Remembering My Brother

I received a package from my sister last week filled with old photos that had been in old family albums. I wrote about it here. In among those photos were some of my brother that I had never seen before. Two years ago yesterday he died, taking his own life after struggling with mental issues for many years. Looking at the photos I was reminded of the person he was before he became so troubled, and the life he had lived. I was glad for the reminder, to remember him with a smile instead of  sadness.louis1978

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Blue Skies Bald Eagles

I took an early morning walk around my favorite pond on Monday, taking advantage of the day I had off from work. Winter had returned, it was back into the 30’s but I didn’t mind as the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I looked out across the pond to see 2 Eagles perched in the trees at different ends of the pond.  Here’s one of them.hangingwithbirds

I took a few photos from across the pond and then continued to walk around, assuming that when I got near the side they were on they would most likely take flight. Much to my surprise I was able to stand directly beneath the tree one of them was perched in and look straight up at him. What an amazing bird to see so close up. I took a few photos and moved on, but he never left. By the time I neared where the other Eagle had been he was no longer there- I don’t know if he heard me coming or just decided to find his own spot where he didn’t have to share his catch with anyone.undereagle1

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The Weekly Smile

The weather yesterday was unseasonably warm- close to 70 in February when it should really be in the 40’s! I took advantage of this welcome occurrence by heading out for a walk. I passed a couple on the trail walking in the opposite direction, laden down with binoculars and cameras, and we said a friendly hello. Half way around I met them again and they asked if I had seen the Eagle flying around overhead, which I had. We then stopped and chatted about our mutual love for bird watching, sharing some of the local places we went to and the different species we had encountered. We laughed at how nice it was to share our information and not get a roll of the eyes or a comment like “they’re just birds!” What a pleasure to meet someone who also gets excited at spotting a never seen before bird. As we parted I continued to smile inside and out, at the warmth the sun brought to the day, at connecting with someone over a shared passion, at how being in nature blocks out all else that is on my mind. My weekly smile. What made you smile this week?dscn9585

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Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past

Paula invites us to take a look at the past. It may be a past long forgotten or a past very much present and incorporated into today’s existence.

I took a walk this morning around a local historic site near my home that I have written about previously- one of the buildings on the site was used by General George Washington, which I thought appropriate as here in the United States we celebrate President’s Day tomorrow.  This building was built in 1752 and is where George Washington set up headquarters for a time. It has sat on this land since that time.dscn9565

The house in the foreground is an example of a sandstone cottage and was built in 1678 and moved to this location a few years ago.dscn9562

This is another sandstone center-hall 4 room house with a full cellar and full garret/attic capped with a gambrel roof, built in 1774. It was also moved to this location.dscn9554

Traces of the past that remain in the present, and as I wandered the grounds today I came upon this man, very much in the present, but dressed for an Historical Event taking place later in the day. dscn9561

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Share Your World

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Seriously tucked in. I cannot sleep unless I am totally encased, especially with the sheets tucked in tight at the end of the bed. The blankets also need to be tucked in tight too. My husband on the other hand, prefers nothing tucked in, so I have mastered the art of keeping my side tucked while his remains totally pulled out and messy.bedroom2

Have you stolen a street sign before?

No- whatever for? A few years ago they were changing the local street signs and  giving them away. For a moment I thought it might be fun to have the street sign where I grew up, and then in the next moment thought, why and what would I do with it.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

I used to but stopped. I had a growing pile that I would usually forget all about when I was shopping, so I finally gave up.

Do you have freckles?

I am freckled from taking too much sun, some freckles, some age spots. As a child I did have freckles along the bridge of my nose.

Share Your World

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The Weekly Smile

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from my sister. She had been sorting through old photo albums that belonged to my mother and sent me close to 100 photos she thought I might like to have. Many were duplicates that are in my own albums, but some I had never seen, or had no recollection of. I spent the evening sorting through them and thinking back to when they had been taken, where life has gone since then, my parents both no longer here. Though bittersweet, I smiled at the memories, at the good times caught by the lens, just remembering.

Me and my mother, taken in 1972 at the party of a neighbor, I was 15. I don’t recall ever seeing this photo before. I do remember the dress though!1972

1975 me on the piano at a family gathering with my sister and Father singing along. Another photo I had never seen before.1975piano

Me and my Grandfather in 1988 on the Shelter Island Ferry- we must have gone from his home in Southampton NY to visit my Aunt who lived there. He was 82 at the time.grandpa1988

What was your smile for the week?

Song Lyric Sunday

The theme this week is to post a song about the doubts and insecurity in a relationship. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a song by the English punk rock band the Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was released in 1982. It became the band’s only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, a decade after it was originally released. I love its beat, and no matter where I am when I hear it, it gets me moving. I saw The Clash many times in concert during the the late 1970’s and 1980’s so it take me back in time too.

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

It’s always tease, tease, tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day it’s fine and next it’s black
So if you want me off your back
Well, come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

This indecision’s bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me? (no sabes que ropas me queda)
Come on and let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Split

Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
If I go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if I stay it will be double (si me quedo sera el doble)
So ya gotta let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Should I stay or should I go now? (tengo frío por los ojos)
If I go there will be touble (tengo frio por los ojos)
And if I stay it wil be double
Si me quedo sera el doble
So ya gotta let me know me tienes que decir
Should I stay or should I go?

Song Lyric Sunday

A Photo A Week Challenge: Details

While walking through a street fair last summer in New York City, I looked North on Lexington Avenue and saw a large skyscraper blocks away that seemed to have interesting architecture at the top. I zoomed in with my camera to take a closer look. It was the General Electric Building, originally known as the RCA Victor Building, an historic 50-floor, 640-foot tall, skyscraper built in 1931. Built in the Gothic mode of the Art Deco style, with the four monumental electrical deities, allegories of the power of radio at the top. The rays that emanate from their heads are cast aluminum and designed for neon lighting installation. Amazing architectural details.dscn7311-2

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Details

 

Owls, Coyotes and Trees, Oh My

Sunday I visited Wave Hill , a 28-acre estate in the  Riverdale section of the Bronx, in New York City. It  consists of public horticultural gardens and a cultural center, all situated on the slopes overlooking the Hudson River. A friend and I spent the day there- attending two lectures and walking the grounds. One lecture was about the Coyote population in New York. Very informative and interesting. I had no idea there were families of Coyote living in the woods in the New York area. The other lecture was about Owls, and we were introduced to a Screech Owl- he had been hit by a car and now resides in a preserve. We also dissected owl pellets- Owls regurgitate what they have eaten, small oval pellets consisting of hair and fur and bones. I was a bit squeamish about it, but too fascinated not to do it.

The day wasn’t too cold, though it did flurry for a bit, but undeterred we walked through the grounds and ate our lunch overlooking the Hudson River with a view of the George Washington Bridge. The friend I went with is someone I work with whom I have gotten to know better over the past 2 years. We have much in common- we share a love of nature, of handwork such as knitting and crochet, we love to color and create. I consider myself fortunate to have connected with her, often as we get older those connections are few and far between. She is calm of nature, which I am not, but being with her slows the anxious, tense parts of me, which I welcome.

A wonderful way to spend a Sunday.20170205_145822

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Music

My husband has been taking piano lessons for seven years, and twice a year we need to have the piano tuned. Over the years we have become friendly with Loren, the piano technician. (long ago they were piano tuners, but no more) I am always happy to see him, his demeanor is always sunny and upbeat, and not only does he get our piano back to sounding as it should, he always sits and plays for a little while.

Here are a few photos of him and my husband, with Loren playing in the background

Music

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End of Day-End of Week

It has been a long, drawn out week with disturbing things happening at work which have zapped my energy physically and emotionally.

On the positive side, the daylight hours are growing longer and it is still light when I leave work now. Today I just had to stop to watch the sun set- I took these photos with my cell phone, no filters, no alteration of colors. I thought the colors of the clouds and the brilliance of the sun so beautiful I wanted to share. I have neglected answering your comments, and reading your blogs, I do hope to catch up over the weekend! Looking forward to seeing you then!20170202_170023

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Share Your World

What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?

Nothing immediately came to mind when I read this question. On a trip to New Hampshire I was in awe of the mountains and waterfalls, in California the giant redwoods in Muir Woods, the ocean as the sun rises over it, which has moved me to tears at times.DSCN6381

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? 

I am the oldest of 4 children. My brother came next and then two sisters. My brother died two years ago, I wrote about him here

 If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

A flat shoe with some sparkle.shoeWhy? Because flat makes it comfortable and as I always say, I was built for comfort- I am not a “roughing it” kind of girl. Sparkly because I like to keep life interesting by trying new things and changing things up which add sparkle to life.

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

I am not an adventurous eater. I grew up being taught to try something once and then you can say you don’t like it, but you can’t just turn your nose up to something because of the way it looks or smells. I tried sweet breads as a child without being told what they were and liked them, but then found out what they were and was pretty turned off.

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The Weekly Smile

Well this week I had a lot to smile about…. I was on winter break from school!!

I started off the week going to a paint your own pottery place with a friend- a great thing to do on a rainy Monday. I think she did a great job.20170123_143137

Tuesday I had a mini reunion with two childhood friends. We have known each other since first grade, and went through school together right through high school. We met for coffee and had a great catch up for three hours. We keep up on Facebook, but filled each other in on the details. We reminisced and shared some funny memories and stories. adriennemadelinejan2017

Wednesday my husband and I drove down to the New Jersey shore- my very favorite place. It wasn’t too cold, considering it’s January- in the 50’s, but it was windy. We walked along the ocean and then a few miles on the boardwalk. We stopped for lunch and then as we were driving out of town passed a small museum and stopped there. It was a wonderful day and really made me feel like I was on vacation.

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I started my days taking a walk, and visited some of my favorite local spots to take some photos. Lots of smiles to look back on and keep me smiling.

Repurpose

Washing the floor is such  mundane chore. My kitchen floor is very old white linoleum, and impossible to clean at this point. I was using an old Swiffer mop that no longer worked with its appropriate cleaner and pad, instead using a towel with it to push along the floor to clean it. Until today, when someone posted on Facebook “helpful hints” for using different things for different purposes. They suggested taking an old pair of cozy socks- and wrapping one around the bottom of a Swiffer. GENIUS! I have plenty of these old type of socks that I can use. Throw them in the laundry and they’re good to go for next time. dscn9469

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Feathers on Friday

My husband and I took a drive down to the New Jersey shore this week, as the weather was very un winterlike, with temps in the 50’s. On the way, we passed a tall structure which we found out was a water tower disguised to look like a lighthouse. As I approached it to take a photo I realized something was sitting on the edge of the roof. dscn9425

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It turned out to be a Black Vulture- a bird I had never seen before. I looked it up when I got home and found the following:

The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other vultures, which possess a keen sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The common name “vulture” is derived from the Latin word vulturus, which means “tearer” and is a reference to its feeding habits. The black vulture is a fairly large bird of prey, measuring 56–74 cm (22–29 in) in length, with a 1.33–1.67 m (52–66 in) wingspan.

A fellow Vulture flew in while I was standing there- I guess it’s always good to have a friend around.blackvulturepair

Not the most attractive bird I have ever seen, but a thrill to add a new spotting to my list!blackvulture3

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Foggy Morning

FOG

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

                                                –  Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as “a major figure in contemporary literature” He enjoyed “unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life”, and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.”

The Changing Seasons: January 2017

Max has left it up to us as to how we want to interpret  “the changing seasons” : a painting or perhaps a digital manipulation? One photo, a gallery with plenty of photos? Photos of the same place each month or different spots?

I have chosen the same place over the past few months and at different times of day. There is a revolutionary war house not far from where I live. General George Washington actually used it as a headquarters in 1776. The land it stands on has a river on one side, and a beautiful view of a barn on the other. I often stop there to watch the sun set behind it, or watch the many birds that congregate there. One snowfall so far, a blanket of white on the old barn.dscn9096

Quite different from the falldscn7851-2

This photo I took this past week when the combination of warmer temperatures in the morning created fog. Our winter has been unusually warm.dscn9295

A January sunset I caught on my way home from work – I just had to stop and take it in.

The Changing Seasons

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Seagull Sunday

I always find Seagulls quite entertaining. I took a walk along a local river to find flocks of them hanging around. The fishing was good as evidenced by this guy having the catch of the day.

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This group was just hanging out, maybe they had eaten already. They were not bothered at all by my presence, as I stood just a few feet from them.

I enjoyed standing at a lookout over the river and watching them fly by me, they seemed to be moving slowly- maybe preserving their energy against the cold.dscn9254

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This guy preferred bobbing along… dscn9275

and this one stood alone taking in the sights turning to watch me as I left  the dock

Have a good Monday all!

Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past

The Empty Skyemptysky2

The official New Jersey September 11 memorial to the state’s victims of the September 11 attacks on the United States

Two 30-foot-high rectangular towers stretch 208 feet, 10 inches long — the exact width of the World Trade Center towers, the proportion of the walls a symbolic representation of the buildings as if they were lying on their sides. The 749 victims’ names from the State of New Jersey face one another on the interior elevations of the twin brushed stainless steel walls.  A granite passage is oriented to face the site where the twin towers stood.

A few yards from a walkway leading to the memorial are two rusted steel beams that were once part of the imposing towers of the World Trade Center that dominated the Manhattan skyline.

Mark Rosenberg was a young man in his 20’s that lived in my town.

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The Weekly Smile

Thursday was my first day of vacation and I got out of the house early (7:30) to take a walk. It was in the 30’s but the sun was shining and I was excited not to be working! I walked around my favorite pond but I think the birds must have still been sleeping as it was pretty quiet. As I was leaving I happened to glance up and there in the very top of a tree overlooking the river that lies on the other side of the pond, was the unmistakable sight of a Bald Eagle. When I was growing up Bald Eagles were extinct. They were affected by the pesticide DDT, leaving them unable to lay eggs that would hatch. After the pesticide was banned they made a slow recovery and began to populate once again. I have seen them in my area, and each time I am almost moved to tears at seeing them. The fact that they recovered in my lifetime, and they are so majestic as they stand on the branch of a tree. baldeagle1

As I stood watching, another Eagle flew into sight. I quickly attempted to take a photo as he approached, not paying attention to focusing the camera, more intent on just getting a shot if I couldbaldeagleflyinginThey had a bit of a tussle… and then flew off together. dscn9119

What a smiling moment it was for me! What a great way to start my day. I continued to smile any time it came to mind throughout the day. What was your smile of the week?

Cee’s Share Your World

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

Always closed since the night I got up in the dark and walked right into an open door leaving myself with a badly bumped forehead. As you can see in the photo- if that door is open there is no avoiding it when getting up.010

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?

Who doesn’t? Those little travel sizes are hard to resist. The last place we stayed in had a sign that we should take them.

What is your usual bedtime?

I try to get to bed early most nights- between 9:30 and 10:00pm, as I get up at 5:30. Sometimes I do get too absorbed in some show I am watching and before I know it it’s 11:30.

Do you like to use post-it notes?

I LOVE to use post it notes in school. They are great to grab and stick to something as a reminder, a child’s homework, copies that I need to make. I love all the colors they come in too.

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When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

August. I write to my nieces all summer while they are away in sleep away camp. There is nothing like getting mail in camp. And then receiving mail back.20150807_144657
Any phobias?

I wouldn’t say actual phobias, but I can’t stand the sight of bugs, I do not like heights, I hate going in elevators and avoid them whenever I can.

How tall are you?

5 feet 2 inches. I have been this height since the age of 12. Tallest in my class in 6th grade, and then ended up one of the shortest as time went on.

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Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Grateful the cough and congestion I had for close to 5 weeks finally took leave. Grateful everyday to be here.

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Good Morning Tuesday!

Just today and tomorrow in school and then I’m off for winter vacation!! Makes it easier to get through the day with that in mind. Also helps to have spoken with an administrator in school about the ongoing problems I am having with the head teacher I work with. Doubtful the teacher will change or can change, but airing my grievances and knowing certain things will have to change makes for a better mood for me.

Sunday I took advantage of the sunny morning and took a walk. My favorite squirrel  popped out of his home to say hello as I walked bydscn9057

The moon decided to hang around longer than usualdscn9066

and I spotted this nest built within a bush- I am always amazed at the intricacy of a bird’s nestdscn9086

This White Throated Sparrow sat himself in the sun for some warmth

I followed these footsteps and headed homedscn9089

Hope your Tuesday is filled with good things!

The Weekly Smile

A few weeks ago my weekly smile was receiving an invitation to a wedding from a young girl I had mentored from 2004 until 2008. I volunteered in a “Big Sister”/Mentoring program and I was paired up with a young girl who had a troubled home life and needed some time away from it once a week after school for a few hours. This young girl was 10 or 11 at the time, and we would go out to eat and talk, or go shopping and then out to eat. There were 6 kids in the family and a mother who couldn’t really handle it, a father rarely home, the house was a mess, no order whatsoever. The older kids seemed to be keeping things running. Her age belied her maturity- she was introspective about the home situation and accepting of it, her intelligence allowing her to see the bigger picture and make sense of it all. I stayed in the role of “big sister” for about 4 years until she was a teenager and busy with school and going out with her friends. I have not thought of her in years, actually forgetting about this volunteering of  so long ago-that had ended in 2008 .

Last month I received a wedding invitation from this young girl- now a young woman. I was very touched and so surprised that she had not only remembered me but had taken the time to send me an invitation.

Last night was the wedding- and as I approached her to say hello, not sure if she would recognize me, she immediately called my name and came over to hug me. She told me how happy she was to receive my response card that I was coming. She then went on to tell me she had saved all the letters I had written to her when she was in sleep away camp as a child, and that is how she had my address. It was all I could do to hold back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes along with the lump in my throat.

I watched as she came down the aisle embarking on the beginning of her new life, thinking back to the child I had spent time with. Remembering again how we never know the impact we may have in someone’s life, and the imprint we may leave on the them.

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