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Monday, August 19, 2019

"...We're all just people..." (Monday's Memo)

A short clip from the 1983 American comedy-drama movie, Terms Of Endearmentis posted atop this entry, for this week's Monday's Memo. The character  Emma Greenway-Horton  (played by Deborah Winger) is spot on when she says, "We're all just people."

Saturday, August 17, 2019

It's Honeybee Awareness Day!

Today is National Honey Bee Day (formerly National Honey Bee Awareness Day) which is set aside to raise awareness re bees; hence my choosing to include the picture directly above of a bee who visits my indoor succulent garden.

According to Wiki and many sources National Honey Bee Day is a day "when beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, and honey bee enthusiasts from all across the United States celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to our everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species. National Honey Bee Day also pays homage to beekeepers, whose labors ensure there are well-managed, healthy bees to pollinate crops."

Bees have been featured in a number of posts within my blog and they are included in volume one of my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Moreover, this insect is featured within my mini movie, Here's The Buzz, which can be viewed within my Vimeo Channel. In honor of this this awareness day, I'll conclude this entry with a series of pics (posted directly below) of bees that I took when I was in Central Park this past Saturday, August the tenth.

Before I sign off on this Honeybee Awareness Day, please let me leave you with a copy of a poem (posted below) by Mary Oliver:

What is this dark hum among the roses?
The bees have gone simple, sipping,
that’s all. What did you expect? Sophistication?
They’re small creatures and they are
filling their bodies with sweetness, how could they not
moan in happiness? The little
worker bee lives, I have read, about three weeks.
Is that long? Long enough, I suppose, to understand
that life is a blessing. I have found them — haven’t you? —
stopped in the very cups of the flowers, their wings
a little tattered — so much flying about, to the hive,
then out into the world, then back, and perhaps dancing,
should the task be to be a scout-sweet, dancing bee.
I think there isn’t anything in this world I don’t
admire. If there is, I don’t know what it is. I
haven’t met it yet. Nor expect to. The bee is small,
and since I wear glasses, so I can see the traffic and
read books, I have to
take them off and bend close to study and
understand what is happening. It’s not hard, it’s in fact
as instructive as anything I have ever studied. Plus, too,
it’s love almost too fierce to endure, the bee
nuzzling like that into the blouse
of the rose. And the fragrance, and the honey, and of course
the sun, the purely pure sun, shining, all the while, over
all of us.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Cicada's Perspective (Throwback Thursday)

Nearly two tears ago, here on Blogger, I published an entry about cicadas that includes the mini essay by E.B. White which is posted directly below.

"At eight of a hot morning, the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn't over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life."

Over the past few weeks, maybe even several weeks while hearing cicadas the essay always comes to my mind. Now, on this throwback Thursday, I'd like to share with you the Mutts comic strip atop this entry where a cicada points out not much has changed since he/she went underground and that insect is absolutely right.

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned posting I also stated (and included a copy of the same picture used at the conclusion of this entry)  "Additionally, a web-page for the Home Depot (which includes the image directly below) states: "If you live anywhere from the Midwest to the East Coast and you’ve ever been outdoors in spring, chances are that you have heard the distinctive sound of the annual cicada. The tinny buzzing sound seems to go on forever, but it really only lasts for a few weeks in late spring. This year though, the love song of the cicada will become a deafening roar for people from North Carolina all the way up to New England when billions of the Brood II Magicicada species emerge from deep beneath the earth for their time in the sun – an event that only happens once every 17 years."


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

JULY 30th: That was the day that was! Tuesday's Truths WK 138


Two weeks ago (July 30) in my 136th segment for my Tuesday's Truths series, I stated, "....As for my completing my projects, my work was truly disrupted by an unexpected major upheaval in my rooftop garden and at this time, I cannot even write about it, but I will do so in a few days, dear reader, after I've had time to deal with today's unfortunate situation..."

Now, before too much time passes, I'm using this week's Tuesday's Truths "episode" to catch up where I left off in that posting and tell you a little  bit more about that unfortunate situation, which for now (and hopefully for the long term been resolved).

The situation I referred to in my July 30th entry is the fact workmen showed up on that day to replace the building's gutters (a repair that had been long overdue) under my rooftop garden (which is atop a roof extension). Their plan had been to attach a ladder to the railing around my garden, remove the old gutter and replace it. However, it turned out the railing is probably too weak to support a heavy ladder being attached to it, so they let me know they had to return the following day (July 31) and temporarily remove part of my railing.

Preparing for another day of workmen in my midst during a tremendous heat wave meant even more postponements in my being able to make progress on my proposal for Steidl as well as complete my manuscript (Imperfect Strangers) and produce a video update for it.

But since there was nothing I could do to work on my projects because they require my full attention, I took on a mindless task of going through a box of papers related to my notes for Neurofibromatosis (NF) which is what Imperfect Strangers is based upon.

As I was going through my notes on that extremely hot day of July 30th 2019, I came across a note that I had written to my maternal grandmother nearly ten years before she died. A copy of it can be seen  below:

I had written it to her from a place that I was staying in California where I had traveled to have medical tests to determine if I had an acoustic neuroma, which is a symptom of NF. Doctors had reason to believe I did had one, but at that time, there were was not a doctor near to where I was living who could make the proper determination and/or treat it.

In any event, on Tuesday, July 30th, as I was going through these papers, I noticed the day I wrote her this letter was during the late 1970's (probably 1979) and written on the day of July 30th — forty years ago.

Also in that box of papers, I came across a certificate (a copy is also included in this past Wednesday's blog post).

What I said (re this certificate) in the aforementioned entry which (as you can see) was given to me on July 30th of 2014 (five years ago ) is "I hardly consider climbing 182 stairs accomplishment because I climb that amount of stairs on a regular basis because I live in an apartment that can only be accessed  by climbing 70 stairs which I do a few times a day!"

Hence, because it was on July 30th 2019 that I came upon papers related to this day and month, I titled today's entry, That was the day that was! Tuesday's Truths WK 138 in honor of an old television program called That Was the Week That Was. 

Wiki explains that this program was "informally TWTWTW or TW3, is a satirical television comedy program on BBC Television in 1962 and 1963. It was devised, produced and directed by Ned Sherrin and presented by David Frost. An American version by the same name aired on NBC from 1964 to 1965, also featuring Frost."

And now getting back to the upshot of the gutter repair that began on  7/30, the workmen did return the following day, but thankfully they only removed a portion of the railing, but in doing so a portion of kiwi vines which wrap around it were destroyed, as you may surmised from the following photo.

I have had my kiwi vines since 2010 and it was hard to watch them being treated so roughly.

Moreover, prior to this calamity, my H.F. Clematis (which grows on a pole that is off camera in the image above) may have been partially destroyed. I've had that vine since 2005 (or 2006?) and it is upsetting to see her manhandled, but, as is the case with my kiwi vines.

I am now grateful to report the railing is back (albeit charred from the removal and subsequent fire-based construction to replace it) but the kiwi vine and H.F. Clematis lost a lot of their growth as seen in the next image.

My rooftop garden is not only an oasis for a number of birds and for me and those who come visit; it is also the setting for my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Therefore, I'm thrilled (another understatement) to report that when Juan V came here last week, he was able to get my garden back in good shape as evidenced in the next two pictures which show partial views of my place (north and south respectively).

Having my garden back in place will be a great help in my being able to put my attention on the proposal for Steidl. As for Imperfect Strangers, the other week I received an email from the publisher that if I want to be considered, I need to get everything to them by August 30th 2019, and of all goes well, I should be able to submit my book by then and after doing so, work on a follow-up video for You Tube and Vimeo.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday's Sequel

"I'm molting! I'm molting," a cardinal told me when I saw him in Central Park the other Sunday (it was a very hot day). His words made me think of The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton seen in the image below) from The Wizard of Oz, ultimately saying, "I'm melting! I'm melting!"


But the cardinal was far from wicked, for even though he was molting and it was very hot, he pecked at seeds that had fallen on a rock in order to feed them to his fledging!

As you know, dear reader,  cardinals are featured in my book series, Words In Our Beak.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday's Fact: It's Book Lover's Day!

According to many sources (including Wiki) "Book Lovers Day (aka National Book Lovers Day in the US) is celebrated on August 9 every year. This is an unofficial holiday observed to encourage bibliophiles celebrate reading and literature. People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read. Book Lovers Day is widely recognized on global scale yet its origin and creator remains unknown to date."

While I'm glad to know there is a holiday dedicate to book lovers, which I certainly am, and have been since childhood as evidenced by the photograph of yours truly that is atop this posting as well as in the next series of images of me...

... I think every day should be Book Lover's Day!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Fire Island Lighthouse is for the birds! (Wednesday's Wisdom)

Many web-pages (including Punchbowl) concur, "Today is National Lighthouse Day! On this day in 1789, the United States Congress approved an Act 'for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers.' This piece of legislation commissioned the first Federal lighthouse, which was constructed at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. Two hundred years later, Congress designated August 7th as National Lighthouse Day to commemorate this important moment in history and to celebrate these beautiful structures.

For centuries, lighthouses have served as beacons of light, guiding ships safely to harbor through storms, fog, or dark of night. To celebrate National Lighthouse Day, visit a local lighthouse near you or donate to a lighthouse preservation society."

The lighthouse featured in the image atop this entry and directly below...

... is The Fire Island Lighthouse, a lighthouse that has 182 steps which I've climbed in two occasions, including once in 2014, when I was given a certificate of achievement for my accomplishment, I'm not sure why I wasn't given a certificate the prior time I climbed the stairs, but I seem to recall they were out of certificates at that time. In any event, a copy of my 2014 certificate is posted below.

I hardly consider climbing 182 stairs accomplishment! I climb that amount of stairs on a regular basis because I live in an apartment that can only be accessed  by climbing 70 stairs which I do a few times a day!

But getting back to The Fire Island Lighthouse, if you look closely at the righthand side of my second picture of it, you will notice birds flying about. And because I have recently came upon information related to birds being trapped in the bright light from lighthouses (as seen in the web-picture directly below)...

... I became concerned about the fate of birds who are in the vicinity of The Fire Island Lighthouse.

This web-picture for the Gatteville Lighthouse in Normandy is accompanying by text which states "there is a forlorn French poem by Jaques PrĂ©vert about a lighthouse keeper who loved birds. It is based on a terrible fact; birds flying on cloudy nights can become hypnotized by a bright light, and if that light turns endlessly, the birds will follow it. Endlessly.

Lighthouse keepers were first to notice this phenomenon. On cloudy, foggy or rainy nights migrating birds (many prefer to migrate at night) would become trapped, circling in the constant sweeping light until they fell exhausted to their deaths. On clear nights they flew on by. Many thousands of birds were dying every year, drawn tragically to lighthouses across the world. The poem goes a little like this (translation).

The lighthouse keeper who loved birds too much
Thousands of birds fly towards the fires
by the thousands they fall, 
by the thousands they collide
by thousands blinded, by thousands stunned
by the thousands they die
The lighthouse keeper cannot stand such things
the birds, he loves them too much
so he says “Never mind, I do not care!”
And he turns everything off.

In the distance a cargo ship is wrecked
a cargo ship coming from the islands
a cargo ship loaded with birds
thousands of birds from the islands
thousands of birds, drown."

After reading this information re birds and lighthouses, I contacted The Fire Island Lighthouse and was told that they never have had bird strikes nor have they seen any carcasses of avian creatures on the grounds. They attribute this to the fact that they keep the lights within their lighthouse off after dark, only the beacon of their lighthouse glows.

I'm not sure if I understand it correctly, but from the explanation I received, I'd say The Fire Island Lighthouse is for the birds (in a caring way)!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Show up! "Put the ball on the court & RUN!" (Tuesday's Truths WK 137)

Welcome to my one hundred and thirty seventh segment of Tuesday's Truths. In my last segment, of this series, I confessed a personal truth re my need to get back on track putting my finishing touches on my proposal for Steidl as well as tweaking my follow-up video for Imperfect Strangers.

The following Thursday I spoke to Dr. EK about the difficulty I had been having in settling down to work on both of the aforementioned projects and she referred me to this amazing video featuring Roberta Vinci (a copy of it is posted above).

In this video Vinci unwittingly provides much inspiration by explaining how her mindset was going into face Serena Williams in a tennis match.

My viewing this clip has been a great help in my making strides in showing up, settling down and writing! I'm thankful to now report that both of my projects are back in the making progress stage.

Please stay tuned for updates (which I'll give during a given forthcoming segment of Tuesday's Truths series) on my endeavors.

Meanwhile, dear reader, hope you continue to enjoy my blog posts even though they will not be as frequent and that you also find the Roberta Vinci interview inspiring!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Punctuation in Nature! (Monday's Musings)

When I was walking through Central Park this past Thursday evening, I came upon the Polygonia interrogationis (AKA Questionmark Butterfly. The creature is featured in the photograph atop this entry (as well as in the one directly below). I've seen this insect type on a number of occasions when I've been in the park  as evidenced in a couple of my prior blog posts

In a web-page from Park Ranger Greg Dodge explains, "The Eastern Comma (butterfly) has three black spots where the Question Mark has four (arrows), it lacks the elongated mark." 

The arrows Dodge is referring to can be seen in the next image which is a copy of one that is on the aforementioned page.


Dodge goes on to explain, "The Question Mark has white markings which resemble a question mark (?) on the underside of its hind wings, much like indicated here [the picture below]."

In my not asked for opinion, I think the underside appearance of the question mark butterfly are lovely, and you might too, dear reader, upon looking at my (next) series of photos.

According to Wiki, "the color and textured appearance of the underside of its wings combine to provide camouflage that resembles a dead leaf."

Upon my reading their description ("dead leaf"), I thought of the adage,  "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." For when I see this creature, I see beautiful subtle coloring that I would hardly call dead!

I've only seen this insect type in Central Park. As far as I know, the question mark butterfly has never visited my rooftop garden, but the American Lady has as evidenced below.

Btw, The American Lady is included in volume one of my book series, Words In Our Beak.

And there you have it re punctuation in nature, as for the use of punctuation by humans, I'll leave you two cartoons by Bill Whitehead, a quote from  Oscar Wilde and a mini essay by E.B. White.