Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What gall!!

The owners of a Major Mall (MM) in our city has a new idea that is being proposed in the legislature. They want the state to levy a new "business privilege tax", which amounts to a 1% additional sales tax added to each purchase from any merchant in the MM and its surrounding parcels. This money would go to defray the costs of new construction and renovation. In essence, this means that any shopper would pay the mall owner 1% of each purchase for the privilege of shopping there. AND they want the state and city to collect this money for them. What gall!!

Surely they're going to get the money from the consumer one way or another, but this, to me is just beyond all reason. The MM could charge the merchants more rent to get that money. Or they could foot the bill themselves - paid for out of profits (now THAT's a revolutionary idea). Or they could put toll booths at each entrance to the area, and charge admission - so much per person in the car.

Part of this new MM expansion would not be part of the enclosed mall, but a "Life Style Center". These "up-scale" shops would have doors that opened directly to the outdoors. What an AMAZING concept! Although it does sound a lot like what we used to call a strip mall.

Obviously, we don't take photos of shopping malls, but perhaps Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park would qualify as a "Life Style Center".

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Flamingos, etc.

Today was the big day. I had my colonoscopy. Don't you wish you could've been with me? Seriously folks, it's really not that bad. And just think how much easier it is than having advanced colon cancer. Get over the YUCK factor, and (after checking with your family doc to see if it's appropriate), make that appointment! Oh, yes - everything was normal - just the expected diverticula. He said to come back in 5-10 years.

The fun part of today's event - and yes, there really was one - was that my doctor has a love affair with pink flamingos. How funny to come into this tastefully decorated office and see it full of flamingos - paintings, photographs, models, sculptures. The curtains around my holding cubicle were embroidered with flamingos. The switchplates on the light fixtures had flamingos on them. The doctor carried a pink pen, with a flamingo and feathers on it. It does tend to put the patients more at ease.
Retraction: Golly, we had been pretty impressed with Jeremiah Wright after his interview with Bill Moyers on Friday. But the more he's speaks, the bigger the hole he's digs. Amazing.
Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first. -Ambrose Bierce, writer (1842-1914)
And what would today's photo be, other than a flamingo!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Prep day

Today was prep day - how exciting! It certainly meant that I had to stay close to home. John went to play bridge. I came in second last week. Then he told me that HE came in first! A family sweep...imagine that.

Today's entry in The Sandbox is another conversation with Hamid. It's too long to post in its entirety (you'll have to click to read the whole thing - and I recommend that you do), but I will copy the last paragraphs here.

We talked some more, and I wish I'd had a tape recorder, because it was a good discussion. Mike got up to leave and said, "Hamid, we aren’t being mean. We are trying to get you to think. If you believe the Qur’an is God’s word, then you need to read it so you know what it says, not what one man tells you it says."

This is good advice for everyone, regardless of our personal beliefs. People are very good at leading us astray, whether intentionally or not. Although we were encouraging Hamid to critically examine his beliefs, it brings into sharper contrast the blessings of our country, where we are truly free to do just that. Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where the people do not have freedom to choose their faith (or choose to have none). I don’t have to imagine it; I’ve been there. It’s a scary place.

John read this conversation with Hamid, and had an interesting observation. He suggested that Islam today is where Christianity was before the Reformation. Only the clergy had access to bibles. Ordinary people either couldn't read, or couldn't read the bible, which was only in Latin (not the local language). Christianity didn't really open up until after the Reformation. Such deep thoughts today.
Today's photo is a hibiscus opening on Margaret's deck last Memorial Day.

Lots of rain

What a treat - it has rained almost all day long! Not hard - a good "farmer rain" or "female rain" as the Navajo say. I'll wait until the rain stops to check the gauge to see how much we got.

My neck and shoulders were still sore today, but again, acetominophen and heat seemed to keep pain in check.

Things will get a little more exciting on Monday - get to start the prep for my colonoscopy on Tuesday. Joy complete! I will spare you all the gory details.

Gail and I were talking about spirals last week - so, Gail, here's one for you. This photo is from an area of pictographs in southwest Colorado.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Welcome home!

Early this morning, I got a "quick crick" in my neck. I don't know why - I was just sitting at the table eating my cereal, and it suddenly grabbed. I've had heat or ice on it all day. And my live-in masseur has done some good work on it. Finally, some acetominophen and time have helped. But I still can't turn my head very far to the right. As I think about it, that might not be such a bad thing - I always lean to the left anyhow.

We watched an old (1958) Hitchcock movie tonight - Vertigo. We realized that neither of us had ever seen it before. A good flick - but with Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, and Alfred Hitchcock, how could it be otherwise!

My cousin is due for his next-to-last chemo treatment on Monday. He's had his hair buzz-cut, since it was starting to come out, and he sent pictures. The mass has decreased dramatically. How terrific!

Jesse is at home for about 10 days. There will be a fish fry next weekend for him (YUM!), but mostly it'll be so get to get in some good hugs.

Today's photo is to welcome him home.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Secondhand Lions

The best laid plans, etc., etc.

I was going to write about seeing Bill Moyers' interview with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and how impressed we were with him. He doesn't come across at all like those "sound bytes" that have been all over the news.

Or about the interesting story on NOW, dealing with a group helping high schoolers from lower income zip codes get through the college admission process.

But then, when that was over, we saw that we could catch just the end of Secondhand Lions. What a magnificant movie it is! If you've seen the movie before, watch it again. If you're so deprived that you've never seen it, get a copy of it from somewhere (NetFlix, Blockbuster, your local video store, or On Demand) and watch it ASAP. It's got to be one of the best movies ever made - that you've never heard of.

And today's picture is the movie poster from the internet.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Slug day!

Another warm day today (83), but it must definitely be Spring Fever time. Except for our regular Thursday lunch with the crazies, we were slugs today.

I made a disc of the photos I took of the Gallery Group people and some paintings. That'll be going to the newspaper.

Today's photo is one of my newer paintings, acrylic on canvas, 24x12.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Michael DeBakey

Two photos today - of The Afghan. The close-up is a alittle too yellow, but does show the pattern.
There was a news item on NBC Nightly News tonight about Dr. Michael DeBakey. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. In case this name doesn't mean anything to you, this incredible 99-year old heart surgeon was the pioneer of all the heart surgery that is now carried out in this country.

He is the son of Lebanese immigrants. His parents took him to the library and told him he could read anything he wanted. What he found to read was the Encyclopedia Britannica. And when the library wouldn't let him check it out, his parents bought a set for the home. And he read the WHOLE thing!

Click here for the news story.
Click here to read biographical information about Dr. Debakey.

And he was a good friend of my parents!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

From today's news...

Local: This morning's paper reports that a committee of Our Fair City has said that "The results of a new study on a bullet train between Chattanooga and Nashville are expected to show that a route tracking Interstate 24 would be the best..." This $870,000 study is scheduled to be complete in May. Isn't this amazing - considering that I-24 follows the route of the trains that used to run between Chattanooga and Nashville?!? And it's only costing us $870,000 to find this out.

National: (from "The Army and Marine Corps are allowing convicted felons to serve in increasing numbers, newly released Department of Defense statistics show. Recruits were allowed to enlist after having been convicted of crimes including assault, burglary, drug possession and making terrorist threats. The statistics were released by Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. And they're still forcing homosexuals to leave the service." Presumably gays are more of a threat in the military than convicted felons. Is there anything wrong with this picture? (Thanks to "Funny The World" for pointing out this contradiction.)

Reading the newspaper is such fun! But sometimes, we just work the puzzles.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Today was a usual Monday - swimming, WalMart, and bridge. I had more good cards today. I came in third last Monday. Don't know how I did today, but I stayed at the top table all day long. I know it won't last long, but I'm surely going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Ken had his fourth chemo treatment today. He seems to be doing well, and the tumor is shrinking. He'll get a two-week break between the end of chemo and the start of radiation - need to give the body time to rest. We're with him in spirit if not in person.
I'm really dragging tonight, so I think I'm going to pack it in early.
Today's photo is one of the first that John took when he first got his digital camera - some of the wonderful roof lines in the rejuvenating Southside of Chattanooga.

A lazy Sunday

We worked fairly hard yesterday (besides eating crawfish). It was spring "Opening Day" at the Boathouse, so John was there helping with the clean-up and getting boats rowing-ready. I spent a couple of hours at Studio 2 getting ready for hanging the work and opening the Gallery.

Does anybody remember the 1964 movie Topkapi? It was a great "caper" movie with Maximilian Schell, Melina Mercouri, and the incomparable Peter Ustinov. Check it out on Netflix or your cable On Demand. It's a great one! Watching that was about all we accomplished today. Well, that's not quite true.

I finished The Afghan. I'll get some photos made before I get it wrapped up. It does look good, and I'm pleased with the results. I was sure I was going to run out of yarn, but managed to come out just about even.

The biggest news, though is that Jesse will be coming home for a 10-day leave next Saturday. We didn't think we'd get to see him again before he left the country, so this is an extra-special treat!

Today's photo is some spring weeds along a New Mexico lake.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Living in Sin

Well, not exactly like that - but it did make you look, didn't it.

For the last two days, the sin has been living and eating too well! Seems like all we've been doing is eating - that wonderful Mexican dinner last night. And then, tonight, we had a great dinner at our Creole/Cajun restaurant here - a crawfish boil.

The crawfish were deliciously spicy, with lots of spices (Tony Cachere?), served with an ear of corn, red-skinned potatoes, and a piece of spicy sausage. Each serving had a pound of crawfish. We got dessert, too - one more pound to share between us. The folks that started this restaurant are Katrina refugees. We are SO glad they decided to settle in Chattanooga. Their restaurant has been so successful that they've already opened a second location

And making it even more special, one of our Thursday lunch friends was part of the combo that was performing there. We hadn't seen him perform before, so this was an extra treat!

Today's picture of a crawfish boil is from Google. We didn't have quite that many.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A LONG Friday

We left to go to the Y a little before 7 a.m., and I didn't get home until about 4 p.m. That's almost like WORK!!! I spent most of the day at the Studio/Gallery - we were bringing in art pieces, and getting the space ready to hang work. We'll go back again tomorrow for a few hours - nothing like all day today. We plan to have notices in the paper soon, and to say that we're "open" as of 1 May. I'm really achy tonight, even with some X-acetominophen.

There was no way I was going to cook anything. We had wanted to go to the new Mexican restaurant nearby - so we did. It's not Tex-Mex (not that we don't love that), but real Mexican cuisine. John had a "7 seas soup" - a huge bowl with crab legs, shrimp, fish, calamari, scallops - really enough for two. I had "fried fish" - a whole, tender, mild white fish, lightly seasoned and fried, with a crisp blackened skin, no breading, no greasy taste or feel. A wonderful meal! We'll keep going back there.

Kate was awakened this morning by the earthquake - and even realized what it was. Wayne and Andy slept through it. We didn't notice it here, although some people did.

After our usual PBS program line-up tonight, John turned on to an episode of M*A*S*H. It was the episode in which a correspondent interviewed the characters, and they gave unscripted answers to the questions. It's probably one of the best episodes they ever did in this magnificent program - and it was an EMMY winner, I believe

Today's photo is of Scotland dogwoods in Pollok Park, Glasgow, Scotland.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Marty, John, and Burt left about 8 this morning. It's always a treat to have them stop in. I do hope we can work it out to get to see them at their house sometime this year - maybe at the ranch.

We enjoyed our usual Thursday lunch of laughter - the usual culprits. It's great that laughs have no calories, fat, or sugar, so we can enjoy them without guilt. Well, maybe some of us are guilty about something, but.....

Good program at the Photo Society tonight. A member couple has been full-timing in their RV. For most of 2007, they had jobs (volunteer/part-time) in and near Jackson, WY, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. And what beautiful images they took.

Tomorrow will be a clean-up, set-up day for the new gallery at Studio 2. It's going to be interesting to see how things fit together - and probably some hard work, too.

Today was another fantastic day - highs in the mid-70s, with glorious sunshine. We'll definitely enjoy these days when we get them.

I haven't been able to post a photo tonight - maybe later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It was a gorgeous day today. It started with a light frost, and by late afternoon had gotten to 70 degrees. Just about perfect!

To add to that, we finally got haircuts. John's is now shorter than mine. It's probably the first time since he had a crew cut when we first met.
Marty, John, and Burt (the Springer Spaniel) got here about 6:30. The traffic was bad in Atlanta, as always, but they were a bit ahead of the worst. They took us to a great dinner at Sticky Fingers for barbecue. If you're ever in Charleston, SC, or Chattanooga, try to find one of those restaurants. Their dry rub ribs are "to die for"!

They are so thoughtful. They brought us copies of the St. Petersburg Times from the time of the Final Four, especially the day after the final game. Fun to read about it all over again. And Marion got us some orange Championship t-shirts at Sam's.

I painted a lot of cards this morning at Studio 2, but still have lots more to go. Today's photo is of one of the cards.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guest Blogger - Mike T. from The Sandbox

Today's blog from The Sandbox is too good not to share.

Name: Mike T.
Posting date: 4/15/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog: c/o

A long time ago I learned one of the most valuable lessons that the Army had to offer. A Squad Leader took me aside and told me no matter what went wrong, or how hard things got, "Keep the colors close to you at all cost." I looked at him and wondered what exactly he was talking about. He then explained: "Brother, there are going to be times when you have to do things you never thought imaginable, things that would make any man scared for his own life and those of his fellow soldiers. But when it all seems lost and you're about to lose your mind, that’s when the colors become your lifeline." The colors he spoke of were memories, smells, dreams, music, conversations -- those things that bring you out of the hell you are in and allow you to focus on what is truly important.

I have taken this as the single most important lesson in my life, and carried it with me and followed it wherever I have been. I am now a leader of men, a teammate, and a friend. Every day here I try to find my colors, and at times it seems almost too difficult. I will find a place to isolate myself, to concentrate on a specific color that brings me back to a somewhat normal level. I miss the ocean, the gentle breeze from the shore pines near my house, the cat and dog chasing each other, the perfume of my lovely girlfriend. The songs she and I used to sing out loud and dance to together, or the long drives to nowhere. I miss her smile and touch, how they brought peace to my soul. How a splash of Johnny Walker and red wine aromas filled our kitchen on a beautiful summer evening.

These colors are extensions of our mind, body, and soul. Without them what is the point? Why continue to fight? All people have colors, the things in our lives that bring us back from the breaking point. My colors represent all that I have done in my life, all the happiness and sadness. They are my living legend that I share with all those around me. But when it is time to take stock in what we have done here in Afghanistan I am afraid there will not be a specific color for this place. A friend of mine in Iraq emailed me the other day and told me that I need to be careful, and that everyone over there believes we are the true soldiers of the GWOT. I did not know how to respond to that. He is the same guy who told me about the colors.

Find your colors in times of need, reach back to the world and life you left. Close your eyes and search hard. Your colors are there.

Today's photo is of spring color in Colorado.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I played bridge this afternoon, and had some pretty good cards - for a change. What is it about this game that has attracted so many people for such a long time? It's a fairly simple game, but the infinite variations of card combinations, plus the challenges of bidding and play, keeps us coming back.

This is a basic definition from Wikipedia:
Contract bridge, usually known simply as bridge, is a trick-taking card game of skill and chance (the relative proportions depending on the variant played). It is played by four players who form two partnerships; the partners sit opposite each other at a table. The game consists of the auction (often called bidding) and play, after which the hand is scored.
The bidding ends with a contract, which is a declaration by one partnership that their side will take at least a stated number of tricks, with a specified suit as trump or without trumps. The rules of play are similar to other trick-taking games, with addition of the feature that one player's hand is displayed face up on the table as the "dummy".

That's it. But look at this list of famous people, real and fictional, who have been fascinated by the game:
Harold S. Vanderbilt
Omar Sharif
Warren Buffett
Bill Gates
James Bond
Hercule Poirot
Lucy Ricardo
Ethel Mertz
Norma Desmond

But we all know, this is a REAL bridge.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

PInk - 1908-1983

Happy Birthday, Pink!

As I was reading the paper this morning, I noticed the date, 13 April 2008. Today is Pink's birthday. This evening, as I was thinking about what I was going to write, it suddenly dawned on me - today is the 100th anniversary of her birth. People always want to divide things into convenient chunks of time, and "100" seems to be particularly significant. This may be true, but Pink was significant every day of her life!

She brightened the day of anyone whose life she touched. Like her mother, she always saw the good in people - never focused on the negative. She loved words, and passed this joy in language on to her children and grandchildren. She cast a long shadow, and I'm sure that influence will continue. Widowed at 41, Pink did a great job of raising her two teen-aged daughters alone, then making a life for herself after they left home.

This true lady (small-town Southern gentry) had a wicked sense of humor. Her favorite word was callipygious. (Look it up!) Once, probably around 1980, she asked me to return a book to the library for her. Her comment was, "I don't mind a little sex in a book, but I don't want an instruction manual".

I wish she had lived to move to Chattanooga with us - she would've loved this city. She would've been so proud when I graduated from college, only 37 years after I graduated from high school. She would have been thrilled with all her great-grandchildren.

In case you haven't figured it out, Pink was my mother.

Sunny Saturday

I was asked to be a substitute judge in a photo contest for the Photo Society of Chattanooga. The PSC sponsors a student contest every year. The local winners are sent on to a regional competition and then to the national Photo Society of American competition. I don't know who I was a substitute for, but I thank you. This was SO much fun. The entries were great.

Each photograph was judged separately, on its own merits. Scores were given for Impact, Composition, and Technique. There were different categories. The three judgest didn't consult - just marked score sheets separately. The results were tallied. There were ties in two categories, and the judges did get to talk about the images while we were trying to judge again to break the tie.

It was so great to "see" the photographs with these criteria in mind. And the young folks are SO imaginative and creative. It's just a pleasure to see these young minds at work.

Margaret and John went up to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols softball team play Team USA (the Olympic team). Team USA won, but it was a close game, and they enjoyed it. The weather was lovely, and they enjoyed sitting out in the sunshine.

And a fun Saturday was had by all!

Today's photo is a budding maple leaf in Charleston.

Friday, April 11, 2008


We had a line of strong thunderstorms go through this afternoon. There were many tornadoes spotted, but none in our immediate area. We did get 0.25" of rain, though.

I went to Vicki's this morning, just to talk for a while about possible plans for the gallery and directions and just "stuff". We got in some great exploration about what was possible and needed for and from any gallery we started. Later, John and I went to have dinner with Vicki and Roger and pretty much brain-stormed ideas about the gallery and what it can or should be. We wound up with some goals and parameters and possibilities. Too early to discuss with specificity yet, but we'll get there.

I'll again recommend The Sandbox - the military blog presented by Doonesbury. Click here to read the whole piece. The writer's final line is "So my question to the American people is: Are you ready for war?" Check it out.

Today's photo is a storm last spring in Colorado.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One of those days...

Ever have one of those days when you're just a blank? This seems to be one for me. And we've always said - if you don't have anything to say, the least you can do is shut up!

So I'll just shut up.

Thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hooray for Alex!

I thought we were through with basketball, but just a few more notes. The WNBA draft was held today. All five Lady Vol seniors were drafted (Candace Parker #1, and Alexis Hornbuckle #4). That's wonderful! But even more special, is that our own Lady Mocs star, Alex Anderson, was drafted, #39, by the San Antonio Silver Stars. She's the first Lady Mocs player to be drafted.

Did anybody see the PBS Frontline program of 28/29 March, called Bush's War? We recorded it, and have just watched the first of two programs tonight. It puts the whole war/Bush presidency in a chronology - untangling all the strings and knitting them together. It is absolutely damning. Click here to go to the PBS web page and a clickable to listen to the whole program. It's long, but a must see!

Today's photo is a rose from last fall - it won't be long before they're blooming again.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A good day all around!

All in all, it was a pretty good day today. The temperature was 75, it was a sunny day. The redbud is in full bloom, and the dogwoods are not far behind. And then it got better!

Ken wrote that he had gotten home from Houston. He got upgraded to first class on the plane. But overshadowing that, the mass is already noticeably smaller. The docs said it would be very receptive to chemo and radiation, but that's amazing!

And then, for the icing on the cake, the Lady Vols played a terrific game and won over Stanford 64-48. It was an awesome performance. They are truly the best!

I've posted this photo before, but it is definitely spring!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Congratulations, Kansas!

Wow - what a ballgame! It looked like Memphis was winning, but then Kansas tied it up and put the game into overtime. And Kansas was just too strong, without enough time for Memphis to come back. Kansas 75, Memphis 68. Only one more game in the 2007-08 college basketball season.

Today was the usual Monday, but it was nice to get back into the ol' routine. I even got a few good cards at bridge. Not enough to finish first, I'm sure, but enough to keep things interesting.

Ken was back in Houston today, for his second chemo sesstion. He saw both docs (surgeon and oncologist), and both said things were going well. At least, this time, he had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

We certainly wish the ballgames didn't start at 9 p.m. eastern time. John got a nap between dinner and the start of the game, but it definitely kept him up past his bedtime.

Today's photo is definitely not typical of March Madness.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Tonight's game was MUCH harder work than we would've liked, but it will be Tennessee against Stanford in the championship game on Tuesday. GO, LADY VOLS!!! Watching Stanford take care of UConn was almost like watching the men's game between Kansas and UNC. They had no problem at all. The UT/LSU game was much closer, lower scoring, and in doubt until the very end. The Championship games (men AND women) should be good ones.

Today was a nice, restful day - with only laundry getting done. Back into the routine tomorrow, though. I probably won't be worth a hoot at swimming, but I certainly am looking forward to getting some kinks worked out in the pool. I could pass on Wal-Mart, but the cupboard is very bare, and I need to do a major stocking up. Sometimes you just can't get out of it.

Today photo is a preview of swimming - to get me in the mood.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Home is wonderful!

Home is a wonderful place - word - concept - fact - definitely a comfort zone. I'm glad I could go to Houston and the Valley to help, but as with any trip - it's good to get home.

The wedding shower for Amanda was a great success. Six of us drove over from Hendersonville, and, of course, it was a non-stop talk-fest. It made the drive go very quickly. The luncheon was in a lovely little restaurant in an old house in a tiny Tennessee town. The food was great, and a great time was had by all. There were lovely presents for the new couple, and we all enjoyed watching the excitement.

We went back to Margaret's where John was waiting. We stayed for a bit, and then headed for home. If any of you live in this area, I hope you get the chance to drive along I-24 between Murfreesboro and Chattanooga in the next week or so. The redbud trees along the interstate is spectacular this year! And the dogwoods are just starting to bloom.

And who would have thought that Memphis and Kansas would annihilate UCLA and North Carolina - absolute blow-out games. Did anybody else notice that all four teams had blue as their primary color?

I couldn't close out the day without a photo of our dignified bride-to-be.

Friday, April 04, 2008

In Hendersonville - FINALLY

Well, I am no longer in the clutches of the airlines - and somehow I didn't think that would ever happen today.

Betsy got me to the airport in Harlingen this morning, and it was early enough for them to book me on an earlier flight to Houston. OK - that works, if it makes them happy. Of course, the plane was late arriving (had to detour around storms between Dallas and Harlingen). But we still got to Houston before the plane of my previous reservation would have left. This means that I was in Houston at 10:30 a.m.

My flight from Houston to Nashville was due to leave at 2:15. Of course, due to the storms in the SE, any plane going to or from that area was delayed. We wound up BOARDING the plane about 4:15. We pushed away from the gate, and then sat on the runway until after 5. Part of the time, the pilot even cut the engines.

The plane eventually left, and with what was obviously quite a tailwind, we got to Nashville about 6:30. Don & Flo were there to pick me up (bless 'em!). Ken, there was only ONE turquoise bag on the plane this time. We stopped and got sandwiches at Panera Bread on the way to the house, and I'm about ready to head for the bed.

The good part of this was that I read almost all of The Kite Runner today - and I'll finish the last few pages before I go to bed tonight. It's an excellent book - I recommend it. And I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

I'm on a borrowed computer tonight, so no photo.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring, here and there.

I do love my laptop! I got my boarding passes for tomorrow's flights this morning. (Ken had to print them at his office, but that worked, too.) Betsy thought I had had to go to the airport to get them. I told her that I thought some airlines were issuing tickets only on-line. She posed an interesting question - what do people do who don't have computers. Damned if I know.

Betsy and a friend took me to lunch at a great little Mexican restaurant. Wonderful freshly made typical Mexican dishes. A great treat! And then for supper, Chris grilled some wahoo filets from a fish that he had caught. I can here it now - just what DID you do in Texas? Obviously, we ate.

Ken's beginning to feel some effects, but both of us think that we're already able to see some decrease in the size of the mass. That's really quick. I hope it's not just wishful thinking. He's found that MDAnderson has a travel service that is able to get plane tickets for good fares, with no penalties for late ordering or changing dates. He's probably going to be taking advantage of that.

We had typically Valley weather today - high around 90, with 30 mph winds out of the south. Tomorrow, Nashville is supposed to have rain and highs in the low 60s. Welcome to spring!

Today's picture is spring in Charleston in early March.

Edinburg & Weslaco

It was about 90 degrees here today. Y'all know that that is way too hot for me. But, after all, that is why they invented air conditioning.

I spent some lovely time with Betsy today. I went to her retirement complex and had lunch with her and her buddies. Then I took her out to run errands - bank, grocery, library, etc. It was fun, and just the kind of stuff I like to do with her.

Ken had a pretty good day. He went in to work and then to help with a previously scheduled golf tournament. He's still having some problems with hiccups, and now maybe a little bit of nausea.

We had gotten some tamales last night for supper (YUM!!!), and I got some more of those tonight. That's certainly something that we don't find in Tennessee.

I happened to catch part of an interesting panel discussion on PBS tonight on caring for one's parents. Click here to read about the program and/or even listen to it on-line.

Today's picture is dune fencing on Folly Beach, SC.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

In the Valley

We got to the hospital yesterday in time for a 2 p.m. appointment, and were there until he finished his first chemo treatment at 2:30 a.m. this morning. After they started his chemo about 8 p.m., they said it would take 5-6 hours. I finally convinced my aunt to let me take her "home", so I did that, then went back to the hospital. He may have dozed some during the infusion, but I just managed to finish a sock.

Ken did very well, with no immediate side effects. Another cousin (on the other side of his family) has just had a double mastectomy with chemo and starting radiation called tonight. She said that she didn't have any nausea until about 2-3 days after the first infusion. He does have meds for that. He'll go back next Monday for the second treatment - means of travel to be determined.

We left Houston this morning about 9:30, and drove down to The Rio Grande Valley where they live. I've got my aunt's car, and staying at Ken's (where there is WiFi). I'll go pick Betsy up in the morning and take her around to run errands.

My current plan is to fly to Nashville on Friday, stay with friends, and then go to the shower for Amanda at Margaret's on Saturday. Then John can take me home, and I can crash for a few days.

Go, Lady Vols!!!