Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Zen of Wal-Mart

If it's Thursday, it must be Wal-Mart. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! Going to the grocery store - my favorite thing. I used to get so angry while I was at the store. Then a very wise friend told me that she felt the same way, and in fact, was angry before she even got to the store. Aha! A clue! Now that I knew that, the annoyances of grocery shopping didn't seem to bother me as much. Now it's just something to be tolerated. I go into an altered state, and go through the store on auto-pilot. How ridiculous to assign such importance to such a mundane chore.

And just now, I had another enlightening moment. Maybe it all goes back to being a hunter/gatherer, and it's deeply ingrained in my genes. Oh, c'mon, Mary, get real!

The carafe I ordered to replace the one I broke last week came today. We have come to enjoy our afternoon lattes. I bought two replacements, so now I have a spare.

John corrected my caption of yesterday's picture. It couldn't be "ancestral puebloan" because the pictorgraph is of a horse. The early people in the area didn't have horses until they were brought by the Spaniards. The drawings were done by the early Mountain Ute people.

Today's picture is one John took of our Mountain Ute guide talking about the pictographs.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cancer and Crafts

Remember the TV program that Ted Koppel did a month or so ago on cancer? One of the people he talked with was Leroy Sievers, an ABC colleague. Sievers has a blog, which I had checked once, and then forgot about. I've just started checking it again. Today's entry is particularly good. It's about health insurance (or the lack there of) and the incredibly high cost of cancer treatment. Check it out.

Program note: We've just watched, enthralled, three hours on PBS. The program Craft in America, is an incredible look at the traditional and contemporary crafts being done in the U.S. Absolutely wonderful! See if you can find a rerun on your local PBS station.

Today's picture shows crafts of Ancestral Puebloan peoples in the Mountain Ute Tribal Park, CO.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Make an appointment for your mammogram today!

I wanted to honor our veterans, active duty military, and reserves yesterday, so I didn't want to get into politics. In fact, I probably shouldn't even do that today. I get so angry just thinking about what this administration has done to us, to those brave souls who volunteer to put themselves in harm's way to protect us. And to the way they have destroyed the reputation and honor of the United States throughout the world. I can only hope that W doesn't put even more of our young men and women into harm's way before he is out of office. It can't come soon enough for me!

I hate that "they" have tried to make "liberal" a dirty word. I'm proud to say that I'm a liberal! I hate that the current administration has demonized anyone who disagrees with them. This country was founded to make dissent not only possible and legal, but desirable. Those in power now say, in effect, "If you disagree with me, you're not only dead wrong, but you're a traitor and you're going to hell!" This is a terrible thing to be teaching our children.

The youngest of our six grandchildren has just graduated from high school. These are six of the finest young people you'd ever hope to meet. And I'm proud to say that I'd gladly put my life in any of their hands.

To completely change the subject, another dear friend has had a mass found on her annual mammogram. It's small, cannot be felt on manual exam, and was not seen on last year's mammogram. She has an appointment with a surgeon and will be taking the necessary next steps. Damn, I do hate this disease!

Today's picture is of another hibiscus on Margaret's deck.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was brought home to us today when Pfc Travis Haslip was laid to rest in the National Cemetery here. Pfc Haslip was killed in Iraq last week.

As Americans, we are so proud of our service men and women. And we honor them - today and every day.

Click here to see's description of the book, Where Valor Rests - Arlington National Cemetery. There was a segment on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer about this book of wonderful, moving photographs taken at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a fitting tribute for Memorial Day.

Today's picture is a hibiscus on Margaret's deck.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Home on Leave

The last week has been really special. It's not Thanksgiving or Christmas, and we've seen all our daughters and son-in-law and grandkids. And we weren't at our house and I didn't have to cook.

It was so good to see Jesse. We hadn't seen him since he left to go to Basic Training last fall. He looks great, and even put on a fashion show for us. He modeled his whites and was very patient while we all made fools of ourselves taking pictures. Kate and Wayne were there, and we got to see lots of Bobby's family, too. He'll have to leave early in the morning to report back for duty.

The food was great and in amazing amounts. Bobby is a wonderful cook, and he fixed fried catfish and crappie. They're the best! But there were also hamburgers, brats, pinto beans, corn, cornbread, different kinds of slaw, chips, chili con queso - and I couldn't even begin to talk about the desserts.

Our trip home was quite easy this time. The truckers must have all taken time off for the holiday - there were very few on the interstate.

It's still hot, with no rain. They are predicting rain for the end of the week, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Today's picture is of Margaret and Jesse.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

We're back home now . We drove home through the SC and north GA mountains. I remember the first time I saw this area. I couldn't believe I was in Georgia. This is beautiful country. From the number of larger summer homes we saw perched on mountain-sides, it's obvious that folks from Atlanta have discovered it, too. It causes a lot more traffic congestion and fast-food places, but I guess the tourism does help the economy of a fairly poor area.

It was a lovely drive until we got back on I-75 at Dalton. Almost immediately we got into a stopped situation on the interstate - accident ahead? No way to know. No problem, we say - we know the back roads - so we got off just south of Ringgold, GA. Whoops! It took us nearly an hour to get to where we could get off THAT road - the 2-lane truck route around the center of town - and head cross country again. We found out when we got home and read the paper that Ringgold had completely closed their downtown area for a 2-day festival. We eventually came into Chattanooga from way out east of town. But at least we weren't still bogged down in Ringgold.

We really had a great weekend. By tomorrow, in just over a week, we will have been with all our girls, sons-in-law, and grandkids. And it's not even Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the beach. Or maybe it's all of them all rolled up into one. We surely are lucky folks to have such a great family.

We've gotten the bags unpacked and stuff put away. John "cooked" dinner. This usually means that he goes to KFC for a bucket of legs and thighs. Yum!

Program note: Look for a special Bill Moyers Journal, "D-Day Revisited" this weekend. Check your local PBS station for date and time. In Chattanooga, it's showing Sunday night at 11 p.m. and Monday morning at 2 a.m.
p.s. John just reminded me. The mountain laurel was spectacular today in the GA mountains. It does love to grow in the sunshine along roads, road cuts, and streams. And this obviously has been a really good year for it. Keep your eyes peeled if you're fortunate enough to be out on the roads in the eastern mountains.

Today's picture is of the Cawood kids (Alison, Sarah, and Paul) with one of their favorite Sunday school teachers.

Friday, May 25, 2007

We had a much quieter day today, spending most of it with the grandkids. We had a nice breakfast at the Cracker Barrel with the three grands, their dad, and the other grandparents. Then we went back to Sue's house and spent most of the rest of the day with just the kids.

When Sue got home from work, and Randy from his shooting-clays-club, we went out to have Mexican for dinner. Matt had come down from Greenville again. He's found out that if he comes to visit Aunt Sue, she'll feed him and do his laundry - not a bad parlay for an almost 21-year-old. We called it a day a bit earlier tonight.

Matt told us that the wedding date is definitely set for 24 May 2008. The country club has been reserved for the ceremony and the reception. We saw pictures of the engagement ring that Matt game Amanda - it is lovely.

Sarah let us read the autobiography that she wrote for her senior year. It is a very candid and insightful self-examination by this young lady. She's quite a gal!

Today picture is of Sarah, the graduate, and her proud mom, Sue.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Congratulations to Sarah Elizabeth Cawood!

Tonight was Sarah's night. She was valedictorian of her graduating class from Dixie High School in Due West, SC. This was a very small class, only 53 seniors, so the ceremony was wonderfully brief. It started promptly at 7, and after processional, speeches, awarding of diplomas, some singing, and the recessional; then some standing around outside taking pictures; we were in our car at 7:51!

It was so great to see Sarah's older siblings from San Diego and Charleston. And Matt even showed up. He's working as an intern for Milliken in Greenville, SC, so he's only about an hour away. Sarah's other grandparents came, and one of Paul's girlfriends joined us. Sue and Randy treated us to a very good dinner at Red Lobster.
Today's picture is one of John's from the Mountain Ute Tribal Park in Colorado. Family pictures will start tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shame on them!

Another day hovering around 90 with not a hint of rain. Swimming and Studio2 this morning. None of Vicki's students came in today, but sometimes it's like that in the summertime.

We'll be heading off to South Carolina in the morning for Sarah's graduation from Dixie High School in Due West. She's the youngest grandchild, and this will be the last one to finish high school.

I cannot let one of today's news items go without comment. It was reported that Vice President and Mrs. Cheney welcomed a new grandson today. The reporter went on to say that the proud parents were Mary Cheney and her long-time partner, Heather Poe. What a wonderful day for the parents! Yet the new baby's birth state of Virginia refuses to allow Samuel David Cheney the stability of parents with the legal standing and rights of other parents, not even allowing Ms. Poe to adopt him. I wonder how the hypocritical grandparents will be able justify this relegation of Samuel's mother to second-class status. I do not question the grandparents love of their daughter and their new grandson. But I can say Shame on them!

Today's picture is a photograph of one of my watercolors.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's the weather!

The big story around here, as it is in many parts of the country, is weather, weather, weather. More hot and dry. As the weatherfolks say, it's like an August forecast in its monotony, except for the humidity. If it were humid, we might actually get some late afternoon thundershowers. But now, it's just dry! We're even starting to get some of the smoke blowing in from the huge fires on the Georgia/Florida state line.

The newly-married Vicki was back in the Studio this morning. They had a great weekend in Atlanta - ate in some good restaurants, went to some museums, and visited lots of galleries.

Today was another routine day, but at least there was some good stuff on television tonight. There was a new NCIS - the season finale, and a cliff-hanger, of course. Then there was a TV movie based on Robert B. Parker's character, Jesse Stone. This is a good character, and well played by Tom Selleck. It's good to see him get a good role, playing an older, flawed, craggy guy.

Not too much longer until The Beach! Four weeks from Saturday. We're all ready!

Today's picture is a rock formation at Kelly Place, CO.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Wake-up

It felt good to get into the pool this morning. Amazingly, after that marathon nap yesterday, I slept all night. So the pool and the workout helped to shake the cobwebs out.

Bridge was this afternoon - with five full tables. We both had some reasonable cards today. I don't think either of us got into the top four, but we at least had a good time. We finally got our friend Hunter to come to bridge. And he probably came in first - he never got bumped away from the first table. I hope he had a good time and will come back.

By the end of this weekend, we'll have seen all six of our grandkids, daughters, and sons-in-law. That's always a treat - especially since they're now spread out from South Carolina to California. And all visits were at their houses, with their good cooking or restaurants. Great planning!

Today's picture is a frostbitten apple blossom at Kelly Place, CO.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Great Sloth

Today must have been one of the Great Sloth Days. Or at least a day of recuperation. Neither one of us did squat! I "talked" to Jean and then came in to take a short nap. Well, I woke up from that "short nap" FOUR hours later. John said I was snoring, too, so I guess that's why he didn't check to see if I was still breathing.

I did unpack the two boxes of new pottery from Jean. She has some gorgeous new stuff. It's going to be fun showing it off. I'll try to get some photos.

The weather forecast is showing that we're going to have a hot and dry week, temperatures in the high 80s and no rain in sight.

Today's photo was taken by John along the San Juan Skyway in Colorado.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Correction first. John tells me that it was Kate who had the idea about the rock/paper/scissors elimination. I like to give credit where it's due.

We didn't see Andy this morning after all. Project Graduation was over at 5 a.m., but he had completely crashed by the time we got there. Not a huge surprise. Kate fixed us a great breakfast, bacon and eggs and cholesterol. We stopped for gas at the Flying J on the way home. Yesterday, gas was $2.98/gal; this morning it was $3.09/gal. Don't you hate being manipulated?!?!?! We're coming up on a holiday weekend - let's soak the travelers.

When we were coming into Chattanooga about 1 p.m., cars were backed up onto US 27 trying to get into the downtown area. It took a minute to figure out, but then we remembered. In its infinite wisdom, the Hamilton County School Board decided to hold all but two of the high school graduations on the same day (today). The ceremonies were held at 3-hour intervals at three downtown locations. It doesn't take a degree in traffic management to see that this makes for a totally impossible parking situation. I surely was glad that we didn't have someone graduating today. What a mess!

Today was a lovely day, cool with low humidity and a slight breeze - a perfect day for an outdoor wedding and reception. And it was just that for Vicki and Roger. And two happier people I don't think I've ever seen. How wonderful that they found each other and realized how totally they completed each other's life. Congratulations and dearest wishes for a long, happy life together.

Today's pictures are of Andy and his proud parents, Kate and Wayne; and the newlyweds, Roger and Vicki.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Congratulations to Andrew Warner Fuller!

Just a quick note tonight. We drove to Madisonville, KY, this morning. Tonight was Andy's high school commencement. Jean came up, too.

Wayne fixed us a delicious dinner, and then we headed to the high school gym. Of course, we were way early, but we did get good parking places and good seats. (Is that a "Zelle thing" or what!!!)

The ceremony started only a little bit late, but it was almost three!!! hours long. There were 3 salutatorians and 14! valedictorians, and each one made a 2-minute speech. Then the 351 diplomas were awarded. It was long and tedious, of course, but so exciting for these youngsters, ending one phase of their lives and starting out almost as babies again. What a wonderful rite of passage.

John and Jean did come up with a solution for the multiple valedictorians. They decided there should be a double-elimination tournament of rock/paper/scissors, and only the ultimate winner would get to give a valedictory address. I like it!

The photo today is of one of the more than 100 dikes that radiate out from the Spanish Peaks near Cuchara, CO. I'll have a picture of Andy tomorrow.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


We are so fortunate here in Chattanooga. The editorial cartoonist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press is Bruce Plante, and he is great. This is a link to today's cartoon ( 5-17-2007). It sort of sums it all up for me.

Chattanooga used to have two papers - a liberal morning paper and a conservative evening paper. The morning paper, the Chattanooga Times, was started by Adolph Ochs, who later started another little paper that gained some renown - the New York Times. The evening paper, the Chattanooga News Free Press, which had started life as a free shopper. Some years ago, the owner of the News Free Press bought the Times from the Ochs family and combined the two papers into one morning paper - the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

They decided to keep two different editorial staffs and pages - so every day, there are two editorial pages. The liberal page is on the left-hand page, and, of course, the conservative page is on the right. It really makes for interesting reading sometimes. Of course, Mr. Plante is on the left page. Even when we're out of town, we check on line to keep caught up with his work.

I had a great time today. Vicki had asked me to stay at the Studio today so she get last-minute chores done for her wedding on Saturday. There are no classes on Thursday, so I was able to do some stuff for myself. I did a little work on a watercolor. But mostly I straightened my painting "starts", clean paper, collage pieces, etc. Dan had cut me a bunch of odd mats, using the drop-out pieces from the custom-made mats. I wound up spending several hours making small odd-shaped works, either collage or cut-out pieces of "starts". Some of mat 'holes" were maybe 1 x 8" or 2 x 10". I think they turned out really well, and I'm very pleased with the small pieces.

We'll head out midmorning, after swimming and rowing, to go to KY for Andy's graduation tomorrow night.

Today's photograph is one of John's - an unusual cloud formation over Sleeping Ute Mountain from Kelly Place, Cortez, CO.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I picked up my new glasses this afternoon and, as part of the appointment, had my eyes dilated for additional tests. Yuck! Don't we all hate that! I was planning to prepare a pasta from a mix for dinner, and dear, sweet John fixed it. He never cooks (other than his lunch or on the grill outside), so that was especially nice. A very tasty meal.

I've got to learn more things about blogging. I'm curious to see how many people look at my blog, so I need to find out how to put a counter on the page. I noticed that other blogs I read have links to other blogs and to favorite web sites. I'd like to do that, too. So now I need to spend some time figuring out how to do that. I'm keeping Studio 2 for Vicki tomorrow. I need to be doing some painting while I'm there. But I think I'll take my laptop with me and see if I can get on line with her wireless and see what I can learn.

Today's picture is train tracks along the North Fork of the Rio Grande River south of Creede, CO.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We get to sleep a little bit later on Tuesdays. That's nice. John left to go walk on the Riverwalk, and I went to Studio 2 to help Vicki with her Tuesday watercolor class.

We had a phone message from Dwight (who is sort-of in charge of the Monday bridge group), telling me that I came in 6th (out of 21) players yesterday. He wanted to let me know, because I had been 19th of 20 the week before. How sweet of him to call! But then he had to ruin it all by telling me that John had come in 5th.

We're taking most of Jean's pottery back to her this weekend, except for a few pieces we're saving for wedding presents. The pieces have been spread out all over the deck, gathering dust and pollen. Since we're taking it on Friday, it was time for me to get it packed up. I got it all into two boxes, but the pollen and left-over dust and leaf mold from the frostbitten fallen leaves about did me in. It surely did take a long time to quit coughing. Such is springtime in Tennessee.

John mowed the yard, since it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Hope springs eternal. Would that we would get a bunch of rain.

Today's picture is of some of Jean's pottery.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Quieter Monday

We did have a busy weekend, so getting back to a "normal" Monday felt pretty good. Swimming and coffee always starts the day off well.

John had his first post-radiation appointment with the urologist. To his surprise, it only involved a urinalysis, and a return appointment in 8 months (can you believe that's January 2008?). He is doing well, and is almost back to what he laughingly calls normal.

A friend has had a recurrence of breast cancer, and is going to Atlanta tomorrow to see about getting into a new protocol for her situation. I had made her an soft, snuggly afghan and wanted her to have it to take with her, so we took it over to her this morning. She has a wonderful attitude and her usual great smile. We've all got our fingers crossed for her and are holding her close.

Cards were better today at bridge. As bad as they were last week, I didn't even come in last - I was next-to-last. Out of 20 players. We had five tables again today, and I probably came in in the middle - but that's surely better than before. One round, the lovely lady to my left was the declarer, and had an 8-card club suit. I was SO impressed - and said, I NEVER get an 8-card suit, and don't know what I'd do with one. Well, the VERY next hand, I had EIGHT clubs - to the 10!!!! And that was the high card in the hand. I just laughed and laughed. No wonder we keep playing this silly game.

Today's picture is of Matt and Amanda, taken about a year ago.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

The present I gave myself for Mother's Day was unusual. I fixed waffles for breakfast this morning. When I sat down and started to pour the heated syrup on my waffle, the top of the pitcher came off, and hot syrup went all over me, the table, and the floor. Well, yuck! At least John and Margaret were there to clean up the table and floor while I cleaned up myself and changed clothes. The day did get better after that.

Today was the day Paul graduated from The College of Charleston. We didn't go because each graduate gets only three tickets. We planned to watch a webcast at home. It was supposed to start at 2:30, but was delayed because of a strong storm that came through. The ceremony finally started about 4:15, and we saw Paul walk across the stage about 2 1/2 hours later. There were several showers during the procession of graduates. The ceremony ended about 7:30. We're bad - we left the webcast after Paul got his degree, and had supper. (Sue called later, and she, Randy, and Sarah [who were there in person] also left after Paul walked across the stage.)

The women graduates all wear white, carrying a dozen red roses. The men wear summer tuxes (white jackets with black trousers). Those are the rules. However, these are college students - and they do tend to get creative. Many of them (male and female) were wearing flip-flops, a couple had on sneakers. I don't think there was single woman wearing hose (these are SMART women - after all think of the heat and humidity in Charleston!). Many of the dresses were strapless; a few were long; 3-4 women wore trousers; 2-3 wore tailored suits. Obviously young woman today have never tried on a dress and looked at themselves in a full-length mirror. Surely they wouldn't have worn dresses that tight if they could see themselves from behind.

Anyway, it was great fun to see all these young people. And to do it from the comfort of my La-Z-Boy chair, in the air conditioning (not in Charleston's heat and humidity). And another of our youngsters heads out into the world.

Today's picture is a fresh snowfall above Creede, CO.
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

An Engagement

Lots of busy stuff going on today - well, not really.
Margaret came over this morning - a nice Mother's Day present. She brought some canned goods, including the last of the 2006 tomato juice. I hope it'll last until she can get some more made this year. She also brought some just-picked-this-morning spinach, lettuce, and asparagus - and some cherry tomatoes. It's all SO good. I do love the fresh veggies.

I took her for some Chattanooga sight-seeing after lunch. We went by Studio 2 (and saw Vicki and Roger there), then around other places in the South Side. I drove her around Ferger Place - on the National Register of Historic Places. Such a neat group of older houses. We made a trip to Hobby Lobby, and then home.

We got the really big news then that Matt and Amanda are official engaged - ring and everything! Margaret says that although they're not going to graduate until December 2008, they're planning to marry in May 2008. Just about this time, Amanda's mother called Margaret, and they had a long talk about the date, place, other possible plans, etc. The wedding will be on 17 May 2008 at the country club in Johnson City, with the reception to follow there.
This will be the first wedding in that generation! And we're not surprised that it's going to be Matt and Amanda. They've been together for over two years now, and it was pretty obvious to all concerned. It'll be fun to see how it all develops. I can say this, since I'm only the grandmother of the groom, and have no part whatsoever in the planning or execution of the event - just a delighted spectator.
Today's picture is of one of the Spanish Peaks from Cuchara Road, CO. I'll try to get a picture of Matt and Amanda ASAP.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Swimming, coffee, painting - a usual Friday morning. It was hot again, but the humididty is rising. By late afternoon, we could hear thunder, and radar showed showers all around us. Nary a drop fell at this house.
We talked to the mail carrier again this afternoon. The delivery person on Wednesday didn't notice anything unusual about our mailbox when she put the mail in the box, so it must've been hit shortly after that. We probably won't ever know anything about the incident.

Today is a day for quoting others, who have said things much better than I could. First is a link to a blog, Funny The World, Bev Sykes entry for today (11 May 2007). As she says, "Where's the outrage?"

Next is a link to Bill Moyers' opening essay from his "Journal" this evening. The link here is to the transcript for tonight's program. I'd direct you specifically to the first section.

Today's picture is one last photo from the Butterfly Garden at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday = Wal-Mart. I do, I do, I DO love grocery shopping!. Yuck! Oh, well - at least I've gotten it down to once a week.

Today was another gorgeous day. John had a fantastic row. Temperature in the upper 80s, and very low humidity ( @25%). We'd kill for weather like this in July and August. As long as the a/c works, I can handle it. Yesterday, though, when I went out to see how John was doing with replacing the mailbox, the pollen and leaf mold really got me coughing and sneezing. I do wish we'd get a little bit of rain, just to settle the dust.

We asked our mail carrier if she had noticed the damage to the mailbox when she delivered the mail yesterday. She didn't work Wednesday, but is going to check with her substitute to see if she remembers anything. John says there was white paint transfer on the box. C'est la vie!

Public Radio has an on-going series called "This I Believe". These are short pieces by famous and non-famous people talking about what is important to them. Sue (whose youngest is graduating from a rural South Carolina high school) sent a link to a transcription of one of these done by a young man. It's worth reading. Here's the link.

The devastation from the tornado last week in Greensburg, KS, was all-but-complete. Here is a link to a slide show that Margaret sent. People lost everything, and eight people were killed. It's hard to believe that everyone in this small town wasn't killed. I understand that there was about a 20-minute warning, so the people had time to take shelter.

Today's picture is another picture from the Butterfly Garden at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today started out with lots of the regular "routine". We had an extra-large group at swimming. It seems like lots of us have medical emergencies with family members this week. Our "swim team" is so close, that we all feel pain and concern for each other.

Studio2 time was fairly slow. Vicki had only one student, and it just wasn't a painting day for me. Vicki continues to be so wired about her upcoming wedding (gee, what a surprise!). She wants to paint, but probably won't until this is all over in 10 days. It really is fun to watch her go through this joyous time.

John went out to get the mail this afternoon, and someone had destroyed our mailbox. There was a hole punched in the door, and the post was broken. Possibly somebody backing out of the driveway across the street backed into it - but we'll never know, I guess. Neither of us noticed anything when we left or returned this morning - but at least we know it happened since midafternoon yesterday. He had to work way too hard installing the new one. We can only assume (and hope) that the vehicle has a bunch of damage. After all, taking out a 4x4" post and cross-piece has got to at least take off some paint.

Today's picture is from the Butterfly Garden at the Aquarium.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Routines are comfortable - most of the time. At least as long as we know we can escape from them from time to time.

Today was pretty much a routine Tuesday. Sleep a little bit later. Get to read the paper before I leave for the day. I'm working on an afghan, and needed to get some more yarn from Hobby Lobby. Then to Vicki's for the Tuesday watercolor class. The folks there are so great - it's such a treat to have found a home-away-from-home at Studio 2 and to have painting in my life.

I know John feels the same way about rowing. And he had a just-about-perfect morning to row this morning. We really need rain, but the warm temps and low humidity are wonderful. I know we'll wish we had something like this come July and August.

We had eye exams this afternoon. No obvious problems. I surely am glad that the herpetic eye infection has stayed quiet for such a long time. The doc was reluctant to start me on the anti-viral medicine when he did 4-5 years ago. But it surely is working for me.

We made reservations for another Riverbarge Excursion trip. This one will be in November - and starts and ends in Nashville. It goes down the Cumberland River to the Barkley Canal (just before the Ohio), then up the Tennessee River as far as Florence, AL. It returns to Nashville by the same route. These are such great trips. I love it when we find a travel company that we can recommend wholeheartedly, and want to patronize again. We feel the same way about Untours.

Today's picture was taken on Pass Creek Road, CO, after an overnight spring snowfall.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bridge Bitch

Is that a noun or a verb? Take your pick. Today was bridge day - our first time back since before we left on our trip in early April.

We play in a group that is an "open" group, i.e., anybody who shows up gets to play. When we don't have full tables, the odd players are worked in by a standard formula. We play six rounds of approximately 30 minutes each - regular rubber scoring, with extra points awarded for left-over games or part-scores. Today, we were one player short of 5 full tables, which means that someone who is dummy at another table comes to bid the orphan hand, and then the dummy at the orphan's table, plays the orphan hand. It slows things down a bit, but it works. Based on scores and drawn cards, players are shuffled around after each round. That's the framework.

Some of the players today were the good and the great players, the ones that are fun to play with, and really nice folks. Some of the others are nice folks that you'd really rather not be at the table with. Some were the groaners - Oh, not - not so-and-so. And then there were a couple of new ones. And they were awful. Not necessarily bad players, but one talked all the time, and did things like move the dummy's cards around, when he wasn't the declarer. One lady was obviously very unsure of herself, and took forever to bid and play. She'd be the 4th bidder, and when the other three players had all bid, she was still sorting her cards - and every time said - You are all so fast. I had to play with her twice and at the table with her two other times. One guy is the one who learned to play on the computer and had never played with "real" people until the first time he played with this group about two months ago.

On top of this, the cards were terrible! In the first four rounds, I had a total of about 1100 points (including one zero). Amazingly in the fifth round, I had 1130 points, and actually had my first opening hands of the day. Then the last round ended with the opponents bidding and making a vulnerable grand slam. To add insult to injury, during the afternoon, I had TWO Yarborough hands. It was a LONG afternoon.

Will we go back? Of course - it's bound to be better next week........
Today's picture is of the Wet Mountains, across the Wet Mountain Valley, CO.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Today was a really, really quiet day. John "snuck" out without waking me about 6:30 for an early morning row. He said it was really nice. It was a gloomy grey day until midafternoon when the sun came out.

While Jean and I were instant-messaging after lunch, we realized that she had the dates wrong for our week at the beach. I hope it's early enough that she can get her vacation time changed. It's a good thing it came up in the conversation.

It's just the end to a quiet weekend.
Today's picture is another painting from my numbered series, and it will go in the bedroom after it's framed.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Painting, Photographs, and Politics

We finally got some rain overnight - about 1.25". That's great, but it doesn't do too much to help our 10" deficit for the year.
John and I went to Studio 2 to take some photographs of the paintings I've done in the last week or so. He does a much better job than I do with that. When we left there, we went to the Chattanooga Food Bank's spring plant sale. I wanted to put some herbs in the raised bed in the front yard. All I had before except one parsley had died out. I got basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and one plant of mountain red poppies. I hope they will all survive and spread. I do love to go out and get fresh herbs to cook with (John calls them "grass clippings").

We watched the DVD of "The Full Monty" tonight. We'd seen it before, and it's just as good and funny as it was the first time.

Now I'm watching Tim Russert interview Lee Iacocca about his new book. Iacocca really takes the current administration to task. I totally agree with him when he says that curiosity and creativity are two of the most important characteristics that a leader can have (AMEN to that!), and that our current president lacks both of them.
Today's pictures are a photograph that I took in Colorado last month. I knew it was something I would paint - I am continually drawn to that composition. Yesterday, I painted the watercolor based on that scene. It's a 10x10" watercolor.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday is for Art

Mostly today was a usual Friday. Swimming, coffee at Panera's, then to Vicki's for the Friday morning watercolor class. The usual students were there. Vicki had some peonies, columbine, and iris set up. The Chattanooga region of the Tennessee Watercolor Society is having an exhibit in December, with the theme being works in a square format. The square is generally considered to be a difficult shape for painters - or for art in general. Think about it, we rarely see squares - most paintings will be in horizontal or vertical rectangles, less often in circles or ovals - rarely in squares. Anyhow, I wanted to do some pieces as possible entries in the show. I did two pieces in 10" squares - one based on the peonies, and one based on a photograph I took in Colorado. I'll post photos of that later.

There were two new-work openings at galleries on Frazier Avenue - the AVA Gallery and the InTown Gallery. We decided to go to those, and have their "heavy hors d'oeurves" for dinner. The show at AVA had two artists, a photographer and a print-maker. Both were interesting, but I much preferred the prints. They were small hand-colored intaglio prints. What a lot of work is involved in those.

In-Town featured new artists, and new work by all the regular membership. There were some really great pieces in this show. We weren't looking for things to buy - just to enjoy seeing. John said he spent all his time there talking to folks rather than looking at the art (guess we'll have to go back). And the food was terrific.

My feet gave out, and we were home before dark. Chattanooga is an amazing city, for a small Southern city - incredibly welcoming and accessible for all kinds of art and artists. We do enjoy living here.

Today's photo is in LaPlata Canyon along the LaPlata River in Colorado.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dentists and libraries

Why do people hate going to the dentist? Well, the procedures they perform do hurt sometimes. Maybe it's the "not being in control" thing. Flo Jean doesn't go to dentists - but she doesn't see very well, and really hates having anybody get close to her face. What brought this on? I got my teeth cleaned this morning. Fortunately, I inherited really good teeth, and rarely have to have anything more done than biannual cleaning. Lucky me! And I love the feel of newly cleaned teeth.

We had our usual Thursday lunch with the Blue Tick Society. It was a small group today - just John and me, Dalton Roberts, and Don Eaves. Dalton had played a gig at a local coffee house last weekend, and film of several of his songs has been put on YouTube. You might give it a look sometime. Here's the link...

The Chattanooga/Hamilton County Bicentennial Library and the Friends of the Library have been having public meetings at each of the branch libraries. City and County budgets have been cutting so much support from the libraries. They're trying to find ways to get more money, or to find creative ways to stretch the money that they do get. There are almost no new books being purchased. Staffs have been cut, and the libraries are closed on Sundays and Fridays. Many comments and suggestions were given - and probably they'll be working to private/public combinations of fund-raising. I know something needs to be done, and that'll probably be the ultimate solution.

But, John and I strongly believe that libraries, like schools, should be free and be totally funded by public monies (taxes). All citizens should shoulder the responsibilities for these vital functions that need to be provided by our governments. And that's my soapbox for the day.

Today's picture was taken in the mountains west of Pueblo, CO.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Here's John and me in Scotland last year. This is what he looks like without glasses or moustache.

Vicki and I both got to paint today. None of her Wednesday oil/acrylic students showed up today, so it was just the two of us. She finished one painting, and did some "renovations" on an old one. I added some acrylic to a couple of my "starts". I had thought about adding face on top of one of my darker starts, and think I may have gotten something worth saving. We'll see how I feel about it on Friday.

Another day near 90. It is supposed to be somewhat cooler the rest of the week. I poached a salmon for dinner, and it was SO good. John's especially looking forward to the chowder I make out of the leftovers.

John got an e-mail (through me and found through Zelle's World!) from another Zelle looking to see if possible they were related and might have some common relatives. It turns out they probably are. His great-grandfather may be John's great-uncle. Both families go back to Central Illinois. I think they're going to have fun investigating.

Have a great evening, folks!
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's not summer yet, but it got up to 90 degrees here. I do, I do, I DO appreciate air conditioning.

Tuesday is a watercolor day at Vicki's Studio 2. I took some iris that had bloomed in the yard, and the students had a good time painting the lovely flowers. Iris are SO satisfying - on all levels. We ran late, everybody talking and working. Judy M. reminded me that the new penguin exhibit at the Aquarium was open for members today.

John and I went downtown this afternoon, and the Aquarium was fairly crowded. We had thought this was one of the Members-Only things - but that wasn't so. Oh, well.... Certainly everybody wanted to see the new penguins. And it's amazing how many small children there are, whose parents brought them to the Aquarium today. It was very hard to get any photos of the penguins. But I enjoy getting photos of the kids looking, too. We'll go back some other time, when the "new" has worn off to try for some penguin portraits.

We went to Blue Orleans for dinner on the way home. We didn't exactly what we had planned - we got a seafood platter for two. And it was all fried. It was very good - but next time, we'll go with the red beans and rice, or the andouille gumbo.

Has anybody else watched The Mormons on PBS last night and tonight? It was interesting to learn about them, but I'm not ready to convert.

Today's picture is obviously of some of Chattanooga's newest residents - some gentoo and macaroni penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium.
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