Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "You Are Wonderful"





Will try my best to write this post tonight...now I am on some medication that says it can cause drowsiness, so for me, it might as well as say...this drug will knock you out! 

Do I have a lot of things to write about? You bet! My purse is stuffed with all the notes that I have jotted down about people, places and things that I want to tell you about.  For today, I will tell you that it is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who gave us the character, Sherlock Holmes!  (Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859.)  There is the most wonderful site devoted to him, you may find it just   here!   Be sure to read his biography while you are there.  What a fascinating man!

One thing that I learned, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he was only 25 years old, wrote a short story, a fictionalized account about the ship, the Mary Celeste, called "Habakuk Jephson's Statement", but it was written in the form of a first person testimony by a survivor.  He called the ship, the MARIE Celeste in his story.  Perhaps because of his influence, you can often hear people discuss this ship using his name for it.

(I do hope you know the true story...the Mary Celeste is famous for the mysterious disappearance of all those who were aboard.  On Dec. 5, 1872, the ship was found deserted in the Atlantic ocean, off the Azores islands, completely abandoned.  Once again, I have a link for you here.  And of course, there is a non fiction book that I can tell you about...
"Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew" by Brian Hicks.)


Okay, now back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle... 

Did you know that he never once said, "Elementary, my dear Watson" in any of his stories?  He might have come close to those words but he never actually said them.  One thing that he DID say, and I only found this out today, but his last words were directed to his wife and he said to her..."You are wonderful."

I also read that every spring he gave to his wife Jean, the very first snowdrop flower that bloomed in their garden. And she kept every one of them! There, isn't that just the sweetest thing to know?  ( A few years back, I think that one of those snowdrops were auctioned off...)  

Also, I read that there will be a new 50 pence coin that will come out this year in Britain. You may see it just here.  The coin will have a likeness of Sherlock Holmes in his famous deerstalker cap, along with titles of some of his most famous stories.  The words are so tiny, you will need a ...wait for it...a magnifying glass! Isn't that just the perfect touch? 

Sidney Paget is the man who illustrated the Sherlock Holmes stories that were published in the Strand Magazine.  He did 356 published drawings!

Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated


There, my friends, I think I did very well writing this considering I am just about to nod off... I hope you find Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as fascinating as I do!






Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Poison Ivy? Oatmeal Bath!

Poison ivy has URUSHIOL. It is an oil that is secreted from the leaves, vines, stems and roots. Should it contact your skin, it forms a bond which causes a severe allergic reaction. The itch is nearly unbearable.  Ask me how I know! 
(I think I read that poison ivy is in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.)

There are a few little rhymes that might be helpful to remember.

"Leaves of three, let it be".

"Longer middle stem, don't touch them".
(The top leaf tends to stick up a bit from the other two.) 


"Hairy Vine, no friend of mine".
(The plant will also be like a vine and the vines are "hairy". Even if the vine looks dead...do not touch it! And don't burn it either, the fumes will send you to the emergency room.)


Sometimes if you are very sensitive, poison ivy can last up to a month.  Since I am about at three weeks myself, perhaps I might be in that category.  
I ended up going to the doctor and have been on steroids. Unfortunately, I have had a bit of a time with these drugs and sometimes feel shaky, dizzy, woozy, and that is the best of it! Mostly, I feel as if someone has taken me and knocked me against a brick wall. Hey, but at least I am not itching! (Gotta look on the bright side!)

Okay, now if you you ever get something like this...try something that I used, an oatmeal bath! 

I think it would be nice for you even if you don't have horrible itchy spots all over you!  This is what I did...I took a brown coffee filter bag, filled it with about a third cup of OATMEAL.  I tied it at the top tightly with a rubber band and then placed it gently into a very hot bath. (I actually used two of these bags!)  Let it "steep" just like a teabag.  Let the water cool enough for you to immerse your body into the oatmeal water.  (I took the oatmeal bag and rubbed it gently on my poison ivy spots.) 

There, it left my skin very soft!  Wouldn't it be funny if all the fancy spas did the same exact thing and then quickly remove all traces of their oatmeal/coffee filter bags and place the small candles into the water and then charge you the big bucks? That could be!

Here is one plant that cannot hurt you!  It is the coreopsis! We love it.

Hope I can get back into the swing of things soon!  I think I need some music...









Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day (I'll See You In My Dreams)





For anyone who has read my blog before, I hope you will remember how much I admire Doris Day!  I have written about her several times.   I wrote a post last April for her birthday...you may read that post just here.  She passed away today at the age of 97.
The world could use more people like Doris Day, I think. 








I know I keep tellling y'all this but you MUST see her in "I'll See You In My Dreams".   PROMISE me that you will! I had my son watch this with me when he was here for my birthday in April and he agreed that not only was it a good film but that she was an amazing actress besides being a great singer.
(Seems like I remember reading that Ella Fitzgerald thought she was a great singer too...so, that really means something in my book!)

Flowers in bloom!  Apostle plant or wandering iris, it is lovely.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Archies (Sugar Sugar)







I wonder how many people started singing a song just as soon as they heard the royal baby's new name?  You know I did! The song "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies was a big hit in 1967.  It was the number one US single OF THE YEAR!  I knew it was a big hit in the USA but what about in England?  Turns out ,it was at number one for 8 weeks in the UK!  I learned today that the lead singer was Ron Dante and that HE was the lead singer for "Leader of the Laundromat", a parody of "Leader of the Pack".  (My Dad loved parodies and we had that record, I remember it well.) It amused me to know that Ron Dante sang on both of those records!

"Sugar Sugar" might sound dated today but it was a great song when you were on roller skates. When I hear that song, I am transported back to the early 70's and I can feel myself skating to the beat of that song. (Yes, it was a big hit in 1969 but with a catchy tune like that, it was still being played at roller rinks.)

Ah music!  I hope that I never run out of songs in my head!
"His shirts always came back brown...brown...brown."!!
My Dad always liked funny songs!  





Look at these darling eggs.  These were at my Dad's house from 2 years ago.  He was so excited to show me this nest and was pleased that I took a photo of them. I think it was a mockingbird's nest.
Happy Spring to you all.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Name for Royal Baby? (It'll Be A Minute)

 Well, thank goodness the baby has been born! Unless you have been living under that proverbial rock, you will know that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex had a baby boy yesterday in the early hours of the morning.  (Never mind we were first told she was in labor when in fact she had already had the baby. Oh well.) Good luck to them! I hope I never have any fame, I  would be like Elvis, try my best to get away from people.  So, that is my good thought for the day...I don't have to worry about anyone running after me!😊   

 What should they name the baby? You know I will tell you, he already has a cousin George, so they should name him John Paul Richard! Ringo Starr's real name is Richard Starkey, I hope you know. They could call him Ringo!   It has a nice RING to it.  Haha. You should read about Ringo's childhood sometime, he overcame so much in his life and with such a cheerful attitide. They would do well to consider calling him Ringo if you ask me! 
When I say that it will take a minute...Since when did that become to mean that is something that will take quite a long time? Is this just an American expression? I work with some much younger people and I have noticed some words and phrases that I can only understand by the context and facial expression! Anyways! (They don't say anyway, they say anyways!)

Whatever the baby is named, let's all be happy with it, yes? I saw on the BBC that a woman named her baby girl Disney and was given much grief about it.  I like it myself but then, I also know of the life of Walt Disney and I like him too. It's true, I admire a lot of people but I don't care how much money they have or how brilliant they are, it is their love and kindness that counts. 

What do YOU think they should name their baby? Feel free to leave suggestions but be nice.   Also, let me know if you have that same meaning for " it'll take a minute".

Ringo! Peace and love! ✌ ❤ Update as of May 8th...Archie it is! Maybe the next boy could be Ringo. I never give up!





Sunday, May 5, 2019

Plant Blindness and Fringe Tree





                                             Fringe Tree- (A Native Tree!) At the Monastery, Conyers, GA.

Plant blindness?  This term was coined in 1998 by a couple of American botanists, James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler. What does it mean? In the simplest of terms, it means that we just don't seem to notice plants! Our brains, you see, just tend to lump them all together into one great blob of green and we have lost the ability to appreciate not only the beauty of them but also the importance of them.

I read about this in a BBC article.  You may read it just here.
Please read it! It is fascinating!  You will be tested on it at a later date, just so you know.

Oddly enough on the very day that I read this article, one of my co-workers brought his children to see me.  The baby girl came straight into my arms. (This surprised the parents, they told me she very rarely does this. Babies love me!) The little boy...I showed him the photos of flowers on my calendar.  His Dad said that he doubted as an adult that he could name that many flowers! (Plant blindness!) The little boy told me that they had blueberries beginning to grow and that HE was going to make medicine from them.  "That's right", I told him, "a lot of medicines are made from plants and flowers.  So...
when I read this BBC article, I now know that there are more than 28,000 plant species that are used for medicine.

Once again, on this very same day...I came home and brought my mail into the house.  All at once, I had a sharp pain on the side of my arm...I looked down and my arm was beginning to get red. Thinking I had gotten bitten by an insect, I didn't think much of it but as the evening wore on, and there was this unbearable kind of itch, I knew that I had somehow made the acquaintance of poison ivy.   My friends, I have managed to live all these years in Georgia and this is the first time that I have been so afflicted.  The interesting thing...it was Wednesday when it suddenly "came out" and I could only have been exposed to it during the weekend before! I looked up photos of poison ivy rash and trust me, they look very scary. Mine is really not that bad, it is that I am such a big baby! (That must be why babies like me.)  I have it on my right arm, my left thumb and on the side of neck. How in the world? The plant has Poison ivy...leaves of three...let it be!  That is the little rhyme that you must remember.  But wait, I MIGHT have gotten into some Poison OAK!  Oh dear, I will have to fight against this plant blindness.  It can be very dangerous!



At the beginning of this post, I showed you a fringe tree that is planted near the entrance at the Monastery in a most formal landscaped setting...but the fringe tree also grows at Arabia Mountain and it is not maintained or trimmed by anyone! The blooms are so lovely that I think that those who design bridal gowns should mimic those blooms on a dress!

Hope you are all are well and enjoying the beauty around you.
Don't have plant blindness! 







Tuesday, April 30, 2019

English Gingerbread (And One Very Sad Song)




Gingerbread!  I made some gingerbread this weekend.
 It was quite good. Would you like the recipe?  No? Well, too bad, I am going to give it to you anyway!  (I crack myself up.)

ENGLISH GINGERBREAD  (From Old Cookery book circa 1890)

1 cup brown sugar
1 2/3 cups flour  (plain)  For Gluten free use rice flour/corn starch
2 teaspoons ground ginger
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk 
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
optional for gluten free:  1 teaspoon xanthan gum


There you go! Easy! (I love easy.) I bake gluten free for my husband. So for the flour, I used rice flour and corn starch mixed together to make up the 1 and 2/3 cups.  Also, I used the xanthan gum but you can leave that out if you like and certainly do leave it out if you are not baking gluten free!

Let's see...I mixed the flour, sugar, ginger and pinch of salt together. Then, I mixed in that bit of xanthan gum.  In another bowl, I mixed the egg, melted butter together and then, mixed in the milk.   Pour the wet into the dry and mix well. Pour into greased brownie pan. (It said to use an 8 inch square pan, but my oblong brownie pan was just right.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.


There!  Please note that there is not one bit of CINNAMON in this! Try to keep that hand away from that strong cinnamon if you can and just try it with the ginger.  It is called GINGER-bread, after all!
(Just looked it up, it is believed that the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis first brought gingerbread to France in the year 992 where he taught the French Christians to make gingerbread. From there, it spread all over Europe.  So, it is a very ancient sweet!)

The photo that I have for you...the crossvine flower, these were blooming all over our local monadnocks!  This one was at Arabia Mountain. Some think it smells like cinnamon, some think it smells like coffee.  What do I think?  I think it smells like a crossvine flower! It is a heavenly fragrance. When we were walking, we could smell them before we saw them.

Okay, you are thinking...that is the gingerbread but what about the very sad song?  Of course, you must know the one that I am thinking about!  It is a song written by Dolly Parton, "Me and Little Andy" and since it mentioned the word "gingerbread", my baking brought this song to my mind...

"Ain't Ya Got No Gingerbread?"