of year for blossoms on trees to be in full display. These beautiful trees delighted us on our walk around campus today.
Close-ups of the above
Ragtag’s Daily Prompt word today is thingamajig. It is a word we’ve always used (or one like it) when we don’t know or remember the name of something. I looked up the word to see how it would be defined:
Merriam-Webster has a good, concise definition: something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten.
I found the synonyms amusing: dingus, doodad, doohickey, hickey, thingamabob, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatnot, whatsit (also whatsis or what-is-it)
I am often at a loss for words, so I’m likely to use thingamajig or one of its synonyms more often than most people. However, as I looked in my photo archives, I did find some objects that defied definition or name. These are some of them.
The Bottle Tree Ranch in California, on Route 66, is full of thingamajigs, doodads, and whatchamacallits. In fact, I think that is its entire reason for being. Lots of weird, rusty machine parts that I have no clue as to what they are even used for…
More such things are on display at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. If your thing is machines used in war, this is the place to visit.
There was a lot of chaos on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as these displays attest to, so it’s only to be expected to find plenty of hoojiggies (another synonym!) there. I trust that the men who were using these pieces of machinery had better vocabulary about them than I do!
Enough of broken machine parts! What would you call this so-called piece of art, on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam?
(Yeah, me neither, but scary, for sure…)
But – saving the best for last – I had to take a photograph of this weird whatchamacallit I spotted along a sidewalk in Chicago. I have no idea why it’s there or what it’s used for. (The water bottle adds a nice touch, though! At least it can be used to set things down on, and then forget them!)
If anyone can clarify what this thingamajig is, I’d be interested to find out!
Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.
A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…
…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.
Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas
Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers
Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance
The Ragtap Daily Prompt today is normal.
Are we in a “new normal” era? Some people say yes, others say no. We have been experiencing this stay-at-home edict for over a month now, and our governor just extended it to May 30! And since 95% of the world is under some kind of stay-at-home order, I can’t help thinking, what is the new normal?
In our current reality, it is normal to:
See people walking around, working, talking, even teaching exercise classes wearing masks.
Get lots of ads on our phones for masks in a variety of colors and patterns – masks have become fashionable!
Become an expert at Zoom.
Hear daily statistics on TV with the updated number of cases of COVID-19 and number of deaths.
Listen to entire news shows dedicated entirely to the pandemic and continue watching several of these shows back to back.
Get a lot of coloring pages done.
Accumulate an immense amount of Styrofoam that our meals come in.
Play games on our phone a lot, (and those that I play with respond quickly, because they are doing the same thing!)
Download more game apps onto our phones or computers.
Think about all the projects I could be working on while sitting in a recliner playing games on my phone.
Go for weeks without having to take time to decide what to wear.
Go for walks mainly to see friends and neighbors to stop and chat with, and then stand on the opposite side of the roadway when we do.
Give people a very wide berth when passing them.
Drink wine every day.
Only read newspapers that come to the house three days later, in order not to risk touching the wrapper it comes in.
Throw away any bit of food that falls on the floor even if it’s within the five-second rule.
Ask “where did the time go?” because it’s afternoon and I feel like I just got up.
Find delight in the small things that otherwise might go unnoticed.
It is by no means certain that when this pandemic is over, life will go back to normal (i.e. the way it was before). There are lessons to be learned here, both for ourselves and for our country. I’m not sure what will result from lessons learned (if lessons are learned). But I do think in our future “new normal,” people will find a way to greet people other than shaking hands, we will appreciate much more the warm company of our family and friends, and have new respect for pizza delivery drivers. And for me, I’m looking forward to being able to travel again!
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today (1/25/20) is nation.
The blogger, Marilyn Armstrong, who wrote about the state of our nation said it much the same way as I would, so I won’t repeat the sentiment, but instead provide a link to her blog.
For my contribution, I remember more valiant days in our history. I am posting photos I took at Arromanches, France, at the site of Port Winston, an artificial harbor important during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The flags represent the Allied nations during World War II who contributed to the liberation of France from the Nazis.
On June 6, 2019 – the 75th anniversary of D-Day – there was a major commemorative event, including the presence of many national leaders, including Trump (I’m glad we were there almost two weeks later instead!). Attendees were given (or they purchased, I am not sure) small crosses with paper flowers attached which they could leave at the base of monuments, write someone’s name, etc. These little crosses were still there when we visited on June 17.
D-Day was the combined effort of several nations, primarily the British, Canadians and Americans. The site at Arromanches is the location of Juno Beach, one of the British invasion sites. The mission that became the Battle of Normandy, which lasted about a month, was successful only because of the perseverance, bravery, and sacrifice of the forces who fought at the cost of many casualties.
I didn’t set out to collect little animals, but in truth I love collecting little things from different cultures, and animals are universally loved. I have collected small animal figures from Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania and others that I have either acquired or inherited.
I tried to fit most of them on one shelf for this photo.
Behind this animal panoply are portraits of my parents (in the middle – the woman with the pink hat and scarf is my mother, and next to her is my father), Dale’s parents (black & white photo on the right) and my great-grandparents in back on the left.
The animals include alebrijes (whimsical,colorful animal carvings from copal wood in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico); several ceramic birds as well as a small snail, mostly from Mexico; and black clay animals (including an armadillo, two birds, and a turtle) all of which are whistles, also made in Mexico by an elderly potter in the late 1960s who claimed to be the daughter of a Mexican mestiza woman and a French soldier – she had blue eyes.
On the left, in front of the portraits of my great-grandparents, is a fish made out of a gourd. I bought this in northeastern Brazil. It was made by an indigenous artist from the Amazon region.
The birds mounted on wood in the front at left (a loon and two other birds) are ceramic and were inherited from my mother. At right, a rather fearsome beaded animal is a lion, made by Maasai women in Tanzania. Next to the lion are two small turtles, part of a turtle collection that belonged to a woman from my church who died and asked that at her memorial service, the attendees should select one or two from her collection as a remembrance of her.
Next to the lion, a strange sort of dragon-looking green ceramic creature with horns, long fangs and white spikes along its back is a hodag. This legendary animal originated among the lumberjacks of northern Wisconsin, and it became the official symbol of the town of Rhinelander. The story goes that some of the seasoned lumberjacks built a hodag out of some realistic-looking material which resembled a reptile, and somehow rigged it to move its tail and eyes. They placed it in the woods to be “discovered” by the newbie lumberjacks, and according to the story, it worked! The rookies were scared of this animal they had never heard of before, at least at first.
As they looked more closely at it, they realized it was fake, but the legend stuck and the hodag became famous in those parts. My family home had several hodags – either ceramic or stuffed. My mother had spent part of her girlhood in Rhinelander!
My most recent acquisition is a green, white and red striped snake, coiled in front of my mother’s portrait. I bought it yesterday at a Craft Fair hosted annually at my church. The sculptor, a young, rather shy man named David, had a display of lots of his fanciful clay animals, many with two heads! I asked if he let them harden naturally or fire them in a kiln. He said he bakes them in his oven!
These are the stories of my panoply of animals. I probably will continue to add to it as I find others that strike my fancy!
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