Month of Lurve #27

For Paula’s second to last day of her challenge February Love Me, I am getting low on topics (lol!), but I now turn to media…specifically TV.

I wanted to say movies – who doesn’t love movies?? But I realized that there is something on TV that I love more than movies.

Feb. 27: I love…TV miniseries! Most of them are on PBS but not all – we no longer get HBO or Starz or Showtime, but we do have Netflix, which has many of its own original miniseries. Some miniseries last only a few weeks, while others run for several seasons. The most famous of these is probably Downton Abbey, which I followed diligently, and couldn’t wait for the next season to start! PBS has a lot of really good miniseries, most of them British. But Netflix has Unorthodox, Anne With an E (based on Anne of Green Gables), Ratchett, and more. Some of them are “feel good,” some are funny, some are profound, and others are historical or maybe mysterious. I like being able to follow the same characters every week in my living room. Below are a few of the miniseries I have enjoyed regularly.

This is actually the trailer for the Downton Abbey movie, not the series.

RDP: Dancing, Yeah!

Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.

A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…

…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.

Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers

Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance

Lens-Artists #90: Distance

Lens-Artists #90 photo challenge invites us to explore the theme of distance, especially the ways in which we are practicing physical distance from our friends and neighbors: we are all in this together despite needing to avoid each other physically. Please share with us the creative ways you’ve found to address your need to connect while keeping your distance. Have you found interesting and productive ways to pass the time? Are you enjoying comics/funny stories or do you find the situation too serious for jokes? The Lens-Artists team hopes our weekly challenge brings at least a small opportunity to look away from the news for a bit to connect with the rest of us. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing your Distance images – whether related to the COVID-19 crisis or not. Be sure to link to my original post, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG. 

I have chosen photos I have taken in my restricted universe this month. Since my husband and I live in a senior community, we have certain advantages, such as meals delivered to our door, and a nice campus where we can walk and appreciate nature. My favorite thing to do is to walk over to the two ponds (here referred to by the unimaginative names of “East Lake” and “West Lake”) to watch the swans. Every year, two pairs of swans are brought here in March to mate, nest, and raise their young. They are taken back in October, when their cygnets are grown. They are brought here partly to scare off the Canada geese, which some do more aggressively than others.

Watching the swans on East Lake from a distance.

Keeping one’s distance from a swan:

The swans on West Lake are more interesting to watch. Here the male approaches the shore to threaten a goose to stay away. He puffs up his wings to look bigger and therefore, more threatening. The goose did not dare come any nearer. 

One day residents were invited to sing patriotic songs outside next to West Lake. A lot of the staff was there and some residents came out on their balconies to sing along. Those of us physically present tried to keep about 6 feet from others. I prefer to call it “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” because we are still social! The times we look forward to are taking walks and encountering others doing the same thing, so we are able to socialize with our friends. It is our only substitute for the camaraderie we shared at the dining hall, the fitness center and the many activities normally offered here.
Since all activities are cancelled, the staff has started a daily schedule of fitness classes, meditation, a morning meeting, spiritual programs, and video programs on the two closed-circuit TV stations, now called WAMS. Sometimes these are videos they’ve strung together, such as short clips of dogs and babies or sports bloopers, and last week our music director played a piano concert.

The biggest treat was yesterday, when they broadcast a recording of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s 9th symphony. Sublime!

Because of the opportunity to go outside and take walks, and the connection with others via video or phone calls, I don’t feel cooped up — thank God this didn’t happen in January when it was often too cold to go out!! Also, I have my blog, I read, I finished a photo book of our trip to Israel last year, and keep busy with other projects. This afternoon, my writing group had a virtual meeting via Zoom. Also, I do feel we are all in this together – not just here, but all over the U.S. and the world! We will get through this!

I have a feeling, though, that this forced isolation will get tedious by the middle of April. And it will probably be May, at least, before we can get our normal lives back. But the one being in our house who loves that we are home all the time is our cat, Hazel!

On the Hunt for Joy Challenge: Jump for Joy

Cee’s new photo challenge that she puts out every Wednesday is On the Hunt for Joy. This week the topic is Jump for Joy. Cee says that for this topic,
Here are a few ideas to get you going.
Anyone jumping, hopping or skipping
exercising for fun
animals who jump or hop
throwing things
Tip from Ingrid Fetell Lee: Jump for Joy: The photographer Philippe Halsman took photos of everyone who was anyone in his day, from Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn to Richard Nixon, and he always made them jump. He believed that jumping helped people drop their masks and release the joyful self inside. To get the same effect, jump on the bed, bounce on a trampoline, or do jumping jacks.

Exercising for fun:
German teenaged girls doing a dance routine in Würzburg
Video: Samba on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil:

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Beach volleyball on Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Little jumping guy – Av. Paulista, São Paulo:

Animals that jump:
Cats jump
Hazel playing & pouncing

Impalas jump

SYW: Christmas (and Hanukkah) for all the senses

These are the holiday-themed questions for this week’s Share Your World.

Do you enjoy receiving Christmas cards through snail mail?
Yes, very much, although I don’t get many anymore. This is partly my fault since I am always late with my cards and sometimes I don’t send any at all.
Peppermint-Candy-Cane-BarkDo you like the taste and/or smell of peppermint?
OMG, peppermint is my favorite! Since it is associated with Christmas, it’s sometimes hard to find peppermint ice cream at any other time of year. So I savor it when I can! It’s especially good when combined with chocolate.
What is your least favorite holiday side dish?
Creamed onions or anything with raisins in it
What is the coolest (best) gift you ever gave someone?
When I inherited some money and felt flush, I paid for a trip to Israel for a friend of mine, who wouldn’t be able to go otherwise. The trip was quite a bargain, cost-wise. We were going as a church group – it was Christian-focused, and I knew that it was her dream to go to Israel, regarding it as a spiritual journey. She was raised Jewish, but converted to Christianity as an adult. She had never been out of the United States except a couple of times to Canada, and with her income, she would never have had the opportunity to go abroad.  While in Israel, she was (re)baptized in the Jordan River. Here she is afterward – this is part smile of happiness and part grimace because the water was so cold!
dsc06901.jpgBonus question because I thought it was nifty: What is a Christmas song that makes you cringe? (Please insert the word “Holiday” for Christmas if Christmas isn’t your thing or bothers you or something)
When Melanie asked this question last week, I posted the lyrics of a dumb song we had to sing for our community’s choir performance. I would say this is the same song that makes me cringe. I also am really not fond of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. I know it’s supposed to be funny, but Grandma dies!! I’m sure there are others that make me change the station on my car radio, but I can’t think of any right now.

Please share some of your favorite music around this time of year.
This is my favorite from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. It’s seldom included on antholologies or “selections from the Nutcracker.”

There are lots of versions of O Holy Night, one of my favorite carols. But I didn’t want a typical “pop” rendition, so I chose this one by Celtic/Classical Trio. I love Celtic music so I really enjoyed this version with harp, violin and a backup boys’ choir!

Angels We Have Heard on High has been one of my favorite carols since childhood. Here’s a beautiful version by Libera.

Here is my absolutely favorite song by Celine Dion, The Prayer, which on her album of Christmas songs she sings with Andre Bocelli. This is with Josh Groban, who is excellent too! This song invariably brings tears to my eyes.

Finally, here’s a popular tune – Mele Kalikimaka – with (the incomparable) Bing Crosby and gorgeous scenes of Hawaii. When my son was in preschool, they did a holiday show and this was what his class sang. They could barely pronounce the words, but they looked so cute swaying in their grass skirts!

I could post more videos because there are so many wonderful songs and carols for Christmas, but, in honor of my Jewish husband and the fact that Hanukkah starts tomorrow at sundown, I will end with a Hanukkah song. Added bonus: It has a latke recipe!! (Check out the Maccabeats on YouTube – their songs are upbeat and funny!)