Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Welcome to summer - even though the official start of summer isn’t for three more weeks.

The high temperature of 96 today broke a 60-year-old record. And we’re expected to break high-temperature records almost every day for the next week.

This certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of official summer. And I hate being hot!
Welles, England.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, 2011

What is Memorial Day?? For most, it is simply 3 days off work. For others, it's a lot of savings at stores nationwide. But for most of US, it's a day to remember our fallen troops that have fought in battles WORLDWIDE. If you post this, its because you know someone who serves, who was lost in battle, or you just understand that freedom is not free!!!

On this Memorial Day, I want to honor Taylor Richards who was KIA in June 2010 in Afghanistan - a fabulous young man.

And, of course, our own special Jesse Smith, who is proudly serving in the U.S. Navy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


How long has it been since you saw Fantasia?

John and I watched it tonight. I can’t remember how long it had been since I’d seen the whole movie. There were certainly parts of it that I didn’t remember.

But, WOW, what an incredibly sophisticated film for its time. It’s amazing to think this movie was released in 1940!

If you haven’t seen it recently, get it from Netflix or your local library. It’s two hours of wonderful entertainment.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Campo Volantin Footbridge

John’s latest course from the Great Courses of the Teaching Company is called “Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures: Science and Innovation from Antiquity to Modernity.” I’ve been watching with him and, although I don’t quite get all of the physics, I’m certainly enjoying the geometry and the architecture parts of the lectures.

The lecture he watched today was about the affect of iron construction on bridge building. And the last one he mentioned was the Campo Volantin Footbridge in Bilbao, Spain. What a fantastic design and construction. Click here for information and photographs of the bridge. Be sure to click on the link on the page where it says “aerial view”. Wow!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Good food - Serendipity

Jean didn’t want to get up to go to swimming, but she certainly didn’t want to miss going to coffee with the group. We went over to visit with Vicki for a few minutes.

I guess the high points of the day were eating (what a surprise) - artichokes for lunch, and going to Old Saigon for dinner. That’s got to be one of our most favorite restaurants in town. We had fun talking to the owner tonight about our trip to Vietnam. She was born in Saigon, but has seen in the US for 36 years. We told her she certainly wouldn’t recognize her city any more.

Serendipity - Coming across a string sextet rehearsing for a concert in St. Catherine's Church, Cerne Abbas - and getting to sit and listen for a while.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eating out

There were lots of storm lines going through today, but none of them were particularly bad in this area. We got lucky today.

Jean came over from Nashville and had to drive through some of the rain, but didn’t have too much trouble.

We all went to the Hunter Museum - Jean looked through the collection while John and I went to a Arts + Issues give-and-take conversation with one of our City Councilmen. It was an interesting hour, talking about where we think things need to be heading over the next 10 years.

After that, we went to one of our favorite eateries - the Blue Orleans Seafood Restaurant. As has happened the last few times we’ve been there, the food is terrific (crawfish etouffe and seafood gumbo) and the service is lackadaisical, at best. It’s really a shame, too.

We’ll go to our other two favorite places tomorrow and Saturday while Jean’s here.
St. Catherine's, Cerne Abbas, England; Knapped flint decorative courses in stone walls.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finally got in tonight!

I couldn’t get in to post a blog last night. It looks like it's working tonight.

We had a special morning today. Tina has lived here for a year now, but she’d never been on Signal Mountain. John had an errand to run up there, so we took Tina on a guided tour. We stopped at the various overlooks on the brow overlooking Chattanooga and the Tennessee River, plus Signal Point overlooking the Tennessee River Gorge. She said that for the first time, she understood more about the layout of the city and various geographic relationships. Since every place and all traffic determines all street layouts and traffic patterns, it really helps to be able to have a bird’s-eye view of the place. She’ll be much more comfortable driving now.

John was helping with rowing class this evening, so I decided to give the Wednesday afternoon bridge group a try. I still had not-so-good cards, but it was okay. It’s a small group, but mostly the same people as go on Monday.

St. Catherine's, Cerne Abbas

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Shut up and deal!

The usual Monday stuff, with incredibly terrible cards at bridge. I can’t remember having cards this consistently bad before. We may stop going to this group. John says he comes home with a headache every Monday, and that’s just not worth doing. No point in doing something if it’s not fun. We may try another day. We love playing bridge, and would hate to give it up entirely. If you’re in Chattanooga and want to find another couple for your bridge group, send me an e-mail.

Cerne Abbas

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Random Wanderings

The red-tailed hawks near Central Park, Pale Male and Lima, have two babies.
Two wrens got into our screened porch through the torn place in the screen. We got one out fairly easily, but it took John a good while to get the other one to fly out the open screen door. The torn place has now been duct-taped.
Another volcano erupted in Iceland - about a year after the last time. That was such a great trip that we took to Iceland last year.
We haven’t heard anything from the guy in California who said the world was going to end yesterday. I wonder if he’s still hiding in his basement.
The village of Cerne Abbas, England.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stay at home Saturday

John went out to row, and to help with a "learn to row" class. I, on the other hand, didn't leave the house.

No matter - the world still didn't end at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on 21 May 2011. What a surprise!
The Giant of Cerne Abbas (an ancient figure carved into a chalk hill)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Photos

We got a good start on our editing of the Cambodia/Vietnam photos this evening. I'll be starting to post some of those before too much longer.
This is the Abbotsbury Tithe Barn - one of the largest all-stone "working" barns left in the country. It's a gorgeous building.


This is my wonderful "Swim Team".

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Something old and different

We did something unusual today. We went to a tourist attraction in our own home town.

Carol and Tina are relative newcomers and decided they wanted to go to Rock City and invited us to go along with them. John said if they also wanted to ride the Incline Railway, we’d drive and pick them up at the top on Lookout Mountain. (We had already ridden the Incline.) It was a lovely, sunny, cool day, so a great time for this. John and I picked the gals up after their “up” ride on the Incline, and we went to Rock City.

We've only lived in Tennessee for 49 years, in Chattanooga for 25 years, and until today, had never been to Rock City. Shame on us. It really is a neat place to visit. At $22 each (with no senior rate), I thought it was a bit pricey, but it is what it is. The rock formations are fascinating, with lovely plantings, and the walks are laid out so people aren’t right on top of each other.

When we left there, we drove them out to the Lookout Mountain Flight Park. On May Thursday, there were no fliers, but the view from the take-off area is fantastic.

Then it was time to take the ladies back for their trip back down on the Incline, and we headed on home. John helped with the learn-to-row class this evening, so that was the end of our day.

I guess we should all take the time occasionally to look at the neat stuff in our own backyards. After all, people actually travel long distances to come see these things.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nothing new under the sun

Someone posted this on the web today (or sometime - I just saw it today).

Let's compare the recent Royal Wedding to Disney's version.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Busy day today!

Today was the day for getting caught up with all the things I didn’t do yesterday. We just spent too much time partying yesterday morning. So today was the bank, the library, Aldi, the car wash, WalMart - the excitement was almost too much to take. But I did get a bunch accomplished, and that usually feels pretty good.

Supper was super! Tina invited us over, and she gorged us with wonderful shrimp, garlic bread, pork chops, pasta, and for dessert, coffee ice cream and strawberries. We finally waddled ourselves home. Thanks, Babe! It was great.
I can’t even begin to comment on Schwarzenegger - I’ll just leave that up to Leno, Stewart, Letterman, Maddow, etc. I’ll just enjoy.
Abbotsbury, England

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Special Monday

We had a great party this morning after swimming - a 70th birthday party for one of our group. The hostess insisted on doing all the work, and it was terrific. She had even made a swan-shaped fruit basket out of a watermelon and a “strawberry tree” (a cone decorated underneath with tiny lettuce leaves, and studded with whole strawberries dipped in white chocolate on toothpicks. Great fun, gorgeous and delicious! We stayed so long I even skipped going to WalMart this morning.

We did get to bridge. I was second-high last week (amazing!). The cards today were mostly pretty bad. My best two rounds were the ones I played with John. We’re getting better playing as partners. That pretty much capped the day. It was home and into soft clothes.
Abbotsbury, England

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Grey and gloomy

Today was a grey, gloomy day. And, other than John’s going to take a walk on the Riverwalk, today was mostly a do-nothing kind of day.

Lots of stuff from our area in the reality shows this week. The Extreme Makeover house was in North GA just outside of TN and Chattanooga. That program was on tonight. And one of the three finalists on American Idol is local (also from North GA). She was in town this weekend for a lot of festivities that were being filmed for the show. We don’t watch either of those shows, but I’m glad they’ll be showcasing Chattanooga on TV this week.
Abbottsbury, England

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Simply Saturday

The insurance adjustor came this morning, assessed our damage, and left us with a check. It includes, I believe, replacing the whole roof on the porch, repairing the ceiling, plus the repairs to the roof on the house, guttering, and downspouts.

I went to the farmers' market again this morning, with a friend this time, and got a couple more tomatoes, some strawberries, and a canteloupe. That's going to be a nice, nearby source for fresh veggies as the season goes on.

We went to hear the CSO string quintet at the downtown library this afternoon. The concert started out with the quintet equaling the number of adults in the audience. Eventually three others showed up. But our private performance was terrific!
St. Catherine's Abbey, Abbotsbury

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Phriday Photos (Friday Fotos?)

East of Weymouth, near Cogdon Beach


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Late, but still Doing the Happy Dance

Sorry to be late this with. I've been unable to get into Blogger to print - although this edition was done relatively early last night. Oh, well - better late than never - at least somebody said that sometime...

My new Kindle was delivered this afternoon (yesterday). All my books have been downloaded into the new device, and I’ve been reading away. The book I was reading on my phone showed up at the page where I last read. I’m definitely a happy camper.
We started out to go to bridge today (yesterday) - a new day and time for us. We would have made two extras, so we just left this time. We’ll try again, and maybe at the Wednesday session, too. We also got our haircuts. After that, we went to what we thought would be one of a series of lectures at the Hunter Museum. It turned out to be called Arts + Issues and is done as an “in-gallery community dialogue with various community leaders and the museum curator education direction. Not exactly what we had in mind, and we were definitely uncomfortable sitting on the collapsible stools in the gallery for an hour. We’ll have to check on the next program before we decide whether or not to attend.
Political Commentary: You may have missed it, but Newt Gingrich announced that he was forming a committee to investigate a possible run for the Presidency. (What a surprise!) In the Chattanooga Times Free Press, this story was given all the respect and attention it earned and deserved. The story was run in Section B (Metro and Region News) on page 2. This is the page that usually carries local news from the Chattanooga suburban area in North Georgia and North Alabama. Don’t you just love it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nothing to whine about this Wednesday

The good workout at the swimming class was a great way to start the day, Swimming, and then the group went to Panera. A special treat today was a visit with Jan, one of our early swimming group. She moved away about three years ago, and was back in town for a few days. We had a great time getting caught up by all present. It’s nice to know that this bunch continues, even if someone moves away.

We’re just home from seeing Water for Elephants and eating out. I loved the movie - John said it was pretty good for a “chick flick”. I don’t know that I’d call it a chick flick, though. Oh, well. Our favorite Mexican restaurant (downtown) has opened a outlet at the mall less than a mile from our house. We ate there for the first time tonight, and it was just as good as the downtown site. We’re thrilled about that!

The Library of Congress has a new addition to its web site - the online access to everything in its record collecdtion. It’s called the Library of Congress Jukebox, and includes almost anything you can think of - music, comedy, speeches, you name it. We heard about it on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight, and immediately after, the LOC site was unreachable - just swamped. It was okay the last time I checked it. Give it a look-see-listen.

The English Channel, Cogdon Beach

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother Nature

I don’t plan to make a habit out of it, but I did do a little housekeeping today.

The flood on the Mississippi at Memphis crested last night, and is moving on down towards New Orleans and the Gulf. They’re saying it’ll probably be the end of the month before the water is completely gone. And it will leave such an incredible muddy, yucky, snakey mess. Our temperature was near 90 today, and we turned on the air conditioner. They’re predicting a new record high of 92 for tomorrow. Mother Nature sometimes is NOT a nice person.
"I knit so I won't kill people." A quote from a professional knitter friend.
On the knitting front here, I’m half-way through the lace shawl that I’m knitting now. It’s a really pretty shade of blue - and I think will be very nice when I finish it and get it blocked.

The English Channel, Cogdon Beach

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Monday, May 09, 2011

How long??

We do love to travel and explore new places. But, knowing that, it’s always good to get back into the familiar rut from time to time. Today was like that - swimming, coffee, WalMart, and bridge. We even had the usual cards - some good, some bad - probably ending up in the middle. It still felt good.

It’s been 10 days since I left my Kindle on the plane, and I’ve heard nothing from Southwest. I ordered a new device this evening, and it should be delivered by Friday. Any bets on the old one showing up sometime this week? Oh, well, if it does, it will then belong to John. And, after all, one can only wait so long without something to read.
Weymouth, England.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there - and to all those who love mothers.
Patrons at the Brewer’s Arms Pub, Dorset, England.


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Saturday, May 07, 2011

It's Graduation time

Congratulations to all graduates this season, but especially to the Class of 2011 at the College of Charleston. And more especially to our Sarah (she's the gal on the right in this photo).


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Friday, May 06, 2011

From the Atlantic to the Rio Grande

News from different parts of the country tonight.

Sarah’s getting ready for her Commencement Ceremony tomorrow. She will graduate from the College of Charleston. She’s already planning for her new life as a 1st year law student at Miami - a whole new world. She’ll be back on the lowest rung on the educational ladder, but she definitely ready to go storming up. You go, Girl!!!

Betsy is back in the Health Center of her retirement facility. She’s still retaining fluid, and they’re working to try to get that drained away. She’ll be monitored closely by the doctors (and by the rest of us).

There are a couple of farmers’ markets opening tomorrow. I’m going to check out the one nearest us. I always am SO ready for the fresh veggies when they start coming in.
Great chimneys from the courtyard at The Brewers Arms pub, Martinstown, Dorset.

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