Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Whining Post

Various humorists have made a living off of whining.  I'm not a humorist, but I haven't whined in a long time.  Perhaps it is about time.

Thing 1

I'm in a health provider's office the other day, waiting to be called.  I took out my iPhone and tried to sign into my Google account so I could moderate comments on this blog.  I've had this phone for over five years, and I have signed into my Google account at least several thousand times, I'm sure.

But this time, I got this screen informing me that I'm signing into a new device (?), and that they need to verify my identity. The screen looked legit.  So they sent me a text with a verification code.  I entered it, and Google let me sign into my account.  OK, so far I'm OK with that. I understand why the need for security especially in these times.

When I checked my emails, I found an email alert on my recovery email account notifying me that someone had tried to sign into my account; was it me? All right, not irritated yet.

But then, a minute later....I got another email.  From Google, on gmail.  "AM, finish setting up your iPhone with the latest Google apps."  So now security has turned into a business opportunity for them?  Really?  Irritation sets in.

By the way, Google, if you are reading this, I also want to tell you that it's still difficult for me to comment on Blogger blogs using my Google Account. I'm noting here that Blogger (my platform) is owned by - yes, Google.

Thing 2

There's a magazine I've subscribed to for over 40 years. Suddenly now they are sending me bills for renewal via email.  If I pay online, I will automatically be enrolled in their "we'll bill you automatically each year" program (Irritant #1).  I don't like to have any subscription renew automatically.  I waited for a paper bill, which came in due course.  

All that it offers me is a one year subscription.  I normally renew for two years.  I look and look online on their site and don't see a two year option. (Irritant #2) So I give up and send in my check for a one-year renewal.  They don't offer two year subscriptions any more?

At 10:35 am yesterday I received a "thank you for your payment" email.

At 11am yesterday I received an "your account is past due; please pay immediately" email.

Of course, none of this ranks up there with being sick, losing your job, being hungry, or being diagnosed with a rare disorder that kills most people within 18 months after diagnosis.  And, people will point out that these are first world problems.


What irritates you the most?  

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Ithaca is Gorges #WordlessWednesday

Ithaca, New York, is a college town in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  Its geology is quite interesting.

You may have heard of the Ice Age.  The glaciers carved out what we know today as the Finger Lakes.  Ithaca's geology is interesting.  Glacial runoff formed steep valleys and the water formed waterfalls.  The gorges and waterfalls still exist today.  The City of Ithaca has several waterfalls in or near their borders.

This one is aptly named "Ithaca Falls". I took this picture at the beginning of August, when normally, the falls would be a lot less impressive.  But this has been a wet year - perfect for August waterfalls.

Not surprisingly, Ithaca's tourism slogan is "Ithaca is Gorges".

You can see this waterfall off a city street - there is a small parking lot and some historic ruins in the area, also, that are easy to view.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Letting Go of the 2021 Gardening Season

It's so hard to let go of something you love.

The 2021 gardening season in the Binghamton, New York area is close to closing.  I can't let go yet.

The first frost date approaches.  Last year, it was in September.  It's more commonly sometime in October.  And, if it doesn't come in October, our community garden wants us out by October 31.

We've already picked our (almost) last tomatoes.  No more tomato sandwiches. 

No more zucchini (yes, I'm one of those who love zucchini).

The zinnias are slowing down in their blooms.  We still have peppers and eggplants growing or ripening, but they will die with the frost. Ditto for our basil (sob). Ditto for the last planting of beans - we are finally getting beans, after all of our previous efforts this year being eaten by (we think) deer (despite getting repellent spray).

It's time to make sure of my supply of old sheets and towels, to cover plantings I'd like to continue a few more days.

But it is also time, now, to take cuttings.  Our weather channel has predicted lows in the low 40's for Wednesday and Thursday night.  We are in zone 5b, and have a long winter/early spring ahead of us.

I need to take cuttings of plants I want to try to root now, before the stress of cold weather makes it more difficult for them.  Some other plants, already in pots, we will try to save in their pots.

In the past, I've tried to keep as much as possible going inside the house, but it becomes harder and harder. 

Spouse will definitely take rosemary in.  It's not hardy where we live. 

We also had success with lemon grass, both rooting it in water, and transplanting it into pots, so we will probably do it again.  Vietnamese coriander rooted easily in water last year, and I didn't find it locally this year, so that's a possibility.  Last year's poinsettias? They've been outdoors all summer in a large pot.  I may try to keep them.

Last year, I rooted a Bravo impatien plant and it bloomed in my north window until I could plant it out in spring.

Coleus? I've had varying success rooting them.  I know I can keep them indoors if they do.

Still, it's not the same.

I am dragged into fall each year, kicking and screaming.  Eventually, I like fall, and may even eat an apple cider donut or two. I'll take lots of pictures of leaves turning.  But at the back of my mind is this:

Winter is coming.

And I am not ready. 

Are you?

Monday, September 27, 2021

Tangled Up in Shoes #MusicMovesMe

Does anyone know what time it is?  I do.

It's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the Music Moves Me 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-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, we welcome, one more time, our guest conductor (and all around wonderful person) for September, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy. Thank you for guiding us with your themes this month, Cathy - it's been fun.

 Cathy has picked as our theme for this week: (drum roll):  National Scarf Day - songs that express your fashion style or songs about being wrapped up in something physically or emotionally.

Hmmm.  That will take some thought.

Let me start out with a memory from my early teen years, when boots were part of a fashion statement.  I remember wearing white boots (with a miniskirt and black fishnet stockings, no less) in the mid 1960's and high boots reaching almost to the thigh.  Yes, fashion was a bit strange in those days.

Let's celebrate it with this 1964 novelty song by the stars of the Avengers TV show, Patrick McNee and Honor Blackman, called "Kinky Boots".

Do you remember blue suede shoes?  I don't, although I do remember wearing patent leather shoes and saddle shoes.  Let's try this 1958 song by Robert John called "White Bucks and Saddle Shoes". 

 One more about boots - 1966's These Boots Are Made for Walkin', from Nancy Sinatra.   I love this song.  Are you ready, boots?  Start walkin'!

I do love my blue jeans.  Neil Diamond sang "Forever in Blue Jeans". 

But one fashion statement at the beach I could never bring myself to wear was the bikini.  Here's Brian Hyland's famous take on the topic:  "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini."  I could have been the girl in that song; in fact, when it came out (1960) I wasn't that much older than the little girl in the video.

 If I wanted to write about tangled up relationships, I could never, ever do better than Bob Dylan in his 1975 masterpiece "Tangled Up in Blue".

For my last song, I pick a genre I'm not normally much into (with some exceptions), but this song (and the video) are beautiful and heartfelt. Great choreography, too.  Here's Beyoncé, feat. Drake, with "Mine".

And that is a wrap!

See you again next week, same time, same place, when it will be Rocktober!


Sunday, September 26, 2021

The First Glimmers of Fall

Many trees are showing signs of their preparing for their fall and winter hibernation here in the Southern Tier of upstate New York.

Fall is coming, no doubt about it.  Chickadees visit my feeder, over and over.  Did you know the amazing process they use to keep track of every seed they cache for their winter feedings?  It's called "scatter hoarding".  I didn't know about it until earlier this year.  It's one of the many miracles of Nature unfolding around us.

The house finches have almost disappeared; it seems in our area many of them migrate south.  As for our hummingbirds, I will thank my Texas readers for safeguarding them so they can return to us in May.  (Thank you, Dorothy!)

Nuthatches and downy woodpeckers are visiting our "test" suet seedcake we purchased, as we get ready to feed birds through our winter.  We'll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, splashes of color are showing up in leaves here and there.  Here, sumac.

There, I don't know.

And an early fall wildflower bouquet Nature has provided.

Soon, the main fall Nature show will start, even as our temperatures struggle today to reach 70.  Later in the week, we will have lows in the 40's, meaning I have to start thinking about taking cuttings of some of my plants.  (More on that later in the week, perhaps).

Where did the summer go?

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Grateful Flowers for my Precious Readers

It's a strange time.  I feel like storm clouds are gathering, both in our weather, and in our lives.

We had more rain Thursday - fortunately, again, not as much as some.  We are supposed to have a nice next week, but already there is speculation about another tropical system.

The hummingbirds disappeared several weeks ago.  This is my fist year watching them, but experienced hummingbird feeders I know tell me it's early for them to leave.  It's possible they know something we don't know about the coming winter.

Hard times for so many families, mourning their deceased.  Worrying if they will be able to get health care if something happens to them.

It's so hard, in these times, to not be stressed, not be worried, or sometimes to stop caring.  At those times, wise people teach us to be grateful for what we have. It's not enough, but it's a start.

When I was growing up in a New York City housing project, I dreamed of the day I could grow flowers and have a back yard.  Perhaps my house's yard isn't as big as I might have liked, but as I age, that becomes a bit of a good thing. 

Here's a Japanese anemone from that yard.  It's a fall bloomer.

I can be grateful for so much - a perfect day for sitting outside this afternoon, a spouse who loves to cook so I don't have to, and a yard still full of flowers. The top flowers here are sedum, a fall bloomer.  Below them are white mums.  They weren't supposed to overwinter but they did, and their blooms are a pleasant surprise.

Another late summer into fall bloomer are these turtleheads, which our local bumblebees are grateful for.  They love to crawl into the blooms and do what they do.

I don't say "Thank you" to my readers often enough. I want to make up for some of that today with this red penta.

At this time of year, some of my flowers look so worn. I think it was a hard year for some of them.  But, some are coming back, like these fuschias.  I wonder if the fuschias miss the hummingbirds that used to keep them company.

Soon enough, the first frost will come.  Already, our early trees are showing signs of their winter preparations.

So in this time of change and stress, thank you for reading, and I hope these flowers brighten your day. If I don't get back to your blog, please know I read your comments and am grateful for every one of them.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Feathery Skies #SkywatchFriday

Monday, where I live in the Southern Tier, we had nice feathery skies.

At my work lunch (still working from home) we took a walk.

I took some photos.
I thought "this will be great for Skywatch!" I took another photo and then put my phone in my purse.   Finished.
I had seen some birds flying but I paid little attention to it.

Suddenly, there were hundreds of birds, and I knew what was happening.

As I blogged about yesterday, I was witnessing a murmuration.

Those little dots are starlings.  Starlings can form large flocks of over a thousand birds.  Close to sundown, especially in November, they will all take off at once and create formations in the sky, beautiful to see.  This is called a murmuration. The birds fly in formation, and will change directions instantly on an unheard command. How none of these birds crash into each other in those sudden directional challenges is still a mystery to scientists.   The patterns are breathtaking and the performance can go on for several minutes.

This one didn't, but mouth may have been hanging open.

But it wasn't time. It was September.  Still, there was no mistaking what was happening.  I stopped, and rummaged around in my phone, just in time to take a picture of the tail end of the murmuration.

The starlings perched in several trees, clustered and then flew away.

The performance was over, and I had to get back to work.

Joining with Yogi and other skywatchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Starlings of a Feather in a Tree #ThursdayTreeLove

Earlier this week, spouse and I took a noontime walk in a local park.

We were walking and saw a cloud.  A cloud of birds.  There must have been hundreds of them.  They made a pattern in the sky, shifted direction, shifted direction again and then headed for the tops of a couple of trees.


These non-native birds have an interesting history.  They originally were found in Europe, but, in 1890/1891, a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts got the bright (not really) idea to take members of every bird species mentioned in Shakespeare's works and introduce them into the United States.  So, they took a group of around 100 starlings, brought them over from Europe, and set them loose in New York City's Central Park.

It took a couple of tries but the population started to grow. And spread throughout the United States.  And grow some more.

That original 100 have, over the years, increased to about 200 million. 

Fun fact, they were the only one of the "Shakespeare birds" to succeed here in North America. And, genetic testing has proved that starlings throughout our country are descendents of those first few in New York.

Starlings also behave how they do in the United Kingdom, where many European starlings migrate to for the winter. (The U.K. also has starlings, but they tend not to migrate. Our starlings also stay put, at least where I live.)

Which is where murmurations come in.

Starlings cab form large flocks of over a thousand birds.  Close to sundown, especially in November, they will all take off at once and create formations in the sky, beautiful to see. It's like clouds shifting instantly on an unheard command. How none of these birds crash into each other in those sudden directional challenges is still a mystery to scientists.   The patterns are breathtaking, a kind of air ballet.

I've just never seen them doing this in late September, or at times other than later in the day.  But when they do this during the afternoon, they will pick the tops of trees to rest in.  I watched these birds fly from one tree to the next to the next.

This was the tail end - I had to dig my phone out of my purse and took a picture right at the end.  At least there are trees in this picture so I decided to use it today.

Perhaps this was a practice run for November.

After I took this picture, they formed another cloud and a couple of sky patterns, and then left for parts unknown.

Birds love their trees, perhaps as much as we humans do.  I don't know what kind of trees these were, but the starlings knew.

Joining up every second and fourth Thursdays of the month for #ThursdayTreeLove, brought to us by Parul of the blog Happiness and Food.

Why not love a tree today?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

First Day of Fall 2021 #WordlessWednesday

It's official, or will be at 3:20 pm Eastern Daylight Time today.  

It's that most wonderful time of the year (with apologies to Christmas).

Time for mums and gourds.

It's time for apples.

Dried flower arrangements and the last of summer flowers.
Gorgeous heads of broccoli and (not pictured) cauliflower.


It's fall. 

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Grape Pie Time

 Ah, regional specialties.  It's the season for one of my favorites, and time for an updated annual post.

Grape season has come upon us here in upstate New York once again.  On the roadsides along the Finger Lakes (a little more than an hour from where I live), signs normally advertise grapes or grape juice for sale.  The wineries prepare for an onslaught of tourists for harvest season.

This year, I don't know.  I was in grape country at the end of August, and went to a farm stand.  No grapes.  The person I spoke to said they lost the entire early crop to the rain.  We've had too much.  We've had even more since, and should be getting still more on Wednesday.

But, there is a regional favorite - grape pie.  I was able to buy one.

I love to eat Concord grapes and, I have to admit, they do make a wonderful pie. I also put them on my breakfast cereal.  In season, I can't get enough of concord grapes.  Alas, the seedless Concord grapes I could get five or more years ago are gone.  Just plain gone. So now I buy ones with seeds, but they aren't the best for breakfast cereal.

As for grape pie, one has to to travel an hour and a half or so away from the Southern Tier of New York, where I live.

You've heard of apple pie, strawberry/rhubarb pie, peach pie, pecan pie, and blueberry pie. Everyone has their favorite recipe for pie and many regions of our country have a pie that represents them.

For parts of upstate New York, our local pie of pride is grape pie, made with Concord grapes.

Yes, pie made with Concord grapes, those purple globes of heaven.  These grapes are the grapes you find in concord grape jelly and grape juice and yes, certain types of (commercially sold) very sweet wine.  But, commercial varieties of those products don't always reveal the true taste of the concord grape.  (I never tasted "true" grape jelly until I was about 14 years old - and then, never went back to the commercial type.)

The best part of grape pie 2021?  Naples, New York is having its annual grape festival (cancelled last year) this weekend.

As for their grape pie...

For the first time in two years, we visited Monica's Pies in Naples, New York. It's just about the only place in the Canandaigua Lake area you can get fresh baked grape pies all year.

COVID-19 had made its mark here.  It's a small store and you can't go inside.  All business was conducted from a walk up window.

But they had the pies in stock.

How about a brief history of Concord grapes?  Concord grapes were developed, in 1849, from a wild, North American grape.  I am not any kind of grape expert, but I do know there were problems with disease affecting European grapes that the early settlers tried to grow.  The Concord grape, developed in Concord, Massachusetts escaped those problems because of their native American heritage, plus they matured relatively early, perfect for escaping the first frosts.

In 1869, a New Jersey dentist, Dr.Welch, developed a bottled unfermented grape juice, using the then new process of pasteurization.  I drank gallons of the stuff as a child.

And no, you will not find me making grape pie, at least from scratch.  It's an arduous process. Monica's sells a premade grape pie filling in a quart canning jar.  I have one in the house.

But if you're tempted, here's a recipe. 

Now, excuse me while I wash off some seeded Concord grapes for my breakfast.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Circus Circus #MusicMovesMe

It's that time of week again!

It's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the Music Moves Me 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-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly. (She's back, hurray!)  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, we welcome once again our guest conductor (and all around wonderful person) Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Cathy has picked as our theme for this week: You Pick.

I've been having a lot of "blog writers block" lately, so I decided to do some random browsing.  I came up with this tune, which is familiar, I think, to most of us.  What I never knew was its name.  The music is associated with circuses, but the name of the piece is....wait for it...

Entry of the Gladiators.(I've also seen this called "March of the Gladiators" and Entrance of the Gladiators..)  This piece dates from 1897, was written by a Czech composer, Julius Ernest Wilhelm Fučík, and was meant as a military march.

Gladiators?  I don't think the Roman circuses used anything like this theme music when it was gladiator time, but I guess, in some way, you could connect gladiators with circuses.  My spouse, who is into Ancient Romans, explained to me that there would also be entrances of the lions, tigers and bears (we won't go into why they were there, but let's just say it wasn't pretty) into the circus arena.  So, I looked for an online history of this march and sure enough, there is one.

Hearing this song immediately made me think of this 1974 Three Dog Night song called The Show Must Go On. 

Yes, the Beatles had a circus oriented song.  From Sgt. Peppers album, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite".

Smokey Robinson and Tears of a Clown.

One for the hard rock fans in the audience.  One of my favorite songs, KISS and Psycho Circus. OK, not a true circus, but it has circus in the name and "carnival" in the lyrics.

Last but not least is this Afro Circus Clip from the movie Madagascar 3, where we circle back to our opening song.

Boys and girls of all ages, that's a wrap.

Join me again next week, same time, same place!


Sunday, September 19, 2021


Memories, of the way things were.

I think I've finally overcome the problem of deleting photos (backed up on a UBS drive) from my iPhone.  I was deleting photos and they kept showing up again.  I think it had to do something with iCloud, and now, I can't even turn iCloud on again.

But, being a digital hoarder, it's hard to delete.  The photos bring back so many memories.  Even though they are safe on a PC (one hopes), it's still hard to hit the trash can icon.  Daffodils, flowering trees, azaleas, all now deleted.

I'm still working on 2017.

Sometimes, those photos make me smile, like this one taken in July 2017, at Cutler Botanic Gardens in Binghamton.

Painted rocks, as I've blogged about recently, can be hazardous to the environment  But combined with these zinnias...

...well, it made me smile.

I hope it makes you smile, too.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Birds vs Glass

Nature runs on its own clock, its own calendar.

It doesn't care what we humans come up with.   

Nature is now saying "fall is here" with purple asters...

...and white.

It's the last burst of the wildflowers I love to photograph.

Nature is also calling birds home.

Right now, fall bird migration is in progress. Did you know there is an Internet tool to help track bird migrations?  It's called BirdCast.  Tonight and tomorrow night, BirdCast predicts high migration levels in our area, about 150 miles from New York City.

Trigger alert: If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to click on the next link.

In cities such as New York City, however, another tragic fall is unfolding, as hundreds of dead migratory birds have been picked up in recent mornings.  226 just around the World Trade Center's Freedom tower - that beautiful tower that replaced buildings destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

Tuesday was a bad morning, especially.

Birds can't tell glass reflections from natural scenery.  Actually we humans can't, either, but we learn, at early ages, various cues that tell us nope, don't collide with that.

Birds don't get that education.  The cues that work for us, additionally, don't work for them.  So, it is estimated that possibly as many as one billion (no, that isn't a typo) birds die in collisions with human structures each year. (this link is safe to click on, and it contains fascinating information).

Hundreds of thousands of birds are migrating in North America right now and many will not make it to their destination.  

One thing I never realized until this year is that many of the summer birds we enjoy where I live in the Southern Tier of New York iare actually southern birds who summer here (like reverse snowbirds).  They come around April and May, and leave in September and October, heading back to the places they live in much of the year.  They aren't "our" birds.  In fact, some 40% of birds migrate - some short distances, some thousands of miles.

They come to our northern lands to breed, and our hearts are gladdened by their presence. But now Nature is calling them home.

Around 80% of them migrate at night.  The moon and stars guide them.  They don't have daytime thermals to deal with. Cooler temperatures help dispel the extra body heat of long distance flying.  I never realized that some of the night sounds aren't crickets, but, possibly, birds communicating with their fellow flyers.

The nighttime is busy and full of birds.

That's where turning off lights in city office buildings come in.   They won't be distracted by the light of artificial structures, and won't be drawn in to their doom.  But this solution isn't implemented often enough.  Here's one effort:  Lights out Philly.

Structures can also be designed to be less harmful to birds.  

For daytime collisions, there are other solutions, ones that homeowners (like me) should consider, because birds also collide with the windows of our homes.  I used to think "well, I don't see dead birds here in my yard, so why should I worry?" Turns out I'm wrong. 

I'm only starting my own birding journey, and I still have so much to learn.

One may ask, why should we care about some birds dying, when so many humans are suffering right now?  It's a good question.

But we depend on birds for so much - pollination, eating insects that hurt our survival, joyous song, and yes - the needed work of scavenging.  Let's not forget the billions of domestic birds that are direct members of our food chain, too (with apologies to my vegan and vegetarian readers.)

Birds need us.

But perhaps, even more, we need birds.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Summer Ends #SkywatchFriday

I've had phone problems this past week (full, despite working to delete my hoard of photos) and am wondering if my iPhone SE first edition will even permit the next iOS update. I managed to delete three apps, including Facebook (no great loss), enough to be able to take pictures and get email again, and to get the latest iPhone security patch. 

I may be looking for a new phone, or (son's suggestion) less expensive phone and actual camera.  I'm still waffling about that.

Of course, this is Skywatch Friday, not Complaining about my Minor First World Problems Friday, so onward to the sunset I can now bring you.

On August 31 we went to an ourdoor concert in a local park.

I captured a sunset picture there, as the sun set behind a mountain (not true sunset at that point).

And again, the colors were not spectacular.  My not-good timing/luck with sunsets continues.

So I'll just hang tight and keep enjoying the clouds and sun, no matter what.

Now, onward to fall.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Future of my iPhone

Today, I am struggling with a decision.

My iPhone, which was purchased the end of July, 2016, is full.  I use it just as much as a camera as I do a phone/text/way to browse the Internet.  The memory is full of photos, and I've been having issues taking the photos off (I won't bore you with the details).  I had to take apps off just to install the latest operating system upgrade, which was an urgent one due to security concerns.  I had to take apps off the phone.

Now, I don't have room for the next operating system upgrade.  

Do I buy the latest iPhone, the one just released (iPhone 13)?  I used my first iPhone for four years.  This one, I've had for five years. My strategy has been to get a new, current phone, and keep it for a long time.

A much better camera than my iPhone SE first edition tempts me, but is it necessary?  I enjoy photography but the limitations of the iPhone (especially with macro photography, for which it would be difficult to purchase a supplemental gadget to attach to my iPhone) frustrate me. So does my SE 1st Edition's inability to take good photos on cloudy days (which we have too many of where I live.)

My son talked to me and said 'Mom, if photography is going to be a hobby for you, you can't cheap out.  I suggest you buy an iPhone model a year or two old, not worrying about the latest built in camera, Spend the difference in money on an actual camera with features you want and decent photo editing and storage software".

But my cell phone is always with me, meaning my camera is always with me.

Then, there is 5G.  Do I really need to upgrade to a 5G ready phone?  Will having 5G matter to me?  Perhaps a year old iPhone model (one of the iPhone 12's) will do.

I'm retired but working part time.  Still, I have to watch my spending.

I want to keep taking good pictures for my readers, like this autumn clementis.

I know, in the scheme of things, this is a minor thing to worry about.  But if anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it.

One more note:  due to Yom Kippur, I will not be posting comments until this evening (this post published automatically and was prewritten).  

Thank you in advance for any suggestions (I know some of you have made suggestions before, but I think I need one more small push.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Sept 2021

Fall starts in exactly one week, and my zone 5b garden is transitioning to the new season.  This is a sad time of year for me because I know my outdoor gardening year is coming to an end.  The days get shorter, the sun angle changes, and some of my plantings look weary and worn.

 But others celebrate fall, such as my cultivated purple asters.

Purple turtlehead, a native flower (purchased on a trip to North Carolina back in 2012), which has been blooming for a couple of weeks, is spreading in my shade garden.


Sedum and bee.

My Japanese anemone is just starting to bloom, the first bud unfurling in time for GBBD.  They will be the stars of my fall flower plantings. I apologize for the blurriness.

Garlic chives.

A heuchera (coral bells).

Here are some summer flowers still blooming.


Angelica "Angelface".  

Orange cosmos (left) and lantana (right).  This orange cosmos is a short variety.  My taller varieties all failed and I don't know why.

My nasturtium also aren't looking good and I don't know why, so I didn't take pictures.

More lantana. They loved our hot summer.

So did the zinnias.

Million Bells.

One of my few pansies to survive to almost-fall.  This rarely happens, although it also happened last year.



Last but not least, dahlia.

Thanks go out once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who hosts this 15th of the month Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme without fail.

Thanks also go to Sandee for hosting #WordlessWednesday.  The linkup is above.

Do you grow flowers?  Why not join in on the fun, and visit other gardeners posting what's blooming for them this last day of (for us in the Northern Hemisphere) summer?

Happy GBBD! Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Season of Winter Squashes

Visit any farmstand in New York State right now, and you'll see the winter squashes have arrived.

We have a garden, but winter squash doesn't seem to do well.  Right now we have one butternut squash plant going, with the grand total of one squash (still immature) on it.  I admit we weren't even going to grow them this year but we received several free starts late in the planting season. I talked spouse into growing them because they would otherwise have been thrown out.  One survived.

But, for those who have farmstands in the vicinity, the selection is amazing.

Blue hubbard, a variety that's tough to prepare (it must be a member of the black walnut family) but worth the effort.  Pro tip:  try to find it cut up, as these can run big and heavy.  For the two of us, we don't bother.

Pumpkins.  Check out these colors.  They aren't just for carving.

Orange with warts. Striped.

Orange. Yellow.


I've already blogged more than once about Honeynut squashes, a squash I suspect may not make it out of the New York area.

There are striped winter squashes such as Delicata, squashes with similar names but way different personalities (butternut and buttercup - don't confuse them).

These squashes, along with apples, are the kings and queens of fall.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Let's Hear It for the Worker #MusicMovesMe

Yes, boys and girls, we know what time it is.


It's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the Music Moves Me 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-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, we welcome once again our guest conductor (and all around wonderful person) Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Cathy has picked as our theme for this week:  "National Boss/Employee Exchange Day - Songs about filling another person's work shoes or in general for those who don't work outside the home."

I work part time - does that mean I only have to go with the theme for half the songs?

I decided to give it my all anyway, and I did  an online check about trading places with someone. There are lots and lots of songs about hating your job, quitting your job, escaping from your job, and so forth.  Not too many about trading places, it seems.  

Now, escape sounds like a great topic.  Don't we all want to escape from....something?  Work? The pandemic?  Our spouses?  Our life, in general?  Or paying tribute to the worker?  Or those who have lost jobs and struggle?  I'm making those my themes today.

Let's start with those about to lose their jobs or struggling in times of change.

Work For the Working Man - Bon Jovi. Here is its story.

The Downeaster Alexa - Billy Joel, from 1990.  Billy Joel has supported the Baymen of Long Island (New York),  The Alexa (actually, the Alexa Ray) was a real boat.

Working can be dangerous and thankless.

Devo - Working in A Coal Mine.  Originally a hit for Lee Dorsey in 1966, I decided to go with the Devo cover because I'm a 1980's gal.

We've got to escape.

The Animals - We Gotta Get Out of this Place.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run, from 1975.  This song also has an interesting story.  I am not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, but I love this song, and I was mesmerized by Springsteen's performance at the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center on Saturday.

Next, a song about quitting the job.  Country isn't my preferred genre, but what says it better than Johnny Paycheck and his 1977 classic "Take This Job and Shove It"?  The phrase, I discovered in my research, is a "snowclone".  I never heard of that word before now.

BONUS song if you have time -  the classic Dolly Parton's crossover hit about working:" 9 to 5".

And that's a wrap!

Join me and the other Music Moves Me bloggers next Monday, same time, same place.



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Zinnia, Monarch and My Dreams

 A moment of beauty from today.  I was out, and saw a monarch butterfly flying (I suspect they have started their migrations because I've seen a number of them in the past few days.

One alighted on a zinnia and let me take its picture.

According to symbolism, monarchs are symbols of rebirth and being on the right track on life.

I'm still a little under the spell of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, though, and I wanted to bring you some musical beauty.  I had such a strange dream last night, maybe from watching the coverage of the 9/11 commemoration in my native New York City.  

But I did want to share something else with you today before I go.  I saw this performance, as it happened, on television.

It bought me to tears.

Here is Bruce Springsteen yesterday at the 9/11 commemoration held at the World Trade Center site in New York City, singing "I'll See You In My Dreams".

More music tomorrow for #MusicMovesMe.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

In Pace Requiescat

20 years ago today.  It's one of those anniversaries where we all pause to remember the day.

These anniversaries will become fewer and fewer, because that is how life progresses.  But today, we still pause to remember.

One day, September 11 will be only the day on the calendar between September 10 and September 12. Already, festivals are held on this day.  In fact, Binghamton, New York is holding one tonight (called LUMA).

For our grandchildren, perhaps they will ignore a plaque in the lobby of their high school honoring the alumni who died that day.  This is the plaque in the lobby of my high school. 

One of the names on that plaque in my high school is Christian Regenhard.  He was the youngest New York City fire fighter to die on 9/11. He was one of those who ran to danger, making it possible for others to escape and live another day.

We remember September 11, 2001 in different ways.  Did you know there was a restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center? This tells their story.

I remember September 11 every year.  First, it was my father in law's birthday (although he was no longer with us on that day.)  Then, it became the day I watched in horror (after my employer hastily located a television) as the second tower fell, later finding out that one of my co workers lost his son on that day. His daughter in law was pregnant.  Other people I know from family and friends in New York City lost loved ones, friends, neighbors.  11 people who went to my high school died that day.  Two of them left pregnant spouses. 

There are the children of those pregnant women, who will be reaching their 20th birthdays in the coming days and months.  One of them, Gabi Jacobs Dick, was the son of someone else on that alumni plaque.   The trauma surrounding the day that took the lives of their fathers affected them, too.

Gabi called it "The Butterfly Effect".  The video I linked to in the last paragraph is about three minutes long, and I invite you to watch it.  Gabi has suffered from fears of airplanes, tall buildings and elevators, and this was one of his efforts to conquer those fears.

There were the children in a nearby elementary school and a nearby high school to the World Trade Center in New York City, or the Sarasota, Florida children who had been gathered with then President Bush to listen to a storytime before he was called away.  They are also children of 9/11.

Gabi Dick won't forget. Those other now grown children won't forget.  But maybe you, my reader, don't remember because you weren't yet born, or were too young to remember, and have no personal connection like the children of 9/11.  After all, it's been 20 years.  There is a way to teach that new generation, though.

As long as we give the day meaning, true meaning, and incorporate that meaning into our daily lives, those who come after us will remember the meaning of September 11 2001.  But they will turn that memory into something that matters to them, the generation that didn't witness it on TV or in person.  They only know a post 9/11 world. We of my generation can never truly know what that means, to know a world from before that date we observe today.

Our world isn't theirs.

They will remember, but not the way we do.  Our job is to make sure they know about the day and its meaning, and let them sort it out. Keep in mind that the children born on September 11, 2001, turned 18 on September 11, 2019, and were granted the right to vote.  More have joined them in the past two years.  They can vote.

I hope they will use that power of the vote well.

They are old enough to fight, and die, in service to our country.  Some did, not that long ago, in Afghanistan.

May the almost 3000 who died that day (and those who have since joined them in the hereafter from injuries and related diseases) forever rest in piece.  May their memories be a blessing. 

(Parts of this post were originally posted on other September 11ths).