Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day. It was very quiet due to family members studying for this and that. I kept myself busy in the kitchen while listening to classical music. All week I've been listening to  the yearly WETA (Washington DC) classical music station's countdown of favorites based on the listeners' votes for their favorites.    

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The family photo is courtesy of my son who took the picture.

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I usually agonize over all the cooking but this year I finally hit upon great flavors. There are still a few aspects I am working on. However after dinner I wrote out my new recipes (mostly that I put together myself) and an organization card for the front of my recipe box. Next year when I'm busy and need to make a quick grocery shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner, I should be able to make one quickly and easily.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Autumn Decor and Happy Thanksgiving!

Turns out that my autumn has been just as busy as my summer. Even so I have determined to finally showcase a bit of autumn from my home on the blog on the eve of Thanksgiving. As I prepped my photos for the blog, I realized that many of my busy projects are reflected in my busy-ness of gardening, home decor (after that ceiling got repainted) and then autumn decor.
Autumn is my husband's favorite time of the year and he has dreams that I pull out all the stops. For myself I'm a bit overwhelmed since I'm busy with so many other tasks. However I determined to whittle down 3 boxes of autumn to hopefully 1, or at least 2. I decided to try some new stylings that would take less space. Thus I decided to focus on my favorites, ribbon (easy to store), candles and florals.
Of course florals begin in the front yard. I have agonized for years to establish my mums in the front yard. They were huge our second autumn here, then for various reasons (like new stepping stones) my husband ripped them out to be moved elsewhere. Sadness.  Also they were always getting pruned behind  my back. Oh no! They mustn't be pruned. They are destined for greatness!
I knew just where I wanted them to return. I also promised  my husband that if we didn't prune them they'd be great. As much as he doubted me, he painfully resisted the strong urge to prune them, because they always start blooming in the spring. I assured him they'd be okay if we left them alone.
Finally, my mums did this...
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We just loved how they grew so huge and intermingled with the blue plumbago.

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My lanterns from Colonial Williamsburg's Merchant Square, purchased years ago for a history presentation (Florence Nightengale), are some of my favorite decor.

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This sheaf was also purchased years ago for a history presentation...

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Not the best angle to showcase the cornucopia, but I was playing with angles.

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This is my favorite ribbon, a changeable silk taffeta...

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These candlesticks were free when we purchased some furniture years ago...

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A peak at some of my new kitchen decor after the ceiling was painted...which led to deep cleaning the kitchen and throwing away all the old greenery. Did I ever mention that here? That was a huge discussion on facebook! More on that later.

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I do not like coffee. At all. Ever. I cannot endure tasting it. I cannot endure smelling it. However...once upon a time I was becoming quite open-minded when a friend served delicious smelling flavored coffees in her home. That led to my searching for some to sample, purchase and taste. I found my favorites at HEB which is the most wonderful grocery store in the San Antonio area. They have delicious and unique food products. (Since moving to Virginia shopping for food has been boring.) HEB sold their own brand of coffee beans, Cafe Ole, in incredible aromas, which I even decided to use in my home decor. Do you see the coffee beans inside the candlevase? I purchased these at HEB when we lived in Texas about 10 years ago. I think this is the vanilla bean flavor.

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I love this new lantern with a Colonial Williamsburg feel. More on this later...

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More changeable taffeta...

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Autumn Blaze Rainbow


Last night there was a stunning sunset after the rain...

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...which produced a rainbow...

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The view from our backyard is such we can see the entire rainbow, though I'm not sure that the right side is apparent in this photo.

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Most amazing was the typically dull dead trees in the distance that were lit as if by fire by the sunset...(note the dramatic difference in this post when I took photos of the supermoon a few days earlier)

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Close-up of the right side of the rainbow.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Remembrance Day at Gettysburg, November 19

July 3, 1863. Gettysburg. 51,000 dead, wounded, or missing.

November 19, 1863. The dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery. Chief speaker Edward Everett gives a 2 hour speech. President Abraham Lincoln delivers a short 2 minute speech. Of the two, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address echoes through the history of time.

While touring the cemetery, markers showcase portions of a poem from a later battle, from the Mexican American War:  

BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.

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On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

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No rumor of the foe's advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;

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No vision of the morrow's strife
The warrior's dream alarms;
No braying horn nor screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.

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Their shriveled swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed,
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud.

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And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.

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The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout, are past;

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Nor war's wild note nor glory's peal
Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that nevermore may feel
The rapture of the fight.

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Like the fierce northern hurricane
That sweeps the great plateau,
Flushed with the triumph yet to gain,
Came down the serried foe,

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Who heard the thunder of the fray
Break o'er the field beneath,
Knew well the watchword of that day
Was "Victory or death!"

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Long had the doubtful conflict raged
O'er all that stricken plain,
For never fiercer fight had waged
The vengeful blood of Spain;

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And still the storm of battle blew,
Still swelled the gory tide;
Not long, our stout old chieftain knew,
Such odds his strength could bide.

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Twas in that hour his stern command
Called to a martyr's grave
The flower of his beloved land,
The nation's flag to save.

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By rivers of their father's gore
His first-born laurels grew,
And well he deemed the sons would pour
Their lives for glory too.

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For many a mother's breath has swept
O'er Angostura's plain --
And long the pitying sky has wept
Above its moldered slain.

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The raven's scream, or eagle's flight,
Or shepherd's pensive lay,
Alone awakes each sullen height
That frowned o'er that dread fray.

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Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground
Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound
Along the heedless air.

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Your own proud land's heroic soil
Shall be your fitter grave;
She claims from war his richest spoil --
The ashes of her brave.

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Thus 'neath their parent turf they rest,
Far from the gory field,
Borne to a Spartan mother's breast
On many a bloody shield;

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The sunshine of their native sky
Smiles sadly on them here,
And kindred eyes and hearts watch by
The heroes sepulcher.

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Rest on embalmed and sainted dead!
Dear as the blood ye gave;
No impious footstep shall here tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While fame her records keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.

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Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
When many a vanquished ago has flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
Nor Time's remorseless doom,
Shall dim one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb.
By Theodore O'Hara

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Now known as Remembrance Day, every November 19th remembers this cemetery and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.