Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pachelbel's Canon/ Kay's Canon

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments on my last post sending our son best wishes on his birthday.  Very much appreciated! Did you know that my son and husband are guitar players? They are very good and I hope one day to get one or both of them to play here for you, but in the meantime...
If you click on the video above you can listen to some beautiful music as you look at the photos from a beautiful November in Georgia, USA.  The music is by a German Baroque composer by the name of Johann Pachelbel.  You may read about him here.  I wonder if he did ever meet Johann Sebastian Bach?  It would be nice if they had met at a wedding (which is suggested in this Wikipedia article I have given you to read) since this piece of music is often played at weddings.  For some reason, they have begun playing it just before Christmas. I just heard it on the radio today.  (Nice music for Advent, perhaps?)  Since my husband plays the guitar, he found this from Youtube for you and I am sharing it with you here.   It is my hope that Richard will learn this and can play it for me whenever I ask it of him.  And even though I don't know why it is considered to be for Christmas, I am glad that it is.  Beautiful music is always welcome.
(How little can I make myself here that you can barely see me?  I'd go for smaller if I could!)
These photos were taken at Arabia Mountain, Panola Mountain and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit which are very close to me, all are within the Arabia Moutain National Heritage Area, a very special area which you may read about here!
Anybody who has read my blog for a while knows my love for Arabia Mountain and Stone Mountain, but I need to tell you about Panola Mountain, which we visited this weekend.  That will have to wait for another post!  In the meantime, thanks so much and welcome to my newest followers!  I love the people who visit me as much as I love my beloved Arabia Mountain.  Thank you!  I love you all but I ADORE all of you who leave me comments!
(Sorry I have to keep using that word but I loved the way Andy Serkis said it in that clip I gave you from a recent post. I really mean it.)
That very last photo was of a small tree in our backyard and that was so bright on Thanksgiving morning that I just had to snap that photo very quickly before the sun moved away from it.  And my header photo was also in the backyard, the bright Georgia sun makes everything warm and colorful. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Best Son

These top two photos are the most recent of our son.   He has a sweet smile, just like his Dad! (These photos are on top of Arabia Mountain, and I took both of them!)
Christmas Party, 2009.
On the Eastbourne Seafront in England.  Posing with Snow-In-Summer! June 2010.
Christmas Eve at Aunt Pam's, 2009.
With his English Grandparents on the Bluebell Walk in England in May 2010.
4th of July 2009 with his American Grandfather, "Papa".
One of the songs that I sang to my baby was "Cuddle Up A Little Closer". I knew it from Chas & Dave (my son grew up with their music!)  and they sang it in a kind of honky tonk style, but I sang it like a lullaby, very softly. I'm glad that this singer has recorded it as a lullaby. It is perfect for babies.  Listen and memorize it and you will have a song at the ready whenever you need to get a baby to sleep!  Happy Birthday, Christopher, you will always be the babe!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Andy Serkis- I Adore You!

We watched a movie on Thanksgiving night and it was "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".    I thought it was a very good movie and the ape "Caesar," portrayed by Andy Serkis, is what made it so very extraordinary.  He has been in a lot of things and you may read all about him at his website.  It is  Andy Serkis is very well known for the character "Gollum" in the "Lord Of The Rings" movies, and you will see this same character in the new movie coming out soon in December, "The Hobbit".  ("My Precious...")

This video clip from the movie "13 Going On 30" is only 2 minutes long, so I hope that you will watch it.  Get up and dance to it if you feel like it!  It is a very joyful scene. When the DJ comes down to dance and then the man in the suit comes out to dance too, that was unexpected!  The man in the suit is Andy Serkis!  I wanted you to see that not only is Andy Serkis a great actor (and he is a painter as well, read this at his website!) but he is a good dancer too.   I was surprised at his dancing ability!  I really shouldn't have been though, talented people are very often gifted in many different areas. 


 Here is another diaper cake I made for a baby shower this weekend.   It was just a little one, but I thought it turned out okay.  I take lousy pictures, it was really cuter than this! (I hope.) Anyway, at the baby shower someone else had made a WREATH out of diapers and someone else had made a MOTORCYCLE out of diapers with a teddy-bear riding the diaper motorcycle! Honestly, why do I even try?

I wonder if Andy Serkis could bring this face on my Corn Jalapeno Casserole to life?  If anyone could, he could!   (My sister-in-law, Ellen, always wants me to bring this.  She is one of the few people in my family that reads my blog.  She might be the only one. Thank you, Ellen!)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Art and Beauty

File:Rodin The Shade.jpg
"The Shade" by Rodin at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia.   (image Wikipedia)

What was the first piece of art that you ever saw? For me, it was this sculpture in Atlanta and it took my breath away.  I thought it was amazing.  I still do.

"The Shade" was a gift from France to the people of Atlanta to honor the 106 Atlanta arts patrons  killed in June of 1962, in a plane crash at the Orly airport in Paris, while on a trip sponsored by Atlanta's High Museum of Art.  At that time, it was the worst single plane aviation disaster in history.  This was not only a personal tragedy but it was also a tragedy for the arts in Atlanta as it took away the people who were the biggest supporters of the arts and those who would have convinced other people in the city of the importance of art.   Sometimes people are referred to as "shakers and movers" and I think that this group of people were exactly that, trying so hard to have a major art museum in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1960's.

Art... what do you say that it is?  Once, during a speech class in college, I had to give an impromptu speech about art and I stuttered and stumbled my way through that subject, trying so hard to recall quotes from Plato and Aristotle.  I remember that I said that I thought that art was the expression of truth and/or beauty and that it was hard for me to define "art" but that I know art when I see it.   Sometimes, what other people call art...

One of my favorite artists is Claude Monet.  (It is my dream to one day visit Giverny in France and to see Monet's gardens! Look at a map and see how close I am when I am on the Southeast coast of England, so near and yet so far. One day!)  Recently, Richard took a photo of the lake at Arabia Mountain, and it reminded me of Monet... the reflection of the trees in the water, the green lilly pads in the water.  Art!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving On Your Fancy Eating Table!

From my last post about my Dad's greens in his garden, I am happy to inform you that the dark green leaves ARE the collards, and the lighter greens are the turnip greens.  I will see my Dad in a few hours for our family's Thanksgiving get-together but I spoke with him last night and he told me (for sure) which was which!  Funny isn't it, how we can't think very well when we are tired...I had no idea what to type about those greens in my post, but the next morning, I felt certain that I knew the identity of the greens!
 Now, you know that he will have a "mess" of collards today and does anyone else call them that? Or is it just my family and other Southerners?  I typed a "mess" of greens and read someone who thought only Jethro Bodine said that on "The Beverly Hillbillies".  Do you remember that show? Oh my, we loved it as kids, and we certainly loved the song at the beginning.  Sing along with it if you want to! Do you know it by heart? You know I do! 
Hope everyone in the USA has a happy Thanksgiving day.  And if you are reading this in another country, have a happy Thursday and wish us well!

"Mess" derives from the Latin "missus" meaning a portion of food or a course at a meal. This also was the earliest meaning in English, as in the Bible story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a "mess of pottage".   "Mess" came to mean any group of people, like the military, who regularly eat together.   And also, if you are in the South, and someone laughs and calls someone a "mess", that does not mean that they are messy, it just means that they like to cut up and laugh and have a good time.  My Dad is a real mess!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good Directions And Turnip Greens

Hey Ya'll!  I went with my Daddy on November 11th for a Veteran's Service at his church.  It was nice but he is ready to get into his overalls once he gets back home.  (I wrote about my Dad's memories of Berlin if you want to go back and read about him.  Of course, I have written of him before, you may go back and read all the posts about him, if you like!)  That is a photo of him posing with his new dog, Bandy.  And the photos here are of turnip greens and collard greens that he has grown.  He enjoys this garden and he also shares the bounty with others!   I think that the darker color greens are the turnips...or is it the lighter color greens.  I'm not sure, I will see my Dad on Thanksgiving and ask him. He will throw his head back in laughter and shaking his head, he will say, "WHAT, you don't know which is which?"  I will have to admit that I am not sure!
My Dad loves country music and he really loves a song that tells a I have one here for you from several years ago.   I might not know a lot about farming but I do know that the corn would not be that green if the turnips were ready to sell. In other words, turnips are in the ground now ready to be harvested, and the cornstalks in the field would be brown and ready to cut down.  Also, you know it is an old video since the girl would have a GPS instead of a map!
My son who is a big music fan will laugh at me for putting this song on here, but I like it. Yes, it has stereotypes galore, but just go with it  It reminds me of my Dad and being out in the country.  And hey, I am a Georgia Girl, even if I do get my greens mixed up!
Update: I just had a good night's sleep (which helps my thinking, somewhat) and I believe that the dark green leaves are collards and the light green is the turnip greens.  I don't know for sure but I will find out when I see my Dad!  I know everyone is waiting on the edge of their seats over this!  :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wildflowers And Lady Bird Johnson

Yellow Daisies, Stone Mountain, Georgia. USA - September 9, 2012.
I'm optimistic that the world of native plants will not only survive, but will thrive for environmental and economic reasons, and for reasons of the heart. Beauty in nature nourishes us and brings joy to the human spirit, it also is one of the deep needs of people everywhere.    Lady Bird Johnson

We have had some very wonderful First Ladies in this country but one of my favorites is Lady Bird Johnson. (Born Claudia Alta Taylor, her nursemaid declared her "as pretty as a ladybird" and that is what she was called.)  She, along with her good friend, Helen Hayes, founded the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.   Please, read about her wonderful work to make this country and the world learn the importance of native wildflowers at the following website:

The U.S. Postal Service will come out with stamps honoring Lady Bird Johnson in December and they will be FOREVER stamps, which make them even more special.  The first stamp is her official White House portrait and the others were first issued in the 60's paying tribute to her beautification efforts in that decade.  Growing up during that time, I can tell you that I appreciate so very much the Beautification Act of 1965:  junk yards had to be disguised by a wall of tall bushes, the wildflower plantings along the major highways and the flower beds and trees for the city parks.  (Just a personal note, I see that she became an Episcopalian and worshiped at the same church for many years.  After she died, she made sure to leave the money for the church to pay off their mortgage.  Just a little footnote that I read, but I thought it was typical of her nature.)  Can you tell that I admire this woman so very much?  I am so grateful for all that she did in her long life and I am thankful that we can appreciate her lasting legacy.
At the top of my post is a photo from Stone Mountain showing the plants that grow there.  A few years ago, I only knew a few of them, but after our time on Arabia Mountain, I am happy to tell you that I know ALL of them and what is more, I think that Richard has taken some better photos of them than the ones that they have depicted here for you on this plaque.  (We call the spiderwort "Tradescantia", because the botanical name is so dignified!)
It is not only for beauty that we need to keep our native plants but it is also just plain common sense as it holds the soil together!  There will be another Ken Burns documentary that will be shown very soon and it is called "The Dust Bowl".  Are you aware of this tragic man-made disaster from the 1930's America? You might want to look out for this new film about a very sad period which, from all accounts, looks as if it could have been avoided. 
Wild beautyberry atop Stone Mountain- Nov. 3, 2012.
Wildflowers, enjoy them wherever you are in this world!  I will leave you with another quote from Lady Bird...
"The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Abraham Lincoln

There will be a new Steven Spielberg movie coming out on Friday and there is a real Oscar buzz about it.  I hope that people will go to see a movie about Lincoln and that it will be a hit.  There are many reasons to have liked him as a President but one of the things that I have always admired is that even though he was largely self-educated, he is one of the best writers that this country has ever produced.  There is some doubt as to whether he wrote this  letter to Mrs. Bixby, a woman who lost sons in the Civil War, but I think it sounds very much like him.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

I was reminded of this letter recently when I read the post by Tracey from her blog in England when she researched the story behind seeing the same surnames on a World War I Memorial and finding that so many had died from the same family.  (Tracey's blog name is Breathing English Air.   You may read her post here.)

The speech that Abraham Lincoln gave at Gettysburg is very famous and rightfully so.  I so much love someone who speaks in a very clear, direct manner and gets his or her point across in the fewest possible words.  This speech was so brief that the photographers of the time were still setting up by the time Lincoln finished speaking.

 In March of 1865, Lincoln gave his second inaugural speech.  In just over a month, he would be gone.  

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Monday, November 12, 2012

84, Charing Cross Road

84 Charing Cross Road is a book of the correspondence between Helene Hanff of New York City and Frank Doel of London.  Frank worked for a bookshop in London and the address was 84 Charing Cross Road.   Helene Hanff had seen an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature that listed the bookshop of Marks & Co in London as specializing in out of print books.  Helene first wrote to the bookshop in October 1949 and kept writing letters to the same bookshop for twenty years.  At first, she addressed her letters to "Gentlemen" but after noticing that the same man always answered her letters, she asked if she could know who she was addressing, rather than to just know him by his initials..FFD.  Frank Doel did reply to her and the letters are so funny and so well written. It is quite obvious that Helene Hanff is a straight-talking Yankee from NYC and Frank Doel is the proper English gentleman! She not only wrote letters but also, sent wonderful packages of food which were very well received since England was still under strict rationing at the time.  Of course, I have my own reasons to love a book about the letters between an American woman and an Englishman.   (Read my profile.  Reader, I married him.  Sorry, I always wanted to say that.) Helene was never able to meet Frank, which was very sad, but she did make it to England and met Frank's wife and children and was able to tour the London that she had always dreamed of seeing.   Helene Hanff wrote about it in her book, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. 

I love both of these books, and I must tell you that the movie made of 84 Charing Cross Road is also excellent!  Perfectly cast, Anne Bancroft plays Helene Hanff and Anthony Hopkins plays Frank Doel and they are wonderful!  The role of Frank's wife, Nora, is played by Judi Dench and although she only has a very small role, there is one scene where she says almost nothing, but all the emotion is just on her face and is a very moving scene.  I found a clip of the movie and I hope you will have time to watch it...when Helene Hanff talks about William Blake seeing a prophet as a child, it just makes me laugh, I am sorry, but it does! 
Also, in the movie Frank goes to a seaside town in England with his wife and children and of course, it rains. (Hey, I didn't say it, that is what they say in the movie!)  What was exciting to me was that, even though it was not credited in the film, the seaside town was Eastbourne in England! (I have written about Eastbourne before, if you want to go back and see my posts!)  Therefore, whenever I am there I have to go and stand in the same place where Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench once stood, which is just behind the Bandstand on the seafront in Eastbourne.  It is possible that it could have been the next column over where the actors posed, but it is close enough for me.  Watch the movie and you will recognize this spot!
And the book has the title like this:  84, Charing Cross Road, so that is why I have titled my post in that way.  Are you supposed to put a comma after the number in an address, is that the proper way to do it?  I really don't know, but if Helene Hanff has it that way, then it shall have the comma.  Please let me know if you have read these books and/or seen the movie.  If not, what are you waiting for? 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Expect Wonders

"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders."
  Henry David Thoreau, "Faith In A Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Natural History Writings"

The sweet gum tree on the right is in our front yard and came up in one of the flower beds.   Richard let it grow and we are amazed at how quickly it has grown.  In Autumn, the leaf color is mostly yellow,  with some reddish leaves, and here and there, leaves that are so dark purple that they are almost black.  Lovely tree with leaves like five-pointed stars but because it is a native tree and very common, many people do not care for it. 

The photo of our front yard was taken by me just before we got in our car to go to Alexander Lake and the Rockdale River Trail which is at Panola Mountain!    The early morning mist over the lake, the sound of the birds, the bright reds and yellows of the foliage, the fresh smell of lake and trees, and the sun upon our faces made for a very nice morning.

Hope you enjoyed kicking up some leaves with us.  Now, remember our colorful sweetgum in our front yard?  Would you like to see our back yard? Color is all around us! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Spy Something WHITE

This clip from YouTube is 13 minutes long but I think it is worth watching.  The first five minutes or so, you can go away and put the kettle on, or fix yourself a piece of toast and just listen to it but please come back and watch the rest of it.  John Downer is the British filmmaker responsible for this incredible film.  Certain images stay with me...the elephant carrying the fake wood with the spy-cam inside, the camera with the dung plastered over it, the monkey with the inquisitive hand near the eye of the camera and of course, the polar bears. Such amazing shots, you just cannot believe what you are watching.
Let me know what you think of this!  And in the USA, we say "I spy something white"...but in England, they say "I spy with my little eye something white".  We must have copied it from England, so why did we drop "my little eye"?   These are the burning questions that keep me awake at night...

And in case I don't get to the Monastery in time to see the beautiful ginkgo is a photo of me from a few years ago posing with them...presto, I am two years younger! HA!

Monday, November 5, 2012

No Man Is An Island

Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

"No man is an iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...."
These words were written in the year of 1624 by John Donne.  Fascinating man,  please read about him here.  Most people know him as a famous English poet but I think of him not only as a wonderful writer but as a man of God and a great preacher.  "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind..."  These words came to me recently when I was thinking of those who had died in the storm in New York and New Jersey and of all of those who are suffering.  Thinking of them, it occurred to me we all should pray for them.   John Donne also had some thoughts on prayer. See if you can't recognize the truth of them for yourself...
"When we consider with a religious seriousnesse the manifold weaknesses of the strongest devotion in time of prayer, it is a sad consideration.  I throw my selfe downe in my chamber, and I call in and invite God, and his Angels thither and when they are there, I neglect God and his Angels, for the noise of a flie, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a doore.
I talke on, in the same posture of praying; eyes lifted up, knees bowed down, as though I prayed to God;  and, if God or his Angels should aske me, when I thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell: Sometimes I find that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it , I cannot tell.
A memory of yesterday's pleasures, a feare of tomorrows dangers, a straw under my knee, a noise in mine eare, a light in mine eye, an anything, a nothing, a chimera in my braine, troubles me in my prayer.  So certainly, is there nothing, nothing in spiritual things, perfect in this world."
Our prayers might not be perfect and we might be distracted as we give them, but if they are straight from the heart and sincere, that is all that matters. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Stone Mountain, Warm Autumn Day


Stone Mountain on Saturday, Nov. 3rd...beautiful day, the temp went up to 80 and even though it looked autumnal, it was very warm.  This pansy was at the base of the mountain just before the walk-up trail.  I took this photo but almost all of the rest are by Richard.  Enjoy!

If you saw my Wordsworth post recently, you saw this covered bridge at Stone Mountain.  Here it is in the season of Autumn.  The Cherokee Trail goes around Stone Mountain and at one point crosses over the walk-up trail but it also goes through the woods and at this point it is the stone wall right beside the lake.  This was a bit scary when I was one of the leaders on a Boy Scout hike years ago.  Can you imagine taking little boys and telling them to walk alongside this lake? It was in the winter and I just knew one of them would fall in! 
The colors made such a nice reflection in the lake, this looks like a painting to me.
Here's a photo that Richard didn't take!  He is enjoying the lake here and just look at that beautiful tree that was just above us as we drank our coffee.  I looked up and had to take this photo...
It was sunny and warm and the water was sparkling in the bright sunshine!

We spent hours at Stone Mountain and we so much enjoyed all the colors.  Hope you loved this beauty as much as we did!