Friday, February 22, 2019

Winter Rainbow #SkywatchFriday

All winters are different, where I live near Binghamton, New York.

All winters are the same.

Do those two statements make sense? To me they do.  Winter, where I live, means snow, cold and ice.  Some years we get lots of it.  Some years, we get less. But the weather is mostly the same.

Sometimes, there is a rare day, when weather miracles happen.

Last Friday, the temperature got into the 50's and the sun shone.  Late in the day, though, a cold front came through.

We got rain.  When it ended, we were in the golden hour so beloved by photographers.  So we got this.

And this.  (these colors, by the way, are totally untouched.  Yes, those trees were glowing with the light.  Not only that, some in the area reported a double rainbow.  I must not have been in the right position.)

And this.

Was nature trying to issue an apology in advance for the winter weather still to come?

Join Yogi and the Friday sky watchers at #SkywatchFriday.  If you have a sky photo to share, why not?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Say Goodbye To Montana?

Every time you lose faith in the Internet, the Internet comes through to entertain and enlighten us.
Take Montana, for example.

Montana, for the benefit of my foreign readers, is one of our 50 states, and is one of several states on our border with Canada.

Someone started a petition on to sell Montana to Canada for $1 trillion dollars to "eliminate the national debt".

To everyone's surprise, some 12,245 people (as of the time I wrote this post) have signed this petition. The petition has now gone viral.

Goodbye, Montana?

I haven't been to Montana since 1979.  I only spent one night there, camping with my spouse in a deserted campground (mid September) and admiring the Big Sky Country. In case you've heard of Big Sky Country - it's real.  And I've never seen it since that day.  To me, Montana is far from useless, and I will give the petitioner credit for thinking outside the box (as the saying goes).

People from Montana pride themselves on independent thinking.  I suspect that more than a few of them might not mind joining up with Canada and becoming Canadian citizens.

Sometimes, I think I wouldn't mind becoming a Canadian.  How could I not love a people who paid tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy by "spocking" their five dollar bills?

Although, has anyone thought about how this might affect Bigfoot?

Selling off land is not a new idea.  After all, how do you think we obtained Alaska?  Or, all those states in the Louisiana Purchase? Governments sold territory to us in our younger days and I know people will point out that Russia and France sold us territories and not parts of their actual nations.  But is it possible for the United States to sell off a state?

Our national debt really is no laughing matter.  But, why not lighten things up for a moment?

Would you sign this petition?

Let's have some fun with this, because it seems there is so little to laugh about.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Sundog #WordlessWednesday

Today, a happier post than some I've posted recently.

My spouse was driving.  "Look at that!", he exclaimed.

Right in front of us was a sundog.  The actual sun is to the immediate left of the streetlight and the sundog is right on top of the streetlight furthest to the right.

We see them on occasion but I've never been that successful in taking pictures.  Until now.

Join Esha, The SkyGirl, and other bloggers for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Plane Train and Automobile

I was at a reunion nobody wanted to happen.

My spouse and I, newly arrived by car, were sitting in a pizza parlor in Pennsylvania. Facing me was a cousin who had flown in from Texas and on my right side was another cousin we had just picked up at a train station.  The fifth member of our merry group wasn't very merry.

We were there because of him.  Or, to be more exact because his wife of nearly 40 years had passed away three days before.  We were in Pennsylvania for the funeral.

We spent over two hours in the pizza parlor, talking.  The flying cousin and the mourning cousin are both in their late 60's.  In fact, they were both born in Brooklyn - born two weeks apart.  They were close when young, but then both their parents moved - over 100 miles apart.  They kept in touch, though.

And then several years before, the flying cousin had moved to Texas, to be closer to his brother in law. 

We all were aging.  The flying cousin's wife had to stay home - she was suffering from a physical issue that would make it difficult for her to fly.

One of us remarked that the only time it seems people of our generation get together anymore wee for weddings and funerals.  We'll swear we were going to get together but then life intervenes.

We talked and talked.  We exchanged jokes and puns.   Texas cousin confided that he was having problems making friends in Texas.  "Why is it so hard to make friends as you age?" he asked.  We all nodded agreement.  We've all had the same problem. 

We (minus the mourning cousin) were staying at the same motel and shared a Chinese takeout dinner together.  We talked and talked at a table in the lobby as we shared lemon chicken, wonton soup, beef and broccoli, and more.  The next morning, we had breakfast, and went to the funeral.  Spouse and I had to leave early because of the weather, and the cousin who came on train was returning home that afternoon.

Quickly we said goodbyes, as snow swirled around us.

We left with an invite from the Texas cousin to visit him and his wife.

Will we, before another reunion nobody wants occurs?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Hot Smoke and Presidents - #MusicMovesMe

It's both Monday and a national holiday today.  And it's time for another #MusicMovesMe.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? 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 on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's - me!!!! <

Today, our guest conductor, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, has chosen as our theme: 
"National Battery Day keywords battery, smoke, alarm, & charge." When I think of smoke alarms, thought, I think of fire, so I've included "fire".

Battery - what comes to mind when I think of battery is fighting.  So I could have looked up a song about batteries but, instead, chose Kung Foo Fighting,by Carl Douglas.

The natural (to me) second song for this set is Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water.
My spouse would never forgive me if I didn't post one of his all time favorite songs:

Hot Smoke and Sassafras, from The Bubble Puppy.

Alarm?  Well, there's the Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Incense and Peppermints.

Fire?  I will raid my favorite musical era, the 80's, for After the Fire's Der Kommissar, although there are so many "Fire" songs out there.  

For "charge", I found this Iggy (Pop) and the Stooges instrumetal, "Master Charge".

But today is also a holiday celebrating our Presidents and that is calling to me equally.   When I was doing some research on President John Tyler (yes, the "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" President, who took office after "Tippecanoe" famously caught pneumonia while giving his inauguration speech and died not long after) I found a You Tube video of "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" by They Might be Giants.

You won't believe this one.

And, unless you are of a certain age, you may not believe this one, either.  It turns out that Richard Nixon was an accomplished musician.

More people may remember Bill Clinton and his saxophone (no jokes or comments, please).  Here, he plays sax with various jazz greats.

It might make an interesting post to check out other historical figures and their love of music.  Too bad there was no way to record music in the day of Thomas Jefferson, for example.

Until next week, then - keep on rocking!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Don't Let Time Get Away Part 2

Yesterday, I started to blog about my mother's side of the family and how I lost contact with them for many years.  In 2015, after I started to create a profile on, I was contacted by someone who turned out to be a first cousin once removed on my mother's side.  We friended each other on Facebook.

It turned out that her father, my first cousin, had wanted to contact me for years but he had never found me. We exchanged a few emails.

I never pursued the contact, though, as a lot of my time and energy was consumed in caregiving for my mother in law and related issues. 

The day after Thanksgiving, my mother in law died and one of my spouse's cousins celerated his birthday.  He was also a caregiver.  He lived with his 106 year old mother.

Two weeks later, he was dead.  Unexpectedly dead.

Around the time my mother in law started her final decline, I found out that a cousin's wife had brain cancer. She took chemo but it did not help.  Her condition deteriorated rapidly.  She passed away about 10 days ago.

All of this, and having a former co-worker diagnosed with cancer (plus other assorted bad news concerning some people I knew or knew of), made me think. Time gets away from all of us.  I was so guilty of letting time pass.  In being consumed with one part of family, I had totally neglected others.  This had to stop.

Yesterday morning, there was suddenly a post from my first cousin once removed on Facebook. It was a video of the bookstore in her home town and a feature about it on the local TV station.   The last I knew she was working there.

So I DM'd her, telling her we no longer had an independent bookstore where I live (sad but true) and asking if she still worked there (she wasn't in the video).  Within seconds she responded.

I had a brief attack of the "shies" but I fought back.  I had to do this.

I briefly explained why I had not been in touch. I held my breath.  Her father should be close to 90 by now.  If he was still alive, that is.

Had I waited too long?

The responding message came back.

"I know Mom and Dad would love to see you."

It wasn't too late.

Now I have to make it happen.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Don't Let Time Get Away Part 1

In 2015, I blogged about how,  for the second time in my life, I found lost family (or, rather, they  found me).

In February of 2015, I explained that I had not been in touch with anyone on my mother's side of the family in many years (by my count, it must be over 30 years).  

At about the same time, the genealogy website offered a free weekend.  I took advantage of it, and I started to build a family tree of my mother's side of the family, the ____s.  Of course, my memory being limited, I didn't get that far.  After the weekend ended, I decided I didn't have the time to pursue this (as Ancestry is not a free website, I didn't want to waste my money).

Then I received a generic message in an email from, with a family name I did not recognize but a message saying that she was working on a family tree of the ____s and thought we might be related.  I clicked to respond, and found I had to join Ancestry even to send a message.
A bit later, I received another email:

" Hi, I just spoke to my father (let's call him "N"), who told me that you are first cousins. My mom was thrilled that I had found you. Seems like they had been looking to contact you for years and could not find out where you were. They would love to be able to write or call you."

Her father "N" is vague in my memory.  I did some quick research (what I could get for free, because I could not remember his first name), but I sure knew the last name well. It was the last name of one of my Mom's sisters.  Could I truly have been found by my mother's family by someone, after years of searching?

I discovered that Ancestry was having another free weekend for  Memorial Day weekend, and I had limited access to the site again! I messaged back, with some more information.  And then I heard back.

The answer is yes.  I have been found by someone on my mother's side of the family.

The woman who sent me the message is my first cousin once removed on my mother's side (her grandmother and my mother were sisters).  Her mother, an aunt who had continued contact with me for a few years after I married, passed away (my newly found cousin told me) in 1998.  And now we have each other's email addresses.

I told my spouse and I think he was just as, if even more, excited than I am.

So let me backtrack a little.

When I was 17 years old, I started dating a boy who was in one of my college classes. We were of different religions.  I am Jewish.  My husband is Catholic.  In 1970, that mattered.  It mattered a lot.

Some members of my family were less than thrilled. That sister of my mother's did keep in touch for a few years but then she passed away.   I had no contact with my mother's side of my family for many, many years. 

Times have changed tremendously. 
Well....I had a couple of email exchanges with my cousin "N", who sent me family pictures.  In November of 2015, he sent me an email ending "Let's keep in touch".
But we didn't.  It was all my fault.  When "N" (who was in his 80's) sent me that email, my mother in law was having a major health crisis.  One thing led to another and I thought of my family from time to time in the resulting haze of caregiving, working full time, and various family dramas, but I never did respond to my lost-then-found family.
Until today.
Tomorrow....the story continues.