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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Now the Journalists

This time, the shooting was in a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Editors, journalists, and a sales associate had not gone out to get the news.  The news came to them.  And, five dead  later, the survivors joined with a sister newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, to report on the news that had just happened right before them.

This shooting was a little different, though, because a close in law was visiting us, and she worked for a suburban New York City newspaper for many years.  She, through her words, had taken me into a newsroom on the morning of September 11, 2001, as she and fellow staff members gathered around a television set, watching the aftermath of a plane that rammed into One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, wondering if it could have been an accident.  Minutes later, as they watched (live on television) a plane hit Two World Trade Center, they had their answer.

They all scattered, journalists, editors, other support staff.  They did their jobs, as if they had been trained for this moment, and returned that night to commuter parking lots full of cars that would never be driven by their owners again.

My in law told me of the threats her paper had received after a particular story had run, not too many years before she was laid off.  She edited her social media so that people would not know she worked for that paper.  Now, her worst fear had come true - a man with a vendetta against his local paper had taken action.

I don't know what it is like to be a journalist, but I do know what it is like to be a bystander (several blocks away, and I was not a direct witness) as respects an active shooter situation - in fact, it was the topic of my very first blog post in April of 2009.  Other people did their job that day - police, medical personnel, and - yes - journalists.

Now, we need newspapers more than ever, but journalism (in this I include support staff) has become a more deadly field than ever before.

The shooting joins all the other ones - in churches, in schools, at concerts, at nightclubs, in movie theatres, at a military base, so many that we can't even remember them all any more.

The names blur.   We hold demonstrations and nothing happens.  We send our thoughts and prayers and that keeps us going until the next time.

Our President said on Thursday: "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs."  The Governor of Maryland said  "There is no amount of clarity that will ever explain or nullify the pain that comes with losing so many lives for so little reason,"  in a statement Friday morning.  He went on to say that "journalism is a noble profession upon which our democracy depends, and we will fight to defend it."

But the dead are still as dead, and their families, their friends, their other loved ones, cry out to us, the American public, to do whatever it takes to make it stop.

Will we answer the call this time?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Many Sky Moods #SkywatchFriday

The sky can give us so many moods.

Dramatic.

Blue with a moon.

And cloudy with a chance of flowers.

Every Friday, dedicated bloggers watch the sky and report what they have seen on Yogi's #SkywatchFriday.  Join us today!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cottonwoods #ThursdayTreeLove

Cottonwoods are native to North America and were common where I used to live in Wichita, Kansas.    I also remember them from my preteen years, going to a sleepaway camp in northern New Jersey.  Their cottony seed mass coverings would blanket the ground.

Some call the release of the seeds "The snows of June".

These trees are among the fastest growing of trees, and are not well loved due to the mess they make. (However, there are male and female trees, and only the females produce the seeds).

I found this cottonwood tree ready to release on June 10 where I exercise walk on the Vestal Rail Trail.
Here is one of the seed masses close up.  It does look like cotton, doesn't it?

 Join Parul at Happiness and Food every second and fourth Thursday of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove.  Love (or photograph) a tree today, and join us.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

RIP Dan Ingram


(Part of this came from a post I wrote in 2015 on the 50th anniversary of the Great Northeast Blackout of November 9, 1965, which I repeat for a sad reason.)

On the evening of November 9, 1965, I was 12 years old and in 8th grade.  I was walking home from a girl friend's house. I had spent the afternoon with her, pounding my "great American novel" out on her typewriter.  It was getting dark.

About 5:20 pm I entered my apartment building to find the lights dimming, flickering, and coming back on again.

What I did not know was that a chain reaction power failure had started several minutes before, up in Canada.  Like a wave, city after city went dark.  Now, in New York City, it was our turn.  By the time the chain reaction ended, some 30 million people were in the dark, dependent on a full moon for their light.

An elevator was waiting in the lobby of my apartment building; I made a split second decision not to take it and took the stairs to my fourth floor apartment instead.

A couple of minutes after entering it, my apartment went dark.  We were more fortunate than many - growing up Jewish, we had candles - plenty of them, in the house.  I had a battery powered radio and, listening to it, I gradually realized it wasn't just our neighborhood.

I listened to WABC radio - a disc jockey by the name of Dan Ingram was in the studio at the time the blackout struck at about 5:25 pm.  This is an internet article on the blackout.

800,000 people were stuck on the subways- my father was one of them.I was alone with my mother.  But it was not a party for me.

By the time our electricity was restored (around 6am the next morning), my life had changed forever. For me, it was one of the darkest nights of my life.

During the blackout, my mother, who had not been in the best of health, died.  It is something incredibly hard for me to write about.  The echoes of that night still resonate in me, and always will.

But, time does heal. And one thing that helped to sustain me during the blackout, listening on that tinny radio as candles flickered, was the voice of Dan Ingram.

This is an eight minute clip of Dan Ingram - the first five or so minutes of broadcasting that night, as the power started to fail, and then, the next day, November 10, 1965, as the blackout ended.

Dan Ingram, a piece of my childhood, died Sunday at the age of 83.


My spouse and I both loved his voice, and his irreverent attitude.  He would tinker with the music.  For instance, when he played Cara Mia by Jay and the Americans, he would play a certain part, somehow lengthening it for several minutes.  He would call his show  the “Ingram flingram”and greet his listeners with a "kemosabe!"

He stayed with WABC until it went to all talk in 1982, and ended up with WCBS-FM.  He retired in 2003.

RIP Dan.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Home - #MusicMovesMe

Don't we all long for home?  That which is familiar?  The place where we are safe?

We long for Home in music, too.  Every Monday, my blog, and the blogs of a number of other fine men and women becomes the Home for music - #MusicMovesMe, that is.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers?  We ride on a weekly train of music and we are headed by our head Engineer XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is visiting when she can - please keep her in your thoughts ) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy   And, (blushing) me.

For the next few months, we will also have honorary conductors.  Go to Xmas Dolly's site, get the complete list, and you can find out how you could guest conduct next year.

This week's theme is a FREEBIE - and I am featuring some songs about Home, a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently.

Home, as in Homeward Bound by one of my favorite duos, Simon and Garfunkel, from 1966.

Take Me Home, by Phil Collins, from 1985, from his third solo album, talks about someone who feels he is a prisoner in his own life - if only he could be taken home.

Our House, by Madness, from 1982.   This is such a fun video that I had to include this upbeat song (the house, I understand, was located in London.)

No blog post about home would be complete without John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads.  Home means so much to all of us.  Do any particular songs make you think of home?

In July, our Honorary Conductor will be (drum roll):  Michelle of Musings & Merriments.  So thank you for the opportunity to Conduct in June, and stay tuned for some rockin' July music.

See you then!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Baby He Can Drive My Car

I spent the last few minutes scrolling on Facebook - you know (if you are on social media), the type of social media where you fall into the app and scroll aimlessly, scrolling past the silly, the posts full of hate (pro or con your political viewpoint) and otherwise start to get depressed on an otherwise partly gloomy day in upstate New York....

...Until you run into this video.

Right now, this is the #14 most trending video on You Tube.  And, why not?  What is wrong with 28 minutes of joy?

If you have the time, enjoy.  If you don't, take a few minutes out and enjoy it anyway.

My normal #MusicMovesMe post will be tomorrow.  For today, enjoy Sir Paul.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Privet Memories - Sustainable Saturday

I grew up in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, in a city housing project.

All green spaces in the project were carefully fenced away behind chain link fences.  We children would get into trouble with the maintenance men who cared for the project if we climbed the fences and dared to play in the greenery.  So, of course, we did it as often as possible.
The boys would catch bees in glass jars.  That's not something we girls really got into.  Instead, we would look for ladybugs to catch.

The smell of privet, for me, is the smell of late spring and early summer.  The scent would attract the bees.

It was warm, and humid, and privet hedges bloomed wherever there were houses in the Bronx.

When I smell privet in my neighborhood near Binghamton, New York, the scent brings me back over 50 years in a matter of seconds.  I am a little girl once again, climbing chain link fences while we look out for the project maintenance men, so my playmates and I could have a few minutes of interaction with nature.  My arthritis and my back issues melt away, bringing me back to a time when spring stretched on forever, summer vacation from school beckoned, and the troubles of adult life were unknown.


Sometimes, I wish those times could stretch on forever.  A time seemingly without care.

Scent and memory, so intertwined. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fifteen Fifteen #SkywatchFriday

Pictures taken right after sunset, where I live in upstate New York, on June 21.
Today, our daylight length was fifteen hours and fifteen minutes.
Not directly west, but it was still pretty.

Looking up.

One more angle.

Now, it's time for the downward march of daylength until we reach the winter solstice.

If you were interested in the Fairbanks, Alaska midnight sun game I blogged about yesterday (which just concluded a few moments ago - after all, Fairbanks is four hours behind us here in New York State) Major League Baseball has an extensive post on this year's events.  Check out the sky shots at 12:01 am on June 21.

Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky (on the first Friday of summer and other Fridays) at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Baseball Under the Midnight Sun

In 2009, my first year of blogging, I blogged about my fascination with sunsets and the midnight sun.  I am repeating the post today, with some updates and edits, to celebrate the first day of summer.
Tennessee Sunset from my Guest Photographer's Sister
When I was growing up in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, I used to have dreams about living in a place where the sun never set. In these dreams, sometimes the sun would set, but it would be very late at night. I would gaze out my window at 11pm (in my dream) and it would still be light. Sometimes, though, it was dark all the time. I would look at the stars, and they were different. This would, for some reason, frighten me.

When I found out that there were, indeed places which had 24 hours of light in the summer and 24 hours of dark in the winter, I began to wonder about what it would truly be like to see the sun at midnight, or experience total darkness.

As an adult, I haven't had that opportunity (either way) except through the Internet.

In 2008, through a website called Eternal Sunset (which appears no longer to exist), I tracked a location in Antarctica and a location in Fairbanks, Alaska for an entire year. However, neither location has the true 24 hour swing - Fairbanks, for example, has a maximum daylight time of 21 hrs and 45 minutes (approximately.) They do have 24 hour "light"on the day of the summer solstice but the sun does set.

For a while, I would visit an actual 24 hour web cam location - in Norway. Svalbard Longyearbyen, to be exact.  In June of 2009, as I wrote this post, it was almost midnight. The sun was right on the horizon. The web cam was pointed at it. It was 28 degrees above zero F, with snow on the ground, and several people on snowmobiles were clearly visible.

What is it like to live there?  It made me wonder.

There are photos of this area, and stunning would not begin to describe it. What does the person who runs this website do for a living? Does he sleep at all during the arctic day? Has he ever been to more temperate climes? If so do our days and nights seem weird to him?

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks, they will hold their 113th Midnight baseball game tonight. According to the Alaska Goldpanners (Fairbanks) website, the first game was held in 1906, but several times there was more than one game in a year.

This is a video of the 2016 game, which ended at 12:18 am.  If you forward to 3:58 in the video (as the game ends), you will see the setting sun. 

What a thrill.

If you are a true baseball fan, you can  watch several minutes of a young Tom Seaver (Hall of Fame pitcher) pitching the 1965 Midnight Sun game. 

This annual late night game is played in its entirety without artificial lighting and there is a special Midnight pitch.  Tom Seaver is wearing a red uniform in this footage - the quality, by the way, is terrible.

One day, I may  make a dream come true, and go to that game.  But until then, I will continue to watch sunsets in my native New York State.  Today, the sun will set for us at 8:43 pm.

Have you ever seen the Midnight Sun?

Time to greet summer - and, perhaps, Play Ball!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Spying on Alaska

I love the golden light just before sunset, where I live in upstate New York.  Spring light can be so beautiful, too, as the days get longer and longer.

But now the days have become as long as they will get.  It's so hard to believe that, as we enter summer, the daylength will start its shrinkage back to the first day of winter.

Today, I gazed upon a webcam in Fairbanks, Alaska.  In their local time, it was about 2:05 am.  The sky was pink with a sunrise - or, was it a sunset?  Up there, I suppose it barely matters - it is light enough to see 24 hours a day right now, although the sun does set - sort of.

The midnight sun has always fascinated me.  You can find more Alaska webcams here and do your own looking at the midnight sun.

One day, I would love to see it in person.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - The Full Measure of Courage

Today, my childhood best friend would have turned 66 years old.  But she is not here to celebrate with me.

This is from a post from the summer of 2013, when my friend was a couple of years into her fight for health.

My friend sent an email to friends and family:
I brought the fruits of my knit/crochet project to the pediatric oncology department today. Grand total was 2 baby blankets 7 hat scarf sets, 2 plain hats, and 9 infant/toddler hats. The nurses were so excited and happy. Some good came out of some bad. I hope some children like the things I made while waiting.
As one of my other friends from childhood said "cancer and children should never be in the same sentence."

At the time I wrote this post, my friend's husband was battling cancer alongside of her. Her spouse had to spend a lot of time in doctor's offices to be treated for a medical condition.   My friend normally came with  him and waited for him while he has his treatment - sometimes waiting an hour (or even more).

Out of boredom, she started to do her needlework while waiting.

She did beautiful crocheting and knitting work - and, recently, has been working on projects for pediatric oncology patients.

I crochet but I do not knit, and I wanted to show off her work because I know quality work when I see it.   Again, this is from 2013:

A crocheted blanket and some knit hats.
Another crocheted blanket.
And finally, some hats and scarves.

We have the cliche "lemons out of lemonade" - this is about as lemony as you can get.

And now she's gone - three years gone, in September.  In her last two years, she showed the full measure of courage, but she fought a foe that was strong, and unrelenting.   Her memory lives on in those of us who miss her.  On days like today, especially - what would have been her birthday - I miss her.  She was a teacher, and she taught me so much.

One day, perhaps, I will understand why she was taken from us too soon.

One day, perhaps, no one will know the meaning of the word "cancer".

Monday, June 18, 2018

TV and Movie Themes of the 50's and 60's #MusicMovesMe

Music Lovers, it is time for some Nostalgia!  More specifically, the bloggers of #MusicMovesMe, for your pleasure, are blogging today about the movie or TV themes of their childhoods.

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers?  We ride on a weekly train of music and we are headed by our head Engineer XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is visiting when she can ) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy   And, finally, last but not least - little ol' me.  And, for the next few months, we will also have guest conductors.  Go to Xmas Dolly's site, get the complete list, and you can find out how you could guest conduct next year.

Today, I am the guest conductor and I am bringing you TV and movie themes from my childhood in the 1950's and 60's.

In my childhood, TV game shows were big.  One of the biggest one was a show called the Match Game.  It took its theme from an instrumental called A Swingin' Safari by Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra, from 1962. I could wish for more instrumentals today.  Thank you for fellow participant in Music Moves Me John Holton for digging this one up for me.

Prime time cartoons were also big in the early 1960's.  Does anyone out there remember Bugs Bunny's This is It?  And oh, what heights we'll hit....

How about a glimpse into the future, early 1960's style, from The Jetsons?  Not exactly accurate, it turns out.  But TV Cartoons could take up a blog post of their very own, so onward.

A popular meme during the early 1960's was the TV Doctor. The theme song of Dr. Kildare (played by Richard Chamberlain) was so haunting to me - here, Richard Chamberlain sings the theme, called Three Starts Will Shine.  So swoon-worthy, sigh........

And then there was the meme of the TV Lawyer.  Perhaps the most famous of them was Raymond Burr, as Perry Mason.  Here's his theme.

Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor sing Green Acres.

Switching to movies - from 1960, the theme from Exodus, as composed by Ernest Gold.  A version by Ferrante and Teicher went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960.

The original James Bond theme.  007 rules!

How about a little song and dance from the year I was born (although technically, I wasn't born yet when this movie came out) - from 1952, Gene Kelly dances and sings in "Singin' in the Rain".

I will close with this 1966 theme song from the movie Georgy Girl - sung by The Seekers.

I hope I helped to make your Monday airy and light.  Have a wonderful week!  And be sure to visit the other Music Moves Me blogs for musical treats.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father 2018

This is a post I repeat almost every Father's Day, with some edits.

It is July of 1914.  The world is on the brink of World War I, going through a series of crises, but no one knows how close to war the world is yet.  My father is too young to know.  He certainly doesn't know that the life expectancy for a male born in 1914 is only 52 years.  Or that the leading causes of death in 1914 included tuberculosis, influenza, and diarrhea.  Or that his one daughter would use something called the "Internet" one day to blog, and to pay tribute to him.

My father was born and grew up in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Brownsville.  My grandfather owned a candy store, which he ran with the help of his wife, my grandmother, and their six children.

In the 1930's, my father's mother died, from complications of high blood pressure, an illness so easily treated today.  My father ended up quitting high school after two years.

He doesn't have too much of an Internet presence, my father, but there are a couple of things I can find.  I looked at his record in the 1940 census, still living at home with his father and several siblings.  1942, his enlistment record in the United States Army, where his term of enlistment was for the duration of World War II "plus six months", show him as "single with dependents". I suspect one of the dependents was his younger brother, the only sibling still alive today.  He and two of his sisters helped to raise my uncle after my grandmother died.

The military experience shaped his life.  For the first time, he was out of Brooklyn. He saw the South.  He saw India.  He would sometimes tell me stories about his time in India as bedtime stories.

My father didn't make it to the end of the war.  He suffered a head injury and was flown back to the States.  He was given an honorable discharge but suffered the aftereffects of that injury for the rest of his life.

After the war, my father married.  Today, in fact, would have been their wedding anniversary.

 When I was 12, my mother died, and my father raised me to adulthood as a single father in his Bronx apartment in a city housing project.

When his last sister died, in the mid 2000's, the funeral procession didn't go directly to the cemetery.  It wound through Brooklyn, going through some neighborhoods before it got on the highway. I wondered where we were going and why.  It didn't occur to me at the time that we were going near to where where she, and my father, had grown up (which is now in a slum). One final tribute.  My father had died almost twenty years before.  I found that out afterwards.

I owe a lot to my father and the simple, everyday lessons he taught me.  He did what he could the best he knew how. He ended his life in Brooklyn, in the same facility where his own father spent his last days.

My love of history, which love I share with my late father, got me to thinking how much our world has changed in the 104 years since my father was born.

And, how much the world has stayed the same.

Happy Father's Day, wherever you are, Dad.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Disappearing Generation

Our parent's generation is disappearing, we who are called "baby boomers".  Each day, there are fewer and fewer to carry on memories.

I saw a Facebook post yesterday, one that got me to thinking. 

It was a picture of a young adult woman with a monkey perched on her shoulder, 1954.

Fast forward many years.  I had met this woman's daughter through blogging.  We friended each other on Facebook, and several years ago, my spouse and I finally met her, at a Civil War reenactment, near Charleston, South Carolina.

Along with the blogger came her son, and her mother, the woman in the picture, a British woman who had immigrated here sometime after World War II.  There was something about her - something special, something adventurous. Aging had not stopped her.

My blogger friend had been a single mother with two children, a son and daughter.  Her mother helped her raise them.  My spouse talked about thunderstorms with her, several minutes before one hit, and we separated.

I had no idea how old her mother was until yesterday, when my fellow blogger announced her mother's death on Facebook.

Later today, I will be visiting my mother in law.

Yes, death is a natural part of life, and the generations before us have made room for us who now walk in the sunshine. 

One day, it will be our turn to face whatever is to come with grace, and to teach those coming after us.  Aging must not stop us, either, until the day we are called to wherever we go next.

RIP.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2018 - #SkywatchFriday

On the 15th of each month, I join up with other bloggers who show what is blooming in their house or yard. And, every Friday, I participate in #SkywatchFriday.  Today, I link up with both.

My garden did not cooperate this month with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. While I waited for the calendar to change from May 15 to June 15, my perennials decided to sneak bloom on me.    Alas, gone are my irises, and my rhododendrons.
But my pink wild roses waited for today, just starting to open in my zone 5b garden near Binghamton, New York. 
My columbine, so beloved of hummingbirds, is nearly spent, but they had a fantastic season.
My yellow bleeding hearts, always reliable, are blooming throughout my back yard.

Otherwise, I have mostly annuals  to show you today, such as this ivy geranium basket.
Cleome.

I love petunias more and more each year.  This one is white with a green fringe.
Here are those petunias in a planter with black and yellow petunias.
Even more petunias.
Did I mention I love petunias?

How I wish these were really blue.  They are purple.

Inside my house, I still have a moth orchid in bloom.

For SkywatchFriday, I took this picture on June 13.  This was part of a larger storm system that triggered a tornado about an hour and a half drive from where I live, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Those clouds at the bottom really looked like little dots.  How strange they looked.

I  thanking, once again, Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and Yogi for hosting #SkywatchFriday. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Japanese Lilacs #ThursdayTreeLove

Now blooming, where I live in upstate New York, are these beautiful landscape trees.

These Japanese lilacs, Latin name Syringa reticulata, bloom later than the "traditional" lilacs of May, but are welcome as there aren't too many blooming trees right now after the great rush of late spring.

Here's another closeup picture.  Rather than a bush, they grow as a tree, growing up over 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall.

A beautiful blue sky from Tuesday shows one off.
This year, I think they are going to have a fantastic blooming season.  These trees are very hardy and thrive in our climate zone.
Join Parul and other tree loving bloggers each second and fourth Thursday of the month, for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Silent Garden #WordlessWednesday

Silently, the library garden waits for its next visitors.  Who will come next?  An office worker, bringing her lunch and craving some fresh air?  A family, letting their children blow off some steam?  An elderly person, coming to enjoy the sunshine?

The garden doesn't care.  It welcomes everyone.  And that's where I am going to head today at lunch, if the weather permits.

Join Esha (SkyGirl) in posting a wordless (or almost wordless) picture each Wednesday, and be sure to visit other bloggers participating in the link up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Roses and Rockets

On a historic morning after an agreement made half a world away (which we can only hope works out,for the sake of our generation and future ones), shall we take a short work on my local rail trail, and look at some early June wildflowers?

These photos were taken on June 3.

These roses are invasive, but they smell so good.

A cluster of roses.

Dame's rocket, which is in the mustard family, is, to me "June".  Shall we get up close and personal?

Yes.

Let's celebrate June with flowers.

Monday, June 11, 2018

History #MusicMovesMe

I usually don't get political on my blog but, on the eve of a possible (you never know until the last minute, do you?) summit between our President and the leader of North Korea, I couldn't help but ponder how the fate of the majority of us are in the hands of a few.

But before I get too heavy, let me introduce ourselves:
Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers?  We ride on a weekly train of music and we are headed by our head Engineer XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is doing on and off visits) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also,  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy   And, finally, last but not least - little ol' me.  And, for the next few months, we will also have guest conductors.

So let's rock!

I will start out with a classic overview of history, including brief mention of the Korean War(the War that wasn't ever called a war when I was growing up but, rather a "Police Action"   I love this video and its "growing up in the 50's and 60's" vibe.

The song Cult of Personality - Living Colour, could have been written last week, but it wasn't.  It was released in 1988 by a New York City band who formed in 1984 and are still performing today.  If the guitar solo doesn't blow you away, nothing will.

Lunatic Fringe - from the Canadian group Red Rider, from 1981. 

A classic of confusion and where the world is today, except it was released by the Temptations in 1971 - Ball of Confusion

And if things don't go wrong - will we end up on the Eve of Destruction, from the summer of 1965, when I was 12 years old.  Sung by Barry McGuire, who had an interesting music career, including a  stint with the New Christy Minstrels and a crossover into Christian music.

Yes, today's post is a bit grim, but a lot is riding on the upcoming summit and we can only hope that sanity wins out, and stays won.

Let's hope.  In the meantime, let's rock!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Healing Power of Music

I saw a feature today on the healing power of music.

It featured a non profit organization of musicians called Musicians on Call, who has been bringing musicians to the sick in hospitals for some 20 years.  Some musicians who have participated include Keith Urban and Nick Jonas.

They have played to over 600,000. patients in these past 20 or so years.

Doctors explain that music does indeed have healing power - decreasing anxiety, decreasing pain and increasing happiness.  The long term facility where my mother in law is now living has local musicians come into the facility several times a week.

Don't we all need more music in our lives?  If you agree, visit my blog each Monday for #MusicMovesMe.

If you want to hear more about Musicians on Call delivering their music of hope and health, please click on this link.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Just Thinking

I wish the world was not as complicated as it is now.

You can't take bees for granted.

The word "Columbine" has a hole other meaning for many people.  At one time, it was just a flower.

And I had what seemed like boundless energy.  Time stretched indefinitely into the future.

Now, things seem so speeded up. Weren't the crocuses blooming yesterday?  Now the mock oranges rush by.

I've been thinking a lot lately of things I used to do years ago.  Like make potpourri.  Starting flowers and herbs from seed.  Now everything is rushed, and I spend hundreds of dollarsat local nurseries.

I want to get back to my roots.

I'm fortunate.  I have a small backyard.  As I blog this, I am listening to birdsong, and hoping that the hummingbird I blogged about on Thursday returns.

 I see the setting sun glinting on nearby bushes, and it seems so peaceful.

But it's deceptive.

For now, I take a deep breath, and concentrate on the sunshine and the birdsong.

I hope I am granted tomorrow, and many years to come.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Heavenly Sky #SkywatchFriday

On Monday, my mother, had she still been alive, would have turned 100.

How did the skies in upstate New York look on that special day?

A couple of hours after sunrise - loved that streak of blue in between clouds.

And later that day, as rain threatened, so did the sky.  Yet, that glint of sun looked so...full of hope.


Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky each Friday at #SkywatchFriday

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Hummingbird

Magic.

Several minutes after I took a picture of columbines in my yard, I settled down in my yard with my laptop and started to blog.

A few minutes had passed when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.

It was a hummingbird, a female ruby throated hummer (the only type of hummingbird found where I live in upstate New York).  But I had brought my phone (my camera) inside.  I was camera less! 

Sensing my non-ability to take its picture, the hummer visited several of my columbines, feeding just a few feet away from me, her long beak fitting the red-purple flowers so well.  I could almost see her swallow, as she hovered and picked out her next flower to feed on.  Her white belly was visible, as was a small line of glowing greenish feathers on her back.

But she wasn't through with her show.

She flew to a sapling on the edge of my yard, one apparently killed by the winter weather, a few feet away from me.  I could see her clearly as she perched on the sapling's thin branches. She settled down and started to preen herself with that long, thin beak.

She scratched herself with her foot, bringing it up past her wing to her head in a rapid motion.

And while all that happened, I watched, transfixed.

Then she flew up into a tree, hovering, not landing.  She returned to the sapling, perched, and then did feeding round two on the flowers.  I didn't dare move.  The bird fed and left.

Finally, my spouse came into our back yard.  I said, you have to wait, look what's going to happen! And of course, the bird never returned.

I went online and found out some facts about hummingbirds.  Apparently, they spend about 80% of their lives perched - the hovering in midair that they are famous for is energy intensive, and they can only do that for a few minutes at a time.

And they preen just as I saw "my" little hummingbird do.

I haven't seen many hummingbirds in my life.  This one, I'll never forget.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Bittersweet #WordlessWednesday.

We looked at a picture the other day, a picture of my mother in law playing with a young great niece.  We think the picture was taken about four years ago. Perhaps before her third cancer.  Definitely before her heart valve surgery.

Now her days are spent mostly watching TV.  But when her great niece came to visit the other day with her mother, her aunt, and her brother (who is about the same age as the niece was in that picture, she came alive. 
Memories can be bittersweet but the flowers they left were priceless to her.

Join Esha and other bloggers for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Other Kennedy Assassination

1968 was not one of the better years of our country.  We had already lost the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.  The Vietnam War was in full swing, along with protests against it.  But there was hope for many in a certain man running for President against the President of his own party.

On June 5, 1968, I was in high school.  It would have been another day, arising to prepare to go to high school.

But I dreamed that Bobby Kennedy, running for the Presidency of the United States, had been assassinated.

Eventually, I fought myself awake to find that my clock radio had turned on and had been playing the news.  It was no dream.

Bobby Kennedy had been shot in the kitchen of the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles, California, while shaking hands with staff after a primary victory.  And he was dead.  That's according to my memory.

Except the "he was dead" part of my memory wasn't true.

Bobby Kennedy died approximately 26 hours later. He died less than six years after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, also killed by an assassin.

I know not many of us remember that Kennedy lingered for over a day before he succumbed to his wounds.  We thought.  Not again.  John Kennedy.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  Now, Bobby?

It's funny how many of us forget the details.  In fact, I had totally forgotten about those lost 26 hours.  I'm far from the only one, it would seem.  Perhaps, we were so used to other figures assassinated in the 1960's dying soon after they were attacked.

But not Bobby. 

It gets stranger.  Now, 50 years later, we wonder if we convicted the wrong person for the second Kennedy assassination.  Some want the case reopened.

If true, how did it take 50 years to figure it out?

1968 was a pivotal year for the United States.  Some of us wonder - what if Bobby hadn't been assassinated?  And what if he had become President?

For sure, our country's history would have been changed.

I was only 15.  And I will never forget.  That's what I would like to think.  But in fact, memory isn't always reliable.

That, perhaps, may be the strangest Bobby Kennedy assassination fact of all.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Crossing Over #MusicMovesMe

Today, on #MusicMovesMe, I am the guest conductor, and am picking today's theme.  (I'll also be picking the theme for two weeks from today).  

But first: Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers?  We ride on a weekly train of music and this is who we are:

The Head of this Train (Engineer) is XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is doing on and off visits) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also,  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy   And, finally, last but not least - little ol' me.  And, for the next few months, we will also have guest conductors.

So let's rock!

Today would have been my mother's 100th birthday.  Happy birthday in heaven, Mom.

My theme choice is "Crossover" Songs done by a group/singer known primarily for one type of music, but in another type.  Example: country singer has a rock hit, or vice-versa.

When I started to dig, I found many artists who had crossed over with one hit, but even more who  had changed genres midstream altogether, for example beginning as rockers and moving over to country- so many that I was surprised.  Then there was Katy Perry, who started as a Christian artist, and Elvis who topped the charts in rock, country and gospel. After all if you love music, why stop with one genre?

For my selections, here goes:

My first song is in honor of my mother.  She loved various artists, including rock's Everly Brothers.   One of the 78 records she owned was a song called Wake Up, Little Susie.

Little did I ever realize it was a crossover hit by two rockers, reaching #1 on country music charts.

Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, cross over from Latin to "let's get up and dance" music.

Country's Johnny Cash had a big rock crossover hit with "A Boy Named Sue".

Actually, there has been a lot of country-rock crossover.  Here's another one - Roger Miller's King of the Road.

My spouse, who generally is not a fan of country music, adores this song - The Devil Went Down to Georgia, by the Charlie Daniels Band - adored it so much that he bought the album.

As for me, an office worker for years, I also get into "Nine to Five" by Dolly Parton.

Elvis.  I'm choosing my favorite Elvis song here - Suspicious Minds, because - well, because I love it.

Last but not least, perhaps not a true crossover, I can't help but post "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, which has to have set some kind of record for number of genres it covered - maybe not country, but probably everything else.

What music pleases you today, on what would have been my mother's 100th birthday?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Body Image

I remember how I was crushed as a teenager when a so-called friend called me "plain looking".  It took me years to recover from that.

I grew up in the 1950's and 60's.  Could I imagine growing up now, where people on Instagram would be telling me how I should look?

The newest blow to body image is something called the "Toblerone Tunnel" and I won't dignify it by giving it any kind of link or hashtag.  The women above do a better job of explaining it than I would, anyway. 

I like toblerone, by the way.  But "candy" and "thighs" should never be uttered in the same sentence.

Seriously, though, folks.  We women spend too much time tearing each other down, and trying to think of ways to make us feel even worse about our body self image.  I say that because one of my cousins battled anorexia as a teen, and although she is healthy today, she (and her family) went through a hellish time.

That body image thing?  It can kill.  It does kill.  And maim.

Isn't it just time for all of us to STOP?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sustainable Saturday - Otsiningo Community Garden

Considering that my twitter handle is "RamblinGarden", I rarely blog about my spouse's community garden plot.  Today, I intend to change that.

This year, for the first time, we have our own sign.

Why, you may ask, is our symbol a dinosaur?  There is a story behind that but no, we aren't that old fashioned in the Binghamton, New York area.

This year, for various reasons, gardening is going to be a struggle.  We've had to cut gardening from two plots to one. Our second plot lies fallow, but volunteer sunflower seedlings are everywhere, and I hope we will be allowed to harvest them if they grow. (We've had volunteers for years).

Meanwhile, here are some of our crops - zinnias and tomatoes.

Beans.

Squash (and a lot of rocks).

It is increasingly difficult for us to garden, but I hope we can hang in there.  If my readers wish, I will follow our garden's progress during this coming growing season.

We've had the coldest April on record, followed by the warmest May.  What is in store for us this summer?