Thursday, October 31, 2019

Scarecrow and Dragon #blogboost #RMF2019

Today is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and it is also Halloween.

The weather has been giving nothing but tricks to most of our country - Santa Ana winds and terrible fires in California, lots of snow in Colorado, unexpected early snow in many other places.  For us, we'll get rain and wind.  Fortunate, as things go.  The rain has already arrived.

But that doesn't mean we can't do a little Halloween decorating on my blog.  Many of these are courtesy of a scarecrow contest earlier this month at a local park.

A grim reaper scarecrow.
Owego, New York
A black cat.

A Halloween garden

Time to feed the dinosaurs. (The late Johnny Hart, who wrote the B.C.and Wizard of Id comics, was local and, in fact, worked (before his days of fame) at one time in my neighborhood.)

And one with a broomhead.

But most of all, don't forget to feed your dragon.

With that, I say goodbye to October and fall, as it seems winter always starts in November.  It is time for the gales and snows of November. 

We'll end it with a song - from 1958, Purple People Eater.   Linking with Mary at Jingle Jangle Jungle for the last day of her Rockober Music Festival.

Day 31 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Last Flowers of Fall #WordlessWednesday #blogboost

Normally, we would have had at least a light frost by now where I live in the Southern Tier of New York, but this has not been a normal year.

Last night, around sunset, I took these pictures.
Nasturtiums won't take even a light frost, and here they still are.

These are hardy mums (they overwinter and come back) late to bloom but are starting to bloom just in time.
Pineapple sage, blooming like it never has for us.
Yes, these are white marigolds (with a yellow one at the bottom).

All around us, frost and freezes have hit, but somehow, my immediate neighborhood was spared.  I'm amazed.  And, unlike the beginning of October, I'm mentally ready to say goodbye.

I share with you a last look, because we will have heavy rain tomorrow and a killing frost by Saturday at the latest.

Goodbye, summer.

Joining Esha and Natasha, and Sandee, for #WordlessWednesday.

Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The World's on Fire #blogboost #RMF2019

Living on the East Coast of the United States, I watch the fires in California in horror.  I am used to seeing red skies for sunrises and sunsets, but I am almost afraid to ever post such a picture again.
About as red as I want to post - Skaneateles Lake, New York
The numbers are staggering, hard to imagine.
Over 200,000 evacuated.  People fleeing as fire approaches the major highways they are fleeing on.

My spouse was reminded of the lyrics of the Doors song "LA Woman", a song about Los Angeles.

It contains these lyrics:
"I see your hair is burnin'/Hills are filled with fire..."

But Jim Morrison didn't live long enough to see this, or to experience a modern California which is on fire or is without electricity.

Only time will tell what will end up happening - this is only the beginning of the California fire season.

Is this our future?  Horror?  Something that you wish was a Halloween horror movie but is too real, for some bloggers I have interacted with?

Posting as part of Jingle Jangle Jungle's Rocktober Music Fest 2019.

Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, October 28, 2019

Songs of the Spooky Season #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and you know what that means! It's time for Music!

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,  please! Non-music posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   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. 

Our guest conductor this month is Robin aka Songbird at Songbird's Crazy World.  Her theme this week is "Songs of the Season - Halloween or Autumn or both".

My songs aren't going to be necessarily spooky but will feature elements of Halloween - spiders, blood, horror, costumes, werewolves.

Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.  This 1978 song is such fun and it has such great lines in it.

Ghost - Square Hammer.  This is not a Halloween song but it has so many Halloween like elements (and, I love the song and the video both.)

Give Blood - a live performance by Pete Townshend, featuring David Gilmour.   Again, the only Halloween element here is blood, but it's a great song.

Psycho Killer - Talking Heads, the song my spouse can't resist making chicken sounds to when he hears it.  

Apparently someone else had the same idea - and it was a hit in certain parts of the country in 1979 and 1980. Psycho Chicken by the Fools - it's scary how some people make money.

From 1966:  Boris the Spider from The Who.

There are some really freaky songs I could have featured.  Instead, one more, one that I bet more than one music blog will feature this week.

Michael Jackson's Thriller, featuring Vincent Price. This mini-movie is a masterpiece.

And that's a scary, scary wrap.

You know what is next:  same time, same place, next Monday, more music from #MusicMovesMe.

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I Vote for Fall Color

A quiet Sunday that started with pouring down rain, then got sunny, then got cloudy and drizzly, and now it can't make up its mind.

Endicott, NY near library 10-27-19
Golden and red trees celebrate the fact that New York State officially has early voting.

For us this is an off year - we voted for two countywide positions (the district attorney and one other) and one funding initiative for the two libraries located within our county.  Perhaps "ironically" is not the right word here, but two of the three polling places for early voting in my county was located in one of the libraries whose funding we would be voting for.  Ironically.

The only people there when spouse and I arrived were eight election workers - four Republican and four Democrat.

Instead of signing a book by hand, we handed over our drivers licenses, which were scanned in (this is a one-time thing) and then we signed a pad (like one you use when making a purchase with a debit or credit card). Our signature was then compared with one they had on file.

In the alternative, we could have given our names and addresses verbally.

Once they knew where we lived (anyone in the county could use any one of the three polling places), a ballot was printed out for each of us, with the races we would be voting in.  These races vary by town or city.

After we cast our ballots, we were given our "I Voted" sticker.

And that was it.  Took maybe ten minutes.  It worked flawlessly.

If we had waited for the official election day, we would only have been voted in our normal polling place, so there wouldn't have been a printer needed.  Otherwise, one of the election workers assured me, the procedure would have been the same.

So that was it.  No bugles or drums or cheering throngs.

As we left, several other people arrived.

I liked it.  But I could see how easily it may have gone wrong - if the printer had stopped working, for example.

Only time will tell how well early voting works statewide.

So I went home, sat in my backyard, and then went in and baked an apple crisp.

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Early Voting and Fall Color

New York State sometimes is way behind the times.

So many states have had something called early voting for years. It's a system where you can cast your vote "early", a few days before the official election day.  Of course, once you vote, you can't change your mind, but it allows people to vote at times convenient to their work or living schedules.

New York finally got early voting this year.  In fact, today is the first day of early voting.  How many people will notice that, in-between all the Halloween events, is another story.

Oh, we've had innovations years after everyone else for some time.  Like electronic voting.  
One thing true about our United States is that there is much inonsistency in voting rules, which makes years where we elect high officials (like next year, which is a Presidential election year) interesting.  In some places, polls echo with the sounds of crickets.  In other places, people wait on line for hours.  In several states, people vote by mail.  This is a brief insight into New York's system - until today.  

Early voting is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money, because that is what happens in New York.  One of the reasons why is because the polls will be open an extra 10 days, but another reason is that people are not going to vote in their normal polling locations.  We now have an electronic system for verifying our registration when we enter the poll, rather than the "sign a physical book by pen".

I wonder how much confusion this is going to cause.

In my county, Broome County, there will be three polling sites open.  Two of the three sites are libraries.  The third is in an indoor mall, the Oakdale Mall, which has a place in history for another reason.

I am not sure about the libraries, but I am positive the Oakdale Mall has never been used for voting. The hours are limited, too - most days voting only occurs from 12pm to 5pm.

But I thought, why not check it out?

Well, on my way to early voting, I got a little distracted by fall color. 

When I arrived at the library in Endicott, the voting place wasn't set to open until noon and it was 11:40 am.  Poll workers were arriving.  I figured, maybe another time.

So we decided to look at some more fall color, instead.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so maybe I'll try again. 

Whatever the outcome, I hope this is running smoothly by November of 2020, when we vote for our President, Congresspeople and 1/3 of our Senators.

Do you have early voting or postal voting where you live? 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fog and Sun #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

It's not unusual, this fall season, to have thick fog in the morning and sun by afternoon where I live and work, in the Binghamton, New York area.

Wednesday, the fog was so thick I decided that, combined with fall foliage, would make a great contrast with what the same area looked like around 1pm.

Buildings in the mist.

Somehow, this turned out like a black and white and yellow picture, but not on purpose.

The tall building in the background used to be where our newspaper, the Binghamton Press, was published.  Now, it's student housing called...The Printing House.

Now for the sun pictures.   They aren't the same views as in my fog pictures, but are within the same couple of blocks downtown. I was more trying to capture fall foliage.
Beautiful red against a blue sky.

The building to the left (you see just a piece of it) was on the right in the second picture, but barely visible there.

Today, it's back to rain.

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

Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Ginkgo in Color #ThursdayTreeLove #blogboost

The ginkgo biloba tree.  Wonderous and hardy.

Some say it has medicinal qualities.  What is certain is that this Southeastern Asia native is hardy and suitable for urban streets here in the United States.  It can even change its gender, which is not necessarily a welcome thing.
They sure are beautiful in fall, though.

Join Parul at Happiness and Food each second and fourth Thursday of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Want even more fall color? Come back tomorrow for Skywatch Friday!

Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Sunny Fall Day #WordlessWednesday #blogboost

When the sun comes out in October in Binghamton, New York, people take to the streets to celebrate.  After all, we are the eighth cloudiest city in the lower 48 states.

So, what did I see downtown on Monday once the morning fog (yeah, there's that, too) lifted?

Fall color for your enjoyment.
So red it almost hurts to look at it.

Court Street, a major street in this city of about 47,000, in the noonday sun.  So crisp. 

More red, highlighted against a clear blue sky.

I'll have some more fall color for you tomorrow for Thursday Tree Love.

Join Esha and Natasha (taking a break) for #WordlessWednesday.

Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Forever Young 2020 #RMF2019 #blogtboost

High School Reunions.  Have you ever gone to any of yours?

I blogged, a couple of days ago, about being invited to my 50th high school reunion, which will take place in June of 2020.

It brought back memories of the one reunion I ever went to - my husband's 40th.

I originally wrote this post on October 16, 2010 - nine years and a few days ago.  Today, I rerun it, with some music and  editing.

I called it "Forever Young".

The Dancing Queen.  No longer 17.

The administrator for a children's hospital on the West Coast.  The merger and acquisitions lawyer up from Washington DC.  The school psychologist practicing in Virginia.  The financial consultant.  The grandmother of three fresh from a trip to Hawaii.  The produce clerk.  The man taking constant phone calls because his father was in the hospital, a thousand miles away.

What did we all have in common?   Six hours of dancing, talking, sharing email addresses, and looking at old photos.

A 40th high school reunion.

Not mine, but my husband's.  One of his friends organized it.  Before last night I had only met one of these people, and to my amazement, I recognized him the minute I saw him.  My husband was already in college when I met him so this was a part of his life that I was never able to share.

Until now.

There was the woman who, surveying the room, said to me "This is surreal".  Yes it was and I bet everyone who goes to a reunion (especially the 30th, the 40th, and beyond) thinks the same thing.  When you age, the people you knew in your childhood (if you don't see them as adults) are frozen in time.  The people you went to high school with are, in your mind, forever 17 and 18.  Even if they are really 58 or 60.

Until you go to the reunion, that is, and this is the surreal part.  You walk into the room and see a bunch of middle aged people just like you.  Some look like their yearbook photos.  Many do not. Many of us grey, all of us wrinkled, some of us in shape, others not so much.  Some of us have achieved great things.  Some have lived the lives they had planned to live but for many of us our lives have taken many unexpected directions.  Some good, some not.

We are older, wiser.  We accept the class clown, we reminise about old antics,  we laugh with and hug the classmate who had too much to drink and is now trying to cry on everyone's shoulder.  We know this moment isn't going to be forever.  We know when we have the next reunion we will be near 70.  Maybe we should have these more often.

Will we do that?

Or will we be reabsorbed into our daily lives?  Only time will tell.

But for that one night we were....forever young.
Joining Mary at Jingle Jangle Jungle and her Rocktober Music Festival.

Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, October 21, 2019

Songs In Another Language #MusicMovesMe #blogboost

It's Monday and you know what that means! It's time for Music!

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,  please! Non-music posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   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.

This month, our guest conductor is Songbird from Songbird's Crazy World, and she has declared "You Pick".  We get to pick what we choose, and (inspired by a song from last week's post)  I am picking songs in foreign languages that have become hits, or at least well known, here in the United States.  My ceriteria:  the songs can have some English, but most of the song must be in another language.  And, it could have become a hit in English, but I am going to feature the original foreign language version (with one exception).

First, from my childhood, a song called Volare.  Originally an Italian song, which was called "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue. Here's the version from 1958, sung by Domenico Modugno, with a translation on the screen.  It's been covered by so many singers.

Now it's time for some dancing. Psy's Gagnam Style became a hit in 2012.  The majority of the song is in Korean but you are so busy dancing, no one cared.

A Cuban song, Guantanamera, became a hit in 1966 as sung by The Sandpipers.

From 1913, a Peruvian instrumental called El Condor Pasa was written.  From what I can tell this recording in 1963 by Los Incos may have introduced it to our country (maybe it was even before then).   I'm going to make an exception here and include both their version and the version better known today - a mini "battle of the bands".

In 1970, Simon and Garfunkel recorded the song with English lyrics.  Today, the song is considered a second Peruvian national anthem.

From 1963, Sukiyaki (Ue o Muite Arukō) sung by Kyu Sakamoto. 

In our country, the song was called "Sukiyaki" because that word was familiar to American, not because it had anything to do with the delicious food dish.   Sadly, Sakamoto died, at the age of 43, in the August 1985 crash of JAL flight 123, the worst (by number of dead) aviation accident in history.

From 1986 - Rock Me Amadeus - Falco.  Sure, there are some English words sprinkled here and there (and there was an English version of the song) but this song, sung in German, managed to make it to #1 on our Billboard charts.

Speaking of Falco, I can't resist including another of his hit songs, Der Kommissar, released in 1981.  It didn't chart that high in the United States, but a cover (sung by After the Fire in English) was a hit in 1983.

There are so many more but maybe I'll save them for another time.

BONUS - remember the song Yuve Yuve Yu by the Mongolian group The Hu I featured last week?  Here's another one of their songs called Wolf Totem, also in Mongolian using their throat singing technique.  It doesn't have a spectacular video but - oh, how I love this kind of singing.   In fact, I've nearly demolished my mouse as I've caught myself whacking my mouse against my desk keeping the rhythm.

Speaking of Yuve Yuve Yu - it's been released again, this time with a vocal by an English speaking rocker.  Personally I don't like it, but you may want to check it out and check it out for yourself.

And that is a wrap.

You know the drill - same time next week, same place, for Music Moves Me!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

50th High School Reunion #blogboost

Yesterday, I received a "save the date" postcard for June of 2020.  This will be the weekend of my 50th high school reunion.

I've only been to one class reunion and it wasn't mine.  It was my husband's, and I'll blog about it later this week.

Strangely, for someone who graduated from a high school class that had more people than many peoples' high schools in total (or the town they grew up in!)  I am, as of right now, only in touch with three people I went to high school with. 

Will I go?  I don't plan to go to the dinner (which is in New York City, and with a dress, a hotel and the cost of the dinner, I've decided to pass on) but there is a Alumni Day at the high school the next day, and I may well go to that.  I have not been in the building since the day I graduated.

The high school I went to was the Bronx High School of Science, currently considered one of the 50 best in the United States. In a way, Bronx Science saved my life - if I hadn't passed the entrance exam, I would have gone to my local high school, which definitely was not one of the 50 best.  Or one of the safest.  In fact, it was closed down in 2008 (although, carved up into several small schools, high school students are still educated there.)

But enough times, I wondered how I ended up there. I'm not a "geek".  I'm not an intellectual heavyweight.  I'm just grateful that they admitted me.  Isn't it sad, to be afraid of going to your local high school due to crime and violence, even back then in the late 1960's?

No matter where you go to high school, one thing is for certain.  You remember yourself and your classmates as young people.   And then you go to a reunion.

To your shock, you realize you went to school with a roomful of senior citizens.

Where did the time go?

Day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Local Saturday - Scarecrow Contest #blogboost

I had blogged Thursday about a scarecrow contest being held in one of our local parks.  The winner of this contest will be announced tomorrow, and the scarecrows will be taken down Monday.

Halloween Pilgrims?  A holiday mashup?
People with disabilities have fun, too.  OPWDD is a New York State agency - the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.
This scarecrow is One in a Minion.
Wonder what he or she is doing?

ACHIEVE is another agency that works with those with developmental and other disabilities. Some people are afraid of those with disabilities.  It's hard to see, but this scarecrow man is holding a tray of chocolates.

So, as Forrest Gump said, "My mom always said "life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”  Isn't that true.  None of us can predict what will happen tonight, or tomorrow.

But while we are here, we can also enjoy the beauty of this world, and (for us in the Northern Hemisphere) the beauty of the fall season.

What scarecrow will win?

Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, October 18, 2019

Wind Blown Fall #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

Nothing like fall skies.  Nothing like fall color.  Nothing like clear blue skies (when you don't have days of rain).  Fall has ignited here in the Southern Tier of New York State.

Knotweed turning yellow.
A fall hay wagon.

Powderpuff skies at sunset.

Windblown clouds.
Otsiningo Park, Binghamton, New York
And a peaceful scene days before a bomb cyclone.

Speaking of weather, how has your weather been?  I am hoping no storms, no fires, no snowstorms for you, my dear reader.

Joining up, as I do each Friday, with Yogi for #SkywatchFriday.  Got sky pictures? Why not link up with us?

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Scary Scary Scarecrows #blogboost

I am writing this as a nor'easter has set along the East Coast of the United States.  Although I live inland in the Southern Tier of New York, we are still going to get high winds and lots of rain.  We've gotten a fair amount of rain this morning - it's pouring right now.

This past couple of weeks, Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York has had a scarecrow contest.  This has become a favorite, as people visiting the park vote for their favorite.  The voting is over tomorrow and the winner will be announced at a fall festival October 20.

Here are some of the scarecrows.
Around here, this can be quite the scary site, especially on a day after a bad storm.
But some live under water just fine. (Check out the pumpkins on the blue cushion).
Some scarecrows like to camp.
Some like to fish.

But sometimes things go wrong.

And, when all else fails, call Bones from the original Star Trek.  (It's hard to see but they are wearing Star Trek uniforms).

Which one would you have voted for?  If you didn't like any of them, no worries.

Hopefully, more scarecrows later this month.

Does your area do anything like this?

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.