SYW: Blog Ennui, Doppelgangers, Fire, & Sweet Potatoes

We are back from a two-week vacation in Europe! I have not had time to work on my blog since we got back. But as soon as I came to my blog, I looked for Melanie’s Share Your World!

Here are her questions for this week, some of which, I must say, require some pondering!

Do you become discouraged by the annual “Blogging Ennui” phenomenon that comes around every year?    (it’s early this year IMO) (blogging ennui means (to me) a distinct slow down in writing and participation, which lasts an indefinite period of time).
I’ve had blog ennui for many months now, actually. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s worth writing, and I’m often busy with other things. There are a few challenges that I like to do, and wish I did on a more regular basis. I have gotten to the point that I mostly ONLY do challenges, because the posts I do on my own get few readers. I wish I could say (as I used to) that I only do it for myself, but I have an ego and like to be recognized, so that is why I stick to challenges that get a lot of readers, some of whom will read my posts.

If you were in a room filled with you and your doppelganger (someone who looks exactly like you do.  Supposedly everyone has at least one out there in the world)  and 2 billion dollars, what would you do?   What do you think your doppelganger would do?

I’d invite my other me to take a trip around the world with me. Then I’d keep enough to have a comfortable life and give the rest away to friends, charities, or political candidates (since there is no limit to what I can donate to get my candidate elected – I would fill the Congress with solid Democratic majorities, as well as the presidency!) The charities I would donate to would include those that help those suffering from poverty, war, and climate change. And organizations working on climate change and saving environments around the world! As for my look-alike, I can’t say what she’d do with the money, since we only look alike but don’t necessarily think alike. Maybe after we’ve traveled the world together…

A building is burning. You have time to either save a child trapped inside or a valuable painting which you would then sell, using the money to save 20 children from starvation. What would you do and why?

I have a terrible phobia of fire – I can’t even light a regular-sized match! – so I would not go into a burning building under any circumstances (or if I were in the building, I’d save myself and get as far away from the fire as possible). I’d rather save starving children with some of the 2 billion dollars I am getting to share with my doppelganger!

What’s your opinion of yams or sweet potatoes? I love them, and they are a healthier option than regular potatoes. I especially like mashed sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries!

Please feel free to share an image of something that makes you smile!

Hazel never ceases to make me smile!

SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs

I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!

QUESTIONS

In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!

Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?

Opinion.  John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art?  A combination of the two?   Neither, it’s stupid.  Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!

How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!

Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)


GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)

Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).

Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.

Cheetah mom & cub, Ndutu-Serengeti, Tanzania

On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!

From the tomb of King Ramses VI, Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Photo credit: Mohammed Fathy.

SYW: From Productivity to Personhood

Here are Melanie’s questions (and my answers!) this week for Share Your World.

QUESTIONS

Are you more productive at night or in the morning? Do you think it’s possible to change and get used to another schedule? I’m not really a morning person. I am more active at night, usually – perhaps it’s because I realize I have things to do and here it is evening and I haven’t done them yet! Yes, I think it is possible to adapt to another schedule, which I would like to do. There is an exercise class at 9:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is right now too early for me, but if I stop staying up so late, I should be able to get up an hour earlier so I can go to that class! So I should try to move back my bedtime incrementally. (But here it is 11:18 pm and I’m just starting to blog!)

What’s the biggest vehicle you’ve driven?  If you don’t drive, what’s the biggest vehicle you’ve ridden in? This is wimpy, I know, but the largest car I’ve ever driven is a station wagon or small SUV. I have recently started driving my husband’s Subaru Forrester for short distances in decent weather, but I still prefer my Prius!

My Prius during a snow storm. I would not drive Dale’s Subaru in weather conditions like this!

What songs would be played on a loop in hell?  (Suspend disbelief for this one, it’s cool not to believe in Hell, but let’s use our imaginations to answer.  Of course one can always skip the questions they find odd too.  And yes, I took into account that individual tastes will influence individual choices.) Advertising jingles – they are very repetitive, loud (ads are louder than the TV shows that air them), annoying as hell, and somehow stick in one’s mind. I think that would be the worst thing to listen to on a loop in whatever hell one may end up in!

(Deep and chewy philosophical question):     What does it mean to be a person?  What constitutes “personhood?” (there may be some diverse opinions, but we’re all mature adults in here, so be respectful of others please). I think of a “person” as a human being. I don’t refer to animals such as pets as “persons,” although some people do. All humans are “persons” (or people – is that the plural of person?), no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or whatever. Every human is equal to every other. Some are nicer than others, but that doesn’t make them less than persons. However, just because a person is a human being doesn’t make him or her superior to other animals. We think we are more intelligent and more important than other animals, but we have a lot to learn – a humbling prospect!


GRATITUDE SECTION (Always Optional)

How were your spirits (mood) over the past week? 

It’s been a hectic and sort of dreary week. The weather has been lousy overall for this time of year. My daffodils are starting to bloom, while we get snow and hail! I was feeling really blah this morning, but I felt better after being in the swimming pool and hot tub this afternoon!

I’ve been busy working on Earth Week (April 18-22) activities here at the Moorings, as head of the environmental concerns committee, so everyone looks to me to figure this stuff out! I hope it will be a success though! Stay tuned!!

HAPPY EARTH MONTH!!!

SYW: Laughter, Music, Soaring, and Conservation

Melanie has some great questions this week for Share Your World!

QUESTIONS

How do you tell if someone has a sense of humor? 
If they laugh a lot. I know a woman who has the most unique laugh, and when I hear that laugh across the room, I know it’s her. She laughs often and when I’m with her I try to say funny things so I can hear her laugh!

What sort of music do you prefer?
Prefer: Right now, classical, but my tastes change sometimes. I also like rock, especially the Beatles (I have the Beatles Channel on my XM radio in the car). I like folk, blues, and world music of all types. This month, I’m hearing a lot of Celtic music! As for jazz, I only like certain kinds. I like big band and Dixieland but not “improvisational” jazz which just goes on and on. I get tired of it. But usually I choose classical or certain vocal groups, such as the Angel City Chorale (this group sings just about anything).

Thoughts on gravy or ‘sauce”?   Yea or nay?

I like some sauces, especially salsa if it’s mild (my digestive system doesn’t tolerate anything spicy) and has fruit like mango added to it. Gravy is okay, I don’t use it unless the meat is really dry – too many empty calories!

Would you enjoy a hot air balloon ride?

I’m not sure…I have had opportunities to go on them, for an additional cost, during tours when I’m traveling. But my husband is afraid of heights and absolutely would never go on one. So unless I had someone to go with, I probably wouldn’t. I guess I’m neutral.

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GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)

What do you think is widely taken for granted?  

The goods and services we enjoy in our society. We never thank anyone for the water that automatically comes out of our faucets when we turn on the tap. We don’t thank anyone for the electricity that powers our lights and electronics. I am reading a fantastic book, Braiding Sweetgrass, in which I found out that many Native American tribes thank everything they use – the animals they kill and use every part of, the trees which provide so much more than just shade, and plants that provide them with food. Saying grace before a meal is a good – but, I fear, dying – custom. It seems the more we have, the more we want and the more we take it all for granted. This is, I’m afraid, is what makes people reluctant to conserve – to reduce, reuse, and recycle – in order to save our precious resources.

SYW: Strange Growths & Music, Horrible History & Food…and Thoughts of Travel

Here are Melanie’s questions for her Share Your World this week.

Questions

What’s the strangest thing in your refrigerator?
Cottage cheese that’s been in there since last summer. I imagine some strange things are growing on it by now! When I clean the ‘frig (and that should be soon!), I’ll throw it out without releasing the strange beasties!

Would you rather hear the music of Johann Sebastian Bach played by a barbershop quartet, or a heavy metal band? Barbershop, no question. First of all, I don’t like heavy metal – it gives me a headache. Second, I’m used to barbershop because my brother-in-law sings in a barbershop chorus and quartets, so I’ve gotten to like it. And it’s much easier on the ears that heavy metal! But – just symantics – barbershops don’t “play” music, they only sing; their music is by its nature a cappella. I imagine their version of Toccata and Fugue in D minor would start something like this:

Leads: Ba da da! Ba da diddle da da!
Baritones: Da da da! Dee dum dum da!
Basses: Doo doo doo! Doo doo doodle doo doo…

You get the idea…don’t you?

The Arlingtones performed at North School Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois last summer.

If you could erase one event from history, which one would you erase? The Holocaust
(although there are many other ‘good’ candidates, the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades among them).

If your food is bad at a restaurant, do you say something? I send it back, hoping to get a better replacement before everyone else has finished eating and are ready to leave.


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GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional):

On one side of the earth we’re facing upcoming spring, and on the other autumn.   What positive or uplifting thought do these changes bring to you? Thoughts of renewed travel: to Europe this spring, and to Australia & New Zealand in the fall (when it’s spring down under)!

(OK, I could have said something like the beauty of the cycle of life or anticipation of flowers, but after 2 years stuck at home, travel is the most positive and uplifting thought I can think right now!)

Trivial Thought for the day: The word “queue” is just the letter Q followed by four silent letters.

SYW: Morality and Bananas

I’m finally getting around to this week’s Share Your World!

  • Questions
  • What’s the most useful thing you know? Compared to many other seniors I know, I’m pretty good at navigating my computer, including knowing how to do spreadsheets, social media, texting, researching online (and being able to find the more reputable websites), etc. I also do all my writing and storing my photos on my computer. When our community had to learn how to get on “Caremerge” – a community website that has all kinds of information about happenings and also residents’ email addresses, etc. – it caused a lot of anxiety. I would say that even now, only about 25% of the residents here know how to use it. I also have downloaded a variety of games and my Kindle library on my phone and tablet. The games do mesmerize me sometimes, so I lose track of time and don’t get other things done (such as doing this blog!).
  • What impact do you think it would have on the world if bananas were illegal? It would greatly disrupt my life – I eat a banana every morning with my morning tea! Bananas are a good source, although not the only one, of potassium. Many people in Latin America would lose their jobs picking and preparing bananas for shipment. In Costa Rica, some live near the plantations, in modest houses their employer provides for them, so they would lose their homes too! I think someone would start smuggling them, like drugs, so that people could keep working on banana plantations. That would employ more people – the smugglers and sellers in the countries the bananas are smuggled to. But hiding drugs in shipments, or even on one’s person, is much easier than bananas would be – can you imagine hiding a banana under your clothes? It would get all smushed and get all over your clothes and skin – yuck!
  • What social stigma does society need to just get over? Mental illness, addiction, and LGBT individuals, as well as racism (which is not exactly a social stigma but we still need to get over it).
  • Do you prefer the moral viewpoint of consequentialism*, which focuses on the consequences of actions, or deontology,*  which focuses on the innate rightness or wrongness of the actions themselves?  Thanks for the helpful definitions! Consequentialism is like saying, “by any means necessary” and that seems immoral to me. Sometimes it’s necessary to try a variety of means to achieve a goal, but not every possible option is appropriate: such as impinging on the freedom of others or violence, or just outright killing people to get one’s way. In light of what Russia’s leader Putin has decided to do in Ukraine – make war, killing people with no provocation – to get his way, it’s a very extreme example of how “by any means necessary” is used. I think Putin’s philosophy is “by any means necessary.” Trump believed in this too – whatever he has to do to get his way, he will at least try to do.

    Deontology, on the other hand, is a study of the moral issues of duty and obligation. Although I will not study this field, I have my own moral code, which I think is a good one that many people share. But plenty of people don’t. That is, it is good to have rights, but with rights come responsibilities. During this pandemic especially, we have seen many examples of people who have forgotten (or don’t give a rat’s ass) about the responsibility they have to society as members of that society. Their rights end where the next person’s begins. Imposing mitigation measures and vaccination to stop the spread of the coronavirus are the scientifically based and moral thing to do. Is it really necessary to attack flight attendants because you don’t want to wear a mask on an airplane?? It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, yes, but it won’t kill you. And people who have gotten all their vaccinations, but refuse to get the COVID vaccination, really irritate me. A medical issue that affects all of society has been politicized. And once again, members of society ought to comply with getting the vaccination if we ever want to get control over the disease. No one complained about getting vaccinated against smallpox or polio – although many anti-vaxxers today don’t want their kids to get vaccinated against childhood diseases such as measles and mumps. I think we live in a very selfish era.

/ˌkänsəˈkwen(t)SHəlizəm/
noun
PHILOSOPHY
noun: consequentialism
* the doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences.
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de·on·tol·o·gy

/ˌdēänˈtäləjē/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
* the study of the nature of duty and obligation.

GRATITUDE SECTION (As always optional)

Please feel free to share something good that happened to you in the past week.

Tuesday (Twosday), 2-22-22 (this date has sparked a lot of discussion – we will not have another date with all the same digits again in our lifetimes!) was my son’s birthday. I invited him over for dinner here and afterward we came back to my house so I could give him the birthday present I got him – a Kindle! He has started reading more (he’s never been a big reader, although he has many books) and he wanted to be able to download books onto a Kindle because he doesn’t have much room where he lives now. I don’t get to see him much, but every time I do, lately he’s been a delight to be with.

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal this month and every day I’ve written something down (with some repetitions!). Here’s what I wrote for my son’s birthday (and read to him when he was here):
I am grateful to be a mother, mother to a son who despite his many difficulties is kind, intelligent, and handsome. I am grateful that his survival instinct got him out of his lonely isolation, fueled by drugs and alcohol, to a better place, Now he is surrounded by others, he works out problems by himself and even takes others’ advice! Happy birthday, Jayme!

SYW: Happy Valentine Birthday

It’s Valentine’s Day Monday, so Melanie’s Share Your World questions are all about this day of love.

Which traditional Valentine’s Day  gift would you rather receive: chocolates, flowers, or a card with a personal message?

Flowers with a card and chocolates!

Do you like romantic movies?
Yes, some of them. Actually, my husband is a lot more into rom-coms than I am. He watches the same ones over and over when given the opportunity!

Is Valentine’s Day only about romantic love? Or is it a good occasion to celebrate friendship as well?
It’s both. And actually it’s a day to have a birthday celebration too! (See below)

How do you deal with unwanted romantic attention?
Hahahaha! I wish!!

GRATITUDE SECTION (As always, optional)

Share one or two of your favorite memories of your special loved one if you’d like.
My husband, Dale, has his birthday on Valentine’s Day. Today he had a very special Valentine birthday! In the morning, he presented me with a very LARGE Happy Valentine’s Day bag. In it were two gifts for me for Valentine’s Day as well as a mushy card (he always gets those!). I had not even had the chance to wrap his birthday gift yet, but when I returned home from a book discussion group, he had gone to a doctor’s appointment, so I was able to get his gift ready. But he had a real surprise in store for him! First, he got several cards and phone calls wishing him happy birthday. The doorbell rang and it was one of our friends from our senior community delivering two beautiful cupcakes (they must have been from Mariano’s – this supermarket is known for its elaborately decorated desserts) along with a card from him and his wife! Dale was sheepish!

The cupcakes from Mariano’s!

We had an early dinner reservation because I had arranged for my brother-in-law’s barbershop quartet to come serenade him with a singing Valentine, and it was to be their last singing Valentine of the day! I had to make up an excuse to have dinner so early, so I told Dale I had to go to church for a rehearsal and he didn’t suspect anything. Before the quartet arrived, six of us were settled at our table set for seven. (The 7th was for my sister, who arrived late.) These were all friends or friendly acquaintances of ours, but especially friends of my sister’s. One of the women has a walker and on it she had brought a beautiful bouquet of roses for the table and a box of cookies to share with us, as well as a bottle of wine! So we had quite a celebration, even before my brother-in-law’s singing Valentine arrived! The guys presented him with a red rose (which he left on our table!! 😦 ) and sang three romantic songs, ending with Happy Birthday.

Oh, and I almost forgot – Dale got a call from our son during dinner to wish him happy birthday and they had a long conversation. This was very special because our son never remembers to call us on our birthdays. He has really turned over a new leaf!!

So we had a very memorable and fun celebration. And we still have the cupcakes to enjoy on another day!!

The quartet singing to Dale (who is on the far right of this photo). In the middle is Sally, the woman who brought the wine, cookies and flowers for the table. On the far left is my sister Mary.
The quartet poses with Dale, with the rose in his mouth! My brother-in-law Elmer is on the left, wearing a black mask.

Here is a barbershop quartet (not Elmer’s!) singing Let Me Call You Sweetheart, a standard for singing valentines.

SYW: Aliens, Cats, and Gum

I missed Share Your World last week so I am determined to participate this week! Here are Melanie’s questions for this week for us to share our world.

What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?

Intelligent/sentient life on another planet, and being able to communicate with them.


If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go?


Probably not. I would want to know about where they lived first. Also, it would be a very long journey!

What breed of dog would you be?  If you’re more a cat person – what breed of cat?


I’d be a tortie (cat), because they are known for being aloof sometimes – they want to maintain their space, but at the same time, they are also very affectionate toward their humans. I am including a photo of my cat, who is a tortie, for those who don’t know what this breed is. (Tortie is short for “tortoise shell” although I don’t really understand the connection.) Torties and calicoes are closely related, and are usually female. Being a cat also means sleeping a lot!

Bubble gum?  Yay or nay? 
I chew gum sometimes to keep my coughing and throat clearing at a minimum – I heard about this and decided to try it, and it works! Drinking a lot of water also helps, but gum can be more effective. But it’s not bubble gum and it’s kind of rude to chew in front of other people (except those you share a residence with, of course).
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GRATITUDE SECTION  (As always, optional)

Feel free (no pressure) to share some gratitude from January of this year.
I like this gratitude image that I downloaded from Google.


Society6 print – downloaded from Google.

SYW: Least Favorite Day, Energy, and Other Musings

Monday, Monday…I can trust that day
Monday, Monday…to find Melanie’s Share Your World today!

This is a good segue into Melanie’s first question, which is…

“What’s the worst day of the week for you?”  Why?

It’s not Monday, as it probably is for many in the working world – but I’m retired so Monday is just fine, and so are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! I have a different schedule every day. Monday is mostly free of scheduled activities and commitments, but it’s the day I have to do our weekly calendar, fill my pill cases, and usually do laundry and/or run the dishwasher (i.e. clean up the kitchen, thus filling the dishwasher). But it’s pretty laid back. Sunday, I guess I would have to say, is my least favorite, because it’s the only day I have to get up early to go to church! But really, I can’t think of a “worst day” of the week. I have random “bad days” but they don’t fall on the same day of the week.

With the recent energy crisis here in the UK, would you prefer electric, gas, oil or some other means of heating your home?

Downloaded image from Google, courtesy of https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/articles/iea-awarded-illinois-wind-farm-project

I would prefer to have solar panels and a system for storing solar energy at my house, but I cannot do that, because I live in a senior community and our house is rented. We have all electric, except water & heat, which are gas. That said, when we were living in our own home before we moved here, I was some years ago given the opportunity by our energy provider to choose wind energy. I signed up for 100% wind energy – there are extensive wind farms in southern Illinois. I hope my instructions were followed, but I have no way of verifying that all of our household’s our energy was in fact generated by wind turbines. More and more people in this area are signing up for solar power – they have the panels installed on the roof and a system for collecting and storing that energy. It requires an initial large financial commitment, but in the long run, it saves money. You can get energy credits and “sell” your energy back to the company. I wish this community would go solar!

In your household, who takes care of the bills, taxes, and other financial stuff? Is one person responsible or is it a shared chore?

We share financial matters, but I do more of it in terms of the amount of time spent on it. I pay the bills, keep track of medical/drug/charitable expenses by putting them all on spread sheets, and then when we are compiling our tax information, I print out the spread sheets and give them to my husband. I also keep spread sheets of our trip expenses and our children’s debts to us. Dale takes care of getting financial documents together, compiling all the things we have put into our yearly tax folder, and getting them over to our tax preparer. We also have investments, and managing these is a shared responsibility.

If you can have any one job (real or fiction) in the galaxy (yes, the galaxy, I’m widening the search radius, imagining relocation to other planets possible), what is that job?

galactic explorer and journalist/travel writer; also perhaps being an interplanetary travel agent, helping people plan trips to wherever. I would expect perks from this job – free or almost free travel credits on flights aboard space ships!

Who are you grateful for?

My husband, Dale. He does so much to take care of me and does all kinds of tasks that I get frustrated doing or my ADHD interferes with me doing, as well as a lot of household chores. He has been having some more health issues lately, and I feel as though I should learn to do the things he customarily does. I think I take him for granted too often! Living in a senior community, we find out when someone in independent living passes away, often leaving a husband or wife behind. Sometimes it happens suddenly, and sometimes after a long illness. But it’s always hard, and there are a lot of widows and widowers here! This may sound morbid but it’s just part of getting older.

SYW: Grammar, Genets, Sibs, & Alter Egos

Monday Melanie starts 2022 with the following Share Your World questions:

What frivolous, but annoying thing that people do be considered a sin (crime)?  
And how should violators be made to repent (be punished) for it?   

Confuse possessives with plurals by adding an apostrophe where it does not belong!!This is extremely common these days. Don’t they teach grammar in elementary school anymore or were these people asleep in class? It should be a crime, punishable by having to spend a whole day in a grammar class in which the attendees would write out many examples of both plurals and possessives, using all the rules for making plurals and possessives in the English language.

Cake’s is not a word, although the supermarket would have you think so! What belongs to the cake? Frosting? A message written on the top? No. They mean simply “more than one cake” which is a plural. The rule in this case is to add an “s” to the end of the word, NO APOSTROPHE! I have a dear friend that makes this mistake all the time and it drives me crazy!! But I don’t tell him about it because he would feel I am just lecturing him in my teacher mode! At the very least, he’d be embarrassed and since I only see his writing in emails, I’m letting it slide. There is one common exception to this rule which confuses a lot of people: its and it’s. “Its” is the possessive. (Its paws, its timing, etc.) “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.” If it doesn’t make sense to substitute “it is” where you’ve written “it’s” in a sentence, then correct it by removing the apostrophe.

Imagination IN and impracticality and logic aside, if you could pick one animal to have as an exotic pet based solely on how cute and adorable it is, what would it be?

A genet. I had never heard of this species until I went on a safari trip in Tanzania, and at one of the lodges, the owners had genets (they left food out for them so the genets would hang around) who would crawl out onto the rafters and stare at the people below. They look like cats, which is probably why I like them so much, but they are not cats. However, they are so CUTE!!

A genet looks down on diners at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

Do you have any siblings?  If so, where do you rank in birth order?  And do you think either of these facts contributed to the person you became?

I am the youngest of 5. I have three older sisters and one older brother. I’m sure it contributed to the person I became, because I tended to get away with stuff more often than the others. And I was the rebel, or “black sheep” of the family, so I think I made my mother rethink all of her child-rearing methods that she had developed raising four other children before me. Letting me excuse myself from dinner because “we eat so late” and I wanted to watch a TV show during that time. (Not sitting with the family during dinner was always verboten!) And letting the cat stay with me in bed instead of making him sleep in the garage. Things like that, I was able to get away with. Still, I fought a lot with my mother, but not my dad – he was always calm and hated conflict. Then my siblings, one by one, went away to school, and I ended up with only my brother, or alone, living at home with my parents. I think that had an effect also. I loved one of my sisters the most, and always wanted to stay up until she got home from school so I could see her right away. It was hard when she went away, because she served as a buffer between my brother and me. My brother teased me mercilessly, and I wanted that sister at home to comfort me, to distract me with songs or games.

We all have things that make us happy, but what makes you deliriously, giddily, tail wagging-ly happy?

I wish it were my grandchildren, but I don’t have any. It is my cat that makes me the most happy, although I wouldn’t say “giddy” – I love to watch her antics, to play with her, to hear her purr when I stroke her. Speaking of wagging, did you know that cats wag their tails? People associate wagging with dogs, but my cat does wag her tail by flipping it back and forth when she is content. It’s almost an unconscious gesture, because if I pet her when she is almost asleep, her tail starts flipping.

Who could resist a face like this? This is my adorable fur baby Hazel.

If you had an alter ego, who or what would it be?  Describe some fun or interesting things about them!

I don’t know if my alter ego would be male or female. I guess I would want her/him to have the skills and personality characteristics that are the opposite of mine. My alter ego would be confident, organized, and a risk-taker. (S)he would do things I would never do, such as ziplining, hang gliding, going on archaeological digs, and white water rafting. (S)he would be athletic and agile (unlike me) and be an excellent photographer. (S)he’d have a blog, far more exciting than mine, about traveling all over the world. At home, (s)he would have an awesome job: graphic designing, travel consultant, linguist or anthropologist, famous novelist or painter, architect designing eco-friendly buildings. (S)he would get involved in environmental projects that would really make a difference in preserving species from extinction or mitigating the effects of climate change.

I guess my “alter ego” would be damn near perfect!! 🙂 😀

What are some hopes or accomplishments you’d like to see happen in 2022?
My number one priority is for the federal government to really get serious about mitigating climate change, and that the population in general become more aware so they can pollute less and love our planet more! I have many other hopes, but I’m afraid they are just pipe dreams: Trump and his cronies get convicted for corruption, lying under oath, and deception of the public. Everyone gets vaccinated against Covid-19 so no new variants have a chance to take hold and wreak havoc. And a personal accomplishment would be for me to waste less time, so that I have time for all the things I “don’t have time” to do! And that the exciting trips I have booked for this year don’t get cancelled!!