Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Hope everybody had a Happy Halloween today. We had no trick-or-treaters at all again this year. Guess we'll just stop getting candy next time. We'll take the stuff to bridge tomorrow - just to get it out of the house.

Looks like all the Tennessee teams lost this weekend - UT, UTC, and the Titans. Oh, well….

Kate and Wayne are in Memphis this week - just taking some time off and “touristing”. They say they’re having a good time. I hope they get to have some ribs at the Rendezvous - best dry-rub ribs anywhere and everywhere.

Jean and her buddies saw the movie RED yesterday and loved it as much as we did. If you haven’t seen it, do so. It’s one that guys and gals can all like.

I seem to be back to my normal creakiness. I have been taking something for pain regularly while the new Rx takes hold. I’ll run out of the pain med in a couple of days, so we’ll see how things are then. I’m going to skip Walmart tomorrow, and we’re going to make our first shopping trip to Costco on Tuesday. John is even going to go with me - and he hates going to the store. One thing we’re interested in is checking out their prescription prices.
Back to Iceland - lava field, Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday stuff

Glad everybody slept in this morning - I did, too - until 8:30. On the nurse’s advice, I took both the DayPro pills after supper last night. Then last night was one of those nights when I went to bed at my usual time… and was wide awake. So I got up and watched TV and read until nearly 2 a.m. I don’t know if it was because of the meds or not - that does happen sometime. I’ll try it again this evening and we’ll see.

John found out about a history walk at 9 this morning in Moccasin Bend. This is an incredibly historic area right across the Tennessee River from downtown. It has been inhabited since the earliest prehistoric peoples were in this area, and then had major significance during the Civil War. The walk was about 3 miles (so I wasn’t interested in going), and he got back home about 1. He said it was terrific, and they really touched on all facets of the place. This site has been designated as part of the National Park Service, so we’re quite proud of keeping it and learning more about it.

That was pretty much it for the day.
These are the last Chihuly photos I'll post.




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A few more photos of Chihuly glass



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Friday, October 29, 2010

Friends on Friday

The swimmers adjourned to Renna’s house after class today for a bagel breakfast. Lots of good bagels and spreads and fruit. We swimmers always have a good time - wet or dry. We spent the rest of the day reading, knitting, working puzzles, etc.

I’m having less discomfort now that I’m taking some pain meds on a regular basis. Hopefully the new medicine will kick in soon, and I can stop the pain med.
Another arrangement of Chihuly at Cheekwood.



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Still creaky

I called the doc today about my continued aching. I talked to the nurse - she said I should give the new medication 2 weeks to become fully effective. I have some pain medicine from several years ago, and can take it twice a day. I’ve started doing that, and it seems to be making me more comfortable.

We went to a chamber music concert tonight at the museum. This is part of a 6-concert series put on by Lee University in Cleveland, TN, at the art museum. They’re only about an hour long, and begin at 6:30, so it makes for an “easy” evening. This group was piano, cello, and flute - terrific musicians. Then John “cooked” our supper - stopped at KFC on the way home. We don’t do that often, but surely do enjoy it.

Our swimmers are getting together for a bagel breakfast after class in the morning. Our instructor has two rental houses that were damaged by the tornado. Both of them had trees on roofs. The photos they've been showing are incredible.
These Chihuly pieces are in the Zen garden at Cheekwood.



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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A mostly quiet Wednesday

Vicki, Judy, and I had a great lunch at Sandy’s today. It surely is good to get our Wednesday group of artists together. We miss our Wednesday mornings.

Our swim instructor owns two rental houses in the area hit by the tornado (determined to be an F2). Both were damaged, so she didn’t come to class this morning. Joyce and I sort of led the class - didn’t do too badly.
Here are a few more pictures from the Chiihuly installation.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I was stiff this morning until nearly noon, then gradually started loosening up some. We went to the movie ($6.00 matinee) about 4:15 to see RED. It is really funny - it’s loud - lots of explosions and gunfire, but a terrific cast, mostly playing against type. We really liked it.

We were going out to eat afterwards, but it was just starting to look really bad as we came out, so decided to head for home (5 minutes away). Not our best decision. Turns out we drove through the squall line, and the rain has actually eased up some as we got home.

As we got in the car, we noticed a really suspicious looking set of clouds very near where we were (maybe a mile away). We were driving in the opposite direction, so we headed on. When we finally turned the TV on, we found that it was a tornado that touched down right at our end of the Chickamauga Dam (maybe 1.5-2 miles from our house). There was a multi-car pile-up on the road over the dam, and some construction trailers destroyed. As reports have come in over the evening, there is a good bit of property damage along the lake and the north end of the dam, but fortunately, no serious injuries. It’s still raining, but even with all that, we’ve only had about an inch of rain here.
More photos from Chihuly at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.



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Monday, October 25, 2010

Rain, wonderful rain.

I saw the rheumatologist today. changed my medication. I’m to try this one to see if ithis one works and doesn’t cause any problems. He’s very conservative and always does lab work soon after starting me on a new med, to be sure it’s not doing anything bad. Also, he’s going to check my Vitamin D level and some other values. He says there have been some reports of a Vit D deficiency causing “long bone pain”. We shall see. In any case, I’m also to go back in 3 months rather than six.

We had a whopper of a storm last night. We got an inch of rain at our house, but there was more in other areas around here, with a couple of tornadoes. This is the most rain we’ve had in a couple of months. At least nobody was hurt with the small tornadoes - just some property damage.
A movie review: We watched Invictus tonight. It’s a terrific, feel-good movie, with Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela at the beginning of his presidency, when he tried to unify South Africa by supporting the national rugby team (captained by Matt Damon) in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Excellent acting, directed by Clint Eastwood, and quite well done. Glad we finally got to see this one.
Two pictures of the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chihuly at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Our bunch all met at Cheekwood at opening time 9:30 (John & me, Allan & Tina, Kate & Wayne, Margaret, Jean and her friend Kay), got tickets purchased, and started following the map through the gardens. There were glass pieces everywhere - suited to the plants where they were placed. And with the sunshine, the light through the glass was wonderful. They have had night-time openings, but we didn’t make one of those (Margaret and Jean had seen it at nighttime.) My favorite, I guess, were the red slender cylinders among the bamboo thickets. I surely wish we had some of that with the bamboo in OUR yard - definitely not in our price range, though.

Cheekwood was built as a family home in the early 20th century (by the Cheek family, money from the Maxwell House coffee company), and has been a museum/garden/arboretum for many years. The house is tour-able and has lots of permanent art, plus special exhibits. It’s really an asset to Nashville.

Kate & Wayne’s son, Andy, his fiancee Erica, and her mom got there after we did, but we finally met up with them, and left for lunch. We ate at a place called the Calypso CafĂ© - Caribbean cuisine, mostly vegetarian, with some chicken - excellent food - plentiful, but not too heavy

Then we went to the Frist Center - an art museum in downtown Nashville - to see more Chihuly and a special exhibit of Impressionist and Pre-Impressionist art from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Absolutely terrific! The Chihuly was better at Cheekwood, but the paintings were spectacular.

We left there, checked into the motel, and then headed out to see Don & Flo Jean. We had great fun visiting, plus going out to eat dinner at a local restaurant - another terrific meal. Got back to the motel about 10 and pretty much crashed. We all checked out of the motel this morning at about 8:30, ate breakfast at a Waffle House across the street, and headed for home.

All in all, a terrific weekend.



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Friday, October 22, 2010

Fun on Friday

Do you have early voting where you live? TN has had it for 5+ years now. In our county, there are 4 early voting locations. Anyone registered can vote at any location during the two weeks period before the election, and you don’t have to have a reason to do so. John voted on Tuesday, and I voted today. We haven’t voted on the actual election day since this started. It’s great!

We went to the Y this morning - John to the Fitness Center, and me to the pool (of course), then to Panera. Matt didn’t call until about 11:30, but then we all met at the Aquarium at 1. We had a good lunch at the Big River Grille, and then “did” the Aquarium. Toward the end of the day, we old folks were stopping at nearly every bench along the way, while Matt and Amanda soared on. And then while they looked through the gift shop. We headed home about 4:45. All in all, a terrific day. Thanks, Matt and Amanda, for inviting us to share your day.
Black sand beach on Iceland.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not much today.

I had several things planned to do today - and did about 50% of them. Oh, well...

I did get out to the library and get some of the great bookbags from the Friends of the Library. They'll make good gifts, and part of the money goes back to the branch where the bag was bought.

Also in the reading department, I got the Mark Twain autobiography downloaded to my Kindle. That'll even get John to use the Kindle some.
This is a gorgeous black-sand beach in Iceland.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pulpit Bullies by Michael Winship

Below is an article by Public Affairs Television senior writer Michael Winship.

The Pulpit of Bullies
by Michael Winship

One of the most memorable moments in television coverage of American politics came during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. Out on the streets, anti-Vietnam war demonstrations were attacked viciously by law enforcement officials in what later was described in an official report as "a police riot."

Inside the convention hall, tightly controlled by the political machine of the city's notorious Mayor Richard J. Daley, CBS correspondent Dan Rather was attempting to interview a delegate from Georgia who was being removed from the floor by men in suits without ID badges. One of them slugged Rather in the stomach, knocking him to the ground. As the reporter struggled to get his breath back, from the anchor booth, Walter Cronkite exclaimed, "I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan!"

It was an uncharacteristic outburst from America's Most Respected Newsman, indicative of just how terrible the violence was both inside and out and how shocking it was for a journalist to be so blatantly attacked while on the air by operatives acting on behalf of politicians.

As appalling as that 1968 assault was, thuggery is nothing new in politics; it transcends time, ideology and party. But what's even more disturbing in 2010 is how much of the public, especially many of those who count themselves among the conservative adherents of the Tea Party, is willing to ignore bullying behavior - and even applaud it - as long as the candidate in question hews to their point of view.

Here in New York State, of course, we have Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who combines the boyish charm of J. Edgar Hoover with the sunny quirkiness of Pol Pot. So extreme are Paladino's views, so volatile his temper, that even Rupert Murdoch's right wing New York Post has endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, which is a bit like the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano dissing the Pope and singing the praises of Lutherans.

Doubtless this is in part because Crazy Carl, as he is affectionately known to many, almost came to blows with the Post's state political editor, the redoubtable Fred Dicker, shouting "I'll take you out, buddy!" at Dicker after the journalist asked Paladino for evidence to back up allegations the candidate was making against Cuomo and Paladino claimed the paper was harassing his out-of-wedlock daughter.

The Post had to admit that Paladino is "long on anger and short on answers... undisciplined, unfocused and untrustworthy -- that is, fundamentally unqualified for the office he seeks."

Okay, Paladino will lose, but in other parts of the country, Tea Party-supported candidates with a similar bullying, threatening attitude, or who seem to surround themselves with such people, are more likely to win. Republican Allen West, endorsed by Sarah Palin and John Boehner, is leading in his race against incumbent Democratic Representative Ron Klein in South Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

A retired Army lieutenant colonel, West resigned from the military, according to the progressive website, "while facing a court martial over the brutal interrogation of an Iraqi man: according to his own testimony during a military hearing, West watched four of his men beat the suspect, and West said he personally threatened to kill the man. According to military prosecutors, West followed up on his threat by taking the man outside and firing a 9mm pistol near his head, in order to make the man believe he would be shot."

You can't make this stuff up: Last week, NBC News reported that West has been communing with a notorious Florida motorcycle gang, the Outlaws, which the Justice Department alleges has criminal ties to arson, prostitution, drug running, murder and robbery. And on Monday, West could be heard at a rally urging some bikers - also with Outlaw connections -- to "escort" out a Klein staffer who was video recording the event. "Threats can be heard on the videotape," said a reporter from NBC's Miami affiliate. "West supporters forced him to get back into his car."

The West campaign responded that "the latest attacks aimed at associating... Allen West with a criminal and racist gang are completely baseless and nothing short of a hatchet job." So what's with the photograph of him glad-handing bikers who according to NBC brag about their association with the Outlaws? And why did West tell a supporter to back off when concern was expressed about "criminal organization members in leather" appearing at West's campaign rallies?

Which brings us to Joe Miller, the Republican and Tea Party candidate for the United States Senate from Alaska. On Sunday, at a Miller town hall, private security guards hired by the campaign - two of whom were moonlighting, active duty military -- took it upon themselves to detain a reporter pursuing Miller with questions, placed him under citizen's arrest and handcuffed him - then threatened to detain two other reporters who were taking pictures and asking what was going on.

The plainclothes rent-a-cops, complete with Secret Service-type earpieces and Men in Black-style neckties and business suits, come from an Anchorage-based outfit called DropZone Security, which also runs a bail bond service and an Army-Navy surplus store - with one of those anti-Obama "Joker" posters pasted to its window. One-stop shopping for the vigilante militiaman in your life - kind of like that joke about the combination veterinarian-taxidermist: either way you get your dog back.

All of this would be funnier if not for the fact that this kind of hooliganism and casual trampling of First Amendment rights from people who claim to embrace the Constitution as holy writ is symptomatic of a deeper problem.

The anger of the electorate is understandable: politicians and politics as usual have given voters much about which to be mad; furious, in fact. But bullying is different. It comes from insecurity and fear, and lashes out with tactics of intimidation. To dismiss it as merely a secondary concern and say "I'll take my chances" as long as the candidates in question agree with you is dangerous. Scuffling with the press and others may seem minor, but it's just the beginning. In states where there is early balloting, already there are allegations of voter harassment, primarily in minority neighborhoods.

The only way to fight back against bullies and thugs is to stand up and tell them to go to hell. To do otherwise is to give an inch and prepare to be taken for the proverbial mile. That way lies madness. And worse.

Michael Winship is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things pick up

For a week with not much on the calendar, this one is really getting busy.

I was mostly going to hang out around the house, but then….
I went to the “doc-in-the-box” to get my flu shot.
(John got his later in the morning.)
I went to the studio to start some watercolor glazing on a painting.
I went to get the car washed (not that it needed it or anything).
I came home to get some lunch, and Jean called.

Jean was coming with a friend to Chattanooga to pick up the friend’s dog who had been at a vet clinic here. She invited us to meet them somewhere for lunch. We just had coffee, but enjoyed getting to spend some time with Jean and meet her friend.

As we were leaving to go to meet her, Matt called. He and Amanda are coming up to go to the Aquarium on Friday and wanted us to go with them and have some lunch. Well, of course!!!!

We met Allan & Tina for dinner at our favorite Mexican place, La Altena. Allan went to a meeting, and Tina went with us to the last in the series of lectures at the Chattanooga History Center. This has been a great series about Chattanooga history. They’re hoping to have more programs like these in the future. We’ll definitely participate if that happens.

And, wonder of wonders, when we came out of the lecture, there was actually water falling from the sky!!! First measurable rain we’ve had in ages. It wasn’t much, maybe 1/10 inch, but more than we’ve seen for some time. But it goes to prove that if I get my car washed, it'll rain!
A roadside church in Hellnar, Iceland.

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Monday, October 18, 2010


The constant creakiness is finally getting to me. I called and got my scheduled December appointment with the rheumatologist rescheduled for next Monday. I guess it's time for a different medication and/or more testing.

I had some really yucky and some really good cards at bridge today. The absolute best was one with 26 points - I opened 3 no trump - and made 5 - plus I have 150 honors. That was exciting (and unusual)! John was first again last week (2nd week in a row).

Also, we're trying to get pseudo-semi-undisorganized for our get-together this weekend. It should be say nothing of getting some see the incredible art at the Frist Museum and Cheekwood in Nashville. What great mix of indoor and outdoor Chihuly plus selections from the Musee d'Orsay. And lots of friends and family to go along with it. I'll bet we even take some pictures.
The Icelanders are beautiful people!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

Football and laundry - that’s about all that happened around here today.
But we did it well!

Wonderful sweeping scenery in Iceland.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Simply Saturday

I don't know why I feel the need to be so allerative - just seems to be working out that way.

We watched an interesting video tonight - an Independent Lens program first shown on PBS in about 2006, called Between the Folds. It’s about the fascinating art of paper folding - sometimes called origami. If you subscribe to Netflix, give this one a try. It’s only an hour long, and very interesting.

Other than that, it was a quiet day. I’ve been pretty “creaky”, so decided to take it easy today.
Here's some more roadside "art" in Iceland.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Fantastic Friday

We are having the most glorious weather (other than the fact that we really do need some rain). The trees are starting to put on their fall finery, and it's just great!

After swimming and coffee, we drove the few miles into Georgia and took out a membership in the new Costco. It opens on 27 October, but we wanted to beat the rush. I don't know that the prices will be any better than WalMart, but the gasoline will be cheaper, and we'll save enough on sales tax on groceries (3% in GA vs 9.75% in TN) to make the drive worthwhile - at least occasionally. Also, they'll be selling wine, which grocery stores can't do in TN, and it will be cheaper than around here.

The symphony was tonight, with Midori as guest soloist. Her playing of Tchaikovsky was magnificent! She got into town on Tuesday, I think, and has been doing master classes, meetings, school visits, and two formal concerts - and that's just through today. Tomorrow she has more seminars, rehearsals, and then Sunday will be performing with the Youth Symphony. She has a foundation that does programs like these for kids to encourage music in the schools, etc. She's only does two a season in the US - Chattanooga was awarded one this season and Iowa City has the other one in April. Lucky us!
Wonderful patterns in the roadside at the marina in Arnanstapi, Iceland.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just one of those days

Today was one of those days when I didn’t leave the house. It’s tough to be even remotely productive while sitting in a recliner. I could say that I thought profound thoughts and wrote profound phrases, but even I can’t lie that much.

I did get the mess around my chair cleaned up and organized what was left. And I got all the household bookwork done. So I did do a few worthwhile things. Some days that’s all that happens.

Tomorrow will definitely be busier.
Seaside flowers at Arnanstapi, Iceland.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday (idea stolen from Jenconsin).

These photos are some of John's from Niagara Falls.




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