Melanie’s thrown me for a loop this week! But I’ll take a stab at her weird questions in this week’s Share Your World! (Thanks for the challenge of thinking “outside the box!”)
What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time? Mastectomies.
Have you ever gotten a really bad haircut? Do share! Not “really bad” but let me just say…radical. I’ve had my hair long (a little past my shoulders) since I moved to this senior community a year and a half ago, and I was sick of having to wear a ponytail whenever I exercised (or afterward) when I get all sweaty on my neck. I usually have my hair cut before going on a trip, but since that didn’t happen last year, my hair just got longer. So I finally decided I would get a short haircut. I’ve had them often enough before and usually am pleased with them while they last. I figured it would be my Easter haircut.
I couldn’t go to my usual salon, where I knew some of the stylists, because it closed about 6 months ago with a change in management. Since I had a gift card for that chain, I went to another one, closer to where I live now, but that I’ve never been to before. I thought I could show the stylist a picture of me with short hair from my Facebook photos,but when I looked for them, only a few showed up. I looked in my cellphone camera archives – nothing. So I showed her a photo of another friend of mine with short hair! (Later I realized that – duh – I had my purse in my lap, and always have paper & pens in there, and I draw pretty well, so I could have drawn it but I didn’t think of it then.)
I always have to take my glasses off during a haircut because they get in the way, and I didn’t think anything was amiss until I heard the buzz of a razor being used ON MY NECK! By then it was too late, and now I have hair shorter than I have ever had in my life that I can remember. At first, my head felt cold – the weather was still chilly in late March, and I had to go around wearing scarves over my head. And every time I look in the mirror, I look like a boy! Now it’s starting to grow out a little bit and I’m used to it, so I just smile and say “thank you” when people compliment me (which almost everyone has done).
Here are before and after pictures…
The best thing about my haircut is now I can wear my earrings again!
Isn’t Disney Land and Disney World (and all the variants) just a people trap operated by a mouse? Allegorically, yes. They are definitely people traps!
What if Batman got bitten by a vampire? What would happen? The vampire would get Covid-19 due to the exchange of body fluids, since the virus originated in bats.
What do you want your final words to be if you could choose? I’ve done everything I wanted to do in my life and I’m satisfied. I love you all!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)
Please feel free to share some gratitude! I’m grateful for spring flowers. These photos were all taken within the last two days.
Do you think psychic abilities exist? Yes, and I even know of a psychic octopus. I think some people have a high degree of sensitivity and connectivity to others. There are people who know when something has happened to one of their children, for example. I also believe some people can communicate with spirits. I don’t think that, in general, people can predict the future. But the psychic octopus did!
In the summer of 2010, we were in Spain during the World Cup, which was taking place in South Africa. The Spanish team was doing very well and everyone was super excited. During the semi-finals and finals, there was an octopus named Paul – he lived in Germany, I believe. On the evening before each of the semi-final matches, two little flags would be affixed to the side of two containers in which there was the favorite octopus food, mussels. Each contained a few mussels and both were placed in Paul’s tank. Every game – and this is really true – Paul would eat the mussels from the container of the winning team, that is, the team whose flag was attached. Unfailingly, he predicted every game. Sometimes he might take a mussel or two from both containers, but always selected the majority from the winning team’s container. And, the night before the final, his food selection predicted that Spain would win. By now, nearly everyone believed in the octopus. And, in fact, Spain DID win the World Cup final – it was the first (and so far the only) time they won this coveted award.
After the game, people poured into the streets from the bars where they’d been watching, and there was an all-night party in the streets of central Madrid. A few days later, the team members arrived home from South Africa, and all along the Gran Via (a wide thoroughfare in central Madrid) people gathered, wearing red and yellow – the colors of the Spanish team (and flag) – to wait for the bus that would bring the victorious players down the avenue for the benefit of everyone’s adulation. One of the things people wore were yellow octopus hats! Because Paul had predicted their victory, he was inextricably linked to the 2010 World Cup.
How would you describe peanut butter to someone who didn’t know what it was? A very sticky substance combining pureed peanuts and butter, that you use to spread on bread or to add flavor to a stalk of celery. (My dad had a hilarious joke about peanut butter – well, it was hilarious to watch him tell it, as it required some “acting.” But his description while telling this joke would give the person a pretty good idea of what peanut butter is like!)
Why does an octopus squirt ink? To protect itself from predators – the ink hides it from view and may be an irritant to predators.
Who are two of today’s greatest entertainers in your opinion? (can be actors, musicians, singers etc) I always am reluctant to answer this type of question, because my tastes are out of the mainstream for the most part, and I don’t even recognize the names of the current mainstream of entertainers! However, Stephen Colbert of A Late Show is one we watch regularly, and he got us through 4 years of Trump! In a similar vein, I also like John Oliver, who takes on serious subjects but he always gets a few laughs out of me and I love his accent!
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please feel free to share a moment of gratitude in your life! The unseasonably warm, beautiful weather we have been given the last few days – flowers are blooming and I’m wearing sandals and short pants!
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.
If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be for? (Covid considerations are suspended for this question) A carnaval party – I’ve always wanted to go to one of those (or throw one, in this case). Carnaval takes place at the beginning of Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s sort of like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but in Brazil it lasts for four days during which people party all night and sleep during the day. There are parties and samba parades, the bars are full, and there is lots of drinking and merry-making. Carnaval music is heard everywhere with its strong percussion beat and familiar tunes. Even though I’m not young enough to have the stamina to dance all night, I’d dance as much as I could, then I’d watch a show of professional samba dancers (who would be hired for the occasion), while enjoying the music and sipping caipirinhas.* Everyone would have a good time, because Brazilian parties are the best!!
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate. Words can evoke pictures in the mind of the reader if the writer is good enough. For me, pictures and words are two separate things, but which belong together. In a blog, especially, a writer should include at least one picture. That is what people are used to nowadays, in this era of social media and non-stop visuals – selfies, memes, cute puppies or kittens, whatever. Sometimes it’s easier to post a photo, like I did above, to explain a concept instead of trying to describe it. If I just wrote “carnaval dancers” and then went on to describe what I meant in detail, most people would not read it! My blog is not a novel. So I either post my own photos, or find one on Google, as I did above, showing the colorful costumes and happiness that shows in the photo. They look like they’re having a good time and for sure, their audience appreciates their performance!! All it needs now is video and sound, but I’m not going to go that route this time.
Where IS Waldo? (Waldo, for those unfamiliar with him, is a cartoon character featured in many “find Waldo” images and puzzles) You can see him in a book You can see him by a brook You might see him in a tree Or on a sailing ship at sea! You may see him in a park You may see him on an ark Or maybe he’ll be right next to you On your next trip to the zoo. You can see him in the air You can see him anywhere!
What’s the best part of waking up? My morning routine: tea and a banana while reading in a comfy chair in front of the fireplace (in cold weather) or enjoying the morning air on the porch, also with tea, banana, and book. ( I can’t drink any kind of coffee anymore and would never desire Folgers in my mug!)
Would you rather be covered in fur or covered in scales? (Wee disclaimer. I’m certainly not advocating the slaughter of creatures and the use of their skins for clothing or accessories. No! This question is a ‘grow your own’ type question…if you had an option of your own skin being made of fur OR scales, which would you choose?) Definitely fur, so that people would pet me and cuddle with me. Who wants to cuddle with a snake or a fish?? Also, because of where I live, I am more in need of fur to keep me warm. Scaly animals have trouble surviving our winter climate!
*caipirinha – a Brazilian drink made with cachaca (sugar cane based alcoholic beverage), lime, ice, and sugar
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
Feel free to share your gratitude for our world! I’m grateful for the GOOD NEWS about beating Covid-19! The American Rescue Plan has been passed, and soon Pres. Biden will sign it – this is a comprehensive bill, the biggest legislation to benefit ordinary Americans since the ACA. On the vaccination front, today in the U.S., almost 2.9 million people were vaccinated, way more than the president’s goal of 1 million per day. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are down. Sure, there is bad news too but I am very grateful for the good news, and the fact that soon we will be able to get together with small groups and families without having to wear masks, etc. My husband and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and the majority of my friends have either been vaccinated or have appointments. In Des Plaines, a mass vaccination site was opened in the former K Mart building – they can vaccinate 3,500 people per day! And in Chicago, the United Center is being used to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day.
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!
The Chocolate Box – 18 Questions – This is from A Guy Called Bloke, better known as the guy who loves to ask questions. The Once Every 6 Weeks Saucy and Spicy, Sugary Sweet and Sour Game Game 2 – Season 1 (Does this sound like it’s all about either food or sex? That’s what attracted me to play this game!) February 2021
What is your reaction and interpretation to ……….. “Oooh l say that’s a big one!” Usually a fish – like a record-breaking muskie. (I spent all the summers of my youth in northern Wisconsin. That’s what people do up there – they fish and hope to break the latest record.)
Are you more introverted, extroverted or ambiverted or if you prefer ‘lean more towards’ ambiversion? I like that word – ambiverted. That does describe me.
Do you think you honestly know ‘hand upon heart’ what members of the opposite sex actually think? I don’t think men are so different than women in what they think, in terms of love or relationships.. However, they do tend to think about different things than women if my husband is typical of the average male, which I think he is. Part of it is cultural conditioning too, so that men tend to prefer sports or tinkering with their cars, etc. Also when they are together, they don’t go into their personal lives as much as women. And they don’t always think about the way women think about casual sexual overtures. (I’m thinking of Andrew Cuomo, who is now facing sexual harassment charges, which he denies. He didn’t think of it as harassment, apparently.)
Which is more appealing of these two attributes only – brawn or brains? Definitely brains, although physical appearance is undeniably important especially for initial attraction. I mean, people who are not physically attractive have to work harder to get the opposite sex to get interested in them.
What are some of your strangest quirks? I make weird noises just for the hell of it, or to drive my cat crazy. She’s on to me already, however, so I don’t faze her anymore. But my husband shakes his head and mumbles something about the eccentric woman he married. Anyway, I’m pretty good at making strange noises – I’ve got quite a repertoire! I can also imitate animal noises so well that I really do freak out any domestic animal (cats or dogs mostly) that happens to be around.
What or when is the dirtiest you have ever been [your interpretation]? I was trying to write a novel for NaNoWriMo, expanding on a short story I’d written years ago. My daughter and I took a “writing weekend” by ourselves at a hotel, and stayed in separate rooms to work on our novels. I wrote for HOURS. I got to the point of writing a sex scene, which turned out to be quite, um, graphic. Actually, there were several sex scenes that happened one after another, but one of them in particular was really detailed. After I wrote it, I was sort of embarrassed but I know there are authors who write this kind of stuff a lot – but I don’t read it. And to this day, I can’t read that scene I wrote without feeling kind of shocked.
By the way, I never finished the novel. (There didn’t seem to be a good way to proceed after that to continue to hold readers’ attention…)
Do you prefer to give, receive or take away? I like them all, but lately giving stuff away is much more a part of my life. I am at that stage of life where I’m downsizing and letting go of lots of things I’ve accumulated that I considered so important at some point in my life. The easiest thing to do is to give them to others who will appreciate and make use of them.
Have you ever eating edible clothing? No, what do you have in mind?? If it’s chocolate, I’ll be right over!!
Do you like it saucy or just enjoy a good sauce? Depending on what “it” is. If it’s food, I prefer sauce.
Have you ever performed the naughty or nauighties in the car, your car, a car, any car? Sort of, yes – I was 18 working at my first summer job, and my boyfriend was visiting. I was staying at our family’s summer home in northern Wisconsin and I had been driving my grandmother’s car for the summer. We drove down some back roads that wind around the lakes and countryside and stopped in a small clearing, and after the, well, what we did in the car, we couldn’t find the key! Worse is that it had gotten dark by then! We were groping around for it on the ground and since it was just a single key with no key ring or anything attached, it was like finding a needle in a haystack. We were saved by a quirk that some cars had at that time: there were cars you could start without a key – the ignition stuck out a little, and if you could turn it, the engine would start. That’s what I did, so we got back home. (There were no cellphones in those days to call for help, of course.) But I did have to tell my mother about the lost key and my boyfriend’s face turned so red when I made up a lame excuse about what happened. I’m pretty sure my mom figured out what we had been up to!
Have you ever skinny dipped or taken part in naked mud wrestling? Skinny-dipped, yes. It was in the lake at the abovementioned summer home. My mother skinny dipped every morning, so once I went with her. We went down to the lake with our bathing suits on, and took them off in the water. Before we got out, we squirmed into our wet suits.
Are your more of a sweet or a sour person? I prefer sweet and sour! (Ether the combination is great, or you never know what you’re getting when you come into contact with me.)
Where would you find the Sea of Tranquility? On the moon – but it’s not much of a sea, since there’s no water on the moon. Perhaps it’s how the Dead Sea will be a few years from now when it dries up completely. (The Dead Sea’s ratio of salt to water increases every year and it is expected to dry up sooner than previously thought, due to climate change.)
What five items could you buy at a supermarket which would make the cashier give you an uncertain if not just weird look? Contraceptives – i.e. condoms (which is the only kind of contraceptive you can buy in a supermarket), which would probably cause a stir considering I’m not young anymore. Then stocking up on only the most caloric comfort foods they have – big chocolate donuts, a cake with the inscription “Happy Divorce” (especially coupled with the condoms), lots of chocolate sauce (which has multiple uses), and a case of cheap wine. Those young cashiers have no idea how much fun old people are capable of!
Ok, you have been arrested and no one one knows why – what would your friends think you had done? They wouldn’t be able to figure it out. I’m not sure even I would know what I had done – I’m such a law-abiding citizen!
Oh dear, for some bizarre reason you find yourself in an insane asylum how can you convince those in charge you don’t belong there? I’m thinking “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” type of place, right? I’m not sure, but I definitely wouldn’t display my weird quirks like making the strange noises I mentioned in a previous question! Maybe I would sing religious hymns to them, and act very pious.
You have two outfits but only one choice – which do you choose to wear for the day of the following …. skin tight flesh coloured body suit OR a very holey oversized long tee shirt? Probably the skin tight flesh-colored body suit. At least I could exercise in it. But the holey T-shirt? People in my community might not approve.
What is a whack when used in relationship to the term ‘out of whack?’ Whack would be what is normal, whatever the expected function or action or thought might be.
Paula at Light Motifs II has a weekly forum for people to let off steam!! It’s the Monday Peeve!
Paula was talking about unreliable narrators in novels and it made me think about the book I just finished, which I really liked, calledHomelandsby Alfredo Corchado. The book is non-fiction, a memoir about binationality and immigration. Being an immigrant from Mexico, like three other friends, pulls him in different directions. Is he American or Mexican? Anyway, this isn’t a book review so I will get to the point!
He often injects conversations into the narrative. Although he starts a new paragraph, he DOESN’T USE QUOTATION MARKS! So it gets confusing when you are not quite sure if the person is speaking or not. He doesn’t make a distinction, except to start a new paragraph. Further confusing the issue, he will refer to the person who’s speaking only as he or she, and because he often goes on tangents, it’s not clear who “he” or “she” is. The use of pronouns isn’t enough when you are reading a tangent about something that happened in the past, with no real break between that and the “present-day” narrative.
Relatively minor, but it’s only a peeve after all! I will give my rating on Goodreads as I do with all my books, but he loses a star for this lack of quotation marks and the resulting confusion!
I do recommend the book, however, for readers who want to know what it’s like to be an immigrant, especially from Mexico, from the inside – that is, the immigrant him/herself, not a narrative of someone looking at it from the outside.
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
A new week has arrived and along with it, a new set of questions from Melanie on Share Your World. QUESTIONS:
Do you feel you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know? I like to ask questions. I am very inquisitive and I often go in search of information for answers. If I didn’t ask questions, what would I know? Questioning is vital to gain knowledge. This is why little children ask so many questions, Why this and why that? They have little knowledge and to get more, they have to ask why, although sometimes the adults don’t have answers.
That said, there are certain situations in which I do stop asking questions. If a very annoying person is chatting me up, for example, on an airplane or a bus, and I don’t want to talk to that person, I say what is polite and then turn away. Or when a meeting goes really long, and everyone is fidgeting because they want to get out of there, but I still have a question, I most likely bite my tongue and settle for what I know, with the thought of finding out the answer to my unasked question later or elsewhere.
Asking questions occasionally gets me into trouble; in fact, I lost a teaching job at least partly due to asking a question that my boss (the new principal of the school) didn’t like, because she thought it made her look bad.. She harbored a resentment toward me the entire school year and found fault with me even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. She ended up not rehiring me and I wasn’t tenured. But I really did want to know the answer to my question and never really got one.
When did you fail to speak up when you feel you should have? There was one incident that I still regret not having spoken up – or perhaps if I had realized sooner to put two and two together. I went to a party at a former coworker’s house one summer. When I got there, I was happy to see several of my former coworkers from the school I had loved teaching at, including the principal who I really liked because she had always been supportive of me. I had lost my job in that school district, because they reconfigured the schools into “grade level centers” and by moving people around, they could dispense with nine teachers. I was one of them because after three years, I wasn’t yet tenured. In Illinois teachers don’t get tenure until the end of their fourth year. I was telling the principal about my new job and how happy I was there, even though the pay was extremely low – I’d had to take a program assistant job, because I couldn’t find a teaching position except for substitute teaching, which I was tired of. The principal asked me several times if I was sure I really liked it where I was working, and I kept saying yes.
A short while later, I ran into the other ESL teacher I had worked with at that school and found out she had just retired. I didn’t make any connection at the time and it wasn’t until a day or so later that my dense mind figured it out! The principal had been trying to find out if I would be interested in going back to my former position, but I didn’t realize that at the time. She wanted me to replace the retiring teacher because they really needed a Spanish-speaking ESL teacher, which they lost when I was cut from the district. They had replaced me with another ESL teacher from another school in the district who was tenured.
I realized I should have said something – although I liked the program assistant job, the pay was so low that Dale and I were having trouble keeping a positive balance in our checking account, and if I could have gotten a teaching job in my former district, where I was really happy, I would have taken it. I thought about calling that principal and asking her if the job was still available, but I didn’t. I had convinced myself by that time that in spite of the low pay, I was glad not to have the responsibility of a teaching job. I could go home after work and not have to do more work at home to prepare for the next day or grade papers. I valued that additional leisure time. Even so, I know I would have taken that ESL position back if it had been offered to me and worked for several more years instead of retiring at age 63, when I acquired an inheritance after my mother died.
When was the last time you felt lucky? A few days ago! Maybe “lucky” isn’t the right word. People have no control over what family circumstances they will be born into. I happened to be lucky to be born into a psychologically and financially stable family. The reason I felt lucky a few days ago is that, when hearing the news of the pandemic, of people who have lost their jobs and depend on the stimulus checks for their financial support right now, for people who have no money, I thought about how lucky I am – a retired, 68-year-old married white woman with a good husband and a wonderful home in a senior community (which most people would be hard pressed to afford). This community provides us with a lot of support during the pandemic and our monthly fee pays for maintenance, snow shoveling, etc. We’ve gotten ahead of others in getting the Covid vaccine, we have a housekeeper who comes once a week, and we don’t have to cook because our meals are delivered to us. We have a beautiful campus where we can walk and see our neighbors (when the weather is good), so we don’t feel so isolated. I thank God every day for my good fortune.
What is a boulder? It is a large rock. When people talk about avalanches, they usually call the rocks that hurtle down the side of a mountain boulders. Boulder is also a city in Colorado, home of the University of Colorado.
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)
Feel free to share your gratitude with everyone! See the answer about feeling lucky above. I am grateful for all I have. While people in Texas are suffering from lack of electricity and water during a freak storm, I am watching their distress on TV in my comfortable home. I am warm and don’t lack for anything. The employees of our community take good care of us.
Playing catch up again with Paula’s February Love Me challenge. I have just begun to realize that I should not make my categories too broad, or I will run out of topics!
Feb. 11: I love trees. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. I love trees during them all!
Feb. 12: is Lincoln’s birthday, which makes me think of another thing I love: history! One of the things I most like to do when traveling is to see historical places. I stood next to the Great Pyramid on the Giza plateau in Egypt and felt awed – that structure was built around 2500 BCE! It’s about 5000 years old and it is still standing! Until the Eiffel Tower was built, it was the tallest manmade structure in the world. I imagine the labor it took, moving huge blocks of stone to the site and placing them in exactly the right spot so the pyramid would not collapse. (Click on photos to see closer up.)
In Israel, visiting the places where Jesus himself had walked gave me goosebumps! (Click on photos to see full size)
In Normandy, France, we visited the city of Bayeux where we visited the museum that displays the original Tapestry of Bayeux, which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the conquest of England. This tapestry was made by hand by many artisans in circa 1100 CE. This embroidered tapestry is 70 meters long! We could not photograph the original tapestry, which was very fragile, but I did take a few shots of replicas they had on display in the lobby.
More recent history is also interesting to me. In Normandy, we visited the D-Day beaches and Overlord Museum. At Omaha beach, we saw the vast American Cemetery where 9,387 soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion and subsequent battle were buried.
Feb. 13: I love writing. I have always enjoyed writing, and when I was a kid, I wanted to be an author or a journalist someday. Alas, life takes many twists and turns and there is always the road not taken. Then I was going to write a novel and I did research to find out how to get an agent, sell a book to a publisher, etc., etc. and it was just too stressful for me! So now it’s just a hobby. I’ve been in and out of writing groups and I do keep a journal, which is not really a diary – it’s more my musings on whatever I’m thinking about or reading about. Sometimes these journal entries turn into stories or essays or even poems. I’ve written letters to my local newspaper, which generally get published within a week. And then, of course, there is this – my blog. I’m not as regular at it as I wish I were, but on the other hand, I have a lot of other interests that keep me busy too.
Actually, I am slowly working on a book, which I intend to self-publish through a POS. It’s about the ancestors on my dad’s mother’s side. I’ve written six chapters, which has been really interesting, because I come across things I wanted to know – I have questions about how things happened, so I do research and find out all kinds of things I never would have known about. I have great admiration for my ancestors, who emigrated to America in the early 1800s. Their journey was quite an adventure! I have laid this project aside for far too long, and should get back to it soon. And it even ties in with my love of history!!