Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Christmas may be over, but the holidays are still in full swing. My family and I celebrated Christmas with the usual intensity but with some moments of sadness and quiet reflection for my dad who passed in September. Of course, this time of year is always a little difficult for me since losing my son, Jason, in 2006, but I allow time alone with my thoughts before gathering with family and friends. It was after all a lovely and blessed Christmas for us all.
I wish everyone a blessed and Merry Christmas and Hannukkah and all other seasonal celebrations. What better way to welcome the cold months of winter than to share the gift of peace and love with family and friends.
Year In Review
This past year has been one of change and challenges for me. Starting in January, I entered the world of online dating for the second time and continued on with my journey to find true love. It has been an interesting trip which has been at times frustrating, but I believe there is someone for everyone. I have made some lasting friendships and am hopeful for the future. We'll see what the New Year has in store...
Within the next few months, I learned that I had been granted a promotion and significant raise in salary, followed by an offering of a retirement package less than two months later. In an effort to avoid another round of layoffs, my former employer of seventeen years had decided to offer all seniors packages to retire. Knowing this was a one time offering, most of us took the package. In retrospect, it was the best career move I have ever made. Retirement is all it's cracked up to be, and after the usual adjustments, I am enjoying the freedom and time to do the things I am passionate about.
As a means to process my journey into retirement, I launched my blog site, www.ramblingjo.com, in May of 2012. This site was created to share my thoughts, feelings and findings on the research I have done in relation to early retirement and blog creation.
In March, I stumbled upon the Cornell Orinthology Lab red-tailed hawk nest cam where two red-tailed hawks hatched and raised their young. As a lover of the red-tailed hawk, I was immediately hooked and spent much of the summer, watching this amazing family on line with hundreds of other hawk lovers from around the world. It was an amazing journey which has brought so many observers together as virtual, and in some cases, real-time friends.
Already an avid birder and nature photog, my experience with the Cornell groups inspired me to create another blogsite. In November, I launched www.redtailrag.com, a bird lovers blogsite. I invite all my bird loving followers to check it out.
As a means to further my education in internet writing and marketing, I took a course through my local community college in the late summer into fall. It was a wonderful online course that has given me much insight and information on blogging, webzine and ezine writing and publishing and how to make money doing so. I plan to continue taking courses in 2013.
With my dad being in poor health, my sisters and I made three trips to Maine in the spring and summer to visit and ulitmately lay him to rest. While his passing was imminent, it was still such and shock. He was a great man and is sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
Musically, I have been rather productive this year, as well. While I haven't had the resources to do much recording, I have been making strives in composing music and have also written several lyrical songs. I hope to do more recording in the spring, either in Nashville or locally. I have also continued studying with Heidi Breyer after taking the summer off. I plan to work with her in the New Year to score some of my instrumental works and continue with my classical training.
What's New In 2013?
I'm so looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me in 2013. With all the changes I have made in the past year, I know there will be more to come.
I am looking at relocating to a new home which may be to another state sometime in 2013. Whether it be further south or west remains to be seen. I love the mountains and the ocean so it will be hopefully within a close proximity to both with a much lower cost of living.
Since I now have two websites, this and www.injasonsmemory.org, and two blogsites, http://www.ramblingjo.com/ and www.redtailrag.com, that I am maintaining and writing content for, I will be focusing on expanding the scope of the blogsites to include some of the features I use on this site. I plan to introduce video blogging on the blogsites and will be adding amazon and/or other shopping menues (with site related items for sale), as well. For this site, I am planning to set up a monthly, and later bi-weekly, ustream live broadcast to share my music. The later could be up and running by spring. I encourage you to add my sites to your RSS feed for current posts and updates.
With the uncertainty of the Fiscal Cliff and all the tragedy and sorrow in the world communities this year, I welcome the New Year and will make the best of each day to come. I will keep you all posted on my future endeavors. Thank you for following me here and on the other sites. As always comments are welcome.
Happy New Year! May you all have a prosperous, safe and peaceful year to come.
Hawk Mountain, PA 10/1/12
Where did October go? My favorite month of the year, my birth month, and other than a trip to Hawk Mountain, PA and of course, Superstorm Sandy, the rest of the month was spent working on a piano composition in memory of my dad. It's still a work in progress which may take some time to complete.
As many of you who follow my blog know, I spent a good part of the spring and summer following a family of Red Tail Hawks on the Cornell Orinthology Lab's nest cam and during that time chatted with some wonderful people, who were like me, hawk enthusiasts. That being said, on October 1, a group of us from the nest cam chat room met at Hawk Mountain to see if we could see migrating hawks soaring the skies above the mountain. Sadly, there were none to be seen that day. There were several turkey vultures and one bald eagle that graced us with its presence for a nano-second, but it was so good meeting up with Freddi, Raylene, Michael, Alison and Cari.
Of course, like many people living in the Northeast, I was concerned about, but not convinced that Hurricane Sandy would be as serious as the meteorologists were touting. They were calling it a super storm. Hurricane Sandy was going to merge with an early season Nor'easter and was sure to have devastating effects. Then Sandy made landfall on the coast of Central New Jersey. After a long night of wind that sounded like a freight train and torrential rain, I was lucky to have only lost power for a couple of days. Some of my neighbors were not as lucky and as the world knows, the coastlines of New Jersey and New York were devastated. There are still so many people in the area without power, and so many homes have been completely destroyed or severly damaged. I posted an article on my sister blog, RamblingJo.com, on the affects of Superstorm Sandy and how to help. If you would like to check it out, please click on the following link: RamblingJo Blog.
As October rolled into November and Halloween was postponed to the following Monday, the upcoming Presidential election was trumped by Superstorm Sandy. Tempers were short among pundants, politicians and voters, and on facebook friends debated the issues and some became foes. Twitter had unprecedented numbers of Tweets per second, and when it was over, the country was divided. Now with President Obama being re-elected, it's time to put our differences aside and support our leaders as they get back to the business of running the country. It's time to find common ground and cross over those party lines to make these United States of America great again. It's time to support those who put their lives on the line for us everyday at home and in foreign lands, and it's time to be thankful for all that we do have.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
September has been a very difficult time for my family and me. As I mentioned in last month's Ramblings, five of the seven Moore siblings gathered in Bar Harbor, Maine to celebrate my dad's 89th birthday. Dad was thrilled when we all showed up, and we spent a week reminiscing days and years gone by and savoring every minute with him. As we sang the traditional birthday song, I could see how touched he was, and though he grinned from ear to ear, there was a little twinge of sadness in his eyes.
Sadly, John C. Moore (Dad), passed away on September 9, 2012. At this writing, I am in Bar Harbor for the second time in a little more than a month and preparing with my family to lay Dad to rest on Friday. Since he was a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps and piloted P-38s in North Africa for two years during WWII, Dad will be given a military funeral and grave marker. Dad was a very hard worker and a family man who will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved.
For Dad's full obituary, please visit the following link: John C. Moore.
Rest in peace Daddy...
As August slides by like a swift inner tube ride down the Delaware, my thoughts begin to revolve around the imminent migration of my feathered friends. Yes, the summer is racing towards gone and soon the skies will be filled with raptors, geese and a variety of other waterfowl and passerines. For those of us who enjoy nature and wildlife, fall is a magical time. Although I'm not your typical "big year" birder, I do love to observe them in all their glory and capture as many photographs as I can. Among these intrepid winged beauties there will be a new flock of recently fledged juveniles who don't have a lot of experience with buildings and vehicles, so there will be accidental bird strikes and injuries or worse to the unsuspectiing young ones. They can usually be recognized by their odd coloring and clumsie flight patterns. Migrating birds are protected by law, so if you encounter one, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area. They can be found through your states Division of Wildlife, Fish and Game.
For those of you who enjoy watching raptors soaring in the sky, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PA is a great place to take a hike and watch all the different varieties of hawks passing through. They have sighted August 15, 2012 as their opening day for hawk migration. If you've never been it's quite a hike up the mountain over lots of rocks, so hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes and a decent pair of binoculars, a camera and, of course, water. There is a gift shop where you are charged a small fee for hiking the mountain that helps to pay the bills and feed the resident raptors that have been injured and unable to be released back into the wild. For more information, please visit their site at Hawk Mountain.
Another of my favorite places to go and see wild birds come through is Cape May, NJ. I love to go down in the early fall usually sometime after Labor Day when the hawks, warblers, cormorants, merlins,etc, start to come through. They also have an annual migration of monarch butterflies that come through during early September. Nothing like Sunset Beach at Cape May Point when the days are warm and sunny and the evenings cool down. I love going there at sunset when taps is played as the flag is lowered and taken down for the night. There's a great little burger stand there too. Of course, the seagulls perform their magical aerial ballet in hopes of be rewarded with leftover fries. Of course, while there, a visit to the Hawk Watch Platform at the Point as well as the Cape May Bird Observatory.
August commenced with a last minute surprise 89th birthday party for my dad in Bar Harbor, Maine. Initially, all seven siblings were on board to show up unexpectedly, but two were unable to make it on such short notice. My sisters and nieces and I caravanned up in two vehicles and while they were actually expected, I was the odd man out. After a brief moment of confusion by my mom, she broke out in a huge smile, as did my dad. Since my dad has been very ill, and we don't know how much longer he has left with us, it was a bittersweet visit. He really enjoyed his party, and we got to spend some quality time with him, as well as my mom. During the week, my sisters, nieces, brother-in-law and I went kayaking on Echo Lake. For me, it was the first time, and I enjoyed it so much that a few days later, I had a second go at it at Ike's Point. It goes to show you, one is never too old to start a bucket list.
Musically, I have been banging away at my piano and have a new song just about ready to demo. In the meantime, I have posted a new song, "Making My Way Back Home", in my song catalogue.
This month marks my late son, Jason Thomas Reid's, 40th birthday. It's been six years since he left this planet, and not a day goes by that he doesn't cross my mind. Happy Birthday, sweet Jason.
Other than searching for work and writing my retirement blog, ramblingjo.com, I have spent most of the summer researching second career opportunities, taking the occasional dip in the community pool and watching raptors raise their young on the Cornell Orinthology Lab's nest cams. Life is good...
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
As summer flies by with the swiftness of a falcon diving for prey, I am reminded how short our time on this amazing planet truly is. As a child, summers seemed to drag on between vacation at Budd Lake, NJ and the commencement of school, and how I thought I would never survive those difficult teen years. Now it seems like eons since I couldn't wait to grow up and be a wife, mother and country star. I suppose, two out of three ain't bad...as the song goes.
Speaking of Budd Lake, my dad's father built a lake front home that seemed like a mansion to me and my siblings when we were little tykes. The whole downstairs was paneled in knotty pine and underneath the stairs there was a little hidey hole of a closet that was magical to a young girl with a huge imagination. The second floor had six or seven bedrooms and one huge bathroom and the third floor was a gigantic dormer with lots of beds. That floor was for the boys, and I still recall jumping on the beds and a lot of laughter. In the backyard, there was what seemed to be a huge kidney shaped pool that we all learned to swim in before we were old enough to start school. Across the street from the house was our baseball field / fort where many wiffle ball games and battles were won. Of course, the lake was the main attraction. We had a row boat and a speed boat which we called the Luv Bug. I have so many memories of vacationing at Budd Lake. A few that I can still visualize are; catching sunfish and watching them swim on their sides in the row boat which had been filled with a few inches of rain water, catching the brass ring at the merry-go-round and ice cream cones from Geary's soda shop.
I have been back to visit Budd Lake twice in my middle years, and the house doesn't seem half the size as my memory held and the pool is much smaller too. The house and property across the street were sold in the 80's, after which, the land was subdivided. Geary's is boarded up and the merry-go-round is gone. But oh, those memories live on...
As my job search continues, I am finding that I may have to relocate to another part of the state or PA, and this week after sending my resume to a company in Blairstown, NJ, I found myself looking for retirement communities near Budd Lake. What I wouldn't give to be able to live in the old lakefront home on Sand Shore Drive. I haven't heard from the would be employer, but that seems to be status quo in todays job market. As the clock ticks down to the end of severance and unemployment, rather than feel desperate to find work, I find I am becoming more complacent and accepting that perhaps there is something else I should be doing. By the way, if you haven't had a chance to visit my new retirement blogsite, I have been posting articles about my experiences with early retirement and being a senior job seeker. Please check it out and let me know what you think and/or what you would like to see added. The url is www.ramblingjo.com.
Musically, I have been keeping busy with my Roland FP7R and have been learning how to record, and use some of the cool features. This week I plugged in a mic for the first time and found the harmony button to be interesting. It really sounds like professional backup singers. I've also been practicing my lessons quite diligently and have been tightening up the melodies on two songs I've been working on for a couple of months.
Sadly, I was unable to make the Mississippi Whisker's reunion in June, but some of my friends who were in attendence said it was a great time. My dad became seriously ill and wasn't expected to survive. The good news is, he is still with us and recovering slowly.
On the birding front, today I had the priviledge of being entertained on line by the two male red tailed hawk fledglings at Cornell University. Other than the occasional fly by or quick landing, they have been pretty much out of the camera's viewing area for over a week. I was able to capture screen shots of the two males for two hours today, but since they are property of Cornell Orinthology Labs, I won't be able to share them here. There was also a spotting this morning by one of the ground followers that one of the haggards (adults) was teaching one of the eyas (juveniles) how to hunt. Another newsworthy report from the Cornell Orinthology Labs nest cams is that all five of the Great Blue Heron juvies have fledged and are successfully fishing in the Sapsucker Woods pond.
I hope y'all are enjoying the summer and staying cool. It's been extremely hot this summer in the North East and fortunately, I got a nice senior discount at the community pool. It's been a lot of fun and good exercise. I'm up to 2 1/2 laps...woohoo!
Enjoy your summer,
As the weeks fly by and it's been nearly two months since my last day in corporate America, I'm finding that retirement can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Spending days searching hundreds of on line job listings only to realize that most of them are either already filled because employment services are trying to recruit workers while having no work to offer, or there are fifty people who are younger and will work for less vying for the same positions as I am. Then there is the gnawing feeling that I need to slow down and find work that is less demanding and more fun.
After getting the unemployment fiasco straightened out, and finding what training programs are available for unemployed workers, I have been researching options and in the midst of my research, I launched a new blog site for seniors who are in the same predicament as me. In keeping with my "rambling" theme, I've chose the domain name, www.ramblingjo.com. I invite all my senior readers to stop by and follow my journey through being nudged into retirement and finding my place in the senior workforce. If you are not a senior and know of someone who can benefit from the stories and information shared on my site, please feel free to forward the link.
Plans for the Mississippi Whiskers reunion are set for June 14, 2012 at Douglas Corner, Nashville, TN. Joe Sun is hosting the event and has lined up a band of awesome local musicians to back up the former Mississippi Whiskers performers. Some performers, such as myself, will play solo, and each songwriter will perform one original song and share a story. If you are in town, the show commences at 7:30 pm and there is a $5.00 cover.
In the birding arena, I've been following three red tail hawklets at the Cornell Orinthology Lab at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY since they were being incubated by Big Red on top of a light tower by the athletic field. I've seen them hatch and grow into beautiful fledglings, and this week, the first two took their first flights around the campus. Number One was first and has returned to the nest twice since yesterday. Number Two, is spending his first night after fledging in a tree near the light tower and was heard calling to his parents well into the late evening. Since fledglings have to deal with gravity once they take their first flight, it could take a day or two for him to learn to fly up the seventy feet to the nest. Number Three is still a little young and the moderators of the website are hoping she doesn't fledge for a few more days. For those of us who have a passion for wild birds, the spring season is very exciting, and to be able to watch these amazing raptors breed their young is truly incredible. As so many breeds of young birds take to the skies this season, please be mindful that they are vulnerable, because not only are they learning to fly, they are also learning to hunt and forage for food. If you come across one on the ground that seems to be in distress, don't pick it up. The best thing to do is to leave it alone, and if an a couple of hours it is still in the same position, contact a wildlife refuge for instructions.
Wishing all dads a Happy Fathers Day and congratulations to all you grads!
Enjoy the rest of your spring,
After a gorgeous weekend in Warren County, New Jersey, Monday has commenced with intermittent showers and the threat of thunderstorms for later this afternoon. Apparently, this will be the ongoing forecast for this week; however, the Weather Channel is predicting a nice Memorial Day Weekend for this area.
As my search for work and second career opportunities continues, I am settling into retirement (for now) gracefully and accepting that perhaps my next position will be more of an entrepreneurial endeavor. This weekend, my search became more focused on what I can do that will entail using my creative attributes (as opposed to my administrative capabilities). Since none of the employers to whom I have submitted resumes have responded with a request for interview, and NJUI has yet to approve my unemployment benefits, I have found my focus shifting from the current job market (or lack thereof) to college catalogues and internet research. The pot is simmering (my brain), and I am considering several possibilities for creating a revenue stream through blogging. What could be more perfect for someone who loves to write and take photos and has a penchant for travel, birding, songwriting, piano, guitar, etc.? Stay tuned for what could be the start of my second (third?) career.
Speaking of travel, I have recently returned from a long weekend in Maine where I spent time with my family, as well as explored my favorite parts of Acadia Park and Mt. Desert Island. Having taken hundreds of photos in the past and more than 350 on this trip, I am always looking for new ways to capture the same shots of the beauty of the mountains and oceans of this little piece of heaven in Maine. I have posted some of my favorites on my photos page under Maine 2012.
Another exciting bit of information I have to share with y'all is that I have been quite prolific with songwriting since my last post. I have completed six new songs and will be making demos of some of them soon. Stay tuned.
The Mississippi Whisker's reunion is fast approaching and I am hoping to make it to Nashville for the social event of the season. Of course the acceptance of employment would be the only obstacle that could trump my trip; otherwise, I plan to be there. Hope to see some old friends and make some new acquaintances. Mark your calendars for June 14, 2012 at Douglas Corner, Nashville, TN.
For all my birding friends, I have had the pleasure of receiving some new visitors to my feeders this spring. Along with my old friends the various types of sparrows, mourning doves, squirrels and house finches, I have been pleased to receive a downy woodpecker, some tufted titmice, several gray catbirds, several cardinals and a couple of North Carolina chickadees. I also had the pleasure of capturing photos of some male ruby throated hummingbirds while in Maine, as well as an osprey, and a 2nd year bald eagle. The latter two were only good enough for ID purposes, but it was still good to have seen them.
May you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy the official beginning of the summer season (at the Jersey Shore anyway).
My official retirement date from corporate America was April 13, 2012, and I am enjoying my first week of R & R. Being pushed into retirement long before I was expecting to be was a hard pill to swallow, but I realize it wasn't personal. While I would love to not have to work any longer, I know this hiatus is temporary and hopefully there will be another position with my name on it before Fall arrives.
In the meantime, the creative juices are flowing and the birds are enjoying having me home. I have written my first song since retiring and am getting ready to go back in the studio on my next visit to Nashville. Speaking of Nashville, the Mississippi Whiskers songwriters reunion has been moved to sometime in June. I'm so looking forward to seeing old friends and acquaintances.
Another plan for the summer is to play some of my songs at a few area open mics, in preparation for performing on the Phil Stahl tv show on a local RCN cable channel. That should be a hoot. I'm shooting for sometime in July. I'll keep y'all posted on dates and locations.
Enjoy this lovely Spring weather and stop back soon,
As the signs of Spring are all around us here in the Northeast, and the March winds are blowing pollen all over the place, I sit staring out my den window at the beauty of it all. Change is a good thing and as scarey as it may seem, there is an excitement that keeps drawing our thoughts to the possibilities that ly ahead. I say this because, I am about to take a giant leap of faith with my future.
After spending seventeen years working in corporate America, I have been offered a retirement package that I cannot refuse. Since actual retirement age is still several years away, I know I will have to find work, but I am planning to take a brief hiatus and spend time writing, traveling and getting some well deserved R&R.
Oddly enough, my retirement date was serendipitously targeted for the same day I was planning to be in Nashville for the Mississippi Whiskers reunion. Therefore, rather than go for a quick vacation, I will be able to spend more time visiting with friends and taking care of music business.
Currently, I am researching options for future opportunities and possible relocation areas and am finding that I am more and more ready for the changes ahead. I am emotionally and mentally preparing myself for a hopefully graceful exit into retirement, and at the same time, I am feeling like life is about to become very creatively stimulating and less stressful than it has been in many years.
I look forward to seeing all my Nashville friends soon and while there, I hope to make new acquaintances as well.
Have a great weekend!
It's been a while since I posted a blog, so forgive me if I ramble on. With spring around the corner and after the mild winter we've had in the Northeast, the birds are already beginning to migrate through my area. It is a definite sign that warmer weather and flowers are not far behind. As a novice birder and amateur photographer, I love the change of seasons, especially fall and spring, because of the abundance of birds passing through and the magnificent displays of color, sight and sound.
Since I recently began a 10,000 steps a day regimen, and have been working my way towards that goal, the approach of warmer weather and all the beauty of nature will provide more incentive for me to get out there and walk (with camera in hand). As I sit here typing away, I am already looking forward to taking a brisk walk on this crisp and windy day in hopes of seeing some of my favorite feathered friends passing by or stopping over in the corn fields and the return of some of my favorite house finches, juncos or sparrows.
On the music front, piano lessons are coming along. I'm actually reading music without too much difficulty and am loving my FP7R immensely. I'm having so much fun playing different types of music...from classical to boogie and am gaining new musical inspiration.
My friend Cathy Roberts emailed me a few days ago to invite me to a reunion of patrons and performers of the old Mississippi Whiskers, Nashville, TN club. Whiskers (owned by Sharon Bell) was a songwriter hangout in the 70's and early 80's that was home to many of us up and coming songwriters and recording artists of that era. The proposed date is April 27th at Douglas Corner, Nashville (Whiskers closed down in the early 80's). I plan on attending and will hopefully be on the roster to perform a set. I hope to see all my old friends there. When the date is firm, I will let y'all know.
While in Nashville, I plan to schedule more time in the studio to record a new song written earlier this month. Time and funds permitting, I will also finish up the tracks on Living Our Legacy and perhaps record another ballad written last year.
Time to get on with the day and get some exercise.
Have a great weekend,