Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spying on Alaska

I love the golden light just before sunset, where I live in upstate New York.  Spring light can be so beautiful, too, as the days get longer and longer.

But now the days have become as long as they will get.  It's so hard to believe that, as we enter summer, the daylength will start its shrinkage back to the first day of winter.

Today, I gazed upon a webcam in Fairbanks, Alaska.  In their local time, it was about 2:05 am.  The sky was pink with a sunrise - or, was it a sunset?  Up there, I suppose it barely matters - it is light enough to see 24 hours a day right now, although the sun does set - sort of.

The midnight sun has always fascinated me.  You can find more Alaska webcams here and do your own looking at the midnight sun.

One day, I would love to see it in person.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - The Full Measure of Courage

Today, my childhood best friend would have turned 66 years old.  But she is not here to celebrate with me.

This is from a post from the summer of 2013, when my friend was a couple of years into her fight for health.

My friend sent an email to friends and family:
I brought the fruits of my knit/crochet project to the pediatric oncology department today. Grand total was 2 baby blankets 7 hat scarf sets, 2 plain hats, and 9 infant/toddler hats. The nurses were so excited and happy. Some good came out of some bad. I hope some children like the things I made while waiting.
As one of my other friends from childhood said "cancer and children should never be in the same sentence."

At the time I wrote this post, my friend's husband was battling cancer alongside of her. Her spouse had to spend a lot of time in doctor's offices to be treated for a medical condition.   My friend normally came with  him and waited for him while he has his treatment - sometimes waiting an hour (or even more).

Out of boredom, she started to do her needlework while waiting.

She did beautiful crocheting and knitting work - and, recently, has been working on projects for pediatric oncology patients.

I crochet but I do not knit, and I wanted to show off her work because I know quality work when I see it.   Again, this is from 2013:

A crocheted blanket and some knit hats.
Another crocheted blanket.
And finally, some hats and scarves.

We have the cliche "lemons out of lemonade" - this is about as lemony as you can get.

And now she's gone - three years gone, in September.  In her last two years, she showed the full measure of courage, but she fought a foe that was strong, and unrelenting.   Her memory lives on in those of us who miss her.  On days like today, especially - what would have been her birthday - I miss her.  She was a teacher, and she taught me so much.

One day, perhaps, I will understand why she was taken from us too soon.

One day, perhaps, no one will know the meaning of the word "cancer".

Monday, June 18, 2018

TV and Movie Themes of the 50's and 60's #MusicMovesMe

Music Lovers, it is time for some Nostalgia!  More specifically, the bloggers of #MusicMovesMe, for your pleasure, are blogging today about the movie or TV themes of their childhoods.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers?  We ride on a weekly train of music and we are headed by our head Engineer XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is visiting when she can ) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy   And, finally, last but not least - little ol' me.  And, for the next few months, we will also have guest conductors.  Go to Xmas Dolly's site, get the complete list, and you can find out how you could guest conduct next year.

Today, I am the guest conductor and I am bringing you TV and movie themes from my childhood in the 1950's and 60's.

In my childhood, TV game shows were big.  One of the biggest one was a show called the Match Game.  It took its theme from an instrumental called A Swingin' Safari by Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra, from 1962. I could wish for more instrumentals today.  Thank you for fellow participant in Music Moves Me John Holton for digging this one up for me.

Prime time cartoons were also big in the early 1960's.  Does anyone out there remember Bugs Bunny's This is It?  And oh, what heights we'll hit....

How about a glimpse into the future, early 1960's style, from The Jetsons?  Not exactly accurate, it turns out.  But TV Cartoons could take up a blog post of their very own, so onward.

A popular meme during the early 1960's was the TV Doctor. The theme song of Dr. Kildare (played by Richard Chamberlain) was so haunting to me - here, Richard Chamberlain sings the theme, called Three Starts Will Shine.  So swoon-worthy, sigh........

And then there was the meme of the TV Lawyer.  Perhaps the most famous of them was Raymond Burr, as Perry Mason.  Here's his theme.

Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor sing Green Acres.

Switching to movies - from 1960, the theme from Exodus, as composed by Ernest Gold.  A version by Ferrante and Teicher went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.

The original James Bond theme.  007 rules!

How about a little song and dance from the year I was born (although technically, I wasn't born yet when this movie came out) - from 1952, Gene Kelly dances and sings in "Singin' in the Rain".

I will close with this 1966 theme song from the movie Georgy Girl - sung by The Seekers.

I hope I helped to make your Monday airy and light.  Have a wonderful week!  And be sure to visit the other Music Moves Me blogs for musical treats.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father 2018

This is a post I repeat almost every Father's Day, with some edits.

It is 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 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.

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.

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.

He doesn't have too much of an Internet presence, my father, but there are a couple of things I can find.  I looked at his record in the 1940 census, still living at home with his father and several siblings.  1942, his enlistment record in the United States Army, where his term of enlistment was for the duration of World War II "plus six months", show him as "single with dependents". 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.

The military experience shaped his life.  For the first time, he was out of Brooklyn. He saw the South.  He saw India.  He would sometimes tell me stories about his time in India as bedtime stories.

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, my father married.  Today, in fact, would have been their wedding anniversary.

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

When his last sister died, in the mid 2000's, 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 she, and my father, had grown up (which is now in a slum). One final tribute.  My father had died almost twenty years before.  I found that out afterwards.

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, which love I share with my late father, got me to thinking how much our world has changed in the 104 years since my father was born.

And, how much the world has stayed the same.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Disappearing Generation

Our parent's generation is disappearing, we who are called "baby boomers".  Each day, there are fewer and fewer to carry on memories.

I saw a Facebook post yesterday, one that got me to thinking. 

It was a picture of a young adult woman with a monkey perched on her shoulder, 1954.

Fast forward many years.  I had met this woman's daughter through blogging.  We friended each other on Facebook, and several years ago, my spouse and I finally met her, at a Civil War reenactment, near Charleston, South Carolina.

Along with the blogger came her son, and her mother, the woman in the picture, a British woman who had immigrated here sometime after World War II.  There was something about her - something special, something adventurous. Aging had not stopped her.

My blogger friend had been a single mother with two children, a son and daughter.  Her mother helped her raise them.  My spouse talked about thunderstorms with her, several minutes before one hit, and we separated.

I had no idea how old her mother was until yesterday, when my fellow blogger announced her mother's death on Facebook.

Later today, I will be visiting my mother in law.

Yes, death is a natural part of life, and the generations before us have made room for us who now walk in the sunshine. 

One day, it will be our turn to face whatever is to come with grace, and to teach those coming after us.  Aging must not stop us, either, until the day we are called to wherever we go next.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2018 - #SkywatchFriday

On the 15th of each month, I join up with other bloggers who show what is blooming in their house or yard. And, every Friday, I participate in #SkywatchFriday.  Today, I link up with both.

My garden did not cooperate this month with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. While I waited for the calendar to change from May 15 to June 15, my perennials decided to sneak bloom on me.    Alas, gone are my irises, and my rhododendrons.
But my pink wild roses waited for today, just starting to open in my zone 5b garden near Binghamton, New York. 
My columbine, so beloved of hummingbirds, is nearly spent, but they had a fantastic season.
My yellow bleeding hearts, always reliable, are blooming throughout my back yard.

Otherwise, I have mostly annuals  to show you today, such as this ivy geranium basket.

I love petunias more and more each year.  This one is white with a green fringe.
Here are those petunias in a planter with black and yellow petunias.
Even more petunias.
Did I mention I love petunias?

How I wish these were really blue.  They are purple.

Inside my house, I still have a moth orchid in bloom.

For SkywatchFriday, I took this picture on June 13.  This was part of a larger storm system that triggered a tornado about an hour and a half drive from where I live, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Those clouds at the bottom really looked like little dots.  How strange they looked.

I  thanking, once again, Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and Yogi for hosting #SkywatchFriday. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Japanese Lilacs #ThursdayTreeLove

Now blooming, where I live in upstate New York, are these beautiful landscape trees.

These Japanese lilacs, Latin name Syringa reticulata, bloom later than the "traditional" lilacs of May, but are welcome as there aren't too many blooming trees right now after the great rush of late spring.

Here's another closeup picture.  Rather than a bush, they grow as a tree, growing up over 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall.

A beautiful blue sky from Tuesday shows one off.
This year, I think they are going to have a fantastic blooming season.  These trees are very hardy and thrive in our climate zone.
Join Parul and other tree loving bloggers each second and fourth Thursday of the month, for #ThursdayTreeLove.