Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn 2016 Starts Thursday Morning, September 22

Happy Autumn! September 22, 2016

A preview of autumn color in October

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn greets us (or we greet Autumn) tomorrow, September 22, 2016, at 9:21 a.m. Central Daylight Time.  That's 10:21 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 7:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and 14:21 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time).  

September has been warmer and more humid than normal, but we've had a few night when the temperatures get down into the 60's.  So I'm looking forward to Fall with beautiful bright days and cool nights!    

Just in case you can't quite remember the science of the Autumnal Equinox, which is the time when the sun appears to cross the equator and the days and night are of equal length, here's a primer from Wikipedia:

The September equinox (or Southward equinox) is the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. Due to differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, the September equinox can occur at any time from the 21st to the 24th day of September. 
At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Before the Southward equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south. In the Northern Hemisphere the September equinox is known as the autumnal equinox. In the Southern Hemisphere it is known as the vernal or spring equinox.


And just in case you forgot that the tilt of the Earth is responsible for the seasons, here's a good link that explains that whole thing.

So.. what do we have to look forward to this Autumn?  I'm copying my Autumn primer from an earlier post, as Autumn is always my favorite season.

September


To me, September has always meant the start of school even though most kids start school before Labor Day in the US now.  I guess I'm a traditionalist at heart.  Tomatoes and zinnias are bountiful in early September, and it's time to get the last barbecue of summer fired up.  In our family, we celebrate many September birthdays.

Labor Day is late this year, 2016, on Monday, September 5th!  By the end of the month, the nights are cooler, and the leaves are starting to change colors.  Chrysanthemums and asters (Michaelmas daisies) are in bloom, and we celebrate a few more family birthdays.  Farmer's Markets are overflowing.  And another football season begins.

October

October is full of beauty, golden and red colors, gourds, squashes, especially pumpkins, haystacks and hayrides, and the last apples straight from the orchards.  In our family, another birthday or two.. and, this year, a big wedding!

Then we move on to witches, ghosts, goblins and Halloween.. and the end of Daylight Savings Time as we plunge into those longer, dark nights.  Halloween is on a Monday this year.. Not a great day for Halloween, but that's just the way it is.  Daylight Savings Time ends early Sunday morning, November 6th, 2016.  "Fall behind" and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

November

November brings Thanksgiving in the United States (November 24 this year, 2016) and the start of the Christmas holiday season.  As a kid, November always seemed just cold and grey, but now that I'm older, I really appreciate the peaceful quality of November.  The gardening is done; the craziness of the Christmas season hasn't yet started, and those empty branches against the deep blue of an early sunset are always stunning.  Then we usually have a few magical sparkling snowflakes sometime in November.

Apple Cobbler, Soups, Stews, and Meatloaf

I absolutely refuse to turn on the oven when the air conditioning is running, so Autumn means a return to baking, casseroles, breads, soups and stews.  I always promise myself that I will try more new recipes than I actually do, but I'm definitely going to make that wonderful apple cobbler with home-whipped whipped cream that I made almost every year when my son was little.. if I can find the recipe.  And there will definitely be meatloaves and lasagna.  Definitely! 


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Autumn is Coming! 2016 Edition

32 More Days Until Autumn!

Fall starts September 22, 2016.  Looking west along the Chicago River in Chicago's North Park neighborhood.












For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn is really not that far away...  32 more days! Autumn greets us (or we greet Autumn) on September 22 at 9:21 a.m. Central Daylight Time, this year, 2016.  That's 10:21 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 7:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, and 14:21 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time).  

After a long stretch of humid, 85+ degree days here in August, Autumn (or Fall), with beautiful bright days and cool nights, is very welcome!    

Just in case you can't quite remember the science of the Autumnal Equinox, which is the time when the sun appears to cross the equator and the days and night are of equal length, here's a primer from Wikipedia:

The September equinox (or Southward equinox) is the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. Due to differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, the September equinox can occur at any time from the 21st to the 24th day of September. 
At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Before the Southward equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south. In the Northern Hemisphere the September equinox is known as the autumnal equinox. In the Southern Hemisphere it is known as the vernal or spring equinox.


And just in case you forgot that the tilt of the Earth is responsible for the seasons, here's a good link that explains that whole thing.

So.. what do we have to look forward to this Autumn?

September



To me, September has always meant the start of school even though most kids start school before Labor Day in the US now.  I guess I'm a traditionalist at heart.  Tomatoes and zinnias are bountiful in early September, and it's time to get the last barbecue of summer fired up.  In our family, we celebrate many September birthdays.

Labor Day is late this year, 2016, on Monday, September 5th!  By the end of the month, the nights are cooler, and the leaves are starting to change colors.  Chrysanthemums and asters (Michaelmas daisies) are in bloom, and we celebrate a few more family birthdays.  Farmer's Markets are overflowing.  And another football season begins.

October

October is full of beauty, golden and red colors, gourds, squashes, especially pumpkins, haystacks and hayrides, and the last apples straight from the orchards.  In our family, another birthday or two.. and, this year, a big wedding!

Then we move on to witches, ghosts, goblins and Halloween.. and the end of Daylight Savings Time as we plunge into those longer, dark nights.  Halloween is on a Monday this year.. Not a great day for Halloween, but that's just the way it is.  Daylight Savings Time ends early Sunday morning, November 6th, 2016.  "Fall behind" and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

November

November brings Thanksgiving in the United States (November 24 this year, 2016) and the start of the Christmas holiday season.  As a kid, November always seemed just cold and grey, but now that I'm older, I really appreciate the peaceful quality of November.  The gardening is done; the craziness of the Christmas season hasn't yet started, and those empty branches against the deep blue of an early sunset are always stunning.  Then we usually have a few magical sparkling snowflakes sometime in November.

Apple Cobbler, Soups, Stews, and Meatloaf

I absolutely refuse to turn on the oven when the air conditioning is running, so Autumn means a return to baking, casseroles, breads, soups and stews.  I always promise myself that I will try more new recipes than I actually do, but I'm definitely going to make that wonderful apple cobbler with home-whipped whipped cream that I made almost every year when my son was little.. if I can find the recipe.  And there will definitely be meatloaves and lasagna.  Definitely! 

The Countdown Starts!

So let's start counting down those days until Autumn....  32 days until Autumn today.  (It's Sunday, August 21st, 2016.)  Every week will be a little cooler, a little more pleasant than the hot weeks we've had recently.  It will be nice not to have to water as often.  And we've all started to notice how early sunset comes these days.  I'll miss the long evenings, but it will be great to have lower air conditioning bills starting in mid-September.

Good Morning from Jo!


Every day holds the possibility of a miracle!




Have a good morning and ANOTHER good day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Googled an ExBoyfriend and the results were shocking!

Really!  

Now you and I have seen those "shocking" headlines all over the World Wide Web.  Usually nothing is really "shocking"; it's just clickbait.  But this really was a nasty surprise!







"I wonder what happened to so-and-so.."

That's the magic of the Internet.  We may actually be able to follow up on people who left our lives years ago, decades ago.  Old friends, lovers, ex-husbands and wives....  We may be able to find them if we really want to reconnect with them.

Or we may just, early one morning or late one night, decide to Google someone.. not necessarily anyone we have any interest in talking to.. just to see where they are now.  Just because we are curious.. or nosy.. or both, as I'm not sure of the difference.

So that's what happened to me early yesterday, Sunday, when I was up with the dog.

A man, a name, I haven't thought about for years....

A name came into my head; the name of a man I dated briefly 40 years ago.  I hadn't thought about this man for years.  He wasn't a "boyfriend" (despite the sensational headline); he was just Someone I Dated.  I may have gone out with him 10-12 times over the period of 3-4 months.  He was from New York; had been transferred here (to the Chicago area) by his employer.

I have no idea why he popped into my head yesterday morning at the crack of dawn.  

I really didn't like him that much as a possible partner and I was relieved when he told me that he was moving back to New York.  He tried to call me years later when I was happily involved and he was "in town on business".  I had no interest in seeing him.

He was a bit older; I was about 24 at the time and he was in his early 30's.. Now he is in his 70's.

The Google Rocks.

I checked Facebook first; no hit.  Then I Googled his name with the state "New York" after it.

And there was a cascade of hits, almost all of them pointing to the same event.  As I started to follow those links, I first thought, "No, it can't be."  But...  

Was this man with the same name the same man?

I still wasn't sure this was the same man that had taken me to discos and interesting restaurants in the 70's; the same guy who tended to call me up at the spur of the moment; the same guy that drove old sports cars that were constantly breaking down (so that we often took my old 1966 Chevelle on a date); the same guy that my mother absolutely did not like at all; 
the same guy that I really suspected was married because I never saw him on Saturday nights.

He claimed he had a "second job" as a bartender on Saturday nights despite his really GOOD job as an engineering manager for a Fortune 500 company.  (Yes, he did have that "good" job; I did see his office late one evening.)

About those Google hits...  I started reading one after the other, all going back to an incident, a really disturbing incident, in 1990. The essayist/novelist Joan Didion wrote a piece that included this incident, and that essay, after appearing in the New Yorker in the early 1990's, was cloned everywhere.

So.. was this the same guy?  First of all, this wasn't a really common name, and sites like White Pages and some of those people finder pages had very few people with that last name, much less the combination of first and last.  And in New York/New Jersey area?  Well.. there seemed to be only one person in the NY/NJ area with that name.  Could that be?

The age was about right.  He was in his mid 40's back in 1990.  The job was somewhat in the right field; he was listed as a New York building inspection official back then.  I looked and looked for pictures so I could confirm that this was indeed the same man, but I found none.

What was so "shocking"?

So what was the "shocking" thing this Man I Dated did back in 1990?

He rolled up his dead girlfriend in a rug and put her body out with the trash.


Yes, you read that right.  In a rug.  With the trash.

He was apparently married and had a house in the suburbs, but he had a girlfriend.. and an apartment... in the city.  The young woman was younger than he; quite a bit younger, about 15 years younger. (I was only 8-9 years younger than he was.) From the various accounts, the girlfriend had some problems; she apparently was a drinker and had a history of taking pills, including the pain killer Darvocet and Valium.

One day in his apartment (after she had been dating him about a year), she died from a combination of alcohol and Darvocet.  He claimed that he didn't realize she was dead until the morning and he panicked (as he was a married city official), so he rolled her body up in a rug, put her body out with the trash, and then called 911 from his office.

I'm not going to include a link because I don't want to reveal the name of this man just in case this man was not the Man I Dated 40 years ago.  Anyone who is an experienced Googler will be able to find the whole story.  Joan Didion wrote about the "situation" in an essay called "New York:  Sentimental Journeys."  She wrote about the story of this young woman put out with the trash as a contrast to the well-publicized story of the Central Park jogger who was supposedly attacked and raped by several young teen-age minority men.  (They were later exonerated in 2002.)

An excerpt from Didion's account:
Some New York stories involving young middle-class white women do not make it to ... the front pages. In April 1990, a young middle-class white woman ... age twenty-nine still living with her parents... die(d), according to the coroner's report from the accidental toxicity of Darvocet in combination with alcohol, in an apartment ... in Manhattan. The apartment belonged to the man she had been...  seeing for about a year, a minor assistant city commissioner....  (The man was) married to someone else.  (He) wrapped (the young woman's) body in a blanket; placed it, along with her handbag and ID, outside the building with the trash; and went to his office... At some point an anonymous call was made to 911. 
(The man) was identified only after her parents gave the police his beeper number, which they found in her address book. ...  Initial police reports indicated that there were no visible wounds on (her) body. But (the young woman's mother) said ... that the family was told the autopsy revealed two "unexplained bruises" on her daughter's body. 
(The parents) said those findings seemed to support their suspicions that their daughter was upset because they received a call from their daughter at 3 AM Thursday "saying that he had beaten her up." The family reported the conversation to police. 
"I told her to get into a cab and get home," (the woman's father said). "The next I heard was two detectives telling me terrible things." 
"The ME [medical examiner] said the bruises did not constitute a beating but they were going to examine them further," ... 
"There were some minor bruises," a spokeswoman for the office of the chief medical examiner (said later)..., but the bruises "did not in any way contribute to her death." This is worth rerunning: a young woman calls her parents at three in the morning, "distraught." She says that she has been beaten up. 
A few hours later, ...between Madison and Park Avenues, a few steps from Porthault and Pratesi and Armani and Saint Laurent and the Westbury Hotel, at a time of day in this part of New York 10021 when ...  the construction crews are clocking in over near the Frick at the multi-million-dollar houses under reconstruction for Bill Cosby and for the owner of The Limited...  A few hours later, this young middle-class white woman's body, showing bruises, gets put out with the trash.


"Everybody got upside down because of who he was," ... "If it had happened to anyone else, nothing would have come of it. A summons would have been issued and that would have been the end of it." 
In fact nothing did come of the death of (the young woman), which might have seemed a natural tabloid story but failed, on several levels, to catch the local imagination. For one thing she could not be trimmed into the role of the preferred tabloid victim, who is conventionally presented as fate's random choice (The young woman) had, for whatever reason, taken the Darvocet instead of a taxi home, her parents reported treatment for a previous Valium dependency.  She could be presumed to have known over the course of a year that (the man) was married and yet continued to see him; for another, she seemed NOT to have attended an expensive school or to have been employed in a glamour industry (no Ivy Grad, no Wall Street Exec), which made it hard to cast her as part of "what makes this city so vibrant and so great."


In August 1990, (the man) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, the unlawful removal of a body, and was sentenced ... to seventy-five hours of community service. This was neither surprising nor much of a story... , and the case's resolution was for many people a kind of relief. The district attorney's office had asked for "some incarceration," the amount usually described as a touch, but no one wanted, it was said, to crucify the guy: (The man) was somebody who knew a lot of people, understood how to live in the city, who had for example not only the apartment on between Madison and Park but a house in Southampton and who also understood that putting a body outside with the trash was nothing to get upside down about, if it was handled right. Such understandings may in fact have been the city's true "ultimate shriek of alarm," but it was not a shriek the city wanted to recognize.

Wow.

Could the man I dated back in the 1970's be the kind of man who beat a woman and later put her body out with the trash?

I pondered this for a while, but my answer is "yes".

As I said, I only dated this man briefly and I was relieved when he told me he was moving back to New York.  He was concerned I would be upset and I remember "acting sad".  But I really wasn't sad because that final breakfast in which he told me he was moving back... and right away.... occurred just a short time after an unpleasant encounter with this man.

I did something "wrong". 


I don't remember what horrible thing I supposedly did, but I remember what seemed like a very dark veil coming over his face and I remember him looking at me with eyes that had turned very steely and cold very quickly.  He actually yelled at me about whatever I did or said, but then said it was OK and not to do it again.  I remember thinking that I needed to be cool, to not react, but to get out and get out fast.  Which I did.

He was then away back in New York on business for a week or two, and then he called me for one last breakfast in a local coffee shop to tell me he was moving back permanently.  A breakfast seemed safe and that was it; I don't think I ever saw him again.  Which was just fine with me.      
 
So what's the moral of this story?  Is there a moral to this story?

Trust your instincts?  If the guy seems creepy he probably is?  D
on't date married men?  Don't date men that you suspect MIGHT be married?  Don't date men who only date women years younger than they are?  Be glad that your dating days are behind you (if they are)?  

Carry a dime if you need to make a phone call?  (Oops.. that was my mother's advice to us back in the 70's.  Perhaps the modern version is:  ALWAYS carry your phone and make sure that it is ALWAYS charged. And sign up for Uber so that you can make fast getaways if necessary?)

Trust your instincts:  If the guy seems creepy, dump him.  Fast.  

I think that Number 1 above is really the key:  If the guy seems creepy, no matter how old or young you are, no matter how old or young he is, get rid of him.  And if you see that cold, steely look in someone's eyes, be cool, stay calm, get out and don't go back.

And those of us who managed to get through our dating years without being beaten, hit, or rolled up in a rug and tossed out with the garbage should count our blessings.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Water Sculptures... Amazing and Beautiful! by Ronny Tertnes

Photographer of the Week:  Ronny Tertnes, Norway


It's hard to imagine that these are photographs.

Ronny Tertnes, a photographer from Norway, calls them Water Sculptures or Liquid Sculptures or just Drop Photography. I first came across Ronny's work several years ago on Facebook and thankfully saved the links.. because now I can share his work with all of you.

Each one of Ronny's water sculptures is different; each one is amazing and unusual.

Below, just a sample:








  

Bare et lite plask "Just a little splash" HERE at Tertnes' Facebook page  

And the last sample (for now):

No name on this one, but found HERE on Facebook









Tertnes has a Facebook page HERE:  Liquid Sculptures by Ronny Tertnes

For those photography buffs who would like to try some water art of their own, Tertnes talks technical settings HERE and provides a few more gorgeous examples of water art.  He uses a kit and he talks about that as well.

He writes, "Sometimes I take a broken drop photo and mirror half the image to create a symmetric and artistic liquid sculpture."

A new frontier:  Water art photography.

Please visit Ronny's links above.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I Miss My Mommy.. A Mother's Day Tribute

A tribute to my Mommy... and to all of those Mommies in heaven everywhere...

(Originally written for Mother's Day 2016)

I think I had the best Mommy in the world.


She was kind, loving, hard working, fiercely loyal, selfless, and joyous... And she had a great singing voice!

I remember her singing show tunes and tunes from the 40's and 50's when we were little.  We grew up with song and it made everything seem better.  I have always loved to sing, but I did not inherit my mother's wonderful voice.  She joined a Mother Singers group when we were in school, and it brought her great joy.    

Mommy and me Spring 1953
My Mom loved Judy Garland.  In the days before cable, DVD's, and movies on demand, Meet Me in St. Louis would often be on the T.V. on Christmas Eve.  Years after I moved out, I remember scurrying home, to my Mom and Dad's home, to watch Meet Me in St. Louis with my mother.  I can never see any Judy Garland movie without thinking of my Mom.

Mom with the two of us, early 1954




When we were older...


Mom would do just about anything for us.. Isn't that what Moms do?

One year when my sister was enrolled at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, a dog bit her and then ran off.  The people at the ISU health center told her that, unless they found the dog and verified that the dog had his/her rabies shots, my sister would have to go through a painful rabies series.  My sister called my Mom in great distress.  My Mom was not going to let that happen; she got in her car and drove down to Normal that afternoon to help my sister track down that dog.

I don't remember the details, but she and my sister drove around, went to the local newspaper to insist that they put a notice in the paper to find the dog, and went to the animal control department to look at rabies records.  My mother would not quit until they found that dog.  They eventually did find the dog; the dog had had his/her rabies shot, and my sister was fine; crisis averted.. Thanks to Mom!

Kent State Riots


When the Kent State riots broke out when I was a freshman at Northern Illinois University back in 1970, my Mom and Dad drove up to school to get me.. over my protests.  Everything was fine; I told my mom; the campus had quieted down, no need for me to come home.  But my Mom would have none of it.  I was angry at Mom, of course; I was 18 and had a new boyfriend.  But she and my dad cared enough to get in the car after a long day of work and come and get me.. just to make sure I was OK.  Their trip looks very different from the perspective of 2016 than it did 46 years ago back in 1970.

Driving Practice..

When I was 16 my Mom took over driving practice after I came home in tears after a driving session with my Dad.  I refused to go driving with him any more.  I can still remember my mother upbraiding him, "For heaven's sake, Chuck.  What did you do?  Why is the kid crying?"  It was much better to drive with my Mom anyway.  She drove the pretty new Malibu Blue 1967 Impala with power brakes and power steering, while my Dad drove the lumbering 1960 Chevy Impala with no power anything.  The next year when it was my sister's turn to drive, my Mom just started driving with her from the get go.

She was great.

She worried for us, cried about us, laughed with us, endured three bouts with cancer (and survived), yelled at us when we were slobs, and was just always there.  She pounded on doors and made phone calls on our behalf.  She drove us everywhere, put up with our adolescent insanity, and I never questioned her love; never questioned her absolute deep 
commitment towards her two children.  She loved us equally and unconditionally.  

And when we had our kids, she was the absolutely best Grandma that any kid could ever have.  

I will never get over losing my Mom.  I hope that somewhere in heaven she is still singing those show tunes with the angels.

Love you, Mom!  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Some of my favorite Mother's Day cartoons--  


Have a wonderful Mother's Day.. and a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!


Here's a good one.. Oh so true!

So true!  I have this one credited to "Sue Fitz" on Facebook.


Found on etsy:

Found on etsy

Maxine's always got it right!
From Maxine.com 

Even if you had girls and they didn't play ball, you still understand this!
 By Drew Litton

I just saw this one today on Twitter.. Hilarious!  To a Mom who "tried":

From "It's called Whiskey" on Twitter.










Happy Mother's Day from the dog.... 


From Sun-Gazing 


And for the feline Mommies out there:



My friend Jean posted this on Facebook.   

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