Translate

Friday, January 31, 2020

January Clouds Blue Sky #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

I can't believe that 2020 is already almost 1/12 over.  It's also the last day of the January Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Where I live the sunrise is finally getting earlier and the sunset is getting later.  It's noticeable now.  Sunrises and sunsets can be incredible, but a lot of the time, our famous clouds (we are one of the cloudiest places in the lower 48) block the view.

But there's also the middle of the day.  Last Friday, it was warm (warm!) and it was sunny (sunny!) at noon.  At the same time.  That isn't that usual

It was lunchtime in downtown Binghamton, New York and I decided to take a little lunch stroll.  No freezing my fingers in 18 degree weather to bring photos to you like last week.

What beautiful streaks across the sky. The sky was blue.
It made this picture of two historic Binghamton buildings (left-Security Mutual building, right, the historic Carnegie library which is now owned by the local community college and will become their culinary campus) even more beautiful

The show ends with a picture of our Civil War monument with more historic buildings in the background.  (And yes, that white stuff at the bottom is snow).

Just think, if the sky is like this on February 2, the groundhog will see its shadow and we'll have six more weeks of winter.  But guess what?  We'll have six more weeks of winter, regardless.

I hope you have enjoyed my sky pictures, and invite you to join Yogi and other sky watching bloggers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Day 31 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Oreo Love #blogboost

It's the next to last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and I'm so close to the finish line...but a cookie is appealing to me.

My Facebook friends know I am fascinated by Oreo flavors.  At one time, I would buy all the special flavors, the ones that were "limited edition".  I don't any more (partially because I'm on Weight Watchers), but Oreos still call out to me.

I don't know if Oreos are "America's favorite cookie" but if not, they must be close.

When I was growing up, there was only one type of Oreo.  And, they weren't even kosher.  Or vegan.

Now, things are different.

I like to play a "yea or nay" game with my friends on Facebook.  Many times when I see new flavors, I will post them, asking "yea or nay".  So how about a short game with you?

Yea or nay?

Yea or nay?

In March of 2012, I blogged about Oreos, which was then celebrating its 100th birthday.  Since then, there has been an absolute parade of short term flavors.  There's been almost every flavor you can imagine.

One Easter, there were Peeps Oreos.

As I have some readers outside the United States, a quick explanation - Peeps are marshmallow candies shaped into various animal shapes.  They started out shaped as chicks and sold for the Easter holiday.  Now, their products have greatly expanded.  People who love them, love them.

Watermelon Oreos got a definite "nay" from me.  I did like Fireworks Oreos.


I so miss the strawberry milkshake Oreos that were made years ago.  Not the strawberry shortcake ones from a couple of years ago.  I never tried those.

Now, here's part of one of my Oreos posts from previous years.  I still think Oreo should create an International Sampler.  What do you think?  Do you have a favorite flavor?


Happy 100th Birthday to My Favorite Cookie (condensed from a 2012 post)




I never thought of International Oreos, but they are sold all over the world.  So I won't explain to my readers what Oreos are, except that when I grew up there was only one kind - one flavor.  Chocolate cookies with vanilla cream. That's it.



Now, of course, you find regular, chocolate, peanut butter, mint, Double Stuf, Golden Oreos, double delight Oreos that are both regular and golden, fudge covered, frozen Oreos with ice cream stuffing.....even mystery flavors not disclosed on the label.



If you live in the United States, go into your food store and look at the various flavors.  Some are made here.  Some are made in Canada.  I wonder why.





As a  gift to their fans, I propose that Oreo create an International Sampler.  Why?  If you look at the list of flavors that have been sold in other countries, some of them sound very interesting:



Blueberry ice cream, lemon ice, orange/mango, dulce de leche, and my favorite strawberry Oreo, sold in Canada but only sold here for a few months back in 2010...so why not?
 
So, Oreo?  How about a sampler pack?

Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Nothing is Forever #WordlessWednesday #blogboost

Recent events show us how life can change in a moment.  Just one helicopter crash took nine lives from our world in just an instant (including a beloved sports giant and one of his daughters) and even spawned various hoax rumors.

It may seem trivial, but I was walking in the mall the other day and this scene struck me - it isn't just lives that can disappear in a moment.  So many retail stores have closed in recent years, impacting the lives of all their employees.

I can only wonder what happened in our latest store closing in our local mall.  What happened to the employees?  How long will it take them to find new employment?  How will they pay their bills.

How sad.
Nothing lasts forever.

Joining some #WordlessWednesday sites.

Natasha and Esha.

Sandee at Comedy Plus

Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost




Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Grim 75th Anniversary #blogboost

I'm forming a bad habit - blogging about topics the day after, or even a week after, I should be.

Today's going to be a somewhat grim topic - the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops, yesterday, on Holocaust Day.

World leaders gathered, along with some 200 survivors of the camp, where historians estimate 1.1 million people died (or were murdered) between 1940 and 1945.  Consider this:  this was out of an estimated 1.3 million people sent to the camp.  Men, women, children.  Most were Jewish but there were also Roma, non-Jewish Polish, Soviet prisoners of war - anyone the Nazis decided didn't deserve to live.  Those who weren't killed upon arrival were registered, tattooed and sent into forced labor.

I looked into the faces of some of the survivors as they walked into the camp.  Some had been back after it was turned into a museum and historical site.  Some had never returned until yesterday.  Many of them are afraid of the tide of hate that is growing daily.  They've seen it happen before.  They need to be our voices of experiene.

I grew up in the 1950's Bronx among adults who survived the Holocaust.  Some were in concentration camps. They never spoke of it but we, the children, somehow knew. I wasn't shielded from many of the terrible details of what happened, either.  It was part of my heritage.  Although both my parents were born and always lived in the United States, I am aware that the town where my maternal grandfather came from was wiped off the map by the Nazis and that one of my uncles, who never immigrated to the United States, most likely perished in the Holocaust.


If you ever read the story of a Holocaust survivor with a tattoo, that person had spent time at Auschwitz, because Auschwitz was the only camp that tattooed its prisoners..  And the fictionalized story of that tattooist (based on interviews with the elderly tattooist) is a fascinating read.

The story of Auschwitz is both horrifying and complex.  What we know as "Auschwitz" was actually a combination of several camps built at different times.

So, why should we care?  Should we care because the hate that led to what we call the Holocaust still exists today, and is resurging?  That's one good reason.  Should we care because more people every day seem to doubt that the Holocaust either never happened or did happen but was way exaggerated?  Perhaps that is even a more urgent issue.

Why would people deny history?  Or worse, feel that "the job" wasn't completed and it's up to them to complete it?

Consider this:  most of the survivors of the camp who participated in the ceremonies were not adults when they were prisoners.  So these are the last, and in not too many years, they will all be gone.

The witnesses will be gone.  Then what?

There have been many genocides in history. This was a huge one, but just one of many.  We've tried hard to keep the memory of this one alive but these efforts seem to be going sideways now.

We must say "never again".  To anyone.

Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 27, 2020

Uncertainty - #MusicMovesMe #blogspot

A week late with last year's theme - oh, that tentativeness and uncertainty! But there's no doubt in my mind when I welcome you to another episode of Music Moves Me.


Who are the members of Music Moves Me?  We are bloggers who blog with music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only- Please post containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)  Every other week we have a theme and on alternate weeks we have "You Pick".  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.  

Today, I once again welcome those in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to rock out with me.

For January, our guest conductor has been Michelle at Music and Merriment with Michelle.  Last week, I missed the
theme, which was " Tentative as in a relationship that you’re unsure of can be personal or spiritual. Song inspiration suggestion, ‘I Can Only Imagine’ by Mercy Me."

It took me a long time to come up with my songs, except for this first one.

For me "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash is a classic 80's song (from 1982).  It would seem a lot of younger listeners have found this song through a streaming show called "Stranger Things".

I ran across a Blondie song called "I Know but I Don't Know" from 1978.  Should she break up the relationship?

I am not sure if this fits the theme but I also thought of Meatloaf's 1977 "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", featuring Meatloaf as a teen trying to get his girlfriend (sung by Ellen Foley) to "go all the way" and the uncertainty of if he will convince her. She holds out for a promise of him "loving her forever" and he swears he will "till the end of time" before she agrees.  Singing in a future where he can't stand her any more, he vows to continue to keep the promise he made to her that night.


One more, which is a song by Avenged Sevenfold called "So Far Away" where the band mourns the death of their drummer, Jimmy Sullivan, who died from an opoid/alcohol overdose in December of 2009.  I can't listen to this song without tears streaming down my cheeks, especially the stanza that begins "Plans of what our futures hold....".  Yes, nothing in life is certain.

No uncertainty about this, it's a musical wrap!

Join me again next Monday for More Music Moves Me.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday #blogboost

The two people in the photo looked at me, as I looked at them.

Maybe it was a coincidence.  Maybe it wasn't.

Yesterday, I was watering my houseplants.   I have a table near one window sill. While watering, a picture caught my eye.  It was a picture of two people.  To be exact, it was a photo of my spouse's aunt, who died last year at the age of 107, and her younger son, who died unexpectedly in December of 2018, at the age of 72.  He lived with his parents all his life, and took care of his Mom in her old age.

The photo was taken at the birthday party when she turned 106.  Someone had thoughtfully written that on the back.  That day was proclaimed her day in Yonkers, New York, where she lived almost all her life.

And then there was another photo, just the aunt alone, and the writing on the back indicated it was taken January 25, 2019, the day she turned 107.

Yesterday would have been her 108th birthday.

Was it a coincidence that these photos were suddenly on that table yesterday?  I'd like to think so.

I used to call my spouse's aunt a "human wormhole", a link to our past, through her memories.  She was born three months before the Titanic sank.  She lived through the 1918 "Spanish flu" epidemic.  She worked in a bomb sight factory during World War II. She studied opera and had many talents I wasn't even aware of until her final years.  Spouse and I last saw her in March of last year, and dementia had taken her - yet, right before we left, she suddenly recognized me.

Now this woman, and her memories, have been gone almost a year.

Happy belated birthday in heaven to you.

Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Opposite Day #blogboost

Today is opposite day, a fellow blogger tells us.

I can agree that sometimes we just have to do things the opposite of how we normally do them.  But today didn't start well.  I didn't have dinner for breakfast (and I won't have breakfast for dinner).  I didn't put my underwear on last.  I didn't walk backwards (although that is good exercise).  I didn't brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand (actually, another good idea).

But nature had other plans for me.

I don't see my sleeping flower garden during the week because I am still leaving for work and returning from work in the dawn and/or dusk.  Plus, for most of this week, it was under the snow that fell over last weekend. 

But this morning, my spouse looked out the window and he saw something.  We had to wait until heavy rain (yes, rain, not snow) subsided to see what he was talking about.

My white Lenten rose is blooming.

Nature was observing Opposite Day.

Actually, it appears it's been blooming for a few days, totally without my knowledge.

Sigh.

The next cold wave (and there will be one) may well kill the flowers, but it is so nice knowing I have something in bloom out there.

Most surprises Nature gives upstate New York in January aren't pleasant ones, so this was a wonderful sight.

Has Nature given you a surprise lately?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Rosy Fingered Sunrise #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

When I was in high school, growing up in New York City, I wasn't much into sunrises or sunsets.   Nor was I much interested in classic literature.

I was so bored by us having to dissect (every year, it seemed) the ancient Greek classic The Odyssey.  The translator gushed about "rosy fingered dawns".

Never did I realize that, one day, I would love sunrises and sunsets.

Like this sunrise yesterday.  It was about 18 degrees outside, and my fingers did not want to be exposed to the cold.  Nevertheless, the beauty finally got my courage (and heat) up, and out my cam...I mean, phone came.

This isn't the first of the series.  A couple of the photos came out so blurry you couldn't see anything.  It's a problem I'm seeming to have more and more with my iPhone SE.

As I walked along, I enjoyed the view.

These three Bradford Pears patiently awaited the sunrise.

I couldn't wait any longer, but the sun was getting ready to make its appearance.

What a show!

Joining up with Yogi and #SkywatchFriday as I do each Friday.

Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Red and Yellow #ThursdayTreeLove #blogboost

A number of bloggers who participate in Parul's twice a month #ThursdayTreeLove live in climates where snow is rare or nonexistent.  They enjoy photos I take in the winter - winterscapes that are ho hum ordinary to me but are a treat for them.

This winter, we've either had too much snow or hardly any.   After a miserable Saturday with snow and some ice, we are now going back into warmer than normal weather.

So here is a snow picture from my "archives".

Snow is pretty (in my humble opinion) as long as you don't have to shovel it, drive in it, walk in it, but there is more to winter than snow.


But some trees here are planted just for their winter interest.  In our local botanical gardens, we have these two trees.  These look like bushes, but are actually a type of dogwood tree.  In the winter, one shows off its red bark, and one shows off its yellow bark.

Dogwood trees don't only show their personality with lovely flowers.  Sometimes, it's also....(wait for it....)

....their bark.

Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Yarn Bombing in Punta Gorda #WordlessWednesday #blogboost

Downtown Punta Gorda - come to a yarn bombing.

In the City of Punta Gorda, Florida, the local downtown permitted some holiday yarn bombing (a type of "urban graffiti" consisting of fiber crafts covering outdoor objects).  This isn't always done with urban government permission, but this time, it was.

There was a Santa...

A Grinch....

A toy soldier...

And (perhaps off topic), a bicycle.

As someone who has crocheted for nearly 50 years (wish I could knit) I enjoyed this so much. Thank you, City of Punta Gorda!

Linking this week with Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blue Monday #blogboost

Yesterday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, also known as Blue Monday.

According to Wikipedia:  "The concept was first published as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation."  Blue Monday is the third Monday of January here in the northern hemisphere.

Well, people who know me know that I am not very good at math.   Since yesterday was Music Moves Me, I am talking about Blue Monday on Tuesday.

For me, anyway, Blue Monday was not blue.

True, where I live in upstate New York, snow was on the ground, we had a harsh wind chill, and the weather forecast was...well, wintry.  The break in the cold the Northeast United States experienced the weekend before last is a memory.

But, consider this.  It was sunny, something that usually only comes with cold in our winters.

Yesterday, in our United States date notation, was 01/20/2020.  When will that ever happen again?

Spouse and I had lunch with two cousins, as we were passing through where they live.   It's nice to visit with family.

And, speaking of blue, note this sunset from last night.


This was taken during the "blue hour", a time after sunset but before darkness descends.  The sky is still blue and you can see a pink cast looking east.
As the sunset progressed, the blue remained and there was a yellow glow in the west.

A perfect end.


Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 20, 2020

Songs that Appeal #MusicMovesMe #blogboost

It's the third Monday of a new year.  It's time for #MusicMovesMe!
Who are the members of Music Moves Me?  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 containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other 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.  

Today, I again welcome those in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to rock out with me.

For January, our guest conductor is Michelle at Music and Merriment with Michelle.  Today, and I apologize for this, I am not going to be following the theme, mainly because the death of Rush's drummer Neil Peart derailed me a little and, due to circumstaances, the only thing I could do was move the post I intended for the 13th into this spot. So come back again next week.

Today, I feature songs that have appealed to me recently.


From 1962/1963:  Vince Guaraldi Trio  and the Grammy Award winner "Cast Your Fate To the Wind".

From 1966, The Left Banke and "Walk Away Renee".


From 1984, Talk Talk and "It's My Life".

From 1965, Gerry and the Pacemakers with "Ferry Cross the Mersey". 

Ricky Nelson, with his 1961 hit "Traveling Man". 

"We Gotta Get Out of this Place"by the Animals - a 1965 classic beloved by those who served in Vietnam.

Wrapping up with Del Shannon and "Runaway". 


See you next week - same time, same place.

And, while we are at it:  day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Restaurant Nostalgia #blogboost

Last Sunday, I wrote a post suggesting we say no to nostalgia, and...here I am being nostalgic.

Do you remember restaurant chains that have gone under?  I thought about that after reading an article predicting the possible demise in 2020 of various restaurant chains:  Steak and Shake, Ruby Tuesday's, Friendly's, and others.


It's curious.  Chains that have come and gone in the 30 some odd years I've lived in the Binghamton, New York area (some of which are still alive and well) include:

Ground Round, Pizzeria Uno (Uno Pizzeria and Grill), Hooters (yes, even a Hooters couldn't make it here), Fuddruckers, and more.

Which led me to another thought:  how many restaurant chains I knew from my childhood and early adulthood no longer exist?

Many.   Let's name a few.

Horn and Hardart.  Remember the Automats?  I do, from my New York City childhood.

Howard Johnson's.  There was one in the Bronx (near to where I grew up).  My aunt would take me there and it was such a treat.

Steak and Brew, which became Beefsteak Charlie's. My spouse and I had many dates at Steak and Brew.

Or Lums, which I remember from living in Florida for a brief time in the 1970's.

Chi-Chi's Spouse and I frequented in Wichita, Kansas in the late 1970's.

Steak and Ale.

Charlie Browns, a chain my mother in law loved.

It's quite a list.

Do you have any favorites to add?

 Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow #blogboost

At Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, we ran across a beautiful blooming tree called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

The blooms open as dark violet, then lighten, and in its final hours, turns white.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Alas, this is another plant I can't grow in my upstate New York zone 5b garden, as it is only hardy to zone 9.

Another plant for my dreams, along with the camilla (which I did try to grow in my yard, and it didn't end well for the plant) and crepe myrtle, which can grow in Southern New York State but not where I live.

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.



Friday, January 17, 2020

Spirit of Punta Gorda #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

The weather for sunset wasn't promising, but I had learned my lesson last week, and we went to a park in Punta Gorda, Florida just in case.  Am I glad we did.

There, in a park, we found a statue erected after Punta Gorda survived Hurricane Charley.  It's called "The Spirit to Punta Gorda".

This statue was created in 2005 by artist Peggy McTeague and friends, who welded various pieces of metal, including I-beams from destroyed hurricane trailers.  At the base (you will have trouble seeing it in my photos) there is a sundial, with a shadow at 4:27pm marking the time Hurricane Charley hit the city.
Approaching the statue, which is one upright palm and one bowed down palm separated by a sundial.
I think this one was my favorite.
Here you can see both metal palm trees, with real ones in the near distance.

Just think - Punta Gorda ("Fat Point" in Spanish) remained unbowed despite being hit by a Category four hurricane in August of 2004.


Join Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Nine Pieces of Blogging Advice #blogboost

As we approach the thrid week of the January Ultimate Blog Challenge, I wanted to share some hard-learned lessons with you.  I've published some of these observations before, but good advice never gets old.  Here are nine things I learned  from all my years of blogging.

1.  My first piece of advise will be strange.  Do you REALLY want to blog?  If so, why?  You have to know yourself AND the audience you want to attract.  I really wanted to blog but I just started to blog one day (after having "thought about it").   I blogged for over two years without any kind of readership, and it is a bit lonely out there. I would not be blogging today if I hadn't been told (by a friend who is a writer) about them. This leads to advice #2:

2.  I wish I knew there was such a thing as blogging challenges when I started.  If you want to grow your readership (and who doesn't want followers, for either personal or business reasons?), this is one of the fastest ways to increase your readership.  In turn, by reading the blogs of those in your challenge, you will quickly learn what works - and what doesn't.

But again, you need to know your "why".  Why are you doing this? Personal satisfaction?  Connecting with people with similar interests?  Gaining customers for your business?  Getting experience so you can write blogs for businesses?  Challenges go only so far.

3.  I wish I knew that consistent posting is key.  I highly recommend daily posting, at least for the first month or two of your blog.   Once you establish yourself, what becomes necessary is not daily posting, but, rather, consistent posting.  If you don't want to post daily - and many bloggers don't want to, or can't - then it helps your readers to know that you have a schedule. Then stick to it.  I know successful bloggers who blog only once a week.  Or only on weekdays.  Whatever works.

4.  I wish I knew there is no such thing as a perfect blog post.  Perfection is not necessary.  Passion IS necessary.  If you don't like what you write, your readers won't, either.

5. If you love something, work that into your blog posts.  If you couldn't care less about that topic, don't bother.  Blog about something you love.  I can't emphasize this enough.  That dislike/boredom/lack of passion will show right through your writing.

6.  But, you must know what your readers want.  A blog is not all about you.  It is about your readers, too.    Your readers may want to know about you, but they also want to learn, or enjoy the music/photos you post, or - there has to be a reason for them to keep coming back.  And, don't ever take your readers for granted.   There are (literally) hundreds of thousands of blogs out there.

7.  I wish I knew how important blogging comments are.  Those comments are more valuable to a blogger than breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even good chocolate. People love to be appreciated?  If you get a comment, try your best to find the website of the commenter (it isn't always easy) and check them out.  That's the least you can do to say "thank you".

Confession:  Even now, when things get busy in my life, I forget to respond to my commenters - not a good practice.

8. If you do disagree with a post, which is fine, please, please, please, be respectful. There is a person, a living, breathing human being with feelings, on the other end of that blog post you like or dislike. If you lurk, please comment on some other blog posts today!

9.  Pictures.  People love pictures.

Flower picture from one of my walks
BUT.

But don't use photos without permission - EVER.  But no one is going to appreciate people who get photos off of Google Image searches.  Even if the site says you can use photos, please read the fine print.  Do you need to ask permission? Or, is the stated free use without strings attached? For example, if you make money off your blog, that "free use" may go away.

So:  anything to add?  Anything you disagree with?

Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January Violets - Garden Bloggers Bloom Day #blogboost

The first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for 2020 leaves me, in my zone 5b garden, a bit short of blooms.

Despite record high temperatures this past week, nothing much is growing outside my home near Binghamton, New York.

Inside, my amaryllis aren't blooming yet (I intentionally planted mine late) so I don't have much to offer you.

Just some African violets, all of which you have seen before.
But what is wrong with reruns?
This is a specialty violet I had bought from a local nursery the beginning of January, and I recently transplanted it into a self watering pot because the small pot had been drying out so rapidly.

Finally, my Thanksgiving cactus, after having a banner year, haven't done that well bloom-wise this season, but one does have a flower to show you.

My thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for keeping the gardening fires alive for us in cold climates (and letting us see the flowers of warm climes) each 15th of the month.

See you again in February!

Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Not Hanging Out in the Waiting Room #blogboost

A blog post I read yesterday hit home so hard that I decided to base my post for today on it.

This blogger's question to us is:  As we grow older, do we become "more"?

I was thinking about this just the other week at work.  I find myself climbing up and down several flights of stairs several times a day.  Recently, it has hit me how I cling to the rail, moving slowly up and down the stairs.  But people working for my company who are 20 or 30 years younger than me bounce up and down those stairs, seemingly without effort.

Once, I was like that.

Another thing about stairs: if stairs don't have rails (and you'll be surprised how many stairs don't) a little thrill of fear goes through me and I almost have to force myself to go down those stairs. ("Up" isn't that hard - yet.)

My back hurts.  My right shoulder hurts.  My knee sometimes hurts.  I have to do stretching exercises.

I am stiff when I get out of bed.

But some of the up sides this blogger mentioned have happened to me, too.
I have discovered the sunrise and the sunset.

I've discovered how wonderful a good meal can be.

I treasure sleeping through the night the way the mother of a newborn baby does.  (Well, maybe not the same way).


I am not afraid to stop and smell the flowers in public (although my sense of smell isn't what it used to be).

Every day is special, just because I woke up.  I don't have to be on vacation to feel that way.

Have you found this shifting of thought in yourself, too?

The only constant in life is change, but, during a recent visit to Florida, I've also seen how that change can enrich you.  Aging is not hanging out in "G-d's Waiting Room" (a certain relative's take on aging and Florida.)

More on that (hopefully) in future posts.

Day 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 13, 2020

Exit Peart #MusicMovesMe #blogboost

It's Monday.   It's time for #MusicMovesMe!

Who are the members of Music Moves Me?  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 containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other 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.  

Today, I again welcome those in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to rock out with me.

For January, our guest conductor is Michelle at Music and Merriment with Michelle.

Michelle's theme for today:  "Your Pick".  I wish I didn't have to pick this artist, though.  It's another sad day, with another rock legend gone to the Great Gig in the Sky.

Neil Ellwood Peart, drummer and chief lyricist for Rush, dead of brain cancer on January 7, at age 67.  My age.

This You Tube video claims to be the first recording (bootleg) of Peart, back in 1974.


Next, from 1982, one of my favorite Rush songs - Subdivisions.
Some claim that the song "Tom Sawyer" has been overplayed.  It doesn't matter because this is classic Peart, from 1976.

Listen to the lyrics of "Freewill", from 1980.



Speaking of songs of great power, I end this with an instrumental from 1981 that showcases the talent of Neil Peart-YYZ.  I never knew where the title of the song came from, so I looked it up - it's the transmitter code of the Toronto airport.

And that's a wrap.  I encourage you to listen to other participants in Music Moves Me using this:

Join me again next Monday, same time, same place.

Day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Say No to Nostalgia? #blogboost

Recently, spouse and I visited a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, which we lived in as newlyweds.  In 1974.

Tampa, Florida has changed drastically since 1974.    It's a bit dizzying, driving down streets that were once familiar and no longer are.  Only the names are the same.  And, speaking of names, there are all the streets that didn't even exist when we lived there.

Oh, for the good old days.


Sometimes, I feel like this sad face I found on a rail trail in Dunedin, Florida.

But wait.  There is no such thing as the 'good old days".  Never has been.

If you are in your 20's and 30's, just wait.  In about 20 or so years that nostalgia mosquito is going to bite you.  One day you'll find yourself frustrated with technology that your 10 year old child uses effortlessly.  Or you'll suddenly realize that TV shows (if they even have TV in 20 years) just aren't made the way they used to be.

That "my childhood is a museum" feeling that I used to get talking to my soon to be 30 year old son will be your feeling, too.

"Those days" weren't ideal.   Not everything was great.  Not everything has gone downhill.

So exactly what it is about the "good old days" that I don't miss?

1.  Coke-bottle eyeglasses.  If you wear glasses and have poor vision (like me) I am thankful daily for ultra light lenses that don't leave permanent sores on your nose and your ears. And I'm grateful they aren't made from glass.  I remember the pair I broke minutes before a job interview, back in Tampa.

2. Typewriters. 
And anything connected to them: carbon paper.  Correcttype.  Onionskin. 

Typing was a complex process:  inserting paper into a roller, rolling it into position, setting the margins, typing.  When you heard a bell, you knew you were about five spaces from the end.  Time to hyphenate, then return the carriage to where it started, and start typing your next sentence. 

Nope.  Don't miss it.  Give me a computer, spellcheck, and cut/paste any day.

3.  Old fashioned medicine.  I'm probably going to get an earful about this and I totally agree our current medical system in the United States is dystunctional.  But I have a medical condition, easily treated today for many people with diet, exercise and medication.  My grandmother died from the same condition in 1937 because there was no treatment.  That condition, by the way, is high blood pressure.

I may also have died in childbirth without modern medicine, which is a story for another day.

Modern medicine has a lot of problems, no doubt about it.  But enough of us are walking around right now who may not be on this earth if we hadn't expanded on the medical knowledge of the 1950's.

4.  Long distance phone service.  In my childhood, a long distance call (which included, if you lived in New York City, calling another borough) was an expensive proposition.  If you wanted to call another country, what a process that was.

Now, we keep in touch with people from all over the world with ease.  That includes reading each other's blogs.

It's true that our modern world has lots of frustration to it, especially if you have ever been hacked, or had your identity stolen, or other things that a person of the 1970's would have stared at you if you had gone back in time and complained about it.

But nostalgia?  It has its place.  But let's be real - our modern age has a lot to recommend.

Do you feel nostalgic for your childhood or teenage years?  What don't you miss about it?

Day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Saturday, January 11, 2020

International Blog Delurking Week 2020 #blogboost

It's that time of the year - the time that comes once a year.

Are you a blog lurker?  I am, at times.  I admit it.  How about you?

What is a lurker? You like a blog, and you may even read it regularly, but you rarely (or ever) comment.

Maybe you are shy.  I understand. I'm shy, too. Maybe you feel you have nothing to say.  I understand.

This week, the blogging community asks you to speak up.    It's International Blog Delurking Week and it lasts until tomorrow, January 12.

This year, a blog I like to read (Happiness and Food),is hosting International Blog Delurking Week. Parul also hosts the #ThursdayTreeLove twice a month meme I enjoy participating in.

International Blog Delurking Week - 2020

The badge?  Go to Happiness and Food, get it and comment there, too.

Blog comments are like chocolate to a blog writer.  I'd love to see you comment.

You can just comment below, where it says "Post a Comment", and say "I'm here!" (unless, of course, you're a spammer.  If you are, don't even think of commenting.  Just
go away.)

I know, Blogger blogs can be difficult to comment on.  Today, I ask you to try.

  You can ask me questions.  You can suggest topics you would like me to blog about.  You can talk about the weather, food, or chocolate.  You can follow me on Twitter or Pinterest (see right sidebar), too.

I am honored by everyone who comes by to read my posts.  Thank you, if you have commented before.  And thank you for commenting today, if this post moves you. (And thank you if you have delurked on your own!)

I look forward to hearing from you today, but, most of all, if there are other blogs you like where you won't you comment on them today, too?  A new blogger, especially, gives up if he or she blogs in silence.  Please make a blogger's day today, even if it isn't me.

Day 11 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Don't Turn Your Back on a Sunset #blogboost #SkywatchFriday

I should know better.

I was taking pictures of a sunset.  It started out promising.
Soon, a bird joined me in watching, as the sun went behind a cloud.
And then another bird, as the sun peeked out one last time.
As anther bird arrived, we all took a final look.

Yes, I turned my back on the sunset.  It was cold.  The wind was whipping and I only had a light jacket on.

So spouse and I went back to our motel, and I made the mistake of looking back at the western horizon.

To my combined horror and enjoyment, the entire horizon was on fire, but I couldn't see most of it as it was blocked by buidings.

I did manage to get this.

I hope the birds back at the beach had a better view.

Join Yogi and other bloggers from all over the world for #SkywatchFriday.

Day 10 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Palm Trees at Sunset #ThursdayTreeLove #blogboost

It's no secret to readers of my blog that I love palm trees.  They can not grow where I live in upstate New York (too cold in the winter).

But I fell in love with them the first time I visited Florida (in 1966), and I have never lost that love.

Every once in a while I must travel to where they thrive, to nourish my soul.  So I did that just that recently  I spent time in the land of palm trees.  Although it was winter in Florida, I didn't mind the cool weather one bit.

I can look at palm trees all day long.

And, seeing them during or after sunset is even better.

 Beauty can be found almost anywhere.  And when I see these trees, I can hope that spring will come to upstate New York one day.  It won't be this week.

Or next week.  Or next month.  Or the month after that.

I couldn't wait.  So spouse and I traveled about 1,200 miles (1931 km) to escape winter.  I know some of you were expecting a snow picture, and there will be more snow, trust me.  Just not today.

Join Parul and other bloggers who love trees the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at #ThursdayTreeLove.

Day nine of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Christmas in Florida #blogboost #WordlessWednesday

I've spent almost all my life in the northern climes of the United States, where Christmas is intertwined with winter - snow, snowflakes, Santa at the North Pole - our Christmas imagery is full of cold weather.

The other day, a co-worker, knowing that I lived for two winters in Florida (back years ago) and had spent some of January last year in Florida, recently asked me "how do Floridians decorate for Christmas?"

Well....it's a little late, but you don't need snow to celebrate the Holidays.
Orange decorations are a natural.

As is a palm tree with a present attached.
Not sure about a shoe, but why not?

Next to a Mexican restaurant is a cactus decoration.

Meanwhile, back in the Southern Tier of New York...

Day 8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Joining Sandee at #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

How Do You Decide What to Read Next? #blogboost

Have you ever had trouble figuring out what to read next?

I don't usually have that problem.  I go to my local library 2-3 times a week, usually on my lunch period, and browse the new books.  I usually find something that looks interesting.

Right now, I am getting into an author, Katherine Center, whose latest book is called "Things You Save in a Fire".  I read that book, and then devoured two other books by her.  There's just something about her voice that I love.  And, it would seem that I am moving way from YA literature that I spent several years enjoying.

But what happens if you can't figure out what you want to read?

All is not lost.

A while back, I was told about a website called What Should I Read Next? and I decided to conduct two searches to test the site out.  I had just given up on a YA book that disappointed me.  Actually, a number of books I've tried to read recently have disappointed me.  So maybe a website could pick better than me? 

My first search was on one of my favorite YA books, The Fault in our Stars, by John Green.  This is a story written from the point of view of a teen aged girl terminally ill with thyroid cancer.

Based on that book, what else might I want to read?

These were some of my results, and I may pick one to read.
    • Jennifer E Smith - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (I looked on Goodreads and it had a slightly less than 4 star rating - but the description didn't seem to appeal to me.)
    • David Levithan - Every Day (A 4 star rating - and the description intrigues me.  Every day, a different body, a different life.  This one has possibilities.)
    • Gayle Forman - Just One Day (a tiny bit more than 4 stars but it is more of a romance than what I normally go in for.  Yes, The Fault in our Stars is a romance, but it was so much more.  Interesting, the site also picked the sequel to this Gayle Forman book.
    • Matthew Quick - Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (this one sounds so harrowing, I don't know if I would be able to pick it up. It is told from the point of view of a suicidal teen intending to murder someone.)
    • Rachel Cohn, David Levithan - Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (a "Christmas in New York" type of book.  Not sure.)
But now, as I am writing it, I put in "Things You Save in a Fire".  The result?  They couldn't give me a recommendation!

By now, I had intrigued by the Internet wanting to help me with my next reading selections. What a site had found me based on The Fault in Our Stars introduced me to several books, including one I may just read (although, I never did).  So, I started looking for other sites providing this service.   I tried a site called  Bookkaholic but apparently it doesn't exist any more.

Finally, I found an intriguing site called Lazy Library, where no recommended book is over 200 pages.  But several searches resulted in blank pages.  I don't think it was working well with my browser settings.  Or maybe just with me.

I guess I am on my own for choosing my next book, which I really don't mind.

Do you use web sites to help you choose your reading?  What kind of results have you had?

Maybe the "featured books" shelf in my library is the best, after all?

Day seven of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Beginnings #MusicMovesMe #Blogboost

It's the first Monday of a new year.  The First Monday of a new decade.  It's time for #MusicMovesMe!

Who are the members of Music Moves Me?  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 containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other 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.  

Today, I welcome those in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to rock out with me.

For January, our guest conductor is Michelle at Music and Merriment with Michelle.  Today, our theme is "New Beginnings".

Some of these are favorite songs from my teen years and early adulthood.

Like this song from the Byrds, and its biblical references:  "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Chicago - Beginnings, from 1969. (This is the full version, clocking in at about eight minutes).

Johnny Nash -  from 1972, I Can See Clearly Now

I don't often feature dance music, but if I'm in the right mood, I will listen to this music.  Here is a song I found called "New Memories" by Dubvision & Afrojack.

REM and "Begin the Begin" from 1986.

And finally, the Beatles and "Here Comes the Sun"

It's a wrap!  Join me next week, same time, same place, for more music.

Day 6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.