Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer begins on 30 April

It was 89 today, and we turned on the a/c. That constitutes summer in my book.
Typical vista along the Indian Boundary, Tennessee.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Stealing

Here’s a Sunday Stealing meme. I’ve already read answers to these from fellow bloggers Bev and kwizgiver . A lot of my answers are similar to theirs. Oh, well - I guess it’s a “great minds” sort of thing.

1. A better name for me would be: I can’t imagine another name - it seems to suit me.

2. I have a hard time understanding: why those idiots in Congress don’t seem to understand that “compromise” is not a dirty word.

3. If I ever go back to school, I’d: take all those classes I didn’t get to take before, but audit them, so I don’t have to take exams or write papers.

4. You know I like you if: I give you a painting or something I’ve knitted.

5. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: John

6. If I could bring back a TV show for a reunion it would be: Northern Exposure for sure, maybe West Wing.

7. Take my advice, never: wait until it’s too late to take care of yourself.

8. My ideal breakfast is: somebody else cooks it.

9. A song I love, but do not own is: an octet by Mendelssohn which we heard for the first time about 10 days ago. He was only 16 when he wrote it, and it is amazing!

10. If you visit my hometown, I'd suggest: In Chattanooga, first go to the Tennessee Aquarium, but there‘s SO much else to see and do.

11. If I could meet a couple of my blog buddies, I'd include: We’re hoping to get to meet Bev this summer, and maybe pool girl. We’d also love to meet Sian because that would mean we’d gotten to return to the Orkneys. And I'd love to meet my basketball fan friend L'empress.

12. Why won’t people: realize that we’re more alike than different.

13. If you spend the night at my house: you’ll have to like clutter and enjoy talking.

14. I’d stop everything for: the chance to spend time with my loved ones.

15. The world could do without: hate and intolerance.

16. The last time I got drunk I: was in college and tossed my cookies.

17. My favorite blonde is: Kate (although she’s currently a redhead).

18. Paper clips are more useful than: any other fasteners

19. If I do anything well, it’s: knit

20. And by the way: never pass up a chance to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


John and I had adventure this morning. We went to the fabric store to pick up the fabric. On the way home, we drove through Chattanooga’s huge Enterprise South (our sort-of “industrial park”) where the new Volkswagen plant and our new Amazon distribution center are located. The VW plant is definitely one of the biggest buildings I’ve ever seen - an absolute WOW. They’re making the Passat here. And the Amazon building is almost as big. What a boon for our area. Then we went to see a new bicycle shop opened by Vicki’s son. I hope he can make a go of it. He’s certainly an expert on bicycles - has worked with them all his life. And he’s been around small retail shops all his life. So he has at least some idea of what he’s getting in to.

This afternoon, Vicki, Tina, and I went to a home and garden tour on Missionary Ridge - just five houses so not too long. It was fun, though - and lovely weather.

On the way, I noticed a “food wagon” type place where an elderly black man was cooking slabs of ribs on a grill. We stopped there as we headed back, and I got a whole slab. Vicki and I halved it, and I headed home with supper. Absolutely the best ribs we’ve ever had! This place may be across town, but we’ll definitely buy from them again.
Baby Falls on the Tellico River

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Miscellany

Tina took me out to an upholstery fabric place to see if I could pick out a fabric to recover our La-Z-Boy chairs. We brought home some samples and did pick one out - not the one we had originally thought would be "right". Isn't it funny how that works? Glad we decided to bring several choices to pick from. All fabrics there are $9.95/yard until Monday, so that's even better. I'm planning to take the chairs to be done while we're gone for two weeks. I'll go back and actually get the fabric tomorrow.
I wanted to try a new pizza place. The NYPizzaDepartment pizza is VERY good. It'll be our pizza of choice now. The only problem was figuring out what to order. A whole pizza is really big (22") - definitely for 4+ people. One or two slices is plenty for a meal for one. We'll find a way, though to get what we want. We took our order to go, because we preferred to eat it at home (and John could have a beer - guess they don't have a beer license yet - or won't be getting one). At least now we have a menu and can call ahead for an order.
One year ago our area was devastated by a flurry of tornadoes. I think it was 10 funnels that touched down - ranging from 1 to 5 on the Fujita scale. Eighty-one people lost their lives in our immediate area, and many others across Alabama and Missouri. I hope we never see that sort of thing again.
Tellico River

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Another great, offbeat, quirky movie you‘ve never heard of. Give Don Juan DeMarco a try. We got it from Netflix, but it might be available from your library. With a cast of Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, and Faye Dunaway, how can you go wrong?
Spring shades of green

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A good day

Swimming and coffee always get the day started off right.

The painting class today was the last of this 6-week series (not a good thing), but I did make some progress on a stymied painting. I don’t know that it’s finished, but it’ll have to sit for a while. Guess I need to get a picture taken. I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

And then I had a massage - which is a great way to spend an hour.
Tellico River

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

World Book Night (the next day)

I got the books delivered this morning. I had planned to take them last night (as recommended), but found out the Community Kitchen (our local homeless shelter) closes at 5, and I couldn't get there before then. So I went there about midmorning, and took the box up to the counter. When I opened it, a bunch of guys came to see what I had. The book was Friday Night Lights. I was asked "was that the one the movie was made from?" Yes, I said, and the TV show was based on it. Help yourself, I told them - they're to be given away to anyone who wants one. Another question: "Did I have anything to do with the movie?" "Well, yes, of course - don't you remember me from starring in it?" Lots of laughs at that. I didn't stay long, but several copies were taken right away, and I'm sure the rest will go quickly.

It was just a few minutes of my time, but it's always a pleasure to provide folks with something to read.
Click here to watch a brief delightfully funny video from Belgium. Thanks to Anne for sharing this.
Bald River Falls

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back to Monday

We got back to our usual routines today. And we even had the usual bad cards at bridge.

Although it was chilly and windy today, at least we didn't get the snow that they got further north. I hope Ann & Al were able to get the driving in that they had planned for today.

This photo is of Bald River Falls, flowing into the Tellico River in East Tennessee. It's very hard to get a photo of these falls. At any time on a sunny day, the falls will be half in bright sunshine and half in dark shadows. The weather was almost perfect last Friday - cloudy, but bright

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A great visit!

We went to Margaret’s Saturday to visit and eat. Bobby did some of his wonderful fried fish, and we also got their wonderful vegetables, etc. We got back to town about 7, and picked up Ann & Al’s rental car for the rest of their trip (they’ll be leaving in the morning).

I have volunteered to help with World Book Night. This program has provided me with 20 paperback books to give away at a place of my choosing - all to be done on or immediately after Monday, 23 April - International Book Day. My book is Friday Night Lights, and I'll be giving them away at our local Homeless Shelter. I just picked them up today. I'll be calling the shelter to be sure all is okay before I got over there with the books. This has been done in the UK (I think), but it's the first year in the US. Should be fun.

It’s been a great week. We played lots of bridge in the evenings, changing partners after each rubber, and keeping a running score. Ann was the big winner for the week - and (surprise!) I was last. I hope we’ll be getting back to what we laughingly call normal over the next couple of days.

Quiet day today - just doing laundry getting things put back. Ann & Al left early this morning. They've called to check in from their overnight in Charleston, WV. They stopped by the West Virginia Craft center at Tamarack in Beckley, WV, but made good time. It surely was good to have them here. We'll get back into the normal routine tomorrow. We’ve just seen the weather forecast, and several inches of snow is predicted to where they’re headed tomorrow in western PA. Oh, dear.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Long day

We had a lovely, long day today. John drove us up along the Tellico River, and up on Indian Boundary Road. We ate lunch at a little cafe in Tellico Plains. We ate our supper on the porch, then played bridge until well after 11. Off to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery and to Margaret's tomorrow.

Sue says that Randy is feeling better every day, and that Alison and Joe are coming in this weekend to visit. Great news from South Carolina.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday with Ann & Al

We had a laid-back day today, followed by a really nice evening. We went to the String Theory chamber music concert at the museum - two pieces with a string octet (Shostakovich and Mendelssohn) and a one with a string trio (Dvorak). Terrific music and musicians. Then we went to eat at our favorite Mexican place. And even finished up with some bridge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's news

Pat Summitt has retired. Not unexpected, but I hate the situation. I read this, and it’s certainly her most enduring legacy: Every Lady Vol player who has completed her eligibility at Tennessee has graduated, and 74 former players, assistants, graduate assistants, team managers and directors of basketball operations are currently among the coaching ranks at every level of basketball.
Randy went home from the hospital this evening, without a pacemaker. His cardiac rhythm was good enough that they decided to go with medication. He's to take a daily aspirin and Plavix, and always have nitroglycerin with him. He'll be doing some cardiac rehab, too. We're all hugely relieved, of course.
I wanted to share these pictures of Kate and Wayne. Together they started on Weight Watchers about a year ago and have lots of weight. They've really done well, making the necessary life changes. The first picture is in October, 2009. The second was taken in October, 2011. Kate’s lost 120 pounds, Wayne 125. Great news from them, too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rainy Tuesday

It’s been a great, busy day with Ann & Al. We did the “behind the scenes” tours at both buildings of the Tennessee Aquarium. Then they took us out to dinner at the Bonefish Grill. (Yum!)

To cap off the evening, we played a lot of bridge. We trade partners after each rubber, and keep a running score. So far, I’m low.
Randy’s still in the hospital, as they continue to evaluate whether or not he needs a permanent pacemaker. Sue says he’s beginning to get “cabin fever”, so I guess that’s a good sign.

Monday, April 16, 2012

This and that

Ann and Al got here right on time - they had one of those rare travel days where everything works. Everybody's gone to bed now, except me. We spent the evening on the porch, eating out there, too - lovely weather, with even a pleasant rain shower to listen to.
Randy will probably be having the pacemaker installed tomorrow afternoon . They'll do one last set of EKG tests in the morning, but are pretty sure the pacemaker will be the treatment of choice. His parents got there, so Sue's getting some relief from being at the hospital all day long.
This is from L‘empress‘s blog, A Place of My Own.

When we get old, we realize how much we don’t know and how little we accomplished.
….There are days when I think that I didn’t learn anything and that I taught even less to my children. You have to find a balance between your appreciation and your regrets. I just hope the gratitude comes out ahead.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Randy had some episodes of low blood pressure during the night, but otherwise was resting comfortably. They did finally see the cardiologist.

A cardiac catheterization is scheduled for first thing in the morning. The plan is to see if they can open any vessels up to increase the blood flow. If this does the job, the results should be instantaneous. If it doesn't, they will insert a temporary pacemaker. He still holds out some hope that the node will start firing again on its own. If that happens within the next few weeks, he can take the temporary one out. If it doesn't, they will go back in and place a permanent pacemaker.

Randy’s folks will be going down tomorrow. That’ll be a great help for Sue, and support for Randy, too, of course. We’ll be waiting for the phone calls.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thinking about Randy

We got an e-mail from Sue yesterday. Randy (our son-in-law) had had a mild heart attack, and was in the hospital. Fortunately, Sue works for a group of internal medicine docs and he had come into the office to get his pain checked. They wouldn't even let her drive him the 2 blocks to the hospital - they called an ambulance. All seems to be stable now. He's 56-7 years old. As Sue says - there will probably be a bunch of life-style changes in their future.

As of tonight, Randy's still in the hospital. His natural pacemakers aren't working quite properly, so he’s in a telemetry room where they can keep all those things monitored. And they'll do more evaluating tomorrow - depending on what all those readings show.

Needless to say, we’re all concerned and waiting for further developments.


It's late, and I've drawn an absolute blank tonight. Thanks for checking by.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I love the word kerfuffle! From the entry in the Oxford Dictionary, it’s quite an old word. But I don’t remember having heard it until relatively recently.

No particular reason for this - it’s just one of those words that sounds like fun!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Painting went much better today. We all got involved in doing stuff. I got a great present - the instructor gave me a small original piece similar to one I had admired at her show. We’re thrilled with it!

John cleaned up the porch this afternoon. It was SO full of pollen and dust. He went over it first with the leaf blower, and then we took everything off it, and he washed it all with the hose. I hand washed some of the stuff, put some in the dishwasher, and did a load of wash for the stuff that could go there. I'll finish getting it put back out tomorrow. So it can get dirty again.

Hey dog lovers! Here's a movie for your Netflix queue. My Dog, Tulip is an animated British film - quirky, funny, delightful, beautifully drawn. We had no idea what it was about and were totally charmed. Get it now!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another exciting day in Tennessee

I had my quarterly eye check-up this afternoon. Our optometrist is very thorough. He found a change in the acuity in my right eye, but couldn't find any reason for it. I'm supposed to be doing some home reading checks until I see him again in three months and, if I see any worsening, to come back immediately. As we say, if it isn't one thing, it's another. At least he ruled out most of the usual problems. It always takes a while for dilated eyes to return to normal.

I got a "lamb breast" on sale at WalMart yesterday. I'd never cooked anything like that before. We like lamb, I just never seem to see it or think about it. Anyhow, I figured out something from looking at recipes on the internet. It was really good. I roasted some potatoes quarters and mushrooms, and made some gravy. There's enough left to make some hash.

So much for another exciting day in Tennessee. (We won’t discuss our wussy governor not vetoing a law permitting the teaching of “creationism” in science classes in TN, but not signing the bill - thus allowing it to become law without his signature. Which, of course, makes both sides mad. Sometimes I really hate to tell people we’re from Tennessee.)
Another view of this great sculpture.

Monday, April 09, 2012


John’s cough is still awful. I do hope he gets over it before next week.

We’re quite a pair this evening - he’s coughing like crazy, and my body is just blah.

Oh, well - with any luck we’ll get a good night’s sleep and both be better in the morning.
I love urban sculpture.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Smith's roses

What could be better than some gorgeous roses (pictures by Margaret).

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Saturday 9

This is a Saturday 9 meme from Kwizgiver.

1. Have you ever watched something unfold, that as you watched, you could not believe what you've witnessed?
At the Aquarium, we start a large snake start to shed its skin. We watched the whole process - it was fascinating.

2. What is your favorite city in the world? Why?
I’m not a big fan of cities in general. I love Chattanooga. It’s a great place to live.

3. What is the strangest film, to your sense of reality, that you have ever seen?
I can’t think of one. I haven’t seen a lot of movies recently. Movies are, by definition, not real.

4. It seems that the older that you get, the less you want the hassle of seeing a live concert. Who is an artist or a band that you'd actually pay to see?
We pay to go to the Symphony and to the String Theory chamber concerts.

5. When was the last time that you lost your temper?
I think I got angry about something last week, but I get over it quickly and rarely remember anything.

6. When you were little, did you think "sex" was a bad word?

7. What does your smart phone do that really surprised you when you loaded the app?
My smart phone is so much smarter than my ability to cope with it. Everything it does surprises me.

8. Have you ever been attracted to someone that you should not have been? (Feel free to take this lame question any way that you please.)
I’ve been married to the same man for 56 years - guess that attraction worked pretty well.

9. Will you see the new "The Three Stooges" film? I didn’t really like the original Three Stooges, so I won’t be seeing a movie about them.

Urban cityscape.

My morning's entertainment

After swimming this morning, I went to the downtown library to work a shift in the library book store. Usually it’s pretty boring and I get a lot of reading done. It’s a bit weird as I sit there reading my Kindle, but….

Today there was a floor show. From where I sit, I can see all the traffic at the main circulation desk. My attention was drawn to a loud voice. A woman was complaining to the employee at the desk about the fact that, although she had a Chattanooga mailing address, she was being charged for her library card.

Note: The City of Chattanooga has recently taken full control of and responsibility for the public library. It’s free only for people who live within the city limits. There are people who have a Chattanooga mailing address who do not live in the city limits. With payment of an annual fee, nonresidents can use the library.

This lady, from her address, obviously did not live within the city limits, but she was adamant that because her mailing address was “Chattanooga”, she should have a free card. She got louder and louder, and eventually demanded to see some “higher-up” in the library, somebody who “sat upstairs at a desk”.

Within a few minutes, the new director of the library came downstairs to deal with this woman. The director is a fairly young woman who has been on the job for less than six months. The woman went through her story again, still quite loudly. The director responded in a very quiet voice - I couldn’t even hear what she said, even though I knew what she had to be saying.

The angry woman went on about how her family had lived in Chattanooga forever; had been on the banks of the river giving corn to the settlers when they showed up. And then she went on to say that her ancestors had all had dark hair - that none of them were blond. What???? Well, the director is a quite attractive, white woman, who happens to be blond. I hate to think how the conversation would’ve gone if our director had been black - but I digress.

Finally, the director managed to defuse the situation, and the woman got her fee refunded, which I guess is what she was after in the first place. And things quieted back down to normal.

The new director made some big points with me, and her employees, and certainly earned her keep today. I got an entertainment bonus of watching a well-dressed woman make an ass out of herself. And I even finished my book.

Be sure to read Drift, Rachel Maddow’s new book.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Just another Thursday

We had a good lunch at the Olive Garden with Vicki. Just spending some time with her made it a good day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I’d heard about a BBC TV series called Doc Martin. We ordered some of the DVDs of the series from Netflix and watched the two first episodes tonight. The premise is that a top London surgeon develops a phobia about blood and has to stop operating. He winds up as a GP in a small Cornwall town. It’s delightful! Give it a look sometime.
My niece, Robin Hill, posted a link to this fabulous Wind Map . This shows a moving map of winds over the United States. Amazing! Thanks, Robin.
We had a good exercise class, but I didn’t do so well at painting. I just couldn’t get into the rhythm of anything, so didn’t do much. It was frustrating. I went for a massage afterwards, and that helped even things out somewhat. I’ll look at the painting stuff again tomorrow and see what I can do.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Don't mess with Mother Nature

The tornadoes and storm line that went through the Dallas/Fort Worth area this afternoon was devastating. I’ve never seen such film of the storms actually hitting and throwing such debris. It’s amazing that there were no fatalities (at least not so far). Weather that happens in North Texas usually eventually gets to us, but I can only hope it will have weakened some by the time it gets here. Today we just had to deal with above-normal temperatures (87 this afternoon).

Click here for a neat live map of winds.

Congratulations to the Baylor Lady Bears on their decisive win of the NCAA National Championship. Having said that - Go Lady Vols!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Another Monday

Of course, there was the usual Monday morning stuff.

After all the terrible cards I’ve been having, I actually came in high last week. Amazing! Of course, today, I was back to the usual dreck.

John started on Saturday with a really nasty cough. At this time of year and the extra heavy pollen, it could well be allergy. But this is the third day of it.

The NCAA final game isn’t finished as I write this, but Kentucky seems to have it well in hand. UK’s Anthony Davis is an incredible player - and fun to watch if you’re not cheering for the other team. Congratulations to the champ, whichever team it is.
John’s photo of the clematis on our mailbox post.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Slow Sunday

Weekends are usually not too exciting around here - and today was no exception.

It was special that Matt stopped by and did some work on the roof, including the really nasty job of cleaning out the gutters. (Thanks so much, Babe!)

Not much happening during this upcoming week, either. Be sure to stay tuned for all the excitement.
The NCAA Women's Final Game is set, too. Congratulations to Notre Dame and Baylor who will be playing on Tuesday.