Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Taking the night off.  Sleep well!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Questions for a New Year's Eve Reflection

Stolen from Sunday Stealing

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
            Travel and spending time with family and friends.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

            Dealing with the deaths of Ken and Allan.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

          Continued joy in experiencing our family and friends.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

         The recurrence of John’s prostate cancer.
5. Pick three words to describe 2013.

          Health, hope, Congressional ineffectiveness (sorry, I couldn’t get that in one word)
6. What were the best books you read this year?

         My reading is still so “iffy”, but I did enjoy reading Orphan Train and John Grisham‘s Sycamore Row.
7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

          Family and friends - as always
8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

           Loss of height and stamina, the weight gain that goes along with it.
9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

           Just dealing with life at 77.
10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

           I don’t know that I have a “spiritual” side.
11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

           I think Allan and I reconnected before his death.
13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?

           Being retired - it’s been the most enjoyable part of work for a long time.
14. What was the most challenging part of your work?

           Doing any work at all.
15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

           Probably computer games, although they do keep my mind working.
16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

            I could have done a lot better.
17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

          Sometimes things really do just slow down.
18. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.
           It always comes down to family and friends.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Saturday

Cold, gray, yucky rain
All day long, but sunshine came
With Sue and Randy.

Chapter 2.

Yesterday at my physical, the doc told me that she had heard a slight heart murmur. She'd never mentioned that before, and said that probably it was just a slight calcification of one of the valves that was age related, that it was intermittent, etc. OK - just something to check.

But then I got a call this morning from the Heart Institute letting me know that I had an appointment next Tuesday for an echocardiogram. Guess she decided we needed to followup with that, just to be on the safe side. That works for me, too. Sighhhhhhhhhhh

I guess we’ll be checking back about this.
Somehow the manicure and pedicure later were anticlimactic.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Physical exam

I had my physical exam today - mostly good stuff.

All the lab work was good. My at-the-upper-limit-of-normal cholesterol was down 20 points after having taken red yeast rice for the last year.

On the other hand, I’ve now lost two inches of height - down to 5’5” now - and gained some weight. As I told John, I just got squashed down somewhat - shorter and rounder.

I also have a slight heart murmur - not mentioned before. She said it’s probably just some calcification of a heart valve that has increased enough to hear as the valve aged (just the valve, not me, of course). She didn’t seem concerned about it, so I guess I won’t be, either.

And now that’s out of the way for another year, and I’ll just continue to muddle along.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

It was a lovely day - beautiful sunshine, good food with family and friends.  That's what Christmas should be about.
John carving the turkey.

Dinner is ready.

Tina washing dishes.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Sometime between 6 pm last night and 9 am this morning, my American Express card was hacked - to the tune of almost $14,000.  AmEx was on the ball and had already caught it and notified us. And we had NOT shopped at Target. Merry Christmas to us.

And a Merry Christmas to everyone.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Perseverance, patience, persistence

We kept playing, and finally got a few good cards at bridge today. It does make playing the game a lot more fun.

When we got home, we had a phone message from the American Cruise Line. The September 2014 Mississippi River trip we had tried to book a few weeks ago was full. I asked if they’d call us if there was a cancellation. The agent I talked to wasn’t particularly encouraging, but said he’d keep our names in the computer. Lo and behold! There had been a couple of cancellations. We even had a choice of two different cabins and price levels. And we are now booked on the river cruise of our choice in 2014.

So persistence paid off - short term and long term. Plus we’re finally getting some sunshine.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I don’t have much to write about at this time of year. We don’t really “celebrate” Christmas any more, so we’re sort of out of the general conversation right now. Also, we haven’t been doing much outside. We don’t shop and don’t like crowds, so we stay home.

Sorry to be so unexciting.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Just another quiet day to enjoy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stick to String

Today started out with a fasting blood draw for next week's physical exam.  This was one of the best sticks I've ever had.  I really didn't know she'd stuck me until I realized she was filling the tubes. 

And the day ended with the sublime chamber music of Beethoven and Brahms at the String Theory concert at the Hunter Museum, followed by enchiladas and carnitas at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

It all made for a pretty good day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sunshine Wednesday

Swim, coffee, haircuts!
Leaves finally cleared up, then
Dinner with Tina.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


CSpan is filming here in Chattanooga this week. We're going to be the featured city on Book TV (CSpan 2) and American History TV (CSpan 3) the weekend of 18-19 January 2014. I'll try to remind folks when the time gets closer. And, of course, these filmed city tours are available on their web site after airing.
Remember a week or so ago when I wrote a piece about the police chief who had a love nest with his sweetie (not his wife) in a storage unit?

OK, in the Sunday edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, on the Letters to the Editor page, there is a column of “Rants”. These are short (25 words or less), unsigned letters. As expected, some are better than others. However, last Sunday, there was one that got a big belly laugh from us.

Nothing screams romance like a rental storage unit in Cleveland, Tenn.


No bridge today - something was going on at the Civic Center where we play. I guess we’ll have to find out if they’re going to play next week or not. I have to admit we took nice naps instead of playing cards.

John “cooked” tonight - we had a great carry-out meal of hot & sour soup and orange peel beef from our favorite local Chinese restaurant.

And there was sunshine all day!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reading frustration

I’ve been a voracious reader all my life - and a relatively fast reader. Up until about the last 10+ years. It’s been taking me weeks to read a mystery by any one of my favorite writers. I still have to have a book going, even though I may only read a few pages while I’m eating my lunch or right before I go to sleep, but still…

And I seem to find it easier to read nonfiction than fiction. Does that make sense?

It’s frustrating and discouraging.

So imagine my delight to find that I finished one novel, Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, in a couple of weeks. And, in the two days since I’ve finished that, I’m well into Sycamore Row, John Grisham’s latest.

Hooray! Does this mean the bookworm has turned? Who knows? And I don’t care. I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quiet Saturday

It’s been a very quiet day - grey and rainy.

Both of our basketball teams won. The Lady Mocs beat UNC Greenboro 86-53; the Lady Vols beat Troy State 103-64.

Friday, December 13, 2013


The swimmers holiday brunch was a great success - as always. We’re all pretty good cooks, and we all enjoy eating. So this is a good match for all.

The chile relleno casserole was great. I don’t know that there were any rave reviews, but John and I loved it, and it was almost all gone when we left. John’s comment was that the cheese grits paled by comparison (and that dish is full of butter and cheese). I’ll definitely be making the chile relleno thing again.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chile relleno casserole

Chile relleno
Casserole made for party.
Cheese grits just in case.
It’s a recipe
Not tried before. Testing to-
Morrow at breakfast.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poblanos, etc.

It’s been a busy Wednesday.

After swimming and coffee, I went to the eye doctor for the followup appointment after the laser treatment to my eye last week.

They told me everything is looking good - always good to hear. I do still have some floaters, and with any luck, they’ll eventually go away (or I’ll get used to them and not “see” them anymore).

I’ve been planning to make a new dish to take to the swim class party on Friday. Poola mentioned having had a chile relleno casserole - definitely my kind of thing. The base, of course, is poblano chiles and eggs. OK - I can do this. But then I couldn’t find any canned poblano chiles (jalapenos and serranos, but no poblanos). There were plenty of fresh ones, so I guessed I’d have to roast the chiles myself. That was going to be a challenge and involved actual WORK.

I checked the Pioneer Woman for instructions and gave it a try. Who knows how successful I was. I’ll make this tomorrow, but have no clue as to whether or not it’ll be edible. I think I’ll make some cheese grits, too - for insurance.

After going to two stores to try to find the canned poblanos, I got the fresh ones at the Mexican Carneceria near Vicki’s house. For a chance some timing worked out. Vicki had invited a few good friends to her house for lunch today, and I got there just a little ahead of time. It was a nice party with some great gals.

It did make for a busy day, but definitely a good one. Check back to see how the casserole worked out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two out of three...

Two out of three ain't bad!

  1. I slept until 8:30 this morning  (good).
  2. I went to the grocery store (bad).
  3. I got a massage (fabulous).

Monday, December 09, 2013


Is this romantic…or what?

One of the more interesting (bizarre?) local stories lately has been the revelation last week about the peccadillos of the chief of police in a small neighboring city. It seems that he and the head of a local nonprofit have been having an extramarital affair. Not too unusual, I guess - although not the best thing for a police chief to get caught doing. The interesting part is their choice of a location for their trysts.

It seems she had rented a climate-controlled storage unit (this is the south, after all) in the name of the nonprofit she headed. When the police entered the unit, it was furnished with blankets, pillows, and a bottle of brandy. Public apologies have been made and resignations accepted. The latest episode can be read here.

The imagination runs wild!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Stealing

The I Amuse Myself Meme from Sunday Stealing

01. What is something that you have lost recently?:
I lost a top back molar (removed by the oral surgeon)
02. Do you own any self-help books?:
Nope. Most of those things are just common sense - if we’d just do it.
03. Do you live near the sea or ocean?:
Unfortunately, no. I’d love to do so, but I get my fix by going to the beach every summer.
04. Have you ever spent ages making/writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?:
Fortunately, no.
05. Do you enjoy food shopping?:
That‘s a funny one. Anybody who knows me, knows how much I hate going to the grocery store. I don’t like any kind of shopping.
06. What are you having for lunch?:
I had celery and crackers with pimiento cheese.
07. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?:
Just about anything.
08. Do you like love letters?:
I like the idea of love letters, but I’m not hung up on it.
09. Have you ever received or written one?:
Probably, but many, many years ago.
10. How far does your nearest relative live?:
Other than John (who’s within touching distance), about an hour away.
11. Do you like velvet?:
It’s okay. I don’t wear anything formal enough that I’d have any clothes made of it.
12. What kind of art do you like?:
I like almost all art. I particularly like nonrepresentational (abstract) art, which is the kind I make.
13. If you went to London, where would you go first?:
One of the great museums there.
14. If you had to pick one friend who is the most interesting, who would you pick?:
Tough question. I don’t think I can pick just one.
15. Can you think of the meanest thing you have ever done/said to someone?:
I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything mean deliberately. I probably have accidentally, though, and I certainly apologize.
16. What magazines do you read?:
Smithsonian and National Geographic
17. What/who has been on your mind today?:
Mostly knitting, Lady Vols basketball, rain
18. Would you be interested in ghost-hunting?:
Doesn’t interest me at all.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Nothing to say

I've always said, "If you haven't got anything to say, the least you can do is shut up."

So I'll shut up.

Friday, December 06, 2013


62 degrees at 6 a.m.; 48 degrees at 7 p.m.

Thunderstorm in December.

Trying to make a reservation for a river trip in September 2014, and there are NO vacancies.


What a tough life it is when the high point of your day is getting a manicure and a pedicure.  I guess there's nothing to do but enjoy!

There are still floaters in my eye, but not as many.  I still keep trying to shoo them away, but I guess they'll go eventually.  At least I hope so.
In his blog today, Yorkshire Pudding honored the passing of Nelson Mandela with this quote:

"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." - Nelson Mandela (April 20th, 1964)

The world is a better place for his having been here.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The eyes have it!

The YAG laser procedure. No pain, and only the discomfort of having your eyes dilated to deal with. The doc said it was unusual for this to appear so long after the original surgery (in 2002), but not really a problem to deal with. When I first got home, I had a large intermittent floater in the bottom of my field of vision, but he said I might have floaters. It finally went away, but now I’m having a lot of dancing floaters. I don’t know if that’s a problem or not, but if they’re still there in the morning, I’ll give them a call.

It was very foggy this morning. That was a good thing, because (being such a dummy) I didn't think about having my eyes dilated and didn't take my sunglasses with me. Fortunately, John drove me, and with the fog, I was just able to keep my eyes closed and covered on the way home. Oh, well - I’ll do better next time for sure.
We went to dinner at Tina’s tonight. She fixed a great dinner of lamb chops, potatoes and green beans. Now I’m really looking forward to getting into the fresh lamb that Wayne got for us.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

More dreary days

Another day of drizzle, grey skies, etc., etc.  At least we're not predicted to get what's predicted for just a bit north of us.  They're talking about an ice storm along the Ohio River Valley in a couple of days.  That should get Kate - and they just had one of those a few years ago. 

John got his new Kindle Fire today.  He's put a number of games on it, and is working on learning to use it.  At least, this tablet is actually working, and isn't nearly so frustrating. 

I'm going to have a laser procedure on my eye to remove a secondary cataract tomorrow morning.  I have no idea what's entailed and what sort of reactions or restrictions I'll have.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Catch-up day

Monday: catch-up day.
Cold, gray, drizzling all day long.
More bad cards at bridge.
And now I’m still tired,
And I’m off to bed early.
Sleep well, dear readers.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Stealing

This meme was stolen from Sunday Stealing.

What would you totally eat right now?:
     Another Thanksgiving dinner - I love turkey and dressing.
Do you always wear a certain piece of jewelry?:
      I always wear my wedding ring, and usually some earrings.
What kind of jeans do you like?:
     The kind that fit - whatever that might be.
What's something on your want list?:
      Is world peace too trite? I'd actually love to see our government actually govern, rather than just preen and posture.
Is animal print tacky?:
     It’s not for me.
Give me a good quote that you like.:
      Just about anything by Jimmy Buffett - my favorite philosopher.
Do you bite your nails?:
      I did when I was little, but haven’t in probably 70 years.
What kind of smells do you like?:
     Fresh air, ocean, forest smells.
Do you wear perfume or cologne?:
    Never. And I don’t really like smelling scents on others.
What do you think is overrated?:
     Any unscripted show on TV.
Next movie you want to see?:
     We’ve talked about seeing “Last Vegas”, but we probably won’t.
Would you change your eye color if you could?:
      No - brown works for me.
And what are your goals for the remainder of this year?:
      To survive, stay upright, and have my loved ones all do well.
When is the last time you were at the hospital?
     October 2012 as an inpatient; January 2013 for a mammogram.
Who introduced you to your current significant other? If you’re single, who introduced you to your last ex?
     Nobody, really. We just started talking in the Student Lounge when we were at Rice.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family, friendship, food, fun, flamingo

What a wonderful day!

Lots of work, getting all the food ready.  But the traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal is one of my favorites.  I do love turkey and dressing.

Even better is getting together with our family and friends to share our lives.  It's a special time.

And it's fun, getting an anonymous gift - a fun stocking for my chair-side flamingo.  Thanks to whoever brought it to me.

Friday, November 29, 2013


It’s been a busy day (but NO shopping).

Matt & Claire stopped by for a short visit on their way back to Atlanta. Then Margaret got here, and work started in earnest. We often had Margaret, Wayne, and me in the kitchen, doing various things and trying to stay out of each other’s way.

But, I think we’ve gotten everything ready for our turkey dinner tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thanksgiving Lasagna

We’ve really had a good day. Jean wound up sleeping in the recliner. She’s still having a lot of chest pain, and sleeps a lot. She’s amazed at how easily she tires and how much she sleeps, but of course, she’s been (and still really is) quite sick, and it’ll take a while to get some stamina back.

Tina came over midafternoon. Sue, Randy, Paul and Sarah came by for a few minutes on their way home from Randy’s family. It was good to see them - if only briefly. The traditional lasagna was great - as usual. Kate and Wayne got here about an hour or so later. They had some lasagna, too, and then we were able to get stuff cleaned up. I got a motel room for K&W - figured there’d be more room for all of us then, and they’ve gone back there now. No telling what we’ll be doing tomorrow. Margaret will be coming over sometime to help getting ready for dinner on Saturday.

Otherwise, it’s just what Thanksgiving is for - a chance to be with family and friends.

Sue, Tina, Jean, John, Mary

John, Mary, Paul, Sarah, Sue, Jean, Randy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving


Out of hospital,
Margaret picks up Jean. John
Brings her here to rest.
Holiday weekend,
Food, family, and friendship.
The important stuff.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Update for Tuesday

Jean's doing better, has left the ICU for a regular room. She might be able to leave the hospital. She sounds much better on the phone and says she feels a lot better. Some of the pneumonia is due to working conditions, (her building has just been completely renovated with all those new building fumes, etc., plus an ongoing problem with a nearby coworker who is always heavily perfumed), so I don't know what will come of that. Her supervisor is aware of all the problems, though, and they've been trying to find solutions. Leroy’s (her dog’s) previous “foster mom” is going to be taking care of him until after the holiday and she’s feeling better.

My grocery store trips were interesting today - especially done in the continuous, cold rain. I left my purse on the counter in Aldi, discovered it when I got to WalMart (in a great parking space) , then had to go back for it. Fortunately, it had been turned in and nothing missing. Back to WalMart (in a lousy parking space). Then as I was leaving, a guy came up in the parking lot and wanted to talk to me about my “Vote Democrat” bumper stickers - so there we stood, in the rain, chatting away. Oh, well. John got home right after I did, so he carried all the groceries in for me. But then I got my biweekly massage, and things looked better.

The rain has mostly stopped, the temperature if about 40, and it’s supposed to snow tonight. We’ve decided not to try to go to the Y early in the morning, so I just don't care what the weather does.


When the Thanksgiving preparations get you down, you can always count on Margaret and Helen to brighten your day. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


  1. Jean's in the hospital ICU.  The primary diagnosis is pneumonia (she's been sick for about four days), but in the ER, she had an extremely low blood pressure.  She was admitted and is being monitored and hydrated.  We hope she'll be on antibiotics and be able to go home tomorrow.  We're waiting and hoping for good things.
  2. We don't get winter weather until January or February.  But we're having temps with highs in the 40s, lows at or below freezing.  We've had 2+" of rain so far this evening, with lots more expected tomorrow, with lots of wind. 
  3. This is supposed to change to snow on Wednesday morning.  Nobody's talking yet about accumulation.
  4. The good thing about the weather is that I can use the overflow refrigerator (the back porch) for the Thanksgiving stuff.
  5. I still have to go to the grocery store tomorrow for the last stuff for the Thanksgiving dinner - rain or no rain.
  6. But then I have an appointment for a massage later.
  7. Mostly we just need for Jean to get out of the hospital and better, so somehow we can get her down here for more rest and recuperation and turkey.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Good basketball (at least for our teams)

UTC 80, Auburn 52!

So far we're UTC 3, the state of Alabama 0. Best game we've played so far this year.
And the Lady Vols beat Oakland, too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Thanksgiving Meme

1. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving?
        Usually sweet rolls or something like that - nothing “formal”.
2. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?
         Not any more. The TV goes on only for football games.
3. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day?
         There is food going on all day long. We usually have the “big” meal in the late afternoon. And this is on Thanksgiving Saturday.
4. What are the traditional favorites?
        Turkey and dressing, country ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauces, condiments, crudités.
5. What new recipes will you try this year?
          Nothing new this year.
6. What part of the meal do you never compromise?
          The dressing.
7. Who gets to carve the turkey?
          John carves the turkey.
8. Family style around the table or buffet style and everyone sits wherever there’s room?
          Buffet. We haven’t had a big enough table in years.
9. How many will be at your table this year?
           At last count, there were 15 - but that’s variable.
10. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for?
           None of the above. It’s not that formal
11. Cranberry sauce… yay or nay?
            Definitely cranberry sauce - three kinds: the jellied cylinder, fresh cranberry/orange relish, cranberry chutney.
12. What time do you eat Thanksgiving Dinner?
            Saturday, usually about 4-5 p.m.
13. Three best pies for Thanksgiving dessert?
            Mincemeat, pumpkin, pecan, anything else somebody brings.
14. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?
           Later on.
15. Favorite leftover?
          We love them all!

Friday, November 22, 2013

22 November 1963

All of us who were alive then remember what we were doing when we heard "the news".

I was a 27 year old housewife, at home with kids, watching a live local TV show, "Noon".  Of course, they broke into the show with the news Kennedy had been shot, then came back with the news that he had died.  After that, of course, the news was constant for the rest of the weekend. 

I wonder what our girls remember.  They were then 7, 6, 4 1/2, and 2. 

I remember where I was when Franklin Roosevelt died in 1945.  I was 9, at a neighborhood park.  I ran home to tell my mother.  I found her in tears - she had heard the news on the radio.

We don't forget those times.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Good Thursday

Costco and hot dogs.
Lady Mocs beat UAB.
Makes for a good day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Surprising shipping containers

John called my attention to an article in the Business section of the paper this morning. It wasn’t something that I would’ve noticed - an article about shipping containers??? Really?

But it was really very interesting. Click here for the article, but I’ll quote the short article here.

Ever wonder how a wrist watch that traveled 8,000 miles can sell for $5? Or why it's cheaper to import a 200 pound headstone from China than from Georgia? The answer is not cheap foreign labor, but rather those ubiquitous steel boxes we see on the backs of hundreds of trucks each day rumbling down the interstate: the humble shipping container.

Known as intermodal or ISO containers, the standard steel shipping box has become so common that we hardly notice its presence on trains or trucks. But it is no exaggeration to suggest that this seemingly obvious method of transporting goods around the world has contributed more than any other single development to the explosion in global trade and commerce in the past half century.

Until the late 1950s, little had changed conceptually in the maritime shipping industry since the great Phoenician trading vessels plied the Mediterranean 3 millennia ago. Cargo was typically crated, then wheeled aboard ships down gang planks. Electrically powered cranes increased capacities and lightened the work, but the task of loading a ship remained painfully labor intensive and therefore costly.

Then in 1955, North Carolina trucking magnate Malcolm McLean had an inspiration: place an entire loaded truck trailer aboard ship, and then drive it away at the other end of the voyage. He purchased a steamship company and began refitting the vessels to carry the trailers with their wheels removed. Ultimately he realized the key was a common-size, detachable steel container that could be lifted directly from a truck to the ship, then unloaded directly to another truck bed. By the mid 1970s, intermodal shipping of containers by sea, rail, truck and even air transport had established a firm footing and changed the way the world does business.

Prior to the advent of intermodal container shipping, a freight vessel might spend up to 3 weeks in port being unloaded and reloaded for the next voyage. Today the typical time in port is 16 hours. A stevedoring crew in 1959 could load about 0.6 tons of cargo per man-hour of labor, compared with over 8,000 tons per man-hour today. Meanwhile, the cost of loading a transoceanic transport ship has plummeted from around $6 per ton before containerization to less than 16 cents per ton.

Like Henry Ford with his Model T, McLean understood the secret to success was standardization. Today, steel container sizes are few (typically 20 or 40 foot), number around 26 million units world-wide, and are governed by the International Standards Organization to insure that boxes from one company will stack neatly together with those of any other. McLean's first containership carried 58 boxes. Currently under construction is the Maersk Triple E, designed to carry 18,000 standard 20-foot units, roughly equivalent in capacity to a standard freight train 68 miles long.

It is no coincidence that global trade has expanded exponentially since McLean's simple but revolutionary idea. Without the intermodal shipping container, we almost certainly wouldn't have the Thanksgiving Day Doorbuster Sale.

Maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all.

Christopher A. Hopkins, CFA, is a vice president for Barnett & Co. Advisors

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How many countries?

One of the questions in a recent meme (which I decided not to complete) asked how many countries I had visited.  That particular question caught my eye, and I decided to make a list.  I'm amazed!

34 countries; 6 continents; 50 US states

St Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Lucia
Cayman Islands
The Czech Republic
New Zealand
Hong Kong (airport only)

Monday, November 18, 2013


We’re getting into the fall/winter routine, I guess. This means basketball. John and I went to the Lady Mocs game yesterday afternoon. Margaret was here when we got home, and she and John drove to Knoxville for the Lady Vols game. It did make for a long day - for him especially. Even worse, since the weather was awful, and they had an hour-long delay on I-75 due to a wreck. (At least, as they said, they weren’t part of the accident.)

Today was a more usual day, with the swim and exercise class for me, then coffee at Panera.

Bridge was awful. John had terrible cards, and mine were worse. The only good thing is know that that “worm” will eventually turn. We’ve signed up for an “advancing bridge” Road Scholar program at Jekyll Island in March. That should make for an interesting week.

Margaret brought us a couple of turkey thighs (they love turkey, but only the breast meat), and we had those with an acorn squash for dinner. The turkey whetted our appetite for Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m starting to gear up for that. Grocery stores tomorrow!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Basketball season

It's basketball season again!

Lady Mocs 76, Belmont 65

Lady Vols 87, Georgia Tech 76

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good visiting

For a drizzly, overcast day, it was very nice.

After lunch, we went to visit John’s cousin, Robert. He and his new wife have just moved to the area from upstate New York. Loretta has family in the area. For whatever reason, it’s nice to have another branch of the family nearby.

Shortly after we got home, Tina came by. She brought her visitors, Melysa and her 14-month-old daughter, Violetta. The baby is a real cutie - a very active toddler, but not getting into things.

Good visiting all around.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday happens

I went to a luncheon and reevaluation for the Enhanced Fitness class today. Good food - and I guess I've improve some with the class. I don't know how much longer I'll continue to go - as least as long as it continues at the current time.

I went to Knoxville with Margaret and John to the Lady Vols/Lady Mocs ballgame. The score was tied at half-time, but the Lady Vols ramped up their game, and the Lady Mocs couldn’t keep up. The Lady Vols won 80-56.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Littleton, CO

I've already told you about spending the day in the Portland airport.

It was dark when we got to Denver, so we didn't really see anything when we got there.  We stayed in the guest apartment of the apartment building where John's cousin lives.  They have a great view from their apartment on the top floor.  This view is southwest with Pike's Peak showing up in the distance. 
The color in the courtyard of the building was spectacular.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Portland, OR (Addendum: Equal Rights)

The last full day of our trip was in Portland, OR.  We took the offered bus tour of Portland.  It is a lovely city, but the highlight of the trip was the stop in the Portland Rose Garden.  It was a chilly overcast day, but that actually made for better flower photography.  Late October is definitely not the peak of the rose-blooming season, but there were enough lovely blooms to keep us looking for a while.


To digress from our trip:  On first reading, the Chattanooga City Commission has passed (5-4) an ordinance that would give benefits to the "domestic partners" of city employees.  This would make Chattanooga the third city in Tennessee (after Collegedale and Knoxville) to give equal rights to the domestic partners of employees.  The commissioner from our district was one of those voting "for".  We're so proud of them!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Astoria, Oregon

Our next stop was Astoria, OR - almost to the mouth of the Columbia River as it empties into the Pacific Ocean. John and I opted to skip the formal tours. Instead we went by ourselves to the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

We had been to this museum on our 2003 trip this way. It’s an exceptional museum and we looked forward to visiting it again. The Queen of the West was moored right beside the museum, so it was just a short walk. The exhibits are terrific!


One neat addition was a damaged boat that had come from the Fukushima disaster in Japan. It had floated across the Pacific and washed up on the Oregon shore. The owner was identified from markings on the boat. He agreed to donate the boat to the Museum.

John later walked around the town of Astoria - a nice small maritime town. 


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mount St. Helens

Our next stop was the Port of Kalama, WA, for a short bus trip to Mount St. Helens. If you don’t remember the eruption in 1980, click here for a refresher. This was our third visit to the mountain and the recovery is always striking. We were first there in 1990 (our first trip to the Northwest). The second trip was on our trip with the camper following the Lewis and Clark Trail in 2003.

It’s an amazing place. I’m so glad we were able to see it again.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

The What's What Meme

What is on your bed right now?
      Sheets, quilt, pillows.
What’s your favorite word or phrase?
       I don’t know - somebody else would have to tell me
What is the best ice cream flavor?
      Vanilla - then you can dress it up with additions
Did you wake up smiling this morning?

       I didn’t wake up smiling, but I do smile a lot.
Is there something in your life you used to have, and now miss?
       Special people, not things.
What major company would you like to work for?
        “Work” is a four-letter word. I’m not interested in working for anybody.
What time do you wake up on a typical morning?
          6 on MWF, with the alarm clock, for swimming. Until I wake up on the other days - usually about 7:30 or so.
What holiday makes you sad?
          No holiday makes me sad. We don’t pay much attention to holidays.
Where does a good night’s sleep rank on your priorities?
        Pretty high. I enjoy sleeping.
One song that makes you cry?
         I don’t have any songs that I’m that attached to.
How old was your mom when she had you?
When is the last time you went to the beach?
         Last summer at our family beach week.
What is the most random object around you?
         I’m not sure what this means. All our clutter is random to some extent, I guess, but it’s OUR clutter.
What is your favorite sushi?
         I’ve not had enough sushi to have a favorite. I do like it, though.
What food do you find disgusting?
         Liver, coconut, peanut butter
If you could have any type of dog in the world, what would it be?
         I don’t want another pet. Other people’s dogs are fine with me, as long as they’re not yappy, jumpy, demanding dogs.
What was the last meal that you made for yourself?
        Lunch today. I make most of our meals..
Is the hard drive on your computer full or getting close to being full?
        Probably not.
Are there any songs that you prefer the acoustic version over the regular version?

        I’m so out of it, I don’t know what’s meant by the “regular version”.


Lady Mocs 82, Alabama 70!

Per Sato's request, I took a photo at the ballgame tonight with my phone.  The team in white is the University of Tennessee Lady Mocs.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Continuing down the Columbia River

Our next stop was at Stevenson, WA. From there, our tour was to the beautiful Multnomah Falls in Oregon. This is a spectacular and easily accessible site along the Columbia River.

From there, we went to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. This was an unexpectedly interesting stop, telling the story of hatching salmon and trout for restocking the northwest rivers.

And, just for fun, here’s a photo of Al, Ann, John, and me. Anne took this on the upper deck of the Queen of the West.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Two days' worth

I went to the two exercises classes Monday morning. I can find it in my heart to hope that the second one ends soon (when the grant to pay for the instructors runs out), or at least changes to a Tuesday/Thursday class. We had bridge in the afternoon, and then the ballgame. Made for a long day.

We went to the first Lady Mocs basketball game Monday night - an exhibition game with Lee University (Cleveland, TN). Our gals were awful, and just barely won (46-44). They only hit 7 out of 20 free throws. Pitiful. We play Alabama on Friday, so the new coach has a lot to do in the next few days.

There was almost as much packed into this morning as in Monday. I went to one grocery store and got the country ham for Thanksgiving. I will only get a Clifty Farm ham (I've tried other brands and it's just not the same), and a friend told me about a sale at BI-LO for $1.99/pound. I went there to get it - then saw them at WalMart later for $2.48/pound. That made it even better.

However, I also had my 6-months appointment with the optometrist. And there was another "uh-oh!" That's two for this fall. There some loss in vision in my left (good) eye. He found it's due to a secondary cataract that has formed in the tissue left after the first cataract operation 8-10 years ago. He said all they have to do is laser a few spots and it's taken care of. I certainly hope so. Anyhow, that's set for 4 December, and the followup appointment is already set, too. Whew! that was fast.

I got home ready for a little bit of lunch and a nap. The regular Tuesday night TV finished off the day. I think I’ll rest up for the remainder of the week.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Dalles, Oregon

Our next stop was at The Dalles, OR. There were several possibilities of tours. I went to the Maryhill Museum on the Washington side of the river. It’s a very nice small museum, originally built to be a home. I didn’t take any pictures, this one came from Google Images.

John went to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Raptor Center. These pictures are from his visit there.

John took this one of me on the ship watching as he came back from a shore walk.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Sunday Stealing

From Sunday Stealing

1) Do you think Daylight Saving Time is still necessary?
              I don’t know about necessary but, in general, I like it.
2) How long does it take you to adjust to the time change?    
              Only a couple of days
3) What's the hardest part of the time change?
              Changing all the clocks.
4) How many clocks are in your house?
              Lots. I think there is at least one in every room except John’s bathroom and the dining room.
5) Are you generally early, late, or on time?
              I used to be almost pathologically early. I’ve gotten somewhat better - as in nearly on timel
6) If an invitation to an event listed the time as 8-11pm, what time would you arrive?
              If it were an open house, I’d work really hard to not get there until after 8.
7) Do you wear a watch?
              Not usually. Only when we’re traveling.
8) Have you ever glanced at the time and had to glance again because you didn't pay attention the first time?
             Of course, doesn’t everybody.
9) Are most of your clocks digital or dial?
             Most are digital
10) What does your alarm clock sound like?
              Like an alarm clock is supposed to sound - it just rings.
11) Do you use the snooze feature on your alarm clock?
12) Does clock ticking drive you nuts?
              No - after the first few minutes, I don’t hear it anymore.

Pasco, Washington

This trip was designed to focus on Lewis and Clark. We didn’t pick it for that reason. Anne picked the timing of the trip because of her schedule, but no matter. We were there.

The first stop was at the confluence of the Snake River and the Columbia River. Lewis & Clark actually did spend time in this location. This small state park at Pasco, WA, is named in honor of the native American guide and only woman on the expedition - the Sacajawea State Park.

It’s a lovely jewel, with a tiny museum packed with artifacts and information. One couple on the trip was a pair of musicians. The woman’s walking stick is also an Indian toned flute. We found this out when we heard this plaintive music floating over the water and park. It was the lady playing her flute. Just magic.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

At the beginning

It’s very hard to get back into a routine after being out of it for a while. I’ve fiddle-farted around all day trying to work out something to say today. I’ll go back and start with the beginning of the trip.

We left home a little after 4 a.m. ET to start on the first leg of this journey. From Chattanooga to Atlanta to Denver to Spokane to the hotel - this all went fairly smoothly. We met up with Anne & Nick in Denver, and Ann & Al at the airport in Spokane. We spent the night in a hotel there and were bussed to the Queen of the West in the following morning. We got settled into our cabins, had lunch, and embarked on the start of our voyage down the Snake River.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The end of the story

I’ll start with the end of the trip. 

We left the ship, docked in Portland, at 8:30 am P and went to the airport. Things went downhill from there. Our original flight to Denver was scheduled for 12:20 pm or some such. The plane came in, disgorged its passengers, and we sat and sat, waiting. It was announced that there was a problem with the plane, and they were working to fix it.

After about an hour or so, they said it was fixed and the full complement of passeners boarded the plane. Within minutes, the pilot announced that something else was wrong, and it would take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to fix it. But would we please stay on the plane because it would take so long to get everybody off and back on. After a while, they took some folks who had certain connections in Denver off the plane to get them to other flights - about 1/3 of the passengers. After about an hour, they told us that they had another plane for us, at the adjoining gate.

We got off the plane, and lined up as best as we could remember our boarding numbers, and waited some more. Turns out, on the walk-around the new plane, they discovered a small fuel leak. And, of course, that had to be taken care of.

Finally about 5 pm PT, we boarded THAT plane, just giving our last names to the guy at the gate. It was a larger plane, and with our fewer people we were able to spread out. Also on the flight were three people with pets in carrying cases (two cats, one puppy) and about 6 families with multiple children (ranging from about 8 to a nursing infant). Once in the air, it was one of the quietest flights we'd ever been on. Amazingly so!

We finally got in to Denver about 8 pm MT. We'd called Gin (John’s cousin) that there were delays. She had kept checking, so our getting picked up worked great. Just a long frustrating day.

After that we had a good visit with Gin & Jim. The weather was gorgeous on Sunday (they kept telling us that Denver‘s average was 300 sunny days/year). We went to the Garden of the Gods, and stopped to see the Air Force Academy Chapel on the way back to Littleton. Both are spectacular!

Unfortunately, the weather was dreary and misty on Monday, temps ranging from 35-31 - definitely not as advertised.

We had planned to drive to Loveland to have dinner with Merritt and Judy (Merritt is Gin's older brother - another cousin). Turns out Judy's sister in Illinois was having a medical emergency and Judy was going to have to fly there. But as it worked out, she was leaving Tuesday morning - as were we. So after our nice dinner with M&J, Gin & Jim went back to Littleton, and we spent the night with M&J. Merritt took the three of us to the Denver airport Tuesday morning (temp 31-33 and misting rain, but no snow/ice), and we headed home. Everything went smoothly from there on. Our shuttle was on time, and it was only half full.

On the way home in Chattanooga, we went to see Tina and took her out to get something to eat. We all needed some hugs since we hadn't been here when Allan died. She's a tough gal and will get through it, but it's going to be hard. Seeing her was good for all of us.

After a good night's sleep in our own bed, it was time today for the grocery store and laundry. It’s always good to get home.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Home again

We're back home.  All parts of our trip were good - a few glitches, but still a great trip. 

The worst part was the death of our old friend, Allan, while we were gone.  We weren't here to be able to mourn with and help his family.  We mourned separately.  We did stop to see and hug and talk with Tina on our way home from the airport tonight.

I'll talk about the trip later, but for now, we're unpacked, calmed down, and are ready for bed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Allan Geschwind (1943 - 2013)

R.I.P. Old friend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pampering and then....

This morning was for pampering - a manicure, pedicure and massage.  That's tough to beat for a trifecta.

This afternoon was for washing and decision-making and packing.  But it's done, and "the bags are packed.  (We're) ready to go.  Standing there beside the door."   (Gee, maybe somebody could write a song with those lyrics.)  (sorry)

Anyhow, we'll be off way before the sun comes up, heading for Denver and then Spokane, for our boat trip on the Columbia River.  I'll try to check in when I can.  I would imagine we'll have internet connections each night, but who knows. 

I know you other bloggers and readers will keep things going.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Miscellany

Light rain this morning, cool temperatures all day.

YMCA for two exercise classes, coffee with friends, and packages mailed.

Tina had to take Allan to the ER because of difficulty breathing. He’s back home with a portable oxygen unit.

Our dinner plans with Tina & Allan and Carol & Stephen didn’t happen quite that way. We did meet up with C&S for a great dinner at the Red China Bistro.

Tina came by the restaurant to get some carry-out, including some soup to tempt Allan to eat.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I actually have finished a couple of things today.

I finished the sweater I’ve been knitting for Alison. It really looks good, if I do say so myself.

And I finished assembling the stuff we’re sending in to the health insurance for reimbursements. This is the first year we’ve ever had to do this, and we’ve struggled with gathering all the stuff involved. I got copies made this morning, and forms filled out.

All that’s left is the trip to the post office in the morning.

That part of the government IS still operating, isn’t it?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday stuff

It seems like it was harder to get up and get going than usual this morning. Maybe I have “short-timer’s attitude” - thinking about heading out of town.

In any case, it was off to the Y for the two exercise classes, then back home. Bridge was pretty good. I was in the winning couple on each round, albeit with not really high numbers until the last round. That was a good one!


These are the people who are running the country. Chris Hayes talked about Markwayne Mullin (Rep) from Oklahoma’s 2nd district. In one of his speeches, he is quoted as saying, ”This country isn’t ran by just one individual it’s ran by four branches, but three branches that are in control of this.” This is scary.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Silent Sunday

(not one of my photos, but very pretty)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sunday Stealing


The Random Randomness Meme, Part 2
What was your first alcoholic drink?
Bourbon and water - I grew up in Texas in the early 1950s. Standard fare.
 What was your first job?
Besides babysitting, I worked helping to collate specifics about room fittings in a new hospital (around 1950), and then I transcribed dictation of old autopsies.
What was your first car?
I learned to drive a 1950 straight-shift  Chevrolet.
What was your first mobile phone?
A flip-front AT&T phone

What is your first proper memory?
I remember closing the refrigerator door on my thumb when I was 3.

Who was your first teacher?
My first grade teacher was Mrs. Wildermuth (same as John’s) 
Which fictional character do you wish was real?
Josiah Bartlet - the President on The West Wing

Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane?
From Nashville to Lexington, KY.

 Who was your first best friend?
Betty Lou LaMaster
 What was your first detention for?
I don’t think I was ever kept after school (detention in the old days)
What's your strongest sense?
Honesty and fair play.
Who was your first kiss?
I don’t remember, isn’t that awful?
What was the first film you remember seeing at the cinema?
Dumbo or Bambi - I’m not sure which
What's the largest amount of money you've ever won?
I’ve never won any money.
What's the largest amount of money you've spent in one spree?
I don’t do spending sprees.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Slow to anger, but then watch out.
Have you ever got sweet revenge on anyone?
Not that I know of - it’s usually a wasted emotion.
Have you ever been to a live concert?
Other than symphony or chamber music or theater? We’ve been to a Jimmy Buffett concert.
Have you ever been to see stand up comedy?
We saw Brett Butler at a local comedy club. Not a favorite form of entertainment
Have you ever needed stitches?
Oh, that IS funny!  Surgical or injury?  Uncountable.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Good eats

I don't intend this to be a food or cooking blog, but every once in a while something good comes along. 

This recipe was in a local hospital's quarterly magazine. I made it tonight, and it was SO good!

¼ cup margarine or butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 rib celery
4 tsp curry powder
2 medium butternut squash (about 2 ½-3 lbs) peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
3 medium apples, peel, cored, chopped
3 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
1 cup cider

In a saucepan, combine margarine, onions, celery, and curry powder. Cover and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender (10-15 minutes), stirring often. Add cubed squash, chopped apples, and liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until squash and apples are cooked thoroughly. Strain liquid and set aside. Puree the apple/squash mixture with one cup of the strained liquid. Add cider and remaining liquid to reach desired consistency. Garnish with grated apple, yogurt, or low-fat sour cream. Serves 10.

My Notes: I don’t know how they got 10 servings unless they were very small cups. I used the whole amount of liquid, but only one squash and got four dinner-sized bowls. I didn’t use celery (didn’t have any, and John doesn’t particularly like it) and didn’t have any cider to put in. I added some instant potato flakes at the end to thicken it.


Such a gorgeous color!