Monday, May 31, 2021

May Birthday Selections #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and you know what day it is, right?

Yes, it's Memorial Day in the United States (see my post from this past weekend) but now it is 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!)   First, there is XmasDolly, who has a brand new blogging home. Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. Each month we have a guest conductor. This month we welcome, once more, John from The Sound of One Hand Typing.  Thank you one last time for the great themes you gave us this past May, John.

Today, John's theme is "You Pick".  

So, shall we get to the music I'm picking for today?  My first picks are late May birthdays.

On May 26, Stevie Nicks celebrated her 73rd birthday and I will celebrate with her hit "Edge of Seventeen".

May 28th marked two music birthdays.  A belated happy 76th birthday to musician John Fogerty.  We celebrate with one of my favorite songs of his:  "Centerfield".

The other birthday person from May 28th was Gladys Knight, who turned 77. Here is a hit from Gladys Knight and the Pips: "Midnight Train to Georgia".

This next song has been an earworm for me this past couple of weeks, and I hope this will finally let the worm escape from my ear (not literally, of course).  From 1982, let's listen to the Motels and  "Only the Lonely."

This song has also been on my mind recently - a 1969 hit for Diana Ross and the Supremes "Some Day We'll Be Together". 

I end today with a song out of my normal posting zone:   Seether and their 2014 song "Words as Weapons".  They sure are.

And that's a wrap!

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

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The 107 Year Old Witness

I can't imagine a 107 year old woman testifying before Congress, yet it happened recently.

History is forgotten for many reasons. May 31, 1921 and the days after marked an event that many of us in the United States didn't even know about until recent years, because the horrific event was never taught in our history classes.

It wasn't taught to me as a schoolchild, even though I grew up during the Civil Rights era.

But it is known now, as this news feature on CBS yesterday morning describes.

Known as the Greenwood Massacre, or the Tulsa Race Massacre, a flourishing black area of Tulsa, Oklahoma called Greenwood, or "Black Wall Street" for its concentration of black-owned prospering businesses, was destroyed by angry white mobs storming through the streets.  There were even rioters flying planes overhead, dropping kerosene bombs on those trying to flee.  The 100th anniversary is upon us.

It was possibly the worst racial incident in United States history.  The final death toll is still in dispute but it is possible it might be upwards of 300 innocent victims plus over 1,000 houses destroyed.

And even then, the survivors weren't safe, as they were rounded up, arrested, and held in internment camps for weeks.

As with other events of this type, the massacre was covered up.  But a seven year old girl witnessed the horrors of this event, and still lives with the trauma every day as sunset approaches.

I knew a 107 year old woman.  I blogged about her several times.  She passed away a couple of months after turning 107.  Until her last couple of years, she had a sharp memory.   She was a living link to history.

100 years is a long time for a woman to wait to get her chance to bear public witness to history. But, in this era of increasing hate and violence, as we struggle with change caused by the pandemic, it is necessary for us to listen and learn. This wasn't the only "race massacre" in our history, either, just possibly the worst.

Even as our country has so much to be proud of in our history, we must also consider times that were far from our proudest moments.  There's a saying that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

Tulsa is finally confronting its past, and we can only hope some healing will come from this, and not more violence. 

100 years is a long time.


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Memorial Day Minus One 2021

This post, first written in 2012 and updated periodically, has become a tradition on my blog.  This year, there is increased meaning in the Memorial Day holiday, as the world still struggles with COVID-19 and increased violence in several parts of the world.

Memorial Day is the holiday where we honor our war dead.  This year, it isn't just the war dead.  As of yesterday, the U.S. veteran death toll in VA facilities, per AARP, is around 12, 100.  I wonder how many World War II vets have met their end since COVID-19 hit our shores in our non VA facilities, nursing homes, and other places.
Memorial Day in the United States, sadly, had also evolved into a major shopping event for many people.  It missed the element of what it originally stood for.  But now, people want to get out there so badly, as they remember how things were just months ago.  But let's not forget what Memorial Day, May 30, is all about.

There are several versions of the origin of Memorial Day.  Some of the stories depend on if you were from the Federal side, or the Confederate side, of the United States Civil War (1861-1865.).  What the stories have in common is that Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, originated in a desire to honor the sacrifice of those who died in our Civil War.  The Library of Congress lists several stories.  Here are what are perhaps the two main origin stories:

Waterloo, New York, considers itself the birthplace of Memorial Day, and has a federally recognized Memorial Day museum.  According to this story, Henry Wells, a local druggist, suggested a holiday in the fall of 1865 to honor the sacrifice of Civil War dead.  The idea gained traction, and the first Memorial Day was held on May 5, 1866.  This year, their ceremonies have been cancelled, for the second year.  Let's hope for next year.

But there are other stories. One takes place in Mississippi, a state late a member of the Confederate States of America.  As that story goes, many of the wounded of the bloody battle of Shiloh (1862) were taken to Columbus, Mississippi.  Columbus ended up with its Friendship Cemetery full of Civil War dead of both sides.  Eventually, the Federal dead were relocated to other area cemeteries.

According to Columbus, the first Memorial Day was held on April 5, 1866, as the women of Columbus decorated the graves of both Federal and Confederate soldiers buried in Columbus.

Some states of the former Confederacy also have separate holidays, called Confederate Memorial Day, or Confederate Heroes Day.

Regardless of what the "true story" of Memorial Day is, I want to leave you with this though:
Each loss of life from COVID-19  diminishes each of us.  I will think of those veterans of wars, especially World War II, who gave up their late teenaged and early adult years to fight for our freedoms.   In 2020, many died alone, unable to have family there to ease their last moments.

Tomorrow, a different type of memorial.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Morning after The Eclipse #SkywatchFriday

I never got to see the total eclipse of the moon a couple of days ago, because I live in the Northeast United States, the moon was setting, and I wasn't in a good area to view, anywhere. 

But that morning, I woke up perhaps an hour after sunrise and this is the sight that awaited me.

I moved a few feet and got a slightly better view.

Later that day, the sky looked like this.

Finally, this was the sky yesterday afternoon, with a bonus shot of another pink horse chestnut.  I blogged about horse chestnut trees yesterday, if you are interested.

 Joining up with Yogi and other sky loving bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pretty in White and Pink #ThursdayTreeLove

Our late spring flowering trees are now dropping their blooms - their time is over.  It makes me sad in a way - true spring is not that long where I live in New York State.  It seems like it is over in a snap of the fingers.

For the next few days, the weather will be cooling down here after highs near 90 F (32C) and maybe spring will slow down just a little.

Unlike some spring trees, the horse chestnuts don't flower until their leaves are grown out.  Flowers can be either whitish or pink.  

This is one of the white varieties - these can be quite majestic and grow up to 100 feet (30.5 meters) tall.

This is a pink tree I found today on an exercise walk, and there is a story related to that tree that is worth another post.

The pink flowered varieties aren't that common around here. The one large specimen I know of is in the middle of a roundabout (aka traffic circle) and no way I'm going to try to take a picture of that tree.

In the fall, the horse chestnut tree produces inedible nuts that children love to play games with.  One game, in particular, conkers, stretches back hundreds of years.  There's an entire tradition in Great Britain built around preparing and playing with your horse chestnut nut.   My spouse played a variation of this game growing up near New York City.

What a lot of history rolled into one tree.

But, what are horse chestnuts, exactly?

They are not native to our country, but rather, to the Balkins.  They were introduced into Great Britain in the 1600's.

One thing they are not is edible - in fact, the entire plant, including its nuts (in Europe, they are called "conkers") are mildly poisonous.  

The nuts are edible for horses (and deer); perhaps that is the origin of the name. Their scientific name is Aesculus (with about 15 species - I don't know which one I took a picture of but I suspect it is hippocastanum).  The trees have an interesting history.

As for conkers, my spouse, growing up near New York City, would play that game.  It was a favorite game at one time in Great Britain.

I wonder if it enjoyed a resurgence last year, and, if so, if it will keep its popularity as our isolation ends.

As the saying goes, only time will tell.  

Normally, I would link up with Parul of Happiness and Food at her #ThursdayTreeLove but COVID is still rampaging through India and I don't know if she and others will be able to join us.  If they can, I will update this page.

Please continue to think of them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Purple Parade #WordlessWednesday

I call this the Purple Parade - various flowers now blooming in my yard.

Purple iris.  They smell so good.

Purple iris and a basket with purple violas or johnny jump ups, I forget which.

Purple iris and petunias.

Purple pansies.  They look blueish but they are purple.

 Purple million bells.

I have more (can you tell I love purple) but this, after all, is a day to relax and let the pictures do the writing. 

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Manhattanhenge 2021

In May of 2019, I blogged about Manhattanhenge, the four periods of time each year (twice for the sunrise, twice for the sunset) when the sun lines up with the east-west streets of the main Manhattan (New York City) street grid.

 Who knew?  I sure didn't, in my 21 years of growing up in New York City.

I grew up in the New York City of the 1950's and 1960's.  In my school years I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, however you view it) to take yearly school field trips to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan and a play (I don't remember what the play was).  At some point I was taken to the Statue of Liberty.  My public elementary school even took our class to the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows in 1964.

One thing I never knew about, though, in all my growing years, was a phenomenon which is now called Manhattanhenge.  This celestial event was popularized by astrophysicist and educator Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Tyson, as it happens, went to the same high school as I did. (Just not at the same time!)

Tyson coined the name "Manhattanhenge" in 2002, almost 30 years after I left New York City for good.

So I never have seen Manhattanhenge.  Me, the person who delights in photographing sunrises and sunsets, has never witnessed this event.

For the sunset, the alignment it is two sunsets in late May and, again, two sunsets in mid July. One sunset of each pair is a "full Manhattanhenge" and one is a "half Manhattanhenge".  Full Manhattanhenge is May 30.  The sunrise "reverse Manhattanhenge" for 2021 has already occurred.

This year, the May event is May 29-31.  The Memorial Day weekend.

Where to stand, in case you are interested.

It also brings traffic to a standstill and crowds jostle for the best photographic angle.  Yes, I've seen those photos, too.  Of course, that didn't happen in 2020.  Perhaps the crowds will be back in 2021.  My back, though, isn't ready for it.  Still....I priced a hypothetical trip for three nights in a motel in Brooklyn we stayed at once before and, not including food, the chance to see Manhattanhenge would set us back nearly $1,000.  With my present back issues, I'm not up to traveling down there and standing for hours, either.

I don't envy those I know in New York City what they went through in 2020, but I can envy them this display.

Apparently, there are other cities with their own "henges". But New York City was my birthplace, and it's where I want to view it.

New York City here I come for Manhattanhenge.  One day.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Eurovision Song Contest #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday, and guess what?  It is time for music with the Music Moves Me bloggers!

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!)   First, there is XmasDolly, who has a brand new blogging home. Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. Each month we have a guest conductor. This month we again welcome John from The Sound of One Hand Typing.  Thank you for the great themes you gave us this past May, John!

John's theme for today is:  "Songs from the Eurovision song contest to celebrate its 65th anniversary".

When I told my spouse I was blogging today about Eurovision, he responded "What's Eurovision?"  It inspired me to write this post.

I suspect many Americans would have the same reaction, which is a shame.  My Saturday post above gave a brief introduction to the competition, which held its finals on Saturday.  I watched it on Peacock and it was interesting.  I have to admit, though, that I don't understand the voting process. I understand the 50% judges/50% public process, but why would a first place vote by the judges be called a "12"?

The winner was a punk rock group from Italy, Måneskin.  I loved their song, but I realize it wasn't representative of the majority of entries this year.  I like this musical style, though, and am posting their official music video for the contest.

The building where the contest was held was a COVID-19 emergency hospital last year - I marvel at how far we have come.

This year's contest is over, but let's see some highlights from past Eurovision contests. 

ABBA became famous through Eurovision and their 1974 win.  Here is their performance of their hit "Waterloo" at the 1974 Eurovision, which was actually the second year they competed.

Céline Dion competed in 1988 for Switzerland (you don't have to be a native of the country you compete on behalf of.)  She won with the song "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" and also rose to fame.

This song may sound familiar.  From 1976, Brotherhood of Man - Save Your Kisses for Me.

 Måns Zelmerlöw’s Heroes (representing Sweden) - the winning song of the 2015 Eurovision.

and this, better known as Volare  from 1958 - Domenico Modugno - Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)

Finally, I wanted to show you perhaps the most successful interval act of Eurovision - 1974, where Riverdance introduced themselves to the world.  (An interval act performs while the votes for the winner are tallied, and have become as well anticipated as the music acts themselves.  I somehow missed this year's interval act because I just couldn't sit through four hours of television.

Like the idea of Eurovision?  Well, next year we are going to have our own version in the States - the American Song Contest. But it isn't our entire continent, it's just the United States.  So I'm just curious - would you watch an American Song Contest?

And that's a wrap!

Join me next Monday, same time, same place, for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

A Late May Walk on the Trail

Shall we take a walk on the Vestal Rail Trail in Vestal, New York?  At this time of year, there are so many flowers to see. 

I am not the best ID person, and some of my ID's are guesses - feel free to correct me. 

Pictures taken 5-21-21:

These are honeysuckle, and I suspect, from their popularity on the trail, that both are invasive types.  There is a pink flowered one.

And a yellow flowered one.

Wild viburnum.

I "think" this may be a wild strawberry, due to the yellow center, but I've been fooled before.  Seems to me a wild strawberry would have its tiny fruit close to ready, and I have never seen what I know are strawberries in this location before.

OK, here's one.  For years I thought these were Russian olives (they were common in Kansas, where I lived years ago)just without the silvery foliage I remembered.  But one of my regular readers (thank you!) thought these were autumn olives.  I think he is right. 

Here's a closeup of leaves and flowers, taken today.

Finally, a locust tree is starting to flower.  How sweet these flowers smell!  I think this is a black locust - we couldn't see any thorns.

We've been warmer than normal but today was somewhat cloudy and a nice breeze was blowing.  

Happy Sunday to you!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The World's Largest Song Contest

Today (at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time) the finals of Eurovision will begin.

On Monday, when I join the bloggers of #MusicMovesMe, a weekly music meme, our theme for the week is "65th anniversary Eurovision".

When I told my spouse I was blogging today and Monday about Eurovision, he responded "What's Eurovision?"

 Basically, Eurovision is an annual contest which originated in the aftermath of World War II, when Europe was struggling to recover from the horrors of World War II.  The idea was for various European countries to cooperate with each other "through cross-border TV broadcasts". The contest started in 1956, based on an Italian music festival,  with seven countries participating, and has expanded into quite an undertaking.

In fact, it's now the most watched song contest in the world.  Sadly, in 2020 it was cancelled due to COVID-19.  Apparently, a number of the participants have tested positive during this year's contest, which is being held in Rotterdam. 

Last year, Netflex showed a Will Farrell movie called "Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga" about an Icelandic duo who is chosen as Iceland's entry in Eurovision.  I don't have Netflix, but I read the reviews on You Tube, many of which pointed out it did not mock the contest, or its participants.  But it did introduce a lot of pandemic Netflix listeners to Eurovision.

I've never seen Eurovision. Although I did know it existed, I'm only learning about it now, as I prepare my Monday post ahead of times. 

I had no idea that the singers Celene Dion and the group ABBA, among others got their start from Eurovision.  I was aware that Riverdance had its start as the "interval" act in 1994. (An interval act performs after the last act in the final during the tallying of the votes, and some of these acts have won their own brand of fame.)

The Forbes article I linked to above mentioned that the United States will be holding its own version of Eurovision next year, called the American Song Contest.  That should be interesting.

I'll leave you with this interval act from 2016 called Love, Love, Peace, Peace, which is a gentle satire of what it takes to succeed at Eurovision.

Have any of my readers watched Eurovision? (In the United States the finals will be streamed, starting at 3pm, on Peacock, which I don't have, either.)

Friday, May 21, 2021

May Means Skies and Robin Babies Continued #SkywatchFriday

May.  It flies by in a second.  Where I live in New York State, it can start with frosts and even snow flurries.  I say to myself "Too cold to get out there for the sunset" and "when can I plant my frost sensitive veggies and flowers?"

Broome County Library, Binghamton, NY 4-23-21

Just a month ago, Bradford Pears were blooming under clear blue skies.

But suddenly, it's summer, with temperatures approaching 90F and we are scrambling to get our veggies and flowers in.  

We took an exercise walk in Otsiningo Park Sunday and, along the Chenango River, we saw this interesting cloud formation on the right side of the photo.

This  Kwanzan cherry tree (I call them "carnation trees") is done with its blooms so I can admire its shape, which looks (to some) like a martini glass.  This was also taken Sunday. 

That sky is so blue.
I took this picture Tuesday when I got up for work.  You can barely see the last lights of sunrise. 

Yesterday, it was 88 F (31.1 C) and today it should reach 90 (32 C).  

One last series of photos, although they aren't of the sky. I've been watching a nest robins built on my patio ledge.  The robins are close to fledging. 

Here they were Wednesday.

And yesterday.  This is the closest I was able to get to date, and I saw there are four babies.

A couple of hours later, we noticed one robin baby had left the nest and was on the ground.  Hard to see - I didn't want to get close as the parents were calling to it and feeding it (normal behavior at this point of development)

The other robins were still in the nest the last time we looked.

I wish them luck as they enter a dangerous time in their lives.  I haven't checked on them yet today but I won't be surprised to find them gone.

Joining Yogi and other sky watchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Old Fashioned Thinking

No, I'm not referring to the drink, although I could have used one yesterday afternoon, just trying to help someone.

I can always use a tree peony, flower, though.  My very first flower from a plant purchased a couple of years ago.
The Last of my Tulips

Let me tell you a little story about modern life and online shopping.  But before I do, let me take a deep breath...

...because, as the saying go, it was educational.

I wasn't working yesterday, and, after my appointment with my chiropractor for my latest back issue, we decided to travel to the local (if you call 30 miles/48 km local) "Amish" store, and a nearby nursery/farm store, where I was hoping to find something.  The trip was a little hard on my back, and spouse and I were fairly exhausted by the gardening we (especially he) had done the past few days.

So, I ended up resting my back on the couch, and spouse went out the front door to do something.

Spouse came right back with a plain, open, brown paper bag he found on our front porch. Plain, as in no logo. Open, as in "not even sealed or stapled".   Inside were two brand new Fruit of the Loom bras. On the bag there was a label, with the name "Ambient", an order number, a couple of other numbers, and a customer's name - an initial and a last name.

Not mine.

The name wasn't familiar but then again, I really should know my neighbors better. (That's a story for another time.)

 I grabbed my laptop and did a Google search for the name.  I came up empty.  Then I Googled "Ambient" and found it was a delivery service for Wal Mart.

We have two Wal-Mart stores in our area.

I picked one, and called it.  After listening to the obligatory recorded greeting, which offered to tell me all about their COVID-19 policies, I finally maneuvered the phone tree to a real person and explained that I had someone else's bra delivery, although I wasn't sure which store it was from.  "I'll connect you to that department", he said.   No one ever answered, and after three beeps, I got disconnected.

So I posted on Facebook asking for advice.  Several people responded and I thank them for information they gave me. (If you, dear reader, was one of them, thank you!) One of my Facebook friends gave me a link to a Walmart chat function. But I couldn't use it without some fumbling around their site first, because all I really wanted to do was email them or call and explain my situation.  I couldn't find a phone number or way to email.  I finally found the chat button.

It started a chat with a chatbot:  the chatbot is in red.  My responses are in blue. The "Walmart bot" and "You said" came directly from the chat, which I wasn't able to do a screen capture of, but I could copy and paste it.

Choose a common issue from below or feel free to explain it in your own words.
You said
I received an order that does not belong to me. It was delivered by Ambient. I understand that is the service Walmart uses. I want the right person to get this order. The contents of the plain shopping bag are two Fruit of the Loom bras. Nothing indicates the store this belongs to.
Walmart bot said

I might be able to help you with that. Select an option below or choose something else to talk to an agent.

You said
It's something else
Walmart bot said

We will need to connect you to an associate to finish helping you with this issue. Please provide the email address for your Walmart account.

You said
I don't have a Walmart account. I got an order left on my doorstep. It is not mine.
Walmart bot said

That doesn’t look like a valid email address. Please try again.

You said
(my email address).

Walmart bot said

That email doesn’t match a Walmart account or any Walmart online orders. Please try again.


I am not repeating my response, which expressed my frustration.  For the record, I don't have a Wal Mart account and I was getting nowhere.  (No, it wasn't profane or rude).   To Walmart' credit, the bot offered to call me if I provided a phone number, which I did, and a rep called in seconds.

To summarize the few minutes of conversations, I explained about this wrong order and Ambient, and emphasized I had no idea if this was a Walmart order because there was no way whatsoever to identify the store the order came from.  He asked me for the order number, which I gave him.

Then he asked me for my name.

I replied, this wasn't my order.  Knowing my name won't help you.  I want someone to know this order went astray and I don't know who the merchant was.

Making a long story short, the rep told me he couldn't give me any information about the order (which I can understand).  He told me to "recycle" (his words) the merchandise.  

I'm hoping that the order number was a Walmart order number and that my conversation alerted their system that the order wasn't delivered properly.  Later yesterday, Walmart sent me an email asking me to rate my experience with the rep and I I did - for what he was able to do, I thought he handled it well.

Another Facebook person told me "don't try any further" and that was good advice.  I imagine when that person doesn't receive the order, he or she will take it up with the website.

As far as the "recycle" advice the Wal Mart rep gave me, still another Facebook friend gave me some advice, which was quite interesting.  The world has changed so, over these past years.

In enough ways, I haven't kept up with our changing world.  Call me an old fashioned thinker. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Robin Nesting Time #WordlessWednesday

For the second straight year, a pair of American Robins is nesting on my patio's roof ledge.

 I took this photo a couple of days ago.  There are at least three baby robins in that nest, and both parents take turns feeding the ravenous young.  You can see two beaks on the right side of the nest, as they await a parent's food delivery.

Robin in a pawpaw tree

Both robins guard that nest as well as they can.  I don't know if this is a male or female - the female is slightly lighter in color but, as a beginning birder, I really can't tell them apart.  This one was eyeing a threat.  They don't harass the cardinals, goldfinches or finches that visit our feeders (to the left of the robin) but should a squirrel dare to enter our yard - watch out! 

Here's some more info about robins and how they nest and raise their young.

This isn't from "our" nest but we saw this juvenile robin (bottom right of photo) a week or so ago on a street in Binghamton, New York.  Will it survive its leaving of the nest?  We'll never know.

Joining up with Sandee for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Age Is Only a Number

Spouse and I were walking in one of the neighborhoods of Binghamton, New York yesterday when a man walking across the street from us started to wave to us, and motioned us over.

I couldn't place him at first.

"Do you recognize me?" he asked.  "I used to work with you."

It's been almost 25 years since we talked.  I'm not the best with faces or voices but he recognized me right away.

We caught up.

I had to dig back into my memory for some of the questions he asked me.  Then, when I got home, other memories started to flow.

My son, my son who is in his early 30s now, used to head for this man's office when I took him to visit me at work, knowing that a piece of candy awaited him.  How old was my son back then?  Five?  Was my son ever that young?

My co-worker's favorite expressions was "age is only a number".  Today, one of those numbers is "7". He has no intention of retiring, but he was in an accident several months ago and it's been a hard road back. 

Life isn't always kind. In a random moment, everything changed.

That, and, of course, the pandemic.

Despite everything, my ex co-worker says he has no intention of retiring.  If anything, he said enthusiastically, he enjoys his work more than ever, as his understanding of his career field deepens.

This is not the blog post I intended to write today.  I wanted to blog about something I recently heard or read, about the pandemic having provided a kind of reset for many of us.  Each of us has decisions to make, to decide (as we shed pandemic rules) if we want to resume the life we had or embark on a different direction.

Now, I have some new inspiration.

My ex co-worker has made his decision and is working his way towards the day he can resume his career once again.  I'm still pondering my life to come.  This encounter, though, was a reminder that as much as we plan, the unexpected always strikes.  After all, how many of us were changed by 2020?

So, my ex co-worker and I, we went our separate ways, but we may meet again.   He lives on one of my regular exercise walking routes.

I hope he can age with grace.  I hope life gives him that opportunity.

Because, after all, age is only a number.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Head over Heels for Tears for Fears #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday, and 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!)   First, there is XmasDolly, who has a brand new blogging home (welcome back!)  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. Each month we have a guest conductor. This month we again welcome John from The Sound of One Hand Typing.

John's theme for today is:  "You Pick". I am picking "Tears for Fears", one of my favorite 1980's groups, and a surprise song at the end.

I've heard this song several times this past month.  Is it trying to tell me something?  Tears for Fears and their 1984 song "Mothers Talk" has a bit of a dark meaning.  This version has the full ending.

Speaking of extended versions, although I like the official video more than this one, I prefer this "extended version" of their hit "Head over Heels".  There is an even longer version but I'll save that for another time.

"Pale Shelter", from 1983 (originally recorded in 1982 and rerecorded in 1983), has beautiful lyrics.  I read that the title refers to a Henry Moore work from 1941 called "Pale Shelter Scene".

I featured "Mad World" in a 2019 blog post and, truthfully, I enjoy the covers (especially the one from the movie Donnie Darko, sung by Gary Jules) more - I think that song needed to be slowed down some. I won't repeat it today.

1989's "Sowing the Seeds of Love", though, is just right for me.  The lyrics implore us to take action against injustice and consists of a mix of musical styles.

My last Tears for Fears selection is a song called "The Working Hour".  It's not well known, but I love its first minute.

I did promise you one last song, one a little different, after this softer music.

My last song is from the 21st century, and a bit of a departure from my normal musical offerings.  I enjoy some hard rock, not that I am ever going to be a true headbanger.  You can skip this one if you don't want to lose your 80's vibe - I'll understand.

I've selected a recent earworm of mine, Stone Sour and Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero. (Warning, this is NSFW).

I have to admit, "Gone Sovereign" makes me tap my right leg so fast it helps my sciatica.  I don't think Stone Sour had that in mind when they made this song, though.  I've chosen a lyric video because...well, when I am in certain moods these songs really call to me.

That's a wrap, folks!  Join me again next week, same time, same place, for more Music Moves Me!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Planting Time at the Community Garden

We have declared that we are no longer in danger of frost.

I'm late today because spouse and I (especially spouse) spent part of the day planting, with a rest break (or two) for my back.  I'm going to the chiropractor tomorrow so I hope to get some relief and an idea of what his treatment plan is going to be. (Yes, I broke down, and had my first appointment with a chiropractor in about eight years on Thursday. Medicare doesn't pay for that initial evaluation, so it was cash.)

First stop, after an exercise walk in the park, was our community garden.  I was fortunate enough to score a raised bed last year because they had a cancellation and I was in the right place at the right time.  It has gotten difficult for me to do work in a regular garden bed, even with my kneeler/gardening bench.  I hope I can find a way out of my most current back pain issues so I don't have to do any more whining about my back on my blog.

This year, there's been a change.  Our community garden, which is located in a public park, was targeted by thieves last year.  It's happened before, but last year was...well, it was last year.  Turns out, after at least two of the guilty were caught, that they were taking veggies - and reselling them.

A lot of people in Binghamton are food insecure, but theft from other community members is not the solution.

This year our gardening association is in the process of building a fence.  Because our garden is run by an organization (VINES), a wonderful organization) which serves low income people, urban people in food deserts and other disadvantaged people, they've tried to be gentle about "please don't steal from us". (Note, the fence isn't finished yet).

We arrived at the raised bed with some transplants and seeds.  Garlic (left) and peas (right top) are already planted.  Today, we planted some eggplant, peppers, a few onion plants, and three rows of zinnias. We also have one traditional plot, and spouse is in process of planting there.

Finished for today at our garden, we moved on to our house.  While spouse transplanted some flower seedlings, I planted two pots, one with scented geranium plants I bought in Ithaca a couple of weeks ago and the other with a Mexican herb I hope to blog about in the near future.  I also planted one more hanging basket.

Now, it looks like it's going to rain but we aren't sure.  Warmer weather is moving in, and hopefully we'll finally have true spring at last.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2021

It's the moment we've been waiting for.  May.  The day we dream of all year.  Spring.  Flowers, and, hopefully no more frosts.  Aahhhhh.

In my zone 5b Southern Tier of New York garden, the day dawned bright and full and sun, bursting with so many flowers that I can't even take pictures of all of them.  I've also created collages so you don't have to spend hours on my site. 

Breathe in, breathe out, and let's begin with some "P's".

Pansies (and violas).  Some of my favorite flowers.  Alas, by mid-summer, they will be no more.

Petunias (some not the best pictures, as I had to baby my back while taking these shots).  Not all of them, either. 
Let's visit my backyard shade garden for a minute. These are my three types of brunnera.  I love their true blue flowers but they have become a bit too enthusiastic in my shady back yard.

I can't forget what is left of my spring bulbs.  The last daffodils and tulips, and some left over grape hyacinth.

Let's return to my back yard shade garden.  My one trillium, which still has never totally had a flower bud open up.  This plant must be close to 10 years old now.  I bought it at a plant sale in Ithaca, New York.

White bleeding heart.  My pink bleeding heart somehow did not survive the winter.

Variegated Solomon's seal, putting out flower buds.

Three yellow flowers - left to right, barrenwort, something that's either yellow deadnettle or yellow archangel, and yellow corydalis (which has also naturalized in my yard, along with the brunnera).  As you can tell, I am so lazy at keeping track of what I buy and plant.  Warning:  do not let me loose in a garden center!

Let's skip to the sides of my house, where I have three varieties of lilacs.  It's become too shady, I think, only one of them did OK this year.

Back to the front, where you'll find my euphorbia. I had a variegated one but it did not survive the winter.

A lovely find, we purchased this orange flowered anise hyssop plant (Agastache) and spouse planted it for me yesterday.  I didn't even know it came in colors other than purple - I can't wait to see how this performs.  I haven't grown anise hyssop since I moved from Arkansas some 35 years ago.
Success with my Japanese Peony Tree (on the second try)!  In its second full year, it had three buds, and one was starting to open this morning.

Several of my hanging baskets - not all of them. (the one second from the bottom on the left side was my Mother's Day gift from my son - the others were all made up by me). I must be a glutton for punishment as they do require a bit of work during the summer keeping them all watered.

Last but not least - one last GBBD delight from the garden - my columbines greeted me this morning with their first flowers opening up.

Whether or not you are able to have a garden (or maybe it's late fall where you live?), I wish you a happy and safe May, wherever in the world you are.  

Thank you once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who hosts this monthly meme.