Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rose Breasted Grosbeak!

image from Wikipedia

My Dad called me today and was most excited about seeing a bird on his deck. 
 "It's got a black head, and it's white underneath and the red on the front is like a bib, and that red is the PRETTIEST red that you have ever seen!  Do you know what it is?" 

My Dad knows I know my birds! It is a rose breasted grosbeak.  They don't live in Georgia but at this time of year, you can see one passing through if you are lucky enough.     "Stunning",  "cannot be mistaken for any other bird" and "like an exclamation mark at your bird feeder"...those are some of the things that I just read about this bird!

Oh! And I also read that their song is like an American robin's but more melodious, as if a robin had taken singing lessons!  That's funny. (Sorry, Robs, you know I love you too!)

I really love my Dad's enthusiasm, just like a child's!
Stay young, no matter what your age!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monarch Butterfly - Chrysalis Tree!

Please take the time to read a wonderful post about the magnificent Monarch butterfly by Sharon may find her post just here!   She tells us what we must do to save the butterflies!  Sharon is a fantastic writer and quite honestly is someone that I truly admire, a great lover of nature and words.

The most marvelous thing, Sharon received a gift of a chrysalis tree....a twiggy tree with monarch butterfly cocoons on the branches!  Can anyone imagine receiving such a gift?  What a wonder!

(Also, Sharon has a giveaway on there for a teak table for your patio or need to email her and you must be in the continental United States, but if you are interested, then you can say I told you about it!)

I have written about the Monarch butterflies before.  We saw hundreds of them on Arabia Mountain the first week of  October in 2012 but we have never seen them in large numbers like that since then. We need to do all we can for the Monarch butterfly, we CANNOT lose this beauty, we MUST NOT.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

To Mr. Flynt With Love

James Flynt died last year.  He was the Social Studies teacher that I had in 6th grade (I was about 11 years old) and when I saw him just a few years ago, he still remembered me.  Not only did he know my face but he even remembered my name!  It made me think of some teachers that I really liked: Mrs. Faye Pemberton, Miss Elizabeth G. Sanders, Gwen Ellington and Jane McDevitt.   I had some bad teachers but I have erased them from my memory and it is only the kind ones, the ones who really cared about their students that I remember.  You may read Mr. Flynt's obituary  here.  It states that he was a retired educator and taught in Rockdale County for his entire career.  It SHOULD state that he was the most patient of teachers, trying his best to make a certain girl learn the difference between latitude and longitude!  I have a fond memory of him softly saying, "Those lines are just imaginary, Kay"...and that just brought to my mind the image of the entire Earth teeming with life and love. The lines are just there for us to measure and make sense of things.

Did you have a teacher that you remember with fondness?

You might think me corny to have the song "To Sir With Love" on here but it is appropriate.  I also had Mr. Flynt as a teacher a few years later, when I was 13 years old, so you see, from crayons to perfume...that is just about right!

Lulu starred in the movie "To Sir With Love" and sang the title song. (You can guess that I loved that movie!)   Lulu is still going strong, by the way, she just released a new album this month! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

In Memory of the Armenians/The Great Crime

April 24, is one hundred years since the Armenian Genocide. (The Armenians call it Medz Yeghern, the Great Crime".)   I wonder how many AMERICANS know about it?  If you click on that link I gave you, you can read about it.   I really believe that we need to recognize and come to terms with what has happened in history, no matter how brutal the facts may be.  I warn you, some of the images are hard to view.  They are not sure how many were killed, I have seen reports of over one million, many of them children. 

     Henry Morgenthau, Sr.   was the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during that time and due to his writings and speeches about the Armenian genocide was able to be the driving force behind the Near East Society which raised over $100 million in aid ($1 billion in today's money).

Armenian Genocide Centennial Logo.png


And by the way, I only put capitals on AMERICANS up there because for me, the word "Americans" and "Armenians" look so much alike but hey, that is just me!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Touch of Nature

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin".
William Shakespeare
Thank you to all who left such thoughtful comments on my last two posts about the lakes at Panola Mountain State Park.  I will keep you updated on what happens there, I promise!
Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare and also it is St. George's Day, the Patron saint of England.  Richard tells me that at one time, people used to wear a rose on this day. (Do they still do this? Someone from England could tell me!)
How about some red diamorpha in honor of this day?
Yes, I think that will do nicely!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

That Dam Meeting About The Draining of the Lakes!

Okay, let's see if I am understanding the situation regarding the draining of the lakes at Panola Mountain State Park...
There are two earthen dams holding back the water at Alexander Lakes. One of the dams is owned by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the other one is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The issue seems to be with the dam which is owned by GDOT.  Engineers have observed "seeping" from the earthen dam which is on the lower lake.  We learned from the meeting that even though the dam is not dangerous at this time, it is felt that it is only a matter of time until the dam will fail.
In the state of Georgia, we have the Safe Dams Program.  I think this was put into place after the tragedy in Toccoa, Georgia of the  Kelly Barnes Dam where 39 people died (this was in November 1977).    

Now, back to turns out that the reason behind the purchase of this property was for the purpose of mitigation credits for GDOT.   Mitigation credits...I had never heard of this before.  You may read more about it just here.   If you are still with me, it turns out that the lower lake with the dam owned by GDOT was always intended to be drained and to be turned into a "wetlands', which we were assured will be a STREAM and not a SWAMP, as one of those in attendance at the meeting suggested that it might become! Once the level of the lake is lowered, there will be observation of the second dam and it is  HOPED that the second upper lake will be saved.  We shall see.

Now... about the meeting... it was packed!  And all who were present were obviously passionate .about Panola Mountain State Park and the beautiful Alexander Lakes!  One of those who stood up and asked several questions about the lake drainage, was Charlie Muise.  Charlie is with the Audubon Society and of course, showed his concern for the environmental side of it.  (Charlie was the one who was responsible for having Panola Mountain named as an IBA,   Important Birding Area.).  The meeting went on for almost two hours and there were so many questions, they had to almost push folks out of the door!  (For myself, I was so hungry, I wanted to say, "Don't you guys have any DAM food?" HA!)   Seriously, I should remind myself that I shouldn't go anywhere after a long day at work, I am getting too old to do things like that!  Still, I am glad that we went, I really don't know if I understand it all completely, but what I took away from it is that ONE of the lakes MIGHT be saved.  So...fingers crossed! 
 Happy  Earth  Day! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Alexander Lakes at Panola Mountain- To Be DRAINED?

 The decision has been made to drain the lakes at Panola Mountain.  There is to be a meeting tomorrow afternoon at Panola Mountain State Park in regards to this and even though I have to work tomorrow and will have to go straight there after a crazy day at work, I still hope to attend.  If I can't make it, then I hope someone will read this post...
This is very important to me.  There is a really lovely lake loop trail that skirts around the lake and a beautiful bridge/boardwalk that crosses over the water at one end. Why have a lake loop trail with no lake?   More importantly, it saddens me to think of all the wildlife that would be affected by the loss of this habitat.


Alexander Lakes are lovely in every season and every time of day.. It is my hope that somehow they will be saved. 
I wonder, will there be any person at the meeting who will beg them not to drain the lakes?  If not, then it is my hope that someone in charge of this will read this post and realize how important the lakes are, not just for the beauty alone, but for all the creatures who make these lakes their home. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fringe Tree- Arabia Mountain/ Monastery

Thanks for the well wishes for my April birthday!  My Dad has a birthday coming up soon and so, this morning, I visited the gift shop at the Monastery to buy my Dad a few presents....

There was a misty rain falling and as I walked near the gift shop building, there was a sight that stopped me in my tracks.  It was a tree, not just any tree...but it was the same tree that I had seen blooming on the top of Arabia Mountain!  It was a fringe tree.  Oh my, what a beauty.  You may read more about the fringe tree in an article that I found in the Southern Living Magazine, it is entitled "The Best Native Tree That No One Knows", you may read it here.  (Chionanthus virginicus, Fringe Tree, Old Man's Beard or Grancy Greybeard...whatever you call it, I think it is lovely.)

When I was admiring the tree, one of the monks walked past me and I told him how pleased I was to see the fringe tree given such a prominent spot.  He told me that he didn't know what kind of tree that it was and that it was there when they built the building!  (The Monastery was built in the 1940's but the Gift Shop is fairly new.)  I love that they saved this native tree and gave it such a place of honor, very close to the front door! You see, the monks are like me...we might not know all the names of plants and trees but we know beauty when we see it!

Okey dokey, I told you it is a beautiful tree.  See if you agree...

Fringe Tree On Arabia Mountain-photo taken in the sun on April 11th.

This is a close up of the blossom on the fringe tree-taken in misty rain on April 12th.


If you are wondering what I got for my Dad at the gift shop from the Monastery... it was stone ground grits, some Virginia peanuts and a jar of FROG jam!  In case you think that last one is some kind of strange Southern food, it is simply jam made of Fig, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger!  The monk in the shop told me that the jam is one of their biggest sellers!

If you notice, I have a post about the Monastery on the side of my is my most viewed post!  The Monastery is a place of great beauty and peace and I am thankful that it is close to me ...and the Monastery is just down the road from Arabia Mountain!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Music With Meaning

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know the importance of music in my life.
On my last post, I had the song, "American Tune" by Paul Simon.  Did you know Paul Simon based the song on a very old melody?  It is the same music for the hymn, "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded".
You may read the background about it just here.   The first time that I heard that hymn in my Episcopal church, I was thrilled to recognize it as "American Tune". 

Also, when we sang the song at church, one of the verses seemed as if it had been written for me.  Just a few months prior, I had fainted on Christmas day and had spent the entire day in the ER at the hospital. (I was okay, just a bad reaction to medication...but it was scary.)   Read these words and you will see why this jumped out at me with so much meaning.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and SHOULD I FAINTING BE,
Lord, let me NEVER, NEVER outlive my love to Thee.

The capitals are mine, just because that is how I read them and sung them!

There is nothing like the flowers that bloom right in your own yard!  These pink azaleas bloomed just in time for my birthday.  Wonderful to have calls and visits from family and friends!  I am thankful-just as I am thankful for my blogging friends.  God bless each and every one of you, wherever you are in the world!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blooms At Arabia Mountain/ American Tune

The diamorpha is in full bloom just now on Arabia Mountain, Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain.
The photo above was taken on April 11th  on Arabia Mountain.    We rushed over there to see these gorgeous flowers after Richard got off from work on Saturday. So glad that we did!

There are still some spots where the diamorpha has been somewhat shaded and has not bloomed yet, but for the most part, I would say that it is at its peak right now. If you are anywhere near this area, do not miss the blooms on our local mountains (monadnocks)!

The red plant is a beauty and blooms with these star-like flowers and it is breathtaking next to the grey rock.
Recently, I heard a woman on a cell phone say, "And they grow straight out of the rock!".  Of course, it looks that way, but they are in just a very small amount of sandy soil... they are amazing!
Want to read more about diamorpha smalli or "elf orpine" may do so just here.  And the diamorpha isn't the ONLY flower blooming!  I will have to tell you about the other flowers in a future post!

The song "American Tune" by Paul Simon...I liked it in the 70's and I still do. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Go Braves!

The Atlanta Braves will be playing the New York Mets tonight in the Braves season opener.  There is to be a ceremony honoring the 50 years that the Braves have been in Atlanta.  I have fond memories of going to my first baseball game at the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.  I talked with my Dad tonight and he said that the outfield seats were $1.00 each!  (Please note that the photo above is from a few years ago...the game tonight has been delayed due to a heavy rain shower...but the opening ceremony is happening even as I am typing this!)

This is my son at the baseball museum at Turner Field and I tried to get him between Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones...but I didn't notice he had another ballplayer balanced on his head!  Sorry Christopher!  I have fond memories of going to Braves games with my son.  As a child in elementary school, he was awarded with a ticket to a Braves games for making straight A's! Of course, I would always take him and he would dutifully carry his baseball glove in hopes of catching a foul ball even though we had the cheapest seats and there was never a chance of that happening!
Not to worry, finally, we had some good seats at a game in September of 2001, he had his glove...and he was able to get a foul ball which was hit by a Chicago Cub, Joe Girardi, who is now the coach of the NY Yankees!    Every time I see a Yankees games and see Joe Girardi, I think of Christopher catching that ball!  Did he catch it? I'm not sure, I was so nervous when that ball was coming to us, I was afraid we would be trampled.  "Are you okay?"  That is what I remember saying, and my son's reply..."Don't worry, Mom, I've GOT it!". 
Now, I love to watch the Braves on TV and I will call my Dad and we will watch the game together and talk about what we are seeing on the phone!  It's fun, it really is.  My Dad loves the game so much and so do I!  I would like to think that I have passed that on to my son.
Take me out to the ballgame!  Hey! Do you know that the song "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" is a song that is traditionally sung during the 7th inning stretch?  The fans will stand up and the song is played and you can sing along if you like.  You know that I always do!  (The song is really a great tune and it is quite old, it was written in 1908!)   I found a video of Bernie Williams playing this great song and it sounds just like my husband playing.  Did you know that Richard is not only a wonderful photographer but a great guitarist as well?) 
 I hope the Braves win tonight, if they don't, it's a shame! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beautiful Blooms And Blossoms

Recently, our neighbor sold her house and we had new people move into the house across the street from us...I wonder what they thought when this tree came into bloom? I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!  (I don't know what this is  but I love it all the same.)
My good friend, Mary, invited me over to dinner on Easter Sunday.  What a treat it was to see this NATIVE azalea in bloom!  Mary told me that she purchased this from Callaway Gardens many years ago and it has grown into this beauty.  I really wanted to see all the azaleas in bloom at Callaway Gardens when Richard had some time off recently, but the weather didn't co operate for us! So...I was thankful I was able to see the blooms on Easter day!  (If you think that these azaleas look differently than the ones that you might see from the Masters from Augusta, is because the native azaleas are the ones that were championed by the Callaway family at Callaway may read more about the famous gardens in Georgia just here!)

 Our dogwood trees are beginning to bloom now.  I took this photo at the Sunrise Service on Easter.
Do you know how the dogwood relates to Easter? The flower is thought to resemble a cross, there is a crown of thorns in the center and in the middle of the tip of each petal, there is a reddish stain, like blood.  And by the way, the dogwood is also native to this area, just like the pink azalea above. 



Monday, April 6, 2015

Stone Mountain-Magnificent March


 We have often climbed Stone Mountain with clear blue skies but it is just as beautiful on a cloudy day.  (That is me with the white bag on my shoulder, I have warmed up walking up the mountain...but it is quite windy, so in the other photos, I am wearing my pink jacket again!)

Once we were climbing the mountain and a family was just behind us.  We heard one of the children say,  "Look, Mom, it's NEW YORK CITY!"   (That's the Atlanta skyline, of course.)

Look at the photo above, the people have just gotten off the cable car and are walking on top of the mountain....they look tiny!


Very happy to see such beautiful specimens of trout lilies on Stone Mountain, they were lovely!

 Just as we were leaving, the sun broke through the clouds...magnificent!

Pat, my friend from the Isle of can see I am still walking the walk up OUR mountain!

And you know I told you about the Easter sunrise service?  I am hoping that next year I will be able to attend it on top of Stone Mountain!

During the Easter service yesterday, we didn't sing "I Love To Tell The Story" but it was mentioned in the I have it for here.  It is sung by Emmy Lou Harris and Robert Duvall.  Enjoy!

Hope you all liked our walk up Stone Mountain.  All of the photos are from March 23, 2015...we took that day off from work.  Magical!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Rising of The SON! Happy Easter

We worship the rising of the SON.   I attended a sunrise service this morning AND I was able to stay for the entire service, no rushing away to get back to work!  It was beautiful.  At the beginning, everything was bathed in a brilliant moonlight and gradually, the sky began brightening, lighting up the blooms on the dogwood trees and the birds began to sing.   The speaker played the guitar and sang and then spoke the appropriate words from the Bible.  (The sun, the moon, the sky, the birds, the blossoming trees...all of these were part of this service too!)

Anybody else remember the episode from "Star Trek" where they visit a planet and the creatures who live there worship the sun?  They are puzzled by this until  Lt. Uhura is able to surmise that it is not the SUN that they are worshiping, but the SON of God.  I loved Star Trek, didn't you?  I loved how so many people were able to get along from different countries, cultures and sometimes, even from different planets!

Here it is Easter Day and I am telling you about something from Star Trek!

 On Easter day, I always think of Mary Magdalene saying "I have seen the Lord!".  I think of how she would have said that with strong conviction but with such a sense of wonder that the Lord should appear to her and not to one of his chosen followers.   There is a song in the Episcopal hymnal and it is called "The First Ones Ever To Know". 

The first ones ever, oh, ever to know of the rising of Jesus, his glory to be,
Were Mary, Joanna, and Magdalene and blessed are they, are they who see.
Oh blessed are they who see the Lord, oh blessed are they who see.
They were Mary Joanna and Magdalene and blessed are they are they who see.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tenebrae (Darkness) Service-Good Friday

Today, as I passed the Lutheran Church near my workplace, I saw that they were having a Good Friday Service at 12 Noon.  I wouldn't have time for the full service, I had to be back at 12:30 at work.   Hmmm....what to do? Good Friday, I wanted to be in church and  I so much wanted to hear the song, "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord".    I thought to myself, that surely it would be alright to sit at the back and stay as long as I could...and that is just what I did!  I was able to hear three readings from the Bible and three hymns...and the third hymn was the one I especially wanted to hear! 
One of the other hymns was one that I was not familiar with.... but it sounded very good with the congregation singing along with the simple piano accompaniment.   The song is called "They Crucified My Lord"...or is more often known as "He Never Said A Mumblin' Word".  I found several videos on YouTube but I am unable to link to them for some reason.  Both songs are Negro spirituals, I wonder if they could be written by the same person?  No one knows for sure who wrote these songs, but someone wrote them, and if you have read my blog for long, you must know how much I think about songwriters!

Even though I was only there for half of the service, I found it very moving.  I hope that I didn't disturb anyone when I left early. God knows that I did have to get back to work!  Love to you all. Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mnemonic Devices

Lazy cats don't move...this is a mnemonic device if you want to remember your Roman numerals for the following:  50, 100, 500, and 1000.      ( 50 is L, 100 is C, 500 is D and 1000 is M. )

For the planets in their proper order....

My Very Earthy Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Pins.   (Of course, now they tell us that PLUTO is not a planet.  Oh well.) 

For the colors of the rainbow....
Richard of York gave battle in vain.   (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.)
This is an English one, by the way,  my husband just recently told me this one!

Please, feel free to share any that you know.

Do you know the writer/columnist William Safire?  He wrote something that was to be read in case of disaster for the moon landing in 1969.  The actor, Benedict Cummerbatch, read this recently in "Letters Live", a series of reading letters on stage in London.  Glad that this letter was not necessary for us to hear at the time.

Couldn't find a good moon shot, how about a well lit cloud instead?