Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Zone (Twilight) #AtoZChallenge

 Rod Serling.  The Twilight Zone.  The writer and the show are so much a part of our culture that several catchphrases and its theme music immediately bring this show to mind even to young people.

It's been almost 60 years since its first episode aired on October 2, 1959.  It has never left television once in all of those 60 years.

True confession.  I have blogged about Rod Serling before.  I think I even used the Twilight Zone for a Z post before.  But this year this deserves all the publicity it can get.

Rod Serling, a very talented...and tormented... man, who wrote amazing TV scripts in the era of the Red Menace with messages so timeless they resonate today, has come home to Binghamton, New York, the city where I work..

 It is ironic, in a way, that one of his most famous scripts showed a man trying to revisit his childhood in vain.  Maybe he even thought about his love of books, as shown as this library take-out record.

Rod Serling once said this:
"Everybody has to have a hometown, Binghamton's mine. In the strangely brittle, terribly sensitive make-up of a human being, there is a need for a place to hang a hat or a kind of geographical womb to crawl back into, or maybe just a place that's familiar because that's where you grew up.
  "When I dig back through memory cells, I get one particularly distinctive feelingand that's one of warmth, comfort and well-being. For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will findI've still got a hometown. This, nobody's gonna take away from me."
I've blogged about Rod Serling before, but, this month, another revival of The Twilight Zone has hit television, and the original series is once again in the news.

We think we know the man in black and white, smoking a cigarette, who intoned the following every week on the TV sets of the baby boomer generation and their parents:

"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition...."
Sorry, it wants to be sideways. 

Rod Serling went to West Junior High (now West Middle School) on the West Side of Binghamton. 

West Middle School, April 2019

 I exercise in his old neighborhood frequently.

After Rod Serling graduated Binghamton Central in 1943 he served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II as a paratrooper.   The combat service (including, it is said, seeing his best friend die in front of him) created permanent trauma that haunted Serling for the rest of his too short life.  A driven individual and a heavy smoker, Rod Serling died at age 50 with an unbelievable legacy few of us could ever aspire to.

Some episodes haunted me for years after I saw them.  "It's a Good Life".  "The Midnight Sun".  "The Hitchhiker". "Nick of Time".

Others were morality plays that still resonate today although as a child I did not know their true meanings.   "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street"  "The Eye of the Beholder". "The Obsolete Man".

And, of course, "Walking Distance".

Now, Jordan Peele takes the helm and my only regret is, if you don't have CBS All Access, you are missing it.  I'm missing it.  At this point in time I don't want to have to pay for an extra streaming service.

Just remember, it all started in Binghamton, New York.

With that, I end the #AtoZ Challenge.  Twenty six letters in thirty days.  My theme was "Finding America through Photos".

Did you participate?  Did you enjoy it?  Would you do it again, if you did participate?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Young (and Motivated) #MusicMovesMe #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the #AtoZChallenge and also a Monday music group I participate in called Music Moves Me. So...yes, you guessed it.  Today it's all about the letter "Y"

<!-- end LinkyTools script —> Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and me.  Callie of JAmerican Spice pops in from time to time.

Our guest conductor for the month of May is Kim of the ReInvintaged Life,

She has chosen (drum roll) Motivation Monday’ – songs that motivate you to clean house, run errands, work out, or what have ya.  So, for me, that's energetic songs with a pounding beat.

And I'm a little stuck because I have to blog about songs beginning with Y and all I could think of at first was slow songs like "Yesterday".  Well, actually, I wasn't stuck for long.

The first song was so obvious.  Years ago I used to go to the YMCA for water aerobics classes.  One of the songs we would exercise to was - Yup.

This one, from 1978:  "YMCA" by the Village People.  And we even did the YMCA dance where you form Y, M,C and A with your arms.

Let's continue with (You Can Still) Rock in America sung by Night Ranger, a group I was able to see in concert several years ago.

1986's "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi.

1980's You Shook Me All Night Long, by AC/DC.

Haters gonna hate, but I have a sweet spot in my heart for bubblegum music.  So, yes (and you can skip this one if you want)  from 1968, I bring you (or not) Yummy Yummy Yummy by the Ohio Express.

From 1986 - Dead or Alive's  You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). Anyone here remember records?

Last but not least, this is going to be a memory - maybe not a great memory, but a memory- for all baby boomers.  This song is stuck in my mind forever because of having to exercise to it in elementary school.  I've even blogged about it before, so, without further introduction, I bring you Robert Preston - Chicken Fat

And that, although it doesn't begin with a Y, is a Wrap!

Tomorrow, the last day of #AtoZChallenge

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Spring Sunday in Pink

On my off day from the #AtoZChallenge, I decided to bring you some of the beauty of spring.

Magnolias on the West Side of Binghamton, New York.
Cherry tree.
Primrose in my back yard.

Hyacinth in my front yard.

One more - magnolia close ups, near the Broome County courthouse in Binghamton, New York.

Tomorrow - back to A to Z and Music Moves Me.

What's blooming where you live?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Xylophone #AtoZChallenge

Submitted for your approval (no, wait, that may have to do with my "Z" post -or not):  this.  A to Z'ers find X possibly the most challenging of the letters but this year, I found my X earlier this year.
Xylophone?  Or something else?

Here's the story. Back in March I visited my massage therapist.   He had something to show me.  He doesn't know I'm a music blogger (check out my Music Moves Me posts each Monday - shameless self-promotion time) but maybe he thought I knew something.

Besides massage therapy, he has a day job - and, as part of this job, he helped someone clean out a storage barn.  They ran across this - his client said "why don't you keep it?"

My massage therapist did some research online and found that this appeared to be manufactured by a company (that may or may not be in business any more) that makes band instruments.  But this instrument weighs a LOT.  Even the therapist, who is quite strong, thought it was really heavy.

Too heavy for a band member?  Does X mark this spot or is this not a xylophone?

If anyone has information to share about this xylophone, I'd love to read your comment.

"X" day on the #AtoZChallenge

Friday, April 26, 2019

Wonder #SkywatchFriday #AtoZChallenge

Wonder is not a place.  It is many places, in this case all over the United States, and the sky comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
We start with a Charleston, South Carolina sunset.

Along a lake. (This may be Lake Erie in Pennsylvania; I can't remember).

A clear day in Brooklyn, New York.
Magnolias in Binghamton, New York, taken earlier this week.

Bradford pears in bloom in downtown Binghamton, New York.  Contrast this, if you will, with this:
This is a photo taken a few feet away, the day before.  It looks so much like snow on trees.  So, would you believe we may get snow on Sunday?  It's true.

 Not a sky here, but I was fooling around with filters on Photoshop Express and came up with this.
One more picture - a January sunset in Florida.

It's "W" day on the #AtoZChallenge.  My theme - Finding America through Photos.

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

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Virginia #AtoZChallenge #ThursdayTreeLove

Today, on #ThursdayTreeLove, blooming dogwoods at Monticello, the historic home of Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers.
In that area, dogwoods generally bloom in mid-April.  I took this picture about three years ago.

Most of my remaining pictures were taken in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the state.

House of one of our Founding Fathers near Charlottesville.  I think this may be one side of Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's residence) but I am drawing a blank.

One thing you will find in abundance is statues.  This one honors our first President, George Washington, who was a native of Virginia (as were several other of our Founding Fathers.  This is on the grounds of the Virginia State House grounds in Richmond,

One thing you might not expect on the grounds of the Virginia capitol is a statue of Edgar Allen Poe, but he both attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (his dorm room has a historic marker on it) and also lived for a time in Richmond.  You can visit a museum devoted to Poe in Richmond (I haven't - yet) and, for whatever it's worth, his wife's name was Virginia.
State capitols need...well, legislative chambers.  I forget which one this is, but Virginia's legislative chambers are quite full of history.

But another thing you might not expect in a state capitol is - a picture of British monarchs.  Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal family have actually visited Virginia more times than you might expect.

And, why not?

"V" day on the #AtoZChallenge.  My theme - Finding America through Photos.

And, why not visit Parul at Happiness and Food and other bloggers who love trees on #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Untermyer (Park) #AtoZChallenge

At one time one of the most popular gardens in the United States it sits, in Yonkers, New York, partially in ruins.

Untermyer Park, it is called.  Here's a brief history:

In 1865, John Meyer, who owned the largest hat factory in the world at the time, purchased 33 acres of land in Yonkers, New York.  He had a 99 room mansion called Greystone built for him. But his fortunes reversed and Meyer had to move and offer the property for rent.

Greystone was rented, in 1879, to a man by the name of Samuel J. Tilden (if you study United States history, you will know the name of Samuel J. Tilden).Tilden built 13 greenhouses in the property but died in 1886.  Much of his estate went to fund public libraries in Yonkers and in nearby New York City.

In 1899, at the auction of the Greystone property, it was purchased by Samuel Untermyer, a lawyer and civic leader born in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a teenager, he and his family moved to New York City, where he rose in the legal ranks and became wealthy.  In 1916, Untermyer started the construction of a massive garden complex at Greystone.

Untermyer was a strong opponent of the Nazi rise to power in Germany in 1933 and spent the next few years doing what he could to sound the alarm to the American public.  At the same time, he built a garden renowned in the world.  But, his health declined, and he died in 1940.  The city of Yonkers agreed to take on about 43 acres of what had become a 150 acre complex.

After 1940, the gardens declined and eventually fell into ruin.  But, in 2011, restoration began. When I first visited them in 2015 with my spouse and his cousin who lived in Yonkers all her life, they were still mainly in ruins.  Unfortunately, I can not find the photos I took back then.

We returned in March of 2019 and found a lot of progress.  It's still hard to believe, though, that what I was seeing was all that was left of what was once one of the most admired gardens in the United States.
Gate to the Garden of Love (complete with my finger).
Some of the ruins.  In the distance is the Hudson River and the Palisades.
More of the Garden of Love, showing some renovation.

Not much was blooming besides crocus, but the leafless trees had their own stark beauty.

Speaking of crocus....actually there are a fair number of plantings of various types that have been put in by restorers.  I hope we can return sometime this summer and check them out.

Who knows, next year I might have a sequel?

"U" day on the #BloggingfromAtoZ challenge.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tampa Treasures #AtoZChallenge

After my spouse and I got married, we moved to Tampa (we had family there) and spent a little less than two years there.  In the mid 70's, Tampa was not the city it is today.  But we had a lot of fun there.

We left in 1976, and did not return until 2006.  We got a tour from a cousin who moved from Tampa years ago and now lives in Pinellas County and his then significant other.  We returned to Tampa again in 2013 and revisited some areas with this same cousin.

Tampa is full of little treasures.
Mosaic Art, Columbia Restaurant, in the Ybor city neighborhood.

Another of the many mosaics near this restaurant.
Let's move on to Bayshore Boulevard, which is said to have the world's longest continuous sidewalk.
It has some interesting architecture, too.

The Tampa skyline, so different from when I lived there, taken from Bayshore Blvd, March 2013.  My spouse and I have walked almost all of Bayshore's sidewalk.  You see wonderful homes and hotels, shorebirds, joggers, Spanish Moss and more, from Bayshore.

More Tampa architecture.

Have you ever returned to visit a place you lived in a long time ago again?  What did you find?

"T" day on the #AtoZChallenge.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Street Art Skillet Stars and Simple Minds #AtoZChallenge #MusicMovesMe

Welcome to the #AtoZChallenge and also a Monday music group I participate in called Music Moves Me. So...yes, you guessed it.  Today it's all about the letter "S"

Before we get into the music, let's give a Shoutout to some Street art I found in 2013 in Saint Augustine, Florida.   And now, it's time to Strut our musical Stuff!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and me. Also joining us from time to time is Callie of JAmerican Spice 

Let us begin!

Our guest conductor for the month of May is Kim of the ReInvintaged Life, and she has given us a free day to blog about whatever we want.  So, Songs or Artists beginning with S:
Strawberry Fields Forever- The Beatles

Subdivsions- Rush

Sanctify Yourself - Simple Minds (not my favorite song of theirs, but it fits the theme in both group and title.)

Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel

 Skillet - here, they do a song called "Stars".

Finally - Rainbow singing (live) "Since You've Been Gone".

 What are your favorite songs beginning with "S"?

"S" day on #AtoZChallenge - my theme (deviating today) Finding America through Photos.  But you can find America through music, too!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Continued March of Spring

This is a week of rebirth in the upstate New York community where I live.

Where mere days ago, trees were bare, they now are popping with color.  Bare ground is now covered with flowers.  Even with strong winds and a lot of rain, it is still wonderful to witness nature waking up and stretching herself out after a long winter's sleep.
The last of my bloodroot blooms next to a fence.

Brunneria, with its beautiful small blue blooms.

So many colors to choose from.  My yellow jonquils.

My pink hyacinth.

My white (with yellow throats) species tulips.

White hyacinths.

Today, the birds are singing and the sun is shining - for now.

Happy Easter to my Christian readers.
Happy Passover (already in progress) to my Jewish readers.

How is the weather for you today?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Remembrance- #AtoZChallenge

Today, there is so much to remember.

Today is the 20th anniversary of Columbine.  No, not the flower.   To Americans it means something else.  As a former teacher at Columbine explains, "it's a brand...a verb, a metaphor".  Our shooting in Binghamton, New York (in an adult classroom) on April 3, 2009 (our 10th anniversary just passed), in fact, is tied with Columbine in number of deaths - a grim statistic.  The pain the people of Littleton, Colorado are feeling today is unimaginable.

The week of April 15-20 is a grim one in United States history.  The assassination of Abraham Lincoln.   The bombing in Oklahoma city (April 19, 1995).  The sinking of the Titanic.

Remembrance. Which leads me to this.

We all like to remember the happy parts of our lives.  Call it nostalgia.
I can remember good times visiting Charleston, South Carolina, and walking on the Ravenel Bridge.

Life has given me many R's to write about.
Such as a beautiful Redbud blooming in West Virginia in April of 2017.

But not today.

We are entering a portion of life, my spouse and I, too often devalued in our Western society.  That should not be. In some societies, the elderly are honored as keepers of wisdom.

Several months ago, I blogged about "human wormholes" and my spouse's last living aunt, who was alive when the Titanic sank and survived a worldwide flu epidemic.  She witnessed all the events above, and many, many more.

Today, I have something sad to report.  My spouse's 107 year old aunt has been placed in hospice care.  She has months, possibly only weeks, left to live.

My spouse and I traveled down to see her last month. She had lived at home until last December, when her younger son, who was caring for her, died unexpectedly.  She was then cared for by a niece who lives in her neighborhood, with extensive help from aides.  But it could not be sustained.

I won't be more specific except to say it was heart rending.  Dementia has taken her to a place of pain and suffering.

The ending of life can be very, very hard and I am not sure we will be able to see her again to say a formal "goodbye". 
Sunset, May 2017
So this post may have to do.  Today, while she is still alive, I remember her.  I remember first meeting her, almost 50 years ago, and admiring her fine crochet and her beadwork.  She made the most beautiful doilies and beaded flowers.

She told me stories of when she was young and the miles she would walk to and from her job.

She told me about how she contributed to the war effort during World War II.  She told me of watching her neighborhood change from one mostly rural to an urban one.

This woman who walked from one city to another can not sit unassisted anymore.  She can not feed herself.

We are left with our memories, even as she loses her.  What can I say but farewell, dear in law.

Have you had to say goodbye to someone you've loved for years?

"R" day on #AtoZChallenge.  My theme:  Finding America through Photos.