Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

And now 2010 is on its way out. I’m not one for enumerating events of a year gone past - so I won’t. We do some great traveling, and hope to do more in 2011. Our beach trip got dislocated to the mountains because of the BP oil spill - but our terrific group of family and friends had just as much fun (just no shrimp). We got to two out-of-town weddings.

Our family has done well, and it’s always so special when we can get together. Life is truly good!

With a stolen thought from my fellow blogger, L’empress, my wish for 2011 is that we could reach out to the others and discover our similarities, even as we value our differences.
These are some of Margaret's pictures from our December snows.



Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family & Sports

We were up late talking last night. It was so good to spend some time with Sarah, Alison & Joe, Allan & Tina, and Margaret. They’re all really great people. We had a good dinner (lasagna, of course), and then talked for ages.

I had gotten some bagels and a pastry ring at Panera yesterday morning, so that took care breakfast. Alison and Joe left for the Atlanta airport about 9 to head back to CA. Randy got to the house a little before 10 to pick up Sarah to go to Nashville to the Music City Bowl. I left at 10 to go to my 6-month eye appointment. Margaret and John left about noon to go to Knoxville to the Lady Vols game.

Scorecard: The Lady Vols beat Rutgers. The Lady Mocs beat Belmont. Tennessee lost to UNC in a weird double-overtime game. And then the Stanford Lady Cardinal defeated Uconn to end their 90-game winning streak. All-in-all, an interesting day in sports.
Sarah and Alison show off their new Christmas coats.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Family & food

We’ve had a lovely evening, with Alison & Joe, Sarah, Margaret, and Allan & Tina here for dinner (lasagna - what else) and visiting. As always it’s great to have some time with Alison & Joe - California is just a long way for quick visits. Everybody will be leaving in the morning. The battery on my camera died, but I’ll get Margaret’s tomorrow and will post some photos tomorrow night.

L’empress wrote a great blog this morning about the sad state of reading ability of youngsters coming out of schools nowadays. Give this blog a read. A Place of My Own.
Heimaey Island: folks walking on the side of the volcano. The steam coming from the pipe is volcanic steam being used for power.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Words to remember

A friend of a friend posted this on Facebook today - and it seemed to be a good Thought of the Day.

Mark Twain pointed out that we shouldn’t neglect our bad habits because if we don’t have enough bad habits to get rid of when we get sick and really start going down, we’re like a sinking ship with nothing to throw overboard.
Heimaey Island, Iceland

Posted by Picasa

Edit: I don't usually watch award shows, but the Kennedy Center Honors is not exactly that. What an incredible grouop of talent was highlighted tonight. The performers chosen to showcase the honorees have to be special, too. And it's even fun to watch the star-studded audience react and show just as much awe and respect as the rest of us.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Out and about

It was nice to get out of the house today - even if it was just the usual stuff. There’s still snow on the ground, but it’ll be melting quickly over the next couple of days as the temperatures moderate. This storm was bad here, but nothing like it turned out to be in the northeast.
Heimaey Island - the dark line near the white van in the lower left of the photo is where the houses were buried and are being excavated. The other green areas is where houses were buried or destroyed by the eruption.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nothing going on.

Even though this was the Christmas weekend, it was a snowed-in, very quiet weekend. About the most exciting thing going on was the laundry.

This has been a pretty spectacular snow event. They even postponed a professional football game. We couldn’t remember that ever happening before - and do remember seeing games played in terrible conditions. The announcers said that the last time that had happened was in the 1930s.

At least we should get out of the house tomorrow.
There was a volcano eruption on Heimaey Island in 1973. Houses were buried. There is an area where they have partially excavated some of the houses. It's amazing to see.


Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 25, 2010

More pictures

The birds weren't too excited about the snow.



Posted by Picasa

White Christmas in Chattanooga

A White Christmas may be something to be desired, and it might be quite beautiful. But when it happens in the south, it definitely screws up plans. This was the first White Christmas in 20 years.

The 3” of snow that we got overnight and this morning kept us from going to Margaret’s to spend the day. The roads had mostly cleared off by dark, but the temperature is supposed to drop, and there will undoubtedly be ice overnight and tomorrow. I guess tomorrow will be another exciting day.

There was even snow in Due West, South Carolina!

Here are some snow photos.


Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


About the only thing going on around here is talking about a White Christmas. There hasn’t been one in Chattanooga since 1989, but it looks like it will happen this year. They’re predicting 1-2” of snow down here in the valley; more in some of the higher elevations. The temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 30s, so they’re saying the streets will be warm enough to remain clear. I do hope that’s the case.

We planning to go Margaret’s on Saturday. We do have to go over Monteagle and then on the rural roads to her house. They usually keep the highway over the mountain pretty well clear. We’ll obviously be doing some checking that morning. We shall see…
This is Heimaey Island (Iceland) - volcano and lava fields.

Posted by Picasa

True Grit - then and now

I watched the 1969 John Wayne True Grit this evening. It’s a good movie in a lot of ways. It’s fun to see some actors in small parts who have become “big”. Dennis Hopper has a one-scene part as a bad guy who gets killed. Robert Duvall has a bigger part as one of the main bad guys and, of course, also gets killed. Glen Campbell is the second male lead.

I remember when we first saw the movie, we laughed at the scenery. It's gorgeous, but there are no aspens in NW Arkansas and NE Oklahoma. Tonight I noticed the snow-capped mountains as part of the scenery. You're not likely to find those in the Ozarks, either. Oh, well - it was a different time in 1969 with movie-making.

An internet friend looked up the filming locations of the original movie, and said that some of it was shot in California on the Eastern slope of the high Sierra's. (Bishop, Mammoth), but most of it was shot in Colorado, around Montrose, Gunnison, area. (Suspicions confirmed.)

They’re saying that this new movie is more like the book and that the book is terrific.
We've gotten the book now (John's reading it), and will be seeing the new movie.

In the new version, there is Jeff Bridges (John Wayne), Matt Damon (Glen Campbell), Josh Brolin (one of the villains) - great cast. It’ll be fun to compare.
Le Boreal is heading into the fjord to the dock at Heimaey Island, Iceland.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A visit with Jesse

Jesse and Susan have been at Margaret’s for a couple of days. Today was our chance to get over there to visit.

The drive over was miserable - rainy, misty, foggy - especially over the mountain. I just realized that today it was Grandma who went over the river and through the woods…. Oh, dear.

Anyhow, we had a nice visit with Jesse and Susan. Plus Margaret, Bobby and the others. And all the great food. I guess all “occasions” involve food - and this one was no exception. Bobby cooked chicken quarters on the grill - and then there was the corn bread, corn, pinto beans, assorted casseroles, and incredible desserts.

Jesse and Susan will be going to her family’s tomorrow, then back to base. We’ll take whatever time we can get with him.

And we even got some photos taken of Grandma, Grandpa, and the kids.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 20, 2010


Kind of a “small day” today.

It started off with a small class at swimming (only 10). Coffee was smaller than usual, with only two tables pushed together for our group.

My list for WalMart was small, so that didn’t take too long.

I went to the doctor for a regular 6-months check. She’s moved to a new smaller office. Everything looks okay, and they’ll call back about lab values.

I didn’t get to bridge, but John said he had pretty mediocre cards. So he probably wound up with a small score.

We had a good supper with the locally-made sausages from our wonderful Links 41 pork store, served with a small casserole of scalloped potatoes.

And I’ll finish the day with a photo of the small Gannett Island off the coast of Iceland.

Posted by Picasa

It's basketball time in Tennessee

I went with John to the Lady Vols ballgame tonight. Margaret didn’t go because Jesse is home for a few days, and she was having all of Bobby’s family in today. What an exciting ballgame! They were tied at the end of regulation, but the Lady Vols wound up beating Stanford 82-72 in overtime.
This is the windward side of Surtsey, where the wave action is already eroding the land mass.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The best presents are friends.

All of today was pretty much leading up to a lovely night out with good friends. Vicki had arranged for us to go to dinner at Carrabba’s with them and Allan & Tina. The restaurant was fairly crowded (after all, it was just a week to Christmas and it’s in a mall out-parcel) and noisy. But the food was excellent, we had a good server, and it’s always great to spend time with these wonderful people.

After dinner, we went to Vicki & Roger’s house for coffee, dessert, and more talk. I had been told about a place to geet sticky toffee pudding, and that was our dessert. It was really good - not the same as in the courtyard of a rural pub in England - but more than acceptable in Chattanooga.
Surtsey, Iceland.
Do you remember the birth of the island of Surtsey? It was in November 1963, when the land rose out of the sea, built up by a volcano. I do remember it, and remember being fascinated by this formation of new land. For me, sailing around this small uninhabited island was one of the high points of our trip.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wanna Do List for 2011

Indigo in her blog, That’s My Answer suggested that we post a “Wanna Do List for 2011” on our own blogs. OK - here’s my list - in no particular order, and definitely not complete.

I’d like to take one of the river trips with the company we learned about this year.

I’d like to lose some more weight, but I'm not going to obsess about it.

I’d like to see all our grands and their significant others during the year.

I’d like for both of us to stay in reasonably good health.

I’d like for everybody in our swim group to keep coming and working out.

There are lots of other things I’d like to see happen, but they’re things I don’t have any control over - like ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing our military out of harms way. Or magically making the Republicans quit acting like such idiots and stalling all legislation. Or magically getting the Democrats to develop some backbone and call the Republicans’ bluff once or twice and letting them shut down the government. Oh, well…….
This is a glacier seen from Le Boreal while cruising along the Iceland coast.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

String Theory

We went to the String Theory Concert at the Hunter Museum tonight. It was a two-piano program with Gloria Chen and Ning An playing. The concert was terrific - the two pianos were so rich and full, it almost sounded like they were playing with a full orchestra. We picked up burgers on the way home, so sort-of got to “eat out", too.
Fisherman's Museum, Isafjordur (West Fjords), Iceland.
In Iceland, in the summertime, school children "work" at various community service chores. There are many opportunities, keeping public spaces clean, working in municipal gardens, or, in this case, performing folk songs and dances for the tourists at the Fisherman's Museum.



Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not so cold, but with freezing rain

We’ve gotten some icing on our deck this evening. And the schools have closed for tomorrow. It’s supposed to warm up tomorrow, but with our hills and trees, it allways takes a while for the side roads to clear.

We watched Happy Feet on the Disney Channel tonight. That’s a fun little movie. I guess we get to sleep in again tomorrow morning. John has an eye appointment at 10, but of course, that’ll depend on whether or not he can get out of the driveway.
This is from Wordsmith today:
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: You can't shame or humiliate modern celebrities. What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity. -P.J. O'Rourke, writer (b. 1947)
This photo is taken from the church in Bolungarvik, Iceland, overlooking the cemetary .

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

End of my term.

Well, my term on the Friends of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library Council is now history. I know I didn't make a mark there, and that’s fine - I probably never should've accepted the post in the first place. But I've met some nice people, and enjoyed seeing how the system worked. The chairman this year really made some good changes, and I think they'll continue. Anyhow, we had a good meeting and a really good dinner - and I was home before 7:30.

We didn't get above freezing today. The forecast is for cold and dry tomorrow until late afternoon, then some “wintery mix” precipitation. Nothing planned here tomorrow after swimming and coffee, so it’s not a problem.
This is a lovely little church in Bolungarvik, Iceland.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 13, 2010

Frosty vs Santa

There's a huge controversy because the McBurney YMCA in New York City replaced Santa with Frosty the Snowman as the "star" of its annual Christmas luncheon. What a blizzard of comments resulted! I've been laughing all evening at what I found just by googling "Frosty replaces Santa". The best I can do is copy the article from the New York Post.

West Village YMCA axes Santa Claus for Frosty
Last Updated: 11:50 AM, December 12, 2010
Posted: 12:21 AM, December 12, 2010

He's a lost Claus.
A politically correct West Village YMCA has fired Ol' St. Nick in favor of Frosty.
Kids who once thrilled at sitting on Santa's lap at the 14th Street McBurney YMCA's wildly popular annual holiday luncheon will now suffer the icy embrace of a talking snowman and his sidekick, an anonymous penguin, at today's event. Forget about bringing a list or checking it twice -- Frosty doesn't take gift requests, and doesn't care if you're naughty or nice. YMCA officials, who say they are in the midst of "rebranding" the Young Men's Christian Association to "The Y," defended their decision.

THAT'S COLD! A West Village YMCA has given Santa Claus the boot in favor of Frosty the Snowman for its holiday luncheon. "It wasn't replacing; it was transitioning," said John Rappaport, executive director of the McBurney YMCA. "We realized that change is sometimes good, and that Frosty is a great winter character who would appeal to a broader number of kids."

The decision to ditch Father Christmas came down from McBurney branch administration, not the Y's Chicago headquarters. A chilly reception greeted the news that the YMCA -- an organization founded to spread Christian values in 1844 -- was replacing the Christmas icon with a secular cartoon character.

"Christmas is not about Jack Frost; it's not about snowmen," fumed Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. "We're not talking about some secular organization that has no religious roots. If they can't celebrate Christmas, then they should check out. What a bunch of cowards." "Santa belongs to all the people," added Ed Bobrow, who has played Santa at Central Park's Belvedere Castle for years. "He represents openness and an invitation for anyone and everyone to celebrate good will toward man." Bobrow, who is Jewish, says it's the kids who will miss out. "Try to see it through the eyes of the children," he said. "It's sad that people are so offended by a man in a red suit," said Taylor Patterson, an 18-year-old member of the McBurney Y. "It's not a Christian thing. It is the spirit of the holiday that counts. I think the Y is well intended, but misguided."

Director Rappaport offered an olive branch to critics, insisting that everyone is welcome today -- even "Santa . . . if he's in town."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nothing better than soup

We've had snow showers all day long, and the temperature has dropped from 37 at 8 a.m. to 25 now. We’ve had enough snow to stick on the grassy and raised surfaces. They’ve already announced that our county schools will be closed tomorrow. This usually means no early classes at the Y, so I don’t have to set the alarm in the morning.

I did do one of those job this morning that we (at least I) only do when forced into it. A jar got turned over in the refrigerator, so it was time to clean it out. Yuck! I got it early, though, so it wasn't too bad. And John helped get some of the shelves out and back in. At least it's done.

This is perfect weather for soup, so I made a big pot of clam chowder. I’d found a 3-pack of large cans of clams at Costco last time I was there, and I knew there’d be a time sometime this winter to make a big pot.
It was terrific - just right for such a cold night. Allan and Tina came over to share. They left a little earlier than they might have, just to be sure they got home. They called when they got home and, although there were some slick spots, they did get home.

Sleep warm!
This is a replica of a fisherman's hut in Osvor, Iceland.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cold and rainy and nasty!

It’s raining now, supposed to be mixed with snow after midnight. The Lady Mocs got beaten by Kentucky - we didn’t expect them to win, but they did well, and even were ahead a couple of times during the game.

We’re LOVING Amazon in our little corner of the world. Amazon has just announced that they’re building TWO new distribution centers here - one in our county and one in the next county over. Lots of new jobs.
This beautiful man is a fisherman re-enactor in Osvor,Iceland. It was wonderful to take pictures of him.



Posted by Picasa