Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Community Garden Flowers #WordlessWednesday

The community garden plot my spouse has in Otsiningo Park in Binghamton New York grows more than veggies.  We grow zinnias and sunflowers, too.

For some reason, the zinnias aren't doing that great this year but here's a selection of what was in bloom on Sunday.


A bonus sunflower.  An animal nibbled on our sunflowers and they are late.  A couple are finally blooming.

We are back to the heat now after a temporary cooling down.  Perhaps it just hasn't been hot enough for much of this year for these heat lovers to thrive.

Gardens aren't just about veggies.

Sending love and support to Esha, the co-host of #WordlessWednesday.  Her Mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier this week and is having surgery.  Esha introduced me to this and another favorite weekly blogging event, SkywatchFriday.  

Joining up with Esha and Natasha at #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Garlic Festival

I am heartbroken over the news of still another mass shooting, this time at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California.

I'm heartbroken at our inability to stop these shootings.  I'm heartbroken having experienced, as a sort-of spectator (from a few blocks away) a mass shooting in the community where I live, Binghamton, New York, on April 3, 2009.

There is one way in which my work community of Binghamton, New York and Gilroy are connected.


Each year, the American Civic Association (ACA), where our shooting took place, hosted a garlic festival each August.  In 2009, there was no festival.

But in 2010, it returned, and I am repeating my 2010 post, without editing.  The festival has been held every year since 2010.  This year, it is August 17, and I'm sure many of those attending our garlic festival will be thinking of Gilroy. 

But it takes more than thought (and prayers) to heal a community, or those who lost loved ones. 

In doing some research, I found that Gilroy is close in population to Binghamton. One of the innocent dead (two of the three dead were children) went to college less than two hours away from Binghamton.  More connections. 

What else can be said that hasn't been said hundreds of times? I will not try.

Here's my post from August 2010.

Healing Wounds One Garlic Plant at a Time

No, this post isn't about the medicinal uses of the garlic plant.  But if you came here by mistake, please stay and read anyway.

I'm talking about a totally different type of healing, healing psychic wounds of a community.

Yesterday we went to the ACA's Garlic Festival on the edge of downtown Binghamton.

After a one year hiatus due to the horrendous shooting of April 3, 2009, we welcome the festival back.

We weren't going to go until today, but the weather report, combined with a one hour postponement in an event we were supposed to go to yesterday afternoon, combined in us making the trip yesterday.  We didn't have too long to say, so didn't go inside to purchase garlic food.  There were lines and we didn't have time to wait.

Just think, going inside, into a building that some might say was haunted.  But how fitting that laughter filled that space yesterday.

Outside, the mood was just as festive.  A number of booths were selling...well, what else, but garlic.  Spanish Roja, White German, Music, Elephant, and many more, hung braided, sat in bags, or loose, next to plates with pieces cut up for pre-purchase sampling.  We bought a couple of bags of spouses' favorite, Music.  Another booth had local pestos- spinach, sun dried tomato, red pepper, and more. Still another booth had pesto made from garlic scapes.  (Garlic scapes are the top of the garlic plant, just as the seed area starts to form.  They are delicious but you have to get the plant at just the right time or they become tough.)

Still another vendor, reminiscent of the New York soup man Jerry Seinfeld modeled his "Soup Nazi" after, sold his genuine Pennsylvania smoked sausage.  If you looked at him wrong, he told you to "Go to the back of the line!"  (No Garlic for You!)  But it was all in good fun, the crowds gathered to enjoy his banter and we bought some sausage from him, too.

Local food, local garlic, even garlic ice cream (which I didn't try in 2010, but have tried since). 

A good time was had by all.

Postscript - my hope is that Gilroy will, in their own time, hold this festival again.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Not a Mad World #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday! It's time to rock!

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 chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  Callie of JAmerican Spice blogs from time to time.  

Our guest conductor for the month of July is Driller AA of Driller's Place. 

For our theme today he has picked: Your choice.

So I am going to feature some of my favorite music of the 1980's, and I also want to pick some who have videos that Move Me.

Dire Straits Skateaway, from 1980, features an urban dancer.  The quality isn't the best but I love both the video and the music.  "Toro toro, taxi!"

a-ha and "Take on Me" to me, such a creative video. This song has an interesting history and also has been covered many times.

And now I switch to a Tears for Fears song - Sowing the Seeds of Love.

I'm thinking of a song originally done by the group Tears for Fears - Mad World.  It seems that this is a very popular song to cover.

Gary Jules covered this song with an interesting video about a man watching children on the sidewalk below  making shapes. I think the song does better being slowed down, and the covers I know use the slowed down version.

Last week, one of the 4M bloggers posted a video of Adam Lambert's performance on American Idol when he covered Mad World.

Adam Lambert covering Mad World was something I had totally forgotten, so I went ahead and found a different video.  As many of us know, Adam Lambert, although he didn't win AI, has had a successful post American Idol career joining Queen as their lead singer.

So this week is a wrap!  Hope you return next week when we follow the musical suggestions of our August guest conductor. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Strange Encounters with Sears Microwave Edition

About a year ago, my spouse received a letter from "Sears at Home".  For my readers not in the United States, Sears and Roebuck has been a retailer in our country for over 100 years, but, like many other retailers, is experiencing hard times.  In fact. the Sears store in our area closed over a year ago.

This letter told us that the warranty on our stove (installed on July 6, 2017) was getting ready to expire.  We were given an offer to continue the warranty, for either one, two or three years.

Only one problem.

We've never bought a stove from Sears.  The last stove we purchased was from a local appliance store, and is some 15 years old by now.

In fact, the last appliance we bought from Sears was a microwave, and that is its own story, which I'll get to in a minute.

So this letter was a mystery, except we do have a Sears charge card.  But we have only used it a couple of times in the past couple of years, both times to buy shoes online.  They have a line of walking shoes I love. I  buy a years worth at a time, around Black Friday.  Anyway....

I had a funny feeling the letter wasn't legitimate, especially as the customer service phone number for Sears at Home doesn't seem to be the same phone number as listed on the letter.  In fact, the 800 number on the letter doesn't even appear on their website.

Spouse ended up calling the number and was told oops, not us, someone made a keystroke error. But that really doesn't give me much comfort.  What if the next keystroke makes a record indicating I am seriously in debt with them?

I thought about this incident when our microwave turntable quit working a week or so ago.

We have been happy with our Sears microwave, a 2.2 cubic foot model, built in 2012 (according to a label on the unit).  It works fine except the turntable suddenly won't turn anymore.  This is a must if you want the food to heat evenly..

We looked online and everyone seems to agree it isn't worth the repair, although a local repairer is willing to give it a shot.  Of course, they will charge just to bench test it.

So the other day we went microwave hunting online.  Maybe Sears might have a similar model?

We saw something right off and the price (at "Sears At Home") was right.  Apparently the unit was being discontinued, which doesn't bother us.  But then we saw something strange after entering our zip code.

It was pickup only.

And the place we had to pick it up was in Porterville, California, which is about 2,800 miles (4400 km) from us. 

Road trip ahead?

I don't think so.

We'll keep looking locally.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Late July Colors

Every season has its colors.

These are the colors of late July.
Red and white (peaches), the first of the season. These come from a sate a little south of us; they are hard to grow where I live.
Orange beets and purple, white and orange carrots.

By themselves, the yellow, purple and orange carrots.

And the white of garlic.

We are reachng our peak of produce and yet, nature is showing us coming attractions of the next seasonal change.

The early goldenrod is blooming. (I wasn't able to get a picture in the car.)

Too soon!  Too soon!

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Slice of Sunset #SkywatchFriday

Last Friday, we had a gorgeous sunset but I am only going to show you the last picture of the series today.


At this time of year, with the angle of the sun, we have to peer through some trees.  You can see some purple (none of these colors are retouched, by the way) and the fiery red produced an effect one could call "a slice of sunset".

Join Yogi and the other Skywatching bloggers each Friday at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Cedar of Lebanon #ThursdayTree Love

On our way from Leesburg Virginia to Charlottesville, Virginia, we stopped at Montpelier, the home of one of our founding fathers (James Madison).  It was our second visit there.  We spent an hour or so walking the grounds. We weren't able to spend much time there.

We ran across this beautiful tree.  Although it's an evergreen the leaves are hard to see in this picture, and its stark beauty intrigued me.
It's called a Cedar of Lebanon and is the national tree of Lebanon. This tree may have been planted by Madison (1751-1836) himself, according to records.

Imagine, a tree planted by one of the founders of your country and the feeling of being in the presence of history.

Join Parul and the other tree loving bloggers each second and fourth Thursdays of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Parkerhouse Ice Cream

Last year, a New York State ice cream manufacturer (Perry's) celebrated its 100th anniversary by bringing back several flavors of ice cream they were no longer making, but were once popular.

I absolutely fell in love with one of those flavors, which is called Parkerhouse.

What is a Parkerhouse?  Well, it could be a historic hotel located in Boston, Massachusetts.  The fine food served by the Parker House back in the 1850's attracted thousands of people to dine there.  If you've ever heard of Parkerhouse rolls or Boston Cream Pie, you have eaten food created by the Parker House.

And the best part - the hotel is still open, after 165 years.  Someone I work with even visited them last year.

So, what about Parkerhouse ice cream?  It dates from the 1950's but was bought back last year on a limited basis.  It is amaretto ice cream with marachino cherries.  But how did it get its name?

I don't know, and it intrigues me.

 For me, it was instant love-one of my favorite ice cream flavors ever.  So when it disappeared from stores last fall, I was crushed.

About three weeks ago we took a trip, and stopped at a convenience store for some refreshments.  In their freezer was Parkerhouse ice cream. Could it be?

When we got home, we went to our local store, and there it was. I don't know if it's back for good but apparently it might be.

Although I'm on Weight Watchers, I make room for it, eating 1/3 of a cup at a time served on top of fruit.

I still don't know if the ice cream flavor has anything to do with the Parker House. If so, it has a distinguished history.  If not, how did it get its name?

Does anyone have any idea? (Of course, I could ask Perry's Ice Cream, but that would be too easy.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Scary Lucy

Do you love Lucille Ball, the late actress and comedian?  Although she passed away in 1989, she is still remembered, and loved, by millions all around the world.

Here's just a small sample of her talent.  It involves chocolate, so what is there not to love?

Ms. Ball was born in Jamestown, New York and grew up in a nearby community called Celeron.  Her childhood was quite difficult but she persevered.   She is buried in Celeron (and yes, I've been to her grave) but today I wanted to show you a couple of statues that were erected in Celeron to honor her.

The town had good intentions - they wanted to honor their native daughter.  But the statue was considered so ugly (and even scary) that it became known as "Scary Lucy". A campaign was launched to replace the statue with a prettier one, which it was.  Now the "ugly" statue has become a tourist attraction, and the sculptor actually gave up sculpting (for reasons perhaps unrelated to the backlash).

It was replaced by this statue (sculpted by a woman, by the way) which has received lots more positive comments.  People call it "Lovely Lucy".

Both of these sculptures are close to each other. Here's how to find them.

Do you think Scary Lucy is scary?

Do you remember Lucille Ball?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Daughtry Lambert and the Moon #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for music.  How did the week go so fast? Weren't we just here?

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 chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  Callie of JAmerican Spice blogs from time to time.  

Our guest conductor for the month of July is Driller AA of Driller's Place. 

For our theme today he has picked:song choices of your favorite AI or The Voice contestants.

My post today will be in two halves.  First half-American Idol.  Second, some of the songs I was planning to post last week before the news gave me my theme for the week.

I have to confess:  I did watch American Idol for several years but I've never watched The Voice.  So my two picks are American Idol alumni from long ago.  I saw both of them compete in my watching days.  Neither won, and perhaps, for both of them, it was for the best.  For the third contestant, you may or may not have heard of him.  He didn't even make it to the show (for obvious reasons as you'll hear) but he won the American public over.  Maybe he'll win you over, too.

My first pick is Chris Daughtry, and I picked his cover of a Fuel song called Hemorrhage (In My Hands) during the competition.  When I heard this live, I knew I was listening to a future rock star.  And then, later on, Fuel made Daughtry an offer to be their front man and he turned them down so he could go out on his own. Wise choice.

In a way, I'm surprised that Adam Lambert got as far as he did on American Idol.  He had to keep his true self hidden on the show to fit their mold.  But, performing with Queen, he broke that mold (no, he shattered it) and has come into his own. He will never be another Freddie Mercury but he is a true Adam Lambert on stage.  Here, he sings "Somebody to Love".

Before I move on to the second half of my post, I want to bring you possibly the most memorable audition ever on American Idol.  This was during Simon Cowell's mean days, and Simon, I hate to tell ya, I loved William Hung doing "She Bangs" just for his courage in standing up thereand...banging it out? And he faced your snark with grace.  I was impressed.  So were millions of other people.

Ok, it's time for my second half.
We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of humankind landing on the moon.    There are many songs mentioning the moon - let's just pick a few.

Duran Duran and New Moon on Monday

This is not an official music video but a fan's effort - I think it fits my theme just right  Jonathan King's classic 1965 song "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" was playing on WABC radio in New York City as the blackout of November 9-10, 1965 started to hit. How strange that New York had another blackout just a few days ago.

Finally, how could I ignore Pink Floyd's epic "Dark Side of the Moon" album? This song (actually two songs) is not the song "Dark Side of the Moon" that begins the album but "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse"that end it.  I chose this video for the moon landing footage. And now, all these years later, we do know what the dark side of the moon looks like.  But how I still love the lyrics.

Next Monday I plan to be back, same time same place!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunny Sunday

Hopefully, our heatwave will be breaking soon.

My daylilies love it, though.  Here are some for you.

This is such a bright orange.  It didn't bloom in time for last Monday Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.

Orange and purple.

Beautiful pink ruffles.


Finally, one I actually know the name of. "Purdy's red".

Enjoy your afternoon!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Preserving Lunar History

Museums serve an important purpose - preserving history.  It does seem strange, though, to visit a museum to observe what happened during your lifetime.

Today, my spouse and I (briefly) visited a museum in Binghamton, New York called TechWorks that celebrates our region's contributions to technology. Among other things, the flight simulator for Apollo 11 was built here. Now housed by the Smithsonian, it was available for view.

It's amazing what those designers had to work with, especially as we could only guess what conditions on the moon were like.  Some were afraid the lunar module would sink into hundreds of feet thick lunar dust, for example.

So I had to ask this question:  has anyone ever been back to the Apollo 11 landing site?  The short answer is "no" although many of us alive in 1969 are going there today in memory.

What would we find if we revisited the site?  We have a good idea, and it's interesting. 

The flag planted by the late Neil Armstrong is still there, although we know it was knocked down when the lunar module took off.  It is bleached white, we speculate.

There are even pictures taken from above the site, but you can't see much.

Have you wondered how the future will view the moon landing?  Futurama, a (sometimes) wonderful satirical cartoon, wondered, too. Fry (the man on the right) is from our modern era.  He was accidentally frozen and defrosted in 3000, and the series proceeds from there with his adventures.  Here, he visits the moon landing site with a resident of 3000 AD to find...well, watch and see.

So we really need to be careful speculating, because, right now we couldn't get there ourselves even if we tried.

In July of 2011 I wrote a blog post when the United States ended its space shuttle program. I've updated it some and added some more commentary.

The United States space program ended in July 2011 or so I thought.

I was a child of the Space Race.  In October of 1957, Sputnik 1 was launched.  Ever hear of it? Or the Soviet Union?  This may be history to you if you are young enough, so a quick refresher.

The Soviet Union was a "union" of Russia and a number of other nearby countries.  Their government was "communist", committed to the destruction of the capitalist system - and our country.  Or, so we were told.  Those were scary times.  When I was a toddler, being called a Communist could be enough to cause someone to lose their job.  There were special congressional hearings.  Blacklists.

When the Soviets launched the first satellite in October of 1957, our country was thrown into a panic.  We needed to get our children educated in the sciences, and quickly, so we could get into space with our satellite before the Communists took space over.   This drive accelerated even more quickly when the Soviets put the first man into space in 1961.

To make a long story short, we made it to the moon first.  Several more missions got to the moon (the last one in 1972) and then in the 1970's we totally changed direction.  We decided to have a program with partially disposable space crafts.  We haven't been to the moon since that decision.

In the middle of all this, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.  Probably a lot of the urgency disappeared with the Soviets.  We no longer had an enemy to compete with, at least a Russian enemy.

Then we realized it was way too expensive for the government to keep up the space program.  Private industry would have to take over, and that is part of the reason for what happened today.  The entire story is complicated, and this is a very shallow telling of the tale.  But the bottom line was, we lost our ability to get our own astronauts into space with our own equipment.

For the past few years, who have we depended on to get our astronauts to the International Space Station?

The Russians.

Now, that's irony.

Today's 50th anniversary of the moon landing is an important one. It may be the last major anniversary where anyone who walked on the moon is still alive.  As of this week, only four such men are left. Since 2011, there are glimmers of hope that we will return to space .  Space X and Boeing have been trying, but their efforts seem to be plagued by delays.

President Trump wants us back on the moon by 2024. He met with the two surviving Apollo 11 astronauts yesterday (first man on the moon Neil Armstrong passed away in 2012.).

But if we ever get there, will the original site be preserved in some way?  Actually, a bill was introduced in Congress on July 16, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.

Let's just hope that Futurama isn't too prophetic.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Birthday Moon Sky #SkywatchFriday

It would have been my father's birthday.

I ended up being treated to a beautiful sunset. 
I took pictures in all directions.  The sky was so blue, it was amazing.
Those power lines - sigh
As a bonus, I was able to take a picture of the moon (the little white dot right above the trees).  It isn't a good one (an iPhone SE just can't do this well, I guess) but it was the moon.

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.  I spent the day with my father, and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon with my father. 

More memories tomorrow.

Join Yogi and the other sky watchers for #SkywatchFriday.  I'm betting there will be lots of moon pictures today.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Life in 1969

Maybe I should have been a sociologist or a cultural anthropologist (sometimes they look at the same thing from different angles) .  Many times, when I learn about a historical event, I tend to be more interested in how people lived back then.

This year, there are many anniversaries of historical events.  Next up - the moon landing and astronauts walking on the moon.

1969.  50 years ago.

There is some nostalgia in this video for me, as I was close to the (pretend) age of the person who made this video.

It seems so simple.  The teens in the video weren't bullying each other on social media.  They weren't texting or using a chat app.  The Internet (actually ARPANET) had just come into being.
The world was different, all right.

You might not want to eat all the popular foods.

There were almost no handheld calculators owned by the general public.  They were invented around 1966 but didn't really catch on until around 1974.  So scientists and mathematicians used slide rules for their space flight calculations.  Slide rules didn't need batteries and worked in power failures, too.

Long distance phone calls could cost a fortune depending on where you were calling. Forget about video. There weren't answering machines, but then again, there weren't robocalls, either.

There were telex machines.

Microwaves? Well they existed but few owned them.

There was a lot more smoking of cigarettes and cigarette ads had not yet been banned on television.

The Vietnam War was on the minds of any.  We were a split country, People who cried "love it or leave it", some who did leave it for Canada, others who fought and lost their lives, still others who burned the flag or draft cards in protests.  The nightly news brought the headcount of deaths on both sides.

So, that was the world that launched the first mission to the moon on July 16, 1969.  A world where each space launch was covered by each of the three networks.  Many people didn't have cable.  There were no 24 hour news channels. 

Simpler times, perhaps.  Maybe better, but that depended on your nationality, religion, and other factors.  Prejudice was alive and well,  and discrimination was more open.  It still is today, of course.

I'm also finding out that people I know on Facebook had parents or other relatives working in the space program or in related industries.  Perhaps you do know people in your lives, too, who were involved.

I would love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Back in the Day #WordlessWednesday

While we are on the topic of the 1969 moon landing, the part of New York State I live in had a role in creating some of the technology used by NASA (such as the flight simulator the Apollo 11 astronauts trained on).  If I have time tomorrow, I will blog about that simulator.

Recently, I visited an organization called TechWorks near downtown Binghamton, New York, which is a combination museum and educational center.   Because today is a Wordless Wednesday, I will just show you some vintage computer equipment from the early 1960's.  This may have been equipment similar to that used in early space programs.

IBM 1440 computer. This ran some $90,000 (in 1962 dollars!) and up and wasn't too powerful by today's standards.

Something powered by vacumn tubes (top of item), which predate transistors and the modern technology of today.

Just imagine, humankind went to the moon using equipment not too far advanced from these items.  Now, we hold more power in the palm of our hands, but we make other choices.

The moon awaits.  Will we choose it again one day?  Wil this anniversary respark interest?
Wordless Wednesday
Join Esha and Natasha for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Nobody's Gone to the Moon (in Years)

We are beginning a countdown to the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and walk on the moon.  We'll be awash in nostalgia for the next week.

I wrote most of the following (with some edits, additions/updating, and combining) on July 19, 2009 and July 20, 2009.  It was the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.

Where was I when humankind landed on the moon? I was 16 when it happened.

I was in midtown Manhattan, with my Dad, at a space exhibit. I had followed the space program from the moment I was old enough to. I don't think I truly remember Sputnik, but I remember our country shooting dogs and monkeys into space. I remember Telstar, I remember being amazed at a trans oceanic broadcast of - The Today Show?

Then came the manned flights. In that day of no  24 hour news channels, the early flights, only several hours long, were covered in their entirety by the networks. They were big news items.

I remember following all the manned flights leading up to Apollo 11 on television. I was a great science fiction fan from around the age of 10, too, and it all tied in.

 I took lots of pictures at the exhibit.

 I stayed up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, along with millions of other Americans.

Why are we so fascinated by the First Moon Walk on this particular anniversary?

In 2009, I speculated that part of it was knowing that this may be the last 10-year anniversary where all three astronauts of Apollo 11 may be alive? (after all, Neil Armstrong was78). Now, in 2019, Neil has left us but Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is still alive.  A total of four men who walked on the moon are still with us.  The youngest of them (Charles Duke) is 82  He was supposed to visit the place where I watched the Great American Eclipse in August of 2017 but we never saw him.

 Is it a sense of what may have been (why did we abandon manned space missions out to the moon and beyond?) Or is it because we have so many Internet "toys"that allow us to follow the mission, minute by minute, complete with astronaut updates on Twitter?

If only I knew where my photos were, I would scan and post them on this blog. Yes, I took black and white (of course!) photos of the TV screen at home. My Dad and I stayed up late to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps.

However I never thought of taking pictures of us watching TV. That would have been interesting.

What if we had had the Internet then? Well we could say that about any time of history. Better in some ways that our memories are frozen in those faded photos and home movies. No matter how dated they seem to our children.

Eight months after the moon landing I would go on a trip with other high school seniors to study a total solar eclipse on the grounds of East Carolina University. (Greenville, North Carolina) I have been blessed - I have seen three total solar eclipses in my lifetime.

But who could have guessed what became of our space program?  My son (in his late 20's) and I discussed this when we saw each other on the 4th of July.

Who would have thought the last moon landing would take place in December of 1972?  Or that we would get to the point of needing to depend on the Russians (the country we were competing against in the "space race" to get into space?

I was in college when humankind last walked on the moon.  Now I am a senior citizen.

We have self driving phones and computers that fit in the palms of our hands (aka smartphones) but we can't get to the moon.

What will it take to get a manned space program (not just to the International Space Station) truly started up again?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Daylily July #GardenBloggersBloomDay

(If you are looking for my Music Moves Me post, please click here.  I posted it yesterday to leave room for this.)

On this July 15, I am buried (so to speak) in flowers. We've had a lot of rain this past spring, followed by hot (for us) weather.  The flowers are loving it   where I live in zone 5b New York State.  There are daylilies everywhere I go in my yard (well, almost).

So many that I will need to do collages of many of my other flowers.
Impatiens and geraniums (and a cosmos).
I have the best nasturtiums I've had in many years, perhaps due to the rain we got this spring, but something keeps eating the leaves.
Black eyed Susan, ageratum, bee balm (try #1000 - they always die from mildew), lantana, pansies (I still have pansies), petunias (one of many) and annual phlox.

You won't see marigolds, because, two nights ago, something ate all the flowers (and left the plants).

So, with these as an appetizer - are you ready for some daylilies?  As usual, their names are lost in the midst of my terrible record keeping.

So many colors.
I've had this one for many, many years.
These are so prolific.

My one spider.
Lemon supreme (one of the few I still have a tag for).
This one has gone into overdrive.

I bought this red one last year.

I still have several that haven't started to bloom quite yet. Alas, they will probably all be gone by next GBBD.
This July I won't neglect my indoor plants.  One of my African violets is blooming as are two Phalaenopsis (moth orchids). This one has rebloomed for three years and the earlier blooms had died.  Suddenly, it came out with one more.
But this is a first time rebloomer.  And in July?  Why not, I guess.

How about one more collage?  Hosta, ivy geranium, and more petunias.

Perhaps this post will help to sustain me when the fall frosts and and winter come, and come they will. 

Thank you's go once again to Carol of May Dreams Gardens, who runs this monthly gathering of garden bloggers and others who love flowers (like me).  Why not visit her and see what is blooming all over the world?

What is blooming where you live?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Musical Blackout #MusicMovesMe

I was not in New York City last night when the lights went out.  But I came close to being there.  July 12 and 13 were Manhattanhenge (one of four occasions during the year where the sunset or sunrise line up with the Manhattan street grid) and we wanted to be there.   We ended up not going - but if we had been there...

But thanks to social media, I was able to be there, and I decided to move my Music Moves Me post to  today, as I was so moved.

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 chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are:   Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  Callie of JAmerican Spice blogs from time to time.  

Our guest conductor for the month of July is Driller AA of Driller's Place. 

For our theme today he has picked: "Your Pick" so this isn't my usual rock music post.
New York City has had four major blackouts in my lifetime.  I was there for the first, on November 9-10, 1965.  

The second was during my father's birthday, July 13-14, 1977.  This one did not find New York City at its best.  The third was in August of 2003 and affected a lot of the Northeast.  We did not lose power for long where I live upstate, but we had rolling blackouts for a while.

The fourth one was 42 years later, to the day of the second blackout.  I found out about it - where else?  on social media.

Of the various reports I read, this one may have been the most inspiring.  There was supposed to be a concert at Carnegie Hall by a choir called MCO.  When the lights went out, the concert was moved outdoors.

Thanks to social media, I can bring you a little of it for your Sunday enjoyment. (MCO specializes in sacred music, and this is a religious performance).  There are other clips on Twitter (if you are on Twitter) and, on some of them, you can get quick views of Manhattanhenge.

Here is one more video from yesterday's impromptu outdoor blackout concert, with MCO singing a song called I Stand Amazed. 

To learn more about MCO you can look them up on Facebook or Wikipedia)

This wasn't the only concert cancelled - Jennifer Lopez had just started a concert at Madison Square Garden when the lights went out. 

I'm not a big J-Lo fan so I can't pick a good one for you so instead, for my final song for today, I turn to Billy Joel's Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway).  This is a live performance at Yankee Stadium.  I grew up in the Bronx.

So once again, happy birthday in heaven to my father.  And, please join me again tomorrow for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Memories of my Father 2019

I originally posted this on July 11, 2017.  Yesterday I read a blog post about City of Water Day and the memories came back........ memories of my father, who worked for the U.S Department of Agriculture Cotton Exports/Imports office on Governors Island.  He would tell me stories of taking a ferry to Governor's Island from lower Manhattan and then back home.  Sometimes, the commute got pretty rough.

Around 1963, the office closed and my father was offered a transfer to Chicago. He didn't take it.  He loved New York City.  Except for his military service, he spent his entire life there.

Here's my post from 2017:

On one Memorial Day recently, when a website called allowed people to search for free, I took advantage of it to find out more about my heritage.

I looked up my grandfather on my mother's side and found (definitely) his World War II draft registration and (possibly) his World War I draft registration.  For the first time in my memory, I saw his signature on the World War II document.

More intriguing, I found my maternal grandfather's town of birth - something I never knew - but it doesn't seem to exist -"Altsandas, Austria" - another mystery for a later date. (I am not sure what country it is in today, but it was Austria-Hungary when he came to this country around 1903). Last year, a blogger did some research, and it appears this town, and its residents, may have been wiped out by the Nazis during World War II. [since then, I have more reason to believe that my educated guess, sadly, was correct.]  At any rate, I can't seem to find it anywhere online.  I've said before that I owe my very existence to the United States and all those who fought in World War II for our freedom, and I'm serious about that.

I wondered why my mother's father had to register for the draft.  He was born in 1878, too old to serve in the U.S. Army in 1942, but I found out there was an event called the Fourth Registration, where all males from ages 45 to 64 were registered.  That's how desperate things were in 1942. 

I then looked up my father's World War Two enlistment record and found what follows.  After the war he worked for several years on Governor's Island, part of New York City, where his enlistment took place.  What I know of his enlistment is that he was already considered disabled (a childhood illness destroyed his hearing in one ear) and had tried to enlist without success.  But, by 1942, we needed anyone who could serve.

State of Residence: New York
County or City: Kings[Brooklyn]
Enlistment Date: 6 Aug 1942
Enlistment State: New York
Enlistment City: Fort Jay Governors Island

Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of miscellaneous electrical equipment, n.e.c.
Marital Status: Single, with dependents
Height: 69
Weight: 130

There was Governors Island again.
More memories.  Why would my father have been single, with dependents?  I did know the answer to that question.  Because he helped to raise his youngest brother after his mother died.  Just as he raised me after his wife, my mother, died when I was 12.

I have so many memories of my father - the walks we took, the movie he took me to the day I graduated Elementary School (West Side Story), and then how life changed for him as he grew older, and ended up in assisted living in Brooklyn.

Right now, of all my aunts and uncles, only one survives - the man who my father helped to raise.  I visited him in 2002, and my uncle told me he owed a great debt to my father, who had sacrificed so much for him.  It was a debt he felt he could never repay.

And, as for me, I didn't know how much I owed to my father when I was a teen fighting to breakaway from him.  But I do know now.

I finally got to visit Governors Island, many years ago, for a couple of hours.  Perhaps I'll blog about that one day.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Sunsets of August #SkywatchFriday

I've not been sleeping well recently.  I woke up at sunrise on Monday, just in time to see a spectacular sunrise through the bathroom window.  I wasn't about to run outside in my nightgown, so I had to let it go on without me recording it.

Maybe it looked something like this, taken on August 26, 2016.  So, I thought,  why not take a small trip through my iPhone camera roll and visit the archives?

Soon after this picture I took a trip with my spouse into the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Skaneateles Lake, New York, as sunset approaches.

Just a few minutes later.

Canandaigua Lake.

It's nice to visit the archives every once in a while.

Join Yogi and the other bloggers who contribute each week to #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Summer Camilla #ThursdayTreeLove

Our local Stewardia pesudocamellia, or Stewardia, or summer camellia, is in bloom at our local botanical garden in Binghamton, New York.

This is not a common tree where I live.

Its mottled bark is hard to see in this picture, where I tried to capture most of the tree.  It reminds me a little of the bark of crepe myrtle, a beautiful summer blooming shrub that thrives in the southeast United States.

The crepe myrtle is one of two bushes I wish I could grow in our zone 5b climate. It does grow downstate in the New York City area, although those bushes are much smaller than its southern relatives.

The other bush I wish I could grow is the camilla.   This tree above is actually a relative of the camilla so beloved of people in the South of the United States. Unlike this summer camilla tree, the camilla blooms in the winter and early spring.
Before its last winter
Several years ago, I tried to grow a camilla called April Rose, a variety that was claimed might be hardy enough for my yard.  I periodically reported on how it was doing, but not recently.  And here's why:

It was not to be, this particular impossible dream.  I bought her several years ago.  By this spring, April Rose only had one leaf left.  In the past week, we have reluctantly accepted that our impossible dream is dead.  Yet, maybe we can still dream impossible dreams.  Maybe, one day, we will try again.

In the meantime, the summer camilla tree above survives, several miles away.

Sometimes, you can step outside of your comfort zone.  But trees may not be able to do the same.

Join Parul and other tree lovers each second and fourth Thursday of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove.