Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Funnies

This (a bit fuzzy) photo of a gull was taken inside our apartment building — not from inside our apartment. If you can't figure out where it was perched, the answer is below.
The photo was taken inside a mill building as I stood below this 5th floor skylight.
Sometimes, you can "see" the strangest things when least expected.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Better to See

You may (or not) be wondering what this Jeep front end photo has to do with seeing

Yes, there is a correlation and here it is. Those front lights on my 2007 Jeep Liberty were very "pitted" and the top of the headlights looked very cloudy. After checking and finding out that the cost to replace each headlight assembly was a few hundred dollars each. Yikes!  I went to a Jeep dealer and, contrary to what you (and I) was be thinking about cost. There was a good chance the frosted headlights could be cleared there at far less cost, under $200 total. Headlights and parking lights were done and look great (don't you think so too, but of course you didn't see the before).

Back to the "seeing" post title. Now that my car headlights are "seeing" better; later this month so will I. 

That's because, I'm having cataract surgery. (Yes, it happens to many at a "certain" age.) No detailed info here as online sites provide all that and more including visuals. Briefly, the lens that's become cloudy inside the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (intraocular lens or IOL). I've spoken with folks who have undergone this surgery and every one has said the aftermath is nothing short of amazing in terms of their improved vision. And to me, that's like having having my headlights cleared.

The two surgeries will be spaced a couple of weeks apart followed by 2 post-op visits, which is "usual" procedure. By the time this is posted, the left eye surgery will have been completed.

Before being ruled "eligible" for cataract surgery, there's an evaluation and consultation with an ophthalmologist. I was fortunate in getting a recommendation from the optometrist we've been "seeing" here. Some folks cautioned me, in advance, that sometimes you can be told "you're not ready." (Personally, I hoped that wouldn't happen.)

Luckily for Medicare-covered folks here in the U.S., cataract surgery is covered by Medicare Part B, as is any corrective lenses required after surgery. It's not an inexpensive surgery; estimated cost is $2200/eye. In addition to Medicare, we pay for supplemental medical coverage too. 

Afterwards, like my Jeep, I expect to be "seeing" better. Driving has been limited and lately I've been walking to local places. The mill apartment, where we live, is within walking distance of downtown Nashua, the local library, pharmacies, medical offices, post office, eateries, and more. It's not only a good great way to get in more steps daily, but also far less hassle than finding and paying for parking spaces.

As a photographer, I'm excited at the prospect of seeing colors more vividly. As a driver, it'll be great to see roadway and street signs from a further distance than possible now. (Grenville will also feel much safer when I'm driving.)

It's also possible that I can avoid using glasses for distance. Corrective lenses may still be required and perhaps only be for reading. I'm really okay with that possibility.

If fellow bloggers reading this post have had this surgery, please feel free to comment on your reactions as well.

Since composing this post, my left eye surgery has been done. There was no discomfort either before, during or after surgery. The plastic eye shield which remained on afterwards and overnight was removed at the first post-op office visit. It was recommended to be worn for 3 more nights. I found this rigid shield uncomfortable and the small air vents made vision more difficult. 

Its purpose is to prevent a patient from rubbing the eye. I'm good with avoiding that and discussed not wearing it with the ophthalmologist who was OK with that. There's a regimen of 3 different eye drops 4X daily, which I do follow on schedule.

I've scheduled a Friday Funnies post and then will take a short blog break. I'm working on some upcoming blog posts and this will give me time to organize them.

Here's 👀 looking at you until next time — Cheers 🥂

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Hoppy Wishes to All

We hope that however and wherever you're spending the Easter and Passover holidays that you will be with loved ones too. Ours include visits with family and friends. 
This group reside on the shelf outside our apartment entry. They return every spring after  the snow folks vacate the space until next winter.
This year, our next door neighbors added this bunny pair. We suspect it was because we egg-decorated the tree outside their apt entry. "Fred" frog and "Percy" penguin are outside the door year-round along with their snowmen friend who didn't melt away. 

After the egg-citement with the RI grandkids last weekend, we had our own egg-coloring party. Neighbors who planned to color eggs with us will be doing it after we've left for the holiday.

We never outgrow having holiday fun and we'll enjoy treats left by our neighbors. It's a good thing that we already had that sign !

Thursday, April 18, 2019

They Never Give Up !

Fellow bloggers, this is an ongoing alert that spammers are still (and forever will be) among us. Several blogs including mine have been hit by certain spammers. I'm purposely not naming any as they don't need further notoriety.

That said it bears repeating that affected bloggers should remove such comments ASAP. And, if you see a dubious spam comment from a nefarious bad-doer on someone's blog, please and, as it was in the vintage Romper Room kids show, be a good "do-bee" and let them know, so they can delete it too.

The more due diligence that we fellow bloggers practice, then perhaps we can at least limit these low-lifes (restraint used here). Sadly, I'm not naive to the fact that they will never be entirely obliterated. Earlier posts in October 2018 and April 2018 have more on this topic.

Yesterday, I found the same lengthy spam comment left on recent posts. All identical from the same spammer and spaced a minute or so apart in the early a.m. I've opted not to identify this spammer or show the comment here for two reasons: there's no need to provided added visibility to this individual or to display such garbage again. 

They're no longer on those posts, but were marked as Spam and deleted. 

It's not enough to just Delete such comments. Doing so still reveals the name of the spammer as in this example seen recently on another blog. As you can see, it shows the blog administrator removed the comment, but the spammer's ID remains.

A better way is to mark them as Spam. These are the options in Blogger at the top of the Published Comments page. To check comments Click Comments > Published
Check the box next to the comment(s) then select Spam to move it to the Spam folder. This removes it from published post comments. You can check the Spam Folder to make sure that no "real" comments went there in error. If you find one, click Not Spam and it returns to the post comments. Then you can delete all the Spam ones. 

This isn't the first time that I or others have been spammed, sadly it won't be the last. Months ago, I admittedly didn't regularly check the Published Comments section in Blogger. Instead, I would only check the comments for a current post. 

Last year, after receiving notice from a fellow blogger of a spam comment. I started regularly checking Published Comments. 

Since then, I've come across Spam on posts published weeks or months ago. These show as recent Published Comments. Most likely, there are spam comments from months and months ago before I started doing checking and I'm not planning to backtrack through all those comments

Checking Published Comments regularly now is part of my  "blog maintenance."

Why care about Comment Spam? — Here's some reasons:

  • It can make it seem like you don't care about your blog and if it's peppered with false links, you might be thought of as a bad online housekeeper. it could also hamper "legit" readers from commenting.
  • It could cause Google to remove a blog (it's happened). Leaving a dubious link(s) can cause google to "punish" your site even if these are only in comments unknown to you. Google might assume you've allowed them in other places too.
  • It endangers readers who should feel your site is safe. If one clicks on a bad link and a re-direct could lead to a malware site that infects a PC with spyware or a virus. That reader may spread the word to avoid your site. (Social media is a very powerful tool.)
As stated earlier, this post on spam resulted from my annoyance anger frustration (pick any or all 3) at seeing the same worthless Spammer comment on 10 recent posts and again today on 6! After online sleuthing, I found out that this same spammer has left this same garbage as far back as 2 years ago. Other bloggers ranted about it in their posts. 

Maybe we can't stop the spam, but we can at least delete it from our comments and alert fellow bloggers when we see it in their posted comments.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Vintage Family Easter

Looking through vintage family photos is always something I enjoy as it's a chance to revisit memorable times. I looked for some related to the Easter holiday and found these.

In the photo below, I'm posing for an Easter photo with my mother and brother sometime in the late 1950s. It was taken in the living room of our Plainfield, NJ home by my father. I'm guessing that the ages of my brother and myself might have been 10 and 7 years old. (Yes, those were some conflicting patterns of wallpaper and sofa covers.)
Here's an earlier photo of myself and "baby" brother, Anthony, taken several years earlier in our backyard. It's been many years since I've donned an Easter bonnet and my brother no longer wears a bowtie.
In another flashback, here's Grenville possibly between the age of 4 or 5 (he wasn't sure) with a plush bunny that was nearly as tall as himself. Note that he's also wearing a bowtie in this photo with his mom and dad. 
Thanks for sharing this photo look-back of our families' holiday memories. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Disturbing But True . . .

In previous posts, I mentioned my enjoyment in listening to podcasts, which some folks may or may not be familiar with or enjoy. Listening to them is how I get through gym sessions. I've heard countless interesting, unbelievable, and unsettling "stories" and prefer those based on true events. This post focuses on a recent podcast episode which took me by surprise as it described an event in U.S. history about which I was ignorant.

Spoiler alert: The topic may be very upsetting to readers (as it was to me). 

A favorite podcast of mine, Radio Diaries, provides short segments of history narrated by producer Joe Richman. (The program is a member of Radiotopia from the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and based in Cambridge, MA.) The February 20, 2019 episode, When Nazis Took Manhattan, described a chillingly true event which happened in 1939, exactly 80 years earlier on the same February date. The podcast host and his guest discussed a documentary film about this event/rally, which can be viewed online.
1939 NYC rally (Internet source)
Here's some background about the group behind the 1939 event. (The archival photo at left shows inside Madison Square Garden on the evening of the rally.)  

The rally was organized by the German American Bund (Amerikadeutscher Volksbund) a pro-Nazi organization comprised of American citizens of German descent living in the U.S. 

The group, established in 1936, succeeded the former Friends of New Germany (FoNG), which disbanded after press and governmental and criticism for being "unpatriotic." The name change was done to bolster the group's "American" credentials. Led by Fritz Kuhn, a German-born, naturalized American citizen. Bund membership was in the thousands with "training camps" in several states. The Bund disbanded after the start of World War II. Kuhn was arrested for embezzling funds, sent to prison, stripped of U.S. citizenship and deported in 1945 to West Germany where he died. 

(American Nazis in the 1930s — The German American Bund in The Atlantic, June 2017, includes archival photos assembled by senior editor Alan Taylor.)

Now, about that NYC rally. On February 20, 1939, the Bund held “A Pro-American Rally” inside Madison Square Garden attended by 20,000 supporters and members to celebrate the rise of Nazism in the U.S. The deliberately-selected date was the birthdate of first U.S. president George Washington's and featured a very oversized banner of him flanked by large American flags and swastikas. Almost 2,000 NYC police officers were onsite for crowd control to hold back anti-Nazi protestors. 

Caution — the film is NOT easy to watch. Click the link at your own discretion.
A Night at the Garden was created entirely from archival film footage and can be viewed online here. The less than 7-minute film shows the rally and vividly display anti-Semitism in America at that time. Huge crowds are shown inside and outside the event. Without revealing everything, the sight of uniform-garbed attendees, attendees reciting the pledge of allegiance and giving the one-handed "salute", also an orchestra playing the national anthem was very disturbing. Kuhn, the featured speaker, delivers appalling rhetoric. He rants about what he calls the "Jewish-controlled media" and says "it’s time to return the U.S. to white Christians" who, he continues, "founded the nation." 

Isadore Greenbaum & family, Internet source
Brett Siciliano was the special guest interviewed on the Radio Diaries podcast. He described how his grandfather, Isadore Greenbaum, a 26-year-old Brooklyn plumber, charged the stage during Kuhn's speech. He was set upon and attacked by Bund supporters who ripped off his pants before NYC police officers took charge. (This attack can be seen in the film.) Greenbaum's injuries included a black eye and broken nose. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and fined $25. Later, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and fought against the Nazis.

The film directed and edited by Marshall Curry was supported and released by Field of Vision. It was an official selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short (which it did not win).
In conclusion, this was a long post on an event and group that I was admittedly unfamiliar with before listening to the Radio Diaries podcast. The topic raised my awareness, assailed my conscience and compelled me to compose this post. My intent was not to offend or upset anyone, other than sharing my angst that this could and did happen in the U.S. Sadly, hate groups still exist in America and other countries.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We Had Egg-Citement

We're not sure who gets more egg-cited at this time of year as Easter is coming closer. 

Most people think it's the younger set. But we really look forward to participating in two pre-holiday events with the grandchildren — an egg hunt and an egg coloring.

Sure, the children look for the plastic eggs that hold candy and other treats, but we get to hide them and watch the hunt. And, that's what we did this past weekend in RI when the grands and a friend hunted eggs.
Trying to get photos of three energetic youngsters running around a backyard is difficult, so here's the aftermath when eggs were opened to reveal candy treats and prizes. 

The Easter egg hunt is thought to have German origins dating to the late 16th century. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther organized egg hunts for his congregation. Men hid eggs for women and children to find. It's believed this was symbolic of Christ's resurrection when an empty tomb was discovered by women. England's Queen Victoria enjoyed egg hunts as a child at Kensington Palace. Her mother, German-born Duchess of Kent, staged these hunts. Later, Victoria and her husband Albert continued the tradition by hiding eggs for their children. Albert concealed the eggs in moss baskets which he hid around the palace.

After our hunt ended, it was time for another favorite Easter egg-tivity. The grands mom and Grandpa Grenville watched the trio. (Grenville wasn't in grumpy despite his expression.)
Each child had a special method of egg dipping which usually involved dipping an egg in several colors.
Granddaughter and Grandpa Grenville worked together and were very serious about their task.

In a very short time, there was a full box of colorful eggs, 18 total were done. Several had messages written on them, including the ever-popular "let me out."
And, then the sampling: granddaughter's topping was mayonnaise; grandson preferred a salted egg.
This weekend, Grenville and I are planning our own egg coloring session in our apartment. A couple of neighbors may join in the fun. We never outgrow some activities.

A friend asked WHY eggs are colored for Easter. Being unsure of the reason I searched online and learned that the Easter egg represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ for Christians. In Orthodox and Eastern Catholic religions painting eggs is a tradition. Eggs are dyed the color red to symbolize the blood of Christ being shed on the cross. The hard shell of the egg is a symbol of  the sealed tomb where Christ's body was placed; cracking the shell represents the resurrection. Centuries ago, Christians abstained from eating eggs and meat during Lent. When Easter arrived, it was a chance to eat eggs again.

Egg rolling, which we skipped, is another Easter-related tradition and is believed to symbolize the rolling of the stone from Christ’s tomb.

Do you color eggs as well (with or without children) ?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Eating Their Words?

Really the cakes were just to look at and vote for this past weekend as the Nashua Public Library held its annual Edible Cake Contest. The requirements are simple, in terms of the rules, cake bakers can use their imagination to create an entirely, edible, literary-based confection.

The edibles were on display in the library on Sunday. Library patrons were invited to vote for their favorites in child and adult categories.There was no sampling; however, slices of a large sheet cake were being doled out to voters needing a sweet treat.

Harry Potter took the cake or rather cookies as the winner in the Children's' category. 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar captured the top spot in the Adult category.

There was no word on whether the entrants celebrated afterwards with cake (or cookies). 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Five Women Dining in NYC

Many of you, like myself, have most likely come across vintage family photos and wanted to find out more information.

It's like going down a rabbit hole, which are the same words, I've used in an earlier post(s) about efforts to learn more about my family history. That project hasn't been abandoned, but been put aside as I find other distractions projects.

That's what happened this past weekend, as I re-discovered this photo that I first saw 4 years ago when my brother, husband and myself were cleaning out my mother's home after her death. It shows five women (in their 20s then) and all friends who lived near one another in Scotch Plains, NJ. They were dressed up and "out on the town" dining in New York in 1944. Two of the women are my relatives.

The back of the photo is stamped with a date of Oct 4, 1944. My 22-year old mother, Clara, is pictured second from the right (in the light colored dress). Her sister, Anna, (then about 25) is second from the left, wearing a white hat. I know the names of two other women: Angie is in the photo center and "Derp" is on the far right next to my mom. The name of the woman at the far left is unknown and remains a mystery. My mother died at age 92 and she was the last remaining member of the group.
The photo was taken at Rogers Corner, a popular restaurant and bar which was opposite Madison Square Garden on 8th Ave and 50th St in NYC. It was enclosed in this folder. which features the U.S. Army Eagle symbol above the name. 
The folder back has the photo price and location: "Souvenir Photo $ 1.00 — Remembrance of a pleasant evening at Rogers Corner." Extra copies could be obtained from by including the date and club name and a photo description. The back of my mother's photo was stamped with a 1944 date and a handwritten #105.
The above postcard was included in the souvenir photo folder. Rogers Corner billed itself as "America's Most Unusual Restaurant" and it featured the Pan American Room and the Rondevoo restaurant. Notice in the top left corner that the restaurant would also mail the postcard for its patrons. This was a nicety in the war years as many service personnel dined in these places.
No menu was included in the folder; however, I found this one at an online auction site. It was dated November 1944, a month after my mother and friends dined there. Notice the complete De Luxe dinner prices were under $2 with the exception of roast prime ribs (of NY) at a whooping $2.50 (75 years ago). 

Look close and you will see that a ham steak or broiled chicken dinner were more costly than sea trout, lamb or duckling choices. The opposite is truer these days. Better yet, the dinner included two sides, dessert choices that included home-made pie, and coffee, tea or milk. I sure would like a deal like that now — wouldn't you?

Many other NYC dining places also were popular gathering spots during the 1940 World War II years. The above photo shows Grenville's parents, Bob and Betty, seated on the right and his aunt (Mabel) on the right. It was taken an unknown (to us) New York restaurant.

Despite many online searches this week, I failed to find historical information about this long-gone restaurant, which from the photo folder illustration, looks like it was a sizable establishment. I also read another blogger's post from several years ago about a similar search without success.

What I did find were various online sites selling Rogers Corner "souvenir" photo folders and postcards, perhaps from folks going through family photos. Many folders included photos with WW II service members. Prices ranged from $15 to $18.

Even if I never locate more information than these scant bits, it doesn't matter. Whenever I look at the photo of my late mother, her sister and friends, I imagine them enjoying a wonderful adventure together in NYC.

What better memory, indeed.