Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday - Middle Aged Suicide

When my husband, a  Soundgarden and Audioslave fan, heard the news of rocker Chris Cornell's death, he couldn't believe it.

Soundgarden, the band Chris Cornell was the lead vocalist for at the time of his death, was participating in a Rock on the Range tour.  He had finished a live concert in Detroit, and must have been feeling the love of his fans.  Other concerts were on his schedule.
Cornell's last song is above (it's about 13 minutes long) if you care to see him hours before his death.

Why did he take his life?  Why? Why? Why?  How many times have we asked ourselves that in recent years?  His family says the suicide wasn't intentional; it may have been caused by a side effect of prescription medication.  But Cornell suffered from depression from a lot of his life, and life has not been easy for him (or anyone else who suffers from this variety of illness).

Meantime, I found this sobering statistic:  middle aged men between 45 and 65 (Cornell was 52) have the highest rate of suicide of any age group.  These men suffer in silence.  They don't reach out for help.  They must be reached in non-traditional ways.

As anyone who has had a suicide in their family knows, the impact is huge.  This pain is public, but so many go through this pain privately.

Will Cornell's death change the suicide statistics? Will we pay more attention to the issue? That remains to be seen.

I've had an earworm with  the hit song "Black Hole Sun" for the last couple of days.  So, instead of that, I'm featuring three other songs from Soundgarden, hoping they will chase the earworm away.

"Fell on Black Days" is a product of Cornell's struggles with depression.

Spoonman is a song I enjoy - in some ways it reminds me of Led Zepplin.

I will end with another song called Outshined, a personal favorite.

Another great talent gone too young.  I can't say much more.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hidden in Plain Sight

I used to have a Civil War Sunday feature on my blog for some four years.  After our Civil War was over, slavery (which was legal in some parts of our country and not in others) was abolished everywhere. (Sadly, "abolished" was a relative word).

One thing we learned in post-Civil War history was that freeing enslaved people does not necessarily make them free.  Both enslaved people and their owners are forever changed by the institution of slavery.  You can't undo that with the stroke of a pen or the firing of a gun.

Many times, enslaved people can be freed physically, but being freed mentally is a whole other story.

Here is an amazing story of an immigrant who died in 2011 who also spent almost her entire life as an enslaved person, told by a son of the family that enslaved her.  This is  the cover story of the June 2017 The Atlantic.

But, in other ways, this one story is not amazing at all.  This article in the Atlantic magazine has a large "rest of the story".

When the man who wrote this story had someone write an obituary for the woman his family called "Lola", he lied.  The obituary omitted the truth of her enslaved condition and the years of abuse that bent and warped her, abuse (both physical and mental), hidden in plain sight from her American neighbors.

The abuse prevented her from taking advantage of the freedom finally offered her.  She never learned to drive or use many modern devices.

But, at the same time, you feel for the man who wrote the article - for growing up in a household where he was raised by an enslaved person, witnessing the abuse she suffered and being (while young) powerless to stop it.  He was warped by the experience, too.  I do not condemn him in any way for initially not telling the truth of Lola.  No, I congratulate him, for speaking of a taboo topic.

The fact that so many are commenting online about this article means that we are being made to think about an inconvenient truth - that enslavement still takes place in our country, and you may live or work near such a person, without ever knowing it.

Maybe even right next door to you.

Here is a link to the article and to what has been written in response.  It is well worth reading, on this Sunday before our Memorial Day holiday.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sustainable Saturday - The Mathematic

Today, I made a trip back to a farm market near Bainbridge, New York, called Frog Pond, because I wanted to catch someone on video for a blogger, Liz, whose blog I enjoy.  She's a teacher out in California who also sells her crafts at a local  market.  She also knits, a skill I've never been able to master (I have been a crocheter for some 45 years now, however.)

We bought some wonderful local asparagus there today.

Rhubarb, I'm not fond of, but many are.

At this time, much of the food isn't local, but, as I've written before, you can try anything there before you purchase it, so you have a good idea if the quality is good or not.

I've blogged about a cashier (I believe he is a part owner of the business) who adds up your order mentally, in a sing song voice something like an auctioneer.  And the California teacher wanted to hear him in action.

So, Liz, here he is, misspelling and all.


Someone online called him a "mathematic". I don't know if it's a word, but if it is, it describes him pretty well.

Have you ever tried mental math?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Clouds from Both Sides Now #SkywatchFriday

Monday, I was walking, and saw the sun shining through some clouds.  The reflection of the sun on the clouds in the first photo is what caught my eye.

I decided to take pictures of that sky from different angles.
And another one from around the same angle as the first but a minute or two later.
How interesting what a difference several seconds makes.

Welcome to Skywatch Friday, where photographers from all over the world post pictures of the sky.  Come join us in our skywatching - it's fun!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Horse Chestnut #ThursdayTreeLove

In upstate New York, we have a beautiful tree called the horse chestnut.  It is in bloom now, and I want to show one if it's flowers to you for #ThursdayTreeLove..
Large leaves.  And even larger flowers. Unlike some spring trees, they don't flower until their leaves are grown out.  Flowers can be either whitish or pink.  This is one of the white varieties.

And in the fall, the tree produces inedible nuts that children love to play games with.  One game, in particular, conkers, stretches back hundreds of years.  There's an entire tradition in Great Britain built around preparing and playing with your horse chestnut nut (conker).

What a lot of history rolled into one majestic tree.

If you want to learn even more about these majestic trees, click here.

Join Parul Thakur and other bloggers who love trees for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Spring Things - Impossible Dream Update

She dreamed the impossible dream.
She fought the impossible fight.
I felt such unbearable sorrow
But then....

In the spring of 2015, my spouse and I decided to try the impossible - to grow a camilla in upstate New York.  Camillas are southern plants which bloom with beautiful rose like blooms.  And they are not hardy in our zone 5b back yard.

But since when did the impossible stop a gardener?

We went to Chapel Hill in North Carolina, to a nursery we had found out about on the Internet.  They specialize in camillas, and are trying to grow "hardy" camillas.  I have seen camillas in New York City but we are not in the same climate zone.  Even the most hardy camilla in Chapel Hill is only rated to zone 6a.

But we couldn't resist and bought an April Rose plant.

In 2015, the buds were already opening, and it bloomed.

Last year, it had buds, but something ate most of the buds.  And then, no new buds grew for the 2017 blooming season. It was a fail.   Or so we thought.  I didn't stop dreaming.

Apparently, neither did April Rose.

Because, on May 7, we saw this. 

And we immediately erected a fence so the lone bloom wouldn't be eaten..

I took these pictures after a hailstorm, on May 14.

This picture is from yesterday, as April Rose blooms with her one bloom.

April Rose has done the impossible again.

Even plants, it would seem, can dream.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fireworks Oreos are Popping Up All Over

My regular readers know I love Oreos, but would I eat one in the name of patriotism?

It's been a while since I've tried a new Oreo flavor.  Some of the more recent ones have not appealed to me at all.  The reviews on this one, however, seem to be positive.
When I saw these in the store, a memory came back of the time a co worker brought in sandwich cookies (not Oreos) with Pop Rocks ground into the cream filling.  They were so good - and fun, too.

So, I ought these and I will be tasting them today.

Alas, while trying to lose weight (right now, not too successfully), Oreos are more or less off limits.

And, I still miss my all time favorite, the strawberry Oreo (not to be confused with mixed berry).  But, maybe this one will be The One - the one that takes the place of strawberry oreos as my favorite.

Will these explode off the shelves?

Here are some of my other Oreo posts:
Peeps Oreos - Yea or Nay?
Happy 100th Birthday to my Favorite Cookie
Watermelon Oreos