Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Cityblog. My Morning with Louis.

My Tracker was in for service at Goodyear. With a few hours to kill, I grabbed the camera and headed to Wisner Memorial Park. Some photos of the memorials there would be so appropriate to this time of year. But the traffic noises interfere with my poor hearing, and I didn't catch the signals that the photos wouldn't take. I must've looked a bit at sea, because I was approached by an older gentleman. He thought I was a tourist, and if I were interested, there was a small museum inside the hotel.

For the next three and a half hours, Louis regaled me with stories, history and personal anectdotes. ( Reminded me of My Dinner With Andre. Fascinating.) There was nothing he didn't have an opinion on, and few things he couldn't discuss. Our conversation took us indoors to the tiny museum on the Second Floor, where I finally realized that my camera's batteries were dead.

Louis knew everyone in the Mark Twain, and a few things about its workings. He talked about life here in Elmira, and in the boroughs of NYC, and Long Island. He is a repository of information about 20th century history, movie stars and entertainers, the films themselves, and just people, people, people! If it were not for the usual discomfort I feel being too long in one place, I would have stayed to talk all day. (Louis lucked out.)

Here was a man who disdains cars, computers and telephones, but was much more entertaining than all three combined. I was itching to connect him up with many of my friends who are afficionados of movies, war history, etc. So much personality walking daily through our downtown.

So these photos, which are a tiny (aborted) beginning to my Cityblogs, are dedicated to Louis. I hope to spend more time with him, and promise to return downtown for the photos that were lost to bad batteries.

Little Pond

Cityblog. Main Street Bridge.

View of the Main Street Bridge, facing Southside. Early morning shadows. Left my car in good hands, at Goodyear. Posted by Hello

Cityblog. Early shadows.

Elmira Downtown. I remember the bustle of this area from my college days. So much smaller, and much less busy, than in the 1970's. Posted by Hello

Cityblog. Grand entry.

How many older people would know this building from this shot? Attending the prom would have required a grand entrance through these doors. Posted by Hello

Cityblog. Mark Twain.

Coming up on the Mark Twain Hotel. Right next to our "civic center," First Arena. Posted by Hello

Cityblog. Corner of Main & Gray.

On the corner of Main and Gray, the Mark Twain Hotel is the most imposing building in our tiny city.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memories of Grampa

If you're just checking in this Memorial Day afternoon, there is a short entry below the pics. Just me orating, I guess. Any members of the Baker Clan, please fact-check for me. I hope to archive this sort of stuff for posterity. And yes, we have the geneology paperwork accrued by Aunt Norma.

BTW, our mum, Cecilia Baker, has the photo of Stephen H. Baker in the Army Air Force during WWII, and I expect, that of Stephen P. Baker in the Viet Nam-era Army. Thanks and God Bless to all our veterans today and every day.

Little Pond

Memories. Lt. Baker

A very young Lt. John Irving Baker. A few of my cousins looked very much like him. He talked sometimes of his time in France. Posted by Hello

Memories. Service Journal.

Terse entries in a tiny journal given him by his mother. Just a few days near the Texas border My older brother tells me he served under General "BlackJack" Pershing at the time. Posted by Hello

Memories. The Fisherman.

This is Grampa as I remember him. Hunting and fishing, and traveling with his beloved wife, Jo, our Grammy. We literally loved them to death. Posted by Hello

God Bless the USA

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
Lee Greenwood
I offer humble gratitude to those men who gave their lives for our freedom. No thanks can ever be enough. And I want to honor those whose lives were changed, damaged by their sacrifice. "Never another Viet Nam!" I mean the disgusting behavior of those who did not welcome back our fighting men, and who ridiculed, spat on and demoralized them.
A part of every warrior dies on the battlefield. Memorial day rightly belongs to the dead, but every day, let's thank a soldier or a veteran who survived.
We cannot and have not won every war. There is no dishonor in losing, only in failing to try. I do not honor my Grandfather's contribution to the Mexican-American conflict any less because we didn't win. In fact, he wasn't ashamed of that war. He was sent to do a job, and he did it. I was amazed to hear him tell of this "other" war on the Texas border. American History barely touched on it, leaving no real impression. But John Irving Baker was a hero of that war, also.
I am grateful to the people of our past and their part in who I am now. Our war dead and living veterans are the reason we have a country to love.
Eternal peace to our war dead. Eternal gratitude to our veterans.
Little Pond

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day's Eve

With all the excitement of the Corning Classic, it would be easy to forget the much more important holiday coming up. Yet, I know many people more excited over their plantings than they are over the LPGA being in town. Priorities, People!! Our biggest golfing event aside, it would be nice to observe the solemn memorial to our war dead. I decided to walk the WestSide and find signs of Memorial Day.

Chronically shorthanded at the paper, some of us will have to work, holiday or not. A short walk seemd to be the perfect way to get in the mood and not blow all my energy.

I found few flags, and only one display otherwise. Mostly it was a glorious morning in our beautiful town. No Granddog today, so I toddled out on my own.

Little Pond

Townblog. Green, gold, red, white and blue

Our flag hasn't been out in ages. I hate to hang it in rainy weather. But this is gloriously green and gold, suitably bright for the red, white and blue. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Swings.

An interesting alternative to whirligigs. These painted cutout/scuptures twisted constantly in the wind, adding a pleasantly predictable motion to the front property on West Second Street. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Framed flag.

Flag spied through a porch on corner of Guinnip Avenue and West Second Street. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Sculpture.

Detail of metal scupture on the corner of Wall Street and West Second. A closer look at the property reveals many touches of the artists within. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Training course.

A training course at Holy Family Middle School, Dennison Parkway. The signs advise that users be supervised by an adult at all times. Guess the colors caught my eye. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Touch of patriotism.

Small flag makes an appropriate touch to a gaily decorated property on West Second Street. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Lourdes' Labyrinthe

A prayer labyrinthe, a continuous path to a central stone. Like a string of prayer beads, it allows the meditator to focus, moving steadily or rhythmically to a universal goal. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Amen.

End of the labyrinthe prayerwalk, or any prayer, really. So be it. Posted by Hello

Townblog. A few flags.

Let's hope this will be the norm on Memorial Day itself. Our heroes, dead and living, deserving no less. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Good News Saturday

Our lovely Saturday has turned rainy and gray.

Now's the time to turn to Winds of Change to broaden the mind. It's a one stop browsing center. Straight reporting, opinion and features, rather like the Sunday paper, only on Saturday, and it's online, and there are lots of links.

Okay, so it's not like the Sunday paper. It's better.

Look especially to Good News Saturday each week. My personal favorites are the Sufi Wisdom gems.

Today there is an excellent piece comparing the Talmud to the Internet.

There are various contributors, so the site changes each day. Keeps the brain cells expanding.

Little Pond

Friday, May 27, 2005


Just came from a beautiful post on family. A way to freeze the moment by mentallly altering its reality.

When I was a very little girl, I came apon this trick. I was traveling with my grandparents and I wondered what it would be like if they died. It transformed the ride for me.

Now I do know what it's like that they are dead. My mind is full of memories I saved from their lives with me.
I still miss them, but I do not doubt their presence in my life every day.

Hope your Memorial Day Weekend is peacefully happy.

Little Pond

Ducks and horses.

I've been itching to include ducks and geese in my Riverblogs, but they haven't been terribly cooperative. So many times I have Granddog Ellie with me, that the critters scatter just as soon as they see me. (What, a wide-brimmed hat, fanny pack, water bottle and camera are scary or something?!)

Today I remedy the situation with links from some of my faves:

Filly blogging at Instapundit for Windows Media

and for Quicktime. Baby horses are just so, so coltish!

And for all my fellow RiverRats,

these gorgeous closeups of Mallards at Burningbird.

Love those puddleducks. When I lived near Chesapeake Bay, I would drag the baby (MommaDog) to watch the birds. She would raise her eyes to the sky and "skreeeeee" just like a gull, and the gulls would call back. Many birds seemed tamer down there, but then I wasn't wearing big brimmed hats just then. We'd watch the ducks up close and giggle when they dabbled down for food, butts up in the air. The geese were another matter. To this day, she talks about how mean geese are. I've yet to get up close to geese here, let alone have any chase me.

Our geese prefer to honk repeatedly and edge away. Good for their continued survival. Bad for Riverblogging. Pray for sun this weekend.

Little Pond

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Townblogging on a sun-drenched morning.

MammaDog came by sans Granddog. Grabbed some breakfast and we took a walk. She'd already walked earlier, but I figure she's young and can walk with her Mom. Just a quick turn down Guinnip, west on Church, up Wall, east on Third, then home.

The kid likes to move fast. I barely took any photos at all, and these are hastily shot. The excellent lighting makes up for poor technique. Please note, as usual, all street numbers are removed. Makes the mailboxes look strange, but hope you all understand.

Little Pond

Townblog. Overgrown wisteria

This is ours. We planted the wisteria for its profuse foliage, because our property looked bombed out. But we never see blooms, just foliage. Any suggestions, anyone who knows? Posted by Hello

Townblog. Red and Yellow

Red and yellow prettiness on Third Street. Well kept homes in a peaceful setting. My idea of nirvana. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Horse and van

Wall Street mailbox, with number removed. The mailboxes of West Elmira could actually occupy a blog onto themselves. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Creeping lizards

Wall lizards on Wall Street. Posted by Hello

Townblog. Killer warning

Corner of Third and Wall. Who are we warning? Love it! Posted by Hello

Townblog. Watercolor

This is nice. The composition and color would indicate someone either knows his or her stuff, or that person has a real gift. Glad they shared with us. Posted by Hello

Townblog. ESB

Elmira Savings Bank knows how to be a good neighbor. Greenery and screens sheild the area from mixed-zoning ugliness. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Photo Credit

I never have to wonder what I will do with my time. Blogs are piling up and being assigned to obscurity, archived by date. Over the next few days I intend to archive by subject. Cat-dog-petblog; River-townblog and whatever. So all my photos now need a title, and date and time are crucial. Still lots to learn through Blogger.

When I began blogging, my purpose was to have my say. This is still my purpose. I'll say it through words, photography, and by linking to sites I admire. For instance, catblogging is juxtaposed with political opinion at Sisu almost daily. She also links heavily to other catbloggers. Personally I can spend hours perusing other people's pet photos. If you are likeminded, Sisu is a must.

Not a newcomer to photography, I am beginning to realize that my work is not bad. However, if you want to see a master craftsman, go to Burningbird, although she posts a lot of highly technical (to me, anyway) computer-code oriented writing. I began to regularly read her techstuff in order to rate my computer savvy (not too awful high). Her photography is astounding, and I am humbled by her eye for framing a shot and catching color and light.

BTW, today readers can find a lengthy piece regarding the blogger mentality at Burningbird. Many of her social and political views are a tad left of mine, but I admire her love of life on this little planet. And I envy her ability to tramp some really difficult countryside for truly awesome shots. She will be joining my list of must-click links.

Enough for now. My house is screaming for a good cleaning. Nothing like the vacuums for stirring up the domestic fauna!

Little Pond

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Finally starting to get it together. Got the loading time down. Got the links on board. Got the pets all blogged. Now I just need to figure out how to reformat the entire blog. It's going to be slow and painful, due to lack of time to spend on it weekdays.

Dank, rainy day. Good day to blog, but too much going on here. Duct-cleaning sends Granddog right up the walls with shaking, barking and whining. The cats are terrorized by the huge vacuum tube and are all hiding, except dumb DeeDee. The dearth of competition has her sitting on my lap, my mouse, my cereal bowl. Then she moves on, no rhyme nor reason.

Check out the links! Just for starters, Sisu, Lileks, and Instapundit. I may have neglected to mention that Lileks can sometimes dish up sweet prose on the changing seasons in the Twin Cities area. They call the Instapundit the Blogfather, and rightly so. I check him first on current events.

Before I add the rest of the crew, I intend to give some background on them. It's clear why I link Sisu and Lileks. My other links could surprise even my friends. Some of them I link purely for pleasure, or for humor, others I link for art, and still others I link to try to broaden my viewpoint.

More in a later post.

Little Pond

Dogblog. Ellie's better.

P E T B L O G G I N G ! ! ! Ellie is feeling much better, thank you. She's currently (10:20 AM) barking her butt off at our serviceman. Jeff's Heating Service comes annually to clean our ductwork. Not a luxury with four cats and a dog, two asthmatic, allergic adults.Posted by Hello

Catblog. Spooky.

Spooky whose "showname" is Sophia Nocturna, is the grande dame at about 18 years old. Note the claws, kneading because I'm cooing at her and taking her picture. At this great age, no attention is enough, let alone too much. Posted by Hello