Friday, June 9, 2023

Celebrate Good Times #SkywatchFriday

We in the Southern Tier of New York State can see the sky again.  The sun is not a hazy, red ball (if you can see it at all) in the sky as I write this post (4 pm on June 8).

Syracuse, New York's air quality index (AQI) Wednesday morning was 428 yesterday morning, on a scale that tops out at 500.  The haze then traveled down to New York City, where the New York City skyline faded into a red/orange haze and people redonned N-95 masks to walk outside.  The people on our West Coast are too familiar with this type situation and here's some advice on masks from the State of Washington.

We never left the house Wednesday.  Our county parks were closed.  Schools didn't allow their students out for recess or athletics.  I had taken the week off, so was fortunate enough not to need to go anywhere.

Here, the air was more yellow, with a bouquet of somewhere between camp fire and stinky cigar. It got into the house through cracks and you could smell it inside.  

The big surprise was how the temperature was held down.  My spouse said "I think we are having a tiny taste of nuclear winter".  It only got to 64F (18.9 C) yesterday.  It should have been around 80F (26.7C).

So I don't have dramatic pictures to show you, but I have a feeling that other skywatchers will provide those.  Instead, here are some photos I took during a weekend visit to the New York City area. Let's contrast Saturday with Monday, when the sky temporarily cleared.

A small part of Co-Op City in the Bronx (one of the five boroughs) Saturday.

And Monday.

This is the Whitestone Bridge connecting the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens.  To the right of the pillars is the New York skyline.  Don't strain your eyes; you can't see it.

Here is the skyline Monday.  The reflection in the driver side side mirror is a bonus.

Sunday, we attended a wedding at the Queens Botanical Gardens.  Here is a picture of their Rose Garden.

About halfway home on Monday, returning to the Southern Tier of New York where we live, we ran back into the haze.  We ended up cancelling the rest of our week's plans.

Thursday, a temporary reprieve. What you see are real clouds, not haze.  We can see the clouds! Celebrate good times!  

The haze should be back by the time this posts Friday.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

For all my blog readers and social media friends, if you are in affected areas, stay safe.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The EV Adventure

Recently,  we needed something done on our vehicle and took it to our dealer, who was offering some specials.  They advertised a free loaner.

To my spouse's delight, this is the loaner we got - a Subaru Solterra, which is an EV (electric vehicle).  I was working that day, but asked for a ride around the block on my lunch.  I'd love you to come with us.

Here's the loaner.

The front.

A closeup, complete with reflections and a dusting of pollen.

The back.  I have no idea what was in the box.

We were unable to open the hood and look at what was powering the car.  I'm thinking it was locked intentionally.

The ride experience?  Quiet.  Unreal acceleration - my spouse gave me a taste and I'm still looking for my stomach.

When my spouse drove this EV in the park where his community garden plots are located, he exceeded the speed limit without even realizing it, but at highway speeds, he had no problem.

No, we didn't have to charge it before returning it.

The car was ready before promised and spouse talked to one of the dealership's employees.  His concern was with two things:

1.  The mileage before a charge is needed is only 160 miles (257.98 km).

2.  There is a gauge that tells you how many more miles (km) you have before a charge is needed and when spouse ran the fan, the number fell substantially.   The employee confirmed that all the accessories ran off the battery, so the actual mileage before a charge is needed is less than that in #1 above.

Verdict:  we are sticking with our several years old gas powered vehicle.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Stalled in February - A Temperature Afghan Update #WordlessWednesday

 Before I begin:  Two days ago, the smoke from the Canadian wildfires returned to our area of upstate New York.  Yesterday morning, the sky was yellowish and you could smell the smoke.  And we are hundreds of miles away.

My heart goes out to our Canadian friends.  People on the West Coast have faced the fire hazard for years now, along with those in differing parts of the world.  Who will be next? 

And now, to today's post, which is also (in a way) connected to weather.

I've blogged a couple of times about a year-long project I embarked on.  I am crocheting a temperature afghan, a blanket that will record the high temperatures of the year 2023 in color.

A temperature blanket uses colors to record highs and/or low temperatures over a certain period of time.  They can be used to record temperatures for a year, perhaps a calendar year, or the first year of a baby's life (to be presented as a birthday gift).   Some knit these, some quilt these.  Some make scarfs or sweaters.  The variations are endless.

This was my last update.

Now, it's June, and I haven't done an update since March 7.  That may be because I find myself stuck in February. The below photo shows the afghan with rows as of February 23.  But I will finish this afghan.  I am still recording temperatures.

These are the colors I am using, based on a crochet chart developed by a yarn manufacturer for New York City and are in F (sorry, Celsius using readers).

0 F (-17.8 C) and lower:  Pale Plum.  It would be most unusual where I live to have a high less than zero, but the one night we got below zero, I decided to use the color (which I had already purchased) and record it on my afghan.  You can see the pale color sandwiched between two rows of dark purple (actually, dark orchid).  We had a warmer than normal winter, hence all the turquoise.

1-21F   Dark orchid
21-32F  Royal blue
33-43F  Turquoise
44-53F  Spring Green
54-66F  Kelly Green (think of St. Patrick's Day)
67-77F  Bright Yellow
78-88F Carrot orange
89-99F  Pretty in Pink
100F (38C) and above - Fruity Stripe (shades of pink - a variegated yarn) Let's hope I don't have to use it.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.  

I hope, next update, to have more rows to show you. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

D-Day Anniversary 2023

This post, with some edits, was originally published on June 6, 2021.

Memories of World War II were still recent when I was young.  I played with plastic toy soldiers of World War II.  I watched reruns of Hollywood movies on the local New York City TV Channels - everything from Guadalcanal Diary to Twelve O'clock High to Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

In my youth, I sat in a movie theatre with my parents and watched "The Longest Day" which I could have renamed "The Longest Movie" but I'd like to see it again one day.  Here's a trailer:

As an adult, I made the acquaintance of more movies - Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives,and even the German movie Das Boot made long after the war was over.

On June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied troops landed on a 50 mile stretch of French beaches at Normandy to begin one of the greatest invasions of all time.

There are many stories written by survivors of World War II.  Possibly few of those stories would ever have been written if not for D-Day. On that day, some 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed beaches on the coastline of France.  Although some 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded on that day, others began the march across Europe to liberate the people.  Today is the 77th anniversary of that landing.

Now, the surviving soldiers of World War II are elderly, and dying.  We lost many survivors during the COVID epidemic, but it only sped up the process.

Many of the remains of the combat dead remained in France, where one of my cousin's spouses (of part French ancestry) made a point of visiting cemeteries to honor them.  These are memorials to American dead but there are other graves and memorials for British, Canadian, Australian, French, Greek, citizens of New Zealand, Norwegian, Polish and others who gave their lives that day.

Some of my relatives have been to those cemeteries.  I have never been to Europe but I intend to visit these, too, if and when I go.

Women?  American women worked in various war factories back home, and we need to remember them.  My spouse's 107 year old aunt, who died in 2019, was one of them.  My late mother was another.

In my lifetime, the last Civil War veteran died (1956), the last Spanish-American War vet (1993), the last World War I veteran (2012) passed away. (Note, there are some veteran claims that are disputed - these dates seem to be the most reliable).   If I live long enough, I will see the last member of the Greatest Generation pass from our Earth.

That makes me sad.  

On what anniversary of D-Day will there be no more of the Greatest Generation left to remember?

Monday, June 5, 2023

June The Wedding Month #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday, and we all know what time it is, dear readers.  It's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Yours Truly.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video.  No music video? Your post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.    

Today is the first music post of June, and our guest conductor is none other than "csuhpat1" from Adventures in Weseland.

Today, our guest conductor chooses as our theme: "Your choice". 

June is the month of weddings and romance.  I can't remember if I've chosen this theme before, but I'm still going with it.  With my 50th wedding anniversary coming up next year, weddings are a bit on my mind.

My first three songs are from my childhood and teens. 

One of my main memories of the Dixiecups' "Chapel of Love" is attending the 1964 Worlds Fair in Flushing, Queens (New York City) with my graduating elementary school class, and standing in a line for a ride.  Don't ask me why!  But here's the song, which has nothing to do with World's Fairs.

The 5th Dimension and "Wedding Bell Blues" is next.   This song was written and recorded by Laura Nyro in 1969, but I remember the 1969 5th Dimension cover letter.

 Dusty Springfield and "Wishing and Hoping" was another favorite of mine from 1964.  This was co written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. 

Let's skip forward to my adult years now.

Bob Dylan - Wedding Song, from 1974.

From 1994, the Proclaimers, and "Let's Get Married".

As I became an adult, I realized that marriage wasn't just about romance, and sometimes, it could be both a little profane, and a lot funny.  From 1998, Adam Sandler and "Grow Old with You" (warning, lyrics contain the F word).  This isn't the original song from the movie The Wedding Singer, but a 2019 update that includes reference to his daughters.

Finally, maybe not about marriage, but it sure is a catchy song.  The B-52"s and Love Shack.

And that's a wrap!

Join me again next week for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Those Were The Days

Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing.   The past exists in a rosy glow of memory.  Sometimes, the pain, the tiredness, the drudgery, is forgotten.  Only the good times remain.

Today, I hope to see some people I have not seen since 2018.  We've kept in touch, but there is nothing like seeing someone in person.  It's one of the many lessons the last three years have taught us.

The world has changed.

We have changed.

We will have memories, some of us, of spending the Thanksgiving weekends together, of sometimes being together during the school breaks between Christmas and New Years.

There will be the adult memories, too.

 I am looking forward to it, on this day that would have been my late mother's birthday.

Those were the days....

Join me tomorrow for more music and Music Moves Me.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

The High School Reunion Change of Plans

Back in January, I blogged that I have never attended one of my own high school reunions (I did go to one of my spouse's) but was going to try, finally, with an 85th anniversary all years reunion in June.

However, my record is going to remain intact.

I'm not going.

What ended up happening is a family event that conflicted and I made my decision - which was more important to me?  Turns out, the answer is "family".

 Back in January, I blogged the following, though, and it is still valid.

"Growing up is hard to do.  I think it's getting harder and harder.  It's harder now than when my son was growing up.

True, I grew up in the 50's and 60's, which we sometimes look back at with nostalgia, but the surface truths of those years held deep, dark, nasty secrets.  And the Vietnam War overshadowed the happiness of some of those years.

Then, there are high school reunions, where we are asked to relive some of those years.

After reading my recent post on my spouse's 40th high school reunion (the only reunion either one of us has ever attended) I found I'm not the only one who has stayed away from them.  One might say I hit a nerve.

Why do we get so nostalgic about high school?  Is it because of friends we have lost touch with, friends we hope to reconnect with?  Or because we want to return to a time when things were simpler and we were younger?  Except, things were never simpler back when, whatever back when is for you.

It certainly isn't simple now, though, in 2023.

I had signed up for my 50th high school reunion only because one of the two gatherings was going to be held at the high school I went to.  It wasn't a dinner dance, but rather was a daytime event, which was going to feature speakers, demonstrations, and tours of the school (it is still in the same building but things have changed).

There was only one problem - the reunion was scheduled to be held in June of 2020.  You can all guess what happened.  Nothing happened. If it ever happened, I never heard of a rescheduling.  I had other things to think about.

So I am trying again, this year, with an "all years" alumni day, again in June, celebrating my high school's 85th anniversary.  Scheduled during the morning and early afternoon, it will feature speakers, demonstrations, and tours of the school.  It will also feature opportunities to meet current students.

Meeting current students, I admit, was what interested me the most.  I keep in mind that these are the students of the pandemic years, the years of active shooters drills, the years of social media bullying.  They are the students who were rudely yanked from their almost spring 2020 routines and dumped into a new nightmare of remote learning, illness, and fear.   Then, they returned to school in the fall of 2021, to masks, illness (when Omicron swept through the school, which I heard about through Reddit) and more fear.

I lost a high school reunion in June of 2020.  They lost so much more.  They were too young to have the resources to cope that someone my age has.  

They persevered.   But at what cost?"

I still wonder about the students of the classes of The Pandemic Disruption.

It's interesting, the nerves that are hit when I blog about high school reunions.  I am far from the only person whose high school years weren't the happiest.  I'm sure I'm far from the only person who has skipped reunions, too.

Time passes.  I may or may not get another opportunity.  Turns out, this celebration is going to be huge for my high school, which is actually holding events in several cities (including a couple overseas!) where alumni have settled.

I wish them well.

I don't regret my decision to go to my family event instead.