Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Strawberry Topped Angel Food Cake #WordlessWednesday

Our local strawberry season is winding up where I live in New York State.  I wouldn't be surprised if our heat wave (97F today, 36C) hastens that.  I can't complain - that privilege is reserved for those in our Pacific Northwest. They've been struggling with temperatures upwards of 117F (47C) recently.

So today, I wanted to feature something cool and refreshing.

Because I'm a Weight Watchers lifetime member, I try to stay away from fattening desserts.  This one is so simple and you can modify it however you want.

This is all you need:  slices of angel food cake (I made mine using a cake mix, right before the heat hit), sliced strawberries, and some whipped cream  (I use aerosol light whipped cream.). So simple, and no cooking needed.  Of course, you can use shortcake if you want. 

Take the slice of angel food cake. Heap sliced strawberries on it. (I don't sweeten them in any way).  Top with aerosol (or homemade) whipped cream.

If you want an easy Canada Day (tomorrow) dessert, I could easily see a drizzle of maple syrup on this.  If you want something for the United States' Independence Day (July 4) one could add a simple blueberry sauce, which we use for breakfast on the weekend: frozen blueberries, a little liquid, cooked briefly with some real maple syrup.  It's so good, and you could drizzle it over the cake and strawberries before you add the whipped cream. 


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Friending Co-Workers on Facebook Dilemma Again

This is a reworking of a post from 2018, because it's become relevant once more.

Why am I feeling so out-of-the-loop again?

It's a strange thing.  I have always been introverted, although I do enjoy the company of a select few people.  I've been happy with that.  I admit, for the most part, I enjoy interacting with people on social media.  A lot of my introvert nature melts away online.  But just try to call me (one reader did, many years ago) and you will see a woman in her 60's in panic mode. (No, she wasn't stalking me - rather, I had posed a health question, and she was just trying to be helpful.   But I wasn't ready for it.  Fortunately, I wasn't home, my answering machine picked it up, and I never did call her back).

 But about that out of the loop feeling: I guess I've recovered enough from the pandemic to feel it again.

A photo is what started it off back in 2018.

People at work were talking about a photo a co worker had taken.  It was quite a photo (dare I say "epic"?), and he had posted it on Facebook.  That's where my co workers saw it.  Lots of co workers saw it.  Turns out that there is a whole world of my co workers interacting on Facebook with each other in their personal time.  I'll mention here that we are not permitted access to Facebook (or any social media other than LinkedIn) on our work computers, so this is all on our own time.

I've maintained a policy of not friending co workers on Facebook.  OK, I have one co worker friend on Facebook, but we've been friends outside of work for years.  I've heard of bad stuff happening when you friend co-workers on social media.  It happened at my spouse's job while he was still working (not him personally, because he isn't even active on Facebook) where some co workers/Facebook friends ended up in a fight about something work related that got back to management, and someone ended up getting fired. 

But back to that photo.  For the first time in a long time, I felt out of the loop, like I was missing out on something. I actually felt lonely, especially after someone took pity on me, whipped out their phone, opened Facebook and showed me the photo.

So that's how I found out just how many people at work were interacting with each other on Facebook.

I'm not native to this area, and it could be these people went to high school with each other, or had each other as neighbors, or are even related to each other (and we do have siblings and in laws and even parents/grown children working for my company).  But maybe there is no outside work connection outside of Facebook.  I have no idea.

Now, some three years after I blogged about this dilemma, I'm thinking about it again, because of a chance remark a co-worker made at a recent weekly departmental meeting.  Here it was again: people "friends" online and I'm not part of it.

I haven't even seen most of my co workers (except for a couple of chance encounters on a local walking trail and a couple of drive through events) since March 19, 2020. Many of us are still working from home.  Web cams aren't the same.

That work from home thing is going to change soon (and has changed already for many), but other things have changed in the meantime.

Me and my work status, for one.

I retired last year but went right back to work. I retired during the COVID lockdown, and I craved both something worthwhile to do and continued contact with my co workers.  Working part time was a good solution.  I've never regretted signing up for it.

I don't know how much longer I will continue to delay travel to places I want to go, but I will.

But I know I will be "there" one day.  I also know (or hope) I won't work forever.

Then what?  Will Facebook help me stay in touch with people I worked with for years?  I've seen (all too well) what happens when you retire. You lose touch.  On the other hand, sometimes, via social media, you find out more about people you thought you knew than you ever want to know.  That seems to be more and more true nowadays.

So: on the day I retire for good, what will I do?  Will I head for Facebook? Or will I try to keep in touch the old fashioned way?

I wonder.

Has this ever been an issue for you?

Monday, June 28, 2021

More of My Favorite Decade #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday, and again, 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, now settled in her 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. Today it's time to thank Xmas Dolly for setting our themes for June.

Xmas Dolly has chosen as her theme "You Pick".

Last week, when I did a 1980's playlist, I had a number of leftover tunes.  They will form part of today's post, so let's get going!

From 1981, Kim Carnes and "Bette Davis Eyes".

From 1984, the Cars, and "Drive". 

Also, from 1984, "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner.

For my last two songs, I am going to reach back to 1979.  Well, 1979 is nearly in the 80's, right?

While we are in a mellow mood, I am going to include it.  Christopher Cross and "Sailing".

Finally, also from 1979, Supertramp and "Goodbye Stranger". (Not mellow, but we needed to wake up and dance.)  How I love the ending of this song.  It's a good way to end today's post, too. 

See you in July, same time, same place!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Time Passages

 I write some of my best blog posts in that hazy, intermediate time after I wake up (especially at 4:30 am) and I'm still kind of half asleep.

Those posts are always so good, but when I finally fall back asleep (if I do), i can never quite grab onto those glowing, golden words that expressed whatever it was so well.

I can't recapture it.

So let me start off this way.

This morning, soon after I turned on the TV set, I was greeted by a song from my childhood.  To my amazement, I remembered almost all of the words of the shortened version used by the commercial.

Here it is, from the original Broadway cast album.  It's a song called "I Won't Grow Up."

Incidentally, I've never read the original Peter Pan story, the story of a boy who never grows up, but I understand it has a somewhat dark origin.  I'm only discussing the Broadway song here.

Because, of course, we all grow up, and none of us can know what lies ahead.  But, for too many of us, as we enter adulthood and start feeling the pressures of career, parenthood, and possibly medical conditions, those childhood dreams are left behind, lost in a fog of years that pass by increasingly fast.

Because of the recent deaths of several people - one, a Facebook friend who died a couple of days ago from COVID-19, one a businessman and musician who died just seven weeks after a terrible medical diagnosis, and one, a woman I met just twice, the first time in 2018 (I'm planning to blog more about them in the near future) who died from cancer last year but I just found out yesterday, I hear my own personal clock ticking.

I just don't know how to go forward right now.

At least right now I'm privileged to have time to think about it.  I'm only working part time now.  I am in relatively good health, although I do have conditions that drag me down from time to time.

While I'm in a moment of reflection, I'd like to share a daylily photo with you (taken June 25 in my yard).  Plants have so much to teach us.  Patience.  Not giving up.  And, that nothing is forever, but whatever we have is what we are given to learn from.  Daylily blooms only last a day, but the plant puts out blossoms for about a month.  And, it withstands many types of soil and climate.  It will even bloom in less than optimal conditions.  Once the blooming season is over, it comes back each year.

So, I will keep on keeping on and try to make the most of every minute allotted me. (No, I'm not sick. Just being a little realistic right now.)

Stay cool, my readers.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Fifth Anniversary of Our Regional Farmers Market

It's hard to believe that our regional farmers market (indoors, year round on Saturdays) has been open for five years.  Today, the fifth anniversary was celebrated.

Here's how Nature helped in the celebration.  You'll note this vendor is outdoors, and some vendors do move outdoors once the weather settles.

 Herbs, and something called Wasabi Arugula.  I can imagine.

Garlic scapes, a bonus given to those who grow garlic bulbs.  If not harvested, these become the flowers and seed pods of the garlic plant.  They have a mild flavor but have to be harvested before they get tough.

Fennel.  We didn't buy it today but it can make a wonderful anise-flavored soup.

Asparagus (finishing up for the year), and up in price from last year, like so much.

Strawberries really up from last year.  Our local crop is finishing up.  Strawberries can be a great addition to Canada Day cakes (please note, Canadian readers, that you should not make my mistakes this coming July 1.)

We missed the band that was supposed to play - it wasn't supposed to start until an hour after the market opened, and by then, the market would be so crowded, parking would be hard to find.  It's a long story, but this market ended up being built in a different location than originally planned, and parking is a bit tight.

Happy birthday to our farmers market, and, in case I forget, Happy Canada Day July 1 to my Canadian readers!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Solstice Clouds #SkywatchFriday

It's the first SkywatchFriday of the summer of 2021.  I had wanted to feature a solstice sunset but Nature had other plans.

These photos were taken along the Susquehanna River in the Southern Tier of New York on the afternoon of this year's summer solstice.  These were some of the final hours of spring.

A peaceful day along the river.

Hmmm. Clouds puffing up.

Goodbye, spring.

Later that day, storms and a cold front came, breaking a heat spell and plunging us back into April weather (brrrr) for the early part of this past week. Now, summer is returning and we'll be back in the 90's by the weekend.  Fortunately, we aren't getting the heat the West is getting.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers at #SkywatchFriday. Why not visit some of the other sky watching bloggers and enjoy what they have to offer?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Catalpa 2021

I seem to blog about these beautiful native trees year after year.  My next door neighbor has one, but this year, I am going to show you a small grove of these trees.  I saw these during an exercise walk Sunday before last on an extension of the Vestal Rail Trail.

They are finishing up their bloom now - and this year, it was one of the best blooms I've ever seen, almost covering the trees.


Here's a closeup of their flowers (from my neighbor's tree).

They can grow as high as 40 to 60 feet (up to 18m) with showy white flowers.  

Here's a grove of them. 

And some more facts.

After the flowers fall, pods form - however, although they look like beans they are not edible.

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food, as I do each second and fourth Thursday of the month, for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hummingbird at Feeder #WordlessWednesday

 It's so hard to capture a hummingbird's picture with an iPhone SE first edition, but when I saw "our" hummer feeding on our backyard fuschia basket, I aimed the phone in advance, hoping the hummer would also sip at our feeder.

She did.

I finally got a good picture of her!  I didn't want to crop the pictures any more than this, so I hope you can see her clearly in the upper part of the photo, just right of center.  These pictures won't win me any awards, but I was so happy at how they came out.

I love how she feeds.  Takes sips, rises up, comes back down, takes more sips.  Right after this photo was taken, she headed for one more flower (not in picture) and then zipped out of our yard.

Joining Sandee of Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

For When It's Time

Important note before I begin:  If you subscribed to my blog by email, you will need to resubscribe (using the box at the upper right corner of my right hand column.  My present service is going away in early July.  I apologize for any inconvenience. 

I read about this commercial in a New York Times magazine a week or so ago, and decided to check it out yesterday.

It's a gum commercial, and it's titled "For When It's Time".  It's a bit tricky to film pandemic-themed commercials, but Extra, I think, hit it just right.  There's so much joy (maybe a bit too much joy, if you stay to the end) but I got a big kick out of it.  Yes, they are selling gum, so there are some packs of gum here and there, but I think many of us can identify with this.  After all, if you are running into the street to make out with total strangers, your breath needs to be minty fresh.

Presenting:  For When It's Time. It's set to Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back Now."

In a sign of the times, when this commercial was made, all COVID protocols were observed, and only members of the same households kissed.

As lighthearted as this is, I would be remiss if I don't think of the countries (India, South Africa, and many others) where COVID has remained a serious issue.  I can only hope that one day soon, COVID can be under control everywhere, so we all can have a Season of Joy, each in our own way.

Monday, June 21, 2021

My Favorite Decade #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and we all know what time it is, right?  It's time for MUSIC!  But before we begin I have an announcement for any of you who subscribe to my blog by email.  (Xmas Dolly, I was able to import your address and you should be good.)  But everyone else:  If you subscribed to my blog by email, you will need to resubscribe (using the box at the upper right corner of my right hand column.  My present service is going away in early July.  I apologize for any inconvenience. And now....

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, now settled in her 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 once again welcome none other than Xmas Dolly, who will be setting the themes for the month of June.

Xmas Dolly has chosen as her theme "Build a playlist of your favorite songs from the 80's or 90's".

That "or" is an important one for me today, since, last week, I featured songs from the 1990's. My choice is clear. 

I love the 80's so much I don't know where to start.  Should I exclude songs I've had on the blog before?  Should I pick some of my favorites from when the 80's were happening, or the ones I like the most now?  How about:  All of the Above, in No Particular Order?

Enough talk.  Let's start with 1981 and "The Breakup Song" by the Greg Kihn Band.

This was one of my favorites during the 1980's while we were still in the 80's (along with the next song):  1982's Men Without Hats by the Canadian group Safety Dance.

From 1983 - Jackson Browne's Lawyers in Love.  I just love this song, even though it gets a tiny bit dated towards the end.

When this song, I had no idea who Murray Head was (although I had heard him sing, I never made the connection) or the fact that this song was featured in a Broadway play called "Chess". The album was a lot more successful than the play (in the United States, anyway).   So, from 1984, Murray Head and "One Night in Bangkok".

1985?  So many favorites songs to choose from. 

From 1985, a-ha and "Take on Me" with (just my opinion) one of the best music videos I've seen.

I should stop at 1986 because who can outdo this song?  Queen and "Who Wants to Live Forever". I came to this song after the 1980's were over; I am not sure why I didn't know about it when it came out.

Let's end with 1987 and Depache Mode's Strangelove.

No, wait.  I can't end my favorite decade just yet, so here's a bonus song for you if you have some time to linger.  This is another "favorite while the 80's were happening" songs.  1982's A Flock of Seagulls and "I Ran (So Far Away)".  This brings me back to when the local station near where I lived at the time (KISR, in Ft. Smith, Arkansas) used to have "album 6 packs" where they would play six complete albums in a row, starting midnight Saturday.  If we wanted to record one (on a cassette tape), we would set our alarm and try to estimate the starting time.  The album this came on was one of those we recorded.

Fun times.

That, dear readers, is a wrap.

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

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day 2021

Important note before I begin:  If you subscribed to my blog by email, you will need to resubscribe (using the box at the upper right corner of my right hand column).  My present service is going away in early July.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Today, in the United States, it is Father's Day.   This is a post I sometimes repeat on Father's Day, with some annual edits.

It is July of 1914.  The world is on the brink of World War I, going through a series of crises, but no one knows how close to war the world is yet.  My father is too young to know.  He certainly doesn't know that the life expectancy for a male born in 1914 is only 52 years.  Or that the leading causes of death in 1914 included tuberculosis, influenza, and diarrhea.  Or that his one daughter would use something called the "Internet" one day to blog, and to pay tribute to him.

He would have no idea what a blog was.  Or a cell phone.  Or a computer.  They were way in the future.

When he was a young child, he would have been too young to know that a pandemic would hit, taking some 675,000. American lives, and more than 50 million lives world wide.

My father was born and grew up in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Brownsville.  My grandfather owned a candy store, which he ran with the help of his wife, my grandmother, and their six children (including him).  A seventh child died weeks after birth.

In the 1930's, my father's mother died, from complications of high blood pressure, an illness so easily treated today.  My father ended up quitting high school after two years.

He doesn't have too much of an Internet presence, my father, but there are a couple of things I can find.  Several years ago, I looked at his record in the 1940 census, when he was still living at home with his father and several siblings.  1942, his enlistment record in the United States Army, where his term of enlistment was for the duration of World War II "plus six months", show him as "single with dependents". I suspect one of the dependents was his younger brother, the only sibling still alive today.  He and two of his sisters helped to raise my uncle after my grandmother died.

The military experience shaped my father's life.  For the first time, he was out of Brooklyn. He saw the South.  He saw India.  He would sometimes tell me stories about his time in India as bedtime stories.

My father didn't make it to the end of the war.  He suffered a head injury and was flown back to the States.  He was given an honorable discharge but suffered the aftereffects of that injury for the rest of his life. 

Now, his one child is in her late 60's, and our country is in its second year of a pandemic.  We recently passed 600,000. dead.  

When I was 12, my mother died, and my father raised me to adulthood as a single father in their Bronx apartment in a city housing project.

When his last sister died, in the mid 2000's, the funeral procession didn't go directly to the cemetery.  It wound through Brooklyn, going through some neighborhoods before it got on the highway. I wondered where we were going and why.  It didn't occur to me at the time that we were going near to where where my aunt, my father, and their siblings, had grown up.  It was one final tribute.  My father had died almost twenty years before.  I found out about why the path to the cemetery after the funeral.

I owe a lot to my father and the simple, everyday lessons he taught me.  He did what he could the best he knew how. He ended his life in Brooklyn, in the same facility where his own father spent his last days.

My love of history, which love I share with my late father, got me to thinking how much our world has changed in the many years since my father was born.

But also, how much the world has stayed the same.

Happy Father's Day, wherever you are, Dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Just a Little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes

Today is June 19, 2021.

For many years, I knew June 19 as the birthday of an almost lifelong friend (now, sadly, no longer with us).

As an adult, I also learned that June 19 had another meaning and another name:  Juneteenth.  Here is a brief history of Juneteenth and its meaning.

I never learned about it in school.  Surprising, perhaps, that my school system in New York City, so highly regarded in the 1950's and 1960's, didn't teach me about Juneteenth in the midst of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement.  But they never taught me about the Tulsa Race Riots, either, or so many other occurrences that Black people suffered through in their just over 400 years in our country.

Now, as of three days ago, Juneteenth, June 19, is a Federal holiday.  Its official name is not Juneteenth, but I suspect Juneteenth is going to be what people call it.

But today isn't just the story of Juneteenth, but it is also the story of 94 year Opal Lee, who watched her home destroyed, her parents' belongings burned, on June 19, 1939.  Her parent's crime?  Moving to a white neighborhood of Ft. Worth, Texas.  That lasted until a mob of some 500 whites came to teach them otherwise.

Maybe it worked in the short term, but it also spurred Opal Lee into a lifetime of teaching and activism. Here is some of her story.

In 2016, she decided to walk (at the age of 89) from Ft. Worth, Texas to Washington, DC to deliver a petition to make Juneteenth a Federal holiday.  She called herself a "little old lady in tennis shoes getting into everyone's business". (To my foreign readers, it's a long way from Ft. Worth to D.C.)

Enter the pandemic, which has uncovered so much about ourselves and our nation.  

Last year, when Juneteenth came to national prominence after the murder of George Floyd, a bill making it a  Federal holiday failed in the Senate by one vote.  This year, it passed both houses and was signed into law on Thursday.

Even the world took note.

At 94, Opal Lee doesn't seem to have slowed down much.  But at least today, June 19, 2021, she can pause (for today) to celebrate a victory, because one person, one woman, can make a difference.

I think my late friend, who was a retired teacher, would be happy reading this story.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Old New Path #SkywatchFriday

We sometimes walk in Otsiningo Park, a county park where we live in New York State.  Several years ago, they extended one of their walking paths outside the park and onto one side of the Chenango River.

It had been a couple of years since we last walked on that path. Sunday, we decided to walk on it once again.  So, in a way, the path is old, but new again (for us).

I have, somewhere on my phone, pictures I took when the path first opened.  Things have grown a little since.


Here's a photo highlighting the clouds and the reflection on the river.  I should note the Chenango is shallow and you can wade across it many years. This was actually the last picture I took before we had to turn around - the trail dead ends here.  For now.  I think there are plans to extend it eventually.

A number of overhead highway bridges criss-cross, making for some interestsing reflection views.

One of the bridges helps to frame this view.

River reflections and a view of our hills in the distance.

For our final picture, a curved view.  

Joining up with Yogi and other sky watching bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Following by Email

I need your help.

As anyone who blogs on the Blogger platform probably knows by now, the current service that notifies people who have subscribed to a blog is going away sometime in July.

I know it, and I haven't done a thing.

Now that  I know at least two bloggers who have switched to a new service, it's time for me to ask my regular readers, do any of you follow me by email?

The reason why I'm asking is because of this post.  I've read this blog for a number of years and I pay attention to what she says.  So, now I don't know what to do as far as trying to get a list of subscribers together so I can switch my fans over to, a service that it appears a number of Blogger blogs intend to use going forward for those who want to subscribe by email to posts.

I don't want to spend hours on this process - I have a lot of things I like to do, or need to do (including work for my employer) and truthfully, at the end of the day, I sometimes don't have much to give to the blogging world (as much as I enjoy this hobby) past writing my daily blog post and reading a number of blogs I enjoy.  

So, I don't know quite how to begin.  If I download a list, I wonder what I am going to find, and if I find a lot of spam type accounts, I certainly don't want to spend time switching bots or worse over to  So, any advise you can give me is also appreciated!

So, what can I give you in return?  Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 70th wedding anniversary if they were both still alive (neither are) and I want to honor them with a virtual bouquet.

I know my Mom loved lilacs and geraniums.  I suspect she also loved petunias, but they couldn't be grown on a New York City apartment windowsill too easily.  So, petunias it is.
Petunias in golden hour light

I don't have their wedding album (long story).  I wish I did.  

These aren't petunias, but rather, (mostly) million bells.

These virtual flowers will have to suffice.

I look forward to any advice I receive.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Heirloom Rose #WordlessWednesday

This pink wild rose may (or may not) be an heirloom called Ballerina.

It appeared on my property line, among lilacs that came with our property, perhaps eight or nine years ago.  It was cut back by our neighbor and we don't get much from it - plus, it's in a lot of shade nowadays from the lilacs.

My neighbor's side is sunnier and I found one nice cluster on his side. (This is a rental now, and the owner never minded if I took lilac flower cuttings. So, I crossed onto his side of the border just long enough to take this quick picture).

Although it doesn't look as good from my side, I also realize I should give it a bit more love.

Joining up with Sandee and her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2021

As always, spring has sped by here in my zone 5b New York State garden.  It's the time of the year when everything seems so fresh and new.  I have so much to show you, and so little time.

I decided to flower garden a little differently this year.  We recently got into birding, and one of our goals was to attract hummingbirds to the garden.  We already had some columbine, but, in our back yard, that was it.  So we planted some other flowers hummers like.

This potted cuphea is the biggest success.  One of the three varieties in this pot is called "Hummingbird's Lunch" and, while the one female hummer who visits our yard (I'm assuming it's the same bird, but maybe not) seems to enjoy it mostly for breakfast and dinner, it's still a winner.  Nope, no pictures.  She's too fast for my reflexes and iPhone SE first edition.

We've planted three fuschias in hanging baskets.  Up to now I never had success with fuschias but I think I figured out the problem. So along with the three (only two are blooming today), I also have a monkeyflower (Mimulus), bottom left.

We finally upped our hummingbird game with two new columbines.  The columbines are just finishing up so I cheated and took these pictures a couple of days ago.  The ones that look like powderpuffs are not favored by the hummer, but they sure are pretty.

Here are some more favorites spread out most in our front yard.  First, lantana with a pink penta.  

Next, a red penta drowning in banana mint.  Don't ask; I plead temporary insanity.

Celosia and scented geranium. 

Sage.  A thyme plant (not pictured) is blooming right next to it.

Red Hot Poker, a new plant for me this year.

Catmint (in a raised bed), still another new plant for me.  

There are also my old favorites.  For example, pansies.

Petunias and million bells.

Left to right, sunpatiens and Bravo (blight resistant) impatiens.
One more for today.  I have so many more, it would be overwhelming. Here, orange geranium.

Still wanting to see more flowers?  Surf on over to Carol's May Dreams Gardens, who hosts this 15th of the Month linky and  visit some other experience to see morr flowers in bloom today.  Thank you, Carol, for making today possible once again.

Have a wonderful day, my dear readers.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Finally Liking the 1990's #MusicMovesMe.

It's Monday, and it's time to rock!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only , please!)   First, there is XmasDolly, now settled in her 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 none other than Xmas Dolly, who will be setting the themes for the month of June.

Xmas Dolly has chosen as her theme "You Pick".

I'm picking the 1990's today, but before I do, let's go back.  Way back.

But before I do, I also want to honor today, which is Flag Day in the United States, with a song dating from 1906.  The song was written by George M. Cohan, and here, it is sung by a popular singer of the 1906 era, Billy Murray. George M. Cohan, 1878-1942, was an author, lyricist, singer, dancer, and so much more.  I learned the song in summer camp, back in the early 1960's.

And now, forward to the 1990's.

I'm picking some songs that have appealed to me lately.  When I thought about what they had in common, it's this:  they are from the 1990's.

It's a decade that I've always said "I really don't like its music." about.

But, looking at lists of songs that charted that decade, I decided I shouldn't be saying that anymore.  Between grunge, rock, and some party type rap songs, there were definitely some enjoyable songs of various musical styles.  I hope you like at least one.

 From 1991, "Mysterious Ways" by U2 is one of my favorite songs of theirs.  I love the beat and the bass.  Crank it up! 

From 1994, Alice in Chains "No Excuses".

From 1990, Ice Ice Baby, rapped by Vanilla Ice.  This Grammy-nominated song (it didn't win) has an interesting history, which you can read here. 

The song that won the Grammy that year?  Another favorite, M C Hammer and "U Can't Touch This".

 I'll close out with one more favorite, this time from 1997:  The Foo Fighters and "Everlong."

And that's a wrap!

Join me again next Monday, same time, same place, and all that.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Primary Voting 2021

I think my first voting post was in 2010, and I've blogged about it several times since.

For example, the elections of 2020, which I think few of us will ever forget. 

My personal pandemic voting experience.

The first time women voted in the county where I've lived for years. 

When I moved back to New York State from Arkansas in the 1980's, we were still using mechanical voting machines.  As the saying goes, "how times have changed".

Yesterday, early voting for the New York primary elections started.  New York State didn't even have early voting until 2019.  I didn't expect this election to be well attended - all we were voting for was a family court judge - still important, and we voted both yesterday and in the recent school board election.

As opposed to the election of 2020, where we (and many, many others) waited a long time on line, the early voting center was empty.  Our county has two this year, both in highly populated areas. 

None of the poll workers were masked when we walked in.  Only one put on a mask as we (we still mask when indoors although both spouse and I are full vaccinated) approached.  She was elderly, another change from last year, where elderly poll workers stayed home and many young people took their place.

This year, New York State sent out cards to our house that were scanned by the poll worker.  This is a first.  Based on that, and our identifying ourselves, a ballot was printed out for our district.

We cast our votes quickly.  In New York, you take the ballot and walk to a corral where you mark your vote (in those little circles, like an old time school standardized test). You then insert the ballot into a machine and if all is in order, your vote is cast.

Simple?  Sadly, in our times, not so simple.

Tomorrow is Flag Day, the commemoration of the adoption of the United States Flag on June 14, 1777.  Our country and its people are being severely tested right now.  In which direction will we end up going?   Will we ever be able to unite and make the decisions that will preserve our democracy? 

It's up to all of us. Still being interested in the voting process is still crucial.

History is waiting to judge us.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Scent of Childhood

Today, spouse and I took a walk through a neighborhood in Binghamton, New York, admiring the late spring flowers.

At some point, I started to detect something familiar, a scent of my childhood.

Then, I saw it.  A privet hedge, starting to bloom.

I need to explain about my childhood, because it is so far removed from my life now.

I grew up in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, in a city housing project. The project was on two main business streets.  Above, an elevated train rumbled by every few minutes.

Our project's houses were oriented so that half faced the other half, with green spaces in front and back of the buildings, and in the middle, sidewalk and lawn interspersed with small play areas and benches. 

All the green spaces in the project were carefully fenced away behind chain link fences.  We children would get into trouble with the maintenance men who cared for the project if we climbed the fences and dared to play in the greenery.  So, of course, we did it as often as possible.

It was wonderful, being in the greenery.  Part of the greenery consisted of privet hedges.  When they bloomed, the bees would show up, too.  Back then, in the late 50's and early 60's, bees had not yet started to die out.  They buzzed in happiness in the hot, humid New York City June air.

The boys would catch the bees in glass jars.  That's not something we girls really got into.  Instead, we would look for ladybugs to catch.

I love it when the privet hedges bloom.

The heady scent always brings me back over 50 years in a matter of seconds.  I am a little girl once again, climbing chain link fences while we look out for the project maintenance men, so my playmates and I could have a few minutes of interaction with nature.

But now, the memory is mixed with sadness, because I know some of what happened during the COVID surge of last year.  The Bronx was hit badly.  Maintenance workers in city housing projects were hit, with a number dying.  I know none of the workers I interacted with would still be working by now, but I still wonder.   I also wonder how many of the 1400 plus residents of the project got COVID, and how many died.

I doubt I'll ever know. I can only hope things get better for those who live where I grew up.

Scent and memory. A living time machine, now mixed in with the shadow of the recent past.

Friday, June 11, 2021

June Storm Clouds Abound #SkywatchFriday

For most of this week I stayed close to home - for us and a lot of people in this country, it was a week of heat (although my readers in India and other truly hot places would laugh at what we call "heat").  But, after work, I ventured out, where the thunderstorms were starting to build.

I took these pictures June 7 and June 8.

Thunderhead building June 7. 

This storm did not hit us. 

The next day, there was another chance of thunderstorms.  Let's take a walk, shall we?

Here's where we start.

A little further along the walk.

Uh-oh.  This doesn't look good.

Walk cancelled.

This storm didn't produce much rain or thunder, but subsequent ones did, so much so that our area was under a flash flood warning at one point.  But, it was all good in the end - we got some much-needed rain.  There are cooler temperatures ahead today, maybe.

Joining Yogi and other sky loving bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Tree Lilac and Bee #ThursdayTreeLove

Walking yesterday on the West Side of downtown Binghamton, NY, I detected a lovely scent.

This is a tree that is becoming a common planting on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street in some parts of our area - the Tree Lilac (Syringa amurensis).  Unlike the French lilacs we associate with lilacs, these bloom later, and grow into small trees.  Sometimes, these trees grow to 20 feet (6 m) or more.  I love their scent.  Some of the later blooming lilacs (Korean lilacs, I think, as they are short and have purple blooms) smell terrible to me.  Not this one.

Here's the tree. Not all of the flowers were open yet.  You can see part of a car in the lower left, which gives this a little scale as to the height.

A closeup of one of the flowers.

Finally, let's look in on a bumblebee enjoying a pollen bath.

Joining today with Parul at Happiness and Food for her second and fourth Thursday tree meme, #ThursdayTreeLove.