Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strap In For Turbulence

This is a political post.  If you would rather experience a spot of floral beauty, click here.

Living through history is not an easy thing. I've lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Vietnam.  Watergate.  9/11.  And much, much more. My Dad lived through World War I and World War II (and served in World War II, sustaining a head injury that impacted him for the rest of his life).

We live in exciting, but dangerous, times.  

In January of this year, I visited Charlottesville, Virginia and spent several days there.  It was my second visit. 

Between Friday and Saturday, Charlottesville became the focus of our country.

In January, walking downtown, I took this picture. 

Yesterday, the marquee had a different message: That one read "C'Ville Strong" ("C'Ville" is what locals call Charlottesville.).  The longer marque at the front read  "Heather Heyer Gone But Not Forgotten".

Until Saturday, few in this country had ever heard of Heather Heyer.  Now, her name in on the lips of many.   Heather Heyer, age 32, participating in a demonstration against white supremists, was run down in cold blood, allegedly (the accused driver has not yet been tried and is presumed innocent until proven guilty) by a domestic terrorist.  19 others were injured, some seriously.

But wait..there was more, earlier that day, at the local synagogue.

Three white supremists, armed with semi-automatic weapons,  had tried to intimidate congregants of the local synagogue during its Sabbath services by standing a block away, in plain sight.  There are pictures taken by congregants of neo-Nazis marching past the synagogue, holding Nazi flags, chanting Nazi slogans I refuse to quote here.  Someone said that if those pictures had been taken in black and white, one may have thought they were looking at a Nazi demonstration from the 1930's.

But the march was here in the United States.  And a simple Google search will reveal hate crime after hate crime, against various minorities.  This incident that took the life of Heather is only the latest one.

The mother of Heather Heyer, at a memorial service yesterday, urged mourners to “make my daughter’s death worthwhile” by confronting injustice and channeling “anger into righteous action.”

Heed her words, spoken from the deepest pain a mother can know.

You may well already be speaking out.  If so, I thank you.  As a member of a religious minority, I thank you with all my being.

It is quite possible, on the other hand, that you feel this does not impact you.

If you feel you are not threatened by this wave of "alt-right" hate, I have a question for you.  Did your parent, or grandparent, fight in World War II or work in a domestic support factory (like my mother did)?  If so, how would they feel today about what is happening?   Would they have rested easy knowing their sacrifices were apparently in vain?

Nazi Germany did not happen in a day.  Or in a month.  Or in a year.  And many living there did nothing, thinking it would never get "that bad".  It could never happen "here".  Until it did, and they were trapped.

We have this one chance to fight tyranny.  So know this: Tyrants come into power because people let them have the power.  They watch, with each action they take, to see how people react.  If there is little reaction, they do something more drastic. And more drastic.  And one day....

We must react, and not just today.  This is not "take part in a march, high five each other go the afterparty, and then go about your life."

I wish I could be more elegant.  I wish I could channel the tears and the anguish I've felt since I turned my computer on Saturday afternoon and read what had happened in Charlottesville, in the ways others more elegant with words have done.

 It can happen here.  It already has.  The followers of hate have come out of the shadows.  They paraded Friday night in the light of tiki torches, pretending that what they cared about was the heritage of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. That statue was their excuse.  They know what they are doing.  They use their symbols and imagery consciously.  And they are not trailer park yahoos.  Don't ever think that.  You would be wrong.

They are educated.  They are angry.  You may not know them, but they know you.  They are no longer in hiding.

They could be your co worker.  Or next door neighbor.  Or relative.  Or friend.

If we don't speak up, and speak up daily, the hatred will only spread.  They have the ear of power.

Nor can we allow it to go back into the shadows to hide and wait for their next opportunity.

Don't be distracted  We have a small window of opportunity.

Strap in for turbulence.

Three Surprises

Three surprises awaited me when I came home from work yesterday.

A final day lily, when I thought they were all gone.

A cosmos, buried in some dahlias.  This was a volunteer - I had grown cosmos last year.

And, a tall phlox blooming.  The plant was ailing, and I never expected it to bloom.  I had given up on it.

Nature has taught me a lesson today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Falling Wednesday - Can We Turn the Falling Tide?

This is a post from 2015.  I've edited it slightly, including updating ages of various people mentioned.

I also wanted to add one example I found last night.  David Freeman, the author of the book "One Hundred Things You Need to Do Before You Die" (inspiration for the movie "The Bucket List") died, at age 47, after a fall.  So, it isn't the elderly.  It's all of us.

Here's the post:

The headlines, past and present, produce fear.  Especially if you are a senior citizen or care for one.

"George H.W. Bush [a former United States President, now 93 years old] fell and broke his neck bone", read the headlines in July.  This is a man who parachuted for his 90th birthday.

Actor Robert Culp - dead from a fall at age 79 in 2010. I remember him from a TV series of the 1960's called "I Spy".  The other starring actor became famous, too, but eventually in a different way.

Singer Eddie Arnold, dead after he fell and broke a hip in 2008, just shy of his 90th birthday.

Hillary Clinton, age 69, who ran for President of the United States, has had several well publicized falls.  One ended up as a topic of discussion in her Presidential campaign.

A man by the name of William Bechill, a man famed in the aging advocacy community, died in 2007 after he fell on ice.  He was 78.

Is falling in old age something that can't be prevented?  Is there any hope for seniors as they age?  Do we in the areas of harsh winter weather (I live in one of those areas) have to become prisoners in our homes due to aging?

Many are now trying to turn this around.  And, seniors are ready to listen.

Seniors such as my mother in law's former next door neighbor of over 50 years, and good friend, is one of them.  She is 85 (I hope she doesn't mind me giving out her age) and she and I grew up a mile - and 20 years - apart in the Bronx, a borough of New York City.

This woman, a widow for many years, still leads an active life, and has lived in the same house for over 50 years.  She walks up to four miles a day.  She travels.  And when I demonstrated the exercises I had learned in my falls prevention class during a recent visit, she was eager to learn them.

Why?  Because she has fallen.  Of course, she said, "I got right up".  She didn't want her companions to see her lying on the cobblestone streets of the city she was visiting.

Except that it was a fall.

Fortunately for this woman, she is not in denial.

If your area has falls prevention classes, don't be shy.  Take them. 

It can't hurt.  I've lost a little on my waist.  I am feeling the difference as I walk my imaginary tightrope.

In just minutes away, you can gain optimism.  Perhaps we, all together, can turn the falling tide.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - August 2017

In times like these, we need our flowers more than ever.  To the rescue comes Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, a 15th of each month meme where gardeners from all over the world come to show the beautiful in their yards and homes,

My zone 5b upstate New York August garden is delivering.  It's a bit sad to realize that, in about three months, this flower garden will be a distant memory.

But, for now, the crickets are chirping and the flowers are thriving.

Here's a small sample.

Pink gladiolus.  This year, we decided to grow them and they are thriving in our rainy weather.

Yellow gladiolus.


I am growing "regular" impatiens again, after several years "off" due to the blight that infects them (I had that blight for two years, not knowing why I would go to work with healthy impatiens and come home to find all my impatiens dead - yes, it's that bad) and, knock on wood, they are thriving.
In fact, I decided to do a collage of impatiens and geraniums in bloom.

My "false sunflower" has come back for a third year, stronger than ever.

A begonia basket.

And finally, one of my zinnias.

Cross fingers that we don't get much more rain than we have already have. 

Thanks once again go to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the Indiana gardener who links us to each other.  And speaking of linking, why not visit May Dreams Gardens now, and see what other gardeners have to show you?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Songs With Men's Names - Music Moves Me

Tunes with men's names in them would normally not be much of a challenge to any participant in the weekly music meme "Music Moves Me".  But this isn't just any week.

On August 8, Glen Campbell finally succumbed to Alzheimer's at the age of 81.

Born in Arkansas, the 7th son of a 7th son, Campbell was an instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and  an actor.

I loved some of his greatest hits - Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and more.   I decided to take today's theme and try to work in a little tribute to Glen as a bonus.  So, please consider this a two-part post today.  The first part, a tribute to Glen Campbell, using some of his songs with men's names in them.

William Tell Overture

Jesus and Me (as "Jesus" is used as a male name in certain cultures) - one of many Christian songs Campbell did.

Bonaparte's Retreat (yes, it's rare, but "Bonaparte" has been used as a first name) - a 1949 song by Pee Wee King, released in 1950, covered by many artists including, in 1974, Glen Campbell, reaching #3 on the country music charts.

Turning to other artists, here is the remainder of my "men mentioned in songs" post.

Sue Thompson - Norman. Why? Because I am experiencing this as an earworm.

Ben - Michael Jackson.  This was the theme song of a 1972 horror movie about a boy who befriended a rat named Ben.  Michael Jackson's song was performed over the closing credits of the movie.

Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield

Sloop John B - Beach Boys

And finally, "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?", a 1993 song by R.E.M. inspired by (but not a retelling of) a true story of the newscaster Dan Rather being assaulted on the streets of Manhattan in October of 1986 by two men near his home.  One ma screamed "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" as he beat Rather.  The crime was not solved until 1994, after a bizarre murder.

Join this #MusicMovesMe blog hop every Monday - here are the conductors of this musical train:
X mas Dolly is the Conductor of this train, and the other Conductors are her fellow bloggers Callie of JAmerican Spice, ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥  and Cathy from Curious as a Cathy !

Rock on!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Civil War Sunday - Charlottesville

Civil War Sunday, 2017 edition???

For four years, from 2011 to 2015, I (most Sundays) blogged about the United States Civil War, which took place from 1861 to 1865.

Except that I believe the war never ended.  The nature of the fight changed.

Yesterday, another battle of the war was fought in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia.

Because this is not a political blog, I will not discuss the events in Charlottesville yesterday, August 12, except to explain that an occasion of hate became even more tragic when a man, driving a car, rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters near a white nationalist rally in this Virginia college town.  At the time I write this, one person is dead, and 19 others injured, 5 critically..

In a related incident, a police helicopter crashed (they had been monitoring the protests from the year), killing two.

This car ramming is the latest incident after this city, once in the Confederate State of America, decided to take down an equestrian monument honoring the Confederate General (and native Virginia son) Robert E. Lee.

Hatred.  Division. We still struggle with the racial divide.   Even our President's remarks after the incident sparked controversy.
Outside of Charlottesville, January 2017
The mayor of Charlottesville said he was "broken hearted".
Downtown Charlottesville, before April the Giraffe became famous
I have visited Charlottesville three times in the last eighteen months.  I will come within 30 miles of it later this month.  It is a city that, for many reasons, I have grown to enjoy.  In fact, I was going to visit it later this month, although my plans changed (several weeks ago) due to circumstances.

Nothing in our history is simple.  If only it could be simple. If only we could say our Civil War was over.
Downtown Cutout

When you don't face issues head on, and let them simmer for year after year, it never ends well.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Local Saturday - Fixing the World with Ava's Little Heroes

Today, it is time for the little heroes of the world to shine-the children who fight for every breath, or who have to undergo constant doctors visits in faraway places or terrible treatments for dread conditions that affect every moment of their lives.

Childhood should not be a time of pain.

Parents of ailing children shouldn't have to spend their days fundraising.
April - who else?
A giraffe who went viral has come to the rescue.
Oliver, April's mate
Well, several giraffes.

Today was a day of celebrating Super Heroes - and, although I was not present physically at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York (home of the Internet famed giraffe family of Oliver, April and Tajiri), I was there in spirit.

If the then-pregnant April hadn't gone viral in February, things may have been different.  But she did (among how many thousands or millions of animal web cams), and the owners of Animal Adventure Park seized on the opportunity.

The owners of Animal Adventure Park, Jordan and Colleen Patch, have a young daughter, Ava, who was born with a rare medical condition.  Even before birth, the medical bills and worry started.

Although they were able to pay the medical and transportation bills, they knew other families struggled, and, last August, they had their first Ava's Little Heroes event.  With the money raised, they were able to help one family.

Today, due to the power of viral, they were able to help five families.

In their "spare time",Jordan, Colleen and employees have been helping giraffes and animal conservation in general with more of the money raised through the webcam prior to, and right after, April giving birth.
AM (to the left of April) and April
So many of us wonder how we can do more to fix our world.  Jordan and Colleen don't wonder - they just do it.  They don't turn away from the challenge.

I think to myself:  can I do any less, in some little way?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Blueberry Skies- #SkywatchFriday

August is here in upstate New York.  And, it's blueberry season.

Many mornings, we have fog at this time of year.  This photo was taken Saturday, along I-88.  We were on our way to pick blueberries and go to a local festival at a used bookstore in a small upstate town.
Looks pretty grim, doesn't it.
But later in the morning, this was the sky while we were picking blueberries.  So blue.

Join other bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.  It's easy - just post your picture of the sky and link back to the Skywatch website.  Please be sure to give some love to the bloggers at the end of the linky (those who posted last), while you are at it.

Happy Friday!