Sunday, December 30, 2012

Temporary Winter Wonderland

Yesterday evening brought Nashville a beautiful series of wet snow showers. We drove through Percy Warner Park on the way home from visiting my older sister in Bellevue, where the snowfall was so lovely to look at through the picture window in her room. I didn't have my camera with me, and today all that snow has been blown away by the gusty winds overnight. But I made a picture of a similarly beautiful scene on Christmas Day 2010, taken on that same park road. The snowfall back then was somewhat heavier and took a little longer to melt than the one yesterday, as demonstrated by the view of my back yard that I captured early Christmas morning, 2010. Our Christmas Day 2012 turned out to be merely cold and rainy.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

St. Nicholas with Postage Stamps

Found at the grocery store, bought with the gift card that two old friends brought me on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookie on the trail

One of my nephew's pet beagles lost her brave battle with lung cancer this week. On Monday, after the vet confirmed that there was no hope and the days ahead could only hold increasing suffering for her, the decision was made that it was time to let her go. She went to sleep quietly and peacefully, with her beloved owner talking to her and stroking her up to the very end. We brought her home wrapped in a soft blanket and laid her in her final resting place, beside the grave of Buster, the cherished cat who preceded her in death earlier this fall. We miss Buster, and we miss Cookie constantly. But we know that everything was done to support them while they could still enjoy their lives, and that having to say goodbye to them also means that the suffering of their last few days in this world has come to an end. I like to remember Cookie as she was in Percy Warner Park on November 23, 2012, a sunny but chilly day, tracking the scents about her in the grass at the edge of the woods, near a little creek, and doing a beagle's job as her instincts conceived her job to be, sometimes giving tongue to back up her two beagle companions' announcements, whenever the situation warranted it. I was lucky to get the photo above, because she was continuously on the move. So affectionate, friendly, and sweet. She had stopped for a moment to hear herself praised by a couple of other people who were enjoying a walk in the park. She accepted a caress or two from these total strangers, and then was all business again, and back to work in the midst of the shadows and sunshine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Can poems be translated?

Arseny Tarkovsky, the great Russian poet, insisted that they cannot. "Arseny Tarkovsky was one who declared that poetry is not translatable whatsoever," said my new friend, Irina, upon introducing me to his work in English translation. And, of course, he was right. I met Irina at a program of Christmas music only last Saturday afternoon. And already she is enriching my life, so that I want to share with her my poem on translators and what they do.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas on My Freezer Top

Here is the scene on the top of my freezer, with pictures of family amidst some seasonal trinkets.
My sister Sue and I are sharing our lives via e-mail, once again, this Christmas season. It is a bittersweet time for her, because her husband of nearly 60 years died shortly after Thanksgiving, following a month-long illness. But she is keeping busy, with so much to do connected with settling his estate and managing the household, including the daily activities she shares with their son, who lives with her.
Above is a close-up of the little snow globe in the center of the collection. It was a gift to me from Sue one Christmas long ago. The music box inside still works, and plays "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," upon being carefully wound up. In the view of the entire top of the freezer above, to the right of the portrait of Sue and Bob in happier days, a "Raggedy Ann" figurine holds a sign pointing to the North Pole. But that's highly inaccurate. On my Christmasy freezer's top the orientation of the sign is almost directly due south.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Remembering Dr. Robert Cody

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR DR. ROBERT CODY
From the Wharton Journal: "A memorial service for Dr. Robert O. Cody will be held on Saturday, December 8, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1602 John Knox, Wharton , Texas. Reverend Debbie Cenko will preside over the service, and all who knew and loved Dr. Cody are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to The Nehemiah Center, www.nehemiahcenter.org , or other educational institution." Bob Cody was my brother-in-law. He is greatly missed. This is his obituary, as published in the Houston Chronicle last week: "OBITUARY Dr. Robert Oswald Cody Dr. Robert Oswald Cody was born in Biloxi, Mississippi on April 18, 1928 and died November 27, 2012 in Sugarland, Texas. He was 84 years old. He was the son of Benjamin Virgil Cody and Ruth Evangeline Oswald Cody. He is survived by his wife, Thelma Sue Roberts Cody, one son Benjamin Virgil Cody III; one sister, Mary Ruth Cody McMorris; one niece, Margaret Elaine McMorris Spitzenberger; two nephews, David Charles McMorris; Joseph Robert McMorris; and three great nephews and one great niece; also, nephew Dennis Hartman Cody, son of brother Joseph Hartman Cody (deceased). Graveside services will be held at Forest Park Lawndale, Houston, Texas, conducted by Reverend Doctor Bill Heston. On a later date, a memorial service will be held in Wharton, Texas at the First Presbyterian Church, conducted by Reverend Debbie Cenko. Dr. Cody graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School in Houston, Texas. He received the Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. He did a year of graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, and a year of graduate study at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Administration from East Texas State University (now Texas A & M Commerce). Dr. Cody taught in the public schools of Taft, Texas; Daly City, California; Trinity Valley Community College (formerly Henderson County Junior College ), Athens, Texas; and Wharton County Junior College, Wharton, Texas. In both of these college positions he was the Chairman of the Fine Arts Division and the Head of the Music Department. He taught at St. Mary’s School, Nada Texas, and Bay Ridge Christian College, Kendleton, Texas, where he was Director of Music. He played the organ and piano for the First Presbyterian Church, Wharton, Texas, where he was a member for many years. He served as president of the Wharton Rotary Club and president of the Wharton Community Concert Association. He was a member of many professional organizations. He played the piano, organ, and many of the band instruments, sang, and conducted. He taught band, choir, piano, guitar, and voice to countless numbers of music students. He had compositions and articles in print. Many of his compositions were performed throughout the United States. Prior to leaving Wharton County Junior College in 1975, Dr. Cody and his wife started teaching music privately in the home, selling music and instruments to students occasionally. After leaving the college, he expanded the business to its full capacity. He named the business Cody Music in 1985. During his lifetime he influenced many students, some of whom went on to professional careers. In this and other ways, his influence lives on after him.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Dandelion

After the outer bands of Superstorm Sandy brought us first a little rain, then very high winds, and finally a hard freeze, a lone tiny dandelion still could lift its head among the fallen leaves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gorgeous Percy Warner Park

My nephew Scott took me for a drive through Percy Warner Park this morning. Here's a sampling from the hundreds of photos that I took, from the road that winds through its slopes and valleys.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mushrooms and Maple Leaves

The falling maple leaves in my sister's front yard can't quite camouflage the small mushroom crop, which I spotted for the first time on October 15.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dogwood in October

Rising from the shoulder of the road in front of my sister's house, a little dogwood tree is once more showing its bright red berries, as it has been doing for several decades now. The past summer has been very hard on it, weeks and weeks of drought punctuated by windy thunderstorms. The toll from this is evident in its leaves and in the relative scarcity of the berries this fall. Yet it remains brilliant in the sun.

Friday, September 28, 2012

For a September Bride

Here's a red rose for luck and a white rose for happiness, especially for Bethany on her wedding day, September 29.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here's hoping that "Once Upon a Tree" wins its competition

An absolutely brilliant performance last Friday night by an outstanding cast -- that sums up the presentation of Janet McMahan's show, which played at the Boiler Room Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee, last Friday night. The musical was one of three finalists in a contest sponsored by the theatre, which began in March 2012. The prize is a full-scale production of the winning show at the Boiler Room in 2013.
I'm on pins and needles, waiting to hear whether the "tree" show took first place over the other two finalists, "City of Light," which played on September 20 and "Umbrella," which was presented September 22. I'll be watching for Boiler Room news!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Once Upon a Tree" Will Be Performed Friday, Sept. 21, At the Boiler Room

The central metaphor of this musical stage show is a Magic Fruit Tree. The performance at the Boiler Room, located in the Factory, in Franklin, Tennessee, will take place at 8:00 p.m., Friday, September 21, 2012. I saw this show performed as a Stage Reading in May, at the Looby Theater in Nashville, and it received a standing ovation from a packed house. Since then Janet McMahan and her co-author, Robby Coles, have revised and expanded it, and it promises to be even more wonderful.
It's loaded with songs that have beautiful lyrics -- some of them exceedingly funny -- in great musical settings. David Huntsinger collaborated with Janet McMahan in the writing and arrangement of the music. I can only repeat the praise I gave to the whole show back in May, and then I won't be doing it justice: Janet McMahan and her collaborators -- Robby Coles, David Huntsinger, and others -- have concocted a masterpiece in this funny, poignant work, which is so musically and aesthetically pleasing with its message of the strengthening power of trials overcome and the redemptive power of love. The story line has a little girl, Lucy, attacked by a number of villainous characters from her storybook, and continues through her turbulent interactions with them to a happy ending. The witch from "Snow White," the Big Bad Wolf from "Little Red Riding Hood," Captain Hook from "Peter Pan," and several other fairy-tale villains all learn the redemptive power of love, portrayed in the show's beautiful final song, "Listen to Love." Along the way, rollicking humor is interspersed with poignant depictions of modern dilemmas. Cinderella battles bunions, in a song that is so funny I almost fell off my seat laughing, and Snow White considers dyeing her hair, or perhaps donning a wig, after losing her Prince to a Blonde. "To Be or Not To Be A Blonde" is the vehicle for these lamentations. "The Tower Song," which accompanies little Lucy's time spent jailed in the Tower, and "Planning A Plot, Plotting A Plan," with Captain Hook and The Big Bad Wolf in nefarious cahoots, rounded out the list of songs that were included in the May Stage Reading of this not-to-be-missed sojourn in a very different version of fairyland.
Hope to see as many of you as possible there, in the Franklin,Tennessee, Boiler Room next Friday night.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September, With Surgery

No, not for me, but for the trash trees in my overgrown yard, radical surgery, plus serious haircuts for all the landscape shrubs in my jungle. All courtesy of a wonderful nephew who volunteered his free time for the task. When he took down a large branch from a corner planting, there, securely attached in the fork, was a bird's nest, and he took the photo below with his Smartphone. It looked like a robin's nest to me. If so, her need for it is past, her late-summer brood long since fledged and flown.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August Daisy

Does this little rayed bloom think it's a sunflower?

Friday, August 3, 2012

In the Heat of August

A few miniature petunias and roses:
These tiny purple petunias from a friend's summer garden are about half an inch in diameter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In Douglas Village

This image (©Mary and Angus Hogg), a view looking towards Douglas Village, belongs to Mary and Angus Hogg, and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Towards_Douglas_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1320312.jpg. The text overlay on the image was added by Mary R. Bull, as further compliance with the Creative Commons license, for use on this page with her poem, "Douglas Water." The page itself is from a work in progress, Just Passing Through, the collected poems of three sisters and a cousin, which we hope to publish sometime this year.

Douglas Water

The photograph* below is of a small burn flowing through Douglas Glen into Douglas Water. There are three Scottish streams with this name. The one which the burn in the picture feeds is a tributary of the River Clyde, in south-central Scotland. This Douglas Water (Gaelic dubh-ghlas, or black water) rises in the hills to the south-west of Muirkirk and then runs north-east, then east, to flow through Douglas Village and past the nearby remains of Douglas Castle. The castle was a stronghold of the House of Douglas, a powerful medieval family whose Norman ancestors settled here in the 12th century and took their surname from the river. After passing through Douglasdale, Douglas Water continues on to its confluence with the Clyde, near Glasgow, a beautiful city on that river, not very far from Loch Lomond.
*The copyright on this image is owned by wfmillar, who has licensed it for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. For use on this page the image has been modified, to saturate the colors slightly, and a text overlay added. License to use this enhanced version is hereby granted under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Please keep the attribution “©wfmillar” with the licensing language in any reuse of the enhanced version, in addition to attributing the enhancement to Mary R. Bull. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Small_Burn,_Glen_Douglas_-_geograph.org.uk_-_630696.jpg

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Birthday

Here's a little bit more for my daughter's birthday -- I put it on my other blog because it worked better there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Potted Orchid

Watering with an ice cube or two helps it beat the summer heat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Vegetation

Little Green Chinese Lanterns on the Golden Raintree Trumpet Vine Invasion of the Front Porch

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roses in May

When I walked over to the Ruth O'Brien Rose Garden behind Avalon Hall on the Lipscomb campus this morning, I found roses in bloom, and a crew of gardeners busily mulching both the rosebeds. Red Rosebush, with Gardener Rose with Bud Rose Closeup

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