Monday, March 30, 2015

On Top Of The World In The North Georgia Mountains

Enjoying the view!


These photos were taken this past weekend at Lake Burton, Clayton and Black Rock Mountain State Park.
Clear blue skies, fresh mountain air, clear trout streams and bright blossoming trees...
On top of the world!
These trees were magnificent! The color! Like a painting!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Strong Women/ "Fear" by Jettie Parrish/"We Have Your Husband" by Jayne Valseca

Recently, I was sent the book "Fear" by Jettie Parrish, which I won in a giveaway from Diana from her blog, Nana Diana Takes A Break.  The book arrived in excellent condition and because it came to me during a very hectic week, it made me even happier to receive it.  Since Jettie Parrish signed it for me, the book is that much more special to me.  I have a real fondness for books signed by their authors.

"Fear" is the story of Donna, a woman in an abusive relationship.  Her husband, Hawk, is a real jerk and not only abuses his wife physically but mentally as well.  Because it reads somewhat like a screenplay, I can just picture it as a movie! I really am the worst person to do a book review, I don't want to tell you what happens!  I will say that everything works out in a way that is pleasing to me and the ending reminds me  of a book of fiction that I really enjoyed: "Shell Seekers" by Rosamunde Pilcher!   So, I think that if Angelina Jolie comes knocking at your door, Jettie Parrish...just say YES!

 After I read this book, I also watched a fascinating episode of Dateline on TV.   It was about an American woman, Jayne Valseca,  who married a man from Mexico and they lived in Mexico along with their three children. They were very happy there, starting a creative school for children.  Their lives were forever changed when her husband was kidnapped,  kept as a prisoner and tortured for several months.  He was finally returned after the ransom was paid but he had lost half of his body weight. (He had also been shot twice and had been kept in a small box with very little food and water.)  The woman, Jayne Valseca, was such a beautiful, strong woman that I was just amazed at her courage and resilience.  Sadly, at the end of the episode, it was revealed that she had died of cancer since the show had been filmed.  There is a very nice piece written by one of the show's producers and you may read it at the following: remembering Jayne.

It might seem strange to link these two stories together: a small book of fiction and a true story of a courageous woman who survived the kidnapping of her husband, but to me, they both show examples of strong women.  Jayne Valseca wrote a book about her experiences, and that is a book that is now on my list to read.  
"We Have Your Husband" is the title and I have the link for you here.

I had a prayer written by Phillips Brooks on my blog recently.   I think I can have it here again.

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hey! If you are a woman reading this, you want to know another example of a strong woman?
Go look in a mirror!  Stay strong, everyone.  That goes for all you MEN too!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cherry Blossom Time!

Hey! It's time for the cherry blossoms in Rockdale County!  I wrote about them two years ago.  You may read that post just here.  If you don't have time to go and read that very L-O-N-G post, I will tell you that in the early 1980's, we had the Japanese company, Maxell here in this county, and the President of the company, Hideo Ogino, planted Yoshino cherry trees in front of the Maxell plant. (The property now is owned by the county and is a park with walking trails.)  In honor of this, we have had a Cherry Blossom Festival here since that time, and they have always sold cherry trees at a low cost. Because of that, there are cherry trees all over the county and this week, THEY ARE IN FULL BLOOM!  Sorry, but that deserves capitals...truly, it does.  My husband and I are thrilled with them every year but this year, for the first time, we have seen lots of people taking photos in front of the cherry tree blossoms.  Just wondering, could they all be reading my blog?  Hope so!

From a distance, you might think that the blooms are white, but they are a very pale pink.  Just gorgeous against a blue sky!

And in case you are wondering, I took the last two photos! I like to wait until Richard closes his eyes, he looks more relaxed that way! Have a relaxing, blue-sky, cherry blossoming day! (If it is not Spring for you yet, just hang in there.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Foreverly- Billy Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones

Billy Joe Armstrong is the lead singer for the rock band, Green Day.  Do you remember the song "American Idiot"?  Norah Jones is ...well, what is she not? She is a fantastic singer/songwriter AND musician!   The fact that they got together in 2013 and made an album is surprising but I was pleased to find that they did so!

The album, "Foreverly", is a re -interpretation of an album from The Everly Brothers that was released in 1958 entitled "Songs Our Father Taught Us".  They are old songs from their childhood that they sang simply for the harmonies, they didn't really pay that much attention to the lyrics.  While they are some of the saddest songs that you will ever hear, they are sung with such gentle voices and genuine respect that they are very meaningful to me.   I found a very good interview about this from the New York Times, you may read it just here.  An unlikely duo...that is what it calls them.  Perhaps so, but I love it when the love of music brings people together!

And don't you just love The Everly Brothers?   I love how their voices blended together in their songs.  (Phil Everly died in January 2014.)  Billy Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones must feel the same, the songs that they have given us in this album reminds me very much of The Everly Brothers.  The song "Long Time Gone" is the single that they released from the album.  The lyrics are here too, so you can sing along.  Enjoy!
Stonehenge it is NOT but folks try their best!  Arabia Mountain, March 2015.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Way Or Another/Teenage Kicks

The band, One Direction, did a charity single two years ago for Comic Relief.  "One Way or Another" was a huge hit in the 80's for the American group,  Blondie. (Please note the song was also written by Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison.)   The song "Teenage Kicks" is by the Undertones.  (I had never heard of that song before but you can learn about it here if you like.)

The video was filmed in Ghana, London, Tokyo, and New York.  I think this is a fun video and I think that it's great to think of how much it raised for the charity.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Red Nose Day In The USA!

Someone must be reading my blog!
 I have said for a long time that I hoped that America could copy the idea of the Red Nose Day from England and today I read that there will be a Red Nose Day in the USA on May 21st of this year!  The first Red Nose Day was in 1988 (although the charity COMIC RELIEF was founded 30 years ago, in 1985.)  It was started by Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry.  Lenny Henry you might know as an actor and very funny comedian.  Richard should know his name too if you like British comedies!  He is the writing talent behind the movies, "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Love Actually", "Bridget Jones' Diary", "Notting Hill" and the TV comedies, 'Black Adder", "Mr. Bean" and" The Vicar of Dibley".   So funny!
You may read more about Red Nose Day at this link just here.  Apparently, they will have more on that link in early April so that you may download a fundraising kit.  Remember it!

I love it when the world listens to me even if it takes years!  HA! I'm such a comedian!

Not a red nose but red diamorpha at Arabia Mountain from March 2014.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Invaders

"The Invaders, alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the EARTH. Their purpose: to make it THEIR world".

Anybody else remember this opening narration from the TV show from the late 60's, "The Invaders"?  There have been times recently when  I have said the following..."What in the world...what planet are they on?"  It seems to me, dear reader of my blog, that it could be possible that rude, thoughtless and downright mean people might be trying to take over the world.  BEWARE!  These aliens are everywhere...and they look just like us! 

The diamorpha (the red stuff) on Arabia Mountain, not as much as usual. Weather or aliens?

Trout Lilies at Arabia Mountain. The leaves are mottled like trout, that is where they get their name. They are small but that yellow is such a clear bright color!

     Please note that the trout lilies are NOT aliens yet we have lots of plants that ARE alien invaders. That will be a subject for another post!  In the meantime, watch out for the ALIENS. You have been warned.

P.S.  I know that "What planet are they on" may not be grammatically correct but hey, it makes the point!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Live Honestly And Fearlessly/Happy Mothering Sunday

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Prayer by Phillips Brooks.)

You know, if you click on my link to this hymn, the words are here too.  If you sing along with the choir and the church congregation, I won't tell anyone!  I promise! 

Happy Mothering Sunday to my dear mother-in-law in England. Wish we could have had tea at the Hydro Hotel today!  Wishing the best to all the MUMS in England and any other countries celebrating their Mother's Day today!








Thursday, March 12, 2015

Possum On The News!

 I have told you to keep an eye out for nature. In Georgia, that means even when you are watching the news on TV.  (If you go to Facebook for WSB TV, you can see the video. Sorry, I don't know how to link to it.)

Eat more possum Millington TN 2013-10-20 002.jpg

By the way, opossums' tails are used to carry branches but they cannot hang from a tree the way they are sometimes shown in pictures.  And in answer to your question...NO, I have never eaten possum!
Want to know more about this animal?  Here is a link for you...Opossum Society of the USA

Hey! Look at the above sentence, it must be getting better at work, I found the apostrophe all by myself! (In an earlier post, I had to ask Richard where it was on the keyboard!)

Any nature sightings for you?  In North Carolina, Audrey and her daughter were thrilled to see a Bald Eagle in flight while they were waiting at a traffic light.  Thanks, Audrey!  (Click on her name to see her blog, such a wonderful writer and photographer!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Won't Back Down

Songwriters must be careful when they have songs that are "styled" after a certain artist.  Today, a jury awarded Marvin Gaye's estate more than seven million dollars in a copyright infringement against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for the song "Blurred Lines". (Marvin Gaye's song was from 1977..."Got To Give It Up".)
Recently,  it was decided that the song from Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" was very similar to "I Won't Back Down" which was written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne *(performed by Tom Petty AND with  guitar by George Harrison!) There is a nice article in The Rolling Stone Magazine, you may read it just here.  Instead of a lawsuit, Smith has given Petty and Lynne co-writing credit for the song and a small percentage of the profits.  It stands to reason you shouldn't mess with songwriters who have a song titled "I Won't Back Down"!   Just kidding, read that article, Tom Petty could not be any nicer about the subject.  Peace and love!

*Jeff Lynne from ELO, you know I have that English connection somehow!

Found a video of one of my Dad's favorites (and my son's too!) Johnny Cash singing "I Won't Back Down"  with backing vocals from Tom Petty!  What wonderful talent on one record!  The lyrics take front and center in this video.  I am laughing as I type this, as this is just what my husband said when he heard this from my computer but he is right, of course, and I do agree with him.  It is almost like a hymn when Johnny Cash sings it.

I made my Dad my peanut butter cookies this weekend, my "Miracle" cookies. They are called that since they don't have any flour in the recipe.  The name amused him AND he enjoyed the cookies!
See, I not only can make good cookies for folks but can make them chuckle at the same time!
And does anyone remember my confusion over the red tailed hawk and the red shouldered hawk?
When I was at my Dad's, we had a big bird of prey fly over us, and I knew it was a hawk...I asked my Dad if he could recognize it and he said, "YES, that's a red tailed hawk!"  
"How can you tell?", I asked him.
"The red tailed hawk is BIGGER!" was his reply.
I need to have my Dad around when I am writing my blog posts about nature!
And hey! In the midst of my stressful working life, I won a book from Nana Diana in one of her giveaways. (And if you want to have some great laughs, you MUST NOT miss her blog!)
I will tell you about the book very soon!  Don't you love those bright spots in the dreary times?
You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won't back down.
Downy Woodpecker...this is NOT a Red Tailed Hawk!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Two Pauls

John F. Kennedy once said at a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners,  " I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

When I saw Paul McCartney and Paul Simon perform together in the show celebrating the 40th anniversary of the TV show, "Saturday Night Live", and thought of their great songwriting talents, it reminded me of this quote.  By the way, if you click on John F. Kennedy's name above, that will take you to the entire speech that he gave.  Also, if you ever want to read an interesting book about JFK, I would recommend "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye" by Kenneth O'Donnell.

NOT working this weekend and seeing my Dad! We hope to see a concert by the same band that we saw last year in March, The Dove Brothers Band.  Music!  It is such a good thing in the world, or it can be!  I will let you know about the concert!  I see that the song that I had on YouTube on my post about them last year has now been taken off...that is a shame since I worked so hard to find a good one that had good sound quality!  Oh well.  Take care everyone and keep a song in your heart!
That's our son on the left...performing his own songs! July 2013

Thursday, March 5, 2015

George Ezra/Pileated Woodpecker/40 Degree Drop

We were at Stone Mountain at the end of February last year and Richard was able to get a quick photo of the pileated woodpecker.  The bird was high in the tree but you can still see how big it is! Let's see a weasel try to piggyback on this bird!

We watched the Brit Awards on TV recently and I heard a singer that I have never heard before. This young man from England reminds me of Slim know, the singer who had his songs on the movie,"Mars Attacks"...the songs that made the aliens' heads explode.   I hope that George Ezra could read my blog and tell me if he thinks so too! He doesn't sound just like him, it's just that I am REMINDED of Slim Whitman, I suppose because they both use falsetto, and not too many singers use that range.  I find his songs quite catchy myself.  (For both singers, actually.)  Poor guy,  I am so hopelessly out of it these days, I hope that I don't jinx him.
(Be funny if George Ezra's next song is 40 Degree Drop or Pileated Woodpecker, wouldn't it?)

Hey! You will never believe this but yesterday when I came home from work, the gauge in my car said that the outside temperature was 83 degrees.  Today, when I came home at the same time of day, the gauge was at 42 degrees. It was correct too. This has been one crazy winter!
Oh! And I am so tired that I just had to ask Richard to find the apostrophe for me on the keyboard. I think I need a break!
I just sent my son a one word text...COLD.  I am a woman of few words.  SOMETIMES! HA!
image from Wikipedia of the pileated woodpecker.
 We also have a red headed woodpecker and a red bellied woodpecker. I know them all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Get Off My Back- I Want To Fly!

Don't you wish you could fly away from whatever is on your back?  Okay, you might have to work at it a bit and really shake it off, but let this woodpecker be a lesson for us all.  Never give up, never surrender!  (This is a photo from a man who was on a walk in England, in is a green woodpecker with a weasel on its back...some say it is a baby weasel but it looks pretty darn big to me!)
It has not been easy for me to spend as much time on my blog as I would like...I have had to do some overtime at work and it has been a bit stressful.  One bright spot this of my co workers came to me and said, "Hey, Kay, look at this"...and then turned his phone to me and showed me the SWEETEST photos of his new granddaughter, wearing the baby cap I had crocheted for her! (And the next photo had her wearing the flower headband that I had made!) The baby's name is Scarlet and of course, you must know that I love that name!  Not only does it remind me of Scarlet O'Hara (very Southern) but also of the actress who played her, Vivian Leigh- very English!  See, I always have that Southern/English thing going on, don't you know.
I didn't take a photo of the baby cap or headband but they looked absolutely precious on the newborn, really they did! Here is a photo of a baby boy wearing one of my caps from a few years ago.  This is just a simple thing but what wonderful joy to have a baby wear this!  I can't tell you how pleasing this is to me!  I want to tell the world- get off my back I just want to create my works of art! (Well, that may be stretching it...but you understand, dear reader!)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Singing Frogs In January- Spring Peepers!

When you are at Arabia Mountain, you need to keep your eyes AND ears open!  Look and listen!

My husband and I were at Arabia Mountain on the first weekend of January.  It was just after a heavy rain and water was cascading down the rock as we began to climb. The sun was shining on the water that collected in the rock pools and the sun was so bright upon them that it looked as if there were silvery white cloths strewn over the mountain.

To our amazement, we heard frogs as we were walking (remember, this was on January 4th!) and they were so loud, that Richard tried to record them.  Funny, as soon as he began recording, their sound became muted, still making the same noise but very much at a lower level.  I still found a clip on YouTube though!   If you read about them, it states that their chorus is similar to sleigh bells, a very beautiful sound!  They were Spring peepers. (Pseudacris crucifer).  Interesting to me, the "crucifer" part of the name comes from the large x shape on their backs, like a cross..."crucifer" means "cross bearing".

No matter where you are in the world, I say look for nature and listen for it as well!