Friday, September 30, 2011

Music Reviews

I’m probably the last person who should make any music reviews, but…. As John said, I’ve probably never had a “humble opinion” in my life.

I had heard about, and ordered, three new DVDs, something I rarely do. We listened to them all today, and here’s my reviews.

1. Tony Bennett Duets II.
Tony Bennett has been one of the music icons for many years, and I’ve loved his music for all those years. He probably should’ve stopped before this one. We were disappointed. For old time’s sake, I’d give it maybe 2 (out of 5).

2. Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton play the blues.
How can you possibly go wrong with these two playing New Orleans jazz? Well, you can’t. Great music and wonderful pairing of these two. Go get this one. 4.5

3. Hugh Laurie - Let Them Talk.
I never saw Laurie in the BBC programs with John Cleese, so the only thing I knew about him was playing in “House”. I watched “House” a few times and hated the character, so I stopped watching. There was a piece about Laurie and this album on CBS Sunday Morning last week, and I was blown away. This is fabulous New Orleans Blues music. Run, don’t walk, to make it part of your collection! 5
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Worthless today!

It was a wonderfully worthless day today! All I did today was tweak paintings and fix supper. A real winner of a day!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The last acrylic painting class of the series went great today. I feel like I’m really getting somewhere with some of my pieces. I have one, probably two completed, and ready for signatures and photographing. I’m pretty much able to see where a third is going to go - just needs more work. And the next series starts 19 October.

And all that is exciting to me - not so much getting the pieces done, but being able to see how to work through the problems in this sort of work.

We didn’t do anything the rest of the afternoon and evening - and it was nice to have no plans. Nothing on the docket for tomorrow, either. Except some painting, of course.
Bringing a hog to market, and getting it weighed.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A better day

I went to bed shortly after 9 last night, and slept until about 7:30 this morning. I have no clue as to what’s causing this, but I surely don’t want it to continue. Three people have asked me if the sleeplessness might have something to do with my medications. I’m on the same meds I’ve been on for quite some time. I’m to see the rheumatologist after we get back from our trip, and I’ll definitely ask him to review them carefully with me.

Watercolor class was fun this morning. I did a couple of “sketches” that I’m right pleased with.

This evening, we went to the movie and to eat at our favorite Mexican place with some friends. A good late afternoon/evening. We saw Money ball - the new movie about the Oakland Athletics with Brad Pitt. He’s turned into an excellent actor and this is a good movie. It’s set in the baseball milieu, but isn’t really about baseball. It’s worth an evening out - and definitely worth the low-priced late afternoon showing.
Market lady. The Cambodians are a beautiful people - obviously we took lots of "people" pictures.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sleepless in Chattanooga

Another sleepless night last night. So just a photo today.
Betel leaves in the street market.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Stealing

The Meme That’s Going Around, taken from Sunday Stealing.

A. Age: 75

B. Bed size: queen

C. Chore that you hate: Housework in general

D. Dogs: We haven’t had a dog in about 30 years. Although we love them, we probably won’t have another.

E. Essential start to your day: It varies by the day of the week - what’s on the schedule. Coffee will definitely be close to the start on the day.

F. Favorite color: I like most colors, but cannot wear yellow, olive green, khaki.

G. Gold or Silver: What little fine jewelry I have is in white gold. No real preference, though.

H. Height: I’ve shrunk - used to be 5’7 ½”. At my last physical, I was 5’5 ¾”.

I. Instruments you play: I’m pretty good at the TV, radio, or CD player. I had piano lessons as a child - just no talent for it.

J. Job title: The last one was Office Manager (retired 26 years ago).

K. Kids: 4 daughters, 3 sons-in-law, 6 grands, soon to be 2 grands-in-law.

L. Live: ??? I was living the last time I checked. Where? Chattanooga

M. Mother's name: Lydia (Pink)

N. Nicknames: The only time I had a nickname was during a summer job when I was called “Rice”, because of the school sweatshirt I wore a lot.

O. Overnight hospital stays: 7 that I can think of (a 5-day hospital stay was customary when our children were born; 2 that were also before overnight stays became very rare)

P. Pet peeve: I’m very proud of being a Grammar Snob. My current pet peeve is the “unnecessary ‘at’ “, as in “Where is it at?”

Q. Quote from a movie: “Things come and go so quickly here.” “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.” “Stand up, Miss Jem. Your Father’s passing.”

R. Right or left handed: Very right-handed.

S. Siblings: One older sister (deceased).

T. Time you wake up: 6 a.m. on swimming days; usually 7-8:30 on other days.

U. Underwear: Yes

V. Vegetable you hate: Does coconut count as a vegetable? Probably not. I can’t think of a vegetable I hate.

W. What makes you run late: Only something out of my control. I’m pathologically early.

X. X-Rays you've had: Lots and lots - head to toe, inside and out.

Y. Yummy food that you make: Lasagna, country ham, turkey and dressing, tomato pie.

Z. Zoo animal: Zebras, what else.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Symphony opening

I slept from about 11:15 last night until 8:30 this morning (with the usual potty breaks, of course). It felt good!

The symphony was great. There were a lot of firsts in this concert. It was the opening program of the season. In the 79 years of the Chattanooga Symphony, this was the debut of only the 8th conductor. She's the first woman, the first Japanese-American, and the youngest person to be our conductor. The new maestra is [url=][b]Kayoko Dan[/b][/url] and she was warmly welcomed by the audience. She's just a little bitty thing, and only 33, but already seems to have a good rapport with the orchestra. The program was excellent - Rimsky-Korsakov (Capriccio Espagnol), Tchaikovsky (Capriccio Italien), and Dvorak (Symphony #8).

Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tough night

I had a really awful night - didn't get to sleep until after 4 a.m. By then, I'd had two sessions of dark, two of reading in bed, once up in the chair with the computer - and still no sleep. By the last time I got in the bed, I had decided to skip swimming and turned off the alarm. I left a note for John, so he'd know I was deliberately not getting up. I did wake up about 8:30, so that was in time to get to coffee at Panera (and even a breakfast sandwich). I had to take a lot of kidding from the swimmers about being "invisible" in the pool today, but that's okay.

When I got to read the paper, I saw today’s Pickles comic strip. John had already told me about it. Boy, did they ever nail me! CLICK HERE to see it. I tried, but just couldn't manage to post the strip itself on the blog. (It's the one for 23 September 2011.)
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Surprisingly busy Thursday

I had an unusual morning. I had three errands to do, and managed to do all of them in record time, without delays - something new and different. I got a stencil and a couple of stamps at Hobby Lobby, and went to sign up for the next set of acrylic painting classes.

The most surprising errand and the one that will cause some difficulty was to the cell-phone store. John wants to drop his service and get a “loadable” phone. The amazing part was walking into the store and getting service immediately. The difficulty that John’s phone is the one with the contract, not mine. So to avoid penalties, I’ll be switching to John’s phone number, and he’ll be getting a new one. All this will take effect on 5 October (at the end of our billing cycle), so I’ll let everybody know the new numbers when the changeover happens.

We went to the home of one of John’s rowing friends to play bridge this afternoon. They're very much beginners, and we knew we would be going to try to help them learn more. Very nice folks, and an interesting, fun afternoon. They're taking lessons, but in duplicate. I hope we didn't confuse them too much - since we don't play duplicate and couldn't help them with some of the duplicate conventions and bidding. And they didn't always understand what we were telling them about rubber bridge. Oh, well - it was a nice afternoon. We wound up playing until 5:30, so we stopped at a store-front Asian fusion type eatery on our way home. Had a good meal, and so generous that our carry-out will be tomorrow's dinner.
Who could resist these little hams?

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This and that

Bruce Plante’s editorial cartoon for today is wicked!
Re the new arrangement at Facebook: I’m certainly not the only one who hates it. I’ve tried to registered a complaint with them, and never did find a place to do so. I found a long list of comments from folks, all saying the same thing - how much they hate the new thing. Maybe they’ll get the message. Or not….
After our painting class, several of us walked to lunch at a nearby restaurant. While we were eating, it started raining and just poured. We sort of waited around until it slacked up and stopped before we left. When I got home, on the other side of the river, there hadn’t been a drop of rain. It’s funny how those intermittent showers will stop at a river sometimes. Oh, well…..
This is my painting, Inspiration #1, which will be in a silent auction in October. It's acrylic on paper, 30 x 22", and is at the framers now.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good news on the Autumnal Equinox

Red-letter day today, marking the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell! As Kate said, “Civil rights for everyone!”
It’s a good way to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox - the official end of Summer. Hooray!!!
Watercolor painting with the old friends was great this morning. It’s very different from the acrylics, and I haven’t been doing much until this bunch started up, so it’s been interesting.

Our local art advocacy group is celebrating its 25th anniversary next month. They asked me (as one of the earlier members) if I would put a piece in their silent auction. I’m extremely flattered, of course, and am going to take one of these new pieces. I can put a starting price on it, and the organization will get 35% of the sales price (if it does indeed sell). Since Vicki’s not doing framing anymore, she took me to the commercial framing place to pick out framing for it today. It’s going to look fantastic when it’s done. I’ll take pictures, I promise.

It was good to have NCIS and NCIS-LA back with new episodes tonight.
Catching the school bus (boat) on the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just the usual

Just a usual Monday. I came in second high last Monday at bridge. Not to bad, with 7 tables playing. And, of course, I paid for it today with mediocre cards again today.

It’s nice to have the new TV season starting up again. There was a new episode of Hawaii 5-0 tonight, and NCIS and NCIS-LA will be starting tomorrow. Keeps us watching.
Along the Mekong River. Most of these houses are floating, or will be underwater during the rainy season.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunday Stealing

This a meme taken from Sunday Stealing.

1) Have you ever flown a kite?
Yes, but many, many years ago.
2) Do you wish on your fallen lashes?
Nope. I remember girls doing that as teenagers.
3) Do you consider yourself successful?
Yes, I think I’d say that I’d lived a successful life.
4) When was the last time that you made an obscene phone call?
Hmmmm, let me think. I guess, never.
5) Have you ever asked for a pony?
If I had, it would’ve been about 70 years ago, and I surely don’t remember that.
6) Plans for tomorrow?
Nothing past fixing breakfast and watching CBS Sunday morning. Probably do a bit of work on my paintings.
7) Can you juggle?
I used to juggle children, car pools, laundry, job, husband, etc., etc. To juggle something like balls or oranges - I think that takes a modicum of physical coordination, and that pretty much lets me out.
8) Missing someone now?
I miss Betsy and I miss Jesse - for different reasons.
9) When was the last time you told someone "I love you"?
Last night when I went to bed and hugged my sweetie.
10) And truly meant it?
11) How often do you drink alcohol?
Not at all any more.
12) How are you feeling today?
About the usual amount of aches and pains. And it’s hay fever time, so more sneezing than usual.
13) Have you every tried to write a meme?
Nope. I think I’ll stick with stealing.
14) Have you ever been fired from a job?
No. I’ve quit a couple, once to take a better job and once because it just wasn’t right for me. And I left my last (long-time) job when I retired.
15) What are you looking forward to?
Going to our granddaughter’s wedding in a few weeks.
16) Have you ever crawled through a window?
I’m sure I have, but certainly not recently.
17) What's the most recent bad meal that you had to endure?
I can’t remember having a really bad meal. Tonight’s supper was pretty good, but the locally-made andouille sausage was way too highly seasoned for me to eat. (John loved it, though.)
18) Can you handle the truth?
I’d like to think so.
19) Whose to blame for what's going on?
The Republicans, of course!
20) What will it take to fix it all up?
Getting some of those folks to agree that “compromise” is not a dirty word.
We loved seeing the TV antennas over the temporary shelters along the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 16, 2011

Busy, not boring

I remembered at swimming this morning that I was due to work at the book store at the library this morning. Glad I remembered beforehand, and not the next day. Somebody actually bought some books, and I didn't screw up the cash register.

This evening, we went to a reception for one of my swimming friend's 50th wedding anniversary. It was very low-key and very nice. Heavy hors d'oeuvres, and just a 12-minute video-montage of photos put together by their son. It was fun to see all the swimmers and their spouses semi-dressed up. A nice evening.

As I’m writing this, they’ve just had the news on about the plane crash in Reno, NV. It sounds like a terrible accident. Things can turn bad so quickly.
Heading to market - all lives in the Mekong Delta revolve around the river.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The only exciting things going on today were getting haircuts and going to the fishmonger to get a tuna steak for the grill and a couple of crabcakes. Yummy food, but I do make better crabcakes.
And then there are the Cambodian people...

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


If you saw this license plate - I L V T O F U - what would you think it means?

What it make any difference if I told you this lady who requested this vanity plate was a vegetarian?

She was denied this plate by the State of Tennessee, and several other states. You can read the story in
The Tennessean.
And, I’m sorry to have two stories to read on, but I think this needs to be said. One of the first essays in the current issue of Newsweek is by Paul Begala (an advisor in the Clinton Administration). In this piece, Begala talks about the good things that only the federal government can do. And why we should remember these things and keep telling others. Click here to read the short essay.
Laundry day on the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday painting

I went to the painting group with Vicki this morning - always a treat. A couple of her neighbors were there, and it was fun to meet some new people. Tina was there, too, doing some drawing.

That was about it for the day. John cooked some hamburgers on the grill. Those drippy, greasy things are SO good, and we don’t have them very often.
Life along the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Today, it was back to the usual full Monday routine. Swimming, coffee, Aldi, WalMart, and bridge. There’s just no time for the rest of the week to get to the grocery store. Oh, well. At least, I had terrific cards today. I have over 6000points for our six progressions, and that makes up for a lot of grocery shopping.

Thought for the day: (From the Washington Post Enigma puzzle)

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. Blaise Pascal
To which I can only say, Amen!
This is the way we were ferried from our boat (the La Marguerite) to our shore trips.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We didn’t watch any of the anniversary programs about 9/11 today. And I didn’t want to write about it. It’s just something that will always be with us, and that each of us has to remember in our own way.

I did want to say a special thanks for all the firefighters and policemen and women - those first responders who gave so much - on that day and every other day. And to all our men and women in the armed services (especially Jesse and Taylor) who are out there for our safety.

We don’t thank you nearly enough. So I’ll just take this opportunity to do so.

Thank you!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESSE!!! // It's footbball time in Tennessee

I did some painting this afternoon. I have to be working on several pieces at once, so I have something to do while something dries - or else go do something else for a while. We had re-mixed leftovers for dinner tonight. But John says he got all his vitamins - a glass of red wine, and a small piece of dark chocolate to finish it off.

Mostly the day was spent with football - amazingly all the teams we care about won: Tennessee over Cincinnati; UTC over Jacksonville State; and Rice over Purdue. Who knows when that might happen again?
Living and farming on the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 09, 2011

Politics of Fighting Wildfires

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, by David Hill, on 9 September 2011, fighting the horrendous fires in Texas has been hampered by the draconian budget cuts to programs like the volunteer firefighters, the Texas Forest Service, state parks, etc. And Gov. Rick Perry, with all his ranting about all-but-dismantling the federal government, is asking for federal aid to help his state cope with the record-setting drought and the awful forest fires. What nerve!

These are a few paragraphs from the article, titled Politics of fighting wildfires: Did Rick Perry's Texas do enough on its own?

Gov. Rick Perry, currently the frontrunner among GOP presidential candidates, has been forced to press President Obama for more than $50 million in federal aid. At the same time, he defends the state's decision to slash by 74 percent the funding for the volunteer fire departments who do most of the work, and to cut the Texas Forest Service's budget by 34 percent, down to its 2008 level.

Money from the state's rainy day fund will be used to fund the current wildfire fighting efforts, Governor Perry says. State legislators will have to reconcile the costs later. The fires are costing the state about $1.5 million a day, 75 percent of which could be recouped from Washington.

Mr. Obama assured Perry in a phone call on Thursday that Washington will expedite consideration of disaster requests.

But what some have called Texas' “slash and burn” approach to balancing its state budget has left volunteer firefighters, who do about 80 percent of the work, in a lurch. Just last week, the most recent budget cuts meant 90 Texas Forest Service employees were laid off. Some volunteers pay for expenses out of pocket. And the repeated emergency calls are stressing equipment like tankers and pumpers not built for continuous use.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ears and listening

I’ve been having trouble for about a week with a stopped up ear. It felt like water, but it wouldn’t drain or pop, so probably that old waxy buildup. I got some OTC drops, but it didn’t seem to be helping. Finally this morning, I went to see the PA at our doctor’s office. He scraped and put some drops in the ear. The nurse flushed it out a number of times with warm water, and then the PA scraped some more. It’s much better now, but not 100% clear. I’m supposed to use the OTC preparation daily, plus some antibiotic eardrops (as a preventative) for about a week. Anyhow, it’s better - and that’s a good thing.

We spent the afternoon helping at the Friends of the Library book sale. Sales were pretty steady all afternoon. Sad to say, one of the good customers was me. Actually, though, most of what I got were things for Jean and for Wayne. For me, I got one coffee-table book of dynamite abstract photographs that are going to be great source material for paintings.

Then it was finally home for soft clothes!
We watched President Obama speak to the joint session of Congress today. He proposed a great program to help do something about the unemployment problem, which should help with the economy. Unfortunately, he’s up against a group of people who would, without hesitation, wreck the US economy in order to defeat Obama. And, unfortunately, Obama has more conscience, scruples, whatever. He’s not willing to wreck the economy in order to win the election. It really ain’t fun to live in interesting times.
Street market, Cambodia

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Be quiet!

I've always thought that if you don't have anything to say, the least you can do is shut up. So.....
Rural public transportation, Cambodia.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mom Nature isn't very nice.

The center of “Lee” hung over Chattanooga most of the day, but we got only about another inch of rain. That makes near 8 at our house. We thought we’d had only small branches and leaves blown down last night. But by this afternoon, we saw that a large tree had fallen across the house of our across-the-street neighbor during the night. She wasn’t home last night, so she’s safe. And our next door neighbor had half of a Bradford pear fall toward the house of their neighbor on the other side. That one missed the house by a whisker. I’m getting really antsy about our trees that need to come out.

I went to Vicki’s new painting class this morning, and it was good to get out the watercolors, and to paint and talk with Vicki and Judy. I had some trouble getting into town because of trees down across the road. Some had been down and cut away, but others were still blocking traffic.

Because of the rain, the acrylic class was cancelled for tomorrow. Obviously there is a problem with water getting into the building where the class is held. A makeup lesson will be held at the end of the session.

The weather has certainly been challenging this year - for all areas of the world. From the snows of last winter, the spring floods, the earthquake and tsunami, the tornadoes, Irene, Lee, the wildfires. Mom Nature has really been on a rampage this year.
Life along the Mekong River.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2011

Rain, rain, and more rain

I guess we're trying to make up a year's worth of rain deficit in one day. Tropical storm Lee finally arrived. Since the rain started about midnight last night, we've had over 6 inches of rain. Fortunately, we live on a hill, so there won't be any flooding. The power has flickered several times, but still on so far. It's been a steady slow rain, which has reslly soaked in. Now if the wind will just stay down, we should be okay.
They're still using ox carts in rural Cambodia.

Posted by Picasa