Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In The Deep Freeze and…'s still before Thanksgiving.

In checking the weather in these parts (Lower Alabama) it looks like Fairhope checked out the lowest.  It must be because they are on Mobile Bay.  They're showing 21 degrees at 4:45 AM while Foley is showing 22.  The beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are showing 24.

Guess this post was worth putting up since, for some reason, our temps were lower than places known for warmth like Mesa, AZ, at 49.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Got caught reading --it’s about time

A nameless friend admitted that she only reads TRASH.  Well, that tickled me so much, that I had to include that as I mention the book I finally finished today. 

I can imagine I'd probably like all of Robin Pilcher's books and may pursue reading them after I catch up on reading John Grisham's books. 

I didn't buy this book to read it.  It was in the free lending library of the Magnolia River Bar & Grill.  I shall return it there today.  Here's some more about it >>>>>>>


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

TAIKO, some thoughts about a novel

Oriental-American Garden
Bellingrath Gardens, Theodore, Alabama
Japanese Peace Garden
Fredericksburg, Texas

Are you attracted to such things as Oriental-American gardens or Japanese Peace Gardens? There is something about such places that make me thirst for more knowledge of the Japanese people and the country of Japan.

That is why I attempted to read a very big, long book recently. 

One can tell from the book jacket that it is not a peaceful book.
The front inside book leaf reads:

In the tempestuous closing decades of the sixteenth century, the Empire of Japan writhes in chaos as the shogunate crumbles and rival warlords battle for supremacy. Warrior-monks in their armed citadels block the road to the capital; castles are destroyed, villages plundered, fields put to the torch.

Amid this devastation, three men dream of uniting the nation. One extreme is the charismatic but brutal Nobunaga, whose ruthless ambition crushes all before him. At the opposite pole is the cold, deliberate Ieyasu, wise in counsel, brave in battle, mature beyond his years. But the keystone of this triumvirate is the most memorable of all, Hideyoshi, who rises from the menial post of sandal bearer to become Taiko -- absolute ruler of Japan in the Emperor‘s name.

When Nobunaga emerges from obscurity by destroying an army ten times the size of his own, he allies himself with Ieyasu, whose province is weak but whose canniness and loyalty make him invaluable. Yet it is the scrawny, monkey-faced Hideyoshi -- brash, impulsive, and utterly fearless -- who becomes the unlikely savior of this ravaged land. Born the son of a farmer, he takes on the world with nothing but his bare hands and his wits, turning doubters into loyal servants, rivals into faithful friends, and enemies into allies. In all this he uses a piercing insight into human nature that unlocks castle gates, opens men’s minds, and captures women’s hearts. For Hideyoshi’s passions are not limited to war and intrigue -- his faithful wife, Nene, holds his love dear, even when she must share it; the chaste Oyu, sister of Hideyoshi’s chief strategist, falls prey to his desires; and the seductive Chacha, whom he rescues from the fiery destruction of her father’s castle, tempts his weakness.

As recounted by Eiji Yoshikawa, author of the international best-seller “Musashi,” “Taiko” tells many stories: of the fury of Nobunaga and the fatal arrogance of the black-toothed Yoshimoto; of the pathetic downfall of the House of Takeda; how the scorned Mitsuhide betrayed his master; how once impregnable ramparts fell as their defenders died gloriously. Most of all, though, “Taiko” is the story of how one man transformed a nation through the force of his will and the depths of his humanity. Filled with scenes of pageantry and violence, acts of treachery and self-sacrifice, tenderness and savagery,”Taiko” combines the panoramic spectacle of a Kurosawa epic with a vivid evocation of feudal Japan.

The author, Eiji Yoshikawa, was born in 1892 near Tokyo. Beginning his literary career at the age of twenty-two, he continued to work as a journalist while writing novels that reached a large and appreciative readership. At the Time of his death in 1962 he was one of Japan’s most popular and best-loved novelists.

William Scott Wilson, the translator, was born in Nashville in 1944. He now lives and works in Miami.

Jacket illustration (above) is courtesy of the Tozan-an Collection.

~ ~ ~

Perhaps as you read this summarization, your mind connected this narrative with some of the movies you have seen or some of the books you have read and some of the history you have stumbled across in various ways.

In some mysterious way, what I read in this book reminded me of the Old Testament in the Holy Scriptures (The Bible).

Here is how I read this large novel which is a translation of the Japanese to English.

I started at the beginning. The book is set up as ten books total and a total of 926 pages in print about the size of Times New Roman 12 point.

After reading from the beginning for awhile in at least BOOK ONE, I realized I could not stay with a book of this length because of the endless war and fighting in its pages. I went to BOOK TEN, and read it. The EPILOGUE was my favorite part of the book because it contains many philosophical conclusions. It would probably be illegal to copy it word for word in this blog post, but let me tell you I liked it so much, I typed it myself because of what appeared to me to be ancient wisdom.

Particularly the conclusion of the book made me think of a book I read many years ago, "Zen, and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," which contained some similar wisdom or philosophy.

Have you ever looked back on your life with its twists and turns and realized just how miraculous and wonderful it was.  I thank God that my entire life has been blessed, but some parts of it did not seem all that wonderful.  Yet, it was those very experiences that made me appreciate even more what followed.  

     When climbing a mountain, the top of the mountain is believed to be the reason for the climb. But, in life it is the adversities and overcoming  them that gives real satisfaction, joy and happiness.
Think about it: If each day were just a simple rocking along a path with no problems or obstacles to solve and overcome.  Wouldn't it be absolutely boring?
I challenge you to look back on your life and realize something bigger and more all-knowing must have been in charge of your life thus far here on earth.


A Final Gem of Wisdom at Japanese Bus Stops


Only buses will stop here – Not your time. So keep walking towards your goal.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Weather and Whatever

I have felt over the years of blogging that posts regarding the weather are boring after awhile.  However, this year of 2014 so far has been so exceptional when it comes to various aspects such as the amount of rainfall and the tempurature remaining low even until this day, so here goes another post on the weather. 

Record rainfall has been recorded, which caused extensive flood damage in many areas of the Alabama Gulf Coast as well as Gulf Coast areas of Western Florida, beginning with Perdido Key.  Above you can can see a photo of Ono Island around the end of April of 2014.

Now, today, the temperatures are in the upper 40s in some places.

Since I find it difficult to post just about one subject, being a female with the brain functioning as our brains do, it brought to mind our very first camping trip on Memorial Day Weekend when we lived in Memphis, Tennessee.

We took off for the Natchez Trace Park (about a two-hours drive) after my hubby and I got off work on a Friday afternoon.  It turned out to be quite an adventure, mostly because of our lack of experience camping in a tent and our having very little camping equipment at that point.
By the time we arrived at the park, it was dark.  It was also very obvious we were not the only people with the idea of spending the holiday weekend in the park.  As a result, we could not even find a level spot to put up our tent.  Our first tent and the one we camped in for many years was large.  Seems like we kept on our car's headlights to see what we were doing, and the site was definitely sloping.  I kept on every piece of clothing I could find to sleep in because it was so very cold.  The fact was, we only had one real sleeping bag and some slumber bags, and they didn't provide much warmth.

The reason I recalled this first camping trip was because the temperature did get down into the 40s that night.

Smitty still remembers a man from Texas he met in the men's room the next morning and how cold that man appeared to be who was shivering.

What I still remember from that first morning was the loud chorus of birds greeting the new day.  There was certainly no need for an alarm clock.  I had never heard anything like it.

After the day began warming up and it was no longer dark, we found a more level camp site and moved our tent there for the remaining three days.

I'm wondering to myself now if our elementary-age daughters remember much about the trip, which had to be their first tent camping experience as it was also ours.

Today, as we awoke in Lower Alabama, the temps were just about like those temps were on our first camping experience, and I'm wondering if they were record lows for this area. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

cluck, Cluck, CLUCK

The Magnolia Springs Garden Club left on Friday, April 4, 2014, for a fun-filled two days of enjoyment in Eufaula, Alabama.

We stopped for lunch at Zack's Family Restaurant in Dothan, Alabama. I chose the country-fried steak with white gravy and three sides and ice tea and waddled out to get back on the bus to continue on to Eufaula.  Let me go ahead and mention that just about every meal we had on this trip turned out to be chicken – all good, of course.  Hence, the title of this post.  After all, this is the SOUTH.

I have the feeling we toured some homes before we arrived at the state park, but I just do not have the notes nor the memory to support that.  If anyone in my group who reads this has notes or info, I'd be glad to share it on the blog. 
                                                                Lakepoint SP Main Entrance Lobby
We arrived at Lakepoint State Park Resort Lodge. 

Our evening meal was at the Shorter Mansion.  Afterwards we went on a candlelight tour of homes. It was a very full evening, and we returned to the state park resort around nine.

Our pilgrimage guides gave us a wealth of historical information, and I will not attempt to detail this in this post.  Anyone who is interested in history, would definitely enjoy Eufaulas Pilgrimage.

After tours of homes on Saturday morning, we had an early lunch at the Eufaula Country Club and continued to take in more interesting sights.

The Plantation Heirs, a group who perform a Capella while dressed in 19th century clothing, were performing at First Presbyterian Church in Eufaula.  We had to leave before they finished to get on the bus to head back, and we wished we could have heard more.

 I’ve left the photos I took until near the end. I was using a different camera recently purchased, so I think I can do better the more I use it.  Many of the homes we toured did not want us to take photos inside. Only one said to take all the photos you wanted inside, and I understand the reasons for that.  Many flashes of cameras will eventually fade and damage some of the valuable furnishings and antiques in such homes. 

Here they are:  
I hope to include a very amateurish video on the porch of Fendall Hall. However, when I place the link here, it does not work.  Beats me... Here 'tis:
If it doesn't work, I just give up  

On the way back home, we saw some of the Murals of Dothan.
Camp Recovery  This mural is dedicated to the recuperation area for soldiers taken ill. Camp Recovery was set up on a high bluff overlooking the river three miles southeast of Fort Scott.

Salute to the Peanut Industry (very large with two sides)  Because of its significance to the entire Wiregrass region, the peanut was selected as the subject of the first mural commissioned and features Dr. George Washington Carver (on left side)  and the National Peanut Festival (on right side). (two photos for both sides of mural)

Dothan Riot  In October of 1889, just after Dothan was incorporated, a riot erupted at the public well and bell-tower over a tax levied on commercial drays traveling city streets.

Johnny Mack Brown  Once recognized throughout the world by millions of youngsters and grown-up as the cowboy hero who always triumphed over gun-slinging villains.
Tribute to Sherman Rose & the Tuskegee Airmen  This mural pays tribute to the ten black students who were the first class in the Civilian Pilot Training Program at the Tuskegee Institute in 1939. Sherman Rose became the only black flight instructor at Fort Rucker, a position he served until 1974.

Mural photo credits to:

Even though we saw a fairly serious wreck on the way home on the rain-slick highway, we arrived in Magnolia Springs safely ~ Whew!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Goldilocks' Report on the Redneck Riviera

As Goldilocks tries to enjoy the outdoors in the Redneck Riviera close to the beach and on the beaches, she may need at least a jacket because today, for instance, is another day that will not even reach into the 70s.

Goldilocks may have been disappointed in all the rain last summer that drove little critters like mice inside to avoid drowning, only to be met with traps and di-Con.

This so-called spring has some of the azaleas already spent while others have not blossomed yet.

Baldwin County schools do not have their Spring Break until the week before Easter. 

It will be interesting to see how chilly the Easter sunrise services will be.

To end on a positive note, it is not likely any bears will frighten Goldilocks this far south...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Do You Need A Hearing Aid?

A whisper is hard to hear sometimes or, in this case, be alert enough to notice.

Be expectant and perk up! You may be missing some blessings.

God Whispers

Friday, February 07, 2014

Breakfast Food

I suppose everyone has food memories and possibly even associate certain foods with certain people.

This was our breakfast cooked today by WDS.  On the left is Taylor Ham.  It's made in New Jersey, and the first time we knew anything about it, was because we had a friend from New Jersey, Larry DelPlato, who talked about.  Only recently have we been able to purchase it.  As you'll see from reading a Wikipedia article on it, it's actually called  Pork Roll now.

I ate my first French Toast when I was a child.  It was prepared by my Aunt Edna from Washington State.  Seems like another eating habit in their family was using butter instead of mayo or some other sandwich spread on sandwiches. 

It's really pretty interesting to learn different eating customs from different parts of the country and different ethnic groups.

As time has gone by, I have realized I led a very sheltered life as far as food was concerned. So many of the foods I came to love I had never tasted until I was grown.  You have to understand that many families did not eat out and there were no fast food or franchised chains those many years ago.

To give you an example, I had my first pizza, Italian food, Mexican food, and on and on the list goes, after I was grown and pretty much out on my own.

I'm not as much of a food addict as I am an internet addict, but I do enjoy eating good food!

Monday, February 03, 2014


We have neglected blogging because we've been sort of busy since the new year came in.  The trip in January to attend the wedding of John and Lucy was a very blessed time participating in visiting with family on the last weekend of January.  Many of these people we had not seen in years. 

Atlanta is a large city we have not ever stayed in but only bypassed as we were traveling to other locations.

Since we are so accustomed now to more relaxed living where we're amongst a rural landscape close to the Coast of Alabama, the kind of traffic found in Atlanta is nice to get away from again.  We will say that the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, and the wedding reception were happy times we'll recall with a happy feeling each time we think back on them. 

Our experience staying at the Georgian Terrace on the fifteenth floor was so nice. The photo above shows how pretty the view was.  On the horizon, the little summit is the tip of Stone Mountain.

Both the rehearsal dinner and the reception after the wedding were a time to visit in a relaxing way and enjoy wonderfully delicious meals together.  I wish I could have captured the beauty of St. Lukes Church, but someone else has done it for me. Saint Lukes Episcopal Church

We manage to get only a few photos with our camera that is not dependable for capturing good ones any more. Atlanta set of photos

All of our out-of-town relatives left Sunday morning and were so happy to have done so before Atlanta was in a gridlock a few days later due to a winter storm making the exchanges and interstates out of there impassable. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Could not have imagined this my wildest dreams.

My sis shared it, and I'm sharing with you.

Miniatur Wunderland