Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Saturday, the night before and no resolve

Last Saturday afternoon at my sister and brother-in-law's home in Jefferson County, Florida (the very northern part in the "panhandle.")  My sister was occupied with Christmas errands when I arrived, so I sat on the front steps and just listened to the quiet.  The loveliest thing - camellias bloom in December and these were in their full glory.

I don't see Moby all that often, but thankfully, he likes me.  He is a good, fierce guard dog, when needed.  He wandered around the house and his tail started wagging when he heard my voice.  His birthday is Christmas Day, so I brought him a special treat for his birthday, as well as Christmas.  That's kitty Pete in the driveway - just going over to inspect my car.

My sister calls these "Auxiliary Stockings" - the knitted ones hanging on the mantel are too fragile for all the heavier things we like to put in them.  I had fun labeling them and even more fun putting things in them.  I had a lovely time with my family and it was fun seeing the excitement of the little ones that Christmas had come.

Thinking of my blog friends on the drive home, I pulled over to take a photo of the cotton, all wrapped up in big bales.  The white spots you see on the side of the road, are pieces of cotton that drifted away - you see a lot of that in southern Georgia.  The bales will be picked up at some point and will end up in our clothing and other linens.  

And speaking of blog friends, Grannie Annie turned this photo that I posted in November into a "digital painting" - posted on facebook.  I was delighted to see it and I love it.  Thanks for doing that, Annie!  (Posted here with permission.)

Happy New Year, my friends (a little early.)  I'll be around at your blogs the next couple of days.  I hope you have a lovely weekend.  Any resolutions?  None for me.  I'll end with my three favorite resolution quotes: 

- I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second. ~Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

- Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde

- Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go. ~Brooks Atkinson

Friday, December 23, 2016

'Tis the season

Holiday scenes...

The first signs of the impending season were these "book trees" spotted in a shop window in Thomasville, Georgia on November 25.  I love the reflection of downtown in the window.

Three tired women met at our church in the evening in early December to decorate the Chrismon tree.  "Chrismon" is a combination of the words "Christ" and "monogram," and means "symbols of Christ." Chrismons are gold and white, representing majesty and purity.  I was not keen on spending my evening doing this, but ended up enjoying the company of two fellow church members as we chatted and worked on the tree, sharing memories.

And here's the whole thing - all done.  The tree might be listing a bit to the left.  Hmm...

My sister and I have a silly game, in which we text each other crazy things the other might receive for Christmas.  I could not get her to tell me anything she wanted, so I told her this poodle was going to look cute on her dresser.  :)  Not to worry - she's got two really good things from me under the tree.

I already shared my tree at home here, but this a closeup of some of favorite ornaments, including Dorothy's red shoe (purchased at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC), and a beloved ornament of my late parents' depicting the Atlanta Braves World Series Championship in 1995. 

This plane is the new addition to my tree - purchased at the same shop that had the ceramic poodle.  :)  I liked it and think it is a cute addition.

I hope your holidays are wonderful, my friends!  See you for a last post of 2016 next week.  This is my 1601st post - just realized.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Favorite tree, hands and looking out

It was a gloomy-ish weather day when I went to the tour of homes in Madison, Georgia several days ago.  Friend Barb couldn't go with me, as usual, so off I went.  I took a few photos - mostly quirky ones.  I think that little structure might have been a cover for a well at one time.  And I adore Ginkgo trees, with their fan-shaped leaves - especially when the leaves turn yellow in the fall.

Love the hand prints in the brick walkway of someone's home.  I wonder where those hands might be now and what they are doing.

This home was wonderful - full of furniture and things from all the countries they have lived in.  But the back yard held these four chairs just looking out at nature.  I imagined the family just sitting and chatting in the evening.

This flame colored tree caught my fancy, but the Ginkgo is still my favorite.

I hope the world is being kind to you today, my friend.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, December 9, 2016

In the mist, cheerful and colorful

Four unrelated good things this week - going from gray to colorful:

The skyline of midtown Atlanta was lovely and mystical looking, as viewed from the parking deck of Georgia Public Broadcasting on volunteer night.  We had needed rain so badly and it was welcome when it came.

More gloomy sky, but loved the cheery scarecrow wearing Santa's hat.  Madison, Georgia, last Saturday.

It took all week, but I got my little tree up.  It's sitting on a draped crate so that it will have more presence.  :)  I decorated it a little at a time and finally finished yesterday.  Richie Bear was purchased at Rich's department store, in the mid-1980s, when it was still open.  And the cardboard Santa to the right was given to me by my kindergarten teacher, way back when.  

Coworker Bobby salvaged peppers and green tomatoes from his garden last night, since the temperature was dropping into the 20s (fahrenheit).  It's cold here in the south today.  I chose two red peppers that he swears won't be hot.  :)  It was astounding to see these garden baskets on this wintry day.

I hope your weekend is full of good things!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Good sport, rise and shine and soaking it in

The extended Thanksgiving holiday in northern Florida was beautiful and warm.  The sunflowers are from the crop in the lower fields and my great niece Kloie made the Thanksgiving card, using her hand.  I love that kids still do that!  The round, green cylinder on the right is the birthday hat she made for my brother-in-law, who was a good sport and wore it in the restaurant, where we celebrated his birthday the evening before Thanksgiving.  Passing wait staff said, "Happy Birthday, Pepaw!" as they passed. 

The sun rising and shining through the Live Oaks on Thanksgiving morning.  

My sister got the idea for this structure for swings via Pinterest and had it built.  We christened the new brick fire pit in the center on Saturday night by toasting marshmallows over it.  The night sky was so beautiful that I could actually see the stars (something that gets lost in the city skies where I live.)

It made nephew Curtis smile that I was walking around snapping photos with my phone on Sunday morning, right before departure.  I was soaking up the beauty, I said.  And I was trying to get his dog Hank in the photo - there he is in the background.  Hank loves roaming this property - it's like a giant vacation for him - being on the farm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It was a blustery day, gamely blooming and golden leaf

It was a blustery day and time for a walk. While I waited at the park for my friend to arrive, I thought about the lyrics to a favorite children's song, "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day":

Oh the wind is lashing lustily
And the trees are thrashing thrustily
And the leaves are rustling gustily
So it's rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubtedly
It looks like a rather blustery day, today
It sounds that it may turn out to be
Feels that it will undoubtedly
Looks like a rather blustery day today

The ball fields were oddly empty.  No one was at the tennis courts either.  But those flaming trees sure were beautiful.

The day was so blustery that I gave up on trying to wrangle leaves at home.  This plant is still gamely blooming - even I couldn't kill it.  :) 

And this beautiful maple leaf landed perfectly in this pot on the back porch.  Love its gold, tinged with red.

It is our Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday in the United States.  There is much to be thankful for.  Thank you for your friendship - I love that you come by. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Just breathe, pink haze and have a good week

This is by no means the best photograph of the super moon from November 14 (taken with iPhone 6 and a little grainy), but it represents my view, as I stood in the street of my neighborhood after a challenging week and just breathed.

I could still see that same beautiful moon this morning - the internet tells me that occurs because it's really the sun's light reflecting off of the moon's surface.  It was off to the right here, but I wasn't able to get a photo of it (don't worry - I was at a complete stop.)  I did get the hazy, pink glow over the skyline of midtown Atlanta (here on I-85 south).  The haze is from smoke blowing in from wildfires in northern Georgia and western North Carolina - not a good thing at all, but it did make the skyline look mystic.

I hope you have a good week.  Hugs!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Impulse buy, spooky home and sparkling

Seems like a day for some Good Things!  And as always, it's the little things...

The cashier at the grocery store loved that I was buying flowers and wine.  "And a salad!" she said (looking perplexed).  I told her the flowers were an impulse buy for me, the wine was for a gift and the prepared salad was for lunch the next day.  I adore coming home and seeing these flowers, first thing.

Friend Janice and I were walking in park on Saturday morning - a lovely, crisp morning.  I think I've posted a pic of this tree before, but I still think it's delightfully spooky looking.  And love that it has a bird house on it.  If I were a bird, that's where I would want to live, in this spooky home.

And the driveway view at the condos was sparkling with light and color when I got home from the walk.  Love the shadows on the pavement, too.

I hope you have a lovely, peaceful week, my friends!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Proven winners, finally - some fall color and red cabbage

It's so amazing that it is the first of November and that hosta is in full bloom now.  I can't bring myself to get rid of the blooming things yet (as my neighbor has done).  Recommendation for all of you who can find them - Dragon Wing Begonias, probably the hardiest blooming plant ever.  (It's the one on the table there.)  The red link is to a website that calls them "proven winners."

The view from the trash compactor area at the condos, last Sunday morning.  I don't think I've ever taken photos of our changing leaves from this view before.  I turned back to car and marveled at the serenity and beauty of the morning.

It all started when I promised a friend that I would send him my sister's recipe for Red Cabbage.  "Oh yeah - her red cabbage is great!  I'll send the recipe to you."  And then I couldn't find it.  So I texted her yesterday morning to ask her to send it.  She hadn't thought of or made it in years, but a few minutes later, I got a "Found it!" text with this photo of the recipe card.  It was her late mother-in-law's recipe*.  Her husband asked if she would make it soon, so she did - she made it for dinner last night.  

She served it with pork roast and potatoes.  And I got a text from her while I was at volunteer work last night and still contemplating dinner, "Wish you were here!  Thanks for the reminder!"  Me, too.  They live in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia - I don't see them nearly enough, but I love that we are in touch all the time like this.

* If you make this, fat would be butter (I asked) and vinegar is the apple cider variety.  :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Happy mail, refrigerator art and just so

A few weeks ago, our friend the Elephant's Child mentioned in a blog post that she would send us a magnet from her visit to Floriade, Canberra, Australia's annual celebration of Springtime.  All we had to do was ask - and so I did.  I adore receiving what I call "Happy mail," which came by Air Mail, with the magnet (there on the right) inside a lovely note card, with a mom with her baby on the front.  This totally made my day.

And there it has landed, on the side of my refrigerator, next to Frida Kahlo and holding up a postcard from the Flannery O'Connor foundation.  There's also hummingbird paraphernalia, as well as a drawing depicting the metamorphosis of a butterfly, drawn by great niece Kloie.  So it's in good company.  Thanks, EC!  I adore it.

The main reason I visited the Elephant's Child's blog the first time was that her blog handle evokes one of my most favorite stories of all time - "How the Elephant got his trunk" by Rudyard Kipling.  (I have a paperback copy of the book "Just So Stories," but the cover is not as good as this one I found on the internet.)  My fifth grade teacher, the late Mrs. Ola Payne, used to read to us in the afternoons, and this was, by far, my favorite. 

If you aren't familiar with "How the Elephant got his trunk," you can imagine, just from looking at this cover, how that happened.  :)  Poor Elephant's Child, with his 'satiable curiosity!  I do love to visit our EC's blog and read her "just so" stories!  A Good Thing, for sure!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Celebration, highland games and people watching

This past weekend, as usual, I co-hosted my Clan's tent at the Stone Mountain Highland Games, at which we celebrate our Scottish heritage.  When I texted my sisters this photo to let them know where I would be all weekend, one sister cheekily asked if was wearing a "beret," too  No - just a tartan scarf pinned over my shoulder.  :)

Taking a stroll down "Clan Row," I spotted this tent with a life-sized cut out of a cowboy and his horse.  Of course I had to ask.  The gentleman there on the right told me that is Bill Boyd, aka Hopalong Cassidy, of vintage cowboy movie fame. 

I always like to watch the dancing - these young ladies were in the Highland Dance competition.

But I love being in our tent the most - it's a great spot in which to people watch.  And there are music performances all weekend in the tent to the left of ours.  Plus bagpipe music in the distance - it's all lovely.  And when they delivered the bottle of scotch to our tent (a thank you for being a sponsor), I told the committee who brought it that I'll bet that's the most fun job there is at the games.  I like how it matched the mums.  (One of the beret guys took it home.)  :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beacon, presiding and lost, but now found

The smoke stack, at the now closed (power) Plant Harllee Branch in my hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia, will be taken down this weekend.  The plant closed in 2015, but the 1000 foot smoke stack, with its blinking lights at the top, has remained until now.  It's how I always knew that I was close to home, when driving there from Atlanta to visit my (late) parents.  Approaching the bridge that goes over Lake Sinclair, there was that beacon in the distance, letting me know that I would be there in five minutes. 

What makes that a good thing?  (I got sentimental there.)  There's no smoke coming out of it, due to environmental protection guidelines.  And the photo of it over the water is gorgeous.   (Photo credit - Tanya Fuss Alexander.)

 Back at my place in suburban Atlanta, my neighbor's dragonfly garden stake presides over the wooded area in the back.

I lost the mate to this favorite earring at the end of September, on a day when I was leaving the oral surgeon in discomfort, stopping by the pharmacy for prescription filling, and the grocery store near my office, before heading into work.  I realized one earring was missing shortly after.  I looked all over and called all the places I had been, with no luck.

So yesterday, after work, I stopped by that grocery store, and on a whim, asked the bored looking customer service lady if there were any earrings in lost and found, by any chance.  She walked over and rummaged through a box.  She held up an earring and said, "Is this it?"  "YES!"  I can't believe I got it back.  It was a one of a kind set of earrings, purchased from a gallery in Grayton Beach, Florida.  I am so happy.  It's the little things...

I hope something makes you happy today.  Have a lovely weekend!

Signs of fall, out front beauty, the first time and encore

The trees in the background at the condos attest to signs of fall, which was surely expected, but a delight nonetheless.  My car is always photo bombing my pictures.  :)  

The plants out front are gamely hanging in there.  The air has turned crisp in the early morning, here in the Atlanta area, but everyone here on the porch wants to keep blooming it seems.  I don't have the heart to get rid of them yet.  The dragon wing begonia, on the plant stand, had gotten very tall and leggy, so I cut it way back about a month and a half ago.  It came right back and started sprouting out blooms.  

This is a hosta that I bought from a plant sale about 10 years ago, I think.  It probably belongs in the ground, but I've kept it in a pot.  This year, I moved it from the back porch to the front, and it loves it there.  It grew very lush this year.  And surprise - it is blooming for the very first time!  In October, of all times.  The hostas, in the ground, at the mountain house are blooming in July.  Go figure.

And much to my amazement, the rhododendron bush in front of neighbor Mike's window downstairs is blooming, too.  They usually bloom in mid-Spring.  Neighbor Rhonda speculates that it is what she calls an "Encore" bloom.  I'm just delighted to see them both.