Thursday, December 31, 2009


One of the folks we play bridge with is a 94-year-old lady. On Monday, somebody asked her if she was looking forward to the new year. She replied, "Oh yes, I always want to see what's going to happen next."

What a terrific way to look at life!

Let me count the ways!

How stupid is this - on any and all levels?!?!

It's alleged that a football coach punished a player (who was suffering from a concussion) by locking him alone in a small dark place.
The player is the son of an ESPN commentator.
The coach is put on suspension by the University on 23 December 2009.
The coach files a lawsuit against the University to overturn the suspension.
The coach is fired on 30 December - not for mistreating a player, but for filing the lawsuit.
The coach was due to be awarded an $800,000 bonus if he were still employed by the University on 31 December.

How stupid is this? Let me count the ways!
How stupid is it to abuse a player who is the son of nationally-known sports commentator?
How stupid is it to think anybody will believe the lawsuit and firing aren't about the money?
How stupid is it to think it's unusual for a program that would hire a basketball coach with a reputation for abusing players to hire a football coach who would do the same?

Cold & rainy

Gee, it was cold today - cloudy and windy and just plain raw. And then it started to rain. Guess I shouldn't complain. After all, it's RAIN, not snow.

Margaret and John went up to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols really beat up on Old Dominion (102-62). And both UTC basketball teams won in their respective invitationals. Congrats to all!
These are two photos of the lift bridge across the Erie Canal in Fairport, NY.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Oh, this is wonderful! I never realized what a difference this would make. We got our Christmas present today - an LCD HDTV. We won't be able to get hooked up to the HD channels until next Monday, so no bowl games or Rose Parade in HD.

But, John decided to hook it up to see what kind of picture we'd get in any place. And the difference in picture quality has to be seen to be believed. What a great decision we made.

Merry Christmas to us!
These are docked boats at Fairport, NY. The lift bridge is in the background (photos tomorrow). Our boat (Freedom) is the boat nearest the bridge.

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Monday, December 28, 2009


We looked at TVs Walmart, Best Buy, and Target today - and will go to HHGregg tomorrow. They all seem to be fairly close in price for the size we want. We're pretty sure we'll wind up getting it at BB or HHG - because of the service factor. But it's good to look.

Sarah made 157 (out of 180) on her LSAT. Congratulations!!!
Today's photo was taken on the approach to the lift bridge over the Erie Canal in Fairport, NY.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunny Sunday

John got up on the roof today with the leaf blower to get the last of the leaves off the roof. He knows I hate it when he does that, but I've told him I just keep the phone handy to call 911. I got the laundry done, and organized the freezer compartment of the refrigerator - that's where leftovers tend to wind up and get forgotten.

Andy and Wayne have gone to Nashville to see UK play in the Music City Bowl. Margaret will be going to Atlanta on Thursday to go with Matt & Amanda to the Chick-fil-A Bowl where Tennessee is going to play. I'll stay home.

I've almost finished the shawl I've been working on - just need to Kitchener the pieces together (knitters will understand - otherwise, don't worry about it). Then I guess I'll need to find another major project.
Today's photo is from Fairport, NY. "I got a mule, her name is Sal! Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal."

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day to the Brits, Canadians, Kiwis, and Aussies!

Today was a real do-nothing day - except for lots of knitting and reading. John watched ballgames, and there was an NCIS marathon on all day. Tomorrow won't be much different, except for doing the laundry. We'll make up for it next week - it'll be fairly busy.
Today's photo is some lovely petunias in Fairport, NY.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

On Christmas Day

We had a very quiet day today - mostly just the two of us, with Allan joining us for dinner. We did talk to all the girls, and some of the grandkids. We're getting ourselves a flat-screen HD TV for Xmas, and will probably do that in the next few days. And we'll increase our fiberoptic TV package to the one including the HD channels. We're looking forward to that!

I marinated a pork loin overnight, and cooked it today. It was probably one of the best I've ever done. Along with it, we had baked sweet potatoes, green beans, cornbread and slaw, and I even made a mincemeat pie for dessert. A terrific Christmas dinner!

It's gone down into the 30s now, but we are supposed to see some sunshine tomorrow.
This photo is an old industrial site along the Erie Canal.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's a ZOO out there!

I'm glad we had a good swimming exercise class this morning - it'll be next Monday before the next one. And it's supposed to be rainy, so that means not much of anything else going on. I'm certainly not going anywhere near a mall or shopping center for the next few days. Around noon, I was driving on a major road, and the cars were lined up in a light-controlled left turn lane for about 1/4 mile, waiting to turn into a Target/Best Buy strip center. It's a ZOO out there!

We got haircuts this morning. John had some car trouble, and had to take his car to get worked on. Fortunately, it wasn't hard to diagnose. Unfortunately, we had to into the mall property to take it and pick it up. It was difficult to maneuver through the traffic, but not as bad as we'd feared.

Margaret and Bobby should be on their way to Norfolk. Alison and Joe should be in South Carolina. Christmas is well underway!
At least these creatures don't have to go Christmas shopping.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Teeth and movies

Today was the day for my semi-annual teeth-cleaning. I've had nothing more than that for years. Surprise! One of the +/- 50 year old gold inlay fillings is wearing out. There's a hole in it, and decay has started under it. So now I have an appointment in midJanuary for a partial crown. I guess the old filling did last for an exceptionally long time.
This evening, we went to one of the 1950s movies at the Library. Tonight's film was A Face in the Crowd (1957) starring Andy Griffith in his first film role, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau. It's a powerful movie, with wonderful performances. I'd definitely recommend finding it from Netflix, On Demand, or your local library.
This is an access ramp from the Erie Canal towpath to the overpassing road.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

It's sunshine!!

We had our swimming class holiday brunch after class this morning. It's covered dish, and all the food is SO good. I got an assortment of stuff with tastes of just about everything, but not too much of anything. I fixed my "Something Yummy for Breakfast" (recipe below) and it was a big hit. John and I just skipped lunch, though. LOL

The cards were pretty good to us at bridge today. John and I had a great first round together, with John even bidding and making a small no-trump slam, vulnerable. Lots of points for that one hand. Nothing that good the rest of the day, but it was still fun.

We finally saw some sunshine today, and the official high was 51. It was a nice day.
This photo shows more of how well used the Erie Canal towpath is.



2 cans crescent rolls
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
fruit (optional - blackberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, etc.)
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Unroll 1 can of rolls in greased 13x9" dish. Press edges together. Mix softened cream cheese with 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla. Spread over rolls. Top with fruit, if used. Cover with second can of rolls, unrolled like first one. Pour melted butter over top. Top with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmet, and pecans. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food, food, food

This was a cooking weekend - getting the freezer stocked up. I made my huge soup-pot of chili yesterday, and got that bagged (1-qt zipper bags) in the freezer. And we made 12 single-meal meat loaves - also wrapped and in the freezer. Today was for split-pea soup, using the ham bone from the Thanksgiving country ham - with the meat bits left on the bone. And now that's all done and in the freezer.

I probably won't doing that much cooking again until next November/December sometime. At least I hope not!

Allan came over for burgers. Later, Randy came by on his way to his folks' house, and brought us some South Carolina breakfast sausage.

No wonder we're all overweight - all we do is cook, eat, or talk about food.
Today's photo is showing how to use the Erie Canal towpath in the 21st Century.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cooking, cooking, cooking

It was a cooking Saturday! The chili is made and the pot is on the deck, cooling down to bag in the morning. The meat loaves are made and in the freezer. And we're both tired. Tomorrow is for split-pea soup.

We were one out of four in basketball today. The Vols and the Lady Vols were badly beaten on the West Coast, by USC and Stanford. The Mocs lost to Murray State. But the Lady Mocs won handily over UNCGreensboro.

It's been another cold, gloomy day, but at least we're not getting the snow that hit just north of us. Those folks have really been hammered. And it's only going to get worse.
Another photo from along the Erie Canal.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

But it's not snow!

It's been in the low 40s and raining all day today - over 2.5" so far. And the Division 1 (used to 1AA) Football Championship game is here in Chattanooga - Montana vs Villanova. It's rained off and on throughout the game. I surely am glad that I'm not sitting out there - not that I would be even in good weather. Since the semifinal game that Montana won was played in a snowstorm, I'm sure they don't think this is too bad. Anyhow, this is a big deal here, and we surely are glad to have the game here. The contract is up for renewal, and I do hope we get it again.

At least we're not getting the snowstorm that is in the NE corner of Tennessee and on up the Shenandoah Valley in western Virginia. That's supposed to be REALLY bad - 1-2 FEET of snow is pedicted! Driving into downtown to the gallery was really tough in all the rain - plus the extra traffic from the folks here for the ballgame and those folks Xmas shopping.

This evening, we went to a free concert by our friend Dalton Roberts, and some of his friends. It was about half Christmas music, with some bluegrass, folk, and Dalton's unique songs. After that, we went out to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. It surely was a nice evening.

Our very exciting news yesterday was Andy's call to tell us he and Erica were officially engaged. They're great young folks, and it's super that they've found each other. They've got a couple more years of college, and they're planning on waiting until after they graduate to get married. It's wonderful to see "our babies" grow up and see the people they choose to share their lives with.
The photo is morning along the Erie Canal.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lady Mocs lose

I got lots done early this morning - saw the rheumatologist about 8. Everything is doing pretty well in that department. He did get to see my fingers with Raynaud's - they had just turned white as I came in, due to the cold weather. But mostly he just renewed my Rx and did the routine lab work.

I went to the UPS store to send a couple of boxes - not really Xmas presents - stuff just ready to send. I was the only person in the place, so that was a niceness. Then I checked out the Goodwill store, and got some needed juice glasses. While there, I checked out some clothes, and got a couple of shirts for $4+ each - couldn't pass that up. I went to bridge again (John was "rearranging leaves" before it starts to rain again), and again, the cards were pretty yucky. Oh, well.

Kate's going to have her foot surgery on 29 December. Nothing like getting stuff done before the ends of the near and a new deductible period. I hope it works for you, babe!
Reflections on the Erie Canal.

Our Lady Mocs didn't do too well tonight - they lost to Elon by about 8 points.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lady Vols win again

John came down to the Gallery with me this morning after swimming. Margaret came into town and met him there, so the two of them could go to the Aquarium. Margaret hadn't seen the baby penguin or the jellyfish/glass exhibit. She was properly impressed with the fabulous jellyfish exhibit. But the baby penguin had grown up enough that he/she (they don't know yet) looked almost exactly like the adults - no cute baby fluff any more. Oh, well.

Later, they went up to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols beat Louisville by 30 points. On Saturday, the Lady Vols play Stanford (in CA). That should be a major test for both teams.

Today turned out sunny today - and cold. After tomorrow, the weather is supposed to deteriorate again - cold, rain, possible sleet and snow showers. Typical!

This is a closeup of our Erie Canal boat, Freedom. The bicycles came with the boat, but we didn't do any riding.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A cold job on a cold day

Guess I'm going to have to do some marathon cooking over the next few days. I've gotten most of the ingredients that I need, and John did the important preparation today. He defrosted the freezer. What a nasty job that is! But at least it gets stuff cleared out and neatened up. Plus I took some of the year-old stuff left in the freezer, and made some yummy chicken/vegetable soup.

And after this weekend, we should have our year's supply of chili, split pea soup, and meatloaf.
This photo is of "Freedom" at the user-friendly dock at Newark, NY.

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Monday, Monday!

Even the cards were lackluster today. None of the 20 players at bridge today had more than a middling score. Guess that just goes along with the drab, dreary weather.

It's time to defrost the freezer. Oh, joy!!! It's about as empty as it's likely to get. The weather is fairly chilly this week. And I need to be making chili, split pea soup, and meatloaf to fill up the freezer. It sounds like I'm dreading this job. Guess I'd better 'fess up - this is one of those things that John does. Bless him!!!
This photo is from the charming, hospitable town of Newark, NY.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great program

I hope you watched The People Speak on the History Channel tonight. It was a terrific program. Look for reruns.
These are bridge patterns in Newark, NY.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Addendum!! A Must See!

This is a heads-up about a program on Sunday night on The History Channel (8-10 p.m. ET). It's based on Howard Zinn's book, The People Speak. Here's how The History Channel's web site describes it.

The People Speak:

This two-hour special focuses on the concept of democracy, based on the lives and experiences of ordinary Americans who, through their words and actions, changed the course of history. The film will take viewers on a journey from the founding of this country to the civil rights movement and beyond. It features dramatic performances chronicling the history of this country, including charter documents, letters, diaries and more, from such celebrities as Matt Damon and Josh Brolin who are also the Executive Producers, as well as performances by Viggo Mortensen, David Strathairn, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle, Jasmine Guy, Q'orianka Kilcher, Michael Ealy, Kerry Washington, and musical performances from Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Allison Moorer and John Legend. These slices of life will be woven together with archival footage and interviews.

Lady Mocs 69, Clemson Lady Tigers 56

John went to the Y this morning, but I didn't get out of the house until we went to the basketball game in the late afternoon. Our Lady Mocs beat the Clemson Lady Tigers 69-56. I'd hoped we'd win, but didn't think the game would be as one-sided as it was. We love it though.

Since the game was at 5, we assumed we'd go out to dinner afterward. And, of course, since we were downtown, we wound up at our favorite Mexican place. John always gets the same thing - carnitas with salsa verde. I got a chili relleno (Yum!). We decided we save the tamales to have when we get to the Valley in January.

It's getting close to the Winter Solstice. There is a wonderful prehistoric monument in the Orkneys called Maes Howe. There are several web cams there so at this time of year, you can see how the sunbeam at the winter solistice comes through the opening in the mound/monument. Late morning in the US Eastern Time Zone is the best time here. The time at the web cam site is given in GMT. Give it a look.
Today's photo is one of the trompe l'oiel paintings on a bridge abutment at the Erie Canal boat dock in Newark, NY.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Interesting afternoon

It's still nasty cold here, and we're snuggled in our chairs watching basketball games (men's tonight).

John had an interesting afternoon. He couldn't get his 8-month old Dell computer to boot up - it just beeped at him and did nothing else. John called Dell tech services and spent about an hour on the phone with a nice young man in India. John first told the guy (A.) that he (John) was hard of hearing and that he (A.) needed to speak slowly and distinctly. It was going to be difficult to deal with since the computer wouldn't boot up at all. A. actually diagnosed it as a memory problem from listening to the beeps it made. He talked John through removing parts and then re-installing them. The computer now is working great! When they were all through, John asked A. to connect him to his boss, so John could give the boss an "AttaBoy" for the young man - which he did. It's always good to hear a good report on dealing with "tech services in India".

I got a call tonight from my sister's widower (she died in 1996). We usually talk only at Christmas-time. He's a real sweetie, and it's always a treat to get caught up with what he's doing. Plus he stays in close contact with my nieces and nephews, even though they're not his children, so I got caught up on them, too.
Photo of more stuff along the locks on the Erie Canal (It is nice that they use the UTChattanooga blue and gold for their colors.)

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

I love my socks!

This was posted on Seniors & Friends today, and I just had to share it.

Pablo Neruda (Translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as though into two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin.

Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.

They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty,
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

3.75 inches!

We got 3.75" of rain in that storm yesterday. Today we had lots of wind and sunshine, but with moderate temperatures. The cold starts tonight. I surely do feel bad about those folks in the Middle West. They're getting huge amounts of snow.

Not much going on today until basketball time. The Lady Mocs beat Wofford tonight, 81-65. It was a good-sounding score, but it wasn't pretty.

We got a package of Scotch shortbread from Jean today (many thanks!!!). I'm being SO good - have only had a couple of nibbles. Delicious!
This photo is of an old derelict along the Erie Canal.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Rain, rain, rain!

I am not a lover of lawns. Rather would I see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated plantain with tall stems, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too-well-tended lawn. -William Henry Hudson, author and naturalist (1841-1922)
What a nasty, raw day it's been today! It has been pouring rain all evening, but at least it's not snow. I had to drive home from the Friends of the Library council meeting in the dark, in the rain - YUCK!

I was out all day today - just stayed at the studio until time to go to the Library meeting. I did get a bunch of painting done, and that's always satisfying. This time I didn't get any paint on my clothes - something new and different. I took an old t-shirt to change into for painting, and wore a smock over that. I still have paint under my fingernails, though. Oh, well....

I agreed to be vice-chairman for the Friends of the Library for next year - probably a major mistake, but I did it. This is not a mandatory Vice-chairman-into-Chairman office, and I told them that under NO circumstances would I agree to be Chairman in 2011. And if they think I'll change my mind, they're sadly mistaken - it ain't gonna happen! I've been president of an organization before, and I will never do it again. The young woman who is chairman this year is a real go-getter, and it's going to be fun working with her. She's definitely going to make some waves.

Today's photo is sailing under a bridge on the Erie Canal.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Maybe that's where it came from...

Today's weather was crummy, and it's going to get worse. Lots of rain tomorrow, then much colder. Gee, it's not even officially winter yet.
I've started rereading an old favorite book. I got it for next-to-nothing for my Kindle. Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck, was written in the fall of 1960 and published in 1961. We first read it sometime in the 1960s, and it was one of Pink's favorites, too. Each of the girls had to read it in high school during the 1970s, and generally hated it.

I've read about one-third of it now, and am loving every word. The book is a narrative of Steinbeck's camping trip across the country with his standard poodle, Charley, for a companion. He spent 3 months going 10,000 miles - from Long Island to California. Not too much of the interstate system was completed then and, of course, no cell phones, car phones, computers, GPSs, etc.

At that time, we were not even dreaming of the kind of travel we've done in our lifetimes. But looking back, Steinbeck's trip is exactly the kind of travel we love to do. After all, in 1998, over 3 1/2 months, we drove from Tennessee to California to Alaska to Vancouver Island, and back to Tennessee. We drove over 16,000 miles in our truck, plus the unmeasured miles on ferries. (You can see photos from the trip in our Photo Album - clickable on the right.)

We loved the book for reasons we didn't even comprehend at the time. If you haven't read this one, give it a look. And, girls - give it another shot.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Lady Vols 78, Texas 58

Today was about as unexciting as a day gets (unless you count laundry, of course).

John & Margaret did go to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols take care of Texas.

This photo is the lovely blue skies and fading jet trails over the Erie Canal.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

UTC Lady Mocs 69, Furman 56

We woke up this morning to about an inch of snow on the deck and grass. It was the best kind - snow on grass, but not on roads. And it was gone by noon.

By the time I went downtown for the Main X 24 event, we had bright sunshine. The temperature did continue to drop, though, and it's in the 20s now. The parade was over by the time I got there. They said it went well, even though, because of the snow, the band and Santa Claus didn't get there. Who'd think a little snow would keep Santa from his appointed rounds. Oh, well.....

We had lots of people coming into the Gallery to browse - lots of new people, some folks from out of town, and some folks who had just moved into Chattanooga. It was a great chatty group. And, even better, by the time I left, we had sold a painting! Unfortunately, it wasn't one of mine, but I'm just glad that a sale was made.

I changed clothes and went to the ballgame. Our Lady Mocs beat Furman 69-56. It wasn't pretty in the first half, but they played pretty well in the second half. It was a double header with the Mocs (men) playing Elon playing next. John stayed for that game, but I was ready to head for home. And he left before half-time - our men were so far behind.

These are some photos of this morning's snow.


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