Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A Genealogical Adventure Awaits - Am I Ready

Have any of my readers taken a DNA test (Ancestry, or 23 and Me, for example)?  If so, what have your experiences been, if you are willing to share any of those in the comments?

So far I've resisted taking one of these tests, although a cousin I met several years ago after not having been in contact for many years (a long story) encouraged me to, saying "you'll be surprised at what you will find".  He and his wife had both had their DNA tested.

Other people I know have privacy concerns about the data these testing companies collect.  The NY Times article I am linking to explains this further.

One of my first cousins on my father's side has been doing some genealogical research recently after using a 23 and me test. He was matched up to several second cousins of ours.  Eventually, I wonder if any will want to get in touch with me.

I'm excited but, as someone who is extremely introverted, also hesitant.

A part of me wants to know more, and not just about my father's side. I don't have to hand over DNA to find relatives I didn't know I had on my father's side, as this same uncle had done research about twenty years ago on our family. (He's in his late 90's now). But my mother's side is a different story. 

I'm an only child.  My parents died many years ago. 

Because of my particular ethnic and religious heritage, I know I may not be able to go back that far in time, either, thanks to the events of World War II.

A number of bloggers I read have some knowledge of genealogical research (unlike me), and two have helped me in the past.

One helped me find a record of my mother's parents, my mother, and two other siblings still at home in the 1950's census.  I knew the address of my grandparents but there was more needed to find the record.  She gave me what I needed and I've never thanked her publicly.  Let me do that now.  Thank you, Denise.

It was an interesting peek into my mother's life before she was married and had me.

The other blogger helped me find some information about the town where my mother's father grew up.  A record of his I found years ago on Ancestry (again, on a "free use" day) gave the town's name but I couldn't find it online anywhere.  This woman gave me a link. (Apparently the name of the town on my grandfather's record was the German name although it was part of Austria-Hungary, but the town is currently in Poland and goes by a different, Polish name.)  In 2016, using this woman's link, I found enough to suspect its Jewish population had been murdered during World War II but I still couldn't locate the town itself.

Sunday, I revisited the information and found the name that ancestral town is known by today.  I also found out its Jewish residents had been rounded up and eventually sent to the Belzec death camp in Poland.  I had known my mother's oldest brother had not emigrated with the rest of the family in the early 20th century, and I may now know what happened to him and any other relatives I still had back "in the old country".  May they forever rest in peace.   

So I owe this blogger thanks, too.  Thank you, Holly.

Would DNA testing even help me find out more about my roots on my mother's side?  Is it worth the money and the possible loss of personal data?

I'm really curious to have facts that would help me make up my mind as to going ahead with it.   I hope some of my blog readers can, again, help.

I thank you in advance.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Mary or Maria Songs #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and we are closing in on February.  It's the last music post of January, 2023, meaning it's 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.  Without a music video, the post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.  

Every other week is Free Choice, and on non-free choice weeks, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   There are still several weeks without themes available for someone to suggest a theme for.  The 2023 themes so far can be found here.

Today's theme is Free Choice.  I was inspired to feature, today, songs with a Mary or Maria (which is Mary in Spanish) in the title or lyrics.


1972's Only in Your Heart from America was a song I fell in love with when I purchased an America greatest hits album in 1977 during a visit to Dallas, Texas.  There was a wonderful record (remember them?) store there and I wonder if it still exists, in some form or other.

Along Comes Mary, a 1966 hit from The Association.  This is a live version.

Proud Mary was a 1968 hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival, but was covered by Ike and Tina Turner in 1970.  No disrespect to CCR but I like Tina's cover a lot more than the original.  So I wondered if John Fogerty ever performed this song with Tina Turner. Turns out he did, but this is what I found online, and there is no video to go with it.  

Take A Letter Maria was a 1969 hit for R. G. Greaves.

Harry Chapin and a live performance of "If My Mary Were Here".

I'll end with Johnny Cash and his 2000 cover of the song "Mary of the Wild Moor" (Sheryl Crow on accordion and backup singing.)  This is not your usual Johnny Cash.

And that's a wrap!

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

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Challenge of the Challenger

Every generation has its defining moment.

For mine, it was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  For my son, it was September 11.  For this upcoming generation, I'm thinking it will be the lockdown months of the pandemic.

For a different generation, it was the explosion of the Challenger on January 28, 1986, 37 years ago yesterday.

On January 28, 1986 the U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded, on live TV, 73 seconds after its launch.  All seven crew members, including a civilian, were killed.  Tragically, the explosion was caused by an O Ring failure - something so small caused something so big.  A local company, IBM (yes, IBM originated locally where I live) helped with the investigation as they built the computers on the flight.

At one time, the space race was an extension of what we called the Cold War between the United States and the then-Soviet Union, which is where some irony came in.

For years, we had to pay Russia to transport our astronauts to the International Space Station.  Now, we are able to do it ourselves once again, thanks to SpaceX.

We mourn all those who died, but Christa McAuliffe, the teacher from New Hampshire, is the one I really think about the most.  She was selected out of 11,000 applicants for the opportunity to participate. She was going to teach lessons in space.

Now, in her native New Hampshire, McAuliffe is honored with her own day each January 28.  There are scholarships and sabbatical programs in her name.

There is even a commemorative coin minted in her honor, distributed in 2021. On the coin is a quote from McAuliffe: "I touch the future.  I teach."

It turns out one of my Facebook friends knew her sister.  That's the wonder of the Internet, that, in ways, we are all connected (for good or bad). 

I will always remember this day, January 28, 1986, for another reason.  My father had died suddenly days before, and I was numb with grief. On January 28, I was finally back at work. My office got a call from a client, telling us of the disaster.  None of us could believe it - and this great grief cut through the grief and numbness of the previous days. 

I cried.  I mourned.  I mourned for my father, the astronauts, and our country.

The explosion of the Challenger challenges us all.  We must not give up space. And, more importantly, we must not give up the fight to make teaching a career that both attracts and retains (and treats fairly and with respect) those who teach the generations that will determine our future one day.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

If We Forget

This is not one of my positive posts featuring birds or flowers or pictures of the sky.

Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps in Poland.

Yes, what we call The Holocaust happened.

Yes, it needs to be remembered, along with other instances of hate and genocide in world history.

Yes, I've written about this particular anniversary before.  I invite you to read one or both of these blog posts.

I will blog about the Holocaust again, as long as I have a blog, and a voice, but this year, I have other things to say, because Holocaust Remembrance Day is not just a date on the calendar to pay lip service to and then return to our usual mental programming.

We must not hide history, even if it's painful.  We deny it at our peril.

The Holocaust is just one example.  Do we want to end up like some of our modern American citizens, with maybe some knowledge of the Holocaust but far from enough?

I read about the Holocaust as a young girl.  I knew Holocaust survivors - they were the parents of some of my friends.  It wasn't spoken about, but I breathed it in with each breath.  And those books, geared to young children? Some were published by Scholastic.  They included pictures, too.  Yes, perhaps not the worst pictures, but these children's books were never hidden from me.

It didn't wreck me.  Rather, my parents hoped that I would be in an adult where hatred of Jews and other minorities in this country would disappear.

That world has never existed, and it's getting worse.  It's acceptable once again to show hate.  Incidents of hate continue to rise both here and in other countries.  It isn't just the Holocaust.
I am horrified at the efforts to silence the teaching of certain parts of our history here in the United States, because, if anything needs to be taught in our schools (besides reading, writing, arithmetic and life skills one will need as an adult) to every child, it is history - including the history of how and when evil seemed to triumph for a time, and why.  It happened in Europe in the 1930's and 40's.  It happened here in the United States from time to time.  
About the American incidents, I wasn't taught about those incidents as a child.  I had to find them out on my own.  Some of them, I didn't find out about until my 60's.  Others, I still don't know about.

For a time, I lived about 115 miles from Tulsa, Oklahoma but never knew about this horror until 2021.

Yes, hate is rising again.  One of the bloggers I read, Roy Ackerman, has blogged about it from time to time.  Yes, Roy makes his political views clear and public, but even if you don't agree with his political views, I invite you to read his blog posts.  They aren't just about the Holocaust.  They are universal themes, this hating of "the other".
Just to be clear, "that other" may be your co workers, your friends, members of where you worship, your family (and maybe you don't even know all about your family), the people who grow and harvest your food, your medical professionals, your childrens' friends, the military people and first responders who protect you.

We must teach our children well, even as we adults confront this rise in hate.

"Never Again", as Roy says, begins with "Never Forget".
And "Never Forget" begins with good education.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Snow at Last #SkywatchFriday

It seems like just yesterday was New Years Eve.  Now, today is the last Friday of January, and the last Skywatch of January, 2023.

I'm going to keep it simple today.

An ordinary sight for us in the Southern Tier of New York in winter - snow covered trees and a white sky to match.  This and the first photo below were taken on Wednesday.

Here's the local park where spouse and I look at sunsets from time to time.  You've seen this park on my Skywatches from time to time.  This is how it looks after a snow.  The paths in this small park aren't kept up by the town so we will have to wait until the snow on the path melts to walk down there again. 

It's hard for me to take pictures in this weather, although I own gloves that have strips that are supposed to make it work with electronic devices.  Yesterday was so windy I didn't even stay long - no photos.  So instead, I'll share this photo from a part of the Vestal Rail Trail I took on the 18th.  Yes, those are love locks on a bridge over the creek you see below.  Not a good idea, by the way.

We'll leave it here and wish you all a happy weekend.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Golden Snowball #ThursdayTreeLove

Having grown up in the Northeast United States, the concept of someone never having seen snow is a little hard to imagine.  Snow has been a part of my life for all but two years of my seventy or so years on this planet (years I lived in Florida).

I have two first cousins who are natives of Florida, a state which rarely sees snow. They've lived most of their lives in Florida and still live there.  Even they have seen snow - one, when he lived for a time in my native New York State, and the other, because for a while she enjoyed the sport of snow skiing and would travel to places that (obviously) had snow.

But my blog has some readers who either have never seen snow in person, or had to travel distances just to see it.  They look forward to my pictures of snow and trees and I'm normally happy to oblige.

I can understand (I think) their love of snow pictures.   There's just something about snow that makes everything pretty, at least at first. But this year snow has played hard to get - until now.  So, finally:

(These pictures were taken Monday - we have more snow now.)

OK, it's a bush, but I'll call it a short tree.

Stretch to the sky!

You'll note all these trees and bushes are still green.  Not all our trees here lose their leaves and sleep through the winter.  These evergreens have narrow, needle like leaves coated in a wax, and have air pockets in their outer bark instead of liquid like many of our other trees do, so they can survive our winter without going through full dormancy (they are partially dormant).

Here's more on the science of winter survival of trees in our climate.

We've had two snowfalls this week (none major) and we have snow on the ground once again.  It's about to get a lot colder, too.

Which brings me to something called the Golden Snowball, a friendly competition between five cities in New York State for the most snowfall each year.   We here in the Binghamton, New York area don't win it too often - since I've lived here, only twice.  

If you go to the website I've linked to earlier in this paragraph, you can see there are some major totals so far for this winter (especially for Buffalo, which was paralyzed by an epic snowstorm last December.  To paralyze Buffalo with snow takes a lot of doing by Nature.)

Buffalo, officially, has 105 inches (that's 266.7 cm) of snow this year.  They are also noted for originating Buffalo style chicken wings. 

We in the Binghamton area average about 86 inches (218 cm) of snow in a year.  We are way behind this year so far.   (Our food?  Spiedies.)

Buffalo's going to win the 2022-23 Golden Snowball, I suspect.  As far as I'm concerned, they are welcome to the award.

Do you like snow? Hate it? Or: Are you someone who has never seen snow except in photos and movies?

Joining Parul at Happiness and Food for #ThursdayTreeLove.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Temperature Record in Yarn #WordlessWednesday

My year long project is underway!

I have been in a crocheting drought for months.  After 50 plus years of avid crocheting, things had slowed.  I needed something to restore my mojo.  Last year, I found a project.

This was my plan.

I researched, reading several blog posts on temperature afghans, which are afghans crocheted (or knitted) in stripes.  Every day represents the color of that day's high.  Many people start on January 1 and the blanket represents a year of weather (mine will work that way) but people will, for example, do this for a newborn child or grandchild, a gift for their first birthday.

Some people make other items - shawls, or (as one reader suggested to me) scarves. Many make quilts. A quilt I saw in October gave me the idea, originally.

I bought my initial skeins of yarn.  These are no dye lot yarns, so if I have to buy more, the color will be (more or less) the same.

From left to right: (temperatures in F).  I live in the Southern Tier of New York, where January is winter.  Winter, as in snow, and cold.  And ice.  Brrr.  So this is my working chart (when it gets above 88 F (31.11 C), I'll probably use red.  We rarely hit 100 F (38 C) here.

Dark orchid 1 to 21 F
Royal blue 21-32 F
Turquoise 33 to 43 F
Spring green 44 to 53 F
Paddy green 54 to 66 F
Bright yellow 67-77 F
Not pictured - Carrot 78 to 88 F.
(I based this on a color chart I found online for New York City, which is close enough for my purposes, although we run colder in the winter. The temperature ranges work.)

Turns out, I'm recording quite an unusual January.  For example, so far I've done the high temperature rows for January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th  and 5th so far.   Look at the colors!
January 1  high 50 F or 10 C (spring green)
January 2  high 57 F or 13.8 C  (paddy green)
January 3  high  49 F or 9.4 C (spring green)
January 4  high 60 F or 15.6 C (paddy green)
January 5  high 57 F or 13.8 C (paddy green)

After January 5 the weather became more seasonable, but still above normal  I'll be using a lot of Turquoise and some spring green after January 5.

We'll see where this goes.  It will actually take more than a year, because I have a year of temperatures to record in the blanket and I don't work on the blanket each day.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Maureen McGovern Memory

I like reading People Magazine, which I get out from our local library from time.  In a recent issue there was an article about the singer Maureen McGovern, famed for her hit song "The Morning After" from the movie The Poseidon Adventure.  I have to admit that I was never a fan of the song (maybe one of the few who didn't like it) but I am a fan of Ms. McGovern and her voice.

In 2022, McGovern announced she was suffering from posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) and was showing symptoms of Alzheimer's (she first started showing these symptoms was in 2018, when she started to struggle with familiar song lyrics).   She has had to retire from live performing.

The recent article in People concentrated on how the 73 year old singer was coping.  It also discussed how McGovern would interact with communities where she was performing, visiting (with no publicity) hospitals, hospices, and prisons.

It brought back memories, and here is a blog post where I wrote about her in 2011, after floods devastated portion of the neighborhood I've lived in for years.  The newspaper article my original blog post linked to is gone but the memory remains.

I didn't get to meet her, but I wish her the best.

May the coming years be good to Maureen McGovern.

The Glamour of Ordinary (October 2011)

Just an ordinary act by a more than ordinary woman.

Last Saturday, singer Maureen McGovern (of "The Morning After" fame) visited my neighborhood.  She was in town to give a concert.  She was here because, after our floods in September, a fan contacted her and asked her to come.

What a class act.  She came because a fan asked her to come.  We needed her.

And not only that, but she toured the flood-affected neighborhoods. She just didn't breeze into town, perform, and leave.  She came, not looking like a glamour photo, but as herself.  Just like someone you might find at your water aerobics class, or at the grocery.  She spent time with someone whose life was turned totally upside down on September 8.

Look in a dictionary for the definition of glamour:   Maureen McGovern, you don't have to make yourself up.  You are special just the way you are.

Glamour (noun)
  1. The attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing or special:

We Could Have It All.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Blog Name Music and a Tribute #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and you know what that means!

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*.  

Every other week is Free Choice, and on non-free choice weeks, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   There are still weeks without themes available for someone to suggest a theme for.  The 2023 themes so far can be found here.

Today's theme is  Use a band or artist to spell your full name, either real or blog.

I am choosing the first name of my blog:  Ramblin.  I am also paying tribute to the great David Crosby, who passed away on January 18 at the age of 81.  He had been in poor health for a long time.  A singer and songwriter, Crosby was a member of several groups, including the Yardbirds and the Byrds, and supergroups Crosby,Stills and Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash andYoung.   He also performed solo. 

I'll sneak in a couple of songs related to David Crosby in the following list.

Reach Out I'll Be There - Four Tops (from 1966)

Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins, with David Crosby as backup singer, from 1989.

Mr. Tambourine Man - the Byrds, from 1965.

Berlin and Metro.

Long Time Gone - Crosby, Stills and Nash, from 1969.

Intervention - Arcade Fire, my newest song on the list, from 2007.

New Year's Day - U2 (a little late).  Fun fact, this was released in January, 1983 - this song is now 40 years old.

And that's a wrap!  

Join us again next week for another episode of #MusicMovesMe.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Shadowshot Sunday

Benches along the Vestal Rail Trail, Vestal, New York cast shadows on a rare sunny January day.


A little further along, another bench, plus a tree.
The trail itself was full of shadows.

The path ahead, with building and tree shadows and a hint of the blue sky that day.

Joining up today with Magical Mystical Teacher and #ShadowshotSunday, where watching shadows invites us to be more observant of the world around us..

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Squirrel Appreciation Day

A blogger in Virginia recently told her readers that January 21 (today!) is Squirrel Appreciation Day.

It's true.   Really true.  There is such a day and here is its history.

Well, hmmm.  Either you love squirrels or you find yourself liking them despite their antics.  Except, perhaps, if you have bird feeders in your yard.

Here's one fact.  Squirrels were introduced to big city parks, starting around 1847 to "create rural pockets of peace and calm".

(Cut to mental picture of spouse, waving a broom, yelling and chasing squirrels trying to raid our bird feeder).

Here's another fact.  They plant trees for us.

In New York City, where I grew up, we have both grey squirrels and black squirrels.  Where I live now in another part of New York State, I've only seen grey squirrels.

They are frequent visitors to our yard.

 Too frequent, perhaps.


One has to admire their abilities to scramble up and down trees.


Alas, I have no pictures of them doing acrobatics on our clothesline (now taken down) and I'm having problems getting my pictures from today of a squirrel trying to raid our squirrel proof feeder (ha ha) onto my blog.  So maybe another time.

Do I appreciate squirrels?  I must admit they are cute and I do like to watch them in action.  Maybe that person from 1847 was onto something.

What about you?

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Colors of Mid January #SkywatchFriday

In this most unusual of Januaries, we've had a variety of colors to choose from.

January 16, the sun set in almost clear skies and shed a reflection on the water of the river near where I live.

 A better view of the reflection on the water.

As the sun touched the hills, a glow spread along the hills.

The next day, freezing drizzle was predicted.  I was getting ready for work when I remembered the sunrise.  I opened the door and saw the purple glow.  I ran outside, dressed in work clothes and house slippers.  Concentrating on the sunrise, I failed to note it was raining.  And 26 degrees F (-3.3 C)  Which meant the rain would be freezing on any surface.  I hurried inside and only got this one picture.

Oops.  The rain had only begun, fortunately, and there was no glaze on the ground - yet.  If the sunrise had been a few minutes later, I would have been ice skating (or house slipper skating) down my sidewalk.

On January 18, the skies were back to their normal grim grey, but there was still enough sun for a reflection of trees on a creek that the western Vestal Rail Trail crosses over.  No snow on the ground but you can see snow/ice on the bottom center and along the edge of the left bank.

Yesterday, it rained almost all day.  I was busy during sunset, but at some point I noticed that the sky was purple - again.  I quickly grabbed my phone.  Unfortunately, the iPhone didn't capture all the purple; just a hint of it.

I am wondering when we will return to normal winter weather.  Hoping it isn't in April or May.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Teen Years and More Thoughts on an Alumni Day

When I think of the possibility of reincarnation, one of the things I dread going through once again is my teen years.  Or, well, the teen years of the person I come back as.

Maybe "dread" is the wrong word, but if I come back again and have to go through the teen years, I hope they will be....different.  In a good way.  

Growing up is hard to do.  I think it's getting harder and harder.  It's harder now than when my son was growing up.

True, I grew up in the 50's and 60's, which we sometimes look back at with nostalgia, but the surface truths of those years held deep, dark, nasty secrets.  And the Vietnam War overshadowed the happiness of some of those years.

Then, there are high school reunions, where we are asked to relive some of those years.

After reading my recent post on my spouse's 40th high school reunion (the only reunion either one of us has ever attended) I found I'm not the only one who has stayed away from them.  One might say I hit a nerve.

Why do we get so nostalgic about high school?  Is it because of friends we have lost touch with, friends we hope to reconnect with?  Or because we want to return to a time when things were simpler and we were younger?  Except, things were never simpler back when, whatever back when is for you.

It certainly isn't simple now, though, in 2023.

I had signed up for my 50th high school reunion only because one of the two gatherings was going to be held at the high school I went to.  It wasn't a dinner dance, but rather was a daytime event, which was going to feature speakers, demonstrations, and tours of the school (it is still in the same building but things have changed).

There was only one problem - the reunion was scheduled to be held in June of 2020.  You can all guess what happened.  Nothing happened. If it ever happened, I never heard of a rescheduling.  I had other things to think about.

So I am trying again, this year, with an "all years" alumni day, again in June, celebrating my high school's 85th anniversary.  Scheduled during the morning and early afternoon, it will feature speakers, demonstrations, and tours of the school.  It will also feature opportunities to meet current students.

Meeting current students, I admit, was what interested me the most.  I keep in mind that these are the students of the pandemic years, the years of active shooters drills, the years of social media bullying.  They are the students who were rudely yanked from their almost spring 2020 routines and dumped into a new nightmare of remote learning, illness, and fear.   Then, they returned to school in the fall of 2021, to masks, illness (when Omicron swept through the school, which I heard about through Reddit) and more fear.

I lost a high school reunion in June of 2020.  They lost so much more.  They were too young to have the resources to cope that someone my age has.  

They persevered.   But at what cost?

We'll see the outside of those students, their public faces, the faces of high academic achievement (something my high school specializes in).  What we won't see is the inside.

Nor will I see how they see us - the young adults, the middle aged, the elderly.  An all years reunion.  I may be happy I can't read their minds, but a part of me will want to know how they will perceive the alumni like me.

Who will come to the alumni day?  Will I know anyone? (Being a New York City school, my graduating class had hundreds of students.  I knew a fraction of them.)  Will I even be able to make my way through the school floor plan?

(I'll be happy to have a friend, and perhaps a couple of guests, just in case....)

The event is free, and I could change my mind and decide not to come after all.  It will cost me some, for two nights worth of motels, just for a four hour event.  Fortunately, I have other things I can do just a few miles away from the school

If I do go, it sure will be interesting.  And different.  

Am I ready?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Quilt Exhibition #WordlessWednesday

An exhibition of quilts created by members of the Stepping Stones Quilters of Broome County, New York, at Roberson Museum and Science Center, Binghamton, New York, back in December (note, I am not part of the group.)

Let's check some of their quilts out.


I'm not sure these quilts in this picture were made by members, but aren't they pretty?

I wish I had made this one bigger but I was trying to get the entire quilt in the picture. 

 A black and white quilt contrasts with a bush outside the museum.

This was one of my favorites.
I did get a closeup of this last one.  I have a handful more I may share at a later date.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Forever Young 2010-2023

High School Reunions.  Have you ever gone to any of yours?

High school was not the highlight of my life.  For a long time, I didn't.

After never going to one of my other reunions, I signed up for my 50th high school reunion.  It was supposed to be held in June of 2020.  Guess what didn't happen and why.  I'm not even sure it was ever held when the pandemic moderated.

Last week, I was invited to an "all years" alumni day this June to celebrate the 85th anniversary of my high school in New York City.  I've decided to go, especially as I can bring a couple of guests besides my spouse.   It will be held at my high school in the daytime, which is what interests me. No dressing up.  No dancing. 

The invite brought back memories of the one reunion I ever went to - my husband's 40th (more on that in a few sentences).  Now, we are in our 70s.

His 50th reunion never happened, either, due to COVID.  So here we are.

I originally wrote this post on October 16, 2010.  Today, I rerun it, including some editing I did when I reran it in October of 2019.  I called it "Forever Young 2020". I wonder, what if I had known what the future would bring when I wrote this in 2010 and republished it in 2019?

From October 2010 with edits

The Dancing Queen.  No longer 17.

The administrator for a children's hospital on the West Coast.  The merger and acquisitions lawyer up from Washington DC.  The school psychologist practicing in Virginia.  The financial consultant.  The grandmother of three fresh from a trip to Hawaii.  The produce clerk.  The man taking constant phone calls because his father was in the hospital, a thousand miles away.

What did we all have in common?   Six hours of dancing, talking, sharing email addresses, and looking at old photos.

A 40th high school reunion.

Not mine, but my husband's.  One of his friends organized it.  Before last night I had only met one of these people, and to my amazement, I recognized him the minute I saw him.  My husband was already in college when I met him so this was a part of his life that I was never able to share.

Until now.

There was the woman who, surveying the room, said to me "This is surreal".  Yes it was and I bet everyone who goes to a reunion (especially the 30th, the 40th, and beyond) thinks the same thing.  When you age, the people you knew in your childhood (if you don't see them as adults) are frozen in time.  The people you went to high school with are, in your mind, forever 17 and 18.  Even if they are really 58 or 60.

Until you go to the reunion, that is, and this is the surreal part.  You walk into the room and see a bunch of middle aged people just like you.  Some look like their yearbook photos.  Many do not. Many of us grey, all of us wrinkled, some of us in shape, others not so much.  Some of us have achieved great things.  Some have lived the lives they had planned to live but for many of us our lives have taken many unexpected directions.  Some good, some not.

We are older, wiser.  We accept the class clown, we reminisce about old antics,  we laugh with and hug the classmate who had too much to drink and is now trying to cry on everyone's shoulder.  We know this moment isn't going to be forever.  We know when we have the next reunion we will be near 70.  Maybe we should have these more often.

Will we do that?

Or will we be reabsorbed into our daily lives?  Only time will tell (I said back then) - and time did tell, didn't it.

But for that one night we were....forever young.

Monday, January 16, 2023

A Week of Tributes #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and 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*.  

Every other week (such as this week) is Free Choice, and on non-free choice weeks, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   There are still weeks without themes available for someone to suggest a theme for.  The 2023 themes so far can be found here.

Today's theme is Free Choice.  This has been a sad week for the music world with several deaths to commemorate.  Today is also the federal holiday that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jeff Beck, master of the guitar, is first up.  I'm picking two songs to showcase his talent.

First, also to commemorate the official commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, here's Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart with a cover of Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready, from 1985.

Next, Beck and Stevie Wonder did a number of collaborations.  Here's Looking for Another Pure Love, from 1972, with Beck on guitar.

Lisa Marie Presley, only child of Elvis Presley, died unexpectedly on January 12 from cardiac arrest at the age of 54.  Lisa Marie (whose famed father passed when she was nine) also had a musical career, and had two hits in the top 10 Billboard charts, one in 2003 and one in 2005.  I've chosen a 2112 appearance on American Idol, singing You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet.
 The death of 69 year old Robbie Bachman, drummer for Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was announced January 12.  Here he is, drumming on a song he also co-wrote, 1974's Roll On Down the Highway.

Here is another song honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.   Here is the incomparable Dionne Warwick singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in honor of the late Dr. King.

I'll wrap this up with John Legend and Common and the song "Glory" from the movie Glory.

And that is a tribute wrap.

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

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2023

Each 15th of the month, I, along with others who love plants, post what is blooming in their yards and/or homes.  It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

It's been an unusual last month for me in my zone 5b New York garden.  Temperatures near zero F (-17 C) and snow, followed by warmer than normal temperatures.  My white Lenten Rose, which will bud out in January and normally stays in neutral through the winter, budded out early and ended up losing its flowers for this year.  Now, though, we've returned to winter.

I've been able to keep this geranium gift for Mother's Day blooming because of the mildish days that allowed this to be outside.  I decided to try to overwinter it, and it's under lights right now.

These are flower buds on my Tradescantia Bubblegum (Blossfeldiana cerinthoides variegata "lilac").  This plant seems to do better in the winter than the summer.

My airplane plant is airplaning (is that a word?), and has tiny flowers I can't seem to capture well, even with my new iPhone 13 mini.

Last, and definitely not least, is an amaryllis plant I bought last year as a bulb.  It bloomed and I left it to go dormant in my laundry area in the basement.  It's started itself up now, and it has a flower bud (on the right)  This is only the second time I've gotten an amaryllis plant to rebloom.   This makes up for the couple of houseplants I've managed to kill recently.

That's it for today.  

Anything blooming for you?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Snow and the Birds

Spouse and I took a short - and fast - exercise walk outside today.

Winter had returned.  We woke to a dusting of snow, temperature 24F (-4.4C), wind, and grey skies.  After taking care of something unexpected (more on that another time), I decided I needed to clear my head.

Snow flurries whipped around us as we walked.

That short walk cleared my head.  I'm still feeling cold from it.

As we walked across the snow sprinkled path, I said to spouse "And to think I used to love to walk in snow".

I really did, back when I was younger.  I loved the crunch of the snow on the ground, and the hush of the world around me as snow came down.  There really is a hush.  I don't know if the snow deadens the sound or if human sounds are fewer, but I loved that hush.

Now, it's just a pain, although the sidewalk was no longer completely covered.  It seems harder and harder for me to keep warm, too.  At one time, 24 degrees (no, by the time of my walk, it had heated up to 26F) was nothing.  Now, I dress as if I'm about to embark on an Arctic expedition.

Male Red Bellied Woodpecker

I can envy the birds we see at our feeder.

Red Bellied Woodpecker (left) and Black-capped Chickadee (right)

They brave the cold with nothing but their feathers, but they seem to get along just fine.

Tufted Titmouse (center bottom) on our paw paw tree - you can also see a goldfinch on the yellow feeder

We can wish for the days of our youth, but as we also like to say, "it is what it is."

And now, to make something hot.  I'm grateful for a warm house and a hot beverage.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Seize the Pre-Sunset #SkywatchFriday

Do you ever focus on getting the perfect sunset, and forget the purpose of sunset watching?

A couple of days ago, we were out walking about 3:50 pm.  The sun would be setting in another hour.  We decided to take a short exercise walk after a car trip.

The skies were cloudy but promising an interesting sunset.  I saw some colors already forming in the clouds.

I decided to take a couple of pictures.  And then, I would come back in a half hour and take some more.

Except, by then, the sky had clouded completely over and the sunset was a dud.  Sigh...If only I had taken more pictures and not just those two, I thought.  I should have seized the pre-sunset.

So I thought back to another sunset, a couple of days before I took these pictures, and I relearned a lesson I thought I had learned long ago.

No clouds in the area of this January 9 orange ball about to go down.
Zooming in for a better look.

The sun disappears in an orange glow.

So, what have I learned once again?  Sunsets don't have to be perfect.  They just need to be appreciated as individual events, each with their own strengths.  Some sunsets pull you into a different world for a few seconds of transcendence.  Some sunsets just....are.

Today,  we get a cold front and it's back to January weather and no sunset picture taking for a couple of days.

May today be a lucky day for you.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Dated Tree Stump #ThursdayTreeLove

Even in death, trees have much to teach us. Here's a tree stump of a tree that was born in or near Ithaca, New York in approximately 1822.  It fell in 2010.   It can amaze us that this tree lived for almost 200 years.

This stump is on display in a visitors center at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

We have seen tree stumps, and we are aware that the growth rings give us information pertaining to rainfall (how far apart are the rings?). 


But trees also link us to our history.  This tree, born in 1822, may have seen soldiers marching off to our Civil War (1861-1865) pass it by.

Let's take a closer look at the rings and the labels of some historical events during the life of this tree.  The top label is "c1822", about when the tree was born, and the rings radiate out.

Just think...(sorry that these labels are hard to read):

This tree was around for the first radio transmission.

It saw Model T cars on the road (1908)

Perhaps someone who worked on the first electronic TV drove past that tree (1927).  Or maybe the first personal computer (1975)

Trees are our link to history.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Ithaca Kitty and More Cats #WordlessWednesday

Cats in art, from an exhibit at the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton, New York.  The exhibit explores cats in all manners of art.

First, an explanation and history of the Modern Cat.  I should have done this more closeup - my apologies.

The Ithaca Kitty was a popular stuffed cat toy dating from 1892.  I had never heard of it (or so I thought) but I read that it may have started the plush toy craze that, in its own ways, still is ongoing.  (I highly recommend clicking on the Ithaca Kitty link if you love cats.  You'll love the website, too.) Turns out I remember the toy - I just never knew its name.


This is called West Side Wild Cats.  I couldn't find anything online about it.

Ceramic cats.

Japanese cats.

Cat statuettes.

Wasn't that the cat's meow?  

The exhibit runs through August 2023.


Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.