Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rain, Rain, and more Rain!

It rained all day long. It was definitely a sweat-suit/chair/read/knit kind of day. I slept 'til 8:30; John got up at 8 (a record for him), and he got back down for a noontime nap.

I put the bones from our two turkeys into the pot to make broth. I'll freeze most of it in quart bags for use all year long, but it's definitely a soup kind of day. The noodle soup was SO good. I've got the rest of the broth strained with the bits of meat put back in. The pot is out on the porch cooling so I can skim the fat off, and then put it in bags to freeze. That part will get done tomorrow.

John’s feeling much better today. He got out to run some errands, and is planning to go to the Y tomorrow.

So far, we’ve had about 3.75” of rain since yesterday afternoon. Sure am glad it wasn’t snow.
Aren't these puffins wonderful?!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, John!

It started raining just after I got home from bridge, and it‘s been raining almost steadily since - up to over an inch now.

I was back to my usual cards today - but then nobody else seemed to have much in the way of good cards either. Seems like everybody had good ones last week. I didn’t even come in first last week (I was second) - the top player had about 500 more points than I did. Oh, well…

There’s been a lot of mystery around here about a new facility that’s coming to our big industrial park - where the new Volkswagen assembly plant is located. It was announced on the news tonight that the hot rumor is that it will be an Amazon distribution center. That’s exciting - more jobs for our area!

John stayed at home all day, mostly in the chair, napping. He said he did finally take a shower, shave, and change clothes - and does feel some better now. He was really miserable for a while. What a way to spend your birthday!

Happy Birthday, my Love!
These puffins are on the Isle of Grimsey, at the Arctic Circle. Can you see that the little guy at right front has a mouthful of fish?

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The day after...

Jesse & Susan left early this morning. Margaret and Bobby came by from the motel about 8, and then left for home. Jean was gone by about 11. Then we settled in the chairs, with the washer going full time. We got the two queen-sized beds done today, but probably won’t do the twins for another day or so. Everybody went home with zipper-bags and boxes of food, but there’s still so much left. We’ll eat on it for a day or two, then what’s left will go in the freezer.

Forgot to mention the “fun” part of the day yesterday. About 2, Margaret said the sink was stopped up. She and I worked on it with a plunger for a while. By then the guys couldn’t stand it any more and took over. They undid the trap under the sink (which wasn’t where the problem was), then went to the garage (under the house) to look there. There was a complete blockage between the last outflow and where it went out of the house toward the sewer line. (At least the toilets were okay - at the other end of the house.) I called a plumber and he said he might be able to get to it today (Saturday), but that it’d probably be late. Whatever worked was fine with me!

Then, a couple of hours later, the guy called and said he was on his way. We were just starting to feed the first shift. I told the guy when he got through, we’d fix him a plate - I was SO happy to see him. He got the clog opened and all was working fine. He finally said we could fix him a couple of sandwiches because he wasn’t going to be able to take time for a meal, so we quickly did that. And you won’t believe the bill - $125.00!!!!! We were amazed!

He also said that there were still cast-iron pipes in that part of the system, and that they should be replaced. So we’ll call him and get him to come back sometime when he’s having a slow time to do that work.

Poor John’s had a tough time today. He’s been coughing and sneezing with the cold, and each cough or sneeze causes agony for his bruised rib. He headed for the bed about 8:30, and will probably stay in all day tomorrow. For his sake, I hope this cold goes away quickly - and that I don’t get it.
We got some photos taken, but unfortunately not while Sue and her family were here (sorry, Sue). We’ll have to get those next time. This is Mary, Kate, Margaret, and Jean.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

What we're REALLY thankful for!

What wonderful day! A houseful of family, friends, food, and love - what could be better!

Today was terrific - definitely our ”Thanksgiving”. I’ve just counted, and we fed 16 people today. Of course, we had five others over the other days of the weekend. And really, we had an almost obscene amount of food - but it was all SO good. One local friend who came said she knew we’d have vast amounts of food, so she brought a bag of bird seed for John’s bird feeders instead - loved it! Margaret and Bobby got a motel room; Matt, Amanda, and Andy decided to drive back to their respective homes; so only Jean, Jesse, and Susan are here overnight.

John’s started catching a cold, and other than being stopped up, was doing pretty well with his bruised/cracked rib. Then this evening, he had a really big sneeze that really hurt him.

All have gone to bed, and now I'm the only one up - enjoying the quiet, getting in some computer time, and savoring the day.

It’s been a special day and weekend - one we’ll always treasure!
Other than crossing the Arctic Circle, this is why we stopped at Grimsey - puffins, puffins, and more puffins!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

A 4-F weekend

I surely am glad it’s gotten cold here (mid 30s now) - so I can put food out on the screened porch, and don’t have to work so hard to get stuff in the refrigerator. The ham was wonderful. Plus Kate did some roasted vegetables (cauliflower and butternut squash) - yum!

The girls went gallery shopping and found all kinds of good things. The rest of the day was just the usual food, fellowship, family, and fun.
Our boat was approaching the Isle of Grimsey, on the Arctic Circle, with the morning fog.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional lasagna?

Our Thanksgivings are not quite the usual. We start off on Thursday with our traditional lasagna. Jean came in yesterday, and Kate about noon today. Kate and Jean went to see Harry Potter at the I-Max theater here (and loved it). Later in the afternoon, Sue, Randy, Paul, and Sarah arrived. Sarah is staying for a couple of days, but Sue, Randy & Paul left after about an hour. Sue has to go back to work tomorrow, so they have to get home. The rest of us had our great dinner. Allan & Tina came by, but had already eaten, so just talked.

Tomorrow, there will probably be some gallery hopping (not Black Friday shopping). We’ll have our country ham dinner tomorrow - and the turkey dinner will be on Saturday - Sarah will be gone, but the Smith family will be here.

We just have loads of family in and out all weekend, and that’s just what works for us.

Weather report: we tied a high temperature record today at 74. The front came through this evening, and it started to rain. The temp at midnight will be the high for tomorrow, with the daytime high predicted to be only 41. If that true, I can put some of the food out on the porch.

I hope everybody has had a good family time during this special holiday. And, if you’re one of those who does the Black Friday shopping, I hope you find the bargains you’re looking for.
This shows the walkways through the Devil’s Kitchen in Iceland.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The country ham

Soaking the ham.


The cooked ham, ready to come out of the pan.


Chattanooga Gothic - complete with ham.


Removing the skin and fat layer. Now it's ready to slice and eat.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I cooked almost all day. We won't eat the turkey until Saturday, but...the squash casserole is done and in the freezer; the cranberry chutney is made; the cornbread for the dressing is made; the sweet potato casserole is made and in the freezer; and the cranberry relish and the dill crackers. Tomorrow, we'll finish cooking the ham - it's a country ham, and has been soaking for 3 days to leach out all the salt.

Around here, Thanksgiving is all about family, food, fellowship, and fun.

The Lady Mocs beat Austin Peay tonight, 71-61 - their first season win - so we were happy about that. Only one thing marred the game. John went up to the restroom at half-time and slipped and fell on the steps on the way back. He did voluntarily go to the first aid station, and has a small scrape on his hand, a pretty big scratch/scrape on his shin, but worst is probably a bruised rib from hitting a seat arm as he fell. There's no mark there yet, but it's already hurting. He's dreading how much it's going to hurt in the morning. Poor baby!
It looks like things are cooking in The Devil's Kitchen, too.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

I'll see you in the funny papers....

We set a record high temperature today - 75! It’s supposed to get really cold, though, by the end of the week.

Bridge today was terrific! John had the highest average for the group for the previous 13-weeks - that gets us a gift certificate to the local restaurant of our choice. And I had fantastic cards! I started out at the #1 table and stayed there all day - was high on every round. It was great! I’ve had such yucky cards for so long, and I loved every minute of it!

Did you see the comic strip, “Pickles”, today? I hate it when we’re in the funny papers.

This is a thermal area in Iceland called Namaskaro, "The Devil's Kitchen".
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Silent Sunday

These photos are of a lava field area in Iceland called The Troll House.



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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Starting the season

Our show/sale went well. It was a good group of artists, with some lovely stuff - painting, fiber, assemblages, jewelry, etc. I sold a couple of canvases, two small watercolors, and a few cards. Not a lot, but every little bit is good. And it was fun to see and talk to folks coming through - those old friends and new folks to meet. Missy (the hostess) said we'd probably do it again next year.

Margaret got there before the end of the show, and loaded up all the stuff in her car to head for home. We got carry-out Chinese for dinner, and then turned on the football game. Tennessee took care of Vanderbilt 24-10, which was good for all around here.

David (next door) was out putting up their Christmas lights, so I guess we’re officially starting the holiday season.
This is at Myvatn, an area of glacial lakes in Iceland.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

It was Friday all day long

It felt good to get back to swimming this morning. My friend who’s letting me share her studio space is having an arts & crafts sale at her house tomorrow. She’s invited some of her friends to sell, too - including me. There is another painter, some fiber artists, and some jewelry people. It’s from noon to 4, so not too bad. She didn’t put out any public notices, just sent invitations to friends, and of course, the other people told their friends, too. I went over this morning to set up my stuff. It’ll make for a busy day. I’d love to sell some of the pieces - just to get them out of the house, if for no other reason.

Another good concert at the symphony tonight, with the first guest conductor of the season. It’ll be interesting to see who they choose. We had five last season, and there will be five guests this year.

I talked to my radiation oncologist today. I’ve been reading about these new “full-body scanners” that are being put in airports. Most folks seem to be concerned about privacy issues, but I’m more concerned about the radiation accumulation. Since John and I have both had radiation treatments, we’ve already had more than our share. And, frankly, I don’t want any more that’s not medically necessary. I called the doc to see if I should refuse the scan and opt for the “pat-down” instead. What I got from him was that if we were much younger, it might be an issue. The dangers from accumulation of radiation don’t show up for many years, and presumably, that’s not a problem for folks in their mid70s. He ended by saying that he’d flown a lot this year, but hadn’t seen one of those scanners yet - so they might decide not to use them after all. I’m still going to think about it when and if the time arises (we have flights scheduled in February and April).
We love to take photos of waterfalls - this is Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland.

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Basketball and music

Any day when we get haircuts is a good one - and this was one of those days.

We went in separate directions tonight. John and Margaret went to Knoxville to watch the Lady Vols beat UVA. They said it was not pretty, but at least it went into the win column.

I went to String Theory at the Hunter Museum. This is a series of concerts set up by the music faculty at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. These are “small concerts” - quartets, trios, etc. Tonight the Borromeo String Quartet playing Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue. This is a short piece - only 15-16 minutes - but quite lovely. It was very different, in that the music was on laptops in front of each musician, rather than on paper on a music stand. One of the computers was hooked up to a screen, so the audience could see the score as the musicians played. (Tech note, the “page turning” of the music was done by a foot pedal.) It was interesting, and occasionally distracting, to be able to follow the music on the score.

After playing the piece, the leader talked about the different themes, playing short passages to illustrate themes and techniques. And then they played the fugue again in its entirety. It was quite interesting, and an unusual type of performance. It worked great in this small space with a small audience.
This is the Godafoss Waterfall, Iceland.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stonehenge - we'll never know

Tuesday night, Nova (PBS) broadcast a program on Stonehenge. Since we got to see Stonehenge last summer, we wanted to see the film and hear what they’d be talking about.

With all the latest technology, they are finding new things about henges in general and Stonehenge in particular. A new theory of how Stonehenge was constructed was demonstrated. And there were a couple of new theories about the whys of the building of these monuments and meanings about the siting and orientation.

I must admit, prior to actually seeing Stonehenge, I expected to be underwhelmed - that it couldn’t possibly live up to expectations. I was wrong! It is an amazing structure. We spent a lot longer there than I had expected, and it was truly difficult to walk away from it.

Having said that, after seeing this program, it’s interesting that people become obsessed about solving the mysteries of these prehistoric marvels - the whys and hows and minutiae involved. Of course, these are things that we will never know.

Personally, I’m just content to gaze in awe at these wonders and appreciate the talent, industry, and creativity of the people who made them. For me, that’s enough.

Here’s one of the zillion photos we took while we were there. And, no, we didn’t spend the whole time looking through the lenses of our cameras. We made one circle around to take our photographs, and then put the camera away and just marveled.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Almost 2" of rain!

In a rash moment, I decided to go to CostCo this morning. Unfortunately, it started to rain buckets and buckets. The trip isn’t far - only about 15-20 minutes usually, and mostly interstate. It was not fun driving. I filled the gas tank, then had to wait a few minutes for the store to open. I got a cart-full, including some stuff for this weekend and for the company on Thnx weekend.

When I can out of the store, it was raining even harder. Everything got wet while I was putting it in the trunk, and the drive home was really awful. I pulled off at an exit once for about 5 minutes, and it did slack up a little bit. Of course, it has mostly stopped by the time I got home, and within an hour, the sun had come out. But I had to put my mesh grocery bags out on the porch to dry after unloading them. All in all, we got nearly 2” of rain yesterday and today.

The bandage fell off my finger today (after all the rainy activity), so I can let the cut get some good old air-healing (always the best kind). As of right now, I think I’ll probably stay out of swimming again tomorrow, just to give it time to get a good scab on it. It’s still pretty much open right now.
Akureyri from the dock (the church with the stained glass windows in the center) and from across the fjord (Le Boreal at the dock. FYI, Akureyri is pronounced (sort-of) Aak - yoo - reh - ree



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Driving in the rain at night - Yuck!

I skipped swimming this morning - too early to get the finger wet. But, of course, I didn’t miss going to coffee. That’s where all the important stuff happens. We set the date for our holiday breakfast - 8 December. We’re all pretty good cooks, so the food is always good.

I did quick trips to Aldi and WalMart, but that was it until time to go to basketball.

Of course, it had started raining so, the driving wasn’t pleasant. Fortunately, the traffic wasn’t too bad until we got almost into Knoxville (and John was driving, of course). We were among the few folks there who were wearing the Mocs blue and gold rather than the Lady Vols orangs. Of course, it didn’t matter. The ever-so-much bigger and more experienced Lady Vols annihilated our senior-less team. The final score was 103-43. We were all glad to just have it over with. I can only hope it toughened our Lady Mocs. On the other hand, the Lady Vols are awesome!
Loved the puffin sculpture on the dock at Akureyri.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday revisions

A cold front came through overnight - our high today was only about 60 - and we even had a shower this morning.

My finger is doing okay. I did soak the bandage off to see if it had healed enough to go swimming tomorrow, but it just started bleeding again. So no pool for at least tomorrow. I’ll certainly make it to coffee, though. And the other Monday stuff will get done, too. I may be late (or not at all tomorrow). We’re going up to Knoxville to see the Lady Mocs play the Lady Vols, and won’t get back until late.
I’ve revised and updated my blog list (on the right side of the page). These are ones I read on a daily basis. I’ve just found That’s My Answer , and it’s a lot of fun - just one or more questions to answer, and then compare your answer to others.
I love the bright colors in the town center of Akureyri.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Saturday to recuperate

John blew some leaves around today but that was all that happened productive around here. There are still so many leaves on our trees, there’s no point in doing any leaf-blowing too early.

I can’t believe all the high-scoring football games today - and so many injuries. We enjoyed the wins by Tennessee and Auburn and even South Carolina.

I was making some egg salad after supper and cut a divot out of my finger (left index). Dummy! I got one of those ulu knives and it is SO sharp. I got kind of cocky, I guess, thinking I could get comfortable with it. Guess not. Oh, well - we finally got the bleeding stopped enough to get a good tight bandage on it, and it’ll heal up okay. It wasn’t deep, just took off a chunk of skin.
These lilies in Akureyri, Iceland, are more Auburn orange than Tennessee orange.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Finally the meeting is over.

I’m really tired tonight. I went to swimming, but cme home early to change clothes and head out to get ready for the meeting. Left the house at 9, and didn’t get home until 9 tonight.

The luncheon/meeting went very well. Our author was such fun - enthusiastic, funny and informative. I’m sorry if I’m repeating this - her name is Kerry Madden. She writes for younger readers and her focus is encouraging youngsters to write their own stories. Her latest book is a biography of Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird was published 50 years ago this year). She was enchanting. And I’m SO glad this is over.

After we finished the clean-up, the executive committee of the council met to work out the budget for next year. We didn’t finish up until after 5. We had our meeting at the treasurer’s office, which is across the street from the arena where our basketball games are played. We had a game tonight at 7, so I just moved across the street and read until 6 when the doors opened. John ate at home, and then came in a bit later. I got a chili dog and diet Coke for my supper. We lost our game to ETSU - we’re playing with no seniors and only 2 juniors, so a very young team.

But I’ve been in the chair since we got home, getting caught up with the morning paper and the computer stuff. I surely am looking forward to the bed.
I love this flower-filled window in Akureyri.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

11 November 2010

We honor all our service men and women today and every day - especially our own Jesse.



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Veterans Day

We salute Taylor Richards, USMC, who made the supreme sacrifice.

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