Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Butterfly Effect

When you have an hour to kill at night on a train platform, you end up amusing yourself anyway possible ... even at the expense of the carcass of a majestic monarch butterfly.

It was the bright orange and black against the gray that got my attention.
At first I thought it was poised for flight,
but then I realized that its time had past. It was so close to making it to the Botanical Garden. The updraft of the train must have sucked it down and crushed it against the barricade.
Alight for flight, or the reason why Hurricane Irene ended up going from a little storm to a monster?

It's just a matter of perspective.

As I sat there contemplating the mysteries of life, I couldn't get this tune and some of the lyrics out of my head.

Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)
by a-ha

Butterfly, butterfly
Flying into the wind
You can be sure of it
That’s no place to begin

Overthinking every little thing
Acknowledge the bell you can’t unring

Tomorrow, you don't have to say what you’re thinking
You don’t have to mean what you say
Butterfly, butterfly

Flutter in to the skies
Butterfly, butterfly,
Their molecular cries

Chrysalis dreams waiting on the fifth in-star
These stained glass wings could only take you so far
You don’t have to say that it matters
You don’t have to turn something in
Stay with it through thick and thin
Butterfly, begin

Butterfly, butterfly

Tomorrow, you don't have to mean what you say
Left without a reason to stay
Comes the last hurrah
Here’s our last hurrah

Butterfly, butterfly,

You can be sure of it


I would have embedded the video, but alas - so go here, or

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update

Pleased to report that I've made it through Hurricane Irene unscathed.

The Saturday evening of the storm was full of winds, rain, lightning and thunder. The tornadoes, that we were also under a watch for, seem to have skipped my area. The media hyping and anticipation were worst than anything. I couldn't sleep because I kept waiting for something to happen. When I did finally get to some semblance of a REM cycle, the poor air conditioner woke me up at 2 a.m. as it was struggling to deal with the conditions. I got up, turned it off, turned on the fan, and then slept until late in the morning.

After talking to Drew in the morning, and being grateful that the cable and power stayed up all evening, I ventured out at noon to take stock of the neighborhood during the one patch of sun we'd seen in four days. Of course, by the time I got geared up with the slicker, wallet, phone, camera, keys, and shoes, it had started to mist/rain again.

Heading over to the usual route to the train, noticed that most of the stores in my strip malls were closed. No coffee for the Starbucks addicts, no donuts at Dunkin' for the carb addicts. Pizza and Chinese seem to be off the menu. The dry cleaners are usually closed on Sundays, but sadly, the laundromat is closed as well. At least one Subway is open, but for sandwiches and not for commuting. If I felt like getting a "congratulations to me, I survived the Hurricane" mani-pedi, both options were closed. I didn't even LOOK to see if the liquor store was open (that is if they had anything left.) The poor gang at 7-11 is having to serve at a surrogate donut/coffee/food source/ and grocery store. So glad I filled up earlier in the week. (Suckers!)

So here's a visual tour of part of my commute. Under the overpasses leading to the various highways, including:

the flooded Bronx River Parkway, featuring the flooding of the Bronx River. Looking south to the Bronx;

the water is almost up to the exit ramps;

water from the River isn't quite up to the gravel Metro-North train tracks - at least on my section of the route. It is definitely up and over north and south of the line; and

the scary maelstrom of current under the overpass bridge. Also note the concrete degradation to the overpass. One of these days that's going to be an issue.

As for work on Monday, and probably Tuesday? I will probably be working from home. It will take a while for the City/MTA to pump the tunnels; check the tracks, signals, and cars for damage; and then restart the systems. Aside from raising the money for the bottom line, I consider myself a non-essential personnel.

Also, we still have the day to get through with the last of the bands of winds and rain. Those, often, can be the worst, because everyone is prepared for the onset, and let their guard down. There's still rain, high winds and tidal surges to go. Plus in the winds, trees and poles come down due weakened conditions and soaked grounds. (In fact, as I typed that, we actually had a flicker in the lights ....)

Now that I've been through one storm this season, I'm prepared for the next one. And the next one, there probably will be. They've already named the new storm churning down in the Caribbean. The difficulty will be for the governors and mayors trying to get people to move/prepare, since everyone is already jaded. But that's New York for you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo of the Day: Hurricane Watch

So Hurricane Irene is rapidly approaching the tri-state area, and New York is a state of Hurricane Watch. I do not live in an evacuation zone, and have stocked up on my water, candles, food, batteries, and other supplies. I have reviewed my Red Cross instructions, as they apply to me. I live in-land, in an apartment up a few stories - luckily not on ground-level. I am not feeling worried. I already know that I will probably be without cable, the internet, and/or power at some point. It is highly highly likely.

I can remember many of the other hurricanes that have been part of my life: Gloria, Bob, Eduoard, Fran, etc. so am not too concerned. This is the first time in recent memory, however, that New York City has voluntarily begun evacuations, and then have also shut down the subway and commuter trains in advance of a storm. They have learned too well at the knees of Katrina, brown-outs, transit strikes, September 11th, and blizzards. The mantra seems to be, better safe than sorry.

Another reason I'm not worried? The LDS emphasis on emergency preparedness and my father's hyper-paranoia about certain supplies. I have owned a crank radio and flashlight for years! While I won't enjoy the inconvenience of no cable/web/power, I will survive. An extended period of time will be trying, but I am a party of a few, with no littles to have to amuse and feed. I'm also one of the "old-fogies" who can entertain herself with ye old book and ye old pen and paper. I also have lots of sorting, filing, and cleaning that can be done by candle light.

In the event of a week-long disaster, or say, the zombie apocalypse ... I may need to stockpile more chocolate and Diet Coke. (Priorities people!)

All there is to do now... is wait ... and watch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Photo of the Day: Keeping Mum for a Bit

New York Botanical Garden, November 2010

Since I'm not taking a vacation this summer, I've decided to take a mini-blogging break. I need to store up some more material, go out and take more pictures, and just recharge the creative juices.

Back later.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Poem of the Day: Back to the Old House

Back to the Old House

Let us go back to the old house
The house we once knew
The familiar door
The airy rooms
The light on the stairs,
Still at the back of your mind.

And if it is not quite so tall
As the house you used to know,
And less bright too, and emptier,
You need not turn away;
For a place is a time, too,
And you are older now,
And long since lost
From your own past.

Let us go back to the old house
The house we once knew, even
If it is a stranger’s house,
With windows blind to you,
And long, featureless corridors
Oblivious to all the old times.

From: The Very Thought of You: A Novel by Rosie Alison

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 15th Anniversary!

If I have a hard time wrapping around my head around one sibling being married for a decade, I really have a hard time contemplating the fact that the other one has been married now for 15 years.

Congratulations you crazy kids. Here's to an infinity more.

I've ducked back into the photo albums to post pictures from Jed and Kelli's backyard reception at ye old Connecticut homestead. The funny thing is that the little boy in the bottom left photo is actually this gigantic 6 foot Military Man.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Grumpa Max/Dad!

There is nothing like your family to keep things in perspective ... especially when they have access to photo albums.

In honor of Grumpa Max's very special birthday, we present ... a photographic retrospective from the mid-1980s to the present.

Happy Birthday Grumpa Max/Dad ... these are the past days of part of your adult life!

What I have gleaned in flipping through my photo albums is:

I am glad the 'stache is gone. The kitchen reno in the CT house was a vast improvement. We three inherited our propensity to make goofy faces when photographed from our patriarch. You liked to take the photographs, not be in the photographs. You do have the cutest ... posterior (that one is for Mom.) The "I hope it's not what's in the box" joke will never cease to haunt you. You are an excellent son, brother, father, husband, and grandpa. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you like to be busy, whether cleaning up, or by being in nature.

While we kids may tease you for your "wisdom," you have earned that gleaming head of silver due to countless hours of driving lessons, phone calls about car "incidents," drives to the reservoir to talk (or not), counsel about relationship issues, and all the church "stuff" you couldn't ever talk about due to your countless leadership positions, combined with hours in prayer and contemplation.

Go ahead and eat the cookie/cake/ice cream. You deserve it.
(As long as the 'stache doesn't come back.)

Happy Birthday!

I love you.

p.s. sorry, this time? it probably IS what is in the box.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Photos of the Day: What are they serving?

Riggins, Idaho, River Trip, August 2010

Perhaps someone could identify the monster. Perhaps it's a specialty that only Harley riders consume?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Photos of the Day: Public Service Announcement

Occasionally we will use this blog as a means to further the education of the general public.

Today's entry is a tutorial on how to cross the street while on vacation in parts of Idaho. I would like other municipalities to adopt this street crossing practice. It involves mandatory colorful flags and optional silver-haired crossing guards.

~First, have well marked cross-walks.
~Then, have light poles where you can post instructions and have brackets for,
~the brightly colored flags, which you will use to get drivers' attention.
~Finally, take a traveling tourist, willing to hold up a flag and march into the street, and have her stop vehicular traffic.

Just in case this doesn't work, here are the instructions for your review.

Good luck crossing the street. Look both ways and WATCH OUT!

Taken on the River Trip 2010.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Quote of the Day: Why I love books

… on my travels round the house in search of just the right book for tonight, I passed so many reasons why the book works as well as it ever did. Tall thin reasons. Huge, heavy, illustrated ones. Small, neat, square hardbacks and pocket-sized paperbacks. Reasons with drawings, with photographs, with colour. Shiny ones. Matt ones. Cheap ones, expensive ones. Chunky ones. Some smell new, of paper and almost, but not quite, fresh ink. Some smell musty. Some have the signature of the author. A few are dedicated by the author, either to one of us or to someone unknown and long dead. Some have pencil marks scribbled in the margin – my own student hand in the Robinson edition of Chaucer, my daughter’s schoolgirl hand in A Tale of Two Cities, my aunt’s in Middlemarch and Jane Eyre, which she used to teach fifty years ago. … No one will sign an electronic book, no one can annotate in the margin, no one can leave a love letter casually between the leaves.

I love the book. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the compactness of it, the shape, the size. I love the feel of paper. The sound it make when I turn a page. I love the beauty of print on paper, the patterns, the shapes, the fonts. I am astonished by the versatility and practicality of The Book. It is so simple. It is so fit for its purpose. It may give me mere content, but no e-reader will ever give me that sort of added pleasure.

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Shushing Librarian's Botanical Tour of New York - Part Two

My Holiday Tour of New York also included photos of landmarks without me messing them up ... my fabulous blue cast and ensemble distracts from the wonders of the Big Apple.

Highlights include:

The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and an AMAZING aerial view of JFK;

unique architectural wonders from around the five boroughs;

the Washington Square Arch; a recreation of the old Penn Station;

the Haupt Conservatory IN the Haupt Conservatory;

the Guggenheim always stands out, no matter the medium;
as does the transit hub of Grand Central;

these views of a bucolic Central Park are giving me ideas for a rustic country get-away, maybe at a riverside Colonial like this one;

who would ever think that these typical New York commuting views could give way
to scenic little Red Lighthouses?

All of this schlepping around New York is exhausting - even for someone wearing sensible shoes, and who has built up her stamina doing laps around the stacks, like me. I had to take a break to soak my toes discreetly in the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.

I hope you enjoyed my Holiday Train Tour of New York.
For more information about the Holiday Train Show and the New York Botanical Garden, please go to

Auntie Nettie and I are members. Are you?

Please stay tuned for more of the Amazing Adventures of The Shushing Librarian!