Saturday, July 29, 2017

Local Saturday - The Reunion

It is five years since some first cousins and their families gathered at my home in Westover, near Johnson City, New York for a mini family reunion.  We are having  another one today. 

We have been through so much, all of us, since the last reunion.  And we are five years older.  If we have one five years from now, how many of us will be able to come, I wonder, and will we all be alive?

After the 2012 reunion was over, I wrote this blog post.  So hard to believe it's been six years since a flood devastated my neighborhood, and other parts of the Triple Cities of Upstate New York.

The building below, once the largest wood framed structure in the United States, was torn down last year.  It was ruined by the flood.  Only vacant land remains.  I was reminded of this, as I had to rewrite the directions to get to our house.

Former BAE Industries, Westover, NY, July 3, 2014
This is the post I wrote after the 2012 cousins reunion, on the eve of the first anniversary of the flood - September 8 and 9, 2011.  It's a post of trauma, but also of hope.

Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

On the Cover of the Rolling....Flood Book (written in August of 2012)

It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame.  Sometimes, that fame is a welcome thing.  Don't you want to be famous?  Doesn't everyone?

Sometimes, it is your neighborhood that becomes famous.

Many times, you just as soon wish it had never happened.

That's what I wish, every time I leave my house near Johnson City, New York and walk or travel more than about three or four blocks.

I pass buildings that became vacant 11 months ago today, and are still vacant.  Some don't have interior walls.  Some are still filled with debris.  Some have "For Sale" signs.  Some still have bushes encrusted with flood mud.

There is the former credit union building.  The former day care center.  The former doctor's practice. The former 600,000. square foot factory building that once held 1300 workers.  The former adult day care center.  The sagging houses that will never be occupied again.  One entire street is almost devoid of occupants, with just a handful of hardy souls trying to reclaim their lives.

The out of business and for sale tire store whose mechanics nourished my son's love of car repair especially touches my heart.  The former.....the former.....

Many businesses have reopened.  The Home Depot.  The Ollies.  The window contractor.  The Aldi.  Our local pediatrician. A dentist.  A massage therapist.   My beloved Unicorn Electronics.  Wild Birds Unlimited.

We must look towards the future and I usually do, but today I look back one last time.

This past weekend, I had several cousins visit from the New York City area, Pennsylvania, and (by Skype) Florida, plus the midwest and Texas.  We had a lot of fun, and we talked about many things.  Still, a certain book I had taken out of the library drew a number of fascinated readers.  They paged through the pictures while my young adult son provided the narration.

One of the cousins graduated last year from Binghamton University.  She looked at pictures of places she knew. She had graduated in May of 2011 and the pictures were taken during the period of September 7, 8 and 9, 2011 during the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee,  It was a book about the flood.  If she had still been going to the college, she may well have volunteered at the Events Center, which became one of the evacuation centers.

My neighborhood is on the cover of the flood book.  My house is even visible (no, not telling you which one) in the aerial photo.  (We were one of the lucky houses, being slightly higher in elevation).

Our neighborhood of Westover, along with several other areas (some of which suffered much worse than we did) have become a symbol of the flood.  Let us name them:  Owego. Castle Gardens.  Twin Orchards.  The Southside of Binghamton.  There are others.  I really don't know why our neighborhood was chosen for its 15 minutes of fame, but it was.

When I first found out our neighborhood would be on the cover, it was emotionally very hard.  It was just a couple of months after the flood, and my feelings were still too raw.  But, when I saw the book at the library this past July, I knew it was time.  Time to put the flood where it belonged, in the past.

Time to read the book.  Time to move on.

So we looked at the book, and then went on to much happier things. We had such a good time that my sides ached the next day.

I wish the flood had never happened.  I wish I could have had the power to prevent the storm from doing what it did to our part of upstate NY and parts of several other states.  But wishes have no power.  Only actions.  We have come so far, and we should be proud.

Next month will be the one year anniversary.  I will write about the flood recovery one last time.  And then I hope to move on permanently to other blog topics.

It is time.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Skywatch Friday - Gloom And Storm

This picture was taken in Johnson City, New York, on July 23.

We have escaped the worst of the weather, but upstate New York has had everything - tornadoes, flash floods, strong winds, lightning strikes, and more.  I know someone whose mother had a tree fall on her garage.  The concern about flood increase, as our area experiences flash flooding time and again.

But, on Thursday, the sun started to shine again.  For now.

Want more pictures of the sky? Join other bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.  

Neither rain, nor gloom, keeps us from our appointed photographic rounds.

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Tree Love - The Library Garden

Imagine a public library, with its own garden.  Imagine this garden, with benches, where you can sit and read.  There should even be a raised picnic pavilion.  How about some roses?  Or hydrangeas?

On the edge of downtown Binghamton, New York, in walking distance from where I work, there is such a garden.

Imagine these trees helping to shade you on a warm summer day.
Or these.

Join Parul at Happiness and Food and other bloggers for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Falling Wednesday - Thoughts of Failing A Falling Class

Back in the middle of March, 2015, I called a number published in our county's Senior News.  A woman answered.


"Hi", I responded. " I am calling about the Stepping On Falls Prevention Class."

We chatted a couple of minutes.  She wanted to know where I had heard about the class. She talked briefly about the program - seven weeks, one class a week, a falling assessment on the first and last classes, guest speakers. They would teach exercises to help prevent falls, and would have several guest speakers talking about medication and balance, eyesight issues, and more.  The cost was reasonable - $35 for seven sessions, and I would get a workbook, too.

Then came the question.

"How old are you?"

The class was advertised for seniors 60 and over.

"62", I responded.

There was a pause at the other end - a pause that made me a little uncomfortable.

"Have you fallen yet?", she finally asked.

(For more on my interest in this class, check out this post).

Then, fate intervened.

Just before St. Patrick's Day, 2015, an in law's mother in law fell in the bathtub and hit her head. It was not her first fall.  This 82 year old woman, who was living independently with her husband of many years, was rushed to the ER later that day with symptoms of a head injury.  Things did not go well from there.[Update - she died in December of 2015, after a harrowing last few months of life for her and her family.]

The CDC has some sobering statistics about falling in older adults.  And now, this in law's mother in law is just that - a statistic.

Governments and agencies serving senior populations are recognizing the problem, and trying to take steps.  You don't have to be a senior to care about the issue.  The children and grandchildren of the woman who fell are not seniors.  This has impacted an entire family, a large, close knit family.

So, about the question "have you fallen?"

I told the woman yes, that I have fallen.  I had fallen twice between 2014 and 2015, in addition to a fall while exercising on the Vestal Rail Trail (this one due to a trick ankle from an old injury) and another walk with a fall in 2011.  The trick ankle didn't cause the home fall, though.  It was a balance problem.  I fell due to a throw rug that slid when I stepped on it.  And still another time, a shoe gripped the floor in the wrong way and I started to fall, but managed to recover.

I have problems with my balance. My spouse took me to work several times this winter because it was icy and I was frightened of falling. If I wear ice treads that are sold to slip onto boots, I feel like I'm totally unbalanced. I don't know if my near falls were caused by medication (I am on several) but I have to do something now.  I don't want to wait until I'm 82 and it's too late.

What I am concerned about the most, though, is that I am going to show up, and be in a class of 80 year olds.  Then, everyone will look at me and think "why is she here?"  Dare I call this reverse ageism, that I am not old enough to have any of the problems of a senior citizen?

In other words, is it possible in our elder society to be too young?

The first class came, and then I knew how wrong I was.  More of what I learned in future posts.

Have you taken any of these fall prevention classes?  Am I right or wrong to feel self conscious about my attendance?

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Raindrops Keep Falling on Our Heads

These daylily pictures were taken Sunday, before our onslaught of rain.

Dark pink and yellow
Purple (doesn't look as purple "in person")

Don't quite know what to call these but I like them.

Yellow (these are my largest flower).

And, from yesterday, orange from between storms when the sun came out.

It has been raining on and off and parts of the Northeast United States, where I live, have flooded.  When the rain gets heavy, I still become anxious, even six years since our major flood.  Perhaps this anxiety will never leave me, although it has gotten better over the years.

Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tomorrow - a Falling Wednesday post.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Music Moves Me - Numb

So many times in the past several years of Monday music blogging, I've had to do a tribute post.

This time, it was Chester Bennington, the 41 year old frontman of a group called Linkin Park.  Many music fans are numb.

Bennington had a hard life.  He was sexually abused when he was only seven years old, an abuse that went on for years.  As a teenager, he was bullied, and went deep into the drug scene, . He quit that, but for a while, abused alcohol.  He suffered from severe digestive issues, and from more recent physical injuries.

The cause of death was suicide, and it took place on what would have been Chris Cornell's 53rd birthday.  When Chris went down this same road in May, I blogged about that and middle aged suicide.   Now, another tormented, talented man has taken that final road.

"Numb" is a song about parents with too high expectations that spoke to many of us (over 576 million views on You Tube).

"I'm tired of being what you want me to be......don't know what you are expecting of me...every step that I take is another mistake to you...I've become so numb..."
I love the words, the melody - just everything about it. But...

Why do we do this to the ones we love?

Come join this blog hop every Monday - here are the people responsible for it:
X mas Dolly is the Conductor of this trip, and the other Conductors are her fellow bloggers Callie of JAmerican Spice, ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥  and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Today is a "free" day - but I would have blogged about this regardless.

Today is also day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Make Entertainment Great Again?

A short post today for a busy summer Sunday.

Last Tuesday, on a summer TV series called America's Got Talent, I saw this performance by a Presidential impersonator who promised to make the show Great Again.

I don't get into politics in this blog, but I wonder if this singer (who made it into the next round) might enable us to have a little fun.  I assure you, it is not mean spirited or political.  The audience loved it.  I think you may, too.

He certainly connected with the audience, and with a guest judge who said "This is a thing I didn't realize I needed in my life until now."

We really need a good laugh.  Will The Singing Trump provide it?

I don't watch muchTV, but America's Got Talent (a show I've never watched much of) has hooked me this summer.

Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost