This week Cee asks:
A class you wish you would have taken?
I suppose it’s not really a class, but I have always wanted to take voice lessons. As I have gotten older my voice no longer sounds as it once did. I would love to learn to harmonize and learn to breathe properly when singing and hit all the notes I want to hit. In the meantime I sing in the car wherever I go with the windows rolled up- and love every minute of it!
What’s your favorite comic figure and why?
Snoopy and Woodstock from Peanuts.
Name something you wish you could like.
I think I like most things as I can’t think of something off hand right now. I don’t like Sushi, but I don’t want to like it- the idea of eating raw fish or rice wrapped in seaweed just doesn’t do it for me.
Tell me about your first crush / first date / first kiss.
First crush: David Fishman First grade. Wonder whatever happened to him, he moved away in 4th grade and the crush was forgotten by then.
First date: Can’t remember- I do remember dating someone the summer of 1972- I was 15.
First kiss? Don’t remember. First time I kissed someone who really mattered me to me I do remember- oddly enough I can remember where I was, who it was, and what I was wearing.
Who was your best friend when you were 10?
Lauri- she lived 2 houses up the block from me. We were best friends until we hit our teens and life changed and we grew apart. We reconnected on Facebook and have seen each other over the past few years.
What sign are you? Do you believe in astrology?
Capricorn. I can’t say I believe in it, but I do think there is some value to it and I find it interesting.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Grateful things in school worked themselves out somewhat and that I have the support of friends in school to get me through when the going gets tough.
Nature at its best. You can almost feel the warmth in the glow
This was photo was captured in the split second my cat Yofie, was yawning. She looks fierce, but in truth she was just tired.
There are some words that I love, their sound, their meaning, the way the letters when put together roll off the tongue. Clandestine is one of those words. Its meaning: private or surreptitious: kept secret or done secretively. It conjures up for me unrequited love, or love that cannot be, where a couple must steal away to meet, words left unsaid because of the haste of the meeting.
Join Paula’s Thursday’s Special-this week it is pick a word
It has been a crazy week- between my catching the germs being spread throughout the classroom despite washing my hands every 5 minutes, leading to my first cold of the season, to dealing with six year old meltdowns for a variety of reasons, some having to do with how the head teacher chooses to discipline, leading to my running interference in order to avoid those meltdowns, and going to bed too late because I wanted to wind down by watching some TV, then becoming engrossed in reunions of Real Housewives which made me totally forget any drama going on in my classroom. I do hope to catch up with all of you over the weekend and hope you will forgive my late replies to your comments!! See you soon!
Cornell Lab of Ornithology says: The Red-winged Blackbird is one of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored. A familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.
I love to hear their call as it means spring is here! They are beautiful birds, the females so different looking from the males.
Feathers on Friday
One of the boys in my first grade class has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy which makes holding a writing instrument difficult as his hands and fingers are not that strong. He always perseveres and never lets it him stop him. Today he handed me a sheet of paper with something drawn on it, saying “This is for you” with a big smile on his face. I asked who it was and he said “YOU!” and his smile got even bigger. And so did mine.
A box of old photos I saw at a flea market. I wondered who the people were, what their lives had been like, and felt sad that they had ended up in a box for sale. My old photos will no doubt suffer the same fate, as there is no one to pass them on to, no interest in visiting with the past.
My husband and I love to hike- I’m not talking about climbing up rocks and taking unmarked trails through the mountains- I mean taking long walks, preferably on a paved trail as it winds through the woods, or through a park. The season doesn’t matter so much- we’ll go anytime of year. Once we walked through a county park which passes through many towns. It was a six mile walk one way. We thought we would take two cars and park one at each end, this way we wouldn’t have to walk a round trip of 12 miles. We both drove to one end to leave one car and then would drive together to the other end and take our hike. We pulled in to park the car and my husband said “let’s leave both cars here, we can do the round trip.” Ever the optimist, married to me the pessimist, I decided not to be the negative Nellie, thinking it would be too far a walk, I agreed. Off we went, with our lunch and water bottles, on a sunny day heading out on our hiking journey. We reached the 6 mile marker and sat down to eat lunch, at which point my husband said, “maybe we should have driven the car here.” Left with no choice but to make the trek back , putting one foot in front of the other albeit walking a bit more slowly now. His sciatica began to rear its ugly head so we sat and rested more than once. We did make it back, happy at the end we had done the whole 12 miles, and grateful to plant ourselves in our cars to drive home.
This week Paula tells us: Deconstruction is a way of understanding how something was created, usually things like art, books, poems and other writing. It means breaking something down into smaller parts.
I have taken the challenge quite literally, as the photos I am using are what a bridge looks like as it is being built, in its deconstructed state.
This bridge is being built alongside the bridge it will replace, which is how I was able to take the photos as we crossed on the existing bridge. Fascinating to see the bridge in its deconstructed state.
Along the edge of a lake
and high above it at the edge
Cornell Ornithology says: A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. You can see Mourning Doves nearly anywhere except the deep woods. Look for them in fields or patches of bare ground.
Feathers on Friday
These two cows live in the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary in New York, rescued from an unpleasant situation and now happy on this farm
Some years back we visited a working dairy farm and saw the milking process.
and I had the opportunity to meet Daisy
I met these two Springer Spaniels the other day- Winston & Churchill and couldn’t resist taking their picture.
This week Paula would like to see a photo taken in colour and then converted into black and white. The theme is “after and before” so the “after” photo comes first
While at a Crafts Fair this weekend I spotted a man and his dog. The man was eating and the dog was standing there, his face looking intense and intent, as if he were sending telepathic messages to the man to share whatever it was he was eating.
The dog began to smile as he must have known his messages were being transmitted and received
And then, what I did not capture with the camera, but did see with my eyes, was the man took a bite, and then shared half that bite with his dog.
And that made me smile.
Share your smile here
September 11th holds unforgettable meaning for those of us living in the United States. I live 10 minutes from New York City, making the World Trade Center- the Twin Towers, not a tourist attraction, but a part of the skyline I was able to see from a local highway, the towering size of the towers looming over us as we drove down the West Side Highway, a place where people I knew went to work everyday. My memory of that morning is still vivid in my mind these 15 years later. I was watching the news before going to work that morning and suddenly the broadcast changed to a live bulletin of the film footage of a plane crashing into the first tower. It was surreal, as if in reality this must have been some kind of movie stunt. I left for work and upon arrival the boys in the school where I worked were all buzzing about whether this could be true or not. We turned on the TV in the office and watched in disbelief as the second tower was hit and then some 20 minutes later crumbled to the ground. It was too much for the mind to absorb. Those buildings were filled with people. How could this possibly have happened?
I can remember getting on the computer when I got home and seeing endless frantic messages on message boards set up for the many businesses that occupied the World Trade Center, people posting names, trying to find loved ones. One of the men who lives in my town had chosen that morning to take a later bus to work, saving him from the fate others met. Another young woman was not as fortunate, leaving her parents with unbearable grief that took many years for them to begin to come to terms with, but eventually leading them to start a memorial fund to help people. You can read about her life here
September 11, 2001 forever changed how we think about what evil is possible in the world, changed how we think about trust and security and how what was once unthinkable can in reality happen.
The Freedom Tower now stands tall close to where the Twin Towers stood, reminding us that that from the horror of what happened we could rebuild. Though our sense of innocence is gone, and we now must live without naivety about the possibility of what can happen, we are stronger for it.
Today I think of the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones that horrible day. May their memory be for a blessing.
Smaller and more svelte than a Great Blue Heron, these are still large birds with impressive wingspans. They hunt in classic heron fashion, standing immobile or wading through wetlands to capture fish with a jab of their yellow bill. They are tall, long-legged wading birds with long, S-curved necks. In flight, the long neck is tucked in and the legs extend far beyond the tip of the short tail. All feathers on Great Egrets are white. Their bills are yellowish-orange, and the legs black. I see them often at our local pond, standing still, waiting patiently for their catch. Occasionally they will walk along the edge of the water, but most often they stand silently still. They are beautiful birds, and I find myself always in awe when they take flight- no matter how many times I have seen them taking off with their beautiful wing span.
Last night we traveled from New Jersey to Long Island. While crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge I was taken in by the beauty of the sun beginning to set in the West. I only had my cell phone camera, but wanted to capture the moment. As always there was traffic on the bridge so we were traveling slowly enough for me to capture it. The bridge in the distance is the Whitestone, and there is an outline of the Manhattan skyline.
School begins today- a new first grade class coming in. I was going through my photos and came upon this pathway, and the words written in it jumped out at me- all a reminder for today. A new path, and important words.
This weekend my husband and I visited a local Zoo. My last time there was in 1964 on a 2nd grade class trip. Back then zoos were quite different from how they are today. There were no natural habitats for the larger animals to roam around in, they were locked in metal cages.I think back to it and cringe. The Zoo underwent a many million dollar update years ago and has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 2006. An improvement I must say. We wandered the zoo, taking in the sights, but my weekly smile came when I spotted the train. All aboard! You’re never too old for a train ride!
This is one of my closest friends, June. I took this photo on a cold winter day in front of the restaurant we had just had lunch in. She never likes to smile in photos- she insists her smile is always crooked, her teeth too “English” as she is from Great Britain where straight teeth she has told me, are not as important as they are in America. She has a dry wit which seems to come through to me in this photo whenever I look at it. It is one of my favorite portraits.
Sidewalks of 42nd Street in NYC, where there is always something interesting to see
Gray Catbirds are relatives of mockingbirds and thrashers, and they share that group’s vocal abilities, copying the sounds of other species and stringing them together to make their own song. A medium-sized, slender songbird with a long, rounded, black tail and a narrow, straight bill. Catbirds are fairly long legged and have broad, rounded wings. They have a small black cap, blackish tail, and a rich rufous-brown patch under the tail. I am always startled when I hear them “mewing” they do sound just like a cat!
There is nothing quite like making direct eye contact with an animal. Their eyes seem to be able to speak to you when they do.
Paula’s Black & White Sunday challenge this week has towering as a theme. My mind immediately went to the Freedom Tower, the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. I have driven past it going South on the West Side Highway, I have approached it coming North, I have viewed it from Liberty State Park across the river from it, but no matter which direction I am looking at it, it fills me with awe. Towering above all other structures around it, standing out as a symbol of rebirth from the horror of 9/11.
Summer is coming to a close, it is back to school for orientation this coming week, readying the classroom and meeting the incoming students. So this past week I made sure to spend a day at the beach. My husband and I walked 3 miles round trip, along the shoreline taking in the sights on the sand and in the water. My weekly smile
Through a car window- The Brooklyn Bridge
A stanchion on the George Washington bridge framing a view of Manhattan
Skyscrapers framing the Empire State Building
I visited my best friend this week, she lives an hour from me in the “country” quite different from the town in the “suburbs” where I live. Once you leave the highway, the difference becomes apparent as the roads are dotted with barns and farms.
We visited a farm where you can cut your own flowers to make a bouquet, the name of the farm is Tranquility, as is the town, very fitting.
There is a donkey/zebra on the farm-first one I had ever seen or heard of!
It’s good to leave the hustle bustle and crowded streets for the rural beauty of the country- and to come home with fresh flowers that I picked myself!
Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!
This is one of my favorite local stretches of highway-at this spot in the road a view of the Manhattan skyline comes into view- this day it was a bit hazy but straight ahead is the Empire State Building. Landmarks make it easier to know which way you’re going!
What better moment to witness than the joining of two people in marriage. To think of the lives that lie before them, the love, the challenges, the sharing of their lives. I always find I am choked up watching them come down the aisle with their parents and returning after their vows arm in arm with one another. Witnessing the beginning of that transition into a new life taking place, right there before my eyes. Seeing the joy in their faces, the excitement and knowing for this moment they feel it is just the two of them, together. Thinking back to my own wedding, waxing nostalgic, and remembering the feeling of embarking on a that new journey, unlike anything before.
Witnessing a moment of the future, of hope, of love.
This week Paula gives us the opportunity to choose between five unrelated words and to make a photo post (in colour)
The words are: elusive, profusion, viscid, brilliant, disorder
I have chosen brilliant. The photo I chose to use is of a sunrise over the ocean I took this summer- I have not retouched the color at all- the brilliance of the sun and the color of the sky as it rose was just breathtaking.
This week Paula’s theme is composition – telling us we may decide to show photos where we paid special attention to this important element in photography, where we either respected the conventional rules in photography (such as the rule of thirds) or we chose to broke them to make the image more interesting, or we may take an entirely different approach in our interpretation. The focus does not need to be on the layout of elements that make a photo; we can simply show us a photo of a composition, and that can be just about anything.
I can never pass a barn without taking a photo- this one is near where I live, and I never tire of seeing it standing in contrast to the open sky.
Last week my husband and I went to a “paint your own” pottery place. You choose a piece of unfinished pottery and paint it, leave it with them to be fired in the kiln and come back a week later to pick it up. My smile this week came after picking up what we had painted, and seeing how they had been transformed.