Tho we only had maybe 2 inches of snow the result is pretty impressive. It rained all day yesterday & gradually transitioned to snow by 5:00. When I woke up it was 44 degrees and when it became snow it was 34 degrees. This morning it was 31 degrees when the dogs and I started our walks.
This past Saturday I went to my 40th High School reunion.
Here are 40 thoughts, in no order what-so-ever. 1) I would not have known about this because it was only publicized on Facebook which I am not on, and do not want to be. A friend saw it and passed it on to another friend who passed it on to me. If the people in your reunion class are older than computers, don't use a social network as your only publicizing tool. 2) This was casual and casual is good. Deciding what to wear with blue jeans is easier than deciding what to wear. 3) The organizers smartly provided name tags with our old yearbook pictures. A really good idea. 4) The name tags were stick on and most of the time they didn't (stick on). I don't know if I have a better idea but there must be one. 5) I went to the 10 year reunion. I was with husband #1 and I was pregnant. Most everyone came with a spouse and I wasn't the only one pregnant. 6) I went to the 20 year reunion. It was 2 days after my divorce from husband #1 was final. I wasn't the only one divorced. The party went on well into the early morning. 7) I did not go to the 30 year reunion. It was 2001 and soon after 9-11. 8) When I saw the black & orange tablecloths I thought they were for Halloween. But no, black & orange are the school colors. So much for school spirit. 9) The reunion was held at the American Legion. So was the 20th. So was the reception for my 1st wedding. It is an OK location for a reunion. I hated having my reception there. 10) I did not bring my husband (#2). Unless your spouse is a fellow alumni do yourself and them a favor - leave them home. 11) I went to the reunion with 2 old friends. One I have stayed in contact with since 5th grade when we 1st met. The other was a close friend also but only the other friend kept in touch with her thru the years. I hope our reconnect continues. 12) In high school it was (is?) hard for 3 girls to be friends. Too much competition and allegiances shift too often. I imagine it is still the same for today's high school girls. 13) I did not know one guy very well during high school but we ended up working together for years before my recent retirement. We were in the exact same work unit, in the same job title, went to the same staff meetings. We became good friends. Funny to be at a reunion with someone you got to know well after high school. 14) My friends were staying in one's mother's house. So I got to drive through my old neighborhood to get there. I love my old neighborhood. I had a great childhood there. 15) The party started at 7:00. I get up every day at 4:00. I did not know how long I would last. I made it til 10:30. Better than I expected. 16) I had seen some of these people 20 years ago. But there were lots of people I hadn't seen in 40 years. Where do you start a conversation after 40 years? 17) High school was very clique-oriented. The jocks and cheerleaders, frats and sororities, the smart, library kids, the nerds, and because it was the 60's&70's, of course the hippies. 18) I was definitely a hippy and hippies by nature aren't really a clique. Like many of the hippies I was happiest with with the library kids - so much overlap in those groups that maybe they were one. I had friends who were cheerleaders and some in sororities. I think life was easiest for the kids who were distinctly in one group. Life was never easy for me in high school. 19) Is high school ever easy for anyone? In any decade? 20) The cliques still seemed to clique at the 10 and 20 year reunions. 21) I don't think I noticed cliques at the 40th. Everyone seemed sincerely happy to see everyone. 22) First we tried to guess who people were. Once identified, how well did they age? 23) In general the women were easier to identify. I think balding is not kind to men. To see someone you last remember having hair and now they don't - it really changes appearances. Changes, but not necessarily for the worse - lots of guys look great regardless. 24) At the 20th two alumni connected, got married, and are still together & happy. How many new couples are formed at reunions I wonder? How many are successful? 25) Before the party I checked out our yearbook for pictures and whatever little blurb was written under the pictures. One friend said he planned to go to college & become a millionaire. He went to college. He is not a millionaire. 26) Once I retired I stopped wearing makeup - thought of it as my work persona. I wondered if I should wear makeup to the reunion - I certainly wore it in high school. I finally decided 'no' and I'm still comfortable with that decision. Makeup isn't me any more. 27) After 2 or 3 conversations the format was settled. Where do you live? Are you married? Divorced? Kids? Grandkids? Still working? What do you do (whether working or retired)? 28) People fell into 2 groups. Either looking really good for their age. Or, looking pretty bad for their age. So I'm not sure how we should look for our age. 29) One of the organizers said that she and some others got there at 10:30 that morning to decorate. There were plastic black and orange tablecloths & 2 signs with letters cut out of paper 'Class of 1971 40th Reunion'. Seriously - multiple people showed up in the morning to do all that decorating? I contributed nothing but my $20 so I suppose I am just being snarky. 30) I think everyone dressed appropriately for our age. Good for us. 31) The cash bar was the most popular spot but no one created a drunken spectacle. There was less restraint at the 20th. 32) Quite a few women had the same hairstyle. I include myself but I really don't consider long and straight to be a style. Fortunately hair in the 70's was pretty unexceptional (maybe not so much for the guys). If you graduated in the 80's I doubt there will be many with the same huge hairstyles at that reunion - guessing who's who will be a real challenge for them. 33) (This particular memory is just for me.) 34) Some of the guys I talked to have kids who are now in high school. Some have kids in elementary school. Obviously they married much younger women. Usually this was a second or third marriage, and often they had older children from marriage #1 too. 35) Even if our age were not a factor, I did not talk to one woman who would want to have young children again. We are happy to have young grandchildren. Not young children that we would be responsible for 24/7. 36) One woman brought her mother to the reunion. Seemed odd but I never did find out why. 37) One woman had always been a part of the 'in' crowd. She was always dating. She never married. She's very happy and I'm glad for her. I was just surprised. 38) Two members of our class had a band when we were in high school. They still have a band & they played at the reunion. 39) The band was good. But too loud. And people at their 40th reunion don't hear so great any more. Once the band started conversation was almost impossible. People want to talk at reunions. 40) I think I will look forward to the 50th.
The day started with a beautiful sky-blue-pink sunrise.
From this beginning it rained during most of my first walk with Blackie. Just as we were heading back over the hill to start back to the house, the sun came out blindingly through the clouds ahead of us - I looked back and it literally looked like the trees had burst into flame.
In the time it took to focus the camera slightly to the left the sun was mostly clear of the clouds.
And maybe 30 seconds later the sun was gone & you see the unadorned version of this same part of the field.
This was how it stayed the rest of the day - mostly dark grey clouds and occasional rain. Much later in the day we had a burst of heavy rain followed almost immediately by an equally impressive burst of sun - it lit up the raindrops on the apple tree branches.
The dogs and I wake up at 4 most mornings. I love the quiet and enjoy having that time to myself. We start our walks as soon as the sun rises. The early start helps us avoid the heat during the summer months but now it is just a habit and Blackie starts whining to go as soon as he sees daylight. These days we don't see daylight until 7 so we have lots of time to catch the early news and to read. That early in the morning most news is a repeat of the night before & I like to watch Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show - she's admittedly liberal but she is logical and fun and not at all preachy ... or ranting. She had a segment on the Republican presidential candidates debate that took place in Nevada earlier this week. Herman Cain, current Tea Party favorite, gave this gem of a quote in response to a question about the Occupy Wall Street protesters : “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” Thank you, Herman - no doubt that the thousands of people who would love to have a job, any job, are comforted by your wisdom. Rachel went on to point out that we can indeed blame Wall Street for our current woes. She said "It used to be that the plan for getting old comfortably in America had three pillars -- your pension, your savings and Social Security." She then went on to demonstrate, very simply, how these three pillars are now linked to Wall Street. Here is a link to her blog where there is an additional link to the video of that portion of her show http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/20/8412389-charts-just-dont-get-older-okI really don't know what the Tea Party stands for but I do think whatever their original goals were, they have now morphed into anything that can be construed to be anti-Obama and anti-Democrat. And apparently that translates into being anti-Occupy Wall Street. Understandably there are probably few Tea Party members among the protesters but it is just bizarre that they are now cheering someone saying you should blame yourself if you don't have a job. Are all Tea Party-ers gainfully employed? Really? None of them are searching for a job?
It was finally time for our walk and coincidentally Ipod shuffle chose the Blood, Sweat & Tears version of 'God Bless the Child'. Lyrics as follows :
Them that's got, shall get Them that's not, shall lose So the Bible said, and it still is news Mama may have, and papa may have God bless' the child, That's got his own That's got his own
Yes the strong seem to get more While the weak ones fade Empty pockets don't Ever make the grade As mama may have And papa may have God bless' the child That's got his own That's got his own.
And when you got money, You got a lots of friends Crowdin' 'round your door When the money's gone And all you're spendin' ends They won't be 'round any more No, no, no more
And rich relations May give you A crust of bread and such You can help yourself But don't take too much Mama may have And your papa may have But God bless' the child That's got his own That's got his own God bless' the child who can stand up and say
I've got my own Ev'ry child's, got to have his own!
There are lots of interpretations you could take from this song. Certainly everyone one of us wants to have our own, and all parents hope for their children to have their own. In 1938 when this song was written, 'having your own' was at least a possibility. Now that possibility is fading with each passing day. Thanx, at least in part, to Wall Street (with no apologies to Herman Cain).
Like everything else, all of the rain seems to have made the birds and other critters adjust their habits to the environment. Most of the apples seem to have fallen early but the higher grasses & wildflowers in the fields haven't been touched by frost yet so everything went to seed and the seeds are still abundant. The birds are flitting around like they do in the early spring. Some days I have seen up to 4 different deer and then a week or more goes by without seeing one. This past Saturday was the start of bow season in this part of NY and the neighbors have been hunting. Deer are remarkably smart and they become really skiddish so now when I see one it is usually on the move - most sightings are just of a white tail disappearing into the woods. Today on my first walk with Blackie I was walking on the trail along the woods. As usual Blackie had his nose down and was just following the scents - I saw him quite a distance ahead on the trail. I was watching my feet because the mud makes walking slippery. Suddenly - really suddenly - a small doe crashed thru the brush right in front of me. I was startled and put my hand out in defense of whatever it might be. She was so close my hand brushed her fur as she went by. She stopped maybe 20 feet away - we looked at each other and off she went. So cool. Definitely my closest encounter with a critter in the field.
It's time to introduce my amazing granddaughter. And her equally awesome parents - my son, Gus, and his beautiful Meara. This was taken at Thanksgiving last year before we knew if our gran'baby would be a girl or a boy.
The summer before, when having a baby was only a thought, we asked the usual 'do you want a boy or a girl' question. Meara, her Mom, and I all voted for a boy. Gus alone hoped for a girl. It wouldn't be until months later, during the 20 week sonogram, when we knew that Gus would get his little girl.
But the most incredible thing we discovered during that sonogram was that she was going to be our Peace Baby. This was the first picture taken by the technician.
She let us know that she was already embracing her hippie genes.
From then on, let the preparations begin. Gus painted :
And Meara made curtains :
And when the room was ready, Meara took care of my gran'baby.
Waiting to meet her wasn't easy. And then she decided to be a week late. And then she put her Mom and Dad through a very long day & night before making her appearance. It was hard being on the other side of the country but Meara's Mom, Mary Ann, very generously kept in touch with me - grandmother to grandmother. She sent this photo which she labeled 'dancing through the contractions'.
Finally she arrived. Mary Ann sent me these beautiful pictures of my very tired baby boy holding his new baby girl.
Meara's Dad, Mike, sent out the first announcement :
"Meara & Gus delivered Rosemary Jane at 3:06 am Tuesday July 12, 2011. She weighed 8 lbs 5 oz, was 20.25” long, she had a 14.5” head and a 14.0” chest. She is beautiful with chocolate brown hair. She nurses like a champ. Her parents are worn out… it only gets better."
Here is the first photo Gus sent me of his baby on her fist day.
And here is Rosemary Jane day 2 while still in her hospital room with Mom and Dad.
After a couple of months of earthquakes, rain, hurricanes, rain, tornadoes, rain, floods, rain .... we have just had 5 days of Indian Summer. Perfect days : dry (no rain!), warm but not hot, sunny but not blinding, breezy but no gusting winds, cool almost cold nights - a perfect Northeast Indian Summer.
After all of the wet weather it seemed like the trees were just drowning. Weeks ago leaves started to turn brown & fall to the ground. It didn't look like we would have our quintessential Fall colors this year. But this stretch of amazing weather has salvaged Fall for us. Because so many trees have already lost their leaves it won't be ideal but but you'd be hard-pressed not to appreciate this.
This is why Fall is my favorite time of year in New York.