Monday, December 31, 2007

Transition and Change 2007

There will really not be much difference between today and tomorrow, except a number, or maybe the weather. But somehow when a new year begins, we feel the need to enumerate events over the past year. I'm certainly no different.

We started and ended with health issues. John was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and underwent successful treatment with radiation. In December, an MRI showed that he had a torn rotator cuff, and he is scheduled for repair next month.

Travel occupied a large part of the year. We went to the Four Corners area and New Mexico again. And to the beach, as usual. We took two river trips: on the Delta Queen, from Chattanooga to Memphis on the Tennessee River; and on the River Explorer from Nashville to Nashville on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. An unforgettable experience was our trip with Ann and Al to Prague, Budapest, and Vienna - what wonderful historic cities. We made two trips to Texas - in January to see Betsy, and in November to Houston for my 50th class reunion at Rice.

Transition and change are constant. Randy changed jobs after more than 20 years. Sue, Margaret, and Kate are experiencing empty nests. Jean quit smoking. Andy and Sarah graduated from high school and started college. Paul graduated from college and is job hunting. Matt asked Amanda to marry him (she accepted) and they started their senior year in college. Alison continues to work on her PhD and raise jellyfish. Jesse finished his first year in the Navy and reported to his ship in Norfolk. Our friend, David, gave up his long fight and left us.

I have chosen to keep this personal and to avoid local, national, and international events of the year. Certainly, the TV and internet will enumerate those events, ad nauseum.

Much will remain the same next year. And we'll have to wait to see what transitions and changes occur over the next twelve months. One thing we know for sure, "W" will no longer be President, and for this we will be eternally grateful!

Today's picture is a detail from one of this year's paintings, "#83".

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas visitation

We surely do have a wonderful family. The last of them headed for home this morning, and we did some resting up. Then it's time to do some cleaning up, some eating of the leftovers (a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it!), and getting back into the normal routine. Actually, that'll start tomorrow with the usual Monday morning swim routine.

Have you heard the story about the 6-year-old girl who lied to win concert tickets? She said her father had been killed in Iraq, which was a lie. And her mother is supporting her???!!!??? The mother says there was nothing in the rules that said the story had to be true. But does anybody actually think that a 6-year-old came up with this by herself. Get real! What a terrible example to set for a child. I hope we've done a better job raising our family than this.

Anytime we get the chance to be with family, we say again how lucky we are to have such a great bunch. Keep up the good work! Here are four of our terrific grandchildren!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quieter Saturday

Today was much quieter - a lovely sunny day. Margaret and Matt headed home just before lunchtime. Kate and Jean headed to the used book store and Hobby Lobby - great ways to while away some time and money. John and I got some naps in.

The rest of the day was mostly spent in football and basketball. The Lady Mocs and the Men Vols both won their games handily.

We ate dinner at Blue Orleans - our great Cajun/Creole restaurant started by some Katrina refugees. It was a terrrible event, but we are so glad to have our city enriched by these lovely people who chose to make Chattanooga their home.

Mexican Train tonight was an occasion of great hilarity. That is a great game for 4 or more and of all ages.

There's a great snowy photograph almost anywhere in the Colorado mountains, almost any time of year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Houseful

It's been great having all the folks here today. Briefly, we had 9, but we're back to 7 now. Jean (and granddog, Spencer) got here about 2 - drove in the rain all the way in heavy traffic. Kate and Andy got here about 5 - after more than four hours in the rain, in what Kate called "all idiots must drive on I-24 today" traffic. Shorly after after they arrived, Paul and Sarah left to go to their other grandparents for the rest of the weekend. Then John went out to get Chinese for dinner. Life is good!

And it has rained steadily almost all day long. We'd complain if we didn't need the rain so bad. I think we've gotten nearly 2" of rain today. And fortunately, the temperatures have been in the 50s, so there was no danger of that white stuff. It was good.

The down side of today was that SeniorNet was out of commission all day. About 9 tonight, an e-mail came out saying that the SN web site had experienced a hardware system failure, and that there would be system-wide, rolling outages for maybe a couple of days. How terrible!!!! Withdrawal!!!! I surely am glad we have a houseful of people to keep me distracted. 8^)

In keeping with the season, here's a snowy picture - from Colorado last May.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A good day!

Today was one of those busy days that makes up for all the slug days when I don't do anything at all.

I started out with the post office. One of my smarter moves was waiting until after Xmas to mail a couple of packages. One was indeed a Christmas present, but Ann & Al knew that it would be late. The other one was a merchandise return. I walked in, went right up to the window, and the clerk was reading a book - just waiting for me.

Then to the dreaded Wal-Mart. I had a long list. But I found all but one item - and I found the empty place on the shelf for the sold-out item. Again, I walked right up to an open checker, and was out in record time. It surely was nice to have John at home to unload the car for me.

The Ex-Tix lunch was fun, as always. Dalton brought his son, who was visiting from his home in Dallas. It's always nice to see in someone else's family that "genetics doesn't lie" or "the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree". And it isn't just us.

I got several things cooked or assembled for the weekend before folks started arriving. We had seen Margaret, Matt, and Sarah fairly recently, but hadn't seen Paul for a while. They all looked good, in any case.

And dinner was great - if I do say so myself. Pot roast and gravy, baked potatoes, green beans, biscuits. Doesn't get much better than that. Plus various ice creams for dessert. Tonight's football game was not the most exciting, and by the middle of the fourth quarter (at 11:30), John and Margaret had given up. Texas was really romping over Arizona State.

The rest of the crowd will get in at various times tomorrow. It doesn't get any better than this!

Today's photo is from one of our favorites places - the Hesperus Mountains from La Plata Canyon Road, CO.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)

We did have a nice Christmas Day. We opened our gifts. Margaret called and asked us to come over for dinner, so we got ready to go and headed west. John drove and I knitted while we listened to some of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs that Wayne had picked out for us. There was more traffic than we would've expected, but not too many trucks, and no problems.

Matt and Jesse were both home, and it was such a treat to see them. Amanda was at home with her family, but Wanda and Larry were there for the good food. Margaret and Bobby had fixed a great Southern meal of baked ham, corn, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, and cornbread. Big YUM! And, with Wanda's contributions, the dessert selection was awesome.

We didn't quite leave "between dinner and dishes", but it was close - we wanted to get home before dark. And it was a good thing, too. We drove into rain as we crossed over Monteagle, and then it was more-or-less rain all the way home. The driving was not fun - and I wasn't even doing any of it. John's shoulder was really killing him by the time we got home. Poor baby - he didn't need that.

I got in my swim class and coffee this morning, and John got in a nice walk in the sunshine. That was about all we accomplished today.
The next bunch of family starts coming in tomorrow afternoon, and we have folks coming and going through the weekend. What a great time that is!

No Christmas pictures yet - I'll post some after this weekend. Today's picture is stained glass from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

Christmas Day - it certainly changes through a lifetime.

We get up when we wake up now - not like the time the milkman came early and the dog barked and the kids woke up at 4:00 and the grandparents were there and we had to keep the kids quiet until a more reasonable hour - like 6. It's fun memory, but sleeping later is better.

We don't put up a tree anymore. I resisted an artificial tree for years and year. Finally the fire hazard thing got too much for me, and I got an artificial tree. But not before the year we got a tree early in the season, thinking it would be better sitting in water than drying out on the lot. We kept the tree well watered, but the sound of the needles falling off and hitting the packages sounded like sleet on a tin roof. By Xmas morning, the poor thing was just bare branches with glass balls and lights. How funny!

Life changes; children grow up; grandchildren come, then they grow up. And every new member who comes into the family brings new traditions. Technology and new styles change our traditions. We would have never dreamed of a tree that comes already decorated.

Christmas is a time for family and memories and sharing, regardless of your age or your reason for celebrating at this time of year.

Today's photo is apple blossoms - Spring is not too far away.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays - whatever yours may be!

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
Festive Winter Solstice

And mostly we wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Today's photo is a Scottish rainbow for good luck.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quiet Sunday

Marty and John were gone by 7 this morning - they don't linger. It had rained all night, but I hope their driving conditions weren't too bad. It cleared off during the day, and got much cooler. John even got out to take a walk this morning.

John's having to work on his sleeping position. The only time his shoulder doesn't hurt is when he sleeps on his back. And you know what THAT means...snoring. Oh, well - I guess I'll have to snore right back at him.

We've started working on who's going to be here this weekend. It's beginning to look like we might have a full house again. That's always fun!

Today's photo is of our sleeping beauties a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Today was a gloomy, gray, rainy day, that ended with smiles.

John went out this morning to run some errands, and I made a breakfast bar for in the morning. Other than that, our naps were the exciting part of the day.

But then Marty and John arrived from Florida, stopping over on their way to Cincinnati. We had been out of touch with them for such a long time, and it's been great fun to get back in touch, and be on a way-station on their route. John walked in the door, wanting to talk about who we were supporting in the Presidential race. I think he'd been holding it in all day in the car, until he got here, and then just exploded. The two Johns couldn't wait to get hot and heavy into the discussion - not fighting, even though they frequently don't agree. But no off-the-wall statements are allowed - any statement has to be backed up by facts. I don't know that any opinions are ever changed, but any ideas are probably clarified and sharpened.

We didn't even take a break when we headed out for barbecue at Sticky Fingers. We did have to pause long enough to place orders, and chow down on those wonderful Memphis-dry-rub ribs - no disagreement there.

We all do agree that the current administration is undoubtedly one of the worst ever, and we'll be thrilled when it's finally over in January 2009.
But it's been a fun, noisy evening - and we'll probably continue until they leave in the morning.

Today's photos is a street planting in Durnstein, Austria.


We got to talking tonight about the Presidential Primaries. And who we were going to vote for, and why. John says he's going to vote by secret ballot (Ha, Ha!). We didn't get too specific, mainly just generalities. Heaven knows, the candidates are being pushed at us all the time.

John mentioned a revision of this primary chaos that's going on now. I don't remember where we heard this the first time. But the plan would be to have presidential primaries, caucuses, etc., in every state on the same day, much as we have the final election now. A voter could vote in only one of the primaries. The top 3 or 4 vote-getters for each party would then campaign, leading up to a "real" party convention. Here the candidate would actually be chosen by the delegates, instead of the conventions being just the pep rally that it has become today.

It surely would save a lot of time and money. Seems like the only people who wouldn't like it are the network ad people who would lose that ad revenue.

Whatever - this system is with us for now. Pay at least enough attention to what's going on to cast an informed vote. And VOTE, or attend a caucus. I love the idea that in Australia, voting is mandatory. And if you don't vote, you have to pay a fine. But, let's just tackle one thing at a time.

Today's photo is of a statue of Imry Nagy in Budapest - a man who stayed in exile until Hungary could be free.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday night

We had such a good weekend. It was good to have Sue, Randy, Sarah, and Laurie here, and Margaret came, too.

This has been a fairly busy week - with the unfortunate news about John's shoulder. He's second on the surgeon's cancellation list to move the date up. #1 on the list is about two weeks earlier than his date, so he might wind up with that date, too.

Today was my Happy Feet day - I got a pedicure. That is something necessary (I simply can no longer take care of my toes myself) - and the pedicure/massage feels SO good. But I had to pay for it by going to Wal-Mart. The X-Tix lunch was fun as always. The second organizational meeting of the Crabtree Gallery was this afternoon. We're beginning to get into some definite plans, outlines, and formats. We have another meeting set up for three weeks hence, and may be ready to contact some other artists after that. If you have any suggestions or experience with a cooperative art gallery, please send some suggestions, warnings, and helpful hints.

We got ourselves a digital video recorder today. It's not hooked up to a network like TIVO, but works more like a VCR. It doesn't need a disc or tape, and can record hours and hours internally. John got it hooked up, and I managed to do some direct recording, a timed recording, and then delete them both. Next test will be seeing if I can do something "for real".

Today's picture is of a sailboat on the Tennessee River.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rest in Peace

David's funeral was this morning. We could only be with our friends in spirit - and we held them tight - as I'm sure they were by those who were able to be with them. Rest in peace, dear friend.

A word of explanation to those who know us, but not David. He was the son of our dear friends from high school and college. We were in their wedding, and David was just younger than our Margaret. Thank you all for your concern and your sympathy for David's family.
In other news: John had an MRI of his left shoulder last week. He saw the doctor this morning, and he has a torn rotator cuff. He's scheduled for surgery for repair on 31 January (first available date for the doctor). He's not happy about it, but winter is definitely the best time to get it done - and it isn't going to improve by itself. He hoped to get it done sooner, and he's going to tell the office that he's available at any time if they have a cancellation.

Today's photo is from Prague, Czech Republic.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


We are getting into basketball BIG time. On Saturday, we went to two games (the Lady Mocs won over Alabama; the Men Mocs won over the College of Charleston). On Sunday, John and Margaret saw the Lady Vols beat Gonzaga. Monday, we saw the Lady Mocs beat Furman. We didn't go to tonight's game, but the Men Mocs beat previously unbeaten Elon. Now both UTC teams are leading in the Southern Conference. Presumably this is getting us in training for the SoCon Tournament in early March. It's what we do in the wintertime.

We had a lovely winter day today - high 52, and frosty lows. But we both slept in this morning, and it surely did feel good. The arthritic hands and knees (mine) and shoulders and knees (John's) are pretty creaky. But we keep moving.

The visitation and wake for David were tonight. We were there in spirit.

Today's photo is of flowers at the Schoenbrun Palace in Vienna.

Monday, December 17, 2007

David (1958-2007)

Today was a lovely winter day. It was pretty much a usual Monday. Swimming, coffee, laundry. Had some mediocre and some really good cards at bridge. However, last week, John was high for the group, and I was second. Go figure...

We had an exceptional dinner at the Blue Orleans Restaurant. John had his current favorite - crawfish etouffe; and I had the daily special - shrimp and mussel linguine. Just outstanding!

The Lady Mocs had a slow start in their game against Furman. But they finally got it together and won 61-51. They are fun to watch, if a bit harrowing at times.
I have talked with Anne. She said today was very busy - with "stuff" - planning the funeral, getting the obituary written, finalizing arrangements with the funeral home and cemetery, finding clothes for David. I guess it's helpful to have to deal with the mechanics of things.

Dearest love to Anne, Nick, Alan, Cheri, Aubrey and Matthew.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

We mourn

Today was a lovely day, with a sad ending.

We learned that we had lost our David. And we mourn...

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Two basketball games today, and I'm wiped out! I've got to starting working on this so I can survive the Southern Conference Tournament in March. Today's results:

UTC Lady Mocs 62, U. of AL women 37

UTC Men Mocs 86, College of Charleston Men 70.

Today's photo is from May in Colorado - definitely time to be on some other road.

Friday, December 14, 2007


It definitely has gotten into the holiday/visiting/party season. The Photographic Society had its Christmas Banquet last night. The club supplied the ham, turkey, drinks, and everything else was covered dish. Yum!

This morning, our water exercise class (the Swim Team) had its holiday brunch after class. One of our group goes all-out to decorate at Christmas-time. We have our brunch at her house, but everybody else brings food. This is such a terrific group, and they're all great cooks, too. Yum!

Our neighbor does a lot of baking at Christmas and gives a box of goodies to her neighbors. Yum!

Margaret came in this afternoon, bringing pies. Yum! She and John looked on line for DVR possibilities, and even went to Wal-Mart and Best Buy looking for a unit. We wound up getting one on-line from Circuit City, that was available only on-line. That was even better - no trip to a store required. This, of course, effectively takes care of Christmas for John and me. So much for our shopping.

Sue, Randy, Sarah, and Laurie came in about 6. Paul didn't make it this time, but he and Sarah will be coming back through after Christmas. We got our country ham supper, with green beans, mashed potatoes, and rolls. Again, Yum!

It's definitely a time for eating and families getting together. We do have a good time.

Today's photo is another window from Durnstein, Austria.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

International News

Some thoughts on international news tonight. Have you been paying any attention to the speculation about what Vladimir Putin will be doing when his current term as Russian President ends - and he is prevented from running for another term under the current constitution?

We got a hint of what was to come on our trip to Russia in 2005. We took a river trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow - a great experience. As part of our "entertainment" on board, we had a series of lectures by a Russian professor - a teacher of political science in both Russia and the United States. We learned a lot about Russian history and culture from him. But, to us, he was most interesting when he talked about politics.
This man described himself as a "spin doctor" for Putin's political party. Putin had just been elected for his second (and last-allowed) term. The Professor told us at that he suspected that Putin would find some creative way to legally stay in power when his term was up in 2008.

As possibilities, he mentioned that Putin might just disregard the constitution, that he was so popular the people might put up with that. He could possibly find someone to be elected as a weak, caretaker president, keeping hold of the reins from behind the scenes. Putin might get himself appointed prime minister. He might engineer a new federation with one of the old Soviet republics, i.e., Byelorussia, which would necessitate a new constitution, and Putin could then become President of the new Federation.

It's amazing to read all of this in today's paper, and know that we heard previews of this two years ago. The Professor's opinion was that Putin would somehow find a way to stay in power. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Stay tuned.....

Today's picture is a window in Durnstein, Austria.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just a Wednesday

It surely did feel good to get a solid night's sleep last night.The old body surely can tell us when it needs some rest.

John went for a dye-injected MRI on his shoulder this morning. It was not a happy experience. The injection was bad enough, but then he had to hold his arm in an unnatural position for 30 minutes, which was really painful. He goes back to see the orthopod next week, and will get more information then. Of course, we're worried about a problem with the rotator cuff. As always, it's the waiting that makes you crazy (and the pain, too, of course).

We got some Xmas cheer via mail and UPS today. Our unseasonable Xmas weather ended today. The 70 degree temperatures are gone, and it's supposed to be gradually cooling off through the rest of the week.

We emptied the freezer, just to see what was in there, and then repacked it. At least, now, we have a clue as to what we have available, AND where it is. Tomorrow, I'll be doing some cooking. And I'm going to try to take some action against the F.S.S. problem. I've got to get the desk/counter in the kitchen cleared off so there is some place to put some of the food. We'll see how it goes.

Sorry, no photo today. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

To sleep (I hope)

Couldn't get to sleep Sunday night, and then didn't sleep well last night and no nap this afternoon. That's not like me - I'm usually a champion sleeper. We'll see how well I do tonight.

The Chattanooga Region of the Tennessee Watercolor Society is having an exhibit in the local office of an investment firm. Twenty-three artists painted the 49 pieces on exhibit. The theme of the show was "Squared Off" - all pieces were done in a square format. The firm gave an opening reception tonight - and it was a lovely event. They provided wine, catered finger-food, and music. I had two pieces picked to be in the show.

Even more fun was seeing people I hadn't seen in ages, including one woman who had been in my classes at UTC almost 20 years ago. I don't think I'd seen her since then, and it was really great to catch up.

With all the awful snow and ice storms that are battering the midWest, we're still setting records for high temperatures. It's been in the upper 70s, and supposed to be there again tomorrow. We should be back in our normal 50s by the end of the week.

Today's picture is of the second picture that is in the exhibit - an Untitled 10x10" watercolor. Sorry, the photo is not a very good representation of the piece.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Record highs

You'd never think it was the middle of December - the record high today was 77, and the predicted record-breaking high for the next two days is 78! We did have a real pea-soup fog this morning, so John didn't get to row.

I didn't do too bad at Wal-Mart today - only got one thing that wasn't on the list and I didn't need, and only forgot 2-3 things that I didn't have on my list. Oh, well - I knew I was going to have to go back this week in any case.

We got the country ham started. That's a 3-4 day process. I'm already planning to COOK on Thursday. The photo society Christmas Banquet is Thursday night, the swim class breakfast is Friday morning, and the South Carolina and Hillsboro contingents will be in on Friday night. We will be eating out on Saturday, between basketball games.

The cards were either feast or famine today. John and I started off with a bang - with two 700 rubbers in the first round for over 2000 points. Nothing else that good later, but we each did have another over-1000 round. At least it's enough cards and interesting hands to keep us coming back.

Last night was one of my rare couldn't-get-to-sleep nights. It was about 2 a.m. when I finally went to bed. Then up at 6 to go to swimming. I'm heading off to bed a bit early for me tonight - and hope to sleep late in the morning.

Two of my paintings were juried into a show that's opening tomorrow night. Today's photo is one of them. It's a 10" square watercolor, titled "A.M."

Addendum to "at"

One comment I received elsewhere about yesterday's entry was from Anne. She wrote:

The one I yell at the TV and radio about is the 'fewer' vs 'less' usage! Why is that one so hard to grasp? Isn't it that fewer is for things you can count and less refers to quantities you can't individually count - as in fewer calories but less fat? A close second is "more importantly..."

This then reminded me of another teeth-grinder - "most unique". Unique means "one of a kind" - there is no way to qualify that word. It either IS or it ISN'T.


Today was mostly a knitting day. The second half of Kate's sweater is really flying. I'm already almost finished with the sleeve. It's amazing how fast something can so when you've gotten the pattern figured out, and don't have to struggle with every stitch. And then Kate has to call to tell me that she's found some of our favorite sock yarn for less than half the usual price, and if I order some too, we can share the shipping costs. So now I'll be adding yarn for three more pairs of socks to my stash.


Today's photo is another of morning fog on the Cumberland River.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The gratuitous "at"

Genetics is something that is always with us. My parents were sticklers for proper language. My mother in particular was very precise, and loved playing word games. This love of language continues through the generations, not just with me, but with our kids. When the grandkids were little, if one used imprecise language, he/she got corrected in stereo. Mother, aunts, and grandparents would all come out with the correct word or usage - all done good-naturedly, of course.

With that background, I come to the object of today's complaint. Schools are not teaching grammar anymore. It doesn't seem to matter to anybody, except me and a few others. There is a blogger ( ), the Banterist, who showcases public atrocities in spelling and grammar.

Today, I turned on CSpan2 to watch a talk by the author of a book on Starbucks. The writer and subject were mildly interesting, but I almost had to turn it off. It seemed that every third word was "Ya know" or "like". It began to grate like fingernails down a chalkboard. And then he started to utter the words that constitute my current pet peeve..."where it's at" or "where you're at". What happened to "where it is"? or "where you are"? Why do they think the "at" is necessary? It isn't!!!!

I've become resigned to "free gift" and "different than". But the gratuitous "at" may yet drive me to drink.

Special love and hugs to Anne, Nick, and David.

Today's photo is late afternoon at the Shiloh Battlefield.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dalton's gifts

Our friend, Dalton Roberts, gave me a present this morning. His column this morning in the Chattanooga Times Free Press was titled "Five gifts we can all give our friends". His gift to me was the idea for today's blog, and some thoughts to share with you.

The first gift he lists is "to just be there". How wonderful it is to have someone close to share. It doesn't have to be physically close, just knowing that another person holds you in his/her heart is truly a gift.

Second is to not put someone on a guilt trip in a time of need. Don't tell him how many good things he has - he knows that. It's just that something else is overwhelming at this time.

Third is not to feel that you have to save your friend. You can't possibly take on her load, and it might keep her from solving her problems herself.

Fourth, don't tell him that you've had the same problem, and go on and on about your trouble and how you solved it. He's got to find a solution that works for him and his situation. (I must confess to being guilty of this from time to time. Thanks, Dalton - I'll try to do better about that.)

Last, just listen. Really listen! This is truly the best gift you can give someone. All too often we feel that nobody ever really hears what we say.

You've given me a lot of smiles and good thoughts since I've know you, Dalton. But, I hope today's gift will make me a better person. And learn to really LISTEN!

Today's photo is of snow-dappled mountains in May, over Creede, CO.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


What a slug of a day this was. Margaret and John got home late last night from the ballgame in Knoxville. But then I decided to finish the first half of Kate's sweater. I did get it done - but it was after 1 a.m. And now I've gotten started on the other half. I hope this part won't take as long - at least I'm not using up as much time figuring out the pattern.

Kate sent the funniest cartoon - Click here to see it.
Jean also sent a photo of a great sign. Click here for this one.

Errands and lunch occupied most of the morning. The rest of the day was taken up with a monster nap that took up most of the afternoon.

Today's picture is one of John's lovely sunsets, taken at Shiloh Battlefield.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Annual rituals

I went to the rheumatologist this morning, and had a bone density scan. The good news is that he says I have "the bones of a 30-year-old". The other news is that I've lost another half-inch in height - 5'6 1/1" now. The bad news is the verbal abuse I have to take from my family. :D Jean (5'5") says I'm coming down to her level. John says that I have the bones of a 30-year-old, the joints of a 100-year-old, which about averages out to my actual age of 71. What sweeties they are!!! I truly am glad to hear the results of the bone scan, though. As clumsy as I am, it's nice to know the bones are good and strong.

We got in little naps before Margaret arrived to go to the Lady Vols/Old Dominion game in Knoxville. The Lady Vols won handily, and they should be home shortly. At least they're not having to drive home in the rain tonight.

The big job of the day, though, was finishing up the split pea soup. That's always been a big favorite, and last year's batch was all gone. Also there were a bunch of ham bones in the freezer - so it was time. I started it last night, but got it all finished this evening. John will move the pot (16-quart kettle) to the deck for overnight to cool (I do love my "walk-in refrigerator" in the wintertime), and then I'll put it into the freezer bags in the morning. Another annual ritual accomplished.

Today's photos is of early morning fog on the Cumberland River.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Terrible Twos(day) ???

Terrible Twos(day) - well, not really. Actually, it was a pretty good day. Our chilly weather continued, but without the wind. And any day that starts off with the cleaning lady coming has good to be a good one. Thanks, Kay! We had a made-up version of shrimp scampi for dinner (Yum!), and I started the split-pea soup.

Vicki had a full table of her Tuesday watercolor folks. They're all so great - good painters, and nice people. As many have said, it's a kind of therapy group, too. Vicki and I met this afternoon with two other regional painters to get talks started about the possibility of an artists' cooperative gallery in part of the Studio 2 space. We'll meet again in two weeks, but agree that first we have some sort of framework to build on - and this before we can even formally contact other artists about participating. I'm sure it's going to be an interesting journey of discovery.

We got our seaman's new e-mail and snail-mail addresses tonight. I know he's glad to finally be assigned to a ship, and to getting his Navy career underway. Smooth seas to you!

We watched an unusual movie tonight - Stranger Than Fiction, with Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell, and a supporting cast of Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I think one of the girls may have recommended it. It definitely had some funny moments, but was seriously strange. Has anybody else seen this one? Comments, please.

Today's photo is of smooth waters of the Cumberland River.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Another Monday

Mondays don't seem to change much...swimming - coffee - Wal-Mart - laundry - bridge. I did get a couple of packages mailed, and didn't have to wait too long at the post office. At least there was some good stuff on TV tonight - basketball and The Closer.

After the front came through last night, it finally turned chilly. The high today was only in the 40s. It was a lovely, sunny day, but the breeze blowing at that temperature made the coat feel pretty good. The low tonight is supposed to be in the upper 20s. Again, I'm glad we're not getting the snow and wind that they're getting farther north.

Today's photo is another snowy scene from Colorado last May.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The white page

The dreaded white page! I feel the same way when I face a blank canvas. At least there I can throw some paint on it and look for something to appear - or at least look for some patterns or shapes to work with.

John and Margaret have gotten home safely (in the rain) from Knoxville and the Lady Vols win over North Carolina. So they unwind by watching the tape of the game. It was a busy day for women's basketball, with some close games. It is wonderful to see so much talen and to have so many good teams. But I must shamefully confess that I liked it better when the Lady Vols had all the good players and won all the games.

The first really bad weather of the not-quite-winter is wreaking havoc across the upper Midwest, moving into New England. I'm glad we're just getting some rain out of this system.

Today's photo is some snow in Colorado last May.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Some of us had a busy day today. John spent most of the day "rearranging leaves". He always he says he loves our oak trees except for two times during the year - when the oak trees flower, and when they drop their leaves. He did say that his bagging lawnmower is the easiest way to get the leaves gathered up. He said he put 10 bags of leaves out on the street for our municipal pick-up.

And when he wasn't doing yard work, he was watching football. Unfortunately, the two of our three teams that were playing today lost. The University of Tennessee lost the SEC Championship game to LSU, and our UTC Lady Mocs lost to Alabama A&M. But at least those games and the others that were on TV were exciting games, and he usually had two that he switched between, while we listened to the Lady Mocs on the radio.

I've been working on a sleeveless pullover sweater for Vicki, and I got enough of that done that I'll get it finished tomorrow. That'll surely make her happy. Then I'll just have two projects going - Kate's sweater and a pair of socks.

Today's photo is of autumn leaves - still on the tree.