Monday, January 31, 2022

Cast Your Instrumental to the Wind

It's Monday, and time for music.

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 has been a bit under the weather, but will be rejoining us as soon as she can.  Hoping it is today, but if not, please get better soon!) Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me.  

We'd love more music lovers to join us.  It's easy! All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).

Each month, except December, we have a guest conductor. For January, our guest conductor is our very own Cathy at Curious as a Cathy.  This is her last Monday picking our themes, and I want to thank Cathy for everything she does on behalf of our music group. 

Cathy has chosen the theme for this week: "Music Freedom of choice:  You pick!"

What a month it has been in the music world.  We need a little relaxation now.  It's been a while since I've had an all instrumental post, so why not?

Vince Guaraldi is one of those artists whom you know did a piece of music within seconds of hearing it. Here, from 1962, is his trio doing "Cast Your Fate to the Wind".

I'll bet that reminds you of this song:  The Peanuts Christmas Song. No surprise, another Vince Guaraldi masterpiece.

Let's dip into the 50's a little.  From 1959, Santo and Johnny and "Sleep Walk".

Returning to 1962, Telstar, by The Tornadoes.

From 1969, the Hawaii 5-O theme from the Ventures.  (Yes, the Hawaii 5-0 show my younger readers listened to from 2010-2020 is a reboot of a show from the 60's/70's with a very slight change in the title that I never realized until researching this post.)

In honor of the upcoming Winter Olympics, two instrumentals associated with the Olympics.  First,  Burgler's Dream and Olympic Fanfare Medley by the incomparable John Williams.  I don't know about other countries, but this is the theme song used in American Olympic TV coverage.

Last but not least, Vangelis and "Chariots of Fire".

And it's a wrap!

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


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Cozy Weekend

There's something to be said about a cozy weekend at home.

We are more fortunate than many on the East Coast of the United States.  The nor'easter that hit coastal New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts (and a couple of other states) missed us, although yesterday was miserable, with a stiff wind and a wind chill warning.  We never left the house.

At least it didn't get down to -7F (picture taken when it had risen to -6F (-21.1C)) as it did on January 22.  I hope we can get out of this cold spell soon.

Spouse made some delicious soup and we had a chocolate/cherry dump cake I had baked on Friday.  Today, more soup may be on the menu.

This morning, although we bottomed out at zero F (-17.8 C) the sun was out, and it warmed up fast.  Of course, warm is all relative.  Right now it is 21 F (-6.1 C) but we were able to get in a little walking.

We may have escaped yesterday's storm, but we are going to get one Thursday into Friday.  The prediction right now is 12-18 inches using one model, and almost nothing with another model.  But the more accurate model is the 12-18 (30-45 cm) model.

Later, my spouse will have his football playoffs to amuse him.

How's your weekend going?

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Happy 90th Birthday!

This week, someone I've known for about 50 years turned 90.

Not long after my late mother in law and father in law moved into their new house, in a brand new small development in a then-rural suburb of New York City, a family moved next door:   J, his wife M, and their children.

J, M, and the family that became my inlaws stayed neighbors for some 50 years.  During that time, additional children were added, and their families grew.  

For both of the families, life wasn't always easy, but the friendship survived and grew deeper.  

Eventually, I married into one of the families and became friends with the other family.  I especially became close with M, who grew up in the same part of the Bronx as I did.  We went to different schools and are of different generations, but there was a lot we had in common.

In the 1990's, both my father in law and J passed away.  In widowhood, the friendship between my mother in law and M. grew even stronger.

Eventually, in 2015, my mother in law moved to be closer to two of her sons, but she and M. never lost that friendship.  My spouse and I visited M. several times, the last time in September of 2019.  We spent wonderful afternoons with her.  M. is a great cook and insisted on cooking for us.

M. remains healthy and active into her 90th year. She still drives. She's maintained her house with help, and still lives alone. You would never, ever know her age.  She texts and uses social media. We keep in touch with texts, in fact.  

M. remains so busy, with her far flung family, that we never did arrange a visit in 2021.  This year, we hope to finally see each other again when the weather moderates.

This past week, her family, which has grown quite large by now, gathered in California, where one of M's daughters lives, and celebrated her birthday.   Pictures, of course, were posted on social media.

Happy belated birthday, M.   You've aged with grace, and have a zest for life I admire.   Here are some virtual flowers for you.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Unexpected Sunset #SkywatchFriday

Earlier this week, it was cold, but we decided to take a walk after my workday was over.  The sun was just setting.

We weren't expecting much.
But the sky had other plans.

A closeup, complete with utility wires, as we make a couple of rounds of the walk area.
Doesn't this look like fingers pointing at the almost set sun?

My hands are too cold; time to go in.  The sun agrees, as it tucks into its home during the night.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Guardians of Memory #ThursdayTreeLove #HolocaustRemembranceDay

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day when we pause and remember a horrific time in the history of our world.  Genocide is a grim topic and I realize some readers will scroll on by and seek happier reading.

But, for the rest of us, I want to address this in a different way.

January 27, 1945 was the day the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex in German occupied Poland, where some 1.1 million people were murdered, was liberated.

Few of the survivors, or their liberators, are alive today.  Soon enough, they all will be gone.

But witnesses will remain.

The trees there remain, silent witnesses to history.

Some of the trees still at the complex were planted by prisoners.  They weren't planted to make the prisoners happy, but, rather, to please their oppressors.  Others were already there, fruit trees planted by villagers whose village were taken over by the Nazis and the land used to expand the camp complex.

The caretakers of the complex do their best to safeguard the trees.  In a way, they are symbols of hope. Where hate once was, now there is the beauty of nature.

I have never been to any Holocaust site, but I like to visit historic sites in our country.  The picture below was taken at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in 2017.  This is the property where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union forces headed by General U.S. Grant in April of 1865, helping to end a terrible Civil War that tore our country apart. 

I don't know if any of the trees in this picture were there to witness this event in the history of my country, but I would like to think so.

Trees do so much for us.  We don't think of them as witnesses to our lives, but in they are. They give us food, fuel, building materials, and oxygen, teach us patience, and bring us hope.

As for the Holocaust, it was real, it happened, and I can only hope we never forget it and other such events in world history.

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Neighborhood Church #WordlessWednesday

For years, the small neighborhood church had served its members, many of whom were refugees from Southeast Asia.

When churches had to go remote during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, I had assumed that church had gone remote, also.

The parking lot was never plowed.  Perhaps, there was no need.

But, even after churches were permitted to resume in person services, no one seemed to be coming here anymore.

One day recently, I passed the church.  

There was a "For Sale" sign off to one side.  I'd love to know the story behind it.

The gloomy sky fits the mood of this building perfectly.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Happy 110th Birthday To Oreo Cookies

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

One of many flavors over the years - this is from 2018

Now, for  Oreo's 110th birthday, there will be a new limited edition flavor.  You can pre order them now (no, I am not being compensated in any way for blogging about Oreos and this is not a sponsored post) and there is a website (which I am not linking to) to enter various sweepstakes in honor of the birthday.

I haven't purchased Oreos in quite a while, but, in my earlier years, I loved them.  Here are some of my previous blog posts about limited edition flavors.  There are actually few limited edition flavors I've tried and liked, so not all of these are positive reviews.

Fireworks Oreos

Peeps Oreos 

Watermelon Oreos

Then there was my favorite flavor ever - Strawberry Milkshake Oreos. 

Facts about Oreos. 

There's even a short street in New York City named for Oreos, where an Oreo bakery used to stand.

There are the flavors sold only in other countries. I would love the coconut Oreos, I suspect.

Ironically, in a way, it all started with Hydrox sandwich cookies, once made by Sunshine, which predate Oreos by some four years (1908 vs Oreos 1912).  In my childhood, growing up in a Jewish home that kept kosher, my Mom didn't buy Oreos.  (At the time, Oreos were not kosher.  They are now). Rather, I grew up with Hydrox but, thanks to friends, was well acquainted for Oreos.

It may be heresy, but I liked the Oreos better than the Hydrox cookies.  For all I know, it was the (forbidden for me) lard, which was used in the cookies until 1997.  

There are so many ways to eat them, too.  My method?  Pull the cookie apart, nibble around the cream, then eat the cream, then eat the rest of the cookie.  I don't like to dunk them.

If you eat sandwich cookies, how do you like to eat them?

I am looking forward to trying the 110th birthday flavor, Chocolate Confetti Cookie Cake, which will be released on January 31.  I'll let you know if I can get hold of a package and try it. Two flavors of cream, and sprinkles both in and out. Hoping they are a winner.

I like playing "yea or nay" games with Facebook friends over flavors when I run into new flavors in the supermarket.

I hope this one is a "yea".

Monday, January 24, 2022

Compliments to My Readers #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and 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 has been a bit under the weather, but will be rejoining us as soon as she can.  Get well soon!) Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me.  

We'd love more music lovers to join us.  It's easy! All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).

Each month, except December, we have a guest conductor. For January, our guest conductor is our very own Cathy at Curious as a Cathy.

Cathy has chosen the theme for this week: " Pick songs that pay a compliment to your readers for National Compliments Day". Happy to do so - there isn't enough positivity in today's world, so let's go!

Not sure all of these are compliment songs or compliments to those who read my blog in the lyrics, but they are what I'm picking. 

First a song straight out of my childhood - Roy Orbison and "Oh, Pretty Woman."

Joe Cocker - "You are So Beautiful"


Queen and "You're My Best Friend".

After that, we need to pep things up a little.  I am not a huge pop song fan, but I love everything about this song - the lyrics, the singing, the dancing, and the positivity.  Taylor Swift and "Shake It Off".

Cyndi Lauper and "True Colors".

We'll wrap it up with Billy Joel and "Just the Way You Are".  I enjoy you, my readers, just the way you are.

Don't change!

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


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Paradise by the CD Light

We've lost so many greats in the past couple of weeks, and rock n'roll heaven has received some new inductees.  One of the latest is Marvin (later changed to Michael) Lee Aday, who went professionally by a childhood nickname, Meat Loaf.  I'll get to him in a moment.

One of my Facebook friends, Onyx, commenting on all the recent deaths, posted this:

"Meatloaf, Louie Anderson, Bob Saget, Betty White, I’m reading all these posts from fellow actors/musicians and they all describe them lovingly, big hearts, kind, funny, nice guys, humanitarian, loving, great to work with, amazing.

Now, were these people perfect? Not by a long shot! Had flaws, did things that hurt others occasionally, had some regrets? Of course! But here is my point, not one person has mentioned any of those things, instead they mention, the love, the humor, the impact, the music, the light in the darkness.

The point is, those things we think disqualify us in life, those things we beat ourselves up over, those mistakes we fear will linger……at the end of our lives, what will matter is how we loved. It’s okay to make mistakes and be flawed just love others and make them feel like they matter. That’s the legacy these people left. It’s the legacy we can all leave."

We are all human.  We've all done things which are wrong. We've sometimes wronged others.  None of us are perfect, but if we have given much more love than we have received, and improved our world even a little, we have lived a good life.  

The greatest compliments we can pay another person comes within their lifetime, but many times the compliments come after the person died.

Tomorrow, I will be participating in Music Moves Me, a Monday music group. Our theme for tomorrow will be "Pick songs that pay a compliment to your readers, for National Compliments Day."

Since I already wrote tomorrow's post, I want to feature, for my Sunday post, a short tribute to the singer/actor Meat Loaf, who died Thursday at the age of 74.  

 This obituary will give you some facts about his life and accomplishments.

Here are two of his greatest hits. First, "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" from his 1977 album "Bat Out of Hell". I can still remember the first time I heard this song, and I thought "This song is something special!" It wasn't just because I was a Yankees fan from around 1961-1965, and the song has some clips from the late Yankees shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzutto.  Holy cow!  It also has Todd Rundgren on guitar and two members of  the E Street band on drums, and keyboard/piano.

The song is sung by a man (as an adult) who makes a vow in the heat of teenaged passion and lives up to it despite all the pain it causes. What could have been a cheap few minutes is turned into something much more, especially when we hear from the girlfriend, who stops Meat Loaf as he rounds third base with her voice.  And what a duet results. The part was sung by Ellen Foley on the recording, and Karla DeVito in concert.

The other song for today is "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" from his 1993 album "Bat Out of Hell II" but I'm going with a live version. People have been wondering what "that" is since 1993. 

I hope you will join me again tomorrow for more music.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Charm Bracelets

I read a thread on Twitter today.  It started "Am I too old for a charm bracelet at 61? Hubby says no one does these anymore...I assembled it and picked up from jeweler today. I’m crushed."  She got quite a number of responses.

Charm bracelets.  Why not?  If you are a woman, you have the right to wear whatever you want.  Same goes for men.  And why limit yourself with age?  As far as I'm concerned you are never too old to do anything that interests you.  You may be held back physically or healthwise, but why not try what you can?

But the thread that followed that question brought back memories. I'm older than 61, and have no charm bracelets currently, but I've owned a couple of charm bracelets in the past.  I wish I knew where they were.  One, I think I lost long ago. 

I've wanted a charm bracelet for a few years and just didn't look into it.  In fact, since the pandemic began, I have worn jewelry only on a handful of occasions.

Believe it or not, part of the reason why I want one is because of WW (formerly Weight Watchers). They give out Milestone charms for various weight loss milestones so I have a tiny (well, a little) pile of unused charms. I could put them on a keychain.  WW does not sell the bracelets.  They sell so many other things, I wonder, why not a charm bracelet to put the charms on?

I went on Etsy and there are quite a number of charm bracelet sellers out there, some priced quite reasonably.  Now, wouldn't I love a charm bracelet with a camera, a watering can, a chicken (because I used to own chickens), and my/spouse/son's birthstones?  What an amazing way to tell a life story.

I found a seller called Pammytail who seems to have excellent reviews for her made to order charm bracelets.  She also offers over 1,000 charms.

Now, as for for those weight loss charms,  I'd have to figure out how to get them on the bracelet.

And then, of course, I would have to wear it.

Maybe now it's time for an informal poll of my readers:  Does anyone out there still wear charm bracelets?

Friday, January 21, 2022

Blue and Ice #SkywatchFriday

Sunday, where I live in the Southern Tier of New York State, it was sunny and mild enough to take a walk and take off my gloves long enough to take a picture. (I have circulatory issues in my hands and feet, and have to be careful to keep them warm.)

Here we are again at the park where we walk when we know the walk won't be long enough due to the cold.  We've had some highs close to the single digits Fahrenheit, which is brrrrr in Celsius.

One could say there is little character in a blue sky. But, living in a climate where we ache to see the sun sometimes, I disagree.

An empty bench - too cold today for sitting and watching.

Ice floating on the river.  Back "in the old days" the river would have been frozen over by now.

Let's take a closer look.

Want to see what the sky usually looks like here in winter after a snow?  Here's a view from Monday of the park from the street.

We won't be walking in that park for a while - we got about seven inches of snow Sunday night into Monday, and the path isn't maintained in that particular park. But no worries, I will have other sky sights for you all lined up.

Joining Yogi and other sky watchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Everything Was Lovey-Dovey

Everything was lovey-dovey, until it wasn't.

Last spring spouse put up a couple of bird feeders.  Among the visitors were a pair of Northern Cardinals.

Northern Cardinals are a beautiful native bird to where I live in New York State.  The male is a bright, bright red all year round.  The otherwise drab female has some red on her here and there.

The presence of Northern cardinals is supposed to symbolize deceased loved ones being near.  I've always loved seeing them.  . 

All through the spring and early summer, both cardinals would visit the feeder, feast on the safflower seeds inside, and even feed each other a seed now and then.  Cardinals tend to mate for love, and this feeding behavior reinforces their bond.

Now, its winter. In late fall, we would see only the male.  Finally they returned, usually after sunset, and not quite together.  The female would arrive first, land on the feeder, and take a few seeds. (We've switched to a sunflower blend for the winter, mixed with safflower seeds.) Then the male would arrive, and would boot the female off the feeder.  As in...well, if cardinals had boots....

The female would peck at the ground while the male took his time at the feeder.

It's hard to see (yes, folks, haven't given up the iPhone SE 1st edition yet), but here's the red male all nice and comfy at the feeder and the poor female (barely visible) on the snow, pecking away at the seeds that other birds had dropped or shoveled onto the ground.

No longer lovey-dovey.

Speaking of doves, I managed to get a mourning dove (middle of picture) in mid flight. They are ground feeders, and, fortunately for the female cardinal, they don't mind her feeding along with them.

 Over on the left there is also a black eyed junco male feeding on a seed cake (to the left of the yellow object) but don't bother straining your eyes.  And yes, the male is still there on the feeder.

I wonder when Mr. and Mrs. will get lovey-dovey again.  Or will the female will get tired of being booted off the feeder and divorce him?  Will I get to see an episode of Bird Divorce Court next?

It's worth waiting for.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Other Side of Ice #WordlessWednesday

I have to admit, as much as I detest winter, it has a certain beauty about it.  Ice can be deadly, but it has another side.

Sunday, walking in a local park, I saw this frozen over puddle on the edge of the walking path.  I had to admire the shapes the ice took.

At least I didn't have to walk on it.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Gone Too Soon

Some people teach us how to live; some teach us how to die. Some teach us both.  And some just die too soon.

I hadn't opened LinkedIn in almost a week, and when I did, the lead post on my wall was one from my college alma mater.  You may have heard of the tragic fire in the Bronx (a borough of New York City) that killed 17 people in an apartment house.  Well, one of them was a sophomore at that college, a young woman who was planning to become a social workers. Her name was Sera Janneh.

The rest of her family made it out; she got separated in the terrible smoke and zero visibility the tenants faced when they tried to flee. One of her sisters was in critical condition the last I knew, her lungs damaged from smoke inhalation.

Every parent's worst nightmare is losing a child   That's not how things are supposed to work. And some of these families lost several members, all from smoke inhalation.  Nightmarish.

Gone too soon.  Then, there's other tragedies.

Bonnie was a Facebook friend and fellow blogger.  She was from Hawaii and lived in Brooklyn.  An avid sea kayaker and lover of the ocean, she expanded my horizons and showed me a side of New York City that I had never experienced in my 21 years of growing up in the City.  She was also a participant in the boat flotilla of September 11, 2001 which transported stranded workers from lower Manhattan  back to New Jersey so they could get home. 

I enjoyed Bonnie's photos of Brooklyn and her kayaking adventures.  She belonged to a paddling club in Jamaica Bay and was a fearless kayaker.  Her last job was with Scholastic, which must have been like heaven to a book lover like her (and me!)

Bonnie touched many lives in many ways.  I had no idea how many lives until she started her final voyage Wednesday, January 12.

Social media has brought people together who otherwise never would have known each other.  I don't remember when I discovered Bonnie but I am grateful I had the opportunity to experience a small slice of her adventures.

Yes, another pair of my socks.

Bonnie battled breast cancer once before (in 2016).  In March, 2020 it returned, just as COVID-19 hit New York City like a bomb.  Bonnie knew that metastatic breast cancer wasn't curable, but the doctors at the Manhattan hospital where she was treated bought her as much time as they could under the circumstances.  Bonnie remained upbeat on the outside all through the last almost two years of her life.  In December, she started to post pictures and reminiscences of the past on her Facebook wall, but didn't reveal (at first) that she had started home hospice care.

On January 8, she posted her last picture - a view of a group of kayakers in front of her, as they embarked on a voyage.

Rest in peace, Sera (and the others who died in the Bronx fire) and Bonnie.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Just Like Ronnie Sang #MusicMovesMe

Rock and roll heaven has two new inductees. 

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. 

We'd love more music lovers to join us.  It's easy! All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).

Each month, except December, we have a guest conductor. For January, our guest conductor is our very own Cathy at Curious as a Cathy.

Cathy has chosen the theme for this week:  You Pick.

Ronnie Spector, born Veronica Bennett, passed away January 12, from cancer, at the age of 78.

I am saddened by the passing of still another piece of my early childhood.  Along with her sister and a cousin, she formed a group called The Ronettes in 1957.  They became famous for beehive hairdos, heavy eye makeup, tight clothing and may have been the original "bad girls" of rock n'roll.  But soon they were on the way to fame.  In 1963, they auditioned for the late infamous record producer Phil Spector, who signed them (and, eventually, married Veronica Bennett).

Their first album, released in 1964, produced five hits on the Billboard charts.  Here are three:

Be My Baby. 

Baby, I Love You, from the same album. 


Walking in the Rain.

Ronnie divorced from Phil in 1974 after enduring unbelievable abuse from her husband.  Her ex husband ended up in prison for a murder he committed in 2003.

Ronnie's cover (with the E Street Band) of Billy Joel's Say Goodbye to Hollywood.

In 1986, she sang as the featured vocalist with singer Eddie Money on a song "Take Me Home Tonight" where she responds to Eddie's "Listen, honey, just like Ronnie sang" by singing  "Be my little baby, baby my darling...."

 I never got to see Ronnie Spector, but I did see Eddie Money in concert once.

The other inductee is Fred Parris of the doo-wop group The Five Satins, who died Thursday, at the age of 85.  Fred Parris was the co-founder of this group and the writer of their big hit "In The Still of the Night".  

The song was recorded in the basement of a church in New Haven, Connecticut and charted in 1956.  It charte again in 1960 and 1961.  It's since been covered by many artists and was featured in at least two movies.  Rolling Stone magazine named the song as one of its Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

RIP Ronnie and Fred.

And that's a wrap!

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

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Honoring Betty White #BettyWhite Challenge

Actress/comedian/beloved by America icon Betty White would have turned 100 tomorrow.

But now that she's gone, how should we honor her on what would have been her 100th birthday?

One suggestion, started by someone on social media and picked up by many, is the #BettyWhiteChallenge - contribute $5.00 (or more, if you can afford it) to a local animal shelter or animal welfare society.

With that, I need to take a short cat break and show you three of the cats my guest photographer has rescued, or adopted from owners who could no longer care for them.  Let me introduce you to Leeroy, who was dropped off on her property in March of 2020.

Buttercup, who lived in guest photographer's woods for two years before she was (with help) able to trap her. 

And Bella, her daughter.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year (2 million dogs and 2.1 million cats). Also per the ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million animals are euthanized (670,00 dogs and 860,000 cats). The latter statistic, epecially, is mind boggling. 

Our local Humane Society does much more than provide shelter.  They even have an adoption program for barn cats, cats who prefer living in barns and similar situations and do not wish to become indoor pets.

A 100th birthday celebration originally planned in movie theaters  tomorrow will go on, and a major network will be airing a special program honoring Betty White on January 31.

Finally, I have to share with you today Betty White's Top 10 Tips for Leading a Long and Happy Life.

Will you be taking the #BettyWhiteChallenge tomorrow?

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2022

To quote Elizabeth Lawrence and also Carol Michel, who hosts the 15th of the month meme Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, "We can have flowers nearly every month of the year."

In my zone 5b garden in New York State, though, it ain't easy.  We woke up today to -1F (-18.3C), which is the coldest it has gotten in a couple of years.  Also, a snowstorm is predicted to start later this weekend.  But we have an outdoor flower! Sort of.

Our white Lenten Rose has buds.  It had buds in December, too.  It's not always patient about waiting for spring to bloom, and I was fearful that our up and down weather would encourage it to bloom.  Buds are now peaking above leaves that Nature had mulched the plant with.  There is little snow cover right now and I have no idea if those buds survived the -1.

These pictures were taken yesterday because I am devoted, but not so devoted to go outside when it is -1 just to take a picture.

I'd rather stay indoors.  And I wasn't disappointed, either.

My two kalanchoe plants are blooming, for the first time in several years.

 Here's one of the two impatien plants I took cuttings of, rooted in water (it's easy), and planted in small pots.
Here's my other pot, with two more plants.

Each January, around New Years Day, I buy a primrose for the table.  Here's 2022's.

I have two amaryllis, both the same type, purchased at a chain home improvement store.  One's first stalk has already bloomed and the second one is in almost full bloom now.

The second amaryllis is in my home office, and the first bloom is opening up today. You can see the kalanchoes in the background.  I have various other plants under lights on a big table, including the impatiens above, a lemon grass plant cutting, and a Norfolk pine plant we bought about two years ago. These are not true pines, and are not cold hardy.

Not pictured:  violas in a hanging basket, with one tiny bloom my iPhone SE 1st edition can't capture, and the poinsettias I overwintered last year and am overwintering again.  Also, my unhappy geraniums, which are not blooming.

Want to see more flowers from all over the world? Why not visit the link at the beginning of my post, and see what other gardeners have on display for you?  Or better yet, why not join Carol and other bloggers?  I've participated since (I think) June of 2011, and it makes a wonderful garden diary.

Happy winter (or summer, depending on where you live) to you and thank you for visiting!

Friday, January 14, 2022

Sunset's Conclusion #SkywatchFriday

 It's been only a week since my last Skywatch Friday post.  Here in the Southern Tier of New York, the weather has been so variable.  Saturday it only got up to 12F (-11 C), and it was miserable.  Sunday, we got ice as it warmed up and even though it got slightly above freezing, the roads and sidewalks were slick with ice.  Fortunately it wasn't so heavy an accumulation that we lost power.  Never got out of the house at all.

It warmed up later in the week (yesterday it was in the 40's F) but I never did get outside to watch any sunsets.

It's just as well, as I promised you the conclusion of the spectacular sunset I started to show you last Friday.

This sunset took place in the first week of January.  Yesterday I showed you the beginning...

And here is the grand finale.   Enjoy!

I made sure I got the river in this shot.

Hmmm, things are starting to calm down a little as the sun snuggles into its nighttime home. (No, not really, but that does seem cozy, doesn't it?)

Now, only the blue remains with a hint of the glory of a few minutes before.  Timing is everything.  

Did this ever make up for my recent sunset drought.  Now, later today we are getting another arctic blast, so I won't be looking for sunsets this weekend.  And, Monday, we are supposed to get a snowstorm.  Ah, winter in the North.

Oh, one more shot.  Last Friday, Yogi showed us a "reverse sunset", which is the coloring of the sky opposite the sunset.  As it happens, I took a picture of this sunset's reverse sunset.  I had this picture on my blog yesterday for another meme, but there's nothing wrong with reruns.

Joining Yogi and other skywatching bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reverse Sunset Trees #ThursdayTreeLove

Two of my favorite subjects of photography are trees and sunsets.  So it's a bonus when I get both in one capture.

Last week we had mildish weather for a couple of days and a sunset that turned spectacular, and, because of the mildish weather, I was able to stand and take pictures.  I had some of the pictures on my blog last Friday, and should have more tomorrow.

One of the many lessons of the sunset is: Don't make assumptions.  Something that starts out drab may bloom into something spectacular. 

There is another part of a good sunset, which is the reverse sunset.  You may have noticed that, while the sky fireworks of sunset go off in the west, there are sky shows in other parts of the sky - for example, the east.  In other words, don't look where everyone looks.  Sometimes, you find joy where others aren't looking for it.

Here is one of those eastern reverse sunsets, with some of our area trees enjoying the show. 

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food and other tree loving bloggers every second and fourth Thursday for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Sugar Frosted Sage #WordlessWednesday

It's cold. C-C-Cold, as I write this. I'm not used to it anymore.  So I'm taking the easy way out for today, sharing a picture I took a couple of weeks ago.

I dislike snow so much. But you have to admit, it sure looks pretty.

For example, take this snow on a sage plant.  

Sugar Frosted Sage.  It's grrrrreat!


Brought to you by Tony the Tiger.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday. Why not take the day off from long post blogging and join us?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The National Loaf

Are you fascinated with the recipes of cultures of hundreds of years ago? Or, perhaps of people struggling in the midst of a historical event within our parents'/grandparents' lifetimes?

I was watching a mini commercial for a program called The Great British Baking Show on our local PBS station.  The presenter, Sue Perkins (who is no longer with the show), talked about British World War II wartime food rationing and something called the National Loaf.  

The National Loaf was part of an effort to make Great Britain more food independent, as imports from Canada and the United States were difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.  Although the British were used to white bread, it was decided bakers could make flour go further by using the entire wheat grain.

This became The National Loaf.  Eating it was mandatory.  One could be fined for throwing it out.  People had no other choice, anyway, it was the only bread available.

Additionally,it couldn't be sold until it was a day old, so that if could be sliced thinner.

The National Loaf was nationally detested.

So, of course, I had to go online to find out how it was made.  I was able to find a recipe, along with a number of discussions attempting to make it as authentic as possible.

I'll  leave it to someone else to try to make it.

But wait!  Some people are trying to bring it back for health reasons  I've read that the British population, as a result of the war time rationing, were actually healthier than before the war. 

Here is a modern discussion of the National Loaf and a different recipe. This might be more acceptable to the non wartime palate.

It could be the ultimate expression of pandemic baking.

Or not.

Does this appeal to you?

Monday, January 10, 2022

Winter #MusicMovesMe

Welcome to 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. 

I want to thank those who have joined us for our weeks of holiday music, and hope you will stay on for 2022. We'd love more music lovers to join us.  It's easy! All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (there must be a music video).

Each month, except December, we have a guest conductor. For January, our guest conductor is our very own Cathy at Curious as a Cathy.

Cathy has chosen the theme for this week:  "Winter theme songs/band names relating to arctic animals, snow/snowmen, hibernation. Feel free to expand on the idea."  Well, this is going to have some different music - I hope you like my selections.

Why not start with "A Winter's Tale" from 2003, by the Moody Blues?

Let's continue with "Song for a Winter's Night" covered by Gordon Lightfoot, originally released in 1967.  This has been covered by various artists. 

Animals? Can't resist that 50's music.  From 1955, "Earth Angel" by the Penguins.

Names?  Johnny Winter, older brother of Edgar Winter, was a blues guitarist known for his covers.  A song that has nothing to do with winter is my selection:  Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo, also features Rick Derringer. 

 Not really a winter song, either, but I love it so "Snow (Hey Oh) from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Back to arctic animals. Not a real arctic animal, but let's listen to the Arctic Monkeys and one of their hits, "Do I Wanna Know?"

I am going to wrap this up with my take on hibernation - a Canadian indie group called Wintersleep and a nice, catchy song: "Weighty Ghost".

And that's a wrap!

"See" you again next week, same time, same place, for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

First Tributes of 2022

This first week of 2022 was such a sad week in the world of entertainment.  I'm paying tribute with music, and invite you to join me tomorrow for my normal Music Moves Me post.

Three of the highlights:

We lost actor Sidney Poitier Thursday evening at the age of 94.  Many of his films explored race relations, a topic that is, sadly, still way too relevant in our world of 2022.  His many movies included two greats from 1967, "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner".  As a director, his accomplishments included the comedy "Stir Crazy", which starred Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

One of his best loved movies was "To Sir With Love" (also from 1967), where he played a man who took a job in a tough London school when he couldn't get a job using his engineering degree. Scottish singer Lulu sang the theme song "To Sir with Love",  which became a #1 hit, and one of my favorite songs of that year.

We also lost lyricist Marilyn Bergman, half of a songwriting team with her husband Alan, at the age of 93.  She wrote or co wrote lyrics to many acclaimed songs, including these two well known songs:

The Way We Were, originally sung by Barbra Streisand in the 1973 movie of the same name, won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1974.

The Windmills Of Your Mind from the 1968 movie "The Thomas Crown Affair", also won an Oscar for Best Original Song.  Just listen to these lyrics:  how many round objects are mentioned?  Thank you, You Tube, for showing me this.

Finally, actress Joan Copeland died January 4 at the age of 99. She would have turned 100 in June.  This is Joan singing "Old Man" in 1970 in the musical Two by Two.  

Copeland worked on Broadway for some 60 years and was also known for her work in the soap opera field (The Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow, As the World Turns) and television dramas (appearances in NYPD Blue, Law and Order, ER, and others)

RIP to them all.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

In the Mall 2022 Style

Today was one of those deceptive sunny days where I live in the Southern Tier of New York.  It looks lovely outside but it's cold, and we are also under a winter weather advisory.  We may have some icing tonight and tomorrow is going to be a mess.  So we took a short walk outside, unlike yesterday.

Yesterday, after lunch, we went to the local indoor mall for the first time since the holiday season.

The Christmas decorations had made it look so bright.  Of course, they were no longer there.

Neither was the Christmas art.  And neither were the several popup stores selling calendars, Christmas decorations, and the like.

What we did see was a sign of the times, at the franchise pretzel place.  It may have been the reason why a couple of other stores were shuttered on a Friday afternoon.

The mall has been in trouble for a few years now.  But this is the last thing we ever dreamed of.