Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Art #AtoZChallenge

With the letter A, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge begins.

This is a challenge even in the best of times.  On April 1 (today) our blog post must begin with "A". Tomorrow, "B", and so forth, six days a week, Sundays excepted.  Simple to describe - hard to do, especially when you get to X.

This is not the best of times.  That's no April Fool.

Who am I?   I live in the Southern Tier of New York State.  I've been blogging since 2009 - daily, since April of 2011.  I enjoy taking pictures.  I still work full time, although that won't be true by the end of this challenge.  Just having a job in this time is something to be grateful for.

My original theme for A to Z was "America the Beautiful" and I am going to stick to that as much as possible.  My goal is to bring some comfort and beauty into these most dire of times, as I sort through my more than 10,000 pictures (yes, you read that right) on my iPhone.

A crisis comes to each generation, and our time has come.   Will love win?

We need love and compassion more than ever.
Will we spread kindness at this time, or make things harder for our world?

These  pictures were taken during a festival called LUMA which is held every September in downtown Binghamton, New York. This year, coronavirus willing, it will be held September 10-12.
Street art, Binghamton, New York
One day, we'll be able to walk the streets of our city or town, and maybe even catch a meal outdoors.  Until then, photos I've taken in the past few years (mostly of sites in the Northeastern United States) will have to take the place of being there in person.

A final look- Mosaic art in downtown Binghamton.

I hope this post has given you some joy today.

Starting today I'll be hoping to visit some of the other A to Z blogs.  If you comment, I will try my very best to visit, so please be sure to leave a link if you want a visit from me.  It may not be right away, as I am still working, but I will visit.

"A" Day on Blogging from A to Z.  My theme:  America the Beautiful.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Band of Brothers and Sisters

We are all burned out on the topic of Coronavirus, and truly, none of us would keep our sanity if we lived coronavirus 24/7.

Except, there are people who do live coronavirus 24/7, so people like me can stay home.  It's humbling, to say the least.

As I blogged about on Sunday, I've disagreed with some of what our our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has proposed over the years.  However, I've been inspired by his daily COVID-19 press conferences. 

Last week, I listened as Cuomo talked to the Army Corp of Engineers gathered at New York City to do battle against COVID-19 and I wrote this down as he spoke:  "This is going to be a long day, an ugly day, a sad day...this enemy attacks the weakness of us. It attacks our most vulnerable...these are our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles."

Cuomo continued: "You are living a moment of history.  This is one of the moments of history they will write about in history..a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people, makes them stronger...10 years from now you'll be talking about today to your children or grandchildren and you will shed a tear, because you will remember...the faces, and the names [of those who died], and how hard we worked...and you should...but you will also be proud of what you did.  You will be proud that you showed go out and kick coronavirus' ass."

I am not an avid reader of Shakespeare but those who are were immediately reminded of a speech given by Henry V of England before he and his men went into battle during the 100 Years War against the French at Agincourt.  It is called the "St Crispin's Day Speech" because it was given on the eve of St. Crispin's Day, 1415.  The English, greatly outnumbered, are camped, knowing they would go into battle the next day.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers", King Henry V (back in the day when kings and emperors went to war with their troops) exhorts his troops. He reminds them that, one day in the future, others will wish they had been at the front lines of the battle.

Now it's time for us to forget blue and red and remember the red, white, and blue, to paraphrase another Cuomo press conference speech.  It is time to become a Band of Brothers and Sisters and put our differences aside.
Lourdes Hospital, Binghamton, New York, March 29, 2020
This, fellow brothers and sisters, is part of the front line of the battle. We don't see the inside of these buildings but we see this.  Near every ER where I live in New York, we see the triage tents.


Tomorrow starts the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  26 days, 26 letters of the alphabet, starting with "A" on April 1.  I invite you to join me for my theme "America the Beautiful". It may be more a local theme than I had originally envisioned. But I hope the beauty of art, flowers, and sunsets will inspire you as you join the world against the foe we all are fighting, each in our own way.

(And, by the way....the English won the battle.)

Monday, March 30, 2020

A Walk #MusicMovesMe

It's time for another episode of #MusicMovesMe. 

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog with music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only- Please post containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)  Every other week we have a theme and on alternate weeks we have "You Pick".  

Our conductors? First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

For March our guest conductor is Marie from Athena Cat Goddess Wise Kitty.

Her theme for today is "It's Walking in the Park Day - so the theme is Walking."  

Do you remember when you could walk without fear? It's hard for many.

Back when times were less perilous, my spouse and I used to enjoy walking on the Vestal Rail Trail in Vestal, New York (about 150 miles north and west of New York City).  We are still walking, weather permitting, but trying to find places less crowded.

So I'm all about walking in all sorts of ways, such as the Bangles and "Walk Like an Egyptian".

Looks like many of my selections will be oldies - not moldy, just oldies.  Next up, the one hit I am aware of by The Left Banke - from 1966, "Walk Away Renee". I love its melody.

Or, from 1963 and my preteen years, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and "Walk Like a Man"?

"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.

A song from my early teen years.  From 1965, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las.

Before I sign off, I must post a last minute tribute to country singer Joe Diffie, dead from COVID-19.  Here is one of his hits from 1994, Pickup Man. Perhaps he is giving a concert "up there" right now.

Remember...and keep your eyes on the thought of better days ahead when we get through this.   Why not visit other music bloggers and see how they are walking today.

You know the drill, please be kind, and, that isn't it.  Just be kind.  And join me next week for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, AND Music Moves Me.  That should be interesting.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Family Dinner

Although I've disagreed with some of what our our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has proposed over the years, I've been inspired by his daily COVID-19 press conferences.  

Today, the Governor talked about Sunday dinner, saying we should, in these hard times:

Create some joy

Look for the silver lining

Cuomo talked about growing up in an Italian family.  Sunday dinner was a two or three hour affair.

As a divorced dad, the Governor tried to continue the tradition with his children, but he was not a great cook.  So bought the meatballs and sausage from a store, and then would prepare and simmer the sauce. Spaghetti and meatballs with sausage were served.  He would never admit he didn't make it, and his children, knowing what a terrible cook he was, wouldn't eat it.  So they would go for Chinese after.

Today he will have the family dinner on Skype and by phone.

This reminded me of when I first started to date my spouse, almost 50 years ago.  We were of different religions and cultures.  I was invited to Sunday dinner at his house - spaghetti and meatballs/sausage with sauce.  I was in a panic, because spaghetti wasn't often on the menu at my house.  Could I even eat it without getting it all over me?
A past dinner
I literally worried myself sick that day.  

But I grew to love Italian food, especially the food my mother in law, and later my spouse, made.  My mother in law was an excellent cook, and her son follows in her footsteps.

In my mother in law's last years, we would buy frozen meatballs and jarred sauce, and cook it in her small apartment in an independent living project.  We crowded around her small dining table, and it brought each of us joy.

No, we aren't going to have a family dinner today, and we don't know when we might have one next.  But just thinking of those meals brings me joy.

What about you?  How are you hanging in at this time of stress?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Reel to Reel Tapes

This is part of a post originally made on Christmas Day, 2013, with an update. We were together with my grown son, and my mother in law, for Christmas.

My son has been interested for years in obsolete technology, as I've blogged about before.

Years ago we had told him of how I purchased a Sony reel-to-reel recorder back around 1971, when I was in college. We left it behind in Arkansas moved to upstate New York in the mid 1980's. The tapes, though, recorded from about 1971 to 1974 and even later, had been in storage at my mother in law's house for years.

He wanted them, and he volunteered to go into the attic to get them.

We had sent them from our apartment in Florida to his mother shortly before my spouse joined the Air Force in 1976.  All these years, we had the tapes back.

My son, who is in his mid 20's, got such a kick out of the box. Black and white television. Imagine!

We opened the box, and this is what we saw.  After all these years, the tapes looked like they were still in good condition.  (If they are playable, though, it might be a minor miracle.)

I had forgotten how meticulously I typed up lists of each song - name, artist and year.  He got a true Christmas Eve gift. It's fine with me if he keeps the tapes, and he did.

Now, after all these years, my son is looking for a tape player or another way to test one of the tapes.

Another activity for staying at home?

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Backyard #SkywatchFriday

It was a day off from work last Friday.  I sat in the backyard, feeling fortunate that I have a backyard to sit in.

When I was young, I used to watch the clouds and use my imagination.  Now, I just like to sit and stare.
Two different pictures, taken at different times that day, showing the moods of the sky.
It's pretty amazing, those moods.
Nature is providing us with spring, and I hope we all have an opportunity to participate, even if it is from our living room windows or back yards.

I can only hope today is a day where we get some good news - something, anything, to give us hope.

Joining Yogi and the other skywatchers watching the sky at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

One More Snow #ThursdayTreeLove

Just when I thought it was safe to put our snow equipment away where I live in upstate New York, here came the snow again on Monday.
Snowy Bush near Sunrise
So, for my fans in tropical climes that never see snow, this one's for you.  At least I can get out, although it's only supposed to be to exercise walk or food shop.  Most businesses are closed.  But we are more fortunate, here in upstate New York, than many of you are, and I realize that.

It's not the first time we will get snow in spring but at least it had melted by the next day.  This isn't exactly a tree, but a bush, but I am bending the rules because it looked so pretty.

Do you love trees?  If you do, why not join Parul at Happiness and Food each second and fourth Thursday of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove?

Let's remember the trees we've known, the trees we've photographed, the trees that watch over us now in ways we can't imagine.