Tuesday, July 31, 2007


OK, folks, are you sitting down??? I cleaned out the hearth cabinets in the living room. I don't think we've seen the back of the inside of those cabinets since we moved in 21 years ago. I guess I shouldn't admit that, but it's true. And how many people do you know who can get six (6) garbage bags of videotapes ready to go to the GoodWill? I even found some that we need to check before we throw them away. We actually did have a videocamera for a little while.. That's going to be a great place to store my yarn stash/knitting equipment/needlepoint stuff. And in plastic storage boxes so I can actually find stuff when I want it. Be still my heart!

John cleaned out the bottom part of the corner cabinet in the dining room. He's organized all the games to store there, and actually purged a few of the 8 sets of dominoes. He threw out a lot of old playing cards, and packaged up some of the better ones to donate to the bridge group.

Every once in a while, these old dogs can learn a new trick. A while back, I read an article about how to "declutter". One of the hints was to set a timer for 15 minutes, and then stop when time is up. You'll usually work a bit longer, but you have given yourself permission to walk away from a job when only a portion of it is done. You know how how you look at a huge job, and get so discouraged that you never even start it. Well, at least I do. This method really works - we're doing that now - and we're actually making progress.

The guy from the landscaping service came by to talk about doing the yard. He's going to do a major clean-up first, and then maintain it. Of course, his schedule is pretty full at this time of year, but we're not in a big hurry. When he has time, he'll come to do that. John'll keep up the routine stuff in the meantime. Whew! That's a relief. I'm so glad he's decided that he just doesn't need to do that any more. And a potential cleaning lady is coming on Thursday to see about doing the inside. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!

Question of the day (decade? century?): If abortion is made a crime, what should the penalty be for the woman who has one? How much time should she do? The fanatics never think about that, do they? Click here for Anna Quindlen's column How Much Jail Time? in this week's Newsweek magazine.

Today's picture is of evening at Valley of the Gods.

Monday, July 30, 2007

An odd Monday

An odd day - a Monday that didn't begin with swimming. The YMCA is now saying that the facility will be closed through Friday at least. All members are welcome to go to other facilities in the area - and I may do that if it stays closed much longer. I talked with one of our group who is out of town this week. She's concerned that if this Y is closed for too long, our wonderful group will begin to separate and lose the closeness that we've had since this pool opened six years ago. That would be the greatest tragedy of all - and we'll do our damnedest to keep that from happening.

We've decided that we need to spend money on something other than travel occasionally. Don't gasp! it won't be much. But we're going to talk to a service tomorrow about doing a major clean-up of the yard and then doing regular maintenance. And, we've got a woman coming to see about cleaning the house. Sigh - why are these things so hard to do, when they're really so good. Couldn't be that we're CHEAP! Certainly not!

John's been wanting a reading nook that he can set up with a chair and light that's away from the TV. Now that the chest-of-drawers is gone from the bedroom, he trying that space. He moved the needlepointed rocker, a footstool, and a floor lamp into the corner. So far it seems to be working for him.

Bridge today was a mixed bag. John and I had a great first round, and he had a good last round. Definitely up and down in the middle. But then we had a wonderful dinner with all those good veggies for dinner (corn on the cob, okra, tomatoes. Yum!
Today's picture is Andy and John yesterday.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Today's big excitement was a major fire at our YMCA. Margaret drove by the Y on her way home this morning. She called when she got home and told me that there were firetrucks, ambulances, bucket trucks, etc., at the Y. We found that the fire probably started in the sauna in the women's dressing room that I use. The fire call came in about 8 a.m. The news said that most of the fire damage was confined to the men's and women's dressing rooms, with, of course, smoke and water damage to a lot of the rest of the building. The building will be completely closed until at least Tuesday, and then we'll find out what happens next.

My kit locker (deck shoes, shampoo, water bottle, brush, comb, etc.) was on the other side of the wall from the sauna, so all of those are history, I'm sure. But that, of course, is very minor. This will probably involve hundreds of thousands of dollars, and our Y is pretty much the "red-headed stepchild" of the system when it comes to funding. So who knows when we'll be able to get back in the pool. They might be able to have class in the outdoor pool for a while, but nobody particularly likes that. It's still better than nothing.

Sue called that she had an uneventful trip home, and had gotten the china cabinet out of the truck. Andy came by for a few minutes on his way home from Atlanta, and it was nice to see him again. He'll be going to school for his orientation and moving in on 24 August.
Today's picture is some of the bounty from the garden.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A moving day

We woke up this morning to very hard rain. By the time it stopped at about 8, we had had slightly more than 3". We did get some water in the basement. John went up on the roof, and flushed out the downspout, finally discovering that the underground drain from the bottom of the downspout was stopped up. He worked in the heat and humidity for a good while, then finally decided that the smart thing to do was to abandon the old pipe, and just put in a new drainage pipe on top of the ground and English ivy.

Sue came in first, driving Matt's truck. Margaret came in later in her van. Margaret and John got the two chests loaded in her van, while Sue was packing up Pink's "blue glass" Fostoria crystal. They then got the china cabinet and boxes loaded into the truck. About that time, Vicki came by to see S&M, and to make some suggestions for paintings to hang on the naked bedroom walls. Of course, she left with a load of okra, corn on the cob, and tomatoes. Sue and Margaret then went to Lowe's to get a tarp for the truck and John's replacement drain pipe. They managed to get in a trip to the mall while they were out, too.

Having to empty and repack these chests certainly made me do some much needed purging and rearranging. There's still a lot to do in that department. But at least we've gotten a start on it. Part of the trouble with that is always having a place to put stuff while you making new place for it. With some of the furniture gone, that made it easier - there's some empty floor space.

We managed to get in a lot of talking, some carry-out Chinese for dinner, and some looking at old photos in John's mother's albums. It is quiet now - I'm the last one left up.

We must learn to seek change without violence - always change, and never violence, not even in words, much less in deeds.
We must try to understand each other by reconciling ourselves to the fact that most of us never really mature; we simply grow taller.
The Many Worlds of Leo Rosten, Leo Rosten (1962)
Today's photo is an Ancestral Puebloan storage unit near Cortez, CO.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday night specials

Tonight on Bill Moyers' Journal, Moyers talked about an 18-year-old who had never wanted to be anything except a soldier. He enlisted at age 17, and was killed a couple of weeks ago by a roadside bomb.

Following this story, students at a recent convention of the College Republicans were interviewed and asked how they felt about the war in Iraq. Without exception, the answers were exactly the same as the White House mantra: "We have to fight Al Queda over there, so we don't have to fight them over here."

Next each was asked if he/she was planning to enlist. The answers were: "No, I'm in college now." "No, I'm playing baseball in college." "I tried, but was turned down." "I can't because of medical reasons." "Well, uh, no, I never considered it." "Well I'm an undergraduate right now and I had a scholarship...I just didn't have any real urge...I just didn't have any strong urge..." "Why am I not serving? I don't know...I mean... I really support this country strongly and I...you know... I didn't enlist. There is not much else I can say. I don't think that you can't talk about this issue if you're not serving." No further comment necessary.

From time to time, over the years, I have copied or cut out articles or book exerpts and stashed them in various places. I was going through the stuff removed from the jewelry/junk drawers of one of the chests this afternoon and came across some of these goodies. It's always fun to find things and discover what I thought worth saving at one time or another. One group of pages blew me away. I had copied these paragraphs by hand from The Many Worlds of Leo Rosten by Leo Rosten (1962). Click here to read about Leo Rosten.
We must forever oppose hysteria, even when it is wrapped in the vestments of patriotism.
We must learn that those we like are not always right, and those we don't like are not always wrong; for the validity of an idea has little to do with who is for it or who is against it. (Leo Rosten, 1962)
Today's picture is on the road heading in to the Valley of the Gods, UT, near sundown.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I do, I do, I DO love shopping!

We had really thick fog this morning. I could hardly see to get to Wal-Mart. Now that would hve been a tragedy. I hate it when I'm looking for something specific and finding it becomes an exercise in frustration. I wanted some plastic storage boxes, and had measurements of the space where I wanted to use them. Would you believe.... (of course, you would!) ... that only one size of boxes had the exterior dimensions on the label...volume yes, but measurements, no. Well, shit! Always resourceful, I back-tracked to the school supplies and "borrowed" a ruler. I finally found two of the three sizes (or close enough), and selected two of each. Having had all I could take for one visit, I left the ruler on the shelf, so the next shopper could check measurements.

Next, I committed a major packing feat - right there in one of the main aisles. I got those four boxes AND a large corkboard in my basket in such a way that I could also get the groceries stowed and not have to wrestle two carts. Now I was sweaty, tired, triumphant, and ready to head for home.

This afternoon, I emptied three chests-of-drawers, the two that Margaret is taking, and the one I'm keeping. I packed the table linens in one of the boxes, and stashed it under the bed (where the box fits JUST right). John moved two of the chests, and I'll load my stuff into the one we're keeping. I filled up two bags of clothes, etc., to take to GoodWill, and another one of garbage. There was only a small box of "keeper stuff". I really am getting better at working for about 30 minutes or so, and then saying, "That's enough for a while".

Questions: What do I do with old music cassettes? What do I do with old videotapes? One of the wags at Ex-Tix suggested making art with it, but I figure they'll go to GoodWill.

Today's picture is of Shiprock in NM. After WM, I needed an out-west-empty-spaces fix.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's the journey, not the destination!

Beth had her first postop visit with the surgeon today. The doc told her that everything looked great - that the only way it could've been better was to have not had the cancer in the first place. She's due to be set up with the oncologist and the oncology radiologist. She's pretty happy tonight.

That was a ferocious line of storms that went through this evening. We did get 1.5" of rain, but fortunately the really dangerous stuff went around us.

Andy breezed through this evening on his way from Kentucky to visit his girlfriend in Atlanta. He didn't get caught in the storm, but did get delayed in Nashville because of a wreck. It was on the other side of I-24, but it took him 2 hours to go about 10 miles because of the slowdown. He came in, talked for a minute, went to the bathroom, got a Coke, and was on his way.

Leroy Sievers, in his blog today, wrote: We all know there will come a day, sooner or later, when death comes to find us. But I hope that even on that day, I will wake up and say, "I wonder what's next?"
Today's picture is of the Stones of Stennis, Isles of Orkney, Scotland. Even these prehistoric builders wondered "what's next?".

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In the eye of the beholder?

I've managed to post a few messages and get "not too uncomfortable" moving around the new Practice Discussion Page on SeniorNet. I've even posted my photograph under my name, and set up my profile. Everybody's still in quite a tizzy over all the upheaval. The big change of the rest of the SeniorNet site is scheduled to happen Wednesday afternoon. They don't have a scheduled time for the Discussion shift as yet.

As I've asked before, what is ART??? Is "art" limited only to the representation of actual objects or people, portrayed realistically? What else can be considered art? Some of the folks posting in the Computer Generated Art discussion on SeniorNet have been in a pissing contest over whether abstract art, nonrepresentational art, or confrontational art is really "ART".

I finally had to put my 2-cents-worth in, and said this: C'mon folks, let's don't fight. There are many different styles of art, and one is not necessarily better than another. A piece may be technically better than another, but past that, it's up to personal taste. I prefer certainly styles over others, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the talent that goes into making a piece that doesn't "light my fire".

Today's photo is definitely "real", but if painted, it would be abstract or nonrepresentational as well. This cliff exists near Mexican Hat, Utah.

Monday, July 23, 2007


One Monday is pretty much like any other Monday. We had a big swimming group this morning. Good to see everybody - what a great group that is. The laundry got done, and I 'instant-messaged' with Jean for a bit.

We had a good bridge day - five full tables. The cards were fair-to-middlin' - I'm sure we both wound up in the middle somewhere. The annoying guy was his usual self - but he obviously had lousy cards. He stayed at the same table all afternoon (which means that his partnership lost each round). That would be frustrating to the nicest of card-players, I'll have to admit.

The biggest news of the week is the upcoming completely make-over of the SeniorNet website. The switch comes on Wednesday, but the announcement and preview came today. Every one of my subscribed discussions is in an uproar. Although many are saying how nice the new site looks, the discussion access is going to change. We'll have to re-register, rewrite our profiles, resubscribe to discussions, etc. Folks are frustrated and complaining. The discussion change won't happen for a while yet, so I hope we'll all get used to it on the practice pages.

We do hate change, don't we. And, of course, it's the only sure thing in our lives (death and taxes notwithstanding).

Today's picture is of part of the 2007 graduating class from Dixie High School, Due West, SC. These young folks are in for arguably the first of many major changes in their lives. Good luck to them all!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More miscellany

In the last week, I've learned more about "noodling or "grabbling" than I really wanted to know. In today's Chattanooga Times Free Press, a story on the back page of the Sports section was titled "Girls Gone Grabblin' ". Click here to see video of some good ol' Tennessee gals looking for equal coverage.

The last few Sunday nights, we've been watching the PBS series about Queen Elizabeth called "Queen and Country". Each program discusses an aspect of the monarchy and government in Great Britain. We've really enjoyed them. This Queen is a really "classy lady". It's going to be interesting to see what happens at the end of her reign. We felt that the Brits would accept Prince William as king, but were a little less sure about how they'll feel when or if Charles ascends the throne. We do live in interesting times.

Commenting on the indictment of Michael Vick on the charges of dog fighting, Senator Robert Byrd said, "I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for sick and brutal people who hold God’s creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt." Byrd also said, "The training of these poor creatures to turn them into fighting machines is simply barbaric." Bev Sykes, in her blog "Funny the World" said: "I agreed with him (Byrd) and ... then wondered when the Senate was going to return to the discussion of the soldiers in Iraq and when to bring the two-legged fighting machines home again." Well said, Bev!

Today's picture is not of a British castle, but Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I offered Margaret the opportunity to come pick up a couple of chests-of-drawers that she's said she would like. And, of course, she jumped at the chance. Now all I have to do is decided what to do with the stuff that's in them. But then, that's the point, isn't it. I guess I'm just going to have to start taking a few sacks at a time to Good Will or Teen Challenge or somewhere.

Sue e-mailed that she was willing to take anything else we wanted to get rid of, so no telling what'll be leaving. When Margaret took the bedroom furniture last spring, she browsed and collected from all over the house. I'm really just tickled that the girls and grands want some of it.

We've kept some of John's mother's photo albums under the china cabinet. Well, of course, THOSE have to be looked at. We've had fun (and some laughs) today looking at all those skinny young people and gorgeous babies. That's one of the problems with going through all the stuff. It usually goes unnoticed, but when you actually have to look at it, it takes more time. Guess that's part of the unexpected price of whatever-it-is.

Have you gotten your copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet? We'll just have to wait to see how it comes out. Kate's at a fiber festival this weekend, but I'll bet that Jean's been reading all evening.

Today's picture was originally taken in 1962. I can't believe we were EVER that young.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Short entry

Just a short note tonight. I've been working on a really neat hat with some of Kate's handspun yarn. It's called an AranToque (a toque-shaped hat with an Aran pattern), and got to a critical point. So I didn't leave enough time to think on my entry and to write. Sorry about that.

The biggest news, in any case, was finding out that one of our grandsons had actually done some noodling!!! Ye Gods!! Can't wait to get to talk to him in person about this event.

Today's picture is roving ready to be spun into yarn.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Working together

We picked up a digital cable converter from Comcast this afternoon. We found out we could get a free digital starter package, so we decided to try it out - even though we don't have a digital TV. Anyhow, John got it all hooked up, and everything worked fine, menu, guide, etc., - EXCEPT - there was no picture. We called in the neighbors, unhooked and rehooked it, cussed and fussed and fumed. We had tried to call Comcast, but they said it would be a long time on hold. So we decided to have supper, then I'd spend some time on the phone waiting. After supper, I got all comfy, dialed the number, and......got right through to a person. The pleasant-sounding young man asked for the phone number and name, said to turn on the TV, and WOW!!!! there was our picture. All that commotion, and all he had to do was push a button at his end. I told him how wonderful he was, and he signed off with "Enjoy your new toy". Can't beat that.

Margaret called. She's planning to come over weekend after this, to help Sue when she comes to get the china cabinet. It's always fun when the girls get together. And they get so much work done. Maybe they can clean up the rest of the house, too. (That's a JOKE, girls!)

We had another good shower today. The rain is so spotty that the drought isn't broken yet, but right now, we'll take every drop we can get.

Today's picture is of sisters working at the beach. 8^)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okie Noodling

John read yesterday's entry, laughed, and said that I was getting awfully serious. I told him that sometimes I felt like writing about something a little more than "this is what I did today".

I saw the oncology radiologist yesterday. After a thorough manual exam, he said everything looked and felt good, and told me to come back in a year. Now I'm seeing both the surgeon and the radiologist annually, but on a staggered basis, so I see one of them every six months. It's comforting to know they're keeping a close watch on me.

Beth has done very well since her lumpectomy last week. The sentinel nodes were negative, and she didn't even have any stitches. As she put it, they just used something like Super Glue on the incisions. She'll see the surgeon next week and they'll probably set her up with the beginning radiology appointments. I plan to go with her to those first appointments.

We talked with Ann & Al yesterday. They've made last-minute reservations for a trip on the Delta Queen in August, sailing from Chattanooga to Memphis. They'll come in a couple of days early to visit with us. We may even go along. As of yesterday, the only cabins available were the smallest ones, with bunk beds - and that is definitely not an option. We're on the waiting list, though, for one of the larger ones. Who knows - we make be taking a last minute trip down the Tennessee River.

GPTV showed a program tonight called Okie Noodling. We didn't have a clue about this, so watched it out of curiosity. It is SO funny. Turns out that "noodling" is catching fish with your bare hands - BIG fish, huge catfish - going underwater, sticking your hands in their mouths, and dragging them out. Click here to read about it or watch the program. Don't miss it if it shows up on your PBS station.

No catfish for today's picture - this is a cuttlefish at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What is Family?

What is family?
Is it just people related by blood or marriage?
What about a man, woman, and children in a household?
What about a single parent and children in a household?
What about a blended household?
What about a man and woman aren't married to each other?
What about two women or two men raising children?
What about grandparents raising grandchildren?
What about foster children in a household?
What about blood relatives who are estranged?
What about a circle of friends?
What about internet contacts?
What about the people in your club?
Is it just people of the same race?
Is it just people of the same nationality?
Is it just people of the same religion?
Or is it bigger than that?
Aren't we all members of the Human Family?
Why can't we act like it?

Today's picture is a flock (or family?) of pelicans in Weslaco, TX.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Mondays are always busy around here. Swimming, laundry, bridge, and this evening, I went to a 2-hour painting workshop. All fun, but I'm really tired tonight. And had to get home to watch The Closer and Simon Schama's The Power of Art. I'm glad I get to sleep in tomorrow morning.

And speaking of bridge: I was FIRST last week, with over 7000 points!!!! (out of SIX tables), and John came in second.

I was at Studio 2 downtown for this workshop, about 12 miles from home. We had lightning, thunder, and rain that came down so hard, we couldn't see more than about 20 feet - for at least half-an-hour. John says we got not a drop here at home. "Scattered" is right!

Leroy Sievers was exceptionally eloquent in his blog today. I can only quote the last paragraph: "The bottom line -- it really doesn't matter what anyone says after we're gone. It would be nice if everyone said good things. But we won't be here to hear them. Doctors told me I was supposed to die 13 months ago. Then seven months ago, and then, next month. They've been wrong every time. But at some point they're going to be right. So what matters is not what we leave behind. What matters is what we do now. Do we touch the lives of others? Do we make a difference? Do we earn our place for the brief time that we are here? I think all we can hope for, all we should strive for, is a day well lived. And then another, and another. What better legacy could there be?"

Today's photograph is of flowers at Glen Affric in Scotland.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


On CBS Sunday Morning today, there were a couple of "Passings" - people who had died last week. One was the political cartoonist, Doug Marlette. The other was Charles Lane, who died at 102. Who, I hear you say, is Charles Lane, and why does his death deserve a mention on national TV? I'll bet when you see his picture, you'll recognize him. He was one of the best character actors around for decades. Click here to see a photograph and his listings on IMDb. It was amazing to me how much this man enriched our movies and TV programs for so many years, and we never even knew his name.

It got me thinking about others who enrich our lives, make our lives easier, provide us with services, and largely go without any recognition or thanks. Here are some I thought of: letter carrier; garbage collector; newspaper deliverer; meter reader; parking lot attendant; x-ray or lab technician in the hospital; waitresses, bus boys, cooks; store clerks and stock people; janitors; police and firefighters. We do know the name of our letter carrier, but that's the only one on this list. I'm sure you can think of others.

Let's see if we can be more aware of these service people. Our lives would surely be poorer and more difficult without them. Give them a smile and a thank you from time to time.

Today's picture is of a shadow - we need to pay attention to them. (picture by Jean)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bring on the frontloader

Another quiet day today. Sue's coming raid the house in a couple of weeks, taking the china cabinet and Pink's blue crystal glassware. I've got to find somewhere to put the other stuff that's currently in the cabinet. Which means I've got to clean up a bunch of other stuff. It would've been great if I'd done this today - but guess what - it didn't happen. Sometimes I just want to bring in a dumpster and a front-end loader and throw ALL this stuff away. One of these days, I swear, I'm going to put a card table out by the street, and just put random stuff on it. Then put up a sign that says "Free - help yourself". I just don't want to go to the trouble to have a yard sale, or to get it cleaned up enough to take it somewhere. Sigh.......

John says his foot feels much better than it did before the doc worked on it. It's always nice when the treatment works.

I finally finished the book I've been reading - The Lost VanGogh, by A.J.Zerries. It turns out the "author" is a husband-wife team. It's a pretty good yarn. The chasing part might've been a bit too long, but I kept with it. The husband, Al Zerries, is an artist. Click here to see some of his work. The watercolor portraits are very nice.

Today's picture is one of my paintings (acrylic on canvas) - not exactly a portrait, but it is a face.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I've been trying to post my entry for today, with noticeable lack of success. Next time I look, I'll probably wind up with three or four entries of the same thing. I wonder what'll happen when I post this one...or tomorrow.

Of warts and things

I went to a gallery opening this evening. A friend is opening a new space, and another friend will be one of the featured artists. Betty and I didn't stay long, but it was fun. I liked what I've seen of the work of the artists there.

John went to the doc to get a plantar wart on his heel excised. It wasn't much fun for him. I've heard of and had plantar warts before, but never heard of one on the heel. Oh, well - you can trust John to do something different. He's got kind of a divot in his heel now, and he's going to take tomorrow off from rowing. I hope it doesn't bother him too much.

We went to get haircuts yesterday afternoon and are both looking and feeling much less shaggy.
Bill Moyers' Journal tonight was an interview with two constitutional scholars who were adamant that Congress should impeach both Bush and Cheney. It was an interesting take on the situation. Click here for a recap of the program and biographies of the speakers. Click here for a link to Bill Moyers' Blog.

Today's picture is one of my favorites. It's a "self-portrait" of me standing in the middle of Old Route 66, next to I-40, in the Texas Panhandle.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Breast cancer, again

My dear friend had a lumpectomy today to remove any vestiges of the cancer that was found on biopsy. The best news was that the sentinel nodes were negative for tumor. She'll start undergoing radiation treatment when the surgical incisions heal. After the next 2-3 months, finishing up the radiation series, she'll probably (I hope) not have any further problems. BUT (there's always a "but"), as with all of us survivors, she'll always know that there was cancer in her body, and even with clear exams from now on, that knowledge will always go with her.
Frankly, it's a pain in the butt! I hate having to always check "yes" in the "cancer" box on those physical exam forms. And even your children have to change their medical histories to reflect that their mother has had breast cancer. Having said that, it's a relief to get those clear check-ups every six months.

Today was our out-to-lunch day with the X-Ticks, that crazy bunch of creative people, ex-office-holders, artists, and some who are both. This bunch surely proves that Laughter is good for whatever ails you.

Today's picture should give you a smile. This little guy came to visit me in the Pueblo Bonita parking lot in Chaco Canyon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lady Bird

We lost a major piece of our history today when Lady Bird Johnson died. Of course, we all know her as the wife of Lyndon Johnson. You remember - all those drawling folks out of the Hill Country of Texas - Lyndon, Lady Bird, and their two daughters - all with the initials of LBJ. And they were all larger than life.

But maybe what I appreciate most about her is that we have her to thank for all the wildflowers that bloom in profusion along our highways and interstates. She made it her mission to beautify the roadsides in America. Everytime I see a median full of poppies, daisies, cosmos, or bluebonnets, I say a silent Thank You to Lady Bird for filling those neglected spaces with color. I remember an interview on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. She was identifying different flowers for him - bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, evening primrose, etc. He asked about one other flower and she said "That's a DYC." Kuralt looked puzzled and said "What's that?" Very matter-of-fact, she answered that there were so many nearly indistinguishable yellow flowers that she called them "Damned Yellow Composites". And to this day, that's the name of any yellow roadside flower.

Another great PBS program tonight - American Masters on Les Paul. What musical geniuses he is, and with the wonderful voice of Mary Ford! I surely didn't know he was even still alive - this program was made this year. Wikipedia says he was born in 1915. He's still playing gigs every Monday night - and is still amazing to listen to. "Somewhere There's Music" "Mockingbird Hill" "How High the Moon" What a treat!

Today's picture is of some roadside flowers in Scotland.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today was a quiet day. There were 5 at watercolor class at Studio 2 today. I had taken one of Bobby's huge tomatoes, and one of the Judys brought some squash and peppers. So we had a great still life to work from. It's always fun to see that a roomful of people can all paint the same objects using the same medium, and come up with such different results.

This afternoon, we watched the Simon Schama Rembrandt segment again. We'd missed the first few minutes last night, and John went to bed before it was over. Rembrandt's work is incredible.

The WNBA played tonight, and it's fun to see some of the great players that we watched play for Pat Summitt as Lady Vols - doing well in the pros. The All-Star game is on Sunday (I know the baseball All-Star game is happening tonight, but we're not watching that [sorry, Kate and FJ].)

Today's picture is a reproduction of a Rembrandt drawing of his lady-love, Saskia. The man could say volumes with just a few lines.

Monday, July 09, 2007

How embarrassing!

Guess I have to 'fess up. I finally found my old glasses last night. I'm so embarrassed. After making such a stink, I finally found them on the kitchen table, within arm's reach. What a dumbbutt! They were in a case that looked like one of John's and it just never crossed my consciousness. Sigh........ Well, at least the mystery is solved.

Bridge was this afternoon and, for a change, it was GREAT! I had some super cards, and John and I played well together. We wound up playing as partners two rounds - it doesn't usually happen that way. The second time, we made an unbid slam. And on the next hand, John bid and made 7 no-trump!!! We had all the goodies, and he just took everything from the top. It was SWEET! And we got 2350 points for that half-hour round. It's about time we got some decent cards. And the group is growing - we had six tables.

Are y'all watching the PBS program, Simon Schama: The Power of Art? It's a great 8-part series featuring one artist in each segment. The 5th one was on tonight, featuring Rembrandt. I remember the first "old master" I saw and was aware of. It was in an exhibit at Cheekwood in Nashville, probably 30 years ago. John was mesmerized by a daVinci drawing (understandably). I moved to a portrait a few feet away, a Rembrandt portrait of a young man. I was frozen to the spot, and tears ran down my cheeks. I remember nothing else about that exhibit. I've seen a number of Rembrandt's portraits and self-portraits since then, and they still stop me in my tracks. And his drawings can still move me to tears.
Today's picture is another of Margaret's: Brothers Matt & Jesse pitching horseshoes.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Dateline: "Pamplona, Spain. The running of the bulls, fueled by huge doses of adrenaline and with equally generous lashings of alcohol, began Saturday in the narrow streets of this Spanish city." This was the opening paragraph of a story in today's paper. It's always good to laugh first thing in the morning.

I enjoyed watching a program on the animals of Alaska on the Travel Channel. I loved that it was narrated by John Corbett. You remember him, he was "Chris in the Morning" on Northern Exposure. That was undoubtedly one of the best series that TV has come up with. I've gotten a kick out of remembering specific episodes during this program.

I finished my pair of wool/bamboo blend socks tonight. I'm looking forward to its being cool enough to wear them - they feel so good. I'll probably start the second pair tomorrow. I have to order the yarn for the wedding-present afghan, so can't start it for a while. I'm eager to get it started, but will wait for cooler weather to finish it.

Today's picture is one of Margaret's, taken yesterday of our seamen - Jesse and James.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What is Heaven?

We went to Margaret's this afternoon. Jesse was home for his first 8-day leave. He's finished "School A", and been promoted to Petty Officer 3rd class, electrician's mate. He'll start School B on 16 July. And, as the fates would have it, his cousin (on the other side of the family) has also just finished his School A in the Navy. He doesn't report until early August to his ship at Mayport, FL. So it was a great family celebration with the two young men. I forgot to take my camera, so I'll have to wait until Margaret sends me her pictures to post any.

The food, of course, was incredible! Hamburgers, brats, just-picked tomatoes, just-picked green beans, two slaws, two potato salads, macaroni & cheese, squash dressing, pinto beans. And, just so you'll know the true meaning of heaven, corn on the cob which had been picked immediately before cooking. And gobs of desserts, including home-made ice cream. There were maybe 20-25 people there, mostly Bobby's family. A very special afternoon!

And Heaven? Just picked tomatoes, just picked corn on the cob, and most especially Family!

Today's picture is Jesse on his graduation from basic training.

Friday, July 06, 2007

What were they thinking?

You've all gotten the e-mail joke, that starts with "What were they thinking?" Have you read today's story about the police chase at 10:30 p.m. along the main road in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, AL, at speeds up to 100 mph? The cops finally caught up to the car when it sideswiped another vehicle and flipped over. Imagine their amazement as they approached the vehicle, guns drawn, and found an 11 year old girl seat-belted into the car.

There was no alcohol found in the car, but her blood alcohol level was, according to the police report, enough to cite an adult for DUI (over 0.8%). Her story was that she was going to pick up her 14-year-old sister from a concert. She was charged with DUI, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless endangerment, and of course, driving without a license. It surely does make me wonder Where were her parents? What were they thinking?

And after being treated for minor scrapes and bruises at a local hospital, she was released to family members. FAMILY MEMBERS???? What were the authorities thinking?

Today's picture is a rainbow in the Highlands of Scotland.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

John's number

John saw the radiation oncologist today and had his first post-radiation blood draw for PSA. The doc said any drop in the number would be good. His PSA pre-diagnosis of prostate cancer was 8.5. Today it was 1.8 !!!! We're excited!

I keep reminding y'all to click on the link to the left to Leroy Sievers' blog. Granted, most of the time it's about cancer and his dealing with it. Today, on the day after the Fourth, he reminds us to remember those brave men and women who have sacrificed for us (whether or not we agree with the reason for this latest fiasco), and have paid a great price. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice. But suffering, too, are those who have lost limbs and eyesight and hearing and are invisibly suffering from PTSD. Sievers is eloquent - read what he has to say.

Today was my day for a pedicure - a treat that I decided to give myself. I justify it by saying that I have trouble getting to my feet to care for them appropriately, but mostly it's just that it feels good. Kate and Jean were teasing me about my feet last week. John snitched on them. They said that if one were to tip the person who gives you the pedicure based on how ugly your feet were, I should tip my "pedicurist" $100. This is probably true. I always win the ugly feet contests.

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

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

There were lots of fireworks displays around here last night, and there will be more tonight. We went next door for their annual cook-out for friends and neighbors, but didn't stay late. I love watching the professional displays, but hate the bang-bang kind. So if there's any of that in the neighborhood, I'll pass. We've been really lazy today - it's been nice.

Click here to read Dana Millbank's column in today's Washington Post. It's about yesterday's White House press conference - comparing it to Lewis Carroll's 'Twas Brillig, etc. It'd be funny, if it weren't so sad and true.

There's not much on TV tonight. We used to enjoy the programs from the National Mall with fireworks and wonderful music and lots of flag-waving. We still love all those things. Unfortunately, the TV programs spend way too much time talking, and not enough on the fireworks, music, and flag-waving. The Boston Pops program is on at 10 - and at least there, we know we'll get to hear The 1812 Overture with the cannons.

I think I'll go back to my book until then. This one's a pretty good yarn: The Lost VanGogh by A. J. Zerries. What are y'all reading this summer? One of our favorite books/movies is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The story was a fictionalized autobiography, and the town is based on her hometown of Monroeville, AL. Kate and Jean drove through there this year on their way to the beach. Ms Lee still lives in Monroeville. Of course, they didn't see her, but they did visit many of the sites depicted in the book. John and I have got to do that some year.

Today's picture is one of Jean's taken in the real courthouse used as a model for the one in Mockingbird.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


John's cousins were gone by 6:30 this morning. Such great guests! Otherwise just a usual quiet Tuesday. We finished up the evening by laughing through the tape of last night's episode of The Closer; then getting angry watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann talking about W's pardon of Libby.

I spent the morning at Studio 2 with Vicki's watercolor class. It's so wonderful to be around these folks learning the art of creating something from nothing with watercolor and paper as their materials.

Each of us is creative! Few statements are absolute, but that one is. We tend to think that creativity means painting, but that's just one part of it. The number of creative manifestations is infinite. Painting, sculpture, of course. But what about music, singing, dancing, song writing. And gardening, flower arranging, landscaping. And cooking, table decorations, interior design. What about sewing, knitting, spinning, weaving, clothing design. There's pottery, furniture design, carpentry, industrial design, photography. As I said - Infinite! Find YOUR creative muse, and nurture it.

We lost one of the great ones this week. No more, except in reproduction, will we experience the joyous voice and spirit of Beverly Sills. Aren't we fortunate that she passed through our lives.

Today's picture shows the hands of a spinner, creating yarn from the fleece of a sheep.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Are you believing that W commuted Scooter Libby's sentence? I guess I had hope that at least once justice would win out, but I guess that'll have to wait until these terrible people are out of office.

I'm so glad I have my glasses back. I cannot imagine what has happened to my older pair of glasses. I've had these new ones only about two months. I haven't given up on the old ones yet.

One of my SN buddies was in Glasgow last month, and her Scot friends were actually in the airport when the attack happened. John and I had also walked through the areas shown in the photographs. How scary!

John's cousins are here again for an overnight on their way from St. Pete Beach to Cincinnati. They do keep the road hot, driving back and forth. We enjoy seeing them, though. And, as we've said they never stay even 24 hours, and they always take us out to dinner. We went to our great Chinese restaurant tonight - and have enough leftovers for lunch.

Swimming this morning and bridge this afternoon. Some good and some lousy cards. I did have to play at the table with the annoying guy a couple of times, but at least was never his partner.

Today's picture is of the Central Train Station in Glasgow - a city of wonderful architecture.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bless her heart...

Things were some better this morning, after sleeping for 10 hours. We never do that. Must've been even more tired than we thought!

Margaret suggested last night that we meet her half-way to retrieve my glasses. What a sweetie - She called about 2, and we met Margaret and Bobby at the rest area at Nickajack Lake. Not only did they bring my glasses, but plants (a bell pepper, two ornamental peppers, and two jalapeno peppers) and some wonderful produce. We do love the summertime with Bobby's garden and Margaret's canning. I had an actual REAL Tennessee tomato tonight. And what Bobby called "runt" corn was the sweetest, most tender corn on the cob we've ever had. There are more tomatoes, yellow and zuccini squash, and okra. How sweet it is!!! And I can read again, too.

Do you know the phrase, "Bless her heart....", with an upward inflection at the end, and usually preceded or followed by "...but..."? It's a good ol' Southern expression that allows you to say anything about anybody, especially something bad, as long as you include "Bless her heart.." . For instance, "She served her special chocolate cake last night, but Bless her heart, it's just not fit to eat." We got into that one big time last week, and everything included "Bless her heart...." .

I was reading the Yarn Harlot's blog this morning. Today is CANADA DAY, and she was listing an alphabet of things that are especially Canadian. I loved her "L" entry. Here it is: L is for Legal to be "top free" for women. Since gender equality is written into the constitution, women are allowed to be bare on top anywhere that men are. This was most famously upheld in Ontario, where the law was tested in court, and hardly anybody took of their top anyway. Have to love those Canadians!

Today's picture is what I found one day on our deck railing last week.