Monday, October 31, 2016

Music Monday - Death Knocks Again

Today is Halloween in the United States.  We decorate (well, some of us do - I don't) with decorations that remind us of death.  Children dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for treats (or else they will play a trick.) We watch scary movies with monsters.
Some of us turn our front lawns into graveyards.

A cultural anthropologist would have a field day (no pun intended) with this.

But sometimes, death comes a'knockin' for real.  This past week we lost two performers from my youth.

Bobbie Vee's career started after a plane crash on February 3, 1959.  The crash, near Clear Lake, Iowa  killed three great musicians - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.  They were enroute to Fargo, North Dakota, near Moorhead, Minnesota, where they were supposed to play their next concert.  Bobbie Vee, a fifteen year old local musician, and his band The Shadows, were brought in to play the date.

Stardom resulted.

Vee (his real name was Robert Velline) died Monday at the age of 73, in hospice care from complications of Alzheimer's.  He had been diagnosed in 2011.

My spouse loved his song "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" - a title appropriate for a scary holiday song (the song itself isn't too scary).

More appropriate for Halloween is "Dinner with Drac", as performed by singer and TV horror host
John Zacherle.  Zacherle, also known as the "Cool Ghoul", died Thursday at the age of 98, after a long career.  He was one of the first TV horror hosts, broadcasting in both Philadelphia and New York City.  If he could have only waited another four days, it would have been so ghoulish.  So perfect.

As it was, he hosted one of the strangest TV music shows ever for three years in the 1960's - "Disc-O-Teen", which may be what American Bandstand would have been if Dick Clark had been a ghoul.

Happy Halloween!

Day 31 - the final day - of The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Who's Afraid of NaNoWriMo?

Every November is haunted with the ghosts of "would have, should have, could have." I hate November.
Triple Cities, New York
True, at the end of October, it is Halloween in the United States.  Everything is decorated, including our local farmers market, but those decorations remind us of our own mortality.  The more ghoulish ones, anyway.

November is also a time to face the demons of the writer.  Should I join NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer's Month) once again?  And, if I do, will I ever face the ghosts of my three previous NaNoWriMo manuscripts and try to edit them into some kind of manuscript worthy to bring into the world of the living?  Am I good enough?  Is my writing adequate?  Do I really have something of worth to tell the world?

Am I afraid of failure?  Am I afraid of not finishing the course - 50,000 words worth of free writing in 30 days?  It isn't easy but I've done it three times.  It's the "after" that is just as scary.  Doing something with that manuscript.  Taking that 50,000 words of free writing and carving and shaping it into something worthy of showing the world.

My demons ask "Are you afraid of success?"  Maybe.  So I gather my courage up and declare to you, my readers.

There's a book I've been thinking of writing.  It isn't fiction, and it isn't getting written.

Now's my chance to start.  Any number of words is better than zero number of words.

Here are the official rules of NaNoWriMo (I hope they don't mind copying and pasting):
  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Only count words written during November. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
And if you break rules, which I have done already (writing non-fiction), you are called a rebel, and you are welcome.  What I do is rebel.  I do not cheat.  My words are my words, they are written only in November, and I stand by my word counts.

So, I look my demons in their blazing red eyes.  I will do NaNoWriMo this November.  Maybe a non fiction book in the wrapper of a fiction book.  That fiction book?  The coming of age story of a teenaged girl in the New York City of 2076, starting over with an idea I had two years ago, but making major changes. The non fiction content?  It's a secret.  But I've love you to join me.

My name on NaNoWriMo is "RamblinWritr".

Do you plan to try NaNoWriMo this year?

Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Local Saturday - An Exotic Tale

This weekend marks the start of Diwali, the most important (or so I understand) Indian holiday of the year.  The holiday gets its name from clay lamps that Indians light outside their homes, and celebrates the victory of good over evil.  This five day festival, I read, is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, strings of lights, and gold.  Friends and family visit, food is shared, and...well, it sounds like a lot of fun.

I first heard of Diwali last year, after I somehow (I don't even remember how) got introduced to a community of online bloggers who live, for the most part, in India.  I, on the other hand, live in upstate New York and have never been off the North American continent.

Thinking of Diwali makes me think of a friend now gone, and a town in New Jersey.

Last September (2015), my best friend from childhood passed away after a long struggle with cancer.  She was only six months older than I am.  In the religion both of us grew in, there is a ceremony called an "unveiling" within the first year of someone's passing.  It is, basically, a dedication of the headstone and a memorial service for the deceased.  Normally, only close family and friends are invited. 

I was honored to receive an invitation from my late friend's husband to attend my friend's unveiling.  Although they lived in Brooklyn, it turns out she was interred near Woodbridge, New Jersey.

While researching a motel, I saw that Woodbridge was near a community called Edison.  It sounded familiar.

I had heard about Edison from some of those Indian bloggers. The Edison-Iselin area, I recalled, has the largest community of Indians in the United States.  Even better, I remembered that one of my spouse's cousins lived in Edison.

We contacted him and his wife, and they told us we were more than welcome to stay with them overnight.  Then, I asked the Indian bloggers if they had ever heard of Edison. Some had, and one, in fact, one had even just returned from a visit to Edison.  She recommended some restaurants.

Small world.  And it was about to get smaller.
Delaware Water Gap, near Pennsylvania-New Jersey border
The drive from the Binghamton, New York area to Edison was uneventful.  The weather was beautiful.

As we got off the highway and approached the  Iselin-Menlo park area, it was obvious we were entering a different cultural area.

My spouse's cousins lived not far off a road called Oak Tree Road.  We drove down that street, in amazement, looking at storefronts with Hindi signs, seeing jewelry store after jewelry store, stores featuring Indian women's wear, restaurants, and more.

"You haven't seen anything yet", said the cousins, after dinner.  "Let us take you down Oak Tree Road after dark.  In fact, do you want to go in some of the stores? I'll take you."  But we knew this cousin had to be somewhere at 3am the next morning, so we declined.  Still, we took the nighttime drive.

This is some of what we saw.  To some of my readers, these sights will be every day.  To me - dare I use the word "exotic"?  Exotic: "From far away, unusual, exciting".

(Sorry, from the car, the pictures are not of high quality.

This egg restaurant is so intriguing.  The sign says "‘Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande". (I think it means "eat an egg every day, Sunday or Monday." I'm sure I will be corrected quickly if that is the wrong translation.

The streets were full of people. Shopping center parking lots were full of cars and talking people.

 "This is a prime time for the people here to get out and visit with friends and family", the cousin explained.  As it happens, his job (he's retired now) involved a lot of contact with people in India, and he had even visited Mumbai several times.  I told him, in turn, that my father had been stationed near Delhi for a while during World War II. He had loved it there, and had always wanted to go back.  He never made it.

It's sad to say, if my friend had not chosen her plot where she had, I may never have visited this community.  It's almost, in a way, like her last gift to me.

If I had been able to come back today, I could imagine the stores filled with Diwali sweets of every description.  The lights of that September night would burn even brighter tonight.  Perhaps we wouldn't even get any sleep from all the noise.

Perhaps, one day, I'll be able to return, and experience it for myself.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Skywatch Friday - Drama of the Clouds

Today, for Skywatch Friday, I decided to show a sunset from two different angles.

I live in upstate New York, near a park which runs alongside the Susquehanna River.  Sometimes, I like to take walks at sunset to watch the sun set.
Last Sunday, this is what the sunset looked like.  At this time of year, the clouds look so dramatic.

But after I moved a few hundred feet, and took a shot from another angle,  I managed to pick up more clouds and some fall foliage.

Yesterday, we had our first snow.  By the time I was able to take a picture, the snow had melted.  Alas, it is only the first of what may well be many snowfalls here on the edge of the New York State snow belt.

Happy fall, or spring, depending on where you live, and visit the Skywatch Friday website to see clouds, sunrises, and sunsets from all over the world.

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 1 in 100 - Autism Votes

I originally posted this on November 8, 2011, which was election day. I ask myself:  has anything changed for the better now that more of the wave of babies born with autism enter adulthood?

My brother in law, who is in his 50's, and has autism, will vote this November.  He also voted in the New York presidential primary in April.  He made his mind up from watching the TV news shows he watched.

It may be easier for people with developmental disabilities to vote.  At a recent review at a program where my brother in law attends, they asked if he was registered to vote, and he even volunteered who he was going to vote for.

It's amazing that he never voted until 2004.

I repeat this post in honor of my brother in law.  And please, if you are in the United States, vote on November 8.  I'll blog about this more later this week.

1 in 100 - Autism Votes

A Facebook post by a Facebook friend of mine, a woman who has an adult son with autism, inspired this post.

The day I first posted this was election day in the United States, where I live.

Her son is voting for the first time today.  Although she is his legal guardian, her son retains his right to vote.  She told her Facebook friends that her son has looked forward to exercising his vote for years.  This is a big day for him.

It's also a big day for our country for another reason.

Her son is on the leading edge of a wave of soon to be adults with autism.  Some say 1 in 100 live births in this country result in an individual with autism.  Not too long ago it was 1 in 166. Then it was 1 in 150.  Let's assume for the sake of argument that the 1 in 100 figure is accurate.  Let's step back a moment and see what that means.

Those babies are going to grow up.  In fact, the "leading edge" of the autism epidemic I just mentioned are now legal adults in many states, including New York (age of 18).  Just wait until all those adults with autism, who have been given the tools and supports to vote, start to exercise that right. 

And,  it is never too late.

My brother in law, who has autism, is in his 50's. He voted for the first time in the 2004 Presidential election.  Growing up, he was never encouraged to vote nor were people like him ever expected to vote.  This just didn't happen.  They weren't "normal".  So their voices, and opinions, were unheard.

In 2004, a person who worked with him in a support role decided that my brother in law should exercise his right to vote.  He watches a news station that carries a lot of political discussions and has formed very definite political opinions.  Why shouldn't he vote?  She worked with him, he did vote, and he was very proud of voting for the presidential candidate of his choice.

For the first time, his voice was heard.

It is not easy for a person with autism to vote, as described here, but it can be done with proper education and proper support.  This issue isn't restricted to the United States, either.

It's a new day, and soon, the politicians will feel the power of that new voting block.  It will be interesting to hear what these new adults with autism have to say in the voting booth.

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fantastic Fall - The Five Letter Word

Why would grown people, normally sane, run around gathering hanging baskets and plants, taking cuttings of plants, and cutting flowers for one last bouquet?

Because of the looming F word.  It has five letters.
From earlier this fall - we didn't get this one.

This is the word that strikes terror into the heart of many gardeners.  It's the end of the growing season (except for some hardy crop exceptions).  It's the end of cut flowers.  It's the end of mild weather, although our mild weather ended several days ago, alas.

There wasn't a frost advisory last night.  Most people around here have gotten their first frost, even their first freeze, by now.  I am positive that, yesterday morning, sleet was mixed in with rain where I work in Binghamton, New York.  And, tonight, we are predicted to get the other word.

The S word.


I hate that word.

Why does nature have to wreck a perfectly good fall?

Please tell me that these innocent flowers (not mine, but still) died last night.

Please tell me these leaves won't fall in a few days.

Please don't tell me it will snow tonight.  Or tomorrow. 

Goodbye, fall.

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mourning A Building

A little more than five years after the flood that ruined it, the building that was once the largest wood framed structure in the United States has met its fate.  This structure, near to where I live in upstate New York, was once known as Air Force Plant 59.

Since the flood, the building has fascinated me.  It was a fixture in my life for nearly 30 years.  A landmark.  I passed it every day.  I called it the "BAE building", after its last tenant before the flood (BAE Industries).

It's been a building for all seasons since it was built as a military production plant in 1942.  Winter...
May 5, 2014

August 9, 2013

October 18, 2013
And fall.

The Air Force still owns the property.  But not the building.
October 23, 2016

It is rubble.   It took nearly seven months to demolish.
Angle similar to the "fall" picture.
And now, the burning bushes that once were part of its landscaping turn red one more time, behind a fence.  They, too, await their fate.

The final fate of the property still awaits announcement.  But, my neighborhood just won't be the same without BAE.

Rest in peace, Air Force Plant 59.

Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Music Monday - No One Likes to Be Ignored

If it wasn't a Monday, I'd probably be enjoying writing a blog post about fall where I live in upstate New York. I'd be sharing fall photos with you.
Downtown Binghamon, New York, earlier this month

The yellow.

The red and the orange.

Or the blazing red.

But this is Music Monday and you are expecting a music post.

Last week, I blogged about master singer/songwriter Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  One of my commenters mentioned that Dylan had not yet acknowledged he won the award, and that the good folks who award the Nobel Prizes had been unable to locate him.  They didn't even know if he would show up for the award ceremony.

Now, that silence has become big news, especially after his website briefly mentioned it, but then the reference was taken down.  No mention of it now.

Dylan is being called "arrogant", "rude", and more.

This is far from the first time Bob Dylan has decided not to talk.  He gives interviews on his own schedule.  This isn't the first time he's ignored an award.

So, the question becomes: arrogance, or nobility?

I suspect Bob Dylan does not care.  It's his life, his award to accept, embrace, or ignore.  It may not be important to his world view - or, knowing the history of the man the awards are named after, he may have decided, deliberately, to ignore it.

On the other hand - if you invited people to a party, wouldn't you want to know who was intending to show up? Or to acknowledge they received your invitation?

What do I think? I think artists have an obligation to the world - the world that has bought their records, listened to their songs, and put money in their bank accounts.  Go back to the official website of the artist.  The home page is announcing new albums and new tours.  All of these cost money, and Bob Dylan wouldn't be advertising these if he didn't want to make money.  So, he is making money off the public. (I know - shock. Surprise).

If I was in his shoes, even if I did not want the award, I would still acknowledge it, and thank those who had voted in praise of my works for thinking of me.  If you are taking money for something you make, or create, I think you owe those same members of public at least this much.

What do you think?

Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

National Mother in Law Day

We can thank the good people of the state of Texas, where I lived for almost a year in the mid 1970's, for Mother In Law day.  It is observed on the fourth Sunday in October, and is modeled after Mother's Day - except the day is to honor the mother of your spouse.

My spouse never knew my mother, who passed away some five years before we met.  But my mother in law has been in my life for some 46 years.

A relationship with your mother in law can be quite complex, depending on the culture you live in.  I majored in cultural anthropology back in my college days, and learned about societies where a man had to avoid contact with his mother in law at all costs.

In our society, some relationships are close, and some are not.  One newspaper even published some quotes to provide your mother in law with, if you chose to.

In other cultures, like ours, the daughter in laws and mother in laws have varying relationships.  I've seen some of the various flavors (as I am old enough for my friends and I to have grown children) - some good, some not so good.  I am not the parent of a married child, so only time will tell how I take my position in any such future relationship.
Japanese anemones - their foliage is turning color

For my mother in law, who I will not be seeing today, here are a couple of virtual flowers for you.

My mother in law is a three time cancer survivor, has raised and cared for a son who is developmentally disabled, and has shown strength in a lot of situations.  One thing she can not say is that her life has not been boring.  And now, she is still starring in still another role- how to age with grace.

Happy mother in law's day to all the women who are in the role of mother in law.

Day 23 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Local Saturday - Apple Fail (and a Recipe)

I live in an apple growing area of upstate New York, but this year has not been the kindest to the growers.

A late freeze after a mild winter.  A drought.

We went up to Ithaca, New York last weekend to buy some of the heirloom apples we love so much for heirloom apple crisp (yes, please try my recipe).
This is what we found.  Just a few bins with small apples.
I didn't think there was anything wrong with them.  I look forward to the annual buying of these most tasty of apples, and was grateful there was a crop at all.

Yes, the apples in the bottom bin are brown.  The brown varieties (russet) are some of my favorites.

Americans tend to be very picky about the looks of their produce.  Things get discarded if they don't look "perfect".  Americans do not want blemishes, small items, or other defects in their fruit.  So much fruit and other produce goes to waste - it's a disgrace.

I'm grateful for the apples we were able to buy from these growers.   And when I make the apple crisp, I'll let you know.

Here's the recipe I used a couple of years ago:  this will something nice to make on a cold, blustery day like today.  But I have a pear in the house, and may use it instead of the blueberries.

Fruit Crisp (9 inch square pan, serves 9)

2 pounds baking apples (I used 20 Ounce)

4 tbsp brown sugar (you can also use 1 tbsp sucralose as an alternative)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup frozen blueberries (I didn't thaw them)

Peel and slice cored apples. Mix all ingredients together.  Place in a 9 inch square baking dish that has been oiled or buttered.
Top with topping.  Keep in mind this is an adaptation of a low-cal topping.  It may not suit you.


1 cup quick oats
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp light butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground allspice (since I, amazingly, didn't have cinnamon on hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix topping together and top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the apple slices are the consistency you want.  Let cool, unless you can't wait to eat it.

Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Skywatch Friday - A Lake Sunset

Here is a picture taken of Canandaigua Lake, in upstate New York (one of the Finger Lakes), on October 15, just after sunset.
Some pictures take themselves.  This is one of them. 

Visit the Skywatch Friday website and check out sky pictures from all over the world.

Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

It's Been a Very Mast Year

All growing season, I've been dealing with a mystery creature (bird or mammal, I had no idea) which has been digging in my flower pots and hanging baskets.  It started in the spring, and I know that sometimes birds pester the hanging baskets.  I've had birds who tried to build nests in them.  Others will look for nesting material.  I can deal with the birds.

The damage stopped for a while, but started up again several weeks ago.  I tried everything I could think of.
Hard to see, but the damage is in that big dark area
One day, I caught the culprit in the act.  It was a squirrel, happily taking a dirt bath in a planter that used to have pansies in it until they were torn out.

Now, google "how to deal with squirrels".  I don't know how common squirrels are outside of North America, so I'll just explain they are rodents with beautiful, bushy tails and the cutest antics, until they start destroying your house or garden.  Here in the Binghamton area, they are grey and brown.  When I lived in Arkansas, I remember a lot of black squirrels.
Cute chipmunk - one of zillions at the Broome County Courthouse

We also have to deal with chipmunks, which are smaller, faster and perhaps cuter.  But they can be destructive, too.

This year, in upstate New York, there has been an overabundance of both squirrels and chipmunks.  The other day, my guest photographer told me why.  2015 was what scientists call a "mast year".  It was a year when, for reasons yet somewhat unknown, all the oak trees got together and decided to create tons and tons (and tons) of acorns.

Mast years occur between every two and every five years.  Lucky us.  Yes, oaks go through cycles with their acorns.  Some years there aren't too many.  Other years, walking in the woods is like walking on marbles.

Additionally, we had our super warm (for us) winter.  Between the mast year and the warm weather, the squirrel and chipmunk populations have exploded.  And I am ready to explode after seeing more of their damage yesterday.

Now, I have sad news for my readers in the Northeast United States.
2016 is another mast year. Yes, two in a row.  My guest photographer can testify to that. At her home in rural Broome County, acorns hit her metal roof all day long.  It sounds like an artillery attack.
It's hard to keep up.

If you are looking here for a solution to your squirrel or chipmunk problem, I'm sorry, but I don't have one.  I wish I did.

By the way, there is no connection between mast years and severity of the next winter. Mast year last year.  Warmest winter ever, as I recall.  So, who knows.  Maybe our unusually warm days this October will translate into....


Day 20 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fantastic Fall - From Different Angles

On a fantastic fall day, three women dressed in pink decided to have lunch at a local Irish bar.  They had never eaten there before.

It was Binghamton Restaurant Week, where people can have lunch or dinner at various participating restaurants.  Each has a special fixed men, and a percentage of the proceeds go to designated charities.  This bar was participating.

Entering, they were greeted by the owner, who asked "Have you ever been here before?"  They said "No."  Everyone smiled at the women.  Was it because they were dressed in pink, the color of supporting breast cancer causes during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

"After you order", said the owner, "why don't you check out back, and see how I've fixed up the back of my place for special events?"  The women took up his offer, and decided they would sit outside and eat.

In mid October.

Normally, weather at this time of year in upstate New York isn't all that mild. But today, it got up to 81 degrees F (27 C).  They sat in the sunshine (sunshine!), talked, caught up, and enjoyed the breeze.

It just wasn't normal.  It was a day to be treasured.  A day viewed from an unusual angle.

But then, they had to return to work.  But let's make believe they didn't have to.  What might they had seen if they had walked in Binghamton?
West Side of Binghamton, New York, October 18. (And no, I didn't use any software on this picture.)
This is the view from another angle.

I enjoy looking at things from different angles.
And enjoy it even more when I see some unusual shades in a fall display.  And even a hint of pink.

Maybe one day, they will take a walk together after lunch, and see what fall has to offer in upstate New York.

Day 19 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Row Well and Fight Breast Cancer

Today, on a day we will probably break a high temperature record, I wonder about the women I wrote about before back in 2012.  I wonder how many of them are still alive, still thriving.

How many of you don't know someone who has had breast cancer?  I would be willing to bet the answer is "not many".

I prefer, for fundraising purposes, that we raise money to fight all cancer (I've blogged about my belief from time to time), but I also want to pay tribute to the women in my life who have waged this particular fight.

My mother in law (a two time breast cancer survivor) fought this fight back in the 1970's, back in what one might call "the dark ages". She didn't get much support, something that all people with cancer need.

For those who have survived breast cancer, this program is so empowering.  I applaud it.  I am happy to find the dragonboat/breast cancer movement is international, and continues to thrives.

Day 18 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge

Row Well and Live (from 2012)

Today's quiz:  in what sport can a boat of 60 year old rowers win a race against 20 year old racers?

In Ithaca, New York, on Bastille Day 2012, we were treated to a sport where that can happen.

The secret is coordination. The elderly team, if coordinated, will beat out the young ones, as a dragon boater explained to the crowd.

Dragon boating is a sport where adults of all ages can participate and breast cancer survivors can make rude gestures at the obsolete medical advice that, after breast cancer surgery, they should give up activities such as carrying grocery bags. (More on breast cancer survivors dragonboaters later).

Maybe no more grocery bag carrying for these survivors, but they sure can row a boat.  So can the seniors.

Welcome to Dragon Boat racing.  Once something combined to certain countries in the Far East, dragon boats have caught on all over the country.

I've wanted to see a dragon boat race since I visited Philadelphia about 10 years ago, and the news shows were full of coverage focusing on the races to begin - right after I left.

It was love at first sight. Love as a spectator, that is. To my knowledge, there are no teams where I live in the Binghamton, New York. (2016 note - there still aren't).

The boats are simple.
In the front, next to the dragon head, a caller sits.  He or she beats the cadence (yes, like in that famous ship battle scene in the movie Ben Hur.)  Around 18-20 rowers are in each boat, along with a steerer.
Here is another view of the empty boats.
And, of course, there is the beautiful scenery of Ithaca, NY.

The names of the teams were amusing or inspirational.  My favorite was "Dragonboat Z" (Cornell's team), who won a bronze metal.  Other teams included the Puff Puff Dragons, the Wall Street Dragons, Big Red October, and Water Viper.

After the "Dotting the Eye" ceremony (more on that in another post), the breast cancer survivor team came  on stage and talked about their sport.  The speaker, a retired nurse in her 70's, had been an oncology nurse (ironically) and remembered the hundreds of post-mastectomy patients she had talked to, cautioning them about all the things they could no longer do.  Now, as a breast cancer survivor, she dragon boats.

The woman explained that only breast cancer survivors could race on her team.  Later, I did some research about the link between dragon boating and breast cancer survivors. It's symbolic and I understand the symbolism (knowing several breast cancer survivors) although I could wish they would take survivors other cancer survivors into their program.

If you are a breast cancer survivor, would you consider taking up dragon boating?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Music Monday - The Times They A'Changed

Surprise!  Guess who won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature?

A songwriter.  A song teller.  Someone whose songs have been in my life since the 1960's.

Bob Dylan.  Some people say "what were they thinking?" Others say "it's about time a songwriter won this award."

According to National Public Radio (NPR), the Swedish Academy awarded the prize to Dylan"for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Does he deserve the prize?  I believe so, and hope you will, too, after listening to some of his most famous songs.

His voice leaves a lot to be desired, but 75 year old Bob Dylan did not win the Nobel Prize for his vocal qualities.

Instead, they were for poetical lyrics that (not my original observation) were almost magical. That made you enter other worlds through doors that his lyrics created for us.

As far back as the early 2000's, there was already talk of Dylan being nominated for the Nobel prize.  Enjoy this interview from 2004 with Ed Bradley.

I discovered Bob Dylan over 50 years ago through this song - "Like a Rolling Stone".
Truthfully, I don't like this version as much as the version that appeared in 1965, but his songs aren't all readily available on You Tube.

For my spouse, his favorite is a long song, a song about a real man called Ruben"Hurricane" Carter.  I could not find a good Bob Dylan performance online, however.

Perhaps his most approachable song is "Blowing in the Wind".  So straightforward and so profound.

A song (poor quality performance) that is eerily prophetic.  "The Times They Are A-Changin'"

And one more, for the road (so to speak) - a cover of "Knocking On Heaven's Door" as done by Guns 'N Roses.

Do you listen to Bob Dylan? Which song is your favorite?

Day 17 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Local Sunday - Ithaca Farmers Market

Nature is beautiful.  A farmers market only reflects some of that beauty. Come with me to visit a fall Saturday market in upstate New York

A market about an hour away from where I live, located in the college town of Ithaca, New York is my favorite for sheer beauty.  It is a feast for the eye and the stomach.

There is a walking trail to the market, which is located in an area called Steamboat Landing.  You can see the market in the distance.

You are greeted with garlic, onions and other seasonal vegetables.

The produce in the early morning light of October, as the last harvests come in.
Peppers in all colors.
The chance to experience something different, such as these spilanthes.  Until today, I never experienced anything quite like them.
A festive ceiling.

As much as I enjoy going to local farmers market, I must admit to looking forward to my annual visit to Ithaca every October.

Day 16 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Oct 2016

Is nature about to play a trick on us?  Or, is a treat coming our way?

It has been a horrible month for many in the Eastern United States.  A hurricane.  Epic flooding.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away from those storms, in the Northeast United States, we are into what, in the old days, used to be called "Indian summer".

Fortunately, my zone 5b neighborhood near Johnson City, New York has dodged the frosts that most in this area have already experienced.  And now, after a start of 35 degrees F (1.6 C), we are supposed to have a gorgeous day.

So, for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, the 15th of the month celebration hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens,  I have one last showing of outdoor bloomers.
African impatiens (with an ant).
A cosmos opening.
A white geranium.
A pink geranium, almost glowing.

My Mother's Day gift is still going strong.
A basket of some purple (not blue, as my iPhone decided to render them) flower I can't remember the name of was attacked by squirrels, but enough of it still blooms on.  These flowers did very well in part shade and I would love to know what they are.
Then there are the flowers of all.  Here, a Japanese anemone.
My cultivated purple asters are almost finished, but these white asters, which I was given as a gift by an Ithaca "local plants" nursery, are blooming quite nicely.
My hardy mum never came back this year, so I bought these last week.

And then, there are the surprises.
My hostas are not late blooming, but for some reason, this one hosta has decided to bloom again.
And this Easter lily, which never bloomed when it was supposed to this year, has decided to try to beat the frost. The flowers are close to opening, so I decided it was a valid Garden Bloggers Bloom Day entry.  But will frost get to the buds first?

Now that you've enjoyed my flowers, please go to May Dreams Gardens and click the links to view gardens from all over the world.

Day 15 of the #Ultimate Blog Challenge.