Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rotator cuff

John's rotator cuff surgery was today. After originally scheduled at 9 a.m., then postponed until 11, they finally started the surgery about 12:30. But all went as planned, and we got home about 5 p.m.

The surgeon said that he trimmed frayed edges off the labum (a shoulder cartilage comparable to the meniscus in the knee) through the arthroscopy. He then repaired the rotator cuff tear through about a 2" incision. For those who've been there, it was a "one pillow" surgery. There is little if any arthritis in the joint (Hooray!), but there are some spurs, and he rounded off one of the spurs while he was in the neighborhood.

John's whole arm is numb, and will be so for about 24 hours - so no pain because he can't move it. There is a self-emptying novocaine pump that goes directly to the surgical site, That should be empty and is to be removed on Sunday. I guess he shouldn't be having much pain until after that.

He goes back to the doctor in 10 days, possibly to start formal PT in about a month. All he is supposed to do now is some pendulum swings - no lifting "against gravity".

He's been awake enough tonight to listen to the Mocs win over Georgia Southern on the radio, and watch the Lady Vols beat Ol' Miss on TV. But he's planning to spend the night in his recliner.

We're glad this first part is over. Thanks for caring.

Tonight's photo is John in the recliner working the crossword puzzle.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Surgery Eve

John's big day is tomorrow. The hospital called this afternoon and, unfortunately, they've pushed back his surgery to about 11 a.m. He's to be at the hospital at 9 (instead of 6:30). We don't have to get up so early, but he hates the idea of sitting around waiting, with no food or coffee. Judy brought us some beef stew this afternoon, which certainly did make a great "last meal" for our boy.

Tonight we watched The Illusionist. It's described as: "Set in early 1900s Vienna, (this) romantic thriller centers on (an) illusionist...who falls for an aristocrat well above his social standing." It's beautifully filmed, and is a pretty good story. Not a bad evening's entertainment.

We also watched an old (probably first season) episode of NCIS. That's such a good show. It was then, and is now, four (I think) seasons later.

We saw a couple of familiar buildings in the scenes of Vienna in the movie tonight. Tonight's photo is of the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna (which was not seen in the movie).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weather fronts

We're having an amazing weather front go through right now. We've just had a squall line - rain and wind. But behind it, the temperature is dropping like a rock! We're currently at 63, and Nashville (100 miles NW of us) is at 35! Wow! We didn't have the rain gauge out, but we did get a pretty good rain out of it.

The Men Vols won tonight at Alabama - the first time in ages, 93-86. They've been fun to watch this year.

The Republican Florida primary is now history - with McCain first, then Romney, and Giuliani coming in a distant third. I just checked Google, and Giuliani is withdrawing (about time), and is going to support McCain. Anna Quindlen has an interesting column in this week's Newsweek. She comments on McCain's age as a factor that should be addressed, but isn't being mentioned. In this race, gender and race are fair game, but age seems to be taboo. Her premise is that, as stressful as the presidency is nowadays, age certainly should be taken into consideration. Makes sense to me!

We voted in the Tennessee Democratic primary this morning (early voting). Of course, we'll be supporting the Democratic nominee, no matter who he/she is. The only goal will be to get a Democrat into the White House.

Today's picture is a gray day with low clouds at Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good basketball!

Lady Vols 67, Duke 64
Lady Mocs 64, Georgia Southern Lady Eagles 50

It was a good basketball day!

But it was a busy day. I even postponed Wal-Mart, and will try to get that done tomorrow. Swimming and coffee and laundry - that pretty much filled up the morning. I did get a call from a writer at the newspaper. I had suggested that they do an article on our great swimming group for the weekly Community News section. The writer is going to meet with the group at coffee on Friday. That'll be fun to have a feature on our special folks.

Bridge was good, too. I probably wasn't high, but I have over 1000 points on each 30-minute round, and 1700+ on two of those. That doesn't happen often.

We went straight from bridge to get haircuts - a nice short one for John before his surgery. Our wonderful hair-cutter said to bring him in after his surgery and she'd wash his hair for him. We'll see how that goes. After haircuts, we went to a new nearby Mexican restaurant and got an unexpectedly good meal. We may have to go back to that place.

And from there, we went straight to the basketball game. We were pretty early, but got in some talking with our friends. It was a good game - especially because we won. We found the Lady Vols/Duke game on the radio on the way home, and had to sit in the car in the driveway until we got to a break so John could go in the house to turn it on. It's always special to win over Duke, but it extra sweet to do it at Cameron.

I think we'll take it easier tomorrow.

Today's photo is a window in Glasgow - just because I like to take photos of windows.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Today was a gorgeous day - highs near 50 with bright sunshine. John got out for a good walk on the Riverwalk.

I finished the sleeveless sweater I was making for Vicki, so now it's full time on the afghan. I was going to work on that all winter, and have gotten sidetracked with other projects.

I've e-mailed Jesse, but haven't heard back from him. We're all still in shock, but I'm sure we'll cope eventually.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. Mondays are usually pretty hectic, but we've added a basketball game and maybe haircuts. We've got to get haircuts before the surgery on Thursday.

The South Carolina Democratic primary is over, with probably expected results. And we'll head into Super Tuesday in about 10 days. It certainly is a history-making year.

Today's photo is of ordinary people, waiting for a train in Glasgow, Scotland. Aren't we all just ordinary people?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oh, Shit!

I didn't have a great idea for tonight's blog, but opening our e-mail when we got home from the basketball games was a real blow to the gut.

Margaret wrote that Jesse has volunteered to go to Iraq. As she understands it, he'll be doing some electrical work on buildings (John wonders if it's the SeaBees?). He thinks he'll be going to CA for training in March, then to Iraq in May for six months. This was totally out of the blue.

And frankly leaves me with nothing else to say.

Today's photo is a road that heads out of our sight without our knowing its destination..

A few blogs to try

It's no secret how much I hate this war and "W" for getting us into it. But the other side of that is how much I honor, respect, cherish, and am grateful for the men and women who are doing this dirty work. "The Sandbox" is a blog by members of the military and their families. It's worth your time to read these entries, and listen to our troops. They volunteer to give their lives to support our country and us.
And now the girls are sending me blog recommendations...

Not a blog, but something I wish all writers would read, and learn.

Jean, you have WAY too much free time to be looking for these things - but thanks!

You'll notice that many of these are about words. Our whole family is enamored of words. I know that most of this comes from my mother, and I assume she influenced all of us - for which we are all eternally grateful.
Today's photo is of hydrangeas in Scotland.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

An invitation

I recently found a great new blog, TheDahnReport (I've added a link in the list to the left). Yesterday in his entry, Dahn posed this question: If you could sit down for dinner with five people who were no longer living, who would they be? Then he gives his choices and reasons.

I couldn't resist stealing the question and seeing what answers I would come up with and see if I get any response. Coming up with MY answers wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Here what I've gotten so far (I might have different answers next week):

My parents: My mother, to tell her what a great influence she was in my life, and to get her memories of family history. And my father, because he died when I was 13, and I never knew him very well. I'd like to know more about him.

Adlai Stevenson: He seemed to be an honorable, well-educated man - and didn't seem to be too enthusiastic about running for president. I'd just like to know more about him.

Georgia O'Keeffe: Not a surprise. She's always been one of my favorite 20th century artists.

Leonardo daVinci and Rembrandt van Rijn: Two of the giants of art history, so influential. I would like to hear them talk - and maybe give a demonstration.
I had my mammogram today, and preliminary report was that everything looked fine. I have a followup appointment with the surgeon next week.
The Lady Vols hit Arkansas with a steamroller tonight, 98/55.
One of our local boys was killed in a suicide bomber attack in Iraq. He leaves a wife and 14 month old son.
RIP, James Michael Gluff

Today's photo was taken in the gardens at the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Variety is a wonderful thing.

Today, I guess, was a miscellaneous kind of day. We had a good swimming class - as usual. One of our group will be moving away in a couple of months - and we always hate losing one of our own.

The Wednesday painting group is a good one, as are they all. One of our number there will also be moving away. (What IS this???) She's a real sweetie, and insisted on having us all to her house for lunch today. It's always fun to get together with a group out of the usual sphere of the group.

John went to the hospital for his preadmission testing and information session. He's having a repair of a torn rotator cuff on 31 January. We'll need to get him at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. that morning, and his surgery is scheduled for 8:30. I should be able to take him home by midafternoon. We'll get additional information for followup and physical therapy and/or rehab after the surgery. He's surely getting impatient to get this over and done with.

There were two excellent programs on PBS tonight - both parts of series. The first one was The Pioneers of Television. Tonight's program was on Game Shows. Other programs have been on Late Night Shows, Variety Shows, and SitComs. It has been quite interesting to see the history and development of each genre.

The second series was on The Jewish Americans. My knowledge of Judaism is minimal, and this series has been so informative. I was unaware of so much of this history and it is so rich. It's been great for me to have this learning experience. If you have the chance to watch either of these series, make the time.

Today's picture illustrates some of the history of the Ute Mountain Tribe in SW Colorado.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dreary and cold

It wasn't as cold this morning (around freezing) as it was over the weekend, but it surely did feel colder. It was damp and rainy - almost sleet. There were a bunch of accidents early this morning because of black ice. At least we didn't have to get out that early.

The cleaning lady was able to get out, fortunately, and the house surely does look nice today. And it'll probably stay that way for a few days.

I worked on painting note cards today at Studio 2. They are fun to do - got a bunch more to work on. No telling what sort of trouble I'll get into at painting tomorrow.

We've made our reservations for the Southern Conference Tournament in Charleston, SC. The games will be 7-11 March. We love going - especially since we'll get to see the grands who are there. To say nothing of eating all that great food that Charleston is famous for. We get the kids to pick out places for us to take them to eat, so we know we'll get some of the good local stuff.

The Tennessee basketball men have just lost to Kentucky. TN led most of the game, but KY rallied at the end of the game to pull it out. It was an exciting game, but unfortunately, the wrong team won.

Snow patterns in the photo tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Loch Dubh

Monday is currently one of the yucky nights on TV. So we make do. We listened on the radio to the Lady Mocs beat Wofford, staying unbeaten in the Southern Conference (so far). Overlapping that, John had on the women of UNC playing the Lady Huskies of UConn. Unfortunately, UConn came from behind for a narrow win.

Then we watched part of a DVD that we have from Netflix. Have y'all read any of the little mysteries by M.C.Beaton? She has two characters. One is a middle-aged woman named Agatha Raisin; the other is a youngish constable named Hamish MacBeth. Both are set in small villages in Scotland. We fell in love with them years ago, and have looked for each new one as it was released.

In 2006, we went to Scotland on an Elderhostel. One of our stops was at the village of Plockton, which happened to be the town that was used as the setting in a BBC series based on the Hamish MacBeth stories (called Loch Dubh in the books). Wow! We didn't know there had been such a series, but once we walked through the town, we surely started looking for it. We finally found DVDs of the three seasons on Netflix. We're almost finished with the third season. It's really fun to look at the shows and say, "I know where that is!" The programs are absolutely delightful, and we highly recommend them.

Today's photo was taken in Plockton, Scotland (Loch Dubh).

Sunday, January 20, 2008


This is a painting I did last week - in just two painting sessions. It's not my usual type of thing. I love faces, but usually as abstracts, not portraits.
It's based on a photograph of a musician friend.

My original intention was to use part of the face as an abstract. But the face and attitude took over, and it just leapt onto the canvas. My friend doesn't know about it. Probably, I'll give it to him. It's 36x24, acrylic on canvas.

It was definitely winter today. This morning it was 14F, and later in the day soared up to 32. I realize that compared to the football weather this afternoon and evening, those were midsummer temperatures. But it was plenty cold enough for me.

I hope the results of the football games suited everybody. The only game I cared about was the Lady Vols vs. Vanderbilt, and that was an easy win for Tennessee.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Middle East

I've wondered about W's recent trip through the Middle East. It seems to me almost like he suddenly woke up and thought - Golly, I have only a year left in office. Maybe I'd better do something that looks like I've been paying attention, and maybe I should do something about promoting peace in the Middle East.

It's about time. And I'm not the only one who thinks that. The following is from Bill Moyer's blog on the PBS web site.

In his conversation with Bill Moyers on this week’s JOURNAL, journalist Craig Unger said: "It does seem at times we don’t seem aware of the consequences of our actions. We go around talking about democracy, but the Saudis, of course, are a brutal theocracy. There’s not much in the way of human rights there. The whole vision of democratizing the Middle East, I think, really, in practical terms, has fallen by the wayside. And America’s objectives really, when it comes down to it, seem to be Israel’s security and oil... The whole vision is in tatters right now. And it’s very unclear what options the United States has... Our policies are so full of contradictions. And I think if you go back to the roots of it, it was built on so many misconceptions that a lot of this is coming home to roost."

Then Moyers (on the blog) asks: What do you think?

Is Unger correct that Israel’s security and oil are the foundations of America’s policies in the Middle East?

Does U.S. involvement with and support of non-Democratic regimes undermine the goal of "democratizing the Middle East?" Is that an appropriate objective of American foreign policy?

How would you reformulate American foreign policy to fit the world of 2008?

Definitely things for us to think about during these presidential primaries.

Today's photo is another snowy scene from Colorado.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Music, and no snow

The snow is supposed to swing south of us this time. That always seems so bizarre, but I'm not complaining. It is supposed to be pretty cold. We'll have to wait to see what it looks like when we get up in the morning. We didn't have anything to do tomorrow anyway. The weather-guesser that we watch says that we should get a minimal amount of snow, just cold and windy.

We went to the Symphony tonight - an excellent performance as usual. We had a guest conductor - a young Australian, currently living in Germany. This was his U.S. debut, and he should have a great career ahead of him. The program opened with Wagner's Overture to The Flying Dutchman and Haydn's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra. The trumpet soloist was wonderful!

The main selection was Beethoven's 5th Symphony. It may be over-performed and familiar, but that's because it is a magnificent work. The opening four notes, DaDaDa DUM, are probably the most famous in orchestral music. It was interesting to read in the program that Beethoven wrote his 5th and 6th symphonies during a time when he was realizing that he was going deaf - an unimaginable tragedy for a musician. His frustration and depression pours out into this emotional piece. And, at it's conclusion, it will always bring the audience to its feet. Tonight was no exception.

Today's photo is heroic architecture from Vienna - the Austrian Parliament Building.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Our big snowfall was pretty pitiful - and for that we're thankful. There was a good bit more, with cooler temperatures in the higher elevations, so the local schools were closed. Here in the city, there was no problem getting around, the streets were just wet. It's still cold, though. And they're talking about the possibility of more of that white stuff on Saturday morning. We shall see...

Kate got The Sweater today. But she says she's going to wait until this weekend to start doing the remaining work, when she can get some sustained time. Can't wait for those finished pictures.

We went to the Photo Society meeting tonight. The speaker talked about his self-published book of photographs. He's a local teacher, and has worked hard to protect one of the special natural areas nearby. He has taken the photos, written the copy, and donated the profits from sales to the conservation organization. He used one of several web-based self-publishing companies. He used . The download of the format and working soft-ware is free, and you only pay for the books you publish. The copies he brought with him are quite good, and the publishing costs are very reasonable. I may have to check this out more carefully.

Today's photo is to show you what was left of our snow about 9:45 this morning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Well, for once the weather guessers got it right. We've had about 0.5" of snow, and (so far, at least) it's only on the grass and the deck. At least down here in the valley, the temperature is hovering around 33, so things are staying wet. The only thing scheduled in the morning is my pedicure at 9, but I can always reschedule that. It surely is nice not to have to work about getting to work on time or whether or not the schools are closed.

Kate e-mailed that letter carrier brought The Sweater, but there was nobody there to sign for it. Wayne's going to the post office tomorrow to pick it up. There was no way I was going to mail it without extra insurance, hence the required signature.

Paul has a job working with the Spoleto Festival in Charleston in May/June. If you're planning to attend, be sure to look for him.

I got the bug to paint this morning, and did one of my really fast pieces. I do love it when that happens. I get started, and then just can't get the paint on the canvas fast enough. On the whole, I'm very pleased with the results. It needs a few changes yet, but I'll put up a photo when I'm satisfied that I'm finished. I haven't done one of these in the long time.

In honor of our snow, here's another snow picture from Colorado.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Somebody ran into Andy yesterday (his birthday) - did major damage to his car, but fortunately, not to him. I'm sure he'll be really sore over the next few days and weeks, though. It'll probably be a day or so before they decide if the car is totalled. Poor baby. That's traumatic in so many ways.

My dear friend here was hit by another vehicle back in December, and she's having a great deal of problem with whiplash, muscle spasms, numbness, pain, etc. And my new blogger friend ( ) was hit by another car this afternoon. What's with all those crazy people out there?!?!? C'mon folks, drive more carefully, please - and ease up on my friends and loved ones.

We've really hated this long, long, LONG run-up to the Presidential election in November. But there's no denying that it's become more interesting since the primaries began. We haven't had this much of a free-for-all in years and years. Not that it's "free", of course. The amount of money being spent is obscene, isn't it.

John and I got our pictures in the paper this morning. On the front page of the Sports Section, no less. Well, sort of. The photographer got a great show of one of our Lady Mocs making a lay-up, and there we are - blurry, but recognizeable (at least to us), in the background. I saved the photo from the Times Free Press web site. I'd put it here, but I'd be concerned about copyright laws, even with appropriate attribution. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Today's photo is of another, slower, way to travel. Right.....

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Long Day

I had one of those nights last night when I couldn't sleep. I finally got to sleep about 2 a.m., but then was up at 6 to go to swim class.

Today was really a busy day. After swimming and coffee, I went to the post office to mail the quarterly tax payment (certified mail) and the box to Kate (heavily insured). Then the Wal-Mart trip. I decided to postpone the laundry until Tuesday - just too much else going on. We played bridge all afternoon - yucky cards - stayed at the same table the whole day. We came home briefly, then went out to eat (at Blue Orleans - YUM) before going to another basketball game. Whew! At least our Lady Mocs won over UNCGreensboro (77-50).

And now I'm in the chair, finally getting the morning paper read and getting caught up with the computer. I need to post to my blog and might make the 11:00 news. But then I'm going to crash, and, I hope, sleep late.

Apropos of nothing, except that I like it, today's picture is looking up into the staircase from the foyer in the Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


This seemed to be a sports weekend. We went to two basketball games yesterday afternoon. Our UTC Mocs and Lady Mocs had a double-header, and each won handily. Then we came home and watched the Tennessee men play South Carolina in Columbia. Again, it was an easy win for them.

Today the Tennessee Lady Vols also took on South Carolina in Columbia and played their usual stellar game. Tennessee definitely did bad things to SC this weekend.

Today was pro football. Never my thing, but by the time the day was over, all of the teams that John liked had lost, so he doesn't much care about the rest of the games.

Having me talk about sports is really funny - just never my thing. Except for women's basketball, of course.

The only productive thing that happened this weekend was concocting another pot of split pea soup. Margaret had cooked a country ham and brought me the hambone. So it was time for more split pea soup. Good, but messy.

Today's photo is from Scotland - a highland cow (pronounced "hee-land koo").

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Motley Assortment

Today, I feel moved to just put down a collection of little things that caught my attention in one way or another. There is no connection between them, and most need no other explanation.


This week, John McCain, candidate for the Republican nomination for President, proposes raising to $10 million the amount one can leave as an estate without its being taxed.

The bonding company in Las Vegas that posted the bond for O. J. Simpson is the You Ring We Spring Bonding Company.

During the week of 15-22 January 2008, the Belly Dancing World Cup will be held in Taba, Egypt. The winner takes home a gold belly-dancing trophy and $12,000.

There is no way I could make this stuff up.

The good news of the day is that the yarn to finish Kate's sweater came, and my part is finished. It'll be in the mail to Kate on Monday. Today's photo is of my doing the last few rows.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Recently, we took advantage of an offer from Northwest Airlines to use up some old frequent flier miles by ordering some magazines (at no cost). We don't really need any more magazines, but we didn't figure we'd ever get enough miles on NWA to use for flying, so we picked some. We're getting Sports Illustrated (John took it from SI issue #1 until about 10-12 years ago), Time (we subscribed for years, then dropped it for Newsweek), Travel & Leisure (glad we didn't pay for this one - it's all ads), The Atlantic (new to us), and who knows what else.

We got our first issure of The Atlantic today, and this is one we are definitely going to read. John's read one article, and skimmed the rest of the magazine. I just got as far as the Letters to the Editor (always my favorite part of a publication - gee, what a surprise!). And I've already gotten the highlighter out and marked a letter. This one I'm going to share.
The American idea is the noun itself: ideas. A free democracy incubates, facilitates, promotes, and fights over ideas. For every idea, there is a counter-idea, a modified idea, a ridiculous idea. The stress and strain of competing ideas bears down on us, sometimes fueling violent confrontation, but mostly providing ammunition for action and an improved society. Keep them coming, change them, laugh at them, and cry over them. Debate them in the halls of Congress and the legislative byways of local government. Let them collide in a courtroom. Ideas are the cacophony of democracy. (Michael H. Miller, Los Angeles, Calif.) (from The Atlantic, January/February 2008).

This absolutely says it all!

Today's photo is of the moon from The Astronomy Picture of the Day last summer.

Lady Vols 85, Auburn Lady Tigers 52

We've been having one hellacious rain this evening - something we haven't seen in a long time. With the weather front coming through, with tornadoes and severe thunderstorm warnings, it surely seems more like spring.

John and Margaret went to Knoxville tonight to see the Lady Vols play the Auburn Lady Tigers. It was pretty much a blow-out - 85-52. We were all concerned about their driving up and back in some really serious rain. As it happened, going up everything was fine. But they did wind up driving all the way back in the rain, with patches of really heavy rain. No problems, though - and they did get home at the expected time.

We had another organizational/planning meeting this afternoon for the co-operative gallery. We are making progress. I worked up a working framework, and got that e-mailed to the others. I finally got some of this information sent to Allan for legal advice. This is beginning to look like it's really going to come together. Because of conflicts, our next meeting won't be until 6 February, but I'm sure there'll be e-mails in the meantime.

Since I've been thinking about artists and art, today's photo is of one of my older paintings.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

This and that

Have you read this story today? I just heard it on the local 11 p.m. news. This clip is from the MSNBC web site.
DES MOINES, Iowa - Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet."
After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper.
The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

Don't you just LOVE this!?! If only more parents would actually be PARENTS, and not try to be pals to their kids. After all, as long as the kids are at home, being supported financially, the parents are in control. Even when our kids were growing up, another mother would ask me how I could not buy lots of (pick your product). I was dumbfounded - the answer is obvious. I control the money; I decide what to buy. It's a no-brainer! The kid in Iowa may be 19, but that's not the legal drinking age, and he has broken the law. And I'll bet he's living at home and that his parents bought the car.

Second story: Doesn't it just frost you to hear the pundits spend months and months talking about Hillary Clinton being such a masculine, hard woman, and then when she show a little emotion, all of a sudden, she was woosy, mushy woman. I had thought this, but the first one I heard mention it was my wonderful husband.

Today's photo is one of John's flower pictures from Belvedere Castle in Vienna.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ahead of the thunderstorms

Guess I'd best get this written a bit early. It's started to rain, with some thunder - and a line of storms approaching from the west. I've unplugged the desktop. We tied a record high of 68 today, and it's certainly acting more like spring than winter. These storms tend to do what they call "the Chattanooga Split" as they come over the plateau into the Tennessee Valley. We shall see.

I agreed to be on the Board of the Friends of the Library for a 3-year term, and went to my first meeting this evening. Seems to be a good business-like group. I don't know anybody, though - but I'm sure I'll get to know them. Since it's at the downtown library, John went with me to just hang out in the reading room (like that's a chore for him), and then we went out to eat.

This will be a good chance for us to go out once a month to a downtown restaurant, and try new eateries. The meetings are over about 5:30-5:45, so we'll be early, plus on an off-night. Anyhow, our meal tonight was yummy! John had Shrimp and Grits - with Vidalia onions and andouille sausage - really hearty and rich with a dark brown sauce. I had lime and ginger marinated grilled salmon over rice - very delicate and well cooked. Good meals all around. And now we have a month to get recommendations and decide on the next place.

John's gone from having trouble sleeping to sleeping all the time. He did take a benedryl last night for allergy/cold symptoms, and that might still be affecting him. I sent him to bed about 9, and said to just get up and read or watch TV if he wakes up about 3-4 and can't get back to sleep. I hope he'll be able to get his sleep patterns better regulated once this surgery and the postop period are over.

Today's photo is of lowering skies over Ben Lomond, Scotland.

Monday, January 07, 2008

An Ordinary Monday

I guess we're having the Southern version of the January Thaw. We had a high temperature today of 71, not a record, but close. It was a gorgeous day. And near a record again tomorrow, but with some rain.

I think they tried to make up for it at the Y this morning. The exercise pool was colder than we've ever had it - 74. An air temperature of 74 is very warm - total immersion in water that temperature is just plain cold. Our usual exercise water temp is 81-83. It was BRRRRR cold! I do hope they've gotten it heated up by Wednesday.

There was a good crowd at bridge today - five full tables. I only wish the cards had been as good. I had one or two interesting hands, but more is better!

The laundry got done, and it was just a regular Monday.

The big news in Chattanooga is that the PBS show, Antiques Roadshow, will be taped here on 19 July. I guess we need to apply for tickets. That would be exciting to see. The show won't aired until sometime in 2009.

Today's photo is of a garden in Glasgow, Scotland.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


The Holiday Season, as it affects us, is over now. We go back to our regular routine in the morning. And it's going to be a busy week. We'll be playing bridge on Monday, and the Studio 2 classes will start up again on Tuesday. Wal-Mart and laundry also rear their ugly heads.

The word, Routine, has become to mean dull, or ordinary, or run-of-the-mill, or, well, routine. But after a time of upheaval, or great change, or being out of one's element, getting back into one's routine is very comforting. I think having the framework of a routine is what allows us to be free and easy and, from time to time, to get out of our ruts. We're comfortable doing the wild and crazy things because we know that the comfortable framework of Routine is there to welcome us and to allow us to rest.

So, let's not badmouth our good ol' routines too much, and remember that one man's routine is another man's excitement.

Today's photo is of some folks going about their routines in Glasgow, Scotland - while we're doing something definite NOT in our routine.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Coffee, I hope

Our friend, Gary, sent us this e-mail. I'm sure it's been around, but I thought it was worth repeating here.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mom?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside, am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May wisdom grant you enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to keep you content.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

May we all be COFFEE!


Well, Iowa is history, and we're on to New Hampshire. And then to South Carolina. And then Super Tuesday (when Tennessee votes). We keep talking about how we're going to vote. And so far, we're sure of only two things - we're going to vote in the Democratic primary, and we're going to vote by secret ballot.
Today, John said he was torn between voting his head and voting his heart. I'm tending to lean toward the the old medical saying "First do no harm". I do hope and believe that the Democrats will win the White House in November, but I do want the new president to be the best we can get.

So we're paying more and more attention. Bill Moyers and his guests talked about the primaries last week and this week. They talked a bunch about the media influence on the message. The sound bites, the spin, the distortions, the repetition. Last week (we just watched the program yesterday), Moyers repeated a portion of an interview with Bishop Desmond Tutu. Tutu made a comment relating to the situation during apartheid, but it is just as true today as it was then:

"Language does not describe reality; language creates reality." Sounds like what's going on now - say something often enough and loud enough and it becomes the "truth".

Guess that's enough wandering for one night.

Today's photo is a government building - the Vienna City Hall.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I really do hate doing stupid things! I just had to "frog" (rip out) about 12 hours worth of work on the sweater I'm doing for Kate. At least I had overdone the very long rows, and I don't have nearly as much to do as I thought I did. But what a pain!! Anyhow, I hope I'm on the downhill side now. Sorry, Kate.
I had an idea of what I was going to write about tonight. And discovering my error, and turning the air blue while I was RIPPING out those rows, knocked all that out of my head.

The results are in from Iowa. And they are interesting. Democrats picked Obama first, with Edwards and Clinton tied for second. Republicans picked Huckabee, then Romney, with Thompson and McCain tied for third. And more people participated than anyone had predicted. The pundits on Nightline compared Obama's speech tonight to his wonderful speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
I was reminded of another spellbinding convention speech by Tennessee's then-governor Frank G. Clement, at the Democratic convention in 1965. If the media coverage then was equal to what we have now, Frank Clement might have gotten to be as well-known across the country at Barak Obama became after his speech. Here's a link to an article in Wikipedia.

It's been so cold today, today's photo is another snow scene from Colorado.
p.s. Jean asked if I took all the photographs. Either John or I took all the photos. Travel and photography are our passions, and we do lots of both. Today's photo is one of John's. Glad you enjoy them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


We surely would like to average today's high temperature (29F) with some of those 100 degree days of last summer. And that doesn't even mention the 16 we have predicted for tonight, and it's 19 as I write this. Guess that's what makes the difference between winter and summer.

Jesse called to chat tonight. That's such a treat - he is a terrific young man! It's been cold in Norfolk, too. But he has a new toy that he wanted to tell us about - a Honda motorcycle. This certainly would not have been my choice, but I know his dad had a motorcycle when he was younger, so I'm not too surprised. And we love that he wanted to share this with us.

John listened to the Lady Vols play DePaul on the radio. Pat Summitt kept star, CandiceParker, on the bench during the first half - she was visiting friends from her home town in the area and missed curfew last night. Pat is one great, tough coach! What a woman! Parker came in in the second half. In any case, the Lady Vols won 102-68.

Election comments: In general, all this stuff is WAY too much campaigning too soon and for WAY too long. I know that it's because there is no "heir apparent" in either party, but still..... And the next step starts tomorrow, with the Iowa caucuses, and the New Hampshire primaries next week. It's an interesting process, but I kind of agree with others who have said that Iowa and New Hampshire are just too small and are not representative of the whole country. John's "modest proposal" would be to have national primaries for both parties on the same day. The top three vote-getters in each party would then campaign, working toward the final party choice for the nominees at a convention. It's not likely to happen, but it surely would save a lot of time and money in the long run.

Tennessee's primary is 5 February, with early voting to start on 16 January. John says he's made up his mind how he's going to vote - "by secret ballot". Then I shoot him a bird! I'm debating between two of the Democratic candidates, and will probably make up my mind as I walk into the polling place.

Today's picture is of Grandpa and grandson.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's 28 here now, but only supposed to get up to about 33 tomorrow, with lows in the teens tomorrow night. Brrrrr. Snow flurries are happening, but no accumulation expected. They did announce that I-24 over Monteagle Mountain was closed because of black ice.

Things were even more quiet today - if that's possible. We slept until about 7:30, and I had a 2 1/2-hour nap this afternoon. We call this a "truck nap" - as in, "Did you get the number of that truck that hit me?". John got in a bunch of football, helping Tennessee win over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. I got a bunch more knitting done, and read some of Harry Potter #6 (I know, I know - I'm behind, but trying to catch up - and don't tell me the ending).

The PBS New Year's Day program, Great Performances, was a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra from the Musikverein Hall in Vienna. We were able to attend a performance there in September, and it is a glorious performance space. It was such fun to see the program, and recognize places. There were dance performances at other places in Vienna, many of which we'd seen before. They also showed scenes from the Spanish Riding School - the Lipizzaner Stallions. What a treat that was!

Today's photo is of the performance floor of the Spanish Riding Stables in Vienna.