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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Early Color #WordlessWednesday

It's the last day of September.

It hasn't been usual for us in the Southern Tier of New York, to have such an early turning of the trees as we are experiencing now.  Not for years.

These pictures were taken September 26 on the Vestal Rail Trail in Vestal, New York.


Black walnut.


Virginia creeper on evergreen.

And, as a bonus, blue sky against red sumac.

Today, fall is asserting itself on this, the last day of September.  It's raining.  It may get cold tonight. But tomorrow, we welcome October.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Compassion for Ourselves

 I've renamed this post and I've rewritten part of it several times. 

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, ended yesterday evening.  This day has a deep meaning for those of the Jewish faith, as the Almighty makes final determination of our fate for the coming year.  Prior to the beginning of Yom Kippur, the religious Jew has tried to make amends for all his or her wrongdoings of the past year, and asked forgiveness/tries to make things right with those he or she has hurt. Yom Kippur itself is marked by a 25 hour fast and various religious observances.

Here is a brief history of Yom Kippur.

So, why am I blogging this after the holiday has ended?

It's about compassion and caring for each others, and those who give all because they care.

I have been thinking recently of Dr. Adeline Fagan  

Dr. Fagan, who grew up in LaFayette, New York (perhaps an hour from where I live), was a OB/GYN resident in a hospital in Houston, Texas. Dr. Fagan died earlier this month after a two month fight with COVID-19.  She been rotating through a number of positions within the hospital as part of her residency.  As part of this, she worked in the ER and was exposed to COVID-19 patients.

She was 28.

Her parents moved down to Houston to be closer to her, but they were only able to see her (briefly) three times before she died.

I want to take you to LaFayette, New York for a minute.  LaFayette is apple growing country but hundreds of cars must pass this exit off I-81 near Syracuse, New York to experience that beautiful country.

It is beautiful country.


Apple Valley, they call themselves. This is not an apple processing plant but a large orchid is near this business.

It's hard to imagine a young woman growing up in this peaceful place practicing medicine in the bustling city of Houston.  Her dream was to practice OB/GYN medicine, and she was taken from us way, way too soon, miles and miles from home.

Meanwhile, our country continues to tear itself apart.  Anyone who is in the public eye in any way related to COVID seems to be a target for one side of another, in attacks that make anyone wonder where the truth is.

But one thing is for certain.  Those who died should not be forgotten. 

If only we could find our way back to the path of caring for one another.  But perhaps it is too late.  Certain of us don't seem to care.  They do whatever they want, and don't think (or care) about the consequences.

For others, what seems simple to you or me can create the need for consultation with religious authorities for others.  For still others, certain of the recommended practices to curb COVID-19 are unthinkable.  I'm not thinking masks here, which is a whole other (seriously charged) topic in the United States, but, rather, cultures that live in overcrowded situations in multi generational households and refuse not to gather in large family groups for certain observances.

Not all is lost, though.  Here's one viewpoint - enjoy.

If you want still another viewpoint, this post by someone who lived through a civil war several years ago  may scare you, or plunge you into self-denial.  

We may need compassion for the entire human race, and how impossible is that?

Perhaps we start with compassion for ourselves, and go from there.

Can we overcome what seems hopeless?

Is there still hope for us worldwide to escape this second wave, which is already on its way?

We can only continue to move forward, one day at a time.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Neighbors and Sons - #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday.  It's time to get colorful with Music Moves Me!

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join in on the fun.  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video. 

Every month we have an honorary co-hostess.  For the month of September it's Cathy from Curious As a Cathy.

Today, she has picked the theme of "for National Neighbors or Sons Day, song titles/lyrics about neighbors or sons".


Well, then.   How about three of each?

I don't know if I would like the Rolling Stones as neighbors, but here is a song from 1981:  Neighbours.


This song by Creedence Clearwater Revival may be a stretch, but it talks about neighbors, and is about door to door salespeople.  Yeah, back when people weren't afraid of going door to door. 


Jimmy Buffet and his Bank of Bad Habits is such a fun song, especially its description of the Seven Deadly Sins and your neighbors - not exactly the Seven Deadly Sins of the Bible.   For example: "do not eat thy neighbor's wife's popcorn...."  There's an 8th deadly sin, too:  PIZZA.

Now for sons.

The first song I think of when I think of sons is another CCR song - Fortunate Son.  Have a feeling I won't be the only one who posts this classic.

 Kansas was the last live concert of a "name group" I saw (in August of 2019) so this one is a natural.  Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas

Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield.

I am ending with this song.  I hesitated because this song is played, sometimes, at the funeral of a child.  But it is such a beautiful song and it isn't just for sons or sad occasions.  

 


Billy Joel and "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)".

And you know what I say at the end:  it's a wrap.

See you again next week, same time, same place!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sitting Here

Every day, turmoil and more turmoil.  When you think it can't get worse, it does.  Marches, injustices, violence, a Ball of Confusion.

One could wish we could leave our homes and just find a place to sit, watching the tide roll away.

Friday, while writing my post, I was reminded of the song "Sitting On the Dock of the Bay", sung by Otis Redding.  I started incorporating some (sort of) lyrics into my post, and at least one of my readers caught on.

Today, remembering the magical hour or so I sat by Skaneateles Lake in New York State on Wednesday, drowsy in the afternoon sun and forgetting my cares, I wonder what would happen if I made that dock my home.

What would probably happen is that winter would come, and I would have to head on home.

 

So here I am, at home, in my yard, one one of the last warm days of the years.  We've had a light frost already, and trees are starting to turn in our area.

It's only a matter of time before winter comes, but until then, I will enjoy the remaining days of sunshine.

Here is the song.  Enjoy.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Let New York Librarians Choose Your Next Read

 Have you ever dreamed of a concierge service where a librarian working for a big city's library would send you personalized recommendations for your next read?

I never knew such a thing existed, but there is such a thing.  It is available both by email and (during certain designated days and hours) on  FacebookTwitter.  Best of all, it is run by the library that nourished me in my growing up years - the New York Public Library. They call themselves the Readers Services Team.

I've blogged before about how, growing up, I wanted to work in a library.   More specifically, I wanted to work in a New York Public Library bookmobile.  After the city housing project I lived in lost its branch library (yes, we had a branch library in our housing project!) somewhere around 1959 or so, we gained a bookmobile which stopped by every Thursday during the school year.

I loved coming home from elementary school and climbing up the short flight of stairs and into a world of magic.  I don't know how many books that bookmobile held, but I always managed to find something there to read.

Now, during the pandemic, as a New York State resident, I am once able (on a limited basis) to use the NYPL's resources .  But anyone (yes, anyone) can use the online Readers Recommendations.

I tried it yesterday and it works.  

If you want to do this, there are several ways.

1.  By email on a web form - using this link.

It will ask you what you are in the mood to read and it will ask you for a book or author you've enjoyed reading.  It will also ask you  if you are asking for an adult, child, or teen.

2.  By Facebook: following the NYPL; there is a live feed Wednesdays at 12:30 pm.

3.  On Twitter.  You don't have to follow NYPLRecommends .  The times are Mondays from 3pm to 4pm Eastern Time and Fridays from 10am to 11am (Eastern time). Tweet them (reply to the link they would have set up for that day's session.)

So, my experience.

Yesterday I went on Twitter around 10:30 am.  I had never hit the "magic hours" before but I saw their tweet indicating they were open for recommendation requests, so I tweeted them that I enjoyed dystopian literature and loved a book "Station 11" by Emily St. John Mandel and a YA series called The Razorland series.  Within minutes, I had five recommendations and they were good ones:

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman - I can see why this was the first recommendation. There has been a plague and everyone gets it as they approach their late teens.  Everyone dies from it,  most painfully.  So civilization (such as it is) is being carried on by teens before they get sick and die.  

Our heroine is an African-American teen whose older brother, the head of their band, is dying from the plague. So off she goes into this strange future world (and is it ever strange), trying to find a cure.

For me, this 600 plus page book was a DNF but not because it was terrible. In fact, I found it to be quite imaginative.  In another day and time (I read it, perhaps four years ago?) I may have had the patience to wade through its invented dialects and its just general try to figure it all out.

If I had only discovered it now, in the time of COVID-19 - who knows?

It was a very good first recommendation.

The other recommendations?  They gave me a total of five.  I had read part of one (just never got back to it, but it was very well written), had heard of the third but not investigated it yet, and both of the remaining two sounded interesting.  I chose one to check out of the NYPL as an ebook. 

So, in other words - they nailed it.  I'm reading it now. Maybe I'll even review it for you.  Let's just say it involves another plague...

Maybe they will nail it for you, too.

Have you ever used this service?

Friday, September 25, 2020

Sitting Near the Dock of the Lake #SkywatchFriday

It was past time to go on a road trip.

We've only gone outside our home area in New York State twice since the pandemic started, and have gotten more and more restless for some new scenery.  

On Wednesday, I wasn't working, and we decided to go somewhere we haven't gone to since August of 2018 - Skaneateles, New York.  This is a smallish village of about 2,400 people along one of the smaller Finger Lakes, filled with small, interesting shops and lots of tourists.  The village has its share of affluent people and some lovely houses.

The name comes from a Native American word for "Long Lake". It's a beautiful long lake and there is a city park along the lake, where you can sit, socially distanced, and watch the day go by.


We sat near the docks of the lake, watching the time roll away.

We watched a tour boat as it docked, a group (socially distanced) disembarked and a new group of tourists boarded. (You can see some of the first of our fall foliage, too.)


Everything still remains the same - sort of, except that the library only allows one person at a time on their porch, and masks are required.


The Patisserie, such a wonderful bakery, offers pickup only. That's what we had already figured out - the place is so small but you used to be able to go inside and watch the women who run it make the most delicious goodies, as long as you didn't linger long.  Now, everyone masked, you order at this window and pick up around the corner and you pass the money to them through a mess screen.  Ah, fresh stretch bread, served with a side of pandemic.

Last but not least, a shot of Skaneateles clouds in a store window in the town of Marcellus. Yes, it was Chocolate Pizza time.  Finally, homeward bound, dreaming of how we were able to drowse in a warm sun.

Joining Yogi each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Apple Time with a Recipe #ThursdayTreeLove

It's apple harvest season where I live in the Northeast United States.

Yesterday, I visited several suburbs of Syracuse, New York, including LaFayette, a major apple growing town in our state. 

I was hoping so I could bring you pictures of an apple orchard which is one of the nation's finest (in my humble opinion) but it was so crowded (yes, it's outside, and we would be wearing masks, but still) we decided not to park and investigate it.

I'll have to content myself with a picture taken from the car of an orchard near nearby Nedrow, New York.  These trees are dwarf trees, which are dwarfed by being grafted onto certain rootstock.

Some of those participating in #ThursdayTreeLove live in tropical or subtropical areas of our world, and grow fruits (such as mangoes) we can't.  But our climate is perfect for other fruits, including the apple.  Some of the varieties we can get locally, in fact, aren't found in the average American supermarket.


Here's a closeup of an apple tree from back in August.  These apples are green and not ripe yet.  When ripe, many apples turn red, but some will still have green or yellowish green skins.


One is Ginger Gold, a yellow-green apple being harvested where I live now.  This apple was found growing near a Golden Delicious apple in Virginia during the 1960's and now is cultivated as its own variety.  It is good both for eating and baking (but better for baking, I think).  

Many apples excel in one or the other (either good for fresh eating or baking).  My favorite baking apple won't be ready for a few more weeks, though.

Want to make some delicious applesauce?  Here's my no-fail recipe for Lazy Applesauce.

Joining up with Parul for #ThursdayTreeLove.  Why not check out the trees bloggers from around the world are posting today?

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No Hunting #WordlessWednesday

Every once in a while, spouse and I like to take an exercise walk on what we call the "Rail Trail Extension", where we live in New York State.

For years, we've seen this "No Hunting" sign near this structure which is near one end of the trail. I don't know what it is.  An elevated manhole?

But what I really want to know is....what would come out of that hole if we DID open the lid?

Joining up with Sandee for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fall(ing)

Today, in the northern hemisphere, it is the first day of fall.

When many of us think of the word fall, what do we see in our minds?


Corn stalks, pumpkins, and winter squash?

Or do we see something feared more and more as we grow older?  

This week (September 21-25) is National Falls Prevention week.

In 2015, after several falls, I took a falls prevention class. The class taught us exercises, and featured guest speakers, including physical therapists and a vision specialist.

But now, the coronavirus has put a temporary end to these type of classes.  Now, our local Office of Aging has issued an Autumn Walking Challenge which started yesterday, and ends on October 30.

By signing up, my spouse and I received a packet with:  "a log to record miles, tips on setting walking goals and preventing falls, information on using a pedometer to count steps" (both of us will depend on our iPhones to do that) and "creative ways to walk in your own home". (That last one is actually what convinced me to sign up.)

"All those who complete 12 miles or 12,000 steps are encouraged to enter our prize drawing by mailing their walking log to the Office of Aging".  When we got the packet, the criteria was actually "those 55 plus who have walked 12 times or completed 12,000 steps".  So, even if you are not in good physical shape, you can still participate.

On "Final Lap Fridays" you can visit the Office for Aging Facebook page and share a picture or post about your progress, if you are on social media.

We can't wait to get started.

We hope that, one day, when people think of the word "fall", this is all they will think of.

 I've blogged about falling several times. Here are several of the links.

Getting up again 

Fear of falling 

The Dutch Falling Cure 

Attending the wake

We have to find alternate ways to exercise besides a gym (still have trepidations about being in an inside gym) and walking outside.

What about you?  Are you thinking about the months ahead?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Songs of My Mood (1964) #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday.  It's time to get down with Music Moves Me!

 

Who are the members of Music Moves Me ?  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday. If you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join!  Just remember our simple rule:  you must include at least one You Tube or Vimeo video or your post may be subject to removal or labeling "NO MUSIC". You are welcome to write about music. too but there must be at least one music video. 

Every month we have an honorary co-hostess.  For the month of September it's Cathy from Curious As a Cathy.

Today, she has picked "You Pick". It's our free choice.

I've had some strange moods lately.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.

But before I dive into my mood, I wanted to give a shout out to Xmas Dolly, the head of our Music Moves Me gang.  She had the inspiration of finding some music from her high school and You Tube delivered.  So.....

I had to do the same thing. 



I grew up in the Bronx and went to a high school that was noted for things other than its music program.  But I found a performance of "We Are the World" sung by the math teachers of my Alma Mater during quarantine earlier in 2020, as COVID-19 was sweeping through the Bronx (one of the hardest hit areas of the country back then.) Some may say this song has been sung too often, and some may not appreciate a performance by those who don't make their living by singing, but I was so touched by this song, I had to post it.

Well, that's not the reason for my mood but I had to share that story.  And now, onto my post.


I want to go back into my childhood for this song - I got to thinking about Dusty Springfield and this song from 1964, "Wishing and Hoping".  1964 was such a good year for music. 


Here's another song from 1964 - The Beatles and I Feel Fine. 


Still another song from 1964 (should I make this a theme?) Dancin' in the Streets - Martha and the Vandellas.


One last - The Honeycombs and "Have I the Right".

Let's get away from 1964, shall we?

One last song: Genesis and their 1986 hit "Land of Confusion" and one of the weirdest videos in music video history.

It's all so....confusing, these times.


Let's hope that one day, we can sing Happy Days are Here Again, here covered by Barbra Streisand.

That, dear readers, is a wrap!

See you again next week, same time, same place.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Frosty

As I was eating breakfast on Friday, the dreaded "F" warning showed up on my TV.

Frost.  In summer.  Too soon!


I have lived in the southern tier of New York State for over 30 years, but this was a first.

Out came the sheets, the towels, and whatever else we could muster to protect our two community garden plots (one in ground, one raised bed) and our tender herbs at home.

Saturday morning dawned - house was safe, community garden lightly nipped, but a couple of farms we buy from reported heavy frost and warned what they had picked would be the last.

So we got to the Saturday farmers market to enjoy the last bounties of summer.

The transition to fall crops had already begun.

The root veggies - carrots, red beets, yellow beets.

Red and green cabbage.

Local sweet potatoes!  Not pictured, last of the sweet corn.


In my mind, I said goodbye to crops now just memories.  Muskmelons (which are not cantaloupes, but we won't go there). These are the sweetest, so fragrant.  I wish there was something like "smell-o-blog".

Farewell, eggplant. Our summer was hot, and the crop was excellent.

But we can console ourselves with leeks and fall lettuce.  Also kohlrabi, if you are into that.  I'm not.

We have one more frost warning to get through - tonight's.  Then, it's supposed to warm up again.

But summer is officially over, because the first frost has come to our area.

2020 continues.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Sad New Year

 (This is a non partisan political post)

I am an introvert, and I don't make friends easily.  But there is one woman I could have wished to have known.  

Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Why?

Because true friends are hard to find, and I htink she would have been an amazing friend.  Here is a post by a woman who was her friend.

When I found out, about 9pm last night, that she had passed away after many long battles with her health, I went to Facebook, and found that my wall had blown up, with so many of my Facebook friends sharing the news of her death.

Maybe we thought she would live forever.  She was the Notorious RGB, after all, the woman who fought cancer after cancer, underwent surgery after surgery, chemo, radiation, and yet would show up at the Supreme Court to do her work, without fail.

Justice Ginsberg had wanted to retire, but never did.  At 87, she was still working when her body finally gave out.  She was finally taken by pancreatic cancer, the cancer that has taken three of my relatives.

People called her a hummingbird.  She only weighed 85 lb towards the end of her life, but what an 85 lb it was.  Hummingbirds are birds of endless energy, gems in small packages.  When we see one in our gardens, we gasp in awe, because...because we know we are in the presence of something special.

It is said only the most righteous die on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. 


Now RGB is owned by history.  There are some who feel some of her decisions were pure evil.  I am not one of them.

May her memory be a blessing.

 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Hazy Day of Summer #SkywatchFriday

All we, in upstate New York now, have to do is look at the sky.


September 15, around 12:30 pm.  A beautiful late summer day.

Around 5pm that same day.....same general area.


Yes, that's the haze from the wildfires that are some 3,000 miles away from us.

I was a bit surprised when I looked at these pictures.  It hadn't looked that bad to my eye.  I was going to delete these but then I decided, these pictures are something to ponder.

If this is what the sky looks like 3,000 miles from the event, what are people in the middle of this going through?

Sobering. Once again, thinking of our Internet and real life friends on the West Coast.

The 16th and 17th were more of the same.  We have a cold front coming through, which may clear our air, and may also bring an unseasonable early frost.

So hard to believe this is the last Skywatch of the summer of 2020.

What a year for this world.

Joining Yogi and the bloggers of #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Five Year Anniversary of Courage

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

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

At the time I wrote this post, my friend's husband was battling cancer alongside of her.  My friend went to all her husband's appointments and waited for him while he has his treatment - sometimes waiting an hour (or even more).

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

She did beautiful crocheting and knitting work - and, at some point, started to work on projects for pediatric oncology patients.

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

A crocheted blanket and some knit hats.
Another crocheted blanket.

And finally, some hats and scarves.

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

And now she's gone - five years ago, today.  I was able to visit her and her husband in Brooklyn four days before but I can never be sure she knew my spouse and I were there. 

In her last two years, she showed the full measure of courage, but she fought a foe that was strong, and unrelenting.   Her memory lives on in those of us who miss her.  On days like today, especially, I miss her.  She was a 4th grade teacher, and she taught me so much.

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

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

May she rest in peace.  May her memory continue to be a blessing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Chalk the Walk #WordlessWednesday

Suicide prevention.   It's not just words for many people.

Spouse and I took a Sunday walk in Otsiningo Park, in Binghamton, New York.


We saw writing on the walk.

We ran across this sign, and noticed the bucket with thick chalk.  Public chalk surprised me a little in this day and age, but the messages certainly were inspiring.


A little hard to take pictures because many people were out walking, but I managed these. 

I applied a filter to make this easier to read.  That's why the grass looks almost neon green.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Time Flies September 2020 #GardenBloggersBloomDay

In my zone 5b garden near Binghamton, New York we are feeling the breath of fall.  The summer had been warmer than normal and also, for the most part, a bit dry.

Not only has the weather suddenly grown colder, but we may have a frost this weekend.  WHAT?

It can't be.  The end of the gardening season?  No, please say noooooo..........

Even as I begin writing this post, I am heartsick over those on the West Coast who may not be joining us today; who have fled deadly fires or who are watching their gardens die as they are prohibited from watering. (The firefighters need every drop).  I hope, if you are reading this, that you are safe.  My thoughts are with you.

It seems like only yesterday that I was putting in plant orders at a local nursery that was offering curbside pickup. Eventually I felt comfortable enough to go to nurseries.

What a year.

I must really enjoy my flowers now, while I can.  They have brought me so much joy in a time of fear, uncertainty, and upheaval.

Where do I even begin?  I'd like to share some of this happiness with you -  Two of my lilies are re blooming.  This is a very large yellow variety.  There's a smaller one, also yellow.

My nasturtiums did not do well this year.  Last year was a banner year; it must have spoiled me.

Sedum.   So dependable.

Garlic chives.

Dahlia.


Purple Aster.   I have two purple asters.  The other one is below.

Mums and double purple asters.

 Last of the tall phlox.

Now, the collages.  Lantana.

Geraniums.

Petunias and million bells.

We bought pansies, hoping to overwinter them.
In our community garden, zinnias are still thriving, but not for long.
Last of the sunflowers.
Moving to my shade garden, shaggy asters, purchased from a wildflower nursery near Ithaca, New York.

Purple turtle head, purchased in 2011 at a farmers market in Asheville, North Carolina.


Finally, heuchera.  Variety "unknown".  This heuchera doesn't have fancy leaves but it is so vigorous.

There's more, but I felt I needed to stop.

Joining up with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for her every 15th of the month Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Why not travel to her blog and see what other gardeners have posted this September?

Keep on gardening!