Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mystic Greens and Golds

This is the final version of the piece I did in the series of painting classes that finished up today. It's 30x22, acrylic and collage on paper.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

For the book lovers

Hey, book lovers, here’s a neat video for you to watch. It’s about 15 minutes long, but worth it. Thanks, Flo Jean, for sending it.

Click here.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Miscellany

The usual Monday stuff today. My cards were some better today. They’d have had to go some to be worse. I really did have the low score the last time we played - out of 7 tables. That’s pretty bad.
The UTC Lady Mocs beat Appalachian State 80-71 tonight. It was a sweet victory, even though it had no bearing on the conference standings. And it was a hard fought game. Everybody who follows women’s basketball knows that the refereeing is pretty bad. But tonight’s game showed a new low in referee incompetence. It’s a shame - when two good teams are playing and have to put up with that.
Women’s basketball would not be what it is today without the efforts of Pat Summitt, the legendary head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols. Her being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s is a tragedy. It’s been sad to see her deteriorate over the year. Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press expressed the sentiments of all of us - and did it perfectly.
Life Philosophy 101 for the Squirrelly Senior Citizens is a blog I’ve started reading. He’s particularly good today. Check it out.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Book Sale

See if your local library has a book sale. If it does, don’t just go to buy books, volunteer to help with the sale. It’s a great source of funds for our cash-strapped libraries.

Our library’s spring book sale is going on this week. I worked a shift this afternoon, and John and I will be doing two more shifts during the week. Teachers are able to get books for their classrooms without breaking their budgets. Families buy books for their homes. People whose homes and belongings were destroyed during the tornadoes came in to replace their precious books.

Folks read their books, and then bring them back to be sold again in the fall book sale. It’s an ongoing circle, and we keep it going.
Contrasts on the road into Saigon.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cheers to all of us thieves!

From Sunday Stealing who stole it from Scottish Mum Blog

1. Where are you from and where do you live now?
Born in Missouri, grew up in Texas, live in Tennessee (for 50 years and counting)

2. Favorite childhood story/book/film?
Read all the Nancy Drew books; loved The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia

3. If you could change gender for a day what would you do?
I can’t think of anything I could do as a man that I can’t do as a woman.

4. Do you feel your family is complete or would you like more/some children?
The only additional family I’ll have is more grandchildren-in-law and/or great-grandkids.

5. What do you do/Where do you work and do you enjoy it?
I love painting, knitting, and reading. I’ve been retired from “outside” work for years.

6. Which three words do you think sum you up?
Honest, dependable, loyal.

7. If you were a fairy what magical powers would you possess?
I’d possess the power to make people love one another because of their differences. I’d see to it that people actually believe and act on the Golden Rule.

8. If you were invisible, where would you go and what would you do? Why?
I don’t know that I’d want to be around people who didn’t know I was there. It’s too much like spying.

9. What song can’t you listen to without crying?
The Star Spangled Banner.

10. Which book changed your life – or at least made you think a lot?
I was a teenager and read a book about different religions. It was the first time I realized that Christianity wasn’t the only way people thought about life and the world. It was my first step on the way to being a nonbeliever.

11. Why do you blog?
I started as a way to tell my family and friends what we were doing when we traveled. Now, it’s more of a journal, a discipline to write something every day, and to try to keep my mind active.

12. What is your top ‘me-time’ tip?
Make it happen. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anybody else.

13. What can’t you live without?
Love and laughter.

14. Which of all your blog posts are you most proud of and why?
I have no idea.

15. Have you ever met a famous person? Who and where?
I shook LBJ’s hand at a campaign stop during the 1964 campaign.

16. When did you last have a full nights sleep?
I’m a good sleeper - almost every night.

17. What would you think is harder: Going to work or staying at home with children?
I don’t know. I was a stay-at-home mom when our girls were little, then went to work.

18. What are you doing for Easter?
Nothing. When is it?

19. What is your favorite drink?
Water, coffee.

20. Do you play any sports?
No. I do like to be in the water, and take a deep-water exercise class at the Y.

21. What is your most embarrassing moment?
I’m sure there have been some, but nothing comes to mind.

22. How clever are you?
Not particularly.

23. Name a new favorite TV show?
New? Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, Hawaii 5-0.

24. Any guilty pleasures?
Just eating too much.

25. If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
I don’t have a problem with the one I was given.

26. Who do you most admire in life, and why?
I admire the men and women in the Armed Services - they don’t get nearly enough credit for being on the line for the rest of us. The same thing about the men and women in our police forces. I admire the care-givers who take care of their loved ones for whatever health problem they face. I admire John for putting up with me for all these years.

27. What is your most treasured possession?
My family.

28. Tell your favorite funny joke…
I’m a terrible joke-teller.

29. What is your biggest fear in life?
I don’t dwell on anything like that. I would hate to have a long lingering illness.

30. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? What does it remind you of?
I like a good vanilla or butter brickle - just reminds me of ice cream.
La Marguerite. Leaving the Mekong River as we arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Seasonable Friday

After our unseasonably warm day yesterday, Barefoot Crofter commented that where she lives (Scotland), folks would complain about the heat if it got that warm in the summertime. I don’t like it much warmer than that, either. However, here in the South, in the summertime, that would almost be considered a “cool” day. Oh, well - we got back to more normal temperatures this afternoon, and it’s due to be in the 30s tonight.

It’s getting close to Super Tuesday in the Presidential Primary season. That’s when Tennessee votes. Our county is in the middle of the early voting period right now. We’re even going to get two of the Republican primary candidates speaking in our area over the next week. One will be speaking in a hall about 2 miles from our house tomorrow afternoon. I’m just glad we’ll be going to a basketball game in the other direction, and won’t have to put up with any possible traffic mess. The other one won’t be coming until the following week. I wish they’d both stay far, far away.
Another boat with eyes.

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Strange day

The day was strange in that locally we tied a record temperature for the day at 78! Definitely not what one would expect in February.

And basketball didn’t do too well, either. The Lady Mocs lost on the road to Samford last night. And the Lady Vols lost at home to Arkansas for the first time. Oh, well - the season is almost over. Then it’s time for March Madness.
The boats have eyes to protect the owners from evil.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Living along the Mekong River means an antenna forest.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday This and That

The big event of the day was getting my 6-month teeth cleaning this morning - that always feels so good. I’m fortunate to have good teeth, so rarely need anything more than that.

Do you remember the TV series, Due South? Jean reminded us about it, and we got a disc from Netflix. We’ve only watched the first episode, but it’s still funny.
The cameraman gets in the picture sometimes, but he gets the photo he wanted.


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Monday, February 20, 2012

Is it Art?

Art is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s art if its creator says it’s art.

You won’t believe what this guy does with old books. Read about how he does this.
Karan Arora’s Posterous.

We saw an exhibit of this work at the Frist Museum in Nashville last week. I’d call it art. The creators call it art. But it certainly is different. Watch this 4-minute video with the sound on - they talk about their work.

John Wood & Paul Harrison.
More Vietnamese children.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rainy Sunday

We managed to complete our weekend with no snow, just rain. And doing just the usual Sunday stuff - laundry being the exciting part.
Vietnamese children.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Silent Saturday

Everything gets transported by water along the Mekong.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Back home

We saw two exhibits Thursday at the Frist Museum. They were both great - very different. The paintings on loan from the Phillips Collection were mainly from the 1890s through about WW2, and a wide range..really nice pieces. The other exhibit we just sort of glanced at, and then got hooked. They were video pieces, projected on the white walls. Very difficult to explain, but amazingly creative, if from very strange minds, and fun to watch. Each was no more than 1 minute long, and lots were shorter.

We had a good lunch with Jean, a couple of her friends, and one of our old, close friends from the area.

We had lots of fun visiting with our old, dear friends, where we spent the night. You know how it is - you just pick up the conversation where you left off. Very special.

Kate found us a neat place to eat in Clarksville - Duke's Diner - American and Thai food! The building had been a Waffle House originally. We all had something Thai, and each order was very good.

My teacher's exhibit at the Customs House Museum was terrific! There were 2-3 that I'd really like to consider purchasing. As I told John tonight - my birthday is coming up next month. It was fun to see it with Kate and Wayne, too. She is feeling much better - and attributes it all to having gotten the shingles diagnosis so quickly and getting started on the meds. She’ll be going back to work on Monday.

The trip home was uneventful, too - until we got almost into Chattanooga, then got slowed in the usual Friday evening traffic. I fixed waffles for supper and John was in bed by 9:30.

We're probably going to have a quiet Saturday and Sunday, since we've already had our "weekend".
Stained glass window in a Catholic church in Vietnam.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another Wednesday

Pretty good day today - another busy Wednesday. Swimming and coffee, of course, with the usual culprits showing up. (You know who you are!)

Painting is getting interesting. Sandy gave us a few more techniques and materials to use for mixed media, and we’ve actually started using some of them on the piece we’re working on during this 6-week session. I’ll post a picture when I finish. Guess I should take some pictures along the way and show the process.

The day got capped off with the massage I missed last week. So nice!
Different church cultures in Vietnam.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

John got me a Valentine's present - shingles vaccines! We got them at Walgreen's. No out-of-pocket cost - they'll file for insurance - since we're over 65.

Now he’s worried about how to top that for my birthday next month, and looking (begging, even) for suggestions.
Flowers in a Vietnam churchyard

Monday, February 13, 2012

The blahs!

I had a really bad case of the blahs today. And the cards were even worse than last week. I had two rounds with zero points and one 8-high hand...really lousy! I'm glad we're not playing next week - I think I need a week off.

John and Margaret went to Knoxville to see the Lady Vols/KY game. Our Lady Mocs played at home tonight, but I skipped the game - just didn't feel like going. I listened on the radio.

Lady Mocs 67-52 over GA Southern.
The Lady Vols looked more like they’re supposed to. Pat was even up yelling at the referees. Lady Vols 91, Kentucky 54

I called Kate and told her not to worry about us - that we'd just skip our visit this weekend, and do it some other time. The doc told her to take off all this week. She's been talking to her insurance company, and has to take her vacation time for the first five days - after that her short-term disability will cut in.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Good news and Bad news

Tonight, we watched the 2006 movie, Walk The Line. It’s a story about Johnny Cash and June Carter. It’s a pretty good movie - and the music is great. We lived in Hendersonville, TN , at the same time they did, so we feel they were neighbors.
The bad news is that Kate has shingles. She’s gotten an early diagnosis and is already on medication. So we can hope that she has a light case.

The good news is that Sarah ran her half-marathon to benefit breast cancer. We were concerned about her bad knee, but she said she “didn’t feel anything after mile #4”. Hopefully she won’t have any repercussions from it. Thanks again, sweetie!


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Saturday, February 11, 2012


It’s been Brrrrrrr cold today! Some snow flurries around, but nothing really sticking. It’s been quite windy, with some sunshine, some clouds, but with highs only in the low 30s.
We got out only to go to the basketball game, which the Lady Mocs won - beating the College of Charleston 57-31. And that was capped off by dinner at La Altena.
Sarah is running a half-marathon tomorrow in Jacksonville. It’s a money-raiser for breast cancer research. This is what she put on the “Endurance Poster” for the run.


We're very proud of you, Babe!
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Friday Photo

Thursday, February 09, 2012

David Hyde Pierce

David Hyde Pierce is absolutely one of the funniest men on earth - at least one of the best comic actors. He can make me laugh with one nasty little twitch of his smile.

The Hallmark Channel shows episodes of Frasier from 10 p.m.-midnight Monday through Friday. I sat up and watched one last night (that I don’t remember having seen before) and he set me off laughing before he ever said a word.

I checked out the Hallmark Channel web site today and found some of what they consider the funniest scenes. And I got myself laughing all over again while watching the fencing scene (If you‘re a fan, you‘ll remember this one).

What a treat to be able to actually laugh out loud at something on the television.

Four, four, four, four

Thanks to Anne, here are some "fours".

1. Four states I have been to: Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine (plus 46 others)

2. Four things I love to smell: ocean air, bread baking, roses, lilacs.

3. Four writers I like: Pat Conroy, Dana Stabenow, J.A.Jance, John Grisham

4. Four TV shows I like to watch: NCIS, NCIS-LA, The Closer, Rachel Maddow

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish Nobel laureate for poetry died last week.

I’d never heard of her and, I confess, know very little about poetry in general, and don’t read much poetry. My cousin, Sue Wheeler has several books of poetry on sale at Amazon. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her poetry.

Wislawa Symborska’s poetry was quoted in this week’s Newsweek. I can understand why she was awarded a Nobel Prize, and why she is beloved in Poland.

I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations/
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Crappy day - except...

Today was a usual Monday - except with really crappy cards! And the Lady Mocs lost to Furman. Blechh!
My great-niece found this photo of my sister (her grandmother) in 1968. Isn’t it great!

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

A lovely afternoon

What a lovely afternoon we had today!

We had read about a baroque/renaissance group playing at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church downtown. The church has a gorgeous sanctuary and nave, built in 1853 (it’s on the National Register of Historic Places), and has terrific acoustics.

The group playing was theEnsemble Chaconne. They are fabulous! Two of the instruments they played are original, made in the 18th Century, and two are faithful reproductions.

If you ever get a chance to hear this group, do it!

And then we came home, had some supper, and John watched the Super Bowl.
cat·er·waul (kintr.v. cat·er·wauled, cat·er·waul·ing, cat·er·wauls
1. To cry or screech like a cat in heat.
2. To make a shrill, discordant sound.
3. To have a noisy argument.

Well, I didn’t know it was the official definition, but that was definitely what was going on outside our bedroom window about midnight last night. Just turning on the porch light didn’t stop the two cats. I had to go out on the front porch and shoo them away. Guess they went over to a neighbor’s house.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sunday Stealing

From Sunday Stealing.
Cheers to all of us thieves!

1) Are you happy with the person you've become?
Mostly - I’d choose to be thinner, but otherwise not too different.

2) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?
I hate the shouting talking heads on television; I love silence or the sounds of the ocean.

3) What's your biggest "what if"?
I don’t waste time with regrets.

4) Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens?
I don’t think we understand all the things around us. But I don’t believe in malevolent or beneficent ghosts or being able to call up the “spirits” of the dead to talk to us. There may be life forms on other planets, but I don’t believe in alien beings living among us.

5) Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm.
My coffee cup, lamp, book, and knitting are on my chair-side table on the right. The TV remote or John if he’s in his chair are on my left.

6) Smell the air. What do you smell?
Nothing particular.

7) What's the worst place you have ever been to?
We’ve been to places that I wouldn’t necessarily want to go to again, but I don’t know what I’d call “the worst”. The poverty in the Caribbean islands and in Cambodia is very disturbing.

8) Choose: East Coast or West Coast?
I think I’d pick the East Coast - it’s more familiar and closer to family. As long as I could visit the West Coast from time to time.

9) Most attractive singer of your opposite gender?
I can’t think of anybody in particular. I don’t care too much about looks, just the sound.

10) To you, what is the meaning of life?
That’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about. It is what it is.

11) Define: Art.
Tough question for me as an artist. Art is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and I think it’s what the viewer or creator decides to call “art”.

12) Do you believe in luck?
Not particularly. To a certain extent, I think we make our own luck.

13) Patriots or Giants? Or, who gives a rat's ass?
I don’t give a rat’s ass.

14) Will you watch the game? If yes, with who?
If John has the game on, I’ll be in the room with it. But I won’t be paying much attention - to the game or the commercials.

15) Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?
I drive. I’ve been in an accident, but I was rear-ended by a dump truck and our car was totaled. Fortunately we had just bumps and bruises.

16) What was the last book you read?
I just finished 1493. And am now reading Grisham’s latest, The Litigators.

17) Do you like the smell of gasoline?

18) Do you have any nicknames?
Does Mom count?

19) What was the last movie you saw?
Everybody’s Fine and The Killing Fields on DVD; Moneyball in the theater.

20) What's the worst injury you've ever had?
Severed artery, left wrist (ER treatment); trimalleolar fracture, left ankle (surgery with pinning)

21) Have you ever caught a butterfly?
Probably, when I was a child.

22) Do you have any obsessions right now?
I don’t think so.

23) What's your sexual orientation?

24) Ever had a rumor spread about you?
If so, it didn’t get back to me.

25) Do you believe in magic?
I don’t believe in magic as in defying the laws of physics. But I love seeing a good magician work sleight of hand and misdirection.

World Book Night

I‘ve just found out about World Book Night - a free book distribution on 23 April 2012. Jean has been accepted as a participant in Nashville, and I’ve applied to be one here. This began in England last year and was a great success. This is the first time to have it here in the U.S. Check it out and see if you might want to participate in your area.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Killer Friday

Today has been a killer day. We left the house a little before 7 a.m. to go to swimming and exercise. I didn't get back home until 5, then we left at 7 for the symphony. John and I went to Panera after the Y, then I went downtown to work at the library bookstore (he got a ride home with one of the other gals). A friend had gotten up two tables of bridge and invited John and me. So I went straight from the library to her house - no lunch, just some nuts and a piece of cake during the afternoon.

The symphony was called "A Russian Spectacular", with pieces by Glinka, Prokofiev (violin concerto), and Tchaikovsky (4th symphony). Mostly a great concert. The violinist was excellent, but her mannerisms were very distracting. I mostly looked elsewhere in the orchestra or closed my eyes rather than at her. John felt the same way, but said he was afraid to close his eyes - afraid he‘d fall asleep.

Anyhow, home now. I'll crash soon. Then, I’ll do nothing until we meet a friend for dinner tomorrow night.
I can't remember the name of this fruit. Under the pink exterior, the flesh is white with tiny black flecks.
Addendum: John reminded me - it's Dragon Fruit

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Thursday this and that

Slow day today. We got about one-half inch of rain yesterday, but the sun is out today. I picked up some burgers and went over to have lunch with Vicki today. We really miss seeing each other several times a week, but… Anyhow, it was good to get caught up.
John and Margaret went to Knoxville for the Lady Vols/South Carolina game. Bad game, and the Lady Vols lost. Not a good evening.
And what’s all this about the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling their support for Planned Parenthood? I don’t understand.
Street displays.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012