Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A Book and Its Cover

How do we choose books to read?  One way, consciously or not, is the cover.

Thinking of book covers makes me think of a post I wrote back in 2012 and reran in 2015.  It follows, with some edits.

Book covers bring back memories of the first author who I consciously fell in love with (his writing, not the author himself.)

When I was 10 years old and growing up in New York City, I broke my leg roller skating.  I was treated at a hospital in the Bronx (a borough of New York City).  I had to go back to the hospital periodically to see the doctors during my recovery.   On one visit, at the hospital gift store, one of my parents bought me a book to read.  I don't know how or why, but they picked "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

It changed my life.

I don't know how many young people have heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Even in my day (this was in the early 60's) enough children may have known Edgar Rice Burroughs mainly through Tarzan movies.  Reruns of old Tarzan movies featuring Johnny Weissmuller were a staple of weekend movie afternoons on non-network local New York City channels.

But this book my parent bought me was something different.  The cover attracted me immediately - an exotically dressed woman in peril, with a muscular man, holding a sword, defending her.  Although the book started slowly, I quickly got into the story once the hero, John Carter, reached Mars.  I ended up devouring the other 10 books of the series over the next few years.  Then, I went on to other series written by Burroughs - the Venus books, many of the Tarzan books, one of the Pellucidar books, and a couple of his non-series books.

I loved those book covers on the Ballantine and Ace versions of the Martian books from the 1960's.  In doing research, I found that other Edgar Rice Burroughs books were graced with unforgettable covers.  They really wanted to make you buy and read the contents.    Even after I grew up, the tradition of spectacular book covers continued.

Here, Burroughs himself writes about his experiences with illustrations of his books.

I don't know how popular Edgar Rice Burroughs remains, and I haven't read one of his books in many years. 

If you are interested in reading the Martian (Barsoom) books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, or some of his other books in the public domain, they are available for free online.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Time for Some Love #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday 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.  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 like this one, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   That person could be you!

Today is free choice, and I did some free form association in my mind.  I actually started with the last song, and worked backwards, because why not?

From the Australian group, INXS, The One Thing, from 1982.

From 1983, Howard Jones and What Is Love.

Depeche Mode - Strangelove.

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) - George Harrison

Under the Milky Way-The Church.

Last, but not least, "You Don't Own Me" was first recorded in 1963 by singer Leslie Gore, when she was 17 years ago.  It became her second hit.  Her real name was Leslie Sue Goldstein and she was from Brooklyn (a borough of New York City). Gore was a junior in high school, with no professional singing experience when she had her first hit "It's My Party".  But, she would outdo herself with her second hit. 

This song had amazing lyrics, considering it was recorded in 1963. 

 I consider it a love song, and am including it.  After all, if we don't love ourselves, how can we give love to others?

And that's a wrap.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Remembering George Harrison

Yesterday, after I had published my Saturday post, I learned that yesterday would also have been musician George Harrison's 80th birthday.

The Beatles were "the" group of my childhood, and George Harrison was one of who we called "The Fab Four".  Even after they broke up in 1970, they all went on to have individual careers in music.

Here's a Rolling Stones tribute to the man known as "The Quiet Beatle", who also was my personal favorite as a young girl growing up in the 50's and 60's.  Harrison died from lung cancer on November 29, 2001 at the age of 58.

Here are a couple of my personal favorites of his.

What Is Life

Here Comes the Sun (a live performance)

Join me again tomorrow for another episode of Music Moves Me, and even more music.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The War Anniversary

Yesterday (using the time in my Eastern Standard time zone in the United States) was the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

To honor all those who have died defending their country and their freedom, I feature pictures taken on Sacred Sunday, 2022, of our two local Ukrainian churches.

Outside the St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Let's go in.

Beautiful artwork.

More beautiful art. 

Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic Church.   This wooden church was built in 1977.


Its interior.

Peace for Ukraine.

Members of both churches have been hard at work this past year to support the people of Ukraine as they suffer through this terrible war.

Before I forget, there is a woman living in Kyiv who I follow on Twitter:  Yaroslava Antipina.  It has become her war diary and I invite you to read it.  She also has a blog, if you are interested.

Today, there will be an Interfaith Service & Rally at 1:00 downtown Binghamton, New York at the Broome Country Courthouse.

We can hope that peace will come soon, but I am not optimistic. 

I hope I'm wrong.


Friday, February 24, 2023

February Contrasts #SkywatchFriday

The February winter sky can be so variable where I live in the Southern Tier of New York.

Taken before our warmup of last week.  Snow and a river, taken February 5.

You really can't see it, but there is ice in the middle of the river.

Grass and snow.

And, a few days later, snow melted, sun out.

February 13, the sap is rising.

And we end with a February 13 sunset that was promising springlike temperatures the next couple of days.

Now, alas, we are back to winter, and the weather is still see-sawing back and forth.  What next?

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

1948 Crochet Annual

Before I begin today's post, I want to apologize to my readers who haven't heard from me lately.  It was a combination of a computer issue (now hopefully fixed), a problem I've had intermittently with commenting on some Blogger blogs, and a problem I had with one of my email accounts (now hopefully fixed).  I will need to catch up with visiting your blogs but it may not be today.

And now:

Some people like to collect vintage cookbooks.  

I, from time to time, can't resist vintage crochet books or magazines, especially if they are from the World War II era or the 1950's.

I have no idea where or when I bought this 1948 Women's Day Annual Crochet Paperback book, but I uncovered it while doing a tiny bit of decluttering recently.

It's in good (well, in my opinion) condition. considering it will be 75 years old this year.  It is stained, with wear, but it is all readable.  Apparently, these sold for 10 cents back in 1948 (yes, before my time) and I found one on eBay (sale ended, no longer available) for $9.74 plus $3.75 "economy shipping".

A lot has changed in 75 years, but crochet, in some ways, is still crochet.  Of course, the projects in this book reflect the fashions of the time.

As far as patterns, there are a lot of doilies in there, plus mittens, gloves, a sweater, and more.  I didn't look to see if the patterns are available for free online.

The inside page announces that this is Women's Day second annual Crochet Annual.  It mentions The Spool Cotton Company, a company I had never heard of.  I read online that they merged with Coats and Clark in 1952.

Coats and Clark, which also has an interesting history, still exists, as does Women's Day.  I remember both quite well from my childhood in the late 50's and early 60's. My Mom brought home both Women's Day and another women's magazine, Family Circle, each month.  She purchased them at the local supermarket.

I have been putting off (and putting off, and putting off) decluttering because so much I own has memories attached to this. 

 I definitely will not be giving away this paperback.

Do you like this kind of collecting?

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Library Comfort Cabinet #WordlessWednesday

I've seen the library card catalog cabinets of my youth repurposed in various ways, but never quite like this.

I was visiting our local public library Thursday, and this cabinet was sitting in the entranceway.  I had never seen it there before.

The sign reads "Free dental supplies, laundry soap, menstrual products, and more.  Take what you need - no library card required."  No, I didn't check it out.

This same library had been gathering food for a nearby food pantry during October, November, and December of last year.

I talked to one of the librarians I'm familiar with (we enjoy chatting with each other) and found this is a project of one of the other librarians who wasn't there at the time.  In fact, it was only set up on February 15, the day before my visit.

A quick internet search revealed our local library is far from the first to offer personal hygiene supplies to the community.

I should not be amazed, but I am saddened that this type of need exists in our community.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Remembering the Peanut President

I am writing this the evening of February 20, which, in the United States, was celebrated as one of the most confusing holidays in our calendar - a federal holiday which is not recognized everywhere in our country. 

What is not confusing is that our oldest living former President, James Earl Carter, is in hospice care as I blog this.  At the age of 98, he has survived health crisis after health crisis and a number of falls.

One can disagree about how effective a President he was, but his humanitarian nature was never in doubt.  He has done extensive work with Habitat for Humanity and has served our country in many other ways. 

Here are a couple of posts I've written about Jimmy Carter or Habitat for Humanity over the years.  In 2010 I had the pleasure of visiting Americus, Georgia, which is located near Plains, where Carter grew up.

The Peanut President

My visit to Habitat for Humanity 

The strange thing is that, over this winter, I had a strong urge to visit Americus once again.  The trip may, in fact have happened this week, but the trip didn't happen. 

I wish President Carter a peaceful transition to whatever happens when we pass on.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Heaven and Beauty #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time to dance to the music!

Before I begin, I've been somewhat absent from the Internet the last couple of days.  It's a long story that involves needing a computer repair on my laptop (and its speakers aren't working, a side effect of the repair, that I can't attend to right now), having to change a password, some problems commenting on some Blogger blogs, and some other minor things.  If I am late to commenting on your blog, please excuse 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 like this one, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   That person could be you!

Today, our theme is is brought to us by some cats and a human, Granny:  "Celestial as in the sky/outer space or belonging to or relating to heaven or relating to anything supremely good/beautiful. Inspired by our friends at Angelswhisper2011"

OK, let's begin!  I'm not sure I am hitting the target here, but I'll give it a try.

From 1976, Tavares and Heaven Must be Missing an Angel.

Louis Armstrong and his 1967-1968 classic, What A Wonderful World.  This was a cover of a 1960 Sam Cooke song and the song has an interesting history.

Let's head to 1986 with True Colors from Cyndi Lauper.  This is such an inspiring song.

Beauty doesn't have to be straightforward.  This is from a 1980's group I've grown to love in recent years, Echo and the Bunnymen.  Here is "The Killing Moon", a song that so many are still trying to understand.

We'll end today's set with Knocking on Heaven's Door.  As much as I love Bob Dylan's original, I decided on a cover by Warren Zevon, who was dying from lung cancer when he made this 2003 recording.

And that is a wrap!

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

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Hot Air Balloon

With all the fuss about balloons in the United States recently, I was a little surprised to see a hot air balloon floating in the sky on Valentine's Day.


It looks like a little dot in the sky, but I couldn't get a good picture of it with my iPhone 13 mini without blurring it.

Soon after, it floated away from us.

I guess they weren't worried about something happening. 

Fifth Dimension - Up, Up and Away.

Join me tomorrow for more music!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

A River of Crows

During the winter, American crows will head to trees in late afternoon, before night starts to fall.

I observed this behavior back in 2021 as a beginning person interested in observing birds.

As I found out then while researching, it's a matter of protection, as crows are nearly helpless at night.  The crows gather in large numbers, sometimes in the hundreds, and jockey for nighttime position.  The unfortunate ones who are in the outer parts of the cluster are more vulnerable to night hunting birds such as owls.

I haven't seen too much of the gathering behavior since then - perhaps I was in the wrong place in the wrong time.

But, several times this month, I have seen groups of crows flying.  One clump (if I can call it that) flies overhead, cawing, on February 13.

Then another group.

And still another.  This Audubon article explains what I was seeing.

All you have to do to see amazing things, sometimes, is look up.

I love watching crows, but I'm not sure I would have been happy to have that river of crows alight in my back yard trees.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Can Sunset Lightning Strike Twice? #SkywatchFriday

 Let me assure you first, I'm not talking about actual lightning.  Rather....

Last week, I brought you an amazing sunset from February 9th that I would have missed if not for my spouse, whom I've turned into a fellow skywatcher.  Thank you, spouse!

Can the same thing happen twice?  Judge for yourself.

On February 12, Superbowl night, we were busy around sunset, preparing food for the arrival of our company (only one person, but, for us, that's enough) who was going to visit with us during the first half of the game.

I was totally involved with doing my part of the preparations, when spouse said, "Look out the window!"

Oh no! There was no way I could interrupt what I was doing to get to the park where we watch sunsets.  Instead, I dashed out of the house into our back yard.  Yes, I ran outside, cell phone in hand, with no shoes on.  Fortunately, the snow had melted.

  The best part was behind some houses.

I tried to get a slightly better view, but we have a small yard and I couldn't maneuver far.
I tried to capture the blue of the blue hour.
A reflection from one of my windows - alas, a curtain produced the rectangle in the lower corner.
The sunset started to fade away, and I had to go back inside.

Sometimes you can't be in the right place at the right time.  You just do the best you can.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Another Backyard Bird Count

One of my fond childhood memories, growing up in a City housing complex in the Bronx, is watching my mother throwing a slice of white bread out the window onto the small lawn below.  I would watch as pigeons and sparrows descended on the bread.

I had no way of knowing that bread was probably the worst thing to feed a bird, but no matter - I was transfixed by the sight below.

Some 60 years later, my spouse, increasingly fascinated by birds himself, bought our first bird feeder.  We've been feeding birds for two years now, and learning more about them.

Now it's time to give back to science.

It's time for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  It starts tomorrow and you can participate from anywhere in the world.  I believe most entries come from either the United States or India, so how about it, my readers in Canada or elsewhere?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a worldwide event taking place February 17-20.  No registration is required. No experience level is required. No backyard is required.  All you need is 15 minutes of your time, but you can devote as much time (just a minimum of 15 minutes) per watch.  

You can watch anywhere - from your kitchen window, from an exercise walk, from a stroll along a river, on the beach, to a city park.  Anywhere counts, city or country. If you are traveling, no problem!  Any location counts.  All bird lovers are welcome.

Chances are, you already are familiar with some of the birds in your area.  If not, there are various online ways to identify your new friends.

This is the home page of the Count.  There are several ways to report your finding.  Good pictures are encouraged but not required.  (We don't submit pictures).  And, oh yes, you can win a pair of Zeiss binoculars just for posting your entries.

If you already post using eBird (a free app or desktop application) you are automatically entered just for doing what you already do.

This count is important to scientists who study birds to understand bird population changes, and much more.

So, how about it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2023 #WordlessWednesday

It's February 15 and time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

On this unbelievable sprin...I mean winter's day in my zone 5b garden, I'm going to be far from wordless as I join up with two blogs (more on that at the end of my post.)

Spring is here.  Maybe it's April Fools in February day, but buds on trees are swelling, the sunny days area increasing, Northern cardinals are singing, the snow has melted, and flowers are blooming.

Indoor flowers, anyway.  In a minute, some sneak peeks at outdoors,where it's supposed to be near 60F (15.6C) today.  Some other years, it's been below zero F as a low on this date.

But let's look at the indoor flowers first.

For inside, I can wish that Garden Bloggers Bloom Day took place on February 12, and I will admit in advance that I took a couple of these photos a little early.

I am so proud.  I got an amaryllis to rebloom!  The flowers are wilted now, but this is what it looked like three days ago.  Of course, the amaryllis did all the work but I'm a proud plant parent.

This has never happened before.  One of my Thanksgiving cactus plants, which bloom normally in November, put out two flowers.  I'm not complaining!

Here's an impatien that volunteered itself in a container I grow my airplane plant in.  Nearby impatiens I started from cuttings in the fall must have dropped a seed in there.  Otherwise, I have no idea how it got there.  It is thriving.

My one remaining geranium flower.  This was my Mother's Day basket and I'm overwintering it. It's received some outdoor time recently.  Sorry for the blurriness.

African violet. 

Finally, an airplane plant flower.

As for the outdoor plants, first, some foliage. Our crocuses, which normally bloom in April,  are coming up.

Ditto this Star of Bethlehem.

Our earliest daffodils are poking out of the ground and testing the air.  Those aren't flowers, I (ahem!) uncovered them under some leaves and then covered them back up.

My purple Lenten Rose has flower buds but that is normal for it.  It probably won't bloom until April, unlike my white Lenten Rose that bloomed in January and was caught by a freezing cold spell.  Sorry for the blurry photo. 

There are a couple of flower buds left on the white flowered plant but I'm not sure if they will ever open.

I am joining up today with two blogs:  first, Carol at May Dreams Gardens for her every 15th of the month meme Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and also Sandee at Comedy Plus for her Wordless Wednesday.

Why don't you join one or both of us?


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valentine's Day Memorial

Today is Valentine's Day, a day that has an interesting history.  It's the holiday of love, but today, I'm here for a grimmer reason.

It's also the fifth anniversary of the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland Florida.  So many shootings before.  So many shootings after, including one I woke up to this morning, in Michigan.

Each has its unique hurt.  

It is only recently that I learned that the Parkland murderer (I will not name that person), during his spree, shot into a classroom where a lesson on the Holocaust was being taught. The symbolism is not lost on me.

The shooting as a whole took a little less than four minutes, left 17 dead, and a school full of traumatized students, parents, and staff who will remember this day for the rest for their lives.

A memorial is being planned.

More and more, I think we are in an endless loop, not knowing if this national nightmare will ever end.

But who knows when and how the cycle of gun violence will ever end.

Maybe this male bright red Northern cardinal knows.  Back on February 4, it was feeding in our snow filled yard.  Cardinals, many believe, are spiritual messengers.  

On Sunday, a Northern Cardinal male sat on our fence, looking like it was deep in thought.  Perhaps he was thinking of Douglas - the person, and the high school. 

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, the woman this school was named after, was an American journalist, suffragette (she was born 30 years before women got the vote in our country) and conservationist, who was known as the "Defender of the Everglades".  She lived to the age of 108.

I'm sure she would have been heartbroken to know what happened in her namesake high school, but proud of the advocates some of the survivors have become.

There's nothing more to say that hasn't already been said.  Except, perhaps, to note that an end to gun violence would be the best memorial ever to those who have suffered in some way.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Burt Bacharach #MusicMovesMe

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

Every other week (including this week) is Free Choice, and on non-free choice weeks, we invite anyone (that means anyone) to suggest a theme.   That person could be you!

Today I want to pay tribute to one of the music greats of our time.

The incomparable Burt Bacharach passed away on February 8 at the age of 94.  Here are some of the many hits he wrote and arranged music for (with lyrics written by Hal David and others) for various artists. 

It's especially sad because I had just recently watched a special about Dionne Warwick, which featured her singing a number of Bacharach's songs. This special talked about the complexity of some of his music, which only the greatest musicians could do justice to.

Dionne Warwick did this first (in 1967) but I am going to use a live cover by Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer for You.

Always Something There to Remind Me - Naked Eyes in 1983, originally done by Dionne Warwick as a demo in 1963.  It only took 20 years for this to become a hit in the United States.  I love this 1983 cover and its the church bells intro.

What The World Needs Now Is Love - Jackie DeShannon, 1965.  This song was initially turned down by Dionne Warwick, although she recorded it later.

One Less Bell to Answer - The Fifth Dimension's cover, from 1970.

They Long to Be (Close to You) - The Carpenters, a song that had been released before but wasn't a big hit until The Carpenters' cover.

Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) - Christopher Cross, from 1981.

How could I end this post without including a Dionne Warwick hit sung by herself: Walk on By.

That is another sad wrap, as the Music Heaven Hall of Fame inducts a new member.

Join me again next week for (hopefully) a happier Music Moves Me.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Photographer at Work - #ShadowshotSunday

For Shadowshot Sunday, I was out taking pictures on a rare sunny day where I live, and I kept getting my shadow in the picture.  I thought, why not keep myself in the picture?

A fence and me.

My spouse and I, taking a picture of a puddle that will appear in one of my Friday posts.

A fun way to spend the day of the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

February New York Farmers Market

 It's been a while since I took my readers along on a visit to our year round indoor farmers market in the Binghamton, New York area.  It's held every Saturday (except the Saturday closest to New Year's Eve) and we are so fortunate to have it.

Let's see what's for sale.

This is a relatively new vendor.  They have taken over a building occupied years ago on Main Street in Endicott, New York.   They grow herbs and lettuce under lights.  There was a different company doing much the same thing a couple of years ago in that building, so I don't know if it's just a name change or different ownership.

Local organic meat.

Beets and parsnips.  I believe this vendor (who also sells the lettuce below) grows under low or high tunnels.  He also grows mushrooms. 

All are so fresh. A bit expensive but it's worth it, and we are fortunate to be able to afford it.

Also available were eggs, honey, breads, and other baked goods.

Not bad for a winter February.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Sailor's Delight #SkywatchFriday

I was writing a blog post in our bedroom yesterday when my spouse called up and said "I think we are going to have a good sunset".

I threw on my coat and followed him out the door to our local park. It was raining, and I didn't hold out much hope, but then, in the western sky, I saw a blazing sun about to set.  As we approached the park entrance, this is what I saw.

I zoomed in and saw a sailor's delight, a reddish orange that took my breath away.

Besides our amazing still green grass in February, I saw the walking paths glowing orange.

The sun was ready to set, and I zoomed back in.

Just as it set.

The sun disappeared.

I tried to zoom in on the orange paths.  Obviously, not their normal color.

 With the sun behind a hill, the color started to fade.

One last little show as the last of the sunset lighting highlights some clouds.  I returned home to finish my blogging.

What an unexpected treat.  Some sailors somewhere will be delighted.

Joining Yogi and skywatching bloggers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.