Friday, March 29, 2013

Red Tailed Hawk...Sorry, Red SHOULDERED Hawk!


Hey! Let's observe a live cam of red tailed hawk's nest at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  Shall we?  I just discovered this and I was very happy to find it.  There are three eggs in the nest now and if you go to that link you can also see a video of the bird laying the eggs. There is also a clip showing one of the birds on the eggs all night even with the snow falling down!
 The red-tailed hawk is one of the most common hawks in North America. Richard took a photo of one on the mailbox across the street from us.  This month, we had to take some trees down and a hawk landed on either side of the trees being cut down as if to say, "Well, I hope you're not going to take them ALL down!"
(Don't worry, we won't!)
Red tailed hawks are very common in Georgia.  Their loud cries are very commonly used in movies, often described as the sound of an eagle! You may read some interesting facts about the red tailed hawk here.
UPDATE: If you look at the comment below, you will see that this photo is of a red shouldered  hawk, it is similar to a red tailed hawk but the markings on the wings of the red shouldered are more distinctive and that is what Richard has photographed for you here!
"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."   I really love this quote...I just found it scribbled on a piece of paper in my handwriting but I don't know who said it or where I found it.
Wish us luck, Richard and I will climb Panola Mountain tomorrow in the final monadnock climb for our Monadnock Madness climbs in March.  There is a 70% percent chance of rain and the final descent is called the "butt slide" since it is so steep, some come down on their backsides!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring/ I'm Making Believe

If you were reading my blog last year, do you remember that I went to a baby shower in March?  On March 25th, to be precise! The leaves were in their full Spring green at that time whereas this year, we are just now beginning to see the leaves to bud on the trees... I am not complaining, mind you, just making an observation that Spring is later than usual.  I took the following photos from the back of my sister's van on the way to the baby shower.  It really was a fine day, the countryside looks nice, don't you think?

Of course, this should look just like this within just a few weeks, so I am not absolutely NOT complaining!  I saw on the news that earlier this week, exactly half of the country was covered in snow! We even had a few snow flurries yesterday in the Atlanta area and it was one of the coldest days we have had (even though technically it is Spring!).  I could show you photos of the bare trees now, but since we don't usually take photos like that, you will just have to believe me!

I found another song for you.  It is Bill Kenny of the Inkspots singing with Ella Fitzgerald.  I think this should be played on the radio, on the hour, every hour, for all to hear!  Enjoy!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Thanks and Misty Mountain Cold

Thank you to all of you who went to Paul's blog and left him comments of support and encouragement.  (Read my last post if you missed it!)  That was so very kind of you.  I appreciate it so much and Paul has left me word that it really lifted his spirits!  If you are reading this blog for the first time, you are in very good company.  The folks who read my little blog are the BEST.  Thanks again!
As I told you, Richard and I watched "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey".  Well, what can I say, I loved it!  How can you not like it?  It has a great story with a perfect cast and beautiful music all through it.  "Honour, loyalty and a willing heart" nice to have a movie made these days that is true to the author's intentions! (Okay, I admit it, I haven't read the books, but I think I do understand them, maybe just a little!)  One of the songs was extraordinary.  It is only short so I hope you will listen to it.  The actor, Richard Armitage, is the main singer, and he is joined by the other dwarves, James Nesbitt being one of them. (I know this actor from other British TV shows.)   I have read that when folks came back for repeated viewings of the movie, many of them would sing along with this song.  I love that, but only if they could sing as well as these actors!
You know, I did tell you that we have been having quite a bit of rain.  We saw the most water cascading down over Arabia Mountain that we have ever seen.  I wish you could hear this water with the birds singing and the low whistle of the train from three miles away...that is all we heard on this day.  It was beautiful.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Colors On Arabia Mountain/ Prayers And A Song

We need more color in our world.  Hopefully, color from flowers rather than the color codes on TV showing the heavy bands of rain...
Yes, that's much better.  The blooms on the rabbit-ears (hairy groundsel) look so pretty against the green moss at Arabia Mountain.  I told Richard that  this photo that he took looks like a post card to me.
     Hey! Can you see that the diamorpha smallii is growing now? And look at the reflection of the sky in the water beside the diamorpha, I love that combination of red and blue.  (And speaking of blue, I love the sky too!)

Of course, the red against the gray rock is a beautiful sight also.

I love the way the sun lit up the pale green leaves on this plant.
  I have been crocheting a multi-colored striped scarf. If you click on that link, it will take you to a nice lady's blog where she gives you the pattern and a lovely photo.  Mine is not as good as hers but hey, I still like it!  See, I told you I wanted more color in my life!  The scarf reminds me a bit of the Joseph's coat of many colors...
Do you remember that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber did a musical about Joseph?  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat was the name of it.  Some years ago, they had the best show on TV in England, where they had singers to compete for the lead role in that musical.  I really enjoyed that show.   One of my favorite parts came at the end where the one who was eliminated had to sing a song called "Close Every Door". Sometimes they sang it with a touch of anger.  I really liked the ones who sang it with all they had, as if do say, THIS is how good I can sing, and I will give it all I've got.  I finally found a video of one that I really liked, they called him "Rob" the builder.  (He worked in construction, I think, and since his name was Rob, it sounded so much like "Bob" the builder, a children's book character.)
Anyway,  hope you like this video. I was so pleased to find it.
One of the nice readers of my blog, Paul Forster from New Zealand had a very serious accident in a bike race and broke his hip just recently.  Please pray for Paul and if you click on his name there, it will take you to his blog.  Pay him a visit and tell him Kay said, "hey!".  Thanks, Paul, for all the great shots you have shown me of New Zealand!
Richard and I are going to watch "The Hobbit" tonight!  Of course, everyone knows that it was filmed in New Zealand, right?  
Colors or colours, I wish this for you all!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Laurel and Hardy

This world needs more partnerships like Laurel and Hardy.  After all, one was from England and the other one was from Georgia.  (Read my profile if you don't know what I mean!)  I have told you from   this earlier post about Oliver Hardy living in the small town of Madison. Now, I understand that is possible that he might have even been born in Covington (which is just the next town over from Conyers) instead of Harlem, Georgia!  I wish I could find out for sure!  Wherever he was born, he was most certainly from Georgia!  His nickname was Babe and that is what all his friends called him.  Such a great dancer for such a big man and so light on his feet!  I love this video that I found for you and I love the song that makes their toes start tapping and their feet to start moving. Listen to it and you will be humming it too!  I have read that they just made up this dance when they were listening to one of the Avalon boys strumming on his guitar...
(Richard tells me that another song from this same movie, "On The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine" was a hit record in England in 1975!  I love that song too, look that one up if you get a chance!)

 Laurel and Hardy toured England, Ireland and Scotland in the 50's and were not sure how they would be received.  They were mobbed everywhere they went while they were there!

Laurel and Hardy, they were both so very clever and oh so talented. The thin one, Stan Laurel was really the industrious one and Oliver Hardy, a great singer and dancer was the more laid back character, exactly opposite of their on- screen personas!  After retirement, Stanley Laurel spent a great deal of time responding to his fan mail.   He even had his phone number in the phone book and talked to whoever who called him.  That is how Dick VanDyke became a good friend of his.  In fact, Dick Van Dyke read the eulogy at Stan Laurel's funeral.  He recited this prayer at the service...

As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,

dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
"When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile."
Image of Oliver Hardy (Laurel & Hardy) - Screened
I hope that you take the time to listen to Laurel and Hardy. Just watching them dance has made my day!  I hope it makes yours too!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baby Brayden Wearing Kay's Crochet!

Adorable baby boy Brayden!


It makes me so happy when a young mother is so intelligent that she lets her baby wear a baby cap that I have crocheted! Thank you, Jeanna, you have such good taste!   I can remember when Jeanna was this size! I have spoken of my friend, M.A. before...this is her grandson!  (You may see where I mentioned M.A.  here.) This debut on my blog will count as his first modeling job.  Well done, Brayden, you are a perfect model! 

  I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see these photos and to know how much the mother loved this little cap that I made for her baby.  This really tickled me no end!  If anyone would like the pattern, let me know and I could see if I can remember how I did it and add it to this post.  You can tell, it is a simple pattern, that's the only kind I can do! 

Okay, Brayden, I hope you enjoyed your modeling debut.  Hasn't he grown in the past two months?  Babies grow quickly, enjoy them!   Can you tell how thrilled Jeanna and M.A. are with this little guy?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Forgotten Highlander-Alistair Fuquhart

Months ago, I told you that I had read a book that I would tell you about, so I am finally keeping that promise...
If you have read my blog before, you might remember that I have mentioned Mr. Louis Zamperini and his book, "Devil At My Heels", and when I read it in 2004, I found it so moving that I wrote a letter to the publisher.  Mr. Zamperini wrote me back! When I wrote him again, he sent me a note to let me know that Laura Hillenbrand was writing a book about him.  Her book about him, "Unbroken", was released in 2010 and was named the best nonfiction book of the year from Time Magazine.    You may read my post about Mr. Zamperini here.

I have now read another book by a man from Scotland and it is also a story from World War II and he also was a Japanese POW.    It is a very moving story.  In the USA, the book is entitled :
"The Forgotten Highlander:An Incredible Story of Survival In The Pacific" and it is written by Alistair Fuquhart.  Everything that this poor man endured is almost too much to read and to absorb, it is that intense.  Alistair was in the Gordon Highlanders and was in Singapore when the Japanese overtook the city.  Forced to work on the Burma Railway (also called the Death Railway due to all who died building it)  he was one of those who built the infamous Bridge Over The River Kwai. (The movie about it is based upon a work of fiction.  JUST a movie, not like that in real life!!)  After that he was put onto one of the Japanese Hell ships which was torpedoed by a US Naval ship. (The ship was not shown to have prisoners aboard, so the author does not blame the USA.)  Adrift at sea for five days in a tiny raft, he was picked up and sent to a prison camp outside Nagasaki.  Yes, you might guess that he was knocked over by a blast of hot air one day and later found out that it was the atomic bomb which was dropped there...
After the war, he married and had two children.  He never spoke of these wartime horrors and it was sixty-five years before he decided to write down his story.  Here are some links where you may read more.  Japanese hell ships  Death Railway  BBC Review

Even after all these years, Mr. Fuquhart feels he needs to eat rice at least three or four times a week.  When I told my husband this, he said, in a soft and thoughtful voice, "For him, rice would represent life"...

Now, how can someone endure such a horrible experience?  I have read reviews that MUSIC is what saved him.  And I so agree, he speaks of music all through it but I must tell you that it is actually LOVE that saved him.   It was the love of music you see, the love of it and the thought of the love of his wonderful family back home in Scotland.  If you go to the Amazon website for the United Kingdom, you can read a review of his book, which I think is the second review down, and I love that it is written by his daughter! 

If anyone in Scotland ever gets to meet Alistair Fuquhart, please shake his hand for me, would you? Pass along my good wishes and let him know that I thought his book was very well written.  It's difficult to think of all this man went through, both during the war and also how much he was tortured by his memories after the war.  Stephen Spielberg has now, I believe, secured the rights to this story, so you should look out for it on the big screen within the next few years.

Alistair Fuquhart, I will not forget you!  I will try my best to let others know of your story.  Leaving you with one of the songs mentioned in the book, "Moonlight Serenade".  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mad About Monadnocks!

I am mad about monadnocks!   If you read my blog, you know how much I love Arabia Mountain and Stone Mountain.  They are called mountains but are really monadnocks.  This is the very scientific way that the Arabia Mountain website tells you the meaning of monadnock....

  "A monadnock is a special type of mountain that is formed when a massive blob of lava hardens and creates a very hard clump under the earth. Over millions of years the softer rock around the clump is eroded away leaving a huge mountain that juts out of the flat landscape around it. This process is how Arabia, Panola, and Stone Mountains were all formed."

Ha! A massive blob of lava, I love it! There, you see Arabia and Stone Mountain, but I have not spoken of Panola Mountain that much.  That is because you can ONLY climb Panola Mountain with a guide and that is only allowed on certain days.  There are trails that are near Panola Mountain and you have seen our photos of the lake and river trails there but Panola Mountain itself can only be climbed with a guide.  Last year, I did a post where I did Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain on the same day, just because I thought it be neat to say that I had done them both!  Well, guess what?  During the month of March, FOR THE FIRST TIME, they are having a fun event called "MONADNOCK MADNESS" and the plan is to climb all three during the month of March.  (Hmmm... could they have gotten the idea from me?  Gee, that would be neat if I inspired anybody to think of that!  Cool, even!) They even had some dates that you could sign up for all three on the same day and I really wanted to try for that, but the dates didn't work out for me, so I will just be taking a photo of myself on each peak and sending it into the website for the different dates during the month of March.  I know, I am such a big kid, but hey, I love my mountains/monadnocks, as you all well know! Here's the link if you'd like to read more:  monadnock madness

We went to Stone Mountain this past Sunday and have been to Arabia Mountain twice in the month of March we have signed up to do the Panola Mountain climb on March 30th! (Yes, we are just getting in by the end of the month!)   We have only climbed Panola just one other time (we climbed it in early December) but I didn't post any photos of that trip.  Richard was behind me and all you mostly see is my rear end...speaking of which, at the end of the hike, they actually call it the "Panola Mountain Butt Slide".  I kid you not, it is so steep that some find it more comfortable to slide down on their bottoms.  Now, what do you think that I did when I came down?  After all, I am getting on in years and I am not in the best shape... Of course, I stayed on my two feet, it would have to be VERY steep to make me slide down on my bottom!!  Goodness, I am such a dignified lady after all! HA!
You are supposed to get a special gift if you send in your three photos from the top of each peak BUT the prizes are limited and first come, first know how that goes, don't you?  Oh well, even if I don't get whatever prize they have, I still will know that I climbed all three monadnocks during the month of March! And if they could just let me know that I inspired the idea, that would even make me happier than the prize!
That is the photo of me with my huge basketball head that I will be sending in.
Also, I wanted you see the photo of the sparkling water in one of the pools on top of Arabia. Hey, I took this photo!! I only had the camera because I was about to take a photo of Richard...
I am telling you, I LOVE these monadnocks!!  (And you know, of course, that Richard took this photo of the rocks with the diamorpha.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Aubrae Gunderson

In 2005, a young girl was tragically killed here in Rockdale County as she was training for the Heritage High School Track Team.  She was in my son's class and she died just after beginning the 10th grade.  Her name was Aubrae Gunderson and she was a brilliant student and athlete. You may read more about her here.  They now have a Memorial Race in her honor and one of the things that her parents wanted on the race t-shirts was the acronym of her name that she had written in the 7th grade.  It is such good advice that I wanted to share it with you.

Aubrae's Acronym
A - void negative sources, people, places, things, and habits
U - nderstand yourself in order to better to understand others
B - elieve in yourself
R -ead, study, and learn about everything important in your life
A - void negative sources, people, places, things, and habits
E - njoy life today; yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come

Aubrae Gunderson Memorial Scholarship Fund

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rainy Night In Georgia

"It's a rainy night in Georgia, feels like it's raining all over the world".

 And this rainy night comes after one of the prettiest weekends that you could imagine!  Maybe that is why the rain in Georgia is a bit much to take, since the contrast is so much...

Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail, March 10th

Rockdale River Trail Near Alexander Lake-March 9th
Yes, I know that I must not complain after the rough weather in the rest of the country, but hey, I didn't write this song!  Anyone in Georgia should be singing or at least humming this song tonight, the rain is really beating down...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rum Glaze/Vultures/Country Songs

Hey!  I am not much of a cook but I just found a recipe in my own handwriting, I must have jotted it down sometime.   When I worked as a travel agent, one of my travelers brought me back a Rum Cake from Jamaica and I really liked it. 

Rum  Glaze:

2 cups confectioner's sugar
5 tablespoons rum 

Mix the 2 cups sugar and 5 tablespoons rum together.
With a skewer, punch holes in pound cake.  Pour glaze over.

Here's the funny thing, I have never made this. Never bought a bottle of rum in my life and haven't had that rum cake since the nice lady brought that to me from Jamaica back in the 90's!   Funny, isn't it?  Or is it sad?  I can't decide...

  I know I am not feeling or looking so great these days but these buzzards are getting too close to me!  (Those are really turkey vultures, and you can always recognize them in flight by those wings outstretched at the tips.)   We call them buzzards but we don't have buzzards in the USA, they are really vultures and they, like most birds, fascinate me.  You may read about them here.
Well, rum and vultures...I think I might be writing myself a country song soon!  Stay tuned! In the meantime, I just heard this song by Toby Keith, and I like it.  Toby Keith writes a lot of his songs, but I somehow thought that he couldn't have written this one, and I was right, it was written by an excellent songwriter by the name of Chuck Cannon.  There's another song that Chuck Cannon wrote that I also like and it is called, "We All Give God The Blues".  I have read some criticism of his songs but I also read something that he wrote where he stated that he knows the spirit in which they were written. 

Happy Mothering Sunday to my mother-in-law in England and also to anyone else who will be celebrating this tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Broken Dream by Justin Hayward

"Gone are the days when I could bounce right back again".

Hope you will like this song by Justin Hayward.  He is still touring with the Moody Blues but he just released a solo album (Spirits of A Western Sky)  and this particular song was on his last solo album (TheView From A Hill) but this time, it is done in a Blue Grass style of music.  The musical arrangement might be slightly different, but the singing is the same and just as good.  I love that his voice is just as strong and clear as it ever has been. (I couldn't find a video of this song from his new album, you will just have to take my word for it!)    Richard and I are big fans of the Moody Blues.
Hope you like this too.

And of course, I have to give you a western sky!   This is another sunset from Arabia Mountain.
 I hope that I can talk Richard into doing a guest post about the Moody Blues.  I think it is time to hear from him again, don't you?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Diamorpha, Seeing Red On Arabia Mountain


"Seeing red" is an expression which means anger.  On Arabia Mountain, it means you are looking at beauty.  The diamorpha smallii (elf orpine) is amazing.  Just when you think it can't be any prettier, it then blooms with tiny white blossoms.  Diamorpha Smallii only grows in the sandy soil of the solution pools on granite monadnocks.  This year, it has been very disappointing to see all the footprints and the paw prints of dogs pressed into the sandy soil.  Does there seem to be as much red as last year?  Is it due to the amount of rain or cold? Or could it be because of the negative impact of the feet pounding upon it?
 If you ever visit Arabia Mountain, or any other mountain like it such as Stone Mountain or Panola Mountain, please, only step upon the gray rock.  Also. keep your dogs out of the sandy parts which will support some wonderful plant life even though they LOOK as if they are just pits of sand. (Please note: dogs are NOT allowed on the walk-up trail at Stone Mountain!)
  Okay, maybe I am "seeing red" in the way that you usually think of!  It angers me that even though there are signs clearly posted asking you to avoid walking through the sandy soil, they are oftentimes ignored.  Please understand that this area really is mostly ROCK and that is where one should walk, NOT over anything that looks like plant life. 

In April, the diamorpha smallii should look like this....

And this....
 And then blooming into this!!!

Okay, now I am just seeing red in a good way and everyone will read this post and know to only walk on the gray rock, NOT the rock that has the green lichen and moss.  You have to be careful of anything that is living!  Honestly, there is a lot of rock to walk on, it really is mostly gray in color, you know the color of gray, don't you?  I hear that there are at least 50 shades!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Richard Street, The Temptations

Did you hear that Richard Street from the Temptations just passed away?  This happened just after the death 10 days earlier of another one of his bandmates, Damon Harris.  My son and I were discussing movies that we had seen and one that we both enjoyed was the TV movie, "The Temptations" which was based on a book written by one of the band's members, Otis Williams. What a wonderful story behind this group! What an incredibly bunch of talented men! My son got me the DVD of the movie "The Temptations" as a present this past Christmas.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it.  Of course, it tells you the whole story of Motown with Berry Gordy and Smoky Robinson and all of the Motown names that I hope that you all know  and love. 
The video that I found for you is from a concert in Stockholm and it is not the best quality but just listen to the sound of Richard Street's voice! My stars, what an incredible singing voice that he had, those high notes just blow me away!  I love that song "My Girl"...just those opening notes, you can tell that you are in for a treat, don't you?  I know that often folks don't bother to click on the Youtube videos, but I promise you that if you listen to this one, you will enjoy it!  And remember, if you can, make sure you watch that movie, I think it was really a mini-series on TV and the DVD said that it won an Emmy.  Good, it deserved one.
 Rest in peace- Richard Street, Damon Harris, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin and Eddie Kendricks.  The joy of your music will last forever.
We just had a cold weekend in Georgia, the coldest this winter.  Saturday was cloudy and cold but today (Sunday) was sunny.  
"I've got sunshine on a cloudy day,
when it's cold outside, I've got the month of May".
Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.  Take care.


Friday, March 1, 2013