Are you easily frightened or startled? Yes, sort of. I am startled when my husband sneaks up on me – he walks as softly ass a cat! Sudden loud noises like thunder really close by also scare me. For some reason, spiders and other arachnids don’t scare me at all. I let them crawl around my house and catch insects, but I draw the line at my personal space! (No spiders in my bed please!)
(Purely whimsical supposition. Suspend disbelief for a bit) If you were a ghost, what location do you think you would haunt? Is it the same or different from the location you’d wantto haunt? Wherever DJT happens to be – I’d follow him around the country to all his rallies! I would never leave him in peace until he dies.
What do you see in your mind’s eye when you close your eyes? (I know somebody will answer ‘the inside of my eyelids”, so I took the temptation away by answering that first! Feel free to use that answer if you like though, or pass. It’s ALL good!) I usually see undulating patterns, or the light in the vicinity that I just saw with open eyes. The patterns are sometimes really cool.
If a Semi (Big Rig in Americanese) (lorry or trolley over the pond) were about to smash into a crowd, and you could divert the vehicle’s course to hit only one person, would you? How would you decide who would become the victim? See my answer above about whom I would haunt. In real life, I don’t wish death on anybody, but sometimes I do wish certain people would die – soon – of natural causes!
Please feel free to share what makes you feel warm and cozy when the wind blows cold? Alternatively (for those on the other side of the world), what makes you feel relaxed and comfortable when the thermometer starts rising?
Fuzzy slippers, hot chocolate and warm popcorn, my cat’s warmth.
It hasn’t gotten very cold yet, although some nights have been in the 40s. The temperatures these last few days are about 10 degrees F above normal. That is something I’m grateful for: sunny, warm (not hot) days that last well into autumn.
Have you gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 yet? If not, are you planning to? If you have, or are planning to, how do you think your life will change afterwards? If you’re not planning to get vaccinated, why not?
Yes, I got both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in February. I was lucky because of where I live. Seniors had priority and many senior living communities contracted with one pharmacy or another to have their staff and residents vaccinated. That’s what happened here. We were strongly encouraged to get the vaccine, and 97% of our residents and 77% of our staff got it.
I had no reaction after the first dose. After the second dose, the next day I felt a general malaise. No particular symptom, except headache, but just sort of achy and yucky all day. This was easily alleviated with a nap and Tylenol for my headache. At first I thought it was because I had exercised heavily after the vaccine when I found the fitness center nearly empty and had the machines to myself as well as time. So, I expected my legs to feel achy and weak, but it was more likely a reaction to the vaccine.
I think everyone should get vaccinated unless one has medical counterindications. In my opinion, the fear and distrust of the vaccine is silly. We’ve watched our political VIPs and celebrities get vaccinated on TV to encourage people, but unfortunately, everything about Covid has been politicized in the U.S., so there is a swath of people who refuse to get vaccinated, wear masks, etc. A lot of people, close to a majority here, don’t trust the government period. It doesn’t help that over 20 states have either never had a Covid mitigation strategy and have kept their economy going full speed, in spite of spikes and super-spreaders of the disease, or just arbitrarily decided last week to lift all mitigation because their governors have declared Covid to be “over.” No, it is not! Whatever people say about Illinois, I am glad we live here because our governor has been very sensible and cautious in his approach to controlling the pandemic. But I get angry that other states have the right to do nothing and their citizens can travel to other states and infect other people. At this rate, we’ll never beat the pandemic!
However, the good news is that, since the last week in January, a much more serious and effective national strategy has been implemented and we are now AHEAD of the goals set by the Biden administration in terms of number of people vaccinated. In fact, in a total reversal from last year, we are performing ahead of other nations in vaccinating our population! Yesterday, it was announced that since our supply of the various vaccines will exceed our population’s needs, we are going to share some of it with other countries, such as Canada and Mexico. We are on track to have every adult fully vaccinated by the end of May. Those who don’t get the vaccine will still benefit from “herd immunity.”
So more sensible states are now starting to cautiously “open.” There are many variants of the virus, some more virulent than others, which are circulating around the world, so we can’t celebrate totally yet. School districts, with restrictions in place in classrooms, are starting to have students go back to school in person. Teachers and other school personnel were given preference for the vaccine. Restaurants are opening, as well as other venues, with reduced sized clientele.
Our daughter and son-in-law, who are in their 30s/40s, have appointments for the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine next week, and so in a few weeks we’ll be able to visit each other again. Our senior community is slowly bringing more in-person activities back: our dining room will open, by reservation only, next week. A Great Decisions group will be reconvening in April. An art workshop is now being allowed, and more people (15-20 instead of 5-10) are being allowed in the activities that are already meeting. However, in spite of our high percentage of vaccination, we are still required to wear masks and stay socially distanced. A lot of people, including us, don’t wear masks outside on campus, unless we stop to talk to others we encounter. In public we do, though.
As for life after Covid, I am not worried. My husband and I are going to take a road trip in the fall regardless of what the status of the disease is (although we will avoid states with high infection rates). Also, we plan to take some 4-day trips in the summer to visit relatives in the Midwest.
At the beginning of 2022, we are planning a delayed cruise to the Amazon. Right now that area is a hotspot of infection, but I feel confident that this will improve by the end of the year. If not, then we’ll postpone again. Later in 2022, we still plan to go to Australia & New Zealand, and I don’t anticipate any problems by then. I guess we have to stop postponing renewing our passports!
I think life will change post-pandemic in society in general in several ways. Long term problems have taken on greater urgency due to the pandemic, or the pandemic has showed us that we cannot ignore them anymore. I think President Biden, a moderate, has moved a little leftward, due to the urgency of problems exacerbated by both the pandemic and the 4 years of Trump, such as climate change, poverty, access to affordable health care, racial inequity, and hate crimes. Currently his administration is laser-focused on overcoming the pandemic and getting needed funds to people and institutions that need it. Anyway, I believe we will see more movement on solutions to problems that have long festered.
I think – or hope – also that people will emerge from this crisis with a greater appreciation for things that they have taken for granted: family, education, clean air, nature, and simple things like having lunch with friends or hugging our kids.
I personally am looking forward to a couple of live art events, “Immersive Van Gogh” in May and a Frida Kahlo exhibit at a regional community college in June. My husband and I are members of an organization that provides ushers to plays and concerts, and I’d like to get back to that, but I don’t know how long it will be before theatre and concert venues go back to normal.
Remember, WEARING MASKS WORKS! It’s the best way to avoid infection.
It’s question week for me, and every week I look forward to Melanie’s Share Your World. Following are her questions for this week.
Is every piece of truth worth telling? (credit to the magnificent Cyranny for this one) No, not at all. Sometimes the truth is brutal. Telling someone they are fat, for example. It may be the truth but you don’t say it. Instead, you find a way to compliment that person with another (hopefully) true opinion, such as “I love your outfit!” or “That shirt looks great on you!” Can an opinion be the truth? It is if it is your true opinion! 😉
Important truths, however, must be told, brutal or not. Such as the fact that Joe Biden won the U.S. election for president. Such as Trump won’t admit defeat due to his pathological narcissism, which is why he continues to maintain that he won, and that makes him dangerous. Such as OANN and Fox have been lying to you. Who and how these truths ought to be told is another matter. If you want people to believe you are telling the truth, you must be believable to them. A left-leaning activist should not be the one to address the right-wing about what is the truth and what is not. It’s not just politics – people tend to believe what fits their own world view; this has been shown through study after study. Why do you gravitate to certain news sources rather than others that are also readily available? How do you know who is telling the truth? What if it is all a huge conspiracy? There are people who tend to believe conspiracies, but I am not one of them. And personally, although it’s interesting, I don’t really care why Oswald killed Kennedy. The fact that he did it is what determined the future.
I try to be objective when hearing people who claim to be truth-tellers, like the media I choose to watch or read (because those sources fit my world view, I guess – but I think it is more than that). Some things just don’t ring true. Giant conspiracies that would involve coordination between thousands of people across the globe just are not believable. The view of one scientist who is a friend of your brother’s wife’s cousin that climate change isn’t happening doesn’t hold up to the vast majority of scientists in the world who maintain that it is and we must do something about it. Take a moment before forwarding that Facebook post to think, does this sound like it’s true? There are ways of investigating what is the truth and what is not, and the process of learning this should begin in middle school when kids begin to do a lot of Internet surfing and research. Lies are disseminated when social media users feel drawn to a particular concept or meme, and then forward it to others they know who basically think the same way they do. We are all guilty of this, without exception, I think. But I have always had a streak of skepticism in me, and if it sounds too bizarre or ridiculous to be true, I check the source and then fact-check the information, if it’s important enough to me.
Big truths should and must be told, but small ones are up to the teller. Will telling the truth in this case just hurt somebody’s feelings or will it make a difference in their decision-making? If the former, don’t tell it; if the latter, one probably should. Withholding the truth should never be an excuse, only a reason.
Whom do you miss more Freddy Mercury or Prince? (if you don’t know who those people are, just skip this question. It’s cool). I know who both of them are, but Freddie Mercury is not dead. He lives on in the body of one of my grandcats, an orange Maine coon mix who is very frisky, naughty, and loveable!
If you could only email or text people for the rest of your life (no other form of communication), which would you chose? Email might be more practical, but it is also slow and easy to miss in the slew of emails I get on a daily basis and don’t have time to read. I love texting and prefer it even to speaking on the phone.
Would you prefer to work the midnight shift at a really creepy out of the way motel OR work alone for eternity? Thank God I don’t have to make that choice!
Bonus question because yes, these are a weird bunch (no worries – I did Bushboy’s yesterday!) this week: What’s one secret you’re still keeping from your immediate family? (no details required. You could say something like “The lost weekend in 1982”. You can also answer “Why I NEVER keep secrets from my nearest and dearest!”). That I never really loved my first husband. At least, I’ve never told my son (whose father is my ex) that. This may be an instance in which telling the brutal truth is not a good idea. I believe that when parents separate, it’s best not to always trash the other parent to the kids; be honest but try to be positive too.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please feel free to share something uplifting that you’ve experienced so far in 2021. I wouldn’t call it uplifting but I am grateful for it – Dale and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 with its 95% effectiveness rate! We both had a few symptoms: I felt general malaise for a day, with headache. I took a long nap complemented with extra-strength Tylenol. Now we both feel fine!
Do you think a person’s name influences the person they become?
“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” so Shakespeare wrote in his most famous play Romeo and Juliet.
Depends on the name. Some people have really strange names that their parents have tortured them with. When I lived in Brazil, there was a comedy duo that had a contest for the most interesting or bizarre name which viewers were invited to participate in. And my husband told me one of his students was named “Lufthansa” – her mother went into labor on a flight home from Germany!
Even unusual names probably have a minimal effect on a person, except as conversation starters! My son’s name is long and rather unique, and he has told me it’s often an opener for conversation – a good thing, since he doesn’t always do well in starting conversations.
But some names do affect a person because their parents were trying to be cute or funny – but not so funny for the kid! I heard of a man who went by his initials W.B. followed by his surname. No one questioned it until he went into the army, where they insisted he reveal his full name! In embarrassment, he said his initials stood for “Welcome Baby” because his parents had finally had a child after a prolonged period of not being able to produce one! The army, after hearing this story, allowed him to use his initials thereafter! (Note: This may be an “urban legend” but it’s an interesting anecdote of how a name can affect a person’s life.)
Why do we dream? It is our brain’s way of relaxing. Everything gets jumbled…the brain doesn’t have to think to put it together in an organized way. Bits of past experience make their appearance in dreams. Sometimes dreams are really creative – when I took a writing course once, every night I had incredible, fantastic dreams that I remembered. At least one I turned into a short story, somewhat surreal, but that’s what dreams are like. Nowadays I almost always dream either about teaching or traveling or both, and usually I make some major mistake. I think my anxiety about being good at teaching is coming out in my dreams, even though I have been retired for five and a half years!
Does hardship make a person stronger? (example: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger) I think it does to a certain extent. Certainly learning to deal with adversity does make a person more capable of handling various situations or knowing how to act in an emergency. It may make them more confident if they have been successful in enduring the hardships. People who have never suffered adversity or never learned to overcome it go through life, I think, feeling insecure and afraid to accept risks or challenges. They tend to resist change. People who are poor are more likely to be generous with what they do have than rich people, because the poor know how to live in society with very little money. Rich people are constantly worried about losing their money, and would have no idea how to survive without much income.
On the other hand, hardship can cause insecurity, anxiety and conditions such as PTSD, especially if the person has not learned how to deal with such challenges on his or her own. A child who has been abused, for example, must learn to overcome the trauma it caused in order to face the problems life throws at them. Some never really learn to cope. People who have been in war zones come home oftentimes with PTSD and may show a dramatic change in their behavior, including anxiety, paranoia, intolerance of loud noises, etc.
So it depends, perhaps, on what sort of hardship the person endures and probably when that occurs, as well as inherent personality traits a person has to be able to cope with life’s challenges.
Why do we judge ourselves by our intentions, but judge others by their actions? Self-preservation? Lack of empathy? We tend to think our intentions are good, but since we can’t read other people’s minds, we judge them based on what their outward motivations seem to be.
For example, the attack on the Capitol a week ago: on the news media, the people who were incited by Trump to storm the Capitol are called “terrorists” yet they don’t think of themselves as terrorists. At least some of them believed they had good intentions: Trump had convinced them that the election was stolen by the Democrats, that it was rigged. So they saw themselves as a self-styled militia bent on righting a wrong. I know that for many of them who are hard-core white supremacists, the chance to be a militia and wreak havoc through violence was the aim. But there were many others who thought of it as a kind of “revolution” – they were doing what had to be done to get our country back on the right path.
I use the attack on Congress as an example of intentions vs. actions and I am not condoning what they did in any way. From their actions, to outsiders they appeared to be just a brainwashed horde, even ready to hang Pence and kill Pelosi. But they THEMSELVES didn’t see it that way – at least many of them didn’t. They were brainwashed, yes; they were gullible, yes; still, Trump bears the ultimate responsibility for unleashing their worst instincts. They themselves thought they were being the ultimate patriots, that cheating had gone too far and they had to take matters into their own hands. They may have compared themselves to the insurrectionists of the French Revolution, or some other modern-day revolution in which the citizenry felt it necessary to do more than merely protest. There have been many arrests, but there were a lot of people there that didn’t do any damage or even get into the building.. They were, like sheep, following their leaders (both Trump and the leaders of the insurrection) instead of questioning whether it was the right thing to do.
GRATITUDE SECTION(Always Optional)
Feel free to share some gratitude in the form of images, photos or writing. Thanks!
I am grateful that some people still write letters. Isn’t it nice to receive a note or a holiday card from a friend instead of just bills and junk mail? The cousins on my dad’s side of the family started a custom many years ago, called “Round Robin.” They each write a letter with news and opinions about their lives, and mail it, along with the latest ones received from their sisters, to the next person, who then takes out her last letter and writes a new one. When my siblings and I found out about it, we wanted to join too, so we have been engaging in this Round Robin custom along with our cousins. I always look forward to receiving the latest batch – and yesterday I received it!
Now that the holidays and last year are over, are you filled with a renewed sense of hope at the coming year, or something else? Please explain.
As I write this, I have the TV on next to my computer desk, following the nail-biting election returns from Georgia. One of the Democrats is ahead and the other is very closely behind his Republican rival. If both Democrats win, the Democrats will have control of the Senate, with an exact 50/50 split – and future VP Kamala Harris will break the tie vote along party lines. That will given Biden a better chance at being able to move ahead with his agenda.
That said, both houses of Congress are barely in the hands of one party or the other. This says a lot about the state of our country these days, with two halves of the population who are completely polarized. It is unknown how much hold Trump will continue to have on the Republican Party after he leaves office, but there is bound to be a lot of political and social strife in the next few years and our democracy may continue to erode – but it’s not too late to save it.
So, I am cautiously optimistic about 2021. I feel that at least there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have a ways to go to get to the end of that tunnel. The pandemic is still with it and probably will be for several more months. BUT we will have sanity in the White House, a president with a lot of experience and respected here and abroad, AND the vaccines are coming – they are not being distributed as efficiently as they should be and hospitals have not gotten the number of vaccination doses they were promised, but even so, there are reasons to be hopeful. I am not optimistic about the American political scene, whether both Georgian Democrats get to the Senate or not, but at least we can relax a little knowing that President Biden won’t continue to destroy the environment and gut government agencies such as the EPA.
I don’t expect to be able to travel much this year, although we are hoping to take a road trip in the autumn, perhaps to the Northeast to admire the fall colors.
Meanwhile, we keep on keeping on, wearing our masks and not going to crowded places. We are blessed to have a nice place to live on a beautiful campus, our meals are delivered to us every day, and we do have a chance to get together with some of our friends here at least occasionally. I am relieved the holidays are over so we can get back to our new normal, having Zoom meetings regularly with family and friends, pursuing our interests and having plenty of things to keep us occupied. It is disheartening knowing we will have to stay in this enforced semi-isolation for many more months, but at least now we are used to it, and health care professionals know a lot better how to deal with the virus.
I look forward to reading 40+ books this year, painting a watercolor masterpiece, finishing a couple of photo books, and working on my several writing projects.
2021 is finally here!! Was anyone sad to see 2020 end??
To me, 2021 symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s still far off, but there’s hope. Hope because we will soon have a sane and competent person in the White House. Hope because there are vaccines for Covid-19. Hope because a new year always brings hope!
Pick three words to describe this past year. (please keep them PG. Thanks). frustrating, appalling, anger-inducing
What were the best books you read this year? Or the best movie you saw? The best books I’ve read this year are not new: I don’t normally read Stephen King, but I loved the novel 11/22/63 which I read for a book group. Other than that, I have read a lot of novels written in the 1990s set in ancient Egypt. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and right now I’m kind of obsessed with ancient Egypt. All the books written by Pauline Gedge are excellent. I also read some political books, including Mary Trump’s book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Once I’d read that I could predict how Trump would react to losing reelection – he wouldn’t and doesn’t accept it! But the best political/social non-fiction book I read this year was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I highly recommend it.
One of the best movies I saw was on Netflix, Social Dilemma – it’s fairly new, and I encourage everyone to see it. You’ll never look at Facebook the same way again! I don’t see too many movies, unfortunately. I saw some old ones that either I never saw before or wanted to see again such as Out of Africa (somewhat of a disappointment) and Dr. Zhivago (because I just finished the novel The Secrets We Kept about smuggling the manuscript of the novel by Boris Pasternak out of the Soviet Union). I enjoyed seeing Dr. Zhivago again, although the copy we got from the library had a lot of scratches. A lot of what I watch are news shows and videos we watch on our community broadcasting channels. Also PBS series such as Nova and Masterpiece.
Because there was lots of time for looking inward, what is one big personal lesson you learned this past year? Perseverance – the pandemic has lasted longer than perhaps it should have due to mismanagement and lack of leadership. What galls me is how people just drag it on longer by refusing to wear masks (see answer to the next question). I have persevered by accepting what is. I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anyone else; I don’t like not being able to go out with my friends; I especially don’t like not being able to travel – but it’s what we have to do to stay healthy! I’ve read a lot of books and worked on my artwork, and have tried to take a walk every day that has weather I can tolerate.
Another lesson is gratitude: being grateful for the blessings I have, appreciative of people who put their lives on the line to save others, and not taking anything for granted. I see happiness in small things: reading a good book, watching flowers bloom, and baby chicks grow. Nature continues on as usual.
Do you think Covid has strengthened or weakened societal bonds? I would love to say strengthened, and I think on an individual level, that may be true: developing or solidifying relationships, appreciating the different jobs people do that may put their lives in danger during a pandemic, and working together to solve problems. But societally, our country is even more divided. I am somewhat surprised at this. I am surprised that in spite of the federal government’s terrible handling of the pandemic, over 70 million people in this country voted to reelect Trump! Fortunately they did not prevail, but I am appalled at how people have protested the dumbest things, such as wearing masks as an infringement on their freedom. Sorry, but their freedom ends where the next person’s begins so they need to take some responsibility for their behavior and not infect other people when they leave their home! And the denial of science – there are still people who are sick with Covid, go to the hospital and when told the diagnosis, deny it and say it’s a hoax! Why don’t some people believe doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line to save others? It’s all become politicized and it didn’t have to be. Trump and his Republican lackeys politicized it, instead of helping to unify the people of this country in combatting it.
It’s really shaken my confidence in the citizenry of this nation as supporting democracy and our values, such as stewardship, responsibility, and compassion. It’s also made me fear we can no longer have a dialogue – there are alternate messages of what is truth. How can one dialogue with a person that doesn’t share the same reality?
What is a New Year’s Wish You’d Like To Share With the World?
May 2021 give us 2020 hindsight and may the new year bring us the light at the end of the tunnel!
Have the results of the US Presidential election left you feeling relieved, apprehensive, hopeful, or some other emotion? Relieved, definitely relieved, and hopeful that our country gets back on track. I am apprehensive at what Trump and his GOP lackeys will do in the next 70 days, and also very wishful for the Georgia Senate election in January. If Democrats win both those seats, they will gain control of the Senate. It’s a long shot, but I have already made a larger than usual donation to Jon Ossof’s campaign, and I will do the same for the Democrat in the other race, Warnock. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, we will have to put up with Moscow Mitch calling the shots, getting nothing done, and Biden will have to issue an awful lot of executives orders!
Have you been surprised at all by the emotions and reactions of others regarding the results? No, I have been very happy and sympathetic at the outpouring of joy, released emotional reactions when the election was called for Biden-Harris, after a week of tense anticipation. I loved seeing people dancing in the streets in various cities and also some pretty awesome percussion bands!!
On Sunday, we were out doing some errands and ended up passing (3 times!) an intersection in Schaumburg filled with Trump supporters on all four corners of Golf and Meacham Roads. I was surprised at how many people driving by honked their horns in support of the Trumpies’ “cause” – calling voter fraud and believing Trump’s lies and not accepting that he lost.
I remember in 2016, and ever since, Republicans have been saying that Trump has been “harassed” by opponents, who – they claim – have never been able to accept the outcome of the 2016 election. Trump’s Republican Party hides behind this excuse in order to not accept what the other side is claiming about Trump – mainly that he is unfit to be president, he is dangerous, he is a narcissistic bigot (Lindsay’s Graham’s words before Trump got the nomination), and criticizing all the damage he has done. They cannot accept the truth about Trump and his family, regardless of all the glaring evidence, even in the midst of a pandemic that he has bungled so badly. So I find it ironic that his supporters are now showing that they don’t accept the outcome of this election!
When we drove past the Schaumburg protest the first two times, I tried to counterbalance the honking by booing, sticking my hands out the window with thumbs down and yelling, “HE LOST! HE LOST!” Unfortunately, the horns drowned me out. The third time we passed, I simply ignored them.
Frank, PC Guy, in his own answer, expressed surprise that so many Biden supporters are still apprehensive and worried. I understand how they feel. We don’t know how Trump is going to spend the next 70 days pushing back on the results. So far he has started several lawsuits and ordered recounts in at least two states. He wants the Supreme Court, with his new conservative appointee, to rule on the legitimacy of the election. He is a very insecure and mentally sick person – accepting defeat is not in his DNA. Also, the close outcome of the election shows how divided our society is. How will this play out in the next few years? So yes, there is good reason to worry.
Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? It depends on what kind of surprise it is. If it’s a Christmas or birthday gift, yes, I like surprises. I like the surprise of my husband getting me flowers for Mother’s Day.
Some surprises are not fun, though…the 2016 election, for example, was a very nasty surprise – and more so because we were on an airplane during the election returns, and heard the news of Trump’s victory from a fellow passenger when we landed in São Paulo – it kind of put a damper on our vacation. Another “surprise” might be finding out that my mammogram showed a mass, or to test positive for Covid-19. Those kinds of surprises I DON’T like!
What’s your favorite zoo animal? This is a hard one for me…a few years ago I wrote a post about zoochosis, which is used to describe animals’ repetitive behaviors in captivity. For example, a leopard or a cheetah that repetitively paces the perimeter of its enclosure is suffering from zoochosis, meaning it is bored and frustrated with being cooped up. Zoos are much better these days about giving animals space and observing the animals for such behaviors, a sign that they are not healthy and intervention is needed.
In other words, my “favorite” zoo animal (animal in captivity) is difficult to name. After going on a safari in Tanzania in 2018, I resolved not to ever go to a zoo again. Of course, I’ve gotten over it and have been to zoos a few times since then.
I like the big animals, especially the big cats (or small wild cats), giraffes, and elephants. However, I prefer to see them in their native environment. Often when I’m at the zoo, these animals are asleep. When we went to the San Diego Zoo in 2017, I wanted to see the koalas, because the Chicago zoos don’t have koalas, or at least you can’t see them close up. At the San Diego Zoo, there’s a platform so you can see the koalas right in front of you while they are up in a eucalyptus tree – that is, in fact, where they spend most of their time. Seeing them close up was quite a treat! I also like to watch the monkeys – they don’t seem to be bothered with their artificial environment and it’s fun to observe their antics!
What three things do you think of the most each day? What I’m going to do that day, what I’m going to eat that day, and what the weather is like – i.e. can I go out for a walk or read sitting on the porch? (I have such a hard life – can’t you tell?? ;-D )
Because of Covid-19, we select what we want to eat from a weekly menu and it gets delivered to our house, so I have to look at what I wrote down that I’m having for dinner that day. Knowing what I chose for dinner that day helps me decide what to eat for lunch.
Some days I just want to spend a lot of time reading, while other days I prefer to work on a photo book on Shutterfly or blog. Sometimes I’m in the mood for watching something on TV. I think a lot about being organized and putting my scheduled activities in my calendar because I often forget something and plan something else for the same time.
4. When, if ever, is taking a human life justified? In self-defense (when one’s life or loved one’s life is threatened) – this may seem broad, because some people consider “threatened” to be when someone walks on their lawn or comes up to their house and rings the doorbell. I do not think it is justified in such circumstances. In the last several months, police brutality toward Black people has been in the forefront of people’s minds, because of the unnecessary deaths of George Floyd and Brionna Taylor, among others. These cops were not being threatened. They just abused their power and should be prosecuted.
Sometimes a person may feel threatened due to past circumstances, such as a woman whose husband has been abusive toward her or her children, and it is understandable (though not laudable) that she would seize an opportunity to kill him, even if he weren’t threatening her at that particular moment.
Also, it is somewhat justified to kill during wars, but not civilians and not even some wars which are completely unnecessary. World War II was a justified war with a clear enemy that invaded other nations’ sovereignty. During the Vietnam War, there were some incidents that the media brought our attention to, of massacres of civilians and burning their towns, such as the My Lai massacre. This is only one example of atrocities committed during wars, which are not justified under any circumstances.
If one considers abortion the “taking of a human life” – which is controversial – then I also think it is justified according to a woman’s particular circumstances, which range from being unable to raise the child or being afraid of losing her job, to extreme cases like rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger if the pregnancy continues. I am “pro-choice” because I think it is a private matter between a woman and her doctor, and I don’t presume to judge whatever situation she is going through. That said, I do not approve of abortion if the fetus is already viable – that is, can survive outside the womb, usually the late 2nd trimester or later, UNLESS it is a threat to the life of the mother. A fetus in the early stages of development does not feel anything yet so doesn’t suffer during the abortion. That said, really I don’t like abortion at all, at least not for myself. I could never have done it – I know I would have regretted it all my life if I had. When I got pregnant, I considered it as an option but my circumstances, while not ideal, were not dire, and I knew that I really wanted to have children. So I think it is a matter of choice.
Another controversial subject: the death penalty. I am totally against it. It is a barbaric custom that belongs to the past and I am ashamed that it is legal in my supposedly modern, civilized country.
Attitude of Gratitude Section (Always Optional)
Do small miracles exist? Yes, if one sees them as “miracles.” They are the unexpected joys that people feel blessed or grateful for. I like to watch nature shows on TV, and I find it miraculous how various species have adapted to their environment – like fish living in the deep ocean who can produce their own light. I feel awe toward the wonders of nature. We are so blessed to have this beautiful planet that provides us with such bounty. Let’s not ruin it!!!
What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of? Sears Tower (now officially Willis Tower, but Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower) – 104 floors! I went up by elevator but my 78-year-old brother-in-law climbs the stairs to the top once a year! Amazing!
What do you do to keep fit? Not enough, especially now with Covid + cold weather. I try to walk every day or most days. I try to get to the fitness center as often as allowed (3 days a week, 1/2 hour a day) and usually choose the stationary bike. I’m starting a new fitness program from New Zealand (called “Otago”) tomorrow for “older adults” to help with balance and reduce risk of falling. It has several types of exercises to be done each day.
What’s your jack-o-lantern carved to look like? I haven’t carved one in several years, for three reasons: 1. I’m really lousy at this and usually just was able to carve a rudimentary face with triangular eyes and smiling mouth with a couple of teeth sticking out. 2. My son is grown and moved out, and I’m retired from teaching, so there’s no incentive to do it. My husband has no interest. 3. When I used to put jack-o-lanterns on my front porch, either the squirrels got them or kids who had a thing about “smashing pumpkins” (isn’t there even a rock group with that name?) would steal them and smash them in the street.
Do you have hope or have you lost it? Bad day to ask (Monday, although I posted this Tuesday) – it has been a very depressing day in the news. On days like this, my heart feels heavy and I feel completely hopeless. Normally, I am fairly positive about life. *The U.S. Supreme Court now has a conservative majority of 6-3 thanks to the hypocrisy of the Republican Senate who pushed through Trump’s ultra-right-wing nominee one week before the election, when people have already been voting early all over the country. The Supreme Court is so politicized now, it’s no longer functioning as a “check” on the other branches of government! *Cases will be coming before this Supreme Court within weeks that may possibly take us backward by making abortion illegal and repealing the best health care system we’ve ever had (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) with nothing to replace it and people dying every day from coronavirus. *Another fallout from this is the increased possibility of an election decided by the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor. If the presidential election is close, if Biden wins by a small margin, Trump will surely intervene to contest the results. He’s been saying for weeks that the “Supreme Court will decide the election!” He’s polling at 43-45% nationally, way too high for comfort, in my opinion. If the Democrats don’t win a majority in the Senate, it won’t matter if Biden is elected president – they will block every legislation from the House and override the president’s veto on their (Republicans’) legislation. On the other hand, if the Dems take the Senate, they will play hardball with the GOP in the Senate and with Trump if he is (God forbid) reelected. There are several Senate races that are very close and it is possible the Democrats will win, but they also have to retain every seat they currently hold! *Today or yesterday Trump signed an executive order in which loyalty will be considered when deciding whether to hire applicants for federal government jobs. Disloyalty will be cause for dismissal. An official from some obscure government agency quit today because of this, and wrote a letter which was released to the press stating his reason for quitting. We are moving dangerously close to a dictatorship. *Then there’s the new spike in coronavirus cases, which seems to be happening everywhere, but in this country especially. Today it was announced officially that the Trump administration’s policy toward Covid-19 is to do nothing to stop or curb it, and just wait for a vaccine. Trump has been lying about that too, saying the vaccine will be available “in a matter of a few weeks.” He’s also saying “we’re turning the corner” when there are more cases than ever and some hospitals’ ICUs are filled to capacity. *Due to the spike in cases in our area, the governor has imposed new restrictions, including no more indoor dining at restaurants. This is sad for me because weekly lunches with friends have been my only chance to see them and I looked forward to it every week. I’m not saying the governor was wrong to do this, but it is hard especially now that the weather is getting colder. *It snowed today, earlier even than last year when we had snow on Halloween. It quickly melted, but I had to get out my winter coats, which turned out to have been mildewed during their storage in a bag at the top of my closet! Meteorologists are predicting lower than normal temperatures in the next couple of weeks, with a few days respite in between.
Feel free to share something you’re grateful for! Images and photos or poems, essays or free writing (stream of consciousness) pieces are all acceptable! AND you don’t have to do this part, it’s always optional! Two things! 1. Some former art teachers are forming an art class, mostly people from our art class that was discontinued last spring. It starts tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it! 2. The fall colors have been very beautiful this year, much better than the last few years. Here are a few photos I have taken on our campus recently: