Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Elite Eight

Another milestone - Tennessee 74, Notre Dame 64. The Lady Vols are amazing. They'll play Texas A&M on Tuesday.

Today was another quiet day. We're resting up for tomorrow. But I did get taken out to dinner with all the Browns. That's always a treat - plus we went to Bayou City Seafood for Cajun/seafood. It doesn't get much better than that.

Tomorrow morning, Jesse reports in Gulfport. Lots and lots of hugs for him.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Houston Saturday

Today was a lovely day for Houston in the spring. Temperature around 80, with a breeze and low humidity - the kind of day that Houstonians live for - they don't happen too often.

We had no schedule today. We just went out for lunch. Ken's still on soft foods, and some potato soup from a local eatery was what he craved. And we drove by the place where I grew up (the house isn't there any more - there's one of a row of townhouses) and where another aunt used to live. And then watched more basketball.

Two cousins - the one we're staying with and Ken's son in The Valley went as delegates to their state senate district conventions. Both went as Obama delegates. Both conventions started in midmorning - one got home at 7:45, and the other about 9:15. What an ordeal! I don't quite understand how all this works - it's a unique Texas custom.

Tomorrow is another day of rest - getting ready for Monday, when it's back to the hospital for most of the day.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Today was a long day. We got the hospital at 9, and got back to our home-away-from-home about 4:30.

Good news from today's biopsy - Ken's primary cancer is indeed at the "base of tongue" and these are particularly responsive to both chemo and radiation. The surgeon thinks there is a good chance to make it (and the mass in the parotid gland) go away and avoid additional surgery. Time will tell. She also took a spot off my temple (non-cancerous) and pulled some teeth in the back. The Dental Oncologist said radiation is very, very rough on teeth and that if any were were even close to being bad she should remove them - so she did. The plan now is for the first chemo treatment Monday afternoon, and back home to The Valley on Tuesday.

Another cousin here in Houston is taking such good care of us at her house. It's a big old 1920s-vintage house, where she has lived for over 40 years. And it's about 5 minutes from the Medical Center. It couldn't be more convenient, plus we have all the comfort of real family. We've even gotten to meet three of her children - now grown - that we knew only as very small children before we left Houston in 1962.

And also, the basketball goes on. Texas won tonight, so all the folks here were celebrating. And John and I are pleased that Davidson from our Southern Conference has advanced to the Elite Eight.

The Houston cousin is an Obama delegate from her precinct to the county caucus tomorrow, so she has to be up and out early. Fortunately, the rest of us can sleep in - and that will be ever so nice. And nothing specific to do tomorrow, except for basketball, of course.

Houston, Day #2

We spent the morning at the hospital, waiting, and seeing various nurses and doctors. We got home about 1:30, and just "hung out" the rest of the day. Ken goes back in the morning for the biopsy procedure, and then will recuperate the rest of the day after that - and probably most of the weekend, too.

MDAnderson is overwhelming - many multistory buildings, spread all over everywhere with, unfortunately, patients and staff scurrying around. I say 'unfortunately' because all of these patients have cancer. Amazing things are happening here, though. I'm glad they're here for all of us. Ken was asked if he would participate in a research project. Of course, he agreed - and was suprised to hear that maybe half or more of those asked, refused to participate. You'd think people would be thrilled to know anything in their disease or treatment could be of help to someone else. But I guess not.
And basketball started up again tonight. Looks like the Men Vols weren't able to keep up their run in the tournament. They lost to Louisville tonight. Still, they've done better than ever before. Congratulations to them for getting this far.

I'm still on a borrowed computer, so no photo again today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Greetings from Houston

Greetings from Houston! The trip was uneventful - my favorite kind. I'm so glad that Margaret and Jesse took me to catch the shuttle in Chattanooga. It gave me an extra time for some big hugs for him. We took lots of pictures last night, and I'll post one later when I can get on to my own computer (I'm on my cousin's computer tonight).

Ken has appointment tomorrow morning with the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, so he'll get more information and timing then. It's so great that our cousin lives so close to the Medical Center and that we can all stay with her. It's ever so convenient and comfortable.

No photos or basketball today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jesse's here

Margaret, Jesse, and a friend are here. It's a treat to see the guys - even though they spent most of the evening playing paintball. They are taking me to catch the shuttle to the airport in the morning (John will be at PT). This will be the last time we see him before he goes to overseas. (I wanted to say Ira[k], but for some reason, that letter that comes between "p" and "r" seems to be stuck and won't type.) Please keep him in your thoughts.

Anna Quindlen's article, "Because It's Right", about a revitalized GI Bill, in the 31 March 2008 issue of Newsweek Magazine is right on! She frequently is, but this one defiinitely gets my vote. Click here to read the whole article, but I must quote the last two paragraphs.

The original GI Bill set the standard for innovative and audacious legislation. It was right in both senses of that word: the sensible thing to do, and the moral thing as well. And it helped expunge the shameful treatment of World War I veterans, many of whom had found themselves unemployed and destitute. The Department of Defense says it's a different era now, with a war that drags on and a volunteer Army, than it was when the GI Bill was first signed. But it's the same era, too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment among young veterans is three times the national average. Already some Iraq vets are homeless and have substance-abuse problems.

Offering these men and women a college education is the least we can do. It's not free; they've already paid, in Fallujah and Kabul. If Congress wants an economic-stimulus package, this is a great one. A Topeka, Kans., lawyer and national commander of the American Legion, Harry Colmery, was the architect of the original GI Bill. He asked a question that is as resonant today as it was then: "If we can spend 200 to 300 billion dollars to teach our men and women to kill, why quibble over a billion or so to help them to have the opportunity to earn economic independence and to enjoy the fruits of freedom?"

I'll be out of town for a week or more, and my postings might be irregular until I get back home. We shall see.

Today's photo is shadow patterns from Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wiped out!

I am really wiped out tonight. Just the usual Monday stuff, but lots more tired than usual for some reason.

At Wal-Mart today, I got a cheap suitcase with wheels to take. It's a really bright turquoise color, so I'll be able to find it on the carousel. Plus it's canvas with straps, so it's expandable or contractable, and that's helpful. I also got a point-and-shoot digital camera. Since I'm going to carry my laptop this trip, I didn't want to have to deal with the heavy SLR camera, too. This is a little Sanyo - we'll see how it works. One thing for sure that I'll have to get used to - there's no view finder. I'll have to be like everybody else - holding the camera out at arm's length. Sighhhhhhhhh.

Ken has had his meeting his team at MDAnderson. The biopsy is on for Friday, and he'll have his first chemo treatment late Monday. Once-a-week chemo treatments will follow that, and the rest of the protocol will depend on how that turns out.

Margaret and Jesse will come in tomorrow (YEA!!!!), and they'll take me to catch the van shuttle to the airport on Wednesday morning.

The cards were good enough that I got to stay at the #1 table all afternoon. And that's with one hand when I had one King, one eight, one six, and every other card was five or lower. YUCK!

Amanda has started a wedding web site. She's done a great job. Click here to read about these two great young people.

Today's photo is another abstract from Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March Madness #3

There was good news and bad news in the basketball world today. Our Lady Mocs lost in their first game to Kansas State. Not a total surprise, and it was a close game until the last minute, but we always hoped they could get at least one win in the tournament. They did have a great season, though.

Both UT teams won. The Men beat Butler in overtime, and the Lady Vols had an easy time with Oral Roberts University.

In between games, we watched last Friday's Bill Moyer's Journal that we had recorded. He talked to Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro about their documentary film that has just been released. It's called Body of War. It's an extremely powerful story about a young man who enlisted in the Army in October 2001, to protect his country. Instead of being sent to Afghanistan to fight terrorists, he was sent to Iraq. Five days later, he was shot in the chest, and is now paralyzed from the chest down. Check out that link to learn more.

It seems like the thing to do nowadays is set up a "wedding web site". Margaret just sent the link for Matt and Amanda's. Amanda did a great job with it. If I get Margaret's permission, I'll post a link to it.

Trunks of those big southern crepe myrtle trees can make for nice abstract photographs.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Madness #2

Late this morning, we went to a locally-owned (young couple with two little kids who live in upstairs) bakery/coffee shop. I enticed John by buying his breakfast (brunch?) - well, I drove, and he paid. We each had a yummy bacon/egg sandwich on sourdough bread. But my reason for going was to meet a local blogger/knitter who knits with a group there on Saturday mornings. We've been e-mailing, and I wanted to meet her. Essie is a lovely lady, and it was a treat to meet her and all the other knitters, too. Click here to read Essie's blog.

The rest of the day has been basketball, basketball, basketball! HOORAY for WVU! I know Duke usually has good teams, but I really hate the way their student fans act at the games. There were some other upsets, too, and some really close games, both for the men and the women.

Today's photo is a maple just starting to leaf out in Charleston, SC.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness

I've made my plane reservations for Houston. The lady at Southwest was SO nice and helpful. I asked about an open-ended flight, and she told me they couldn't do that anymore. She said that the cost of two one-way tickets would be the same as the round trip, so that was an option. I hesitated about a one-way because I know that's one of the flags to the security people at airports that brings a major security check. Then, she told me that I could get a round trip ticket with a long-time-away return trip, and change it to any flight with senior fares any time, without penalty. Boy, was that ever helpful!

So now I have a flight to Houston on Wednesday, with the return reservation for a month later. And when I know when I'm coming home, I can just change the date. How great is that!

We'll be seeing our Sailor sometime between now and the time I leave. Mom and Dad going to drive him to Gulfport, MS, a week from today. He'll be there 7-8 days, then fly to Fort Dix, NJ. He'll head to the Middle East from there after a couple more weeks.

Upset city in the NCAA today: Not Tennessee - the men won. But Western Kentucky (Kate went to WKU for two years) beat Drake. San Diego beat UConn. Duke had to come from behind to beat Belmont by one point. Davidson beat Gonzaga. Siena beat Vanderbilt, Arkansas beat Indiana, and as I write, Villanova is ahead of Clemson. We LOVE March Madness!

But the IMPORTANT games are on Sunday - the Lady Mocs, the Lady Vols, and the Vols again. Today's photo is why we're excited - the Lady Mocs tip-off against Western Carolina in the SoCon championship game.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


We had another gorgeous day today on this first official day of spring. Not that there won't be some chilly days - we have frost predicted for tomorrow morning. But we know the warmer weather is on the way.

Margaret and Jesse will be coming over tomorrow. Jesse's going to play paintball, but it'll still be SO special to get to see him. We've even managed to come up with a few chores to do to help out his poor old grandparents. received in our e-mail.

Next week, I'll be heading to Texas to help out Betsy and Ken. We've missed getting to go visit them this winter, so a trip in that direction is overdue. I'm just glad that I'm able to be useful as well as just having a good time. John's definitely able to manage for himself right now. He's just sorry he doesn't get to go, too.
Gasoline is expensive. There are some easy tricks to saving when you buy gasoline. I'll be passing along several tips that I have gotten in e-mail.

Only buy gasoline or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon.

Today's photo is that great spring opener - forsythia.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but we'd never seen Casablanca . We made up for it by watching it tonight. It is really a good movie. You do have to remember that all those lines, songs, etc., that have become cliches, came first in that movie (1943). And there were so many familiar faces in the minor roles. If you've never seen it, or haven't watched it in a while, get it from NetFlix or Blockbuster, and give it a look. And, incidentally, Ingrid Bergman has to be one of the most gorgeous women who ever lived.

We had another Gallery meeting this afternoon, with the founding three members in attendance. It was pretty much decided that it was time to stop talking and get things under way. We've set a day to arrange the space and hang art work, a time to start paying our monthly fees, and a date for our Grand Opening reception. It's time to see if this venture is going to work. We're sending the invitation/prospectus to 10 other artists as our starting group. Stay tuned.

Today's photo is obviously a glamor shot of Ingrid Bergman, taken from Google Images.

Quiet Tuesday

To quote our friend, Dalton Roberts, we've pretty much been overcome with "electile dysfunction", and are tending to tune out a lot of the election blather. However...

The bits and pieces I've heard of Barak Obama's speech regarding racial issues today in Philadelphia are pretty impressive. And I've just watched part of a post-speech interview with him on Nightline - again, very impressive. Win, lose, or draw - I'm glad this man is around and gutsy enough to say some of the things he is saying.
To add insult to injury (or surgery), John's developed some nasty chest congestion and cough. That doesn't seem to stop the PT guy from torturing him, though. So he'll be back there in the morning.

Today's photos are of something we don't see around here - Spanish moss on a large crepe myrtle and a close-up at Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Check out The Sand Box

Click here to get to the Sandbox, a feature of Slate, which has blogs written by folks connected to the military in some way. I was going to post the whole blog as a guest blog, but it's too long. I'll just post the link. If need be, scroll to the posting for 3/17/08, entitled HAMID AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION. It's excellent!

Today was a gorgeous spring day. The Bradford pears are exploding, and the forsythia is gloriously yellow. I've even seen a couple of pink magnolias (soulangia, deciduous magnolia, Japanese magnolia) in bloom.

Monday was definitely Monday - all the usual stops along the way. I did have terrible cards - way too many hands with 2, 3, and 4 points. I really hate that. But I did have a couple of good ones - and those are what keeps us coming back.

We watched the second part of Black Magic on ESPN. John stayed up and watched tonight. I haven't found a time when it'll be rerun - maybe it'll show up on "On Demand". It's about the basketball stars and coaches who came out of the "historically black colleges". It is an excellent program.

The brackets for the women's NCAA tournament were announced today. The Lady Vols are a #1 seed, of course. Our Lady Mocs are a #12, and will open against Kansas State in Connecticut next weekend. We'll be watching and cheering!

Today's photo is a split rail fence at Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Today (16 March) is my birthday, so I might as well celebrate. It won't change anything whether I do or not. I've gotten some wonderful cards, and some super telephone calls. Thanks to you all. And John took me out to dinner. Other than that, it was a very quiet day.

Bill sent me this horoscope reading: If March 16 is your birthday your charming allure will draw others near in the next six months, but you may end up tilting at windmills. Your business acumen is at its peak in August for career success and that is a good time to make decisions. I'd hate to think I had to worry about a career at this point in my life, but guess it'll be interesting to see what August brings.

Wasn't it amazing to see Georgia win the SEC tournament over Arkansas! I'm nobody but GA thought they could do it. How will we stand it - no basketball for a week. But the NCAA starts next weekend.

Did you watch the program on ESPN called Black Magic? The first half was on tonight, with part 2 on tomorrow. It's about the history of black players in college basketball, and is a fascinating story. These guys were really amazing - on many different levels. Check out Part 2 tomorrow, and maybe they'll rerun the whole thing sometime.

Today's photo is a budding maple branch and reflection at Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rain and basketball

What a wild weather day this has been in the Southeast! Another line of strong storms plowed through Atlanta today. And two sets of storms went through Sue's neighborhood. She said they had some hail during the first one, but I haven't heard about the second one. We had rain off and on all day, and had a welcome one inch of rain over the day. By evening, we had bright sunshine and blue skies.

Do you know about the "Space House" in Chattanooga? It was auctioned off today - an absolute auction - and sold for an incredibly low $135,000. Click here to see a picture.

The SEC men's basketball tournament definitely has not turned out as expected this year. After the tornado in Atlanta last night, which damaged the Georgia Dome, the last game of the day was postponed. The games were moved to GA Tech, and the postponed game was played at noon. Then the winner of that game had to play again at about 9 p.m. Tennessee lost to Arkansas by one point in the first of the semi-final games. Georgia had beaten Kentucky in the postponed game, and then, amazingly, in its second game of the day, beat Mississippi State to win the other spot in the final game on Sunday. The NCAA will announce the men's brackets Sunday night, and the women's brackets on Monday.

My cousin is starting treatment at MDAnderson Hospital in Houston. I will probably be going to Houston in about a week or so to help out. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Today's photo was taken on a March morning in Charleston, SC.

Basketball gets exciting

We got some rain today, but mostly it was a quiet day. John got to raise his arm himself today, and got it almost up to shoulder height. This was not a pain-free moment, but every little bit is progress.

Mostly today was devoted to men's college basketball - the SEC tournament specifically. Tennessee beat South Carolina and Arkansas beat Vanderbilt. The most exciting game was the Alabama vs Mississippi State. Mississippi State won in overtime, but even that wasn't the exciting part.

A tornado or some similar major storm went right over the Georgia Dome during the overtime period. The building shook; the camera booms and hanging scoreboard swayed back and forth; the fabric covering of the dome roof rippled and tore in places; and everybody heard the proverbial "freight-train" noise. The players left the floor, but fortunately the lights stayed on, the spectators remained calm and mostly in their seats.

Finally, after about an hour's delay, the game resumed, and MSU won. From the news reports later, I gather there were some injuries outside the Dome, and plenty of damage in the area of downtown Atlanta around the Dome. Amazing!
Today's photo is another basketball shot - UTC making another free throw in the Championship Game.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Anniversary of a blizzard

Today was the kind of day that makes people love Spring. Temperature in the mid70s; low humidity; lots of sunshine; forsythia in bloom; daffodils in bloom. It just doesn't get much better. And to think that 15 years ago today (13 March 1993), we were in the midst of a blizzard. We had temperatures below -10, and somewhere between 15-20" of snow (they don't know how to measure that much drifting snow down here). Some folks were without power for a week. Fortunately, we were out only 36 hours, and we have a fireplace and a gas stove. I surely am glad that doesn't happen regularly around here.
The current issue of Newsweek magazine has an article about the ACS Cancer Prevention Study-3. The American Cancer Society is looking for volunteers, ages 30-65, who have never had cancer, to participate in a study that will follow their health for at least 20 years. The goal of the study is to figure out who gets cancer, who doesn't, and why. Prior studies have uncovered the major links that smoking causes lung cancer, and that obesity ups the odds of colon, endometrial and postmenopausal breast cancer. If you fit the demographics, and are willing to participate, please CLICK HERE for more information. What a painless way to benefit research.
The word is:

Did anybody get it?
Today's photo is of Pink's favorite flower - that humble harbinger of spring - the dandelion.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March Miscellany

I slept really well last night. Then this morning, I developed an incredible muscle tightness along my right shoulder blade. Imagine that - possibly something about driving in the early morning fog getting out of Charleston, or driving through Atlanta, or clapping for two hours at the finals on Monday. Hmmmmm - let me think. John's been really good at finding that point tenderness and working on it. That plus the heating pad has helped.
Getting caught up on recorded programs, we watched last Friday's NOW and Bill Moyers' Journal. On NOW, David Brancaccio posted the question: "What do you think is the greatest threat facing our democracy?" My answer?: "Allowing the erosion of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our civil rights by the administration." What's yours?
Word Riddle! The English Language

Okay you brainiacs, here is a brain teaser for you. What nine letter word in the English language is still a word when each of the nine letters is removed one by one? Any guesses? Answer tomorrow. (Thanks for this one, AWB!)
Just for fun (or for the pain and suffering), give this one a listen..
Click here.
Today's photo is a lovely March Morning at Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Home from the tournament

We're safely at home now, after an 8-hour interstate drive from Charleston through Augusta and Atlanta to Chattanooga. I did relent and let John do some of the driving this time - but only in light-traffic areas. Mostly, he was terribly bored, being the passenger almost the whole time. Now it's just a matter of getting all those blue and gold clothes washed and ready for the NCAA and for next year.

Today is National Lupus Advocacy Day. Click here to learn more about this disease, and other autoimmune diseases.

And I must relay this Extra Bonus Quote from A Word A Day:
There is no greater gift to an insecure leader that quite matches a vague enemy who can be used to whip up fear and hatred among the population. -Paul Rusesabagina, humanitarian (b. 1954)

Today's photo is another basketball shot - this one of the Lady Mocs starters getting ready for the opening tip-off of the 2008 Championship Game.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Championship Season!!!

HOORAY! Our Lady Mocs won over Western Carolina, 71-59. They did look good! We had fun with the post-game stuff, and got to hug some of the players when they came up into the stands to thank the fans. They're great gals. They get an automatic bid to the NCAA, and we're hoping for a #11 or #12 seed. They still have the longest winning streak in collegiate women's basketball.

We didn't go to the men's championship game. Our men weren't playing, and Davidson is way tougher than anybody else. So we just skipped it. It's on TV. The Davidson fans are really fanatic. We left the arena about 7:20. Their game didn't start until 9, and the fans were lined up on the concourse waiting impatiently for us to vacate the fan-seating area. We like to be early, but that's carrying it a bit far.

This morning, we went out to enjoy the lovely day. We went to Charles Towne Landing - the site of the first European settlement in the area. It's an interesting park, and we took a walk and some pictures. We then drove to Folly Beach and walked on the beach a bit. Lunch was at a little local place, with some of the best she-crab soup we've ever had. We also shared an order of crab cakes.

After our Ladies won, we went for more seafood - and found another good place. This time, John had crab/shrimp casserole, and I had a small bucket of boiled shrimp. All very good.

We've loaded most of the stuff tonight, so we don't have to wait on a luggage cart in the morning, and we should be able to get out of here fairly early.

Today's photo is the UTC Lady Mocs holding the championship trophy.

Tournament, Day 4

Sue brought Sarah back to Charleston after her spring break, and came to visit with us for a couple of hours before the ballgame. It's always great to see them - wish it could be more often.

The Lady Mocs won handily over CofC 68-53. We left the WCU-Elon game at half-time , came to the motel, and crashed for about an hour. WCU won 67-59. So we'll be playing WCU for the championship tomorrow at 5.

We picked up Sarah and her suitemates and took them out to a yummy coastal dinner - to a different place on Shem Creek. This one was much better - crab cakes for me and another version of shrimp and grits for John.

Then we took them to see the College of Charleston play Elon in the SoCon semifinals. Unfortunately, this was not a good day for CofC - Elon was way too much for them. So they're out for the year, and Elon gets the dubious honor of meeting Davidson (the cocnference powerhouse) in the finals tomorrow night.

And the Lady Vols pulled out a win over LSU, so that makes for a good day for our women's teams.

Tonight's picture is of our Lady Mocs watching the Western Carolina game yesterday.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

More basketball

Today, We went to two women's games in the morning session, then left to go for a late lunch. We went out to Shem Creek - one of the traditional seafood areas in and around Charleston. We've had some really good food there, but today's lunch was only average (shrimp grits, she-crab soup, and oysters Rockefeller between us). Oh, well...there's more out there.

The Men Mocs lost to Elon 60-57. They just never could quite get it together. But we stayed until the end of the College of Charleston - Georgia Southern game, which followed. After all, CofC is our second choice. Anyway, CofC really beat up on GSU - by nearly 20 points. And CofC plays Elon tomorrow evening. The Lady Mocs play the CofC women tomorrow at noon.
John wears the sling to the games - to remind him that he shouldn't clap. He does yell, though, and I do a lot of clapping. I even yelled at the ref, and called for a "T" on a GSU player during the game. I'm SO glad the kids and grands can't see their old granny at a ballgame.

Did you hear about Pat Summitt's (coach of the Lady Vols) dislocating her shoulder on Wednesday night? She saw a raccoon in her garbage on her deck that night, ran out and swatted it with her forearm. She knocked it off the railing (about a 30 foot drop), and dislocated her shoulder in the process. I assume all is healing well by now. But everybody's laughing at the funny story now.

We didn't get home until 11:30, and then had to set the clocks forward to 12:30. I hope you remembered to change yours.

Today's photo is from the GofC/Georgia Southern game this morning. Notice the ball going through the net.

Friday, March 07, 2008

All basketball, all the time!

It's been a long hard day today. Our Lady Mocs won big in their first game of the tournament. They beat UNCGreensboro 78-33. Our men's team doesn't play until tomorrow. We saw 1 1/2 women's games and 2 men's games today. And I'm almost as ready for bed as John (who has already crashed.

It's been a gray, rainy day here in Charleston, although we were in the Coliseum most of the time. We did take a break to go eat at Sticky Fingers with the Mocs Club (the UTC booster club) and get to meet and greet with the teams and coaches. They're all pretty good kids, and are very appreciative of the enthusiastic fan support they get.

We have the potential of seeing 6 games tomorrow. I doubt that we'll make that many, though.

The weather forecast is for about 1" of snow in Chattanooga tomorrow. Certainly glad we'll be missing that.

No photo today - I'll try to get back with a basketball picture tomorrow.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Back again!

Back again - or at least back to the computer. We stayed with a dear friend last night, after our drive from Chattanooga to near Augusta, GA. We love visiting her, but she doesn't have a computer - so no access for the laptop. Now, at the motel in Charleston, the good ol' laptop is connected again. But we survived!

The drive was long, but wonderfully uneventful. Today, we drove on back roads, through small towns and pine forests. Except for slowing down in the towns, I was able to keep it on cruise control at about 60 mph. Almost no traffic at all. I even let John drive for a little bit - he was SO bored with just sitting there.

We had to wait a while for our room to be available due to problems with some previous guests, but we finally got in. We didn't try to make any of today's ballgames. Paul got off work at 6. We picked him up and he let us take him out to dinner at Bowen's Island. If you're ever in Charleston, give this one a try. It's on stilts out in the marsh, and I guarantee that it looks like no health inspector has ever been on the premises, but if you want fresh and freshly steamed oysters served to your table by the literal shovel-ful, plus wonderful boiled shrimp and fried fish - this is the place. Paul does know the kind of places we like.

Our Lady Mocs first game is about half past noon tomorrow. We'll be there to cheer them on.

Here's a picture of Paul last Christmas.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Taking a break

We had a nice rain overnight, with a trailing line of severe thunderstorms about 1 p.m. At our house, we got about 10 minutes of rain so hard we couldn't see across the yard, plus very high winds. And then it was gone and the sun came out. As far as I've heard, there hasn't been any damage in the area. This surely did bring a lot of snow farther north of here. For you folks north of the Ohio River, but I'm sure glad that we didn't get anything like that.

The daughter of a friend has opened a coffee shop in New York City. She brought us a pound of special coffee beans from Nicaragua. Yum! We'll be brewing some soon. Thanks, again, J.

I finished a good book tonight. Dana Stabenow is one of our favorite mystery authors. She has several mystery series set in her native Alaska. This new book, Prepared for Rage, is more of a thriller, with characters in the Coast Guard. It's definitely a page-turner.

We'll be heading out for Charleston and the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament in the morning - leaving after John's PT session. Everything is stacked by the front door and ready to load in the car. We won't have internet access tomorrow evening, so I'll have to take a day off. I'm assuming the motel will have WiFi, and I'll be back on Thursday.

Today's picture shows the kind of bird that visits in our yard.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Major Monday

Today was one of those Major Mondays! I didn't even get to the morning paper until about 5 p.m. And that was without going to Wal-Mart.

The best news of the morning was from the visit to the Oncology Surgeon. The mammogram looks good, the exam was negative. I'm to return in a year, and am scheduled to see the nurse practitioner on the next visit. This is one downgrade that I'm delighted to have.

I even hurried in today to get my car washed - not that it needed it or anything. It was just that I couldn't see out of the windshield any more. And that was all on the inside. I'm glad that there's someplace that I can take it to get it washed, but I hate to give up that time. C'mon, Mary - get over it! And since it's going to rain tomorrow, I had to get it done today.

John had a little harder PT session today. He did have a good deal of discomfort this evening. He had to miss bridge for the session, so I had to have all the mediocre cards for both of us.

We had another spring-like day today, and the forsythia is starting to bloom. A major front is heading this way, with wind and (we hope) lots of rain. With any luck, this will have blown through by the time we head out on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


It's still a long time until the election. And these primaries, annoying as they have been at times, are ground-breaking in so many ways. I hate to agree with Ben Stein - mostly I find him irritating as hell. But this morning on CBS Sunday Morning, he talked about the now-three front-running candidates, and how each is unique. He said that 30 years ago, any one of them being at this point in the process would have been unheard of, not even considered as a possibility. I guess that means that we have made some progress in some respects.

Sunday Morning also did a piece on The Onion. I've not come across that before, but it's a real hoot! Check it out at The Onion . I just roared at their Election Glossary. Here are a few of their Voting Term definitions:

debate - A contest to see which candidate can answer the fewest questions
absentee ballot - A form of voting that does not involve the inconvenience of having to get up off the couch and walk to a high school gymnasium.
ballot - An object recording a voter's decision that is frequently counted toward an election's outcome.
democracy - A moderately representative plutocracy.
election worker - A male or female at least 70 years of age.
electoral college - A process by which the number of states in the Union is narrowed down to the most important seven or eight.
likability - The degree to which each candidate is able to hide the extent to which he or she is full of shit.
lobbyist - A better-paid legislator.
political consultants - Individuals who are very savvy politically, but don't have enough hair to run for office themselves.
pollster - A person who willingly communicates with the elderly.
voter apathy - The reason most American politicians are able to achieve and maintain office.

Some of these are WAY too close for comfort.

Spring is happening! Today's photo is of the same flower (NOT columbine) that I posted a couple of days ago. That will happen when the temperature is about 70.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

La Vie en Rose

It definitely looked like spring today. We had bright sunshine, and temperatures in the mid 60s. John went to walk on the Riverwalk. He's frustrated at how much stamina he's lost, but really enjoyed getting out for some exercise in the gorgeous sunshine.

We finally got to watch La Vie en Rose tonight. As a story and a movie, it was very depressing. Edith Piaf had a terrible life - even with all her success. But Marion Cotillard was incredible in the role. I'm sure the other actresses nominated for Best Actress were great, but this performance was definitely a tour de force. I half expected John to leave, with the movie's being so dark, and dealing with the subtitles. But he was fascinated with Cotillard's performance. Her "aging" with the makeup and the stooped osteoporotic posture was amazing. Do put this one on your must-watch list, and be sure to watch the added feature about "Getting into Character".

Today's photo is a rose (of course) from Prague.