Friday, August 28, 2015

Falling Friday - Fear

Today, I want to share with you a blog post by a writer and blogger, Amy, who is losing both her vision due to a medical condition called Retinitis pigmentosa (RP). She also has a condition called Usher Syndrome, and is also losing her hearing   She has faced this challenge with her religious faith and with a great sense of humor, but, in this post, she blogs about her elderly mother and her mother's fear of falling.

Amy has increased her mobility with mobility training, but has suffered her share of falls, too.

Amy's mother, who is close in age to my mother in law, has become afraid to go out because of her fear of falling.  She has osteoporosis, too (a condition my mother in law does not have).  Similar to my mother in law though, this woman has children who love her.

Amy tries to find ways to get her mother out and blogs about a successful outing.  Amy has the additional challenge of not being able to drive, and being dependent on others for transit.  But she manages.

In some ways, the experience Amy described reminded me of being in my falls prevention class back in May and June of this year.

We had a vision specialist come and talk to us, and I found that many of the people in my class had Retinitis pigmentosa.  Theirs came on late in life, unlike Amy's, but some were so concerned about falling (everyone in the class, including the instructors, had fallen) that some were prisoners to fear.  Some would not even go out in winter - and our winters here in upstate New York are long and full of ice and snow.

Mobility really matters.  My mother in law has mobility issues due to a stroke and injuries from several falls (and is also recovering from surgery).  Slowly, she is recovering some mobility.  But she has also become comfortable and set in her ways.  Her lift chair, and her TV, have become her friends.

Mobility is something we take for granted until it is gone. 

I hope I can convince my mother in law (with the blessing of her doctor) to go to a falls prevention class similar to the one I took.  And, as for Amy's mother, I hope that other opportunities arise that encourage her Mom to leave the house.

Amy sums it all up:  and if you see yourself or a loved one in her blog, afraid of falling, please seek out help.  Talk to a medical professional.  See if there is a falls prevention program where you or your loved one lives  If you have visual impairments, there is hope, too, as Amy demonstrates in her blog and in her book, Mobility Matters.

As Amy sums up in her post:

Everyone needs to get out sometimes. People need to be refreshed to see their life and themselves in a new way, to know they count. People need to be mobile.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Women's Equality Day

 Yesterday, August 26, was Women's Equality Day in the United States.  On August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment was adopted, giving women nationwide in the United States the constitutional right to vote for the first time.

For that, we need to thank the 19th century, as I did in this post (slightly edited) from earlier in the year.

If you are a woman, do you vote?  Do you exercise your hard earned rights, or do you take them for granted?

 Thanking the 19th Century

100 years ago, in the United States, women could not vote in a national election (that right was granted by the 19th amendment, ratified in 1920) nor in many local/state elections.

This building is the Wesleyan Chapel, located in Seneca Falls, New York.  The original building (most of this building was a reconstruction) was built in 1843.

In this building, in  July of 1848, the First Women's Right Convention was held.  Out of this convention a document called the Declaration of Sentiments came, signed by 68 women and 32 men.

I would like to write this letter to all the signers of this document, but especially, the women:

"Dear signers of the Declaration of Sentiments:

"I owe so much to you, as a married woman living in the United States.  Due to your courage:
-I have the right to vote
-I can keep the wages I make
-I have the right to own property and to pass it down, upon my death, to the person or persons I choose
-I have the right to an education.

and I have other rights women in some other countries don't have - the right not to have their bodies mutilated,  the right to marry or not marry, the right to become or not become pregnant, the right to attend school without worrying about being kidnapped and sold into slavery, or being killed, and even the right to drive a car.

If I wanted to write a book, I could do that under my own name.  I wouldn't have to pretend to be a man.

It took so many years for you to win those rights for me.  Instrumental in getting these rights were your efforts in getting women the right to vote.

And now, too many women take these rights for granted.  Many of us don't vote.  We don't take advantage of educational opportunities.  We devalue ourselves.

A sad thing about history is, if you didn't live it, you tend to forget it.  I can remember the days of "Male" and "female" help wanted ads, just as one example.  I can remember when one of my high school teachers became pregnant, and had to leave when she started to show. (This, incidentally, was in 1969.)

You all taught me never to take rights for granted.  Rights taken for granted are rights lost.

Worst of all, there are places where women have never had those rights, and both men and women suffer for it. That's part of women's history, too, the story of the present.

Those once called suffragettes, thank you for your courage.

Thank you for what you did for generations yet unborn. Like mine.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Ramblings - Mosaics and Flowers

Yesterday, I blogged about possible changes to my blog.  One thing that will not change is my love of exploring and taking pictures.

Today, fall is in the air.  But, earlier in August, summer ruled.

Join me on a walk I took with a friend on August 7 along the Chenango River in downtown Binghamton, New York.

Some students spent part of their summer vacation with a local mosaics businessowner in creating these mosaics.

How beautiful is this red and purple spiral?

Or this contrast in color? (Do you want to see more of the mosaics? Let me know.)

And along the riverbank, wildflowers were blooming.

Not only wildflowers, but this stray day lily rewarded our walk.

If I took that walk today, I would find something different.  That is the beauty of nature.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Change is in the Air

Change is in the air.

The garden tells me we are nearing fall.

The weather is turning cooler.

My blog may change.

My blog is a work in progress, just like this mosaic (picture taken earlier in August) in downtown Binghamton, New York, where I work.

I have been blogging daily for four years now (well, since late April of 2011, so it's been more than four years), and blogging since 2009.  Of late, I haven't had the "bandwidth" (an expression a sister in law taught me) to post new posts daily.  I've been including one or two "throwbacks" each week. 

I've also had a somewhat unfocused blog for the years since I started blogging.  My blog's title reflects that: "Ramblin' with AM". Not "Focused with AM".  Not "Predictable with AM".  I do have three weekly features, on Wednesdays, Saturday and Sunday but they've been drifting a bit lately.  My Civil War Sunday, due to lack of time in being able to research, has almost ground to a halt.

More and more I want to talk about my personal life, including my brother in law with a developmental disability called autism. I want to talk more about what it is like to age.  I want to show some of the attitude I am developing.  It's a good thing, this developing attitude - the attitude of "I'm 62 and certain things I am just not going to take anymore, because life has taught me that it is too short."

But I know talking about my personal life  is not going to interest a whole lot of my readers.  This blog is about my readers.  I should be providing content YOU want, not what I want to write.

But it is increasingly hard for me to come up with fresh content.

Yet, I know a lot of my readers enjoy my flower photography, so I will assure them that the photography will continue.

So, I am not sure where I want to go from here.  There's danger if I change what I have been doing with this blog, but also opportunity.

I just don't know how this will resolve, but when I do know, you'll be the first to find out.

And meanwhile, here's a flower.  It's shy, just like me, but waiting for its moment.  Its center looks like an eye playing peek-a-boo.

I wonder what it is envisioning for the future of my blog.

Monday, August 24, 2015

On The Trail

Today, let me take you on a walk on the Vestal Rail Trail, in Vestal, New York (near Binghamton) on a mild late summer day.

The wildflowers are out.
Goldenrod is one of the most distinctive wildflowers of late summer here in upstate New York.  It is a native wildflower, and a member of the aster family.  Contrary to common belief, it does not aggravate hay fever, as its pollen is generally not distributed by wind.

I am told its young shoots are edible.  I've not tried them.

In Germany, it is considered an invasive plant.
Joe Pye weed is finishing up.  This is also a native, and is sweetly scented like vanilla.  There are, in fact, some cultivated varieties, but you need a lot of space - even "dwarfs" grow to some eight feet (2.43m) tall.

Japanese knotweed is not native, and is invasive.  It is blooming almost everywhere, it seems.  I have to admit to a fondness for it, as invasive as it is.  We can blame Frederick Law Olmstead (one of the designers of New York City's Central Park) for introducing it to the United States in the 1800's.

As time permits, I'll publish more photos of my walk later this month.

Nature is all around us, even in urban areas.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Civil War Sunday - Then and Now

I've had to cut back my United States Civil War Sunday posts due to family obligations, as they take a lot of time to research.  But, today, I wanted to share something with you.

Online, recently, there has been a trend - dare I call it a meme? - to recreate photographs of the past. Some take old photos of their childhood and pose, as adults in the same places, in the same positions.  Others take historical photos, and go back to the site to photograph what is there now.

This photographer from the British paper The Guardian  went to Civil War sites (1861-1865) and photographed them as they appear today.

This is how he did it.

As you view each old photo, it dissolves into the photo of the same site today.

I've been to several of these sites - Ft. Sumter (where the war began), Antietam, Washington, DC, Gettysburg.  Viewing these photos, for me, is an emotional experience although none of my ancestors fought in the war.  My ancestors dd not come to the United States until the early 20th century but the Civil War, I sometimes feel, is embedded in my DNA.

Whether you are interested in the Civil War, or just history in general, this site is a must-view.

Have you ever tried to recreate historical photos?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Local Saturday - There's No Place Like Home

After several weeks of having to travel about 150 miles from home every weekend, I am finally home to stay - and savoring every bit of the summer that remains.

For example, I have a couple of day lilies still blooming.  A red one, which I bought last year, is obviously a late variety.

But this yellow one has been blooming, a little at a time, since around July 5.  I can not believe the staying power of this short lily, almost hidden in a patch of oregano, but blooming away.

Some basil, complete with a bee in the upper left hand corner, in a pot in my front yard.

 A pepper plant in my front yard is finally bearing red peppers.

A Burpees bush cucumber plant, growing in my front yard, has already provided me with some cukes for pickles.  Protected by a fence, it is doing quite well despite neglect. But one end of each cuke is skinny - I've never seen this before.  They look like little balloons.  The skin is a tiny bit tough, but the taste is good.

Just about now, I should be offering some recipes to you, my dear readers.  But today, I won't.   Maybe later next week.

It's so good to be home at last.