Fandango’s Flashback Friday: October 1st

Fandango’s Flashback Friday – October 1st

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?

BeckyB’s Squares Challenge for October 2021 is PastSquares:

Join me this month celebrating the past four years of Squares. There are so many ways you can do this using the tag PastSquares. Here’s an overview of what I plan to do over the next thirty-one days;

  • Re-post a previous square post which at the time didn’t get much attention or perhaps received lots of attention
  • Have fun with the word ‘past’ by sharing squares of history and heritage, and that includes past holidays!
  • Share on this day moments of previous posts

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I am multi-tasking today. Flashback Friday “flashes back” to a post featuring an entry to a Squares challenge. Since the new October squares theme is Past Squares, this fits perfectly (I always pay attention to such coincidences). The year 2019 does feel like a galaxy far, far away…but I digress.

This post was published October 1st, 2019. I was fairly new to the square photo concept, but it was (and is!) a fun challenge. I guess I am still “experimenting” with my now 2 year old camera, as there is still so much to learn. Setting aside the time to do so is another challenge all on its own.

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Amber Waves…

October is here and along with it, a new squares challenge from Becky B: #lines&squares

For those interested, here are the guidelines…

The theme is #lines&squares, and your lines can be long, short, straight or curvy. They can also be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, perpendicular or even zig zag.  There again perhaps you might prefer them intersecting, natural, singular or in stripes. As you may have gathered there are no line rules, as whatever your line everyone is welcome in square photographs!

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I am still experimenting with my new camera…macro, end-of-day light and whatever catches my eye. Thanks to the wonders of digital photography I feel free to capture as many images as I can. Even when the breeze just won’t stop…

amber squares

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: April 2

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: April 2

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 2, 2019 as an entry for the Photo a Day Challenge. Flashing back to happy times remembered in this post (when birthday parties were…normal) appealed to me more than flashing back to a 2020 pandemic post. This blog began as the keeper of memories….and today I revisit some funny ones.

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Funny Faces

This post inspired by April photo a day challenge

Today’s prompt: Funny

When my kids were growing up, they had a birthday party every year they wanted one.

Several actually. One with family. One with friends. Sometimes a celebration at pre-school as well.

Why not? Another year. Another milestone or two.
Time for cake. Presents. Games.
Fun with friends.

One tradition…a group photo.
Squirmy party guests lined up on the couch.

The first take: Smile Say Cheese!

The second: Make A Funny Face! Make A Silly Face!

Always the favorite.

Little children making funny faces never disappoint.

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Six year old fun
Five year old fun

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 19

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 19

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 March 19, 2020 as an entry to Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge. The pandemic had just taken hold in my state and harsh new realities were revealing themselves. Little did we know what was to come. Looking back a year later, there are less NO signs. Schools are reopening in some form. Businesses that survived are cautiously re-opening. The town library has fully opened…and finally sent a notice of our overdue Parks & Recreation DVDs which kept us distracted with humor during lockdown & beyond. Restaurants and coffee shops are displaying Open signs, although I am still hesitant to enjoy a meal out. The toilet paper situation…well, now the local grocery store has stacks and stacks of TP. It may take a while for the hoarded stockpiles to run out.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Fences & Gates

Inspired by Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge: Fences & Gates

Everywhere you go these days, there is a NO sign.

No school. No work. No library. No restaurant. No coffee shop. No toilet paper…..

No. No. No.

We all back away.

When I attended the Newport Folk Festival in 2009, the site was surrounded by a fence designated to keep attendees from swimming in the harbor. Probably for their own good. Isn’t that what all good fences are for? Protection. Safety. Whether we like it or not.

It appeared to be somewhat flimsy, but a barrier nonetheless. I never saw a swimmer, so I assume it worked.

A visible barrier against a visible risk.

Newport, Rhode Island

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?

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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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Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 5th

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: March 5th

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 March 5th, 2019 as an entry for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge. I enjoy Cee’s photo challenges and this was no exception. Tender moments? I have dozens of photo albums full of them. Frozen-in-time moments that trigger sweet memories and smiles. The big sister and little brother below now live only a few blocks from each other. Little brother is a grown-up uncle to his big sister’s 4½ year old little boy. This May he will also be an uncle to his big sister’s new baby…a little girl. More tender moments to come.
(on a totally unrelated side note: I will be a grandma…again…which probably should have been the lead sentence! 😊)

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Tender Moments

This post inspired by Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge. The topic this week: Tender Moments

Being a big sister is not always easy.

I know that from experience, as I was a big sister 4 times. By the time my youngest sibling was born, I was in high school and became more of a surrogate parent than a sister. 

My daughter was almost 6 when her brother was born.
Five and three quarters! she would be quick to remind us.

The transition to sharing parental attention was a challenge I understood and tried to make as smooth as possible for her.
Without shortchanging her little brother.

Well, my husband and I got lucky. And with some guidance on our part…their relationship blossomed from the start. Her love for her brother was palpable. As was his for her. Not without some healthy competition of course. And normal periodic friction. Racing to the front door to be first. To the car for the front seat (Shotgun!). And down the stairs to see what Santa brought.

But there were also the quieter moments. Looking at picture books.
Playing games. Giggling at secret jokes.

And sitting under the backyard trees exploring what was hidden in the grass.

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Big sister age 6½…exploring nature with little brother…age 1¾

Their childhood together lasted until he was 12 and she was 18 and left home for college. Nineteen years ago.

But their connection remains solid to this very day.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 12

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: February 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?

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This post was published February 12, 2019 as an entry for Irene Waters’ “Times Past” Challenge. I always enjoyed participating in these “look back” challenges, as they fit right in with my diary 2.0 theme. With this one in particular, I am struck by how “tales of fear” from parent to child have changed over the years. Now there’s a virus added to the ever growing list.

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Tales of Terror: Times Past

Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror

Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. 

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jungle gym
on top of the world circa 1962

As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.

My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:

 Don’t take candy from strangers.

This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.

I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.

Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.

A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.

Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.

So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.

Don’t go near Tony M.

Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled.  It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad.  I wonder what happened to him.

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Family gathered safely on the front porch – 1958

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?

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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

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: December 18

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: December 18

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 December 18, 2018 as an entry for Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Now…in 2020…a stark reminder of all that we may have taken for granted before. Most glaringly in my eyes…that gift of time together.

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Photo a Week – Things That Matter Most

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week:

A Photo a Week Challenge – The Things that Matter Most

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF THINGS THAT MEAN THE MOST TO YOU.

The things that matter most are not things. At least not to me.

I have heard it said that when you are on your deathbed, you don’t wish you had spent more time at work. More often it is…I wish I had spent more time with my family.
My friends. My kids. My grandparents.

The “things” that matter most to me are the family and friends I love and care about.
And who love and care about me.

What else matters?

That I am fortunate enough to have a roof over my head and enough food to eat.

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Family…the Beginning

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Family…the next generation

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Food

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Shelter

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: November 27

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: November 27

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 on November 27, 2018 as an entry for the Ragtag Daily Prompt challenge.

I still say…a walk in the woods…always worth taking.

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Walk

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Walk

It was an adjustment, to say the least, when our youngest child left home for college. For him as well as for us.

He chose a college where it was warm…and far away from our New England town. I understood that, as I had also wanted to establish myself in a college town far from my home.

Colleges have an annual “Parents’ Weekend” in the fall. So parents can check in. And check out their kids. And kids can touch base with their parents. Our freshman son was on his own for the first time and we were grateful for the opportunity to visit.

Although not a big fan of endless parent questions…how are you?how are your classes?your roommate?is the food good?where is the library?…are you okay?, he was happy to show us around campus. He led the way. The grounds of his university were lush with greenery of all kinds. With a bridge. And a pond. In a very warm spot in Virginia. We attended these Parents’ Weekends every year, but the first one…well, that was extra special.

Conversation always flowed a bit more freely with a walk in the woods.

father and son 2006