Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Peaceful Streams

A lovely winter stream... but, I still think a bit of snow would add much. (Sigh!)
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Water is the driver of Nature." ~ Leonardo da Vinci

A winter scene for our area... the background of mute greens and browns... still the water flows. In summer this will change... the background alive with color and the water taking on the hue of the sky... blue with dancing little white cloudlets. In between... in spring.. come the storms, the ping-pong temperatures.... and the beginning of new life in the pool... the koi are small, the lotus just starting to emerge. One small stream with so many different looks throughout the year...keeps life interesting, don't you think?

Other Watery Wednesday pictures are here.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Favorites

Daffodils, yellow swallowtail butterfly and a dapper goldfinch.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"A parallel between color and music can only be relative – just as a violin can give warm shades of tone, so yellow has shades, which can be expressed by various instruments." ~ Wassily Kandinsky

My brother leaves tomorrow to return to Europe... so the color for today would be more of a gray or blue to match my mood. He is my younger brother, but through the years he has become my best friend. The world seems to be brighter and filled with more sunshine when he is here. So, perhaps a mellow yellow is the right theme for the day!

We have so much yellow around here, but these are a few of the favorites.... an unusual daffodil from the Norfolk Botanical Garden, a swallowtail butterfly feasting on the nectar of Joe Pye Weed at the edge of the preserve that backs onto our property and a male goldfinch in his summer "mating" colors. How can you feel blue with all this yellow in your life? Nope, not possible.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

SPH: To Protect And Serve

And where is your "knight in shining armor"?
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"The trouble with putting armor on is that, while it protects you from pain, it also protects you from pleasure." ~ Celeste Holm

The bottom right picture is a set of armor from the Yankee Candle store in Williamsburg, Virginia. This large store is a magical and mysterious place with starlit night skies above in some alcoves and with blue skies and fluffy white clouds floating along the ceiling in others. The other examples are displays in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I love the shiny armor, colorful flags and the protection for the horses... they are beautiful, but very impractical. Can you imagine wearing that heavy load in the heat of summer, trying to sling heavy swords and other implements.. or even trying to walk in this? And the poor horse... the weight of its own armor plus that of the knight? Brutal. Still the concept makes me long for my knight.... just a little.

Symbols of those who protect us... Posted by Picasa

"The government was set to protect man from criminals, and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government." ~ Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

These are two beautiful works of art that adorn the sides of two buildings along the Virginia Beach beachfront. Both represent those everyday heroes who protect our streets and our homes each day. They remind me of that terrible September day when these men rushed into those burning towers while all others were evacuating; never faltering, never wavering... focused on their duty. They paid the ultimate price. These works of art honor these heroes.

Look for other "protection" Saturday Photo Hunt entries at Tennessee Chick.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

It's The Birthday Girl!!!!

"A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future." ~ Author Unknown

Sweet Nyssa memories from years gone by...
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Twenty three years ago today, my baby was born... a beautiful, round headed little girl with ten fingers and ten toes and big round eyes. She grew and grew... into an outgoing little southern belle who seemed to be known and loved by everyone she met. I became known as "Nyssa's Mom" and this was fine by me. She excelled in her music and her studies and tried everything.. cheerleading, basketball and softball. Braces saved a couple of teeth during softball and basketball opponents were thrown off by her tactic of "defensive screaming". (Many in the bleachers were also startled.) Then came those pesky boys and formals and make-up... oh, yes.. and learning to drive. I lived through the learning to drive!

Three graduations... and counting...

So far, we have made it through three graduations... kindergarten... that was a breeze and very sweet... she was so proud! Then high school graduation in 2004 and that wonderful tradition... just last year... from The College of William and Mary! Now, Nyssa is fifteen hours away, back in Mississippi... on her own, in graduate school and chasing hurricanes and tornadoes. Her future awaits!

A funny face fanatic.... Posted by Picasa

"A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart." ~ Author Unknown

I couldn't forget some of the strange faces that come out when Nyssa is making a point, or eating or giving herself a facial... at least I left out the really embarrassing ones!

So, on this day... Nyssa's 23rd birthday... I am thinking of you Sweet Pea and wishing you the happiest of days! It would be perfect.. at least for me.. if I could be with you... but know you are always in my heart! I LOVE YOU!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brother Home... Busy Bees

The opera star is home... Posted by Picasa

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply..." ~ Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

....and we have been really busy with contractors and plans and HOA's and all sorts of things. He is here for only two weeks and these are rapidly drawing to a close. It is hard to get everything we need to do in and still be able to do a few of the things we want to do. So, I hope to be back to posting later this week... or even later today, if everything goes well.


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

SPH: When The Deep Purple Falls Over Sleepy Garden Walls

Clockwise: Purple storm sky, spring party fork, superball and jacks.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"This doughnut has purple in the middle, purple is a fruit."
~ Dan Castellaneta

I didn't have a jelly doughnut or any doughnut for that matter and I was trying to think of "purple" things that weren't flowers. Too bad I couldn't go back to Mississippi for this theme.... there, I had a close friend who loved, and I mean.. absolutely adored the color purple. Her house had a deep purple door. Many of her furnishings, afghans, paintings, even her teddy bear collection.. had touches of purple here and there. She wore purple often and it looked wonderful on her. I always envied her that.. purple makes me look like Barney, the purple dinosaur. It is most unlikely that I will ever be one of those lovely white haired ladies with the purple dresses and lavishly trimmed red hats....sigh.

Clockwise: Three purples..Iris...Crocus...Columbine.

"Of columbines, in purple dressed
Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest."
~ William Cullen Bryant

Of course, I couldn't pass up the flowers... there are so many beautiful shades of purple and different varieties... especially now. I love the wild wisteria, the early crocus, the heavenly hyacinth and the hearty iris. When we moved to this house I brought iris from the old house... gold and light lavender varieties. They have been languishing in plastic dishpans at the edge of the preserve... for a full year now.. with no care, just the rain and whatever soil still clings to the roots. But these plants have not only survived, they have multiplied... like rabbits! I must get the area tilled up and plant them... before they decide to bloom!

Lilac Love Posted by Picasa

"I am thinking of the lilac-trees,
That shook their purple plumes,
And when the sash was open,
Shed fragrance through the room."
~ Mrs. Anna S. Stephens, The Old Apple-Tree

Finally, who could forget the lilac, a spring beauty delicate to the eye but with fragrance beyond compare... loved by all... including butterfly and bee. Lilacs are on my list to plant here... right now, I am considering a a trio of lilacs, intertwined into one large bush... three different colors. Purple dreams tonight!

Look for other "purple" Saturday Photo Hunt entries at Tennessee Chick.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Daffodil Season

A late season for daffodils...Norfolk Botanical Garden Posted by Picasa

"A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or not the sun be shining outside." ~ A.A. Milne

The weather has been strange this year. It has been warm in winter and cold in spring... the daffodils have bloomed and most are now gone, but not this daffodil. While the tulips take over the botanical garden, this daffodil is hanging in there.

Of course, there is my flowerbed. I planted daffodils this year, but not in November when the package instructed me to do so. Never being one to actually follow planting instructions completely, I waited until the last of February, first of March. Why? Well, my reasoning was this... we live by the coast where winters are sporadic, often mild and it can be in the 60's in December and January is usually the coldest month. If I plant them in November, the warm sun and mulch covering and the spring like December temps will produce early germination... then, just when the small plants emerge.. a severe cold snap will kill them. So, my solution is to wait until late February or early March to plant. I know this is insane... but I did it. Sure enough.. everyone else with daffodils had pretty yellow flowers when mine were not yet peeking through the mulch. But, I may have the last laugh... here it is mid-April and we have cold 45 degree rain, headed for a 36 degree low and in a few days, when the 70's are back in vogue, we may actually have yellow sunshine blooming out front. Better late than never, I suppose.

photo theme for this week is "floral".

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

SPH: Not Your Typical Triangles

"If a man is at once acquainted with the geometric foundation of things and with their festal splendor, his poetry is exact and his arithmetic musical." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I thought about this weeks theme, I thought about a "YIELD" sign and... well, a "YIELD" sign. UH! OH! Is there anything else? Sure, when I was a kid in Summer Bible School we had the rhythm band... where you play the sticks and the sand blocks and... yes, the "triangle". But it has been many, many, many years since we did that and I really don't think they are popular any longer since this is the age of synthesizers and video games. So, the quest was to look at the world with a geometric eye...and here are the results.

Clockwise from top left: Three triangles in Colonial Williamsburg architecture.
Bottom left: Big country farm house in the big city (Virginia Beach)
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"I sketched a trapezoid on the back of an envelope. I drew a diagonal line across the trapezoid and produced two triangles. That was the beginning." ~ Pei, I.M. Chinese Architect

I realized that triangles are everywhere, particularly in architecture... from the triangular A-frame houses to the vaulted beams in our old house in Mississippi and the triangular gables in Stephen's house. But the most classic are seen in the Colonial Williamsburg homes, the big covered porticos with columns and decorative wood trim. Most are white, but every once in a while you see deep color thrown in; for example, the Peyton Randolph House is a dark rusty brown. I did find another unusual triangle atop this house smack in the middle of Virginia Beach. This home is a large country style farm house surrounded by neighborhood homes built in the sixties... mostly cookie cutter ranch styles with a single garage and picture windows. It is a house that would seem more at ease amid acres of rolling golden wheat... but it does catch the western evening sun in a magical way.

Top: Thoracic triangle (Trigonopeltastes delta - Delta Flower Scarab)
Bottom right: Colonial bench, Williamsburg
Bottom left: Governors chair, Capitol Building House of Burgesses, Williamsburg

"The universe cannot be read until we have learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word." ~ Galileo Galilei (1564-1642. Italian astronomer, mathematician, and physicist)

After documenting the architecture, I looked for smaller examples.... how about the furniture within.. or sitting outside these homes. These benches with the open woodwork are found everywhere in Williamsburg... the patterns are different.. some with more triangular spaces than others. This pattern of woodworking is also popular as accents on houses all over southern Virginia; used to decorate faux balconies or as railings on decking and outside stairs. In a more formal setting, this high back (now that is an understatement) chair topped with a triangle is found in the House of Burgesses within the colonial capitol building. I understand that the king's governor over Virginia would sit here during sessions.

Of course, I couldn't let nature go unnoticed this week... God was the first mathematician and all creation is filled with geometric shapes. This beetle was feasting on our Joe Pye Weed and the yellow triangle on its black thorax was striking. Notice the name.. delta flower scarab... "delta" a triangular letter in the Greek alphabet.. how appropriate!

Shiny triangles.... Chrysler Building, New York City Posted by Picasa

"The stars are the apexes of what triangles!" ~ Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862)

I had to close with something grand and shiny! What better than the tall Chrysler Building in Manhattan... this took an unbelievable amount of technical know-how and innovative architecture to conceive and then build this skyscraper... and how do they keep it so shiny?

So, will you ever look at a triangle in the same way again? I won't!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Shadow Cat - Gone With The Wind

Who is this to capture the perfect light and shadow?

It's Mr. Rhett... smooth operator... of course!
(Click pictures to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"When naming a cat, if one's imagination is totally at a loss, start with a good encyclopedia. Look up the names of emperors, empresses, kings, and queens. Cats, particularly male cats, like very strong names which link them to majestic feats." ~ Auriel Douglas

Mr. Rhett fits his name. He is a smooth operator; he works and weasels his way out doors and in doors and onto laps... if all else fails, he simply gazes longingly until the object of his desire gives in and invites him into his/her lap. Rhett has become the most vocal of the cats... he talks almost constantly... unless asleep. Small stuffed toys, sponge balls and a ragged stuffed cloth ball are his "babies"... he carries them around and meows and meows and meows. Rhett knows what he wants and how to get it... most of the time, just like his namesake.

And if you must know... his counterpart.. Miss Scarlett.. is as capricious, cantankerous and conniving as the original as well.

Mr. Rhett is taking his show on the road to Friday's Ark and to the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this Sunday by Artsy Catsy. He is being so active this week... his human uncle is arriving Saturday... the same day Rhett wants to visit over at Camera Critters. One busy cat!

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Camera Critters

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Even Thistles.....

Thistle head ....a forest canopy of fluffy down. Posted by Picasa

"Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Thistles grow along the deep water runoff ditch that ran behind my parent's old house. They were thickest a few doors up where the weeping willow tree hung over the ditch. These were white and fluffy like a crown reaching for the sky. This one had already lost some of the down.. leaving rows of seed like a dark forest for the camera to explore. This would have been a great prop idea for "Honey I Shrunk The Kids."

Submission for LensDay topic "macro".

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Piercing The Darkness

Early fall morning fog.... Williamsburg, Virginia
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith that springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best." ~ R. Turnbull

The suns rays stream through the dense fog of an early fall morning, brightly illuminating the brilliant leaves and trees on the rolling hills; not yet quite able to reach into the darkness of the shallow valleys. The previous day warmed the moist ground and the crisp overnight temperatures made for a significant fog and a great morning shot. Yes, I know it isn't really good to shoot pictures while driving.. but this was so beautiful, I couldn't help myself.

Two4Tuesday theme... light and dark.

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Lady Willow: Cat In Repose

Reporter(me,whispering):"Here she is, the princess of slouch,
in a most undignified position; taking another nap in typical style."
(Click photos to enlarge)

"Uh! Oh! The diva awakes! Those eyes, that look....
but does she move, does she respond to requests to move,
does she understand that this is a chair for my own repose?"

"No! Look,she simply makes herself more comfortable,
expanding her immense form to fill the chair completely;
then dismisses me with a wink of her eye! Posted by Picasa

"Cats were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man." ~ Paul Gray

Lady Willow loves to recline in sweet repose.... anywhere she likes and does not like to be told anything contrary to what she believes true. She does not tolerate anyone... human or cat...that gets in her way. I must say, however, with humans at least she is civil about it and does not have the personality to hiss and spit and slap at my hand when disturbed. She is more bossy with the other cats and they seem to know that you never disturb a sleeping diva, if you want to keep all your fur that is. Still, that wink bothers me. What was she thinking, really?

Perhaps she was dreaming of the cats at Cats on Tuesday. Willow, are you going to join Rhett on the Friday's Ark and at the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this Sunday by Artsy Catsy? Yes? OK!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring Has Arrived!

A touch of yellow with hot salmon... the tulips are blooming. Posted by Picasa

"How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Spring has arrived, at least for the time being. The past few days temperatures have been in the high 60's and low 70's and Palm Sunday was glorious with only minimal wind, lots of sun and small fluffy white clouds scampering by on occasion. A perfect day to use my pass to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Others thought so too! This time I took a young friend, Jenny and we walked and walked...and enjoyed all the beautiful flowers. The camellias are past the peak of their blooming season, but still beautiful... especially the candy striped varieties. Only the late blooming daffodil species are left but the tulips are coming into their own. Red, yellow, purple, pink and every conceivable permutation of mixed colors, including one that was a very different... hot cotton candy pink and pure white stripe. The dogwood are blooming as are the white redbud, common redbud, crab apple, chinese cherry and ornamental plumb. We were walking along the path through the tidewater plants nature garden and looked back across to open field to see a line of pinks, whites, purples all wonderfully mixed together... Too bad I am not an artist with canvas and paints. I would have set up shop right there.

Black and yellow swallowtail butterflies were seeking out nectar.. this is the earliest I have seen them here. Mom and Pop eagle were perched high in the trees, keeping a close eye on those three new chicks. I did notice that the usual crop of squirrels and birds were not prominent.. but I expect this may be due to the nesting eagles. However, the robins were abundant.. on the opposite side of the garden from the eagles, of course.

The roses are growing.. not yet blooming but by the end of May and June they will be in full force. Jenny is getting married, in Indiana, but she loves the garden. She thought the expense to rent the garden would be too much.. but it turns out to be less expensive than all the individual rentals in Indiana. And no need for flowers... oh, my.. this rose garden is perfectly set up for a fabulous wedding. We saw scattered rose petals on the ground in a linear pattern... yes, a wedding was held here on Saturday for sure...

It was a great day, and for just a hint at the beauty that surrounded us... I offer this touch of tulip... and its touch of yellow for Mellow Yellow Monday.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

SPH: Oh Say Can You See?....Stripes!

False potato beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta .... with a hard striped shell.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"It's hard to be a stripe in a field of dots." ~ Becca Richardson

This colorful insect was basking in the sun on one of our shrubs and I loved his wonderful candy coated striped shell. See the small dots adorning his thorax? Who said you shouldn't wear stripes with polka dots?

Candy striped tulip... Norfolk Botanical Gardens

"When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with all other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty." ~ John Muir (1838 - 1914)

I loved this yummy peppermint striped tulip with the sun shining through the soft petals. It is April and time again for the tulips... hopefully, I will get there this Sunday... no rain is forecast and the temperature is to be in the 70's. We'll see what variety they have come up with this year! By the way... do you see a trend here.. all the candy references... hmmmm.

Muscarelle Museum of Art on the campus of
The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.

"Open the window of fantasy to know what reality can bring." ~ Raul D. Arellano

These stripes are actually a work of art; the colorful shades with back lighting cover windows in the Muscarelle Museum of Art but at night they are a canvas on their own. This small museum includes works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Titian and has hosted traveling exhibitions including Painting the Italian Landscape: Views from the Uffizi and Still-Life Paintings of the Medici Collections. The latter featured Carravaggio's Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge and it was magnificent. Carravaggio is absolutely one of my favorite Italian painters. For its size and location, this museum has offered quite prestigious collections and it is open to the public for a very reasonable price... and free for students.

A thief in stripes, behind bars.

"The way money goes so fast these days, they should paint racing stripes on it." ~ Mark Russell (American political commentator, Comedian and Satirist)

Last year, mainly in the late spring and summer, we had these visitors. At first they showed up at night... once, Mom woke and saw two bright shining eyes looking in the floor to ceiling bay windows and she had no idea what they were attached to. They were too big for birds, too small for human eyes.. a mystery. Then, a few days later, this fellow showed up... the thief who raided the bird feeders and made off with all the sunflower seeds. Not content to stay outside the fence, he walked right up to the patio and climbed the brick to the bay window sill.. then jumped over to the free standing bird feeder. One day he brought a friend and while he was hesitant when humans showed up, he became bolder with each encounter. I heard through the community grapevine that the wildlife service trapped this raccoon and his companion and released them way, way, way out in the boonies. The birds and the dog and the neighbors are all glad this thief is behind bars... or at least far away!

Colorful stripes..cotton fabric..wouldn't this make a great sundress?

"Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy." ~ Albert Einstein

Vertical stripes are great... horizontal, not so much. Wearing plaid with stripes? The experts on "What Not To Wear!" say it's OK, as long as one pattern is small and inconspicuous. Somehow, I doubt this bold stripe would look very good with any sort of plaid... even if Einstein thought it fine.

The Golden Horn Restaurant... Columbus, MS Posted by Picasa

"Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything." ~ Ernest J. Gaines (1933 - )

This striped canopy welcomes you to the best steak house in the entire United States. Not even those of Dallas, Texas and parts west can compare to the mouth-watering fillets served here. Tender? You can cut them with a table knife... no make that a fork. This eatery is near the small airport, halfway between Columbus and Starkville.. out in the open farmland. It is probably one of the few things I miss about living there.

Wow... I started out on a food/candy theme and ended up full circle.. back on the food. Saturday Photo Hunt's topic for today is.... "stripes". We will be seeing plenty of renditions today... enjoy!

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