Sunday, March 31, 2024

Shadow Shots and Songs #MusicMovesMe #ShadowshotSunday

Happy Easter this morning to all who celebrate.

It's also the last day of March, the last day before the beginning of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and time for music and some shadowshots.  Two memes for the price of one today.

 Let's introduce the Music Moves me bloggers:  We 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! Otherwise, your post may be removed, or may  be labeled "No Music".  Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and, last but not least, me.

Every other week, we have a theme.  On alternate weeks, we can blog on any music theme we want.  Today is a theme week, and it was chosen by lil' old me.  

Today's theme is Music That Moves You.  It's free choice day.

And since it's Shadowshot Sunday, brought to us by Lisa at Lisa's Garden Adventures, how about some shadow pictures and shadow music? 

Last of my crocus (yesterday).

First of my jonquils (yesterday). 

And now some shadowy music.  First up,Whispering Jack Smith singing the 1927 hit "Me and My Shadow".

Standing in the Shadows of Love, from the Four Tops (1966).

 Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow - Rolling Stones, also from 1966.

But enough of shadows.  Today is Easter and one of the best known secular songs was a 1933 song written by Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin.  Here is Easter Parade from 1948, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire.

One more - Gene Autry and his hit "Peter Cottontail".

And that's a hippity hoppity wrap!

Join me again next Monday (April 8) for another episode of Music Moves Me.  And please join me in April for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme will be Gardens, History, Art and The Unexpected.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

A Square Pie for Easter

 Yesterday (Good Friday) my spouse made a Pizza Rustica, a pie that somewhat defeated us the first time we tried to make it.   So we tried again.

This is a pie (as I've blogged before) from my spouse's childhood.  His mother baked this, and other special Italian pies, for Easter but we don't have her recipe.  The usual recipes have a double crust, but we are on Weight Watchers, so decided to skip the upper crust.  Some people use pie crust, and others use pizza dough for the crust.  In other words, this savory pie is easy to customize.

We didn't need a big pie, so decided to use 80% of the recipe we used in 2016.  Additionally, we no longer own a springform pan, so finally decided to try to make it for a 9 inch square cake pan, which we did have.

And now, for another episode of why I will never be a food blogger.

The cut back recipe we used: (sorry, metric readers, you are on your own)

1 refrigerated pie crust, brought to room temperature
3/4 pounds cooked ham, diced (other people use pepperoni, or salami, or a combination)
1 1/2 lb ricotta cheese (we used ricotta con latte, which is a creamy ricotta and seems rich, although it doesn't have more calories than whole milk ricotta).
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
4 duck eggs (chicken eggs are fine; we just happened to have them)
1handful chopped fresh Italian flat leaved parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan romano cheese

Ingredients -  I forgot to take a picture with the mozzarella cheese.  Anyway, moving on, spouse mixed all the ingredients together except for the pie crust.


First comes mixing ricotta with Parmesan Romano cheese.

Adding the parsley.

Adding egg and ham, and mozzarella.  Be sure the mixture is well combined.

Spouse then fit the refrigerated pie dough into the square cake pan.  It took a bit of work because you are fitting a round crust into a square pan.

Add the raw mixture. Cover with foil (because no upper crust).  Spouse baked at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes and then baked at 375.  Spouse took off the foil and let it brown.  He had to play with the temperature.  Afterwards, he may have done 350 for at least an hour and then let it brown without the foil

Baked result.  The light over the stove gave a yellowish cast.

When we serve it to family tomorrow, we'll find out how well this worked.

Wishing my readers who celebrate Easter tomorrow a peaceful Easter.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Surprise Sunrise #SkywatchFriday

Tuesday, I was rushing around getting ready for work so wasn't paying any attention to the sunrise.  I stepped out on my porch to get the newspaper....

...and this was the view that greeted me.  I wasn't expecting this at all!

I looked at it.  I was barefoot so couldn't do much to adjust the angle I was photographing.

It appeared it was already at the tail end of the sunrise, so I decided to go to my back door and get (sort of) a reverse sunrise.

Sort of a reverse sunrise.

Back to the front door to see the rest of the sunrise.

Joining Yogi and other sky watching bloggers for #SkywatchFriday. 

Reminder:  In April, I will be participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and continuing to participate in Skywatch Friday.  Next Friday (4/5) I will have a post but it is possible some of my April posts may come on Thursday.  I may be a little slow in getting around to visiting other Skywatchers, but I will get there. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The End of March Afghan Update

It's time to hold myself accountable once again for a crocheted afghan project I started last year.

I first blogged about crocheting a temperature blanket on  November 17, 2022.  On January 25, 2023, I told my readers I was underway.  I did start.  I even purchased almost all of the yarn over the last year.

So what is a temperature blanket?  You can knit, crochet or quilt it.  You pick colors representing temperature ranges that make sense for your climate (or the climate of someone you want to gift the blanket to.  Some people make one for a new child or grandchild/great grand in their family to record their first year of life.  Or, you can just make one for no reason at all.

Below are the colors I decided to use for my blanket.  I recorded the high and low temperatures for every day in 2023 and my plan was to crochet one row for each day's high with its assigned color. 

0 F (-17.8 C) and lower:  Pale Plum.  It would be most unusual where I live to have a high less than zero F, and, in fact, 2023 did not offer such a high.  But we did have a low of -5F (-20.5 C) one night so I decided to include a strip of low temperature color and high temperature color for that day.
In addition:
1-21F   Dark orchid
21-32F  Royal blue
33-43F  Turquoise
44-53F  Spring Green
54-66F  Kelly Green (think of St. Patrick's Day)
67-77F  Bright Yellow
78-88F Carrot orange
89-99F  Pretty in Pink

100F (38C) and above - Fruity Stripe (shades of pink - a variegated yarn) I didn't have to use it. 

As of yesterday, I finished June 2.  

The pink stripe at top represents June 1 and 2nd.  Here's a current picture. 

It's becoming more and more difficult to take a picture of this and I don't know what I'll do for April.  But I'm sure I'll figure something out.

I'm working on June 3 now, which will be carrot orange.  Then, more yellow.

I need to up the pace, though, because I don't like crocheting in warm or hot weather.  And it will be true spring weather one day, right?

Look for my next report at the beginning of May, as April will be my Blogging from A to Z month (unless I can think of an afghan post that begins with "Y" or "Z").

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Total Eclipse Freakshake #WordlessWednesday

In August of 2017, my spouse, son, and I were in Columbia, South Carolina to watch a total eclipse of the sun.

We had no idea what a Freakshake was.  It's too bad we didn't check it out.

Turns out it had nothing to do with a freak out (panic) over the total eclipse.

Rather it is a dessert item you have to see to believe.   (click the link for an article on them)

I do wonder what they did for a total eclipse, though.  I'll probably never know.  But this article wrote more about the delicacies various restaurants served up for the 2017 eclipse.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Is the World Shrinking?

Has anyone else who likes to walk and walks with a smart exercise tracking device noticed this kind of thing?

On my workdays, when the weather is decent, I walk after lunch on a local walking path.  It's the same walking path.  It's been there since the spring of 2020, when it was built.

I understand there can be minor deviations in the number of steps I take but I pay more attention to mileage.   

For the last almost year and a half, I've worn an Apple Watch.  It tells me that my total distance is around 1.01 miles.

But recently, it's suddenly decided that I am only walking .87 mile.  Same routine.  Different distance.

How can that be?  Is the world shrinking?  Is there some entity messing with distances and we aren't aware of it?  (Do scientists need to investigate)? Or does Apple Watch have its own opinions about my physical activities?

One other thing I've noticed is that I don't seem to have a good sense of how fast I am walking.  Sometimes I think I'm walking fast but the watch says I'm not.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm dragging but the watch disagrees.

OK, then, feelings of "how fast" are subjective.  I don't hold it against my Apple Watch.

But how can distances be subjective?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Let's Hear it for the Mondegreens #MusicMovesMe

It's Monday and it's time for music!

Let's introduce the Music Moves me bloggers:  We 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! Otherwise, your post may be removed, or may  be labeled "No Music".  Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and, last but not least, me.

Every other week, we have a theme.  On alternate weeks, we can blog on any music theme we want.  Today is a theme week, and it was chosen by lil' old me.  

Today's theme is:  “Misheard Song Lyrics”.  For instance, a song lyric you’ve misheard or is commonly misheard  i.e. Credence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising (“there’s a bathroom on the right”) .  Let’s keep it family friendly, folks!

Did you know that misheard lyrics have an interesting name.   Mondegreens:  "a misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song"?  The origin of this expression apparently was from an article written by a woman, Sylvia Wright , who misheard a lyric of an old Scottish ballard "The Bonnie Earl of Moray".  She wrote about this in a 1954 article in Harper's Magazine.  (If you are a subscriber, you can download a PDF of the article).

Here is the lyric she misheard:

Ye Hielan's an' ye Lowlan's
O, where have ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Moray
And lain him on the green... [Ms. Wright misheard this sentence as "and Lady Mondegreen"]
(the full lyrics can be found here).

I like the Lady Mondegreen version.  Poor lady!

The rock music songbook has lots of misheard lyrics.  Shall we explore some? (incidentally, it is too bad I asked that we keep it clean, because there are some hysterical misheard lyrics that....aren't.)

Let's start with a misheard lyric, from Elton John's 1971 early hit  Tiny Dancer. 

No John isn't singing "hold me closer, Tony Danza".  Tony Danza is 72 now but I bet many women would still like to be held close by him.  But moving on....

Next up, the Rolling Stones, not singing "I'll never leave your pizza burning".

Correct lyric from "Beast of Burden":  "I'll never be your beast of burden".  Know what?  I'd rather have the singer safeguard my pizza than be my beast of burden.

Next, one of my favorite ABBA songs, Dancing Queen, in which they do not sing "See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen".

Is this a song about mistreating dancers?  No, the lyric is really "See that girl watch that scene, digging the dancing queen."  Now that's better!

Do "My friends in Iowa crack the corn?"

Not really.  Here's Lorde's hit song "Royals" and the real line "My friends and I, we've cracked the code."

Let's try the lyric "I've recovered from your love of cake." 

No, in the song Take on Me from A-Ha, it's  "I'll be coming for your love, OK".  Funny thing is, I've misheard this same line as having something to do with cake but not exactly the same way.

One more.  In this song, Genesis is not singing "She sees the hat, I'm busy don't touch it".

So here's Genesis and  Invisible Touch, where she "seems to have an invisible touch". No hats were touched during this song.

And that's a misheard wrap!

Join me again next Sunday (Sunday, not Monday) for another episode of Music Moves Me.  As a reminder, during the month of April, some of my music posts may be on Sunday because of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, but I'll still be around either way.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Mystery of the Sherlock Holmes Clock #ShadowshotSunday

 Found, last October, during a History Weekend in storage at a former school in Maine, New York.

This is a clock mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes.

I may have posted this already last October but I haven't been able to find out anything about this clock.  There is a board game called "Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective" but I don't think this clock is part of it.  There are a lot of clock faces online, but none exactly like this one.

Guess it will require Sherlock Holmes to solve this one.

Joining Lisa at Lisa's Garden Adventures for #ShadowshotSunday.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Back to the Winter Farmers Market

Spring is officially here, and although it is snowing right now (we shouldn't get much), our outdoor farmers market is still in session each Saturday except the Saturday right before New Years Day.

I've shown you produce pictures before, but here are some of the other vendors.

A local coffee roaster.

A grower of living herbs. 

Meat, for those who eat meat.

And, of course, winter produce, like these mushrooms (which this vendor only grows in the winter).

Carrots and parsnips.  My spouse loves these carrots, incidentally.  Don't be put off by their size - he cuts them up and air fries them in the air fryer along with potatoes.  I love them that way.

Hopefully this is a good year for our growers.  Let's thank our farmers today for their hard work.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Graupel Skies #SkywatchFriday

I knew winter would return.  And it did, to where I live in the Southern Tier of New York.

Despite our unusual, warmer than normal winter, spring can't get a foothold.  Not yet, anyway.  On the first day of spring, we had a dusting of snow.  The next day, winter decided that wasn't enough.

It was Graupel Time.

Graupel, also known as corn snow, is (according to Wikipedia) "precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets in air are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm balls".  It's more common here than one might think.

Knowing we would be under snow squall warnings by 1pm on Wednesday, we took our exercise walk early.  Here's a bird's next up against a white snow-is-coming sky. 

After lunch, we took another walk.  The blue sky wasn't going to last long.

Uh oh, the storm is approaching.  Time to head on in.

Here comes the graupel.

A closeup, as the temperature dropped from 47F (8.3C) to 35F (1.7C).

And the sky as graupel turned into regular snow.

We didn't get a lot of snow, as it turned out.  The sun even came out again later in the day.  But yesterday, it was cold and breezy.  Today should be cold, too.

It's no surprise that winter isn't done with us yet.

Joining Yogi and other sky watchers for #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Bird Not of a Feather

Last May, we had a mystery white goose in among our regularly scheduled Canada geese in a local park. Some of my commenters said "snow goose".  We also got a snow goose ID from the owner of a Wild Birds Unlimited store about an hour and a half from here. 

Fast forward to this past Monday, the last full day of winter.

In a different local park...

Best of the pictures we got

...looks like that same goose, again with a flock of Canada geese.

Most of the pictures weren't usable - iPhones aren't the best things to use for this type of photography.

Tuesday we went back to the park after work and the goose was still there with the flock.  Not a bird of a feather but they allow the white goose to stay with them.

Is it the same one?  I wonder.

I wonder how long he or she will stay.

Yesterday the geese weren't there and today the weather probably won't be favorable for a walk.  So, as of now, this remains a mystery.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Snow on Crocus to Welcome Spring #WordlessWednesday

Yesterday was the first day of spring where I live.

It's not that common to have crocuses on March 19.

But it is (or was, as our weather has been so unusual) common to have some snow on the ground.

Introducing - first day of spring crocus and snow. 

The picture isn't that great; it was gloomy yesterday morning.  I was working and I asked spouse to take a picture.  Our purple crocus are all the crocus that are left-our white and yellow ones are already gone.  Daffodil greens are up, and a neighbor's forsythia tree is opening its blooms.  Unbelievable.

And now we are back to winter.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Merger Pains

A story of change....

As of February 1, a hospital system (lets call it Hospital System B) took over one of the two hospital systems (lets call it Hospital System A) in this area.

Hospital system A first opened in 1925.  It was a Catholic health care ministry. There were crucifixes in the hospital rooms.  There was be a daily prayer announcement around 7am each morning.

In 1999 they joined another system, and in 2017 took on their name.  Many people in our area, me included, felt the care deteriorated after 2017.  Their billing system certainly deteriorated, which is a story for another day.   (This is not a put down of the doctors and employees.  I believe the problems originated at a higher level.)

The parent of System A was a big outfit, operating in some 22 states as of 2017.  I believe System A was their only hospital in New York State. I had a lot of experience with doctors in System A. Sadly, a number of them retired during or after COVID, something that is happening nationwide.

Last year, when it was announced that System A would be acquired by System B, many local people rejoiced.  System B has a good reputation.  Of course, there would be growing pains.  And layoffs.

Fast forward to early March, when I received a letter reminding me I needed to make an appointment for my annual mammogram.

I always scheduled it online so I tried to do it.  But appointment systems were changing over to System B's, and it was hard to find the link.  I finally did find it, and made the appointment.

Last week, I got a call asking me to preregister.  This wasn't a surprise; System A preferred that you preregister so your appointment was verified and they had your current information. Apparently, System B was going to do the same thing.  Fine.  But imagine my surprise when the preregistration rep mentioned where my appointment was.  It wasn't for where I had scheduled.  I checked the verification I received from them.  I had registered for the location I wanted.

But no one told the computer.

If the rep hadn't mentioned the location, I would have gone to the wrong office, several miles away, and would have had to remake the appointment.  I had never run into this with System A. (The rep immediately offered, incidentally, to see if they could get me in at the location I wanted).

At the test, I was pleasantly surprised when the nurse asked me some questions about family history. She explained it was to ascertain my risk, and if I was considered high risk, they would contact me to discuss and present options for further testing.  They also asked if I had undergone certain genetic testing.  Hmmm.

I happen to have ancestry that puts me at a higher than normal risk of certain genetic mutations.  No one has ever offered that testing.  I found out that Medicare only has limited coverage for such testing.

That questionnaire was a pleasant surprise, though.

Interestingly, the day after the procedure, I received an email questionnaire from System B, something System A had never done, and I decided I would mention this issue.  There was a box to check if I wanted this information shared with staff.  I did.

Now I'll be curious to see if there are further growing pains, as the two systems mesh into one.  And, of course, I wonder if anything will come from my complaint.  I hope I was the only person this happened to.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Not All By Himself #MusicMovesMe

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

Let's introduce the Music Moves me bloggers:  We 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! Otherwise, your post may be removed, or may  be labeled "No Music".  Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and, last but not least, me.

Every other week, we have a theme.  On alternate weeks, like this week, we can blog on any music theme we want.

Today, it's time once again to recognize and pay tribute to a music artist who has entered Rock and Roll Heaven.  Today's inductee is Eric Carmen, the former lead vocalist and guitarist of the Raspberries, who was also successful as a song writer and solo artist. 

Carmen's death was announced March11.  He died at the age of 74. No cause of death was released.

Carmen showed musical talent by the age of two.  At age six, he took violin lessons from an aunt who played violin for the Cleveland [Ohio] Orchestra.  By 11, he was playing piano.  Although his musical training was classical, he fell in love with rock music and started self-teaching himself guitar at age 15.  He was playing in bands as a sophomore in high school.

My favorite Raspberries song - from 1972, Go All The Way.  For a change of pace, it's the woman in the relationship who is asking, not the man.

From a 2007 reunion tour, Ecstasy.  The drumming on this song reminds me so much of Keith Moon of The Who.

Now the songs get softer. Eric the solo artist - from 1976, All by Myself.


Eric writing for others: 1984's Almost Paradise, from the movie Footloose, co written by Carmen, sung by Ann Wilson of Heart and Mike Reno of Loverboy.

Another movie hit - 1987's Hungry Eyes, from Dirty Dancing. 

Eric Carmen also wrote several songs recorded by country singer Louise Mandrell.  Here Eric sings a duet with Mandrell of As Long as We've Got Each Other.

I will end with the last Raspberries song that charted, a song ironically entitled Overnight Sensation, from 1974.

And that is a sad wrap, as we continue to lose some of our older rock and roll greats with each passing month.

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

Oh, one more thing....

Before I go, a note:  I am participating in the month long April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Some of my April posts may be going live on Sundays.  So, if you don't see me on Monday, look for me the day before.  Thank you for your continued readership.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Church Shadow and St Patrick Fountain #ShadowshotSunday

Happy St. Patrick's Day to my readers!

I was in the car with my spouse the other day in Johnson City, New York, stopped at a light.  We were stopped at a light and I saw these shadows on the side of a church.  Bush shadows, a shadow of a streetlight on the ground, and even reflections of clouds on the windows. I took this picture as the light was changing.

(taken March 12, 2013)

In March of 2013, we visited Savannah, Georgia.  Another Johnson - here, the fountain in Johnson Square, with the water colored green.

Joining up with Lisa at Lisa's Garden Adventures for #ShadowshotSunday.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Chipmunk vs Feeder Round 1

Yesterday, I sat outside and read, but I was so distracted by an Eastern chipmunk's antics that I decided to take some pictures.  My spouse has been battling this chipmunk, which is determined to feast on the seeds we intend for our local birds.

The chipmunk makes his approach.

Our feeder has been protected by a store bought baffle but it didn't seem to be working so spouse tried to make his own.  

Let's see how that is going to work out.  The homemade baffle is that shinymetal thing on the pole.  The feeder is at the top right of the photo.

Mr. or Ms. chipmunk eats some seeds scattered by the birds.  I'll call him a male.

He thinks.  These creatures are smart and persistent.

What if I jump up and hit the baffle, Mr. Chipmunk wonders.  Some birds are such sloppy eaters that they shovel seeds onto the baffle.  Yes, his logic works.  A shower of seeds await him when he hits the underside of the battle.  But finally, he runs out of seed showers.

After several rounds of hit the baffle, he finally figures out how to get up to the feeder.

Chipmunk 1 spouse 0.

But no worries, sports fans.  The battle was rejoined today with a second baffle a foot or 18 inches above the first one.  It is far from elegant but so far it seems to be working.

But, as the newly awakened from winter slumber chipmunk knows, the season has just begun.

Let the chipmunk or squirrel vs. bird feeder battles begin.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Flowers and Skies #SkywatchFriday #GardenBloggersBloomDay

Today is Friday, March 15.  It is the Ides of March, and time for two memes:  the 15th of each month Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and the every Friday Skywatch Friday, hosted by Yogi.

Where do I begin?  How about with the sky, and then to the flowers?  Nothing to beware of, either way.

Like so many others in the United States, our winter has been mild, and we have things blooming that shouldn't be blooming.

Like this tree on a local walking trail.

We have skies that aren't the usual skies of mid-March.

For the flowers, the winter has been kind to my zone 6b (it is going to take a while for me to get used to this reclassification) garden.  For today here are my flowers, both inside and out.

Purple crocus.

White crocus.

Yellow crocus.

Perennial vinca.

A couple of tiny flowers.  First, a viola that survived the winter in a pot which was dug into by squirrels is putting forth one tiny flower.  It opened yesterday.


And a wildflower, speedwell.  Does that count?  I'm counting it.  It's in my flower garden.

Last but not least, the impatiens I rooted and kept alive indoors.

Bonus - my yew (I think) bushes are flowering.  From what I understand, this is a male flower.  Yews have male and female plants.

Sadly, winter will return early next week, but did I ever enjoy the sneak preview Nature gave us over the last couple or three days.

So that wraps up the Ides of March and Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and Skywatch Friday.

I hope you enjoyed them.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Pi Day 2024

Today is Pi Day, 3.14 as we write the date in the United States.

Pi Day, March 14, is a day to celebrate mathematics. In the American method of day numbering, today is 3-14:  March 14.  Or, the first three digits of the mathematical value "Pi".  3.14. 

It also would have been Albert Einstein's birthday. (March 14, 1879).  145 years ago today.

Pi Day honors the number representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius.  Pi is an infinite number: it goes on indefinitely, but, not only that, it is a non repeating decimal.  And it is always a constant - each and every circle, no matter its size, has that same ratio.

That ratio had been calculated by ancient mathematicians with good accuracy.  With our supercomputers, we've computed Pi out to over 62.8 trillion digits (it may be more now).  Try memorizing that.  Some people have. I've read that the record for memorizing the value of Pi is around 70,000. digits. 

In the United States, Pi Day has become an unofficial celebration of all things circular, especially pies and pizzas.  Pizza parlors and bakeries run specials.

Today, we are not going to bake any pies, but I'm thinking of some pies of my spouse's youth.

My late mother in law used to make two types of pies for Easter - what she called a "grass" pie, and a "pizza rustica".  These are both savory pies. When she was younger, she hand made these.  In her older age she bought from bakeries where she used to live near New York City.  She traditionally served them for Easter.

The grass pie, may I reassure you, is not made from grass.  In Italy, it is known as  "torta pasqualina". The green is usually swiss chard.

 Easter is coming early this year and, as rarely happens, doesn't coincide with Passover, so I can actually eat these savory pies at the Easter table.  So I'm trying to talk my spouse into making at least one of these pies.  They are work intensive but I'm hoping he will do it. 

 Of course, he probably remembers the first time we (joint effort) tried to make a Pizza Rustica.

We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Spring a Week Early #WordlessWednesday

 After a couple of days of winter weather, including a snow squall warning, spring returned to the Southern Tier of New York yesterday.

Yesterday, after work, I sat outside.  All the birds were out celebrating:  downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, white breasted nuthatches, American crows, tufted titmice, house finches and black-capped chickadees.  I heard a red bellied woodpecker.  A male Northern cardinal sat placidly on a fence next to a common grackle before the grackle took off.  The song of male red winged blackbirds filled the air. 

We have some crocuses blooming.  Here's two of them.

Not taken yesterday

My spouse also saw his first chipmunk of the year.

Could it be spring for real this time?  Well, no - it's back to winter next week.  But I'm enjoying this while I can.

Joining Sandee at Comedy Plus for her #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Lost in Translation

I admire people who can speak and write in more than one language.  It's a skill I have never mastered, although I am told that my maternal grandfather spoke six languages, and several of my paternal cousins and an uncle are bi-lingual. Additionally, my father was bi-lingual, and my mother spoke two languages fluently and had some knowledge of a third.  My mother in law was also bi-lingual.

I took Spanish in junior high (now called middle school) and one year in high school but it never stuck. 

Something that has always fascinated me are instructions for a product manufactured in another country.  Often enough, the English instructions have obviously been translated from another language, and enough times, something was lost in translation.

Here's one recent example.

I wanted to purchase a couple of collapsible bottles to take on trips.  Amazon was having a lightning deal on a two pack of collapsible silicone water bottles.  Perfect!  But I didn't read many of the reviews, and I should have.  A lot of them complained about the smell.

I ordered them and they came the next day.  I took them out of the packaging, opened one up, and was almost knocked over by the smell.

It was....not pleasant.

The manufacturer was obviously aware of this, because the above smell removal instructions were enclosed.  I wasn't able to get a good picture but it reads as follows:

"Due to our bottle is made of platinum silicone, its normal That there may exsit slight natural silicone smell. We suggest below method to improve if you don't like it:

1. Boil the bottle in hot water for 5 minutes, dry it and then smell removes.

2.  Fill the bottle with 2 gram or more red or green tea and at least 80% of 90degrees C or higher hot water.

3.  Close the cap and seal the bottle for 2 hours, discard tea and water try it naturally.  Then smell is basically removed."

Leaving the translation issues to one side, I can either boil the bottle (I was a bit leary to do that, although the website description says it will take temperatures up to 200C (392F) ) or use the tea method.  I had green tea in the house.  Red tea, I assume, is roobios, and I do not have it in the house.

We in the United States aren't metric, unlike almost all of the world.  So, at the risk of losing all of my readers, some math:  a cup of water is 240 grams, which is also 240 milliliters. (Why can't our system be logical like this?). I am supposed to put two milliliters of liquid, which is about .40 teaspoon, into this bottle.  A 20 oz bottle can hold about 120 teaspoons.  I'm terrible in math, but I have a feeling I'll need a lot more green tea than .40 of a teaspoon to remove the odor.

So what am I doing now?  I went online and saw a recommendation for filling the bottle with half white vinegar and half water for "a while".  Some reviewers used this method with varying results.

If that doesn't work maybe I'll try filling it with hot green tea.

It's interesting, too, that the instructions suggest green tea and the product is made in China. But I also feel like something was lost in translations.

The instructions made some kind of sense after several readings and translations of metric to our outdated system.  I think.

Wish me luck.