Monday, May 21, 2018

Remembering #MusicMovesMe

Today, on #MusicMovesMe, guest conductor John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing asks us to post songs of either remembering or forgetting.

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers?  We call ourselves 4Mers and this is who we are:

The Head 4M'er (Engineer) is XmasDolly.  Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice, (who right now is doing on and off visits) and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also,  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy and Michelle from Michelle's Musings and MerrimentAnd, ahem...me.  

But before I begin, I am remembering the most inspirational moment I can remember in a long time - the sermon in the royal wedding Saturday given by the Reverend Michael Curry and the rendition of Ben E. King's Stand by Me that was such an inspiration to me.  

And now, what music is moving me today?

Remember (Walking in the Sand) - the Shangri-Las from 1964.

September When I First Met You -sung by the late, soulful, Barry White, from 1978.  I so remember that soulful voice.  White died at age 58 from kidney failure, waiting for a kidney transplant.

From 1985, Don't You (Forget about Me) - Simple Minds. Many remember this from the opening and closing credits of the movie "The Breakfast Club".  It was Simple Mind's first hit, and only #1 hit in the United States.

A song by one of the guests at the royal wedding Saturday - Sir Elton John singing a rewritten "Candle in the Wind" as "Goodbye English Rose" at the funeral of Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, in 1967.

Another Elton John song about remembering - Crocodile Rock.

I end on an upbeat note,  September - Earth, Wind and Fire.

Today, we should all remember the power of love "the redemptive power of love", in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  "Love is the only way".

See you next week for another Monday of music.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

And Again and Again and Again

The columbines in my yard are starting to open.  Once upon a time, they were just another pretty mid-spring flower.  Now, they have another meaning - the name of a high school where one of the first modern school shootings took place.  Now, these mass shootings have become epidemic.

Now, we face a crisis in our country - continuing gun violence. Day after day, month after month, the news reports roll in.  There are so many shootings that some barely get any news coverage.

We, the American people, have taken sides, and while we yell and posture at each other, the death toll mounts.  An elementary school massacre didn't resolve us to face the issue head on.  Several church massacres didn't. A nightclub shooting didn't.  Or a country music concert in Las Vegas.  Or....or...or.

We marched in Washington and it didn't help.

We gave everyone our thoughts and prayers, and then moved on, until the next mass shooting.

I speak as a resident of one of the many communities (Binghamton, New York) which has experienced this violence.

We tap dance around it. 


Our President is right when he says his responses, and our conversations, have become routine.  Everyone's response has become so predictable on both sides. More guns! Less guns! Fewer laws! More laws!  The guns were legal.  The guns were illegal.  The shooters were mentally ill.  The shooters were sane. The shooters were students. The shooters were Muslim.  The shooters were Christian. 

But, whatever is true, the people they killed are just as dead.  Their families are just as shattered.

How many more times will this article on the 28 deadliest mass shootings (yes, the Binghamton one appears on it) be updated before we come to a national consensus?

Or, will it be like the years leading up to the Civil War? We couldn't find a resolution to slavery, and we ended up with a terrible war, a terrible post war period, and echoes that still echo into our present day.  Will we be able to, finally, have an actual conversation, and actual, true action, to what is happening to our country?

Or will something so horrible, something none of us can now imagine, have to happen first?

Yes, I realize comparing gun violence to the United States Civil War is like comparing apples to oranges, or perhaps comparing a grape to a watermelon.  So let's think of these semi monthly massacres in a different way.

It is easy to think about terrorism.  It is us vs. them.  We are civilized.  They are pure evil.

But when it is us vs. us, it isn't so easy.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. You may or may not see it in whatever comments this blog piece produces.  (I don't expect agreement.  I do expect civility.)  When you look at the hate that similar posts on other blogs generates, it shows you how close to the edge we are - the edge of where people who speak out are demonized, and even have death threats directed against them.

Will Santa Fe, Texas be the tipping point?  Or are we still waiting?  Is this is how we will continue to define our country?

Our future as a united nation depends on it. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Non-Persistance of Memory

They got out of the vehicle and walked into the chapel.  "They" being Prince Phillip, 96, and Queen Elizabeth II, his wife, 92.

They weren't assisted. They walked without canes or walkers. They had their memories, and fully participated in the events of today.

We had a wonderful time watching the royal wedding this morning, even waking up early to see it.

Later in the day, we visited my mother in law, 90, along with two relatives visiting from out of town.  My mother in law is in rehab after three hospitalizations since the beginning of April. 

She can't get out of bed by herself.  She needs assistance for many of what are called, in the United States, the "Activities of Daily Living" (dressing, continence, feeding, transferring, bathing).

Mother's Day, last Sunday, was good for her.  She had shrimp Newburg for lunch, courtesy of the rehab place, and then an Ultimate Chocolate Cake we bought for her.  She wore a wrist corsage.   Her grandson was there.  All three of her sons were there.  Her two daughter in laws were there.

Today, she didn't remember any of it.

Tomorrow she may not remember the out of town company that spent several hours with us, or the other relatives she FaceTimed with on their iPad.

Watching Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth II made me wonder:  is it just us?

Does dementia exist in other countries?  Are people this infirm?  Is it a function of our environment?  Our relative inactivity?  Has "modern medicine" failed us?

But my mother in law was never inactive. 

At one time she was so sharp we joked that she was sharper than either of us.

The other day she sat in the sun and asked two of her sons if it was sunny.

Yesterday, she couldn't remember where her autistic son lived. 

She steers conversations to the past, talking about her honeymoon (in 1950) as if it was yesterday.

And it's only the beginning.

One day, we know, she won't recognize us.  Already, she has forgotten that I work, and wondered (one day when I visited her on my lunchtime) where I had gone.

Without memory, do we even exist anymore?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rainbow Road #SkywatchFriday

After a storm in upstate New York on May 4, a rainbow appeared in the eastern sky right after sunset.

But there was more to come in the west.
That isn't a river in the bottom; it's the shining road.
The trees hadn't grown their leaves yet.

What a beautiful blue hour.
I published this photo last week as a teaser - here it is again.

The rainbow was long gone.  Fortunately this storm didn't do much damage, and I was able to appreciate the beauty of what came after.

Join Yogi and the other bloggers who watch the sky each Friday at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It Did Happen Tomorrow

My heart goes out to those in the Northeast United States without power, without roofs, without cars, and to the families who lost loved ones in the storm on Tuesday.  This includes the county where my spouse spent his teenaged years.  That county (Putnam) is under a state of emergency after being hit by two tornadoes.

There were even reports of tsunami-like waves off the coast of New Jersey.  I grew up in New York City.  I had never seen skies that looked like pictures of the New York City sky I saw on Facebook in my years of living there.

And then there was the deracho that hit our nation's capital and the nearby states.

They could easily make a movie called "Storms Gone Wild"  but it would be truth.

Years ago, the Weather Channel had a series called "It Could Happen Tomorrow".  Well, it's happened.  All over our country.  All over our world.

I shake my head at those who don't believe in "climate change", as if it was a belief and not a reality.  If we don't stop politicizing this issue, and face it head on, we are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Our trees and crops are suffering.  Farmers in this area were put behind in their planting.  And the growing season seems to be migrating - witness our April of constant cold weather and even snow.

But among the doom and gloom, May flowers still bloom.  Spring has rushed to catch up, and spring has caught up here in the Binghamton, New York area.
Crabapple on my street 5-15-18

Here's some proof.

Cherry tree.

And, on the West Side of Binghamton, what I think is a weeping redbud.

Nature.  So deadly.  And so beautiful.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spring Things - Flowers (What Else)

I had so many flowers for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (the 15th of each month) that I had some extra photos of flowers in my yard to share with you, my dear readers.  Time to enjoy wordlessly....

Bleeding heart
Variegated Solomon's Seal
Happy Violas
Yellow Bleeding Heart
Vinca and Sweet Woodruff (the sweet woodruff has tiny white flowers that are hard to see)
Tomorrow, I promise, a break from the flowers.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2018 Solidly Spring

May 15 in my zone 5b Binghamton, New York area garden.   Less than a month ago we were getting snow flurries and some overnight accumulations.  Now, it is solidly spring.  Although we've had cold days, we've also had days in the 80's.  Spring, in fact, is speeding by too fast.  With the heat, the blooms aren't lasting long.  I had a species tulip that literally lasted one day, just as an example.

This year, you won't see my crocus.  Or my bloodroot.  Or other early spring bulbs.  They are long gone.

In April I was trying to scratch out one or two flower photos and had to depend on houseplants.  Now, I am so inundated I have to make collages just to keep up. 

May I show you what's blooming in my yard and home this 15th of May, 2018?  Yes?  Because, once again, SPRING IS HERE! (Flourish of trumpets).

Cherry blossoms from a tree sapling I was given by a neighbor dying from cancer several years ago.  I will never forget him (he also gave me a redbud sapling that is at the end of its bloom)
This year, my son, who always gives me a hanging basket for Mother's Day, surprised me with a pansy basket after two years in a row of geranium baskets.
Euphorbia.
Variegated euphorbia.
This trillium has a story.  I bought it about four years ago and was told it would take several years to bloom.  Last year there was a little flower spike that didn't open. This year it was bigger and opened a little.  Next year?

Dead nettle
White bleeding heart (I also have red and yellow, but don't want to overwhelm you.

Yellow brunneria.

For bulbs, I've chosen collages.  My tulips are somewhat done but I still have some left.

Ditto for daffodils.

And even my houseplants are getting into the act (clockwise, Thanksgiving cactus, moth orchid and African violet).

I'll even have some flowers left over for tomorrow.

Now, would you do me a favor?  Go visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens and click the links to gardens from all over the world!