Sunday, August 28, 2016

… the impatience of youth !

While driving home today I listened with interest to an NPR segment that was honoring the    100th   Anniversary of the  National  Park Service. The show  originated from Yellowstone Park and the commentator was interviewing people from all over the world who were there enjoying the sites and, in particular, the spectacular geyser known as Old Faithful.

All of a sudden I was in another year (1956) and another car (my rinky-dink Ford, named “Old Betsy”) heading to Yellowstone with my friend Cherie. We were heading to the east coast and had planned some stops along the way.One place on our list was Yellowstone and the famous geyser. I remember that we parked the car and then hiked a bit until we found the spot. There was a Park Ranger nearby and, after waiting about 5 minutes, we asked him when we could expect to see the eruption. “Oh, not too long”, he said, “it should be spouting off within the hour.”

WHAT? A whole hour to wait ! Impossible ...we had miles to go and no time to be sitting around twiddling our thumbs. To my great chagrin, as I look back on it now, we thanked the man and left. 

Now here it is 60 years later and I have yet to see Old Faithful. I listened as the commentator explained that it is one of the most predictable geographical features on earth, erupting every 35 to 120 minutes. What idiots we were … losing out on this great experience ... just because, like much of the youth today,  we didn't have the patience  !!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Piper … “Joe Cool” of the runways !

You may have seen this on YouTube a few months back but if not …

This is a true story about Piper, the Border Collie, who helps to maintain wildlife control at the Cherry Capital airport in Traverse City, Michigan. He has actually been trained to shoo away ducks, geese, owls, foxes and other critters.

There have been other airports that use this technique but few, if any, have the dog's owner working there too. He is Brian Edwards and has been an airport operations supervisor since 2008. When he acquired Piper as a pup in 2012 he soon realized he had a winner. Border Collies are born herders and Piper was exceptionally adept at it. Brian decided to try his hand at training the pup for work on the runway.

It took a lot of time and patience ...especially getting Piper used to airplanes. This is not natural to dogs. The gear he wears helped (reflective specs to avoid dirt and debris and to shield his eyes from sunlight and ear muffs to protect his hearing) and he overcame his fears. Now Piper has become a vital asset to the airport.

It's very tempting to book a flight to Traverse City just to see “Joe Cool” in action !

Thursday, August 18, 2016

“Beating a dead horse ...”

Wikipedia writes: “beating a dead horse is an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue is futile, or that to continue in any endeavor is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided.”

Sound familiar? This is exactly what's going on now with the Republicans in the Senate. Despite the fact that the FBI (again) forcefully defended its decision to not criminally charge Hillary Clinton they were obliged to turn over a variety of material from the investigation to the Oversight Committee this week. The GOP controlled Congress is now about to start an investigation that is sure to be extremely costly and I wouldn't mind so much EXCEPT ….guess who is paying for this? That's right …WE, the TAXPAYERS !!!

You can bet that not a penny of this will affect the members of that committee … they already have perks above and beyond the imagination of most of us ordinary citizens ! But, think about it … how can we possibly believe anything that will come out of this ? Much of the material is classified and should be kept that way but you know that there will be “leaks” ...and these will be half-truths and conjectures.

There is no question that Secretary of State Clinton was negligent in her Email use when in office ...BUT ,,, what about these two Secretary of States who did the same thing? Yep, you guessed it … the two paragons of virtue are none other than Condoleeza Rice and Colon Powell ! I guess that just goes to show that, after all is said and done, these three are merely humans, after all.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Another amazing CONNECTION …

I've been writing this blog since 2006 and one of the first things that I wrote about was the wonderful experience that I and my family had in the late 40's entertaining British sailors. It was World War II and I was just 9 but I remember it vividly.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received the following comment on a blog entry that I had posted 10 years ago. It simply said “Was your mum Ruth Lee?” The answer is yes and I contacted the writer immediately hoping for more information

It turns out that the person who commented was none other than the son of one of the British sailors who practically lived with us during those frightful years. Ron, his dad, was stationed at the Fargo Naval Base and, after his initial visit, any time he and a buddy had free time they would hop the train from Boston to Wellesley Hills. If I remember correctly we even kept a spare room set up for their impromptu visits !

Ron's son Nick actually remembers my mother visiting their home in England many years after the War ended. He thinks he may even have a picture of her taken in the garden of their home. He is looking for that but in the meantime he sent me this one of his Dad.

I knew Ron immediately and it brought back all the times that we girls (I was the youngest of 5 !) would rush to the train station if we knew “our boys” would be coming to visit. Ron was always number one off the train and the first thing that we would see was his huge grin !

Thanks so much for making the connection Nick. Those were special years and your Dad was such a large part of it.

ADDENDUM;  8/18  Just got another email from Nick with this great picture of a friend of his dad's ...he said he's the one that brought Ron to our house for the first time !

Monday, August 08, 2016

Last look at my vacation …

After a week in the Big Apple it was a distinct change to head north to my Daughter and son-in-laws home in upstate NY. You might remember that they are the ones that have the wonderful business called Bowen Barn in Stanfordville.

Happily for me they drove down to the City...along with their sweet little Bela … and picked me up.

It was wonderful to get back to their lovely home and I was very impressed to see that they had a new addition…. A greenhouse ! It's very impressive and has already yielded a supply of veggies. Of course the squash plants are very good at showing off and they have kind of taken over as you see here:

It was a wonderful week. Their home is secluded and set high with lovely views so it was the recuperative rest that I needed and I soaked it up.  

For years I have driven to their home but it's a good 14 hours from where I live and both my car and I are not as young as we used to be so ….traveling by train was a great alternative. All in all a wonderful two weeks

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

A short subway ride from the Big Apple

Here is my niece Wendy watering the flowers on the lovely roof top of the apartment where we spent 7 days together just a few weeks back. It felt very posh to have the circular staircase wend it's way up there and, although it was Brooklyn and not the actual City it was, as I labelled this entry,  just a short subway ride from the center of the Big Apple and a lovely place to start off my vacation..   
 The weather was exceedingly hot so we didn't overdo it at any one time.   However we managed a few excursions into the city and I just soaked up the atmosphere as it brought back memories of the time I lived there in 1957 to 1964.  Many, many thanks to Wendy for making this possible !