Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge has a series focusing on songs. This week the theme is It’s a Small World.
“It’s a small world after all”
“There is just one moon…
…And one golden sun”
“And a smile means friendship for everyone.”
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge has a series focusing on songs. This week the theme is It’s a Small World.
“It’s a small world after all”
“There is just one moon…
…And one golden sun”
“And a smile means friendship for everyone.”
Getting into the groove again with Paula’s Month of Love. Although I must say, I’m glad February is a short month, because I’m running out of things I love, mainly because my categories were too general in the beginning. But today is a special one..
Feb. 21: I love…photography, although I am not very good at it. I belong to a photography club here at our community, along with Dale, who is a better photographer than I am, but he doesn’t do much with his photos. My love for photography started when I was in junior high school. I had a Brownie camera and took lots of photos of my friends doing goofy things. I had enough to fill an album! Part of the fun of photography, for me, is making photo albums and scrapbooks. When I got to high school, I met a guy that was a serious photographer (he rarely went anywhere without a camera around his neck), and we became friends (and eventually more than friends, but I digress…). My school had a darkroom and this friend taught me how to develop my own photos. By that time, I had purchased a better camera – an Olympus SLR and did mostly black & white photography because that was what I learned to do in the darkroom. We never used color in those days. B&W was considered appropriate for “serious” photographers. I only bought rolls of black & white film, usually the one that had the most photos, which I think was 36. Then I would close myself in the darkroom to first develop the film, and then the photos.
In college, I was able to mount a small darkroom in the small bathroom of a two-bedroom/2-bathroom apartment I was renting with friends. I didn’t have enough room for film developing, so I took my film to a camera shop, where they developed the film. Then I processed the photos in my tiny darkroom.
After that, I stopped doing my own film and photo processing and began to shoot mostly color. I put many photos in scrapbooks/photo albums. Many of them deteriorated over the years, which is a shame. Now there are companies that sell high quality photo albums with non-acid paper. Meanwhile, I’m scanning the old ones.
In late 2006, my Fuji SLR stopped working and I graduated to digital. Dale had been using a digital camera for three years already, and he took photography classes, which were mostly about how to use Photoshop software.
I am proud of some of my photographs and if I were to get fancy photography software, they would probably look even better! I keep telling myself I will someday. Now, however, I have two cameras – a Sony alpha 68 with a detachable telephoto lens and my cellphone, which is often enough. When I travel, I take both cameras, but on occasion I leave my Sony behind in the room wherever we are staying, because I’m sick of carrying it. It is actually astonishing how high quality the cameras are in top-of-the-line cellphones these days. We recently purchased small Zoom lenses to attach to our cellphones. Still, for fine photography, I still prefer my Sony, so I can take photos like this:
Feb. 22: I love…my son, Jayme, whose birthday is today! He is 36 years old and has had – and continues to have – many problems in his life due to mental illness. However, he is good-looking, kind, intelligent, and creative. He writes poetry, and after our trip to France in 2019, I gave him my old camera because the photos he took on the trip were fantastic! He has good observation skills and an good eye for how to frame his photos. He loves music and movies and has an eclectic taste.
Here’s a gallery of his life: clockwise from upper left: age 2; kindergarten picture; age 8 or 9, with his cousin Eric and a doe; 8th grade picture; at his sister’s wedding 2019; high school sophomore year picture
Melanie always has some great questions on her weekly Share Your World!
What should you get rid off, that would make your new year better, and why? (Don’t say Covid-19, we all want to get rid of the dang virus.)
Stress. I am a worrier by nature, but I wish I didn’t have things in my life that cause me a lot of stress. I should meditate but I don’t take the time. I don’t mean the virus, which actually isn’t a source of stress for me right now. I’m used to it. The most stress I experience is dealing with my son. He has a lot of problems due to mental illness (depression, anxiety, extremely low self-esteem) which has led him to “self medicate” – i.e. getting drunk and taking drugs. Right now, he is struggling to stay sober. He has trouble holding jobs because it is hard for him to get up to go to work, and when he’s depressed, he sleeps a lot and misses work altogether. He has applied for disability but it will take years for him to get it.
I try to stay upbeat and encourage him. Lately there’s been reason for hope but he could fall back into depression any time triggered by the smallest things. The other day he got angry at the cashier at 7/11, who was rude to him. This is something we all encounter and just have to deal with it. But he gets so upset that he can’t calm down right away. Yes, he has learned techniques in rehab to help him calm down, but he forgets about them at the moment he’s becoming angry and anxious.
I just want to have my retired life to enjoy with my husband. I love my son, but he is always a source of stress.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Zip-lining in Costa Rica. I’ve written about this before. So I will say, changing careers. When I was in my 40s, I was bored with my job and wanted to do something more meaningful, to contribute to society. I decided to go into teaching. I didn’t think it through well enough, but on the other hand, I didn’t really know what the state of public education was by the late 1990s. Talk about stress!! I struggled because I wasn’t great with classroom management, but I had other strengths, such as being bilingual, being enthusiastic and intelligent, and having compassion. I got my first teaching job when I was 50!
The main problem is that after I started teaching, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’ve always had it, but never knew what it was, until I was having my son diagnosed and realized that I had all the characteristics of ADHD. Symptoms are exacerbated as people get older and due to a heart condition, I cannot take stimulants, which are the most successful medications for ADHD. People with ADHD tend to get distracted easily, have difficulty multitasking, staying focused and remembering all the things a teacher needs to remember throughout the day. I wrote detailed lesson plans, very well thought out, and put all kinds of helpful hints and reminders to myself in them, but when I was in the classroom, I would sometimes lose my lesson plans or forget to consult with them. A major characteristic of ADHD is forgetfulness.
At the same time, administrators were putting a lot of pressure on teachers because of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind policies. Success or failure were determined by standardized tests; schools that were not performing well lost their funding (which makes no sense – those are the schools that need the funding the most). So principals were hyper critical of every little thing and I had the bad luck to have really terrible principals. Not all the time – my most successful years I had wonderful principals, but these were not the majority. When you end up with a resume that has a lot of jobs listed, that is a red flag for administrators when they are hiring. At the end of my career, I could no longer get teaching jobs, so I worked as a substitute for awhile and then took a low-paying job as a program assistant. I found that financially I was able to retire when I was 63. I decided to retire because the pay was so low, it was hardly worth it. I had been working mainly so that I would have health insurance. So my plan was to take the school district’s COBRA insurance for 18 months, then get insurance through the ACA until I turned 65 and could get Medicare.
I confess that I do not miss teaching at all. I don’t miss the kids, but I do remember them fondly and am proud of my accomplishments and successes.
Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?
Not really – but if we did, it would be something like “a pun for every occasion.” There is never an inappropriate time to use a pun! I didn’t used to be a punster, but my husband is notorious for his bad puns, and it has rubbed off on me. I grew up in a family with a particular sense of humor. My father always loved puns and jokes.
On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? (this does not mean ‘smell’ or looks; because this is a judgment free blog!)
If 0 is not funny at all and 10 is the funniest, my husband informs me that I am a 7. That is pretty good – I would give myself a 5! Sometimes I am too serious and need to lighten up. On the other hand, I see humor in little things or situations and as I said above, I’m learning to be a punster!
Tell everyone something that you found personally lifted your spirits!
I know I said this last week, but this time I have a photo – orchids blooming in winter!
A new week, a new Share Your World from Melanie!
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.
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!
PCGuyIV has posted a new question for Truthful Tuesday:
When it comes to giving money, do you view it as a thoughtful gift, or as a sign that the giver didn’t care enough to think about a “real” gift?
For years, my parents gave us money for Christmas and birthdays, and I looked forward to it! Usually I needed it to pay off credit cards, or for bills. So it was always welcome. My mother, however, would always give a wrapped gift also, which usually wasn’t fancy or expensive, so we’d “have something to open.”
I have followed basically the same custom with our kids which makes life much easier, instead of having to think of something cute or clever to give them. And this year, our daughter & son-in-law said all they want is money. I’m sure our son will appreciate a check also. But I will get them a few other things so that they’ll have “something to open” and also because Dec. 25 is our daughter’s birthday as well as Christmas! Since my husband and daughter (she’s really my stepdaughter) are Jewish, I always give them some little thing for Hanukkah also – they say socks and underwear are standard Hanukkah gifts! This year they are literally getting socks for Hanukkah!!
Although it makes life easier to write out a check (and as you said, I usually give more than a gift would be worth), I do like to shop, but I don’t want to buy just anything. I have been known to give a friend a gift when it’s not their birthday or Christmas because I happen to find something I know they will like. Sometimes a gift card is the solution when I don’t know what to get somebody. Gift cards are a bit of a cop-out but it’s better that they get an Amazon gift card to buy something they want than to go to the trouble of trying to find something I think they might like.
So with our kids I just follow my mother’s tradition, because they know they can rely on getting money from us but we always have a wrapped gift or two for them as well! I do usually get gift cards for my nieces and nephews, and this year especially, because mailing a gift card when you can’t get together because of Covid-19 just makes more sense!
And now for some related entertainment from the great musical Cabaret!
Here are my answers for Melanie’s weekly Share Your World challenge.
Are we “here” or do we just think we are? (A metaphysical question today folks.) Can you prove your point of view?
I think we are here and our existence on this tiny blue dot of a planet in the solar system is real. However, there may be alternate versions of us in alternate universes. This is a question explored in quantum physics: of all possible outcomes of any action, does the only one that exists the one we’ve chosen in our current existence’s real time? Perhaps in alternate versions of ourselves, other choices are made and our lives are very different.
I exist and see the world from my own point of view. I interact with others personally, on line, or otherwise, and every individual I come into contact has an impact on my life, however profound or slight.
As for existence after death (this wasn’t part of the question but it represents the future of whether we are “here”), I don’t believe in heaven or hell but neither do I believe in nothing. We are composed of energy which came from the stars created during the Big Bang. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. So what happens to the energy within our bodies when we die? It must go somewhere. That is my semi-scientific/semi-religious justification for believing in another existence after our current existence dies. Maybe my energy goes into the formation of a new person on Earth. Or maybe it will travel far and find itself in another being on another planet. Who knows? Many people believe in reincarnation – how that happens may be part of their religious belief. I believe in reincarnation also because I can’t believe in nothingness.
From an identity stand-point, which would be the worst for you personally to lose? Your face, your body or your voice? Which do YOU identify with most strongly for your own sense of self?
How do you come up with these questions?? Usually your questions are a lot less profound! I would not want to lose any of those things. If I “lose” my body, then who I am will cease to exist. However, if I lose the ability to USE my body (such as if I become totally paralyzed), I think it would be terrible as long as my brain were still working. Maybe I could learn to use one of those artificial voice translation machines if I couldn’t move, so that I could still communicate. Lose my face – what, from having it destroyed by burning or something? God awful! Burning would be the very worst way to die, in my view. Anyway, without my face, I wouldn’t have eyes, ears, nose or mouth. Maybe it would be better to have all those things but have my body be paralyzed. Because what would I be without any of my senses? When I think of not having a face, I think of ancient sculptures of people whose faces were destroyed by the ravages of time.
We see their body but not their face so we never know what they might have looked like. As for my voice, there are a couple of ways of thinking about this: my physical voice, that is, what one hears when I speak or sing; or my voice in the metaphorical sense – having a voice in decisions made, having a voice in who is elected president. We say we have a “voice” when we vote. If I were to lose that kind of voice, it would mean we would be in some sort of dictatorship or autocracy – which could happen if Trump is reelected….but I don’t want to think about that right now! However, if it were just my physical voice, I think I could do without it, because I could still write in order to communicate. However, it would be difficult, because I like to talk and I talk a lot!!
Do you have a ‘song’? If you’re part of a couple, you could use “your couple’s song” OR a song that’s just always resonated with you.
There are too many songs to think about. So I will just say Unchained Melody, because when I first met my husband, that was the one song he would always want to dance to. So it kind of became “our song.”
“Spooky” Halloween Question: Oooo! BOO!
Are ghosts real or has someone been smoking something and just imagines them?
I honestly don’t know. The logical, skeptical part of me says that ghosts or spirits do not exist. However, there is a part of me that believes in them. Maybe that is where our energy goes when we die – into a spirit or “ghost” if you want to call it that. Sometimes when I heard unexplained sounds in the house (my old house had these – where I live now is too small and too new for that), I said there was a ghost in the house. I told my son this when he was young and I got him to really believe it, but I assured him that the ghost was harmless and would never reveal itself to us. Just leave it alone and it will leave us alone. “Our” ghost became a sort of comforting presence!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always strictly optional)
Please free free to share a moment of gratitude you experienced over the past week.
Hearing my son’s voice on the phone now that he is clean and sober. He’s actually pleasant to talk to when he isn’t depressed or self-medicated and has had something nutritious to eat.
Also I am grateful that the weather has been a little warm again even though it’s been really windy. Today was the last day of that warmth though – tomorrow it is supposed to be 20 degrees cooler and will not get warm again, probably until April!!
Fandango’s provocative question #88 is this:
To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken? Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?
I watched a science program the other day that discussed unanswered questions posed by quantum physics, such as the possibility that everything that happens in the universe was predestined at the time of the Big Bang. Other people see it in religious terms, that God has control over us and sees our past, present and future, that God can decide whether to make something happen or not. I don’t believe God controls my life and quantum physics is too confusing for me.
We as human beings don’t have total control over our lives. We might be born in a wealthy, powerful country or in a poor, underprivileged country. Within that country, we are born into a particular race and class, both of which have repercussions in a society – culturally, politically, socially, economically. Within that race and class, we are born into a family that is loving and supportive, one in which there is abuse and violence, one which values education, or one that does not. Then there are individual limitations: inherited or nurtured. We have talent for something but our limitations hold us back. Within all these parameters, we have choice, or a modicum of control. Will we choose to develop our natural talent or pursue a more difficult course? Will we let our physical or mental limitations hold us back or will we overcome them or at least find coping mechanisms?
So yes, I do believe I have had SOME control over my life but a lot has been given to me by being born white, upper middle class, in the United States of America, which in spite of its faults, has provided me with privileges unavailable elsewhere. My parents had the money for me and my siblings to go to college and in our family we never fought over money because we had enough (not an excessive amount, but enough). I have been able to travel due to this. My parents encouraged all of us to pursue careers: whether we were girls or boys, they had the same expectations for us. They did what they could in terms of love and support to make us happy. I was also given intelligence, which is probably largely inherited, although it took motivation to develop and use it to my advantage, something I have not always done. I am lucky to be reasonably healthy, and I can control whether I stay that way – by eating healthy and staying fit – but I can’t control the fact that I have a heart problem inherited from my father. However, having the knowledge of this problem gives me control over how I deal with it. The more education we have, the more knowledge we acquire, the more we can control our lives. I was able to get a master’s degree in teaching and also have acquired knowledge in the ways of the world.
BUT, I did have limitations and caused disappointment for my parents because some of the choices I made were because I was afraid to challenge those limitations. I have often been afraid of decision-making because I have trouble making decisions, so sometimes I made NO decision (which was a decision in itself). I didn’t have to marry my first husband, for example, I shouldn’t have – that was a disappointment; but the second time around I chose a much better match. I chose to have a child with that first husband, who inherited mental illness as well as abuse from his father, which has greatly impeded his life. I chose to change careers in my late 40s, and decided to go into teaching, which in the end was probably not the wisest choice but I did the best I could. Many of the hurdles were beyond my control – discovering I have ADHD, trying to complete as a 50-year-old woman with a master’s degree with 25-year-olds with a undergraduate degree, the emphasis on high stakes testing, bad administrators who weren’t held accountable, the low esteem that our society seems to hold in general for teachers, the negative view of bilingual education (which was my field), etc.
Besides choices, there is attitude. I have always been a more or less optimistic person, believing in positive outcomes, but I am also skeptical by nature because I analyze everything. I try to figure out the “why” of mistakes I’ve made. Not everyone can or will do this. I want to fix problems but within the limitations of my own life, I do control what I choose to do about problems that plague a wider world. I try to get people in my community here to recycle, for example. I can’t control if they actually do it, but I can make myself heard to encourage it. I write letters to people to encourage them to vote. I may be demonstrating in the streets if Trump tries to undermine the results of the election. But I could choose to do none of those things and just live my life doing the things I prefer doing – reading, writing, drawing, etc. Within my own patch of the world, I do have some control.
All alternative paths in life I could have chosen maybe play out somewhere in the universe. But here in 3 dimensions on planet Earth, I look back on my life with some disappointment but mostly with gratitude.
Right now we are living in a very scary time – in the middle of a pandemic with a president who is threatening to overthrow democratic norms in order to make himself dictator or king, as well as all the other things happening – strained race relations, climate change as evidenced by out of control wildfires out west and hurricanes down south (I am fortunate, I guess, to live in the Midwest where neither of these things are happening or are likely to happen), the numbers of people dying from Covid-19 increasing at an alarming rate, etc. It’s easy to think we have very little control over our lives right now. Yet I admit I am pretty secure in my life. But I don’t kid myself that I have total control – it’s only a matter of attitude and choice in how I respond to things that are beyond my control that I have control. Self-control, that’s about it.
Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:
Melanie’s Mundane Muggle Questions:
Please feel free to write about or share an image of something you’re grateful for!
I’m grateful for sunflowers.
I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.
Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:
What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.
When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!
Hurray! It’s Monday again, the day Melanie puts out a new set of questions for Share Your World! And this week, they’re real doozies! So here goes…
What song always gets you out on the dance floor? Any catchy Latino or other dance tune, such as:
Actually, I have a whole dance workout playlist, which includes this song and many others, including songs with a good beat from Latin America, Brazil, Africa, Celtic (Ireland/Scotland), Caribbean steel pan, and more. I listen to it when I’m at the fitness center working out, and I really miss it now, because I can’t go to the fitness center to work out!
What’s your favorite sleeping position?
I go to sleep and spend most of the night on my back. I use a special pillow for my neck due to a minor case of scoliosis that I inherited from my dad, and also slide a small pillow under my knees. But some time during the night, I switch pillows and sleep on my right side with the small pillow between my knees. Eventually, I go back to sleeping on my back.
If you could snap your fingers and instantly make the world better, what would you do?
Of course I would do it, but I have noticed that lately my finger snap doesn’t make a snapping noise anymore – I think it’s a sign I’m getting old!! I can’t whistle very well anymore either.
Also, would I get to decide, before the finger snap, what constitutes making the world better? That would be important, since what is better in my opinion, may not be what others think. So I will list some of my requirements for the “world being better:”
–clean energy used all over the world, mitigating the effects of climate change. Earth will
breathe a sigh of relief, and it would save many people around the world from starvation, displacement, and war. Everyone would be invested in conserving resources. The planet would begin to heal itself and its inhabitants as well. No more extinction of precious species.
–no more poverty
–medicine will be advanced to be able to cure any disease or find a vaccine easily and quickly – maybe like the “healing” done on the Star Trek series, just waving a scanning-type device over the diseased part, and voila! – the person is healed!
–no one left on Earth named Trump
–racism and discrimination wouldn’t exist, there would be no more war.
–PEACE ON EARTH!!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why did you do it?
I don’t want to go into my most nightmarish, scary experience, which wasn’t exactly something I did – it just happened to me. So I will answer with the scariest thing I ever did voluntarily and willingly….I went ziplining in Costa Rica!!
I was with my son in Monteverde; we’d gone there for a weekend during a monthlong stay in Costa Rica. He wanted to go ziplining – we were at the place where you get geared up and listen to all the instructions and safety rules. I didn’t really want to go, but if I stayed behind, I would have to amuse myself with nothing but a small tourist shop for entertainment for about two hours, which was the approximate length of this experience. I was really scared, but I looked around at the other participants and there were several who were clearly older than me. So I started to feel ashamed of myself if I didn’t go, and if I chickened out, I would probably regret it later. Needless to say, I went.
There were a total of 14 ziplines in this course. Some were short, some were longer. It was very important to judge when to pull the rope to slow down – you wanted to do it soon enough to slow down sufficiently when you arrived at the platform. On the other hand, if you pulled the rope too early on a long line, you could end up slowing down and stopping in the middle of the line, with only your gear holding you, dangling about 200 meters above the rainforest floor! But don’t worry, we were told – there will be a guide on the other side who will signal for when to pull the rope.
That worked OK for the first three or four lines. There were a lot of tourists there speaking languages from all over the world. I soon got separated from my son, but I wasn’t worried.
Then came the line where I had an accident. I was zipping across, watching the guide on the other side to signal to me, but he was distracted by other tourists talking to him, so he didn’t signal. Should I or shouldn’t I, I wondered, panic rising. I was approaching the platform fast, too fast – I pulled the rope, but it was too late – I slammed into the metal frame of the platform. I felt searing pain in my right shin. It took a few minutes in the confusion for someone to come to my aid, because there were so many people crowded on the platform. I saw that my leg was bleeding, and rummaged through my backpack for some Kleenex. I had about two sheets of it left, which I gingerly applied to the long gash on my shin as I gasped in pain. The Kleenex didn’t do much good – it just stuck to the wound.
Finally, a guide came to my rescue. I told him I couldn’t go on, I needed to go back. He explained that that was impossible – we were in the middle of a rainforest and it was a several miles hike – uphill – to get back, and no one could be spared to accompany me. I wanted to sit in a truck, but I couldn’t do that either. He told me just to wait until he was free, and he would take me across himself. So I sat on the metal steps, while lines of gabby tourists flowed upward around me. My son had gone across the road with a couple of other young people, who had found a “Tarzan rope” – he called for me to come and see. I answered that I was seriously injured and could barely walk (this was exaggeration, which I tend to use when I get injured), so I couldn’t go see. He didn’t answer, and it wasn’t until he returned that he realized what had happened to me.
After what seemed like half an hour, the guide who was going to take me across came over and helped me up. He hooked himself and me together and off we went. He had introduced himself as Rafael, and started telling me facts about the rainforest – such as how far above the forest floor we were! He said I could look down into the canopy and spy monkeys or birds. (LOOK DOWN??? No way, Jose – I mean Rafael!). We arrived safely and gently at the next stop and he helped me down. I waited for him again, and once again I was in the arms of Rafael zipping above the green canopy. Even having him with me, I was too scared to look down. So I saw none of the wildlife advertised as being able to spot during this activity.
At the third stop after the accident, I waited a long time and realized that Rafael was no longer there. He’d forgotten me or perhaps thought I should be OK to go by myself. I protested and another guide took me across the next line. However, after that I was on my own.
Finally, mercifully, it was over. I even got a snapshot of my son zipping to the ground on the last stop. We then had about a quarter mile to walk to the waiting jeeps to take us back. I limped along, a nice guide holding my elbow. Although there was blood dripping down my leg and staining my sandal, he asked me if I had fun. I just laughed – I refused to be a whiny American tourist. Instead, I said something to him in Spanish and we conversed in Spanish the rest of the way back.
I almost forgot to limp!
**All images downloaded from Bing.
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