Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter Wednesday - Leap Day Footprints

It's been a while since I have featured snow in my winter blog.  But yes...we got some snow last week.  And, we are even supposed to get snow tonight.

Imagine that!

Now imagine a once every four year opportunity - blogging on a February 29.

I haven't featured my "guest blogger", who lives in the countryside near the New York/Pennsylvania border here in the Southern Tier of upstate NY, for a while.  But she sent me some photos of wild animal tracks that I couldn't resist sharing with you.

This one, on a large fallen branch piece, is my favorite of the set.

Wish I was a trained tracker.

These are harder to see-look carefully.
Do you know what animals these footprints belong to? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Civil War Sunday (Special Edition) The Elephant in our National Closet

Sunday, in my Civil War Sunday feature, I blogged about an incident in Richmond, Virginia which made a very deep hate of "Yanks" (citizens of the United States living in the northern part of the country) very public.

As a northerner who has lived in three parts of the South, I trust I am not naive, and I am well aware that, for a portion of our population, the Civil War is still ongoing.  True, we don't have pitched battles with thousands dead, but there are verbal battles being fought every day.

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this hatred has become an elephant in our collective national room.  We aren't supposed to hate each other.  We are supposed to be one nation, quoting a Civil War tourism piece I received recently from a state formerly part of the Confederate States of America - "once divided, now and forever united."

Problem is: many of us just don't know what to do with this 150th anniversary commemoration of the Civil War.

I went back to the article in the Richmond, VA Times-Dispatch article that documented a rally Saturday at the Lee Monument in Richmond.  The feelings of the day were not the official "feelings" of many other commemorations as one unit chanted (the exact quote was in my Sunday blog) about killing "Yankees". You have to know in your heart they aren't the only ones who feel that way.  They were just the ones who did it in public, not in a bar, not in their living room while socializing with friends.  (and ditto for those northerners who detest people from the South).

Maybe, in a way, these particular Sons of Confederate Veterans did us a favor.

150 years is too long to carry this hate.  Maybe it is about time we stop ignoring the elephant in our history, get it all out in the open and....then what? (I have no answer for that.)  In the meantime, I made a decision that I did not want to visit a place where people declared in public that they wanted me dead.

Maybe not personally dead (none of them know me) but is a creepy feeling.

I also went to a website called City-Data, which I have used before when getting ready to visit a new city, and looked up a discussion about northerners who had moved down south - were they comfortable with their decision?  Or had they decided to return North?.  Some portions of that discussion had become a debate about the Civil War, which wasn't the intent of the original discussion.

Many of the northerners felt uncomfortable living in the South and had returned home.  I didn't go to a similar discussion board (but flipped around - Southerners living in the North) - my guess is it wasn't too complimentary of the North.  So....

How do we acknowledge the elephant?  Is it too late for my generation?  Can this be overcome through education?

Ah, education.  We all learn about the Civil War in some way, be it in school or at home, don't we.  But how and what do we learn?  What a topic for a future Civil War Sunday post.

So I will ask:
Whether you are from a former Confederate state or not, (and if you are not a citizen of the United States you are welcome to comment if you learned about our Civil War in school), what did you learn in school?  If you studied more about the Civil War after leaving school, did your further studies conflict with what you learned in school?  What did you learn from your family, your friends?

And finally - Is there hope that we will lose this hate in our lifetimes?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinning Away for a Simpler Time

Well, my Pinterest saga has gotten interesting.  And I haven't even been on it a week.

Thanks to one of my blogging "mentors",Michelle Shaeffer, I've been alerted to some of the ins and outs of using the suddenly very popular imaged-based social networking site, Pinterest.  But first, what have I found out on my own?

Pinterest's simplicity is amazing.  You go to the website, ask for an invitation, sign in from the invite (which will come a day or two later), and set up your "boards". Pinterest will ask you for your interests and, based on those interests, assign you some people to follow.  So, from the first moment, you are not alone. And then you start to pin images.  They can be your images, but the social part is finding images you like on the internet, and pinning those.  Or, "repinning" images that interest you from people you are following.

Then, other Pinterest users, if they like your images, "like" them, comment on them or repin them on their own boards.

If you are a visual person (and I am) it is the next best thing to chocolate.  And that is saying a lot for me, a chocohaulic for over 50 years.

There are some very amazing boards out there.  Some people must have spent hundreds of hours putting them together.

Pinterest will also tell you which of your Facebook friends are on Pinterest, so you can follow them, too.  It appears it can search your Twitter account to to match up followers that are on Pinterest, but as of right now I haven't figured out how to do that.

Someone has sent me information, but somehow I'm not able to find what she sent.  I'm still working on it...(sigh).

Some fellow bloggers are already following me, and vice versa.   It's fascinating to see what my fellow followers select for their boards.  And, did I mention how much fun it is?

So what's there not to like?

The problem is:  after I spent some very addictive hours pinning away, I found out it ain't so simple.  Not all images on the Internet are there for the taking. (I knew that intellectually but got a little carried away).  Many images are copyrighted, or have other restrictions on them.  Meaning you and me may not have any right to use them.

So now I have to educate myself.  What I've done is started to go through my boards.  Fortunately I haven't put hundreds of images up on my boards yet but it is a matter of trying to find the time.

I've repinned images mainly, so I am going back and trying to find the source.  Any that don't give an original source (i.e. if they come from a Google images search) will be removed by me.  For what it is worth, I have never "copied" and "pasted" any image onto this website, period.  And I know the same thing would be a no-no on Pinterest.

As Michelle says, we all need to be good netcitizens.

So, yes, I am going to continue to use the site.  I just will try to be as careful as I can be. Last night, I already found some gorgeous images that were from 'google'.  Oh well.

I just could wish that things could be simpler.  For all the Internet has enriched our lives, it has also made our lives so much more complicated.

Hmmm....a simpler time...wouldn't that be a great subject for a great Pinterest board?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Civil War Sunday-Hate in Virginia Cancels My Trip

Sorry, but my north is going to be showing today, and big time.  I will keep this short and sweet.  And I am so sorry I have to do this.

I am in the closing stages of planning a vacation in March to visit some Civil War sites.  I had wanted to visit the Newport News area to see the Mariner's Museum but it is closed part of the week, and I just couldn't make it fit.

So I was giving a little thought to going to Richmond, Virginia, which was the capital of the Confederate States of America.  Richmond is a treasure trove of Civil War history as is Virginia in general. 

Well....that trip is, shall we say, history.

I've blogged before about the fact that, as much as we feel we are one country, the Civil War still lies right underneath the skin of many of us.  What I mean by that (sadly) is, it doesn't take too much to scratch under that skin and have some very ugly things bubble up.

There was one such bubbling up in Richmond, VA yesterday.

It wasn't just the Civil War Memory blog that reported the incident of marchers chanting the following:  The Richmond Times-Dispatch paper also reported this incident of Sons of Confederate Veterans chanting the following during a march:

What do we do?
Kill Yankees
How Many?
All of them

 So....I am still going to make the trip.  I will spend time in the Carolinas, and in Maryland.

The Virginia part of the trip will be cancelled.  I am not welcome there.

This Yank will have no such part of such hate. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If Only

The building I've called TheNakedBuilding waits patiently.  I've written about it before - the 640,000. square foot building, built by the Air Force in 1942, that has proudly housed GE, Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin and, most recently, BAE Industries.  It is in walking distance of where I live, so I am very interested in its fate.  On September 8, 2011 it was flooded in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee, the flood that laid waste to several neighborhoods in the Binghamton, New York area, including part of the neighborhood I live in.

For two months a restoration company tried to salvage the special equipment BAE had inside and the building but was unable to.  The sign on the front of the building was removed.  The parking lots are mostly empty.

Almost all of the interior walls are stripped down to bare metal studs.

Now, it waits to hear its final fate announced.  The over 1300 employees who occupied it until September 8 are scattered, some of them still on furlough.  BAE has pledged to keep those 1300 jobs in our county but they were supposed to announce a permanent location soon after the New Year.  Now we are almost at February 28, the date (I was told by a reliable source) BAE had to vacate the building alltogether (right now a skeleton crew continued to work in the building).  No announcement has been made.

After the decision is made, this wonderful brick building is supposed to be demolished.

I got to thinking.  This summer construction is supposed to start on a regional farmers market.  What if.....

What if part of the building was demolished, but part of the building kept as a Farmers Market?

It is directly on a major bus route.  There is a bus stop right in front of the front door.  There are docks in the building already - BAE used to work on and test buses.  There are major highways just a few blocks away.

Flood?  Well, the present site of the proposed farmers market, Otsiningo Park, is also prone to flooding.  In fact, in the 25 plus years I've lived here, I would estimate that Otsiningo Park has closed due to flooding a good 15 or more times.  The site it will be built has never flooded to my knowledge but if you can't get to it, what good is it?

But I know TheNakedBuilding is doomed.  The building will be demolished later this year.  And it will break my heart.  This is a good sturdy red brick building.  It deserves better.

If only....


Friday, February 24, 2012

Winter Thunders Back

Finally, winter seems to be trying to make a comeback, here in the Southern Tier of New York.  After the strangest, and almost snowless, winter we've ever had during my years of living here....

This morning, some snow (although it melted, for the most part).  The forecast was originally for 3 to 5 inches.  (keep in mind we are on the edge of the NY snowbelt.  80 inches of snow a year isn't uncommon.) People went into snow panic mode, mobbing our neighborhood supermarket.  Snow!!!!!!  Yaaaaaaaaaaa.....

This afternoon - pouring down rain, complete with a rumble of thunder. (A person I work with, in Syracuse today, told me they had thundersnow a couple of days ago).

Now, a cold front is almost here.  When it comes through we will have wind gusts of up to 50 mph.  It's supposed to be bitter and windy all day tomorrow.

So, about that thunder.  Folklore has it that if it thunders before leaves are the size of a squirrel's ears, one will have a cold, wet, summer.

So what happens if there are no leaves on the trees?

Will we have to start building a boat?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Years Late and a Pin Short

OK, I finally did it.  I'm pinning away.

I joined Pinterest yesterday.  After wondering why friends on Facebook had posts telling the world they just "pinned" something, I checked Pinterest out, took the plunge (well, I did that earlier in the week because you need to get an "invite" and it doesn't come right away), and then stayed up late (for me) last night looking at stuff.  And figuring out how to get the pin button on my Firebox "bookmark" bar, which I never figured out.

Now I have to figure out exactly how Pinterest works, how I should interact with people without making a fool of myself, and all that newbie stuff.  So don't expect a primer quite yet on how to use Pinterest.  I'm too new at it.  But, I'm psyched.

I enjoy photography, so a visual social networking site is a natural to me.  Now I just have to fight the urge to spend my entire day on that site.  Some things in my favor:
1.  I work full time
2.  I have to eat
3.  I play FarmVille (the time-suck champion of all time)
4.  There is this blog, called Ramblinwitham.......

As far as Pinterest itself:  Looks like the site actually started (although maybe not with public access) about 2 years ago.  So, as usual, I'm behind the curve.

Are any of you, my readers, on Pinterest?  Any suggestions or information you can provide?  I'd love to interact with you, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winter Wednesday-A Brooklyn Salt Marsh

New York City.  Most populous city in our nation.  Lots of tourists visit each year hoping to see the Empire State Building, an art museum, or a play.  They hope to ride the subway or shop until they drop.

So many people see only Manhattan - the skyscrapers, the museums, the Broadway shows, and maybe visit Central Park.  Do they leave Manhattan Island?  Probably not.  Do they think of New York City as a city of nature preserves?  Doubtful.

But New York City is so much more than the concrete canyons of Manhattan.  In Brooklyn, the native borough of my late father, I visited the Gerritsen Creek Salt Marsh and Nature Center on Sunday.  People are working hard to restore a salt marsh along Gerritsen Creek in Brooklyn. The center had closed by the time we got there and only a small part of the nature trail was open.

Remnants of long-ago pilings.I don't know if these particular pilings are all that remains of the first tide-powered gristmill in America, built in 1645 by Wolfert Gerritsen but it would be pretty nice if they were.
A portion of the salt marsh being restored. Non-native plants are being removed.  From my long ago days living in the country, I know what back breaking labor that can be.
Another view.

One of the signs along the nature trail.

Near this sign, a display of native plants was still sleeping for the winter.  Various labeled plants are on display for educational purposes.  Indeed. a lot of education goes on at this site.  My cousin has attended nature lectures and walks several times.

Come spring, various shrubs and trees will awaken.  Here's one of the few that is awake now, in a New York February, a pitch pine.

My cousin, who lives in this neighborhood, called Marine Park, is fortunate enough to have this treasure in walking distance of her house. (It is also easily reached by mass transit.)  She's seen lots of wildlife there and told me wampum is still found there sometimes during the restoration digging.  A lot of shelling was done in nearby areas by native Americans and a native American village was located just a few blocks away.

The next time you visit New York City - why not come for its natural side?

Next Wednesday, another treasure of the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Crocus Grows in Brooklyn

February 20, 2012.  Crocuses are blooming in Brooklyn (an  "outer borough" of New York City.)  in a front yard.

What a winter we have had.  Crocuses do not bloom in New York State (usually) in February.  But now that they are, some symbolism, please.

Crocuses are a symbol of spring, of plants coming to life from their winter's nap, of recovery, of life.

If I hadn't gone to Brooklyn this weekend to visit a friend undergoing treatment for cancer, I never would have seen the crocuses in her front yard.

So how did the visit go?  It was wonderful, every minute of it.

We laughed - a lot.  My friend talked - a lot.  We went to a local pizzeria and ate pizza.  Her husband took the four of us (my friend, my spouse, her spouse and I) to Fairway, a "gourmet" supermarket in a neighborhood called Red Hook.  Once a slum, Red Hook (or parts of it, anyway) is on its way up.  You can see the Statue of Liberty from the patio.

I took nearly 90 pictures of the trip.  And one of my friend.

My friend is undergoing chemo.  This is her second round with cancer (the first was 30 years ago with Ovarian cancer) and she has been very involved in cancer fundraisers. She has always been physically active, but wasn't sure she would be able to participate in the Revlon Run/Walk on May 5.  She loves the energy of these events and really wants to do it.  But her energy levels are unpredictible.

One year she met Haile Berry at one of these events and got her cap signed. 

She is realistic but optimistic.  She talked frankly about the side effects of her chemo.  The cold that nothing can warm up.  The terribly dry skin.  The sudden trips to the restroom.  The days where walking down the stairs from her bedroom to her living room tires her out so much she needs a nap.

We also talked about ...oh, so many things.

We plan to see each other again in May.

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day - Hercules

I am home after a trip to New York City to visit a dear childhood friend.  I will be blogging more about my visit to New York City in the coming days.

It was nice leaving the City on a holiday - not much traffic (comparatively) and road work projects had the day off, too.

The holiday President's Day is still officially a celebration of George Washington's birthday.  For my readers living outside the United States, George Washington was our first president.  In his day, slavery was legal and George Washington, in fact, kept slaves (as did some of our other "founding fathers".  This is a fact that should not be "swept under the rug" and should not be surprising.  People are a product of the culture of the time. Slavery was a part of that culture.  Very wrong, but it existed.

One of George Washington's slaves was Hercules, who eventually ran away (on Washington's 65th birthday). For part of part of his captivity, Hercules was the head of Washington's kitchen - in other words, a chef.  He became a celebrity chef in Washington's household in the city of Philadelphia.  The story of Hercules is quite fascinating, and worth reading on this President's Day.  If you can imagine a celebrity chef of the day - oh, let's think someone like one of the Iron Chefs- as being a slave, this is something few of us could wrap our arms around.

Apparently (this is not proven), after escaping his captivity, Hercules made his way to New York City.  After Washington's death, he was freed and was no longer an official fugitive.  But the wife he left behind belonged to Washington's wife, and was not freed.  She ended her life still a slave.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Civil War Sunday - Cynthia Ann Parker

Many years ago, my spouse was stationed at Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas. 

While there, my father flew out from New York City to visit us, and we took him to Ft. Sill in Oklahoma.  The base has a very rich history, and was visited at one time or another by some famous military people who fought in the Civil War.  We were hoping to take him to the grave of Geronimo. 

For someone who grew up in New York City, and my father (who spent almost his entire life in NYC except for his military service, this was a big deal.

But Ft. Sill has another link to the history of our nation as the resting place of Cynthia Ann Parker.and her son, who was the last chief of the Comanches.

What does that have to do with the Civil War?

The story of Cynthia Ann Parker, kidnapped by the Comanches, is a fascinating one.  Although her life story does not have much of a link to the Civil War (although her brother fought in the Confederate army) it is rich in the flavor of the frontier, and is fascinating reading.

After all, you can't really understand the Civil War without understanding the lives of those living at the time.

And, after the Civil War, a lot of soldiers ended up in the Western United States....but that is a story for another time.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I'm Doing Instead of my High School Reunion

Sometimes fate works in strange ways.  I decided not to go to my high school reunion (which would have been over a 1000 mile journey, but that's not really why, as I blogged about yesterday.)

I am very excited - and apprehensive - about what will happen later today, instead.

Today, I hopefully will have the opportunity to visit a dear childhood friend, who I went to school with throughout part of elementary school, and all of junior high and high school. We went our separate ways after high school, but have always stayed in touch-and visited at times.  I got married in her house. 

30 years ago this year, my friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  After a 9 month fight, including some 20 plus chemo treatments, a  heart attack, and three major surgeries, she was in remission.  And she remained "cured" for 29 years.

But late last year, she got some very bad news after a routine medical test found a spot on her lung.  She had cancer again.

Now she is undergoing chemo.  I hope she has a good day today, and we can visit. All I can say is when she called me that fateful day to tell me of her diagnosis, we ended up cracking jokes and laughing.  It's that type of friendship.

And there is one thing I want to get (forgive me) off my chest.

My friend has lung cancer.  And yes, I am going to answer that unspoken question that no doubt is forming in your mind right now.  She is a nonsmoker.  She never smoked. 

Why do people always ask if someone fighting lung cancer was a smoker?  Or worse yet, assume that everyone battling lung cancer was a smoker?

Why should a person ever be blamed for their body "cancering" (as one oncologist refers to it).  Could it be that it gives us a false sense of security?  That, if we eat enough blueberries, avoid white sugar, or exercise 3 hours a day, we will never hear the dreaded diagnosis that begins with a C.

Indeed, there are other risk factors to lung cancer.

Please, do not ever play the "blame game" with a person who has cancer.   They need your support.  Not your speculation.

End of lecture.

I'll let you know how it went when I get back home.  I'm thrilled....apprehensive....privleged.  I can't wait.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Not Going to My High School Reunion

I am missing my high school reunion this weekend.

I won't mention which one, but there is a "4" and a "0" somewhere in the number.  But least you think you have just guessed my age, you haven't. (not exactly, anyway)  It's a long story.

Anyway, I am not going, and I have never gone to any of my reunions.  Not one.

Why?  "It's complicated".  Even after having gone to my spouse's reunion (there's a blog post about that somewhere) I am still not going.

First, high school was not exactly the high point of my life.  Second, in all honesty, there are very few people I went to high school with that I care to 'reunite" with.  Lest I sound too anti social, I can point out that my high school graduating class (we are talking New York City here) had more people in it than many high schools around here have total students.  Shy and not a beauty, I wasn't exactly Miss Popularity. 

Most of the people I've wanted to keep in touch with, I've kept in touch with.  I suspect the few who have disappeared aren't going to the reunions, either.

For whatever reason, this reunion is being held in Florida.  I guess they figure enough of us have ended up there. It may have been a nice escape from winter (such as winter has been this year), but even that couldn't get me to attend.

I will be visiting one of my classmates  tomorrow. The fact that I can make this visit has made me very happy that I decided not to sign up.  This is a special visit, and I'll blog more about it tomorrow.

Have you gone to your high school reunions?  Or have you passed?  If you went, were you happy you went?  If you didn't, were you happy that you didn't?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

National Almond Day

Almonds are a nut I wish I could grow up here in zone 5 Upstate NY - alas, that is one of many trees I would like to grow but can't. (Citrus....avocado...pistachio....I have a large list.  Some of these include relatives of the almond that are also hard to grow here - peach, apricot, sweet cherry) But no matter, today it was time to celebrate.

Today is National Almond Day.

One of my favorite way to enjoy almonds, believe it or not, is not as a recognizable nut.  Although, I could make a long list of ways to enjoy almonds:  sugared almonds, smoked almonds, Almond Joy, almond milk (they even have an almond/coconut milk combo now),

I love to enjoy almonds as....a cracker?

Well, someone on a gluten free diet introduced me to these:  Almond nut-thins.  They are a gluten free cracker that are made from rice and almonds  There is also a variety made with pecans.  With the gluten free movement, these types of crackers are more and more available in regular supermarkets.  I haven't adopted a gluten free diet, but I do love rice crackers.  And crackers made with almonds.

Now, if they can only find a way to put almonds into Oreos...I would be all set.

What is your favorite way to eat (or drink) almonds?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - February 2012- What Season is it Anyway?

Thank you once again, May Dreams Gardens, for sponsoring Garden Bloggers Bloom Day once again.

February has come to the Southern Tier of upstate NY, on the edge of the snow belt - and usually it is still unmistakeably winter. Snow is usually on the ground, sometimes several feets worth.  We cope with cold temperatures, and nothing is even close to bloom.

This year...well, the snow drought continues.  Sunday, we got a little snow, with bitter cold winds. But, it melted. Yesterday we had snow flurries with no accumulation.  Today, the ground is bare except in a few sheltered spots.

My only flowers are inside, and finally my African Violets are blooming.



Meanwhile, outside, daffodils are poking out of the ground...

A lilac is trying to leaf out.
(this picture was taken Saturday) Snowdrops are preparing to bloom without snow...I'm expecting to see crocuses any day now.
And, tonight, I saw lichen growing in a pot that will hold flowers in another three months.

Many people are reporting that springtime allergies are manifesting themselves.

Back to the indoors:  my Christmas Cactus has buds, so it will probably be done blooming by the next Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

What will happen in the next 29 days?  Will we get the "big one", the snowstorm to make up for lost time?  Or will I be reporting spring bulbs blooming before their time?

How is your garden doing?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

True Love in the Time of Zombies - A Valentine's Day Story

What does true love mean to you?  Sometimes it means tolerating your spouse's latest craze in reading...and its consequence.

I am reading a book called World War Z, by Max Brooks.  Yes, I have recently gotten into zombies, at least somewhat modern zombies.  World War Z is a serious book, written by an admirer of the late Studs Terkel.   Brooks has done an extensive study of politics, of geography, of military science, to come up with a story of what would happen if a worldwide virus plague hit, turning most of humanity into...well, zombies.  Moaning, unconscious zombies, eating the dwindling human population.

I spent part of the last week reading this book, including horror stories filled with graphic descriptions of a plague that started in China, and ended up overwhelming most of the world.  Romantic, right?

So, on Saturday night, I went to bed and had this dream that became more and more of a nightmare. But instead of zombies, for some reason, it was crazed Canada geese that were trying to get into my house.  My face was up against the back door, where the sheer weight of the moaning geese was starting to bulge the door inward towards me.  In a last gasp effort to keep the geese out, I bit the door.

The door was soft. Too soft.

And suddenly I woke up, with this wasn't a door. It was a shoulder.

My spouse was awake too.  "Did I bite you?" I asked, fearing the worst.


Well, in over 35 years of marriage, that was a first.  He wasn't even mad at me.  I think he was a bit amused.

Turns out spouse was having this strange dream, also involving geese.  But they weren't zombie geese, and they weren't trying to get into the house.  And just as the dream was getting really interesting, someone bit his shoulder and he woke up.

Luckily I didn't hurt him, perhaps thanks to the nightguard I wear.  In fact, the bite isn't even visible anymore.

So, that is my romantic story.  Love means never having to say you're sorry when you bite the one you love during an invasion of zombie geese.

Do you have a non-romantic story that shows the love you have for a longtime love of your life?

Monday, February 13, 2012

There Are No Knights in Shining Armor-A Modern Fairy Fale

Once upon a time, there was a village called Endicott, in Upstate New York.

Endicott was named after Henry Endicott, who founded the Endicott Shoe Company and eventually made an employee, George F. Johnson, a partner.  Endicott-Johnson Corporation thrived.  And when the boom days of Endicott-Johnson were coming to a close, IBM took up the slack.  All was well, until IBM dwindled.

So did Endicott, which is now old, tired, decayed, and less of a nice place every year.

But now comes a knight in shining armor-maybe.

In September of 2011, Tropical Storm Lee dumped over 11 inches of rain on our area in just one day.  The already soggy ground from an incredibly rainy year couldn't bear any more, and floods resulted.  One building that flooded was a 640,000. sq foot manufacturing facility in Westover, just west of Johnson City, NY, leased by BAE Systems,occupied by some 1600 employees.  They are one of the major employers of our area.

In November, BAE determined the Westover building could not be salvaged.

In the meantime, part of their operation had moved to - ironically, buildings that were once occupied by IBM, in Endicott. (Endicott is just a few miles west of Westover.)  There were no buildings large enough for the entire operation, so they moved into 8 buildings on what is now called the Huron Campus.  But not everyone is in Endicott.  Some employees (I understand) are on furlough.  Some have returned (temporarily) to the Westover facility.  I've been told they must vacate by February 28.

BAE has committed to staying within 35 miles of Westover but....where?  640,000 sq ft buildings are not common here.

I had been told the announcement of relocation would be made no later than February 10, but it didn't come to pass. yesterday's paper the front page article was an article which turned out to be pure speculation.  What if BAE stayed in Endicott?  It sure would be nice to have a revival of Endicott.  Like in those good old days.

Yes, but.

There just aren't any corporate knights in shining armor any more.  No one employer is going to come and sweep Endicott back into the arms of prosperity.  And to me it was more than a bit annoying for our paper to publish that article before BAE had made that kind of committment.  Which it hasn't.

In fact, the longer it takes for this announcement: my imagination is working overtime and I wonder if BAE is going to go back on the promises it made back in November.  I truly don't think they are going to find a building suitable for them within 35 miles of the ruined Westover plant.  Much of their corporate culture (an educated guess here) is based on everyone being in the same building.  They don't want to be spread between 8 or even more buildings.  Corporate culture dies hard.

I'm also told (informally, by at least one person who used to work for IBM) those buldings in Endicott, some of which were vacant for years, aren't in that great shape.

BAE is going to think their operation deserves better.  The longer this process takes, the higher the possibility, I believe, that BAE is going to relocate somewhere outside this area.

1600 jobs were swept downstream on that waterlogged September 8.  We just didn't know it yet.

No one is going to live happily-ever-after.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Civil War Sunday -The Lincoln we Never Knew in the North

This year, Lincoln's birthday (February 12, 1809) comes on a Sunday, giving me an opportunity to write about how I was totally fooled during my childhood back in the 1960's and why.

When I was growing up in New York City, schools were closed for two federal holidays or so I thought - Lincoln's Birthday (February 12) and Washington's Birthday (February 22).  Turns out two supposedly simple observances are actually quite complicated, and sitll have a lot of emotion behind them.

For readers not from the United States, a word of explanation. George Washington was our first President, and many consider him 'The Father of our Country."

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of our country, but for all but a few days of his presidency, 11 states had separated and formed their own country, the Confederate States of America.

It took some 4 years and over 620,000. dead to reunite our country-our United States Civil War, which I blog about each Sunday as an amateur with interest in history. (Amazing, perhaps in that I had no family here at the time.)

So, even today, we have a situation where part of our country (the part I grew up in) revere Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest people our country ever knew, the man who kept our Union together.  For the other part...well, it's complicated.

150 years later, and it is still complicated, proving our country is still fighting a Civil War (mostly mentally) that should have been over shortly after its official 1865 end.

What I found out recently is that there never has been a Federal holiday for Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
Some states do celebrate it, but as state holidays.  One of them was New York State.  At the present time, five states celebrate Lincoln's birthday as a state holiday.

Washington's Birthday (February 22-actually, the closest Monday nowadays)  is known to most as President's Day, but in truth the name has never changed.  It is officially known on Federal records as Washington's birthday.  So no Lincoln there.

On the surface, our nation is reunited, but if you start digging, you will find a lot of emotion underneath that surface.  For all these years, our country has never been able to bring itself to officially honor Lincoln with a Federal holiday.  There have been attempts, such as an attempt in 2001 to hook Lincoln's name onto the official name of Washington's birthday. But it failed.

Which makes something that happened in Virginia recently even more interesting.  Lincoln has family roots in the former Confederate state of Virginia.  This shouldn't surprise anyone-our country's history is not a simple case of black and white (or blue and grey).  But now, some people in Virginia are trying to make Lincoln's birthday a state holiday in Virginia.

As of February 10 (Friday) this  is still pending.

Quoting from this in part.....

"WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln's roots run deep within the Commonwealth, and his great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents lived in Virginia; his parents met, married, and lived for a time in the Shenandoah Valley; his great-grandparents and multiple relatives are buried in Virginia in the Lincoln Cemetery at the Lincoln Family Homestead in Rockingham County; there are Lincoln descendants living in the Shenandoah Valley today. During the Civil War, Lincoln's family in Virginia were slave owners and Confederates, and he visited several Virginia localities, including Petersburg and Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865, just a few days prior to his death; and
WHEREAS, Abraham Lincoln fervently resolved to preserve the nation, and he desired "not only to save his country, but also to make it worthy of the saving, a place where all would have the right to rise"; and...."

How interesting.  A Lincoln I never knew growing up in the North.  WHY?

So does this mean our healing is finally progressing?  I honestly doubt it and will doubt the healing is complete until I visit the South one day and don't find one Confederate Flag displayed during my trip.  Or until I visit a commemoration and don't overhear spectators from North and South dissing each other, as I did last year when I visited Manassas, VA.

But it is an interesting situation, and I'll be curious to know if Lincoln's birthday does succeed in becoming a state holiday in Virginia.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Go Teach the Angels To Sing

Why does it seem so many talented, creative people self-destruct?  Does great talent carry with it the seeds of self-destruction?  Is it the dark underside of genius?  Or is it something more?

The latest death, just a few hours ago, Whitney Houston.  Dead at 48.

The list of talented people dead too young is so extensive.  In fact, so many artists have died at age 27 that there is an unofficial "27 club"

Her singing of the National Anthem will be remembered by many, especially when you contrast it with some more recent celebrity "performances".  As one of my Facebook friends put it tonight "Go teach the angels to sing, Whitney."  At last, she is at peace.  For so many years she struggled with drug use.

But, is the image of the tormented artist based in fact.  This article is a bit long for my taste, but explores the subject in depth.  Apparently, even Aristotle wondered about it back in the days of the ancient Greeks.

Do you think there is truth in the belief that madness or self-destruction is intertwined with artistic talent?

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Round Robin and the Art of Keeping in Touch

Earlier, I had blogged about the Month of Letters project I had heard about through a fellow blogger.

The idea was to write 24 letters (hard letters, though the mail) during the month of February.  Or, at least, mail something.

It was a good idea but I didn't sign up.  But it did bring back memories of a letter writing tradition my father's side of the family participated in for a number of years.  And why trying to start it up again several years ago just didn't work out.

This project was called The Round Robin.  My father, who would be 97 if he was still alive, was one of six children.  As adults, they went their separate ways.  My Dad and two siblings stayed in the New York City area (they grew up in Brooklyn). One moved to Albany, one moved to Tampa, FL and one ended up first in Texas and later in Iowa.  Only one of them, the youngest, is still alive and is in his late 80's.

To stay in touch (as telephoning, even someone in another part of New York City, was so expensive back then), they wrote letters.  I don't know who started The Round Robin but the point was:  You wrote a letter, put it in a big envelope with everyone else's letter. When the packet got to you, you replaced your old letter with a current letter, and then sent it on.  The Robin's route was always the same.

By the time I was a teenager, I had taken over from my Dad.  So it was me, writing to five aunts and uncles.  I looked forward to getting those letters and I loved responding for my Dad.  But each time, the Robin packet would take longer and longer to come.  Finally, the Robin stopped.  In the meantime, I had grown up and had better things to do.  Time passed....lots of time.

About 5 years ago, I thought it would be a really good idea to start up the Robin again.   My Dad and his 5 brothers/sisters had a total of 12 children between them. (I am an only child.)  I contacted my 11 first cousins and almost all of them were eager to join in on Robin 2.0..  The oldest cousins at that point were near 60, the youngest were in their 40's.  All of us were of the last letter writing generation.  In fact, several of my cousins have never felt comfortable with computers.  (Guess I didn't inherit those genes.  My spouse thinks my computer is grafted to my body.)

Another cousin, whose grandmother and my grandmother were sisters, joined our Robin group.

The last of my father's siblings, an uncle, wanted to join, too, but...guess what happened.  The first packet took a year to make the rounds.  The second packet never made it back to me.  He never had a chance to write a letter-one that I saw, anyway.

And what about the generation of our children?  Between the 12 of us, we have 11 children.  Many of them are young adults, including my son.  None of them were interested in the Robin.

I have finally decided the Robin is not viable.  Not dead, mind you.  Just busy sunning him or herself in Florida, or Tunisia, or somewhere else more pleasant than upstate NY, while most of us keep in touch by email or Facebook.

Know how my 80-something communicates with his three children?  Skype and email.  And I guess that's the point of this blog post.

Yes.  Letter writing has died out because....dare I say it?  There are now better ways to communicate.  Sad but true.

I wish the Month of Letters project the best, but I wonder how many of those people will still write to each other when February fades into March.

What do you think?  Did any of you have a family letter  packet like the Round Robin?  Do any of you keep in touch with siblings or cousins by snail mail nowadays?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Naked Building Waits

Who knows, there may be 8 million stories in the Naked Building.  Once its 300,000 square feet were filled with some 1500 BAE workers, hard at work, within walking distance of where I live in Westover, near Johnson City, New York.  Now, its workers on site down to a handful, it sits, awaiting its fate.  We know the building, a beautiful brick building built in 1942 and owned by the Air Force, will be torn down.  The question is, when - and, what will happen to the 1500 jobs?

It has been 5 months now, since the floods of September 7 and 8, 2011, caused by Tropical Storm Lee.  Our neighborhood continues to recover slowly.  Another store across the street from BAE, is reopening, joining the two businesses and one doctors office already reopened.  A nearby store, Ollies, will reopen February 15.  In the past month, the Christmas Tree shop, about a mile away, reopened.

But others will never reopen.  On Oakdale Road, a credit union building lies vacant, with a For Sale sign. A doctors office and a day care center also sit vacant.  On nearby Endwell Street, former residents await buyouts.   The Petco on Harry L. Drive, site of a tragic drowning of some 100 animals, will not reopen.  Nor will the Gander Mountain, where the man who gunned down 13 innocent people at the American Civic Association on April 3, 2009, bought his weapon.

And, in another hard hit neighborhood, Twin Orchards, For Sale signs are springing up everywhere, with speculators at the ready.

Through all this, the Naked Building waits patiently, like it has all the time in the world.  Its floors warped, its interior walls stripped to metal girders, it will be abandoned (I am told) on February 28.  The workers were supposed to be told by tomorrow where they would be relocated to.  BAE promised to stay in our county. But can they be trusted?

Maybe we will know tomorrow.  Maybe we will know soon how the final stories in the Naked Building will end.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter Wednesday-Is Payback Day A'Comin?

Our almost snowless winter continues here in upstate NY (along with a lot of the continental United States), and many people here are wondering when "payback time" will come.

Payback time will probably consist of the snowstorm of the century, as nature attempts to return our area to winter normal.  And, when I can finally feature lots of snow pictures on Winter Wednesday.

My prediction is February 29, the day that comes only once every four years. 

In a way it's not a joke.  Our ecology depends on cold and snow.  There is going to be a price down the line even if the rest of the winter turned normal, but I am enjoying every minute of not-slippery sidewalks.  And, few people miss the chore of shoveling snow and putting snowmelt down on their.sidewalks.

But until Payback Day comes, I'll have to content myself with posting winter pictures like these, taken Super Bowl Sunday:
Green grass!
A bit blurry (sorry) but:  a budding out tree.....
And, last but not least, daffodils poking their way into the sunlight in my yard.

What a strange winter!  Is it strange for you?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being 110 Isn't Much Different From Being 109

What a shame that Florence Green never made it to age 111.  She came pretty close, though.

What was Florence Green's claim to fame, besides living to almost 111?  Well, she was the last living veteran of World War I.

The last combat veteran died in May.

Florence Green joined the Women's Royal Air Force in September 1918 at the age of 17.  Women were put into support roles (such as mechanics) to free men up to "go to war".  Green served as a steward in the officer's mess. After the war, she married and had three children.  It is unknown if any of them had to go to war.

When the last participant in a war dies, all of us lose something valuable - memories, and a physical link to the past.  I was alive when the last (undisputed) veteran of the Civil War died, when the last veteran of the Spanish-American War died, and even when the last survivor of the Titanic died in 2009.  If I live long enough I will see the last veteran of World War II die, of the Holocaust die.  My son will (if he lives long enough) see the last veteran of the Vietnam War die.

But what was special about World War I was that it was supposed to be the "war to end war". Obviously, it was not.  Each of the survivors of that horrible war was a living witness to that horror.

We are poorer today for the passing of Florence Green, even if she did not spend a minute on the battlefield.

Monday, February 6, 2012

TV Sets Then Vs. Now

About a month ago I blogged about nostalgia and it ain't all it's cracked up to be. 

Although I still believe in the point I made about the "good old days" not always having been as good as we remember, I may be rethinking that - just a little - after my experiences of the past few days.

Our old, old 19 inch TV set - with a picture tube, imagine that! - gave up after some 15 years of faithful service.  Nowadays, you have little choice but to buy a HDTV.   So, we did.

Which is better:  the "good old days" (THEN) or modern times (NOW).  You decide:

Picking out the set

THEN:  Go into the store.  Look at the picture quality.  Choose:  black and white or (only if rich) color.  Size:  19 inch portable?  25 inch console? Buy set.

NOW: LCD, LCD with LED backlight, plasma, projector, Smart TV, 32, 37, 40, 42, 55, 70 inch?  Ultra thin?  3D? 3D ready?   Buy from appliance store, electronics store, website?  Research using computer magagine, consumer magazine, user reviews?  Allow 2 weeks.  Use email service that alerts you to sales or price reductions.  Buy set.

Setting Up the Set

THEN:  take TV out of the box.  Plug it in.

NOW:  take TV out of the box. Plug it in.  Hope you have all the right cables.  If not, run out to store and buy them.
Read the manual - if it came on a CD, boot up your computer and use $20 in ink to print it out.
If a smart TV, try to connect to the Internet.  Just try.  Nope, didn't work.  Try again.  Try again, try again.  Why isn't it connecting?
Kick furniture in frustration, break a toe.  Go to ER.
(I'm so glad I didn't buy a smart TV and got to skip that step.)
Find out your cable box isn't HD ready, so call cable company.  Find out they are out of HD cable boxes.  They will ship you one, should come in about 4 days.

How to Get Your TV Signal

THEN:  TV signals come over the air.  Buy antenna.  Wrestle with antenna.  Mount outside your living room window.  Every time you have to change the channel,  hang out the window and move the antenna so it points in the direction of your channel.  That doesn't happen too often, because you only have three channels.

If there is a storm, or if the elevator in your apartment building goes up or down, go to TV, turn the knob that stops the picture from rolling, and very carefully turn the knob until the picture stops rolling.

NOW:  Cable?  Satellite?  HD Antenna?  Hulu Plus?  Netflix?  Roku or other streaming device?  (If Roku or other streaming device see section "If smart TV".)

When to replace your set

THEN:  Give it 15 or 20 years.

NOW:  Hey, it's already obsolete!

So, reader:  Which do you think is better? TV THEN or NOW?

Prison time for badly written Newspaper Headlines

No, no one is facing prison time for usage of the English language. But some one may want to rethink this headline.

Until I started to blog, I used to "poo poo" the proper usage of the English language.  Now, when I see something like the headline the above link brings you to, I wince.

What the article in question was really trying to say was that a woman was convicted of a crime.  She was facing prison time - and THEN she was killed in a car accident.

This has been up since January 31.

I realize that newspaper headline writing is an art.  The writers must conform to certain rules their paper sets up and must be mindful of certain space constraints.  (Bloggers are fortunate - we can do just about any kind of headline we want to do.)

I am hoping that my daily blogging allows me to work on improving my writing skills so I never make a similar mistake.  My plan involves Dave Barry, my late mother and...well, you'll just have to wait for that little story.

Thank you, This is True (a very worthwhile newsletter, blog and web site), for posting this on your Facebook page.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Civil War Sunday - Indianapolis and the Civil War

Since today is the first Super Bowl to be held during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the United States Civil War, I wondered if any other Civil War bloggers were visiting Indianapolis, and would be posting on the topic of Indianapolis (site of the Super Bowl), visiting civil war sites or memorials, and then blogging about it.

Happily - Yes!

(For those in other countries reading about the Superbowl - it is a football championship game here in the States, which is more of a party time for everyone, football fan or not.  Since one of the two teams is a NY team, people are really excited here in upstate New York, despite the fact that you find more Buffalo Bills fans here than Giants fans - but never mind that.  It is, especially, a day to eat the most unhealthy foods imaginable - especially chicken wings (well, those did originate in Buffalo) prepared all different types of ways, and most of them involving frying), guacamole, chips of all types, beer...oh wait, I was supposed to be blogging about the Civil War.  (the game starts in about 2 hours, by the way, and I haven't even hit the beer yet.)


I thank John Bank's Civil War Blog over at Civil War Talk for doing the heavy lifting for me - talking about his visit to Indianapolis and the Super Bowl , and, while he was there, visiting the Indianapolis Civil War Monument.  

John Banks may work in sports (ESPN) but I looked at his blog a little and he is doing a really good job.  I hope you enjoy my Civil War blog posts, too.  I'm not a heavy Civil War buff, but I enjoy history, and I've been incorporating Civil War themes in my travels the last few years.  (More on my coming 2012 trip in the next weeks....), especially the "off the beaten path" kind of facts.

Are you looking forward to visiting any Civil War sites in the coming year?  And, are you enjoying a special Superbowl party tonight?  (anyone doing both?)

Saturday, February 4, 2012


What do I, and my spouse's cousin who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have in common?

Love of a certain softdrink, native to Salisbury, NC.

Cheerwine is not wine.  It is a cherry like (but not quite cherry) soda - hard to explain.  It is more carbonated than most,and is strangely addicting.  And, it is not sold anywhere near my home in upstate New York. (well, that isn't quite true.  You can get small bottles in Cracker Barrel restaurants.  And, on Cheerwine's website.)  So, at best, I can buy it once a year, if I go south.  I've found it as far north as northern Virginia.

I first had Cheerwine two years ago, and I was hooked.  Apparently, a lot of other people are hooked also, because I understand that Cheerwine intends to have nationwide distribution by 2017, its 100th anniversary.

My New Mexican cousin in law will be happy to know this.  She discovered Cheerwine on a vacation several months after I did. 

Some people use it as a cocktail mixer.  I just like to drink it straight. When I went to the Carolinas last year, I bought enough to last the year, rationed very strictly.  Now I am almost out.  So I guess I will have to go back to the Carolinas soon.

Are there any other Cheerwine addicts out there?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Adventures in Modern Technology - TV and Roku

Today is a special occasion for this technophobe.

Well, my name isn't Frank, although I did have a friend, growing up, whose last name was Frank.  But I do love Weird Al, and now I can sing his song "Frank's 2000 inch TV".

Today, I joined the majority of people in the United States.  I have ditched my old 19 inch Hitachi tube TV (well, it ditched me - I would have kept it another few years if I could have) and purchased a 42 inch HDTV from

There is a lot of "modern technology" I have not adopted.  I don't have a smart phone, I barely have a cell phone, and I've had a digital camera for only the last 3 years.  I freely admit that some modern technology, such as digital cameras, are way superior to what they replaced.  (I also have an MP3 player).  But TV - eh.  I spend a lot more time on my computer.

Our cable company was out of HD cable boxes, so we are having one shipped to us.

So here I am watching "regular" TV on my (to me) giant set.

The other thing we purchased is a Roku.  This streaming player was so highly recommended by someone at work that three other people I know went out and purchased Rokus.  Everyone loves them.  So I decided to get one.  Because I don't have my network password (long story) I probably won't be able to hook it up until Sunday.  If I don't lose it, that is - it is so tiny, the remote is bigger!  We don't have subscriptions to Netflix or Hulu Plus, so we will probably start out with the free channels and see where it takes us.

So, now, as I've sold out (well, not really, but in a way I feel like that....)

Over the years, I've learned an important lesson about technology:  it's only as good as the times when it works properly.  So I will hold my breath, hope the cable box comes soon, and hope that I can get hold of my network password so we can hook the Roku up.

And watch out...AM has a 42 inch TV!  (will a Kindle be next?)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The BBC 100 List

I was going to blog about Groundhog Day - but ended up spending some time trying to be literary.

Thank you, Midnight Musings, for alerting me to this list.

According to that blog: The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.  So they give some instructions.

  • Copy this list
 • Bold the books you've read in their entirety.

• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

So how did I do?  Not all that great.  Several of these have been on my "I will read one day" list, but I haven't gotten around to it.  Others (horrors) I have never heard of.  And, pray tell, why all the Terry Pratchet books?

So I did a little searching and found there are actually several of these lists floating around the Internet.

I ended up not using the list Midnight Musings posted, but a different list.

How did you do?

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien (yes, I fully read all three books years ago when I was in college.)
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling (OK that's not what it's called in the US, but..)
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute (I did read On the Beach)
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert (yes, I waded my way through this SF classic)
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

 51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter Wednesday-Memories of Snow

When I switched the name of my Wednesday feature from Wildflower Wednesday to Winter Wednesday I remarked that no one would want to see four months of posts featuring dead flowers and snow.

Well, about that snow.....

We, on the edge of the snowbelt of upstate NY, have had a remarkably snowless winter.  Oh, we've had some snow, especially at our airport (which is on a high hill above our lovely river valley) - about 27 inches this year as vs. the "normal" 46.8. (Our record was 134 inches).

At my house we haven't gotten anywhere near 27 inches.

So, to refresh everyone's memories, I wanted to remind you of what snow looks like.

Here is snow on a little birdhouse.

And snow in a little neighborhood park.
And near the Susquehanna River.

One the same day, I took a picture of this catalpa tree with its "beans" hanging down.
And, finally, my front herb/perennial bed.

These pictures were taken on January 21, when we had our last "major" snow (so to speak) at our house.

Will we get more snow?  Doubtless.  A lot of people here are expecting "payback" time:  a huge snowstorm to make up for our lack of winter.

Today, it was in the 50's:  again.  And the birds were singing!

Now (sorry, skiers) this is one winter I can really get into.