Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring is Speeding By

Spring has come to upstate New York.  And now, it seems to be speeding by.

It seems like only yesterday that crocuses were in bloom.  They are long gone.

Pink marked the start of tree blooming season in Binghamton.
A weeping tree by the Broome County Courthouse.
Then things started to get serious.  The cherry blossoms were cut down by a hard freeze last year.  Not so this year.
White blooms.
And now blooming, early rhododendrons.

As far as bulbs, the tulips are out.

You'll see no yellow flowers here.  There's a reason for that. Keep coming back this week, and you'll see why.

Tomorrow, back to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Simon (& Garfunkel) Songs #AtoZChallenge

Growing up in the 1960's and the Vietnam War era, one of my favorite singing groups was the duo Simon and Garfunkel.

Their lyrics fed into all of my teenaged angst. 

I would spend hours in my room, listening to their albums on my record player, and submerge my feelings of being unloved, not understood and having the most embarrassing father ever.  Oh yes, the Vietnam War was going on, and we were all going to blow ourselves up soon.

Today, I want to share some of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs - all beginning with the letter S.
 Scarborough Fair/Canticle is a dual song with anti-war lyrics (Canticle) that start out in the background, and then grow louder and louder.   The Scarborough Fair portion of the song is not original to the duo; it dates from the Middle Ages, although (I have read that the "Parsley/Sage lyrics did not appear until the 19th century) several versions of the original ballad exist.

This was not one of their hit songs, and may not be familiar to you, but this version of Silent Night (with a simulated news broadcast getting louder and louder in the background) seems so perfect for today's climate.

And finally, another one that may not be familiar with you, but I loved how it sounded - "So Long Frank Lloyd Wright".  What I did not know until doing research for this post is that Art Garfunkel majored in art history. but only after changing his major from architecture. His first wife was an architect.   Also, one of his cousins founded 'N Sync and one of my son's favorites as a preteen, the Backstreet Boys.

"S" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - my theme, Traveling Through Time and Space.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ravishing Ravenel #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

I love this bridge with all my heart.  It is the topic of today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge and Skywatch Friday.

I travel back, in time and space, to walk it in my dreams.
The Ravenel Bridge (aka the Cooper River Bridge) connects Charleston, South Carolina and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  I have walked its full length once and have walked it partially a number of times.

I even blogged about it at least once before for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, but why not blog about it again?

Five years ago, before I lost weight, the bridge conquered my knee.  After losing almost 35 pounds, I succeeded.  It's now been two years since I last visited Charleston, and I would love to test myself against the bridge again.  Alas, if I do visit Charleston this year, it will be in August, and the heat may prevent my attempt.

But one day...I'll be back.  That's a promise.

Connect with other bloggers at Skywatch Friday and see skies from all over the world.

"R" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, as I travel through time and space.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Queens (My First Home) #AtoZChallenge

I was born in Queens, a borough of New York City.  I moved to the Bronx when I was five months old, and have only been back to Queens a handful of times. 

From where I grew up in the Bronx, in a family without a car (common back then), it was a long ride on the subway.

Some of our visits were during the New York World's Fair in 1964, which I will blog about in my "W" post.
March 2014
I had one memory of my babyhood - the name of the housing project I lived in and the street it was on (from something my parents told me growing up).  So I decided I would do a search, traveling through time and space, for my first home.

Let's take a little virtual trip.

First, here are some pictures of my native borough (not where I lived).

There is a large Asian population in Queens.
Where the New York Times is printed.
Jacob Riis Park - one day I will visit it.  There is plenty of water recreation in New York City - New York City is so much more than skyscrapers and museums.  I am not sure, but this may not be that far away (as a bird would fly) from where I was born in the Rockaways.

And now, we arrive at our destination.  I am seeing this, with you, for the first time.
I was able to find pictures of the housing project where I lived the first five months of my life in the Library of Congress online.  There were no known restrictions on the rights, so I am taking a chance in posting it.  This picture was taken about five months before I was born.  Who knows, perhaps my pregnant mother was in one of those buildings at the time.

I was able to find, on You Tube, videos of what the housing development has become.  It is not a happy thing.  I can be grateful I escaped more than 60 years ago.

Again, some journeys do not end well, but all it did was confirm something I had suspected.

Once again, traveling through time and space for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Potsy and Playgrounds #AtoZChallenge

Memories of my childhood sometimes seem so fresh.  I can just turn inward, and my childhood growing up in the 50's and 60's in the Bronx (a borough of New York City) comes to life for me.

In those days, our parents (normally, a stay at home mother) encouraged us to stay outside whenever we were home from school.

There was no such thing as a helicopter parent.  It may have been a little easier for me, growing up in a city housing project which had a couple of small playgrounds in its design.  There was a larger playground across the street, Magenta Street to be exact.  It is called the Gun Hill Playground, and still exists today.

I never knew the origins of how Magenta Street was named, until I read this online:

"The naming of the color celebrated the victory of a battle in which an Italo-Franco alliance defeated the Austrians and helped to bring about a unified Italy. Prior to 1900, this Bronx neighborhood was inhabited by a small colony of French weavers as well as by a growing number of Italian immigrants. The street was named Magenta to signify the Italo-Franco unity that once characterized this portion of the Bronx."

When I looked at pictures of the Gun Hill Playground online, I was amazed to find a painted Potsy board.  We would have scorned something that official, preferring to draw a large board in chalk.

Potsy, in many parts of the United States, is called Hopscotch.  In New York City, it is called Potsy,and these are the rules.

Basically, the board had a double row of boxes, numbered from 1 to 10 (10 was a semi circle at the head of the rectangle.  The first player would take the "potsy" (a rock, or a penny, or something similar), throw it into the box numbered "1". You hopped into box 2, then 3, then 4, all on the same leg. When you reached 10, you reversed direction and hopped back.  If you touched any line or lost your balance, you were "out".  If you made it to the last box, you leaned over, still on one foot, picked up the potsy.  Now, you got to get back on two feet, as you threw the potsy into box "2"and repeated the process.

I'm surprised that I have balance problems as a young senior, as I played enough of this game on the sidewalks and playground of the Bronx.

Hopscotch is, or was, a universal game.  Do they still play it where you live?

"P" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ocean (Parkway) #AToZChallenge

Brooklyn was its own city when Ocean Parkway was born.

It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after a Parisian boulevard. It was the United States' first greenway and contained it's first bicycle path - back in the 1800's.

I've known Ocean Parkway for all of my life.  My father's younger sister lived in an apartment building on Ocean Parkway and raised two children, my cousins, there.  I have so many fond memories of Ocean Parkway.  I'd love to show this approximately five mile gem to you.

If you think New York City is only a city of skyscrapers, you have a treat coming.
How about this?

Flowering trees.  This photo was taken in May of 2013.
Parts of Ocean Parkway go through heavily Jewish neighborhoods.  Here, tents of flower sellers are set up in front of a synagogue for the holiday of Shavuot.
Trees flowering in front of an apartment building.

And, there are still traces of a historic Ocean Parkway.  At the intersection with Avenue P, there is a mile marker, the last one left.

I have so many memories of walking with my cousins on Ocean Parkway. Later, when visiting family, I wheeled my baby son along the parkway in a stroller, with one of my cousins.

Traveling through time and space, for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Noteworthy (Music Monday) #AtoZChallenge

As over a million people watched Saturday morning around 8:54 am Eastern time, April, our local giraffe at Animal Adventure Park, gave birth to a baby boy giraffe.

I was one of them.

My heart almost stopped when the baby giraffe came out of April, and lay there, seemingly not moving.

And then he started to move. A half hour later he was on his feet, wobbly at first, and still later, he was running around Mom's pen.

In around four days, the webcam will be turned off.  Animal Adventure Park (AAP) opens May 13, and they have many tasks to perform by then.

So ends, perhaps, the longest group therapy session in history.   April became a symbol for so many - an escape from the reality of North Korea threatening the lives of millions of people, terrorists striking all over, and of politics in our country perhaps not as usual.

For a few minutes each day, we could watch two giraffes living their lives.  We who have been pregnant could sympathize with the contractions, with April's increasing difficulty in getting down on the ground for a short rest. 

My spouse couldn't care less, but when I announced April was giving birth, he came over and we watched it on the computer together.

And now, I am overdosing on cute, watching that miniature giraffe interact with her Mom, and with one of her human caregivers.

Not quite miniature, though.  As of yesterday, she was five feet nine inches tall and 126 pounds. (I'll let my metric readers do the conversion math.)
I just can't resist.

Thank you, AAP, for taking us along on the ride.

I plan to visit AAP sometime this summer, and if I get there I will take my readers along on the trip.

April and unnamed baby, in your honor, I offer you this song.

Happy Monday! (Next Monday, Music Monday will resume).

"N" Day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - my theme, Traveling Through Time and Space.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Yellow

Today, for my Christian readers, it is Easter Sunday.

For today, honoring what should be a beautiful day in upstate New York, yellow spring flowers for you.

First, yellow tulips that started to bloom just after I had posted for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day yesterday.
Early daffodils in our yard.


This is a viola basket spouse and I gave to his mother.

Happy Easter, if you celebrate it.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mothers Day (for Giraffes and Garden Bloggers Bloom Day) April 2017 #AtoZChallenge

A day to remember, as April the Giraffe is giving birth even as I publish this post!

On the 15th of each month, gardeners from all over the world gather at an Indiana blog, May Dream Gardens, to participate in a meme called Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Spring has come to my zone 5b garden near Binghamton, New York.

It has come with bloodroot.
It has come with my earliest daffodils.
Pansies smile in a basket I made up.
The vinca appeared yesterday.

My Lenten Rose is upright and blooming.

Indoors, my African Violet that has been blooming the last two Bloom Days is on its way out, but another one opened its first flower yesterday.

One of my two orchids in bloom.  This was a Valentine's Day gift.

And the other, which needs to be repotted so its blooms are sparse.  This was a Mothers Day 2015 gift.
April 9

Alas, the crocuses are gone, but I couldn't resist showing you a clump from earlier this week.

By tomorrow, my hyacinths should be in bloom.  You can never have too many flowers.

Remember to visit Carol at May Dream Gardens after you leave my blog, and check out flowers from all over the world.

And now - push, April, push!

Traveling through time and space on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lakes #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

Growing up in New York City, I wanted to go to the Finger Lakes one day.

I never dreamed that I would live, one day, an hour or so from the Finger Lakes.  What a beautiful area it is, and the skies and water will captivate you.
From a sunset on Canandaigua Lake, in Canandaigua... boats on Cayuga Lake, in Ithaca, in early May...
to Seneca Lake, and  parasailing in Geneva in early fall....
To another sunset, in Skaneateles, on Skaneateles Lake.

Linking to Skywatch Friday, where bloggers from all over the world show their pictures of the sky.

I have so many memories of the Finger Lakes, as I journey through time and space.

Two bonuses for you:

This promotional piece shows you a lot of the beauty of the Finger Lakes area. Feel free to only view the first minute or so.

And bonus #2: Cornell Alma Mater song, played on chimes.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kings (County) and Dog Day Afternoon- #AtoZChallenge

Kings County, New York - a place that most people know as Brooklyn - was where my father was born, and grew up.  In fact, a lot of people living in the United States can trace their origins back to Brooklyn.

When people think of New York City, they think giant skyscrapers, world class museums, and huge crowds.  But there is a lot more to New York City than midtown Manhattan.  Today, I want to show you some of that other world.

I never lived in Kings County - all right, let's call it Brooklyn - but I still have family there.  My best friend growing up lived in Brooklyn for over 40 years before her untimely death from cancer, and another high school friend still lives in Brooklyn.
Kingsborough Community College Campus, May of 2013 (several months after Superstorm Sandy). Yes, this is New York City.
Kings Highway, in Brooklyn - neighborhood pride.
Another Kings Highway picture.
Not only trees grow in Brooklyn, but a lot of flower gardening goes on there.  This nursery is in the Red Hook neighborhood.

But I did promise you a story about "Dog Day Afternoon". This vacant building in the Kings County neighborhood of Gravesend (Avenue P and East 3rd Street) was the Chase Manhattan Bank that was robbed on August 22, 1972, leading to the hostage drama recounted in the movie "Dog Day Afternoon".  The story is fascinating - reality writes much better stories than any of us can.

I was still living in the Bronx at the time - this was indeed a memory of my young adulthood.

A blast from the past - the news coverage of that day.

And, in the spring of 2013, spring flowers bloomed on a beautiful May day.

Do you want to see more of the Brooklyn tourists rarely get to see?  Try these posts:
Brooklyn months after Superstorm Sandy
A Bloom Grows in Brooklyn
A Rose Blooms in Brooklyn 

"K" Day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.