It’s Memorial Day
On Memorial Day there are parades and cook outs and family get-togethers no matter the weather. Many folks have a day off from work WITH PAY! Do we really understand how lucky we are?
The World Is Still Violent
Are we humans just a cruel, violent species? Are we destined to fight and scrabble among ourselves until we destroy each other and our world? Our veterans gave their all for peace. They have come home damaged emotionally and physically and too many paid the ultimate price. Yet we still hear of horrible acts of brutality every day. Look what just happened in Manchester England! Or what about the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, and the Fort Lauderdale Airport? And these are just a few examples. I could go on!
Our Brave New World
Security is tight. We use plastic see-through bags so everyone can see that we’re not carrying a weapon. We suffer through metal detectors and have our bags searched. I’ve even been swabbed for gun powder residue. This is the world we live in now. No one is truly safe. On this Memorial Day I can’t help but wonder what would those who died for our freedom have to say about it? Would they feel that their sacrifice was in vain or that we’ve squandered the chances they have provided to us?
Proud and Sad
I am so proud of our service men and women, so overwhelmed by what they have done and continue to do to protect this country every day. But I am also sad. Sad that there is so much hate and violence around the world. I’m very sad that in a country built on immigration and acceptance that there are still incidences of prejudice and evidence of hate crimes. Somethings just don’t seem to change, just the victims.
Honor our Fallen With an Open Heart
Its Memorial Day and while we barbecue and wave our flags, stop and think about the real meaning of this day. Think about those in our military today and the many who have served our country bravely. Open your hearts to the principals they stood for and many died for – Freedom; freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness for all! Say no to prejudice and discrimination. God Bless America!
Is Lake Sabbatia a Paddling Option?
As I looked over the Norton Reservoir I thought of another option for a quiet paddling location. Lake Sabbatia is even closer to me than the Norton Reservoir. I pulled out of Tang’s parking lot and headed back to Taunton. Along the way even more possibilities ran through my head. There’s Watson State Park and Lake Rico to check out too.
Watson State Park
As I headed over to Lake Sabbatia I had to drive right past Watson State Park. Even though it hasn’t opened for the season, cars were lining the side of the road. It’s a very popular place in Taunton in the summer. Only about 10 acres it has a playground, 300 ft beach and picnic area. Non-motorized boats are welcome. I expect it will open up Memorial Day weekend.
The Launch Area, Lake Sabbatia
Just past Watson State Park I arrived at the boat launch for Lake Sabbatia. It was really busy today! Dogs and people milled about. The parking spots were taken up with pick up trucks and boat trailers. While I was there several more trucks arrived with kayaks on board. They off loaded and lined them up at the side of the launch area. After the trucks were parked each paddler picked up their kayak and into the water they went.
Time to Leave
I watched a good size recreational boat get pulled out of the lake. It was clear that I was in the way. I’ve dropped by this spot many times and never seen it this busy. It must be the excitement of the first nice weather of the spring/summer season.I took a couple of pictures of a particularity cute dog, part pug , part frenchy, and it was time to go.
The Sunday that Almost Got Away
I lost Saturday and now Sunday almost got away from me. My own fault. I was slow to get the laundry going so other resident’s of my condo got ahead of me. Consequently I didn’t get my weekly laundry done until close to 12:30! The day was half gone. I’d planned to look for Doane Falls in Royalston, MA but with such a late start that wasn’t an option any more.
NEMASKET KAYAK CENTER
My backup plan was to check out the Nemasket Kayak Center. http://www.nemasketkayak.com/ Based on their web page they offer paddling lessons, have a retail outlet and rent equipment. I’m still not sure a kayak is right for me with my bad hip but kayaks are far more affordable than canoes and I think more light weight. That would make them easier to handle on my own. They have 4 locations. Not all of which are open yet.
In the end I opted to check out the Norton Reservoir. I drive by it everyday on the way to work. There are fishermen, kayakers, swans and geese. I want to see how hard it would be to put a small boat or kayak into this calm body of water.
An internet search said the most common place to put in was next to Tang’s restaurant. I know exactly where that is so I was off. When I got there there were a lot of trucks and a few SUV’s. A fisherman was just leaving. He said that there are 2 places to access the reservoir. Here off Rt 140 and off Juniper Rd. I don’t know where Juniper RD is so for now this will have to do.
A few facts about Norton Reservoir
The Norton Reservoir is a body of water within the towns of Norton and Mansfield located in southeastern Massachusetts. The Rumford River empties out into the reservoir.
Another Saturday gone
Sounds like a good title for a country song to me. Its hard to believe that another Saturday has slipped through my fingers and I haven’t done anything interesting to talk about. Who knew that finding topics of interest to share would be so hard?
Where did the Day go?
So let’s see, where did the day go. How did the time get away from me?
- 8-11 am Wait for the Fire Department to come by for our annual fire inspection.
- 10:20 take Rocky to the Vet for his annual wellness check. He’s a senior kitty now so this is even more important. Besides he really needed a “mani/pedi”.
His claws were turning into samurai swords!
- Lunch and a hair cut.
- Top off the gas tank and get the car washed. Get all that sticky tree sap off the hood.
- Stop off at Walmart and Big Lots to see what kinds of boats/kayaks they have a how much they cost.
By then it was 3:30 so I checked out cat trees for Rocky.
Why does Rocky need another cat tree?
My silly kitty won’t go on the old cat tree that he used to share with Smokey and Buddy.
He hasn’t been on it since Buddy passed away. I’ve tried catnip spray, hiding treats on it, toys but he just sniffs it and hops down. I thought I’d get him a new one to see if he’d have any interest in something with no other cat scents.
I’ll set the big one on the porch for now.
With Memorial day Weekend coming up I have decided to complete the long side tracked catification of my back porch/ deck. I have the lattice work to set up and just need to pot some catnip. It will serve to entertain Rocky and keep the mosquitoes away at the same time. Maybe after 10 years of living here I will finally be able to use my deck.
Springtime in the New England Real Estate Market
Spring is a crazy, busy time of year for us in the New England Real Estate world. New England has one of the most seasonal markets in the US. I’ve been clocking long hours, OT almost every night and breaking my own rule of No Work on Weekends! My boss questions me about burn out once or twice every week.
Burn Out Is Real
In my younger years I didn’t believe in burn out. I scoffed at those who complained they were suffering. An excuse to slack off I said! Wimps! But of course I was wrong. Science has proved it and I have suffered from it myself.
Do You Suffer From Burn Out?
Do you need to take a vacation? AAA thinks you do if you meet only a couple of the 17 signs they list on their web page. AAA.com/needavacation. I looked over their list and here are my top 10 reasons to take a break.
- The weekend arrives but you are too tired to venture out for local adventures.
- You daydream about all the places you want to go and things (fun things, not lawn mowing) you want to do.
- Wonder how those people on the Travel Channel manage to take all those fabulous vacations.
- You can’t seem to focus on any one task for long.
- Getting home at the end of the day is a single minded obsession.
- Forgetfulness abounds. You can’t even remember what the string on your finger was supposed to be for!
- Are you on edge? That’s one of my first indicators. My team starts finding me scary!
- Watch out for over eating (or binge drinking). What happened to that jumbo bag of tootsie rolls? More potato chips anyone?
- No one is posting on your social media accounts, not even you! There’s nothing exciting going on.
- Your Life revolves around going to work, paying bills and sleeping. Get up and do it all again.
What’s the Verdict?
So how did you score? Did you even read it or did you park yourself in front of the TV and cry over vacation commercials? Those palm trees and sandy beaches are calling you. It’s almost a physical ache.
Do yourself, your family and your work a favor. Take that break. You’ll come back refreshed, more productive and maybe even with an attitude adjustment. Just be sure to let me know where you go! I want another place to daydream about.
Spring has sprung when Lilacs Bloom
Lilacs are one of my favorite spring flowers. From their beautiful fragrance to their delicate blooms, Lilacs are the comfort food of the flower world. I’m blessed with a ride to work that passes everything from pruned and pampered lilac bushes to wild road-side shrubs. This time of year they are all covered in purple blooms.
Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum was canceled because of the rain. Of the many thousands of flowers at the arboretum, only lilacs get their own special day. Most of the lilacs in the Arboretum are located at the edge of Bussey Hill Rd. The Arboretum has 369 lilac plants! If next week is nice maybe I can catch the tail end of the blooming season.
The lilac story actually goes back to Greek mythology. According to the story Pan was enamored of a nymph named Syringa. Pan chased Syringa into the forest. Syringa wanted to avoid his advances so turned herself into a lilac bush. To Pan’s surprise, he could not find Syringa, but he did find the shrub. A lilac shrub consists of hollow reeds. Pan cut the shrub to create the flute he is so well known for playing.
Lilac meanings vary throughout different cultures and time periods.
- The Celtics regarded the lilac as “magical” due to their incredibly intoxicating fragrance.
- During the Victorian Age, the giving of a lilac was meant to be a reminder of an old love. Widows were often seen wearing lilacs during this period.
- In Russia, holding a sprig of lilac over the newborn would bring wisdom.
- In the United States, the lilac is the official state flower of New Hampshire and represents the ‘hardy’ nature of its people.
Lilac Symbolism & Colors
- White lilacs symbolize purity and innocence.
- Violet lilacs symbolize spirituality.
- Blue lilacs symbolize happiness and tranquility.
- Magenta lilacs symbolize love and passion.
- Lilac, the color for which this flower is named, is a light purple that symbolizes a first love.
- The lilac is the official flower of a couple’s 8th wedding anniversary.
- Lilacs have one of the shortest bloom times and only flower for three weeks at the beginning of spring.
- George Washington and Thomas Jefferson loved lilacs, growing them in their gardens.
- Lilacs belong to the same family as the olive tree.
Comfort Food of Flowers
Lilacs symbolize home to me. Growing up our driveway was lined with lilacs and there was a huge lilac bush in the middle of the yard. The blooms only burst forth in early spring and in a wink of an eye are gone. For about 3 weeks the air is fragrant each spring. No matter where I am, the scent takes me home in my mind.
Facts and symbolism provided by FTD web site https://www.ftd.com
Sunday Was Mother’s Day
Did you call your Mom? I’m ashamed to say I did not. I didn’t send a card or flowers or go visit. I’m a bad daughter! But I did think about Mother’s Day. What do you think…is it better to send a card late or not send one at all? It’s the old better late than never dilemma.
Mother’s Day has an interesting history.
The Travel channel has a program that you can hardly miss. They seem to do marathons all the time. The show is called Mysteries at the Museum. They ran their Mother’s Day Episode rerun this week and I happened to catch part of it. According to the show The American Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother and the sacrifices she saw other mothers making for their children.
Be careful what you wish for!
Once again the old adage turned out to be true. Anna Jarvis didn’t like what she created. After all her hard work to get Mother’s Day recognized as a National Holiday she grew to hate her creation. It was too commercial. She hated that florists, stationary stores and candy makers jumped on the bandwagon and made the holiday another commercial extravaganza. She actually spent the rest of her life trying to tear down the holiday her efforts created!
Anna Jarvis’ Vision
Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. That was fine when it was just a local or personal celebration but it all changed once it “went National”.
The Sad Result of Mother’s Day Success
Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether. She even actively lobbied the government have it removed from the calendar.
In The End
In the end it was the charities that Anna raged against that cared for her once her financial resources were exhausted.
There are lots of other Mother’s Day traditions around the world. A short but interesting read about this history can be found at http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day
To my Mom, there is no excuse for skipping Mother’s Day but we’ll have our own celebration in June when you join Sandy and me for our Maine Vacation!
Happy Belated Mother’s Day!
The Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfalls Road Trip
We dabbled with the Ultimate New Hampshire Road Trip.
Jackson Falls, NH
I need to make another trip back for a couple more waterfalls and a covered bridge but I just ran across this link http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/massachusetts/waterfall-roadtrip-ma/. You guessed it; The Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfalls Road Trip.
Where are these Waterfalls?
Turns out the Massachusetts waterfalls are far more spread out than the New Hampshire ones. It’s an 8 hours drive to complete the road trip not figuring in hiking times.
The trip begins at Doane Falls, Royalston, moves west through the Berkshires and swings back south of the Mass Pike. # 5 on the list is Bish-Bash Falls.
Bish Bash Falls
Bish Bash Falls is the most western waterfall right on the New York border. I first heard of Bish Bash Falls last year but never found the time to go look for it. Now, with the Ultimate Massachusetts Waterfall Road trip as a guide it’s back on my radar. I have a feeling that I will need to set aside a whole day for this waterfall. The trail is a 2 mile out and back hike near Mt. Washington. and a 3-4 hour drive from where I live but it look like a pretty little falls, not Niagara but certainly worthwhile.
Glendale Falls in Middlefield, MA is described as among the longest and most powerful in the state. Middlefield is a little closer to me but still quite a hike. It’s past Springfield MA approaching Becket in the Berkshires. It’s not surpriseding that I’ve never heard of this waterfall. I’d never heard of Middlefield!
The series of comments on trip advisor ranged from beautiful little falls to creepy. We’re going to be slashed in the woods! https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g41680-d2008353-Reviews-Glendale_Falls-Middlefield_Hampshire_County_Massachusetts.html
It will be interesting to see how I feel about it if I go.
Has Anyone been to any of these Falls?
Take a peek at the list of waterfalls and locations. If you’ve been to any of them please let me know. Are they worth the drive to get to them? I’d love to get your comments.
The Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports
The Kentucky Derby is the premier thoroughbred horse race in the United States. Known as the Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports or the Run for the Roses, it is the first leg of the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875. The horses are not the only stars of this race. This is more than a horse race.
This is steeped in Southern tradition from the over-sized hats the ladies wear to the gallons of mint juleps that are consumed on race day.
A Little bit of History
If you are not a fan of horses or of horse racing you probably don’t understand all the fuss. But The Kentucky Derby is a Big Deal! The excitement starts 2 weeks before the actual race with the Kentucky Derby Festival. The actual race is always the first Saturday in May.
The race is restricted to 3 year old thoroughbreds who can sustain a distance of one and a quarter miles.
What is the Triple Crown?
The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness , then the Belmont Stakes. For a horse to be a Triple Crown winner it must win all 3 races.
Traditions Pay A big Role
The Mint Julep is the traditional beverage of the race often served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats that alone can cost $500-$2000! So much money just to have a hat like Audrey Hepburn!
The Derby is frequently referred to as “The Run for the Roses,” because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year.
Final Thoughts and Observations
I love horses and seeing them racing down the homestretch takes my breath away. Unfortunately horse racing still remains one place where women are facing extreme discrimination. It seems counter intuitive because every girl I know loves horses and recreational riding is embraced more by women than men. Also the weight restrictions would seem to be more typical for women than men yet the few women that have tried to break the sexual barrier have been ridiculed, harassed and heckled. Male jockeys still outnumber Female jockeys 7 to 1! I’ll still enjoy the race but I wish more women could or would break the all male barrier.
Congratulations to Almost Dreaming and his team!
(Photo: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)