Forbidden City Finger Magnets

The dragons of this decoration seem to be finger magnets; they are well polished by the caresses of people passing through this not-on-the-attractions-list area. Other parts of the design don’t seem to have attracted the same attention.

Notice the shiny gold dragons?
Notice the shiny gold dragons?

People were lined up (more or less) to touch this lion head handle on one of the water vats.

hadn touching the Lion handle of a water vat in the Forbidden City.
Finger magnet.

This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Sense of Touch. These are a few almost quirky pictures I took at the Forbidden City because I found it interesting that people were allowed to touch and there seemed to be a  few things they almost couldn’t resist touching.

Chinese Connections

Connected with wires:

Chinese building with a lot of electric and/or communication lines coming in.
Well connected house.

Connected by water:

Human connections:

Connecting over a game of chess.
Connecting over a game of chess.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connected.”

Is there an “Elvis Effect”?

If numerology and astrology are ways to understand yourself and plan your life, then why not use the song that was number one the year you were born? How might that work?

Music has a strong influence on us, (think for example about the Mozart Effect) and I am very sensitive to noise, somewhat ironic since I am all but tone deaf. Could the music we hear when our brains are forming be a factor in who we are?

When I looked up the #1 hit song for when I was born, I more than half expected that I would never have heard of it, since it was a bit before the British Invasion music that mostly played on the radio when I was young. Instead it was Be My Little Good Luck Charm by Elvis. (I didn’t realize what a hunk he was!) I could definitely imagine my parents dancing to it. They were extremely young (17 and 23) when I was born. Since they were so young the hits were probably what was playing (my husband and I were a bit older when we became parents and mostly had an oldies station playing).

The things I liked about Good Luck Charm were that is has a nice beat, not too fast or too slow, a pleasant melody, and nice words. It is a pleasant song with a cheery air to it. I would like my life to be that way, and mostly it is. Although sometimes I have to stop and, as the Africans say, “pull up my socks”*, in order to keep it so.

Could there be an “Elvis Effect”? The next question might be: how would someone who’s number one is heavy metal filled with swearing approach life? To find out what was playing when you were born check out the birthdayjams website.

*I love this saying. It makes me remember the feel of socks bunched down around my arches. A reminder that sometimes in order to go faster sometimes you have to stop and make adjustments, then get going again.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Number One.”

Fountain of Youth

The question is: If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?

The question resonates with me because I am feeling a bit…well…old right now.

This morning I have that sharp pain in the middle of my back that comes from carrying an unbalanced load. That means I didn’t put both straps of my overloaded purse-backpack thing on, yet again.

(It just occurred to me that the above sentence is a metaphor for my life! Must try to remember to explore that idea, but back to topic.)

I have always gotten that pain, at least ever since college, and I have blanked out most memories from before then. The main differences are that it used to take a bigger load (calculus text books are heavy!),  now just laying on my back on the floor for an hour doesn’t work, and aspirin gives me a stomach ache so I have to just tough it out. I will need to be careful for a whole week to make up for one day of careless shopping/errand running

The other thing that makes me feel old this week is that I had a passport type picture taken to send in for a visa to go visit my son and it was hard, very hard, to look at that picture. My eyes look really old and crinkly, my skin also looks really sallow almost jaundiced.

I have some excuses: When I went to my local drug store to have the picture taken they had some challenges:

  • The area where they took the picture was painted a rather unfortunate shade of mustard-y yellow and they had florescent lights. In the first shot he took I looked like an orange alien with lizard eyes!
  • They make you take your glasses off, so I was squinting to try and see the camera and guy who was giving me instructions.
  • The background screen was mounted too low so I had to stand with bent knees but strait enough to be face on to the camera in order to be centered, the “neither up nor down” position in The Grand Old Duke of York song. It was a bit uncomfortable, probably making the facial expression (a.k.a. wrinkles) worse.
  • You aren’t allowed to smile. ( That is really too bad because I had to repress a broad grin about what the fellow shoppers were seeing!) I like to think my winning smile outshines my many physical quirks.

Excuses aside, the reality is that I will never be 20, 30, 40 or even 50 again. So would I drink from the fountain of youth?  The answer is sometimes I would and sometimes I wouldn’t.

Today I might. In fact after seeing those pictures, I am trying to drink a lot of water in hopes of re-hydrating  my prune-y eyes a bit (along with slathering on moisturizer and taking a multi-vitamin, I have been neglecting to take care of myself and spending too much time unprotected in the sun this busy summer).

Other days would have other answers, because, in general, I feel pretty good, better in many ways than I did at times when I was younger, even if I don’t look as good. That doesn’t bother me a lot since I don’t look at myself much, and my husband is too fond of me to say anything.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forever Young.”

“You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

The question posed is: Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

My answer is: It isn’t either/or.

My mother-in-law used to say “you pays your money and you takes your choice”. She had a way of saying it that emulated my idea of a man at a fair. You get the prize that goes with your choice. If you want a different prize then you pay more money to make a different choice.

Isn’t the real art of living to see what you can do with with what you have? Choice and fate together make a life. Like making a scrap quilt from fabrics that you have picked up here and there through the years.

…or choosing the softest, sweetest kitty-cat at the Humane Society on the day when you realized you were lonely and needed a companion.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Que Sera Sera.”

Travel Theme: Gleaming

To gleam is to “shine brightly, especially with reflected light”, according to The Google. Here are some of my gleaming travel experiences.

These are the gleaming white walls of “The Getty” in LA:

A gleaming sculpture welcoming folks to Yreka, California:

Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.
Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.

A sheep with gleaming wool somewhere in western Ireland:

Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.
Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.

Gleaming modern Beijing Nan (South) train station:

Beijing Nan train station in China.
Beijing Nan train station in China.

A gleaming sea serpent in Fort Bragg, California:

Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.
Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.

Gleaming golden serenity in the form of the Buddha at the Great Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, China:

Golden Buddha at Great Wild Goose Pagoda
Gleaming serenity.

Pasqueflower seedheads gleaming in the early morning light at Mount Rainier in Washington state:

Pasqueflower seedheads.
Pasqueflower seedheads.

Post inspired by Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme: Gleaming.

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