Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blue Monday #blogboost

Yesterday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, also known as Blue Monday.

According to Wikipedia:  "The concept was first published as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation."  Blue Monday is the third Monday of January here in the northern hemisphere.

Well, people who know me know that I am not very good at math.   Since yesterday was Music Moves Me, I am talking about Blue Monday on Tuesday.

For me, anyway, Blue Monday was not blue.

True, where I live in upstate New York, snow was on the ground, we had a harsh wind chill, and the weather forecast was...well, wintry.  The break in the cold the Northeast United States experienced the weekend before last is a memory.

But, consider this.  It was sunny, something that usually only comes with cold in our winters.

Yesterday, in our United States date notation, was 01/20/2020.  When will that ever happen again?

Spouse and I had lunch with two cousins, as we were passing through where they live.   It's nice to visit with family.

And, speaking of blue, note this sunset from last night.

This was taken during the "blue hour", a time after sunset but before darkness descends.  The sky is still blue and you can see a pink cast looking east.
As the sunset progressed, the blue remained and there was a yellow glow in the west.

A perfect end.

Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 20, 2020

Songs that Appeal #MusicMovesMe #blogboost

It's the third Monday of a new year.  It's time for #MusicMovesMe!
Who are the members of Music Moves Me?  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,  please containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

Today, I again welcome those in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to rock out with me.

For January, our guest conductor is Michelle at Music and Merriment with Michelle.  Today, and I apologize for this, I am not going to be following the theme, mainly because the death of Rush's drummer Neil Peart derailed me a little and, due to circumstaances, the only thing I could do was move the post I intended for the 13th into this spot. So come back again next week.

Today, I feature songs that have appealed to me recently.

From 1962/1963:  Vince Guaraldi Trio  and the Grammy Award winner "Cast Your Fate To the Wind".

From 1966, The Left Banke and "Walk Away Renee".

From 1984, Talk Talk and "It's My Life".

From 1965, Gerry and the Pacemakers with "Ferry Cross the Mersey". 

Ricky Nelson, with his 1961 hit "Traveling Man". 

"We Gotta Get Out of this Place"by the Animals - a 1965 classic beloved by those who served in Vietnam.

Wrapping up with Del Shannon and "Runaway". 

See you next week - same time, same place.

And, while we are at it:  day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Restaurant Nostalgia #blogboost

Last Sunday, I wrote a post suggesting we say no to nostalgia, and...here I am being nostalgic.

Do you remember restaurant chains that have gone under?  I thought about that after reading an article predicting the possible demise in 2020 of various restaurant chains:  Steak and Shake, Ruby Tuesday's, Friendly's, and others.

It's curious.  Chains that have come and gone in the 30 some odd years I've lived in the Binghamton, New York area (some of which are still alive and well) include:

Ground Round, Pizzeria Uno (Uno Pizzeria and Grill), Hooters (yes, even a Hooters couldn't make it here), Fuddruckers, and more.

Which led me to another thought:  how many restaurant chains I knew from my childhood and early adulthood no longer exist?

Many.   Let's name a few.

Horn and Hardart.  Remember the Automats?  I do, from my New York City childhood.

Howard Johnson's.  There was one in the Bronx (near to where I grew up).  My aunt would take me there and it was such a treat.

Steak and Brew, which became Beefsteak Charlie's. My spouse and I had many dates at Steak and Brew.

Or Lums, which I remember from living in Florida for a brief time in the 1970's.

Chi-Chi's Spouse and I frequented in Wichita, Kansas in the late 1970's.

Steak and Ale.

Charlie Browns, a chain my mother in law loved.

It's quite a list.

Do you have any favorites to add?

 Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow #blogboost

At Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, we ran across a beautiful blooming tree called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

The blooms open as dark violet, then lighten, and in its final hours, turns white.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Alas, this is another plant I can't grow in my upstate New York zone 5b garden, as it is only hardy to zone 9.

Another plant for my dreams, along with the camilla (which I did try to grow in my yard, and it didn't end well for the plant) and crepe myrtle, which can grow in Southern New York State but not where I live.

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Spirit of Punta Gorda #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

The weather for sunset wasn't promising, but I had learned my lesson last week, and we went to a park in Punta Gorda, Florida just in case.  Am I glad we did.

There, in a park, we found a statue erected after Punta Gorda survived Hurricane Charley.  It's called "The Spirit to Punta Gorda".

This statue was created in 2005 by artist Peggy McTeague and friends, who welded various pieces of metal, including I-beams from destroyed hurricane trailers.  At the base (you will have trouble seeing it in my photos) there is a sundial, with a shadow at 4:27pm marking the time Hurricane Charley hit the city.
Approaching the statue, which is one upright palm and one bowed down palm separated by a sundial.
I think this one was my favorite.
Here you can see both metal palm trees, with real ones in the near distance.

Just think - Punta Gorda ("Fat Point" in Spanish) remained unbowed despite being hit by a Category four hurricane in August of 2004.

Join Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Nine Pieces of Blogging Advice #blogboost

As we approach the thrid week of the January Ultimate Blog Challenge, I wanted to share some hard-learned lessons with you.  I've published some of these observations before, but good advice never gets old.  Here are nine things I learned  from all my years of blogging.

1.  My first piece of advise will be strange.  Do you REALLY want to blog?  If so, why?  You have to know yourself AND the audience you want to attract.  I really wanted to blog but I just started to blog one day (after having "thought about it").   I blogged for over two years without any kind of readership, and it is a bit lonely out there. I would not be blogging today if I hadn't been told (by a friend who is a writer) about them. This leads to advice #2:

2.  I wish I knew there was such a thing as blogging challenges when I started.  If you want to grow your readership (and who doesn't want followers, for either personal or business reasons?), this is one of the fastest ways to increase your readership.  In turn, by reading the blogs of those in your challenge, you will quickly learn what works - and what doesn't.

But again, you need to know your "why".  Why are you doing this? Personal satisfaction?  Connecting with people with similar interests?  Gaining customers for your business?  Getting experience so you can write blogs for businesses?  Challenges go only so far.

3.  I wish I knew that consistent posting is key.  I highly recommend daily posting, at least for the first month or two of your blog.   Once you establish yourself, what becomes necessary is not daily posting, but, rather, consistent posting.  If you don't want to post daily - and many bloggers don't want to, or can't - then it helps your readers to know that you have a schedule. Then stick to it.  I know successful bloggers who blog only once a week.  Or only on weekdays.  Whatever works.

4.  I wish I knew there is no such thing as a perfect blog post.  Perfection is not necessary.  Passion IS necessary.  If you don't like what you write, your readers won't, either.

5. If you love something, work that into your blog posts.  If you couldn't care less about that topic, don't bother.  Blog about something you love.  I can't emphasize this enough.  That dislike/boredom/lack of passion will show right through your writing.

6.  But, you must know what your readers want.  A blog is not all about you.  It is about your readers, too.    Your readers may want to know about you, but they also want to learn, or enjoy the music/photos you post, or - there has to be a reason for them to keep coming back.  And, don't ever take your readers for granted.   There are (literally) hundreds of thousands of blogs out there.

7.  I wish I knew how important blogging comments are.  Those comments are more valuable to a blogger than breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even good chocolate. People love to be appreciated?  If you get a comment, try your best to find the website of the commenter (it isn't always easy) and check them out.  That's the least you can do to say "thank you".

Confession:  Even now, when things get busy in my life, I forget to respond to my commenters - not a good practice.

8. If you do disagree with a post, which is fine, please, please, please, be respectful. There is a person, a living, breathing human being with feelings, on the other end of that blog post you like or dislike. If you lurk, please comment on some other blog posts today!

9.  Pictures.  People love pictures.

Flower picture from one of my walks

But don't use photos without permission - EVER.  But no one is going to appreciate people who get photos off of Google Image searches.  Even if the site says you can use photos, please read the fine print.  Do you need to ask permission? Or, is the stated free use without strings attached? For example, if you make money off your blog, that "free use" may go away.

So:  anything to add?  Anything you disagree with?

Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January Violets - Garden Bloggers Bloom Day #blogboost

The first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for 2020 leaves me, in my zone 5b garden, a bit short of blooms.

Despite record high temperatures this past week, nothing much is growing outside my home near Binghamton, New York.

Inside, my amaryllis aren't blooming yet (I intentionally planted mine late) so I don't have much to offer you.

Just some African violets, all of which you have seen before.
But what is wrong with reruns?
This is a specialty violet I had bought from a local nursery the beginning of January, and I recently transplanted it into a self watering pot because the small pot had been drying out so rapidly.

Finally, my Thanksgiving cactus, after having a banner year, haven't done that well bloom-wise this season, but one does have a flower to show you.

My thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for keeping the gardening fires alive for us in cold climates (and letting us see the flowers of warm climes) each 15th of the month.

See you again in February!

Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.