Share Your World – April 10, 2017

Thanks to Cee for this week’s Share Your World – April 10, 2017.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

No, I have not participated. However, my daughter was a competitive swimmer for much of her childhood and adolescence, and I spent many, many hours sitting on bleachers watching swim meets. I read a lot of books back then.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

There’s a reason why people don’t know the things they don’t know about me. I respectfully decline to name those things here.

What is your favorite flower?

lilac bloom
lilac bloom

I like just about any flower that comes in dark purple, especially pansies and iris. I also love lilacs, even though they’re a lighter shade of purple, because they smell wonderful and remind me of my grandmother.



Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

Book cases. Lots and lots of book cases.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

On Saturday my husband and I are leaving for vacation, a month-long ocean cruise that starts in Barcelona and ends in Stockholm, with stops in Portugal, France, England, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Russia, and Finland. We are excited!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Innovative narrative game Dialogue: A Writer’s Story out now

Studio co-founder and designer of Dialogue, Dustin Connor, added: “Conversation can be different depending on the context and participants, and we wanted to craft different visuals and mechanics for different conversations to reflect that. Some are timed and ‘in the moment’, while others are exploratory. Our game is a starting point – we want to see other developers experiment with their own conversation mechanics, and we want to lend our experience as consultants to make that process easier.”

‘The Death of Expertise’ Explores How Ignorance Became a Virtue

The inimitable Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times reviews Tom Nichols’s book on a “wave of anti-rationalism that has been accelerating for years — manifested in the growing ascendance of emotion over reason in public debates, the blurring of lines among fact and opinion and lies, and denialism in the face of scientific findings about climate change and vaccination.”

Mental-health therapists see uptick in patients struggling with post-election anxiety

From The Seattle Times:

With the constant bombardment of information coming out of the Trump administration, local mental-health experts say a hefty number of their existing clients — and as many as 80 percent of potential new clients — are seeking help for postelection distress.

And this has been an equal-opportunity occurrence: “anxiety has been on the rise among people of all political leanings, therapists say.”

The Brief, Confusing History of Foam Packaging

I did not know that everything we think is Styrofoam actually isn’t:

We know that polystyrene is bad for the environment, that it’s frequently mistaken for Styrofoam, and that it’s kind of a crappy way of shipping food to people.

UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it

University of Washington professor Kate Starbird works in the field of crisis informatics. After the Boston Marathon bombing she began looking at social media postings to see how those media might be used for the public good in crises. Unexpectedly, she found clusters of fringe conspiracy theories, what she calls “real tinfoil-hat stuff.”

Read about her findings in an article that seems especially pertinent in light of the current political current in the U.S.

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Share Your World – March 27, 2017

Thanks to Cee for another week of Share Your World – March 27, 2017.

Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

Both my first and middle names have family significance, as I was named after my grandmothers: Mary (maternal grandmother) and Louise (paternal grandmother).

Music or silence while working?

I used to need just about complete silence while working (because all my work consists of reading, writing, or both). But when I went back to grad school for my Ph.D. in 2005, I discovered that special music designed to increase focus helped me work effortlessly. I think that part of the reason this type of music helped me so much is that I listened with headphones that drown out most exterior sound and poured the soothing music directly into my ears.

However, I still have trouble working in an environment with even minimal noise if I’m not wearing headphones.

If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

  1. A milk bottle from my grandfather’s dairy farm
  2. My maternal grandmother’s sapphire engagement ring
  3. My gold bracelet engraved “forever is now” that I wear in memory of my friend Frayne

The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?

  1. Vote for a Republican
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Humiliate a child
  4. Hike the Grand Canyon (while I do hope to see the Grand Canyon, I’m pretty sure I’ll never hike in it.)
  5. Ride a motorcycle
  6. Sky dive
  7. Run a marathon
  8. Learn the breaststroke
  9. Summit Mount Rainier
  10. Write a fantasy novel

Have a good week, everyone!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

What I’ve Been Reading

What Makes a Person: The Seven Layers of Identity in Literature and Life
A New View of the Self: The Psychology of Connection
How authentic are photographic memories?
Do Our Memories Make Us Who We Are? One Artist’s Memory Loss Suggests Maybe Not
4 Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Life’s Story
How to survive gaslighting: when manipulation erases your reality

Share Your World – March 20, 2017

It’s time for the next weekly installment of Share Your World – March 20, 2017.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Intellectually, I’m still about two years old. Everything fascinates me, and one new discovery leads to another. My favorite question is still “Why?”

Emotionally, in some circumstances I’m stuck at 12 years old, which is the age at which my adolescence of verbal and emotional abuse began. Because of that experience I’m still quick to take offense and to feel anger about anything that I perceive as a slight, insult, or even plain indifference. Since that time I’ve learned that not everything I perceive this way is an intentional negative action toward me. As a result I’m now able to modulate my emotional reactions better than I did at 12. But there’s still that immediate emotional reaction of anger, defensiveness, and desire for revenge.

Although I can’t think of a label for this next category, I think that in terms of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding I’m right where I should be for my age. I consider each wrinkle on my face as a piece of wisdom learned through experience, and I wear my wrinkles proudly.

Physically, though, my body lets me know that it’s not 20—or even 30, 40, or 50—anymore. I’m still surprised when my body gives out long before my enthusiasm for exploring new places and new experiences.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I usually don’t use an umbrella. I grew up in New England, where rain is often accompanied by high winds. I don’t remember how many of my umbrellas got ruined by being blown inside out before I finally decided not to waste any more money buying new ones.

Now that we live in the Pacific Northwest, where rain is frequent and not often accompanied by high winds, I’m trying to get back in the habit of using an umbrella. My husband and I now each have an umbrella (thanks to Santa last Christmas) that we keep right by the front door. We also have one in the car because here, the weather can change between heavy rain and bright sunshine in a matter of just a few minutes.

Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

I’m an introvert, even a hermit. My idea of fun in a crowd is limited to about five or six people at a time. When I need to recharge, I want to be all alone, preferably with a good book.

Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend have in common.

  1. Political beliefs: We’re both bleeding-hear liberals, true children of the 1960s, and proud of it.
  2. Social conscience: The belief that those who have more should do more. This includes paying taxes and donating to charity.
  3. We are both perfectly happy to sit down and read a book for extended periods of time.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I think I’m going to opt out of this question in the future, since I keep repeating myself: Last week was great, and I’m hoping for more of the same in the upcoming week.

Ain’t retirement grand?

Thanks for reading, and I hope all of you have a great week, too!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Share Your World – March 13, 2017

Thanks again to Cee for this week’s challenge Share Your World – March 13, 2017.

Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

I don’t push the button for the floor I want to go to more than once. However, if someone else comes hurrying over and wants to get onto the elevator before the doors close, I’m always very clumsy about trying to push the “open door” button. For some reason I can never figure out fast enough which is the correct button to hit:

<— | —> OR —> | <—

It shouldn’t be that hard, but for some reason it always is.

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)

As I have said before (probably several times), I am a Virgo, which means that I always have things planned out in advance. However, I am also willing to act spontaneously if something intriguing pops up. In my later years I’ve been making a concerted effort to allow myself to be more open to possibilities.

We are going on a month-long cruise (from mid-April to mid-May) that will take us to several European cities, and I’ll let you know how being open to new experiences works out for me when we get back.

Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words.

a devoted friend
intellectually curious

If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?

I love visiting a beach where I can watch the waves roll in. But we’re also going on a couple of ocean cruises later this year that my husband and I are both looking forward to. And I like lakes.

But no hot tubs or deserts, because I don’t do well with heat and humidity (which is why I was eager to move away from St. Louis, MO). And I do not ski at all, although I’d be happy to sit by a huge stone fireplace and read. Or I’d choose to visit a ski resort in the spring or summer, when wildflowers bloom.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

After quite a cold spell, we finally have more seasonable temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest. Our typical rainy winter/spring season doesn’t get me down, but the cold sure did. So I’m glad it’s a bit warmer, even though the rain continues.

And I know I’m in the minority on this, but I actually like the change to daylight savings time. Since I’m a night owl, I’d rather have that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day than at the beginning, when I’m asleep.

Have a good week, everyone!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

My Recent Browsing History

The Stories We Tell Ourselves
5 Lessons to Be Learned While Writing a Memoir
Are girls really better at reading than boys or are the tests painting a false picture?
Why each side of the partisan divide thinks the other is living in an alternate reality
Nobody is normal
Sleep deprivation handicaps the brain’s ability to form new memories, study in mice shows
Why Empathy Is Your Most Important Skill (and How to Practice It)

Share Your World – February 27, 2017

Thanks to Cee for Share Your World – February 27, 2017.

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle?

No, I haven’t. But my husband has (and of course you know that I occasionally remind him of it).

Which are better: black or green olives?

Black olives are better, but I like the green ones stuffed with pimento, too.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

Do you remember the movie Fantastic Voyage, in which miniaturized doctors in a miniaturized submarine travel inside a scientist’s body to repair damage to his brain? That’s where I’d like to go, except I’d be more interested in entering a person’s consciousness instead of just the physical brain.

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

—Chief Seattle

No one can make you feel interior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (p. 723)

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Have a good week, everyone!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Share Your World – February 20, 2017

Thanks to Cee for another weekly edition of her Share Your World challenge, Share Your World – February 20, 2017.

When you cut something with scissors, do you move your jaw (as if you were about to chew)?

No, I don’t think so. But I admit that I never really thought about this. I don’t use scissors much any more.

Do you chew your pens and pencils?

I probably did this as a kid, but I don’t think I do it any more. Back in my college and early grad school days, way before computers, I wrote papers with pencils on notebook paper. I sometimes put the pencil horizontally into my mouth when I needed both hands to flip through the pages, and I guess that counts as biting the pencils. Nowadays I use pencils to take notes, but I don’t put them into my mouth.

Are you a collector of anything? If so what?

file foldersI’ve never been a collector of objects. But I do collect a lot of information. Computers and database programs have made it so easy to collect and organize all kinds of notes and ideas. You just never know when you might need a certain fact or quotation to make a point, right? And perhaps if I collect a lot of information I’ll become incredibly smart and wise …

What size is your bed?

Queen size. As Goldilocks said, it’s “just right.”

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?p

I just want more of the same. I love my routine life.

Have a good week, everyone!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Share Your World – February 13, 2017

Thanks to Cee for this week’s edition of Share Your World – February 13, 2017.

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Our sheets are tucked in at the foot of the bed but untucked at the sides. I’ve never even considering tucking them in on the sides, as that would make me feel much too constricted. Also, you can’t kick part or all of the covers off during the night if they’re all tucked in.

Now this question has got me wondering about the origin of the phrase “tuck you in at night.”

Have you stolen a street sign before?

No, but I’ve known a couple of people who have. When I was in college a friend of mine had a last name that is also a common male first name. When she and her boyfriend came across a house with a sign declaring that the resident’s name combined their two last names, they swiped it.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

When I was younger, I was a devoted coupon cutter-outer, and I almost always used those coupons. However, for the last many, many years I have thought cutting out coupons was not worth the time and effort.

Do you have freckles?


Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week we had some sun, as pictured in the feature photo above. I’m grateful for that, because this week we’re back to rain.

I hope you all enjoy this week!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown