VernaBob Blog Now 13 Years Old

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It has been quite a long time since we first acquired the vernabob.com domain, so it’s not one of those suddenly we’re thirteen sort of days. In fact, we probably have had that domain name for nearly twenty years, but only started the Wordpress© blog thirteen years ago today. I have the archives from the old websites on some media somewhere, but don’t really intend to revive any of them anytime soon, if ever.

Now that we’re retired and living in our lovely desert casita, we don’t blog as much as in the past. Social media and smart phone messaging keep us in touch with family and friends and let them know what we’re up to and can mutually know what they’re doing as well.

We intend to keep posting here for posterity (it is an online diary, after all) when the events or whims of the day seem like something we want to share or put in the blog for storage. Some photos Verna or I take are too good to not share in a couple of places, for example. We also plan to travel some and that activity ought to be recorded.

So we will be here sporadically until next year when we will post about the fourteenth blogaversary.

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Happy Independence Day!

patriot-bouquet.jpg

Aside from a couple of minor chores, we relaxed and enjoyed the Independence Day Holiday today. We ate pulled-pork sandwiches and Cole slaw with a root beer float. It was an excellent dinner! We’ll be watching fireworks this evening from the courtyard, where we have a limited view of the Sunset Park fireworks exhibit five miles west of our place.

I took this picture of these patriotic flowers back in July of 2007 (sorry, no larger image available), which are shown here on throwback Thursday in honor of the Independence Day celebration.

May God Bless and keep our Freedom in America!

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Red Bird of Paradise Flower

Red Bird Flower

Now that summer is here, my gorgeous Red Bird of Paradise Flowers are everywhere in the front courtyard. The shrubs are about mid-size to how large they will be at the end of summer in into the fall.

The flower in the photo is one of the larger ones currently in bloom out front. The shrub on which it lives is the largest of the three in the courtyard. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

A beautiful butterfly came into the courtyard this morning and was busily browsing the flowers on our Red Bird of Paradise (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) shrubs. All three of the courtyard Red Birds now have flowers, so the little guy had a good selection to browse.

More about these flowering shrubs from Wikipedia:

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family.

It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. In climates with few to no frosts, this plant will grow larger and is semievergreen. Grown in climates with light to moderate freezing, plant will die back to the ground depending on cold, but will rebound in mid- to late spring. This species is more sensitive to cold than others. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing three to 10 pairs of pinnae, each with six to 10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange, or red petals. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long.

Caesalpina pulcherrima is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the upper left and right corners of the Queen Elizabeth II’s personal Barbadian flag. Claire Waight Keller included pride of Barbados to represent the country in Meghan Markle’s wedding veil, which included the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Helene, a Trojan Moon of Saturn In 3D

Helene

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day featured this interesting 3D image of Helene, one of the planet Saturn’s Trojan moons. From APOD:

Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses and float next to Helene, small, icy moon of Saturn. Appropriately named, Helene is one of four known Trojan moons, so called because it orbits at a Lagrange point. A Lagrange point is a gravitationally stable position near two massive bodies, in this case Saturn and larger moon Dione. In fact, irregularly shaped ( about 36 by 32 by 30 kilometers) Helene orbits at Dione’s leading Lagrange point while brotherly ice moon Polydeuces follows at Dione’s trailing Lagrange point. The sharp stereo anaglyph was constructed from two Cassini images captured during a close flyby in 2011. It shows part of the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Helene mottled with craters and gully-like features.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cherry Red Again

After separating the Cherry Red Cactus from several pups, we wondered if any of the pups would get flowers. Well, wonder no more . . .

Cherry Red Pup with Open Flower
 
Open Flower Close-up

This is one of two of the pups that had open flowers today. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Learning the Largo

Largo Bridge Music

For the past couple of weeks, I have been studying and practicing on the keyboard a small part of the score from the Opera Xerxes by G.F. Handel. The excerpt above has been transposed to the key of C major which is easier for me and my arthritic old fingers to perform as I learn the fingering and tempo.

The piece I’m learning is the bridge music between the recitative Frondi Tenere (Branches Tender and Beautiful) and the aria Ombra Mai Fu (A Shadow There Never Was) both of which are sung by the title character Xerxes of Persia. The piece is only fifteen measures in length and can be executed in about 35 to 40 seconds but the fingering and tempo are a little challenging to me. I’m sure I will get it down soon, but in the meantime, I’m still practicing.

Handel’s Largo, as it is popularly known, is actually a Larghetto tempo, slightly faster than Largo. The opera was designed to be a comedy with Xerxes, a Persian King, falling in love with a Plane Tree. Regardless of the original intent, the interlude above along with the aria Ombra Mai Fu is not only one of the most beautiful compositions in classical music, but has also been adapted with lyrics and performed as “Holy Art Thou” in Christian Churches.

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