Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sweetness And Light/Roger Federer and Mr. Gumby

Are you ready for some sweetness? I am!   Watch the video that I have given you here!  Roger Federer defeated long time rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open after an epic five set match.
When I say "sweetness", am I saying that it was a sweet victory for Federer? It certainly was but I am actually referring to the speech that he gave after his win.   Humility and graciousness, that is more important to me than all the tennis titles combined.

Our weather in Georgia! Explain it to me if you can, one weekend, it will be cold and icy and then, the very next weekend, so hot that folks are wearing shorts and flip flops. 

This is ice on the rock outcrop at Panola Mountain State Park.  It looks like snow but it is ice! When it begins to melt, the water underneath the ice moves in such a way that it is mesmerizing. Hard to take your eyes off of it!

On the weekend when it was very warm and we were out walking, Richard forgot his hat.  Not to worry, he had a handkerchief in his pocket and by tying the corners together was able to fashion this little hat to protect his head from sun's rays! Now, isn't he a good sport to let me take these photos of him! You know he must be, he is married to me!   Richard says that this reminds him of Mr. Gumby, from Monty Python.
(I remember an ad on PBS about Monty said if your girlfriend laughs at this show...MARRY HER.  That made me laugh.)

Hope you are able to get out into the light during this wintertime!

Sweetness and light...
this expression is often used in an ironic way.  It was first used by Jonathan Swift in "The Battle of the Books", a defense of classical learning in 1704.  In Victorian times, Matthew Arnold wrote an essay, "Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism", where "sweetness and light" stands for beauty and intelligence. 

Sweetness and light!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Step Away From The Armadillo, Lady!

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever researched something on the internet and then, the first thing that you read seems as if it was written just for you?  We saw an armadillo for the first time on our walk at Panola Mountain State Park and I took photos of it, getting fairly close. (At one time, the armadillo was restricted to South Georgia but it is now in the Metro Atlanta area!)  The animal was rooting amongst the leaves searching for bugs and grubs, not paying any attention to me.  When I got home and typed in "armadillos in Georgia"...the first thing that popped up said, "Step Away From The Armadillo, Lady"!   Oh dear!  Basically, it stated that the animal can transmit LEPROSY to humans.
Gulp,  look how close I had been to it!
Now, since that time, I have looked at several websites about this creature and I found some excellent information just here.  This article states that only two humans have contracted leprosy from armadillos and that was from eating raw or undercooked armadillo.

Okay...I don't think I will eat one of them.  Why, oh why, would someone even try?  Of course, it is a good idea to respect nature and never get too close to wild animals.  There, you have been warned!

Oh dear, this reminds me of a song, you knew it would.
Hope everyone is having a good week!

Hedgehogs are not anything like armadillos, but you never know what will make me think of a song.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gluten Free? Peanut Butter Cookies/Peter Pan

Gluten-free? Rather than being something "trendy", it is a way of life for those who have celiac disease.  If you want to know more about it, there is a well written article from England at the Boots WebMD Page, it is just here.  (Boots is the name of a chain of chemists in Britain or as we call them in America, drug stores!)
It is very often described as an allergy but it really isn't, it is an autoimmune disease.  Anyway, read that article at that link above, it describes it in such a logical, straightforward kind of way that is easily understood.

My husband, Richard was diagnosed with Celiac disease when he was only three years old and he spent quite a bit of time in the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.  I have written of this before and even posted a few recipes.  Since the early days of our marriage, I have made him "Miracle " Peanut Butter Cookies" that can be made without any flour! (I now use just a bit of rice flour or corn starch.) You may find the gluten free peanut butter cookie recipe here.)   Don't they look good? They are!
(I rarely have the nuts to go on top but I always have the chocolate chips to mix in with them!)

We walked past the Great Ormond Street Hospital when we were in London.  Richard says that they have redone this since he was a child, there are lots of bright colors and cheerful plants and flowers now.

In the front of the hospital, there is a statue of Peter Pan.   J. M. Barrie gave all the rights of Peter Pan to the hospital in 1929 and it is still a source of income for the hospital to this day. (A bit complicated regarding the copyright laws, you may read more about it here.)
Now, isn't it funny that I have given you a gluten free recipe for peanut butter cookies here and can you guess what brand of peanut butter that I like to use?  Why, Peter Pan, of course!

(You may use any brand you choose, just not one of those natural kind that has the oil that separates, it just doesn't work as well in this recipe.)

Let me know if you ever make these cookies! Even if you don't have celiac disease or are on a gluten free diet, I think you would like these cookies as long as you like homemade cookies!
(By the way, in England it is "coeliac" disease.)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sam Cooke-Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur

Have you ever written a song? No? 
Go ahead...I'll wait.

Not so easy, is it?  There is something magical of having a tune that melds perfectly with the lyrics. Now some songwriters are also gifted with a beautiful singing voice.  Sam Cooke would fit into that category. "An incredible natural singing voice and a smooth, effortless delivery that has never been surpassed" is how one biographer described this talent. 

He was born Samuel Cook in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1931.  (He later changed it to Sam COOKE, adding the "e", just because he liked the way it looked.)  In school, he was an "A" student and was voted "most likely to succeed".  Sam Cooke began his singing career the same way that many did, in church.  His father was a Church of Christ minister.  In 1950, he became the lead singer with the gospel group, The Soul Stirrers.   Crossing over into pop music, his song "You Send Me" in 1957 spent six weeks at number one on the R&B charts, and also, three weeks at number one on the Pop Billboard charts.  Sam Cooke also was one of the first to have his own record label at a time when songwriters were pressured into signing under the bigger name labels.

Look at the bottom of this post for a list of the songs that he wrote!  It would have been longer, I am sure, but his life was cut short at the age of 33.
There is still controversy over his death to this day, you may read about it just here.  You may look at any of his songs on YouTube. I have two here for you..."Bring It On Back" and that is Lou Rawls that you hear saying the "yeahs" and singing background! The last one, "A Change Is Gonna Come" was released after his death, and you will forgive me if I believed that it was one that had been written many years earlier, a spiritual if you will, but it is a Sam Cooke song, his very last one. 

If you do know someone who can write music and lyrics AND is a good singer, you should encourage them to develop this gift and share it with the world.  

I have never been known for subtlety! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Bridge of Spies"

Oh dear, I am a bit out of just took me three tries to find that "new post" button on this blog to begin writing this post! I believe that I am having a reaction to a shot that I got yesterday at my annual physical.  This is like having the flu...body aches, shortness of breath...but hey, I look good anyway! HA! (You have no idea how funny that really is!)
Anyway, folks, I was able to watch a very good movie last night all wrapped in my housecoat and I want to tell you to make sure you watch it!  It is "Bridge of Spies" and it is based on a true story of...well, spies, of course!   It is based on a book by the same title by Giles Whittell, a British journalist who is a lead writer for the Times.  Funny thing, I just read that the author sued DreamWorks (the studio behind the film owned by Stephen Spielberg who also directed the movie) because they did not have his permission to use the title. Oops!  (Not sure how this turned out, I imagine some settlement might have been involved, just a guess, I really don't know.)
Reading the true stories behind each character in the movie, I found them all to be fascinating.  I urge you to read more about them AND to see the film.  Of course, liberties are always taken in filmmaking (Hollywood!) but for me, true stories are always the best.  Hey, I am so feverish, I might even read a novel!  Nah, that is NOT going to happen!

James Donovan
Gary Powers
Rudolf Abel
Frederic Pryor

The name of the film refers to the Glienicke Bridge which connects Pottsdam to Berlin.  I have never been there but I have a photo of the Millennium Bridge from London for you! That might be the closest I ever get to Berlin.  (My Dad was in Berlin just after World War II when he was only 18 years old. Oh dear, that will be for another post!)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Walking Canes and Six Kinds of Greens

My Dad made this walking cane. In the photo on the right, he is holding it up and saying, "It was growing just like this in the woods and I took one look at it and thought, 'Why, that's a walking stick' ".  He made it many years ago for HIS mother, who lived to be 96 years old.  She used it for over 20 years.  It is truly a beautiful object, such a useful thing and made with great love.

SIX kinds of greens in Daddy's winter garden! They are: purple top turnip greens, 7 top turnip greens, curly leaf mustard greens, rutabagas, Florida mustard greens and collards.  (Collards is from the word "coleworts" which is a type of wild cabbage.)
On New Year's Day, we had a "mess" of greens from this garden, of course!  (Daddy always calls it a mess of greens. Is it called this in any other part of the country or is it a Southern thing?)
You eat greens and black eyed peas on New Year's Day...the greens will mean that you will have money, the peas will bring you luck!
Which is better to have, luck or money? I would like both myself - no need in having money if you have bad luck and lose it! 

See the bucket with the stick at the edge of the field of greens?
I might have showed you this is to deter the deer. They look at it and think that it is the barrel of a shotgun and it makes them go away. (Hopefully!)

These photos were taken in November and you might be able to see how extremely dry it was...the red Georgia clay was just pure dust, I tell you!  So, how could the greens look so good? One word...watering!!!
In the extreme drought, Daddy had to water them very single day.

I have not written a post since Monday.  Did y'all think I had run out of things to write about?  NEVER!  You should be so lucky!
Look! This is Joan's walking cane in England! You might not can tell, but it has a beautiful paisley pattern on it and the handle is such a nice color of wood...I do love beautiful, useful objects, don't you?
("You might not can tell"...that might be an unusual combination of words in English but it is the way that my Dad and I speak, so I am leaving it that way!)

That's a photo of Joan wait, that's Queen Elizabeth!

This is Joan, my stylish mother-in-law from England! You can see how I would make this mistake, both of them lovely ladies! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Mormon Handcart Pioneers "17 Miracles"

Very often, when I watch a film, the subject matter makes me want to learn more and this was the case with a movie that I saw on the BYU channel.  (BYU stands for Brigham Young University.)
"17 Miracles" tells the story of the Mormon pioneers who used handcarts to travel to Utah in 1856 and endured terrible hardships by traveling during a brutal winter.  The film emphasizes the documented miracles that occurred during the journey. 

Note: By 1850, the Mormons had  30,747 members in Great Britain compared with 21,092 in North America.  Many of those in the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were from the British Isles or from Scandinavia.

In 1856, five handcart companies traveled from Iowa to Utah (a distance of 1300 miles.) The first three companies made it with few problems but the last two, the Willie Handcart and the Martin Handcart companies were late leaving and suffered during a severe winter which started in October. At times the snow was 18 inches deep and the temperatures below freezing.  The pioneers had very little clothing.  They were each allowed one cup of flour (which didn't last long) and whatever they could kill on the way.  Many died on the journey from starvation and the cold.

You may read more about the Mormon handcart pioneers here and here.
Levi Savage tried to persuade the leaders to wait until spring to make the journey. Here are his words...

Levi Savage

July 1856
"Brothers and sisters, wait until spring to make this journey. Some of the strong may get through in case of bad weather, but the bones of the weak and old will strew the way. . . .
"What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you, and, if necessary, I will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us" (Stewart E. Glazier and Robert S. Clark, ed., Journal of the Trail [1997], 30–31).

Even though this was a terrible tragedy, the image of the pioneers pulling a handcart is a powerful symbol of faith for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. (Mormons).

Levi Savage, who I have mentioned above, is one of the main characters in the movie, "17 Miracles".  He had been one of those who had rescued the survivors of the Donner Party from the Sierra Nevada.  He knew the desperation that people are faced with in times of great hunger and despair.
"17 Miracles" is a powerful film and one that will stay with me for a long time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Doctor, There's Something Wrong With My Mesentery (I Can Feel It In My Gut)

Don't worry folks! I am fine, that is just my funny way of telling you something that I have just learned...

The mesentery is now considered a separate organ in the human body, which means we now have a total of 79 organs instead of 78!The mesentery was thought to be a blob of collective membranes between the stomach and intestine, it looks a bit like a ruffly collar, and it was even drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century!
Just this past week, a researcher in Ireland determined that it is a separate organ. The medical textbooks will have to be corrected to show this!  Now, the doctors will have to figure out exactly the important functions of this organ. 
Just think, even today, the human body is still a mystery.  

You may read more about this organ in your body that you didn't know that you had just  here.    (Suggestion...maybe we should go back and look at everything that DaVinci studied and research it a bit more, just a thought!)

Recto: The mesentery of the bowel and its blood supply, with notes. Verso: The brachial plexus

No snow for us in our county today but it is very cold.  Sunny but cold.   I have had this song for you before, but it is worth hearing again...

Snow photo from 2014, we didn't get any south of Atlanta!  Poor kids here, I know they wanted to play in it.  (Maybe even me?)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Old Bailey

Hey! Do you want to spend hours researching old court cases of the "non elite" in London?  I am a little surprised to tell you how much time I have wasted  much I have learned on this site, "Old Bailey"...I have a link for you just here.   It is amazing!  There are 197,745 court cases on the site and they are the accounts of the trials held at the Old Bailey in London from 1674-1913. 
If you go to the site, go to the search engine over on the left hand side...type in a surname and see what you find! It is fascinating to me.  Many were hanged at the Tyburn  Tree. This was the name of the gallows that consisted of three tall uprights joined at the top with beams in a triangular pattern to form a triple gallows so that carts could be brought under the gallows three carts at a time.  The Tyburn Tree was near what is now the Marble Arch in London.
There is now a convent also near this area, the Tyburn Convent...if you look at their website just here, you may read more about the Tyburn Tree. 

Also, if you see that the punishment given is "transportation", that means that they were sent to either America or Australia.  If the prisoners returned to England, they were then condemned to death by hanging. 
Let me know if you are interested and are able to look at this site.
No matter what you find out about people who have lived in the past, I always like to remember that we don't know all the circumstances of their lives, only the bare bones of what is shown in the court records.
I am missing the colors of Autumn just now, we might even get snow this weekend. If we do, I will ask Richard to take photos, you know I will!  Take care everyone and stay healthy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Christmas Lullaby" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb"

"Christmas Lullaby" by John Rutter (from England) and "Mary Had A Little Lamb" by T. Graham Brown (from Georgia) are the songs I have here for you.  Just discovered these songs this year and I really like them both very much indeed. 
I daresay that you will not find these two artists mentioned together on any other blog!

There, I hope you could listen to it.  Isn't it beautiful, words and music?  (You all must know it already but it is new to me.)

Funny thing, I was thinking of telling you about the "Mary Had A Little Lamb" song but thought you might think it was a children's song (it isn't , it's lovely), so I thought I would wait and tell you about it next year. After all, Christmas had just gone past. Would you believe me when I tell you that my very first customer at work that day was a Mr. Lamb?  Whoa, I thought to myself...I WILL write that post!

Richard and I visited the Monastery this weekend.  The church was warm and inviting.

Not one but TWO new Nativity scenes were there!  How wonderful for the monks to share this!

What about you? Anything new for you that has brought you joy and wonder?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 In Photos

Several bloggers have posted a photo (or two) from each month of 2016.  (Jenny Woolf and Ellen Honeycutt are two that I have seen!)
So, I thought I would show you some photos from my 2016...

In January, my Dad had to go into the hospital.  My company sent him some lovely flowers and in this photo, he is very happy to be home and posing with his bouquet. Look at that smile!

My niece, Katy, had her bridal shower in February and everyone was asked to dress in black and white...
 I wrapped her present in all white but I couldn't resist crocheting the black and white flowers and attaching them to her wrapped gift!
At the base of Stone Mountain in March...I remember I had to research the name of this flowering bush.  I will have to go back and read it again...dang, if I can remember its name! (I do remember that it is not native...only thing I remember about it!) birthday month! I took my birthday off and went on a hike with Ranger Robbie at Arabia Mountain and he took me to a spot where the mountain laurel was just beginning to bloom. What a nice present that was.

In May, we visited our son in Cobb County, Georgia.  The photo above is at Marietta Square.  (Loved the foxglove!)

June-  I went on a Moonlight hike at Panola Mountain!

July- My Dad planted one acre in sunflowers.  We didn't have much rain so they didn't grow very tall but they were still beautiful to see.

August is hot in Georgia but the slender dayflowers still managed to bloom at the base of Arabia Mountain.

September was special for us, that was our visit to England!  In London, this photo that Richard took, of the Shard (the very modern building) with the spires of Southwark Cathedral, was stunning to me!
October, we still enjoyed the Yellow Daisies that we love at Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain but they are not the only yellow flowers we love...the above photo is of the coreopsis.

Goodness, I also had a November and December but I am having a bit of trouble loading these photos so, I will stop here.
Took some time for me to choose pictures, Richard really does take some good ones, don't you think?

Wow, just looking them over, I seem to really like flowers, don't I?

Wishing all of you a blooming good year!  Happy 2017, my friends!