Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We don't do much for Halloween. Actually it didn't really happen around here. We have no small children in our neighborhood. We do have some candy, and leave the lights on. But nobody knocked on our door. Oh, well. At least I bought candy that we don't like - so we're not even tempted. We'll keep it around for guests.

We went out to eat tonight - to our wonderful neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. The food is so good, and prepared in a very healthy manner. We were early, and were the only customers during that time. The owner sat and talked with us while we ate. She's a lovely lady, and we talked about holiday meals and family and herbs and even voting. I'm going to take her my instructions for cooking a country ham. Nothing like exchanging cross-cultural recipes.

There was an earthquake in Tennessee this morning, near Maryville. But, it was so small, we wouldn't have known about it if they hadn't mentioned it on the news.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Miscellany #2

This morning got off to an running start. I slept a bit late, had some breakfast, then settled into the chair to read the paper. About that time, John reminded me that I had a pedicure appointment in less than 20 minutes. I wouldn't have thought that I could slosh some mouthwash, get dressed, and get the 5 miles to the nail salon and not be late. Whew! I hope I don't do that again.

After our lunch bunch, we visited a friend who had a hip replacement last week. She's doing great, has already started her PT, and is raring to get back into the swing of things. What amazing things are happening in medicine now.

We're starting to get information about holiday scheduling. All these scattered folks seem to get plans made for gatherings. It's always fun!

Today was the last day for early voting in Tennessee. There have been record numbers of voters across the state, and lines have been long. They started lining up an hour before opening at the Election Commission office this morning, and had a line about that long at closing time, 12 hours later. And they're predicting more record turnout on Election Day.

Kate sent this youtube video link. It's a good one - check it out.

Getting ready for the show

I'm having a solo exhibit at the Gallery in January and February. The title of the exhibit will be "Eccentric & Eclectic" (at least at the moment. We're trying to come up with writing to go on the announcement card, along with an image of one of my paintings. Jean and Vicki are helping, and have gotten us off to a good start - with something like this...

(note: I keep trying to reproduce in here the look that Jean and Vicki have started, but I haven't been able to do it. Suffice it to say that my name is done in vertical capital letters, with the Es in ZELLE being the opening letters in "Eccentric" and "Eclectic".)

I'm liking it so far. John thinks another possibility would be to have words for the "Z" and the two "L"s. He's skimmed the dictionary and come up some possibilities, and some definite rejects. Any ideas out there? Comments?

Did y'all watch the 30 minute Obama program tonight? It was remarkable. The piece was exceptionally well done, professional and every detail significant. Basically the whole campaign has been run this way. Only six more days!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Two of my most-visited internet sites are not cooperating this evening. SeniorNet has been down since late afternoon. This is beginning to get frustrating. The site was reportedly attacked by a virus weekend before last, and was down. Then this past weekend, it was closed for regular maintenance. So today's closure is unexplained so far. Grrrrr.

But even worse, our primary household e-mail site has also been unaccessible since late afternoon. On the laptop, I get to our mail through the website. John gets it on the desktop through Outlook Express. Neither way gets to it tonight. Is anybody else having trouble with their comcast mail - or is it just in this area. The access to the internet and our TV cable seem to be working just fine. Double GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

After an unexpected start this morning, in the form of a brief shower of sleet, today was gorgeous. Highs in the low 50s and bright sunshine. Too cold for John, but I loved it. The weather-guessers are predicting an almost certain frost tonight.

Today's photo is of some lovely lilies on Catalina Island.

Monday, October 27, 2008

R.I.P., Tony Hillerman (1925-2008)

Tony Hillerman died today. How many wonderful hours we've spent learning about the Navajos and their culture. He was a great storyteller. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee became welcome visitors in our house, thanks to Hillerman's great stories. His understanding of the Navajo and their culture was so comprehensive that the Navajos trusted him implicity and made him an honorary member of their community.

And we learned to love the magnificent landscape of the Dineh - the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. The geography of NW New Mexico and NE Arizona was as much a character in his stories as any of the people. We always read his books with the AAA Indian County map nearby. We could always follow his characters through the plot. And in real life, we spent many hours driving those roads, and finding those remote locations mentioned in his stories. Things were always exactly where he said they were.

We learned about the Navajo and Zuni art and crafts. Once we heard about the Crownpoint (NM) rug auction, we knew we had to go there. The rugs are auctioned once a month in this remote village. The weaver gets 100% of the selling price. Granted some are sold to dealers who make great profits on them. But many, too, go to delighted purchasers - like us - who are end consumers and are thrilled to have them in our homes.

Tony Hillerman lived a long, full life, and we are glad that he was able to be part of our life.

Betsy called this evening, full of happiness and relief, and had to share her news. Ken had called her to say that all looked good, and there was no recurrence of the tumor. No further treatment is planned, other than, I assume, routine check-ups.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Amazing things happen sometime! Kate called this evening, and their stolen camper has been found!!!! And, at least on the exterior, not trashed or crashed or used as a meth lab. A Game & Fish Dept. Ranger was making a routine patrol through a remote area in a county east of them, and found this at-the-moment unoccupied camper. The ranger checked the VIN, and found it had been scratched off.

This aroused his suspicion and he contacted the manufacturer of the trailer to find the location of a second VIN, which the thief obviously hadn't known about. The ranger called in and found the trailer had been reported stolen, so he contacted Kate. It's being held until they can go pick it up, and then check the interior. As Kate said, the funniest thing would be if the thief called in to report it stolen. That would certainly make him/her a nominee for a Darwin Award.
As for us, we had a delightful afternoon. The Friends of the Library Board sponsors an annual event for library employees. This year, it happened to be a trip on the Southern Belle - the local riverboat that does day cruises on the Tennessee River. We signed up to go, and today was the day. The weather was absolutely perfect. We had our lunch, and then spent the rest of the afternoon on the upper deck, watching the river go by.

We covered pretty much the same stretch of river that we did a few weeks ago on the Aquarium boat, but this one was slower and a bit more laid back. There was narrative occasionally, but, although we took a few photographs and I knitted, mostly we just enjoyed. It was still too early for good fall color, although there were a few sourwood trees that had turned. All in all, a special day.

Today's photos are from the cruise today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Lasagne Saturday

Today was much busier than our usual Saturday. John left early to go to Lula Lake on Lookout Mountain for a hike and field trip with some folks from the Photo Society. He said the hike was much more strenuous and longer than he had expected. But he got some nice photos, and the weather was gorgeous!

I went to the library to pick up some books, and wound up going on to a Saturday trip to Wal-Mart to get lasagne ingredients. And making lasagne pretty much took up the rest of the day. There was no supply of lasagne in the freezer, and I really needed to remedy that. I fixed a small one for supper tonight, but mostly they're for the freezer.

While the sauce was simmering, I watched The Savages. It's a 2007 movie with Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Philip Bosco. These are superb performances, but a very distressing movie. The situation is much too close to home - with the two siblings who were estranged from their father, having to take care of him in the last few weeks of his life.

John got home in time to watch a couple of not-at-all close football games. Georgia beat LSU, and Alabama had no trouble at all with Tennessee. Tennessee is having its worst season in years.

Today's photos are John's from his hike today - the falls at Lula Lake, and an abstract of fallen leaves in a still pool.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Molly Ivins was right!

When writing about the idiocies of politics, the late Molly Ivins supposed said: "I can't make this stuff up!" She was SO right!

This week the Republican Campaign seemed to implode...

- The Campaign expense report lists having spent $150,000 on a wardrobe for Sarah Palin. Click here.

- Palin's hairdresser is the highest paid consultant in the Campaign.
Click here.

- John McCain's brother makes call to 911 to complain about backed-up traffic.
Click here

- McCain volunteer made up a story about being attacked by an Obama supporter.
Click here

Implosion from Google Images.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome and congratulations!

It's hard to believe, but I actually slept until 8:45 this morning. John got up and out - I heard him, but went right back to sleep. I love it!!!

Lunch and haircuts made our usual Thursday. I checked out the new seafood store. The owner is going to try to get us some blue crabs. He didn't offer a lot of hope for success, but at least it's a try. The seafood he had in the store today looked nice - and I'm sure I'll be getting some goodies there.

There was a wonderful story on our local news today. Over 100 folks were granted US citizenship today in Chattanooga. I always get goosebumps when they show the rooms full of people raising their hands to swear to be good citizens of this great country. And for them to be honoring us this way, just in time to vote in the presidential election, is especially significant. Congratulations and welcome to all our new citizens!

This google picture is following a citizenship ceremony in Los Angeles.

Travel, Movies, and Crabs

We've made our reservations for the Chattanooga/St. Louis trip on the Riverbarge. And we've recommended that the company hire our friend, Dalton, for an entertainment gig on one or both of the legs of the trip. I think he'd be perfect for that venue.

We watched No Country for Old Men tonight. It's certainly a dark, violent movie, but some excellent performances (Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin). Javier Bardem, the guy who plays the dark lead, was the romantic interest in the current Woody Allen movie, Vicki Christine Barcelona. A versatile actor.

The food section of the paper this morning did a piece on a new fresh seafood vendor here. I called to see if they ever carried live blue crabs. He said that he could try to order some for us, but I'd have to go by a leave a deposit. I don't think that's unreasonable. I'm going to go by there in the morning, and place an order. We're already salivating.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A busy Tuesday

I've just finished a 2000 book by David Baldacci, Wish You Well. This is not one of his legal thrillers - but set in southwestern Virginia in 1940. An excellenet read.

I spent the day at the Gallery today and even did a little painting. Around dinner time, we went a program on Photography Today given by the teacher of photography at the community college.. He's a good photographer and teacher, but not the greatest of speakers. And the photographs he showed were mostly not our cup of tea. We like "art" photographs and abstract ones, as well as the beautiful and/or scenic shots. But these were not what we were particularly interested in seeing. Oh, well. We went to a nearby restaurant we'd wanted to try afterwards, though, and had a good dinner.

I've talked about the Riverbarge Excursions that we've done and loved. I guess we'll be taking another one next year. They're finally coming to Chattanooga. The trip to Chattanooga comes from Nashville, and that'll be the week we're at the beach. But the following trip goes from Chattanooga to St. Louis and leaves a few days after we get home - and I'm pretty sure we'll be on that one. I've been wanting to take one of their trips to St. Louis.

Today's picture is of John in the guest wheelhouse of the River Explorer, watching the river go by.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Easy pickings for the Language Snob

Y'all know by know that I'm a terrible language snob - I admit it, and tend to wallow in it. You also know how I feel about the soon-to-be ex-President. His words or even voice are rarely heard in this house. Occasionally, he slips in before I can hit the mute button.

Today in a news broadcast, this is the phrase that I heard: "As I said Friday, this thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." WHAT????? What the crap does that mean?

Since Google is my friend, I searched for that phrase and came up with a transcript of the speech from in which he used it. Click here to read the whole speech, given in Alexandria, LA, on 20 October 2008. It's mostly incomprehensible, but the offending phrase is in the next-to-last paragraph.

20 January 2009 cannot come soon enough!
Tonight, we watched Advise and Consent - the 1962 film based on Allan Drury's book. It's an interesting period piece, with all the greats of Hollywood at the time. The acting is superb. Give it a watch sometime.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Today is a day for sunflowers.

Betsy, Sarah, and Jordan make my day

We had an artists' meeting today at the Gallery, to set up some schedules and get a little bit of organization under way. You know how it is with artists - organization frequently isn't our strong point. Anyhow, the opening last night went well. There was a good crowd - both invited and drop-ins. There were several sales and a commission contracted. Not bad for our first "opening".

But the best parts of the day were small (but wonderful) events. We got a box of home-made cookies in the mail. My wonderful Aunt Betsy made them for us - and they are SO good. Thanks again, Betsy, you made my day!

And I got an e-mail from Sarah that made my day. She told me that her roommate and her sorority had made the Walk for the Cure this morning. And that her roommate had added my name to her bib. What wonderful young women they are! And what a sweetie she is. Thanks so much, Jordan and Sarah - you made my day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not just a right, but an obligation!

I voted today - no lines when I went. I've voted in every possible election since I turned 21, and I get choked up every single time. What a wonderful act we're able to perform. And, in my humble opinion, voting is not just a privilege - it's an obligation! We owe it to our country, to our communities, to our neighbors, to our families, and to ourselves to get off our butts and vote!

The cortisone shot did seem to help my knee. It still feels a little bit stiff, but I'm not having any pain. And I really am being good about staying off of it. I spent some time at the Gallery today, but I mostly sat with my leg up on a chair, and an ice pack on the knee.

Sue and Randy are on one of the last cruises of the Delta Queen. This trip on the paddle wheel boat is going from Nashville, down the Cumberlad River to the Ohio River - then up the Ohio to Cincinnati. They're getting some gorgeous weather. We're finally getting some fall weather here. The high today was 68, and it's supposed to be in the 40s tonight. My kind of weather!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I got to sleep in a little bit this morning - always a treat. I called the rheumatologist's office to see if I could get in earlier than December for my scheduled appointment - just to get my knee looked at. The nurse told me to come in this afternoon for a cortisone injection. YEA!!! So I did.

The instructions for that include being a "couch potato" for two days. (Nasty John says he knows that will be SO hard for me.) So we cancelled going to the Photo Society tonight, and I'll go to the Gallery only for a couple of hours (sitting) tomorrow, and I'll have to skip the artist's opening tomorrow night. I had in mind to cast my early vote tomorrow. I'll go by the Election Commission to check, but if the line is too long, I'll wait until next week.

We tried to get our flu shots after our Thursday lunch, but it wasn't meant to be. I misread which CVS drugstore was giving the shots, and the "doc-in-the-box" won't be starting giving shots for another week. Oh, well - I guess one shot a day is enough. And I'd rather have the cortisone injection.

I've been taking some pain medicine, sitting in the recliner, and keeping an ice pack on it. So far, no real discomfort from it. I hope it works for the knee pain.

The dogwoods have started to change colors - just our first taste of fall color. Here's a photo taken on our RiverExplorer trip last fall. We're looking forward to seeing the array this year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An easier day

Definitely an easier day today. I had to go to the Hobby Lobby across town at the HM (Huge Mall) to get some yellow yarn for the afghan I'm making, and then order some blue and purple on line. I should get it before I'm ready for it.

Vicki and I got more straightening done at the Gallery this morning. Things were a big calmer, and we were both able to think and work at less than a frantic pace. She had had a lot of inquiries about a piece of Jean's pottery that was on display. It's definitely not for sale (was Jean's wedding present to Vicki and Roger). I looked in the garage, and found a couple of boxes of pottery, so I'll take that to see if any of it will work for display and, hopefully, for sale.

John put out our new Obama sign this morning. And, so far, it's still there. We shall see. Early voting started in Tennessee today, and in our county, over 4000 people voted today. Assuming that holds, we're going to have a very large turnout this year. We kept the classical music station on all evening - avoiding tonight's debate. Just couldn't take another one. I'm SO ready for this election to be over.

In honor of yesterday's gorgeous full moon, today's photo is of Io (one of Jupiter's moons) from the Astronomy Picture of the Day several months ago.

Blog Action Day - this was new to me, but obviously, this is an annual thing, and somebody, somewhere decides on the subject. Today's subject is Poverty. It's certainly a huge problem throughout the world. In our area, we're always reading about various organizations going to third-world countries to help with various needs, or collecting money for various causes. I don't question that these causes are worthy. But I wonder why a local group feels it has to go to Central America or to Africa to hold a medical clinic or to build houses for homeless people. There are certainly similar needs right here in our community. But somehow, charity at home doesn't seem to have the same glamour as that in a foreign country, and certainly cannot draw as much money in contributions. Just an observation............

A long Tuesday!

Tuesday was long. I was gone from about 9 until nearly 9 tonight - most unusual for me. I spent the day at the Gallery. One of our artists is having a solo show, and we got most of it hung today. Well, I mostly stayed out of the way and answered the phone - but I do that extremely well! Tuesday is my day to stay until 4. But then I had a Friends of the Library Board meeting at 4:30, and that's only a few blocks away. After that I met John at the rowing center. We were going to an event at the University at 7, and the time was too short for me to go home and then come back, so we just sat on the deck and watched the lovely evening and the river.

The annual event was put on by the Mocs Club to honor our Lady Mocs - all the women's athletic teams - at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. The teams are basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf, and track & field (mostly cross-country). There was a light buffet dinner served by members of the men's basketball team.

What a gorgeous bunch of young women these are! The speakers, of course, praised the athletic achievements of the teams and athletes (one of our volleyball players just broke the NCAA record for the most number of digs during a game). But they spent more time extolling the academic records of these ladies. Over the years, the women athletes have had a graduation rate 23% higher than that of the total student body. And their combined GPA for the last semester was 3.008. Quite a record!

Monday, October 13, 2008

How low can you get?

We are now officially pissed! Somebody stole the Obama/Biden sign out of our yard this afternoon. I'll get another one tomorrow, but I fear that one will disappear, too.

In swimming this morning, I suddenly remembered that we needed to get a baby present. We still have a couple of weeks, but my back is definitely to the wall. I definitely need to get that afghan started. I went to Hobby Lobby this morning and bought a bunch of yarn. And, of course, I got the wrong weight yarn. So back it will go in the morning, and I'll get the right stuff Guess I know what I'll be working on for the next couple of weeks.

It's a small world. One of my internet friends from SeniorNet went to an Elderhostel in Gulf Shores last week. Among the other participants were two folks that I know from Chattanooga. Fun coincidences happen sometimes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tarahumara crafts

We vegged out even more than usual today. Having said that, I did do the laundry and (gasp!!!!) cleaned off the desk - reconciled the bank statement, logged some more bill payments, and got the filing done. There's actually a counter under all that paper.

Therefore, I'm just going to post some photographs tonight. These are some of the lovely wares that were offered for sale by the Tarahumara Indians in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lists, etc.

Today was even quieter than usual - with John's being gone all day. I did get some paperwork done, though. I assembled a mailing list for gallery notices. It's to be merged with the general city and Southside mailing lists, to avoid duplications when they send out mailings. Good plan - plus they pay for the bulk mailing.

John said the Head Race went well. He didn't get home until nearly 6, after leaving about 7 this morning. He held up pretty well. And we even got to the post-race party for a little while. He's planning to take a well-deserved day off tomorrow.

I talked to a friend at the local PBS affiliate, and the Antiques Roadshow programs (three) recorded in Chattanooga will be shown beginning 31 March 2009. I'll be giving more specific information when the exact dates are announced. She said that they had just found that out yesterday.

Today's photos are of the tickets from the Roadshow sessions, and of folks waiting in line with their "stuff".

The usual Friday

I know y'all get tired of hearing - this was just a usual Friday (or whatever day it was). But, frankly, it has been nice that this was just a "regular" week. Next week will be more complicated and busy, I think.

Tomorrow is the Chattanooga Head Race. I posted a photo of an eight yesterday. John will be working the start line, and will be there all day tomorrow. He'll be out of here early in the morning. If all goes well, I'll manage to sleep through that. There is to be a party tomorrow evening for all the volunteers, and we'll probably go.

The PBS Friday-night programs were, as expected, all about the presidential campaign and the economy. That's always our "must-see" night on TV. I'm looking forward to voting early (starts on 15 October in Tennessee), and then trying to ignore all the TV, newspaper, and magazines until 4 November.

Today's photo is one of John's from the Getty Museum in California - one of his great abstracts. If I've posted it before, it's just because I think it's such a great photo.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An October Thursday

We actually got some rain yesterday - a little over 2". According to our weather-folk, this was more than we got in the entire month of September! But it's been so dry, the ground was wet only about 1/8" below the surface. And we'll still take any rain we can get.

Our Thursday lunch was back to the full group again today. This is such a weekly treat - and nothing we ever miss (if at all possible).

And, we went out for dinner tonight, too. A friend's mother died about a month ago, and they've been staying at her house occasionally. They're seriously considering selling their house, and moving into this one. They invited us over for dinner, and to see the house and help them brainstorm about various possibilities. It's a nice house, and they seem to be very comfortable in that setting. We urged him to retain a lawyer for advice and for avoiding missteps along the road to probate. Good luck, friend!

The Chattanooga Head Race is Saturday. This is a rowing regatta, and John will be working on the start line - probably all day. Today's photo was taken last weekend from Ross's Landing in downtown Chattanooga - this is an "eight" women's group from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga team.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Robin Roberts - a classy broad!

Nightline (ABC News) featured Robin Roberts and her battle with breast cancer in tonight's program. It's a remarkable story, and she's a remarkable woman. Click here to read something about it, and search the internet for other stories. This documentation of her journey is great!

The second debate

It is actually raining here tonight! Not much, and we're not going to have anything to put towards relieving our drought, but it is something, and it really feels like fall outside. It'll just be for Wednesday and Thursday, and then the temps go back into the 80s. Welcome to Tennessee!

We watched the debate tonight. John asked me for a one-sentence observation. All I could come up with was "not a game-changer". John's was that neither actually won the evening.

The pundits seem to think that because McCain didn't do anything spectacular, it's more of a loss for him. He (McCain) didn't do anything to jump him in the polls. And, by the way, I HATE polls (in every way I can imagine). Another one said that the debate really didn't matter at this point - the events of the last couple of weeks were just too momentous and overshadowed all else.

My favorite comment, though, was from my friend, Essie's, blog. She wrote:
McCain is interesting to watch without the sound. It makes me notice things like his expression. He is tight-faced, like a cranky senior citizen. His expression says “my hemorrhoids hurt”. Obama’s body language is easy, relaxed. He moves like an athlete. The audience is very quiet, sitting stiffly in their chairs. Only a few of the questioners seem comfortable reading their questions into the mike. Perhaps they should have hired pinch-readers.

And I love this photo, titled "The Real Debate".

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday is Monday!

Monday is Monday! Although it was a very light day at Wal-Mart. I even got to go through the 20-items-or-less line. That surely doesn't happen often on the regular weekly visit.

John got his restaurant gift certificate for having the highest average score for the third quarter this year - we chose our favorite Chinese restaurant. Yum! Having said that, we both had terrible cards today. At least, only the top 10 scores out of the thirteen possible ones get averaged.

We watched Michael Clayton tonight - a powerful, but strange movie. We almost turned it off after about 20 minutes, because it made no sense. John said that "it had to get better", so we gave it a while longer, and then the story finally started to become clear. Clooney is really a terrific actor!

There's a strong rumor on the internet that Clooney will be playing the title role in a new movie about the Lone Ranger. And it's also rumored that Johnny Depp will play Tonto in the movie. What a hoot that could be!
Political note: Have you heard about the new organization? G.A.S.P. That's Girls Against Sarah Palin.
Today's photos are two that John took on the Scripps campus in San Diego.

An October Sunday

Another gorgeous day in East Tennessee! This afternoon we went to the Gallery to have it open during the Art on Main Festival, held in the parking lot next door - a benefit for Chattanooga Cares. I know at least one of our Gallery artists sold a painting, but we had to leave about half-way through. They surely had great weather for the event.

We left to go to the concert by the Chamber Orchester of Tennessee. This series of programs is a hidden jewel. The series has six programs, and they are all FREE! They ask for financial support and subscriptions, of course, but there's nothing pushy about it. This group consisted of about 12 superb professional musicians and a charming conductor. The conductor works with the group for the love of the music No matter, the results are exceptional. Today's program included works by Bach, Vivaldi, and Schubert. What a great end to a lovely afternoon!

For today's photograph, I couldn't resist sharing Clay Bennett's editorial cartoon from today's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A lovely Saturday

Considering that our Saturdays are usually pretty laid back, today was rather busy. We took our first ride on the new Tennessee Aquarium River Explorer. The Aquarium opened a new attraction last spring - a high-speed catamaran-hulled boat to take visitors into the Tennessee River Gorge. We decided to wait until cooler weather set in before giving the new boat a try. In the last newsletter, the Aquarium listed a Hawk Watch into the Gorge for today, so we signed up.

The River Explorer is relatively small, so the 50 or so passengers are seated comfortably with great visibility. The boat can go amazingly fast - about 50-55 mph - and can stop very quickly. Passengers are not allowed out of the cabin unless the boat has slowed down to its crusing speed. There is no seating on top, and it's relatively crowded when many of the passengers are on the viewing platform. Unfortunately, we didn't see many birds, mostly great blue herons, turkey and black vultures, but only one red-tailed hawk. The guides were very knowledgeable about the birds and wildlife, and also about the local history and sights along the river. We had gorgeous weather, and it's such a treat to be able to see the Gorge from the river. We'll definitely recommend this one (as all the other attractions at the Aquarium).

This evening, John rowed this afternoon, and his rowing partner and her husband came over for dinner. We had hamburgers, and a delightful evening on the deck. There's not much better than good food and good friends.

Tonight's photos were taken in the Tennessee River Gorge this morning.


We've started to talk about our travels for 2009. So many choices - and dates to be considered and avoided. Ones we talked about tonight included Iceland, Spain and the Dordogne in France, and Costa Rica. We know that February and March are taken up with basketball; and the first week in July is reserved at the beach. Such a dilemma!!! Who'd've ever thought that we'd be making such decisions.

One thing we learned to watch for when we travel is the floors. Some of the floor tell stories with their age and wearing; some tell stories about the opulent lifestyles of their owners. Some are magnificent art. Here are some of John's photographs of floors from our recent trip.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP Debate

Much to our amazement, we watched the whole vice-presidential debate tonight. We usually totally avoid that sort of thing - but I guess it was sort of like slowing down to see if there's been a train wreck. And we had to say that Palin did quite well during the debate - certainly didn't commit any egregious errors. She still says "EYE-raq" and "EYE-ran" and (shudder) "noo-cuh-lar", though. In our opinion, not surprisingly, there was no question about Biden's "winning" the debate, though, based on knowledge, delivery, experience, answers, etc.

Overall impression from this corner: Democrats - disappointed that Palin didn't implode; Republicans - breathing a sign of relief that Palin didn't implode.

Check out this web site for some beautiful satellite photographs

News flash!

News flash! If anybody out there has seen somebody pulling a 1998 Jayco trailer, 27 feet long, near Hanson, KY, please report it to the police. One was stolen there. It has around 50,000 miles on it and a bad tire, and might be very dangerous to be pulling. Can you believe somebody had the gall to go into a fenced storage yard, back up to, and hook up a trailer and drive off with it????? Let's be kind and think that this person was thrown out of his/her house after a foreclosure and had to have someplace to live. That's pretty desperate.

We've had a few days of cool weather, and it has been delightful. It's going to get back up into the 80s for a few more days, but this has been a nice taste of fall. It does bring with it, of course, the downside of the awful autumn allergies of the Tennessee Valley. A good few days of rain would probably take care of that, but it's not in the forecast anywhere.

More of the travelog in a day or two. We're still working on the photographs.