Fandango’s Flashback Friday: April 9

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: April 9

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was published April 9, 2019 as an entry to a Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. A year later – at the beginning of the pandemic – I was back to watching the nightly news. It was my only connection in real time to what was going on. And that what was literally a matter of life and death around the world. The horror of what unfolded – and I won’t summarize here as I (and probably many of you) don’t need to revisit those images. Now, in 2021, I still watch the news and maintain the hope that I will begin to see less negative and more positive. That has not happened although vaccination sites and listings of how many people got “shots in arms” is often the lead story. I’ll take that as a positive, although there is a still a long way to go. One thing hasn’t changed…I am still looking for kindness to get more than 2 minutes at the end of a broadcast.

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Path

If you stop to be kind you must swerve often from your path.

Mary Webb

I have stopped watching the nightly news. Which is totally unlike me. Usually wanting to know…What Is Going On. The importance of being informed and up-to-date was always at the top of my list. Part of being a responsible citizen.

It seems to me there used to be more balance. The good and the evil. The positive and the negative. Now all I do is wince. Our leaders fighting. Shouting. Accusing. Deaf to the voices of reason…or fairness…or empathy. Especially empathy. Unwilling to even pause and consider a different path.

Nightly Breaking News punches story after story. Announcements line up in 10 second sound bites. Assault…Abuse…Cheating…Lying…. Young child missing…young child found in a shallow grave. Inconsolable parent. Another shooting. Blurry security camera video. One more senseless loss of a sister, a brother.

The news anchor drones on, his face barely changing expression. Night after night.

Rarely would I see kindness…until the final 2 minutes of the broadcast. Showcasing an act of generosity. Compassion. Selflessness.

Good to know there are people still out there…
On a different path.

They deserve more than two minutes of air time.

walking trail

CFFC – Walks, Trails, Sidewalks

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 12

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 12

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

~~~

This post was published March 12, 2019. It’s been 2 years and what feels like a lifetime since I detailed what it was like to vote in our small town election. The 2021 Town Meeting took place this past Tuesday March 9th and, as you might expect, was night and day different from 2019. Arrows taped on the floor directed voters to entrances and exits. Plexiglass barriers separated poll workers and voters. Signs were posted on walls and doors with familiar messages…Masks Required. Hand Sanitizer here. Stay Six feet Apart. Not as shocking as in 2020. By now we’re used to it. At least I am.

By the way…the middle school expansion was voted in…and due to the pandemic…construction proceeded ahead of schedule.

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Give Peace (and Education) a chance

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

Maria Montessori

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Vote YES for the middle school expansion!

Today is voting day in my small town. Or…as it was formerly known…Town Meeting Day. Or, more specifically, Town Meetin’ Day.

Many years ago, it was actually an open meeting for all town residents. Who assembled on folding chairs set up in the town hall. Votes were cast on various budget items and for the election of town officials. Attendees were given an opportunity to stand and voice support or opposition to the matters at hand. Sometimes a paper ballot. Sometimes just a voice vote.

Now, as the town has changed – and the population has increased – we vote in voting booths. In the former high school’s gymnasium. Exactly the same way we vote in the general elections.

Some may say these local elections are not all that important.
I disagree.
We are choosing the individuals who will sit on the School Board. We are voting for the members of the Board of Selectman, which governs our town. Making crucial decisions. Rules affecting how we live, where we live, where we park. Public safety. Fire trucks. Street signs. Police activity.  Water quality. Local businesses also absorbing the direct and indirect ramifications.

Today there are over 20 individual budget items to consider, including the annual operating budget. One item on the ballot – for the 3rd year in a row – is all about education.

The middle school desperately needs to be expanded and renovated. Each yearly proposal has slashed more of its requests to reduce the cost. Letters to the Editor in the local paper shout out We Need This! or A Waste of Money!  Often implying that the senior citizens…or those without school age children…are the reason this hasn’t been approved.

The financial burden of property taxes (which is how our schools are financed) is real. I get that. But I also know that the dollar increase due to this ballot item is not extraordinary. It averages out to a few monthly meals at the local bar and grill over the course of a year. Maybe. Or a weekly latte at the coffee shop.

So I ask myself…why don’t people understand the significance of educating our children to the best of our ability? Why do they want to keep class sizes large and cram kids into a too-small cafeteria? No music room? Art on a cart? Educating the whole child…what happened to that, I wonder….and its ramifications if not done with care. And, yes, with some sacrifice.

As cliché as it sounds, it remains a fact: (Everyone’s) Children are the Future.

My children were raised in a different town than where I currently live. I will always be grateful to the citizens who voted in favor of school improvements and supported the teachers with the salaries they needed and deserved. Despite the sacrifice. I know many of those voters were senior citizens. Who had the foresight – and wisdom – to understand the need. And the significance.

Our children and their education is important.
Voting is crucial.
Let’s not take either for granted.

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Sun Soaked

What a desolate place would be a world without a flower.

Clara Lucas Balfour

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Very much inspired by Dutch goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Renewal

…please share what brings renewal to you

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While scrolling through my plethora (I love that word) of photographs looking to complete a project, I happened upon this one image (amongst many) of a sunflower. Frank’s prompt for this week immediately came to mind. I stopped scrolling…Renewal!

I remember that beautiful day last fall (last fall? seems like years) wandering through a local apple orchard, but being much more interested in the rows of sunflowers nearby. Many had already been cut away and sold, but a few remained. A singular flower with its face to the sun in particular caught my eye and made me smile.

It still does.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 5

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 5

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

~~~

This post was published February 5, 2019 as an entry for V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #34.

When I wrote this post two years ago it was almost the Superbowl (same quarterback, different teams) – just like it is today. This morning…strangely and coincidentally…I also happened upon a news clip featuring the current “kid correspondent” interviewing the same quarterback.

The hope of the day still remains…inescapably…the same.

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Quote of the day…hope of the day

light in forest

I have a certain way of being in the world, and I shall not, I shall not be moved from doing what I think is right by jealousy, ignorance, or hate.

Maya Angelou

When recently asked about “the haters” by an 8 year old boy, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady responded with a smile.

…the haters? We love ’em! We love ’em back!
Because we don’t hate back.

Just about knocked me off my feet getting dressed one morning last week. While watching Good Morning America’s “kid correspondent” interview football players at the pre-Super Bowl media events.

No matter what you think of TB12 or the Patriots or even football, that answer shines a bright light. What a concept: Love them back.

Perhaps easy for someone like Brady, who is privileged and insulated from those aforementioned haters. Who troll on his Instagram feed and who knows what else.

However…
What a concept for a child to hear from a public persona. A role model even.
And…dare I say…for adults to hear as well.
ADULTS.
Who, it seems, in the last couple of years have grouped themselves into political camps of haters…on one side or the other. Who is in charge in the USA. And who isn’t.

Notice I don’t say haters and non-haters. There is too little visible love on either side. There is just hate, distrust and fear for the “other.” Whether it be the other political party, the other politician, the Other who looks nothing like you or sounds nothing like you. Or doesn’t think like you.

In many cases, this fear slips out…crossing that invisible line…morphing into hurtful anger directed at those you profess to love. Your partner. Your parent. Your sister. Your brother. Your best friend. Your child. Because they disagree with what you hate. Or don’t hate.

How could he believe that?
How could she vote for him?
How could he vote for her?
I just can’t visit them anymore.

Is it fear…or ignorance…
Or perhaps inescapable helplessness.
Doors slamming
As reality tilts and shifts.

Right becoming righteous
When grounded in hate…
Blindly insisting on one way.
Shades of gray disappearing…
Crowding out space for understanding why…
And where do we go from here.

In the end
Reaching for what
is right
begins with
tolerance
respect…
for our shared humanity.

With empathy…
somehow…
someday…
hopefully
we will
inch
closer
to
loving the haters.

At least it’s a start.

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This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #34: Reaching
and An Upside Down World

Monday Musings

When you get into a tight place and it seems you can’t go on, hold on, for that’s just the place and the time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Powering through these last weeks of 2020 is proving to be more than I can handle very well. Even though powering through adversity is an often used tool in my skill set drawer, it’s not working right now. Apparently it has gotten rusty.

Writing…amidst the exhausting news of rising pandemic horror, political uncertainties, isolation and various personal conflicts…is just not happening. Life has become more of a free-fall overwhelm into Twilight Zone territory. Last week’s Snow Day post made me realize where I was headed. I know I have plenty of company, but still. So my point today is that I will be taking a break from my presence here, but hope to be back with all my blogging buddies soon. You are all very important to me.

Take care, stay safe and I hope you can enjoy your holidays…whatever they may be.

Dream Big

Every time a woman runs, women win.

Geraldine Ferraro

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Did you see the news? Kristi could be president someday!

The phone tucked under my chin, I had the long coiled cord stretched tight as I stood in the kitchen…as close as I could get to a 12″ television in the corner. I had the news on that July day in 1984 when Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale announced his choice for running mate.

For the first time ever, the Vice Presidential candidate was female. It was blowing minds everywhere. Mine included. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of NY was joining former Vice President Walter Mondale on the Democratic ticket for the November election. My mother was the first to call me.

I did see the news! I can’t believe it…Yes she could!

I was as excited as Mom was, if not more so. My daughter Kristi, then just 2 years old and covered with remnants of lunch, was smiling and banging a spoon. A long way to go to the White House, but now it seemed possible. In my opinion, she showed great promise.

I’ll never forget that moment. It triggered my involvement in politics. Parenthood is a powerful motivator for action; but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a woman being elected President…or Vice President. Not that I ever doubted a woman was capable of doing the job and doing it well. That was never a question – in my mind at least. Perhaps I didn’t dream big enough – or didn’t know I could – but that day in 1984 opened the door of possibility in my mind. And in the minds of many others.

I worked on the Mondale/Ferraro campaign in NH and, when possible, on future campaigns for candidates I believed in…for my daughter and my son who came along 3 years later. For children everywhere. We all know how the 1984 election turned out, but ground had been broken.


I have a box of both local and national political tidbits and swag going back to 1984…

1984 Presidential election collectibles

And then yesterday…36 years later…it happened.

Breaking News…

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be our next President.

Senator Kamala Harris will be our next Vice President.

A highly qualified woman.

Finally.

But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
November 7, 2020

Peaceful groups of joyful citizens gathered throughout the USA yesterday. Mask wearing was evident in Portsmouth, but even so, I could tell everyone was smiling.


Ragtag Daily Prompt: Tidbit

From Camp to Kites

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away. 

Eudora Welty

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This post inspired by two challenges this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #115: Inspiration

We look forward to seeing your thoughts and images on what inspires YOU.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #113: How It All Started

…think back to those moments that changed your life. No need to use the prompt; just demonstrate how “it” started.

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I was only 10 years old when I got my first camera. And fell in love with photography. I don’t remember the circumstances of who gave me the camera or why. I just thought it was cool (or as we used to say back then…”Keen!”…”Sharp!”) and I’ve never been without one since.

My first attempts at photography – with a Kodak Brownie camera and black & white film – manifested as square blurry images of trees, lean-tos, and other 10 year olds at Girl Scout camp. Hard to believe that a week of rustic living became a defining moment in my life as a photographer, but I guess it did. This despite my most vivid memory being the latrines (just plywood for seats, people – I mean seriously?) and how I dreaded making the trip to That Building (no pictures, sorry).

It was also where I discovered (after the film was developed) that when I held the camera on the lean-to railing the blurring disappeared…

Over time, I slowly improved at steadying the camera and moved on to capturing my younger siblings when they least expected it. As the years went by I became the family photo historian by default. Even more so when I advanced to color film! Very exciting.

My friends knew I would always show up with a camera as the unofficial keeper of the memories. Even at a young age I became acutely aware of how quickly life – and people – could change. It became very important – for me at least – to preserve what I could. I do remember feeling all of that. Which kind of astounds me now.

Oh…and it was fun.

I was 14 ½ when my 4th and youngest sibling was born and he became a willing subject for photography practice. Never mind that he was exceedingly cute and followed me around constantly. I was “in charge” of him most of the time so taking pictures was easy.

The photographs I took at college and summer jobs are best left off the internet, but they are definitely treasured keepsakes.

I graduated to a Canon SLR camera shortly after I got married and burst onto the taking-pictures-of-my-children-at-every-milestone-possible scene. They were my inspiration for decades and have appeared in many blog posts, so I will restrain myself from adding them in here. Same goes for my grandson, who is now 4 and very comfortable getting his picture taken as a child of the smartphone generation.

However, now (accompanied by a Canon DSLR camera) I am also inspired by the ordinary…what’s outside my window…down the path into the woods…winding around that chain link fence. The mesmerizing waves at the beach. I am constantly looking up and down and to the side…not in as much of a hurry as I used to be.

The best photo moment – for me – still springs from the unexpected…no matter what (or who) the subject happens to be.

Last week I was able to return – after several months of Covid restrictions – to walk along the water’s edge at Hampton Beach. The tourist season is over. Crowds are gone. The parking rules have been relaxed. I couldn’t resist the trip on such a beautiful…sunny…blue sky windy day. Even with a mask on, it was worth it.

As I made my way across the sand to walk back along the street, I spotted something bright in the sky.

Off came the lens cover.

It wasn’t the surf or the rocks or what usually fascinates me about the beach.

I had to get a closer shot.

I set the camera on what I call Grandson Mode or Freezing the Action Mode.

And I was off…

Hampton Beach, NH

And…by the way…it is still fun.

Quote of the Day

I try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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We will miss you Justice Ginsburg.

You were one of a kind.

(Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

Lens-Artists Challenge: Winter

Lens-Artists Challenge#107: Winter

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

Edith Sitwell

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Winter brings back the cold. Reliable get-out-the-thick-sweaters cold. Gotta put on a coat before stepping outside cold. Hats and gloves cold.

Most of the time, however, this season of cold shows off…with spectacular displays of snow. My favorite time is right after a snowfall…while it is still fresh and new.

snow maple

Before the city plows started piling it up at the end of our driveway…

snowplow

That’s how I remember winter days back when we owned a house with a driveway and a walkway and a deck. Where the oh-so-beautiful snow couldn’t remain where nature dropped it. When we had to shovel and snowblow and move it out of the way.

snow deck

Color exploded in the sky our last Christmas at the house where we lived for over 36 years.

sunset69
December 2015

Along with Christmas comes a gathering together of family. Complete with holiday lights and decorations.

Winter also brings about changes at the beach – the sand is groomed into hills to guard against storm surges. At least that’s what the hippy guy from town told me – who I crossed paths with the day I took this picture.

winter beach
Hampton Beach, NH – January 2020

A January walk in the woods isn’t totally devoid of color…if you look closely…

winter berries

And last…but not least…in my growing family winter always meant…
…are you ready for some basketball? 

Both of my children played for their high school teams and enjoyed it immensely. As did my husband and I…watching and enthusiastically cheering in the comfort of a heated gym.

Box Out! 🏀 Defense! 🏀 Go Team! 🏀

Looking forward to the other side

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

Rachel Carson

from the back fence

Behind one sturdy fence lies a river
Rising and falling with every tide
Each day the moon is relied on
Nature carrying us along for the ride

I took a break from a long walk in our local park recently and took a seat…alone…on the memorial bench we had donated to honor my in-laws. My view was interrupted by the metal fence separating me from the river beyond. But I knew what was there.

Bordering trees and plant life often double as reflections on the water’s surface. River banks are exposed when the tide is low and disappear when the tide is high. There is something strangely calming and comforting about this. The predictable pull of the moon. An ebb and flow of the changing seasons and time of day.

Nature at its finest with a lesson at its core.

It was hot as blazes the day I took this photo. What did I expect for July? Exactly what happens every July.

I hold out hope upon hope that a predictable life will return someday.

When we get to the other side.

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BeckyB JulySquares: Perspectives
Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Back of things
SixWordSaturday
V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #105: Quotation