Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lily in memory, better left alone and for all to enjoy

- We have a nice tradition at my church in which we place Easter lilies every year "in honor of" or "in memory of" someone(s).  We place them around the church for Easter morning service.  They always look so beautiful en masse.  I always place one in memory of my late parents - here it is, still blooming at my front door last week.  My neighbor has planted it in the ground now, with the one from last year, in our communal wee garden.  I'm so lucky to have a neighbor with a green thumb!

- Seen on my Sunday morning walk this week:  spring flowers on the wane - purple irises and azaleas, there in the background.  There were always purple irises growing around our family home in Milledgeville, Georgia.  I asked my mother once why she didn't pick some for the house.  She replied that she really didn't have a proper vase for them.  So I got her a vase for Mothers Day that year - but then we mutually decided the next time they were blooming that they were far better off left alone outdoors, for all to see their beauty. 

- And back home at the condos, at the end of my walk - these beautiful rhododendrons someone planted long ago for everyone to enjoy.  So lovely!

All flowers today!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A fine, warm day, a great find and beautiful visitor

Three photos that have been hanging out on my desktop - three good things that gave me pleasure:

- From my trip to Milledgeville, Georgia on April 11, with cousin Susan - this photo was taken from inside the tour trolley.  I wish those colorful irises showed up better (click to enlarge.)  The corner of Hancock and Clark was humming with activity - lots of college students walking about on a fine, warm day.  Milledgeville was the antebellum capitol of Georgia and the Governor's mansion can be seen across the street there. 

- Susan and I did a u-turn in order to visit this shop "The French Market & Tavern" in Locust Grove, Georgia, as we were about to part at the end of the day.  A great find!  Located in an old hardware store, the owners have made this old building their own by incorporating New Orleans style cuisine, with wonderful things to browse in the adjoining shop.  We spotted some people dining Al fresco in the courtyard, as we were leaving.  Love that flowering vine - I think it is Carolina Jessamine.

- And back home this week - I couldn't believe my eyes!  A true yellow Goldfinch visited my feeder.  Sorry the photo is so fuzzy - I didn't want my motion from the inside to startle it away by sneaking up to be closer to it.  My book group read The Goldfinch earlier this year, so I sent this photo out to the group by email - sparking lots of back and forth discussion of birds in their gardens. 

I hope you have a beautiful weekend, full of good things!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lost and found, spooky tree and orzo salad

- This lovely bouquet was an impulse buy at Whole Foods over the weekend - I was quite dazzled by the array of bouquets and just had to buy one.  Sometime during the drive home, I was changing out CDs for the audiobook I'm listening to and dropped one between the seats.  And look what I found when I looked under the front seat to retrieve it - the eyebrow / eyeliner pencil there on the left.  It is a great one and I thought it was lost forever. (It photo bombed the flower photo so ended up in the post, as well.)  :)

- I titled this photo "Spooky Tree".  It was a dreary morning for a walk on Saturday, but friend Laura and I forged ahead anyway, despite the drizzle, at the humorously named (I think anyway) Mountain Park Park.  (It's a park within the nearby community of Mountain Park.)  Click to enlarge - I love that someone hung a bird house on this enormous tree, which is showing its spring foliage after a winter rest.

- On Sunday morning I was thinking the day stretched ahead of me without much to do and then remembered the luncheon at church, for which I had promised to bring a salad.  I looked in my pantry and spotted whole wheat orzo and Googled "orzo salad".  This one came up first - the Pioneer Woman's Mediterranean Orzo Salad.  I was pleased that I had every ingredient called for (except for fresh parsley - I substituted fresh spinach.)  It was a hit!  And it made a good desk lunch on Monday.  This one is a keeper, I think.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making my way back home, trolley tour and perfect day

For months, my cousin Susan and I had been talking about a day visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, where I grew up and she went to college.  This past Saturday, we finally went:

- The first stop was the convention and visitors bureau that is housed in a lovely old building that was the built to be the post office, then became the county library and now houses the CVB.  I posted about it here in 2009, if you would like to see a photograph of the building (then the library) where I worked after school and during summers when I was in high school and early college, until I moved away.  Parked outside was this trolley, named Milly.  :)  Short for Milledgeville, I guess.  A very nice woman inside the CVB told us the trolley tour was leaving in eight minutes if we would like to go - lead by a professor emeritus from nearby Georgia College and State University.  So off we went.

- The view to the left of the CVB.  The banner on the light pole there proclaims Milledgeville as "The Great American Main Street City."  And indeed it is - having won that award in 2014.  I always knew it was.  The first stop on the trolley tour was the original state capital building for the state of Georgia from 1804 to 1868.  The building is on the campus of Georgia Military College and was in use that day for a meeting of "Georgia Republican Leadership" - they were on a break, so our group got to see the room the old legislature once met in. 

- Next - St. Stephens Episcopal Church, built in 1843 on the historic statehouse square.  Amazing that in all the years I have loved this town, I had never been inside this church.  During the Union occupation of Milledgeville during the Civil War, they reportedly burned the pews for firewood and housed their horses inside the sanctuary.  It is said that you can see the imprint of horses hooves on the wooden floors (now covered with carpet.)  When the nearby arsenal was blown up, the roof was blown off the building.  If these walls could talk!

- The stained glass windows date from the early 1900s and were each dedicated to communicants by their families.

- This is the Brown-Stetson-Sanford house and was the last stop on the tour.  It was designed by the master builder John Marlor and built in 1825.  It was originally a hotel for visiting legislators, then a private home.  In the 1950s, until 1966 it operated as The Sanford House Tea Room.  My late father used to have lunch there sometimes.  He told me that was how he became acquainted with author Flannery O'Connor, who lunched there frequently with her mother.  The house was moved to its current location in the late 1960s, when the grocery store it butted up against was planning to tear it down to make room for additional parking.  Thank goodness local preservationists saved the building by moving it and then restoring it.

I used to walk by this house after school, on my way to work at the library.  I stood under this tree while the tour guide talked and thought about what a perfect day this was - a blue sky Saturday, with a beloved cousin, in a town I love so much.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Just a trifle, sending out the scouts and must go there

- This was fun to make, just because of the chocolate curls on top.  My sister calls this recipe "Black Forest Trifle."  I had forgotten that it was my turn to bring goodies to my women's circle group that meets once a month on Thursday night.  So needing something quick and wanting to make something that looked homemade, I stopped by the Publix near my office Thursday morning at 7am, bought the ingredients for this and made it in the kitchenette at work at lunchtime.  I loaded it in an insulated bag for the drive to Stone Mountain and it was a hit!  Here's how you do it - so easy:

Black Forest Trifle

1-(15 oz) Angel Food Cake, cubed
1-(20 oz) can Cherry Pie Filling
4-(3.5 oz) cups Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding
1-(8 oz) carton frozen lite Cool Whip, thawed
1/4 cup chocolate curls

Place half of cake cubes in a 2 quart trifle bowl (or salad bowl as seen above); spoon half of cherry pie filling over cake.  Spread 2 pudding cups over cherry pie filling and top with half of Cool Whip.  Repeat layers.  Top with chocolate curls.  Chill.  Yield:  12 one cup servings. 

- Neighbor Rhonda told me that I need to go ahead and put my hummingbird feeder on the back porch, because the hummingbirds have scouts out and about right now, scoping out the action.  :)  I guess they go back to some hummingbird colony somewhere and list all the places where free nectar is available.  So there it is - come on gang!  (And look how new and green the foliage is right now in this through-the-window late afternoon shot.  Color has not been altered at all.)

- And ending on a chuckle - Mr C's proclaims to be "The Reason for a Neighborhood Watch."  :)  I really must go in there sometime.

I hope you enjoy your weekend - thanks for coming by! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hippity hoppety, sweet violets and consider the lilies

- My Saturday morning walk ended up being a solitary one at Lilburn Park.  My walking partners and I got our wires crossed about the walk location, so I walked alone.  You might think that sounds lonely, but it enabled me to listen to music while I walked, as well as take these photos.

- I titled this photo, Sweet Violets, because of the tiny violets growing around this stump.  You would need to click to enlarge to see them better, I think.

 - And after my walk, I met some ladies at the church to place these hothouse lilies around the sanctuary in preparation for the glorious Easter morning worship service. 

There's an article in The New Yorker online, entitled "Barbara Pym and the New Spinster" - you can read the article here.  I liked this quote in the article so much that I have put it on the "about me" section of my blog:   "(In) Pym’s “Less Than Angels” (1955), the protagonist, Catherine Oliphant, reflects that “the smallest things were often so much bigger than the great things … the trivial pleasures like cooking, one’s home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard.”

Friday, April 3, 2015

Just before sunrise, right on schedule and spring is here

- Just before sunrise at the condos and I wish the photo did it more justice.  It was gorgeous as I was getting into my car to leave for work at 7ish this morning. 

- Right on schedule, my potted Hosta wakes from its winter nap.  As good a sign of spring as any.  :)

- Early this morning, these plants were still in their containers from the plant nursery.  When I got home from work (early) there they were - already planted.  Neighbor Rhonda - a great container gardener. 

- And then when I got home from my manicure / pedicure (oh bliss!) her Hummingbird feeder had been added.  Now I know spring is really here.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!