Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunny Sunday

A second snow day - but with lots of sunshine and temperature above freezing. Anywhere the sun hit on the pavement, it’s dry. So we’ll be able to get out tomorrow.

The Vols and the Lady Vols both won their basketball games today - in hard-fought games.

Good night on TV though. PBS showed a new episode of NATURE, The Wild Balkans. I’d never thought there was such gorgeous scenery in that part of Europe. And then TCM showed Annie Get Your Gun. What a fun movie that was!

And now we’ll start into a fairly busy week - with, hopefully, no snow.
Who are these people???


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowed in.

The official snowfall was 4.7”- the most since “The Blizzard of 1993”.

We decided to stay in - not to even try to get out. There were cars going up and down the street, but there was no way we were going to try to get up our driveway - even to use our basketball tickets. We listened to the Mocs and the Lady Mocs games on the radio - and both our teams won.

Our neighbor came over for breakfast. She had gotten caught at home last night with no food in the house. We had plenty so it was fun to share.

It’s already well below freezing tonight, so anything wet on the roads refroze - and it’ll be rough in the morning. It is supposed to be sunny and up to 40 tomorrow, so that should clear everything off pretty well.
Today’s photo is one of the neighboring boats along the Erie Canal.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow....

The best news of the day is this news report from Wichita, KS.:

WICHITA, Kan.—A jury took less than 40 minutes Friday to find Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of abortion provider George Tiller in a church here last May.

I don’t know what else the jury could have done - the man admitted the murder from the witness stand.

No precipitation today at all until a little after 1. Then it started snowing like crazy, with temp hovering around 32. In less than an hour, the ground was covered. By the time it stopped, we had gotten about 4+” of snow. About 10 p.m., it started raining. I don’t know what that means. So far, tomorrow’s basketball games are still on. But I don’t know whether or not we’ll go, even if they are held.

One of our neighbors got caught without any food in the house, so she’s coming over for breakfast in the morning. Such is storm hospitality in the south.
These are some of the photos John took this afternoon.




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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow or no snow?

"He was so narrow minded he could look through a keyhole with two eyes." - Black Elk (an Oglala Sioux medicine man)

Don’t you love this quote! And ain’t it a shame that we are exposed to so many of these people.
Tonight’s incoming weather is one of those impossible-to-predict-with-any-certainty things. We’re getting crawls on the TV giving us winter storm warnings, but the local forecast on the Weather Channel just calls for snow showers on Saturday. Our local forecaster is predicting less than a half-inch of snow in the city, but +/- 3” of snow in the northern part of the county and along the ridges. Tune in tomorrow to see what actually happens here. The storm has really been awful west of here.
This photo is looking west along the Erie Canal (in September).

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get your Mammogram!

Five years ago on this date, I was in between having had an abnormal mammogram and having a lumpectomy. This was followed by a course of radiation.

Today, I had my annual mammogram. The preliminary report was that all looked good. That's always good to hear. I'll see the surgeon in a couple of weeks for the official report.

Without the mammogram, I would not have had the appropriate treatment and who knows where I'd be today.

Do NOT put off getting your mammogram. Make that appointment today!

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Try it. You'll like it!

This is not a "cooking blog". And I can't remember ever making soup from a recipe. But this one sounded so good that I just had to give it a try. And, all I can say is, "Try it. You'll like it!"

Lookout Mountain Bean Soup

2 big onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cans chopped chilies
2 cloves garlic
2 chorizo sausages
1 quart water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1-pound bag Great Northern beans cooked or 3 (16-oz)
cans Great Northern beans, untrained
½ pound ham, cubed
4 potatoes, diced (canned potatoes, OK)
1 bag chopped collard greens, well-chopped
Saute onions, peppers, chilies, garlic, and chorizo in olive oil till onions and peppers are tender and sausage is browned and cooked through. Add water and bouillon cubes. Add beans and ham and simmer for about a half-hour. Add potatoes and collards and simmer 30- 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Note: This recipe is easily doubled. Add kale if you don’t have collards.
Mary’s note: The above is the recipe as printed in the newspaper. I omitted bell pepper (I don’t ever use them). The only green John likes is spinach, so I used a box of frozen chopped spinach. I soaked and cooked the dried beans the night before, and I used all the cooking water from the beans. I had a package of uncooked hash brown potatoes, so I used that for the potatoes.
This is a great soup! It doesn’t need additional salt, maybe a bit of pepper added to taste at the table. Next time I would use an additional can of chopped mild chilies and maybe a little Old Bay seasoning (or at least put the Old Bay on the table for those who would like some).
Can't you just imagine cooking this soup in your houseboat on the Canal.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


WOW! Did y’all watch the Kentucky - South Carolina basketball game tonight? #1 Kentucky was beaten by a fired-up South Carolina team. It was a terrific game from start to finish

No Tennessee team was involved here, but with Kate’s family in Kentucky and Sue’s in South Carolina, it does make for divided loyalties. No matter, congratulations to SC for this big win.
View from the boat as the water level sinks at Lock E33.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

It's still January

I had some good cards and some medium cards today at bridge - enough to keep up interest, and I think I had a pretty good score..

It never did get out of the 40s here today, plus being gray and glooomy. Yuck!

We had one of our favorite meals tonight. John’s mother wasn’t the best or most creative of cooks, but she really hit a winner with her way to use the last of the Thanksgiving dinner. She made a casserole with two layers of dressing, turkey pieces, and gravy, topped with some dressing. I plan for and make one or two of these after any turkey/dressing meal. I got one of them out of the freezer this morning for dinner tonight. It is SO good! What a treat to get all those special flavors without all the work. As I said - one of our favorites!
This photo is Lock E33, Henrietta, NY.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

And didn't it rain!

We’ve had 2.25” of rain today. John said it thundered early this morning, but I slept through that. It’s been foggy all day, too.

We went to a concert by the Tennessee Chamber Orchestra this afternoon. It was in the sanctuary of an Episcopal church in Lookout Mountain, TN - a lovely place with good acoustics. It was yucky getting up there in the rain and fog, but we got there and back okay. We met some friends there and were going out for dinner afterward. But after trying two places that turned out to be closed on Sunday evening, we gave up and just went home.

We did get home in time for John to see the Colts win and to watch all of the Lady Vols/LSU game.

An e-mail came from Margaret today, and Jesse will be home on leave over President’s Day weekend. So we’ll be heading over there for a fish fry. There’s nothing better than Bobby’s fried fish - except to have it when Jesse’s home. Y’all come!!!
I've gotten some of my photos in the new laptop. This is along the Erie Canal.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Final rites performed

My guru tried to get stuff off my old laptop, but it just wouldn’t boot up for him. And it has to do that for him to be able to move stuff. He says it’ll be really good for a doorstop. Oh, well…

So I’ll just have to reinstall some of the photos that I have on disc, and re-find other stuff. I don’t think I had anything irreplaceable on the old one. And since I don’t remember, whatever it is can’t be too important. And I need to be better about backing things up.

Tomorrow, I’m going to check out the discs and see what photographs or games I want to re-install in this computer.

In the meantime, this is a photo John took today of the second blooming of our Christmas amaryllis.

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Friday, January 22, 2010


An early post tonight...

I got my new laptop this afternoon. It’s a Dell 1440-2387IBU (they call it blue, but I call it periwinkle).

Now it’s a matter of finding stuff, learning it’s bells and whistles, etc. Then I have to get it to my guru, along with the old laptop, to get photos and stuff transferred over. But I have a lot of necessaries in it already - mailboxes, a few of the web cam sites, games, senior learn and seniors & friends, etc.

Now to sit down with the guide and play!!!

The new baby looks like this - except periwinkle.


The Lady Vols didn’t do too well tonight - losing to Georgia.

We’ve really had lots of weather tonight - tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, wind, hail - not all at our house, but nearby. And we did get 1.5” of rain out of this event.

We played bridge today, and both of us had some pretty good cards. I think I had over 1000 points on 4 out of the 5 rounds. And we went to lunch at the nearby Mexican restaurant afterwards. I tried something new for me - shrimp ceviche. It was delicious - and such a big serving that I brought half of it home for my supper tonight. I’ll have to try some of that at the beach this summer.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


I picked up my defunct laptop from Best Buy today, and looked at some new laptops. I’m really close to making a decision about which one to get. I’ve put feelers out to my computer advisors, and am getting some good feedback. Our friend, who writes the tech column in the newspaper, is going to transfer my stuff from the old to the new laptop. It won’t be long now.

I thought I saw John and Margaret on TV during the broadcast of the Lady Vols vs. Vandy game on Sunday. We watched the recording yesterday, and sure enough, there they were. Here are a couple of not-very-good photos taken of the TV screen. In the wider shot, they are at the bottom center of the picture.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Really, truly dead!

We got the call this morning. It’ll cost $600+ to fix the laptop - and that sounded the death knell. And now I’m shopping and getting advice. There’s WAY too much information out there, but I’m sure we’ll finally find something that suits. And soon, I hope!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Slow Monday; slow week

No bridge today. We play in a city-owned building, so it was closed for MLKing Day. Just swimming and Walmart.

John went to the urologist today, and all was fine. He doesn’t have to go back for a year. That’s great news!

Kate found out that accounts can be shared on the Kindle, so books can be shared that way. She set it up for us, so now we can read each others books. She’s already been browsing my list, and borrowing. Good job!
John's photo of Canal-side in Pittsford, NY.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rainy Sunday

I went out to check to see how much rain we got. Oops - forgot I brought in the plastic rain gauge so it wouldn't break in the freezing cold weather. Oh, well....

The Lady Vols continued their home winning streak over Vanderbilt tonight. It wasn't easy, though. John and Margaret had to work pretty hard. I think I actually saw them on the TV tonight. I'll have to check when we watch the recording.

It's going to be a slow week, I think - just a couple of doctors' appointments for John.
This photo is the view of Pittsford, NY, on the Erie Canal.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

What to do on a rainy day?

It’s a basketball kind of day!

Lady Mocs 68, Western Carolina 66

UTC Mocs 66, College of Charleston 90

Vols 71, Ole Miss 69 (overtime)

John's photo is of a sunset over the Erie Canal.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Morning and Evening

This was a morning-and-evening sort of day for us.

Swimming, of course, this morning. Allan and Tina came over after coffee at Panera for more conversation. She’s going back to NYC tomorrow, and that was our last visit beforehand. Allan will be going to NYC in February, and she’ll be back here in March. She’s been working really hard this week, looking for a job. They’re hoping she may be ready to move here by March. We’re ready for her to be here.

This evening we went to the symphony. We had another of our guest conductors - we’re auditioning for a new Music Director. This young woman was very good. We thought we had unusual reactions to the music. We enjoyed the Shostakovich and Stravinsky in the first part of the program - music we’re usually not thrilled by. By comparison, the Brahms 4th Symphony in the second half seemed lackluster. Surprising to both of us. Oh, well - maybe that means that we’re getting more discriminating in the music we enjoy. Or not.

Tomorrow is a basketball day. The Lady Mocs play at noon, followed by the men playing College of Charleston. We’ll probably stay for at least part of the men’s game.
This is a "spring break" from the cold weather - one of John's photos from the grounds of Fallingwater.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dentists, etc.

Today was a visit to the dentist. I hadn’t had to have anything done other than semiannual cleanings for years. But at the last cleaning, they found that one of my 50+ year old gold inlays had a worn-through spot in it, and there was decay underneath it. My dentist is very gentle, and there wasn’t any pain. BUT, as we all know, the tension is going to be there, and my neck, shoulders, and other body parts had a hard time relaxing. Some EX-acetominophen helped with relaxing, even though there was no discomfort after the Novocain wore off. And I go back in three weeks to get the permanent crown.

We went for our haircuts today. - and that always feels good! On the way home, we went to Best Buy to let the Geek Squad check out my laptop. The tech couldn’t get it to boot up either, and couldn’t find an obvious reason. We decided to let them send it off to get looked at. Someone will call me with an estimate. If I decide not to get it fixed, I’ll get part of the deposit back, and will be out only @ $35.00. We also decided that if any repair was more than $200, we won’t get the repairs done. And I’ll get another laptop. It was worth a try, and at potentially not much out-of-pocket expense.

But, in the meantime (maybe as much as three weeks), I’m having to share the desktop with John. I hope I don’t screw up his machine too much. I still haven’t found some of my favorite sites that are bookmarked on the laptop. Oh, well….

I had a great nap today. I knew it was coming - probably from tension over the dental visit, plus left-over fatigue from the trip to Texas.
Did you read the latest insanity from Pat Robertson? He says that Haiti is being punished for making a pact with the devil 200 years ago, when it declared its independence from France. Incredible! Check out
Bruce Plante’s cartoon .
Check out this article about the hairdresser who said she didn’t know that a .38 caliber handgun was considered a deadly weapon.

Busy Wednesday

I have gotten word that my cousin's son in Haiti is all right - but no other information. That was a relief! But the terrible tragedy continues to become apparent.

Tomorrow, my laptop will be going to the Geek Squad and then either to the hospital or the morgue. We shall see.

We had a lovely evening, with Vicki, Roger, Allan, and Tina coming over for dinner. I served lasagna, green beans, Italian bread, and a tossed salad. Then a fresh fruit salad and a Pepperidge-Farm-cookie assortment for dessert. A good easy meal for me (all done ahead), and wonderful company for conversation.

I finally got back to the computer, and found that Sarah has gotten an internship with a law firm in Houston for the summer. She is SO excited. Our dear friends in Houston helped her make the contacts. But this will be her first real foray into the legal world. Congratulations and good luck, Babe!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Terrible news about Haiti

Dolores' son is in Haiti - he works for the UN (I think). I've e-mailed her to see if she's heard from him. I know she's worried sick.

This surely is a busy week - just coming off the out-of-town weekend. Both of us had errands to run this morning - John to PT for what turned out to be his final visit and for some lab work. His computer monitor had gotten a blurry picture, so he took that to the Geek Squad. It was going to be cheaper to get a new one than to fix the old one, so he now has a nice new monitor.

I hate to admit what was mostly wrong with my computer - it wasn't plugged in. I was SO embarrassed. Of course, I had unplugged it when we went out of town. Of course it wouldn't turn on. It's back to its "normal" now. This morning, I went to the post office send some certified letters (including the quarterly tax), then to the bank. It was good to get back to the galley/studio. It's still pretty cold in there, but I hadn't spent time with Vicki since Xmas, so we had lots to talk about. Then trips to Aldi and Walmart which didn't get done yesterday.

We went through some jackets and other stored clothes to take some warm stuff to the Community Kitchen. I found some great business-type wear that I don't remember ever wearing, plus some good coats. I was glad to take some warm stuff for the homeless shelter. And we took the business suits to the women's shelter to add to their stock of clothes to help women get started with new jobs.

The new chairman of the Friends of the Library Executive Council had us all to her house for our first meeting this year, with dinner. She felt, rightly, that we needed to get to know each other - which never seems to happen when there's just the formal meeting. It was a good meeting and social time.

Can't believe that about Lane Kiffin jumping from Tennessee to USC after just one year. Mostly what folks are saying to the local news is "Good riddance". Oh, well.

It's predicted to be in the 40s here tomorrow , and then in the high 50s on Thursday.
We loved this photo illustrating the best way to work along the Erie Canal.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Almost caught up...

I hope to get back into my routine before long.
Working equipment along the Erie Canal.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Home again!

Hi folks - we're back home. All was well here - other than the cold, of course. Time spent with Betsy was terrific, as always (except that she beat us mercilessly at bridge!). Ken and Christopher are doing well. And we were glad to spend some time with another cousin, Dolores, too.

We almost had an uneventful trip home. We were due in to Nashville at 3:05, and had reservations on the 3:30 shuttle to Chattanooga. We almost made it, too. But the baggage doors on our plane got stuck, so the bags were late getting out. Oh, well....there was another shuttle an hour later, and we were on that one.

We picked up burgers on the way home, and got them eaten before Allan came over so we could meet his new lady-love (Tina - who is visiting from NYC). She's delightful, and seems to be already planning to move to Chattanooga, if she can find a job. We'll see them again later in the week.

And now it's time to fall in our own beds. Tomorrow, it's back to the regular routine. Plus dealing with recalcitrant computers. The display on John's monitor is acting up, and my laptop won't start up at all. He's going to take his to the Geek Squad, and I'm going to think about mine tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Stay warm!

Nothing much going on today, except for working at keeping warm.

I'll be away from the computer for a few days, but will resume writing when I return.
This photo shows the lovely dock on the Erie Canal at Pittsford, NY.

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The Horse's Mouth

We went to a movie at the series at the Library tonight. The Horse's Mouth (1958) was reportedly Alec Guinness's favorite role and movie. He actually wrote the script, based on a Joyce Cary novel. Watch this one sometime if you get a chance.

This movie series at the Library is the brainchild of the Library's Director, and he is the host. For $1.00, the community gets to see a great movie, and it is a draw to get folks into the downtown Library. Good plan!

Monday, January 04, 2010

It's a WOW day!

The HD got hooked up today. WOW!

The Lady Mocs was trailing Georgia Southern 55-54 with 10 seconds left; two missed shots; a freshman drops a 3-pointer to win the game 57-54. WOW!

The College of Charleston men defeat #9 powerhouse North Carolina 82-79 in overtime. WOW!

What a day!
This photo shows our boat tied up at Pittsford, NY.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cold and quiet

The high today didn't get into the 30s, and the low was in the teens. That's the forecast for the next several days.

And it was a good day for just staying warm. John and Margaret went to Knoxville to watch the Lady Vols beat Oklahoma, but I just stayed in and stayed warm. The laundry got done, but that was about all.

They're supposed to come in the morning to hook up our HD, but otherwise mostly just a usual Monday. Not very exciting.
These are the permanent dock residents in Pittsford, NY.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Use your mind....

Today is a guest blog from Dalton Robert's Sunday Journal. Thanks, Dalton!

By Dalton Roberts
My Sunday Journal
IPS Features

Gerald Rosen said, “A culture can be defined as a group of people that agrees to be blind in the same way.”

He is so right. What culture is there in the world that is not blind in some way. There a place in India where people gather and throw rocks at each other one day of the year. Many of them die. There are cultures where they put a big bone under your lower lip to make your lip huge. They think it makes you beautiful!

Look at the Jewish practice of circumcision. If you wait until a man is grown and ask, “May I cut off part of your penis?” he will know you are crazy and he will be crazy if he lets you do it.

America has many blindnesses. We’re just now trying to provide health care to our people. Other countries have had it for decades. I don’t care for the bill they are trying to pass but some plan should be in place for our people.

Look at our laws on alcohol and marijuana. You can pull up to a liquor store and buy hundreds of fifths of hard whiskey but you cannot grow even one plant of marijuana in your garden. It is insane.

I played in nightclubs for decades and I can positively tell you that people behave much more peacefully on marijuana than on liquor.

Half of our citizens walk around in a prescription drug haze. All you need to do is find a doctor who will write you one. I know a musician who has a half dozen doctors he rotates among to keep himself on different kinds of highs. He even has names for his highs.

The most intolerable drug addict you will ever have in your band is a cocaine, crack or meth addict but the good news is they won’t drive you nuts for long. They will either die or crash. The next worse addict is a prescription pill popper. One drove me right off the stage and out the door.

I read an article on our drug culture by a scientist and his basic tenet was that people have always loved to be high and they will forever want to be high. They do not realize that the best highs are the result of following a spiritual practice.

He says animals are the same. He said jimson weed gives cows a little buzz and when they hit a little patch of it, it will take a few minutes to kick in. When it does, he says the cow will return to the plant for another buzz. Birds get high on certain berries and will fly like maniacs.

My purpose here is not to endorse any drug but to show how we have agreed to be blind in he same way by making some legal and others illegal. And if you want to know how we got in this situation it is spelled m-o-n-e-y. Drug lords want prices to stay high and are in cahoots with the advertising and alcohol industries to keep alcohol legal and other drugs illegal. By electing their politicians, they have succeeded in keeping enough Americans blind to achieve their purposes.

Maybe that’s why Jesus was so dubious about “the world” -- the Bible’s description for society or our culture. Maybe that’s why we are urged, “Be not conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Use your mind to keep from going blind.
Erie Canal reflections.

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