Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Alice Tait...Illustrates!

Don't you just love an unexpected surprise? From Amazon, the UK website,  I ordered a book and some ginger biscuits for my father-in-law in England. Since this was really the same thing I got for him last year...wouldn't it be nice to send him something else, something unexpected?  I sent a message on my Instagram account to the British illustrator Alice Tait and told her that I was pleased to see that she had a website where I could order some of her pieces.  She sent me a message BACK.  A real artist!  Yes, my friends, it made my day...I am telling you!    (You see, I had explained that although I am American and live in the States, I would want the gift to be mailed to England.)

My father-in-law received his package from Amazon and while he was pleased with the book and ginger biscuits,  I think it was the package from Alice Tait that really made him happy!  I truly love her drawings!  I found a short video for you. 

Her website is just here.   

If you are able to look at her site, I ordered the set of coasters for Peter, one says "Shall we soldier on" and "Is That The Time" and "Royal Treatment Please". (And I am so bad, I ordered the canvas London tote bag for myself! I already have one, I bought it in London the last time we were there but I am wanting a new one!) 

                      Front of London Bag (See the badges on upper right?
                 They came free with the bag!)

                                   (Back of the bag). 
                           I cut my head off for you.  You're welcome.

Don't you just love her prints?  If you notice, it says that she will sign the print, and not only that but will personalize them with a unique message of your choice. Isn't that just the nicest thing?  (It says that the world map is very popular for birthdays and christenings.)

I just had to tell y'all about this!  What will be the next thing that I will order? She has written a children's book, "No, Nancy, No". I simply must have it!  (Nan, in Maine...I hope you are reading this!)
The hydrangeas are blooming now...I wonder if I could draw them? Alice Tait might just make me pick up a pencil and have a go! 

For anyone on Instagram...her account is alice_tait_illustrates

Alice Tait, if you ever see this post, thank you!  I really love that you included a personal note in with the package, an unexpected surprise for my dear father-in-law, Peter. Very much appreciated.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Rainy Night In Georgia (It's A Great Song Too!)

Let's talk about the weather. How is it where you are? We have had very hot, dry weather.  Some days lately I would get in my car and it would say 100 degrees! And it was so dry, our grass was getting brown and crunchy.  Today, it rained.  And rained.  And rained!
It has rained so much, my phone keeps going off with alarms that tell me that there is a flash flood warning until 3:00 PM. NO...make that 5:30 PM.  Now, it is 9:30 PM!  When it rains, it pours!

So, what is it like for you?  And do you have any SONGS that you would pertain to your part of the world?  You know I do!

"Lord, I feel like it's raining all over the world."

It won't be too long until we see blue sky again!  Hopefully.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Normandy Invasion

The BBC has a piece on their website, "10 Things You Might Not Know About the Normandy Invasion".  You gotta love the Brits.  In America, this would say "10 Things You Don't Know About The Normandy Invasion" but the Brits say "You Might Not Know".  So like the British, don't you think?
Forgive my amusement over that wording, now let's be serious.

  Have any of you seen the film "Band of Brothers"? (The book is by Stephen Ambrose and is one that I recommend.)  Those men were trained in Toccoa, Georgia and I grew up hearing about them and knowing that anyone in that small town had great respect for those young men who trained to be paratroopers. They took their motto from the one tall mountain in Toccoa,  "Currahee", which means "we stand alone".  They used that motto, because they were truly alone, parachuting into Europe before the landings on Normandy. 

The 10 things that you might not know of the Normandy Invasion? You may read it just

I knew most of the facts that they gave you but I did not know these...
1)  As early as 1942, the BBC asked for photos and post cards from the coast of Europe.  Millions of photos were sent in!  It was a way of gathering intelligence to ascertain the most suitable spots for landing beaches.

2) Rommel's shoes... The German commander did not believe that there would be an invasion.  He went home to give his wife a pair of shoes for her birthday.

3) Smashed toilets...The vibration of HMS Belfast's guns firing was so powerful, it cracked the toilets in the crew's cabins.

4)Pub Test....Terence Otway was given the top secret mission to attack the Merville Battery.  He had to be sure his men would not tell a soul.  He sent 30 women from the Women's Auxillary Air Force dressed in civilian clothes into village pubs in the area where the men were in training. The women were asked to do all they they could do to get the men to talk.  None of the men gave the secret away.

I had the honor of speaking with many veterans of World War II when I worked as a travel agent in the 1980's and 1990's. Many of them have passed away now.  75 years now since 1944.  We should never forget them.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Long Lost Lewis Chessman FOUND!

One of my favorite places in London is the British Museum. Besides being able to view the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles, you can also see the Lewis Chessmen (along with about 8 million other objects!).  I have told you about the Lewis Chessman before on a previous post! The Lewis Chessmen or Uig Chessmen (named after the bay where they were found) are 12th century chess pieces found in 1831 on the shores of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. (I will wait while you look that up on a map...here, don't bother, I will tell you...think of Scotland, go all the way to the top...and just to the west, that would be the Outer Hebrides, and the Isle of Lewis is the largest. There, how did I do, my readers from the Isle of Lewis?)
Okay, before I got bogged down in giving my little geography lesson, I was telling you about the Lewis Chessmen!
There were five missing pieces of the set but it has just been confirmed to us that they now have one of the missing pieces!
It was owned by a family in Edinburgh. The family's grandfather had been an antiques dealer and had no idea of value of the piece and passed it down to the family. The owner paid 5 pounds for it in 1964.  The family had always felt it to "magical".  Sotheby's (the famous auction house)  kept the discovery secret until it was absolutely confirmed to be genuine and in what I think of as a typical understated British manner had this to say about it: "We can safely say that a million pounds will transform the sellers life".

Magical indeed!

We have an advertisement here that uses the phrase, "What's in your wallet?".  Borrowing from that, I say to you (those in the British Isles especially), "what's in your wardrobe or drawers?" 
There are still four pieces that are missing!

Search until you find them, I say!

By the way I am sorry to tell you that the show that I was so very excited to tell you about...the Song Stories? I was quite disappointed in the sound quality! Honestly, the video that I gave you of Bobbie Gentry singing her hit song was 100 times better than the one that they showed us on the show. I am not kidding!
Of course, it was the BBC. Just saying!  (Sorry, I love PBS and please don't get mad with me but I am very particular about music and how it is presented.)

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Story Songs- (On PBS in America-Don't Miss it!)

My friends, if you don't know one thing about me, know this: I love music! That is why I am so excited to tell you about a show on TV tonight in Atlanta on PBS. Channel 8 at 9:30PM.  (Check your local listings in the rest of the country and see when it will be shown where you live. And if you miss it tonight, I am sure they will repeat it).  "Story Songs" will be hosted by...wait for it...B. J. Thomas!  Remember when I told you that I was working on a post about him? What a voice!  The post about him will still be written but I just have to make sure you know about this TV show! If you go to the PBS site, you will see that this episode will have songs by Kenny Rogers, Jim Croce, Bobbie Gentry, Don McLean, Glen Campbell, and Gordon Lightfoot and they are just the ones that I saw in the 30 second trailer! Of course, I hope that B.J. Thomas will also have some of his songs on there too!

Did y'all know that I also have an Instagram account?  Uh...I am not that good on it yet, but I do have some followers and guess what...oh, I know you won't believe it...but B. J. Thomas is one of my followers! Yes, I know, and not only that but he LIKED some of my photos! When I asked my son if it truly was possible that B. J. himself followed me and liked my photos...he said that yes, of course, it was possible or it could be that someone in his entourage really handled his account and maybe that individual might show him photos and say, "Hey, B.J. what about this, do you like this?" And maybe, indirectly he follows me.  You know what? I'll take it! Insert huge smiley face here! 

"There's one thing I know...the blues they send to meet me, Won't defeat me. It won't be long til happiness steps up to greet me."

If you don't know any other B.J. Thomas hit song, I hope you know "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and you really should know all the words!  Look them up!  I gave you some of them above!

All of those singers that will be highlighted on this show are the kind of singers that I really admire and it is my kind of TV show.
I wonder if they might this make this into a regular series about music? I hope so!

By the way, I wish raindrops would fall on my head...we are needing rain badly in the Atlanta area! Take care everyone and let me know if you were able to see this TV show!

For my followers in other countries, look up those artists I gave you and check out their music.  You will thank me,

(Y'all know I can sing JUST like Bobbie Gentry!)

 I am NOT about to jump off Tallahatchie bridge in this photo. I am thrilled to see a sunset from Waterloo bridge in London! Love that view. So many expensive things to do in London, this was free.

And so funny to think of this...if you read this tomorrow, it will be the 3rd of June...which is the opening line of the song "Ode To Billie Jo" by Bobbie Gentry. (She not only sang that song but she also WROTE it.!)  What a voice! I hope you will listen to the video that I found for you...I really enjoyed it, looks like it is from the BBC!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

National Biscuit Day In the UK!

Before this day is over, I must tell you that it is National Biscuit Day in the UK!   (Wait, it is now the next day over there...oh well!)
Of course, I have told you before that a biscuit in America is a soft breakfast bread but in England, it is a cookie!

(My Dad made the BEST and softest biscuits that you can imagine. Everyone said so, they were the best.)

One of my good friends went to England a few months ago and brought me back some...oh, they make me happy just to think of them...she brought me some HOBNOBS!  They are so good!
I still have two left...can you tell that I have tried to keep them as long as I can? I just looked it up and Hobnobs are the third most popular biscuit over there! Let's see, I think I read that Jammie Dodgers and Custard Creams are the top two but some say that the Rich Tea and the Ginger Nut are tops. Me? I love them ALL! I don't have favorites when it comes to English biscuits.  (Jaffa cakes, Kay? Yes, please!)

When we come back from England, we are loaded down with teabags, chocolate and biscuits!

We would not have been able to bring these back in the heat we are having these days...we have had many days with our temps over 90 degrees! 

What is your favorite cookie/biscuit? Do tell me, you know I want to know!  

P.S.  No cookie/biscuit companies are sending me anything for this post.  HOWEVER, if a company happens to read this and they WISH to send me boxes and boxes, I will happily accept them, even if they are half melted when they get here!
It was cooler this time last year when the magnolias were blooming...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "You Are Wonderful"

Will try my best to write this post tonight...now I am on some medication that says it can cause drowsiness, so for me, it might as well as say...this drug will knock you out! 

Do I have a lot of things to write about? You bet! My purse is stuffed with all the notes that I have jotted down about people, places and things that I want to tell you about.  For today, I will tell you that it is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who gave us the character, Sherlock Holmes!  (Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859.)  There is the most wonderful site devoted to him, you may find it just   here!   Be sure to read his biography while you are there.  What a fascinating man!

One thing that I learned, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he was only 25 years old, wrote a short story, a fictionalized account about the ship, the Mary Celeste, called "Habakuk Jephson's Statement", but it was written in the form of a first person testimony by a survivor.  He called the ship, the MARIE Celeste in his story.  Perhaps because of his influence, you can often hear people discuss this ship using his name for it.

(I do hope you know the true story...the Mary Celeste is famous for the mysterious disappearance of all those who were aboard.  On Dec. 5, 1872, the ship was found deserted in the Atlantic ocean, off the Azores islands, completely abandoned.  Once again, I have a link for you here.  And of course, there is a non fiction book that I can tell you about...
"Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew" by Brian Hicks.)

Okay, now back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle... 

Did you know that he never once said, "Elementary, my dear Watson" in any of his stories?  He might have come close to those words but he never actually said them.  One thing that he DID say, and I only found this out today, but his last words were directed to his wife and he said to her..."You are wonderful."

I also read that every spring he gave to his wife Jean, the very first snowdrop flower that bloomed in their garden. And she kept every one of them! There, isn't that just the sweetest thing to know?  ( A few years back, I think that one of those snowdrops were auctioned off...)  

Also, I read that there will be a new 50 pence coin that will come out this year in Britain. You may see it just here.  The coin will have a likeness of Sherlock Holmes in his famous deerstalker cap, along with titles of some of his most famous stories.  The words are so tiny, you will need a ...wait for it...a magnifying glass! Isn't that just the perfect touch? 

Sidney Paget is the man who illustrated the Sherlock Holmes stories that were published in the Strand Magazine.  He did 356 published drawings!

Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated

There, my friends, I think I did very well writing this considering I am just about to nod off... I hope you find Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as fascinating as I do!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Poison Ivy? Oatmeal Bath!

Poison ivy has URUSHIOL. It is an oil that is secreted from the leaves, vines, stems and roots. Should it contact your skin, it forms a bond which causes a severe allergic reaction. The itch is nearly unbearable.  Ask me how I know! 
(I think I read that poison ivy is in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.)

There are a few little rhymes that might be helpful to remember.

"Leaves of three, let it be".

"Longer middle stem, don't touch them".
(The top leaf tends to stick up a bit from the other two.) 

"Hairy Vine, no friend of mine".
(The plant will also be like a vine and the vines are "hairy". Even if the vine looks dead...do not touch it! And don't burn it either, the fumes will send you to the emergency room.)

Sometimes if you are very sensitive, poison ivy can last up to a month.  Since I am about at three weeks myself, perhaps I might be in that category.  
I ended up going to the doctor and have been on steroids. Unfortunately, I have had a bit of a time with these drugs and sometimes feel shaky, dizzy, woozy, and that is the best of it! Mostly, I feel as if someone has taken me and knocked me against a brick wall. Hey, but at least I am not itching! (Gotta look on the bright side!)

Okay, now if you you ever get something like this...try something that I used, an oatmeal bath! 

I think it would be nice for you even if you don't have horrible itchy spots all over you!  This is what I did...I took a brown coffee filter bag, filled it with about a third cup of OATMEAL.  I tied it at the top tightly with a rubber band and then placed it gently into a very hot bath. (I actually used two of these bags!)  Let it "steep" just like a teabag.  Let the water cool enough for you to immerse your body into the oatmeal water.  (I took the oatmeal bag and rubbed it gently on my poison ivy spots.) 

There, it left my skin very soft!  Wouldn't it be funny if all the fancy spas did the same exact thing and then quickly remove all traces of their oatmeal/coffee filter bags and place the small candles into the water and then charge you the big bucks? That could be!

Here is one plant that cannot hurt you!  It is the coreopsis! We love it.

Hope I can get back into the swing of things soon!  I think I need some music...

Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day (I'll See You In My Dreams)

For anyone who has read my blog before, I hope you will remember how much I admire Doris Day!  I have written about her several times.   I wrote a post last April for her birthday...you may read that post just here.  She passed away today at the age of 97.
The world could use more people like Doris Day, I think. 

I know I keep tellling y'all this but you MUST see her in "I'll See You In My Dreams".   PROMISE me that you will! I had my son watch this with me when he was here for my birthday in April and he agreed that not only was it a good film but that she was an amazing actress besides being a great singer.
(Seems like I remember reading that Ella Fitzgerald thought she was a great singer too...so, that really means something in my book!)

Flowers in bloom!  Apostle plant or wandering iris, it is lovely.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Archies (Sugar Sugar)

I wonder how many people started singing a song just as soon as they heard the royal baby's new name?  You know I did! The song "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies was a big hit in 1967.  It was the number one US single OF THE YEAR!  I knew it was a big hit in the USA but what about in England?  Turns out ,it was at number one for 8 weeks in the UK!  I learned today that the lead singer was Ron Dante and that HE was the lead singer for "Leader of the Laundromat", a parody of "Leader of the Pack".  (My Dad loved parodies and we had that record, I remember it well.) It amused me to know that Ron Dante sang on both of those records!

"Sugar Sugar" might sound dated today but it was a great song when you were on roller skates. When I hear that song, I am transported back to the early 70's and I can feel myself skating to the beat of that song. (Yes, it was a big hit in 1969 but with a catchy tune like that, it was still being played at roller rinks.)

Ah music!  I hope that I never run out of songs in my head!
"His shirts always came back brown...brown...brown."!!
My Dad always liked funny songs!  

Look at these darling eggs.  These were at my Dad's house from 2 years ago.  He was so excited to show me this nest and was pleased that I took a photo of them. I think it was a mockingbird's nest.
Happy Spring to you all.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Name for Royal Baby? (It'll Be A Minute)

 Well, thank goodness the baby has been born! Unless you have been living under that proverbial rock, you will know that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex had a baby boy yesterday in the early hours of the morning.  (Never mind we were first told she was in labor when in fact she had already had the baby. Oh well.) Good luck to them! I hope I never have any fame, I  would be like Elvis, try my best to get away from people.  So, that is my good thought for the day...I don't have to worry about anyone running after me!😊   

 What should they name the baby? You know I will tell you, he already has a cousin George, so they should name him John Paul Richard! Ringo Starr's real name is Richard Starkey, I hope you know. They could call him Ringo!   It has a nice RING to it.  Haha. You should read about Ringo's childhood sometime, he overcame so much in his life and with such a cheerful attitide. They would do well to consider calling him Ringo if you ask me! 
When I say that it will take a minute...Since when did that become to mean that is something that will take quite a long time? Is this just an American expression? I work with some much younger people and I have noticed some words and phrases that I can only understand by the context and facial expression! Anyways! (They don't say anyway, they say anyways!)

Whatever the baby is named, let's all be happy with it, yes? I saw on the BBC that a woman named her baby girl Disney and was given much grief about it.  I like it myself but then, I also know of the life of Walt Disney and I like him too. It's true, I admire a lot of people but I don't care how much money they have or how brilliant they are, it is their love and kindness that counts. 

What do YOU think they should name their baby? Feel free to leave suggestions but be nice.   Also, let me know if you have that same meaning for " it'll take a minute".

Ringo! Peace and love! ✌ ❤ Update as of May 8th...Archie it is! Maybe the next boy could be Ringo. I never give up!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Plant Blindness and Fringe Tree

                                             Fringe Tree- (A Native Tree!) At the Monastery, Conyers, GA.

Plant blindness?  This term was coined in 1998 by a couple of American botanists, James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler. What does it mean? In the simplest of terms, it means that we just don't seem to notice plants! Our brains, you see, just tend to lump them all together into one great blob of green and we have lost the ability to appreciate not only the beauty of them but also the importance of them.

I read about this in a BBC article.  You may read it just here.
Please read it! It is fascinating!  You will be tested on it at a later date, just so you know.

Oddly enough on the very day that I read this article, one of my co-workers brought his children to see me.  The baby girl came straight into my arms. (This surprised the parents, they told me she very rarely does this. Babies love me!) The little boy...I showed him the photos of flowers on my calendar.  His Dad said that he doubted as an adult that he could name that many flowers! (Plant blindness!) The little boy told me that they had blueberries beginning to grow and that HE was going to make medicine from them.  "That's right", I told him, "a lot of medicines are made from plants and flowers.  So...
when I read this BBC article, I now know that there are more than 28,000 plant species that are used for medicine.

Once again, on this very same day...I came home and brought my mail into the house.  All at once, I had a sharp pain on the side of my arm...I looked down and my arm was beginning to get red. Thinking I had gotten bitten by an insect, I didn't think much of it but as the evening wore on, and there was this unbearable kind of itch, I knew that I had somehow made the acquaintance of poison ivy.   My friends, I have managed to live all these years in Georgia and this is the first time that I have been so afflicted.  The interesting thing...it was Wednesday when it suddenly "came out" and I could only have been exposed to it during the weekend before! I looked up photos of poison ivy rash and trust me, they look very scary. Mine is really not that bad, it is that I am such a big baby! (That must be why babies like me.)  I have it on my right arm, my left thumb and on the side of neck. How in the world? The plant has Poison ivy...leaves of three...let it be!  That is the little rhyme that you must remember.  But wait, I MIGHT have gotten into some Poison OAK!  Oh dear, I will have to fight against this plant blindness.  It can be very dangerous!

At the beginning of this post, I showed you a fringe tree that is planted near the entrance at the Monastery in a most formal landscaped setting...but the fringe tree also grows at Arabia Mountain and it is not maintained or trimmed by anyone! The blooms are so lovely that I think that those who design bridal gowns should mimic those blooms on a dress!

Hope you are all are well and enjoying the beauty around you.
Don't have plant blindness! 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

English Gingerbread (And One Very Sad Song)

Gingerbread!  I made some gingerbread this weekend.
 It was quite good. Would you like the recipe?  No? Well, too bad, I am going to give it to you anyway!  (I crack myself up.)

ENGLISH GINGERBREAD  (From Old Cookery book circa 1890)

1 cup brown sugar
1 2/3 cups flour  (plain)  For Gluten free use rice flour/corn starch
2 teaspoons ground ginger
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk 
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
optional for gluten free:  1 teaspoon xanthan gum

There you go! Easy! (I love easy.) I bake gluten free for my husband. So for the flour, I used rice flour and corn starch mixed together to make up the 1 and 2/3 cups.  Also, I used the xanthan gum but you can leave that out if you like and certainly do leave it out if you are not baking gluten free!

Let's see...I mixed the flour, sugar, ginger and pinch of salt together. Then, I mixed in that bit of xanthan gum.  In another bowl, I mixed the egg, melted butter together and then, mixed in the milk.   Pour the wet into the dry and mix well. Pour into greased brownie pan. (It said to use an 8 inch square pan, but my oblong brownie pan was just right.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

There!  Please note that there is not one bit of CINNAMON in this! Try to keep that hand away from that strong cinnamon if you can and just try it with the ginger.  It is called GINGER-bread, after all!
(Just looked it up, it is believed that the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis first brought gingerbread to France in the year 992 where he taught the French Christians to make gingerbread. From there, it spread all over Europe.  So, it is a very ancient sweet!)

The photo that I have for you...the crossvine flower, these were blooming all over our local monadnocks!  This one was at Arabia Mountain. Some think it smells like cinnamon, some think it smells like coffee.  What do I think?  I think it smells like a crossvine flower! It is a heavenly fragrance. When we were walking, we could smell them before we saw them.

Okay, you are thinking...that is the gingerbread but what about the very sad song?  Of course, you must know the one that I am thinking about!  It is a song written by Dolly Parton, "Me and Little Andy" and since it mentioned the word "gingerbread", my baking brought this song to my mind...

"Ain't Ya Got No Gingerbread?"  

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Nicholas Brothers- A Gift For You

Here is my gift to you...a video of the Nicholas Brothers!

Do you ever feel like dancing?  Like you just want to jump all over the place? No? Well, how about watching two dancers do just that!
You're welcome!

This clip is from the film "Stormy Weather" with Cab Calloway. (You could go through the beginning bit with Cab Calloway, but listen to him too! I think he's great! ) The Nicholas Brothers were considered to be the greatest tap dancers of their day. They combined tap dancing with acrobatics and it was called "flash dancing". 

Fred Astaire once told the brothers that this dance number was the greatest movie musical sequence he had ever seen. Another dancer you might have heard of, Mikhail Baryshniknov, said that the brothers were the most amazing dancers he had ever seen in his life.

So, does this make you want to get up and dance?  Go on, you know you want to!  (Just be careful of your grand piano, everyone has one, right?)

Dance like no one is watching! (Because they're not watching, they're checking their phones.)

This time last year, I gave someone a present...and I re-used some paper that that had been on my own birthday gift.  When you have a present, tie it up with love! 

Sending love to you all with my dancing video! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Mountain Laurel: Pollen Dispersal by Catapult (Lyman Briggs)

Catapult?  Lyman Briggs?  Keep reading...

On Monday, I took the day off and went to Stone Mountain with my husband.  I know I have shown you photos of us clambering over the rocks to get to the top but did you know that there are miles of trails around the mountain? It was a  nice day so we walked under the newly green trees. One of the trails is beside a stream and the mountain laurel was blooming!

(A shout out to Ranger Robby ...last year in May, he gave me a tour on Mother's Day and we enjoyed the mountain laurel in bloom at Arabia Mountain.  Since you call yourself a science geek, I hope you like this post, Robby!)

Now, the flowers were really just beginning to flower but when they are fully opened, the filaments of the stamens will be bent towards the edges (think of the way the metal bits are like on the underside of an umbrella).  When an insect lands on the flower, it breaks the tension of those bits and the pollen then catapults the pollen on the insect!  The pollen can be flung up to 6 inches! 

The amazing thing... a man named Lyman Briggs first observed this in the 1950's after he had retired from an almost unbelievable accomplished career. You might recognize his name, he has a college named after him! You may read more about him here.  Lyman James Briggs,  I wish I could write a book about him! The Manhattan Project? Yes! He was involved in that too! Promise me you will read his story, he simply did too much for me to write in this post.  And his wife and daughter, you might know their names too from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (the MBTI) that many companies ask you to take.  (His wife was Katherine Cook Briggs and his daughter was Isabel Briggs Myers.) 

Reading a bit further, the reasoning behind the pollen dispersal was not what Mr. Briggs thought that it was, but by studying this flower and noticing the pollen, he brought attention to it.  I just saw a video by researchers at Harvard that shows the science behind it all.
I find it interesting...but honestly, you all know that I only see the beauty of the blooms on this mountain laurel!

And not to throw you a curve ball...but can you believe it, Lyman Briggs also proved the science of the curve ball in baseball!
I am not kidding! 

Let me leave you with this quote about him..."He was remembered for his range of interests...was almost universally liked and had a reputation of even headedness and serenity."  My kind of guy!  Why, I bet he also admired the beauty of the mountain laurel too, just as I am certain he enjoyed American baseball.  Just like me!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

"Don't Worry Baby" by B.J. Thomas on Larry's Country Diner

Very often when I would call my Dad, he would be listening to one of his favorite shows on the RFD channel..."Larry's Country Diner".  I would say to him, "Oh good, I will turn it on and watch it too and then, call you right back and we will talk about the show!"
Wish I could talk to him about this clip from the show that I just found!  It is B. J. Thomas and he is singing a song by the Beach Boys, "Don't Worry Baby".   

B. J. Thomas had his first hit with a cover of Hank Williams' song "I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry" in 1968.  His biggest hit was "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" which was from the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" from 1969.   I am pleased that B. J. Thomas is still touring and making records.   What an amazing voice he has!  I really enjoyed the way that he did this song.  

I have more to say about B. J. Thomas, so look out for more about him in a future post!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Dame

When your emotion is great and you have no words, there is always music.   

                      Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Georgia.

Monday, April 8, 2019

"I'll See You In My Dreams" by Joe Brown

If you remember any of my ramblings  fantastic reviews of movies, you will know that one of my favorite films is one about a songwriter, Gus Kahn.  (He was a lyricist.) The movie is "I'll See You In My Dreams", which was one of his songs, of course!

This song was sung by the English singer Joe Brown whilst playing the ukulele at the tribute concert for his good friend, George Harrison in 2002. (Joe Brown is very well known in England and is called "a musician's musician", very much respected by his those in the music industry...along with anyone who has good taste, like me!) This particular clip is from a concert in Liverpool in 2012, I think and I loved it so much, I have it for you here.  He talks a bit at the beginning of this but he is just so doggone funny, so I hope you like that too...after all, we need laughter AND music, don't you think?  (The story of the London taxi-driver who took him to Buckingham Palace for Joe to pick up his MBE...don't miss that bit.)

The diamorpha (the red stuff!) is blooming now and dare I say it...looking dreamy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

London- Green Bridge/Red Bridge

Don't you just love to read the blogs of these brilliant writers who tell you all kinds of interesting things? Me? I suppose it is my job to look at colors and inform you of my findings. (My last post was about the clock hands being painted blue instead of black.)
So for this post, I will tell you about two of the bridges in London:   Westminster Bridge and  Lambeth Bridge.

Below, you will see a photo that Richard took in 2014 when we visited London.  The bridge pictured is Westminster bridge and it is painted green.  Why green?  It is the color of the leather benches in the House of Commons!  (You might have noticed the leather benches when you have seen them arguing debating on the TV news. You must have seen all the news about Brexit!)   This bridge is at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament and is the closest to the House of Commons.

Lambeth Bridge is predominately red and RED is the color of the leather benches in the House of Lords!  It is at the southern end and of course, is closest to the House of Lords.

(Sorry, I don't have a photo of Lambeth Bridge but you can easily look it up.  And hey, guess what? Remember from the film "National Lampoon's European Vacation" when Clark Griswald got stuck on that roundabout and couldn't get off?  That was the Lambeth roundabout which is just after when you cross this bridge, just don't ask me which side...hey, I can't know everything! Ha! I am guessing the south side.)

Another thing that I just learned today...and it is amazing to think about...there will be a swimming pool that will be installed BETWEEN two very tall buildings, that is, it will be installed IN THE SKY. It will be called a Sky Pool and it will be near the U.S. Embassy in London. (Uh, the U.S. Embassy will cost $1 billion...the most expensive embassy in history. Gulp.) 

Anyway, can you picture that pool in the sky?  
(Hopefully, the pool will be safe...apparently, they have one in Houston, Texas which was built in 2017.)

Leaving you with a hymn "Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven" from the Choir of Westminster Abbey.

Thank you, Bob! For telling me about the Sky Pool!  Not only do I not like heights, I am not overly fond of swimming either.  Let alone having those two put together! Not that I could afford to go even near the place.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Blue Clock Hands On Big Ben!

Big Ben is really the bell inside the tower and although the tower was once "St. Stephen's" Tower it was re-named "Elizabeth Tower" in 2012 in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. (That means 60 years for Queen Elizabeth on the throne.) So...let's just get all that out of the way first so I can tell you...it was revealed recently that the hands of the clock will be blue!

  Hope you can see the video that I have here for you from the BBC!
They are restoring it to the original color which is Prussian blue.
Apparently, it was painted black in the 1930's. 
So, it's about TIME they got it back to the original, don't you think? Ha, ha- I crack myself up.

  (There are four clock faces on the tower, so you are seeing just one of them.)

 I first saw the Houses of Parliament and that wonderful clock face in May of 1981...it was dark brown and dirty but even then, it took my breath away! It has had extensive restoration since then, and I very much enjoyed the lovely golden color of the buildings whenever I visited London.  Covered in scaffolding again, we will have to wait until 2021 to see it in its full glory and to hear the gorgeous deep tones of Big Ben.  

At night, when you only see the two clock faces, they can look very much like a face of an owl.  Lovely at all TIMES, day and night!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Yesterday- 2019 Movie

New movie that will come out this summer... (have to tell you!)

"Yesterday" is a film with the lead role being played by Himesh Patel! (I know him from the British show, "EastEnders" and I really loved him in that!) He will play a guitarist who realizes that he is the only person on Earth who remembers the BEATLES and then, becomes famous by plagiarizing their songs.  (Have no idea how this happens but I will find out when I see the film!) The screenplay is by Richard Curtis and I hope you know who he is! Among other comedies, he wrote "Four Weddings and A Funeral", "Notting Hill", "Love Actually" and he also co-wrote for the TV series, "Mr. Bean" and "The Vicar of Dibley".  

I found a trailer for the film but I have to admit...I only watched the first few seconds of it, I want to enjoy every minute of this movie when it comes out!  

Guess what? My son and I have something in common...we both have seen and heard Paul McCartney sing "Yesterday" on the guitar.  Nothing else, just his voice and the guitar.  I am telling you, I am very grateful to have that memory.  (I heard Paul in concert when he was with WINGS in the 1970's and my son heard him in 2008!...C. said he still sounded great.)

Did you know that Paul McCartney has stated that he woke up with the tune for "Yesterday" in his head and then, well... read about it just here in this British newspaper! "Scrambled Eggs"! When you hear "Yesterday", you will be singing that!  You all know how much I love my songwriters.

Paul, you need to come to Georgia and climb Arabia Mountain- that should inspire some songwriting.  If you can't do that, then you could invite me to your place in East Sussex.   I would be quiet and let you write, I promise.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cherry Blossoms and Moonlight (Happy Spring!)

Look at what I see when I step outside my front door...

Cherry tree blossoms!  I know I show you these every year but they really are pretty.  Let's go in closer, shall we?

Tomorrow, I plan on going on two hikes! Great way to start the first day of Spring!  At mid-day I will be walking with a co-worker during our lunch hour at a local park where there will be more blooming cherry trees. I have a photo of myself there from several years ago...
AND the second hike will be a MOONLIGHT hike! Isn't that wonderful?  I will tell you all about it and hopefully will even have some photos!  Tomorrow is March 20th and it is one month exactly after my Dad's funeral service and burial.  I think that he would like that I will do these walks. "Guess where I am, Daddy!"  I used to call and ask him.  He would say, "On top of Old Smokey?" and laugh in his unique, wonderful way, "Hee, hee, hee".  (I know I told you this before but that is most certainly what he would say and how he would laugh!)  And the fact that I will see a full moon on my hike...my Dad used to call me and say, "Look outside!"...that is the BIGGEST moon!"  Loved his enthusiasm and glad that I could share it with all of you. 

Happy Spring to you all!

(I have had this song by The Inkspots on my blog before but since I like it so much, I have it here again!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jack Lyon, "The Great Escape" and Bexhill-On-Sea

Saw this on the BBC...Jack Lyon, the last veteran of World War II's Great Escape has died at the age of 101. (He was a look-out and when he heard a gunshot, knew that he could not enter the tunnel...this most likely saved his life. 76 men escaped but 73 were recaptured and of those, 50 were executed.)  You must know the story of the Great Escape, if not you can read about it here.  It is an extraordinary story...600 men working at night for a year to dig tunnels at a prisoner of war camp, right under the noses of the guards.  "The Great Escape" is a book written by Paul Bricknell, an Australian who was also an inmate there.  Although he wrote this as a novel, the basic story is true.  If you only know the film "The Great Escape " with Steve McQueen... Well, let me just tell you what Jack Lyon had to say about it!   He called it, "absolute rubbish" and "not one American took part in it and as for the motorbike, it never existed."!

Of course, we all know how Hollywood likes to change things, so I always say, try to read as much as you can about something to get to the truth of it.

Jack Lyon died at his home in Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex this past Friday.  Glad to know that he liked to spend time at the RAF branch in Bexhill and that he was given much honor and respect. They had a 100th birthday party for him in 2017.  You may read about it just here!  The photo of the sunset is from 2015 when we visited Bexhill and I do believe that the RAF branch that I am telling you about is just behind that white building! The Albatross Club, I think it is called. (I am so thrilled when I read about something and it is somewhere that I visited in England!)  Richard and I have some very dear friends who live very close to Bexhill...Henry and Joy! (Here I am posing with them, in my best Darth Vader haircut.)

If you were able to go to that link that I gave you...I was also very pleased to learn that Jack Lyon was friends with Doug Bader!
"Reach For The Sky" is another book that you must know.
If not, then please look it up! (Another film was made from that  book too!)

 I found a clip from YouTube of Jack Lyon reading the emotional letter that he sent home when he knew the war was finally over.

All respect and honor to you, sir. Thank you for your service.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Spring Blossoms and "I Hope It's Chips!"

The pink blossoms on this tree against a bright blue sky caught my eye recently.  Love the colors!
Richard was watching a film and I wasn't really paying attention to it but someone started singing this song, so I looked it up...it was from a TV ad in the 1980's and they have changed the words from "Que Sera, Sera" to "We Hope It's Chips". 
(Now, you all know that "chips" are what we call "french fries" here in America.  And potato chips are "crisps" in England.)
Anyone can do this you know, if you have a well known tune, then just put your own words to it.  Of course, you can't "steal" a tune, this would be just for your own enjoyment! You are all writing your own song lyrics all the time, right? You know I am!

Saturday, March 2, 2019


The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Chicago Bulls last night. The final score was 168-161.  That score does not tell the whole story though...the game went on for 4, yes that is f-o-u-r overtimes!

Here is a link to Soaring Down South...which was written by our son, Christopher.  You may read it just here.  What a game! Truly, unforgettable.

Speaking of unforgettable...I was thinking of a song lately...I am sure you must know it.  Nat King Cole (on a recording) singing one of his biggest hits with his daughter, Natalie Cole singing along with him. If you don't know it, then I am glad to tell you about it. Hope you like it too. (Sorry about the saxophone in the middle, I had to fast forward through that!) 

Just came across this photo from several years ago...this is okra that my Dad had grown in his garden and had given me.  Okra fresh from the garden?   Unforgettable!  Thanks, Dad.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Ever Been Stuck In A Lift?

Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? I have! Since this happened in England, I have to tell you that I was trapped in a "lift" since that is what it is called there! I was the only American with five other women, all of them English. There was a phone in the lift...but it didn't work. So...when I suggested that we yell for help, the others said, "Oh no, we can just wait. Help will come.".
"The heck with that" is what I wanted to say...what I did say was, "Well, I am going to yell anyway!"  So, I did and not too long after that...we heard the lift beginning to move. Maybe this help would have come to us anyway, but I didn't want to take any chances! What would you have done?

I just read a story on the BBC about the artist, David Hockney who was trapped in a lift with the editor of the Daily Mail (a British newspaper) and a journalist from the BBC.  That almost sounds like the beginning of a joke but this really happened this past week in Amsterdam. (All of them were there due to the exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum which opened today:  "Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature".) David Hockney is now 81 years old and was only trapped for about 30 minutes until he and the others were rescued by firefighters.  Thirty minutes might not seem that long but minutes go by slowly when you are trapped and don't know when you will be rescued! After he was released, he asked for a cigarette and ...wait for it...Yorkshire tea!  

David Hockney is from Yorkshire, England! Now, I have to tell you, I have never been to Yorkshire but I dearly love Yorkshire tea!

Here is a quote from David Hockney...

"I've always found the world quite beautiful, looking at it, just looking. And that's an important thing I share with Vincent Van Gogh. We both really, really enjoy looking at the world." 

By the way, there is a painting by David Hockney that is called "Mr and Mrs. Clark and Percy".  It is extraordinary to me since the Mr. Clark in the painting looks so very much like my husband, Richard from the 1970's with his long hair.  His head is even tilted in the same way like Richard! Look up the painting and I think you will see what I mean.  Our son bought a fridge magnet of this painting and gave it to his Dad, since he sees this strong resemblance too. (Thanks, son. You have your father's artistic eye with your mother's frugal ways!)