Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Oh Owego #WordlessWednesday

Owego, New York, named (several years back) "The Coolest Small Town in America", has survived a lot, including several bad floods.

But always it springs back.

Let's celebrate the last day of November with some photos I took during a visit earlier this month.

Sidewalk bicycle art.
A piano in the Tioga County Historical Society.

The Candyman Can. (A local chocolate shop is moving into this storefront).

And Owego Stands with Ukraine.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Reading?

Too many books, too little time.

I sometimes feel as if I've read too many books recently.  Some of them are blurring together There are so many good books out there and I have the time.  

Let me share three with you.

I've blogged before that book reviews are not my strength.  They bring me back to nightmarish school days when I had to write (gulp) book reports.  What can I say?

There are several books that stand out, though, and I am nominating them for my personal "best of 2022" list.

1.  Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.  I've read three of her young adult books and this is the first of her adult books I've read.  It's a story of two gamers who meet as children and their subsequent life stories, together and apart. Zevin is an avid gamer and I am not.  But, from the very first sentence, I was drawn into the book.  It wasn't boring for a minute and several parts of it (no spoilers!) left me gutted - I cared about the two main characters and the other major characters so much.

2.  Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel.  This is my third of her books I've read.  The first, Station Eleven (set in the aftermath of a flu that killed much of the population of Earth), I consider one of the best books I've ever read.  The second book, The Glass Hotel, was a quick DNF (did not finish) for me.  I just couldn't get into it, despite all the rave reviews.

Although it is connected to The Glass Hotel, you don't need to have read (or liked) The Glass Hotel. I'm so glad I went ahead and gave Sea a try.

Sea of Tranquility isn't a pandemic book like Station Eleven, but I don't think it could have been written without the COVID experience we all had, in our own way, back in 2020.

This book spans over 300 years, and weaves back and forth in time. Only great authors can pull something like this off, and Mandel is a great author.

3.  This final book was one I read for the first time several months ago.  It deserved a reread because it was one of those books I just couldn't fully absorb the first time around.  The fact that I read it as an e-book didn't help.  I've never gotten the hang of reading ebooks, especially on the platform the New York [City] public library uses. I don't fall into their worlds the same way as I do with a well written physical book.

There's just something special about physical books, and when I saw this final book at the local library, I immediately took it out.

How High We Go In the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, was a debut book and I never would have known it - the writing was that good.  Where do I even begin?

The body of a young girl who died about 30,000 years ago in what is now Siberia is found, uncovered thanks to global warming.  Along with the thawed body is a once dormant virus that infects the researchers investigating the find, and from there, it makes its way to the remainder of the world.

This plague isn't COVID, but is a virus unlike any we have experienced up to now.  It initially seems to strike children, and this virus causes organs to change into other organs.  Death is slow and extremely painful.  There is no cure.  Some lucky children can get organ transplants or get into experimental programs.  The death toll soars.

From this beginning, in various somewhat interconnected chapters introducing various characters and following some of them through time, the book explores themes such as how people adapt to the unthinkable. Culture changes, too.

What I also enjoyed was that a lot of the related stories took place in a non-Western culture.

Were there disappointing books?  Yes, several, and perhaps blogging about them will help me decide if they are worth another chance. (One I did finish; another one I am on the verge of abandoning midway through). Just not today.

Read any good books lately?

Monday, November 28, 2022

Grateful #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday once again, and it's time for music!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or 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 (last but not least) me.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video (if no music video, the post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*) and you've just joined a group of cool music lovers.  Why not? 

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For November our guest host is Sandee of Comedy Plus.   Let's welcome Sandee once more time, and thank her for her November guest hosting.

 December begins later this week, and, for the month of December, our theme for the month will be "holiday music". So get ready!  In the meantime,  Sandee has picked the theme of "Grateful".  I'm going to do a little twist on this, featuring songs or artists that have helped me through some difficult times, or times of change.  I am grateful for having this music in my childhood and young adult (with one later in my life) life.

Few of these songs are inspirational - they just happened to be the right tunes at the right times for how I felt.

I'm starting off with a song we used to hear every Thanksgiving.  Many Thanksgivings we were on the road, traveling to my late mother in law's house, about a three hour drive away from us.  One of the stations we listened to always played this song.  Our last such drive was 2014.

The song brings back a lot of memories, memories I am so grateful for.    If you have about 18 minutes to spare, here is Arlo Guthrie and Alice's Restaurant, from 1967.

 If you don't have 18 minutes, here are some shorter songs.

Yesterday - The Beatles (1965)

Sonny and Cher - I've Got You, Babe (1965)

I Am a Rock - Simon and Garfunkel (1965).  Fun fact, this song was originally offered to Chad and Jeremy.  I can't imagine them doing it, but maybe you can.

Year of the Cat - Al Stewart - 1976.

1990's Winds of Change - The Scorpions.

And that's a wrap.

Join me again next Monday for more Music Moves Me.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Baby Remember Her Name

We sat, on that day in the mid 1960's, in our Bronx junior high auditorium, in an assembly to find out our fates.

We had taken entrance exams to specialized high schools.  Today, we would find out if we had made any of those schools, or if we would be attending our local high school.

At that time, there were a number of specialized high schools one could apply to by entrance exams and/or auditions.  The Bronx High School of Science (which I attended), Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, the High School of Music and Art, and the High School of the Performing Arts, were some of them.

One by one, our names were called.

My ninth grade graduating class was big, as were most all classes in New York City.  There were hundreds of us, and it was impossible to know everyone in the room.  But, we knew there were a couple of us who were talented - quite talented - in the performing arts.  One boy, in fact, already had had some small roles on television, if I remember correctly.  

At the assembly, we found out he received acceptance to the High School of the Performing Arts.

What happened once he went on to high school is unknown to me.  But many of us later enjoyed a fictionalize version of the High School of the Performing Arts, first through the 1980 movie Fame, and later through a TV series of the same name.

The movie followed eight students through their initial auditions and life in the high school.

One of the actresses in the movie was Bronx born Irene Cara, who played student Coco Hernandez.  Irene Cara started her acting career young, appearing on The Electric Company.  Cara also sang the theme song for the movie Fame.  In 1983 Cara co wrote and sang the theme song to the movie Flashdance, and had a career as actress and singer.

On November 25, Irene Cara passed away at the age of 63  At this time, the cause of death is unknown.


Flashdance What a Feeling.

Gone too soon, her name will be remembered.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Best Black Friday Library Ad Ever

Thanks go to the New York Public Library (NYPL) system, one of three library systems in New York City, for this Black Friday ad. (The boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens have their own systems, although their residents can also use the NYPL system  I'm not sure that was true when I was growing up in New York City, but it is true now.)

A version of this ad was emailed to me yesterday as I have an e-Card to use their ebook service.  It was such a laugh that I found the posting on the NYPL website - a little different but still gives you the flavor.

Here's the link.

But wait, there's more!  If you are a resident of New York State you can use NYPL's ebook system and take books out  This was instituted during the pandemic and is still being offered.

I love libraries.  They aren't small businesses but they deserve our support on Small Business Saturday, and every day.

By the way, this is actually a fundraiser (because free is never free) but I would say this is the best Black Friday Library Ad.  Here are the terms and conditions (from the web link above):

This Black Friday deal is from The New York Public Library. $0 down, $0 monthly payments, free returns. Borrow any book for $0 or three easy payments of $0 plus no tax. Cancel and return titles at any time. No Fee Guarantee, never pay another late fee. All major NYPL cards accepted! Patrons who live, work, go to school, or pay taxes in New York State are pre-approved for an NYPL library card. No spending limit, no credit check, never maxes out! If you aren’t completely satisfied, return your books at any time, free of charge.

Love a library today.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Thanksgiving Sky 2022 #SkywatchFriday

I am going to take it easy today.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States, a day to give thanks and visit with family, but it can also be a bit exhausting.  Fortunately, we didn't have to travel.

We had our son and one brother in law over for dinner, and a little later, my other brother in law and his wife dropped by.  Small, but that's the way I like it.

Wednesday (we can call it Thanksgiving Eve) we took a walk on the Vestal Rail Trail.  It has been (for us) warmer than usual, and we've actually seen some blue skies this week.  I took a picture of lighting on the dead plants lining this part of the trail.

A reflection in water photo.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, we walked in the small park near our home.

Finally, right after sunset, in the same park.  A lovely way to celebrate the day.

I hope you had a good day yesterday, too.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Gratitude #ThursdayTreeLove

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States.  As we count our blessings, we also remember those who have lost loved ones around the holidays. This has happened to me more than once, and my heart goes out to all those this has happened to. 

I am moved to post this picture of two trees on our local Vestal Rail Trail.  One is an apple tree (you can barely see red fruit).  The other, with white bark, I believe is a quaking poplar.

Trees have a lot of wisdom to share with us, if only we could communicate with them.  Right now I think they would tell us we all need a good laugh or two today.

This year it will just be four of us: myself, my spouse, our son, and one of his brothers.

I don't mind, though.  I like things small.  

I am also grateful for friends and co-workers, and want to share something sweet that happened several years ago.

It's time once again to tell you the story of the year I called the Butterball turkey number on a dare to get advise for cooking a 28 pound turkey.

First, the name of the talk line.  It's not the Butterball Hotline, which I thought it was until 2017.  It's Butterball's Turkey Talk-Line, and it has been giving turkey cooking advice to people in the United States since 1981.  

For years, one would have to call and talk to the kind folks at the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, but now one can text them, too.  The texting number is 844-877-3456.  The phone number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL.  So, if you are having last minute problems today, do give them a call or text.

Why would Americans need to talk or text turkey? Because on Thanksgiving, it is traditional to cook a turkey, and - well, there are so many ways to prepare turkeys.

I've wanted to call the Hot..I mean, the Turkey Talk-Line for years, but my spouse, the family cook, has never needed turkey advice. 

Comedian Stephen Colbert has made it a Thanksgiving tradition to call the Turkey Talk-Line with prank questions for years.  In recent years, those good folks actually let him loose on the Talk-Line in person. I am not sure he's doing it any more.

By the way, don't take his advice.

Back in 2017, someone I know was concerned because she had purchased a 28 pound (12.7 kg) frozen turkey for Thanksgiving (November 26 this year, in the United States) and had tried online research to figure out how long to cook it.  She had never cooked that big a turkey before.

Why don't we call Butterball? I asked.  "OK, but you start the conversation" was her response.  And so I dialed 1-800-BUTTERBALL.  The phone was answered quickly by a woman.

Upon hearing of the 28 pound turkey, the woman exclaimed, "oh, you will have such a beautiful turkey when it is cooked.  It will be golden brown; it will look like something in a Norman Rockwell painting!  It will look wonderful on your table."  Obviously, she sensed our hesitation.  But she was totally prepared with advice.

She took us through the process.  "You need to take the turkey now, today, and put it in your refrigerator.  It will take that long to safely defrost." Then she explained how to pat the turkey dry, take out the giblets (these turkeys are prepped and almost ready to go).  She gave us the oven temperature (325 degrees F), the fact that after a couple of hours we were to tent the turkey with aluminum foil, and the total approximate coking time (4 1/2 hours) for the unstuffed turkey.  And, she recommended we use a meat thermometer and what temperature the breast, or the leg, should be before you consider the bird "done".

She talked with us as if she had all the time in the world (maybe, a week away from Turkey Day, she did have a lot of time. But, on Turkey Day, her and her co workers will field about 10,000 phone calls). And again, she told us how beautiful that turkey was going to look on the table. After our questions were answered, she asked for only one thing - what was our zip code (postal code)?

We answered, and she exclaimed "Binghamton, New York.  Oh, I grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania!" (that's about an hour south of us).  She closed by asking if we had any more questions (we didn't).

So ended our conversation with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

It did make me wonder who works for the Talk-Line, and if they enjoy talking turkey all day long.
So, an article about their experiences is quite fascinating, too, especially, when you get to the part about the 89 year old man cooking his first turkey.  It sounds like such a fun place to work, if you are a people person.

And, if you have about eight more minutes today, enjoy.  We all need a good laugh, maybe today more than ever.

Joining Parul and other tree lovers each second and fourth Thursday at the Happiness and Food blog for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving Cactus for You #WordlessWednesday

Today, while I busy myself with some baking and cleaning, I want to share my Thanksgiving cactus in bloom with you.

This plant is commonly known as a Christmas cactus, but most Christmas cactus sold in stores are not true Christmas cactus.
A true Christmas cactus won't have points on the leaves.  Mine (I have three) have the points, although they aren't that visible in these pictures.   They didn't bloom much last year but this year - wow.
Two colors on two plants side by side.
My third Cactus - you can see the points better on this one.

Wishing my readers in the United States a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.  To all my readers, I am thankful for your continued readership.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Fifty Nine Years Later

"Singer" was a canary.  I lived in a New York City housing project which prohibited dogs or cats.  My Mom had brought home various goldfish, but eventually they all went to the large aquarium in the sky.

One of my aunts, who lived a couple of miles from me, had three pets:  two cats and a canary.

Yes, a canary living in the same apartment as two cats.

It was a male and it sang so beautifully.  For me,watching it, it was instant love.  I've always been attracted to birds and started begging Mom for a canary of my own.

At some point, when I was about eight, Mom decided I was old enough to care for a pet, so off to the pet shop we went (at that time, the early 60's, canaries were not expensive the way they are now) and Mom and I came home with a yellow canary.

"Singer" became a friend and companion for me, an only child.  He would sing for me, do little tricks with his seed bell and swing, and entertain me in general with his antics during his weekly bath.  In fact, I was able (with a lot of patience) to train him to sit on my finger, and even to sit on my shoulder.  I have a picture, somewhere of me (in a bathrobe, as I recall), with "Singer" perched on me. 

His songs and company were just what I needed after I broke my leg in three places and had to spend the next two months at home because my elementary school classroom was on the 4th floor and there was no elevator in the school building.  (I was home educated by a teacher sent to my apartment until after my cast was removed.  I blogged about that several years ago. I owe a lot to that teacher, but that's a story for another day).

Sadly, Singer passed away during my recovery.  I remember the date, too, because it was the day before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  I was still in my leg cast. 

Yes, people of my generation remember the date November 22, 1963 well.  It was the day that President John F. Kennedy was in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.  Shot several times, he died shortly after at a local hospital.  

Meanwhile, I was at home, reading or doing homework, perhaps.  My mother had left me to go shopping.  She returned home, and was crying as she opened the door to our Bronx apartment.

Mom turned on the TV, and the next three days were nonstop television coverage.  I had a doctor's appointment the following Monday to have the progress of my healing checked, and I remember watching some of the funeral coverage in the waiting room.

We went to the pet store the day after Kennedy died to buy another canary.  In the pet store cage was a yellow canary with a black spot on top of his head.  My Mom and I agreed the bird had the spot to mourn Kennedy, and that was the bird we took home with us.

It's been 59 years.  I still find that, in some ways, hard to believe.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Heavy vs Light Songs #MusicMovesMe

 It's Monday and you know what time it is:  time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or 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 (last but not least) me.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so 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 or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").That's all it takes!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host. For November our guest host is Sandee of Comedy Plus.   Let's welcome Sandee once again!

Today, let's do a little battle of Heavy vs. Light.  Yes, it's an eclectic list but I hope you enjoy it.

Heavy, a 1999 song from Collective Soul.

A cover of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, from the Hollies. 

 We are getting even heavier here, with Black Sabbath's classic from 1970, War Pigs.  This is a song that is heavy both in its music and in its lyrics.

So we need to lighten things up a little.  But I am going to consider "light" more like the opposite of dark. So first, The Beatles and "Here Comes the Sun".

The Rolling Stones and 1967's 2000 Light Years from Home.

And to wrap it up, a song from Collective Soul - Shine.

Thursday, in the United States, is Thanksgiving.  I want to once again thank my readers, both long time and recent, for your support and blogging friendship.  I am thankful for it each week.

Join me again next week for another episode of Music Moves Me, where the theme will be "Grateful".

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Scenes from a Sunday Snow Squall

My spouse and I live too far east to have been impacted by the massive snow dumps around Buffalo and Watertown.  Winter is definitely here.  And, knowing what it's like to get 40 inches (101.6 cm) of snow in one storm, my heart goes out to the people in these areas.  True, they are in a snow belt but even for them, it's a lot. 

Meanwhile, our lazy Sunday morning was interrupted about 9:15 am by a snow squall warning.

The birds in our yard don't seem to be too fazed by these squalls, which can be quite dangerous to humans out and about.  Sadly, my iPhone SE 1st edition (yes, still using it) couldn't pick up the birds but I got some OK pictures of the snow squall.

The squall arrived.

Quickly, the snow comes down where the sun shone a few minutes before.
It looks like fog - a deadly fog.

Snow starts to accumulate on the ground.

It's hard to see but there are birds (dark eyed juncos) foraging on the ground during all this.  One looks like a dot below the center of the photo.  Its back is turned to my phone.

You can't see it but birds keep flying in the bursts of wind and snow.  I am in awe of their ability to keep on keeping on in weather that would quickly conquer me.

Just as quickly as it started, the squall stops and the sun comes out.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of that.

It's been snowing lightly on and off since then.  A blustery day but at least we won't be getting a snow dump.  Today.

I hope you, dear readers, are having a great Sunday.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Timeless Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The Copse, Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

In March 2022, spouse and I visited Gettysburg for several days.  The area was the site for perhaps the most famous battle of the United States Civil War, fought July 1-3, 1863. 

I've been to many Civil War battlefields and related sites, from Prairie Grove, Arkansas (a battlefield I passed twice a day on my way to and from work for several years) to the home of Gettysburg hero and later Governor of Maine Joshua Chamberlain in Brunswick, MaineMonocacy in Maryland,  and sites of final surrender such as Appomattox Court House in Virginia and Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina.  But nothing can prepare you for Gettysburg, a battlefield which is as much an outdoor memorial as it is a piece of land where some 50,000) people were killed or injured in a massive three day battle.  There are hundreds of memorials and many parts of the battle to learn and ponder.  No wonder that many choose to hire a licensed battlefield guide.

It is so peaceful today, except for the thousands of people who visit this sacred ground each year.

It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't romantic.  In some ways, we still haven't recovered.  We are still surrounded by reminders.  Today is the 159th anniversary of one of these reminders, a short speech that may be the most famous speech ever given in our country.

This speech began simply, as a verbal invitation, followed later by an invitation in writing.

On November 2, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln received this invitation:

"Gettysburg Nov. 2 1863
To His Excellency
A. Lincoln
President U. S.

The Several States having Soldiers in the Army of the Potomac, who were killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, or have since died at the various hospitals which were established in the vicinity, have procured grounds on a prominent part of the Battle Field for a Cemetery, and are having the dead removed to them and properly buried.
These Grounds will be Consecrated and set apart to this Sacred purpose, by appropriate Ceremonies, on Thursday, the 19th instant. Hon Edward Everett will deliver the Oration. I am authorized by the Governors of the different States to invite you to be present, and participate in these Ceremonies, which will doubtless be very imposing and solemnly impressive.
It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the Nation, formally set apart these grounds to their Sacred use by a few appropriate remarks. It will be a source of great gratification to the many widows and orphans that have been made almost friendless by the Great Battle here, to have you here personally; and it will kindle anew in the breasts of the Comrades of these brave dead, who are now in the tented field or nobly meeting the foe in the front, a confidence that they who sleep in death on the Battle Field are not forgotten by those highest in Authority; and they will feel that, should their fate be the same, their remains will not be uncared for.
We hope you will be able to be present to perform this last solemn act to the Soldiers dead on this Battle Field.
I am with great Respect, Your Excellency's Obedient Servant
David Wills
Agent for A. G. Curtin Gov. of Penna.[Pennsylvania] and acting for all the States"

In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863,  some 2500 residents of Gettysburg were left to tend to the thousands of wounded and bury the thousands more who had died during the three day battle. Gettysburg was to be the costliest battle (in lives lost) of the Civil War.   I will spare you the details of the horrific conditions endured that summer by the farmers and others who owned the land where the dead fell, and what overwhelmed remaining Union soldiers and area residents went through, but if you are interested, here is one description. This article also has a harrowing description of what the Confederate soldiers left behind in Lee's retreat experienced.

Eventually, state and local governments came together.  With financial help from every Union state whose citizens died at Gettysburg, lawyer David Willis oversaw the purchase of 17 acres for what became a national cemetery.  It was to be dedicated on November 19, 1863, and the featured speaker was going to be...., not President Lincoln.  He was invited to give some remarks after the featured orator.  You might say, he was invited almost as an afterthought. (more on that shortly).

It was, instead, a noted orator by the name of Edward Everett, a man who had served as a Congressman, a Secretary of State, a Senator and the Governor of Massachusetts, who was to give the main speech. 

It would seem as if the President was being slighted, being treated almost as an afterthought.  But, I have read that was not the case at all. In the 1860's Presidents were not expected to give speeches. That was the job of orators such as Everett, and Lincoln was invited to give a "few words" in his role as President.

Lincoln Memorial, Gettysburg National Cemetary

Ironically, perhaps, Everett would not live to see the end of the Civil War, and Lincoln himself only outlived the end of the war by a few days.  But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Today is the 159th anniversary of the dedication of Gettysburg's National Cemetery on November 19, 1863, and here is the address Lincoln thought would not long be remembered.

Gettysburg National Cemetery, March 2022

He was wrong.  But what I find most interesting is that no one today knows the exact spot where Lincoln stood to make his speech.  There are some educated guesses.  Nor, until recently, did we even have a photograph of Lincoln making his address.  In the one photo now known, Lincoln's head is barely visible.

There are five known copies of the address, with some differences.  I believe this one is the most commonly quoted, what is now known as the "Bliss copy".

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Lincoln now belongs to the ages, and it it our turn to protect those hard fought liberties.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Gloomy November Snow #SkywatchFriday

Winter has arrived where I live in the Southern Tier of New York.

No, we aren't in the part of New York which received a major snow dump.  But it was a shock.  Less than two weeks ago, we had a wonderful Sunday afternoon when it got to 76 degrees F (24.4C) and we had an outdoor lunch with several other family members in a local park.  The following Sunday (November 14) we got our first snow flurries and first snow squall. 

So it wasn't much, but we are trying to adjust to the suddenly cold weather and the gloomy skies that dominate our late falls and winters.

The snow and sky on Wednesday.  Part of the snow had already melted because it went above freezing.  It looks strange on the green grass.

The gloom.

Yesterday, we had our second snow squall. It came down as ice pellets and the visibility wasn't as badly impacted as many we've had.

Snow pellets on the ground.

What happened to summer?  Or even the first week of November?

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers each week for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Temperature Art

I am in the longest crochet drought of my life.

Having said that, I hope that you won't run away if you don't crochet, because this isn't going to get (too) technical.  Or (I hope) boring.

A couple of samples of my work.

Crocheted in 1976, part of an afghan I still use on occasion

I have crocheted since the fall of 1970.  One of my high school friends, who also went to my college, showed me something (probably a crocheted vest, which were popular at the time) she had made.  I was already shopping for one of these vests and found that already made vests were a bit beyond my budget.

I decided to learn how to crochet in order to make one of those vests. (If you look on Pinterest, you'll see various crocheted "vintage 1970's vests" - that's what I was trying to make). 

I asked my friend to teach me how to crochet.  She taught me one stitch, and I was on my own to teach myself enough to make the project.  

Basically, my crochet is self taught.  I know I don't do certain things correctly, but I don't care. 

The stitch the friend taught me is called the slip stitch.  The slip stitch in crochet has very little height.  You use it to join work, to edge a work, or to travel to another part of the row (other than the beginning, which you might need to do if, for example, you are creating an armhole for a sweater).  But what I found is that if you crochet an entire project in slip stitch (say, a scarf) it had an interesting texture and was also elastic.

I used to spend a lot of time crocheting.   I would crochet while watching TV, while my then young son was playing, or during work lunchtimes. I wouldn't crochet in the summer but our long winters were perfect for crochet. I've just never blogged about it much.

I made this for my young son around 1994 - part of a racecar flag afghan

I haven't picked up a crochet hook in over a year.  And, I have all this yarn my spouse keeps bugging me about.  "Can't you use it?" he asks me. But I can't work up the ambition to crochet, with maybe one exception.

In October, spouse and I visited Salt Springs State Park during a Susquehanna County Art Trail event in Pennsylvania.  

Salt Springs State Park

There, a woman was displaying her quilts in the Visitors Center.   Several of them were what she called "Temperature Quilts".  She had quilts for 2020 and 2021. (No pictures).

What a temperature quilt does is track the low and high temperatures (or only the high temperatures - a lot simpler) for each day of a given year. You assign different colors for temperature ranges.  For example, lavender fabric represents a temperature range of -15F to 5F.  Medium blue 6F to 20F.  Light blue 21F to 32F.  And so forth, until the highest temperatures, say orange for 81F to 90F and red for 91F to 100F.  It rarely gets about 100F here. 

So if your town's high temperature for January 1 is 10F, you insert a strip of medium blue.  If your high for July 15 is 93F, you insert a strip of red.  You end up with a blanket containing stripes representing the temperatures of each day.  The more volatile your climate is, the more colorful it is. 

You can even insert a stripe for news commentary.  The Salt Springs artist had a black strip for the day Pennsylvania shut down due to COVID.

I was so intrigued, I looked up crocheted temperature afghans and there is a lot of information online.

Although I would have to do some math (not my strength), the concept intrigues me. When I read, on one of the sites explaining temperature afghans, that you could make an interesting blanket by using the slip stitch, I was (no pun intended) hooked.

Will I go through my yarn and try to figure out how to make one of these?  In my New York State climate, it would be fairly colorful.

We'll see.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Toys For Boys #WordlessWednesday

 Remember the good old days?

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, building toys were popular.  These photos were taken Saturday at the Tioga County Historical Society annual Oh Tannenbaum event.  Some of these predate me, coming from the 30's and 40's.

Erector sets and Tinker Toys.  The Erector Junior set above was from World War II, when metal to make toys couldn't be spared.  The war effort needed metal more, so they were made from wood.

More erector sets and sets for steel workers.

Love those wooden Tinker Toys.

Saturday, a mystery was solved for me. Do you see, in the center, a tube calling itself "Block City" and the white blocks (not quite like Legos) underneath?  I owned one of those sets.

I just couldn't remember what this was called but I loved building with those white lego like bricks.

You'll see something else in these photos, too, or, actually, you won't see something.

Pictures of girls.

Because these were meant for boys.  Toys for boys.

I guess I was fortunate.  I got to play with Tinker Toys, Block City, and Lincoln Logs (not pictured) back in the 50's.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2022

Winter arrived in my zone 5b garden in the Southern Tier of New York State on late Sunday afternoon with a snow squall.  But just the previous Sunday, it got up to 76 degrees F (24.4C).  What just happened?

We are supposed to get snow starting tonight extending into tomorrow.  

This is about all that is left outside


A sensitive plant.

My toad lily was about done Sunday.  I'm breaking a "must bloom 15th of the month" rule this month, I know, but we were so, so close to the 15th.

I took this geranium in Sunday but I decided to do an outdoor photo shoot.  This was my Mother's Day gift.

Another geranium I decided to try to keep indoors, although I don't have the room.  I'm so softhearted about plants.


Let's briefly turn our attention to indoors.  My Thanksgiving Cactii are loaded with buds, and they started opening over the weekend.

Last but not least, my peace lily is blooming for the first time since it was gifted to me in December of 2019.

Maybe this is a good sign?

The lean months for my GBBDing are here.  I'll be counting the days until I have outdoor flowers again. 

Thanks once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this 15th of the month meme so faithfully.

What's blooming in your home or garden?  Why not join up with other Garden Blogger Bloom Day bloggers?  If you don't have a blog, Carol invites us to post on Instagram (a site which I am no longer active on, incidentally).

Monday, November 14, 2022

Thankful Music #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for some music.


Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or 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 (last but not least) me.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so 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 or your post will be subject to removal or labeling "No Music").That's all it takes!

Each month, except December, we have a guest host.  This month, we once again welcome Sandee at Comedy Plus as our guest host.

Today Sandee picks the theme of "Thankful".  Before I get into the music, I wanted to list some of the things I am thankful for:

Having food, shelter, and heat.

Having people I love in my life.

Health and mobility. 



And, last but not least - you, my readers!

Now, onto the music.

Thankful - Celine Dion, from 2013.

From 1978, Thank You For Being a Friend - Andrew Gold

Grateful: A Love Song to the World. Empty Hands Music.

ABBA and Thank You for the Music, from 1977.

Pentatonix: Thank You may be more of a Christmas song, but it's also a song about a man thanking his loved one.

And that's a thankful wrap!

Join me again next Monday for another episode of Music Moves Me, brought to you by the thankful bloggers in the linky at the beginning of today's post.