Last Photo of November

Bushboy has a Last Photo challenge where he invites us to post the last photo we took that month. I took my last photograph in November at our most unusual Thanksgiving dinner! It was just the two of us, with the Thanksgiving meal delivered to us, just like every dinner is delivered to us since COVID-19 arrived on the scene. In the evening, though, we were able to talk and play games with part of our family via Zoom.

Dale at our forlorn Thanksgiving dinner. At least I tried to make it look nice with a fresh table cloth!

I sort of cheated…the actual last photo was of me sitting at this small table, but I didn’t actually take it – Dale did!

12 Bloggerz August 2020: On the State of Our World, Our Nation and Ourselves

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke has a monthly 12 question challenge, called 12 Bloggerz August 2020.

Meet the Bloggerz Directory

We live in a questioning world so it’s hardly surprising that there are so many questions that are asked by people every day, week and month is it? This feature will ask you all sorts of questions – but will only ever ask you 12 questions per month. You can answer them in the comments section below or create a post on your own blog should you wish to – that’s your choice.

In many ways this feature will be a no holds barred styled questions arena – covering many topical areas, controversial, opinionated – taboo orientated and just general and light hearted – just questions about people and things from all walks of life!

Additionally should any of the readership wish to pose a question to be featured within 12 Bloggerz in the future episodes – please drop me an email to

Cheers Rory

Your answers to these questions are down to your individual interpretation of each question.

So here goes:

As a society are we really that social anymore – like it used to be?
We are social in a different way – today it’s all about social media, online meetings, Zooming, etc. But I don’t think we are as likely to take a nice leisurely lunch with a friend, for the pleasure of simply chatting. Do we really care about the person we’re socializing with? A lot of social media seem to be a forum for people to tell their own story and hope that other people will read their posts. And I find that it’s easier to just scroll and hit “like” when I feel I should. But I’m not knocking social media – nowadays it’s the way to keep in touch with people I care about but rarely get to see. I’ve blogged about this before, such as here.

If only l was twenty years younger l would … ?
Twenty years ago, when I was in my 40s, I was antsy to find a more meaningful profession. If I were to go back with 20/20 hindsight, I would not have chosen teaching. I was preoccupied (although somewhat justifiably) with the wrong things. I should have been asking, Will I be happy doing this? Can I really be good at it? Do I want it just for salary and benefits (because believe it or not, teaching had better pay and benefits than what I was doing before)? If I could, I would have done more research on professions that would suit me better.

Is society ruder more now than it used to be back in the day?
Yes, most definitely. People put themselves first. They talk about their “rights” but rarely about the responsibilities that go with those rights. Our current federal government (USA) has encouraged, aided and abetted this attitude. We do not have good role models in leadership roles.

Emperor Trump: Tattoo'd, rude and in an impeachable mood -
Trump: Leader of lies, rudeness and hype

Is our world hyper-focusing progression on the wrong things or in the wrong direction?
If you mean, do I think humanity is trending toward the wrong direction, I would say yes, but not everybody and not everywhere. I think our planet and our ability to continue living on it and respecting other creatures we share it with should be top priority for everyone right now. There are so many other problems connected with climate change – the biggest polluters are not the ones who will suffer most from the results. Greta Thunberg has the right priorities!

Do you think there is any truth what so ever to any current conspiracy theories?
No, and I don’t think it deserves any more of an answer than this.

Are you more confused about the shape of our world today more so than when younger? 
Confused, no – I think I understand our world a whole lot better than I did when I was young(er). Concerned, yes, as everyone should be.

Do we as a society simply have too many labels and too many label hunters?
Yes, but at the same time, sometimes “labels” are helpful – not to stereotype, but to provide help to those who need it. So if a kid is diagnosed with ADHD, don’t just dismiss it by saying, “It’s just a label.” It’s not, and neither are a myriad of other disorders and disabilities. “Being depressed” isn’t just being sad. It’s a very serious, and debilitating mental illness that can lead to addiction or worse.

Are you more or less family orientated?
Yes, I am family oriented, because my family is my greatest blessing. I grew up in a mostly loving home and I love getting together with my siblings’ families. Family is my top priority. I think it is the source of most people’s happiness.

Do you dress up ‘smart’ to go out or is your style more casual all day every day?
I like casual, but I also like to dress up a little. Right now, I lament the fact that I bought a lot of new clothes to wear at our senior community’s dining room and events, and now none of those things are taking place so I’m not wearing all the new clothes I bought.

But in general, I wear what is comfortable and what best hides my aging bulges!

With the current ‘pandemic’ do you miss ‘Yesterday’s way of life or not?
Of course, doesn’t everyone? But I am so angry with selfish people who won’t do what medical professionals are telling us and as a result, the pandemic and its restrictions are dragging on longer than necessary. No one really likes to wear a mask, but if that is what we need to do to protect others as well as ourselves, I am willing to do so. If everyone were willing to be on board with this, we would be able to get back to “yesterday’s” way of life again.

What I miss most is being able to travel.

What do you class as adventurous?
Anything that takes guts or involves taking risks. That said, I am not particularly adventurous, but I do like “adventures” – as in “travel adventures. “

Are you more conventional brick and mortar shopper or online and Internet buyer styled?   
I do both, because it depends on what I’m buying. I won’t buy shoes online, for example – I have to try them on to see if they are comfortable. In one style, I may wear a size 8, whereas in another style, I wear 8 1/2. Shoes are too important to take chances.

But right now, I love buying things online, because then I get packages in the mail – something to look forward to! I’ve been buying a lot of books, getting them cheap on Amazon. Also art supplies, and a variety of other miscellaneous things.

Amazon Smile logo - Ferrum College
Sorry for Amazon plug. That’s a whole other subject for discussion!

SYW: On Respect & Heroes, Beauty vs. Morality, Social Media, and Perfection

It has been awhile since I have participated in Share Your World. It’s usually because I’m busy and don’t catch it; occasionally I can’t relate to the questions. Anyhoo, here are my responses to this week’s Melanie’s Share Your World (SYW).

Why do we seem to respect the dead more than the living?
Perhaps we take the living for granted, which is a shame. However, I have been to many memorial services in which I have found out more about the deceased’s life than I had ever known before when (s)he was living. Another reason may be that we respect true heroes. A hero is a person who sacrifices his/her life (if necessary) for others. Thus, we have men and women who have served in our military, fighting wars that supposedly are to help keep us free. (I disagree that most modern wars have done that, but that is another topic entirely!) Heroes are firefighters who may lose their lives while putting out fires or afterward, or leaders who have done something extraordinary – such as Abraham Lincoln. The point is, many heroes die in the act of heroism, which is often how we find out about them.
Still, I don’t think I respect the dead more than the living. The dead are gone and likely are unaware of whether or not their graves are well-maintained. I think it is more important to respect the living – each human being on Earth has something to offer and deserves respect, for what they do or just because they are alive.
show respect.jpg
I admit, there are a few people that I really do NOT respect. One currently occupies the White House. The other is a man with a toad face who is Majority Leader of the Senate. In spite of the message in the graphic, I don’t respect people who constantly lie or who are hypocrites. Most other vices, though, I will tolerate and respect the person anyway!

Why is beauty associated with morality? Or not? (a few weeks back I asked a similar question, but the key word was MORTALITY, not MORALITY).
I have never associated beauty with morality, at least not physical beauty. Perhaps the beauty that “shines from within” because a person lives a moral life makes an association between the two, but I don’t feel beauty and morality are associated. Someone may be very beautiful – physically attractive – yet act like a total A-hole. And I see beauty in nature, so there’s no real “morality” there.


Kim Kardashian is famous mainly because she is beautiful. But what have the Kardashians done to deserve fame? Do they live what I would consider a “moral” life? Probably not, because I see them as caring too much about money, status, and looking beautiful.

Have gadgets and apps taken away emotions?
No, I think they have intensified emotions, at least in the case of social media. People get very upset by negative posts or comments on Facebook, for example. When someone really makes you irate, you go so far as to “unfriend” them!! Social media can make or break someone’s day emotionally. When I travel, I post photos on Facebook and always look to see how many “likes” I get for that day’s post!

Gadgets – such as our cell phones where we can engage easily in social media or texting – can be devastating to a young person who is the victim of cyberbullying, or publishing lies that circulate through Facebook, Instagram, etc. and can be harmful to one’s reputation. Cyberbullying evokes emotions such as fear, anger, shame.
On the other hand, I have found social media and texting to be very positive for me. For my nieces and nephews, and for my son & daughter, social media is the main way they communicate. I have gotten to know – and therefore grow closer – to some of my nieces who live far away so I don’t see them much, but follow their lives on Facebook and Instagram. I coo over the photos they publish of their new babies, and laugh at their antics that they immortalize in their Facebook posts. Then when I actually see them, I feel I know them because I have been accompanying their lives! I know when my own kids are in a good mood by reading their Facebook posts.  I also like texting because I have a bit of phone phobia. I would rather text than call someone, so I tend to communicate more with friends or family members who text. My son got me into the texting habit – texting is his main way of communicating with us, his parents. If he calls us at 4:00 a.m., it is unlikely we will answer the phone because we are asleep, but a text message can be read anytime and answered at one’s own convenience.

So I would say that overall, our reliance on apps and gadgets have increased our emotional volatility. We see, we react immediately. We meet and fall in love online. We cherish the photos our families post online and travel vicariously with them. Our apps, especially social media, therefore, influence our emotional ups and downs very much.

And a GPS app that leads me astray makes me feel very FRUSTRATED!!

Is there a perfect life? What’s your version of a perfect life if you care to share?
If I had the life that I, sitting here in front of this computer, imagine would be the perfect life, I doubt that it would really be perfect. For example, I might say that the perfect life would involve traveling most of the time. However, while engaged in that life, surely I would find something imperfect about it – I find accommodations inadequate, I miss being home and seeing my kids and my cat. There’s always something one can complain about! If I could dream about the perfect life, I would not imagine the problems that perfect life would create. And therefore, it wouldn’t be perfect!


My cat lives the purr-fect life!

If you’d like, please share something uplifting or for which you are grateful.
I am grateful for the life I have, the advantages I have been blessed with. I am grateful for my imperfect life! (Who needs perfection? It would be so boring!)


I am grateful for: having a son, being close to my son, being retired so I have time to do the things I want to do, being able to travel to see the beauty around the world.

CFFC: The Letter P – Dinner at Vlad’s

Oct. 7, 2017

In Quebec City, our walking tour guide told us about poutine, which was invented in Quebec a few decades ago. It’s French Canada’s contribution to the cuisine of junk food! The main ingredients are: French fries, cheese curds, and gravy, and most often it has some kind of meat. There are many variations of this dish.


Photo downloaded from Vladimir Poutine Restaurant web site

Our first evening in Montreal, I was looking at Facebook after we checked into our hotel and a pop up message informed me that there were three recommended restaurants near me.  One was a burger joint, one was a pizzeria, but the third one intrigued me – called Vladimir Poutine, their specialty was poutine! 20171007_202930


We had not had the chance to try it in Quebec City, but now was our opportunity! I managed to persuade the others, none of whom were particularly enthusiastic, but they agreed. My argument was that it was a local restaurant nearby that serves food native to this area that we can’t get back home.

From the GPS map I had, it looked as if the restaurant was just around the corner, but in fact, it was a couple of blocks because it was halfway down a parallel street, Rue de la Montagne. That made it difficult for my sister Mary, who has mobility issues, but she took her time and eventually made it, quite out of breath.

Vladimir Poutine was dimly lit with a distinctly red tinge. The back windows were imprinted with onion domes evocative of Russia. 20171007_193902

All the items on the menu were named after various politicians, most of them unpopular or despotic leaders. (However, there was a salad of some sort named “Barack.”)

We looked at the menu, and I decided to have the namesake dish: Vladimir Poutine, which consists of smoked meat, beet confit, crispy onions and Russian dressing, along with the basic ingredients of fries, cheese curds, and gravy.20171007_195009None of the others were so adventurous and they all ordered burgers. Dale ordered the Trump Burger: 2 beef patties, onions rings, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and corn sprouts. Mary and Elmer both ordered the Bush Burger – pretty standard: beef patty, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.


Dale’s Trump Burger – Dale claims that the basket full of fries on the side is actually poutine, but on the web site, it shows as plain French fries.

Names of some of the other poutines: Mao Tsé Toung Poutine, Rasputin Poutine, Mussolini Poutine, Kim Poutine, Napoléon Poutine, and Fidel Poutine ( I would have loved this one – it is made with shrimp, scallops, and lobster bisque!). All of these are described, with photos and prices, on the restaurant web site:


The next night, we were tired from sightseeing and decided to eat at a restaurant in the hotel building. Dale was adventurous that night – he ordered poutine!  It wasn’t very good – an excess of gravy, I think. The poutine at Vlad’s was definitely better!

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Letter P