Best Moment Award

A new award for me … and one I’ve never heard of that shall require some thoughtful contemplation. Meanwhile, congratulations to Mike and my co recipients!

 

Mikes Film Talk

Best-Moment-Award

I owe a heartfelt thank you to Sandra over at quirkybooks who nominated me based on my blog post – 50,000 Plus! Thanks Guys. This is the first time I’ve received this award and I am, to put it plainly, chuffed to bits (in American English that means damned happy). So  again, Sandra, thanks!

I also owe a gesture of gratitude to the kind folks over at Moment Matters who started this whole thing in the first place. They’ve even made up an award logo for the recipients to paste on their wall. It is the one at the top of this post and it is very impressive looking.

The words and music that accompany this award are below:

Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the…

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Daily Prompt: Five a Day — 5 Foods for Island Life

You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

On my little island there’s a cottage.

I have a tiny kitchen, but well-organized for its size. I have some good black iron pots and pans, sturdy bright dishes in the cupboard. A small ice box keeps a few things cool if the weather is sultry and I get at least some electricity, perhaps from a small generator. I can only bring five foods. Well, I’m going to hope that the drinks are separately counted so I can can put the coffee and tea on different list, along with the sports drinks I need to keep from dying of a serious electrolyte imbalance. Hard to do the island thing when you have very specific, rigid dietary requirements. Diabetes is not island friendly. So I’m just counting on drug deliveries along with food stuffs! I wouldn’t last long otherwise, though if I had enough books to read, I’d go out smiling.

Since this is not a desert island, if the soil is at all fertile, there may be many ways to supplement a limited diet and the sea contains much that is good to eat, including kelp and other seaweed. Maybe there will be some coconuts or mangos to be found. A little fruit would be awfully welcome! I’d better also have a goodly stock of vitamins and minerals too! Wouldn’t want to get scurvy or something.

VeganWitches

  1. First, protein. I love seafood, so if I have to pick just one, salmon it is, but if I can get seafood as a category … I’ll be happily stranded.  Seafood has the highest amounts of all the good stuff to keep ones body and soul together.
  2. Next, a calcium source. Cheese it will be! Pass the Jarlsberg please! If I can get cheese as a category, just bring them on, love them all, but if it has to be just one, I’ll go with a full flavor Jarlsberg.
  3. Need veggies!! Okay, perhaps I’m cheating a wee bit. All veggies are a single food for my purposes: tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, collards … the things that turn just food into meals.
  4. For the high carbohydrate choice: Potatoes. You can bake them, boil them, mash them. Serve them fried, grated and made into a loaf. Serve them with fried onions and make them into pancakes. My ancestors more or less lived on potatoes, so I gotta have item.
  5. Bread. There’s a reason “breaking bread” is synonymous with eating a meal with others. Bread goes with everything — cheese,  gravy, tomatoes and lettuce. Bread is there with all the meals. Dry it out for crumbs and if I have some spare, maybe I can lure some egg-laying birds to my little camp.

No sweets, no junk food. But I can live on these foods and remain healthy.

I’m assuming that condiments and spices come “free.” Sugar, salt (especially salt!), garlic, basil, cumin, ginger, peppermint.  I shall have an herb garden. No one said I can’t grow a few things, right?

I wonder what I’ll do for cooking oil? Any coconuts on the island?

Every bit of space not otherwise occupied with a bed, a few comfy chairs, a table and a fireplace will have to be filled with books … although if I have access to the internet and can bring a Kindle, I will be in Heaven.  I do hope the water is warm enough for swimming and the soil rich enough for growing. I might really like that island. Guest room anyone?

Avoiding the Reunion

There’s no way around it. I was not good with money, so in retirement I am not exactly where I wanted or hoped to be. That doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with my life. I’ve had a lot of fun, adventure and a pretty good career. Both life and career were different than anything I imagined. I became a writer — which I did plan and wanted — then fell into technical writing because, against all logic and reason, I am good at it. For a kid who could barely pass basic high school math courses, elementary physics, or any other hard science, winding up in the high-tech arena was a surprise. That I liked it was even more of a surprise.

96-Me Young in Maine

It turns out that I could learn anything, including math and science, if it was explained in such a way that I could see its purpose. What I couldn’t do was manipulate numbers or concepts in a vacuum, which is pretty much how math and science were taught back in my day. I suspect they aren’t taught much better now as I watch my granddaughter struggling with the same stuff with which I struggled 50 years ago.

The thing is, that my high school’s 50th reunion has come around. No, I am not going. It’s too expensive in view of the fact that I don’t remember anyone from high school. I recognize some of the names, but we weren’t friends. We didn’t hang out. We have no shared memories except those shared by everyone who went to Jamaica High School during those years. I wasn’t friendless. I had some good friends, but we haven’t kept in touch and none of them are attending this reunion. There’s no reason for me to go.

Jamaica High School is huge. Was huge and over-crowded too. My graduating class was slightly more than 1200, in which I was something around 280 or so. The entire school (10th through 12th grades) was just shy of 4,000 students shoe-horned into a building meant to handle 1300. We were packed solid.

For all that, it was a better school than most and more forward-thinking than most schools of the period. Possibly more forward-thinking than many schools right now. Academically, girls and boys were treated equally. No girl was told not to aim for medical school or an engineering career because it was for boys. If we had the will and ability, there was support.

I was not a super achiever nor overly ambitious. I was an educational minimalist, an under-achiever par excellence. I did exactly enough to get by unless I was particularly interested in a subject or it was one of those so easy for me I could have aced it in my sleep. I never bothered to study for English or history (Social Studies, back then). Math and science were my nemeses and I was glad if I could merely pass. Languages were also difficult for me. I don’t have an ear for languages, something that I proved conclusively by living in Israel for 9 years and never mastering Hebrew.

I graduated with a B+ average, got an early acceptance (11th grade) to Hofstra University (then Hofstra College). I had no passion for higher education,  but I just knew if I didn’t go to college, I couldn’t go to Heaven. Can’t get through those pearly gates without showing your diploma. Besides, I was barely 16 when I graduated high school, so what else was I going to do? I had managed to score a couple of scholarships based on competitive tests, which made the choice easier. I always tested well, probably because I didn’t much care. I just assumed I’d do okay and for the most part, I did.

I wanted to be a writer. Or a musician. Or an artist. As soon as I learned to read, I started writing. I’d been playing the piano and studying music from age four. And I had a good eye, could draw and paint pretty well, an itch that has been well scratched by photography.  In the end, writing was the thing I did best and came naturally to me, so that’s what I did. Tech writing was a sideways drift, but turned out to be a good fit. I’ve had a long, if somewhat peripatetic career that apparently isn’t quite over yet.

Jamaica High School

I thought I’d done pretty well until this reunion thing came up.

In the movies, people go back to their high school reunions. They were nerds and social outcasts in high school, but now are successful, attractive and get to feel superior to their former classmates. There are so many movies with this plot that one might think this is a typical reunion experience. Not me. Mind you, I’m not going to be there, but I have not escaped unscathed. The organizer of the event has sent us all a questionnaire, a “what have you been doing for the last 50 years?” thing. So I filled it out. Why not? I’ve had an interesting life and a long career. I got to be a player in the birthing of technology that now rules the world.

Then I started getting other people’s filled-in questionnaires. With each email, my ego has gotten thumped.

This is not, for obvious reasons, a reunion of the entire graduating class of 1963. These people are a subset of the class, the group into which I fell by virtue of winning a Westinghouse Scholarship (proving I actually knew more science than I realized) and having a high IQ. I was counted as a brainiac, but I wasn’t really one of them. I had brains. Theoretically I still do though there are days when I wonder. What I lacked — something apparently everyone else had — was ambition and drive. I didn’t want to be a doctor. I never aspired to be a professor. I wanted to be me, whatever that was, and one of my goals was to find me. I wanted adventure. I was going to write novels, do exciting, creative stuff. I was more into living than studying.

As far as I can tell, the small percentage of my “group” that are not medical doctors, have doctorates in chemistry, physics and so on. No more than a handful of humanity or arts degrees in the crowd. No one has less than a masters, except me. And as far as I can tell, everyone went to Princeton, Johns Hopkins,  Albert Einstein, Harvard. If not Ivy League, than at least prestigious. Everyone but me seems to be having a comfortable retirement, if they aren’t a professor or still practicing medicine. The one or two people who went into the arts have multiple best sellers or are managing editors of major publications. It’s demoralizing. The one other woman who went to Israel married a diamond cutter and is apparently wealthy beyond my imaginings … and even she’s got a masters.

Every time another filled-in questionnaire arrives in email, I swear I will not further torture myself by reading it, but a certain morbid curiosity forces me to open it despite myself. Oh, I forgot to mention that everyone has beautiful and extremely successful children.

I am glad I’m not going to the reunion. I don’t think my ego can take much more of a drubbing. If I needed humbling, I’ve gotten it. What is success anyhow? Do you gauge it by financial well-being? By awards won? Personal satisfaction? Experience? Friends? Fame?  I think this will be the last reunion, so I’m safe from having to again calculate the value of a life richly enjoyed, but somewhat lacking in material wealth … otherwise known as money. I think I’ll go take some pretty pictures now.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life — A Little World

Waking up to the light in the bedroom, my day begins with coffee and ends where it began. Not exciting, perhaps, but it’s a form-fitting world for me and mine. I wanted this to be an ordinary day, like most days. There are busier days, days spent away from home, at doctor’s offices and (alas) working … but this is a regular average day in my life. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Welcome to my little world.

The Old Yarn Shop

In Old Williamsburg, there is a yarn shop where they spin and dye wool using natural colors typical of the colonial period. I loved the textures of the wool and wood, and the light coming through the open door and windows.

It was a good day for reflections and I captured something like a portrait of Garry and I in the glass door to the library. The sign is for a pub that has no name that I could find, so I call it Stag’s Head In a Pear Tree. I might be right, you never know.