Saturday, December 31, 2022

My iPhone Time Machine

 Today is a day of reflection.  

This week, several famous people of my youth or early adulthood died, including Pele and Barbara Walters.  Pope Emeritus Benedict also died, along with a grandson of music legend Bob Marley.  It's dreary out today (although it's also mild).   Sickness is everywhere.  Although my spouse and I have dodged it (so far) my son caught "something".  He's better now. 

When I bought a new iPhone earlier this month, I transferred my thousands of photos to the new phone (why?  who knows) and I was able to bring up "2022" and relive some of the highlights of this interesting year.

Time seems to speed up the longer I live and I just want to yell "Stop!  Freeze!"

Photos allow you to do that, in a way.

February 20 local park

The year almost always begins in my part of New York State in a frozen world, and if it doesn't, it happens soon enough.

March 24 crocus, my yard

But finally, the world comes alive with flowers once more.

April 25, Binghamton, New York

Spring arrives.

It's time to get out and travel.  Here, June 14 along the Erie Canal in Macedon, New York.

Gourds, Ithaca, New York, mid October

But the warm season speeds by, and before you know it, it's harvest time.

The trees turn color.

The holiday season arrives.

And before you know it....(December 29)

So here we are.  I can't end a 2022 post without this picture, though.

May we all have a better 2023.

And thank you to my readers - I appreciate you all!

"See" you in 2023.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Watching the Last Skies of 2022 #SkywatchFriday

 What a week or two it has been for the United States.  Bitter cold, snow, the terrible death toll from the storm in Buffalo, New York (about 195 miles/ 314 km from me) which is still rising...

I was going to do a 2022 sky retrospective but changed my mind.  Instead, some pictures from the last eight days or so.

The same snowstorm that caused so much misery and death in Buffalo just gave us a fraction of the snow.

Sunset on Christmas Eve (taken from indoors at a relative's home), right before we left.

After sunset, same view.   On the way home, this turned into a nice sunset but for some reason I couldn't get my phone out of my pocket, and I missed it.

December 26 - what a spooky sky! We were on our way to bring some food to our son, who was sick. (He's better now).

A rural view, also December 26.

Yesterday, on the Vestal Rail Trail.  The sun was out, and I was able to get a puddle capture.


The historic Coal House on the Rail Trail, which is now a small restaurant selling smoothies and sandwiches.  I'm not sure it's open for the winter - it wasn't open yesterday.

Speaking of the day before yesterday, I forgot all about the sunset until the last minute, and missed another good one.  Oh, the missed opportunities!

Yesterday, I hoped for another great sunset, but it wasn't to be.

But no matter.  It's always fun watching the sky.

I wish all my favorite Skywatchers a Happy New Year and hope that 2023 will be a good year for our world.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Formula Tragedies

We are in the midst of the final week of 2022.  We look backwards and forward at the same time, and it is right that we do so.

If we forget history, as the saying goes, we are doomed to make the same mistakes again.

Earlier this year, there was a major crisis in our United States over supplies of infant formula.  There were various causes, including supply chain problems and the closure of a formula process plant after the deaths of several babies and a formula recall.  As far as I know, the formula supply still isn't at 100%.

Formula had to be imported from other countries.

But did you know that, 60 years ago, there was another formula tragedy, at a time when many parents (and hospitals) made their own formula from ingredients available in grocery stores? (During the 2022 crisis, parents were discouraged from trying the old time recipes).

One of the ingredients in homemade formula was sugar.

Several times in the past, I've blogged about a tragedy that occurred in the small city of Binghamton, New York (where I worked for many years) in March of 1962. It was a tragedy that I vaguely remember reading about at the time in my Mom's Look or Life magazines.  I was only around nine years old and living in New York City, but I can also remember the emotional reactions of adults in my life.  

I never dreamed the community of Binghamton would be part of my life for almost half of my years.

A documentary has finally been released by a local PBS station, WSKG.

Here is a blog post I wrote in 2014. 

From comments made on my blog, I know there are still families in this area that were impacted by this tragedy.  

I never knew that a doctor at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Finberg, an expert on peritoneal dialysis (a procedure rarely done back in 1962), had written an article in 1960 warning of the possibility of salt poisoning.  Sadly, it came to pass less than two years later.

Briefly, according to the documentary, around 29 babies in Binghamton General Hospital (a hospital that is still operating)  were fed hospital made infant formula made with salt rather than sugar due to a horrific error in filling a sugar bin. There were three formulas in use at the hospital, two that used sugar and one that didn't.  A handful of mothers were breastfeeding, a practice that had fallen out of favor by 1962.

For a couple of days, after babies started to become seriously ill,  no one knew what was happening. A contagion was thought to be the most likely cause. The true cause was finally figured out when a nurse took some sugar for her coffee from the sugar bin (against rules but this nurse reported what she had done) and the coffee was salty.  She then tasted the sugar in the sugar bin, and found it was salt.

The babies were suffering from salt poisoning.

Six babies died and the rest of the young lives were saved only through heroic measures, including the same type of dialysis that only a handful of doctors in this country even knew how to perform. 

In my 2014 blog post I referred to a documentary that was being made about this incident.  I finally got to see the documentary earlier this week.  A reader alerted me that it was available online and should be online through sometime in January.  The one hour video can be viewed via this link.

I highly recommend it, whether or not you've ever heard of the Binghamton Salt Baby Tragedy, as it is now known as.

Some of the early parts of the documentary (the history of Binghamton General Hospital) might not be of much interest to people outside of this area, but I encourage you to stick with it.  The causes of this tragedy as outlined by the documentary are universal themes that could happen today:  cost cutting, understaffing, a nurse who hesitated to report the salty tasting formula one of the mothers reported to her (the delay may have cost lives), and a practical nurse, pregnant herself with her fourth child, being blamed when she was only carrying out procedures that people above her were responsible for implementing.

As a result of this horror, reforms were put into place in New York State and throughout the United States so that something like this could never happen again.

But those reforms were little solace for the families that lost their babies.  The pain still exists in our community today in the surviving family members.  I am honored that some of them, and at least one nurse who was on the scene, have commented on my past blog posts. 

I do not blog about this to reopen old wounds, but rather, to recognize that the 2022 formula crisis was not the first time formula made the national news.  The circumstances were different but the end, in both cases, was tragic.

This week, we look back to what happened in 2022.  When we look ahead once more, let us try to fix a system once again broken.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

South Hill Mural #WordlessWednesday

It's the last Wordless Wednesday of 2022 and for today, I wanted to recapture the lovely days of earlier this year when trees were green with leaves, the sky wasn't a grim grey, and there was no snow on the ground.

I took this picture from the car during a mid October visit to Ithaca, New York.

Let's zero in on the mural for a minute and enjoy the rural scene of a balloon floating over a field newly hayed. day the green will return.

Wishing my fellow Wordless Wednesday-ers a Happy New Year.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Great Changes

Back in May of 2021, I blogged about my dentist of many years retiring.   

My dentist did retire at the end of summer 2021. I met my new dentist in early 2022, when he had to work on an old filling that needed to be worked on.

Life went on.

When my spouse had his doctors appointment in the fall of 2021, he found out his doctor (also of many years) was retiring at the end of the year.  The doctor was 70, and wanted to spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren. 

Then, not long after I got a letter from my gyn nurse practitioner.  The letter said she was retiring December 5, 2021.  I had my suspicions (my post link above also discussed her possible retirement) but thought I might get more notice.  Earlier this year, I met her replacement.

Of course, these professionals would have retired eventually, but maybe not when they did.  I will never know. 

The most recent retirement was earlier this month - our insurance agent of 36 years.  During that time, she raised a daughter, successfully underwent treatment for cancer, and took good care of us.  Now, her elderly mother has dementia, and she will become a full time caregiver.

We've all read about the "Great Resignation" but there is also the "Great Retirement". I technically wasn't part of the Great Retirement, because I gave my retirement notice before the pandemic arrived in my area, but I was fortunate enough to continue to work (part time) from home after I retired.  Many professionals don't have that luxury.

We are all getting older.  I just passed an age milestone myself.

Not all of us are so fortunate.

So, what next?

Life is all about change, after all.

Back in 2014, I wondered where I would be in 10 years.  How could I have imagined the world of 2022?

None of us could.  We are all making the best of a rapidly changing world.  Who would have thought of a war in Ukraine (and the hardships they face with winter taking hold)? Forces possibly driving our country towards a civil war?  A pandemic?  The illnesses striking us seemingly all at once?

Yet, life goes on.

All we can do is hope for the best, but also take actions we hope will benefit us, our families, and our societies.

And world peace, too.  Yes, that would be nice.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Ringing in the New Year A Week Early #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday! Once again, 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.  Without a music video, the post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.  

Each month, we have a guest host.  For December, our honorary host is Santa Claus.  Santa calls on us to post holiday music so we can all dance and have a good time.  

Now that Christmas is past, we look forward to New Year's.

But first, let's look back at Christmas Day, with the Dropkick Murphys and "The Season's Upon Us".

Now, let's party like it's 1999, with the late, great Prince.

From the movie New Year's Eve, here is Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michele with "Have a Little Faith In Me".

Finally, how could I  leave out the song Auld Lang Syne when we in the United States use this song to ring in the New Year?  I'm not sure there is an official count of how many times this song has been covered.

I love bagpipes.  I could listen to bagpipe music all day. Don't worry, this post is not filled with bagpipe music, but I couldn't resist one performance of Auld Lang Syne with bagpipes.

This is perhaps my most favorite performance ever of the classic Auld Lang Syne - Rod Steward, live at Stirling Castle. 

When next we meet for Music Moves Me, it will be New Year's Day.  Happy New Year to all my readers!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Quiet Christmas Sunday

What I always loved about Christmas Eve was the feeling of stores closing, people gathering with friends and family, and a slowing of our everyday lives. Of course, not everyone gets Christmas off - not medical people, not police and fire, not some of the most essential of our workers, but even then, at least in major cities, non Christian co-workers traditionally step in in to take some of their shifts.

Now, at least where I live in New York, the weather is finally moderating. Although the sun is shining occasionally,  the wind is still chilly.

This evening will be the last day of Hanukkah.

For many of my readers, today is Christmas.

 Happy Holidays from our local farmers market!

Taken before our cold wave and snow - Farmers Market

Tomorrow, Kwanzaa begins.  (Sorry, don't have a picture).  

What do these holidays all have in commons?  Light.  Lighting the darkness, rejecting hate, celebrating religious and cultural values, remembering what is important in our lives:  family, friends, fellowship, tradition.

Whatever the holiday you celebrate is, may you enjoy happiness and good health this year and next.  If you wish, sit back and enjoy "Happy Holiday" sung by Peggy Lee.

Once again, wishing my readers the best this holiday season.  Thank you for your readership!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve 2022

Could it be?  Has Santa escaped the North Pole and taken up residence in a warmer clime as a snowbird?

Let's check the rumor out.

Here's a photograph of Santa preparing to go to the beach.

And he even brought a gnome with him.

I hope his letters are getting forwarded.  But no worries, children.  Tonight, no matter where he's living, Santa will be on his way to bring toys and goodies to all the good children.

And to all, a good night.

Christmas Eve/Sarajevo - Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Blue Sky on First Day of Winter

Where I live in the Southern Tier of New York, blue skies in winter are usually associated with ice cold temperatures.

But Nature gave us a treat this year on the first day of winter.  Blue skies and temperatures above freezing.  We headed to Otsiningo Park for an outdoor walk.

Celebrate being able to see the sun!  (the frozen strip running across the picture is a pond).

Let me take you along.    The hoops across the path are part of a holiday light display.

In the quick moving river, shadows were visible.

Another river view.

The perfect mix of snow, turned off Christmas lights, trees, and hills.

One more - a frozen puddle.  

Wishing all my readers, far and near, the happiest of holiday seasons, and a Happy New Year to all.

Joining Yogi and fellow skywatchers for the next to last time this year at Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Magical Mystery Feeder Bird

Christmas is rapidly approaching.

I've been gifted Santas through the years, and have bought some on my own.  Here are some of them.

Nature, though, has its own plans, and they don't include Santa.

On this first full day of winter we are about to get a big blast of winter weather. But, through the worst of weather, wildlife perseveres.  With shrinking habitats, we feel some responsibility.

Especially, I admire songbirds.  They weigh so little but are out there foraging in the winter weather, armed only with feathers, beak, and feet.  To help them out, we have four feeders in our backyard.  This is our second winter of feeding and watching our backyard birds.  

During our Southern Tier of New York Decembers, our feeders and the ground below them host various native birds including Northern Cardinals, black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, house finches, gold finches, white throated sparrows, Carolina wrens, downy and hairy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, dark-eyed juncos, and mourning doves.  In nearby trees, we hear blue jays, American crows, and (a species relatively new to our area) fish crows.  In our neighborhood, there are additional birds - European starlings and house sparrows, among others.

Sometimes, though, there is a magical surprise.

Back on Monday, my spouse saw a bird he had never seen before on our suet feeder.  Later that day, I saw it, too. To me, it looked like a robin sized bird whose feathers have been totally mussed up.  

Maybe a late migrator?  A late juvenile?  We are still new to birding, and our Wild Birds Unlimited closed recently.  We have no one right now to ask.

We tried using Merlin, a free ID app, for ID.  First we tried Picture ID with a picture my spouse took (we also have a video but it's not too good). and it guessed the bird was a house finch, but it isn't.  It's bigger than a house finch.

Trying an ID based on color, size and behavior, we got birds we are already familiar with.

We need help!  I hope one of my readers familiar with New York (near the Pennsylvania border) birds can help out.

Here's the one picture spouse took that came out (and it's not that great - it was also taken out of a window so there is some glare).  The bird in question is in the brown bird in the center of the photo.  We also caught (to its left) a downy woodpecker, fortunately, so there is a way to estimate the size of our mystery bird.

Here are some observations: 

The bird seemed to have black (or dark brown) and whitish spots on its belly, which is hidden in this photo.  The wings seemed mottled.  The beak was not stout.  Its eyes were dark.

It's not a great photo but I hope some one out there has ideas.  We saw this bird Monday and Tuesday.  We haven't seen it since. 

I thank you, and I wish you many happy moments with beautiful birds.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Christmas Crochet #WordlessWednesday

 A recent blog post from a skilled knitter and crocheter showing the first sweater she made way back when, inspired this post.

Back in the fall of 1986, I was working as an office temporary and, between assignments, I was looking for something to do.  So I got a couple of Christmas books out, which included some crochet patterns.

I made a tree skirt, which I still use.


At one time I used this as an ornament.

 I could wish for being able to do fine crochet like that back years ago.  No more.

I use these Christmas coasters under some of my home decorations.

Last but not least...

I'm not sure I made this in 1986 - it may have been in the late 1980's, though.  It's a Santa head and originally was supposed to fit over a 16 oz coffee can.  They haven't made 16 oz coffee cans for years, so I tucked a large mug in it - it just doesn't look the same.  Don't laugh!  I call it "Scary Santa".

My hope for my readers is a happy holiday within your tradition, and if you are going through a hard time right now, please know that you are not alone.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for a holiday week #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

2022 Blue Christmas

This past weekend, we would have celebrated my mother in law's 95th birthday.

Repeating a post I first wrote in 2009 has become a holiday tradition for this blog, because not everyone has a happy holiday season.

We've had several instances of deaths around the holidays in my family.  My father in law died overnight on Christmas, 1998.  In 2015, our family (inlaws) experienced holiday death in the family again when brother in law's mother in law passed away right after Thanksgiving.  In 2018, my mother in law died the day after Thanksgiving.  Two weeks later, a first cousin of my husbands' passed away unexpectedly after a brief hospitalization.  We had just seen him at my mother inlaw's wake. 

Needless to say, we aren't the only ones sharing in this type of trauma.

But none of us ever dreamed we would spend over two years in a pandemic and another few months trying to reorient ourselves to what sounds like a cliche - our new normal.

Now, the sorrow of loss is shared by the families of over one million people in the United States, lost to us from COVID.. Not only that, but there is the "hidden pandemic" - all the children (over 140,000) who have lost one or both primary caregivers due to COVID-19. 

The secular Christmas, the Christmas of shopping, spending, decorating, and eating seems to be more intense this year than in a long time.  For those left out, it is more painful than ever.  What my family went through pales in comparison.

My writing has become more polished over the years but I am not going to do any editing.  This voice from the past is speaking to me, and I hope its message will help some of my readers.

Here's my original post from 2009. 

To those new to the club of Blue Christmas, I don't have much wisdom to impart to you.  I hope you find some value in the following.  Remember, your feelings are legitimate and everyone feels grief on their own schedule.  Grief does not take a holiday for The Holidays.

Tis the Season....for Sadness (unedited, from 2009)

Happy Holidays!

No, that's not true.

The holidays are not happy for everyone. 

11 years ago December 25.....  Spouse and I were at my in-laws on Christmas Day.  They live about 150 miles from where we live.  We had a nice day with other family members, and settled down to watch "It's a Wonderful Life"  with my mother in law and father in law.  Then we went to bed.

My father in law never woke up.  He died during the night of a massive heart attack, his third.

Imagine my mother in law, spending the day after Christmas arranging for the funeral of her husband of nearly 50 years.    The decisions that had to be made quickly, oh so quickly.  The little things, like flowers being almost impossible to come by (flowers being a part of their culture's funeral tradition).  Or us having to borrow clothes for the funeral-most people don't visit for Christmas with black clothes in their suitcase!  Those little details, in a sea of all the major details, on a holiday weekend.

The family gathered again but this time for a much sadder occasion.  Many people came to the funeral home, and it was a great comfort.  But then everyone had to go home, including us.

And then the next Christmas rolled around.  It was not easy.  But we survived, and each year it became easier.  My mother in law has established her independence, and enjoys Christmas with family.

It never goes away but it does become easier.  Although, I have never watched "It's a Wonderful Life" again.

Years ago I worked with someone whose husband died from cancer on Thanksgiving.  In my youth I couldn't understand why Thanksgiving was so hard for her.

Now I understand.

"Blue Christmas" is more than an Elvis song.  For those who have experienced loss:  loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, the holidays can be so hard to survive, even if you are not a Christian.  Wherever you go, you are surrounded by smiling Santa's, by holiday decorations, by endless carols blaring at work, at the supermarket, at the mall, by constant reminders that everyone is happy.  Except you.

But, you are not alone.  And you will get through it, although it may take a long time.

Time is your friend.  It was for me.  I hope it is for you.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Christmas Songs Written by Jewish Writers

It's Monday! Once again, 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.  Without a music video, the post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.  

Each month, we have a guest host.  For December, our honorary host is Santa Claus.  Santa calls on us to post holiday music so we can all dance and have a good time.

But first, since Hanukkah started yesterday at sundown, I need a Hanukkah song.

Last week, I introduced you to an a capella group called Six13.  This is their Hanukkah song for this year.  I present their tribute to Sir Elton John:  Elton Johnukah.

But now, it's time to get serious, with the rise of anti-semitism in our United States.

It may surprise you that White Christmas, I'll Be Home for Christmas, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, and many other modern Christmas songs were written or co-written by Jewish writers.

My quest to find out more started in 2010, reading a NY Times Op Ed.  My research was made easier by a number of online writers.  I thank them, including the author of this article. (a must read, based on extensive research).

In fact, an album just released this year celebrates Christmas songs written by Jews.

Some may argue that these are NOT Christmas songs, but rather songs about what I would now call the "secular Christmas". True, these are not hymns.  But it is true that the American celebration of Christmas incorporates many aspects of non-religious symbolism - this ground has been covered by other writers.

Many of these songs have been covered again and again.  In some ways they have become timeless. 

Let's enjoy some of these songs, and I thank this article in particular for much of my information.  

First, the Brenda Lee original Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, written by Johnny Marks.  Marks is also responsible for A Holly Jolly Christmas and co-wrote Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with another Jewish writer, Robert Louis May.

Silver Bells, written by two Jewish writers, Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, for a 1950 movie, The Lemon Drop Kid.  Here's the original, sung by Marilyn Maxwell and Bob Hope.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, also written by two Jewish writers, George Wyle and Eddie Pola. (Wyle also wrote the theme song to Gilligan's Island).  This was written for Andy Williams and his first Christmas album, released in 1963.

The Christmas Song, written by Jewish writers Mel Torme and Robert Wells during a 1945 July heatwave.  It was first recorded by Nat King Cole's trio in 1946 and rerecorded in 1961.  This, perhaps, was my favorite Christmas song growing up in New York City.

Do You Hear What I Hear was released in 1962.  While researching this blog post I learned that this song was a reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961.  Now, once again, we face a nuclear crisis, so I am featuring this song on my blog for the first time.  It was written by husband and wife team Nöel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker.  Baker was Jewish; Regney was raised Catholic but left the church.  I am posting the original Harry Simeone Chorale recording.

One last song - Eartha Kitt's 1953 Santa Baby, written by Jewish songwriters Joan Javits and Phillip Springer.

Hate has no place in the celebration of Christmas.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Carol of the Bells

We went exercise walking in our local mall not long after it opened and before the crowds arrived.


I really needed to see some brightness today - it's another gloomy day in New York State.

Inside this area, children get to meet Santa and have their picture taken with him.
Tomorrow is my Music Moves Me holiday music contribution, but for today, I wanted to feature the recent Carol of the Bells performance by the Children's Choir of Ukraine.

I never knew until this that Carol of the Bells (Shchedryk) was Ukrainian.  This was one of my favorite Christmas Carols when I was a teenager.  Keep in mind that this choir, performing in New York City's Carnegie Hall, had to practice in a bomb shelter this year.

What a beautiful carol, with extra meaning this holiday season.  

Join me again tomorrow for more holiday music.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Falling Off the Learning Curve

 It's important to keep your mind active and nimble as you grow older, according to the experts.  Sometimes, I can feel the concrete settling around my mind, especially when I'm trying to learn something new.

Especially if it involves technology.

My last iPhone, a iPhone SE first edition, was purchased in early August, 2016.  With the September, 2022 introduction of the latest operating system, the phone became obsolete.  It doesn't accept the new operating system.  It was time for a new phone.

Ah, planned obsolesce.  Everything still worked, although I suspected the battery was starting to go.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  Walking in the mall, we passed the Verizon store and it didn't look busy  Now was our chance.

Bottom line, I got a new phone (well, last year's model, but new), an iPhone 13 min.  I also ended up, thanks to an extended Black Friday special, with a new (last year's model) iPad, an Apple Watch SE2, and a pair of Beats bluetooth buds. The ad on TV might lead you to believe these bonus devices are free.  Well, they are not quite free, because free in the technology world is never free.  But I (I think) came out ahead, especially as my eight year old iPad mini was already obsolete.  Some apps would no longer work on it and I was mainly using it as an e-reader.

Good times.  Call these early Happy Holiday gifts.

My happiness ended when it was time to get the new devices set up.  Did I mention that someone at work who had gotten a new phone the week before warned me that the iPhone 13's don't have physical SIM cards, and her eSIM card didn't work? Well, mine didn't work, either.

The Verizon store helped me with the phone problem.  My son helped me with a problem getting cellular service on the Apple Watch which saved me a trip to the mall Verizon store (by then, busy with pre-Christmas shoppers).  

And the Beats buds? I wanted to use with with my laptop so I could listen to music while spouse watched TV.  The only problem was my laptop is 10 years old (do you see a pattern here with me and old devices?) and didn't have Bluetooth.  Nor did it have USB-C ports.  The buds use a case which a USB-C charger plugs into.  If you have the plug (not included), that is.

Fortunately, my son to the rescue, again.  I am up and running - I think.

Watching my son and his ease with this technology gave me a little pang of pride (and a feeling of being a piece of obsolute technology, too).

Now I have to learn to use the features of these updated devices, and I already feel like I've fallen off the learning curve.

I know I can do it.

I'll just have to take it a little slower than I would have at one time.

These past almost thirty years now since I first heard of a new technology called the Internet, have been one (to paraphrase the Grateful Dead) long, strange trip.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Almost Winter Skies #SkywatchFriday

Today's post marks the changing of the phone guard, saying goodbye to my iPhone SE 1st edition that served me so well for over six years, and saying hello to my new iPhone 13 mini.

I don't know that much about the features of the iPhone 13 mini camera.  I am climbing the learning curve right now.

This is the sunset on the last day I was using the SE for photography.  I left our local indoor mall right after sunset on December 5, new phone in the box, to be set up at home.

Outside the mall.

 Construction fence as we left the mall.

This was the view on the highway (I was a passenger).  I cut off the bottom of the photo because there was a lot of glare.

We decided to visit the park where we watch sunsets before heading home.


Sunset December 13, same park, taken with the new phone camera.

Crows in tree, December 14.  I couldn't get too close or I would have spooked them.

Snow coming down December 15.

As our head Skywatcher Yogi said yesterday, and I quote:

"Skywatch photos have such huge variety. Some are anticipated and the photographer sets up ahead of time and waits for the perfect moments. Others like this one, you see when you get out of your car on a shopping trip and you notice the sunset and you snap off a shot or two because all of us skywatchers know that with color on sunsets and sunrises it's all about the now. You might only have seconds to take the shot before the sky turns gray. And of course when you take the shot you may end up with all sorts of "culture," overhead lines, parking lot lots, cars, businesses, buildings. Stuff like that seldom bothers me. It's part of where I live.

Part of what I love about Skywatch Friday is the huge variety of photos that participants post. Deserts, mountains, cities, villages, farms and more are presented..."

I hope you enjoyed my "in the moment" pictures.   Yes, skywatching is all about the now, isn't it?

Joining up with Yogi and other skywatchers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day December 2022

It's the last Garden Bloggers Bloom Day of the year, and, after months of many things to show you, I am down to just a few.

In my zone 5b garden in the Southern Tier of New York State, we are under a winter storm warming.

Inside, though, the few blooming plants I have are snug and warm.  With our storm today, let's hope it stays that way.

Red and pinkish geraniums.

My geranium basket Mother's Day gift.  How could I let it die with the freeze?

An unexpected orange geranium.  It opened up last night!  This particular plant is two years old and is quite large.  You aren't seeing the plant, though, just leaves of a poinsettia from last year that is next to it. 

Speaking of those poinsettias, they never quite succeeded in coloring up.  There is a way to do this and I've only totally succeeded once.  These plants are too big to move and they are in my home office, so any red you see was totally the plants' doing.

Our one poinsettia plant recently purchased, a pink variety.  The pink bracts, as we know, aren't the actual flowers, which are the tiny things in the center. 

Last but not least, we actually had an outdoor flower, until a couple of days ago, anyway.  Our white Lenten Rose, which has a habit of putting out buds in January (too early!), outdid itself. Two days ago we got down to around 15 degrees F (-9.4C) and the buds froze. 

I'd love to know if anything is blooming for you where you live.

Thanks once again go to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly meme the 15th of every month, month after month, year after year.   Thank you, Carol!  

Happy GBBD to you all, happy holidays, and happy New Year!