THE PATH NOT TAKEN – A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: The Road Not Taken

In the winter, in the snow … or through the autumn woods. There is always an untaken path. There is never enough time to walk every path. We are inevitably forced to choose between one and the other. I think we always believe the other road was probably better … but we’ll never know.

ONE MILLION VIEWS

Looking at my stats, I realized before this month is over, I will pass a million views. When I started blogging, I remember discovering I’d made it to a thousand views. I was thrilled. A thousand was a lot! Those were the days when getting two or three views was a big deal. Then, suddenly, I was getting a hundred, two hundred, three hundred a day. It happened fast. I never imagined I would still be blogging eight years later and suddenly, in front of me, was the million marker. I know others who have crossed it and of course, the really big bloggers who are way up there in the multi-millions, but for a regular “I do it for the fun of writing and posting photographs” kind of blogger, a million is a lot of views.

I’m not getting the kind of traffic I used to get. I think the glory days of blogging are drawing to a close. There aren’t enough platforms anymore and they all charge more money than I can reasonably pay. I’m glad, before I fade away, that I’m going to make that mark.

I stopped pushing for bigger numbers a couple of years ago. It wasn’t that I didn’t care. It was just that I cared more about the writing and the pictures. The numbers were incidental. I also felt obliged — with all this political madness — to notch my writing frenzy down a few pegs. I began to realize while I love blogging, I also enjoy the rest of life. I started baking again. Bored with the same old food, I figured if I couldn’t stop cooking, I could at least try making more interesting dishes.

I also missed the joy of wrapping myself in a book and letting the real world disappear. And music and the occasional movie. All the hassles with WordPress made blogging so much more like work and so much less fun. I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do at the end of my fiscal year. What I’m really hoping is that they fix their block editor to make it more “bloggable” and less of an ugly clunker. Make it more friendly for people who just want to enjoy blogging. If I wanted to get really SERIOUS about blogging, there’s always Medium. They want serious writing and if you get popular, they will pay you, too.

I can write seriously. But more often than not, I want to have fun. I want the fun of remembering stuff, telling stories. Showing off a few pictures. Serious is sometimes. The rest of the time, blogging is my idea of fun. Birds, flowers, foliage, and people from olden days when we were young and frolicked more while worrying less.

On a good day, I still enjoy blogging … but I don’t want to give it my all every day. This morning, I looked at Garry and asked him: “What’s going to happen next month? Are we heading for a civil war? When I lived in Israel, we were always expecting a war. War could come from outside. It wasn’t a civil war. This is something entirely different.”

Garry admitted he has no idea what is going to happen because this isn’t like anything he’s lived through before. I’m not sure anyone in our generation or younger who was raised in this country has any idea what might happen. I need to put some time into thinking about what living means to me, to Garry, to all of us. How we are going to find our way from this very dark place to a happier one. A million views is a nice thing but I’m not sure how much it’s going to help us get through whatever is coming next.

BRUTAL HONESTY AND THE KINDNESS OF A LOVING LIE

There is a time for honesty and a time for kind, warm-hearted honest lying. For example, here are questions that absolutely require a “yes” as the answer, no matter what think:

“Do these jeans make me look fat?” If you say anything except NO, you’re too stupid to deserve a relationship.

“Were you cheating on me in … (a date more than 5 years previous) …?” Unless you are still in that relationship and intending to break up your marriage, the answer is NO. All you will do by telling the truth is hurt your partner and maybe (but probably not) relieve yourself of guilt. The odds are very good that you will also relieve yourself of your relationship. 

“Do you still find me attractive?” Any answer other than yes can cost your life.

On the other hand, failure to communicate critical information can ruin lives. I always think about Cathy and Heathcliff. He eavesdropped on half of her conversation and stalks off in a rage. He never considers asking her if what he partially heard was what she meant or what the context was. Of course, if he had, it wouldn’t have made a very dramatic story, but that’s a different issue. A ten minute conversation could have salvaged three lives.

In the movie “Fanny,” she never tells him she is pregnant, so he goes off to war (convinced she doesn’t love him) and gets killed. If she had told him, everyone — including the child — might have been happy. Every time I’m forced to watch one of these movies, I just get annoyed.

Brutal honesty is always more brutal than honest. If you are forced to say something you know will hurt, at least be gentle. Brutal honesty is not honesty. It’s a brutal agenda wrapped in fake honesty. Don’t eavesdrop. If it just happens, you are not allowed to use whatever information you think you’ve gained by eavesdropping in an emotional confrontation. No one ever hears anything good while eavesdropping.

Use your judgment. If you care about someone, don’t make them miserable because you feel guilty about something. Your guilt is your problem, not his or hers. Making yourself feel better by traumatizing someone else is not being honest. It’s narcissistic.

KIND OF A BIRDY DAY

Imagination Kindled: A Very Birdy Day

It finally rained! Not just a little drizzle, but the real deal. It rained pretty heavily for several hours and more lightly the rest of the day. I was thrilled to see it. We are supposed to get more rain on the weekend. Maybe our trees won’t die!

A very typical Nuthatch

The birds seemed to enjoy the rain too. There certainly were a lot of them although not as many as we had a month ago. The Goldfinch have gone north to breed. Gone north to breed? Do birds do that? Well, the Goldfinches do. They go to Canada to breed and come back here in December or January. They breed in the winter. I’m sure someone understands this, but i don’t. So today, we had “the regulars.”

Orange Cardinal and incoming Chickadee (I thinK, but It’s hard to tell when they are in flight)

A lot of orange Cardinals. We don’t seem to have red ones anymore. Only orange and they all look terribly angry. Lots — bunches and bunches — of Nuthatches, Tufted Titmouses, Chickadees and Mourning Doves.

You can still see that he’s not yet full grown

I took pictures and they didn’t all fly away the minute I took my camera out of the bag. Yay!

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT SOMETIMES, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED

If you didn’t believe before, believe now. I was waiting. I knew. It had to be. I’m surprised it took this long, but finally, we’re here. Is this another media hoax? If 45 should die, would that be a SUPER media hoax? The ultimate media hoax? I know I’m should be praying for the welfare of the ill, but I don’t have it in me to get that “angelic” look you see on statues in the cemetery. I wish I could. I’m sure that would make me a better person, but I never claimed I was perfect.This definitely proves my imperfection. No matter how I look at it, this man deserves this disease. As does Melania. As do the remainder of his wretched crew. Those helpers in his horrific destruction of our environment, courts, political, and legal systems. He has stolen our money, allowed — ENCOURAGED — more than 200,000 people to die of COVID-19.

It didn’t have to be this bad. Whatever it is, however it goes, this man earned it.

Because of his last “rally,” all his big contributors are also in quarantine. You think these donors might possibly be reconsidering if they still feel like giving him a ton of their money? Or — any? The GOP doesn’t even have a “back-up” candidate — and I don’t think Ivanka or Jared are getting anyone’s nod. So who? Pence? Really? Would anyone vote for him even if he ran? The Big Orangeman’s cult followers are not Pence followers. Orangeman isn’t the GOP. It’s just this guy and he is sick. Even if he recovers, how long will he be sick? So far it’s mild, but it’s always mild at the beginning, often for a couple of weeks. Then it gets worse and sometimes, even worse than that. Which of his crazed followers is going to want to stand maskless by his bedside now? How far does their worship really go?

No one begged for this illness more than Trump. He has literally ranted to the heavens to “bring it on.” Somehow, when you beg the universe to “sock it to me,” you generally get socked. I don’t know who, what, or why the universe is how it is, but if I had anything to say about it, I would feel that those who beg for trouble should be allowed to experience it.

Now, we all wait and see how it develops. He’s old. He’s obese. Rumors of heart problems abound. He has the worse diet in the world. He has done much evil to many people and these folks are not rooting for his welfare. How could they? So perhaps the heavens are speaking. We are listening. We hope for the best and in this case, “the best” is what?

What is the best for me, for us, for those poor locked up immigrant children? For the earth and the seas and the water we drink and the air we breathe. And incidentally, for “the man who would be king.”

I’m not sure what “best” is giving all the individuals involved, from the poorest to the wealthiest. You don’t know either. His death could be best. His illness and recuperation might be best. The fear of the disease itself might in itself be best. I am so very, very glad I am not in charge of the “what’s best.” I bet you are equally glad. If there is a God, do your thing, whatever it may be. I’m just thrilled to not be the one making the decisions. No matter how much you believe in whatever you believe, it can be a hard to figure what a guy like “the man who would be king” deserves. As long as I am not in charge of dispensing this piece of karmic dogmatic justice, go Karma and all that this implies!

As “the man who would be king” said, keep your finger on the trigger. Stay locked and loaded. Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

The Classic Editor Script Was Updated

GET THAT CLASSIC EDITOR BACK. I know it won’t last, but hey, it buys us a little more time!

Diary of Dennis

classic editor wordpress

Here is just a small hint that tPenguinLTG saved us once again as he updated the classic editor redirect script. This makes my guide about how to install it up to date again as well. Just a small tip, I had it installed and it didn’t uptate itself. So, it might be that you need to deinstall the script and install it freshly as explained in my guide. So, for now, life got easier again and all writing buttons will redirect us to the classic editor until they get rid of it entirely. But until that happens, I continue to keep you updated about the most recent workarounds here, where you will find the most recent ones at the top.

View original post

THE BEST CAREER ADVICE

I was a music major for my first two years of college. I finished the major except for 1 credit of choir. I didn’t take that credit because by then, I knew I wasn’t a good enough pianist to play professionally. I didn’t seem to have any talent for writing music or orchestration and my voice was okay, but nothing special. Some of this was self-realization. Certainly my recognition that I wasn’t good enough on the piano to make it a profession and I didn’t want to be a piano teacher. Also, by then, schools were already cutting back on programs like music and art, so unless I went all the way to Ph.D. and hoped I could get a job at a college or university, I was going to wind up playing in a bar. And I couldn’t even sing well, so even that wasn’t a great prospect.

Around the second year of my musical studies, Dr. Herbert Deutsch, who I liked very much (he was the co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer, by the way) sat me down for an ex-parti chat.

He said: “You get good grades. Mostly As, a few Bs, but you master your assignments and obviously have no problem with them. You are doing fine. But you have a problem.” And he looked at me. “You aren’t INTO it. You heart isn’t there. You aren’t involved in music. You should get into it, or get out of it. Music is not for the half-hearted.”

He was right. He was absolutely right. Knowing, as I already did, that piano was not going to be my instrument, why wasn’t I working at finding another instrument and working on it? Why wasn’t I taking voice lessons? I was far more engrossed in my psychology, sociology, and religion courses than with music. I was much more interested in those subjects, too. That should have been a clue, but until Dr. Deutsch sat me down for a chat, I didn’t think about it. I was getting good grades and having fun. I loved music. I went to lots of free concerts because music majors got free tickets to many concerts — and I lived in New York, so there was really good music and I got to hear it. I spent a lot of time in the rehearsal halls at Carnegie Hall. If you didn’t know, Carnegie has the main stage, but it also has smaller halls. Young performers frequently use these halls, so I got to see a lot of later-to-be-famous musicians before they were.

I didn’t take the credit of choir and did not graduate with a degree in music. In fact, it turned out that nothing I studied in college got me a job. I planned to be a writer and I started in advertising and book publishing, then moved into technical writing and there I stayed. My official degree was in Drama and Speech. I’m not a bad public speaker, but I never had any interest in speech. What I really wanted was to GET speech therapy. I had a couple of serious lisps which were fixed during two years of heavy duty speech therapy which was part of the degree. I never took a writing course. I took my required history courses for which I never had to open a book because I was miles ahead in history which was my hobby even back then. None of that mattered to me because I was going to be a writer.

I would have stayed in school for years more if they had let me. I wanted to take another B.A. so I could take a meaningful masters degree and Drama/Speech was not what I needed. They made me graduate anyway. I had completed my major, I had all the credits and I was a graduate, like it or not. I never understood that. I think today they would do it differently, but it was 1967 and a lot of things have changed since then, especially at colleges.

But that little pep talk from Herb Deutsch was the best advice I ever got. Because of it, I remembered that I had always intended to be a writer. I went back to writing and never wobbled off that path again. Music was fun, but writing was my way. Thank you Herb. You helped get me back to where I belonged.

TWENTY-TWENTY IS LONG SINCE OUT OF ACES

The lyrics seem to have more than normal meaning right now. Just think about these lines: “So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces. For a taste of your whiskey, I’ll give you some advice.”



The Gambler

Kenny Rogers

On a warm summer’s evening
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us
And he began to speak
He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don’t mind my sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice”
So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his face lost all expression
Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep”
And when he’d finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
Faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
But in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em (when to hold ’em)
Know when to fold ’em (when to fold ’em)
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Don Schlitz
The Gambler lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

So in case you have some kind of guitar, ukulele, or banjo — or something else (like a piano or mandolin or some such) you can play or strum, here are the chords. Transpose your heart out.

The Gambler

Key: D major, artist: Kenny Rogers, writer: Don Schlitz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe3bXVNZOfc

On a [D] warm summer’s evenin’ on a [G] train bound for [D] nowhere, I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to [A] sleep. So [D] we took turns a starin’ out the [G] window at the [D] darkness ’til [G] boredom over [D] took us, and [A] he began to [D] speak.

He said, [D] “Son, I’ve made a life out of [G] readin’ people’s [D] faces, and knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their [A] eyes. And if [D] you don’t mind my sayin’, I can [G] see you’re out of [D] aces. For a [G] taste of your [D] whiskey I’ll [A] give you some [D] advice.”

So I [D] handed him my bottle and he [G] drank down my last [D] swallow. Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a [A] light. And the [D] night got deathly quiet, and his [G] face lost all ex[D]pression. Said, “If you’re [G] gonna play the [D] game, boy, ya gotta [A] learn to play it [D] right.

You got to [D] know when to hold ’em, [G] know when to [D] fold ’em, [G] know when to [D] walk away and know when to [A] run. You never [D] count [Em] your [D] money when you’re [G] sittin’ at the [D] table. There’ll be [G] time enough for [D] countin’ [A] when the dealin’s [D] done.

[D] Ev’ry gambler knows that the [G] secret to surv[D]ivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to [A] keep. ‘Cause [D] ev’ry hand’s a winner and [G] ev’ry hand’s a [D] loser, and the [G] best that you can [D] hope for is to [A] die in your [D] sleep.”

And [D] when he’d finished speakin’, he [G] turned back towards the [D] window, crushed out his cigarette and faded off to [A] sleep. And [D] somewhere in the darkness the [G] gambler, he broke [D] even. But [G] in his final [D] words I found an [A] ace that I could [D] keep.

You got to [D] know when to hold ’em, [G] know when to [D] fold ’em, [G] know when to [D] walk away and know when to [A] run. You never [D] count [Em] your [D] money when you’re [G] sittin’ at the [D] table. There’ll be [G] time enough for [D] countin’ [A] when the dealin’s [D] done.

KINDA FULL OF GOLDFINCHES

Kinda full of Goldfinches

From late in December, they show up in flocks. They are gone now, off to Ontario where in November, they breed. When they come back, they won’t be the same bright yellow they were all summer. They won’t be in breeding colors. But they will still be a pleasure to have around.

A small flock of Goldfinches on the feeder

 

THE PINK AND THE YELLOW – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pink and Yellow 

Flowers and birds, birds and flowers … and maybe a car or a plow. The Goldfinch, in summer, are brilliant yellow and even in the middle of a drought, we had bushels of pink roses. And of course, we had red skies and pink skies. Not too many in yellow, though.

A MID-OCTOBER WORLD SHARING EVENT!

Share My World 10-13-2020

Suddenly, it’s the middle of October. Nearly the middle. Middle-ish. Still almost no rain and the little we have gotten is barely enough to dampen a small garden, much less water a forest. The birds are eating like crazy. I put out a new water dish that they like so much, they bathe in it too. Which, I might add, makes for a bit of a mess. Birds are messy. Anyone who has owned one or fed them knows they make a terrible mess. It’s the price you pay for the joy of watching them. Our deck is very messy!

So let’s get to the questions:

Are we “here” or do we just think we are?  

Am I a butterfly dreaming I’m a man or a man dreaming I’m a butterfly? Is this the real world or have I fallen into a parallel universe where nothing makes any sense? I swing towards the latter statement because I’m not a butterfly.

Of course I can’t prove I’m here. That’s like going to court to prove you didn’t do it. I often wish I was anywhere but here — and maybe that’s the problem. I’m not where I’m supposed to be. So please, please, if you have the power, send me back.

From an identity standpoint, what would be worst for you to lose?  

If my body goes missing, I’m not here, so let’s just scratch that piece. As for the rest of me? I’ve been losing pieces of me for years now. I’ve lost my voice. My sense of smell is mediocre at best, and I neither hear nor see as well as I did. We don’t get to choose what we lose. What happens, happens. It’s our job, should we accept it, to make the best of what is left to us. We do the best living we can for as long as we are able and manage our losses.

Do you have a ‘song’?  If you’re part of a couple, you could use “your couple’s song” OR a song that’s just always resonated with you.

“Pancho and Lefty” was written by Townes Van Zandt and was first released by Townes Van Zandt in 1972. It didn’t really go anywhere until it release by Emmylou Harris — my favorite version even though many other singers have covered it. I agree it is the most difficult to understand version. You have to already know the words to figure them out. Pity I didn’t know they were printed inside the CD cover. It would have saved me hours of backing up over a line to get that word. Garry likes Emmylou, now that I’ve got the words worked out, but he also like the versions where you can actually hear the words. Merle Haggard did a nice version of it, though Emmy’s version is much punchier and and has passion and drive. This is the song, back when we had a CD player in the car, we would play over and over again. Good thing there wasn’t anyone else in the car. It would have driven them crazy. Unless they REALLY liked the song.


Following is his story about how he wrote the song.

This is Merle and Willie. Watch for Townes, singing and playing in the background. Not a bad little mini movie, either.

And finally, Emmylou Harris:


“Spooky” Halloween Question:  Oooo!  BOO!  Weeghostie

Are ghosts real or has someone been smoking something and just imagines them?

I have heard ghosts, but never seen one. I have no idea what they are or how they came to be and if I hadn’t heard them in my own house, I would think someone was one toke over the line. Maybe more than one toke. However, actual experience leaves you unable to completely dismiss the concept. I mean … I was there and so were my first husband and a whole lot of friends and family. We ALL heard it. While some of us might have been several tokes over several lines, I don’t think my mother was. So there is that.

My problem is having no idea what a ghost actually IS? Was it ever a real person or is it some bizarre cosmic screw-up that seems like an entity but is actually some so far inexplicable alteration of electrons or … something else?

KINDA UP A TREE

Kinda up a tree

This is the one time of year where getting stuck up a tree might be kinda good. Or at least very pretty. These sugar maple trees turn the best colors of all the trees. Scarlet and orange, they are the absolutely prettiest trees in New England. We don’t have many on our property because the oaks are so tall, they shade the maples and keep them from growing. But where they have the light, the are magnificent.