Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Ramblings - Surprises

Today, an "almost wordless" Wednesday.

We call these weeds.  But in reality, they can be medicines or even food.

And, in their own way, they are beautiful.

Here, a combination Queen Anne's Lace (the white flower) and chicory (blue) by a middle school track.  Chicory has a long history of herbal use (note, I am not a trained herbalist and I am not recommending the website I am linking to.)
Another view of Queen Anne's Lace.  I was surprised to find this is also edible, at least according to this source.

I found a black walnut tree growing nearby- I may devote a separate post to these luscious nuts and my experience with them.
And finally, wild morningglory.  This is not edible - but some are, apparently.

Beauty is all around us.  So is food.  Years ago I experimented with some of the more common (and a couple of the less common) edibles.  Maybe one day I should blog about that.

Have you tried wild edibles?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why I Am Probably Not Inviting You to My LinkedIn Network

Many of us have accepted some loss of privacy as the price of being on the wonderful, wonderful, Internet.

I belong to LinkedIn, in my work career life.  LinkedIn  is a social network for the business community.

My preference is to keep my business and my blogging life totally separate.  I do not, in fact, normally accept invites from other bloggers who are not in my career field, because I do not earn my living by blogging or writing. (Come to think of it, that is worth a post of its own.)  Nor do I network with people on LinkedIn unless I know them personally, or know of them by reputation.  Even if I know them personally as friends (true friends, not Facebook friends), I also need to know something about their professional lives, and will not "endorse" them unless I am certain of what they do, and how well they do it.

LinkedIn has a feature by which you can ask them to use your email address to find out people you may know on LinkedIn.  So far, I have chosen not to use that feature.

Which is why I was surprised to find an email from LinkedIn suggesting I might want to make networking contacts with some people.  That in itself didn't surprise me; I get those emails from time to time. What did surprise me was the people the LinkedIn email suggested.

The people they suggested are people whose email addresses I have - but not because of my work life.  No, these are contacts from my caregiving life.  A man at the VA (Veterans Administration) I've spoken to a couple of times, and emailed a document to once.  A woman who has done some work for my family, which included me needing to email her.  A couple of more people that, again, I have no professional associations with.  I only had their emails because I needed to communicate with them by email for them to complete a service.

And, oh yes, one of my cousins.  A cousin who is 40 years younger than me and, again, in a totally different career field than I am.

One person may have been a coincidence.  Maybe some people I know in my professional life have one such person in their network.  But several, listed all at once?  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  It looks like LinkedIn has decided it will go through my address book, after all, although I never knowingly gave my consent.

I didn't like it.  But, if I want to stay on LinkedIn, I am going to have to live with it.

And, if you do invite me to network on LinkedIn, please know why I may not.  I don't know if I am being too picky, but I feel this is what I need to do.

If you are on LinkedIn (I promise I won't try to contact you), have you had similar experiences?  Do you welcome anyone to link with you?  Or, do you use certain criteria?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bugs!

Today is the 75th  anniversary of the cartoon character Bugs Bunny.

Did you enjoy cartoons as a child?  One of my favorites was Bugs Bunny, and this cartoon, The Wild Hare, is considered his first appearance with his trademark saying "What's Up, Doc?"

July 26, 1940.

To me, a baby boomer in her 60's, we used to enjoy cartoons on Saturday mornings.  We didn't realize that some of those cartoons were made years before we were born.  Some of those cartoons (including one from 1953 called Southern Fried Rabbit) would not be considered politically correct today.  But many can be enjoyed online, including one I love called Rabbit Rampage.

In real life, rabbits sometimes munch on my garden.  But that habit doesn't prevent me from enjoying the cartoon Bugs getting the better of Elmer Fudd.

What was your favorite childhood cartoon?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Civil War Sunday - The Fort that Defends Home Depot

I wrote this post in 2011.  With many United States Civil War battlefields and other historic places still in danger of development, I feel the post is still timely.

The Fort that Defends Home Depot

Today we, and many other people interested in the Civil War, gathered in Manassas, Virginia for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Bull Run, or First Manassas (depending if you are from the North or the South).  (the actual anniversary was yesterday, but the commemoration continues through the weekend.) I will talk more about about this on my normal Civil War Sunday post this Sunday, but today I wanted to talk about a very serious subject:  the preservation of Civil War battlefields.

We are lucky to have a Manassas National Battlefield Park, because a lot of Civil War battlefields have been swallowed up by progress.

Time Magazine recently did an article on the Civil War.  A very important thing that they did (whether or not you agree with their analysis of "if we are still fighting the Civil War") was highlight, with the use of reinactors, various Civil War battle sites which have been swallowed up by urban neighborhoods and shopping centers.

It happens everywhere.  Last year it almost happened in Virginia, and only in January were the plans to build a Wilderness Wal-Mart on 51 acres near the site (but, beyond the boundaries of the Battlefield) of the Battle of the Wilderness.

The Civil War Trust, a preservation group, estimates that 20% of the "hallowed ground" of the Civil War has already been lost.

And with that, I wanted to mention something I experienced today on the Manassas City Tour.

One of the sites I visited today was Mayfield Fort.

The Fort (or the 11 acres that still exist in an undeveloped situation) was built (along with various other fortifications) to defend the railroad junction at Manassas.  The junction's strategic importance to both sides(and its necessity of not falling into Federal hands) triggered the Battle of First Bull Run.  A Confederate Stars and Bars flag flies over the Fort. (it doesn't look that different from the Union flag of the era if the wind isn't blowing full, which was the case when I took this picture at noon today.)

In the blazing heat, it was hard to walk around, and we stayed in the shade while the reinactors on the left side did an artillery demonstration.  (What you are also seeing are historical plaques, explaining the history of the fort) In fact, while we were there, a person was taken away by ambulance due to being overcome by heat.) What you don't see is what the fort is now defending.  This is on top of a hill, and if you kept walking through the photograph to the edge, you would see beneath it ...housing developments.  And a Home Depot.

This is the other photo I took before we gave up braving the heat, and left the site.  This is a "Quaker gun" i.e. it looks like a cannon and would have been painted black. Various Quaker guns were displayed at the Fort to fool the Federals.  (They were called Quaker guns because Quakers are pacifists, and these guns could never be used to fight a war.)

If you look to the extreme right side of the photo, about 2/3 of the way up, you see one of the apartment houses built around the Fort.

I want to make it clear that I am not against progress and not against development.  What I am against is the trivialization of our history.  Without our history, we lose our identity as a nation.

I am happy that the remains of the Fort was preserved.

And I am even happier that the Home Depot will never have to fear an attack from the Union Army.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Local Saturday - Lilies and Butterfly

Today, a special sight in my back yard.

I wanted to take a picture of some of my day lilies in my upstate New York back yard.  I got a little more than I bargained for.

I've blogged before about how I don't do well with wildlife photography.  So, when I saw this butterfly flitting in the lily patch, I didn't hold out much hope for a photo capture.
Then this happened.  The butterfly settled in the lily's throat.  I took this picture.

Would the butterfly spread its wings out?
Yes, it would!

Then the butterfly flew away.

I know my many readers who know more than I do will know exactly what type of butterfly this is. (I think it's a swallowtail, but I know there are various types.)

Has a butterfly ever made your day brighter?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Falling Friday - Falling Risk

Today, a story about my mother in law, in her late 80's, finishing up her rehab after surgery.

When I entered her rehab room for the first time, I saw a nice sign by the entrance.

It was a beautiful color photograph of autumn leaves with a message printed on it.  But its message wasn't about autumn.

It declared that the occupant of the room (my mother in law) was at risk for falling.

Just in case this message needed to be reinforced, my mother in law was wearing a hospital like bracelet with large lettering.  The lettering said:
Falling Risk.

That is what my mother in law was, to the staff of this rehab - this woman who raised four children, one of them developmentally disabled, cooked, cleaned, did generous things for friends.  The woman who has lived self-sufficiently as a widow for over 15 years. 

Because it's true.  She's fallen many times before.  Falling was a part of growing old.  It couldn't be helped.  One day you would get sick and die.  Or you would fall and die.

Now, my generation wants to prevent falling where we can.

We hope that  falls prevention classes like the one I took helps us avoid that fate.  Doctors do fall assessments on older patients.  Those that are at risk have their needs addressed.

Now, using my knowledge, I hope I can help break the falling cycle with my mother in law.  But first, we'll see what her rehab work has done after she is released today.

Wish us both luck.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Oreos

For today's throwback, I savor a memory of strawberry flavored Oreo cookies.  This post was originally from 2009, my first year of blogging.  If only Oreos would restore this flavor - the fruit flavor they have now (Berry Burst) just isn't the same.

Sadly, the flavor was a "limited edition" and I've never seen it since.

Do you like Oreos, too?  Or cookies in general?  What is your favorite?

Wonderful Canadian Strawberry Milkshake Oreos!

Last summer, traveling in New Brunswick, CA we ran across Strawberry Milkshake Oreos. Oreos in Canada are manufactured by Christie, which is a brand name of Kraft Canada. (And no, I'm not being paid to post this).

For some reason, when I eat the Canadian equivalents of U.S. brands, I always like the Canadian versions better. This includes Special K Cereal, which has changed here in the States but is like what I remember from my childhood in Canada. Also Cadbury bars, which are not the same as the Hershey (sorry, Hershey) versions sold here in the states. And finally, potato chips. Where else can you buy potato chip flavors such as Roasted Chicken and Gravy, Ketchup (a long time favorite of mine), and Curry?

Well, last year, in a store in Saint John, New Brunswick, we hit the jackpot:  Christie Strawberry Milkshake Oreos! What a match made in heaven. Crispy (probably thanks to the trans fats it had-yum!) and...well, I am no fan of artificial flavor, but these were Maximum Strawberry Bliss. I only bought one package. I should have purchased more. Well such are the pleasant surprises of travel.

Fast forward 9 months....

Saturday we were shopping. In fact, I had just purchased several packages of Newman-O's at a very good price. Went into our local supermarket to pick up something for a BBQ and there they were....I blinked and the mirage did not disappear.

Strawberry Milkshake Oreos.

I bought one package. Brought it home. Waited until after supper. Opened the package.


And the best part? We looked at the label and they were made in....Canada.

Nabisco, thank you thank you thank you. But please reconsider on one thing. These are marked "Limited Edition". Please say it ain't so.