Friday, June 24, 2022

A Bumpy Sunset #SkywatchFriday

Another sunset from my recent trip to Canandaigua, New York, in the Finger Lakes.

I looked at the sky over Canandaigua Lake, and it looked promising in the afterglow of a sunset.

Nice glow on the lake.

Now it got interesting. Spouse pointed to these bumps and told me these are mammocumulus clouds. 

A few minutes later, the bumps look even more dramatic, but they then start to dissipate.   But now, back to the after-sunset.

Almost impossible to see, but there are ducks in the lake.

The glow continues.

And the sunset says "good night"

Joining with Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Tribs in Trouble #ThursdayTreeLove

Rivers are the lifeblood of our world. They bring water, recreation, habitat for life, and transportation.

But tributaries to major rivers are also important, and sometimes, neglected.

Back in May we skipped walking in our local park for a few days. (If you read my Skywatch Friday posts, some of my sky pictures are taken in that park.) 

When we walked there once again, we noticed vertical plastic tubes all along the bank.  This is near where a tributary of the Susquehanna River flows into the main river.

This picture shows the sapling inside one of the tubes.

There is a sign near these plantings directing you to a website explaining a program called "Trees for Tribs" for more information. 

I went to the website and found some interesting information about the importance of stream-side buffers along waterways, which I am taking the liberty of posting here.

"Vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, and grasses along waterways creates a natural buffer that protects the water and provides many benefits. An established streamside buffer:

  • slows down and filters run off, preventing pollutants from getting into the water,
  • intercepts and slows water from heavy rains, reducing the instances of flooding,
  • shades streams, creating cooler temperature conditions to support fish species such as trout,
  • holds soil in place, preventing streambanks from eroding away during heavy rains, and
  • provides food and habitat for invertebrates, fish and other wildlife.

To find out more about stream buffers and their benefits, check out our stream buffer fact sheet."

The park we walk in has flooded (no surprise; it is located in a low area and I suspect that's why it's not developed) a number of times over the years and we noticed, this spring, a lot of erosion by the riverbank.  This erosion is trouble for the health of the tributary and I'm pleased the state has this program.

The organization that planted these trees provided by the state program (I'm not sure if it was our town or a nonprofit that planted these) has to commit to caring for these baby trees.  

Trees care for so much of nature and now I know they care for rivers, too.

The types of trees planted aren't marked although, according to the Department of Conservation website, they may include " wetland rose, pussy willow, ninebark, winterberry, and red oak."

It will be interesting, in the coming years, to see if these plantings will alleviate the trouble our tribs are in.  

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food for #ThursdayTreeLove.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

80 Miles of Toothpicks #WordlessWednesday

Last week, we visited the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York (a suburb of Rochester) and saw this display.

The Roman coliseum.   What a nice model, you'd say.

Then, there is the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, formerly the Church of the Holy Wisdom, in Istanbul. It's newer than the Roman coliseum but another magnificent structure.

What if I told you these structures, and others on display, are built out of toothpicks, in a 1:164 scale?

The artist, Stan Munro, was once a TV news reporter in Rochester, New York, but quit his job to devote himself to the craft of building with toothpicks.  How he got started is quite the story - his wife, who had kidney disease, needed dialysis five times a week and he would build the toothpick structures to help pass the time.

The 80 million toothpicks refer to the Great Wall of China, which would take 80 million toothpicks to build and would stretch from Rochester, New York, to Syracuse, New York.  Right now, some of his works are split between three venues - one in Rochester, one in the Eastview Mall in his present hometown of Victor, and one at a science museum in Syracuse.

Stan is looking for a museum to house his entire Toothpick World.  Do you know of one?

And that's it!  Stan has a website called Toothpick World if you want to learn more.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Summer Envy

On this first day of summer, I turn to the emotion of envy.  Envy strikes all of us, from time to time.  A couple of weeks ago, envy struck me when I least expected it.  I needed to consult with myself.

We see the good stuff, the visible stuff.  The fancy house.  The luxury car. The constant travel to exotic destinations you have wanted to visit your entire life.  The person who looks all put together every minute of the day, with perfect makeup, perfect clothes, perfect hair that has never seen a bad hair day.

We don't see the flip side.  The medical problems that person might have.  The bad marriage. The feelings of insecurity, depression or panic that shadow them wherever they go.   Perhaps their aging mother and father is in their last days.  Perhaps their teenaged or adult son or daughter is in a bad place and they constantly worry that they will get a phone call they dread.

My late mother in law told me a story once that took place in her younger years.  She was a young mother of three at the time, and there was someone in her life she envied.  

My mother in law did not have an easy life.  She experienced three cancers, including breast cancer back in the 1970's when women had a totally difference experience than they do today, along with other medical problems.  She gave birth to a son with what turned out to be autism  at a time when it was blamed on the mother.  She had absolutely no support.  

Despite all this, she found a lot of happiness in her life.

But there was a time she was envious of someone she knew, until she learned "the rest of the story".  She gave me some good advice about envy.  It's never productive.  Instead, look to the good things in your life.

Would we honestly want to trade our set of problems for another person's, she asked me.

There's a saying "count your blessings" for good reason, because it's a good practice.

On this first day of summer, I know I have many blessings in my life, too many to list.   For example, I made it to the first day of summer this year.  Not everyone I know did.  Not everyone I knew made it to the age I am, either.

Right now, we in New York State aren't in the heat dome much of the country (and some friends and family) are in.

I can take pictures of flowers, like these flowers in a rain shower last week. 

I, who grew up in a New York City apartment, can sit in a small yard (not as much work as a large one!).  Yesterday, I didn't have to work, and I watched house finches, a white breasted nuthatch and a male Northern cardinal at the feeder. A few minutes later, I saw a female ruby-throated hummingbird.

Over the winter, I saw the male Northern cardinal with one of his children in my yard.

I have day lilies blooming.

My spouse made me popcorn to snack on while I was out here.

I have the freedom to write a blog on whatever topic I wish.

On this first day of summer, I look forward to today.

Monday, June 20, 2022

In The Court of the Music Kings and Queens #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and we all know what time it is.  It's time for Music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and the world famous (not) me. 

Our founder, Marie aka Xmas Dolly, has stepped back from blogging for now, and would appreciate your good thoughts as she works through some health issues. 

We'd love more music lovers to join our fun group.  All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").  So easy!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For June, we once again welcome Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Her theme for this week is: You Pick.

Earlier this week, I spent part of a week in Canandaigua, New York, in the Finger Lakes.  When we were last there, in August of 2021, King Crimson was holding a concert in an outdoor venue.  We didn't go (we had no idea the concert was being held until we got there) but the acoustics were such that we could hear King Crimson playing in the motel's outside patio. We couldn't quite make out what we were listening to, but we could hear their music.

In honor of King Crimson, here is the only song of theirs I know - From 1969, The Court of the Crimson King. 

This puts me in the mood for three other songs.

 Pink Floyd - Brain Damage/Eclipse, from 1973's Dark Side of the Moon album.  This album, in my humble opinion, is one of the best albums ever.  Other people must agree - this album was on the Billboard Top 200 for some 958 weeks - although these weeks weren't all consecutive.  That consecutive streak held from 1973 to 1988 and it's been back on the charts several times since.

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath, because the video uses clips from the 1926 silent movie "The General" (based on a real incident during the United States Civil War).  I think you'll enjoy the physical comedy of the incomparable Buster Keaton.

And, because yesterday was Juneteenth, and today is the Federal holiday, I am going to switch tracks for my final two songs.

Aretha Franklin and "Respect", from 1967.

Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "What's Going On" with a present day video.

And that's a wrap.

Join me next week for another episode of "Music Moves Me."

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day 2022

Today is Juneteenth - if you want to learn more, please check out my Juneteenth post.

Today is also Father's Day in the United States, and it also would have been the birthday of my best friend from childhood, who died in 2015.   

My father died when I was in my 30's, almost 40 years ago, and I think about him each Father's Day.

So I am going to repeat a post from Father's Day 2015 and combine it with another Father's Day I sometimes post.  It's long but I hope you'll read all of it.

Let me first take you back to July of 1914.  The world is on the brink of World War I, going through a series of crises, but no one knows how close to war the world is yet.  My father is also too young to know.  He certainly doesn't know that the life expectancy for a male born in 1914 is only 52 years.  Or that the leading causes of death in 1914 included tuberculosis, influenza, and diarrhea.  Or that his one daughter would use something called the "Internet" one day to blog, and to pay tribute to him.

He would have no idea what a blog was.  Or a cell phone.  Or a computer.  They were way in the future, the future he was fated never to know.

When he was a young child, he would have been too young to know that a pandemic would hit, taking some 675,000. American lives, and more than 50 million lives world wide.

My father was born and grew up in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Brownsville.  My grandfather owned a candy store, which he ran with the help of his wife (my grandmother) and their six children (including him).  A seventh child died weeks after birth.

In the 1930's, my father's mother died, from complications of high blood pressure, an illness so easily treated today.  My father ended up quitting high school after two years.

Dad doesn't have too much of an Internet presence, but there are a couple of things I can find.  Several years ago, I looked at his record in the 1940 census, when he was still living at home with his father and several siblings. 

I then looked up my father's World War Two enlistment record and found this.   What I know of his enlistment is that he was already considered disabled (a childhood illness destroyed his hearing in one ear) and had tried to enlist without success.  But, by 1942, we needed anyone who could serve.

State of Residence: New York
County or City: Kings[Brooklyn]
Enlistment Date: 6 Aug 1942
Enlistment State: New York
Enlistment City: Fort Jay Governors Island

Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of miscellaneous electrical equipment, n.e.c.
Marital Status: Single, with dependents
Height: 69
Weight: 130

I suspect one of the dependents was his younger brother, the only sibling still alive today.  He and two of his sisters helped to raise my uncle after my grandmother died, in their own apartment.

His military experience shaped my father's life.  For the first time, he was out of Brooklyn. He saw the South (stationed in Arkansas and Mississippi).  He was also stationed for a time in India.  He would sometimes tell me bedtime stories about his time in India.

My father didn't make it to the end of the war.  He suffered a head injury and was flown back to the States.  He was given an honorable discharge but suffered the aftereffects of that injury for the rest of his life.  

After the war he worked for several years on Governor's Island, part of New York City, where his World War II enlistment took place.

Now, his one child is in her late 60's, and our country is in its third year of a pandemic.  We recently passed 1,008,000. dead in our country, and 6,339,000 worldwide.

When I was 12, my mother died, and my father raised me to adulthood as a single father in their Bronx apartment in a city housing project.

When his last sister died, in the first decade of the 21st century, the funeral procession didn't go directly to the cemetery.  It wound through Brooklyn, going through some neighborhoods before it got on the highway. I wondered where we were going and why.  It didn't occur to me at the time that we were going near to where where my aunt, my father, and their siblings, had grown up.  It was one final tribute.  My father had died almost twenty years before.  I found out about why the path to the cemetery after the funeral.

I owe a lot to my father and the simple, everyday lessons he taught me.  He did what he could the best he knew how. He ended his life in Brooklyn, in the same facility where his own father spent his last days.

My love of history, a love I share with my late father, got me to thinking how much our world has changed in the many years since my father was born.

But also, how much the world has stayed the same.

I also wonder what my childhood best friend would have thought of these times.  One thing she never withheld were her opinions.

Happy Father's Day, wherever you are, Dad. 

And to you, my best friend from childhood, I commemorate your earthly birthday.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Juneteenth Eve

Tomorrow is June 19.

For many years, I knew June 19 as the birthday of an almost lifelong friend (now, sadly, no longer with us).

As an adult, I learned that June 19 had another meaning and another name:  Juneteenth.  Here is a brief history of Juneteenth and its meaning.

I never learned about Juneteenth in school.  Surprising, perhaps, that my school system in New York City, so highly regarded in the 1950's and 1960's, didn't teach me about Juneteenth in the midst of the 1960's Civil Rights movement?   But they never taught me about the Tulsa Race Riots, either, or so many other occurrences that Black people suffered through in their just over 400 years in our country.

Now, Juneteenth, June 19, is a Federal holiday.  Its official name is Juneteenth National Independence Day, but it is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day.

Tomorrow will be my Father's Day post, and Monday my Music Moves Me post, so I want to bring you three songs today in commemoration of the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were told that they were free.

One thing I did learn in school was a song called "Lift Every Voice and Sing", here sung by Alicia Keys. This song was a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900.  The music was written by Johnson's brother.

Let's move forward to the 1960's. Nina Simone and Mississippi Goddam, a song from 1964 that I heard for the first time earlier this week.  What a powerful song it is. 

Finally, a song by Sam Cooke that was released two weeks after his death -  A Change is Gonna Come.

The document issued by a Union general that led to Juneteenth is called General Order 3 and you will note how it reads towards the end:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

A long hard path followed, one that is still being walked.