Tag Archives: Featured

Billboards, Posters, Dogs

The first thing I do each time I check into a hotel is to check out the view from the window. This is particularly interesting when I am in a city or airport hotel – as the variety is so great.  In Peru, the first of our hotels was literally just across four lanes of traffic from the Lima Airport so I was happy that my room actually faced the parking lot on the city side and not the actual airport.  (Although I have to admit that it didn’t really matter as I spent very little time in this room!)

One of the things that I’ve noticed about many cityscapes worldwide is that many countries have not yet abandoned the billboard the way that we have here in the states, although I don’t think I’ve EVER seen anything like the giant six-pack of Coke that was in my view. The other thing that is very common is posters plastered around business entrances.  In Peru, the zoning laws are spotty so you can have business and residences crowded together, making it likely that you’ll be looking at posters for all kinds of goods and services as you approach your home.

The other noticeable difference is the large numbers of stray dogs that roam around many of the cities in Peru (although not as much in Lima). Most of the dogs I saw seemed not only well-fed but well-behaved.  And very nonchalant about their lifestyle.  You could find dogs sleeping in all kinds of places where  you would think they would be skittish.  This dog decided to plop itself down to snooze among a group of Japanese tourists in the train station – as if he were just part of the luggage:

Tell me about the view from your window!

Spaetzle vs Schnitzel

Our local Walmart store management  tore  out most of the checkout aisles and installed several dozen  self-checkout kiosks.  I refuse to use them, which means I have to  put up with long lines and long waits while my icecream  melts.

Husband and I were in line the other day conversing about a spaetzle-aspragus recipe, when the woman in front of us asked what exactly  spaetzle was. She and her husband had been chatting up the cashier, who happened to be from the same Hispanic community they were from near Bakersfield, CA.  She said she had heard of it but didn’t know what it was. I explained, and then cautioned her that it was different than schnitzel, and then I explained what forms that could take.  She had heard of that, too. Behind us in line was an elderly neighbor from a block over from our house who takes long walks in the neighborhood and wanted to know if we got our produce in. She said she loved watching our garden.

Shopping is a social outing for us, and reinforces our sense of community. We aimed to be Community Psychologists, so I guess things are working  out.

What communities do you belong to?

 

 

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Our New York Trip

Husband and I returned last Monday from a week long trip to New York  City. We were there with four other members of our church handbell choir to participate in a massed handbell choir of 275 ringers. We were the opening act before a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall.

Everything that could go right on the trip did, and there were no disasters. We slipped past three major snow storms in our travels.  All our rental bells were there as ordered, hotel reservations were good, and our names were in the program. What more could a person ask for?

In addition to the Dec. 1 Carnegie Hall gig, we had the options of playing in Central Park on Saturday afternoon, and with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall at various times during the weekend. Here are the players at the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park.

The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular featured the Rockettes in numbers like “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, during which the dancers collapsed on one another like dominoes. They also did a number called “Sleigh Ride” in which the dancers were featured as precision-stepping reindeer. In between the dance numbers were high tech visual effects and bell numbers. It ended with a tableau of the nativity complete with three live camels, a donkey, and a sheep. All the animals had been blessed by Cardinal Dolan at the start of the season. No unsanctioned animals in this production! I haven’t any photos. Photos were prohibited. This will give you an idea.

The Carnegie  Hall concert was really fun.  We entered the hall through the stage door, just like all performers do. There were a few ringers on stage with the conductor, and the rest of us were in the boxes on Tiers one and two on either side of the Hall.  The following photos were taken during dress rehearsal.

 

 

We played  well. The acoustics were good, but we had to be as precise as possible given how many of us there were.  Given the size of the hall, we couldn’t use our ears to make sure were were together. We had to watch the conductor as much as possible for the timing. The conductor was so excited as they used “the Bernstein podium” for him.

The Messiah performance was wonderful. The two male soloists were on loan from the Metropolitan Opera, and there were more than 300 singers in the chorus. Half of them sang from the boxes we had played in.  We had to vacate to the nosebleed seats in the balcony during the oratorio.

So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing did. We were all so grateful for this opportunity.

 

Tell about your best and worst vacations and trips.

Let Me Look that Up

Today marks the anniversary of the first publication of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1768 in Scotland.  I love encyclopedias. I loved the World Book set my parents got me and I read it all the time. Wikipedia pales in comparison, I think, to holding a real encyclopedia in your hand.

What are your favorite reference books?

 

 

Immunity Amnesia

I was fascinated as well as horrified to read that getting the measles leaves an individual with a compromised immune system that increases  vulnerability to other infections like flu and pneumonia.  The measles makes the immune system forget all the antibodies it has built up against diseases already encountered, leaving the post-measles sufferer at risk to catch diseases they already had. Boy, is that unfair, as well as dangerous.  This phenomenon is called “Immunity Amnesia”

I remember getting chickenpox, measles, rubella, mumps, and roseola.  I remember polio vaccine in a sugar cube, as well as a small pox booster.   I didn’t run into anyone who had a bad experience with these childhood illnesses until I encountered some middle aged and elderly developmentally disabled folks in our area who contracted measles or scarlet fever as very young children long before there were vaccines and were left with serious intellectual and developmental disabilities.  How tragic, and how wonderful we have vaccines now.

 What do you remember about childhood illnesses? 

Lost Arts

Several years ago Husband and I were in a Fargo furniture store where we purchased a pair of lovely table lamps. They are Tiffany  glass and mica and go well with the Mission/Craftsman style furniture we have in our bedroom. They sit on either side of the bed.

I have had some buyer’s remorse since we purchased them as I didn’t take into account how fragile the shades are. Both Husband and I have  accidentally whacked the shades. I even knocked one on to the floor one morning. That resulted in a dent in the base of  the shade.

Stained glass artisans are not very common out here. We had one in Hettinger, about 80 miles south of us, but she retired a couple of years ago. She worked a lot on stained glass windows in local churches. I am fortunate that one of my coworkers is an artsy person and does some stained glass work, and was able to fix my shade.

We used to have furniture refinishers  and clock repairers out here, but no more.   There are a couple of  upholsterers in town.  They are old guys who I assume will retire one of these days. Then what?  I worry about too many arts lost.

Where do you get things fixed?  What lost arts would you like to see revived?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Love a Parade

Last Thursday morning at 6:00,  Husband and I and four of our travelling companions  left our hotel on Times Square, walked down 49th St, crossed  Broadway, and made our way over to 6th Ave where we found a nice open space of sidewalk right across from Simon and Schuster Publishing  House to claim as ours for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Prime areas near the corner were cordoned off, reserved for widows and orphans of police and fire fighters.

The curbside was already claimed by some intrepid souls who got there at 5:00. It was cold, but we felt warm gusts of air from the subway through grates in the sidewalk.  The teenager in our group promptly laid down on the metal grates and went to sleep until the parade started.  I kept pretty warm in my lined jacket, but it really helped when a Netflix representative handed out Green Eggs and Ham earmuffs to everyone around us.

 Police patrolled on foot and bicycle, and were blocking off side streets with metal barriers. The people nearby us were from Arizona, Minnesota, and Connecticut as well as City residents.  We shared stories and took turns getting coffee and pastries as the sun rose.

The parade began many blocks north in Central Park, and got to us at about 9:30.  There had been much anxiety if the balloons would fly, as it was pretty windy, but fly they did, although closer to the ground than was typical. The were loads of clowns in charming costumes, dancers of all ages, lots of stilt walkers,  and lovely floats. Many of the participant were school aged children who looked  so happy and proud to be in the parade. I really liked the Christmas trees on stilts.

The marching bands were from all over the country.  Their chaperones and parents marched right along behind them. We had fun judging the straightness of their rows and columns.  (“Guide right!”) The biggest group was The Second Time Around Marching Band comprised of dozens of quite aged baton twirlers, pom pom wavers, and musicians in natty uniforms  who looked ecstatic to be marching again. The floats were elaborate and featured singers, TV personalities, and actors. I wasn’t very familiar with most of them, but our teenager assured me they were  quite famous

Astronaut Snoopy was the first balloon, with the Grinch and his dog, Max the last.

The parade ended for us at 11:30 with Santa on his float.  The side streets were still blocked to motor traffic, and it was fun to meander with hordes of New Yorkers  in the lanes normally full of honking cabs and cars and buses.  We all trooped back to the hotel and took naps. It had been a long, cold wait, but well worth it.

Tell some parade stories. What would you like to do in a parade?