Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Search for Miss Kelly

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a news item featuring the "search for Miss Kelly", a woman attending the University of Connecticut who had applied for astronaut training.  NBC news has a copy of a rejection letter from February of 1962 where NASA said "We have no existing program for woman astronauts...nor do we contemplate any such plan..."  Of course, in 1963, the Soviet Union launched the first woman into space but it took many years for the United States to catch up.

We don't know if Miss Kelly ever fulfilled her dream in some other way.  NASA did not officially hire female astronauts until 1978. 

As of the time I blog this, Miss Kelly has not been found.  But, interesting, I saw that this Miss Kelly letter had been published online in 2013 - nine years ago.

Back in 2020, I wrote this about women in the space program, and something I was never taught, even as I watched launches live in my 1960's elementary school classrooms:
"I grew up in the 50's and 60's, a time when we were in a space race with the Soviet Union.

All the astronauts were men.  The people in the control room were men.  That's the way it was back then.

Little did I know about the female "computers", who, starting as early as 1939, helped to put airplanes in the air and, eventually, the United States into space.  No one talked about them.  No one taught us about them in school, even in the science oriented high school I attended in New York City in the late 1960's.

No, NASA's face was totally male. 

I did not pursue a science career (I was never able to conquer mathematics) but the space program always remained of interest to me.

Some of these computers, not machines, but humans who did their calculations by hand, were women of color.  They rode to work in segregated buses, consigned to the back.  They worked in segregated rooms.  Some had to go to the bathroom in a different building than they worked in.

In those days, a "computer" was a human.  Machine computers were primitive, and not trusted for many calculations.

Eventually, a book called "Hidden Figures" told some of the stories of three female computers of color..  Among them was a woman by the name of Katherine Johnson, who did the calculations for some of the first Mercury missions and Apollo 11, the first manned mission to land on the moon, among many other accomplishments.  She retired in 1986.

In an interview several years ago, she humbly said "I did the best I could".

Fast forward to 2017, when spouse and I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to view the total eclipse of the sun.  

At the museum where we saw the eclipse, there was a NASA trailer and a long line to get in.  We saw their display and, at the end, were invited to the Langley, Virginia NASA facility where Katherine Johnson and others had worked, for an open house that October.  They only hold the open houses every five years, and this one was special - their 100th anniversary.   Health permitting (Ms. Johnson was in a wheelchair by then), Katherine Johnson was planning to attend.

But my elderly mother in law's health was starting to fail, and we could not make the trip."

We never did see Katherine Johnson.  She passed away in 2020. 

I've still kept my interest in the space program, and I'm aware there is a hope of seeing a woman on the moon by 2025.

Now, to see if we can find Miss Kelly.  Maybe this time, we will.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

More Toothpick Art #WordlessWednesday

Ready for some more toothpick art?

On a recent visit to the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York (a suburb of Rochester) I saw an exhibit of toothpick art from a local artist, Stan Munro.  Here's my first post, further explaining the art.

Here are a couple of more selections for this Wordless Wednesday.  Yes, this art is made from toothpicks - thousands of them.  Would you have the patience?

The Statue of Liberty (with an addition).


"I wish I knew what this is".


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her weekly #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Dead Goldfish and Other Colonoscopy Adventures

Yes, you read the title of my blog post correctly.  And fair warning, it's going to get a little gross.

But before I get into my latest colonoscopy adventure, I have a request for you.  If you are (in the United States) 45 or older, please please please get that colonoscopy.  Yes, the prep (which involves a liquid diet and then hours of drinking mass quantities of a liquid that makes you - um, empty out your colon) isn't fun.  

Yes, the prep and procedure itself ties up perhaps one and a half days of your life.  But please be the warrior and get it. 

Having said that, I was supposed to have my 10 year colonoscopy in January of 2021, right in the middle of Delta.  So I put it off.  And there were other delays caused by practicioners.  My pre-procedure appointment finally happened in November, 2021.

By November, we were surging with Omicron and some hospitals in New York State, where I live, were starting to temporarily halt outpatient surgery.  So I discussed at my November appointment and I got the bright idea of putting the colonoscopy off until late April, 2022.  The gastro's office was agreeable.

To make a painful story short, I started my late April prep in the afternoon of the day before the procedure, in the midst of a snowstorm.  That snowstorm ended up causing many downed trees and a lot of power failures by the morning of my procedure. The power failures included the hospital where I was supposed to get the colonoscopy.  An hour after I finished my prep I got the call - cancelled.

It was rescheduled for this past Friday.  

This time, all went well.  Friday morning, all cleaned out (I'll spare you the details), I reported to the hospital.  I was checked in and pointed to the waiting room.

The waiting room is right next to where all the nurses and other staff are. You couldn't see them but you could hear them. There was a lot of conversation, which I ignored, but then someone sounded upset.

"It died", a woman I couldn't see exclaimed.  Let's call her Woman 1.  My ears perked right up. What had died?

Someone else said, "well, flush it down the toilet!"

A minute or so later, the sound of a flush echoed through the waiting room.  Loudly. 

Right after that, I heard a co worker scold "I TOLD you it was going to die!" To which Woman 1 responded "It jumped out of the bowl!" Woman 1 also mentioned she was "going to get another one."

Bowls.....flushes. Childhood memories of the goldfish my Mom tried to keep alive.  Did one of the GI nurses seriously have a pet fish?  That's my guess. This is just a wild guess and maybe it's a hallucination hangover from the colonoscopy drugs.   Except that my spouse was with me until I was taken in, and he heard the conversation and flush, too.

(No pictures today).

About a million years later, my name was called. I was taken to a room, changed into a gown, and the nurses did what they needed to do.  I will say the nurses I saw that day were all wonderful.  After they prepped me and wheeled me into the colonoscopy room, the gastro asked me to start counting from 1 up.  I made it to 21 (a personal record). The next thing I knew, I was back in the room with my belongings. Finally, I had the procedure!

They found a polyp, the first I've had.  I'm waiting for the biopsy result.  My only concern is the year and a half I was late.  Some my doing, some the gastro's office. I was hoping this would be my last colonoscopy.  We'll have to see.

So, please don't wait.  Get it done.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Songs from A Special Month #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday. It's 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!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and the world famous (not) me. 

Our founder, Marie aka Xmas Dolly, has stepped back from blogging for now, and would appreciate your good thoughts as she works through some health issues. The latest word from Marie is that she hopes to return to blogging sometime in the near future.  Let's hope so!

We'd love more music lovers to join our fun group.  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 or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").  So easy!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For June, we are welcoming Cathy from Curious as a Cathy one last time.  Her theme for this week is to build a playlist from from each of our 34th birthday years in honor of Cathy's DD#1's upcoming birthday.

Mine would be 1986.  I've chosen a playlist from a week in December of 1986.

I'm picking here from both the United States and the United Kingdom charts, just to have fun.  A couple of these I've had on my blog before, but I'm not going to complain if you don't.

This first song happens to be a song I love - The Way it Is, from Bruce Hornsby and The Range.

Everybody Have Fun Tonight from Wang Chung.

Walk Like an Egyptian from The Bangles

The Final Countdown - Europe

Berlin - Take My Breath Away is from the original Top Gun movie.

I'll end with this song - Amanda, from Boston.

Wishing Cathy's daughter a happy birthday later this week.  It sure was fun to take a trip through music of the year I turned 34 in.

Join me again next week for another episode of Music Moves Me.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Strawberry Recipes

It's strawberry season where I live in the Southern Tier of New York.  For a lazy, warm, Sunday, I'd like to share some strawberry recipes with you.

Here are some I've had on my blog in the past:

Chocolate covered strawberries 

Low sugar strawberry jam 

Strawberry topped angel food cake (from a mix) 

Today, I want to share with you an easy strawberry sauce you can drizzle onto pancakes,waffles or french toast.  It's a great way to use up overripe strawberries, and was taught to me by my late childhood best friend when we had our last quality visit together in July of 2013.

We bought a quart of local strawberries at the farmer's market yesterday, and had some strawberries in the fridge that were a bit old (but still edible) so decided to make this sauce.

Strawberry Sauce

Small amount of maple syrup (ideally, real maple syrup and not "pancake syrup").

Mash the softened berries.  Add the maple syrup.  Cook under low heat until they are as sauce like as you want.  
These come out chunky so you can mash further if you want smooth.
Speaking of strawberry topped angel food cake, this is what we had for dessert last night.  We use a Betty Crocker mix (no compensation for this mention) because it is a one step mix. It's easy, and it can be made in a 9 x 13 inch pan (I don't have a tube pan) with a minor adjustment in the amount of water and how you beat the mix.
What is your favorite strawberry recipe?


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Garden Decision

My spouse has made a reluctant decision.

He's been gardening in a community garden in Binghamton, New York since around 1987 (with a gap of perhaps three years when the garden was discontinued - it later started up again in a new location).  For many years he had two plots.  In 2018 or 2019, spouse downsized to one plot. Two plots had become too much.

Then, in 2019, a fall caused injuries to both shoulders.  Despite physical therapy, he has various shoulder issues, although the therapist taught him various workarounds for everyday life.

In 2020, I was able to obtain my own garden plot in a raised bed box section (my back issues made me eligible, at least in my own mind.  I think anyone can get one, but they are intended for people with physical limitations that impact their ability to garden.)

Now, my spouse is going to join me.  He is attempting to rent a raised bed box (apparently there are a couple that were never planted and are going to be reassigned) in the same community garden. Next year, he plans to give up the remaining in ground bed that he's had for so many years.  The raised beds are smaller than the inground plots, but are so much easier to maintain.  The one drawback is that deer seem to zero in on the raised beds, for some reason.

Change is hard but I think he is making the right decision.

For today, I wanted to show you some of the plants in "my" raised bed, which we both are tending since he is retired and I still work part time.

I decided to take these pictures a bit more closeup than I would normally, because I enjoy seeing the textures of these plants.  

Lettuce check these raised bed beauties out.

First, of course, lettuce.  So far, knock on wood, opaque row covers are keeping the deer away.

Zinnias.  Deer don't seem to bother them.  They don't seem to bother tomatoes or peppers, both of which we also have.  Some of the raised bed planters put up temporary fencing.  We may have to, also.

And, also under row covers for now, winter squash.

I'm not sure, if we get the second raised bed box, what we will put in there.  It's almost time to think of fall plantings.  Time is going too quickly!

So are the years, as we recognize the changes in ourselves as we age.  We are still just as capable as ever.   We just have to tackle things a little differently.

Friday, June 24, 2022

A Bumpy Sunset #SkywatchFriday

Another sunset from my recent trip to Canandaigua, New York, in the Finger Lakes.

I looked at the sky over Canandaigua Lake, and it looked promising in the afterglow of a sunset.

Nice glow on the lake.

Now it got interesting. Spouse pointed to these bumps and told me these are mammocumulus clouds. 

A few minutes later, the bumps look even more dramatic, but they then start to dissipate.   But now, back to the after-sunset.

Almost impossible to see, but there are ducks in the lake.

The glow continues.

And the sunset says "good night"

Joining with Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Tribs in Trouble #ThursdayTreeLove

Rivers are the lifeblood of our world. They bring water, recreation, habitat for life, and transportation.

But tributaries to major rivers are also important, and sometimes, neglected.

Back in May we skipped walking in our local park for a few days. (If you read my Skywatch Friday posts, some of my sky pictures are taken in that park.) 

When we walked there once again, we noticed vertical plastic tubes all along the bank.  This is near where a tributary of the Susquehanna River flows into the main river.

This picture shows the sapling inside one of the tubes.

There is a sign near these plantings directing you to a website explaining a program called "Trees for Tribs" for more information. 

I went to the website and found some interesting information about the importance of stream-side buffers along waterways, which I am taking the liberty of posting here.

"Vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, and grasses along waterways creates a natural buffer that protects the water and provides many benefits. An established streamside buffer:

  • slows down and filters run off, preventing pollutants from getting into the water,
  • intercepts and slows water from heavy rains, reducing the instances of flooding,
  • shades streams, creating cooler temperature conditions to support fish species such as trout,
  • holds soil in place, preventing streambanks from eroding away during heavy rains, and
  • provides food and habitat for invertebrates, fish and other wildlife.

To find out more about stream buffers and their benefits, check out our stream buffer fact sheet."

The park we walk in has flooded (no surprise; it is located in a low area and I suspect that's why it's not developed) a number of times over the years and we noticed, this spring, a lot of erosion by the riverbank.  This erosion is trouble for the health of the tributary and I'm pleased the state has this program.

The organization that planted these trees provided by the state program (I'm not sure if it was our town or a nonprofit that planted these) has to commit to caring for these baby trees.  

Trees care for so much of nature and now I know they care for rivers, too.

The types of trees planted aren't marked although, according to the Department of Conservation website, they may include " wetland rose, pussy willow, ninebark, winterberry, and red oak."

It will be interesting, in the coming years, to see if these plantings will alleviate the trouble our tribs are in.  

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food for #ThursdayTreeLove.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

80 Miles of Toothpicks #WordlessWednesday

Last week, we visited the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York (a suburb of Rochester) and saw this display.

The Roman coliseum.   What a nice model, you'd say.

Then, there is the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, formerly the Church of the Holy Wisdom, in Istanbul. It's newer than the Roman coliseum but another magnificent structure.

What if I told you these structures, and others on display, are built out of toothpicks, in a 1:164 scale?

The artist, Stan Munro, was once a TV news reporter in Rochester, New York, but quit his job to devote himself to the craft of building with toothpicks.  How he got started is quite the story - his wife, who had kidney disease, needed dialysis five times a week and he would build the toothpick structures to help pass the time.

The 80 million toothpicks refer to the Great Wall of China, which would take 80 million toothpicks to build and would stretch from Rochester, New York, to Syracuse, New York.  Right now, some of his works are split between three venues - one in Rochester, one in the Eastview Mall in his present hometown of Victor, and one at a science museum in Syracuse.

Stan is looking for a museum to house his entire Toothpick World.  Do you know of one?

And that's it!  Stan has a website called Toothpick World if you want to learn more.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Summer Envy

On this first day of summer, I turn to the emotion of envy.  Envy strikes all of us, from time to time.  A couple of weeks ago, envy struck me when I least expected it.  I needed to consult with myself.

We see the good stuff, the visible stuff.  The fancy house.  The luxury car. The constant travel to exotic destinations you have wanted to visit your entire life.  The person who looks all put together every minute of the day, with perfect makeup, perfect clothes, perfect hair that has never seen a bad hair day.

We don't see the flip side.  The medical problems that person might have.  The bad marriage. The feelings of insecurity, depression or panic that shadow them wherever they go.   Perhaps their aging mother and father is in their last days.  Perhaps their teenaged or adult son or daughter is in a bad place and they constantly worry that they will get a phone call they dread.

My late mother in law told me a story once that took place in her younger years.  She was a young mother of three at the time, and there was someone in her life she envied.  

My mother in law did not have an easy life.  She experienced three cancers, including breast cancer back in the 1970's when women had a totally difference experience than they do today, along with other medical problems.  She gave birth to a son with what turned out to be autism  at a time when it was blamed on the mother.  She had absolutely no support.  

Despite all this, she found a lot of happiness in her life.

But there was a time she was envious of someone she knew, until she learned "the rest of the story".  She gave me some good advice about envy.  It's never productive.  Instead, look to the good things in your life.

Would we honestly want to trade our set of problems for another person's, she asked me.

There's a saying "count your blessings" for good reason, because it's a good practice.

On this first day of summer, I know I have many blessings in my life, too many to list.   For example, I made it to the first day of summer this year.  Not everyone I know did.  Not everyone I knew made it to the age I am, either.

Right now, we in New York State aren't in the heat dome much of the country (and some friends and family) are in.

I can take pictures of flowers, like these flowers in a rain shower last week. 

I, who grew up in a New York City apartment, can sit in a small yard (not as much work as a large one!).  Yesterday, I didn't have to work, and I watched house finches, a white breasted nuthatch and a male Northern cardinal at the feeder. A few minutes later, I saw a female ruby-throated hummingbird.

Over the winter, I saw the male Northern cardinal with one of his children in my yard.

I have day lilies blooming.

My spouse made me popcorn to snack on while I was out here.

I have the freedom to write a blog on whatever topic I wish.

On this first day of summer, I look forward to today.

Monday, June 20, 2022

In The Court of the Music Kings and Queens #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and we all know what time it is.  It's 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!)   Our head hostess is Cathy from Curious as a Cathy,  and she is joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and the world famous (not) me. 

Our founder, Marie aka Xmas Dolly, has stepped back from blogging for now, and would appreciate your good thoughts as she works through some health issues. 

We'd love more music lovers to join our fun group.  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 or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").  So easy!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For June, we once again welcome Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Her theme for this week is: You Pick.

Earlier this week, I spent part of a week in Canandaigua, New York, in the Finger Lakes.  When we were last there, in August of 2021, King Crimson was holding a concert in an outdoor venue.  We didn't go (we had no idea the concert was being held until we got there) but the acoustics were such that we could hear King Crimson playing in the motel's outside patio. We couldn't quite make out what we were listening to, but we could hear their music.

In honor of King Crimson, here is the only song of theirs I know - From 1969, The Court of the Crimson King. 

This puts me in the mood for three other songs.

 Pink Floyd - Brain Damage/Eclipse, from 1973's Dark Side of the Moon album.  This album, in my humble opinion, is one of the best albums ever.  Other people must agree - this album was on the Billboard Top 200 for some 958 weeks - although these weeks weren't all consecutive.  That consecutive streak held from 1973 to 1988 and it's been back on the charts several times since.

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath, because the video uses clips from the 1926 silent movie "The General" (based on a real incident during the United States Civil War).  I think you'll enjoy the physical comedy of the incomparable Buster Keaton.

And, because yesterday was Juneteenth, and today is the Federal holiday, I am going to switch tracks for my final two songs.

Aretha Franklin and "Respect", from 1967.

Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "What's Going On" with a present day video.

And that's a wrap.

Join me next week for another episode of "Music Moves Me."

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day 2022

Today is Juneteenth - if you want to learn more, please check out my Juneteenth post.

Today is also Father's Day in the United States, and it also would have been the birthday of my best friend from childhood, who died in 2015.   

My father died when I was in my 30's, almost 40 years ago, and I think about him each Father's Day.

So I am going to repeat a post from Father's Day 2015 and combine it with another Father's Day I sometimes post.  It's long but I hope you'll read all of it.

Let me first take you back to 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 also 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, the future he was fated never to know.

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.

Dad doesn't have too much of an Internet presence, 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. 

I then looked up my father's World War Two enlistment record and found this.   What I know of his enlistment is that he was already considered disabled (a childhood illness destroyed his hearing in one ear) and had tried to enlist without success.  But, by 1942, we needed anyone who could serve.

State of Residence: New York
County or City: Kings[Brooklyn]
Enlistment Date: 6 Aug 1942
Enlistment State: New York
Enlistment City: Fort Jay Governors Island

Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of miscellaneous electrical equipment, n.e.c.
Marital Status: Single, with dependents
Height: 69
Weight: 130

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, in their own apartment.

His military experience shaped my father's life.  For the first time, he was out of Brooklyn. He saw the South (stationed in Arkansas and Mississippi).  He was also stationed for a time in India.  He would sometimes tell me bedtime stories about his time in India.

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.  

After the war he worked for several years on Governor's Island, part of New York City, where his World War II enlistment took place.

Now, his one child is in her late 60's, and our country is in its third year of a pandemic.  We recently passed 1,008,000. dead in our country, and 6,339,000 worldwide.

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 first decade of the 21st century, 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, a 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.

I also wonder what my childhood best friend would have thought of these times.  One thing she never withheld were her opinions.

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

And to you, my best friend from childhood, I commemorate your earthly birthday.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Juneteenth Eve

Tomorrow is June 19.

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 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 Juneteenth 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, Juneteenth, June 19, is a Federal holiday.  Its official name is Juneteenth National Independence Day, but it is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day.

Tomorrow will be my Father's Day post, and Monday my Music Moves Me post, so I want to bring you three songs today in commemoration of the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were told that they were free.

One thing I did learn in school was a song called "Lift Every Voice and Sing", here sung by Alicia Keys. This song was a hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900.  The music was written by Johnson's brother.

Let's move forward to the 1960's. Nina Simone and Mississippi Goddam, a song from 1964 that I heard for the first time earlier this week.  What a powerful song it is. 

Finally, a song by Sam Cooke that was released two weeks after his death -  A Change is Gonna Come.

The document issued by a Union general that led to Juneteenth is called General Order 3 and you will note how it reads towards the end:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

A long hard path followed, one that is still being walked.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Sunset Moonrise #SkywatchFriday

When I watch the sky, especially a sunset, I can be concentrating on one thing and totally miss something happening just a few things away.

Monday, spouse and I took a short vacation to Canandaigua Lake in New York State.  This is one of the Finger Lakes.  We have visited several times, and enjoy watching sunsets over the lake.

On Monday evening, I had my iPhone SE first edition out, as usual.  The sunset show was beginning.

In a different direction was moored a tour boat called the Canandaigua Lady. I decided to take a picture of it while standing on the public pier.

A handful of minutes later, a couple walked past us, towards (it turned out) their moored boat.  "Look out!" the woman said (or it's what I thought she said).  I thought perhaps I was in their way and I started to move off the pier.  "No, look!" she exclaimed.  The moon is rising. Look!"

The moon was rising behind the Canandaigua Lady.  Here, it seems to be resting on the red canopy.  It looks like a little white ball.  My iPhone doesn't handle the moon well, alas.

Soon, the moon decided it had rested enough, and continued its rising away from the boat.


Maybe the sunset was getting jealous.  It put on a nice display, as the couple boarded their boat and motored into the...dare I say it...sunset. (I didn't take their picture).

But I had to return to the moonrise.

I watched, admiring the moon's reflection on the lake.

We left, finally, and walked away from the lake.    

Not only did I get a sunset and moonrise, but there was also a nice blue hour.

If that woman hadn't alerted me to the moonrise, I would have missed it.  Lesson learned.  Pay attention to all of your surroundings!

Joining  Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Customer Service Success

We all have so many stories of customer service fails.  But there are also success stories and I want to pass one of them along.

Earlier in the week, we were at a Wegmans in Pittsford, New York.  Wegmans is a supermarket chain that started in 1916 in Rochester, New York.  They now are one of the largest private companies in the United States, with approximately 107 stores.  Pittsford is a suburb of Rochester.

The Pittsford store has a "burger bar" where you can order burgers and bring them (if you want) to an outside patio area. 

We had eaten a couple of hours before but it didn't fill us up, so we decided to get a turkey burger - just one.  I usually order water on the rare occasions I eat out, as I try to keep well hydrated.

You order at a counter.  We put in our order for one turkey burger and one order of fries, and the counter person asked what we want to drink. I said "nothing". (I figured we could get some bottled water from our car.) She immediately handed us two cups and directed us to a soda machine in back of us, where we could get water and ice.  She also asked us if we wanted our burger cut in half.

When we told her we wanted to eat outside, she gave us a number and said they would bring us the burger when it was done.  So far, so good.

We went outside, sat at a table and talked to each other, not keeping track of the time.

At the next table was a young man eating some packaged cut up fruit.   He sat there next to us for several minutes.  Then, he got up, and put on a mask. He walked over to us and said "I'll check on your order." At that point we saw his clothing and realized he was an employee who must have been on lunch.

He disappeared inside.

In another minute or so, another employee came with the burger, fries, and two plates.

That young man could have just gone back to work.  But no, he noticed that our order didn't seem to be coming, and talked to us, and I'm not even sure he was on the clock.  And then there was the counter person who offered us both ice water and asked if we wanted the burger cut in half.  And then there was the person who brought out two plates, unasked.  All little things, but they added up to a great experience.

Now, that's caring customer service!

Thank you, Wegmans!

Do you have a great customer service experience to pass along?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2022 #GardenBloggersBloomDay #WordlessWednesday

It's the 15th of the month and I join today with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

In my zone 5b Southern Tier of New York garden, I wonder where spring has gone.  So many of my blooms are annuals I have in pots and hanging baskets.  But I do have a handful of perennials blooming right now.

My early daylilies.

Everbearing strawberries, one which has light pink flowers (top) and one that has dark pink flowers.  These are grown for the flowers although the small fruits are edible and are delicious-if I can beat the birds to them.


I'm going to cheat a little and show you a picture of my meadow rue.  A storm damaged it - this is from a few days ago.

Moving on to the annuals.  I'm going to try to keep this short today.  Of course, "short" has a lot of interpretations....

These are "wave" pansies.  Never heard of them until this year.  The flowers seem to be smaller than regular pansies.  These are supposed to be the pansy equivalent of wave petunias.  They've already survived some short heat waves.


Violas.  The purple ones (or should I say "one" because I think there was only one plant left at the end of winter) I overwintered inside.

My other viola basket. The violas, and the pansies, won't make it through the entire summer but they are the first flowers I can put in baskets in the spring.

 Petunias. "Bee's Knees" yellow and black (actually, dark purple) in the back.

More petunias, red and purple.

Million bells in two baskets.

These are a cross between petunias and million bells.  I love the color of the flowers.  This is a first for me, along with the wave pansies.

Variegated geranium mixed in with some scented geraniums. I have a number of geranium baskets, but I don't want to overwhelm you.

So here's another orange geranium for you; one I overwintered successfully.

Lantana rounds out the sun garden.

In the shade garden, the astilbes have flower stalks up, as does one of the several types of hostas we host, but we are mainly between blooms, now that the columbines are done.  So, here are some fuchsias.

Finally, one other fuchsia.

In addition to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, I am joining Sandee from Comedy Plus for her Wordless Wednesday.

See you July 15 for flowers, and next Wednesday for another episode of #WordlessWednesday.